The Crimean War

As the once-mighty Ottoman Empire declined, major European powers began to compete for control of its territories. Eventually, the conflict escalated into a full-scale war, with Russia on one side and Great Britain, France, Sardinia, and the Ottoman Empire on the other. It was commanded poorly by both sides, and in the end, nothing was definitively settled. It was one of the first wars to be documented photographically. What caused many of the hundreds of thousands of casualties on both sides? Discuss
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Ovid’s

Completed in 8 CE, Metamorphoses is a 15-book narrative poem that describes the history of the world from its creation to the deification of Julius Caesar. A collection of myths and legends in which transformation plays a role, it relates the stories of Daphne, a nymph who metamorphosed into a laurel tree to escape from Apollo, and Arachne, who was turned into a spider for challenging the goddess Athena to a weaving contest. What other transformations are detailed in Metamorphoses? Discuss
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Thomas Dunn English

Though he was an accomplished writer and politician, English is best known for his bitter feud with Edgar Allen Poe that turned physical at least once. They had once been friends, but in the early 1840s, their relationship deteriorated. Each began to publish thinly-veiled, mocking satires of the other. Poe included references to English in the revenge tale, The Cask of Amontillado, and English ridiculed Poe as a drunk. Eventually, Poe sued for libel and won. What led to their falling out? Discuss
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Lost-Wax Casting

The lost-wax method of casting metal sculptures was developed thousands of years ago and is still used by metalworkers today. In this labor-intensive process, a clay or plaster model is coated with wax and then covered with a perforated plaster or clay mold. When the cast dries, the wax is melted and drained and replaced with molten metal. Archeological evidence suggests that metalworkers in India and Mesopotamia were using this method as early as 3500 BCE to make what sorts of objects? Discuss
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Hand Grenades

The first modern, hand-thrown grenades were in use as early as the 15th century, but they fell out of favor as the increasing range and accuracy of firearms lessened opportunities for close combat. However, their effectiveness in World War I trench warfare made hand grenades a standard part of the combat infantryman’s equipment once again. Though one of the more recognizable grenade models is sometimes called a “pin-and-pineapple,” grenades get their name from what other fruit? Discuss
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