" Riot, n.: A popular entertainment given to the military by innocent bystanders. "
Ambrose Bierce

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WWII: Germans Firebomb the City of London

By the end of the Blitz—Germany's eight-month nighttime bombing campaign in Britain—tens of thousands of people were dead and millions of homes lay in ruins. For about a two-month period, the country faced nightly attacks. One of the worst raids occurred on December 29, when much of London—including such historic landmarks as St. Paul's Cathedral and the Guildhall—was destroyed or damaged by bombs and the fires they started. How many children were evacuated to the countryside during the Blitz?

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The Eight Immortals

In Chinese mythology, the Eight Immortals are a group of diverse and legendary figures, each of whom possesses a powerful talisman that can be used to perform magic. They are frequently referenced in Chinese art and culture—either individually or as a group—and are revered in the Taoist faith. They are often depicted in the company of other deities. What Chinese proverb was inspired by the story of the Eight Immortals crossing a sea to attend the Conference of the Magical Peach?

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Carmen Sylva

In 1869, Elisabeth of Wied, the daughter of a German prince, married the future king of Romania, Carol I. An artistic and imaginative queen consort, she wrote prolifically—in four languages—under the pseudonym Carmen Sylva. She composed poetry, plays, novels, and essays, at times collaborating with her lady-in-waiting. Her 1882 collection of witty aphorisms won a French literary award. Despite knowing it was illegal, she is said to have encouraged her nephew—the heir to the throne—to do what?

Last updated on Saturday, 29th December 2012

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