" Sooner or later we have all to pay for what we do. "
Oscar Wilde

Back in the day


Apollo-Soyuz Test Project: First Docking of Russian and US Spacecrafts

The Apollo-Soyuz Test Project was the first joint flight of the US and Soviet space programs. Its primary purpose was symbolic, to show that the two superpowers were easing the tensions of their Space Race. The two mission commanders exchanged the first international handshake in space through the open hatch of the Soyuz. Though American Deke Slayton had been selected for the Mercury mission in the 1950s, the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project was his first flight into space. Why did he have to wait?




Samizdat was the clandestine system of writing, printing, and distributing literature that was suppressed by the Soviet government. The term also refers to the literature itself. Samizdat began appearing in the 1950s and typically took the form of carbon copies of typewritten sheets that were passed from reader to reader. Subjects included dissident activities, transcripts of political trials, and analyses of socioeconomic and cultural themes. What does samizdat mean in Russian?

Born on a day like today


Ismail I

The young Ismail I went into hiding after his father's death and emerged at age 14 to proclaim himself Shah of Iran. Despite his youth, he was able to reunify Iran and establish the Safavid Empire, which remained intact until 1736. Ismail converted Iran from the Sunni to the Shi'a sect of Islam, drawing the ire of Selim I, the Sunni sultan of the Ottoman Empire, who wrote Ismail belligerent letters before invading Iran. Ismail was also a prolific poet who wrote under what pseudonym?

Last updated on Wednesday, 17th July 2013

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