Daily Content Archive

(as of Wednesday, April 13, 2011)
Word of the Day

pennant

Definition:(noun) A long flag; often tapering.
Synonyms:waft, streamer
Usage: The boy had fastened a brightly-colored pennant to the front of his bike.
Article of the Day

Coelacanths

Coelacanths, powerful predators with limb-like fins, appeared about 350 million years ago. Once considered the missing link between fish and tetrapods, they were thought to have become extinct 80 million years ago—until one was caught in 1938 near the southern coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean. They are deep-sea fish with hollow fin spines and average 5 ft (1.5 m) in length and weigh approximately 100 lb (45 kg). How is the coelacanth's heart different from those of other vertebrates? More...
This Day in History

George Frideric Handel's Oratorio Messiah Debuts (1742)

Composed by Handel, the great master of baroque music, Messiah is one of the most popular choral works in the Western world. Its immense popularity has resulted in the erroneous conception of Handel as primarily a church composer. In truth, the contemplative, English-language oratorio stands apart from the rest of his 32 oratorios, which are dramatically conceived. How did it become tradition for audiences to stand during the performance of Messiah's "Hallelujah" chorus? More...
Today's Birthday

Alfred Mosher Butts (1899)

In the 1930s, Butts, an unemployed architect, invented a game called Lexiko, in which players drew lettered tiles from a pool and then attempted to form words. After unsuccessful attempts to sell the game to board-game makers, Butts sold the rights to entrepreneur James Brunot, who made a few minor adjustments and renamed the game Scrabble. More than 150 million sets have been sold in multiple languages since. How did Butts determine how many tiles of each letter should be included in the game? More...
Quotation of the Day
It is so pleasant to come across people more stupid than ourselves. We love them at once for being so.

Jerome K. Jerome (1859-1927)

Idiom of the Day

dark days

Times of extreme misfortune or difficulty. More...
Today's Holiday

Jefferson's Birthday (2016)

Unique among American presidents, Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) was not only a statesman but a scholar, linguist, writer, philosopher, political theorist, architect, engineer, and farmer. In the US, he is remembered primarily as the author in 1776 of the Declaration of Independence. A birthday commemoration is held each year at Monticello, Jefferson's home in Virginia, as well as at the Jefferson Memorial on the Mall in Washington, DC. More...
In the News

French Face Veil Ban Goes into Effect

On Monday, France became the first country to enact a law forbidding face-covering veils such as the niqab or burqa in public places. Violators of the new law may be fined 150 euros (217 dollars) and made to attend lessons in French citizenship. Anyone found forcing a woman to wear a veil faces a much larger fine and a prison sentence of up to two years. The French government says such veils relegate wearers to an inferior status and cannot be tolerated in a country that values equality. However, opponents of the law say it violates people's freedom of religion and accuse President Nicolas Sarkozy of stigmatizing Muslims to gain the support of far-right voters. More...
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