" The doctrine of innate ideas is one of the most admirable faiths of philosophy, being itself an innate idea and therefore inaccessible to disproof...Among innate ideas may be mentioned the belief...in the greatness of one's country, in the superiority of one's civilization, in the importance of one's personal affairs, and in the interesting nature of one's diseases. "
Ambrose Bierce

Back in the day


First American Girl Scouts Meeting

After meeting Boy Scouts founder Robert Baden-Powell, Juliette "Daisy" Gordon Low organized the first meeting of the Girl Scouts in the US in Savannah, Georgia. There were only 18 girls at the first meeting, but within a few decades, the organization boasted hundreds of thousands of participants. More than 50 million American women have participated in the Girl Scouts since then, learning practical skills through character-building activities. What was the original name of the Girl Scouts?



The Hermitage

One of the oldest and largest museums in the world, the Hermitage was founded by Catherine the Great in 1764 but was not opened to the public until nearly a century later. It occupies a complex of historic buildings and palaces in Saint Petersburg, Russia, and is home to more than three million artifacts and works of art—including the largest collection of paintings in the world. In 1985, what bizarre incident befell Rembrandt's painting Danaë, necessitating years of restoration work?

Born on a day like today


Sir William Henry Perkin

At the age of 15, Perkin entered the Royal College of Chemistry in London. It was there, just a few years later, that he discovered the first synthetic dye. Since antiquity, purple garments had been a mark of royalty, as natural purple dyes had to be extracted from mollusks or insects and were thus quite expensive. The lab-created dye made Perkin a wealthy man. In 1906, the chemist was knighted. At the time of his discovery, he had had been trying to create a synthetic version of what?

Last updated on Tuesday, 12th March 2013

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