Daily Content Archive

(as of Sunday, October 26, 2014)
Word of the Day

whet

Definition:(verb) To make more keen; stimulate.
Synonyms:quicken, pique
Usage: The aroma of frying bacon whetted my appetite.
Article of the Day

The Roof, the Roof, the Roof (of My Mouth) Is on Fire!

The burning sensation that engulfs your mouth when you eat a chili pepper is caused by the extremely pungent compound capsaicin. In 1912, Wilber Lincoln Scoville devised a system for ranking the relative spiciness of different peppers based on the degree of dilution necessary for a panel of taste testers to no longer feel the "heat" when sipping a pepper extract. The higher a pepper's measurement in Scoville units, the hotter it is. What are some of the world's hottest peppers? More...
This Day in History

USA PATRIOT Act Signed into Law (2001)

Enacted quickly and with little opposition in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the sweeping USA PATRIOT Act dramatically enhanced the powers of law enforcement and intelligence-gathering agencies within the US. The bill has since come under increasing scrutiny and criticism, and aspects of it have faced legal challenges in the courts. After it was renewed in 2006, most of its sections became permanent. What section of the act has riled librarians in particular? More...
Today's Birthday

Mahalia Jackson (1911)

As a child, Jackson sang at the New Orleans church where her father preached. After moving to Chicago, she sang with a touring gospel quintet. Her warm, powerful voice first came to wider public attention in the 1930s. Called "The Queen of Gospel," she sang at an inaugural party for US President John F. Kennedy, at the 1963 March on Washington, and at the funeral of Martin Luther King, Jr. Despite many offers, she refused to sing secular songs. Jackson was born with what physical deformity? More...
Quotation of the Day
A jest's prosperity lies in the ear of him that hears it, Never in the tongue of him that makes it.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

Idiom of the Day

a joy to behold

A thing, event, or experience that creates a profound sense of joy or elation in the spectator. More...
Today's Holiday

Punkie Night (2017)

In the English village of Hinton St. George, Somerset, it is traditional for both children and adults to walk through town carrying "punkies," or lanterns made from carved-out mangel-wurzels, or mangolds (a variety of beet), with candles in them. Although this custom is observed in other English towns, the celebration at Hinton St. George is by far the best established. There is a procession of children carrying punkies through the streets, begging for money, and singing the "punky song." A prize is given out for the best carved punky. More...
In the News

Ancient Easter Islanders Mingled with South Americans

Easter Island is perhaps best known for its mysterious, monolithic stone statues that have been the subject of countless investigations, but the ancient Polynesian people who populated the island are also a focus of study. Easter Island is separated from South America by 2,300 miles (3,700 km) of ocean, ostensibly leaving its population fairly isolated prior to the arrival of Westerners in 1722. However, genetic analysis shows that the islanders had intimate contact with native South Americans sometime between 1300 and 1500, suggesting that a migration route between Polynesia and the Americas had been established by this period. More...
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