" When one takes a broad survey of the country, he will find that the most useful and influential people in it are those who take the deepest interest in institutions that exist for the purpose of making the world better. "
Booker T. Washington

Back in the day


Leaning Tower of Pisa Begins Decade-Long Closure

The Leaning Tower is the freestanding bell tower of a cathedral in Pisa, Italy. Though designed to stand upright, the tower began leaning to the southeast soon after construction began in 1173. In 1964, Italy's government enlisted the aid of a multinational task force to prevent the tower from toppling. After more than 20 years of work, the tower was closed to the public in 1990. It underwent another decade of stabilization efforts before being reopened in 2001. What first caused it to lean?




Often referred to as the "stress hormone" because of its involvement in the body's stress response, cortisol is the principal steroid hormone produced by the adrenal cortex. It increases blood pressure and blood sugar levels and can act as an immunosuppressant. Hydrocortisone, or synthetic cortisol, is used to treat a number of conditions, including inflammation, allergies, collagen diseases, and adrenocortical insufficiency. Why does the body's cortisol level fluctuate throughout the day?

Born on a day like today


Pope Gregory XIII

The Gregorian calendar is named after Pope Gregory XIII, whose 1582 decree established the reformed calendar. He figured prominently at the Council of Trent, and his service as pope, from 1572 to 1585, was marked by a commitment to the reforms recommended at that council. Pope Gregory's relationship with the nobility soured as he confiscated properties to fund various projects. Which of the Pope's many building projects now serves as the official residence of the president of Italy?

Last updated on Wednesday, 7th January 2009

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