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Virginia Woolf

Back in the day


Leaning Tower of Pisa Begins Decade-Long Closure

The Leaning Tower is the freestanding bell tower of a cathedral in Pisa, Italy. Though designed to stand upright, the tower began leaning to the southeast soon after construction began in 1173. In 1964, Italy's government enlisted the aid of a multinational task force to prevent the tower from toppling. After more than 20 years of work, the tower was closed to the public in 1990. It underwent another decade of stabilization efforts before being reopened in 2001. What first caused it to lean?



Improvised Explosive Devices

Fabricated from all manner of munitions and triggering mechanisms—both military and nonmilitary—improvised explosive devices (IEDs) are bombs that are deployed using methods other than those of conventional military action. Though IEDs have been used in conflicts throughout the world, the term is now commonly associated with the Iraq War due to the extensive use of such devices by insurgents. During the Vietnam War, what common household items were used in conjunction with grenades to form IEDs?

Born on a day like today


Pope Gregory XIII

Ugo Boncompagni served as Pope Gregory XIII from 1572 to 1585. He figured prominently at the Council of Trent, and his service as pope was marked by a commitment to the reforms recommended at that council. Unfortunately, his policy of confiscating properties to fund various projects alienated much of the nobility. In 1582, he issued a papal bull establishing the Gregorian calendar, which was named after him. Which 10 dates were skipped in the switch from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar?

Last updated on Thursday, 7th January 2010

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