On This Day
522 BC – Darius I of Persia kills the Magian usurper Bardiya, securing his hold as Persian emperor.
Darius I (Old Persian: Dārayava(h)uš, New Persian: داریوش Dāryuš; Hebrew: דָּרְיָוֶשׁ, Modern Darəyaveš, Tiberian Dāreyāwéš; c. 550–486 BCE) was the fourth king of the Persian Achaemenid Empire. Also called Darius the Great, he ruled the empire at its peak, when it included much of West Asia, the Caucasus, parts of the Balkans (Thrace-Macedonia and Paeonia), most of the Black Sea coastal regions, parts of the North Caucasus, Central Asia, as far as the Indus Valley in the far east and portions of north and northeast Africa including Egypt (Mudrâya), eastern Libya and coastal Sudan.
Darius ascended the throne by overthrowing Gaumata, a usurper. The new king met with rebellions throughout his kingdom and quelled them each time. A major event in Darius’s life was his expedition to punish Athens and Eretria for their aid in the Ionian Revolt and subjugate Greece. Although ultimately ending in failure at the Battle of Marathon, Darius succeeded in the re-subjugation of Thrace, expansion of the empire through the conquest of Macedon, the Cyclades and the island of Naxos and the sacking of the city of Eretria.
Darius organized the empire by dividing it into provinces and placing satraps to govern it. He organized a new uniform monetary system, along with making Aramaic the official language of the empire. He also put the empire in better standing by building roads and introducing standard weights and measures. Through these changes, the empire was centralized and unified. Darius also worked on construction projects throughout the empire, focusing on Susa, Pasargadae, Persepolis, Babylon and Egypt. He had the cliff-face Behistun Inscription carved to record his conquests, an important testimony of the Old Persian language.
Darius is mentioned in the biblical books of Haggai, Zechariah and Ezra–Nehemiah.
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Born On This Day
1810 – Elizabeth Gaskell, English author (d. 1865)
Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell, (née Stevenson; 29 September 1810 – 12 November 1865), often referred to as Mrs Gaskell, was an English novelist, biographer, and short story writer. Her novels offer a detailed portrait of the lives of many strata of Victorian society, including the very poor, and are of interest to social historians as well as lovers of literature. Her first novel, Mary Barton, was published in 1848. Gaskell’s The Life of Charlotte Brontë, published in 1857, was the first biography of Brontë. In this biography, she only wrote the moral, sophisticated things in Brontë’s life, the rest she left out, deciding that certain, more salacious aspects of her life were better kept hidden. Some of Gaskell’s best known novels are Cranford (1851–53), North and South (1854–55), and Wives and Daughters (1865).
By Sam Barsanti: R.I.P. Jefferson Airplane co-founder Marty Balin
Marty Balin (/ˈbælɪn/; born Martyn Jerel Buchwald; January 30, 1942 – September 27, 2018) was an American singer, songwriter, and musician best known as the founder and one of the lead singers and songwriters of Jefferson Airplane and Jefferson Starship.
By Elizabeth Werth: Louisette Texier Survived the Armenian Genocide to Become a Pioneering Rally Driver
By James Clear: Absolute Success is Luck. Relative Success is Hard Work.
In 1997, Warren Buffett, the famous investor and multi-billionaire, proposed a thought experiment.
“Imagine that it is 24 hours before you are going to be born,” he said, “and a genie comes to you.”
“The genie says you can determine the rules of the society you are about to enter and you can design anything you want. You get to design the social rules, the economic rules, the governmental rules. And those rules are going to prevail for your lifetime and your children’s lifetime and your grandchildren’s lifetime.”
“But there is a catch,” he said.
“You don’t know whether you’re going to be born rich or poor, male or female, infirm or able-bodied, in the United States or Afghanistan. All you know is that you get to take one ball out of a barrel with 5.8 billion balls in it. And that’s you.”
“In other words,” Buffett continues, “you’re going to participate in what I call the Ovarian Lottery. And that is the most important thing that’s ever going to happen to you in your life. It’s going to determine way more than what school you go to, how hard you work, all kinds of things.”
Buffett has long been a proponent for the role of luck in success. In his 2014 Annual Letter, he wrote, “Through dumb luck, [my business partner] Charlie and I were born in the United States, and we are forever grateful for the staggering advantages this accident of birth has given us.”
When explained in this way, it seems hard to deny the importance of luck, randomness, and good fortune in life. And indeed, these factors play a critical role. But let’s consider a second story.
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Emotional management is important because life is hard. The Buddha said: ‘All life is suffering’ and most of us past a certain age can only agree. Religion evolved to handle what I call the ‘vulnerability problem’. When we’re sick, we go to the doctor, not the priest. But when our child dies, or we lose our home in a fire, or we’re diagnosed with Stage-4 cancer, then religion is helpful because it provides some relief and some strength. It also gives us something to do, when there’s nothing we can do.
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