Used as a popular perfume fixative since ancient times, musk is an odorous substance obtained from a gland of the male musk deer. Its strong odor comes from the organic compound muscone. Musklike substances are also obtained from the muskrat and the civet, and even some plants yield oils that resemble musk. Since musk deer are often killed to extract the gland, ethical concerns—as well as economic ones—have led to the production of synthetic musk. Why has this also come under scrutiny recently?
Back in the day
During the Reign of Terror, leading French revolutionary Maximilien Robespierre devised the Cult of the Supreme Being as the official state religion in an attempt to counter the atheistic Cult of Reason. The deist religion, which avowed patriotism and the immortality of the soul, was celebrated with a huge festival in Paris in 1794. However, other revolutionaries soon sought to end Robespierre's growing power, and he was guillotined less than two months later. What became of the religion?
Born on a day like today
Suharto was a relatively unknown army chief in 1965, when he crushed an alleged coup with a ruthless purge of communists and leftists throughout Indonesia that left as many as 1,000,000 dead. In 1967, he replaced the deposed Sukarno as president. He oversaw a return to economic stability and led the violent 1975 invasion of East Timor, which Indonesia soon annexed. Greatly unpopular after the economic unrest of the 1990s, Suharto resigned in 1998. Why was he placed under house arrest in 2000?