" Why did the old Persians hold the sea holy? Why did the Greeks give it a separate deity ... ? Surely all this is not without meaning ... But that same image, we ourselves see in all rivers and oceans. It is the image of the ungraspable phantom of life; and this is the key to it all. "
Herman Melville

Back in the day


Voters Reject Proposal to Establish Australia as a Republic

The British began settling Australia in 1788, and before long, the entire continent was a British dependency. Over the years, Britain's role in Australian government has been progressively restricted, yet Australians remain reluctant to entirely cut ties, as evidenced by the 1999 referendum in which voters rejected a plan to establish Australia as a republic and replace the British monarch as head of state with a president elected by parliament. What other measure did they strike down?



Cult of Personality

Often associated with dictators, cults of personality arise when an individual uses mass media and propaganda to create an idealized public image through unquestioning flattery and praise. As democracy expanded in the 19th century, political leaders lost absolute power and sought to regain it through cults of personality, aided by the emergent fields of photography and advertising. Cults of personality are not just limited to politics, however. What athlete is said to have created one?

Born on a day like today


James Naismith

While teaching physical education in 1891, Naismith was tasked with creating a safe and inexpensive indoor sport to occupy his students during the Massachusetts winter. His game involved throwing a soccer ball through suspended half-bushel peach baskets, hence the name "basketball"—though "Naismith Ball" was briefly considered before the inventor rejected it. The game took off on campus and quickly spread across the US and around the globe. What other sports invention is credited to Naismith?

Last updated on Wednesday, 6th November 2013

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