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Zile de nastere - Birthdays

Grotius was a Dutch jurist, philosopher, and writer. He enrolled at the University of Leiden at the age of 11 and became a lawyer at 15. Among his key legal treatises is the first definitive text on international law, On the Law of War and Peace, which prescribes rules for the conduct of war and advances the idea that nations are bound by natural law. In 1615, he became involved in a religious controversy that extended to politics and was eventually imprisoned. How did he escape? Discuss
Chaney was an American silent-film actor. Born to parents who were both deaf and mute, he learned to express himself through pantomime at an early age. He moved to Hollywood in 1912 and became one of the biggest stars of the time, appearing in more than 150 silent films. Known as "the man of a thousand faces," he masterfully used makeup to play tortured, grotesque characters in horror films such as The Phantom of the Opera. How did fake snow made of corn flakes contribute to his death? Discuss
Despite being a dominant force in the US Democratic Party, Bryan lost three bids for the presidency. However, he helped secure the presidential nomination for Woodrow Wilson, under whom he became secretary of state. Bryan's belief in neutrality led him to resign when it appeared that Wilson would enter the US into World War I. A devout Presbyterian, he later campaigned for Prohibition and, in 1925, died after exhausting himself prosecuting and finally winning what famous legal case? Discuss
Updike was a prolific American author whose novels and stories usually deal with the tensions and frustrations of middle-class life. Published between 1961 and 1990, his four famous "Rabbit" novels follow an ordinary American man through the latter decades of the 20th century. Updike is one of the few authors to have won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction more than once. He was also a respected literary critic who championed young authors and espoused what five rules for literary criticism? Discuss
The seventh US president, Jackson was a child of the frontier and lost his entire family in the American Revolution. He was just 14 at the time and was already a member of the local militia. After emerging from the War of 1812 a hero for his defense of New Orleans, he rode a wave of popularity to the presidency in 1828. He was seen as a champion of the common man, but he relentlessly displaced many Native Americans. His wife died weeks before his inauguration. Why did he have to marry her twice? Discuss
Nijinsky was a ballet dancer and ballet's first modernist choreographer. One of the greatest dancers of the 20th century, he performed spectacular leaps with unrivaled grace. During his career, his innovations were considered both scandalous and revolutionary. He had a romantic relationship with his mentor, Sergey Diaghilev, who dismissed him from the Ballets Russes when he married a Hungarian countess. A few years later, acute schizophrenia ended his career. Did he and Diaghilev ever reconcile? Discuss
The 13th child of a Massachusetts farmer, Burbank received little formal education, yet he went on to become a groundbreaking horticulturist. Influenced by Charles Darwin's writings, he began breeding plants at age 21. The rapid success of his Burbank potato, the russet variety of which is now the most widely-grown potato in the US, allowed him to move to California and establish an experimental farm, where he developed more than 800 varieties of plants. What is his spineless cactus used for? Discuss
A shoemaker's son, Marlowe attended Cambridge University and then became an actor and dramatist in London. His plays, such as Dr. Faustus and The Jew of Malta, often center on a heroic personality ruined by his own ambition. Most critics hold that the poetic beauty of his language elevates his plays' violence to high art, and many believe that he influenced Shakespeare's work. At 29, he was stabbed to death in a tavern brawl, possibly due to his involvement in what covert activity? Discuss
Jaspers was a German philosopher and psychopathologist often identified as an exponent of existentialism, although he rejected this classification. In his magnum opus, Philosophy, he argued that the aim of philosophy is practical and that its purpose is the fulfillment of human existence. He believed illumination is achieved through the experience of "limit situations" like conflict, guilt, and suffering, which define the human condition. What forced him to give up his teaching career? Discuss
Powell was a British army officer and founder of the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides, later the Girl Scouts. He was a hero of the South African War and author of Aids to Scouting, a military textbook. Upon learning that his book was being used to train boys in woodcraft, he wrote Scouting for Boys and established the Boy Scout movement in 1908. In 1910, with his sister and wife, he founded the Girl Guides. What disguise did Powell use while gathering information in war? Discuss
