A Valley News Publication

Attn: Meterorite *not* to blame for massive fire in Woodstock, N.H.

Just in case there was any doubt. We like to set the record straight, and so do our friends at the Concord Monitor.

A brush fire that ignited on Tuesday morning in Woodstock, N.H., has now burned more than 20 acres, according to The Associated Press. Crews still are working to extinguish the flames, but that effort could take several days.
The cause of the fire remains unclear, but one popular theory was that it had been caused by a meteor. While that sounds totally wild (and kind of how the apocalypse starts, tbh), it’s highly unlikely and also probably not true in this case, per science.

Beyoncé just dropped a 🔥 remix for a good cause

Forget Despacito. (JK, still loving it, even though summer is over and it’s officially sweater weather).

In all honesty, though, J. Balvin and Willy Williams’ Mi Gente was a serious threat to Despacito even when that song was at its peak, before Taylor Swift came to retake her No. 1 spot with Look What You Made Me Do. Now, however, everybody on the Billboard charts needs to watch out, because Queen Bey has entered the ring and she did not come to play.

Y’all, she came to sing in Spanish. It’s everything.

MORE IMPORTANTLY, THOUGH, she’s championing a larger humanitarian effort: Her proceeds from the purchase of the remix will benefit hurricane relief charities serving Puerto Rico, Mexico and the Caribbean. She announced her contribution in an Instagram post.

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has his own spider: Spintharus berniesandersi

Not a joke.

A female Bernie Sanders spider in profile. (Credit: Agnarsson Lab)

Via The Washington Post:

Spintharus berniesandersi, named after Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., lives in Cuba. It is small and lemon-yellow and barely a millimeter wide. On the spider’s back is an ornate pattern halfway between a distorted smiley face and grimace.


Four University of Vermont undergraduates, with the guidance of biologist Ingi Agnarsson, identified Spintharus berniesandersi. The students also found 14 other new spider species, which they named after political figures (Obama got his 10th species; Michelle Obama her first), artists (singer David Bowie’s second spider) and celebrities (naturalist David Attenborough, his umpteenth).


“We don’t mean this to be a political paper. We decided to honor the people who we think are doing the right thing,” Agnarsson, a spider expert at the University of Vermont, told The Washington Post.

Also, there’s this:

A few identifying traits arose as the (Caribbean) islands drifted apart. Some of the spiders had complete smiles on their backs, one with “a very distinct, clownlike smiley face with a white nose,” Agnarsson said. Also, their genital structure had evolved rapidly, probably another barrier against interbreeding. (Why spider genitals change so quickly is a matter of “long and deep scientific debate,” Agnarsson said, but could reflect an evolutionary arms race between male and female spiders.)

Wow. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)

Bernie Sanders: Not president, but got a spider named after him. You win some, you lose some.

Read more.

… and a Happy 70th Birthday to Stephen King!

Maine’s master of nightmares, Stephen King, is 70 years old today.  Happy birthday! It’s a popular day for literary birthdays, apparently.

The author has penned such well-known titles as Carrie, Pet Sematary, The Shining, The Talisman, Misery and, of course, It, which currently is tearing up the box office.

Check out this piece written by the Bangor Daily News for the birthday milestone (it even got King’s seal of approval; he tweeted the story out earlier today).

Happy Birthday to ‘The Hobbit’

J.R.R. Tolkien’s novel The Hobbit, the book that introduced us to Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf, The Shire and the Ring, is 80 years old today.

Published on Sept. 21, 1937, the book is beloved by millions of readers and continues to be discovered and enjoyed by new generations. In 1954 Tolkien published his subsequent trilogy, The Lord of The Rings, which largely follows Baggins’ nephew, Frodo Baggins, and his journey to destroy the Ring.