Daily Content Archive

(as of Sunday, February 3, 2013)
Word of the Day

clepsydra

Definition:(noun) Clock that measures time by the escape of water.
Synonyms:water clock, water glass
Usage: The Wicked Witch dared not use a clepsydra, as its contents could destroy her.
Article of the Day

Spark Gap

A spark gap consists of two electrodes that are separated—usually by air—to allow a spark to form between them. Small spark gaps are used to ignite combustion in engines, and huge spark gaps are used in high-voltage switches at electrical substations. Spark gaps can also be used in novelty devices such as the "Jacob's ladder," in which electric arcs continuously stream upward between two wires. How are such toys dangerous to houseplants? More...
This Day in History

The Day the Music Died (1959)

During an extensive tour of the midwestern US, American rock-and-roll musician Buddy Holly chartered a small plane to transport him to his next gig. Fellow performers Richie Valens and J.P. Richardson, who was known as "The Big Bopper," filled the remaining seats. Tragically, the plane crashed, killing everyone on board. The event was later called "the day the music died" by Don McLean in his song "American Pie." Which of the passengers was said to have won his seat on the plane by a coin flip? More...
Today's Birthday

Gertrude Stein (1874)

Stein was an American avant-garde writer and notable patron of the arts. While she was living in Paris, her home became a salon for leading artists and writers, including Picasso and Hemingway. An early supporter of Cubism, she tried to parallel its theories in her work, employing a unique prose style characterized by the use of repetition, fragmentation, and the continuous present. Her only book to reach a wide audience, The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas was actually about whom? More...
Quotation of the Day
To be different from your fellow creatures is always a misfortune.

L. Frank Baum (1856-1919)

Idiom of the Day

inopportune moment

An unfortunate or inconvenient moment in time. More...
Today's Holiday

St. Blaise's Day (2016)

The association of St. Blaise with the blessing of throats can be traced to a number of sources. In any case, St. Blaise, since the 6th century in the East, has been the patron saint of people who suffer from throat afflictions, and celebrations on this day in the Roman Catholic Church often include the blessing of throats by the priest. In Spain, they bake small loaves, called tortas de San Blas ("San Blas's loaves"). They are blessed during Mass, and each child eats a bit to prevent him or her from choking during the year. More...
In the News

Chinese Millionaire Fighting Pollution with Canned Air

Chen Guangbiao, a Chinese multimillionaire who made his fortune in the recycling business, is trying to draw attention to the importance of environmental protection with a tongue-in-cheek "Fresh Air" campaign. China's air quality is notoriously bad, and in recent weeks, the air pollution in Beijing has reached particularly dangerous levels. So for one day last week, Chen handed out free samples of his canned fresh air product, which usually sells for 5 yuan (80 cents). Proceeds from the sale of the cans go to various philanthropic causes. More...
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