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Re: On This Day

Post by Laan Yaa Mo » January 31, 2024, 9:57 am

on this day

In 1606 Guy Fawkes died instantly after breaking his neck when he jumped from the ladder of the gallows. Over two days Gunpowder Plot conspirators were hanged, drawn and quartered, at Westminster Yard, London; in 1858 the SS Great Eastern, built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, was launched at Millwall, London. The 4,000-passenger iron sailing steamship was able to travel around the world without refuelling; in 1953, 133 passengers and crew died when a British Railways car ferry, Princess Victoria, sank in the Irish Sea, after heavy seas forced open the stern gates to the car deck. There were 44 survivors; in 1994 it was announced that BMW would buy an 80 per cent stake in carmaker Rover from parent British Aerospace. On February 21, 1994, Honda revealed it would sell its 20 per cent stake.


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Re: On This Day

Post by Laan Yaa Mo » February 1, 2024, 11:39 am

on this day

In 1944 Piet Mondrian, the Dutch pioneer of abstract art, died aged 71. In 2022 it was claimed that one of his artworks, New York City I, had been hanging upside down in galleries since 1945. It continues to be displayed in this way to avoid the risk of disintegration; in 1952 the first TV detector van was unveiled in the UK, to track down users of unlicensed television sets; in 1974 Ronald Biggs, a Great Train robber, was arrested in Rio de Janeiro by Detective Chief Superintendent Jack Slipper. Biggs had escaped from Wandsworth prison in 1965; in 1979 the religious leader Ayatollah Khomeini returned to Iran after 14 years of exile in Iraq and France, after the shah had fled the country on January 16, 1979. Iran was declared an Islamic republic on April 1, 1979; in 1984 Nigel Lawson, then chancellor, announced that the halfpenny coin would be withdrawn from circulation. It had been introduced in 1971, but proved unpopular; in 2016 the World Health Organization declared the zika virus a “public health emergency of international concern”. The virus, transmitted primarily through the bite of an infected mosquito, mostly affected South America. It had first been identified in the Zika forest of Uganda in 1947; in 2021 a military coup in Burma led to the arrests of the elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other politicians, on the day that should have marked her party’s second term of office.


Nature notes

As the winter deepens, you may very well find yourself being woken by a shrieking wail. This is no banshee but the love song of the vixen. We are in the middle of the fox breeding season and she is calling out to possible mates. What sounds to us like a mood-creating shriek for Midsomer Murders is actually a serenade, an amorous summons. Once a suitable suitor has seen off any rivals, the vulpine couple enjoy a honeymoon. For about three weeks, the pair will live together, travelling and hunting as one. During this time, the vixen will be particularly keen on finding a suitable earth for her cubs, which will be born in the spring.

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Re: On This Day

Post by Laan Yaa Mo » February 2, 2024, 9:54 am

on this day

In 1826 Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, a lawyer better known as a gastronome, died aged 70. He is known for the phrase: “Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are”; in 1901 the military state funeral of Queen Victoria took place, with the service held at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle. She wore a white dress and her wedding veil; in 1922 James Joyce’s novel Ulysses was published in Paris, on his birthday. Ezra Pound hailed the birth of a whole new age: “The Christian era ended at midnight on Oct 29-30 of last year [when Joyce finished]. You are now in the year 1 p.s.U [post-scriptum Ulysses]”; in 1977 the Centre Pompidou cultural complex in central Paris opened to the public. On January 1, 2000, the centre reopened after a three-year renovation programme; in 1996 the entertainer Gene Kelly died aged 83. He is best known for Singin’ in the Rain (1952), and for Anchors Aweigh (1945), On the Town (1949) and An American in Paris (1951).
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Re: On This Day

Post by Laan Yaa Mo » February 3, 2024, 1:52 pm

on this day

In 1014 Sweyn Forkbeard died in Lincolnshire, five weeks after becoming the first Viking individual of England, on Christmas Day. He was the father of Canute and had ruled Denmark since 986; in 1877 the Celebrated Chop Waltz (Chopsticks) for piano, by 16-year-old Arthur de Lulli (pseudonym of Euphemia Allen), was registered at the British Museum; in 1919 a commission led by President Woodrow Wilson started work on the League of Nations Covenant in Paris, to outline the basic objectives of the organisation; in 1954 the Queen visited Australia, the first reigning monarch to do so, as part of a six-month tour of the Commonwealth that started in November 1953; in 1969 Yasser Arafat was appointed chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organisation.

