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Quote of the Day

  • Henry David Thoreau
    Our inventions are wont to be pretty toys, which distract our attention from serious things. They are but improved means to an unimproved end. Discuss
  • George Eliot
    There is no feeling, perhaps, except the extremes of fear and grief, that does not find relief in music.
  • Sun Tzu
    He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight.

Word of the Day

  • embezzle
    Definition: (verb) To take (money, for example) for one's own use in violation of a trust. Synonyms: defalcate, malversate, misappropriate, peculate. Usage: The director embezzled $34 million in company funds before he was caught. Discuss
  • undertow
    Definition: (noun) The seaward undercurrent created after waves have broken on the shore. Synonyms: sea purse, sea puss, sea-poose. Usage: The beachgoer was caught in the undertow and dragged out to sea.
  • outstrip
    Definition: (verb) Be or do something to a greater degree. Synonyms: outdo, outgo, outmatch, outperform, surpass, exceed, surmount. Usage: When the demand for concert tickets outstrips supply, scalpers can make a significant profit.

Today’s Birthday

  • Ida Noddack (1896)
    One of the first prominent female chemists in Germany, Noddack was nominated several times for a Nobel Prize but never won. Still, she made a number of remarkable contributions to science, co-discovering the element rhenium with her future husband and proposing for the first time the idea of nuclear fission. She also participated in the discovery of another element, which her team named masurium, but they could not prove its existence. It was finally isolated by others in 1937 and named what? Discuss
  • Jacques de Vaucanson (1709)
    The mechanically gifted 10th child of a French glove-maker, Vaucanson created some of the world's first robots. His famous gold-plated "Digesting Duck" had hundreds of moving parts and could eat, drink, and defecate. In 1745, weavers pelted Vaucanson with stones when he created the first fully-automated loom, which utilized punch-card technology. Decades later, his ideas would prove pivotal to the Industrial Revolution. How many songs could his mechanical flutist perform?
  • Samuel Pepys (1633)
    One of the most celebrated diarists of all time, Pepys was born into a humble family but steadily improved his standing and eventually became an important public servant and royal confidant. His diary, which he kept throughout the 1660s, describes some of the most important events of his time, including the Great Fire of London and an outbreak of the plague. It also offers a vivid, intimate record of the author's life. On New Year's Eve 1661, Pepys made what resolution that he broke soon after?

Article of the Day   (article source)

  • Black Pudding
    Black pudding is a type of sausage made by cooking blood with a filler—often meat, fat, or bread—until it is thick enough to congeal when cooled. Called blood sausage in North America, the dish is prepared in many different ways throughout the world, often using pig or cattle blood. It can be eaten uncooked but is often grilled or boiled in its skin. Black pudding is usually served as part of a traditional full breakfast in the United Kingdom and Ireland, along with white pudding, which is what? Discuss
  • Postnatal Depression
    Affecting approximately 15 percent of all childbearing women, postnatal, or postpartum, depression is a psychiatric condition characterized by symptoms that range from mild "baby blues" to depressive psychosis. Typically developing in the days and weeks after a woman gives birth, the condition is thought to be influenced by both neurochemical and psychological factors, including hormonal changes and the stress of caring for a newborn infant. Can men suffer from postnatal depression?
  • Mathilde Kschessinska
    Though she is perhaps best known for her affair with the future tsar Nicholas II, Mathilde Kschessinska was actually the first Russian prima ballerina assoluta. She earned the title—the highest possible rank for a ballerina—in 1896, at the age of 24. She was kind to colleagues but was said to be ruthless with her rivals and was known to use her connections with the tsar to her advantage. What was she rumored to have done during a fellow ballerina's performance that featured live chickens?

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