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Quote of the Day

  • Ralph Waldo Emerson
    The value of a dollar is social, as it is created by society. Discuss
  • Gustave Flaubert
    To be stupid, selfish, and have good health are three requirements for happiness, though if stupidity is lacking, all is lost.
  • Victor Hugo
    There is nothing like a dream to create the future.

Word of the Day

  • recompense
    Definition: (verb) To award compensation for; make a return for. Synonyms: compensate, indemnify, repair. Usage: I wish to recompense you for the time and money that you spent while helping my sister find her lost dog. Discuss
  • escarpment
    Definition: (noun) A steep slope or long cliff that results from erosion or faulting and separates two relatively level areas of differing elevations. Synonyms: scarp. Usage: The basalt cliffs of the outside were reproduced upon the inside, forming an escarpment about two hundred feet high, with a woody slope beneath it.
  • analogue
    Definition: (noun) Something that bears an analogy to something else. Synonyms: parallel. Usage: Surimi is marketed as an analogue of crabmeat.

Today’s Birthday

  • Nathaniel Hawthorne (1804)
    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? Discuss
  • Franz Kafka (1883)
    Despite the fact that he published only a few short works during his lifetime, Kafka is regarded as one of the most influential 20th-century writers. In prose remarkable for its clarity and precision, Kafka presents a world that is at once real and dreamlike and in which individuals burdened with guilt, isolation, and anxiety make a futile search for personal salvation. What virtually insurmountable difficulties do translators face when converting Kafka's works from German into English?
  • Imelda Marcos (1929)
    Marcos was First Lady of the Philippines from 1965 to 1986, when her husband's regime was overthrown, forcing them to flee to Hawaii. Following her exile, Marcos was elected to the Philippines House of Representatives in 1995, in between two unsuccessful bids for the presidency. Her personal excesses, however, made her a controversial figure, and she has since faced a number of charges in anti-corruption court. Notorious for her shoe collection, Marcos reportedly once owned how many pairs?

Article of the Day   (article source)

  • The Mohs Scale of Mineral Hardness
    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? Discuss
  • The MGM Grand Hotel
    One of the largest hotels on Earth, the MGM Grand opened in Las Vegas, Nevada, in 1993. It had a very different look then than it does today, originally boasting an extensive Wizard of Oz theme that has since been scrapped in favor of an Art Deco motif. The complex also included a theme park, which was meant to make the Vegas Strip more family friendly, but it performed poorly and was closed in 2000. Why did many Chinese patrons avoid the MGM Grand's main entrance prior to its redesign?
  • Masada
    Masada is a mountaintop fortress in Israel. According to the ancient historian Josephus, it was fortified by Herod the Great in the 1st century BCE. In 66 CE, at the beginning of the Jewish uprising against the Romans, a group of rebels captured Masada. They retained control of the fortress until 73 CE, when, besieged by the Romans, they committed mass suicide rather than surrender. Excavated in the 1950s and 60s, Masada is now a major tourist attraction. How do visitors reach the top of Masada?

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