" The nations of the earth are mostly swayed by fear—fear of the sort that a little cheap oratory turns easily to rage, hate, and violence. "
Joseph Conrad

Back in the day


Egypt's Fuad I Transitions from Sultan to King

Fuad I was the first king of modern Egypt. Educated in Europe, he returned to Egypt in 1880 and founded the University of Cairo in 1906. He succeeded his brother as sultan in 1917, but in 1922, when British control of Egypt ended, Fuad took the title of king. The following year, a new constitution was established. Fuad later abolished it and frequently threw the country into turmoil by dismissing parliament. Under great pressure, he restored the constitution in 1935. Who succeeded him?



The Octothorpe

In the US, it is most frequently called a pound or number sign. In the UK, it is called a hash. Elsewhere, it is referred to as a hex. Desiring an unambiguous name for the now-ubiquitous key, phone engineers coined the word "octothorpe" in the 1960s, but it never gained wide usage. "Octo" refers to the symbol's eight arms, but the origin of "thorpe" is less clear. One theory is that it is a reference to the symbol's resemblance to a village surrounded by fields. Why is it called a pound sign?

Born on a day like today


Andrew Jackson

The seventh US president, Jackson was a child of the frontier and lost his entire family in the American Revolution. He was just 14 at the time and was already a member of the local militia. After emerging from the War of 1812 a hero for his defense of New Orleans, he rode a wave of popularity to the presidency in 1828. He was seen as a champion of the common man, but he relentlessly displaced many Native Americans. His wife died weeks before his inauguration. Why did he have to marry her twice?

Last updated on Thursday, 15th March 2012

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