" I never thrust my nose into other men's porridge. It is no bread and butter of mine; every man for himself, and God for us all. "
Miguel de Cervantes

Back in the day


Tewodros II Crowned Emperor of Ethiopia

Often called Ethiopia's first modern ruler, Tewodros was a bold and clever warrior who came to the throne through the conquest of other chiefs, reunifying the various Ethiopian kingdoms into one empire. He attempted to modernize the country, abolish feudalism and slavery, and focus loyalty around the government rather than the church but failed to achieve this during his reign. His later years were marked with instability and cruelty. Why did he assume the name Tewodros upon taking the throne?



Human Vestigiality

Thanks to evolution, humans have a number of anatomical structures that today have little or no use. Along with vestigial features such as wisdom teeth and the tail bone—which are thought to hearken back to a time when our ancestors consumed lots of raw plants and balanced with their tails—there are also vestigial reflexes. One example is goose bumps, which would raise our fur, if we still had it, and make us seem more menacing. What purpose might the appendix, long considered vestigial, serve?

Born on a day like today


Gian Francesco Poggio Bracciolini

An Italian humanist and calligrapher, Poggio Bracciolini is remembered today for two reasons. As a secretary, historian, and copyist, he uncovered many forgotten and neglected Latin manuscripts—including works by Cicero and Lucretius—that might otherwise have been lost to history. He is also famous for his extraordinarily beautiful and legible handwriting, which was later developed into roman type, the predecessor of almost all non-italic fonts. Whose handwriting was the basis for italic fonts?

Last updated on Monday, 11th February 2013

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