Quote of the Day

Jerome K. Jerome
An aching head soon makes one forget an aching heart. Discuss

William Makepeace Thackeray
Oh, be humble, my brother, in your prosperity! Be gentle with those who are less lucky, if not more deserving.

Arthur Conan Doyle
It was easier to know it than to explain why I knew it. If you were asked to prove that two and two made four, you might find some difficulty, and yet you are quite sure of the fact.

This Day in History

Shooter Opens Fire at Damageplan Concert, Killing Four (2004)
Not long after American heavy metal band Pantera disbanded and two of its founding members, brothers "Dimebag" Darrell and Vinnie Paul Abbott, formed the band Damageplan, the group released its debut album. Sadly, it would also be its last. During a concert in Columbus, Ohio, later that year, former US Marine Nathan Gale went on a shooting rampage, killing Darrell along with a fan, a roadie, and a security guard before being fatally shot by a police officer. Why did Gale do it? Discuss

Mary Toft Admits That She Did Not Really Give Birth to Rabbits (1726)
Toft, an English servant, had a bizarre 15 minutes of fame in 1726 when she convinced doctors that she had given birth to a litter of rabbits. At age 25, Toft suffered a miscarriage. About a month later, she appeared to go into labor and proceeded over the next few weeks to "birth" several animal parts along with nine baby bunnies. The episode was attributed to a fascination with rabbits that Toft had developed during her pregnancy—until it was revealed to be a hoax. How had she pulled it off?

The Banana Massacre (1928)
In December 1928, after a month-long strike to secure better working conditions, United Fruit Company workers from the Colombian town of Ciénaga gathered with their families in the town square to hear a scheduled gubernatorial address. Instead of words they were met with bullets fired by government troops. An unknown number died that day. The government took such decisive—and deadly—action to end the strike partly out of fear that US interests in the United Fruit Company would lead to what?

Today

Camille Claudel (1864)
A skilled French sculptor in her own right, Claudel is best remembered for being a student, collaborator, model, and mistress of famed sculptor Auguste Rodin. The two had a tumultuous affair that began to crumble in the 1890s, and Claudel, who suffered from mental illness, became increasingly unstable and reclusive. She was committed in 1913 and remained institutionalized until her death 30 years later. Her work is highly valued by collectors, but little of it survives today. Why is this? Discuss

Gerard Peter Kuiper (1905)
The "father of modern planetary science," Dutch-American astronomer Gerard Kuiper made many discoveries about the solar system, among them the presence of a methane atmosphere around Saturn's satellite Titan and a carbon dioxide-rich one on Mars and the existence of Uranus's satellite Miranda and Neptune's satellite Nereid. He also proposed the existence of a disk-shaped region of minor planets and comets—now called the Kuiper belt—outside Neptune's orbit. What did he help identify on the Moon?

Henry VI of England (1421)
Henry VI became king of England when he was not yet nine months old. That same year, the English proclaimed the infant the successor to the French throne, but France did not recognize this. The young monarch grew up to be a mild, honest, and pious man, a patron of literature and the arts. He was, however, also mentally unstable, weak-willed, and politically naive, and this created a power vacuum that his overly powerful ministers vied to fill, eventually resulting in what decades-long conflict?