Daily Content Archive

(as of Saturday, December 17, 2011)
Word of the Day

tyrannical

Definition:(adjective) Marked by unjust severity or arbitrary behavior.
Synonyms:oppressive
Usage: He was neither wrathful, cruel, nor tyrannical, but just and gentle as a king could be.
Article of the Day

Masers

A maser is a device that produces an intense and highly focused beam of electromagnetic radiation in the microwave range of the spectrum. Its name is an acronym for "microwave amplification by stimulated emission of radiation." A wavelength produced by a maser is so constant and reproducible that it can be used to control a clock that remains accurate to one second over hundreds of years. Masers also make it possible to measure faint radio waves emitted by Venus. How do they differ from lasers? More...
This Day in History

Prime Minister of Australia Disappears (1967)

Harold Holt was an Australian political leader who served in a number of cabinet positions before becoming prime minister in 1966, upon the retirement of Robert Gordon Menzies, whom Holt succeeded as Liberal party leader. During his short tenure, he increased the number of Australian troops in South Vietnam, a policy that caused controversy. He disappeared while swimming in rough surf in 1967 and is believed to have drowned. What Australian urban legends are based on Holt's disappearance? More...
Today's Birthday

John Greenleaf Whittier (1807)

Whittier was an American Quaker poet and reformer. He had little formal education but was an avid reader, and he published his first volume of poems in 1831. He declared himself an abolitionist in 1833 and worked to promote the cause as a politician, poet, and editor of antislavery periodicals. After slavery was abolished in the US, he turned his focus to writing poems that vividly portray rural New England life. Which of his poems was mistakenly attributed to Ethan Allen for nearly sixty years? More...
Quotation of the Day
The properties of ink are peculiar and contradictory: it may be used to make reputations and unmake them; to blacken them and to make them white; but it is most generally and acceptably employed as a mortar to bind together the stones of an edifice of fame, and as a whitewash to conceal afterward the rascal quality of the material.

Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914)

Today's Holiday

Posadas (2015)

This nine-day Christmas celebration in Mexico commemorates the journey Mary and Joseph (the parents of Jesus) took to Bethlehem. Reenacting their search for shelter (posada in Spanish) in which Jesus might be born, a group of "pilgrims" will knock on someone's door and ask the owner to let them in. The master of the house finally invites them to enter and the Posadas party begins. Children are blindfolded and given a chance to break a piñata by swinging at it with a stick. The posadas are repeated for nine evenings, the last occurring on Christmas Eve. More...
In the News

Beluga Whales Trapped in Icy Arctic Waters

A group of over 100 beluga whales has become trapped by ice floes in a strait off the Bering Sea, and the small white whales may soon die without help. Nearby hunters reported that two relatively small ice holes were making it possible for the whales to surface to breathe, but the advancing ice and lack of food in the area place them at risk for exhaustion, starvation, and suffocation. Local authorities have requested that the Russian government send an icebreaker to open a path for the whales. More...
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