Daily Content Archive

(as of Saturday, January 21, 2012)
Word of the Day

pettifog

Definition:(verb) Argue over petty things.
Synonyms:bicker, brabble, squabble, niggle, quibble
Usage: Mrs. Faraday watched in exasperation as her children pettifogged about who deserved the last of her chocolate chip cookies.
Article of the Day

Birdsongs

Birds sing using the syrinx, the avian vocal organ. Singing is usually confined to males and is at its height during the breeding season, when it is used to attract a mate. Birdsongs are usually more complex and longer than birdcalls. There is evidence that songs are learned, while certain calls are inherited. A male chaffinch hatchling, for example, sings a "subsong" but only learns the true song by hearing and imitating adult males. Deaf birds sing, but their songs are different in what way? More...
This Day in History

Death of Last Native Speaker Leads to Extinction of Eyak Language (2008)

Eyak is an extinct language that was spoken in Alaska, near the mouth of the Copper River. Marie Smith Jones, the language's last native speaker, as well as the last full-blooded Eyak, died in 2008 at the age of 89. Before her death, she worked with experts to compile a dictionary that would allow future generations to revive the language. With no native speakers left in the world, Eyak became a symbol in the effort against language extinction. Which languages are the closest relatives to Eyak? More...
Today's Birthday

Karl Wallenda (1905)

Wallenda was a German-born US circus acrobat and founder and leader of the acrobatic troupe that came to be known as the Flying Wallendas. The group gained notoriety in Europe for its high-wire acts without a safety net before developing its most famous act—the seven-person pyramid, topped by Wallenda's wife, Helen. The troupe traveled with the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus and later performed as freelancers. Wallenda continued performing until age 73. How did he die? More...
Quotation of the Day
Few are the hearts whose happy lot it is at once to recognize in each other's voices the partner intended for them by Providence.

Edwin Abbott (1838-1926)

Idiom of the Day

800-pound gorilla

A person, group, or organization so powerful (either by size or by influence) that it does not need to heed the rules or threats of others. It refers to the riddle "Where does an 800-pound gorilla sit?" (Answer: "Wherever it likes.") Primarily heard in US. More...
Today's Holiday

Barrow Day (2016)

This national public holiday honors Barbados' first prime minister. Errol Barrow was born in 1920, earned a law degree in England, then returned to Barbados, where he became finance minister in 1959 and prime minister in 1961. He was reelected in 1966 and, soon after, Barbados gained independence from Great Britain. Barrow was voted out in 1976 but regained office in 1986; he died the next year. More...
In the News

FDA Restricts Antibiotic Use in US Livestock

For decades, farmers have used antibiotic-laced feed and antibiotic injections to prevent disease and promote growth in their animals. This practice is suspected of contributing to the emergence of antibiotic resistant bacteria, which may be transferred to humans who handle or eat contaminated products. To combat this, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an order restricting the use of cephalosporins, a common class of antibiotics, in healthy cattle, swine, chickens, and turkeys. More...
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