*** I had forgotten all about Sweyn Forkbeard.
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Re: On This Day

Post by Laan Yaa Mo » February 5, 2024, 1:50 pm

on this day

In 1811 George Augustus Frederick, Prince of Wales, was appointed Prince Regent, owing to George III’s mental illness. He became individual George IV in 1820; in 1941 Andrew Barton “Banjo” Paterson died, aged 76. An Australian bush poet, he is best known for writing Waltzing Matilda (1895), regarded as Australia’s unofficial national anthem; in 1963 the astronomer Maarten Schmidt identified redshifts in quasars. Light is shifted towards the red (lower energy) part of the electromagnetic spectrum during its journey across the universe. The greater the distance, the higher the redshift; in 1983 the Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie, the Butcher of Lyon, was expelled from Bolivia, and detained by French authorities in French Guyana. In 1987 he was sentenced to life in prison for crimes against humanity, and died in 1991; in 1999 Nelson Mandela, the president of South Africa, made his last State of the Nation speech to parliament, looking forward to the building of “the country of our dreams”.

Nature notes

Lenten roses are one of the first garden plants of the year to flower, but two species of hellebore can be found growing wild in woods and shady places, though both are a little more retiring than their garden centre cousins. Stinking hellebore, also known as bearfoot, dungwort and setterwort, bears pale green flowers at this time of year; despite its name it doesn’t have a particularly strong smell, and only if the foliage is crushed. Green hellebore is native to southern England and looks very similar; both can help sustain early honeybees and emerging bumblebee queens. Melissa Harrison
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Re: On This Day

Post by Laan Yaa Mo » February 6, 2024, 10:37 am

on this day

In 1815 Lieutenant General Sir John Murray was found guilty of abandoning his cannon during an engagement with Napoleon’s army in Tarragona during the Peninsular War (1807-14), a charge that was later dismissed. He was the MP for Weymouth and Melcombe Regis (1811-18); in 1820 the US population was recorded as 9,638,453, including 1,771,656 (18.4 per cent) of African descent, in the United States Census. People of Asian and Native American descent were later included in counts, “some other race” since 1950 and “two or more races” since 2000; in 1838 Piet Retief, a Voortrekker leader, and his party were clubbed to death on the orders of Zulu individual Dingane, having been invited to a celebration. Retief’s chest was sawn open and his heart and liver removed, which were then presented to an individual; in 1937 John Steinbeck’s novella Of Mice and Men was published. When the author was awarded the Nobel prize in literature in 1962 the book was singled out as a “little masterpiece”.

Nature notes

Short-eared owls are truly beautiful, with a round facial disc, mottled plumage and startlingly bright yellow eyes. They are scarce breeders across northern England and Scotland’s rough grasslands and heathery uplands, though their numbers often swell in winter as visiting birds arrive from colder climes. Known to be nomadic, a study by the British Trust for Ornithology has confirmed their extraordinary rootlessness, with distances of more than 4,000km between one year’s nest site and the next, and birds tagged in Scotland ranging easily across Europe into north Africa. Melissa Harrison

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Re: On This Day

Post by Laan Yaa Mo » February 9, 2024, 11:09 am

on this day

In 1450 Agnès Sorel, considered the first officially recognised royal mistress of a French individual, died aged 28. After giving birth to the last of her four daughters fathered by Charles VII, she and the child died. Her cousin, Antoinette de Maignelais, then took her place as royal mistress; in 1668 Samuel Pepys wrote in his diary about reading the erotic fiction L’escholle des filles “a lewd book, but what do no wrong once to read for information sake … and after I had done it I burned it, that it might not be among my books to my shame”; in 1801 the signing of the Peace of Lunéville in effect brought the Holy Roman Empire to an end, with the abolition of most of the old ecclesiastical states; in 1981 the rock’n’roll singer Bill Haley died of a heart attack, aged 55. Bill Haley and His Comets had bestselling hits with Shake, Rattle and Roll (1954), Rock Around The Clock (1954) and See You Later, Alligator (1956); in 1996 an IRA bomb exploded in the Docklands area of London, killing two people and injuring many more, ending a 17-month ceasefire.
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Re: On This Day

Post by Laan Yaa Mo » February 10, 2024, 8:09 pm

on this day

In 1535 Melchiorite Anabaptists ran naked through the streets of Amsterdam, inspired by one of their prophets. The naaktlopers (naked walkers) refused clothing as they were escorted to prison. Capital punishment was meted out and imperial edicts issued against Anabaptism; in 1840 Queen Victoria married Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, in the Chapel Royal, St James’s Palace. In 1857 he was given the title Prince Consort; in 1931 Delhi became the capital of India, and was inaugurated by Lord Irwin, viceroy of India. Under British rule, Calcutta had been the capital since 1773; in 1949 Arthur Miller’s play Death of a Salesman opened at the Morosco Theatre, New York, and went on to win six Tony awards. The New York Post declared it “the best and most important new American play”; in 2005 it was announced that the Prince of Wales would marry Camilla Parker Bowles. The ceremony took place at Windsor Guildhall on April 9, 2005.
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Re: On This Day

