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

Romanos Is Crowned Co-Emperor of the Byzantine Empire (920 CE)

Romanos advanced through the ranks of the Byzantine military to become an influential figure in the royal court. In May 919, he arranged for the marriage of his daughter to the teenage Emperor Constantine VII and was declared "Father of the Emperor." The next year, he was crowned co-emperor, and he then made his own sons co-emperors. However, in 944, Romanos's sons arrested him and made him become a monk to prevent him from naming Constantine VII his successor. What happened to them? More...
Today's Birthday

William Safire (1929)

Safire was an American journalist and a speechwriter for US President Richard Nixon, who once ordered Safire's phone be tapped. In 1973, Safire became a syndicated political columnist for The New York Times, a post he held until 2005. A master of wordplay, he also wrote regularly on language-related topics. After Safire wrote a column in which he insulted a first lady, a White House aide remarked that if the president were not the president, he would have responded in what way? 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)

Idiom of the Day

let it rest

To cease discussing or dwelling upon a given subject. More...
Today's Holiday

Saturnalia (2017)

This Ancient Roman Winter Solstice festival began on December 17 and lasted for seven days. It was held in honor of Saturn, the father of the gods, and was characterized by the suspension of discipline and reversal of the usual order. Grudges and quarrels were forgotten; businesses, courts, and schools closed down; and masquerading or change of dress between the sexes often occurred. The festivities were characterized by various kinds of excesses—giving rise to the modern use of the term saturnalian, which is used to describe "unrestrained license and revelry." 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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