Daily Archives: November 23, 2014

today’s holiday: Umoja Karamu


Umoja Karamu

The African-American holiday of Umoja Karamu, which means “unity feast” in Kiswahili, celebrates family members’ commitment to one another. Five periods of African-American life, each symbolized by a color, provide the framework for the ceremony: the family in Africa, before slavery in America (black); the enslaved family in America (white); the family freed from slavery (red); the family struggling for true liberation (green); and the family anticipating the future (orange or gold). Narratives, music, and foods relating to each period are part of the ceremony. More… Discuss

today’s birthday: Billy the Kid (1859)


Billy the Kid (1859)

Billy the Kid, who went by the name William H. Bonney and whose real name may have been Henry McCarty, was an infamous outlaw and murderer who roamed the American West from his teenage years until his death at the age of 21. The young fugitive was captured and jailed several times but escaped each time until he was finally killed by Sheriff Pat Garrett. Although rooted in history, the story of Billy the Kid has developed into a popular legend. Why is his gravesite enclosed by a steel cage? More… Discuss

this day in the yesteryear: First episode of Doctor Who Debuts on BBC (1963)


First episode of Doctor Who Debuts on BBC (1963)

This long-running British science-fiction program about a time-traveling adventurer known only as “the Doctor” has, over the years, gained an international cult following that spans generations. The original series ran for 26 seasons, going off the air at the end of 1989. A modestly successful Doctor Who TV movie in 1996 was followed in 2005 by the revival of the series. Over the years, 12 different actors have played “the Doctor,” who travels through time and space using what machine? More… Discuss

36 Million Slaves Worldwide


36 Million Slaves Worldwide

Slavery may seem like a relic of the past, but in fact 0.5 percent of the world’s population—36 million people—are currently enslaved. The survey, by anti-slavery group Walk Free, identifies as slaves those subjected to forced labor, debt bondage, trafficking, sexual exploitation for money, and forced or servile marriage. India hosts the greatest number of slaves of any country, with 14 million, followed by China, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, and then Russia. Mauritania, meanwhile, has the ignominious distinction of having the highest percentage of slaves, at 4 percent of its population. More… Discuss

Spelunking


Spelunking

Spelunking, or caving, is the recreational sport of exploring caves. The term comes from spelunk, the Middle English word for “cave.” Many people are drawn to spelunking because virgin cave systems comprise some of the last unexplored regions on Earth. Edouard-Alfred Martel pioneered caving in the 19th century, and widespread interest in the activity led to the creation of the National Speleological Society in 1941. What distinction do purists draw between “cavers” and “spelunkers”? More… Discuss

impel


impel 

Definition: (verb) To urge or force (a person) to an action; constrain or motivate.
Synonyms: compel, drive, push, inspire, instigate, goad
Usage: I don’t consider myself an activist, but I was impelled by recent events to take a stand on this issue. Discuss.