August 23: Happy Birthday, #hashtag!
Where would we be without the hashtag?
The symbol #, which we today call the hashtag, has had a profound influence on our culture, from IRC and Twitter to #MeToo. It was invented on August 23, 2007. (more...)
April 25: Happy Birthday, Genetic Engineering!
April 25, 1953: Watson and Crick publish DNA double helix
On April 25, 1953, Watson and Crick published their paper on the structure of the DNA molecule in the journal Nature. This was the beginning of all modern molecular biology and genetic engineering. (more...)
October 2: Happy Birthday, Mahatma Gandhi!
Last Friday was the birthday of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, whom they called the Mahatma, the Great Soul. (more...)
September 26: Happy Birthday, Martin Heidegger!
September 26: Martin Heidegger’s Birthday (1889-1976) (more...)
September 23: Happy Birthday, Kublai Khan!
Xanadu, poets, pop singers, and a day devoid of significance
Did you know that singer Olivia Newton-John is the granddaughter of the famous physicist Max Born, one of the two people who claimed to have discovered the uncertainty principle in quantum mechanics? (more...)
September 22: John Conway (1937-2020)
The inventor of the Game of Life
John Horton Conway (1937-2020), mathematician, inventor of the “Game of Life” simulation of cellular automata. (more...)
September 21: Happy Birthday, Bill Murray!
Without Bill Murray, who celebrates his 70th birthday today, many movies of the past 44 years would have been a lot less memorable. From Tootsie, Ghostbusters, and The Man Who Knew Too Little, to his tender portrayal of being Lost in Translation, Bill Murray has made every one of his many roles shine with his humanity and his very unique take on the glorious and melancholy fun of being alive in a crazy world. (more...)
August 27: Happy Birthday, Human Rights!
August 27, 1789: Declaration of the Rights of the Man and the Citizen
The French Declaration of the Rights of the Man and the Citizen is a remarkable document, not only because its main ideas found their way into many national constitutions and the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights. (more...)
August 26: Happy Birthday, Mother Teresa!
Being good doesn’t mean that one has to be perfect.
Mother Teresa, born August 26, was a divisive Saint who devoted her life to the care of the poorest in Calcutta, India. (more...)
August 25: Happy Birthday, Galileo’s Telescope!
Was Galileo ultimately right?
Being right is a relative thing. No one illustrates this better than today’s celebrant: Galileo’s telescope, presented to the world on August 25, 1609. (more...)
August 25: Happy Birthday, Gutenberg Bible!
How the world changed on an August afternoon in 1456
In 1456, Johannes Gutenberg of Mainz, Germany, printed the first Bible with his new printing press using moveable type. In time, this led to an explosion of books and literacy and to the world as we know it today. (more...)
August 22: Happy Birthday, Geneva Conventions and Ray Bradbury!
If the Geneva Conventions didn’t exist, Ray Bradbury might have invented them.
August 22 marks the birthday of both the first Geneva Convention (1864) and science fiction writer Ray Bradbury (1920-2012) (more...)
August 21: Happy Birthday, Sergey Brin!
Are we allowed to be evil now?
Today marks the birthday of Sergey Brin of Google fame (born August 21, 1973) and the first public presentation of William Burroughs’ calculating machine in 1888. The calculating machine formed the basis of a company that made some of the first modern computers, Unisys. Google was officially launched 110 years later. (more...)
August 20: Happy Birthday, H.P. Lovecraft!
Lovecraft (1890-1937), creator of ancient horror gods
August 20, 1890: Birthday of horror writer H.P. Lovecraft. (more...)
April 5: Happy Birthday, Thomas Hobbes!
Can the government do whatever it wants?
Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679), born on April 5th, created the Social Contract theory, which aims to explain how governments derive their power from the will of the citizens. Hobbes thought that a monarchy is the best form of government and that the king (or queen) should be able to do whatever they want without the citizens having the right to oppose them. (more...)