" The misery of a child is interesting to a mother, the misery of a young man is interesting to a young woman, the misery of an old man is interesting to nobody. "
Victor Hugo

Back in the day


Thomas Paine Publishes Common Sense

Paine was an English American political theorist. He anticipated and helped foment the American Revolution through his powerful writings, most notably the enormously successful pamphlet Common Sense, in which he argued that the colonies had outgrown any need for English domination and should be given independence. Paine was also an inventor; he received a patent in Europe for what design?



Aleppo Codex

The Aleppo Codex was the oldest complete manuscript of the Masoretic Hebrew Bible. The scribe Shlomo ben Buya'a copied the text of the Codex circa 920. It was delivered to the Karaite community of Jerusalem in the mid 11th century, but was looted and taken to Cairo, Egypt. There, it was consulted by Maimonides, the most influential Jewish thinker of the Middle Ages. Later, it was taken to Aleppo, Syria, where the community guarded it zealously for 600 years. What happened to the Codex in 1947?

Born on a day like today


Stephen Ambrose

A professor of history and a specialist in the mid 20th century, Ambrose gained fame for his biographies of Eisenhower and Nixon as well as for his bestselling books about WWII, including Citizen Soldiers and D-Day. His works inspired a renewed interest in the sacrifices of American soldiers and their families and culminated in films such as Saving Private Ryan. In 1970, he was driven from his position at Kansas State University; why?

Last updated on Wednesday, 10th January 2007

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