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Quote of the Day

  • Lucy Maud Montgomery
    When you've learned to laugh at the things that should be laughed at, and not to laugh at those that shouldn't, you've got wisdom and understanding. Discuss
  • Oscar Wilde
    When one pays a visit it is for the purpose of wasting other people's time, not one's own.
  • Anna Sewell
    Cruelty was the devil's own trade-mark, and if we saw any one who took pleasure in cruelty we might know who he belonged to ... On the other hand, where we saw people who loved their neighbors, and were kind to man and beast, we might know that was God's mark.

Word of the Day

  • egoist
    Definition: (noun) A conceited and self-centered person. Synonyms: swellhead. Usage: There is nothing in this world that the egoist loves more than himself. Discuss
  • malodor
    Definition: (noun) A distinctive odor that is offensively unpleasant. Synonyms: fetor, reek, stench, stink, mephitis. Usage: The malodor from the skunk filled the night air and sent us running indoors.
  • impale
    Definition: (verb) Pierce with a sharp stake or point. Synonyms: spike, transfix. Usage: My mother always warned me not to run with scissors, lest I fall and impale myself on the blades.

Today’s Birthday

  • Maria Gaetana Agnesi (1718)
    Agnesi was an Italian mathematician and philosopher. A child prodigy, she mastered several languages at an early age, and her proud father often held academic gatherings at which she spoke. When she was 9, she delivered a lengthy speech in Latin on the topic of women's right to education. At 20, she withdrew from society to focus on her studies and went on to produce her noted two-volume mathematical treatise Analytical Institutions. What appointment did she later receive from the pope? Discuss
  • Williamina Paton Stevens Fleming (1857)
    Shortly after Fleming emigrated from Scotland to the US with her husband, their marriage failed. Forced to support herself, she worked as a housekeeper for the director of the Harvard College Observatory, who soon hired her to do clerical work at the observatory. She quickly rose through the ranks and went on to make significant contributions to the field of astronomy—classifying thousands of stars and discovering numerous variable stars and novae. At what age did her formal education end?
  • Adolf Frederick of Sweden (1710)
    King of Sweden from 1751 until his death 20 years later, Adolf Frederick was, for the entirety of his reign, largely just a figurehead. Most of the power actually rested with the Riksdag, Sweden's parliament. Twice he tried to free himself of its control. The first attempt ended disastrously, with Adolf Frederick nearly losing his throne. His second attempt met with greater success, but the victory ultimately did little to increase his power. In what memorable and unusual way did he die?

Article of the Day   (article source)

  • The Last Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt
    One of history's great romantic heroines, Cleopatra was the last ruler of Egypt's Ptolemaic dynasty. From 51 BCE, she ruled successively with her two brother-husbands and then her son. The latter, she claimed, was fathered by Julius Caesar, who had become her lover after entering Egypt in 48 BCE in pursuit of Pompey. She was with Caesar in Rome when he was assassinated, after which she returned to Egypt and soon met her last husband, Mark Antony, Caesar's heir apparent. How does their story end? Discuss
  • Alain Robert, the French Spider-Man
    Robert is one of the world's most famous builderers. The so-called French Spider-Man got his start scaling buildings as a youngster and, despite several early falls that left him permanently disabled, has gone on to climb some of the world’s most famous and tallest man-made structures, including the Eiffel Tower, Sears Tower, Taipei 101, and many more. Because most of his climbs are unsanctioned, he is often arrested when he reaches the top. What gear does he typically use during his climbs?
  • Refraction
    When an object, such as a pencil, is partly immersed in water and viewed from above, it appears to bend underwater. This illusion is caused by refraction, the change in direction of a wave as it leaves one medium and enters another. Waves travel with greater velocity in some media than in others, and when a wave enters a new medium at a certain angle, the change in speed occurs sooner on one side of the wave than on the other. What other optical phenomena are caused by refraction?

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