Daily Content Archive

(as of Wednesday, February 05, 2014)
Word of the Day

ailment

Definition:(noun) An often persistent bodily disorder or disease; a cause for complaining.
Synonyms:complaint, ill
Usage: She pretended that she was always well now, and concealed her ailments so craftily that we had to probe for them.
Article of the Day

Obscurantism

From the Latin word for darkening—obscurans—comes obscurantism, referring to the practice of deliberately withholding information. This may be done either by concealing facts or—in literature and art—by using an intentionally vague style. The term derives from a 16th-century satire about the dispute between Jew-turned-Dominican friar Johannes Pfefferkorn, who sought to destroy all Jewish texts, and his humanist opponent Johann Reuchlin. Who gave Pfefferkorn permission to burn the works? More...
This Day in History

Royal Greenwich Observatory Begins Broadcasting Hourly Time Signals (1924)

The Greenwich Time Signal, popularly known as "the pips," is a series of six short tones broadcast by many BBC radio stations at the end of each hour to mark the precise start of the following hour. Devised by Astronomer Royal Frank Dyson in 1924, the signal consists of six pips that occur on the five seconds leading up to the hour, with the beginning of the sixth pip marking the actual moment when the hour changes. After nearly 90 years of marking time, why might the pips soon be silenced? More...
Today's Birthday

Hiram Stevens Maxim (1840)

Mechanically gifted, Maxim learned several trades as a young man. He obtained his first patent, for a hair-curling iron, in 1866. By 1884, working in London, he had produced a devastatingly effective automatic machine gun capable of firing 660 rounds per minute. Every major power adopted the Maxim gun. The company he established to manufacture his invention, with several mergers, eventually became the British defense firm, Vickers Ltd. What were some of Maxim's "flying machines"? More...
Quotation of the Day
He who blinded by ambition, raises himself to a position whence he cannot mount higher, must thereafter fall with the greatest loss.

Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527)

Idiom of the Day

23 skidoo

To clear out or get away in haste before getting into or causing trouble, referring either to oneself or to another. "23" may refer to the Flatirons Building in New York City (located on 23rd Street), around which great winds tend to blow. It may also derive from an older use meaning to tell someone to clear out of one's way. Primarily heard in US. More...
Today's Holiday

San Marino Liberation Day (2016)

In 1739, Cardinal Giulio Alberoni invaded the Republic of San Marino and occupied the country. The people of San Marino protested the occupation and appealed to the Vatican; the Pope recognized the rights of San Marino and, on February 5, 1740, he restored the country's independence. Today, San Marino celebrates Liberation Day on February 5 to mark the anniversary of their independence. As part of the celebration, there is a public procession from the city of Borgo Maggiore to the capital city of San Marino proper. In addition, various civic celebrations take place throughout the day. More...
In the News

Attentive Older Siblings

Studies show that children from larger families score more poorly on tests of IQ, vocabulary, and other academic indicators than kids from smaller families. Experts attribute this in part to reduced parental attention resulting from the need to divide time and attention among the children. This effect appears to be mitigated in families where older siblings are attuned to their younger siblings' abilities and interact positively with them. A recent study found that children from large families who had "cognitively sensitive" older siblings performed better on a vocabulary test than those whose siblings were not. More...
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