" Where annual elections end, there slavery begins. "
John Quincy Adams

Back in the day


Wreck of the "Old 97"

The Fast Mail, a Southern Railway mail train nicknamed "Old 97," crashed near Danville, Virginia, in 1903. The derailment occurred when the train, which was being operated at a high speed in order to stay on schedule, approached a curve too quickly. It fell from the trestle to the ravine below, killing several people. The accident inspired a famous ballad that has since been recorded by Johnny Cash and Woody Guthrie among others. Why did the song become the subject of a copyright dispute?



Odd Sympathy

The phrase "odd sympathy" was coined by Dutch mathematician and physicist Christiaan Huygens to describe the tendency of two pendulums mounted on the same beam to end up swinging in exactly opposite directions. Huygens, the inventor of the pendulum clock, at first attributed the effect to air currents, but he dismissed this hypothesis himself after performing several tests. His later hypothesis—confirmed centuries later by Georgia Institute of Technology researchers—attributed it to what?

Born on a day like today


Samuel Adams

Samuel Adams was an American Revolutionary leader and patriot. In the mid-1760s, he drafted protests against Great Britain's Stamp and Townshend Acts and authored pamphlets designed to stir up sentiment against the British. Adams helped organize the revolutionary Sons of Liberty, was the chief instigator of the Boston Tea Party, served on the Continental Congress, and signed the Declaration of Independence. How was he related to John Adams?

Last updated on Monday, 27th September 2010

More sponsors