Daily Content Archive

(as of Friday, January 28, 2011)
Word of the Day

skeptic

Definition:(noun) Someone who habitually doubts accepted beliefs.
Synonyms:doubter
Usage: Johnson was one of the skeptics who vigorously denounced Macpherson as a shameless impostor.
Article of the Day

Pas d'Armes

Pas d'Armes was a knightly chivalric phenomenon that evolved in the late 14th century and remained popular through the 15th century. It involved a knight or group of knights laying claim to a traveled spot, such as a bridge or city gate, and declaring that any other knight who wished to pass must first fight—or be disgraced. A traveling knight who was not adequately armed could be provided with weapons. If a passing knight chose not to fight, what would he leave behind as a sign of humiliation? More...
This Day in History

Horace Walpole Coins the Word "Serendipity" (1754)

Defined as the faculty of making fortunate discoveries by accident, the word "serendipity" was first coined in 1754 by English author Horace Walpole in one of his more than 3,000 letters. In it, he explains that the root of his new word is taken from "The Three Princes of Serendip," a Persian fairytale about princes who "were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things which they were not in quest of." Who was the recipient of Walpole's letter introducing "serendipity"? More...
Today's Birthday

Robert Franklin Stroud, the Birdman of Alcatraz (1890)

Stroud was a convicted murderer serving time in prison when he came across some injured sparrows in the Leavenworth prison yard. He kept the birds and soon began raising canaries, which he could sell for supplies and to help support his mother. Using equipment furnished by a new warden, Stroud created an aviary and became an expert in avian pathology, writing two books on the subject and developing a cure for hemorrhagic septicemia. How much of his sentence was spent in solitary confinement? More...
Quotation of the Day
Creative writers are always greater than the causes that they represent.

E. M. Forster (1879-1970)

Idiom of the Day

cat's pajamas

Something or someone highly enjoyable, desirable, or impressive, especially in a fancy or elaborate way. Primarily heard in US, South Africa. More...
Today's Holiday

NASA Day of Remembrance (2016)

NASA established the Day of Remembrance to honor those who have died in America's space program. The day focuses on those who died in three NASA space tragedies: the Apollo 1 fire on January 27, 1967; the Shuttle Challenger disaster of January 28, 1986; and the Shuttle Columbia tragedy of February 1, 2003. The day also remembers NASA employees who died in training and maintenance accidents. NASA observes the day with a roll call of all those who have died; at Cape Canaveral in Florida, a moment of silence is observed at noon. More...
In the News

Abortion Does Not Increase Mental Health Risk

Research by Danish scientists debunks the idea that terminating a pregnancy triggers mental illness in women. One of the largest studies to investigate the mental health outcomes of having an abortion and of having a baby found that only the latter is associated with an increased risk of mental health problems. According to the data, nearly twice as many women who gave birth needed psychiatric help after childbirth compared to the period right before they became mothers. Meanwhile, the rate of psychiatric problems among women who had abortions remained roughly the same. More...
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