" Vain are the thousand creeds that move men's hearts, unutterably vain, worthless as wither'd weeds. "
Emily Bronte

Back in the day


World's Parliament of Religions

The World's Parliament of Religions of 1893 was the first attempt to open a dialogue between representatives of religions from around the globe. It was held in concert with Chicago's World Columbian Exposition, an early world's fair, and marked the first formal gathering of representatives of Eastern and Western spiritual traditions. Since then, a number of parliaments dedicated to interfaith dialogue have been held around the world. What faiths were notably absent from the first parliament?




By the 14th century, a woman whose occupation was spinning thread to be woven into cloth was called a "spinster." Over time, the term came to denote unmarried women of any occupation—many of whom engaged in spinning as a respectable way to earn income—and began being used in official legal documents to refer to a woman who had never married. Despite its negative connotations, its use persisted into the 21st century. When was the term finally replaced in the legal documents of the UK?

Born on a day like today


O. Henry

O. Henry was the pseudonym of American short-story writer William Sydney Porter. As a young man, he wrote for newspapers and worked as a bank teller in Texas, where he was convicted of embezzlement. Although many people believed him innocent, he fled to Honduras. He soon returned, however, when his wife became fatally ill. He eventually served three years in prison, during which time he began writing short stories noted for their surprise endings. What was the origin of his pen name?

Last updated on Sunday, 12th September 2010

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