Today in context, October 27, 2020

Cursed!

Most people know that curses aren’t really real. But sometimes it certainly feels that someone has cast a hex. We take a look at some famous curses in history, and the people—and an animal—that reportedly caused them.
A mummy’s wrath
The discovery of King Tut’s tomb in 1922 was a worldwide sensation. It also reportedly led to a number of deaths, including that of Howard Carter, who led the expedition.
Curse of the Bambino
The Bambino was Babe Ruth, and the cursed were the Boston Red Sox. The team sold the baseball player to the New York Yankees in 1920, thus causing a World Series drought that didn’t end until 2004.
Retribution that’s hard to stomach
Visitors to Mexico have long been warned that if they drink the water, they’ll suffer “Montezuma’s revenge.” But who was he, and why did he want vengeance?
What did a billy goat have against the Cubs?
That’s what Chicago fans wondered for 108 years. However, the alleged curse finally ended in 2016, when the team won the World Series.

For the Birds

Did you know that there are more than 200 billion birds on the planet? That comes out to about 25 per person. No wonder we see and hear so many every day. But how much do you know about birds? Read on for some interesting avian facts.
Why Is Bird Poop White?
Demystified / Science
© FloridaStock/Shutterstock.com
How Do Penguins Tell Each Other Apart?
Demystified / Science
© Kwest/stock.adobe.com

Trending Quizzes

See All Quizzes
Concept artwork on the periodic table of elements.
118 Names and Symbols of the Periodic Table Quiz
The periodic table is made up of 118 elements. How well do you know their symbols? In this quiz you’ll be shown all 118 chemical...
Kentucky Capitol in Frankfort; photo dated 2015. (state capitols)
Capital Cities of the 50 States Quiz
How well do you know U.S. state capitals? In this quiz, you’ll be shown a capital city, and you’ll need to choose the state...
Catedral at night on Plaza de Armas (also known as plaza mayor) Lima, Peru.
World Capitals Quiz
Can you identify the world’s national capitals? In this quiz you’ll be shown the names of 195 countries, and you’ll need...
Aramis Ramirez no.16 of the Chicago Cubs watches the ball leave the ballpark against the Cincinnati Reds. Major League Baseball (MLB).
Baseball
Do you think you know about baseball? Test your knowledge with this quiz.
M101 (NGC 5457, The Pinwheel Galaxy). Hubble Space Telescope image of face-on spiral galaxy Messier 101 (M101). Largest most detailed photo of a spiral galaxy that has ever been released from Hubble. Created from 1994-2003
Everything in Space in a 25-Minute Quiz
Ever wanted to visit everything in outer space in only 25 minutes? Now you can with this quiz, which will rocket you from...
Washington Monument. Washington Monument and fireworks, Washington DC. The Monument was built as an obelisk near the west end of the National Mall to commemorate the first U.S. president, General George Washington.
All-American History Quiz
Who was the original Edsel? When did a U.S. president first appear on TV? Go back in time for the all-American answers.
Chandigarh. Statuettes at the Rock Garden of Chandigarh a sculpture park in Chandigarh, India, also known as Nek Chand's Rock Garden. Created by Nek Chand Saini an Indian self taught artist. visionary artist, folk artist, environmental art
Explore India Quiz
Delhi lies on which river? How many countries border India? In what state is Bengaluru? Explore India’s vibrant geography...
Carl Bosch (Karl Bosch), German chemist, c1930s. In 1910 Bosch and Fritz Haber patented the Haber-Bosch process for the industrial production of ammonia. Bosch shared 1931 Nobel prize for chemistry with Friedrich Bergius. Obverse of commemorative medal
Nobel Prize
Do you know when the first Nobel Prize was awarded? How about the maximum number of people who can share a prize? Test your...
Metronome. Music. Tempo. Rhythm. Beats. Ticks.  Red metronome with swinging pendulum.
A Study of Music: Fact or Fiction?
Does harmony refer to how fast music is played? Does syncopation mean that an instrument is off-key? See if your mental notes...
The Himalayas, Nepal (Himalayan, mountains, aerial, snow-capped, snow, covered)
Mountains: Fact or Fiction?
Are the Andes Mountains a small mountain range? Are the Alps the longest mountain chain in the world? Scale these questions...

New on Britannica

"Sale of Estates, Pictures and Slaves in the Rotunda, New Orleans," 1842.While many small Southern farmers owned a few slaves, the weight of slavery as an institution depended on the largeplantation. New Orleans was the site of the nations most acti
Sectionalism

Sectionalism is an exaggerated devotion to the interests of a region over those of a country as a whole. Throughout American history, tension has existed between several regions, but the competing views of the institution of slavery held by Northerners and Southerners was the preeminent sectional split and the defining political issue in the United States from the founding of the country until the American Civil War.

