Today

Amelia Mary Earhart (1897)
After attending an air show in 1920, Earhart, who had previously worked as a military nurse and a social worker, decided she wanted to become a pilot. She bought her first plane the following year. In 1928, she became the first woman to fly across the Atlantic as a passenger, and four years later, she became the first female pilot to make the trip solo. In 1937, her plane mysteriously vanished over the Pacific as she and a copilot attempted to circumnavigate the globe. What happened to them? Discuss

Emil Jannings (1884)
Jannings was an acclaimed silent film actor who, in 1929, won an Academy Award for best actor—becoming the first person presented with an Oscar. He earned the award for his performances in two films, one of which, The Way of All Flesh, is now considered a "lost film" since no copies of it are known to exist. The advent of sound in film effectively ended his Hollywood career, as he had a thick German accent. What scandalous association doomed any chance he later had of making a comeback?

Edward Hopper (1882)
Hopper was an American painter who supported himself as a commercial illustrator until he gained recognition in the mid-1920s with his now-iconic scenes of American life. His dramatically lit works often feature still, anonymous figures inside geometric buildings and evoke a haunting sense of isolation that was his hallmark. His famous Nighthawks depicts a mostly empty, brightly lit diner on an otherwise dark, desolate street at night. What was said to be Hopper's favorite thing to paint?

This Day in History

First Ascent of the Eiger's North Face (1938)
Switzerland's Eiger mountain was first summited in 1858, but the sheer north face of the 13,025-foot (3,970-m) Alpine peak was not successfully climbed until 1938, when two independent pairs of climbers met on the face, joined forces, and reached the summit as a team. It has been climbed many times since, sadly with many fatalities, which, due to the cliff's high visibility, occur in full view of nearby villages. Since 1935, how many people have died climbing the Eiger's so-called Murder Wall? Discuss

Egyptian Revolution of 1952 Begins (1952)
The Egyptian Revolution was a coup d'état led by a group of army officers that overthrew Egypt's King Farouk I. Organized by Gamal Abdel Nasser, the "Free Officers Movement" decried the Egyptian monarchy as corrupt, pro-British, and ineffective and was incensed by Egypt's defeat in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. Days after the coup began, Farouk abdicated and General Muhammad Naguib took over as leader of Egypt. The monarchy was later abolished, and a republic was declared. What became of the king?

Pablo Escobar Escapes from His Luxury Prison (1992)
By 1989, Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar was one of the world's richest men. At the height of his success, his Medellín cartel controlled 80% of the global cocaine market. Even after he was incarcerated, he continued to conduct business from the resort-like Colombian prison that had been built to his specifications. In 1992, in an effort to avoid extradition to the US, Escobar escaped. He was killed by police 16 months later. His intimidation tactic of plata o plomo translates to what?

Quote of the Day

Virginia Woolf
This soul, or life within us, by no means agrees with the life outside us. If one has the courage to ask her what she thinks, she is always saying the very opposite to what other people say. Discuss

W. Somerset Maugham
When you are young you take the kindness people show you as your right.

Sophocles
He who throws away a friend is as bad as he who throws away his life.

Word of the Day

anodyne
Definition: (adjective) Capable of soothing or eliminating pain. Synonyms: analgesic, analgetic. Usage: She was in intense pain following the surgery and wondered whether the anodyne properties of her medication would be sufficient. Discuss

scathing
Definition: (adjective) Bitterly denunciatory; harshly critical. Synonyms: vituperative. Usage: This scathing remark caused the Prince to hide his face for shame, and Steve to erect his head in the proud consciousness that this shot was not meant for him.

pathos
Definition: (noun) A quality, as of an experience or a work of art, that arouses feelings of pity, sympathy, tenderness, or sorrow. Synonyms: poignancy. Usage: The documentary film captured the pathos of the refugee's situation, and there was not a dry eye in the theater when the movie ended.