" Have you ever had a difference with a dear friend? How his letters, written in the period of love and confidence, sicken and rebuke you! What a dreary mourning it is to dwell upon those vehement protests of dead affection! "
William Makepeace Thackeray

Back in the day


The Principality of Hutt River Secedes from Australia

In the late 1960s, Australian farmer Leonard Casley protested government wheat quotas he considered unfair. Unsuccessful, he turned to Commonwealth law and styled himself a monarch—His Majesty Prince Leonard I of Hutt—and founded The Principality of Hutt River. His pronouncement of sovereignty was never successfully challenged by the Australian government, and he is now considered a non-resident of Australia for income tax purposes. What legal quirks allowed him to start his own micronation?




Electrophysiology is the branch of physiology concerned with determining the basic mechanisms by which electric currents are generated within living organisms, particularly in the nervous system. The electrical properties of biological cells and tissues are studied using a number of different methods. Classical techniques involve placing electrodes into biological tissue, and even into individual cells. What are some electrophysiology projects that have been awarded the Nobel Prize?

Born on a day like today


Henry Wheeler Shaw, AKA Josh Billings

Shaw studied at Hamilton College but was expelled for removing the clapper from the chapel bell. After a roving life as farmer, explorer, and coal miner, he settled in Poughkeepsie, New York, as an auctioneer and real estate dealer. In 1860, using the pseudonym Josh Billings, he began to write humorous sketches and homespun philosophies in rural dialect—often with intentionally crude misspellings—and soon became a popular lecturer. What are some of Shaw's best aphorisms?

Last updated on Sunday, 21st April 2013

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