African Americans demonstrating for voting rights in front of the White House as police and others watch, March 12, 1965. One sign reads, "We demand the right to vote everywhere." Voting Rights Act, civil rights.
Voter Suppression

In U.S. history and politics, voter suppression is any legal or extralegal measure or strategy whose purpose or practical effect is to reduce voting, or registering to vote, by members of a targeted racial group, political party, or religious community. The overwhelming majority of victims of voter suppression in the United States have been African Americans.

Show What You Know

The real world is far more amazing than anything you could make up! Announcing our NEW encyclopedia for Kids - An amazing 424-page compendium of knowledge to satisfy all curious minds, packed full of incredible facts you can trust from the experts behind Britannica!

Browse by Category

Entertainment & Pop Culture Entertainment & Pop Culture
Entertainment and leisure activities have been a part of all cultures in one form or another since the ancient times, whether the activity in question involved participating in a dance performance, attending a Broadway show, going to a music festival, or watching a movie.
Featured
  • Music
  • Titanic: The Movie
    Whether you saw it one time or twelve times, test your...
  • Scarface Quiz
    In this country, you gotta make the money first. Then...
  • Geography & Travel Geography & Travel
    Planet Earth contains some extraordinarily diverse environments, some of which are easily habitable and some not so much. In different areas of Earth, one might find sweltering deserts, dense tropical rainforests, or bone-chilling tundras. Each biome and habitat comes with its own selection of flora and fauna, and it may include physical features such as canyons, volcanoes, rivers, or caves. Human beings have built homes in many different environments, settling the area and organizing it into units such as cities, states, regions, and countries, each with its own points of interest. Shifting trends in human migration have resulted in a human geography that is profoundly different from that of centuries ago.
    Featured
  • Southeast Indian
    people
  • Exploring Chile: Fact or Fiction?
    Is Chile located on the west coast of South America?...
  • Exploring Paraguay: Fact or Fiction?
    Is Paraguay north of the Equator? Is Santiago the capital...
  • Health & Medicine Health & Medicine
    The study of the human mind and body, how these function, and how they interact—not only with each other but also with their environment—has been of utmost importance in ensuring human well-being. Research on potential treatments and preventive medicine has expanded greatly with the development of modern medicine, and a network of disciplines, including such fields as genetics, psychology, and nutrition, aims to facilitate the betterment of our health.
    Featured
  • Antibiotic resistance
  • Human Organs: Fact or Fiction?
    Is it true that we only use ten percent of our brain?...
  • Your Body: Fact or Fiction?
    Does insulin regulate the level of sugar in the body?...
  • Lifestyles & Social Issues Lifestyles & Social Issues
    It's easy enough to agree that human beings all around the world have certain basic requirements that must be fulfilled in order to ensure their individual and collective well-being. History has shown us, however, that it's not so easy to form societies or communities that fulfill these requirements for all members. The fight over human and civil rights has persisted for hundreds of years and remains alive today, both within the borders of nations and on an international scale. It has led to large-scale social movements and reforms concerning issues such as suffrage, slavery, women's rights, racial discrimination, environmentalism, gay rights, and more.
    Featured
  • John Locke
    English philosopher
  • 9 Cemeteries to Die For
    Shopping for an earthly place in which to spend eternity.
  • Ovechkin or Putin?
    These two Russians might be harder to tell apart than...
  • Literature Literature
    With the development of language, the human imagination has found a way to create and communicate through the written word. A literary work can transport us into a fictional, fantastic new world, describe a fleeting feeling, or simply give us a picture of the past through novels, poems, tragedies, epic works, and other genres. Through literature, communication becomes an art, and it can bridge and bond people and cultures of different languages and backgrounds.
    Featured
  • Portuguese literature
  • The Life and Works of English Authors
    You may be familiar with Alice in...
  • Name That Author
    Who wrote The Wealth of Nations?...
  • Philosophy & Religion Philosophy & Religion
    Humans have long pondered not only how we came to be but also why we came to be. The earliest Greek philosophers focused their attention upon the origin and nature of the physical world; later philosophers have theorized about the nature of knowledge, truth, good and evil, love, friendship, and much more. Thus, philosophy involves a methodical assessment of any and all aspects of human existence and experience. The realms of philosophy and religion have sometimes intersected in conducting inquiries such as these. As with philosophy, the study of religion underscores how humankind has long speculated about its origins. The possibility of a higher being (or beings) to which livings things owe their existence has long captived human thought. Many religions also offer their own views on the nature of good and evil, and they may prescribe guidelines and judgment on different kinds of human behavior.
    Featured
  • Mesopotamian religion
  • World Religions: Fact or Fiction?
    Is Sikhism a branch of Buddhism? Are the first five...
  • This or That?: Greek Gods vs. Roman Gods
    Greek and Roman mythology borrowed heavily from each...
  • Politics, Law & Government Politics, Law & Government
