" For our vanity is such that we hold our own characters immutable, and we are slow to acknowledge that they have changed, even for the better. "
E. M. Forster

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WWII: Bombing of Tokyo Kills 100,000

During WWII, Allied bombing devastated half of Tokyo, destroyed or damaged many famous landmarks, and ruined nearly all of the city's industrial plants. In the US firebombing raid that began on March 9, 1945, nearly 2,000 tons of incendiary bombs were dropped on the Japanese capital, killing roughly 100,000 people and destroying about 16 mi² (41 km²) of the city—making it the most destructive conventional bombing raid in history. How did the destruction compare to that of Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

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Nüwa

In Chinese mythology, Nüwa is a figure variously described as a creator deity or a repairer of heaven and Earth, especially after a calamity. Nüwa is said to have created mankind by fashioning individuals out of clay. When the process became too arduous, she began to simply flick bits of clay off the end of a rope. These differing methods of creation have been used to explain the distinction between nobles and commoners. How did Nüwa prevent the sky's collapse after a pillar supporting it broke?

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Bobby Fischer

Fischer was a chess legend who, at the age of 15, became the youngest grandmaster in history at that time. In 1970 and 1971, he won an unprecedented 20 straight games to qualify to challenge Boris Spassky for the world championship. He then beat Spassky, becoming the only American world titlist and winning the lion's share of the $250,000 prize fund that was then the largest purse offered in any sport outside boxing. Afterward, Fischer did not publicly play another game of chess until what year?

Last updated on Wednesday, 9th March 2011

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