Historical Events, Birthdays And Quotations

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This Day in History


Wed, 28 Jul 2021 05:00:00 GMT

The Great Tangshan Earthquake (1976)

Wed, 28 Jul 2021 05:00:00 GMT

In July 1976, Wang Chengmin of China's State Seismological Bureau concluded that the Tangshan region would be struck by a significant quake between July 22 and August 5. Based on the prediction, Qinglong County undertook serious emergency preparations, a move that likely limited the number of casualties there when a powerful temblor struck on July 28, destroying hundreds of thousands of buildings and killing as many as 700,000 across Tangshan. What were the political consequences of the quake? Discuss

Six-Year-Old Adam Walsh Kidnapped (1981)

Tue, 27 Jul 2021 05:00:00 GMT

Adam Walsh disappeared in 1981 after his mother left him playing video games at a department store in Hollywood, Florida, while she shopped nearby. Two weeks later, his severed head was found in a canal, but the investigation was largely mishandled, and no one was ever arrested. His father, John Walsh, devoted his life to advocating for missing children and became the host of the TV show America's Most Wanted. In 2008, police closed the case on Adam. Who do they believe killed him?

The Short Creek Raid (1953)

Mon, 26 Jul 2021 05:00:00 GMT

Before dawn on July 26, 1953, more than 100 Arizona state police officers and National Guard soldiers entered Short Creek, home to about 400 Mormon fundamentalists, many of whom illegally practiced polygamy. Almost the whole community was arrested, and 263 children were seized from their parents. Arizona's governor described it as a "police action against insurrection," but the raid drew widespread criticism. Community members knew the raid was coming. What were they doing when officers arrived?

Word Trivia


Wed, 28 Jul 2021 05:00:00 GMT


Wed, 28 Jul 2021 05:00:00 GMT

amniocentesis, amnion - Amniocentesis is formed by amnion, the innermost membrane enclosing a fetus, and Greek kentesis, "pricking." More...

endoskeleton - Contained entirely within the body of an animal, like that of mammals. More...

pelage - The fur, hair, wool, etc. of a mammal. More...

rhinarium - The hairless, habitually moist nose of some mammals, such as the antelope. More...


Tue, 27 Jul 2021 05:00:00 GMT

Japanese garden - Often uses bamboo, mondo grasses, pine, and small pools of water containing koi. More...

pine, pinecone - Pine, the tree, is from Latin pinus, from Indo-European pei-, "resin"; pinecones were originally called pineapples. More...

pine, fir, spruce - Pine, fir, and spruce are quite different from each other, though they are all conifers; pine has clusters of long, needle-shaped leaves, spruce is a type of fir, and the only scientific difference between the two is that spruces have rectangular needles while firs have flat, needle-shaped leaves. More...

pinot - A variant of French pineau, a diminutive of pine, from the shape of the clusters of grapes. More...


Mon, 26 Jul 2021 05:00:00 GMT

have - Coming through Proto-Germanic khaben, it was from Indo-European kap-, meaning "possession." More...

jouisance - Also spelled jouissance, it is another word for "enjoyment" or "possession or use of something." More...

tenement - First meant "holding as a possession." More...

white elephant - The name of this animal, which has an enormous appetite, has come to mean "useless, expensive possession"—or a possession that is more trouble than it is worth. More...

Today's Birthdays


Wed, 28 Jul 2021 05:00:00 GMT

Jacques Piccard (1922)

Wed, 28 Jul 2021 05:00:00 GMT

Piccard was a Swiss oceanographer and engineer who developed underwater vehicles for studying ocean currents. He came from a family of adventurers, and his father was known for exploratory balloon flights. Together, they developed the bathyscaphe for deep-sea travel. In 1960, Piccard and Don Walsh of the US Navy set a new submarine depth record when they reached the bottom of the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench, a depth of about 35,800 feet (10,912 m). What cut the mission short? Discuss

Kenneth Tompkins Bainbridge (1904)

Tue, 27 Jul 2021 05:00:00 GMT

Bainbridge was an American physicist who worked on the Manhattan Project, the US government program that produced the first atomic bomb. He was the director of Project Trinity, the first nuclear test explosion—the sole test before the bombs were used. The successful test took place in New Mexico on July 16, 1945, and Bainbridge called the blast "a foul and awesome display." He later became an outspoken opponent of nuclear testing. What was Bainbridge's other notable scientific accomplishment?

Jane "Jinny" Bunford (1895)

Mon, 26 Jul 2021 05:00:00 GMT

Standing well over seven and a half feet tall, Bunford was twice recognized during her lifetime as the tallest person in the world. She is also believed to have had the longest hair, at 8 ft 1 in (2.5 m) long. Though she died in 1922, she was featured in the 1971 Guinness Book of World Records after her skeleton was discovered on display at Birmingham University. Bunford's height likely resulted from her pituitary gland secreting excessive growth hormones after what childhood accident?

Article of the Day


Wed, 28 Jul 2021 05:00:00 GMT

Hedwig Elizabeth Charlotte of Holstein-Gottorp

Wed, 28 Jul 2021 05:00:00 GMT

Hedwig is perhaps best remembered for her diary, which chronicled her life in the Swedish royal court. In 1774, when she was 15 years old, she married her cousin, the future King Charles XIII. The marriage was arranged by Charles's older brother, King Gustav III, who hoped the union would ensure the continuation of his family's power. It did not work. Habitually unfaithful, Charles died childless. Hedwig also engaged in affairs—including with the alleged lover of what other queen? Discuss

The End of Civilization

Tue, 27 Jul 2021 05:00:00 GMT

Throughout history, people have feared that civilization, human life, and even planet Earth could one day come to an end, either as a result of natural, manmade, or supernatural causes. Catastrophic doomsday scenarios include antibiotic resistant super-bacteria devastating humanity and runaway global warming rendering Earth's climate uninhabitable. Among the more bizarre potential threats is what field of science, which some fear will give rise to out-of-control, self-replicating robots?

US Camel Corps

Mon, 26 Jul 2021 05:00:00 GMT

The US Camel Corps was an experiment by the US Army to use camels as pack animals in the Southwest US. Using camels militarily had been suggested, to no avail, in 1836 during the Seminole Wars in Florida, but in 1855, Congress appropriated $30,000 for the Camel Corps project. One year later, a US ship arrived in Texas from the Middle East with about 30 camels. Despite the camels' impressive strength and ability to survive without water, the Camel Corps project was soon abandoned. Why?

Quotations of the Day


Wed, 28 Jul 2021 05:00:00 GMT

George Eliot

Wed, 28 Jul 2021 05:00:00 GMT

Cruelty, like every other vice, requires no motive outside of itself,—it only requires opportunity. Discuss

Jerome K. Jerome

Tue, 27 Jul 2021 05:00:00 GMT

A boy's love comes from a full heart; a man's is more often the result of a full stomach. Indeed, a man's sluggish current may not be called love, compared with the rushing fountain that wells up when a boy's heart is struck with the heavenly rod.

William Makepeace Thackeray

Mon, 26 Jul 2021 05:00:00 GMT

The greatest tyrants over women are women.

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