Daily Content Archive

(as of Saturday, February 11, 2012)
Word of the Day

bird's-eye

Definition:(adjective) As from an altitude or distance.
Synonyms:panoramic
Usage: Another pedestrian had entered from the other end…with an astrakhan collar to his coat on this warm night, and a black slouch hat that hid his features from my bird's-eye view.
Article of the Day

Altars

Altars are tables or platforms upon which sacrifices or other offerings are made. Though today they are typically found inside houses of worship or private homes, altars in the ancient world were almost exclusively constructed outdoors. An altar's design varies according to its purpose. For example, an altar used for burnt offerings will have a hollow for a fire, while one used for bloody sacrifices will have a drain. What do Taoists burn to ensure that the dead have money in the afterlife? More...
This Day in History

Anthracite Coal First Burned as Residential Heating Fuel (1808)

Anthracite is a compact variety of coal that was first burned as a residential heating fuel in the US by Judge Jesse Fell in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. It differs from wood in that it needs a draft from below. By burning it on an open grate in a fireplace, Fell proved that it could be a viable heating fuel. Fell's experiment took place 18 years after anthracite coal was said to have been discovered in Pennsylvania by hunter Necho Allen. According to legend, how did Allen "discover" anthracite? More...
Today's Birthday

Josiah Willard Gibbs (1839)

Gibbs was an American mathematical physicist whose contributions to physical chemistry and thermodynamics have had a profound effect on industry, notably in the production of ammonia. He formulated the concept of chemical potential, and, in mathematics, was influential in developing vector analysis. Gibbs also contributed to crystallography, the determination of planetary and cometary orbits, and electromagnetic theory. His doctorate was the first granted in the US for what field? More...
Quotation of the Day
Certainly, in taking revenge, a man is but even with his enemy; but in passing it over, he is superior.

Francis Bacon (1561-1626)

Idiom of the Day

case of the dropsy

A fictitious "condition" characterized by continually dropping things from one's hands. It is a play on the term "dropsy," which was formerly used to denote the condition now known as edema (or oedema). More...
Today's Holiday

Japan National Foundation Day (2016)

The nationwide holiday known as Kenkoku Kinen-no-Hi commemorates the accession to the throne of Jimmu Tenno, Japan's first human emperor, in the year 660 BCE. He was believed to be a direct descendant of the gods and is credited with founding the Japanese empire. It is observed throughout Japan with fireworks and speeches on Japan's position in the world. One of the most elaborate celebrations takes place in Tokyo, where special rites are performed at the Imperial Sanctuary. The emperor and empress, the prime minister, and other high officials attend the ceremony. More...
In the News

Why Zebras Have Stripes. Maybe

Many theories exist to explain the striped coat of the zebra—that it helps the animals recognize one another, that it camouflages them in tall grass and confuses predators—but the results of a new study seem to suggest that it evolved for another reason entirely. It appears that the zebra's black-and-white stripes are unattractive to blood-sucking flies. Researchers found that horseflies were most attracted to dark-colored horses, whose coats reflect horizontally polarized light. White coats reflect unpolarized light that was found to be much less attractive to flies. Least attractive, however, was the zebra's coat, which reflects light in alternately polarized and unpolarized patterns. More...
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