    The world today is divided territorially into more than 190 countries, each of which possesses a national government that claims to exercise sovereignty and seeks to compel obedience to its will by its citizens. Governments can be classified in any number of ways. For example, they might be classified by the number of rulers, thus distinguishing government by one (as in a monarchy or a tyranny) from government by the few (in an aristocracy or oligarchy) and from government by the many (as in a democracy). Governments can also be classified by mode of succession; for example, ascension to governmental leadership may follow the rules of hereditary succession, or it may be determined through elections or by force. Governments also vary in terms of the laws and rules of conduct that each political entity follows.
    Featured
  • Organized labour
  • The First 15 Presidents of the United States
    Find the last names of the first 15 presidents of the...
  • How Does the U.S. Government Define the Difference Between a Protest and a Riot?
    How does the U.S. government define the difference...
  • Science Science
    How can the sky be blue one day and stormy the next? Why do heavy objects tend to fall downwards when dropped? How are birds able to fly (and why can’t I do the same?)? Human beings have long been curious about the world in which we live, striving to identify connections among the phenomenons we witness and to understand how it all works. The field of science has developed over many centuries as a way of studying and understanding the world, beginning with the primitive stage of simply noting important regularities in nature and continuing through the rise of modern science. The modern-day sciences cover a vast range of fields, including biology, chemistry, meteorology, astronomy, physics, and much more.
    Featured
  • Plant
    organism
  • What Happened to the Megalodon?
    Megalodon (Carcharocles megalodon)...
  • Unidentified Flying Objects: What We Know
    Everything we know (and only what we know) about the...
  • Sports & Recreation Sports & Recreation
    Physical contests and recreational games have long played a part in human society. In both team and solo sports, the human body has been pushed to its limits in the name of improving athletic performance and to break record upon record. The ancient Olympic Games are an early example of the contests in which humans have engaged to showcase physical prowess. In modern times, sports and games have evolved into a lucrative and competitive industry, while other leisure activities, such as card and video games, can be competitive or can just be a way to unwind or socialize.
    Featured
  • Rugby
    sport
  • All About Horse Racing Quiz
    And they’re off! Will you win, place, or show? With...
  • Football the Way Americans Play It Quiz
    In the American version of football, you’re allowed...
  • Technology Technology
    Humankind has long striven to improve its living conditions through the development of tools, instruments, and transportation and communications systems, all with the goal of making our lives easier, more productive and—why not—more fun, too! Thanks to human curiosity and technological research, many significant inventions have been made throughout history that in turn made a difference in our daily lives.
    Featured
  • Singularity
    technology
  • Gadgets and Technology: Fact or Fiction?
    Is virtual reality only used in toys? Have robots ever...
  • Acoustics and Radio Technology: Fact or Fiction?
    Do cellular phones use relayed radio signals? From...
  • Visual Arts Visual Arts
    These are the arts that meet the eye and evoke an emotion through an expression of skill and imagination. They include the most ancient forms, such as painting and drawing, and the arts that were born thanks to the development of technology, like sculpture, printmaking, photography, and installation art, the latter a combination of multiple creative expressions. Though beauty is in the eye of the beholder, different eras in art history have had their own principles to define beauty, from the richly ornamented taste of the Baroque to the simple, utilitarian style of the Prairie School.
    Featured
  • Video art
  • Name That Artist
    What do you know about famous artists of the past and...
  • Coen Brothers
    Do you think you know about the films of Joel and Ethan...
  • World History World History
    Does history really repeat itself, or can we learn from the mistakes of those who came before us? History provides a chronological, statistical, and cultural record of the events, people, and movements that have made an impact on humankind and the world at large throughout the ages. Investigating the causes and results of past events is critically important in gaining a full understanding and perspective of present-day issues.
    Featured
  • Genghis Khan
    Mongol ruler
  • European Exploration: Fact or Fiction?
    Were the French the first Europeans to reach southern...
  • Southeast Asia: Fact or Fiction?
    Was Thailand colonized? Has the Philippines ever had...

  • More From Britannica

    Britannica Beyond
    Questions are an important way for people to learn concepts, to solve problems, and to challenge ideas. We’ve created a new place where questions are at the center of our learning. Go ahead. Ask. We won’t mind.
    Advocacy for Animals
    Presenting Advocacy for Animals, a blog focused primarily on animal rights, wildlife conservation, environmental health and safety, and the legal and cultural issues related to these topics. This blog is a source of information and a call to action. It is meant to be a provocation and a stimulus to thought regarding humanity’s relationship with nonhuman animals.
    Alain Elkann Interviews
    Alain has been writing a weekly interview column for the Italian newspaper La Stampa since 1989. His interviews celebrate some of the best known and successful personalities of the present day.
    Announcing our NEW encyclopedia for Kids!
    Learn More!