Daily Content Archive

(as of Monday, February 10, 2014)
Word of the Day

louche

Definition:(adjective) Of questionable taste or morality.
Synonyms:shady
Usage: It did not surprise me that the owner of that louche nightclub downtown was arrested for selling illegal drugs to the patrons.
Article of the Day

"Colorless Green Ideas Sleep Furiously"

If you think the sentence "Colorless green ideas sleep furiously" makes no sense, you're right. Linguist Noam Chomsky devised it because it had likely never been spoken before and was grammatically correct but nonsensical. He thus challenged popular structuralism, arguing that linguists should study native speakers' unconscious knowledge of their language, not the language they actually produce. What were the results of a contest in which participants tried to make Chomsky's sentence meaningful? More...
This Day in History

HMS Dreadnought Is Launched (1906)

The HMS Dreadnought of the Royal Navy was a battleship that revolutionized naval power when it entered service in 1906. Dreadnought represented such a marked advance in naval technology that its name came to be associated with an entire generation of battleships, the "dreadnoughts," as well as the class of ships named for it, while the generation of ships it made obsolete became known as "pre-dreadnoughts." What features made the Dreadnought so advanced? More...
Today's Birthday

Boris Pasternak (1890)

Pasternak was a Russian author whose novel Doctor Zhivago, an epic of wandering, spiritual isolation and love amid the harshness of the revolution and its aftermath, became a bestseller in the West but was circulated only in secrecy in the Soviet Union until 1987. Pasternak was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1958, but he was forced to decline it because of Soviet opposition to his work. Why was Pasternak's name said to have been crossed off an execution list by Joseph Stalin? More...
Quotation of the Day
A lie never lives to be old.

Sophocles (496 BC-406 BC)

Idiom of the Day

a bit dicey

Carrying a certain degree of risk or danger; uncertain of a favorable outcome. More...
Today's Holiday

Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent in the West. Pope Gregory I is credited with having introduced the ceremony that gives this day its name. When public penitents came to the church for forgiveness, the priest would take some ash (made by burning the palms used on Palm Sunday of the previous year) and mark their foreheads with the sign of the cross as a reminder that they were but ashes and dust. Eventually, the practice was extended to include all who wished to receive ashes. In the East, ashes are not used, and Lent begins on the Monday before Ash Wednesday. More...
In the News

Prosthesis Gives Amputee Sensation

In recent years, bioengineers have made great strides in the design of prosthetics, integrating technologies that make artificial limbs more lifelike and give amputees greater control over their use. Under development by one team is a bionic hand that allows the user to "feel" the objects it is grasping. Their prototype possesses sensors that send electrical signals to electrodes implanted in nerves in the arm of the wearer, providing sensory feedback that in recent tests allowed a user to identify the shape and stiffness of objects by touch alone. More...
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