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This Day in History


Mon, 13 Jul 2020 05:00:00 GMT

Live Aid (1985)

Mon, 13 Jul 2020 05:00:00 GMT

Live Aid was a multi-venue rock concert held simultaneously in London and Philadelphia that raised about $280 million for famine relief in Africa. The event was organized by musician Bob Geldof, who founded the supergroup Band Aid in 1984 to raise money for the same cause. About 170,000 attended the Live Aid shows, and more than 1.5 billion viewers around the world watched them on TV. Performers included David Bowie, Paul McCartney, and Queen, as well as what groups that reunited for the event? Discuss

King Henry VIII of England Marries Sixth and Last Wife, Catherine Parr (1543)

Sun, 12 Jul 2020 05:00:00 GMT

By 1543, Henry VIII had had five marriages, which respectively ended in one divorce, one annulment, and three deaths—two by beheading. He then married Parr, his sixth and final wife. She had a good influence on the increasingly paranoid king—her third husband—and developed close friendships with his children, even acting as guardian of one of Henry's daughters after his death in 1547. Why, then, did Parr send her beloved stepdaughter, the future Queen Elizabeth I, away the next year?

Skylab Returns to Earth (1979)

Sat, 11 Jul 2020 05:00:00 GMT

Five years after it was abandoned in orbit, the US space laboratory Skylab began to fall back toward Earth. The impending re-entry and breakup became an international media event, as it was unclear exactly when or where the debris would land. News organizations went so far as to offer rewards for surviving pieces of the spacecraft. The debris finally crashed to Earth in Western Australia, earning NASA a $400 fine for littering from the Shire of Esperance. When was the fine paid?

Word Trivia


Mon, 13 Jul 2020 05:00:00 GMT


Mon, 13 Jul 2020 05:00:00 GMT

missile - First an adjective meaning "suitable for throwing." More...

precipitate, precipitation - Precipitate is from Latin praecipitare, "to throw or drive headlong"; precipitation first meant the action of falling or throwing down. More...

throw - Its original sense was "twist, turn," as in throwing a pot on a potter's wheel; it is not known how it evolved into "hurl, project." More...

gone to pot - Comes from Elizabethan times, when leftover meat was thrown into a big pot for another meal. More...


Sun, 12 Jul 2020 05:00:00 GMT

transpicuous - Describing something easily seen through or understood. More...

passive vocabulary - Contains lexemes we know and understand but do no actively use (in writing or speech). More...

scrutable - Describing that which can be understood through scrutiny. More...

esoteric - Its root sense is "for the initiates of a religious mystery," and it means "confined to or understood by just a few people." More...


Sat, 11 Jul 2020 05:00:00 GMT

cultivar - An organism resulting from cultivation, from the combination of "cultivated variety." More...

scientific name - The recognized Latin name given to an organism, consisting of a genus and species, according to a taxonomy; also called the binomial name. More...

soma - The body of an organism. More...

macronutrient - One required in relatively large amounts by organisms, e.g. carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. More...

Today's Birthdays


Mon, 13 Jul 2020 05:00:00 GMT

Harrison Ford (1942)

Mon, 13 Jul 2020 05:00:00 GMT

Ford is an American actor who had minor roles on screen and TV before achieving stardom in George Lucas's 1977 hit movie Star Wars. He then took on the role of Indiana Jones and graduated to dramatic films like Blade Runner, Witness, and The Fugitive. His rugged good looks and wry charm made him one of the most popular actors of his day. A noted conservationist, Ford has had a species of spider and a species of ant named for him. How did he get the scar on his chin? Discuss

Oscar Hammerstein II (1895)

Sun, 12 Jul 2020 05:00:00 GMT

The grandson of an opera impresario of the same name, Hammerstein studied law before beginning the theater career that made him one of the foremost songwriters in the US. In the early 1940s, he began a prolific and successful collaboration with Richard Rodgers that resulted in plays like The King and I, The Sound of Music, and the Pulitzer Prize winners Oklahoma! and South Pacific. The eight-time Tony Award winner is also the only person named Oscar to have done what?

John Quincy Adams (1767)

Sat, 11 Jul 2020 05:00:00 GMT

The son of a US president, Adams accompanied his father on diplomatic missions as a child and began his own political career at 14. A talented ambassador, he became secretary of state under President James Monroe. In 1824, he defeated Andrew Jackson in the presidential race, but he was unpopular in this role and lost to Jackson in the next election. He was then elected to Congress, where he served until his death. An outspoken opponent of slavery, he defended what famous mutineers in 1841?

Article of the Day


Mon, 13 Jul 2020 05:00:00 GMT

Cyanide Poisoning

Mon, 13 Jul 2020 05:00:00 GMT

There are numerous cyanide compounds, and, whether inhaled or ingested, most are deadly. Some occur naturally in almonds and in fruit seeds and pits. Cyanide deprives body tissues of oxygen, and symptoms of poisoning include bitter almond-scented breath, dizziness, convulsions, and collapse. Though antidotes exist, cyanide can kill within minutes, making it a historically notable murder weapon. What might explain why Rasputin survived after eating cyanide-laced cakes and wine? Discuss


Sun, 12 Jul 2020 05:00:00 GMT

Sandboarding is a sport similar to snowboarding, except that instead of sliding down the side of a snowy mountain, participants slide down sand dunes—some of which can be hundreds of feet high. For practical reasons, it is most prevalent in desert or coastal regions, and several sandboarding competitions and championships are held around the world. One significant drawback to boarding on sand instead of snow is that, unlike on mountains, dune riders do not have what convenience?

Yuan Chonghuan

Sat, 11 Jul 2020 05:00:00 GMT

A famed military commander of the Ming Dynasty in the final years before it was toppled by the Manchurians, Yuan Chonghuan excelled in the use of artillery and brilliantly incorporated Western tactics into his battles. Despite being vastly outnumbered in the 1626 Battle of Ningyuan, his forces defeated those of Manchurian general Nurhaci. Still, rumors that he had collaborated with the enemy spread after he repelled an attack on Beijing in 1629, and he was executed. Who was behind the rumors?

Quotations of the Day


Mon, 13 Jul 2020 05:00:00 GMT

John Milton

Mon, 13 Jul 2020 05:00:00 GMT

To be blind is not miserable; not to be able to bear blindness, that is miserable. Discuss

W. Somerset Maugham

Sun, 12 Jul 2020 05:00:00 GMT

Excess on occasion is exhilarating. It prevents moderation from acquiring the deadening effect of a habit.

George Eliot

Sat, 11 Jul 2020 05:00:00 GMT

Friendships begin with liking or gratitude — roots that can be pulled up.

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