" My father must have had some elementary education, for he could read and write and keep accounts inaccurately. "
George Bernard Shaw

Back in the day


Samantha Smith Visits the Soviet Union

In 1982, Samantha Smith, a 10-year-old American girl, wrote a letter to the newly elected leader of the USSR, Yuri Andropov, asking if he intended to start a war. Andropov replied personally. Expressing a desire for lasting peace with the US, he invited Smith to visit. The following July, she and her parents spent two weeks in the USSR amidst a media frenzy that hailed her as a goodwill ambassador. After her death in a plane crash two years later, she was honored by both nations in what ways?



Dust Explosion

Because of its relatively large surface area, dust is more flammable than solid objects. When high concentrations of very fine powders are suspended in air, they have a tendency to violently, unexpectedly combust, even in the absence of a flame. Materials that cause dust explosions include not only coal and sawdust but also flour, sugar, and even powdered milk. Deadly dust explosions have gutted mines and leveled silos and factories. What methods are used in industry to prevent dust explosions?

Born on a day like today


Gustav Mahler

Mahler was an Austrian composer and conductor. After studying in Vienna, he conducted at numerous prominent opera houses where his high standards became legendary, but his refusal to compromise aroused intense personal opposition. He composed in his free time, mostly during the summer, and completed nine symphonies in his lifetime. The biggest success of his career—the 1910 premiere of his eighth symphony—was overshadowed by Mahler's discovery of his wife's affair with what famous architect?

Last updated on Saturday, 7th July 2012

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