" As long as learning is connected with earning, as long as certain jobs can only be reached through exams, so long must we take this examination system seriously. If another ladder to employment was contrived, much so-called education would disappear, and no one would be a penny the stupider. "
E. M. Forster

Back in the day


Captain James Cook Crosses Antarctic Circle

An explorer, navigator, and map maker, Cook sailed the Pacific Ocean between 1768 and 1779 and, with the help of new timekeeping instruments, drew the first accurate navigational maps of the area. He became the one of the first people to cross the Antarctic Circle as well as the first European to land on the Hawaiian islands, where he may have been identified by native Hawaiians as the representation of their god Lono. How did this misunderstanding contribute to his death?




Although he was illiterate, Akbar, the third and greatest Mughal Emperor, was a great lover of the arts and learning. His passion for knowledge led him to attract men of genius to his court, including Abulfazl, whom he commissioned to write his official biography. The three-volume work, known as the Akbarnama, contains an account of Akbar's reign, which lasted from 1556 to 1605; a history of Akbar's ancestors; and an administrative report of the empire. How many years did it take to complete?

Born on a day like today


Benjamin Franklin

Regarded as one of the most extraordinary public servants in American history, Franklin was also a printer, publisher, author, scientist, and inventor. After gaining popularity as the publisher of Poor Richard's Almanack, he promoted public services in Philadelphia, including a library and a fire department. In 1776, he went to France to seek aid for the American Revolution, and in 1787 he was instrumental in the adoption of the US Constitution. What musical instrument did he invent?

Last updated on Monday, 17th January 2011

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