Article of the Day (Jul 04)

The Maxim Gun Developed in 1884 by US-British inventor Hiram Maxim, the Maxim gun was the first self-powered machine gun. Capable of firing hundreds of rounds per minute, the water-cooled weapon profoundly altered modern warfare. It inflicted heavy casualties during the Russo-Japanese War, and guns modeled after its design dominated the WWI battlefield. The gun […]

Article of the Day (Jun 27)

The Crow Crows are highly intelligent birds that can easily be tamed, yet they are regarded by Western cultures as harbingers of doom because of their dark plumage, unnerving calls, and the fact that they have been known to loiter around battlefields, feed on corpses, and destroy grain crops. They are smart enough to recognize […]

Article of the Day (April 19)

Lazarus In the New Testament, two apparently separate people are named Lazarus. One is raised from the dead by Jesus after having spent four days in a tomb. The other is a leper who dies at the gate of a selfish rich man, then goes to heaven. Upon his own death, the rich man arrives […]

Article of the Day (Apr 5)

  Untitled Dr. Sigmund Freud introduced his authoritative theory on why people dream and the true meaning of these dreams in his 1899 book The Interpretation of Dreams. In Freud’s view, all dreams are a form of wish fulfillment. They are the expression of desires that are ordinarily repressed—meaning hidden from consciousness—because they represent forbidden […]

Article of the Day (Mar 17)

Penjing Penjing is the ancient art of growing miniature trees in tiny containers. Originally developed in China, penjing was the precursor to bonsai, which was adopted by the Japanese. The trees are kept small and proportionate through careful pruning, feeding, and spare watering. Branches are trained in the desired shape by the application of wire […]

Article of the Day (Mar 15)

Essential Oils Known and traded since ancient times, essential oils are highly volatile organic compounds distilled from plants. Each type of oil imparts the “essence,” or characteristic odor, of the plant from which it is derived. This aroma can rarely be reproduced using synthetic components. Essential oils are used for flavoring food, scenting perfume, and […]

Article of the Day (Jan 04)

The Inca Road System One of the most remarkable examples of Inca engineering was their elaborate network of roads, parts of which survive today. Log, stone, pontoon, and suspension bridges were built to span streams, rivers, and chasms, and shelters and storehouses were spaced a day’s travel apart. These were maintained by nearby villages, which […]

Article of the Day (Dec 23)

The Lion Dance The lion dance is a form of traditional Chinese dance in which performers mimic a lion’s movements in an elaborately decorated lion costume. Originally performed as entertainment or as part of a ceremony to disperse evil spirits and bring good luck, the dance is often performed today during cultural celebrations and incorporates […]

Article of the Day (Dec 07)

Peter the Great Peter I was Tsar of Russia from 1682 to 1725. Credited with introducing Western technology and raising Russia to a position among the great European powers, he is widely considered one of the outstanding rulers and reformers in Russian history. However, some of his reforms were implemented viciously, and his legacy has […]

Article of the Day (Nov 09)

Psychic Surgery Condemned in many countries as a form of medical fraud, psychic surgery is practiced by healers in several indigenous cultures, mainly in the Philippines and Brazil. Acting as mediums for healing forces, practitioners allegedly perform surgery using their fingers or other tools, usually without violating the skin surface, and remove disease-causing matter from […]