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herald

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Fri, 01/29/2016 - 11:00pm

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for January 30, 2016 is:

herald • \HAIR-uld\  • verb

1 : to give notice of : announce

2 a : to greet especially with enthusiasm : hail

b : publicize

3 : to signal the approach of : foreshadow

Examples:

The first real snowfall heralded the arrival of skiing season.

"… the transportation agency's initiative has been heralded as a new way to approach transportation planning because it will take factors such as neighborhood vitality and pedestrian connectivity into account." — Brandon Formby, The Dallas Morning News, 30 Dec. 2015

Did you know?

The exact origin of herald is uncertain, but it is thought to derive from Germanic roots. Specifically, etymologists believe that herald developed from an assumed Frankish compound whose first component is akin to the Old High German heri-, meaning "army," and whose second component is akin to the Old High German word waltan, meaning "to rule." When herald first appeared on the scene in the 14th century, it referred to an official at a tournament of arms whose duties included the making of announcements. The verb forms, extending the "announcement" idea, soon followed.



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January 30, 1948: Gandhi assassinated

This Day in History - Fri, 01/29/2016 - 11:00pm

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, the political and spiritual leader of the Indian independence movement, is assassinated in New Delhi by a Hindu fanatic.

Born the son of an Indian official in 1869, Gandhi’s Vaishnava mother was deeply religious and early on exposed her son to Jainism, a morally rigorous Indian religion that advocated nonviolence. Gandhi was an unremarkable student but in 1888 was given an opportunity to study law in England. In 1891, he returned to India, but failing to find regular legal work he accepted in 1893 a one-year contract in South Africa.

Settling in Natal, he was subjected to racism and South African laws that restricted the rights of Indian laborers. Gandhi later recalled one such incident, in which he was removed from a first-class railway compartment and thrown off a train, as his moment of truth. From thereon, he decided to fight injustice and defend his rights as an Indian and a man. When his contract expired, he spontaneously decided to remain in South Africa and launched a campaign against legislation that would deprive Indians of the right to vote. He formed the Natal Indian Congress and drew international attention to the plight of Indians in South Africa. In 1906, the Transvaal government sought to further restrict the rights of Indians, and Gandhi organized his first campaign of satyagraha, or mass civil disobedience. After seven years of protest, he negotiated a compromise agreement with the South African government.

In 1914, Gandhi returned to India and lived a life of abstinence and spirituality on the periphery of Indian politics. He supported Britain in the First World War but in 1919 launched a new satyagraha in protest of Britain’s mandatory military draft of Indians. Hundreds of thousands answered his call to protest, and by 1920 he was leader of the Indian movement for independence. He reorganized the Indian National Congress as a political force and launched a massive boycott of British goods, services, and institutions in India. Then, in 1922, he abruptly called off the satyagraha when violence erupted. One month later, he was arrested by the British authorities for sedition, found guilty, and imprisoned.

After his release in 1924, he led an extended fast in protest of Hindu-Muslim violence. In 1928, he returned to national politics when he demanded dominion status for India and in 1930 launched a mass protest against the British salt tax, which hurt India’s poor. In his most famous campaign of civil disobedience, Gandhi and his followers marched to the Arabian Sea, where they made their own salt by evaporating sea water. The march, which resulted in the arrest of Gandhi and 60,000 others, earned new international respect and support for the leader and his movement.

In 1931, Gandhi was released to attend the Round Table Conference on India in London as the sole representative of the Indian National Congress. The meeting was a great disappointment, and after his return to India he was again imprisoned. While in jail, he led another fast in protest of the British government’s treatment of the “untouchables”–the impoverished and degraded Indians who occupied the lowest tiers of the caste system. In 1934, he left the Indian Congress Party to work for the economic development of India’s many poor. His protege, Jawaharlal Nehru, was named leader of the party in his place.

With the outbreak of World War II, Gandhi returned to politics and called for Indian cooperation with the British war effort in exchange for independence. Britain refused and sought to divide India by supporting conservative Hindu and Muslim groups. In response, Gandhi launched the “Quit India” movement it 1942, which called for a total British withdrawal. Gandhi and other nationalist leaders were imprisoned until 1944.

