Daily Content Archive

(as of Sunday, May 12, 2013)
Word of the Day

bedevil

Definition:(verb) Be confusing or perplexing to; cause to be unable to think clearly.
Synonyms:befuddle, confound, discombobulate, fox, throw
Usage: Jerry frequently bedevils his conversation partners by rapidly and abruptly changing topics.
Article of the Day

Electricity

Electrical phenomena, caused by the presence and flow of electric charge, have been studied since antiquity. Static electricity was the first of them to be recognized and investigated. As early as 600 BCE, certain cultures had discovered that rubbing amber with fur caused it to attract light objects such as feathers. Some 2,200 years later, English scientist William Gilbert coined the term "electricity" to describe the electrification of substances. How did he come up with the word? More...
This Day in History

Priest Attempts to Assassinate the Pope in Portugal (1982)

Almost a year to the day after Pope John Paul II was shot by a Turkish gunman, a priest named Juan María Fernández y Krohn attacked the pontiff with a bayonet. It was long thought that the would-be assassin was restrained before he could wound the pope, but a former aide now claims that the pope was indeed injured. During his trial, Krohn accused the pope of being a secret communist agent in league with the USSR. How long was his prison sentence? More...
Today's Birthday

Gustav I of Sweden (1496?)

Considered the father of modern Sweden, Gustav I was king of Sweden and founder of the Vasa dynasty. A senator's son, he became a leader in the rebellion against the Danes, who controlled most of Sweden. In 1523—having won Sweden's independence—he was elected king. He was an autocratic ruler and built a strong monarchy and an efficient administration. Aside from his temper, he was known for his love of music and sly wit. How did being beaten with a baking implement supposedly save his life? More...
Quotation of the Day
Our inventions are wont to be pretty toys, which distract our attention from serious things. They are but improved means to an unimproved end.

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)

Idiom of the Day

in the sticks

In the countryside, especially in a rustic or particularly unsophisticated area. More...
Today's Holiday

Bun Bang Fai (2017)

Bun Bang Fai is a rain ceremony celebrated in Laos and northeastern Thailand. In Laos, this is one of the country's wildest celebrations, with music and irreverent dances, processions, and merrymaking. The celebration ends with the firing of bamboo rockets into the sky, supposedly prompting the heavens to commence the rainy season. In Thailand, the celebration is usually on the second weekend in May and is especially festive in Yasothon, with villagers shooting off huge rockets. Before the shooting, there are beauty parades, folk dances, and ribald entertainment. More...
In the News

Project to Develop Unnatural Natural Light Sources Funded

A team of innovators has raised over $300,000 (and counting)—well above its $65,000 goal—to fund the development of glowing plants that it hopes will one day yield enough light to reduce the need for electric light sources and provide us instead with a more sustainable alternative. The team will start by introducing a bioluminescence gene into a small flowering plant, and, if successful, it plans to follow this with a glowing rose plant. In time, the developers hope, glowing trees will light our way at night instead of street lamps. More...
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