In 1898, the U.S. Department of Agriculture created a special department of men called Agriculture Explorers to travel the globe searching for new food crops to bring back for farmers to grow in the U.S.
"These agricultural explorers were kind of like the Indiana Joneses of the plant world," says Sarah Seekatz, a California historian who grew up in the Coachella Valley, the date capital of the U.S.
The first non-European pope in modern history will makes a pilgrimage to the Holy Land this week, a region with centuries of religious strife.
Francis — the first pope to take the name of the saint of peace — will carry far less historical baggage than any of his predecessors.
When John Paul II visited Israel in 2000, he prayed at the Western Wall and apologized for the church's sins against Jews. Nine years later, at Yad Vashem, the memorial to the Holocaust, Benedict XVI urged that the names of the victims never perish, be denied or forgotten.
Iran is starting to see a re-launch of activist groups following the election last year of President Hassan Rouhani. Social movements were scarce after the government crushed public protests known as the Green Movement following the 2009 elections. After the decisive vote for Rouhani, a surge of hope in Iran has attracted activists back to the political arena. Iranian women, in particular, are seizing the opportunity.