Daily Content Archive

(as of Thursday, March 05, 2015)
Word of the Day

gelid

Definition:(adjective) Very cold; icy.
Synonyms:arctic, frigid, glacial, polar
Usage: After only a few minutes in the gelid wind, they were shivering too hard to speak.
Article of the Day

Velcro

Velcro is a brand name of fabric hook-and-loop fasteners. It was invented by a Swiss engineer who came up with the idea after examining the burdock seeds that kept sticking to his clothes. Velcro consists of a layer of hooks and a layer of loops which, when pressed together, form a bond that can be very strong: full-body hook and loop suits have been made that can hold a person to a suitably-covered wall. Velcro was even involved in the first medical procedure of what kind? More...
This Day in History

Winston Churchill's "Iron Curtain" Speech (1946)

The phrase "Iron Curtain" refers to the political, military, and ideological barrier erected by the USSR after WWII to seal itself and its dependent eastern European allies off from contact with the West. Churchill's use of the phrase in a 1946 speech at a US college, though initially perceived as antagonistic, popularized the term. The Iron Curtain largely ceased to exist in 1990, when the communists of eastern Europe finally abandoned one-party rule. What are some earlier uses of the phrase? More...
Today's Birthday

Gerardus Mercator (1512)

Mercator was a Flemish geographer, mathematician, and cartographer who perfected the first map using the Mercator projection, the translation of the spherical earth to a two-dimensional flat plane. In it, parallels and meridians are rendered as straight lines spaced to produce an accurate ratio of latitude to longitude at any point. It permits mariners to steer a course over long distances without continually adjusting compass readings. What map-related term was coined by Mercator? More...
Quotation of the Day
Death is the only physician, the shadow of his valley the only journeying that will cure us of age and the gathering fatigue of years.

George Eliot (1819-1880)

Idiom of the Day

barnburner

Any thing, event, or occasion that is especially exciting, impressive, and/or successful. More...
Today's Holiday

Vanuatu Custom Chiefs Day

In the island nation of Vanuatu, many islands have rejected European influence and instead prefer to live according to their traditional customs. While these customs vary widely throughout the islands, village life, subsistence farming, a belief in magic, and rule by chiefs are common. In 1977, a National Council of Chiefs was set up by the government to ensure the preservation of traditional ways of life. These tribal chiefs are honored on March 5 of each year; celebratory activities on this day include sporting events, carnivals, agricultural fairs, and arts festivals. More...
In the News

Scientists Work Out the Weight of a Stegosaurus

Paleontologists wish they could be so rude as to walk up and ask a dinosaur her weight. Traditionally, they've guessed the mass of the long-dead dinos by making estimates based on the size of the bones in their thighs and upper arms. That has proved to be ... More...
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