" It is not the office of a man to receive gifts ... We wish to be self-sustained. We do not quite forgive a giver. The hand that feeds us is in some danger of being bitten. "
Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Disgruntled Engineer Jams HBO's Satellite Signal

In the early morning hours of April 27, 1986, a Florida electronics store owner moonlighting as a satellite uplink technician decided to protest what he considered unfair programming subscription rates for satellite dish owners. Overriding the signal of the cable network HBO, he transmitted a message to be seen by anyone watching HBO at the time. "Captain Midnight," as he called himself, was eventually fined $5,000 for the stunt. What did he elect to say in those few minutes of airtime?

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The Doctors' Plot

In January 1953, a plot to murder leading Soviet government and party officials was "uncovered." Nine prominent doctors, at least six of them Jews, were arrested and confessed their involvement. The reports sparked an upwelling of anti-Semitism in the USSR. Months later, news broke that the charges were false and that the confessions had been obtained by torture. Who alleged that Stalin, whose death in March brought down the scheme, had planned to use the scandal to launch a massive party purge?

Born on a day like today

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Herbert Spencer

Admired by some and loathed by others, Spencer was one of the most discussed Victorian thinkers. An English sociologist and philosopher, he was an advocate of the theory of social Darwinism. In his vast, multi-volume System of Synthetic Philosophy, he held that the physical, organic, and social realms are interconnected and develop according to identical evolutionary principles. To describe his theory of sociocultural evolution, he coined what well-known phrase?

Last updated on Saturday, 27th April 2013

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