" An inexhaustible good nature is one of the most precious gifts of heaven, spreading itself like oil over the troubled sea of thought, and keeping the mind smooth and equable in the roughest weather. "
Washington Irving

Back in the day


League of Nations Founded

The League of Nations was an organization for international cooperation, peace, and security established by the Allied Powers at the end of WWI. A league covenant providing for an assembly, a council, and a secretariat was formulated at the Paris Peace Conference and contained in the Treaty of Versailles. Headquartered at Geneva, the League was weakened by the failure of the US, which had not ratified the Treaty of Versailles, to join the confederation. What organization replaced it in 1946?



Alchemy in the Islamic World

In the 8th century, alchemy, a pseudoscience focused on transforming base metals into gold, reached the Islamic world. Over the next several centuries, Muslim alchemists revolutionized the field, introducing scientific method into alchemical research and developing apparatuses like the alembic, still, and retort, which are still in use in laboratories today, and chemical processes such as pure distillation and filtration. Which Arab alchemist has been called "the father of chemistry"?

Born on a day like today


William Somerset Maugham

Maugham was an English novelist, playwright, and short-story writer who abandoned a career in medicine when his first novel had some success. He wrote several popular plays and a total of eight novels before writing his breakthrough masterpiece, the partly autobiographical Of Human Bondage (1915). An expert storyteller, Maugham based many of his stories on his own experiences, including what short story collection that influenced Ian Fleming's James Bond series?

Last updated on Tuesday, 25th January 2011

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