" Better beans and bacon in peace than cakes and ale in fear. "

Back in the day


William Henry Harrison Dies of Pneumonia

When at age 68 Harrison became the 9th president of the US, he was the oldest man yet to step into that role. Despite his age, he paid little heed to the cold, wet weather on the day of his inauguration and proceeded to deliver the longest inaugural speech in US history—without hat or overcoat. Pneumonia claimed his life a month later, making him the first American president to die in office and making his presidency the briefest ever. According to legend, he was the first victim of what curse?



Pyrite: "Fool's Gold"

Widely known in the English-speaking world as "fool's gold" because it has often been mistaken for the precious metal but is vastly less valuable, pyrite is a gold-colored mineral made of iron and sulfur. Despite its nickname and reputation, it does sometimes contain small amounts of real gold. Pyrite is useful in electronics because of its semiconducting properties, but its chief use is as a source of sulfur in the manufacture of sulfuric acid. What are the hazards of mining pyrite?

Born on a day like today


Maya Angelou

Angelou is an African-American writer and performer and the author of several volumes of poetry. Her seven autobiographical volumes, including I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, recount her traumatic youth and explore themes of economic, racial, and sexual oppression. In 1993, she was given the honor of reciting her poem "On the Pulse of Morning" at Bill Clinton's presidential inauguration. Angelou was not always so vocal; she endured several years of mutism in childhood. What triggered it?

Last updated on Friday, 4th April 2014

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