We’re gearing up for a happy holiday weekend here in the United States as we celebrate Independence Day tomorrow. Finalize fireworks-watching plans? Check. Make sure flag-displaying etiquette is correct? Check. Use the proper vocabulary during fireworks watching and flag displaying? Better check!
Do you know your fireworks from your flag works? Match the term with its appropriate definition. [Difficulty level: moderate]
The New York Public Library, a feat of architecture and public access, was dedicated on May 23, 1911. It was exactly 16 years after the Astor and Lenox libraries agreed to combine with the Tilden Trust to create a truly “free library and reading room” as envisioned by former governor Samuel Tilden when he made his $2.4 million bequest. On May 24, the day after the dedication, the NYPL opened to the public. Between 30,000 and 50,000 people visited on that first day.
Just before the turn of the twentieth century, Homer Plessy, a U.S. citizen of white and black ancestry, was arrested for refusing to move from the whites-only car of a Louisiana train. Plessy and his lawyers used the case to challenge segregation laws. The laws were upheld. The decision given in the U.S. Supreme Court case Plessy v. Ferguson confirmed that “separate but equal” would be a protected legal doctrine for decades.
On December 21, 1913, Arthur Wynne created and published the first crossword puzzle. Running in the “Fun” section of the New York World and including the given word FUN, the puzzle was called a “word-cross” and it started the crossword craze that we still enjoy today.
I’ve never thought of myself as a Halloween enthusiast. A quick look at the posts I’ve written for Copyediting over the last couple of years, however, reveals the truth. I’m a sucker for fantasy, phantasmagoria, and even a good old-fashioned frightening now and then. The proof:
With 60 million readers worldwide, National Geographic celebrates its 125th year this month. The first issue, published in October 1888, was a modest brown pamphlet that did not yet sport the iconic yellow-bordered cover or include any photographs.
Whether fear of the number 13 (triskaidekaphobia) or the more specific fear of Friday the 13th (paraskavedekatriaphobia or friggatriskaidekaphobia) has you quaking in your boots or not, today seems a good day to break down some phobias. To quote the wisdom of Dumbledore from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, “Fear of a name increases fear of the thing itself.” In this quiz, we dare to name the 13 scariest phobias any copyeditor could ever face! [Muahahaha!]
Established by an interestingly open-ended bequest from a British scientist who seemingly had no connection to the United States, the Smithsonian institute celebrates its 167th birthday this Saturday, August 10.