La Cantuta Massacre (1992)

In 1992, a professor and nine students from Lima’s La Cantuta University were abducted by a military death squad, murdered, and secretly buried. The murders occurred during the presidency of Alberto Fujimori and his government’s battle against the guerilla terrorist group Shining Path. The massacre contributed to Fujimori’s conviction in 2009 on charges of human rights abuses, for which he was sentenced to 25 years in prison. What bombing was used as a justification for the La Cantuta Massacre? Discuss

Robert Hooke (1635)

Hooke was a prolific English physicist, mathematician, and inventor. He was a geometry professor and the curator of experiments for the Royal Society. An architect as well, he played a major role in the surveying and rebuilding of London after the 1666 fire. Considered the greatest mechanic of his age, he made myriad improvements to astronomical instruments and timepieces. In his pioneering book Micrographia, he described his microscopic observations of plant tissue and coined what term? Discuss

Sea Routes of the Ancient World

Before the invention of modern navigational tools, sailors in the ancient world navigated sea routes using periploi, documents that list ports, coastal landmarks, and the approximate distances between them. The Greek Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, dated between the first and third century CE, details navigation and trading opportunities at Roman Egyptian ports on the Red Sea and along the coasts of E Africa and India. According to the document, where is the “Frankincense kingdom”? Discuss

Napalm Incendiary Bombs Dropped for First Time by US Air Force (1944)

Napalm is an organic compound used to thicken gasoline for use as an incendiary in flamethrowers and firebombs. The thickened mixture burns more slowly and can be propelled more accurately and farther than gasoline. When it comes in contact with surfaces, including the human body, it sticks and continues to burn. It was developed and first used by the US in World War II. Its use in the Vietnam War became highly controversial. “Napalm” is a combination of what two words? Discuss

S.Y. Agnon (1888)

Agnon was an Israeli writer who is widely regarded as one of the greatest modern Hebrew novelists and short-story writers. Born into a Polish Galician family in what is now Ukraine, Agnon settled in Palestine in 1907. His fiction explores Jewish life from the late 18th century to the post-WWI period. The Day Before Yesterday, perhaps his greatest novel, examines the problems faced by the westernized Jewish immigrant to Israel. In 1966, Agnon shared the Nobel Prize in Literature with whom? Discuss

Criminal Tattoos

Tattoos are used by many criminals to show gang membership and mark their personal history, skills, and convictions. The system of Russian criminal tattoos is perhaps the most elaborate—both the symbols themselves and their locations on the body carry meaning. For example, butterflies signify an escape artist, while a crucifix worn on the chest signifies a “Prince of Thieves,” the highest rank among criminals. In a criminal tattoo of a Russian church, what does each of the domes symbolize? Discuss

Saint Clare of Assisi (1194)

Born to a noble family, Chiara Offreduccio, now St. Clare of Assisi, was deeply influenced by fellow Assisian St. Francis. Refusing to marry, she instead fled to a chapel where he received her vows. She later became abbess of a female religious community that included her sister and mother. The Second Order of St. Francis, or Poor Clares, adopted the absolute poverty of St. Francis but was strictly cloistered, unlike its counterpart, the Franciscans. Why is Clare the patron saint of television? Discuss


Whether it’s a face on Mars or the Virgin Mary’s image on a grilled-cheese sandwich, perception of the meaningful in the mundane is common. It is called pareidolia, the psychological phenomenon in which a vague and random stimulus, such as an image or sound, is perceived as significant. Common examples include images of animals in clouds, the man in the moon, and hidden messages on records played in reverse. What test uses pareidolia to attempt to gain insight into a person’s mental state? Discuss