" Virtue is insufficient temptation. "
George Bernard Shaw

Back in the day


Abraham Lincoln Delivers His "House Divided" Speech

In 1858, Lincoln was nominated to challenge incumbent Illinois senator Stephen Douglas for his seat. At the state Republican convention, he accepted the nomination with a now-famous speech explaining his view that the US could not exist with both slave and free states—as "a house divided against itself cannot stand." He lost the race but won the presidency two years later. When and by whom had the same biblical reference previously been used to describe the national rift over slavery?



Trans-Saharan Trade

Encompassing about 3.5 million sq mi (9 million sq km) of Northern Africa, the Sahara is the largest desert in the world. Nevertheless, humans have maintained trade routes through it for millennia, linking the Mediterranean Sea in the north to various regions in Africa. In its heyday, after the introduction of the camel in the 1st century CE, trans-Saharan trade was principally carried out by Berber-speaking nomads. What mineral still mined today was a major Saharan trade good in ancient times?

Born on a day like today


Joyce Carol Oates

Oates is an American author of over 50 novels and numerous volumes of short stories, poetry, and nonfiction. She has won the National Book Award and the O. Henry Award and has been thrice nominated for a Pulitzer. She writes about modern American life and the connection between violence and love. Her characters are mainly ordinary, inarticulate people to whom terrible things happen. Her most famous short story, "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?" is based on what real-life serial killer?

Last updated on Saturday, 16th June 2012

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