Historical Events, Birthdays And Quotations

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This Day in History


Thu, 15 Apr 2021 05:00:00 GMT

The Battle of Formigny (1450)

Thu, 15 Apr 2021 05:00:00 GMT

One of the first battles in which cannons played a pivotal, if not decisive, role, the Battle of Formigny was a major French victory toward the end of the Hundred Years' War. The English were dealt a significant blow—thousands of troops were killed, injured, or captured—and, as there were no other significant English forces in Normandy, the entire region quickly fell to the French. The battle had raged for several hours before the tides turned in favor of the French. What brought this about? Discuss

The Bombay Explosion (1944)

Wed, 14 Apr 2021 05:00:00 GMT

The SS Fort Stikine sailed from England in late February 1944 and made stops in Gibraltar, Egypt, and Pakistan before reaching Bombay, India, laden with a cargo of cotton bales, gold, explosives, and munitions. While the ship was berthed there, a fire broke out on board. Attempts to extinguish the fire failed, and a massive explosion soon tore the ship apart, sinking nearby vessels as well and igniting a massive blaze in the surrounding area. How many people were killed in the disaster?

The Chicago Flood (1992)

Tue, 13 Apr 2021 05:00:00 GMT

The source of the water pouring into the basements of buildings in the Chicago Loop area had not yet been identified when reports of live fish in the water began surfacing. This helped lead a reporter to the source of the flood—a leak in an old tunnel that ran underneath the Chicago River. It turned out that the leak had been discovered months earlier, but the city had failed to repair it in a timely fashion, allowing it to worsen and eventually inundate the area with how much river water?

Word Trivia


Thu, 15 Apr 2021 05:00:00 GMT


Thu, 15 Apr 2021 05:00:00 GMT

volume - Originally the name of a scroll or roll of papyrus, from Latin volvere, "to roll up." More...

bible - Derived from biblios, the name for the papyrus produced in the ancient Phoenician city of Byblos. More...

schedule - Goes back to Greek skhede, for "leaf of papyrus"; it started out meaning a ticket or a brief note. More...

tome - Comes from Greek tomos, "roll of papyrus," and was originally a word for one volume of a larger work. More...


Wed, 14 Apr 2021 05:00:00 GMT

hasting, hasty - An early-ripening fruit or vegetable is a hasting and such a food that ripens early is termed "hasty." More...

hasty pudding - An ancient dish of flour boiled in water to thick consistency, with milk or beer added afterwards. More...

festinate, festination - If something is hasty or hurried, it is festinate, and to festinate is to walk fast, make haste; festination is "haste, speed." More...

precipitous, precipitate - Precipitous, "hasty, sudden and dramatic," is used in relation to physical or natural objects; precipitate, "done with great haste," relates to human actions or processes. More...


Tue, 13 Apr 2021 05:00:00 GMT

day - One of the perpendicular divisions or "lights" of a mullioned window. More...

blackout - Originally a theatrical term for the extinguishing of all lights on the stage when scenery was shifted. More...

taps, last post - Taps, the bugle call for lights out, was originally a drum roll and got its name from the tapping of the drums; taps are also called last post. More...

twilight - The time of two lights, the fading sunset and the emerging light of the moon and stars; there are three sequential stages of twilight: civil twilight, nautical twilight, and astronomical twilight. More...

Today's Birthdays


Thu, 15 Apr 2021 05:00:00 GMT

Bessie Smith (1894)

Thu, 15 Apr 2021 05:00:00 GMT

When Smith was just a teen, she became the protégée of Gertrude "Ma" Rainey, one of the earliest blues singers. After making recordings, she quickly became the favorite singer of the jazz public. The power and somber beauty of her voice, coupled with songs representing every variety of the blues, earned her the title "Empress of the Blues." Numerous critics have regarded her as the greatest of all jazz artists, and her fame increased enormously after her death in what tragic accident? Discuss

Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar (1891)

Wed, 14 Apr 2021 05:00:00 GMT

A member of the caste of Dalits—once known as Untouchables—Ambedkar obtained his education abroad. He returned to his native India and worked in law before entering politics. In 1947, he became the law minister of the government of India and was instrumental in framing the Indian constitution. In that capacity, he made great strides in fighting for the rights of Dalits, even criticizing Gandhi's position on the caste system. How did the two Indian leaders differ in their approaches?

Philippe de Rothschild (1902)

Tue, 13 Apr 2021 05:00:00 GMT

A member of the aristocratic Rothschild banking family, Philippe was one of the most successful winemakers in the world. In the 1920s, the wealthy French playboy took up Grand Prix motor racing, among other pursuits, but soon withdrew to focus on the family vineyard. He spent decades building the Château Mouton Rothschild label, finally achieving Premier Cru—or First Growth—status in 1973. His idea for bottle labels became an enduring part of his vineyard's image. What was it?

Article of the Day


Thu, 15 Apr 2021 05:00:00 GMT

TV Dinners

Thu, 15 Apr 2021 05:00:00 GMT

A TV dinner is a frozen prepared meal, usually packaged in a disposable serving tray, that needs only to be heated before serving. Perhaps more commonly called frozen dinners or microwave meals today, TV dinners became wildly popular in the mid-1950s when they were marketed by the American food company Swanson. Though generations of Americans associate TV dinners with their titular activity—eating while watching television—they were actually given their name for a different reason. What was it? Discuss

Han Chinese Clothing

Wed, 14 Apr 2021 05:00:00 GMT

The traditional clothing of the Han Chinese people, also known as hanfu, is no longer used as everyday garb in China, but it is worn at festivals, special occasions, and cultural events. There is also a movement to revive hanfu for daily wear, in replacement of Western styles. Hanfu outfits typically consist of diagonally wrapped robes and may include several layers. How did formal hanfu garments differ for ordinary citizens, government officials, and royalty?

Terra Nullius

Tue, 13 Apr 2021 05:00:00 GMT

Sandwiched between Egypt and Sudan is a sparsely inhabited parcel of desert claimed by neither country. Known as Bir Tawil, it is one of the few examples of terra nullius—land that legally belongs to no one. Historically, much land has been taken from indigenous peoples under the pretense of declaring it terra nullius, as happened in Australia. Today, almost all land is recognized as being under the jurisdiction of someone, except for Bir Tawil and what other place?

Quotations of the Day


Thu, 15 Apr 2021 05:00:00 GMT

W. Somerset Maugham

Thu, 15 Apr 2021 05:00:00 GMT

I don't think of the past. The only thing that matters is the everlasting present. Discuss

Charles Dickens

Wed, 14 Apr 2021 05:00:00 GMT

There are talkers enough among us; I'll be one of the doers.

George Eliot

Tue, 13 Apr 2021 05:00:00 GMT

People who love downy peaches are apt not to think of the stone, and sometimes jar their teeth terribly against it.

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