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Article of the Day

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Last Build Date: Thu, 8 Dec 2016 05:00:00 GMT

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Thu, 8 Dec 2016 05:00:00 GMT

(image) Calligraphy, a term derived from the Greek word for "beautiful writing," is a form of artistic writing practiced by cultures throughout the world for millennia. Calligraphic works can range from functional, hand-lettered inscriptions to abstract fine art pieces. Regarded in China and Japan as the greatest of the visual arts, calligraphy also figures prominently in Islamic art, which forbids the depiction of human and animal forms. What kind of glyphs are found carved into structures in Mexico? Discuss


Wed, 7 Dec 2016 05:00:00 GMT

(image) The historical referents of the term "assassin," the Hashshashin were a secret society of Ismaili Shia Muslims who specialized in politically motivated killings of Crusaders and Muslim rulers. Much of the lore surrounding the feared sect, which originated in Persia and was active from 1090 to 1272, stems from Marco Polo's likely fictional account of his visit to the city of Alamut in 1273. What drug is believed to be the root of the term "Hashshashin," and what was its connection to the sect?

Mahjong Tiles

Tue, 6 Dec 2016 05:00:00 GMT

(image) These popular tiles are used to play many games of Chinese origin, most notably Mahjong. Traditionally, the pieces were made of bone and backed with bamboo, but most modern sets are constructed from various plastics and contain between 136 and 144 tiles. The symbols on the tiles—the majority of which have a rank and suit like playing cards—are almost always engraved or pressed into the material. How do some expert players determine the face value of their tiles without actually looking at them?