Daily Content Archive

(as of Tuesday, September 27, 2016)
Word of the Day

yardmaster

Definition:(noun) A railroad employer who is in charge of a railway yard.
Synonyms:train dispatcher, trainmaster
Usage: Observing that the yardmaster had his back turned, the vagabonds leaped into one of the boxcars.
Article of the Day

Vacuum Energy

The composition of vacuum energy, an underlying background energy that exists in space even when that space is devoid of matter, remains one of physics' great unsolved mysteries. The phenomenon results in the existence of most, if not all, of the fundamental forces, such as gravity and electromagnetism, and many experts suspect that it affects the behavior of the universe on a cosmological scale. What 1948 experiment provided the first experimental verification of the existence of vacuum energy? 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
I don't like compliments, and I don't see why a man should think he is pleasing a woman enormously when he says to her a whole heap of things that he doesn't mean.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)

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 (2016)

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

Planet with Two Suns Found, Thanks to a Trick of Llight

Exoplanets seem to be a dime a dozen these days — and even ones with two (or even three) suns in their sky have lost a bit of their wow factor. But the latest discovery of a "Tatooine" manages to stand apart. For the first time, scientists have spotted ... More...
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