" Virtue never has been as respectable as money. "
Mark Twain

Back in the day


Environmental Activist Chico Mendes Is Assassinated

Since 1985, swaths of the Amazon region have been cleared for cattle ranching and farming on an unprecedented scale. Mendes, a Brazilian environmental activist and unionist, fought to stop the deforestation. He managed to keep local rancher Darly Alves da Silva from clearing an area designated as a reserve, even facilitating a warrant for da Silva's arrest, but it was never acted upon, and da Silva was implicated in Mendes's 1988 assassination. Where was Mendes killed?



The Capture of the Hodag

In 1893, newspapers reported the discovery of a monstrous creature in Rhinelander, Wisconsin. Called the "Hodag," it had the head of a frog, the face of an elephant, the back of a dinosaur, huge claws, and a long tail with spears on the end, according to townsman Eugene Shepard, who reported killing the beast with dynamite and later claimed to have captured one alive. Thousands came to see the creature, which he put on display at his home. What forced him to finally admit it had all been a hoax?

Born on a day like today


Jean-Michel Basquiat

A 1980s art star whose rise and fall were rapid, dramatic, and emblematic of the era, Basquiat started out as a street artist before being "discovered" by the art establishment. He created vigorously spontaneous works in paint, collage, and crayon on unprimed canvas that featured crude, angry, rawly powerful figures and graffiti-like text. He died of an overdose at 27, just a few years after meeting with mainstream success and months after the death of what other artist, his friend and mentor?

Last updated on Sunday, 22nd December 2013

More sponsors