Monthly Archives: May 2016

Union of South Africa Created (1910)

In 1910, the British colonies of Cape Colony, Transvaal, Natal, and Orange River were unified into the new Union of South Africa. Under the Union’s constitution, power was centralized. Elections were held, and Louis Botha became the first prime minister. The Dutch language was given equal status with English, and each province retained its existing franchise qualifications. The Union became independent and withdrew from the Commonwealth exactly how many years after its founding? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Feast of the Visitation

On this day, Christian churches in the West commemorate the Virgin Mary’s visit to her cousin Elizabeth. After learning that she was to be the mother of Jesus, Mary went into the mountains of Judea to see her cousin, the wife of Zechariah, who had conceived a son to be known as John the Baptist. According to the Gospel of Luke, Elizabeth’s baby “leaped in her womb” (1:41) at the sound of Mary’s voice. It was at this moment, according to the belief of some Roman Catholics, that John the Baptist was cleansed from original sin and filled with heavenly grace. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Henry Sidgwick (1838)

Sidgwick was a British philosopher whose Methods of Ethics is considered by some to be the most significant 19th-century ethical work in English. Drawing on the utilitarianism of John Stuart Mill and the categorical imperative of Immanuel Kant, he proposed a system of “universalistic hedonism” that would reconcile the conflict between the pleasure of self and the pleasure of others. He promoted higher education for women and cofounded what society devoted to studying paranormal events? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Electroconvulsive Therapy

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a therapeutic treatment in which an electric current is passed through the brain, inducing seizures and alterations in the brain’s electrical activity. It is used to treat certain mental disorders and is generally employed only after other therapies have proven ineffective. ECT can cause memory loss and bone fractures, and there is much controversy surrounding its use and effectiveness. Who are some of the noted actors and writers who have undergone ECT? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Old West Outlaw Pearl Hart Robs a Stagecoach (1899)

Hart was an American outlaw whose notoriety stemmed primarily from the fact that she was female. Her early life was fairly ordinary. She grew up wealthy and eloped at 16. In 1893, after seeing Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, she left her abusive husband and went west, where she acquired a taste for cigars, liquor, and morphine. In 1899, she helped rob a stagecoach, making away with over $400. She was apprehended, escaped, was recaptured, and then tried for her crimes. Why was she later pardoned? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Feast Day of St. Joan of Arc

The second patron saint of France and one of the best known of all the saints, Joan of Arc was a young, pious peasant girl from the village of Domrémy. In 1428, she heard voices she identified as St. Michael, St. Catherine, and St. Margaret telling her to help the dauphin, Charles VII, recover his kingdom from the British. Her mission was accomplished within 15 months, but Joan was captured by the king’s enemies, tried for witchcraft and heresy, and burned at the stake in Rouen on May 30, 1431. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

René Barrientos (1919)

Barrientos was elected vice president of Bolivia in 1964, but he soon broke with the president and joined other army officers in a coup. He was installed as head of a military junta and became the sole president after winning the 1966 elections. He launched a moderate—albeit military—administration, retaining the reforms instituted by his predecessors. Three years later, he died in a helicopter crash. Why did he once jump out of an airplane with a parachute that had earlier failed to open? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary