Quote of the Day

Joseph Conrad
What is a novel if not a conviction of our fellow-men's existence strong enough to take upon itself a form of imagined life clearer than reality and whose accumulated verisimilitude of selected episodes puts to shame the pride of documentary history. Discuss

Francis Bacon
Be so true to thyself as thou be not false to others.

Homer
Men grow tired of sleep, love, singing, and dancing sooner than war.

This Day in History

US Secretary of State George Marshall Announces the Marshall Plan (1947)
World War II left the finances and industry of Europe crippled. In 1947, Marshall proposed a plan for the US to finance the European recovery. From 1948 to 1952, it provided almost $13 billion in grants and loans to 17 countries and was a key factor in reviving their economies and stabilizing their political structures. While most of Europe embraced the plan, it was strongly opposed by the Soviet Union and some Eastern European nations. How, according to Marshall, would this plan benefit the US? Discuss

Jonathan Pollard Pleads Guilty to Espionage Charges (1986)
After leaving graduate school in 1979, Pollard immediately began applying for intelligence positions, and landed one at the US Naval Investigative Service (NIS). In 1985, after he had attained a high level of clearance, coworkers noticed that he was accessing a huge number of documents for seemingly no reason. He was arrested and, the following year, pled guilty to selling secrets to Israel. He was sentenced to life in prison. What early clues nearly derailed his career before it started?

"Casey at the Bat" Published in the San Francisco Examiner (1888)
"Casey at the Bat" was one of the most popular poems in late 19th-century America. Recited in vaudeville performances and later taken up by many celebrities, the poem tells the story of an overconfident baseball player—the "mighty Casey"—who strikes out while trying to show off. Ernest Thayer, who wrote the poem, avoided acknowledging authorship for many years because he thought it was embarrassingly bad. Which two real-life towns have laid claim to being the Mudville mentioned in the poem?

Today

John Couch Adams (1819)
Before the planet Neptune was discovered, Adams—an English astronomer and mathematician—correctly predicted its existence and position based on irregularities in the motion of Uranus. However, the credit for the discovery went to Urbain Leverrier, who had come to the same conclusion later but published his findings earlier. In 1846, the planet was first observed by a German astronomer using Leverrier's calculations. A modest man, Adams also declined to publish what other findings? Discuss

François Quesnay (1694)
While serving as consulting physician to Louis XV at Versailles, Quesnay developed an interest in economics. In his 1758 Tableau économique, he described the relationship between the different economic classes of society and the flow of payments among them, and he developed the concept of economic balance used by many later economic analysts. An advocate of laissez-faire economics, he believed that all wealth originated with the land. What school of economics is he credited with founding?

Raoul Dufy (1877)
Dufy was a French designer and painter best known for his outdoor scenes of gaiety and leisure, like horse races, parades, and concerts. He also designed textiles and illustrated books. Dufy studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris and experimented with Impressionism and, later, Fauvism. In the early 1920s, he developed his distinctive style characterized by sketchily drawn objects on bright, decorative backgrounds. Later, he completed one of the largest modern paintings, an ode to what?