Today

Margaret Fuller (1810)
One of the most influential American literary personalities of her day, Fuller was a critic, teacher, and woman of letters. She was an ardent feminist, and her Woman in the Nineteenth Century is now considered a classic piece of feminist literature. While working in Italy as a foreign correspondent, Fuller met and married a marquis. Exiled for their support of the failed 1848-49 revolution, they sailed for the US with their infant son. What disaster befell them at the end of their voyage? Discuss

Mary Cassatt (1844)
Cassatt was an American figure painter and etcher. As a young art student, she moved to Paris, where she was inspired by the work of Edgar Degas, with whom she developed a friendship. She allied herself with the Impressionists early in her career, but, in the late 1880s, she began experimenting with other styles and techniques. Many of Cassatt's best-known works are intimate depictions of mothers and children. What cause did she take up when cataracts put a stop to her painting career?

Mary Anning (1799)
The daughter of a British cabinetmaker who supplemented his income by selling "curiosities" he recovered from cliffside fossil beds near his home, Mary Anning grew up collecting fossils. When she was just 12 years old, she and her brother discovered the first ichthyosaur skeleton to be correctly identified. As an adult, she continued the dangerous work of scouring the Lyme Regis cliffs for fossils and made a number of significant geological finds. What tongue twister might Anning have inspired?

This Day in History

Pro Wrestler Owen Hart Falls to His Death in the Ring (1999)
Regardless of whether one considers professional wrestling a sport or merely choreographed entertainment, one cannot deny that wrestlers often risk serious injury in the ring. High-flying stunts and feats of flamboyant showmanship are now par for the course. Tragically, the dangerous nature of wrestling was graphically illustrated in 1999, when Hart, one of professional wrestling's most respected stars, was killed during a live event. The tragedy unfolded when what stunt went horribly wrong? Discuss

Nuclear Submarine USS Scorpion Sinks, Cause Unknown (1968)
On May 21, 1968, the crew of the US Navy's Scorpion submarine engaged in communications with land stations. Six days later, the submarine was reported overdue. After an unsuccessful search, the Scorpion and its crew were "presumed lost." However, in October, a Navy research ship located sections of the submarine's hull in approximately 10,000 feet (3,048 m) of water about 400 miles (644 km) southwest of the Azores. What are some theories about how the Scorpion may have sunk?

Rajiv Gandhi Is Assassinated (1991)
When his brother Sanjay Gandhi died in a plane crash in 1981, Rajiv Gandhi—then an airline pilot—was drafted into politics by his mother, Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. When she was assassinated in 1984, he succeeded her as prime minister. In 1987, he sent peacekeeping forces to Sri Lanka in an unsuccessful attempt to end Tamil-Sinhalese violence. Following allegations of corruption, he resigned as prime minister in 1989. He was assassinated in 1991. How and by whom was he killed?

Quote of the Day

William Makepeace Thackeray
I am tempted to think that to be despised by her sex is a very great compliment to a woman. Discuss

Ralph Waldo Emerson
There is a time in every man's education when he arrives at the conviction that ... imitation is suicide.

Gilbert Chesterton
One can sometimes do good by being the right person in the wrong place.

Word of the Day

buttonhole
Definition: (verb) Detain in conversation by or as if by holding on to the outer garments of; as for political or economic favors. Synonyms: lobby. Usage: It is not easy to buttonhole her for an interview. Discuss

harebrained
Definition: (adjective) Very foolish. Synonyms: insane, mad. Usage: She devised a harebrained scheme to get her money back, but it ended up landing her in jail.

hanker
Definition: (verb) Desire strongly or persistently. Synonyms: long, yearn. Usage: There, my lady cousin; there stands the most undutiful child in the world; she hankers after a beggarly rascal, and won't marry one of the greatest matches in all England.