" Conscience is the guardian in the individual of the rules which the community has evolved for its own preservation. It is the policeman in all our hearts, set there to watch that we do not break its laws. It is the spy seated in the central stronghold of the ego. "
W. Somerset Maugham

Back in the day


Carbon-14 Discovered

Carbon-14 is a radioactive isotope of carbon having a mass number of 14 and a half-life of approximately 5,700 years. It occurs naturally, arising from cosmic rays, and is used as a tracer in studies of metabolism and in radiocarbon dating—a method of determining the age of carbonaceous, once-living material. Carbon-14 was discovered by Martin Kamen and Sam Ruben at the University of California Radiation Laboratory, but its existence had been predicted six years earlier by whom?




A popular Mahayana Buddhist deity, Avalokitesvara is the bodhisattva—enlightened being who defers Nirvana to help others—of infinite compassion and mercy. He is said to be the creator of the fourth world, the actual living universe. In Tibetan Buddhism, he is thought to be reincarnated in each Dalai Lama to preserve Buddha's teachings. However, in China and Japan, his gender became ambiguous, and he evolved into the goddess of mercy known as Guanyin. How does Guanyin differ from Avalokitesvara?

Born on a day like today


John Steinbeck

Steinbeck was an American writer perhaps best remembered for his strong, Pulitzer Prize-winning sociological novel The Grapes of Wrath, which is widely considered one of the great American novels of the 20th century. His later novels include Cannery Row, The Pearl, and East of Eden. He received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962. One of Steinbeck's last works was Travels with Charley, a travelogue about a road trip across America. Who was Charley?

Last updated on Sunday, 27th February 2011

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