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On The Road: 5 Great Stops Along I-55

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In our continuing coverage of flossy diversions along America's roadways (you can read the first two posts here and here), this week we take a look at the northeast-running expanse of Interstate 55 between St. Louis and Chicago.  Making up the eastern end of Route 66, this path connects two of this country's largest cities, linking together people, culture and the spirit of the highway"¦

1. Home-cooked Dining Since 1924

The Ariston Cafe, located in Litchfield, IL, holds the distinction of being the oldest restaurant on Route 66.  Originally founded in 1924 in nearby Carlinville, the cafe was relocated to its current spot in 1929  and has been owned and operated by the same family throughout its history.  The restaurant is also a member of the Route 66 Hall of Fame (although reports are that Chuck Berry refused to play at the induction due to a mistaken dispute over key lime pie).  With the motto "Remember Where Good Food is Served," pull up a chair and take in American dining at its finest (or at least its most nostalgic).

2. The Landmarks Of Lincoln

Lincoln's_TombWhat trip through the "Land of Lincoln" would be complete without a visit to see the 16th president?  If you're a history buff and haven't yet had the chance to visit Lincoln's Tomb in Springfield, go now.  I'll wait.  This impressive resting place includes a 115-foot high granite obelisk and a reproduction of the Lincoln Memorial.

Dedicated in 1874, the tomb is also the final resting place for President Lincoln's wife, Mary, and three of their four sons (the eldest, Robert T. Lincoln is buried in Arlington National Cemetery).  Inside, you can find excerpts from Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address and his Gettysburg Address. 

3. Get Your Kicks

Rt 66 HoFSnuggled in Pontiac, IL, you will find the Route 66 Association Hall of Fame & Museum, celebrating the history and Kerouacian joy of America's most popular highway.  Through its halls, you can view the towns and locations along this famous route and bear witness to its mission: to recognize "those people and places along Route 66 whose blend of hardy individualism and grassroots community spirit gave the road such special character."

And for that perfect blend of nostalgia and social networking, why not follow the museum on Twitter?

4. A Palace For The People

LOBBY_FRIn Joliet (hometown of Lionel Richie), you can find the Rialto Square Theatre.  Opened in 1926, the building was originally a vaudeville theater house and has since become known for its live entertainment and incredible architecture.  The inner lobby of the theater is designed after the Hall of Mirrors in Versailles, and one of the archways is an exact replica of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris—classic works that stand in perfect juxtaposition to the modernity of the Chicagoland Speedway found just a few miles away.

Additionally, the major attraction of the theater is a Baron Grande Theatre Pipe Organ, which once provided music and sound effects for the vaudeville acts.  The Joliet Area Theatre Organ Enthusiasts have provided care and maintenance for the organ since 1972.

5. Breathtaking Natural Beauty

mazegarden_aerialOut last destination is the sprawling and spectacular Morton Arboretum located in Lisle, IL.  Comprised of 1700 acres, you will find over 4,100 species of trees, bushes and foliage inside its magical boundaries.  There are 16 miles of hiking trails, another nine miles reserved for cars, a gorgeous Visitor Center and, anchoring the east corner, the Sterling Morton Library, which holds over 27,000 volumes.

Established by Joy Morton (the founder of the Morton Salt Company), his original Thornhill Estate formed the basis for the arboretum.  While you're there, make sure you see the Millennium Oak, a tree so old it predates Illinois' statehood, and the Maze Garden.

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science
6 Radiant Facts About Irène Joliot-Curie
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Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Though her accomplishments are often overshadowed by those of her parents, the elder daughter of Marie and Pierre Curie was a brilliant researcher in her own right.

1. SHE WAS BORN TO, AND FOR, GREATNESS.

A black and white photo of Irene and Marie Curie in the laboratory in 1925.
Irène and Marie in the laboratory, 1925.
Wellcome Images, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 4.0

Irène’s birth in Paris in 1897 launched what would become a world-changing scientific dynasty. A restless Marie rejoined her loving husband in the laboratory shortly after the baby’s arrival. Over the next 10 years, the Curies discovered radium and polonium, founded the science of radioactivity, welcomed a second daughter, Eve, and won a Nobel Prize in Physics. The Curies expected their daughters to excel in their education and their work. And excel they did; by 1925, Irène had a doctorate in chemistry and was working in her mother’s laboratory.

2. HER PARENTS' MARRIAGE WAS A MODEL FOR HER OWN.

Like her mother, Irène fell in love in the lab—both with her work and with another scientist. Frédéric Joliot joined the Curie team as an assistant. He and Irène quickly bonded over shared interests in sports, the arts, and human rights. The two began collaborating on research and soon married, equitably combining their names and signing their work Irène and Frédéric Joliot-Curie.

3. SHE AND HER HUSBAND WERE AN UNSTOPPABLE PAIR.

Black and white photo of Irène and Fréderic Joliot-Curie working side by side in their laboratory.
Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Their passion for exploration drove them ever onward into exciting new territory. A decade of experimentation yielded advances in several disciplines. They learned how the thyroid gland absorbs radioiodine and how the body metabolizes radioactive phosphates. They found ways to coax radioactive isotopes from ordinarily non-radioactive materials—a discovery that would eventually enable both nuclear power and atomic weaponry, and one that earned them the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1935.

4. THEY FOUGHT FOR JUSTICE AND PEACE.

The humanist principles that initially drew Irène and Frédéric together only deepened as they grew older. Both were proud members of the Socialist Party and the Comité de Vigilance des Intellectuels Antifascistes (Vigilance Committee of Anti-Fascist Intellectuals). They took great pains to keep atomic research out of Nazi hands, sealing and hiding their research as Germany occupied their country, Irène also served as undersecretary of state for scientific research of the Popular Front government.

5. SHE WAS NOT CONTENT WITH THE STATUS QUO.

Irène eventually scaled back her time in the lab to raise her children Hélène and Pierre. But she never slowed down, nor did she stop fighting for equality and freedom for all. Especially active in women’s rights groups, she became a member of the Comité National de l'Union des Femmes Françaises and the World Peace Council.

6. SHE WORKED HERSELF TO DEATH.

Irène’s extraordinary life was a mirror of her mother’s. Tragically, her death was, too. Years of watching radiation poisoning and cancer taking their toll on Marie never dissuaded Irène from her work. In 1956, dying of leukemia, she entered the Curie Hospital, where she followed her mother’s luminous footsteps into the great beyond.

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Live Smarter
You Can Now Order Food Through Facebook
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iStock

After a bit of controversy over its way of aggregating news feeds and some questionable content censoring policies, it’s nice to have Facebook roll out a feature everyone can agree on: allowing you to order food without leaving the social media site.

According to a press release, Facebook says that the company decided to begin offering food delivery options after realizing that many of its users come to the social media hub to rate and discuss local eateries. Rather than hop from Facebook to the restaurant or a delivery service, you’ll be able to stay within the app and select from a menu of food choices. Just click “Order Food” from the Explore menu on a desktop interface or under the “More” option on Android or iOS devices. There, you’ll be presented with options that will accept takeout or delivery orders, as well as businesses participating with services like Delivery.com or EatStreet.

If you need to sign up and create an account with Delivery.com or Jimmy John’s, for example, you can do that without leaving Facebook. The feature is expected to be available nationally, effective immediately.

[h/t Forbes]

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