Daily Content Archive

(as of Wednesday, November 27, 2013)
Word of the Day

android

Definition:(noun) An automaton that resembles a human being.
Synonyms:humanoid, mechanical man
Usage: I programmed the android to mimic my expressions, but something about its subtly inhuman smile leaves me, a scientist, unsettled.
Article of the Day

Pecking Order

A pecking order is a basic pattern of social organization within a flock of poultry in which dominance is established by aggression—members maintain their status by pecking those lower in rank without fear of retaliation and by submitting to pecks from those of higher rank. Nowadays, the term is used somewhat colloquially to describe social hierarchies among other creatures, including humans, and has even been applied to the finance industry. Who coined the term? More...
This Day in History

Alger Hiss Is Released from Prison (1954)

Though Hiss maintained his innocence until his death in 1996, the controversy surrounding his case persists today. Once a US government official, Hiss was accused before the House Un-American Activities Committee of spying for Russia. Though he could not be tried for espionage under the statute of limitations, he was convicted of perjury and served 44 months in prison. Many believed he had been wrongly convicted. However, Soviet files released in 1996 seem to implicate him. Who was his accuser? More...
Today's Birthday

Anders Celsius (1701)

Celsius was a Swedish astronomer who published observations of the aurora borealis and supervised the building of an observatory at Uppsala, Sweden, where he pioneered the measurement of the brightness of stars. Today, however, he is better known for an invention that has been adopted by almost the entire world—the centigrade, or Celsius, thermometer. Originally, his temperature scale had 0 as its boiling point and 100 as its freezing point. Who reversed the numbers after Celsius died? More...
Quotation of the Day
I forget who it was that recommended men for their soul's good to do each day two things they disliked: it was a wise man, and it is a precept that I have followed scrupulously; for every day I have got up and I have gone to bed.

W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965)

Idiom of the Day

the keys to the kingdom

A resource that will give the possessor access to the most complete or profound knowledge or power possible in a given area or pursuit. A reference to Matthew 16:19, when Jesus said to Peter: "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." More...
Today's Holiday

Zwiebelmarkt (2017)

Zwiebelmarkt is a great celebration of onions in Bern, the capital of Switzerland. The onion market is said to date back to the great fire of 1405, after which farmers of Fribourg were given the right to sell their products in Bern because they helped rebuild the city (though the first documented mention of onions came in the middle of the 19th century). Farmers at hundreds of stalls offer for sale more than 100 tons of strings of onions, as well as other winter vegetables and nuts. There are confetti battles, people dressed in disguises, and jesters doing satires of the year's events. More...
In the News

Amsterdam Paying Alcoholics in Beer to Clean Streets

An unorthodox program in Amsterdam that employs alcoholics to clean the streets and pays them in cash, tobacco, and beer is raising a few eyebrows. The program was developed because alcoholics in Amsterdam's Oosterpark were becoming a regular nuisance—getting into fights, being noisy, making lewd comments to passing women—and it was thought that street cleaning would keep them occupied and out of trouble. Still, the practice of enticing addicts to work with promises of the very substance to which they are addicted does not sit well with some. More...
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