Quote of the Day

Mark Twain
Wit is the sudden marriage of ideas which before their union were not perceived to have any relation. Discuss

E. M. Forster
Spoon feeding in the long run teaches us nothing but the shape of the spoon.

Rudyard Kipling
I keep six honest serving-men(They taught me all I knew);Their names are What and Why and WhenAnd How and Where and Who.

This Day in History

Girolamo Savonarola Executed for Heresy (1498)
Savonarola was an Italian preacher and religious reformer. After the overthrow of the Medici family, he became the ruler of Florence, setting up a democratic but severely puritanical government. He was opposed by the allies of the Medici and by Pope Alexander VI, who attempted to restrain Savonarola's unusual interpretations of scripture and his claim of prophecy. He was tried, convicted of heresy, and hanged. His government was known for its "bonfire of the vanities," which was what? Discuss

Pac-Man Arcade Game Released (1980)
First released in Japan in 1980, Pac-Man went on to become one of the most famous arcade games of all time. Developed by Namco video game designer Toru Iwatani, the game became an icon of 80s pop culture and is often credited with being a landmark in video game history. For the 30th anniversary of Pac-Man in 2010, Google turned its homepage logo into a fully playable version of the game. How much productivity did businesses reportedly lose from employees playing the game?

Island of Saint Helena Discovered (1502)
The uninhabited island of St. Helena was discovered by Portuguese navigator João da Nova in the eastern South Atlantic, 1,200 mi (1,931 km) west of Africa. It became a port of call for ships sailing between Europe and the East Indies and was annexed by the British East India Company in 1659. Because of the island's remoteness, when the British exiled Napoleon Bonaparte in 1815, he was sent there. It became a British crown colony in 1834, but its importance declined after what was opened in 1869?

Today

Artie Shaw (1910)
Considered one of swing's two great clarinetists—along with his rival, Benny Goodman—Shaw was a virtuoso at his instrument. He began playing professionally as a teen before becoming leader of one of the most popular big bands of the swing era. In 1935, he performed with a string quartet that he later expanded into a more conventional dance band. He led a US Navy band during World War II and various ensembles later on, retiring in 1954. How many times was Shaw married? Discuss

Richard Wagner (1813)
Wagner was a German composer whose astonishing works made him one of the most influential figures in the history of Western music. He revolutionized the 19th-century idea of opera, seeing it as a wholly new art form in which musical, poetic, and scenic elements should come together through such devices as the leitmotif—a recurring melodic phrase used to illustrate a character or idea. His operas include Tristan and Isolde, as well as his masterpiece, a four-opera cycle known as what?

Elizabeth Fry (1780)
Fry was an English prison reformer as well as an advocate of higher nursing standards and the education of working women. From 1813, she worked untiringly to improve the conditions for women in Newgate prison, advocating separation of the sexes, employment, and religious training. Her successful methods at Newgate impressed the government and were tried in other prisons. She also helped the homeless, founding soup kitchens and shelters in London. On what unit of currency is Fry pictured?