" To hold the same views at forty as we held at twenty is to have been stupefied for a score of years, and take rank, not as a prophet, but as an unteachable brat, well birched and none the wiser. "
Robert Louis Stevenson

Back in the day


George Washington Resigns as Commander-in-Chief

After demonstrating exemplary leadership as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army during the American Revolution, George Washington resigned his commission as commander-in-chief and retired to Mount Vernon, Virginia. This act established the important precedent that civilian-elected officials, rather than military officers, possess ultimate authority over the armed forces. Six years later, Washington was elected US president. What was Washington's annual presidential salary?




Ragweeds are flowering plants of the genus Ambrosia, most of which are native to America. The weedy herbs are regarded as especially troublesome because their pollen is recognized as the primary cause of hay fever in eastern and middle North America. Its effects are exacerbated by the fact that ragweeds—which are anemophilous, or wind-pollinated—are each thought to be able to produce about one billion grains of pollen in a single season. What can happen to milk from cows that eat ragweed?

Born on a day like today


Helmut Schmidt

Schmidt is a German Social Democratic statesman who was the chancellor of West Germany from 1974 to 1982. His administration was characterized by a tough approach to the worldwide economic recession of the 1970s. He was committed to improving relations with East Germany and the USSR, and he succeeded in cultivating ties with France, encouraging economic cooperation among western European nations, and maintaining close relations with the US. How did he earn the nickname "Schmidt-Schnauze"?

Last updated on Wednesday, 23rd December 2009

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