" To have his path made clear for him is the aspiration of every human being in our beclouded and tempestuous existence. "
Joseph Conrad

Back in the day


Great Fire of London Ends

This massive fire was one of the biggest calamities in London's history. It destroyed 13,200 houses, 87 parish churches, St Paul's Cathedral, and countless other buildings over a 4-day period, leaving an estimated 70,000 residents homeless in its wake. Though the death toll is traditionally thought to have been relatively low, recent research suggests it may have been higher, since the deaths of poor and middle-class people were not recorded at the time. What is thought to have started the fire?



Active Denial System

Informally labeled the "pain ray," the Active Denial System (ADS) is a non-lethal weapon being developed by the US military. Designed for use in crowd control operations, the ADS emits electromagnetic radiation that excites water molecules in the epidermis, causing an intensely painful burning sensation. Though the device does not actually burn the skin, its effect is said to feel similar to a hot light bulb being pressed against it. How long do these painful effects last?

Born on a day like today


Louis XIV of France

Known as the "Sun King," Louis XIV ruled over France for 72 years, longer than any other major European monarch. Reigning over a highly centralized state, he became the archetype of the absolute monarch. He fought several wars, built one of Europe's most elaborate palaces at Versailles, and was a great supporter of the arts. What influential French philosopher compared Louis XIV to the Roman emperor Augustus and called his reign an "eternally memorable age"?

Last updated on Friday, 5th September 2008

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