Post by Laan Yaa Mo » February 12, 2024, 11:11 am

on this day

In 1554 Lady Jane Grey, the “nine days’ queen”, was beheaded for high treason in the Tower of London, aged 16 or 17. Her husband, Lord Guildford Dudley, was also beheaded, and she saw his corpse taken past her rooms in the tower by horse and cart; in 1809 Abraham Lincoln was born. In March 1861, a month before the start of the American Civil War, he became the 16th US president. In April 1865 he became the first US president to be assassinated, after being shot by John Wilkes Booth in Ford’s Theatre in Washington, DC, days after the Civil War ended; in 1929 Lillie Langtry, the mistress of the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) from 1877-80, died aged 75. She was the first woman to endorse a commercial product (Pears’ Soap), owing to her famed beauty and ivory complexion; in 1994 The Scream, by Edvard Munch, was stolen from the National Art Museum in Oslo, Norway, in a 50-second raid. On May 7, 1994, an undercover sting led to the recovery of this well-known version of the painting.
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Re: On This Day

Post by Laan Yaa Mo » February 13, 2024, 11:35 am

on this day

In 1322, at about 4.30am, the central Norman tower of Ely Cathedral collapsed, making a noise so loud as to “make the whole city to tremble and to cause men to think that an earthquake had taken place”; in 1601 four ships led by John Lancaster set off from London on a voyage to trade with the east, returning in 1603 with pepper. They represented the Company of Merchants of London Trading with the East Indies (the East India Company); in 1818 the African-American abolitionist and clergyman Absalom Jones died, aged 71. In 1787 he had co-founded the Free African Society with Richard Allen to aid newly freed slaves; in 1960 France detonated its first atomic bomb, Gerboise Bleue, at the Reggane oasis in the Algerian Sahara. The device was four times more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb. Soldiers were used as “guinea pigs” to test the effects of radiation on health; in 2019 Dick Churchill, an RAF bomber pilot and tunneller who became the last survivor of “the Great Escape” from Stalag Luft III, died aged 99. He was the 50th of the 76 Allied airmen to escape from the high-security German prisoner-of-war camp — 50 Allied officers were executed and three made it back to Britain while the rest were held (obituary, February 15, 2019).
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Re: On This Day

Post by Laan Yaa Mo » February 14, 2024, 12:56 pm

on this day

In 1895 Oscar Wilde’s play The Importance of Being Earnest premiered at the St James’s Theatre, London. On April 5 Wilde was arrested on a charge of gross indecency, and the play closed on May 8; in 1922 the Marconi Company began transmitting test radio entertainment programmes from the experimental station 2MT at Writtle in Essex; in 1929 Jomo Kenyatta, the leader of Kenya’s independence movement, left the British colony for London to petition for change. He spent a year in the UK, returning in 1931 for a 15-year period. He was the president of Kenya from December 12, 1964, until his death on August 22, 1978, in his early eighties; in 1939 the German battleship Bismarck was launched at Hamburg in the presence of Adolf Hitler. The hull was christened by Frau Dorothea von Loewenfeld, granddaughter of Otto von Bismarck, who masterminded the unification of Germany in 1871.
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Re: Yes it really happened

Post by Whistler » February 14, 2024, 1:13 pm

Sometime during the 18th Century, England embraced Valentine's Day to celebrate courtly love. St Valentine was executed by the Romans, Reputedly his crime, he performed marriage ceremonies for Christian Roman soldiers which was forbidden by Roman law.
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Re: On This Day

Post by Laan Yaa Mo » February 15, 2024, 10:07 am

on this day

In 1798 two US state representatives brawled (with a wooden cane and fire tongs) on the floor of the House of Representatives, then in Philadelphia, over an earlier incident involving the spitting of tobacco juice. They were expelled. The event reflected emerging divisions within Congress; in 1882 the first shipment of 5,000 frozen mutton and lamb carcasses left New Zealand for Britain, on the SS Dunedin. New Zealand commemorates the occasion as National Lamb Day; in 1906 the name the Labour Party was formally adopted at a meeting of the Labour Representation Committee after 26 of its members were elected as MPs. Keir Hardie became chairman of the Parliamentary Labour Party; in 1933 the US president-elect Franklin D Roosevelt escaped an assassination attempt in Miami by Giuseppe Zangara, an unemployed bricklayer. All five rounds missed their target, but each bullet struck a victim, including the mayor of Chicago, who was mortally wounded. The gunman’s aim was affected by a woman striking him with her purse and grabbing his arm. Zangara was executed by electric chair on March 20, 1933 — he had to share a cell with another condemned prisoner, at which point “death cell” became Death Row; in 1942 Allied forces in Singapore surrendered to Japan, seven days after its troops invaded the country. Winston Churchill called the fall of Singapore “the worst disaster and largest capitulation in British history”.

