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W. Somerset Maugham

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Last Quagga Dies at Amsterdam's Artis Magistra Zoo

The quagga, an extinct subspecies of the plains zebra, was once found in great numbers in parts of South Africa. It differed from other zebras in that its coat was sandy brown and its legs and tail whitish—only its head, neck, and shoulders were dark-striped. The quagga was hunted to extinction for its meat and hide and to preserve feed for domesticated livestock. It was the first extinct creature to have its DNA studied. What did the study reveal?



William James Sidis: Child Prodigy

Sidis was an American child prodigy who could read The New York Times by the time he was 18 months old. By age eight, he had taught himself eight languages and had invented one of his own. It is said that in his adult years he could speak more than 40 languages and learn a new one in a single day. In 1909, he became the youngest person ever to enroll at Harvard College and began lecturing on higher mathematics the following year. What became of Sidis after he graduated in 1914, at age 16?

Born on a day like today


Christian III of Denmark and Norway

Christian III was king of Denmark and Norway from 1534 to 1559. Early in his reign, he allied with Sweden to defeat the German city of Lübeck, which had invaded Denmark in an attempt to reinstate the deposed Christian II. That victory broke the power of the Hanseatic League and made the Danish fleet supreme in northern waters. As ruler, Christian established Lutheranism in Denmark and laid the foundation for the absolutist Danish monarchy of the 17th century. On what holiday did Christian die?

Last updated on Wednesday, 12th August 2009

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