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Word of the Day

banal

Definition: (adjective) Drearily commonplace and often predictable; trite.
Synonyms: stock, threadbare, hackneyed, old-hat, well-worn, tired
Usage: By his twelfth book, his plots had become downright banal.
Article of the Day

Veni Vidi Vici

Before Julius Caesar was made dictator for life, he engaged in a civil war with his rival Pompey. Caesar started the war by crossing the Rubicon River into Italy, reportedly uttering the words Iacta alea est—"the die is cast." Pompey fled and was eventually killed after Caesar pursued him to Egypt. From Egypt, Caesar went to Syria and Pontus, where in 47 BCE he defeated Pharnaces II with such ease that he reported his victory with the words Veni, vidi, vici—meaning what? More...
This Day in History

Peyo Introduces The Smurfs (1958)

The Smurfs, or Les Schtroumpfs in French, are a fictional race of forest-dwelling creatures that stand just "three apples high" and have blue skin. The Belgian cartoonist Peyo introduced Smurfs to the world, but English speakers perhaps know them best from the Hanna-Barbera Productions animated television series. The Smurf franchise has spawned movies, television shows, figurines, and countless other types of merchandise. How did Peyo come up with the name for his famous creatures? More...
Today's Birthday

Pelé (1940)

In 1999, Brazilian footballer Edson Arantes do Nascimento, better known as Pelé, was named Athlete of the Century by the International Olympic Committee. Over the course of his 21-year career from 1956 to 1977, he scored 1,281 goals, captured every scoring record in Brazil, and led his national team to three World Cup victories. After his superb first World Cup appearance in 1958, Brazilian officials feared that their star player might be poached by a European club and did what prevent this? More...
Today's Holiday

Chulalongkorn Day

Chulalongkorn Day is a national holiday in Thailand commemorating King Chulalongkorn (Rama V), the king who abolished slavery and introduced numerous reforms when the country was still called Siam. He succeeded to the throne in 1868 when he was 15 years old, was crowned in 1873, and ruled until his death in 1910. He had been a pupil of Anna Leonowens, who taught the young prince about Abraham Lincoln. The story of her stay in the royal court, and her teaching of the royal children and concubines, was told in Margaret Landon's book, Anna and the King of Siam. More...
In the News

Why Some Get SAD

Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, is a form of depression most often experienced in winter, when exposure to sunlight is limited. Although the mechanism of the disorder is not entirely understood, researchers are closing in on its causes. Data show that people with SAD have higher evening and nighttime levels of serotonin transporter (SERT) protein during the winter months than do healthy volunteers. SERT carries serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood, back into nerve cells where it is not active, so these higher SERT levels could conceivably account for the "winter blues." More on the subject...
Quote of the Day
Very notable was his distinction between coarseness and vulgarity, coarseness, revealing something; vulgarity, concealing something.
E. M. Forster
(1879-1970)
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