" Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously, and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention. "
Francis Bacon

Back in the day


The Cedar Fire Spreads in Southern California

One of 15 fires that ravaged Southern California during October 2003, the Cedar Fire was the largest wildfire in the state's history. Fanned by the Santa Ana Winds, the Cedar Fire burned 280,278 acres (1,134 sq km), destroyed 2,820 buildings, and killed 15 people. The devastation caused by the fire led to criticism of the emergency response and calls for changes in the regulations for firefighting aircraft. How did the fire start?




A volcanically active country, Japan is home to thousands of geothermally heated hot springs called onsen. Traditionally used as public bathing places, onsen now play a central role in domestic tourism and are often enjoyed by those who want to escape the hectic life of the city, relax, and benefit from the healing powers believed to be derived from the water's mineral content. When discussing onsen, the Japanese often cite the virtues of "naked communion," which refers to what?

Born on a day like today


Johann Strauss II

Strauss was a world-renowned Austrian composer best known for his waltzes, among them the popular Blue Danube. The son of a composer, he formed an orchestra in 1844 that was immediately successful and rivaled that of his father. Composing more than 400 waltzes, Strauss revolutionized the Viennese waltz, endowing it with new melodic, rhythmic, and orchestral richness. Why did Strauss's brother Eduard destroy a large portion of Johann's original orchestral archives?

Last updated on Sunday, 25th October 2009

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