Quote of the Day

Miguel de Cervantes
There are two sorts of beauty, one of the mind, the other of the body; that of the mind displays and exhibits itself in intelligence, in modesty, in honorable conduct, in generosity, in good breeding...and when it is this sort of beauty...that is the attraction, love is apt to spring up suddenly and violently. Discuss

Jane Austen
One cannot fix one's eyes on the commonest natural production without finding food for a rambling fancy.

Gilbert Chesterton
Bigotry may be roughly defined as the anger of men who have no opinions.

This Day in History

UN General Assembly Adopts Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)
Drafted by a committee chaired by Eleanor Roosevelt, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is the world's most translated document. Among its 30 articles are definitions of civil and political rights, as well as definitions of economic, social, and cultural rights—all of which are owed by UN member states to those under their jurisdiction. Since its adoption, it has acquired more juridical status than originally intended and has been widely used, even by national courts, in what ways? Discuss

John Birch Society Founded (1958)
The John Birch Society was founded in 1958 by Robert H. Welch, Jr., a retired candymaker, to combat communism and promote ultraconservative causes in the US. It was named for an American missionary and army intelligence officer killed by Chinese communists in 1945, considered by the society the first hero of the Cold War. Its membership reached more than 70,000 in the 1960s. Since then, it has promoted many objectives, including pressing for the US to withdraw from what organization?

SpaceX Launches and Returns a Spacecraft from Orbit (2010)
In 2002, PayPal cofounder Elon Musk established the California-based space transportation company SpaceX. In 2010, SpaceX became the first private company to place a spacecraft into orbit and successfully recover it. The craft, called Dragon, was launched on a Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral. Eventually, SpaceX hopes to fly missions to the International Space Station for NASA. Although Dragon was unmanned during its maiden voyage, it was carrying what secret piece of cargo?

Today

Emily Dickinson (1830)
Dickinson is widely considered one of the greatest American poets. After attending Amherst Academy and Mount Holyoke Seminary, she returned to her family home and spent the rest of her life there, writing. By 1860, she was boldly experimenting with language. Few of her poems were published in her lifetime, but after her death, her cache of poems was discovered, and heavily edited collections were published starting in 1890. It was not until what year that an unaltered collection was published? Discuss

William Whiston (1667)
Whiston was an English clergyman and mathematician. He won favor through his New Theory of the Earth and in 1701 was made deputy to Sir Isaac Newton, whom he succeeded as a professor of mathematics at Cambridge. Well known as a preacher, Whiston aroused opposition by proclaiming his opinions about early Christianity, and in 1710 he was dismissed from the university for heresy. In 1736, he caused widespread panic when he predicted that what would bring the world to its end within the year?

James Thurber (1894)
After working at various newspapers, Thurber served on the staff of The New Yorker from 1927 to 1933 and was later a principal contributor to the magazine, publishing drawings, stories, and anecdotes of his misadventures. He is especially known for his short story "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty." In 1940, his failing eyesight forced him to curtail his drawing, and by 1952 he had to give it up altogether as his blindness had become nearly total. What is said to be Thurber's last drawing?