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

Sten Sture the Younger Mortally Wounded in Battle (1520)

Sture was a Swedish statesman and regent of Sweden. When he refused to recognize Christian II of Denmark as king of Sweden, Christian sent a force to aid Sture's rival, Archbishop Gustaf Trolle, whom Sture had deposed and who was besieged in his castle. Sture defeated the Danish army and imprisoned Trolle. Warfare continued, and Sture was killed in battle, but not before he paved the way for Swedish independence, which was attained under Gustavus I. What was done to Sture's body after his death? More...
Today's Birthday

Edgar Allan Poe (1809)

Considered one of the most brilliant and original writers in American literature, Poe was a poet, short-story writer, and critic whose skillfully wrought tales and poems convey with passionate intensity the mysterious, dreamlike, and often macabre forces that pervaded his sensibility. He also pioneered the detective fiction genre with stories such as "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" and "The Purloined Letter." What mysterious, six-decade-old tradition at Poe's Baltimore grave was broken in 2010? 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)

Today's Holiday

Epiphany (Russia) (2016)

On January 19th, members of the Russian Orthodox Church ritually bathe in a river or lake. The day marks the Baptism of Jesus Christ in the River Jordan, an event called the Epiphany, and Orthodox Catholics believe that bathing outside on that day washes away sin. As believers cut holes in the ice with chainsaws and plunge into the frigid water, priests chant prayers to bless the water. Altars and crosses made of ice and snow are sometimes constructed near the bathing site. Authorities advise against the practice, especially in the freezing temperatures of a Russian winter. 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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