Quote of the Day

Washington Irving
Great minds have purposes; others have wishes. Little minds are tamed and subdued by misfortune; but great minds rise above them. Discuss

Jerome K. Jerome
I can see the humorous side of things and enjoy the fun when it comes; but look where I will, there seems to me always more sadness than joy in life.

Gustave Flaubert
Do not read, as children do, to amuse yourself, or like the ambitious, for the purpose of instruction. No, read in order to live.

This Day in History

Magellan Space Probe Reaches Venus (1990)
The first planetary spacecraft to be launched from a space shuttle, Magellan took 15 months to reach its destination, arriving in orbit around the second planet from the Sun in August 1990. It was then put to work generating high-resolution maps of Venus's surface and measuring the planet's gravity. Four years later, with its mission complete, Magellan plunged into Venus's tremendously dense atmosphere and disintegrated. What do Magellan's images reveal about the planet? Discuss

Singapore Is Expelled from Malaysia (1965)
After more than a century of British rule, Singapore gained independence in 1959. Four years later, it joined with nearby territories to form Malaysia. However, racial and economic tensions arose, and two years later, the Malaysian parliament unanimously voted to expel Singapore. Despite being left unexpectedly autonomous with few defenses or natural resources, Singapore rapidly developed into an economic powerhouse. Still, it remains dependent on Malaysia for what one critical thing?

2008 Summer Olympics Begin in Beijing, China (2008)
At 8:08 PM on 8-8-08, the opening ceremony for the Summer Olympics began. Held in the new Beijing National Stadium—nicknamed "the Bird's Nest"—it marked China's first time hosting the Olympics. The nearly four-hour event, which showcased Chinese culture, was a popular and logistical success, and the games became one of the most-watched TV events in history. However, in the international torch relay before the opening ceremony, protests in what city caused the Olympic torch to be extinguished?

Today

Henri Nestlé (1814)
Born in Germany, Nestlé was the 11th of 14 children—only half of whom survived to adulthood. After apprenticing to a pharmacist in the 1830s, he began to work on an infant food that could serve as a substitute for breast milk for struggling babies. Combining milk, flour, and sugar, he created the first commercial infant formula and founded what is today the largest processed foods company in the world. The Nestlé company logo is derived from the family coat of arms, which includes what image? Discuss

Izaak Walton (1593)
A friend and fishing companion of John Donne, Walton wrote one of the most famous and frequently reprinted books in the English language, The Compleat Angler; or, the Contemplative Man's Recreation. The book not only describes the strategies and techniques of fishing, it also draws a picture of peace and simple virtue that was Walton's protest against the civil wars taking place at the time. Though the book was first published in 1653, Walton continued to add to it—for how long?

Paul Adrien Maurice Dirac (1902)
Dirac was an influential English mathematician and theoretical physicist. In 1928, he published a version of quantum mechanics taking into account the theory of relativity. His theory predicted an antiparticle to the electron, and, in 1932, the positron was discovered. That year, Dirac was appointed to the same University of Cambridge chair once held by Isaac Newton. Likely autistic, Dirac was known for his precise nature and literal view of the world. How did he once introduce his wife?