Daily Content Archive

(as of Friday, January 17, 2014)
Word of the Day

prescience

Definition:(noun) Knowledge of actions or events before they occur.
Synonyms:foresight, clairvoyance, precognition, second sight, foreknowledge, prevision
Usage: Did she realize in a flash of prescience that there was no earthly future for our sweet Cecily?
Article of the Day

The Clouded Leopard

The clouded leopard prowls the Himalayan foothills. It is only distantly related to its namesake but does share the leopard's dark spots. As the smallest of the big cats, the clouded leopard is considered an evolutionary link between big cats and small cats. It is known for its excellent climbing ability—the clouded leopard can climb down trees headfirst—and frightening canine teeth—the largest of any cat in proportion to body size. What nickname has it been given due to this latter feature? More...
This Day in History

Captain James Cook Crosses Antarctic Circle (1773)

An explorer, navigator, and map maker, Cook sailed the Pacific Ocean between 1768 and 1779 and, with the help of new timekeeping instruments, drew the first accurate navigational maps of the area. He became the one of the first people to cross the Antarctic Circle as well as the first European to land on the Hawaiian islands, where he may have been identified by native Hawaiians as the representation of their god Lono. How did this misunderstanding contribute to his death? More...
Today's Birthday

Benjamin Franklin (1706)

Regarded as one of the most extraordinary public servants in American history, Franklin was also a printer, publisher, author, scientist, and inventor. After gaining popularity as the publisher of Poor Richard's Almanack, he promoted public services in Philadelphia, including a library and a fire department. In 1776, he went to France to seek aid for the American Revolution, and in 1787 he was instrumental in the adoption of the US Constitution. What musical instrument did he invent? More...
Quotation of the Day
The desire to know whether or not a woman is cursed with curiosity is one of the most active and insatiable passions of the masculine soul.

Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914)

Today's Holiday

Underwater Tug-of-War Festival

It's not the Polar Bear Swim, but the annual tug-of-war in Mihama, Fukui Prefecture, does involve people jumping into cold waters in the middle of winter. Legend has it that a huge snake once menaced the waters of Hiruga Lake, which opens out into the Sea of Japan. The people drove the snake away by taking a huge rope into the water. Today, young men struggle in a tug-of-war while standing in the lake. The rope symbolizes the snake, and the tug-of-war continues until the rope is pulled apart or cut in two. The event also serves as a ritual appealing for a good fishing season. More...
In the News

Piracy Falling around the Globe

Piracy at sea has fallen to its lowest level in six years, thanks largely to a drop-off in Somali piracy that has been attributed to a combination of factors, among them the increased presence of armed guards on ships, international naval patrols, and Somali government influence. There were just 264 attacks recorded globally in 2013, about as many as were carried out by Somali pirates alone in 2011. By contrast, just 15 attacks took place off the coast of Somalia last year. The shift is heartening, but the Internation al Maritime Bureau, which compiled the report, warns that it is still too early for complacency. More...
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