" Only man can be absurd: for only man can be dignified. "
Gilbert Chesterton

Back in the day


Nelson Mandela Is Free

As a young man, Mandela was an active opponent of South Africa's apartheid regime. Initially committed to non-violent struggle, he became the leader of the armed wing of the African National Congress after the 1960 Sharpeville Massacre, when police opened fire on several thousand protesters. He was sentenced to life in prison in 1964, but international pressure led to his release in 1990. Mandela won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 and was elected his country's first black president in what year?




In order to minimize conflict and avoid embarrassment, group members often refrain from promoting viewpoints that deviate from the apparent group consensus. This mode of thinking is known as "groupthink" and is characterized by extensive self-censorship among group members who unquestioningly believe in the morality of the group. Striving for unanimity without appraising alternative courses of action can often have dire consequences; what space shuttle disaster may be evidence of this?

Born on a day like today


Manuel Noriega

Noriega was a Panamanian general and the country's de facto military leader from 1983 to 1989. A one-time operative for the CIA, he was implicated in drug trafficking, the sale of US secrets to Cuba, and other illegal activities. Following the murder of a US marine on the streets of Panama City, Noriega was captured and brought to America to stand trial for drug trafficking, racketeering, and money laundering. What other countries have convicted Noriega of crimes in absentia?

Last updated on Monday, 11th February 2008

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