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Mars Makes Its Closest Approach to Earth in Nearly 60,000 Years

In its most favorable position for viewing, when it is opposite the Sun, Mars is twice as bright as the brightest star in the sky. The Red Planet was even more visible in 2003, when it made its closest approach to Earth in nearly 60,000 years, passing within 35 million mi (56 million km) of us. An email sent during the 2003 approach has spawned hoax emails saying that during an upcoming approach Mars will appear as big as the Moon. When is the next time Mars will be as close as it was in 2003?

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Wardian Cases

The forerunner of the modern terrarium, the Wardian case was a small glass container for housing ferns and similar plants. It was invented in 1829 by physician and amateur botanist Nathaniel Bagshaw Ward after he noticed that, though the polluted London air was taking a toll on ferns in his garden, fern spores inside the glass bottles where he kept cocoons were germinating. His invention allowed plants to be shipped great distances and helped advance the Victorian craze for growing what flower?

Born on a day like today

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Theodore Dreiser

Dreiser was a novelist and pioneer of naturalism in American literature. After working as a journalist, magazine editor, and publisher, he published his first novel, Sister Carrie, which was denounced as scandalous. In 1915, the withdrawal of his autobiographical novel, The Genius, from distribution on moral grounds ignited a national anticensorship campaign supported by most of the leading literary figures of the day. Whose murder inspired his An American Tragedy?

Last updated on Saturday, 27th August 2011

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