Daily Content Archive

(as of Wednesday, August 19, 2015)
Word of the Day

pyrite

Definition:(noun) A brass-colored mineral, FeS2, occurring widely and used as an iron ore and in producing sulfur dioxide for sulfuric acid.
Synonyms:fool's gold
Usage: The children thought the gleaming bits of metal they had found were gold, and their nurse refrained from telling them they were simply flecks of pyrite.
Article of the Day

The Highland Potato Famine (1846-1857)

In the mid 19th century, at a time when most of the crofters, or tenants, of the Scottish Highlands were dependent on potatoes as a source of food, their potato crops were blighted with a terrible fungal disease that caused the crop to fail for the next ten years. The blight was similar to the contemporaneous Irish Potato Famine, but the latter was perhaps more severe and closer to a true famine. What was the landlords' solution to the problem of starving crofters? More...
This Day in History

American Outlaw John Wesley Hardin Shot Dead (1895)

Hardin was an American desperado who claimed to have killed 42 men, one of them allegedly for snoring. He became a gambler and a gunman very early in life, but his friends and gunfighting skills helped him evade the authorities until 1877, when he was sentenced to 25 years for killing a sheriff. He studied law in prison and was released after serving 16 years. Pardoned in 1894, he passed the bar exam and began to practice law, but a local constable shot him to death a year later for what reason? More...
Today's Birthday

Madame du Barry (1743)

Madame du Barry was the mistress of Louis XV. She was first the mistress of Jean du Barry, who introduced her into Parisian high society. Admired for her beauty, she joined Louis XV's court in 1769 after a nominal marriage to Jean's brother, a nobleman, qualified her to be Louis's official royal mistress. Though she exercised little political influence, her unpopularity contributed to the decline of the prestige of the crown in the early 1770s. What happened to her during the French Revolution? More...
Quotation of the Day
A smile is the chosen vehicle for all ambiguities.

Herman Melville (1819-1891)

Idiom of the Day

grasp in the dark

To seek out a solution, meaning, or sense of purpose in a blind, aimless, or uncertain manner. Often used in the progressive tense. More...
Today's Holiday

The Fifteenth of Av (2016)

During the time of the Second Temple in Jerusalem (dedicated between 521 and 517 BCE), this was a Jewish folk festival in which young women would dress in white and dance in the vineyards, where young bachelors would come to choose their brides. According to the Talmud, the 15th day of Av was the day when members of different tribes were allowed to intermarry. Although in modern times there have been attempts by new settlements in Israel to turn this day into one of music and dancing, the idea doesn't seem to have caught on. The Fifteenth of Av is marked only by a ban on eulogies or fasting. More...
In the News

Is This What the World's "First Flower" Looked Like?

Researchers believe that a 130-million-year-old aquatic plant from Spain may represent one of the world's first flowers. Sort of. In a study published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, scientists from the United States and ... More...
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