" Alliance, n.: In international politics, the union of two thieves who have their hands so deeply inserted into each others' pockets that they cannot separately plunder a third. "
Ambrose Bierce

Back in the day


Times Square Ball Drops for the First Time

In 1904, The New York Times moved its headquarters to what is now known as Times Square. That December, it held a New Year's Eve celebration that proved to be quite popular. A few years later, the newspaper created an illuminated time ball—then a well-known dockside device by which sailors set their ships' clocks—that would fall at midnight. The annual ball-drop outlived both the newspaper's address on the square and the use of time balls in general. What was Times Square's original name?



Laura Maria Caterina Bassi

The first woman to teach at a university in Europe, Bassi was born into a wealthy Italian family in 1711 and was privately educated for seven years. Her scientific work was encouraged by Cardinal Prospero Lambertini, who would later become pope. She attained a position at the University of Bologna at the age of 21 and was thereafter instrumental in introducing Isaac Newton's work to Italy. After she joined the Institute of Sciences at the age of 65, who served as her teaching assistant?

Born on a day like today


Jerome David "J. D." Salinger

Salinger published his first and only novel, The Catcher in the Rye, in 1951. An immediate success, it generated a cult-like dedication among readers. Though he also released a handful of short story collections, Salinger ceased publishing after 1963 and spent the rest of his life as a recluse in Cornish, New Hampshire. After his death in 2010, rumors swirled that he had left behind a number of finished works. According to one of Salinger's neighbors, how many novels did he complete?

Last updated on Tuesday, 1st January 2013

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