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Articolele zilei - Articles of the day

Though 19th-century women were expected to be homemakers, La Framboise engaged in the dangerous occupation of fur trading. She had great success in the territory of present-day Michigan, where she owned many trading posts with her husband. While an experienced fur trader at the time earned about $1,000 per year, La Framboise collected $5,000 to $10,000 annually. She managed the family trading business—and further expanded it while raising two children—after what happened to her husband? Discuss
The Tempest Prognosticator, known also as the Leech Barometer because it uses leeches to predict storms, was invented in 1850 by Dr. George Merryweather. The device contains 12 leeches, each kept in a small bottle. When the leeches become agitated by electrical conditions in the atmosphere generated by an approaching storm, they attempt to climb out of the bottles and trigger a small hammer that strikes a bell. Whose poetry inspired Merryweather to build his device? Discuss
The Vajra is a ritual object that holds a symbolic significance to Buddhists and Hindus. The scepter-like implement, whose name means both "thunderbolt" and "diamond" in Sanskrit, is said to have the ability to cut through ignorance like a thunderbolt and be indestructible like a diamond. In Buddhist rituals, it is often employed in conjunction with a bell in order to achieve enlightenment. In Hindu mythology, the vajra is the weapon of the god Indra and is said to be made of what? Discuss
Burroughs was an American novelist, essayist, social critic, painter, and spoken-word performer whose two dozen books controversially blend homosexuality, science fiction, drug use, and underworld depravity. Much of his work is semi-autobiographical, drawn from his experiences as a long-time opiate addict. A primary member of the Beat Generation, he was an avant-garde writer whose style and ideas influenced popular culture as well as literature. Who did Burroughs accidentally kill in 1951? Discuss
Dunes are mounds or ridges of wind-blown sand that form in arid regions and along coasts, areas where there is plenty of sand, strong winds, low rainfall, and some vegetation or obstructions to trap the sand. The shape of a dune—crescent, linear, star, dome, or parabolic, to name a few—is dictated by the prevailing wind pattern. Dunes that are not stabilized by vegetation often migrate, driven by the wind, and may cause damage as they move. What are some techniques for halting their migration? Discuss
Just as prohibition in the US led to speakeasies—establishments where alcohol was sold in contravention of the law—so too have smoking bans led to smokeasies—businesses, especially bars, that allow smoking despite a legal prohibition. To combat an expected loss of patrons, many bar owners have chosen to openly allow customers to smoke and regard the fines they incur as a cost of doing business. Others, however, employ stealth tactics to avoid penalties. What are some of their covert methods? Discuss
Boredom is a condition that has been described by psychologists as arising not from a lack of things to do but from an inability to latch on mentally to a specific activity. Often viewed as a trivial nuisance to be escaped by sleeping, daydreaming, or participating in a new activity, it has been linked to a range of psychological, educational, and social problems. The first recorded use of the word "boredom" is in Dickens's Bleak House, written in 1852. What are the 3 types of boredom? Discuss
F for Fake (1974) is the last major film completed by Orson Welles. It is a brilliantly edited investigation of the nature of authorship and authenticity, incorporating the story of professional art forger Elmyr de Hory, Clifford Irving's fabricated biography of Howard Hughes, and Welles's personal reflections on his infamous broadcast of The War of the Worlds. Early in the film, Welles vows that everything seen in the next hour will be true. What happens exactly one hour later? Discuss
The shock and awe doctrine is a military strategy based on the use of overwhelming force, dominant maneuvers, and staggering displays of power to control an adversary's perception of the battlefield and quickly destroy its will to fight. Though the doctrine recognizes the need to minimize civilian casualties, it relies on the disruption of water supplies, food production, and other aspects of infrastructure. What historic military campaigns can be said to have operated under similar principles? Discuss
During World War II, Japan attempted to attack the US mainland by floating hydrogen-filled balloons equipped with incendiary devices across the Pacific Ocean. In 1944 and 1945, the Japanese launched over 9,000 of the weapons, which were designed to kill, destroy property, and start fires. Although, at the request of the US government, fire balloon incidents were not reported by the press at the time, about 300 such bombs are known to have reached N America. Of these, how many caused casualties? Discuss
