" Some children have a most disagreeable way of getting grown-up. "
Lewis Carroll

Back in the day


Hama Massacre

In the 1980s, a political insurgency undertaken by the Muslim Brotherhood culminated in an uprising in the western Syrian city of Hama. Government forces led by the president's brother, Rifaat al-Assad, quelled the revolt, destroying much of the old city and its ancient sites in the process. The Syrian military shelled the town for weeks, and some estimate that as many as 40,000 people were killed in the clash. How did the international community react to the incident at Hama?



Tightrope Between the Towers

Philippe Petit is a French high-wire artist who gained fame for his illegal 1974 walk between the former Twin Towers in New York. After 6 years of planning, Petit used a 450-pound cable and a 26-foot, 55-pound balancing pole to make 8 crossings between the still unfinished towers—walking, jumping, and lying down on the wire for more than an hour before being arrested when he returned to the tower roof. How did Petit and his crew pass the cable across the 140-foot gap between the 2 buildings?

Born on a day like today


Valéry Giscard d'Estaing

Valéry d'Estaing served as president of France from 1974 to 1981. His tenure as president was marked by modernization attempts, such as the development of the high-speed TGV train and greater reliance on nuclear power for energy, as well as attention to social issues such as divorce, contraception, and abortion. Why is he sometimes referred to as "l'Ex," the Ex?

Last updated on Monday, 2nd February 2009

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