Monthly Archives: March 2015

The Eiffel Tower Is Inaugurated (1889)

Among the most recognized and visited structures in the world, the Eiffel Tower was built beside the Seine River in Paris between 1887 and 1889 as the entrance arch for the Exposition Universelle, a World’s Fair marking the centennial celebration of the French Revolution. Named after its designer, engineer Gustave Eiffel, the tower was constructed by 300 workers who joined together 18,038 pieces of puddled iron using 2,500,000 rivets. How many people died during the tower’s construction? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Malta Freedom Day

In 1814, Malta became a crown colony of the British empire. Although Malta gained independence in 1964, the British armed forces did not completely leave until March 31, 1979. This freed Malta of foreign military occupation for the first time in history. In Malta, Freedom Day is a public holiday that commemorates the day the last of the British military left the Maltese Islands. On this holiday, a ceremony is held at the War Memorial in Floriana. The main events of the day take place around the Freedom Day Monument in Vittoriosa. In the afternoon, a competitive regatta is held in Grand Harbour. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

René Descartes (1596)

René Descartes was a French mathematician, scientist, and philosopher who is considered the father of modern philosophy. Aiming to apply the rigor of mathematics to all fields of human knowledge, Descartes discards the authoritarian system of the scholastics and begins with universal doubt. His methodology was a major influence in the transition from medieval science and philosophy to the modern era. What is thought to be the meaning of his most famous statement, “Cogito ergo sum“? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

The Philly Cheesesteak

The Philly Cheesesteak is a sandwich of steak, cheese, and onions that is considered to be a city icon. Responsibility for its invention is claimed by Philadelphia’s Olivieri brothers, who began selling it at their hot dog stand near south Philadelphia’s Italian Market in the 1930s. Today, a number of long-running rival establishments each claim loyal followings, and Philadelphians enthusiastically debate the merits of each shop’s recipe. What types of cheese are commonly used on cheesesteaks? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

US President Ronald Reagan Is Shot (1981)

Just 69 days into his presidency, Ronald Reagan was shot in Washington, DC, along with three others. The would-be assassin, John Hinckley, Jr., was motivated by an obsession with actress Jodie Foster and the film Taxi Driver. Reagan soon recovered, and Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity and confined to a psychiatric facility. While Reagan was hospitalized, Secretary of State Alexander Haig made a controversial statement about presidential succession. What did he say? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Doctors' Day

Since 1933, this day has been set aside to honor America’s physicians. It is the anniversary of the day in 1842 on which Dr. Crawford W. Long removed a tumor from the neck of a man while the patient was anesthetized by ether. Dr. Long was the first acclaimed American physician to use ether as an anesthetic agent in a surgical procedure. The red carnation is the official flower associated with Doctors’ Day. The American Medical Association promotes various activities to mark this day, including walk-a-thons and blood drives. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Vincent van Gogh (1853)

Vincent van Gogh was a Dutch postimpressionist artist whose paintings include some of the world’s best known, most popular, and most valuable pieces in the world today. Yet, only one of his paintings was sold while he lived. The majority of the works for which he is best known were produced in 29 months of frenzied activity and intermittent bouts with epileptic seizures and profound despair that tragically ended in suicide. What iconic painting did van Gogh complete while in a mental hospital? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Model Trains

Model railroading (US) or Railway modeling (UK) is a hobby in which rail transport systems are modeled at a reduced scale. The models include the rail vehicles and the entire infrastructure of railroads as well as the surrounding scenery, called a “layout.” Today, model railway engines are generally operated by low-voltage electricity supplied through the tracks; how were early models made before the advent of practical electricity? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary