" But I am a blasted tree; the bolt has entered my soul; and I felt then that I should survive to exhibit what I shall soon cease to be - a miserable spectacle of wrecked humanity, pitiable to others and intolerable to myself. "
Mary Shelley

Back in the day


Sally Ride Returns to Earth

Ride is a former astronaut and the first American woman to reach outer space. She was a nationally-ranked tennis player in high school before attending Stanford University for her bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees. In 1983, she took part in her first space shuttle mission, serving as a crewmember on board the Challenger. Ride later served on the panels that investigated the Challenger and Columbia shuttle disasters. How many total hours has she spent in space?



WWI Poison Gas

The use of poison gases—ranging from disabling chemicals like tear gas and mustard gas to lethal agents like phosgene—was a military innovation put into use during WWI that had a major impact on warfare. Although the killing capacity of gas was limited—only 4% of combat deaths were due to gas—the proportion of non-fatal casualties was high, and gas remained one of the soldiers' greatest fears. What were some of the early, crude countermeasures developed to defend against the use of poison gases?

Born on a day like today


Jack Dempsey

Born in Manassa, Colorado, Dempsey was an American boxer and one of the heavyweight division's greatest champions. Nicknamed the "Manassa Mauler," he emerged from fights on saloon floors to seal his slugging reputation in his first title fight by knocking down the gigantic champion, Jess Willard, seven times in the first three minutes. Dempsey went on to fight for nearly 20 years and amassed more than 60 wins and 50 knockouts. What was the "Battle of the Long Count"?

Last updated on Wednesday, 24th June 2009

More sponsors