" Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect. "
Mark Twain

Back in the day


Alexander Selkirk Rescued after Four Years Stranded on a Desert Island

Selkirk was an unruly Scottish sailor who quarreled with his captain and asked to be put ashore on an island in the Pacific. Tired of Selkirk's troublemaking, the captain granted him his wish. Selkirk promptly regretted his decision and chased after the boat, but to no avail. He survived on the desert island by eating shellfish and goats and domesticated feral cats to keep himself safe from rats. When he was rescued four years later, his story became the inspiration for what fictional character?



The Alevi

Numbering in the tens of millions, Alevis are members of a religious, sub-ethnic, and cultural community found primarily in Turkey. Alevism is classified as a branch of Shi'a Islam, but there are significant differences between Alevi beliefs, traditions, and rituals and those of other orthodox sects. For example, Alevi worship takes place in assembly houses—cemevi—rather than mosques, and it features music and dance in which both women and men participate. What are some other differences?

Born on a day like today


James Joyce

Joyce was an Irish novelist—perhaps the most influential and significant novelist of the 20th century. After publishing his story collection, The Dubliners, and the autobiographical novel Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, he spent seven years writing Ulysses, which is now widely regarded by many as the greatest English-language novel of the 20th century. It embodies a highly experimental use of language and exploration of new literary methods such as what?

Last updated on Wednesday, 2nd February 2011

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