" Acknowledgement of one another's faults is the highest duty imposed by our love of truth. "
Ambrose Bierce

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The Seveso Disaster

Around noon on July 10, 1976, an explosion occurred in the ICMESA manufacturing plant north of Milan, Italy, releasing a poisonous cloud of dioxin gas. Although dioxin is toxic—it was an ingredient in the herbicide Agent Orange used during the Vietnam War—evacuation efforts began slowly. Named for the small Italian town most affected, the Seveso disaster led to legislation aimed at preventing chemical accidents. How many animals were slaughtered to prevent toxins from entering the food chain?

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Republic of Indian Stream

From 1832 to 1835, the Republic of Indian Stream was a small constitutional republic in the border area that divides the US state of New Hampshire from Quebec, Canada. Indian Stream was able to establish itself as an independent nation because the Treaty of Paris had left an ambiguous boundary between the US and Canada at the end of the American Revolution. The republic joined New Hampshire after being occupied by the state's militia, but not before what bizarre incident almost sparked a war?

Born on a day like today

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Marcel Proust

One of the great literary figures of the modern age, Proust was a French author who is best known for À la recherche du temps perdu, his 3,200-page masterpiece. After the death of his mother, the asthmatic Proust increasingly withdrew to eccentric seclusion, where he wrote his multivolume, semiautobiographical work. The discursive novel explores issues of human psychology, time, memory, and desire, but Proust died before completing it. What is the English translation of his novel's title?

Last updated on Wednesday, 10th July 2013

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