" The skeleton of the whale furnishes but little clue to the shape of his fully invested body. "
Herman Melville

Back in the day


Rudolf Vrba and Alfréd Wetzler Escape from Auschwitz-Birkenau

By 1944, transports were arriving daily at Auschwitz, carrying thousands of Jews destined for the gas chambers and crematoria. Prisoners Rudolf Vrba and Alfréd Wetzler knew that someone had to warn the Jews about what was happening to their deported brethren and alert the world to the atrocities being committed, so they mounted a daring escape and made their way to Slovakia, where they presented a detailed report on the concentration camp to Jewish officials. How did they break out of the camp?




The word "gymnasium" comes from a Greek word meaning "to exercise naked." Its root, gumnos, meaning "naked," is also found in "gymnosophist." The gymnosophists were members of an ancient Hindu ascetic sect devoted to mystical contemplation. They wore little to no clothing, as they regarded it as detrimental to purity of thought. What Greek philosopher known as the founder of pure skepticism came under the influence of the gymnosophists while traveling to India with Alexander the Great?

Born on a day like today


Frances Perkins

Though Perkins was already extraordinarily accomplished by the time she was appointed US Secretary of Labor under President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933, the decision to appoint a woman to the cabinet was bitterly criticized by business and political leaders. In her unusually long 12-year term, Perkins advocated reforms such as a minimum wage, a maximum workweek, and unemployment compensation. She helped develop the Social Security Act of 1935. What book did she write after leaving office?

Last updated on Wednesday, 10th April 2013

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