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Word of the Day

quaff

Definition: (verb) To swallow hurriedly or greedily or in one draught.
Synonyms: gulp, swig
Usage: Recently returned to port, the sailors quaffed their ale with gusto.
Article of the Day

Roxelana

The story of Roxelana is a true rags-to-riches tale. Little is known of her early life, but she was likely born in Ukraine in the 16th century. At some point, she was captured by Crimean Tatars and taken as a slave. Brought to Constantinople (now Istanbul), she was selected to be a concubine in the harem of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. Roxelana soon gained Suleiman's favor and—in a shocking break with tradition—he made her his legal wife. What did this mean for the sons she bore him? More...
This Day in History

Peru and Chile Sign Treaty of Ancón (1883)

The Treaty of Ancón ended Peru's involvement in the War of the Pacific, which broke out between Chile and the joint forces of Bolivia and Peru in 1879. Victorious, Chile annexed the Peruvian province of Tarapacá and gained substantial mineral-rich territories, leaving Bolivia without access to the sea. The loss of the coast remains an emotional issue for many Bolivians, who attribute their country's problems to being landlocked. What items stolen during the war did Chile return to Peru in 2007? More...
Today's Birthday

Béla Lugosi (1882)

Lugosi, a Hungarian-born US actor, is best known for his portrayal of Dracula in the Broadway stage production and subsequent film of Bram Stoker's classic vampire story. He appeared in the 1931 film version wearing minimal makeup and using his natural, heavily accented voice. Following this memorable performance, Lugosi found himself frequently typecast as a horror film villain. When Lugosi died in 1956, his son and fourth wife decided to bury him wearing what part of his Dracula costume? More...
Today's Holiday

The Birth of the Bab

The Birth of the Bab is a holy day in the Baha'i religion to celebrate the birthday in 1819 of Mirza Ali Mohammad in Shiraz, Persia (now Iran). In 1844, Mirza Ali declared himself the Bab (meaning "gate") and foretold the coming of one greater than he. The day, on which work is suspended, is a happy social occasion for Baha'is. More...
In the News

Hopping Relatively Recent Development in Kangaroos

Kangaroos are known for their characteristic hop, but they didn't always get around like this. Analysis of the fossilized bones of extinct kangaroos called sthenurines finds that they were not anatomically cut out for hopping and likely got around instead by walking in much the same manner that humans do. Sthenurines lived in Australia from about 13 million years ago to about 30,000 years ago, going extinct around the same time that humans arrived on the continent, quite possibly as a result of human activities. More on the subject...
Quote of the Day
Our deeds determine us, as much as we determine our deeds.
George Eliot
(1819-1880)
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