" It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right. "
Henry David Thoreau

Back in the day


The Teton Dam Failure

On June 3, 1976, engineers noticed two small leaks in the earthen Teton Dam, built on Idaho's Teton River. Two days later, the newly created reservoir was filled for the first time, holding a large amount of runoff. Water began seeping out, and the major leak that followed caused the dam—which had been constructed on permeable and fissured rock—to collapse. The reservoir drained in less than six hours, flooding nearby towns and farmland. How many deaths are attributed to the Teton Dam failure?



Paradigm Shift

In his 1962 book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Thomas Kuhn coined the term "paradigm shift," defining it as the dramatic change that occurs when scientists approach a problem in a new way. Kuhn said that scientific revolutions occur not by gradually building on prior knowledge, but by entering a "crisis" state that leads to an entirely new paradigm. In the 1990s, the term became a buzzword in unrelated fields like marketing. Who warned readers to avoid using it?

Born on a day like today


Ruth Fulton Benedict

Benedict was an American anthropologist whose theories have had a profound influence on cultural anthropology. Her landmark text Patterns of Culture was published in 1934, at a time when her field was dominated by men. In it, she promotes cultural relativism—the assessment of cultural practices within their own cultural context. From a young age, she was fascinated with death and was drawn to studying how other cultures treat death. Whose "cult of grief" did Benedict despise?

Last updated on Wednesday, 5th June 2013

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