" The majority of people spoil their lives by an unhealthy and exaggerated altruism. "
Oscar Wilde

Back in the day


The Scilly Naval Disaster

Celebrated English Admiral Cloudesley Shovell was returning from an abortive attack on Toulon, France, in 1707 when his ship and several others struck rocks off the Scilly Islands, southwest of England. In one of the greatest maritime disasters in British history, Shovell is believed to have drowned along with as many as 2,000 sailors. According to one of the many legends about the disaster, Shovell reached the shore alive, only to be murdered by a woman who stole what priceless object from him?




"Melungeon" is a controversial term applied to a group of people who traditionally lived near the Cumberland Gap area of central Appalachia in the US and who have mixed Native American, white, and black ancestry. Though culturally and linguistically identical to their white neighbors and generally well-integrated, melungeons began being pejoratively identified as such in the period of heightened racial tensions leading up to the Civil War. What is known about the group's history and origins?

Born on a day like today


Doris Lessing

Lessing is a British writer and winner of the 2007 Nobel Prize for Literature. Born in Iran, she moved with her family to a farm in what was Southern Rhodesia in 1924 and lived there until 1949, when she settled in England and began her writing career. Her work often addresses social and political themes, particularly the place of women in society. The Golden Notebook, her most widely read novel, is considered a feminist classic, although Lessing herself has said what about feminists?

Last updated on Saturday, 22nd October 2011

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