" Everything is self-evident. "
Rene Descartes

Back in the day


The Night Attack

The Night Attack was a battle fought between the forces of Wallachian Prince Vlad III, known as Vlad the Impaler, and the forces of Mehmed II, sultan of the Ottoman Empire. After Vlad raided Bulgaria and killed more than 20,000 Turks and Bulgarians, Mehmed marched on Wallachia, and the two powers fought a series of skirmishes. In the Night Attack, Vlad attacked the Turkish camp in an attempt to assassinate Mehmed. The attempt failed, but Mehmed retreated anyway. Why?




Following the invention of waterproof containers about 9,000 years ago, boiling became a common cooking technique, and soup became a staple food item in many cultures. Soups come in myriad varieties, many of which are specific to certain places, such as the pot-au-feu of France, the borscht of Russia, the mutton broth of Scotland, the minestrone of Italy, the chowders of various coastal regions, and gazpacho, the cold soup of Spain. How is soup related to the etymology of the word "restaurant"?

Born on a day like today


John Hersey

Born in China to missionary parents, Hersey worked as a journalist in East Asia, Italy, and the Soviet Union from 1937 to 1946, including as a war correspondent during WWII. In 1944, he won the Pulitzer Prize for his novel A Bell for Adano, which depicts the Allied occupation of a Sicilian town. He later combined fact and fiction in his most famous work, Hiroshima, about the experiences of atomic-blast survivors. How did Hersey inspire Dr. Seuss to write The Cat in the Hat?

Last updated on Friday, 17th June 2011

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