" Everybody is so talented nowadays that the only people I care to honor as deserving real distinction are those who remain in obscurity. "
Thomas Hardy

Back in the day


Sofia Liberated from Ottoman Rule

Sofia was established as a Thracian settlement around the 8th century BCE and has since developed into a major world city and the capital of Bulgaria, due in part to its central position in the Balkans. Today it is home to attractions like the 6th century Church of St. Sofia and 15th century Banya Bashi mosque. During its long history, the city passed through the hands of the Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman empires. After nearly 500 years of Turkish rule, Sophia was liberated by what country?




Siberia is a vast region stretching from the Ural Mountains to the Pacific Ocean and from the Arctic Ocean to central Kazakhstan and the borders of China and Mongolia. The area was annexed by Russia in stages during the 16th and 17th centuries, when it came to be used as a place of exile for political prisoners. It was settled after the completion of the Trans-Siberian Railway in 1905 and developed for its mineral resources after World War II. What record low temperature was recorded in Siberia?

Born on a day like today


Sir Isaac Newton

Widely considered the greatest scientist who ever lived, Newton was an English physicist and mathematician. His most famous publication, Principia Mathematica, regarded as the seminal work of modern science, includes his works on the laws of motion, tidal theory, and the theory of universal gravitation. Newton also worked out the fundamentals of calculus, though this work went unpublished for more than 30 years. How might Newton's study of alchemy have influenced his theory of gravity?

Last updated on Wednesday, 5th January 2011

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