" You, who are blessed with shade as well as light, you, who are gifted with two eyes, endowed with a knowledge of perspective, and charmed with the enjoyment of various colors, you, who can actually see…the Three Dimensions—how shall I make clear to you the extreme difficulty which we in Flatland experience in recognizing one another's configuration? "
Edwin Abbott

Back in the day


Sputnik 1 Launch Begins the Space Race

The first artificial satellite, Sputnik I, was launched by the USSR in 1957 and spurred the dormant US space program into action, leading to an international competition popularly known as the "space race." Explorer I, the first American satellite, was launched just months later, in January 1958. In the decade that followed, the US and the USSR launched approximately 50 space probes between them to explore the Moon. What project is said to have marked the end of the space race?



The Taiping Rebellion

Perhaps the most important event in 19th-century China, the Taiping Rebellion was a large-scale revolt against the Qing dynasty. The rebellion was led by Hong Xiuquan, a self-proclaimed visionary who garnered many followers among the poorer classes, who were discontented with the government after having suffered floods and famines in the late 1840s. The rebels captured Nanjing in 1853 and made it their capital but were later defeated. The rebellion resulted in how many millions of deaths?

Born on a day like today


Rutherford B. Hayes

After fighting in the Union army in the American Civil War, Hayes served in the US House of Representatives and then as governor of Ohio. In 1876, he won the Republican nomination for president. His opponent, Samuel Tilden, won a larger popular vote, but the election was so close that a special commission had to decide the issue. It eventually ruled in Hayes's favor. What concessions did Hayes make as part of a secret compromise reached with Southerners during the electoral dispute?

Last updated on Tuesday, 4th October 2011

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