" Character is not cut in marbleā€”it is not something solid and unalterable. It is something living and changing, and may become diseased as our bodies do. "
George Eliot

Back in the day


Hope Diamond Donated to the Smithsonian Institution

The Hope diamond is one of the largest blue diamonds known. Discovered in India, the original 115-carat stone was sold to King Louis XIV in the 1660s and remained part of the French crown jewels until a theft in 1792. In 1830, London banker Thomas Hope purchased a 45.5-carat diamond, now believed to have been cut from the stolen French jewel. After changing hands many times, the Hope diamond was eventually donated to the Smithsonian by jeweler Harry Winston. Why do some think the gem is cursed?




Timgad was Roman city founded by Trajan in northeast Algeria in 100 CE. The city was destroyed by Berbers in the 7th century and was unknown until excavations were begun in 1881. Today, it is popularly known as "the Pompeii of North Africa" because of its extensive, well-preserved ruins, which include a triumphal arch, public baths, a theater, a library, and a forum. For thousands of years, volcanic debris protected the ruins of Pompeii; what helped preserve the ruins of Timgad?

Born on a day like today


Richard Burton

Richard Jenkins, better known by his stage name Richard Burton, was a dark, introspective actor who specialized in portraying conflicted men. His tempestuous marriage to Elizabeth Taylor led to an acting partnership that vaulted Burton to the top rank of stardom. Together they made 11 films, including Cleopatra and The Taming of the Shrew. Burton and Taylor were married twice, and their real-life marriage was popularly likened to the fictional marriage they portrayed in what film?

Last updated on Thursday, 10th November 2011

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