" What makes old age hard to bear is not the failing of one's faculties, mental and physical, but the burden of one's memories. "
W. Somerset Maugham

Back in the day


The Gunpowder Plot Is Thwarted

Angered by King James I's refusal to grant more religious toleration to Catholics, a group of conspirators plotted to blow up Parliament and kill the king. The plot was discovered, and conspirator Guy Fawkes was arrested in a cellar under the palace at Westminster, where he had concealed 36 barrels of gunpowder. Under torture, he revealed the names of his coconspirators, and they were all either killed while resisting arrest or executed in 1606. How is November 5 celebrated in England today?



Singing Sand

Also known as sounding sand, singing sand is sand that emits musical, humming, whistling, or crunching sounds when disturbed. Although it has been studied extensively, the phenomenon is not completely understood. When it occurs near dunes, the sound accompanies a slumping or avalanching movement of the sand, usually triggered by wind or by someone walking near the crest. Different patches of sand are even said to "sing" at different frequencies. What are some locations where the sand sings?

Born on a day like today


William James Durant

Durant was an American historian and essayist. In 1926, he published The Story of Philosophy, which soon became a bestseller. He then began a decades-long project—the writing of a comprehensive history of civilization. The result was The Story of Civilization, a monumental, 4,000,000-word, 10,000-page work stretching from prehistory to the 19th century. The series, published in 11 volumes from 1935 to 1975, introduced millions to intellectual history. Who coauthored the work?

Last updated on Saturday, 5th November 2011

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