In 1945, a new government came to power in Britain, and negotiations for India’s independence began. Gandhi sought a unified India, but the Muslim League, which had grown in influence during the war, disagreed. After protracted talks, Britain agreed to create the two new independent states of India and Pakistan on August 15, 1947. Gandhi was greatly distressed by the partition, and bloody violence soon broke out between Hindus and Muslims in India.

In an effort to end India’s religious strife, he resorted to fasts and visits to the troubled areas. He was on one such vigil in New Delhi when Nathuram Godse, a Hindu extremist who objected to Gandhi’s tolerance for the Muslims, fatally shot him. Known as Mahatma, or “the great soul,” during his lifetime, Gandhi’s persuasive methods of civil disobedience influenced leaders of civil rights movements around the world, especially Martin Luther King Jr. in the United States.

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R. Stevens

Quotes of the Day - Fri, 01/29/2016 - 6:00pm
"The only good ideas are the ones I can take credit for."
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Charles Peters

Quotes of the Day - Fri, 01/29/2016 - 6:00pm
"Bureaucrats write memoranda both because they appear to be busy when they are writing and because the memos, once written, immediately become proof that they were busy."
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Martin Mull

Quotes of the Day - Fri, 01/29/2016 - 6:00pm
"Human beings are seventy percent water, and with some the rest is collagen."
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Peter da Silva

Quotes of the Day - Fri, 01/29/2016 - 6:00pm
"Ahhh. A man with a sharp wit. Someone ought to take it away from him before he cuts himself."
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obstreperous

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Thu, 01/28/2016 - 11:00pm

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for January 29, 2016 is:

obstreperous • \ub-STREP-uh-rus\  • adjective

1 : marked by unruly or aggressive noisiness : clamorous

2 : stubbornly resistant to control : unruly

Examples:

After two months at sea with dwindling food supplies and declining confidence in the captain, the ship's crew became obstreperous and began to plot a mutiny.

"It is Rob she calls for when crankily refusing to go to bed, and when Alan attempts to calm her she grows only more obstreperous." — Charles Isherwood, The New York Times, 9 Nov. 2015

Did you know?

The handy Latin prefix ob-, meaning "in the way," "against," or "toward," occurs in many Latin and English words, often in alternate forms. Obstreperous comes from ob- plus strepere, a verb meaning "to make a noise," so someone who is obstreperous is literally making noise to rebel against something, much like a protesting crowd or an unruly child. The word has been used in English since around the beginning of the 17th century. Strepere has not played a role in the formation of any other notable English words, but ob- words abound; these include obese, obnoxious, occasion, offend, omit, oppress, and oust.



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January 29, 1936: U.S. Baseball Hall of Fame elects first members

This Day in History - Thu, 01/28/2016 - 11:00pm

On January 29, 1936, the U.S. Baseball Hall of Fame elects its first members in Cooperstown, New York: Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, Christy Matthewson and Walter Johnson.

The Hall of Fame actually had its beginnings in 1935, when plans were made to build a museum devoted to baseball and its 100-year history. A private organization based in Cooperstown called the Clark Foundation thought that establishing the Baseball Hall of Fame in their city would help to reinvigorate the area’s Depression-ravaged economy by attracting tourists. To help sell the idea, the foundation advanced the idea that U.S. Civil War hero Abner Doubleday invented baseball in Cooperstown. The story proved to be phony, but baseball officials, eager to capitalize on the marketing and publicity potential of a museum to honor the game’s greats, gave their support to the project anyway.

In preparation for the dedication of the Hall of Fame in 1939–thought by many to be the centennial of baseball–the Baseball Writers’ Association of America chose the five greatest superstars of the game as the first class to be inducted: Ty Cobb was the most productive hitter in history; Babe Ruth was both an ace pitcher and the greatest home-run hitter to play the game; Honus Wagner was a versatile star shortstop and batting champion; Christy Matthewson had more wins than any pitcher in National League history; and Walter Johnson was considered one of the most powerful pitchers to ever have taken the mound.

