" When kindness has left people, even for a few moments, we become afraid of them as if their reason had left them. When it has left a place where we have always found it, it is like shipwreck; we drop from security into something malevolent and bottomless. "
Willa Cather

Back in the day


Siam Changes Name to Thailand

Thailand's origin is traditionally tied to the short-lived kingdom of Sukhothai founded in 1238. After contact with the west in the 16th century, adroit diplomacy enabled Siam to remain independent of European colonization, the only country in Southeast Asia able to do so. A mostly bloodless revolution established a constitutional monarchy in 1932 known initially as Siam until, under Pibul Songgram's military dictatorship, the name Thailand was adopted. What does the word thai mean?




Cellophane is a thin, transparent sheet or tube of regenerated cellulose, which is the chief constituent of the cell walls of plants. It is used in packaging, as a membrane for dialysis, and can be moisture-proofed. Invented in 1908, cellophane is made by dissolving cellulose alkali, aging it, then regenerating it by forcing it through a slit into a dilute acid solution where it precipitates. Cellophane sales have dwindled because of the presence of what pollutant in its production process?

Born on a day like today


Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux

Carpeaux was a French sculptor and painter who studied under Francois Rude. After winning the Prix de Rome in 1854, he moved there and studied the works of Michelangelo, Donatello, and Verrocchio. He obtained a taste for movement and spontaneity, which he joined with the great principles of baroque art. In 1861, he made a bust of Princess Mathilde, which brought him several commissions from Napoleon III. His best known sculpture group is on the facade of what building in Paris?

Last updated on Friday, 11th May 2007

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