Historical Events, Birthdays And Quotations

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This Day in History


Tue, 26 Jan 2021 05:00:00 GMT

Decomposing Whale Explodes on Crowded Taiwan Street (2004)

Tue, 26 Jan 2021 05:00:00 GMT

After a sperm whale became beached on the coast of Taiwan, researchers decided to perform an autopsy on the creature to determine its cause of death—later found to have been a collision with a ship. It took three cranes half a day to load the whale onto a truck, during which time gas continued to build up in the decomposing carcass. While passing through Tainan on the way to a wildlife preserve, the whale exploded, spattering onlookers and nearby cars with gore. Where else have whales exploded? Discuss

Grand Rapids, Michigan, Becomes First US City to Fluoridate Its Water (1945)

Mon, 25 Jan 2021 05:00:00 GMT

Around 1901, dentist Frederick McKay began to research why many Colorado residents' teeth were stained brown yet were also cavity-free. The culprit, as it turned out, was fluoride. Though it can discolor teeth in large doses, fluoride also prevents decay. Grand Rapids, Michigan, became the first US city to experiment with adding fluoride to its water supply. The rate of cavities plummeted, and fluoridation became a national health policy. What do conspiracy theorists allege about fluoridation?

Serial Killer Ted Bundy Is Executed (1989)

Sun, 24 Jan 2021 05:00:00 GMT

In December 1977, Ted Bundy escaped from jail in Colorado—for the second time—and fled to Florida. There, he resumed a streak of murders that he had begun in 1974, killing 12-year-old Kimberly Leach, among others. He was soon re-arrested, convicted of several murders, and sentenced to death. In an effort to avoid execution, Bundy confessed to numerous killings and promised to reveal more information in time. Despite this, he was executed in 1989. How many women is Bundy thought to have killed?

Word Trivia


Tue, 26 Jan 2021 05:00:00 GMT


Tue, 26 Jan 2021 05:00:00 GMT

aptronym - A name that fits a person's nature or occupation, like Jane House for a real estate agent. More...

mechanical - Predates "machine" in English and has long had certain separate senses, such as "an art, trade, or occupation: concerned with manual work" and "practical as opposed to theoretical." More...

specialization, specialty - Specialization refers to the process of becoming specialized; specialty refers to a special pursuit, occupation, or product. More...

study - Based on Latin studium, "painstaking application, zeal" (from studere, "to be zealous"), study's earliest uses are surprising: "affection, friendliness," an "occupation or pursuit," and "a state of reverie or abstraction; state of perplexity." More...


Mon, 25 Jan 2021 05:00:00 GMT

cheetah - Taken from Sanskrit citraka, "leopard," related to citra, "spotted, speckled, variegated." More...

fleck - Of Scandinavian origin, it came from the adjective flecked, "spotted." More...

piebald, skewbald - Piebald is being spotted with irregular patches of different colors, especially black and white; skewbald is spotted white and a color other than black. More...

pinto - As in horse and beans, it is Spanish for "painted, mottled, spotted." More...


Sun, 24 Jan 2021 05:00:00 GMT

silence - Lack of flavor in a distilled spirit or lack of scent in a flower, perfume, or spice is a "silence." More...

perfume, eau de toilette, cologne, eau de cologne - Perfume or parfum is 20–40% oil and the highest concentration; eau de toilette is 10–18% oil, and cologne or eau de cologne is 3–9% oil. More...

attar - A flower's essence, used for perfume. More...

toilet water, eau de toilette - Eau de toilette, or toilet water, is a dilute form of perfume. More...

Today's Birthdays


Tue, 26 Jan 2021 05:00:00 GMT

Maria Augusta von Trapp (1905)

Tue, 26 Jan 2021 05:00:00 GMT

Born in Austria and orphaned at a young age, Maria Kutschera planned to become a nun in Salzburg. Instead, she met Baron Georg von Trapp while tutoring one of his seven children. They were married in 1927 and had three children together. After financial trouble, the family began to sing professionally, then fled Nazi Europe for the US. Today, the family operates a lodge in Vermont. Maria's 1949 memoir was adapted into The Sound of Music. What became of the family's home in Austria? Discuss

Anne of Brittany (1477)

Mon, 25 Jan 2021 05:00:00 GMT

Upon her father's death in 1488, Anne became the sovereign duchess of Brittany—and her hand in marriage became very valuable. When she was forced to become queen of France by marrying Charles VIII at age 14, her marriage contract stipulated that whichever spouse survived the longest could keep Brittany. Charles died first, but Anne was then forced to marry his successor. Until her death, she fought in vain to preserve Brittany's autonomy within France. Who was technically her first husband?

Edith Wharton (1862)

Sun, 24 Jan 2021 05:00:00 GMT

Born into upper-class American society, Wharton was privately educated. She married a Boston banker in 1885, but as her older husband's mental health deteriorated, she devoted herself to writing. The success of her 1905 novel The House of Mirth established her as a leading writer, but she is perhaps best known for 1911's Ethan Frome, which explores the grimmer possibilities of New England farm life. What common saying is thought to have originally referred to Wharton's family?

Article of the Day


Tue, 26 Jan 2021 05:00:00 GMT


Tue, 26 Jan 2021 05:00:00 GMT

A belief in reincarnation—the rebirth of the soul in a new body after death—is held by many religions, including Hinduism and Buddhism. Intertwined is the doctrine of karma, the idea that actions in one life affect the next. Beliefs vary as to whether the soul takes a new body immediately or must wait and whether the soul is always reborn in a human body. A 2009 survey found that even though Christian doctrine does not accept reincarnation, approximately what percent of American Christians do? Discuss

The Moscow Trials

Mon, 25 Jan 2021 05:00:00 GMT

During the Soviet Union's Great Purge in the 1930s, a series of show trials were conducted to eliminate the potential rivals and critics of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. Accused of conspiring to remove Stalin from power, many prominent Bolsheviks were found guilty on the basis of confessions that had either been obtained through torture or had been fabricated. They were then imprisoned or executed. At one trial, the defendants "confessed" in exchange for what promise that Stalin later broke?


Sun, 24 Jan 2021 05:00:00 GMT

Located on the Mediterranean coast of Northern Africa in what is now Tunisia, the ancient city-state of Carthage was founded around the 8th century BCE by Phoenician colonists. Through conquest, exploration, and trade, the city grew into an empire that dominated the western Mediterranean. After it was destroyed and then rebuilt by the Romans, it was finally razed by the Arabs around 700 CE. During its time, Carthage was criticized for supposedly practicing what unusual custom?

Quotations of the Day


Tue, 26 Jan 2021 05:00:00 GMT

Alexandre Dumas

Tue, 26 Jan 2021 05:00:00 GMT

Infatuated, half through conceit, half through love of my art, I achieve the impossible working as no one else ever works. Discuss

George Eliot

Mon, 25 Jan 2021 05:00:00 GMT

I at least have so much to do in unraveling certain human lots, and seeing how they were woven and interwoven, that all the light I can command must be concentrated on this particular web, and not dispersed over that tempting range of relevancies called the universe.

W. Somerset Maugham

Sun, 24 Jan 2021 05:00:00 GMT

Anyone can tell the truth, but only very few of us can make epigrams.

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