" A man of maxims only is like a Cyclops with one eye, and that eye placed in the back of his head. "
Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Back in the day


The Nanchang Uprising

Considered the birthplace of the People's Liberation Army, the city of Nanchang in the Jiangxi Province in southeastern China was the site of the first revolutionary activities of the Chinese Communist Party in 1927. During the uprising, a force of 30,000 Communist troops rose against the Kuomintang government and briefly established the first soviet republic in China. However, the government soon retook the city, and it became the regular Nationalist capital 1928. Who led the uprising?



The Montgolfier Brothers

After discovering that heated the air in a lightweight bag would cause the bag to rise, French brothers and inventors Joseph-Michel and Jacques-√Čtienne Montgolfier demonstrated their discovery with a balloon that rose 3,000 ft (1,000 m) and floated for 10 minutes. They later sent a sheep, a duck, and a rooster up as passengers, and followed that experiment with the first manned, untethered balloon flight in 1783. Who is claimed by some to have invented the hot air balloon much earlier?

Born on a day like today


Francis Scott Key

After the burning of Washington, DC, by the British in the War of 1812, Key, an American lawyer, was sent to secure the release of a friend from a British ship in Chesapeake Bay. After watching the British shelling of Fort McHenry, he saw the US flag still flying the next morning, and wrote the poem "Defense of Fort M'Henry." Published in the Baltimore Patriot, it was later set to music and adopted as the US national anthem in 1931. The anthem was set to the tune of what earlier song?

Last updated on Sunday, 1st August 2010

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