Daily Content Archive

(as of Tuesday, December 17, 2013)
Word of the Day

pooh-bah

Definition:(noun) An arrogant or conceited person of importance.
Synonyms:high-muck-a-muck
Usage: The self-appointed pooh-bah of our little society, Shirley oversees every one of our projects and, naturally, nothing ever gets done.
Article of the Day

The Ambulocetus

Though similar to crocodiles in appearance and behavior, Ambulocetus was actually an early cetacean—a member of the mammalian order that includes whales, dolphins, and porpoises. However, unlike today's cetaceans, Ambulocetus had legs and so could walk as well as swim. These and other key adaptations of the "walking whale" have helped scientists piece together the way in which whales evolved from land mammals. Ambulocetus lived 50 million years ago in what part of the world? 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
All voting is a sort of gaming, like checkers or backgammon, with a slight moral tinge to it, a playing with right and wrong, with moral questions ... I cast my vote, perchance, as I think right; but I am not vitally concerned that that right should prevail. I am willing to leave it to the majority.

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)

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

Freshwater Reserves Discovered Beneath Seabed

Concerns about the future of Earth's water supply have been growing in recent years. More than 40 percent of the people on Earth already live in conditions of water scarcity, and the UN estimates that by 2030, nearly half of the world's population will live under high water stress. Still, the numbers have failed to curb consumption, which in the past century has been growing at more than twice the rate of the population. Researchers say we may breathe a little easier though, as they have discovered vast freshwater reserves—an estimated 120,000 cubic miles (500,000 cubic kilometers) of low-salinity water—beneath the ocean floor. More...
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