Today, with approximately 350,000 visitors per year, the Hall of Fame continues to be the hub of all things baseball. It has elected 278 individuals, in all, including 225 players, 17 managers, 8 umpires and 28 executives and pioneers.

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Robert Frost

Quotes of the Day - Thu, 01/28/2016 - 6:00pm
"The reason why worry kills more people than work is that more people worry than work."
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Sidney J. Harris

Quotes of the Day - Thu, 01/28/2016 - 6:00pm
"Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable."
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Anatole France

Quotes of the Day - Thu, 01/28/2016 - 6:00pm
"When a thing has been said and well, have no scruple. Take it and copy it."
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Timothy Leary

Quotes of the Day - Thu, 01/28/2016 - 6:00pm
"Women who seek to be equal with men lack ambition."
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jeremiad

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Wed, 01/27/2016 - 11:00pm

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for January 28, 2016 is:

jeremiad • \jair-uh-MYE-ud\  • noun

: a prolonged lamentation or complaint; also : a cautionary or angry harangue

Examples:

Mrs. Whinge waggled a finger at us and launched into a doleful jeremiad about how we would come to no good end.

"[Pope Francis's] now-famous jeremiads as pope against today's culture of excessive consumption and environmental degradation are rooted in a thrift ethic that he acquired early in life and never abandoned." — David Blankenhorn, The Deseret Morning News (Salt Lake City), 11 Dec. 2015

Did you know?

Jeremiah was a Jewish prophet who lived from about 650 to 570 BC. He spent his days lambasting the Hebrews for their false worship and social injustice and denouncing the king for his selfishness, materialism, and inequities. When not calling on his people to quit their wicked ways, he was lamenting his own lot; a portion of the Bible's Book of Jeremiah is devoted to his "confessions," a series of lamentations on the hardships endured by a prophet with an unpopular message. Nowadays, English speakers use Jeremiah for a pessimistic person and jeremiad for the way these Jeremiahs carry on. The word jeremiad was actually borrowed from the French, who coined it as jérémiade.



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January 28, 1986: Challenger disaster

This Day in History - Wed, 01/27/2016 - 11:00pm

At 11:38 a.m. EST, on January 28, 1986, the space shuttle Challenger lifts off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, and Christa McAuliffe is on her way to becoming the first ordinary U.S. civilian to travel into space. McAuliffe, a 37-year-old high school social studies teacher from New Hampshire, won a competition that earned her a place among the seven-member crew of the Challenger. She underwent months of shuttle training but then, beginning January 23, was forced to wait six long days as the Challenger‘s launch countdown was repeatedly delayed because of weather and technical problems. Finally, on January 28, the shuttle lifted off.

Seventy-three seconds later, hundreds on the ground, including Christa’s family, stared in disbelief as the shuttle broke up in a forking plume of smoke and fire. Millions more watched the wrenching tragedy unfold on live television. There were no survivors.

In 1976, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) unveiled the world’s first reusable manned spacecraft, the Enterprise. Five years later, space flights of the shuttle began when Columbia traveled into space on a 54-hour mission. Launched by two solid-rocket boosters and an external tank, only the aircraft-like shuttle entered into orbit around Earth. When the mission was completed, the shuttle fired engines to reduce speed and, after descending through the atmosphere, landed like a glider. Early shuttles took satellite equipment into space and carried out various scientific experiments. The Challenger disaster was the first major shuttle accident.

In the aftermath of the disaster, President Ronald Reagan appointed a special commission to determine what went wrong with Challenger and to develop future corrective measures. The presidential commission was headed by former secretary of state William Rogers, and included former astronaut Neil Armstrong and former test pilot Chuck Yeager. The investigation determined that the disaster was caused by the failure of an “O-ring” seal in one of the two solid-fuel rockets. The elastic O-ring did not respond as expected because of the cold temperature at launch time, which began a chain of events that resulted in the massive loss. As a result, NASA did not send astronauts into space for more than two years as it redesigned a number of features of the space shuttle.

In September 1988, space shuttle flights resumed with the successful launching of the Discovery. Since then, the space shuttle has carried out numerous important missions, such as the repair and maintenance of the Hubble Space Telescope and the construction of the International Space Station.

