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Articolele zilei - Articles of the day

Fought in 53 BCE, the Battle of Carrhae stopped the Roman invasion of Parthian Mesopotamia. The Romans were led by Marcus Licinius Crassus, who wanted a victory to balance those of his fellow triumvirs Pompey and Julius Caesar. With seven legions—about 44,000 men—but little cavalry, he was defeated in the desert by 10,000 mounted Parthian archers and was killed. His death gave impetus to Caesar's quest for power. The defeat also damaged Roman prestige, especially because of the capture of what? Discuss
Tactical media is a modern form of activism that uses mass media to oppose and criticize a target, usually one that occupies a certain position of power, such as a government, politician, or corporation. It is characterized by its use of current technology and short-lived media campaigns and is made possible by the availability of inexpensive technology and by open forms of distribution like the Internet. Who are some of the infamous practitioners of tactical media? Discuss
In the Victorian era, "fasting girls" were young females, usually preadolescent, who were purportedly capable of surviving for long periods without consuming any food. In many accounts, the fasting girls not only refused nourishment but also drew attention to their fasts by claiming to have special religious or magical powers. Their ability to survive was often attributed to saints or thought of as miraculous. What special abilities did Mollie Fancher, the "Brooklyn Enigma," claim to have? Discuss
Consonance and dissonance are perceived qualities of musical chords and intervals, distances in pitch between two tones. Consonance is often described as relative "stability" and dissonance as "instability." Despite the fact that words like "unpleasant" and "grating" are often used to explain the sound of dissonance, all music with a harmonic or tonal basis—even music perceived as generally harmonious—incorporates some degree of dissonance. What emotions are dissonant chords said to express? Discuss
Derived from a Latin term meaning "uplifted," the word "sublime" is used to describe something of overwhelming greatness, grandeur, or beauty. In aesthetics—the branch of philosophy that deals with the nature and expression of beauty—the concept of the sublime was first developed in On the Sublime, a landmark treatise on literary criticism traditionally attributed to the Greek philosopher Longinus. Why do some philosophers believe that beauty and the sublime are two different things? Discuss
One of the titanic struggles of history, the Second Punic, or Hannibalic, War, lasted from 218 to 201 BCE. Fought between the Carthaginian forces of Hannibal and the Roman Republic, the war's first major clash was the Battle of the Trebbia, named for the Trebbia River where it took place. Shortly after making his now-famous crossing of the Alps with elephants and a full baggage train, Hannibal descended into Italy and stunned the Roman forces by defeating them at Trebbia. Who won the war? Discuss
The naked-eye planets are the five planets in our solar system that can be observed without any optical aid: Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. The five planets closest to Earth, they were the only ones known to the ancients before the development of the telescope. Grouped together with the Sun and the Moon, they form what some cultures call the seven heavenly objects. Ancient cultures' knowledge of the heavens can be seen in the word "planet," which comes from a Greek term meaning what? Discuss
Flemish artist Pieter Bruegel earned the nickname "Peasant"—a reference to the subjects of his artwork—painting cheerful scenes of daily life. However, in 1562, he displayed a taste for the macabre with The Triumph of Death, a panoramic landscape of death and destruction wrought by hordes of skeletons that has been interpreted as an allegorical depiction of the horrors of war. What board game is depicted in the painting? Discuss
The Sun converts five million tons of matter into energy every second by nuclear fusion reactions in its highly compressed core, producing neutrinos—subatomic particles with extremely low mass—and solar radiation. The small amount of this energy that penetrates Earth's atmosphere provides the light and heat that support life. The temperature of the solar core is close to 27 million degrees Fahrenheit (15 million degrees Celsius). How hot is the surface of the Sun? Discuss
Possessing complex life cycles that can be divided into both animallike and plantlike phases, slime molds are any of about 500 species of primitive organisms that contain true nuclei. Consequently, they have gone from being regarded as fungi to being classified within the kingdom Protista. They typically thrive in dark, cool, moist places, like forest floors, and feed on living microorganisms, such as bacteria, yeasts, and decaying vegetation. Can slime molds move on their own? Discuss
