" There is one insuperable obstacle to a belief in ghosts. A ghost never comes naked: he appears either in a winding-sheet or "in his habit as he lived." To believe in him, then, is to believe that not only have the dead the power to make themselves visible after there is nothing left of them, but that the same power inheres in textile fabrics. "
Ambrose Bierce

Back in the day


The Berlin Wall Goes Up

After World War II, the Soviet Union occupied East Berlin while control of West Berlin was split between the US, the UK, and France. From 1949 to 1961, more than 2 million East Germans fled to West Germany to escape Communist rule before the wall was built to stop the tide of defectors. First constructed of barbed wire and erected at night, the barrier was eventually replaced by a concrete structure studded with watchtowers manned by East German soldiers. What was the "Death Strip"?




An oasis is a fertile area of desert land that forms when groundwater lies close enough to the surface to form a spring or to be reached by wells, providing it with a permanent supply of fresh water. Oases vary in size from a pond with a group of date palms to the oasis cities of the deserts of Arabia. Because oases allow travelers, most importantly traders, to replenish their food and water supplies, they are of great strategic and economic value. What Nordic country has a so-called oasis?

Born on a day like today


Frederick Sanger

After earning his PhD at Cambridge University in 1943, British biochemist Frederick Sanger decided to continue conducting his research at his alma mater. He remained there for the entirety of his four-decade career, making discoveries about the structure of proteins, particularly insulin, as well as DNA sequencing that would earn him not one but two Nobel prizes. He is only the fourth person in history to have earned this distinction. Who are the other three two-time Nobel laureates?

Last updated on Tuesday, 13th August 2013

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