" Teach us Delight in simple things,
And Mirth that has no bitter springs;
Forgiveness free of evil done,
And Love to all men 'neath the sun!
Rudyard Kipling

Back in the day


USS Maine Sinks, Prompting the US to Declare War on Spain

In January 1898, the USS Maine was sent to protect American interests in Cuba, where an anti-Spanish insurrection was taking place. It sank weeks later, after an onboard explosion. Fueled by the conspiracy theories of American yellow journalism, outrage over the deaths of 260 of the ship's crew members helped push the nation toward the Spanish-American War. Several investigations into the sinking have since taken place, including one that was conducted in 1998. What were its findings?




Sigurd is a hero of German and Old Norse mythology noted for his strength and courage. He is one of the heroes of the Poetic Edda, the epic poem Nibelungenlied, where he is known as Siegfried, and Wagner's operatic tetralogy The Ring of the Nibelung. He figures in many different and sometimes inconsistent legends and is said to have slain a dragon, won an accursed hoard of gold, and married a princess. What parallels can be drawn between Sigurd and the Greek hero Achilles?

Born on a day like today


Jeremy Bentham

Bentham was a British moral philosopher and legal theorist. A precocious student, he graduated from Oxford at age 15. In his writings, he became the earliest expounder of utilitarianism—the theory that the rightness or wrongness of an action is determined by its usefulness in bringing about the greatest happiness for all those affected by it. His work inspired much reform legislation, especially regarding prisons. What was done with Bentham's body after his death, in accordance with his will?

Last updated on Tuesday, 15th February 2011

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