Daily Content Archive

(as of Saturday, January 17, 2015)
Word of the Day

palaver

Definition:(noun) Talk intended to charm or beguile.
Synonyms:blandishment, cajolery
Usage: Then she would pounce upon me with a lot of that drivelling poodle palaver and kiss me on the nose—but what could I do?
Article of the Day

Water Music

In 1712, George Frideric Handel took up permanent residence in England, leaving his employer—the elector of Hanover—behind in Germany. Two years later, the elector of Hanover became George I of England. When the king requested music for royal festivities, Handel wrote Water Music, allegedly to regain the king's favor. Water Music debuted on a barge accompanying the king down the River Thames in 1717. What did George I think of Handel's now-famous collection of songs? 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
You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment.

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)

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

US Gun Suicides Outnumber Homicides

According to a new study, gun suicides are far more common in the US than the gun homicides that tend to dominate news coverage. The findings, published in the Annual Review of Public Health, show that, over the past decade, an average of 50 Americans a day have died of self-inflicted gunshot wounds. While the research highlights that young black men are at a much higher risk of dying from firearm violence, it revealed that a different group suffers the most gun deaths—middle-aged white men. In that demographic, 90 percent of the gun deaths are suicides. More...
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