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James Madison

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History

Battle of Taranto

This battle, which took place during WWII, marked the first all-aircraft naval attack in history. The results were definitive, as British planes destroyed much of the Italian fleet anchored in Taranto. The battle is seen as a turning point in military history, marking the end of the reign of "big-gun" battleships and leading to the rise of naval air power. Certain aspects of the attack were studied as part of the planning for what other notorious aerial bombardment?

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Olfaction, or How Humans Detect Smells

The organs of smell are confined to a small area in the roof of the nasal cavity. Olfactory cells are stimulated when certain molecules reach them, and nerve fibers extend from these receptor cells to the olfactory bulb in the human brain. Smell is one of our most subtle senses, amplifying the sense of taste and detecting tens of thousands of distinct scents. Odor information is easily stored in long-term memory and has strong connections to emotional memory. Why might this be?

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Fyodor Dostoevsky

Dostoevsky was a literary giant whose works exhibit an uncanny grasp of human psychology and offer penetrating analyses of the politics and social and spiritual state of the Russia of his time. He began his career as a political radical, but after a time spent in exile, he became much more conservative and reflective about the nature of man. Which great Russian novelist reportedly burst into tears when he learned of Dostoevsky's death?

Last updated on Sunday, 11th November 2007

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