" Woman inspires us to great things, and prevents us from achieving them. "
Alexandre Dumas

Back in the day


George Washington Creates Thanksgiving Day

Though the feast held in 1621 may be better remembered, the first official national Thanksgiving in the US was declared in 1789. On that day, Washington, the president at the time, offered thanks for "the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty" following the revolution. Thanksgiving feasts were declared sporadically until 1863, when President Lincoln established it as a lasting holiday. Traditionally, the president pardons a live turkey each year. Why have recent presidents pardoned two?



The Oh-My-God Particle

Observed over Utah in 1991 by a cosmic ray detector, the Oh-My-God particle was a rare ultra-high-energy cosmic ray that traveled through the universe at very nearly the speed of light. Since then, scientists have detected a number of other cosmic rays with similarly high energies. Such subatomic particles carry millions of times the energy that can be generated in a particle accelerator. Their origin is still unclear, but they could be related to dark matter. What might be generating them?

Born on a day like today



Henri-Alban Fournier, who published as Alain-Fournier, was a French novelist known for his single full-length work, Le Grand Meaulnes. The poetic novel about a youthful search for the ideal was published in 1913 and is now considered a classic of French literature. Set in an imaginary locale, it is a blend of the author's own childhood and his mystical ideas. Though he began work on a second novel in 1914, he was killed in action in WWI that year. When was his body finally identified?

Last updated on Wednesday, 3rd October 2012

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