" Contempt is that which putteth an edge upon anger, as much or more than the hurt itself. "
Francis Bacon

Back in the day


Highwayman Joseph "Blueskin" Blake Hanged

In the early 18th century, English criminal Jonathan Wild maintained a highly organized gang of thieves and long escaped punishment by posing as an instrument of justice and helping the authorities catch other criminals independent of, or rebellious to, his control. One such criminal was Blake, who was arrested after a burglary. He was tried, convicted, and hanged. What other notorious criminal—Blake's partner in crime—escaped from the same prison while Blake was on trial?



Palio di Siena

The Palio di Siena is a horserace held twice annually in the Tuscan city of Siena. Dating from the Middle Ages, the race is the centerpiece of festivals held in the piazza in July and August. During the race, 10 jockeys riding bareback circle the city's Piazza del Campo three times. The race usually lasts no more than 90 seconds, and it is not uncommon for jockeys to be thrown off their horses while making the Piazza's treacherous turns. What forms of sabotage are allowed in this race?

Born on a day like today


Alessandro Moreschi

Moreschi was the late 19th century's most famous castrato—a male singer who undergoes castration before puberty and, as a result, retains a soprano or alto voice that becomes extraordinarily powerful as he develops the lung capacity and physical bulk of an adult. He was first soprano in the Sistine Chapel choir for 30 years and was the only castrato of the bel canto tradition to make solo sound recordings. What do modern music critics say about the singing featured in these recordings?

Last updated on Friday, 11th November 2011

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