Daily Content Archive

(as of Monday, February 06, 2012)
Word of the Day

downplay

Definition:(verb) Represent as less significant or important.
Synonyms:understate, minimize
Usage: As the police interrogated him, Henry tried desperately to downplay his role in the bank robbery.
Article of the Day

Vestal Virgins

The Vestal Virgins were a revered and privileged group of Roman priestesses. They maintained the sacred fire of Vesta, the goddess of the hearth, collected water from a sacred spring, and cared for sacred objects in the temple's sanctuary. The six priestesses were selected as children for 30 years of service, during which time they had to remain virgins. Their well-being and chastity were considered essential to the security of Rome. What was done to a Vestal who broke her vow of chastity? More...
This Day in History

Treaty of Waitangi Establishes New Zealand as a British Colony (1840)

Though considered the founding document of New Zealand as a nation, the Treaty of Waitangi has been the subject of much debate since it was signed by representatives of the British crown and Maori chiefs in 1840. It gave Britain control of New Zealand while recognizing the native inhabitants' land rights. However, the English and Maori texts differed, leading to many controversies over its stipulations. In 1913, one of the treaty documents was restored after having been partially eaten by what? More...
Today's Birthday

Aaron Burr (1756)

Before he shot and mortally wounded Alexander Hamilton in the famous duel, Burr was a well-regarded lawyer and politician, having served in the American Revolution and held various offices, including that of senator. But after Hamilton used his influence to thwart more than one of his political aspirations, Burr—then vice president—challenged him to a duel and won. Later, he was tried for and acquitted of treason for a plan to seize what areas of North America, possibly to create a new country? More...
Quotation of the Day
Friendless, adj.: Having no favors to bestow. Destitute of fortune. Addicted to utterance of truth and common sense.

Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914)

Idiom of the Day

Humpty Dumptyism

The act or practice of misusing or misinterpreting a word, phrase, or article of text to suit one's own meaning or purpose. Taken from the character Humpty Dumpty in Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking-Glass, who states, "When I use a word it means just what I choose it to mean." More...
Today's Holiday

Sapporo Snow Festival (Yuki Matsuri) (2017)

This exuberant celebration of snow and ice has been held since 1950 in Sapporo, the capital city Hokkaido. The week's activities feature a colorful parade and competitive events in winter sports, as well as a display of colossal snow sculptures along the main street and in Odori Park. The sculptures are spectacular—intricately carved and often several stories high. About three weeks before the festival, a wooden frame is built and packed with snow; after the snow has hardened the frame is removed and the carving begins. A different theme is chosen each year for the sculptures. More...
In the News

Malaria Deaths May Be Double WHO Estimates

A new study from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation suggests that the number of malaria deaths in 2010 was twice as high as the World Health Organization (WHO) estimate of 655,000. The discrepancy stems largely from the fact that previous studies, operating on the faulty assumption that malaria mainly kills the very young, overlooked hundreds of thousands of deaths. Data compiled in the new study indicate that 42 percent of malaria deaths occur in older children and adults. Still, both the new study and the WHO agree that malaria deaths overall are on the decline. More...
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