Daily Content Archive

(as of Friday, September 27, 2013)
Word of the Day

countermand

Definition:(verb) To cancel or reverse (a previously issued command or order).
Synonyms:repeal, rescind, annul, revoke, vacate, reverse, overturn, lift
Usage: Countermand the order for cake, send a wire putting off the wedding, dismiss the bridesmaids, [and] tell the organist he can stop practicing.
Article of the Day

Water Politics

According to the World Health Organization, each person requires about 5 gallons (20 liters) of water per day to adequately meet drinking and hygiene needs. Yet billions live without sufficient water resources. The Middle East, for instance, shares about 1 percent of the world's available water among 5 percent of the world's population, and its major rivers cross international borders. Such discrepancies can lead to conflict. Which Middle Eastern conflicts have been fueled by water politics? More...
This Day in History

Pope Urban VII Dies Just 13 Days into Papacy (1590)

Urban VII was chosen to succeed Sixtus V as pope on September 15, 1590. His death from malaria 13 days later made his the shortest papal reign in history. His very short time as pope nevertheless gave rise to the world's first known public smoking ban when he threatened to excommunicate anyone who "took tobacco in the porchway of or inside a church, whether it be by chewing it, smoking it with a pipe, or sniffing it in powdered form through the nose." Who succeeded him? More...
Today's Birthday

Grazia Deledda (1871)

Influenced by the verismo—"realism"—school, Nobel Prize-winning Italian novelist Grazia Deledda wrote her first stories while just a teen and was still having her works published after her death. Her work is lyric and in part naturalistic and combines sympathy and humor with occasional touches of violence. In her approximately 40 novels, the ancient ways of her native Sardinia often come into conflict with modern mores. What are her most famous works? More...
Quotation of the Day
For he that does good, having the unlimited power to do evil, deserves praise not only for the good which he performs, but for the evil which he forbears.

Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832)

Idiom of the Day

have a (good/solid/sound/etc.) grasp of/on (something)

To have a firm, clear understanding or determination of something. More...
Today's Holiday

Maskal

Maskal is a Christian festival in Ethiopia to commemorate what is believed to have been the finding of the True Cross, the cross on which Christ was crucified. In communities throughout the nation, a tall pole called a demara is set up and topped with a cross. Families place smaller demaras against the big one, and in the evening they are made into a huge bonfire. Religious ceremonies are performed around the bonfire, with songs and dancing. The ashes of the burned-out fire are considered holy, and the people place the powder of the ashes on their foreheads. More...
In the News

Texas Man's Drunkenness Traced to Brewery in His Gut

A recent case described in a medical paper lends a whole new meaning to the term "beer gut." For five years, a Texas man seemed to be constantly drunk. Even on days that not a drop of alcohol touched his lips, breathalyzers and blood alcohol tests showed high levels of alcohol in his system. Doctors assumed he was simply a closet drinker, but they turned out to be wrong. Unbeknownst to anyone—doctors and patient included—the man's body was converting carbohydrates into ethanol during digestion. Gastroenterologists who finally gave him a thorough examination in 2010 diagnosed him with a rare condition known as gut fermentation syndrome or auto-brewery syndrome. More...
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