Daily Content Archive

(as of Saturday, March 05, 2016)
Word of the Day

jongleur

Definition:(noun) A wandering minstrel, poet, or entertainer in medieval England and France.
Synonyms:folk singer, minstrel, poet-singer, troubadour
Usage: The group of jongleurs was so popular that King Edward requested a private performance.
Article of the Day

Space Food

The weightlessness experienced by humans in space poses a number of challenges in the performance of day-to-day tasks. Early experts feared that weightless conditions would make food difficult to swallow, allowing it to collect dangerously in the throat. Scientists began developing bite-sized cubes, freeze-dried powders, and semiliquid space foods for astronaut use, but the space travelers found the foods unappetizing, difficult to rehydrate, and messy. How have these concerns been addressed? 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
Spoon feeding in the long run teaches us nothing but the shape of the spoon.

E. M. Forster (1879-1970)

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

Study suggests a new trick for finding alien civilizations

The hunt for extraterrestrial life — of any kind, including lowly, long-dead microbes — is lofty enough. But the hunt for intelligent civilizations that could be looking for us in return? It's even more of a long shot. In a new paper published in the ... More...
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