The aureus, Latin for "golden," was a gold coin of ancient Rome. It initially consisted of about 8 grams of nearly pure gold and was valued at 25 silver denarii. It was regularly issued from the 1st century BCE to the beginning of the 4th century CE, when Constantine replaced it with the solidus to account for runaway inflation: in the 23 years between 301 CE and 324 CE, the relative value of the aureus jumped from about 833 to 4,350 denarii. By 356 CE, one solidus was worth how many denarii? Discuss
Found in the Arctic and North Atlantic Oceans, the narwhal is small whale known for the single, tightly spiraled tusk—up to 9 ft (2.7 m) long—that protrudes from the upper jaw of males as well as some females of the species. The tusk is an overgrown, nerve-rich incisor tooth and may be used as a sense organ or to attract mates. Now hunted by native peoples for its meat, the narwhal was formerly killed for its tusk, which was believed to have magical properties and was sold for centuries as what? Discuss
Characterized by a syncopated rhythm and a heavy, repetitive bass line, funk is a musical style that originated in the US in the 1960s when African-American musicians blended soul, jazz, and rhythm and blues into a danceable new form of music. Following the popularity of Motown artists like The Temptations, The Four Tops, and The Supremes in the 60s, funk emerged with artists such as James Brown, Sly and the Family Stone, and George Clinton. More recently, funk has been fused with what genres? Discuss
"Helicopter parent" is a pejorative expression applied to parents who pay extremely close attention to their children, hovering closely overhead like helicopters. In Scandinavia, the phenomenon is known as "curling" parenthood—describing parents who sweep away all obstacles from their children's paths, just as athletes in the sport of curling sweep the ice in front of their stones. What device often blamed for the rise of helicopter parents has been called "the world's longest umbilical cord"? Discuss
One of the great deities in Mesopotamian religion, Shamash was the god of the Sun, who, with his father, the Moon god Sin, and the goddess Ishtar, was part of an astral triad of divinities. As the solar god, Shamash was the heroic conqueror of night and death, and he became known as the god of justice and equity. He was said to have presented the Code of Hammurabi to the Babylonian king, and at night he served as judge of the underworld. In what Babylonian epic is Shamash mentioned? Discuss
Often known as the loneliest number, one, in mathematics, is the smallest whole number, the first cardinal number, and the first and second number in the Fibonacci sequence, the infinite sequence of numbers in which each term is the sum of the two terms preceding it. The glyph used today in the Western world to represent one—a vertical line, often with a serif at the top and sometimes a short horizontal line at the bottom—traces its roots back centuries. Is one a prime number? Discuss
The mane is the long coarse hair that grows from the crest of the neck of certain mammals, including the lion, horse, gnu, cheetah, and giraffe. In horses, it grows from the poll—the area between the ears—down to the withers—the area between the shoulder blades—and includes the forelock, the lock of hair that grows from or falls on the forehead. Grooms may leave manes looking natural or they may thin, braid, band, or shave off this hair. What purpose is the mane thought to serve? Discuss
Invented in the 15th century, the matchlock was the first mechanical device for igniting gunpowder and a major advance in small-arms manufacture. It consisted of an S-shaped arm designed to hold a lit match and a trigger that would lower it into a flash pan and ignite the priming powder that would then ignite the main charge. Though slow and rather clumsy, the matchlock allowed users to keep both hands on the weapon and both eyes on the target when firing. What eventually replaced the matchlock? Discuss
Gage was a railroad worker whose incredible survival of a traumatic brain injury played a seminal role in the study of localization of brain function. In 1848, Gage was blasting rock to clear the way for a new rail line when an explosives accident caused a large metal rod to shoot through his face, brain, and skull. Remarkably, Gage was conscious, walking, and talking within minutes. However, his personality allegedly underwent a radical transformation. What were some of the reported changes? Discuss
The term "emo," short for "emotional hardcore," describes a subgenre of punk rock music combining traditional hard rock with personal, emotional lyrics that emerged in Washington, DC, in the 1980s. In the 1990s, the genre gained a wider following that eventually helped it break into the mainstream music scene. The term evolved to describe not only music but also the fashion and subculture that developed around it. Why did the Russian government propose a law to regulate emo? Discuss
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