On February 1, 2003, a second space-shuttle disaster rocked the United States when Columbia disintegrated upon reentry of the Earth’s atmosphere. All aboard were killed. Despite fears that the problems that downed Columbia had not been satisfactorily addressed, space-shuttle flights resumed on July 26, 2005, when Discovery was again put into orbit.

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Stephen Colbert

Quotes of the Day - Wed, 01/27/2016 - 6:00pm
"There's an old saying about those who forget history. I don't remember it, but it's good."
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Robert Louis Stevenson

Quotes of the Day - Wed, 01/27/2016 - 6:00pm
"Perpetual devotion to what a man calls his business, is only to be sustained by perpetual neglect of many other things."
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Joseph Baretti

Quotes of the Day - Wed, 01/27/2016 - 6:00pm
"I hate mankind, for I think myself one of the best of them, and I know how bad I am."
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Napoleon Bonaparte

Quotes of the Day - Wed, 01/27/2016 - 6:00pm
"History is the version of past events that people have decided to agree upon."
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proscribe

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day - Tue, 01/26/2016 - 11:00pm

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for January 27, 2016 is:

proscribe • \proh-SCRYBE\  • verb

1 : to publish the name of as condemned to death with the property of the condemned forfeited to the state

2 : to condemn or forbid as harmful or unlawful : prohibit

Examples:

The town passed an ordinance that proscribed the ownership of snakes and other exotic pets.

"Military law may proscribe conduct which is otherwise protected in the civilian world due to the different character of the military community and of the military mission." — Capt. Anne C. Hsieh, quoted in The Herald Democrat (Sherman, Texas), 18 Oct. 2015

Did you know?

Proscribe and prescribe both have Latin-derived prefixes meaning "before" attached to the verb scribe (from scribere, meaning "to write"). Yet the two words have very distinct, often nearly opposite meanings. Why? In a way, you could say it's the law. In the 15th and 16th centuries both words had legal implications. To proscribe was to publish the name of a person who had been condemned, outlawed, or banished. To prescribe meant "to lay down a rule," including legal rules or orders.



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January 27, 1888: National Geographic Society founded

This Day in History - Tue, 01/26/2016 - 11:00pm

On January 27, 1888, the National Geographic Society is founded in Washington, D.C., for “the increase and diffusion of geographical knowledge.”

The 33 men who originally met and formed the National Geographic Society were a diverse group of geographers, explorers, teachers, lawyers, cartographers, military officers and financiers. All shared an interest in scientific and geographical knowledge, as well as an opinion that in a time of discovery, invention, change and mass communication, Americans were becoming more curious about the world around them. With this in mind, the men drafted a constitution and elected as the Society’s president a lawyer and philanthropist named Gardiner Greene Hubbard. Neither a scientist nor a geographer, Hubbard represented the Society’s desire to reach out to the layman.

Nine months after its inception, the Society published its first issue of National Geographic magazine. Readership did not grow, however, until Gilbert H. Grosvenor took over as editor in 1899. In only a few years, Grosvenor boosted circulation from 1,000 to 2 million by discarding the magazine’s format of short, overly technical articles for articles of general interest accompanied by photographs. National Geographic quickly became known for its stunning and pioneering photography, being the first to print natural-color photos of sky, sea and the North and South Poles.

The Society used its revenues from the magazine to sponsor expeditions and research projects that furthered humanity’s understanding of natural phenomena. In this role, the National Geographic Society has been instrumental in making possible some of the great achievements in exploration and science. To date, it has given out more than 1,400 grants, funding that helped Robert Peary journey to the North Pole, Richard Byrd fly over the South Pole, Jacques Cousteau delve into the sea and Jane Goodall observe wild chimpanzees, among many other projects.

Today, the National Geographic Society is one of the world’s largest non-profit scientific and educational institutions. National Geographic continues to sell as a glossy monthly, with a circulation of around 9 million. The Society also sees itself as a guardian of the planet’s natural resources, and in this capacity, focuses on ways to broaden its reach and educate its readers about the unique relationship that humans have with the earth.

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