" In our nature, however, there is a provision, alike marvelous and merciful, that the sufferer should never know the intensity of what he endures by its present torture, but chiefly by the pang that rankles after it. "
Nathaniel Hawthorne

Back in the day


South African Anti-Apartheid Activist Steve Biko Dies in Police Custody

A former medical student, Biko founded the Black Consciousness Movement in South Africa in 1968 to combat racism and apartheid. He was officially "banned" by the South African government in 1973 and was arrested several times in the years that followed. Arrested for the last time in 1977, he was tortured and beaten to death in police custody, prompting international protests and a UN arms embargo. Twenty years later, five former policemen admitted killing him. Why were they never prosecuted?



The Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes

The Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes is a volcanic region in Alaska's Katmai National Park that was formed when the Novarupta volcano erupted in 1912. All plant and animal life in the remote region was destroyed by the eruption, which was the largest of the 20th century by volume. Ash and rock fragments filled a valley adjacent to the volcano, and hot gases were emitted through countless cracks in the surface, giving the area its nickname. Does smoke still escape from the cracks today?

Born on a day like today


Maurice Chevalier

Chevalier was a French actor, singer, and vaudeville entertainer known for his trademark tuxedo and straw hat. While a prisoner of war during World War I, Chevalier studied English. After the war, he began acting in the US, where he appeared in movies that helped establish the musical as a film genre. Though he put on a heavy French accent while performing in English, he actually spoke the language quite fluently with only a subtle accent. Why did his popularity dwindle during World War II?

Last updated on Thursday, 12th September 2013

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