Daily Content Archive

(as of Sunday, April 13, 2014)
Word of the Day

crabbed

Definition:(adjective) Irritable and perverse in disposition; ill-tempered.
Synonyms:fussy, grouchy, grumpy, cross
Usage: I first put out my tacky lawn ornaments as a practical joke, but after my persnickety, crabbed neighbor lodged a complaint about them, I dug my heels in and refused to take them down.
Article of the Day

Snakes

Snakes are scaly, cold-blooded, carnivorous reptiles related to lizards. They tend to be limbless and move by muscular contraction. Though they have razor-sharp teeth, they do not chew their prey but instead swallow it whole with the help of a loosely attached jaw. Because their bodies are tubular, some paired organs must be staggered within the body, and one of the two lungs is generally non-functional and sometimes even absent. Why are snakes associated with healing and medicine? 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
Nothing is more humiliating than to see idiots succeed in enterprises we have failed in.

Gustave Flaubert (1821-1880)

Idiom of the Day

dark days

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

Jefferson's Birthday

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

Spinal Stimulation Lets Paralyzed Patients Move Their Legs Again

Four men who had been paralyzed from the chest down for more than two years regained the ability to voluntarily move their legs and feet after having an electrical device implanted in their spines. Though the procedure did not restore their ability to walk, simply being able to control the movement of their once-paralyzed limbs has had far-reaching benefits both physical—increased muscle mass, improved bladder and sexual function—and psychological. It remains unclear why epidural stimulation has this effect, but researchers suspect it makes the lower spinal cord more excitable and therefore more receptive to signals from the brain. More...
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