Ono is a Japanese artist, musician, author, and peace activist best known for her marriage to John Lennon of the Beatles. She was raised in Japan and the US, where she started exploring conceptual and performance art. A member of the Fluxus movement, Ono developed a reputation as an avant-garde filmmaker, conceptual artist, performance artist, and experimental musician. Her 1964 Cut Piece, a commentary on identity, gender issues, suffering, and loneliness, invited the audience to do what? Discuss
Estep was an American Baptist historian, author, and professor of church history. He was considered one of the world's leading authorities on the Anabaptist movement, a Christian sect that rejects infant baptism and practices the ritual of believer's baptism only after a person has made a declaration of faith. Estep wrote numerous works, including books on subjects such as Baptist and Anabaptist history, religious liberty, and world missions. At what theological seminary did he teach? Discuss
Brecht was a German playwright and poet whose brilliant wit and revolutionary theatrical experiments made him a vital and controversial force in modern drama. In 1928, he displayed his hostility toward capitalism as well as his bittersweet compassion for humanity in The Threepenny Opera. With the rise of the Nazis in 1933, he went into exile, first in Scandinavia and then in the US. One of Brecht's most important theories was the concept of Verfremdungseffekt, which means what? Discuss
Verne was a French novelist credited with originating the modern genre of science fiction. Early on, he was interested in theater and wrote librettos for operas. Later, he drew upon his knowledge of science and geography to write romances of extraordinary journeys, which quickly became very popular. He wrote more than 50 books in his lifetime, including A Journey to the Center of the Earth and Around the World in Eighty Days. One of his books explores a five-week journey by what? Discuss
A largely self-taught Scottish engineer and inventor, Watt greatly impacted the Industrial Revolution with his development of the Watt engine. Asked to repair a model of Thomas Newcomen's steam engine, he instead made improvements to it that resulted in a new type of engine. One such design enhancement, the separate condenser, radically improved the power, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness of steam engines. The watt, a unit of power, is named for him. What other unit of power did he develop? Discuss
Sennett was an American movie director, considered the father of slapstick comedy in film. After directing comedies under the tutelage of D.W. Griffith, he left to form his own Keystone Company and produced the first American feature-length comedy, Tillie's Punctured Romance, in 1914. He made more than 1,000 comedy shorts, often featuring the wild antics of the Keystone Kops, and received a special Academy Award in 1937. As an actor, Sennett played what iconic character in several films? Discuss
Burke was a British parliamentarian, orator, and political philosopher. Essays he published in the late 1750s gained the attention of Denis Diderot and Immanuel Kant, and he was hired to edit a yearly survey of world affairs. In his many and diverse writings, he left a monumental construction of British political thought that had a profound and long-term influence in England, America, and France. Burke held contrasting opinions on the American and French revolutions. Which did he support? Discuss
Barlach was an outstanding German expressionist sculptor, graphic artist, and writer. Through the power of his simple, angular, and compact forms, he communicated intense emotion and compassion. From clay modeling he turned to wood carving and woodcutting, which imbued his work with a rough-hewn quality. He achieved fame in the 1920s and 30s with the execution of several war memorials for the Weimar Republic. Why were many of Barlach's works destroyed or confiscated as "degenerate art"? Discuss
Stieglitz was the first art photographer in the US. More than any other American, he compelled the recognition of photography as a fine art. After editing a series of photography magazines, he established the famous gallery "291" in New York City. The gallery soon broadened its scope from fine-art photography and introduced to the US works by members of the modern French art movement, including C├ęzanne and Picasso. It also exhibited the works of what American artist whom Stieglitz later married? Discuss
Dietrich was a German actress and singer. Abandoning an early ambition to be a violinist, she turned to acting and gained international attention as a femme fatale in The Blue Angel (1930). She then moved to Hollywood, where she starred in a series of films that established her glamorous and sophisticated persona. Resisting Nazi pressure to return to Germany, she became a US citizen in 1939. During WWII, she regularly entertained Allied troops, appearing before them how many times? Discuss
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