Historical Events, Birthdays And Quotations

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This Day in History


Wed, 26 Jan 2022 05:00:00 GMT

Australia Day: Britain's First Fleet Arrives (1788)

Wed, 26 Jan 2022 05:00:00 GMT

On January 26, 1788, the first British fleet in modern-day Australia claimed it in the name of King George III. Captain Arthur Phillip and his band of British convicts settled in Port Jackson—where the city of Sydney was later established—and built a penal colony there to help relieve overcrowding in the British prisons. First officially celebrated in 1818, Australia Day—formerly known as Foundation Day or Anniversary Day—has been a public holiday since 1838. What was the British fleet called? Discuss

Israeli Submarine Dakar Disappears without a Trace (1968)

Tue, 25 Jan 2022 05:00:00 GMT

Israel bought the INS Dakar from the UK in 1965. The submarine departed for Israel on January 9, 1968, but disappeared en route with its entire crew. An international search mission yielded no answers. Over a year later, a fisherman found the stern emergency buoy marker from the Dakar on the coast of what is now the Gaza Strip, but further searches failed to turn up anything. The exact cause of the submarine's sinking remains unknown. Where and when was its wreckage finally found?

Soviet Satellite Breaks Up upon Reentry, Scattering Nuclear Debris (1978)

Mon, 24 Jan 2022 05:00:00 GMT

Cosmos 954 was a Soviet reconnaissance satellite that used radar to observe ocean traffic. It was launched in September 1977 and quickly began to experience problems. Within months, it had deviated from its designed orbit. A malfunction prevented the safe separation of its onboard nuclear reactor, so when the satellite reentered the Earth's atmosphere, it scattered radioactive debris over northern Canada, necessitating an extensive clean-up operation. How much did Canada bill the USSR for this?

Word Trivia


Wed, 26 Jan 2022 05:00:00 GMT


Wed, 26 Jan 2022 05:00:00 GMT

blin - As in blini and blintze, it is Russian for "pancake." More...

blintz, blintze - Blintz(e) is from Russian blinets, "little pancake." More...

cake - A Viking contribution, from Old Norse kaka, it is related to "cook"; cake first meant small, flat bread roll baked on both sides by being turned—as in pancake or potato cake. More...

omelet, omelette - Omelet has also been written omelette, amulet, and aumelet; omelet's root sense is "thin layer" or "crepe," and it was first described in English as a "pancake of eggs." More...


Tue, 25 Jan 2022 05:00:00 GMT

acerbic - Often describes a sharp or biting mood, temper, tone, or wit; acerbity is normally a bit less sharp than sarcasm. More...

tirret - An outburst of temper. More...

mansuetude - Tameness or sweetness of temper. More...

tamper - First meant "to work in clay" or "temper in clay." More...


Mon, 24 Jan 2022 05:00:00 GMT

valentine - Formerly a person chosen as a sweetheart or special friend, named for either of two Italian saints. More...

bully - First meant lover or sweetheart, then fine fellow, then blusterer, then "person who harms or threatens weaker people." More...

leman - An old word for "sweetheart, lover." More...

piggesnye - An old term of endearment for one's sweetheart, literally "a darling pig's eye." More...

Today's Birthdays


Wed, 26 Jan 2022 05:00:00 GMT

Pierre Paul François Camille Savorgnan de Brazza (1852)

Wed, 26 Jan 2022 05:00:00 GMT

Born to Italian nobility in Brazil, Brazza joined the French navy and explored present-day Gabon from 1875 to 1878. Racing his British-American counterpart Henry Morton Stanley, Brazza explored the Congo River region, where he founded the French Congo and Brazzaville—now capital of the Republic of the Congo. He added some 200,000 square miles (500,000 sq km) to the French colonial empire and was the French Congo's commissioner general from 1886 to 1898. Why was he sent back to the Congo in 1905? Discuss

Robert Burns (1759)

Tue, 25 Jan 2022 05:00:00 GMT

Burns, a Scottish poet, wrote some of the best-known poems in the English language—like New Year's classic "Auld Lang Syne" and J.D. Salinger's titular inspiration "Comin' thro' the Rye." However, he struggled to get published during his lifetime and became not only discouraged but poor and dissipated—carrying on several simultaneous love affairs. His first poem was published in 1786, but he did not get to enjoy his success for long; he died of rheumatic fever at 37. What is a "Burns Supper"?

Farinelli (1705)

Mon, 24 Jan 2022 05:00:00 GMT

Farinelli was an Italian castrato—a singer castrated in boyhood to create an artificial soprano or alto voice. Renowned for his vocal power and agility, he became the greatest opera star of his time but abandoned the public stage for the court of Philip V, where he received an astronomical fee for his only duty: singing the same four songs to the king each night. After retiring, Farinelli received illustrious guests like Mozart at his villa in Bologna. Why were his remains exhumed in 2006?

Article of the Day


Wed, 26 Jan 2022 05:00:00 GMT

The Little Theater Movement

Wed, 26 Jan 2022 05:00:00 GMT

Sensational melodramas had been en vogue at the theater since the 19th century, but as film became the medium for large-scale spectacle, the Little Theater Movement developed in the US. Beginning in Chicago around 1912, theater enthusiasts banded together to produce more intimate, noncommercial, and reform-minded plays. The success of their Little Theater Movement likely helped to launch community theater and Off-Broadway plays. It also kick-started the career of what famous playwright? Discuss

The May 13 Incident

Tue, 25 Jan 2022 05:00:00 GMT

After the creation of the Federation of Malaysia in 1963, tensions grew between the wealthy Chinese—who controlled much of the Malaysian economy—and the poorer Malays. On May 13, 1969, Kuala Lumpur exploded with violence as Malay rioters killed hundreds of Chinese. Widespread arson and destruction added to the chaos, and a state of emergency was declared. Parliament was suspended and did not reconvene until 1971. Following the incident, what was instituted as a way to foster Malaysian unity?

The Incoherence of the Philosophers

Mon, 24 Jan 2022 05:00:00 GMT

The Incoherence of the Philosophers is a landmark 11th-century text by al-Ghazali of the rational-based Asharite school of Muslim theology. In it, he criticizes the Avicennian school of Islamic philosophy, accusing its followers of being irreligious. Among al-Ghazali's 20 charges against them is their inability to prove the existence of God and inability to prove the impossibility of the existence of two gods. Who refuted al-Ghazali's views with The Incoherence of the Incoherence?

Quotations of the Day


Wed, 26 Jan 2022 05:00:00 GMT

Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Wed, 26 Jan 2022 05:00:00 GMT

Pain and suffering are always inevitable for a large intelligence and a deep heart. The really great men must, I think, have great sadness on earth. Discuss

E. M. Forster

Tue, 25 Jan 2022 05:00:00 GMT

It isn't possible to love and to part. You will wish that it was. You can transmute love, ignore it, muddle it, but you can never pull it out of you. I know by experience that the poets are right: love is eternal.

Friedrich Nietzsche

Mon, 24 Jan 2022 05:00:00 GMT

Whence come the highest mountains? ... They come out of the sea. That testimony is inscribed on their stones, and on the walls of their summits. Out of the deepest must the highest come to its height.

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