Also known as the Great Exhibition, the Crystal Palace Exhibition was an international fair held in Hyde Park, London, in 1851. The first in a series of popular 19th-century World's Fairs, the event was organized as a celebration of modern industrial technology and design and drew six million people. An architecturally adventurous and massive glass building, dubbed the Crystal Palace, was designed to house the show. How much did admission cost? Discuss
The 1933 fire at the German Parliament building known the Reichstag was a pivotal event in the establishment of Nazi Germany. Allegedly set by a Dutch communist, the fire was used by Adolf Hitler to turn public opinion against his opponents, especially the communists. Immediately after the fire, he enacted a decree suspending constitutional protection of personal rights, effectively establishing the Nazi Party dictatorship. Why do some believe the fire was set by the Nazis themselves? Discuss
Several militaries have developed programs that train dolphins to perform a variety of tasks, such as rescuing divers and locating underwater mines. The US Navy's Marine Mammal Program, which played a role in both the Gulf and Iraq Wars, is comprised of approximately 75 dolphins. Rumors abound regarding the use of these mammals, and while the US denies training them to harm humans in any way, it was reported in 2000 that dolphins trained to kill by the Russian Navy had been sold to what country? Discuss
A Latin phrase meaning "course of honors," the cursus honorum was the sequential order of public offices held by politicians in both the Roman Republic and the early Empire. The cursus honorum forbade repeating an office, and it set a minimum age for election to each post and minimum intervals between holding successive offices. However, these rules were often ignored toward the end of the Republic. At what age could candidates be elected to their first official post? Discuss
The Barmakids were a noble Persian family who attained great power under the Abbasid caliphs of Baghdad in the 8th century. Often serving as viziers and holding other influential roles, the Barmakids were patrons of the sciences and are credited with establishing Baghdad's first paper mill. However, by the start of the 9th century, the family's power and status was in decline and many of its members were imprisoned or executed. The Barmakids are mentioned in what famous stories? Discuss
US Army First Lieutenant Thomas Selfridge was the first person killed in a powered airplane. The accident that caused his death occurred during a demonstration of the Wright Flyer for the US Army in September 1908. After a few successful circuits around Virginia's Fort Myer, the craft's right propeller broke, causing it to nose-dive into the ground. Selfridge, a passenger on the flight, sustained major head injuries and died that night. What happened to the pilot, Orville Wright? Discuss
One of the largest sandy deserts in the world, the Taklamakan Desert in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China is approximately 600 miles (965 km) across, with an area of 105,000 square miles (272,000 sq km). It is crossed at its northern and southern edges by two branches of the Silk Road, whose travelers sought to avoid the arid wasteland. Archeological digs in the Taklamakan's sand cover, which is 1,000 feet (300 m) thick in some places, have revealed what 4,000-year-old discoveries? Discuss
Originally created as a test to ensure new sailors were capable of handling long, rough stretches at sea, the "Crossing the Line" ceremony is an initiation rite used by many navies to commemorate a sailor's first crossing of the equator. Sailors who have already crossed the equator are nicknamed Shellbacks; those who have not are called Pollywogs. Many navies now have regulations to prevent hazing during the tradition, which often involves various physical tests. What is a Golden Shellback? Discuss
One of the most widely read books among Eastern Orthodox Christians, The Ladder of Divine Ascent was composed by Christian monk John Climacus around 600 CE and is addressed to members of Christian monastic movements. The work is divided into 30 parts, or "steps,” that describe how to bring one's soul closer to God, as if climbing a ladder. The book discusses virtues, vices, and the means by which to attain the highest degree of religious perfection. What do the 30 steps represent? Discuss
In the 8th century BCE, Egypt was conquered by Kushites from Napata—a city located to the south of Egypt in the area known today as Sudan. Although Napatan pharaohs ruled Egypt, it was Egypt that had an enormous cultural impact on Napata, prompting a period of vigorous pyramid-building that continued even in Napata's successor kingdom, Meroë. Approximately 220 pyramids were eventually built as tombs for Kushite kings and queens. These pyramids differ from their Egyptian counterparts in what way?
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