" A superhuman will is needed in order to write, and I am only a man. "
Gustave Flaubert

Back in the day


The Battle of Los Angeles

The "Battle of Los Angeles" is the name given by contemporary sources to the imaginary enemy attack and subsequent anti-aircraft artillery barrage that took place over Los Angeles, California, just months after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Reports of an imminent strike on the city led to the sounding of air raid sirens, the imposition of a blackout, and the firing of 1,400 shells at supposed Japanese aircraft, killing several US civilians. What may have actually prompted the bombardment?



The History of Surgery

Though administering anesthesia to surgical patients only became common practice in the mid-19th century, operations have been performed since prehistoric times, when sharpened flints served as surgical instruments and trepanation—the oldest operation for which evidence exists and one involving drilling a hole in the skull—was used to treat a host of maladies. Early civilizations also developed amputation, cauterization, and suturing techniques. When did the practice of cosmetic surgery develop?

Born on a day like today


Winslow Homer

A preeminent figure in American art, Homer was a largely self-taught landscape painter and printmaker. He trained as a lithographer, then became a freelance illustrator. As a correspondent for Harper's Weekly, he won international acclaim for his depictions of the Civil War battlefront. In 1876, he abandoned illustration to devote himself to painting, later settling in coastal Maine, where the local people and seascapes became the focus of his art. What are some of his most famous works?

Last updated on Thursday, 24th February 2011

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