Quote of the Day

Jane Austen
Human nature is so well disposed towards those who are in interesting situations, that a young person, who either marries or dies, is sure of being kindly spoken of. Discuss

George Eliot
Ignorance is not so damnable as humbug; but when it prescribes pills it may happen to do more harm.

Lucy Maud Montgomery
It wouldn't do for us to have all our dreams fulfilled. We would be as good as dead if we had nothing left to dream about.

This Day in History

Alaska Formally Transferred from Russia to US (1867)
In 1867, Russia sold Alaska to the United States for $7,200,000. The purchase was accomplished solely through the determined efforts of US Secretary of State William H. Seward, and for many years afterward the land was derisively called "Seward's Folly" or "Seward's Icebox" because of its supposed uselessness. It was not until after the discovery of gold in the Juneau region in 1880 that Alaska was given a governor and a local administration. When did Alaska become a state? Discuss

The First British Open Is Held in Scotland (1860)
The Open Championship of the British Isles, or the Open, is the oldest and one of the most prestigious golf championship tournaments in the world. It began in 1860 at Scotland's Prestwick course and is now rotated among select courses in England and Scotland. The first tournament was won by Willie Park, who also recorded the tournament's highest single-hole stroke total—21. Though today the Open has a multimillion-dollar prize fund, there was no prize money initially. Instead, Park won what?

Marie Antoinette Guillotined (1793)
The daughter of Austrian Archduchess Maria Theresa and Holy Roman Emperor Francis I, Marie Antoinette was the queen of France and wife of King Louis XVI. Her devotion to Austria, reputation for extravagance, and connection to scandals made her unpopular and helped to provoke the French Revolution. After the storming of the Tuileries palace, she and Louis were accused of treason. The king was executed, and Marie was tried, found guilty, and guillotined. Did she really say "Let them eat cake"?

Today

Salimuzzaman Siddiqui (1897)
Siddiqui was a leading Pakistani scientist credited with the isolation of unique chemical compounds from various South Asian plants, particularly the neem tree. The extracts of this tree, a broad-leaved evergreen native to India and Myanmar, have been used for centuries in Asia as pesticides, medicines, and health tonics. In the 21st century, knowledge of the neem tree spread to the West, where it has been hailed as a "wonder plant," largely due to the work of Siddiqui, who discovered what else? Discuss

Thomas Love Peacock (1785)
Peacock was an English writer whose comic and satirical novels—which contain some of his best poems—parody the intellectual pretenses of his age. His best-known work, Nightmare Abbey, satirizes the English romantic movement and contains characters based on Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Lord Byron, and his close friend Percy Bysshe Shelley. After Shelley's death, Peacock became his literary executor. Peacock died at the age of 80 from injuries sustained while trying to save what from a fire?

Robert Craig "Evel" Knievel (1938)
Knievel was an American daredevil and icon of the 1970s. He began doing motorcycle stunts as a teenager, then embarked on an incredibly varied career that included professional hockey, a stint in the army, work in copper mines, and eventually crime—safecracking and holdups. In 1965 he "went straight" and took up performing dangerous and thrilling stunts, which did not always go smoothly and eventually earned him the record for most broken bones in a lifetime. What canyon did Knievel try to jump?