Daily Content Archive

(as of Monday, February 11, 2013)
Word of the Day

barbate

Definition:(adjective) Having hair on the cheeks and chin.
Synonyms:bearded, whiskered
Usage: I returned from the camping trip malodorous and barbate, in desperate need of a shower and a shave.
Article of the Day

Human Vestigiality

Thanks to evolution, humans have a number of anatomical structures that today have little or no use. Along with vestigial features such as wisdom teeth and the tail bone—which are thought to hearken back to a time when our ancestors consumed lots of raw plants and balanced with their tails—there are also vestigial reflexes. One example is goose bumps, which would raise our fur, if we still had it, and make us seem more menacing. What purpose might the appendix, long considered vestigial, serve? 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
I never thrust my nose into other men's porridge. It is no bread and butter of mine; every man for himself, and God for us all.

Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616)

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

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

Horsemeat "Beef" Lasagna Recalled

Frozen-food maker Findus UK has become the latest in a string of European food producers to have its beef products exposed as horsemeat. This has led to widespread recalls of a number of its beef lasagna products. Two other supermarket chains using the same French supplier as Findus also pulled some of their beef products from store shelves after similar concerns were raised. This was not, as one might hope, an isolated incident. Not long ago, the Irish meat-processing industry was hit with a similar scandal. In light of recent events, UK regulators are launching a nationwide survey of beef products to ensure that they are being properly labeled. More...
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