" I heartily accept the motto, "That government is best which governs least"; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. "
Henry David Thoreau

Back in the day


Motown Records Founded

Detroit songwriter Berry Gordy, Jr., founded Motown Records in 1959 with an $800 loan from his family. The label scored its first big hit with the Miracles' "Shop Around" in 1960, and its roster soon boasted the Temptations, the Four Tops, the Supremes, and Marvin Gaye. By creating the "Motown sound"—lyrical ballads set to an infectiously rhythmic accompaniment—it helped to make African-American music part of the popular music industry. Where does the name "Motown" come from?



The Nakhla Meteorite

The planet Mars has long fascinated humans, so people were understandably excited when a Martian meteorite landed in Nakhla, Egypt, near Alexandria on June 28, 1911. Containing carbonates and hydrous minerals formed by chemical reactions in water, the Nakhla Meteorite was the first ever to suggest the presence of water on Mars. About 40 meteorite fragments were recovered, the biggest about the size of a large pineapple. What did a farmer claim happened to his dog when it was struck by a piece?

Born on a day like today


John Singer Sargent

The son of American expatriates, Sargent grew up in Europe and studied painting in Paris. His best known work is the Portrait of Madame X, which created a scandal at the 1884 Salon—critics found it erotic, and the sitter's mother disapproved. Discouraged, Sargent moved permanently to London where he captured Edwardian high society in elegant portraits painted with his slashing brushstrokes. Though his portraits brought him acclaim, fellow artist James Whistler described them in what way?

Last updated on Sunday, 12th January 2014

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