Charles Julius Guiteau, Assassin of US President James A. Garfield, Hanged (1882)

At the deadlocked 1880 Republican national convention, Garfield was nominated as a compromise candidate for president, with Chester A. Arthur chosen for vice president to appease the “Stalwart” faction of the party. However, after Garfield became president, he passed over the Stalwarts in his appointments, creating a bitter rivalry. Guiteau, who unreasonably expected to be offered a diplomatic post, shot Garfield and said, “I am a Stalwart and Arthur is president now!” When did Garfield die? Discuss

Robert Ballard (1942)

Ballard is an American oceanographer and marine geologist. While working at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Research Institution, he pioneered the use of deep-diving submersibles, took part in the first manned exploration of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, and discovered warm water springs and the unusual animal communities that grow up around them in the Galápagos Rift. He is best known for his dramatic discovery of the wreck of the Titanic in 1985. What other notable wrecks has Ballard located? Discuss

Two Car Bombs Discovered in London (2007)

In 2007, a potential tragedy was averted in London when two car bombs were disabled before they could be detonated in a busy district of the city. The cars and devices were recovered intact for forensic examination and both were found to contain gasoline canisters, nails, and a mobile phone-based trigger. The next day, two men drove a car laden with propane into a terminal at Glasgow International Airport and set it ablaze. The surviving conspirator was jailed for both incidents. Who was he? Discuss

Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis (1893)

Mahalanobis was an Indian scientist and applied statistician. He is best remembered for the Mahalanobis distance, a statistical measure he used in his pioneering studies in anthropometry—the study of human body measurement for use in anthropological classification and comparison. He founded the Indian Statistical Institute and contributed to the design of large scale sample surveys. His survey methods have been used to study things like tea-drinking habits, crop acreage, and what else? Discuss

Zhou Tong, the Archer

Zhou Tong was the archery teacher of famous Song Dynasty general Yue Fei. Zhou certainly led an impressive life, however, it was the publication of a fictional biography of Yue Fei during the Qing Dynasty that made Zhou into a local hao, or folk hero. Zhou’s fictional exploits have since been chronicled in films, comic books, and even his own modern fictional biography. What unorthodox ritual did Yue Fei engage in to mourn his former teacher after Zhou’s death in 1121? Discuss

Romania Cedes Bessarabia to the USSR (1940)

After the Russian Revolution of 1917, the region of Bessarabia declared its independence and voted to unite with Romania. The Soviet Union never recognized Romania’s right to the province and, in 1940, demanded that it cede Bessarabia. When Romania complied, the USSR set up the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic and incorporated the northern region into the Ukrainian SSR. Bessarabia remained divided after Ukraine and Moldavia declared independence in 1991. Where did the region get its name? Discuss

Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712)

Rousseau was a Swiss-French philosopher and writer who had a lasting impact on politics, literature, and education. In particular, he strongly influenced the theories of the French Revolution and the romantics. Many of his ideas stemmed from his belief in the natural goodness of man, who he felt had been warped by society. His Confessions, published posthumously in 1782, was a frank account of his life and was a founding work of autobiography. Why was he forced to flee France in 1762? Discuss

Faiyum Mummy Portraits

For the first three centuries CE, the people of Roman Egypt, especially those of the Faiyum region, used hot, pigmented wax to paint portraits of the dead on wooden or plaster-coated panels. Renowned for their naturalism, the detailed funerary masks, which were placed over the faces of Faiyum’s ancient mummies, make up the richest body of portraiture to have survived from antiquity. What do some scholars claim the age of the subjects in the portraits says about life expectancy at the time? Discuss