Daily Content Archive

(as of Monday, December 19, 2011)
Word of the Day

has-been

Definition:(noun) Someone who is no longer popular.
Synonyms:back-number
Usage: There is a fine line between pop star and washed-up has-been, and the poor sales of her newest record seem to indicate that she has crossed it.
Article of the Day

The Sheng

Also called a syrinx or panpipes, the sheng is a primitive wind instrument consisting of a series of short hollow reeds or pipes graduated in length by the musical scale and fastened side by side. Of Chinese origin, the instrument became known to the Greeks, who linked its origin to the legend of the nymph Syrinx, said to have been transformed into reeds to escape the amorous pursuit of the god Pan. What composers have used the sheng in their compositions? More...
This Day in History

A Christmas Carol Is Published (1843)

English novelist Charles Dickens wrote many books and stories about Christmas. His first, the beloved A Christmas Carol, was written in just weeks, reputedly to meet the expenses of his wife's fifth pregnancy. An instant success, it has since been adapted countless times for theater and film. The last name of the story's protagonist, Ebenezer Scrooge, has even entered the English lexicon as a word meaning a mean-spirited, miserly person. What allegedly inspired Dickens to write the story? More...
Today's Birthday

Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev (1906)

Brezhnev joined the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) in 1931 and steadily rose through the ranks, eventually becoming general secretary of the CPSU (1964-1982) and president of the USSR (1977-1982). A protégé of Nikita Khrushchev, he took power after helping engineer Khrushchev's ouster. Brezhnev's regime was later criticized for its corruption and failed economic policies, but the global influence of the USSR increased dramatically during his tenure, thanks in part to what doctrine? More...
Quotation of the Day
Feast, n.: A festival. A religious celebration usually signalized by gluttony and drunkenness, frequently in honor of some holy person distinguished for abstemiousness.

Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914)

Idiom of the Day

hawks and doves

Respectively, those who favor or support aggressive military action, especially regarding foreign policy, versus those who are inclined to more peaceful, diplomatic solutions. More...
Today's Holiday

Opalia (2016)

The ancient Roman fertility goddess Ops was known by several different names—among them Rhea, Cybele, Bona Dea, and Magna Mater. She married Saturn and was the mother of Jupiter, and was usually portrayed as a matron, with a loaf of bread in her left hand and her right hand open as if offering assistance. Not much is known about what actually took place during the Opalia. It appears that women played an important role in the festival. Because Ops was a fertility goddess, she was often invoked by touching the earth. More...
In the News

Facebook Introduces Suicide Prevention Measures

The popular social networking site Facebook launched a new feature that aims to connect potentially suicidal users with crisis counselors. In recent years, a number of suicidal users have posted their final words on Facebook. The new tool allows users who see this to report the suicidal content to Facebook, which will then email the distressed user a direct link for a private online chat with a counselor from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline as well as the organization's phone number. The service is available to Facebook users in the US and Canada. More...
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