" Science, my lad, is made up of mistakes, but they are mistakes which it is useful to make, because they lead little by little to the truth. "
Jules Verne

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The Japanese Attack Pearl Harbor

The Imperial Japanese Navy's surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in Oahu, Hawaii, destroyed 188 aircraft and several American naval vessels, killed more than 2,300 American military personnel, and wounded more than 1,100. The following day, the US declared war on Japan. Pearl Harbor is now a national historic landmark, and a memorial has been built over the sunken hull of the USS Arizona. How many Japanese planes reached Oahu on the morning of the attack?

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Taphephobia

Taphephobia is the psychopathological fear of being buried alive. Before the advent of modern medicine, this fear was not entirely irrational. Throughout history, there have been many cases of people being accidentally buried alive, and the horrific prospect has been a favorite subject of urban legends and literature, including several stories by Edgar Allan Poe. During the 18th and 19th centuries, such fears led to a large number of designs for "safety coffins," which employed what safeguards?

Born on a day like today

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Gian Lorenzo Bernini

Bernini, a 17th-century artist, sculptor, painter, and architect, was a leading figure in the development of the Italian baroque style. Among his best-known sculptures, which often combine white and colored marble with bronze and stucco, are the Cornaro Chapel's Ecstasy of St. Teresa and the David displayed at the Borghese Gallery. Bernini also designed the magnificent baldachin, or canopy, inside St. Peter's Basilica. On what unit of Italian currency did his portrait appear?

Last updated on Monday, 7th December 2009

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