Historical Events, Birthdays And Quotations

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This Day in History


Wed, 6 Jul 2022 05:00:00 GMT

Hartford Circus Fire (1944)

Wed, 6 Jul 2022 05:00:00 GMT

The Hartford Circus Fire was one of the worst fire disasters in US history. While thousands of spectators in Hartford, Connecticut, were enjoying an afternoon performance of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, a fire broke out in the tent. The big top, waterproofed with a coating of paraffin and gasoline, quickly collapsed in flames, trapping hundreds beneath it. About 169 people died. What song is traditionally used by circuses to discretely alert staff when an emergency arises? Discuss

Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica Published (1687)

Tue, 5 Jul 2022 05:00:00 GMT

Newton's Principia represents one of the greatest milestones in the history of science and marked the beginning of the modern period of mechanics and astronomy. The text includes Newton's three famous laws of motion, treatises on dynamics and fluid motion, the unification of terrestrial and celestial mechanics under the principle of gravitation, and an explanation of Kepler's laws of planetary motion. Principia grew out of Newton's correspondence with what famous astronomer?

West Point Opens (1802)

Mon, 4 Jul 2022 05:00:00 GMT

Before it was home to young men and women training to be US Army officers, West Point, New York, was the site of a military post. Congress signed legislation establishing the United States Military Academy there in 1802, though it was initially an apprentice school for military engineers. Its curriculum broadened in 1866, and, after World War I, Superintendent Douglas MacArthur pushed for major changes in the physical fitness and athletic programs. What collegiate tradition began at West Point?

Word Trivia


Wed, 6 Jul 2022 05:00:00 GMT


Wed, 6 Jul 2022 05:00:00 GMT

kazoo, bazooka - Dutch bazu, "trumpet," gives us the words kazoo and bazooka, the latter originally being a form of kazoo that was a long sounding-horn. More...

jubilee - Comes from Hebrew yobhel, "ram's horn," which was used as a trumpet to proclaim the jubilee, a year of emancipation and restoration (every 50 years). More...

taratantara - The sound of a bugle or trumpet can be called taratantara. More...

tuba - The Latin word for "trumpet." More...

lapis lazuli

Tue, 5 Jul 2022 05:00:00 GMT

azure stone - Another name for the lapis lazuli. More...

lapis lazuli - A sky-blue semiprecious stone, it is pronounced lap-us-LAY-zuh-lee. More...

sapphire - From Greek sappheiros, "lapis lazuli" or "blue stone." More...

ultramarine - First a blue pigment made from lapis lazuli, imported from Asia by sea, so, in Latin, it was ultramarinus, "beyond the seas." More...


Mon, 4 Jul 2022 05:00:00 GMT

acephalous - A manuscript lacking a beginning could be called acephalous. More...

autograph - Comes from Greek, then Latin autographum, meaning "self-written"; it originally meant "author's own manuscript." More...

manuscript - Originally an adjective meaning "written by hand"; manuscript can refer to a handwritten piece of music. More...

palimpsest - Can describe a manuscript or writing surface that has been reused, erased, or altered while retaining traces of its earlier form—and, by extension, an object, place, or area that reflects its history. More...

Today's Birthdays


Wed, 6 Jul 2022 05:00:00 GMT

Janet Leigh (1927)

Wed, 6 Jul 2022 05:00:00 GMT

Leigh was "discovered" by actress Norma Shearer, whose late husband, Irving Thalberg, had been a senior executive at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM). Though inexperienced, Leigh secured a contract with MGM, left college—where she had been studying music and psychology—and went on to appear in dozens of films. She is perhaps best known for her performance in Alfred Hitchcock's 1960 film Psycho, which earned her a Golden Globe and an Oscar nomination. What famous actress is Leigh's daughter? Discuss

Jean Cocteau (1889)

Tue, 5 Jul 2022 05:00:00 GMT

Cocteau was a French author and filmmaker who worked in many artistic mediums. In the years when he was addicted to opium, he produced some of his most important works, including the novel Les Enfants Terribles. In addition to the play La Machine Infernale and the film Beauty and the Beast, Cocteau wrote ballet scenarios and librettos for Erik Satie and Igor Stravinsky, and he illustrated numerous books with his vivid drawings. What was his connection to Pablo Picasso?

Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804)

Mon, 4 Jul 2022 05:00:00 GMT

Hawthorne was one of the great masters of American fiction. His novels and tales are penetrating explorations of moral and spiritual conflicts, and his masterpiece, The Scarlet Letter, is often considered the first American psychological novel. Hawthorne also helped to establish the American short story as a significant art form with his haunting tales of human loneliness, frustration, hypocrisy, eccentricity, and frailty. What future US president did Hawthorne befriend in college?

Article of the Day


Wed, 6 Jul 2022 05:00:00 GMT


Wed, 6 Jul 2022 05:00:00 GMT

Philately is the collection and study of postage stamps and of materials relating to their history. People began collecting postage stamps soon after the first one was issued in 1840, and the scholarly study of stamps—their history and details like watermarks, perforations, and cancellations—followed within decades. Though their primary purpose is to provide proof of postage payment, stamps also serve as a sort of historic record. What was philately called before the term was coined in 1864? Discuss


Tue, 5 Jul 2022 05:00:00 GMT

The earliest known precursor to football—or soccer, as it is known in some parts of the world—cuju is an ancient Chinese game that involves passing a ball through an opening into a net using only one's feet. Originally part of the military's fitness training regimen, the sport gained traction in the royal courts and among the upper classes in around 200 BCE. Cuju games were then standardized, and rules were laid out. With what were cuju balls initially filled?

The Mohs Scale of Mineral Hardness

Mon, 4 Jul 2022 05:00:00 GMT

The Mohs scale of mineral hardness characterizes the scratch resistance of various minerals, through the ability of a harder material to scratch a softer one and not be scratched by it. While the varying hardness of stones was likely first explored around 300 BCE, German mineralogist Friedrich Mohs devised his scale in 1812. It uses 10 standards ranging from talc, the softest, with a value of 1, to diamond, the hardest, with a value of 10. Where does a fingernail fall on the Mohs scale?

Quotations of the Day


Wed, 6 Jul 2022 05:00:00 GMT

Edith Wharton

Wed, 6 Jul 2022 05:00:00 GMT

Habit is necessary; it is the habit of having habits, of turning a trail into a rut, that must be incessantly fought against if one is to remain alive. Discuss


Tue, 5 Jul 2022 05:00:00 GMT

One story is good, till another is told.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Mon, 4 Jul 2022 05:00:00 GMT

The value of a dollar is social, as it is created by society.

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