Category Archives: Article of the Day

Piccadilly Circus

Piccadilly Circus is a famous road junction and public space in London. Built in 1819 to connect Regent Street with the major shopping street of Piccadilly, the “great thoroughfare,” as Charles Dickens called it, has since become a popular meeting place and tourist destination. In the late 19th century, a commemorative fountain was erected there featuring a nude, winged figure often mistakenly identified as Eros, the Greek god of love. Who did the sculptor actually intend to depict? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Lycanthropy

The ancient belief in lycanthropy, the magical ability of a human to assume the form and characteristics of a wolf, still exists in many parts of the world. In the Middle Ages, the church went so far as to condemn lycanthropy as a form of sorcery and often ruthlessly punished suspected offenders. One of the most widely held superstitions relating to lycanthropy is the belief in the werewolf. According to folk beliefs, what are the various methods for becoming a werewolf? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Whirlyball

A team sport that combines elements of basketball, jai alai, lacrosse, and bumper cars, whirlyball was first developed in Salt Lake City, Utah, in the early 1960s. Whirlyball players ride in small, crank-steered electric vehicles known as “Whirlybugs” and score points for their team by shooting a Wiffle Ball at the opposing team’s target. Further complicating matters is the fact that players are not allowed to touch the ball with their hands and must pass, catch, and shoot using what? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Miracle Fruit

The idea that a slice of fresh lemon could taste sweet may seem ludicrous, but the berry of the Synsepalum dulcificum plant, also known as miracle fruit, can make that a reality. When eaten, the small red berry releases a glycoprotein called miraculin, which binds to the tongue’s taste buds and makes bitter and sour foods consumed over the next few hours taste sweet. Researchers are working to develop a miracle fruit sweetener that could benefit people suffering from what disorder? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Unicorns

Though the modern unicorn is usually depicted as a majestic white horse with one long horn growing from its forehead, traditional imagery also includes a billy goat beard, lion’s tail, and cloven hooves. It was highly sought after in the middle ages for its horn, which was believed to neutralize poison, and for its milk, which was thought to be an aphrodisiac. Unicorns appear in the mythology of many ancient cultures, and a unicorn-like creature is mentioned in what books of the Hebrew Bible? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Parietal Eyes

Lizards, frogs, lampreys, and some fish species possess a unique organ known as a third, or parietal, eye. Though referred to as an “eye,” this photoreceptive organ does not “see” in the same way that a standard eye does. Instead, it uses a different biochemical method of detecting light than normal eyes and helps regulate circadian rhythms and hormone production for thermoregulation. The parietal eye is associated with what gland that humans, too, possess? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Jehovah's Witnesses

Famous for their door-to-door evangelizing, Jehovah’s Witnesses are members of an international religious movement founded in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, by Charles T. Russell in 1872. The group’s beliefs are based primarily on the apocalyptic portions of the Bible, and their primary goal is the establishment of God’s kingdom on Earth. Several of their beliefs are controversial; members refrain from performing military service or saluting the flag, and they refuse what type of medical procedure? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Romulus and Remus

Romulus and Remus, the legendary founders of Rome, appear in Roman mythology as the twin sons of the war god Mars and priestess Rhea Silvia. Thrown into the Tiber River as infants, they were found by a she-wolf who nursed them and a shepherd who raised them. The two later built a city on the site where they were saved from the river, but an argument during its construction led Romulus to kill Remus. In its early days, Rome lacked female inhabitants, so Romulus organized the kidnapping of whom? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

The World's Largest Flower

Native to the rain forests of Malaysia, Sumatra, Borneo, and the Philippines, Rafflesia arnoldii is a plant species that produces the largest individual flower on Earth. The rare parasitic plant has no roots, stems, or leaves and consists only of threadlike growths on the vine that hosts it. However, it produces huge, five-petaled flowers that can measure 3 ft (1 m) across and can weigh up to 24 lbs (11 kg). The flowers emit a distinctive scent that is akin to what fetid odor? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

The Rescue of the Danish Jews

During World War II, when Nazi authorities in Denmark ordered Danish Jews to be arrested and deported to Germany, many Danes and Swedes took part in a collective effort to evacuate approximately 8,000 of them to nearby Sweden. The improvised operation is considered one of the largest actions of collective resistance to repression in the countries occupied by Nazi Germany. As a result, most of Denmark’s Jewish population survived the Holocaust. How were most Jews smuggled out of Denmark? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary