" Habits in writing as in life are only useful if they are broken as soon as they cease to be advantageous. "
W. Somerset Maugham

Back in the day


World's First Human Heart Transplant

After studying medicine at the University of Cape Town, South African surgeon Christiaan Barnard came to the US in 1955 to improve his surgical technique. In the US, he performed his first heart operation before returning to Cape Town, where he was soon appointed director of surgical research at the Groote Schuur Hospital. He made medical history there in 1967 when he completed the world's first human heart transplant on Louis Washkansky. How long did Washkansky survive?



1996 Mount Everest Disaster

In 1996, 15 people died trying to reach the summit of Mount Everest, making it the deadliest year in the mountain's history. Eight of the deaths occurred on a single day in May, when climbers were caught by a fierce storm. The disaster gained wide publicity and raised questions about the commercialization of Everest. Journalist Jon Krakauer, who witnessed the tragedy firsthand while on assignment for a magazine article, later recounted his experience in what bestseller?

Born on a day like today


Joseph Conrad

Before becoming a novelist, Conrad lived an adventurous life at sea. He later fictionalized many of his experiences in novels that combine realism and high drama. Though he knew little English before he was 20, Conrad became one of the greatest novelists and prose stylists in English literature. Marked by a distinctive, rich prose, many of his novels are considered masterpieces, but he is perhaps best known for the novella Heart of Darkness. What were some of Conrad's real-life escapades?

Last updated on Friday, 3rd December 2010

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