Daily Content Archive

(as of Saturday, March 09, 2013)
Word of the Day

cacography

Definition:(noun) Poor handwriting.
Synonyms:scrawl, scribble, scratch
Usage: The pharmacist struggled to decipher Dr. Clark's cacography on my prescription and eventually had to call his office to get some clarification.
Article of the Day

Corsned: The Morsel of Execration

In Anglo-Saxon times, the corsned was a common "trial by ordeal" in which an accused person was given a chance to prove his or her innocence by undergoing a physical test—in the case of the corsned, swallowing a small piece of bread or cheese. If the morsel of food—which had been blessed by a priest—stuck in the throat of the accused, it was taken as a sure sign of guilt. History records at least one instance of that very outcome. What common phrases may have originally referenced the corsned? More...
This Day in History

WWII: Bombing of Tokyo Kills 100,000 (1945)

During WWII, Allied bombing devastated half of Tokyo, destroyed or damaged many famous landmarks, and ruined nearly all of the city's industrial plants. In the US firebombing raid that began on March 9, 1945, nearly 2,000 tons of incendiary bombs were dropped on the Japanese capital, killing roughly 100,000 people and destroying about 16 mi² (41 km²) of the city—making it the most destructive conventional bombing raid in history. How did the destruction compare to that of Hiroshima and Nagasaki? More...
Today's Birthday

Bobby Fischer (1943)

Fischer was a chess legend who, at the age of 15, became the youngest grandmaster in history at that time. In 1970 and 1971, he won an unprecedented 20 straight games to qualify to challenge Boris Spassky for the world championship. He then beat Spassky, becoming the only American world titlist and winning the lion's share of the $250,000 prize fund that was then the largest purse offered in any sport outside boxing. Afterward, Fischer did not publicly play another game of chess until what year? More...
Quotation of the Day
All rising to great place is by a winding stair.

Francis Bacon (1561-1626)

Idiom of the Day

blood in the water

The exposure of a competitive weakness in an opponent that arouses increased competitive aggression in others. Likened to the literal presence of blood in water that causes aquatic predators (such as sharks) to seek out and attack prey. More...
Today's Holiday

Feast of St. Frances of Rome

St. Frances of Rome (1384-1440) was a model for housewives and widows. Despite the death of her children, her husband's banishment, and the confiscation of their estates, she continued to nurse the sick and care for the poor. St. Frances's feast day is observed on March 9, the date on which she died. Because she is also the patron saint of motorists, it is customary for Italian drivers to flock to the Colosseum in Rome for the blessing of their cars. Crowds also visit Tor de Specchi and Casa degli Esercizi Pii (formerly her home), whose rooms are opened to the public on this day. More...
In the News

Fishermen Killing 100 Million Sharks Annually

Shark populations are in grave danger, say researchers, who estimate that we are killing approximately 100 million of the predatory marine creatures each year. At this rate, the sharks, many of which only reach maturity late in life, will not be able to maintain their numbers. Attempts to curb the killing of sharks by prohibiting finning —the widespread practice of harvesting fins from live sharks and then tossing the finless fish back into the ocean to die—have had little effect. If this overfishing continues, a number of shark species could face extinction. More...
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