Historical Events, Birthdays And Quotations

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This Day in History


Fri, 15 Jan 2021 05:00:00 GMT

Otho Begins His 3-Month Reign as Roman Emperor (69 CE)

Fri, 15 Jan 2021 05:00:00 GMT

Otho and Roman Emperor Nero were once friends. Then, Otho's wife became Nero's mistress, and Nero dispatched Otho to the remote province of Lusitania. After patiently governing the province for a decade, Otho joined a revolt against the emperor in 68 CE. Nero committed suicide, and Otho took over. However, a rival soon challenged him for the throne. Just three months into his reign, Otho killed himself, presumably to avoid a civil war in his empire. How did he bid farewell to his friends? Discuss

Huygens Probe Lands on Titan (2005)

Thu, 14 Jan 2021 05:00:00 GMT

It took the Cassini-Huygens spacecraft more than six years to reach Saturn. During the trip, the Huygens probe remained dormant, preserving its battery life for a landing on Saturn's largest moon. The only moon in the solar system known to have clouds and a dense atmosphere, Titan resembles Earth in many ways. It was not known whether the probe would land on solid ground or in an ocean. After Huygens touched down, Titan's surface was described as being similar to what food?

Survivor of British Retreat from Kabul Reaches Jalalabad (1842)

Wed, 13 Jan 2021 05:00:00 GMT

During the First Anglo-Afghan War, a group of 4,500 British soldiers and 12,000 British civilians left Kabul for Jalalabad. Beset by murderous bands, their numbers quickly dwindled. A few were captured alive and later released, but army surgeon William Brydon was the sole person to escape the final ambush by Afghan tribesman and reach the British camp at Jalalabad that day. Part of Brydon's skull had been sheared off by a sword, but he survived thanks to what object stuffed inside his hat?

Word Trivia


Fri, 15 Jan 2021 05:00:00 GMT


Fri, 15 Jan 2021 05:00:00 GMT

alms - Goes back to Greek eleemosune, "compassion, pity," and eleos, "mercy." More...

bemoan, lament - Bemoaning is motivated when pity or grief is over an event that is joined to a consequence, whereas lamenting is motivated when the grief is over the event itself. More...

pity, piety - Pity and piety shared the meanings "compassion" and "dutifulness, reverence" for a while. More...

ruth, ruthless, ruthful - Ruth, meaning "compassion, pity," is part of ruthless and ruthful. More...


Thu, 14 Jan 2021 05:00:00 GMT

pitched - Describing a "steeply downward sloping" roof built at an angle. More...

fastigiate - Means "sloping up to a point." More...

slalom - From Norwegian sla, "sloping," and lam, "track." More...

squint - Short for the obsolete asquint, which may have come from Dutch schuin, "sideways, sloping." More...


Wed, 13 Jan 2021 05:00:00 GMT

aperitif, appetizer - An aperitif is a drink to stimulate the appetite and an appetizer is a food that does this before a meal. More...

condiment - From Latin condimentum, from condire, "to pickle, preserve"; condiments are food substances used to heighten the natural flavor of foods, to stimulate the appetite, to aid digestion, or preserve certain foods. More...

innervate, enervate - Innervate means "to stimulate or give nervous energy," the opposite of enervate. More...

stimulate - From Latin stimulus, "pointed stick for goading animals." More...

Today's Birthdays


Fri, 15 Jan 2021 05:00:00 GMT

Pierre-Joseph Proudhon (1809)

Fri, 15 Jan 2021 05:00:00 GMT

Believed to have been the first person to call himself an anarchist, Proudhon was a French journalist and social theorist best known for his radical assertion that "property is theft." Originally a printer, he joined the socialist movement after moving to Paris in 1838. There, he published radical newspapers and was imprisoned. His writings were deeply influential within the anarchist movement. In his famous essay "What is Government?" how does Proudhon define what it means to be governed? Discuss

Kimitake Hiraoka, AKA Yukio Mishima (1925)

Thu, 14 Jan 2021 05:00:00 GMT

Born into a samurai family, Mishima served briefly in the finance ministry before going on to become one of the most important Japanese novelists of the 20th century. His novels are known for their exquisite attention to detail and character and often involve paradoxes—such as when a troubled monk destroys the temple he loves in The Temple of the Golden Pavilion. Following a failed coup attempt in 1970, he tried to commit seppuku, ritual suicide by self-disembowelment. How did he die?

Horatio Alger, Jr. (1832)

Wed, 13 Jan 2021 05:00:00 GMT

Alger was an American author who wrote more than 100 children's books. Highly formulaic, each taught that through honesty, perseverance, and hard work, poor but virtuous lads could prevail in life. Published in 1868, the first of those books, Ragged Dick, was an immediate success. Despite the weaknesses of Alger's writing, his books ultimately sold more than 20 million copies, making him one of the most popular writers of the 19th century. What ended Alger's previous career as a minister?

Article of the Day


Fri, 15 Jan 2021 05:00:00 GMT

Minaret of Jam

Fri, 15 Jan 2021 05:00:00 GMT

Hidden in the remote mountains of Afghanistan, far from human settlement, the ancient Minaret of Jam was forgotten by the outside world until its rediscovery by archaeologists in 1957. The minaret was built in 1194 CE, probably as part of the Ghurid Dynasty's summer capital, the lost city of Firuzkuh. Set by the junction of two small rivers, the ornate brick-and-tile structure stands 213 feet (65 m) high and is surrounded by ruins. The Quranic text on the minaret refers to what historic woman? Discuss

The Holman Projector

Thu, 14 Jan 2021 05:00:00 GMT

The Holman Projector was introduced by the British military in 1940. Mounted on ships, it used compressed air or steam to launch hand grenades at enemy aircraft. Though it rarely hit them, the grenades it launched produced deceptively large clouds of smoke that gave enemies the impression that a much more deadly weapon was firing upon them. A demonstration of the gun for Winston Churchill was once nearly scrapped for want of grenades but was saved when what unusual ordinance was supplied?

Cannibal Holocaust

Wed, 13 Jan 2021 05:00:00 GMT

Released in 1980, the film Cannibal Holocaust was immediately successful—and controversial. The extremely graphic Italian exploitation film landed director Ruggero Deodato in the unusual position of having to prove in court that the murders shown were not real, but merely created by special effects. The film's supporters claim that it is not only one of the greatest horror movies ever filmed but also a serious social commentary. Though acquitted of murder, Deodato was sentenced for what?

Quotations of the Day


Fri, 15 Jan 2021 05:00:00 GMT

Jane Austen

Fri, 15 Jan 2021 05:00:00 GMT

There certainly are not so many men of large fortune in the world as there are pretty women to deserve them. Discuss

George Eliot

Thu, 14 Jan 2021 05:00:00 GMT

Excellence encourages one about life generally; it shows the spiritual wealth of the world.


Wed, 13 Jan 2021 05:00:00 GMT

Light is the task where many share the toil.

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