" In the bosoms of this people, thus heterogeneously composed, there was burning, kindled at different furnaces, but all furnaces of affliction, one clear, steady flame of liberty. "
John Quincy Adams

Back in the day


Samuel Morse Successfully Tests the Electrical Telegraph

In 1832, Morse, an American painter-turned-inventor, began working on a system for transmitting messages as electrical pulses across a wire. Five years later, he was granted a patent for his electromagnetic telegraph, and he successfully tested the device a year after that. Public use of Morse's telegraph system, as well as the code he developed to represent letters and numbers as electrical pulses, began in 1844 and lasted over 100 years. What was the first message sent on the public system?




Cartomancy is a form of divination, or fortune-telling, involving playing cards. Cards made their way to Europe in the 14th century, probably from Egypt. By the 15th century, cards with allegorical illustrations, or tarots, began appearing in Europe. Divination using these cards is in evidence as early as 1540, but it appears that the cards themselves were only later assigned specific divinatory meanings. Clubs in cartomancy signify power and are associated with what fiery mythical creature?

Born on a day like today


Richard II of England

Richard II was perhaps the most enigmatic of the English kings, reigning from 1377 to 1399. He inherited the throne as a boy, but his uncle John of Gaunt and other nobles dominated the government, limiting his power. Taking revenge, he banished John's son, Henry, and confiscated his vast Lancastrian estates. Not long after, while Richard was away on an expedition, Henry returned and seized power. Forced to abdicate, Richard was imprisoned and died in captivity. What likely caused his death?

Last updated on Friday, 6th January 2012

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