" A kind heart is a fountain of gladness, making everything in its vicinity freshen into smiles. "
Washington Irving

Back in the day


Sputnik 1 Falls to Earth

Sputnik 1 was the first artificial satellite to be put into orbit. It was launched by the Soviet Union in October 1957 and acted as the starting gun for the space race. The Sputnik, Russian for "traveling companion," gathered data about the density of the upper layers of the atmosphere and the behavior of radio signals in the ionosphere. Sputnik 2, the second satellite to be put into orbit, was the first to carry a living creature. What type of animal was on board?



The Sharpeville Massacre

On March 21, 1960, a group of 5,000 to 7,000 people converged on a police station in Sharpeville, South Africa, to protest the so-called "pass laws" that were being used by the apartheid-supporting government to enforce greater segregation. When the protesters refused to disperse, police fired on the crowd, killing 69 people and injuring more than 180. The massacre sparked nationwide outrage and international condemnation. Why is the incident seen as a turning point in South Africa's history?

Born on a day like today


Louis Braille

Braille was a young boy when he lost his sight to an eye infection. As an adolescent, while attending the Royal Institution for Blind Youth in Paris, he began developing a system of raised dots representing letters to facilitate reading and writing among the visually impaired. This evolved into braille, a writing system for the blind, which was later extended to include notations for mathematics and music. Braille's invention was inspired by another writing system designed for what purpose?

Last updated on Monday, 4th January 2010

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