Monthly Archives: April 2016

The Fall of Saigon (1975)

On April 30, 1975, Saigon, the largest city in Vietnam and the capital of South Vietnam, was captured by the National Liberation Front and the People’s Army of Vietnam. The event marked the end of the Vietnam War (1955-1975) and the reunification of Vietnam under communist rule. The city lost its status as the country’s capital and was renamed after what Vietnamese Marxist revolutionary leader and late president of North Vietnam? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

May Day Eve (Czech Republic)

According to an old Czech superstition, witches try to enter people’s homes on the eve of May Day and do them harm. The “Burning of the Witches” ceremony is observed in some parts of the country by building bonfires on the mountain tops. In Postupice, a town in the Bohemian region, a Maypole and Burning of the Witches Festival is held April 30-May 1 every year. The young men put up a maypole in the village square on the afternoon of April 30. The next day the burning of the witches takes place, when the villagers throw their broomsticks into the bonfire and burn the witches in effigy. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Eugen Bleuler (1857)

Bleuler was a Swiss psychiatrist who in 1908 introduced the term “schizophrenia.” While studying schizophrenic patients, Bleuler concluded that the disease was not one of dementia, a condition involving organic deterioration of the brain, but one consisting of a state of mind in which contradictory tendencies exist together. He argued, against the prevailing opinion, that such patients were not incurable. “Schizophrenia” replaced what term for the disease? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Gallstones

The gallbladder is a small sac that stores and concentrates bile, a bitter fluid that aids in the emulsification of fats. In some people, small, pebble-like masses composed chiefly of cholesterol, calcium salts, and bile pigments form in the gallbladder or bile ducts. The presence of gallstones can lead to painful obstruction or infection and is sometimes treated with cholecystectomy, the surgical removal of the gallbladder. How does a procedure called lithotripsy break up gallstones? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

WWII: Operation Manna Begins (1945)

During WWII, the Royal Air Force delivered 6,680 tons food into parts of the German-occupied Netherlands, with the acquiescence of the occupying forces, to feed starving Dutch citizens suffering from a famine that ultimately claimed 18,000 lives. Operation Manna, as it was called, was named for the food that the Book of Exodus says miraculously appeared for the Israelites in the wilderness. The mission ended on May 8, when Germany’s surrender ended the war in Europe. How was the food delivered? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

John Arbuthnot (1667)

Greatly admired in his time, Arbuthnot was a Scottish scientist, mathematician, and satirist. The court physician to Queen Anne, he is best remembered for his five “John Bull” pamphlets, political satires on the Whig war policy that introduced the character John Bull, a personification of England akin to the American Uncle Sam. With his friends Jonathan Swift, Alexander Pope, and John Gay, Arbuthnot was a founding member of the famous Scriblerus Club, an organization devoted to what? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Grapeshot

Grapeshot is a cluster of small iron balls loaded into a canvas bag and fired from a cannon. When a grapeshot-loaded cannon is fired, the balls disperse at a high velocity, causing devastation similar to that of a scaled-up shotgun. This ammunition was especially effective against infantry massed at close range and was used until the early 19th century, when it was largely replaced by metal-cased canister shot. Which pirate was killed by a blast of grapeshot? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary