" This is certain, that a man that studieth revenge, keeps his own wounds green, which otherwise would heal, and do well. "
Francis Bacon

Back in the day


"Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus" Editorial Is Published

In 1897, eight-year-old Virginia O'Hanlon of New York City asked her father if Santa Claus was real. When he suggested that "if you see it in The Sun, it's so," she wrote to the newspaper and asked. Editor Francis Pharcellus Church's lengthy, touching reply became one of the most reprinted newspaper editorials in US history. "Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias," wrote Church. What happened to Virginia?



Grosmont Castle

Grosmont Castle is a ruined castle in Wales very near the English border. It was one of three castles in the area and dates to the 11th or 12th century. It was probably used as an administrative center before being converted to a fortress. In the 13th century, King Henry III's son Edmund made the castle his residence and rebuilt part of it. He constructed a giant false doorway through which one could access the castle's lower floors but not his living quarters. How, then, did he get in and out?

Born on a day like today


Heike Kamerlingh Onnes

A Dutch physicist and professor at the University of Leiden, Onnes founded in 1884 a cryogenic laboratory that would become a renowned research center for low-temperature physics. He was the first to produce liquid helium, and in the process produced a temperature within a degree of absolute zero. He also discovered superconductivity—the abnormally high electrical conductivity of certain materials at very low temperatures. When he first observed superconductivity, what did he think it was?

Last updated on Friday, 21st September 2012

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