" We are very fond of some families because they can be traced beyond the Conquest, whereas indeed the farther back, the worse, as being the nearer allied to a race of robbers and thieves. "
Daniel Defoe

Back in the day


Romania Cedes Bessarabia to the USSR

After the Russian Revolution of 1917, the region of Bessarabia declared its independence and voted to unite with Romania. The Soviet Union never recognized Romania's right to the province and, in 1940, demanded that it cede Bessarabia. When Romania complied, the USSR set up the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic and incorporated the northern region into the Ukrainian SSR. Bessarabia remained divided after Ukraine and Moldavia declared independence in 1991. Where did the region get its name?



Coin Flipping

Coin flipping is the practice of throwing a coin in the air to choose between two alternatives, sometimes to resolve a dispute between two parties. It is a form of sortition that inherently has only two possible and equally likely outcomes. Coin tosses are often used in sporting events to determine certain factors, such as which team will receive the ball first in American football. How did Sigmund Freud say a coin toss could help to clarify one's feelings about a particular decision?

Born on a day like today


Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Rousseau was a Swiss-French philosopher and writer who had a lasting impact on politics, literature, and education. In particular, he strongly influenced the theories of the French Revolution and the romantics. Many of his ideas stemmed from his belief in the natural goodness of man, who he felt had been warped by society. His Confessions, published posthumously in 1782, was a frank account of his life and was a founding work of autobiography. Why was he forced to flee France in 1762?

Last updated on Tuesday, 28th June 2011

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