Daily Content Archive

(as of Thursday, February 16, 2012)
Word of the Day

frivolity

Definition:(noun) Something of little value or significance.
Synonyms:frippery, bagatelle, fluff
Usage: There is a serious message beneath this frivolity.
Article of the Day

Kirishitan

The Kirishitan were Japanese converts to Catholicism in the 16th and 17th centuries. Missionary activity began in Japan soon after Portuguese shipping arrived in 1543. By the end of the century, the Japanese Christian community had grown to about 300,000—the largest non-European Christian community in the world. In 1614, Christianity was banned. Despite the threat of execution, some Kirishitan maintained their religion in secret. What tactic did the government use to expose suspected Christians? More...
This Day in History

Burning of the USS Philadelphia (1804)

The USS Philadelphia was a 36-gun frigate that ran aground in October 1803 while blockading the coast of Tripoli. After some consideration, the Americans decided that the ship was too powerful a weapon to remain in enemy hands and sent a party of soldiers to recapture the ship and burn it. In carrying out "the most bold and daring act of the age," the assaulting party used what ruse to sail up to the ship without arousing the suspicion of its Tripolitan guards? More...
Today's Birthday

Hugo Marie de Vries (1848)

De Vries was a Dutch botanist whose theory of biological mutation and rediscovery of Mendel's laws of heredity made possible the active investigation and universal acceptance of Darwin's theory of evolution. He held that new species are formed chiefly through mutations—sudden, unpredictable, inheritable changes in an individual organism. Teaching at the University of Amsterdam, he introduced the experimental study of evolution. What important evolution-related term did he introduce to science? More...
Quotation of the Day
An idea that is not dangerous is unworthy of being called an idea at all.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)

Idiom of the Day

hair-splittingly

With extremely minute, unimportant, or imperceptible differences or details. (Used before an adjective.) More...
Today's Holiday

Birthday of Kim Jong-Il (2017)

The birth date of the late North Korean leader Kim Jong-il (February 16, 1941-December 17, 2011) is marked with a two-day public holiday observed throughout the country. Large-scale public celebrations—including mass gymnastics displays, musical performances, fireworks, and military demonstrations—are centered in the capital city of Pyongyang. Special horticultural exhibitions feature the Kimjongilia, a flower cultivated to bloom around Kim's birthday. The government also often marks his birthday by allotting North Koreans extra food or electricity. More...
In the News

Prison Fire Kills Hundreds in Honduras

A massive fire in an overcrowded Honduran prison has claimed the lives of over 350 inmates, many of whom were trapped in their cells as the building burned. Riots and fights between rival gangs are not uncommon in Honduran prisons, leading to speculation that the fire could have been deliberately set. Several survivors have stated that the blaze was started by an inmate who lit a mattress on fire, but this has not been confirmed. There are also questions about how many of those presumed dead actually escaped the jail during the fire. Officials will need to use dental records and DNA to identify the remains of many of the victims. More...
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