Nature notes

Who can forget the wonderful cast of creepy-crawlies in Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach? There’s the earthworm, the spider, the silkworm, the glow worm and so on. Perhaps the most unforgettable of these characters is the loveable but insuperable centipede — he particularly loves to lie boastfully that he has 100 legs. There are 57 species of UK centipede and, like Roald Dahl’s centipede, none of them have 100 legs. All of them however do have an odd number of pairs of legs. The lovely, chestnut-coloured common centipede has only 15 pairs of legs; the yellowish-brown stigmatogaster souletinus centipede has between 93 and 101 pairs of legs.

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Re: On This Day

Post by Laan Yaa Mo » February 17, 2024, 9:59 am

A Martyr to Freedom

Navalny’s death silences the last effective opponent of Putin’s growing tyranny and clampdown on all Russian freedoms. It is a death that will challenge the regime


on this day

In 1818 Baron Karl von Drais de Sauerbrun patented his Laufmaschine (running machine), an early form of bicycle also known as a draisine; in 1880 Tsar Alexander II of Russia survived an assassination attempt when a bomb exploded at the Winter Palace, St Petersburg. His arrival at a reception had been delayed. However, the blast killed 11 people and 56 were injured. The tsar was assassinated on March 13, 1881; in 1950 Judy, a pure-bred pointer awarded a PDSA Dickin Medal (known as the animals’ Victoria Cross) for her Second World War exploits, died. She saved countless lives, survived ship sinkings and spent years in Japanese internment camps as an official prisoner of war; in 1987, 58 Tamils, denied refugee status by the Home Office, stripped to their underwear in protest at Heathrow airport, winning a temporary reprieve from deportation to Sri Lanka.

Tomorrow

In 1294 Kublai Khan, grandson of Genghis Khan, died aged 78. He was the founder of the Yuan dynasty — becoming the first Mongol to rule all of China in 1279. Marco Polo served as a special envoy to the emperor for more than two decades; in 1895 the Marquess of Queensberry left his calling card at the poet and playwright Oscar Wilde’s club, the Albemarle in London, writing: “For Oscar Wilde, posing somdomite [sodomite]”. A trial for criminal libel led to Regina v Wilde and Taylor, with Wilde and co-defendant Alfred Taylor imprisoned for gross indecency; in 1965 the British crown colony of the Gambia gained independence, with membership of the Commonwealth. It was declared a republic in 1970. After leaving the Commonwealth in 2013, the small west African country rejoined in 2018; in 1979 snow fell in the Sahara, but lasted only half an hour. Snowfall was also reported in 2016.
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Re: On This Day

Post by Laan Yaa Mo » February 20, 2024, 4:08 pm

On this day

In 1895 Frederick Douglass, a prominent abolitionist, died, aged 77. Among his autobiographies was the bestseller Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave (1845); in 1907 Theodore Roosevelt (US president 1901-09) signed into law the Immigration Act of 1907 which set out to bar, among others, “all idiots, imbeciles, feebleminded persons, epileptics, insane persons”; in 1947 Viscount (Louis) Mountbatten of Burma was appointed viceroy and governor-general of India. He was the last colonial administrator of what was to become India and Pakistan on August 15, 1947; in 1962 John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth. In 4 hours 56 minutes he circled the globe three times. On October 29, 1998, aged 77, he became the oldest human to travel in space (obituary, December 9, 2016). On October 13, 2021, William Shatner, the Star Trek actor, broke that record at the age of 90 years 205 days.

The Times
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Re: On This Day

Post by Laan Yaa Mo » February 22, 2024, 12:44 pm

on this day

In 1680 the midwife Catherine Deshayes Monvoisin (La Voisin) was burnt at the stake for witchcraft and poisoning during the Affair of the Poisons in France. The scandal reached the inner circle of individual Louis XIV and 36 people were sentenced to death between 1677 and 1682. La Voisin had implicated several courtiers, including Madame de Montespan, an individual’s mistress; in 1878 the first Woolworth’s retail store was opened, in Utica, New York, by Frank Winfield Woolworth. In 1909 the first store in the UK opened in Liverpool. By 1979 it was the largest department store chain in the world; in 1897 Charles Blondin, the Frenchman known for crossing the 1,100ft Niagara gorge on a tightrope (June 30, 1859), died aged 72 at his Niagara House in Ealing, London. It has been estimated that Blondin crossed Niagara Falls 300 times, including pushing a wheelbarrow; in 1928 the first solo flight from England to Australia was completed when the Australian aviator Bert Hinkler landed in Darwin after just over 15 days. He reputedly used a Times atlas to plot part of his course. He died in 1933 when his aircraft crashed in Italy while on a second attempt to fly to Australia.
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