" Sweet are the uses of adversity which, like the toad, ugly and venomous, wears yet a precious jewel in his head. "
William Shakespeare

Back in the day


The Cocoanut Grove Nightclub Fire

The deadliest nightclub fire in US history, the Cocoanut Grove fire claimed 492 lives. When the fire broke out, the Boston, Massachusetts, club was packed well beyond capacity. About 1,000 people were inside, with limited avenues of escape. Side doors had been locked to prevent patrons from skipping out on tabs, and the main entrance, a revolving door, was rendered useless by the crush of the crowd, as were other unlocked doors that opened inward. What is one theory as to what sparked the fire?



South African Taxi Wars

In 1987, South Africa's lucrative taxi industry—serving over 60 percent of commuters—was deregulated. Since then, it has been dominated by turf wars among rival associations of taxi operators that use mafia-like tactics, including hired killings. The wars intensified with the end of apartheid in 1994. In addition to the violence, the industry is also plagued by the inherent danger created by outdated vehicles and reckless drivers. How many taxi-related deaths occurred annually in the 1990s?

Born on a day like today


Alexander Godunov

Godunov was a Russian ballet dancer and film actor whose defection caused a diplomatic incident between the US and USSR. On August 21, 1979, while on tour with the Bolshoi Ballet in New York City, Godunov requested political asylum. Days later, the KGB put his wife, a soloist with the company, on a plane to Moscow, but the State Department grounded it until officials determined that she was leaving voluntarily. The couple later divorced. In what blockbuster did Godunov play a German terrorist?

Last updated on Thursday, 28th November 2013

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