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Quote of the Day

  • L. Frank Baum
    Brains do not make one happy, and happiness is the best thing in the world. Discuss
  • Herman Melville
    There is, one knows not what sweet mystery about this sea, whose gently awful stirrings seem to speak of some hidden soul beneath.
  • Jerome K. Jerome
    Women ... have more power for good or evil than they dream of.

Word of the Day

  • perturb
    Definition: (verb) Disturb in mind or make uneasy or cause to be worried or alarmed. Synonyms: cark, disorder, disquiet, unhinge, distract, trouble. Usage: She was rather perturbed by the news that her father was seriously ill. Discuss
  • preceptor
    Definition: (noun) Teacher at a university or college (especially at Cambridge or Oxford). Synonyms: don. Usage: Dessalles, the tutor he had brought from Switzerland, was wearing a coat of Russian cut and talking broken Russian to the servants, but was still the same narrowly intelligent, conscientious, and pedantic preceptor.
  • effervesce
    Definition: (verb) Become bubbly or frothy or foaming. Synonyms: fizz, foam, froth, sparkle. Usage: The champagne effervesced in the glasses.

Today’s Birthday

  • John Heisman (1869)
    Memorialized after his death by the trophy that bears his name, Heisman was an American collegiate football coach and one of the game's greatest innovators. He was responsible for legalizing the forward pass in 1906, and he originated the center snap and the "hike" count signals of the quarterback in starting play. He coached at several colleges between 1892 and 1927, compiling a record of 185 wins, 68 losses, and 18 ties. What team did he coach to a record 222-0 victory in 1916? Discuss
  • Sarah Bernhardt (1844)
    The illegitimate child of a courtesan, Bernhardt was encouraged to pursue a theatrical career by one of her mother's lovers. Her acting teachers did not consider her a particularly promising student, but they turned out to be sorely mistaken; Bernhardt went on to become the premier romantic and tragic actress of her day, touring all over the world during her six-decade career on stage and screen. What morbid possession may have helped "the Divine Sarah" reach her potential as a tragedienne?
  • Ronald McNair (1950)
    A nationally recognized US physicist, accomplished saxophonist, and black belt in karate, McNair was selected to join NASA's astronaut training program in 1978. Six years later, aboard the space shuttle Challenger, he became the second African American in space. His next trip into orbit was to take place on the same shuttle on January 28, 1986, and McNair brought his sax along for the ride, intending to be the first to record an original piece of music in space. Why did this never happen?

Article of the Day   (article source)

  • The Swing Riots
    In 1830, England was the site of a widespread uprising of impoverished and landless agricultural laborers who aimed to stop wage reductions and rid farms of threshing machines, which minimized the need for manual labor. The rioters destroyed barns, workhouses, and over 100 threshers but killed no one. The events were named for Captain Swing, whose name was signed on threatening letters sent to farmers, magistrates, and others. Who was he? Discuss
  • Bombardier Beetles
    Named for their explosive defense mechanism, bombardier beetles forcefully expel an acrid, volatile fluid from their abdomens when threatened. The ejection of this fluid, a mixture of two chemicals that boil upon contact and vaporize into a jet of gas that can kill insects and small creatures, is accompanied by a loud cracking sound. Where can bombardier beetles be found?
  • Knowth
    Knowth is the site of a Neolithic passage grave in the valley of Ireland's River Boyne. Built approximately 5,000 years ago, the site consists of a large mound containing two passages leading to burial chambers. This is surrounded by 17 smaller satellite tombs. Knowth contains more than a third of all the megalithic art in Western Europe, including hundreds of stones decorated with spirals, crescents, and other shapes. Why do some believe that Knowth exhibits evidence of astronomical alignment?

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