Daily Content Archive

(as of Saturday, May 28, 2016)
Word of the Day

touchstone

Definition:(noun) A basis for comparison; a reference point against which other things can be evaluated.
Synonyms:criterion, standard, measure
Usage: You appear to me to be the very touchstone of responsibility.
Daily Grammar Lesson

Ending Exclamatory Sentences

Exclamation points are most often used in place of periods to end declarative sentences that express a very strong emotion, such as anger, excitement, surprise, or disgust. What are such sentences sometimes called? More...
Article of the Day

Prehistoric Music

Music existed long before human cultures were literate or had developed a written system of record-keeping, perhaps originating as an attempt to echo the sounds and rhythms of nature. These sounds may have been used to lure prey while hunting or in recreational or shamanistic rituals. The oldest known bone flute is about 50,000 years old, but experts believe that humans may have used what to create a form of music that predates such instruments? More...
This Day in History

NASA Announces Discovery of Ice Deposits on Mars (2002)

Launched in April 2001, the Mars Odyssey spacecraft was sent by the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to look for evidence of water on Mars. A little over a year later, NASA announced that water had been detected there in the form of ice, suggesting the possibility of microbial life on the Red Planet. The Phoenix lander confirmed the presence of water in 2008. The presence of what element led NASA researchers to conclude that there was indeed water on Mars? More...
Today's Birthday

Jean Louis Rodolphe Agassiz (1807)

Agassiz was a Swiss-born naturalist and geologist. Noticing the presence of huge alpine boulders in areas of Switzerland where there are no glaciers, he hypothesized that glaciers had, at one time, been widespread in the area and had dragged the boulders there. This lent credence to his theory of a recent ice age. He was also a renowned teacher and did notable work with fossils. Agassiz was a lifelong opponent, on religious grounds, of what now-accepted scientific theory? More...
Quotation of the Day
He is wise who loveth well.

Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616)

Idiom of the Day

be a different kettle of fish

To be entirely different in scope or description from someone or something that was just being discussed. More...
Today's Holiday

Big Singing (2017)

Big Singing in Benton, Kentucky, brings together more than 100 singers trained in the tradition of shape-note singing. Together they enjoy a communal picnic lunch and spend the day singing hymns written in an almost-extinct style of musical notation called shape notes. A book titled The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion increased the popularity of this kind of singing in 19th-century America. The Big Singing in Benton dates back to 1884; it is currently sponsored by the Society for the Preservation of Southern Harmony Singing. More...
Word Trivia

Today's topic: measuring

cord - An amount of wood containing 128 cubic feet (4x4x8 feet); the name comes from the old practice of measuring a stack of firewood with a cord of a certain length. To cord is to stack or put up wood in cords. More...

drosometer - An instrument for measuring the amount of dew on a surface. More...

isometric - From Latin isus, "equal," and -metria, "measuring." More...

Mach - The scale measuring the speed of an object or fluid relative to the speed of sound is named for philosopher/physicist Ernst Mach (1838-1916), who researched thermodynamics; Mach is the ratio of the speed of something to the speed of sound in the surrounding medium. More...

In the News

Fossil Gives Clues to Extinction 250 Million Years Ago

A newly-classified fossil gives clues to how life in the oceans recovered from a mass extinction about 250 million years ago. The reptile is an early relative of the ichthyosaurs - a large group of marine reptiles that swam at the time of the dinosaurs. With ... More...
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