" There are some experiences in life which should not be demanded twice from any man, and one of them is listening to the Brahms Requiem. "
George Bernard Shaw

Back in the day


Nathan Hale Is Hanged for Spying

A young teacher at the start of the American Revolution, Hale joined the Continental Army and volunteered for the dangerous mission of spying on British forces. The inexperienced 21-year-old managed to penetrate the British lines but was captured and hanged without trial. His last words, reported as, "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country," became a symbol of the Revolutionary spirit. Yet, some question whether these were his exact words. What might he have actually said?




Louis de Rouvroy, duc de Saint-Simon, was a French courtier. Although disliked by King Louis XIV, Saint-Simon established himself at the court of Versailles, where he was privy to all sorts of gossip and petty intrigues. In 1739, he began writing his memoirs. Despite his lack of literary technique or regard for grammar, Saint-Simon's behind-the-scenes account of life at the court is considered an indispensable, albeit flawed, historical source. After Saint-Simon's death, who seized his writings?

Born on a day like today


Michael Faraday

Despite having little formal education, Faraday is responsible for some of the most significant scientific developments in history. His contributions include discovering electromagnetic induction, inventing the first electric motor and dynamo, developing the devices now known as Faraday cages, demonstrating the relation between electricity and chemical bonding, and discovering the effect of magnetism on light. In the 1850s, he refused—on ethical grounds—to advise the British government on what?

Last updated on Saturday, 22nd September 2012

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