Daily Content Archive

(as of Saturday, January 19, 2013)
Word of the Day

arcanum

Definition:(noun) Information known only to a special group.
Synonyms:secret
Usage: I would love to have Mrs. Anderson's delicious muffin recipe, but that arcanum is shared only with her blood relatives.
Article of the Day

Cat's-Whisker Detector

Before the advent of vacuum tubes and transistor technology, early radio devices received signals with the help of the cat's whisker detector. An early and somewhat unstable electronic component, the detector was an integral part of the crystal radio sets that came into use in the early 1900s. Though obsolete today, the detectors are still manufactured for antique radio hobbyists. The device consists of a thin wire that lightly touches a crystal of a natural semiconducting mineral such as what? More...
This Day in History

Apple Lisa Launched (1983)

In 1983, after five years of development, Apple released the Lisa, the first personal computer with a graphical user interface. Although the Lisa was a commercial failure—due in part to its initial price tag of $9,995—it had a significant impact on the computer industry. It is often rumored to have been named after the first daughter of Apple's Steve Jobs, though several acronyms have been ascribed to the name. What project did Jobs join after being forced out of the Lisa project? More...
Today's Birthday

James Watt (1736)

A largely self-taught Scottish engineer and inventor, Watt greatly impacted the Industrial Revolution with his development of the Watt engine. Asked to repair a model of Thomas Newcomen's steam engine, he instead made improvements to it that resulted in a new type of engine. One such design enhancement, the separate condenser, radically improved the power, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness of steam engines. The watt, a unit of power, is named for him. What other unit of power did he develop? More...
Quotation of the Day
I have made a plan for my life, as I am in my teens, and no more a child.

Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888)

Idiom of the Day

home, James (, and don't spare the horses)

A humorous directive for a driver to take one home directly and without delay. More...
Today's Holiday

Bonfim Festival (Festa do Bonfim) (2017)

There is a church in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil, known as Our Lord of the Happy Ending (bonfim). Today during the Bonfim Festival, hundreds of Brazilian women dress in the traditional white dresses of colonial Bahia and form a procession to the church. The bahianas balance jars of water, scented with blossoms, on their heads. The washing of the steps at Bonfim Basilica on the second Thursday after Epiphany is the highlight of the festival. More...
In the News

"Pruney" Fingers Help Hands Get a Grip

Anyone who has soaked in a tub for too long knows what it does to a person's fingers and toes, but why does our skin turn all wrinkly and prune-like? What advantage does this confer? Scientists think they have found the answer: grip. Wrinkled fingers are better able to grasp wet objects, whether they be fully immersed or simply wet. Wrinkled feet, meanwhile, could provide better traction on wet, slippery surfaces. For humans foraging in wet conditions, this could have provided a meaningful evolutionary advantage. More...
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