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Quote of the Day

  • Friedrich Nietzsche
    Better than man doth woman understand children, but man is more childish than woman. Discuss
  • Alexandre Dumas
    To learn is not to know; there are the learners and the learned. Memory makes the one, philosophy the other.
  • Ambrose Bierce
    Ocean, n.: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man—who has no gills.

Word of the Day

  • transliterate
    Definition: (verb) To represent (letters or words) in the corresponding characters of another alphabet. Synonyms: transcribe. Usage: The Arabic text had to be transliterated for the American actors so that they could learn to speak their lines convincingly. Discuss
  • concoct
    Definition: (verb) Prepare or cook by mixing ingredients. Synonyms: cook up. Usage: The witch concocted a sweet-smelling brew that would put the princess to sleep for 100 years.
  • disburse
    Definition: (verb) Expend, as from a fund. Synonyms: pay out. Usage: The aid will not be disbursed until next year, so until then, the refugees will have to fend for themselves.

Today’s Birthday

  • Virginia Clemm Poe (1822)
    When she was just 13, Virginia Clemm married her first cousin Edgar Allan Poe, who was 14 years her senior. For years, scholars have debated about the nature of this relationship, which was cut short when Virginia tragically died of tuberculosis at 24. Edgar was clearly smitten by his young bride—and muse—and was devastated by her death. Still, some believe that the two were more like siblings than spouses and never actually consummated their marriage. What has led them to this conclusion? Discuss
  • Pope Pius VII (1742)
    Pius VII became pope in 1800, at a time of turmoil for the Catholic Church. A decade earlier, during the early stages of the French Revolution, the National Assembly tried to subordinate the Church to the state. In 1801, Pius and Napoleon negotiated an end to the breach, but relations remained strained. In one notable incident, Napoleon took his crown from the pope's hands during a ceremony and crowned himself. What unusual headgear did Pius VII allegedly wear during his own coronation and why?
  • Frederick Sanger (1918)
    After earning his PhD at Cambridge University in 1943, British biochemist Frederick Sanger decided to continue conducting his research at his alma mater. He remained there for the entirety of his four-decade career, making discoveries about the structure of proteins, particularly insulin, as well as DNA sequencing that would earn him not one but two Nobel prizes. He is only the fourth person in history to have earned this distinction. Who are the other three two-time Nobel laureates?

Article of the Day   (article source)

  • Hibernation
    In winter, when temperatures dip below freezing and food supplies dwindle, some animals enter hibernation—an inactive state in which metabolism nearly stops, body temperature drops, and heart rate may slow to one or two beats a minute. Though the exact stimulus that triggers hibernation is unknown, infusing an extract from the blood of a hibernating animal into an active potential hibernator has been shown to induce hibernation, indicating that the cause may be blood-borne. What is estivation? Discuss
  • Fig Wasps
    The life cycle of fig wasps is intimately intertwined with that of the fig trees they inhabit. It begins when a female wasp enters the fruit through a natural opening and deposits her eggs inside, pollinating the inner flowers in the process. Next, non-pollinating wasps deposit their eggs. After maturing inside the fig, male offspring's only jobs are to mate with the females—while still within the fig—and chew a hole through which the females can escape. What happens when the males exit the fig?
  • Untitled
    In Mexico and parts of Central America, el Día de los Muertos, or "the Day of the Dead," is a time when families and friends gather to pray for and remember loved ones who have died. Altars made of flowers, sugar skulls, and the favorite foods of the dead are often erected for the holiday, observed on the first two days of November to coincide with the Christian All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day. Scholars trace the origins of this holiday to an Aztec festival dedicated to what goddess?

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