" Life seems but a quick succession of busy nothings. "
Jane Austen

Back in the day


Federation of Malaysia Created

The Japanese occupation of the Malayan region during WWII weakened British influence there and unleashed anti-colonial, Malayan nationalism. With the help of the Chinese, the Malayan Communist Party grew increasingly strong, fought the Japanese occupation, and came to threaten British interests. In response, the British established the multi-ethnic Federation of Malaya in 1957 as a part of a wider anti-communist plan. In 1963, "Malaya" became "Malaysia" with the acquisition of what territories?



The Gratuitous Umlaut

An umlaut is a diacritical mark consisting of two dots placed over a letter to alter pronunciation. However, the so-called "heavy metal umlaut" is used in the names of bands, such as Mötley Crüe and Motörhead, not to change pronunciation, but to evoke the stereotypes of boldness and strength commonly attributed to peoples whose languages incorporate such marks. It has since been widely parodied, including in the mockumentary This Is Spin¨al Tap. Which band first used a gratuitous umlaut?

Born on a day like today


Mikhail Illarionovich Kutuzov

Kutuzov was a Russian prince and field marshal who commanded the Russian army during major engagements with Napoleon between 1805 and 1812, including the battles of Austerlitz and Borodino. Kutuzov is a national hero in Russia for having turned the French back during the Patriotic War in 1812, and many monuments have been erected in his honor. In what epic Russian novel is he depicted as a popular leader?

Last updated on Wednesday, 16th September 2009

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