" The conquest of the earth, which mostly means the taking it away from those who have a different complexion or slightly flatter noses than ourselves, is not a pretty thing when you look into it. "
Joseph Conrad

Back in the day


The Storming of the Bastille

The Bastille was a 14th-century fortress and a notorious state prison in Paris. In 1789, an angry mob stormed the prison, freeing the political prisoners held in the edifice that had come to symbolize the French monarchy's oppression of the people. The assault launched the French Revolution. Although the building itself was razed a year later, the Bastille became a symbol of French independence, and July 14th became a national holiday. How many prisoners were in the Bastille when it was stormed?




The gegenschein is an oval patch of faint light directly opposite the sun in the night sky. It is so faint that it can only be seen in the absence of moonlight and is lost in the light of the Milky Way except in the spring and fall. It is thought to be caused by sunlight reflecting off dust particles in space that may be part of Earth's tail of dust and gas. Danish astronomer Theodor Brorsen published an account of the phenomenon in 1854, about 50 years after it was observed and named by whom?

Born on a day like today


Owen Wister

Wister was an American author who is best remembered for his contributions to western fiction. A well-to-do Harvard graduate, he suffered from ill health and summered in the American West, where he gained much inspiration for his writings. His popular 1902 novel The Virginian is regarded as the first western. It tells the tale of a cattle rancher who depends on a harsh code of ethics, and it helped establish the cowboy as an American folk hero. To whom is the book dedicated?

Last updated on Saturday, 14th July 2012

More sponsors