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Fedora 20 (Heisenberg)
Released: 20 Dec 2013

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Today in History :: Saturday, 24 March 2018

World Tuberculosis Day: Marked annually to build public awareness that tuberculosis today remains an epidemic in much of the world, especially in third world countries.

1494Georgius Agricola, physician, mineralogist. A highly educated classicist and humanist, well regarded by scholars of his own and later times. He was also known as "the father of mineralogy". A former physician, he became interested in mineralogy through his study of miners' diseases. He was among the first to found a natural science based upon observation and is thought to have coined the word petroleum, meaning "rock oil". Born in Clauchau, Saxony, (now Germany).
1834William Morris, craftsman, poet, political activist. Born into a wealthy family, he was one of the principal founders of the British Arts and Crafts Movement, best known as a designer of wallpaper and patterned fabrics, a writer of poetry and fiction, and an early founder of the socialist movement in Great Britain. He was offered the position of English Poet Laureate following the death of Alfred Tennyson in 1892, but declined. Born in Walthamstow, near London, England.
1835Joseph Stefan, physicist. Devised a law describing radiant heat loss from a hot surface (Stefan's law), and used it to make the first satisfactory estimate of the Sun's surface temperature. Attempts by others to find a theoretical basis for Stefan's law led to major advances in physics, including . Born in St Peter, near Klagenfurt, Austria-Hungary (now Austria).
1874Harry Houdini, magician, escape artist. A former trapeze artist, he went on to become the foremost conjuring magician and escape artist of his day, reknowned for his ability to free himself from a straight-jacket. He died in 1926 from advanced peritonitis caused by a punch in the stomach by student J. Gordon Whitehead in Houdini's dressing room at the Princess Theatre, Montreal, 9 days earlier. Born Ehrich Weiss in Budapest, Hungary.
1884Peter Debye, physical chemist. Known for his work in electrolytes and dipolar momentum analysis. He established a theory of specific heat, improving on that proposed by Einstein and also performed important work in the analysis of crystalline powders using X-ray diffraction techniques. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1936 for his investigations of dipole moments, X-rays, and light scattering in gases. Born Petrus Josephus Wilhelmus Debye in Maastricht, The Netherlands.
1887Fatty Arbuckle, actor, comedian. Rose to fame performing with Chester Conklin and Charlie Chaplin in Keystone Kops. He was forced to retire when his career plummeted after being accused of sexually assaulting a young actress. Born Roscoe Conkling Arbuckle in Smith Center, Kansas, USA.
1893Walter Baade, astronomer. One of the most influential observational astronomers of the 20th century, his greatest contribution being the discovery of two distinct stellar populations - old and young stars. He is known for his revision of Edwin Hubble's distance and age scales for the universe, doubling the assumed scale of the universe. He also proposed that supernovae could produce cosmic rays and neutron stars in 1934, and made extensive studies of the Crab Nebula and its central star. Born in Schröttinghausen, Germany.
1901Ub Iwerks, cartoonist. Best known for his work with Walt Disney, being responsible for the distinctive style of the earliest Disney cartoons, including the first few Mickey Mouse cartoons. He was a close friend of Walt Disney and spent most of his career working with Disney until he accepted a contract with a competitor and started his own studio. His venture failed and he returned to Disney Studios where he developed the processes for combining live action and animation, first used in "Song of the South". Born Ubbe Ert Iwwerks in Kansas City, Missouri, USA.
1903Adolf Butenandt, biochemist. Shared the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1939 his for pioneering work on sex hormones (1929 - 34), primarily the isolation of estrone, a hormone that influences development of the female reproductive tract. Although forced by the Nazi government to refuse the prize, he was able to accept the honour in 1949. Born in Lehe, Bremerhaven, Germany.
1903Malcolm Muggeridge, journalist, BBC correspondent, spy. One of Great Britain's best-loved journalists and TV presenters, he joined the Army Intelligence Corps during WW II, serving in Mozambique, Italy, and France. He also worked for MI5 during this period, and received the Legion of Honour and Croix de Guerre for his work. He worked as a correspondent for the Daily Telegraph in Washington following the war and then as editor of "Punch" magazine. Later he worked as a television reporter for the BBC program "Panorama". Born in Croydon, Surrey, England.
1911Joseph Barbera, animator. Co-founder of the Hanna-Barbera cartoon studio. He began a career in banking until his sketches were published in Collier's magazine, which then led him into animation. He began working with Joseph Barbera in 1937 at MGM Studios where they created their best known cartoon "Tom and Jerry". The pair left MGM and formed Hanna-Barbera Studios in 1957, where they created numerous classic characters, including The Jetsons, The Flintstones, and Scooby-Doo. Born in New York City, USA.
1917Krafft Arnold Ehricke, physicist; rocket engineer. A key member of the German Peenemunde Rocket Development team, specialising in the propulsion system for the V-2 rocket during WW II. He moved to the USA and joined Wernher von Braun's rocket team in 1945 and later, helped develop the Atlas missile at General Dynamics and invented the first liquid hydrogen propelled upper stage launch vehicle, the Centaur, which enabled the USA to explore the solar system by launching planetary probes. Born in Berlin, Germany.
1917Sir John Cowdery Kendrew, biochemist. Determined the structure of the muscle protein myoglobin, which stores oxygen and gives it to the muscle cells when needed. He shared the 1962 Nobel Prize for Chemistry with Max Ferdinand Perutz who worked out the structure of the related protein haemoglobin. He was knighted in 1974. Born in Oxford, England.
1922Dave Appell, musician, songwriter. Best known for his hit song "In the Midnight Hour". Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.
1930Steve McQueen, actor (The Great Escape, The Magnificent Seven, Hell is for Heroes, Bullit). A former US marine, discharged in 1950, he began studying acting in 1952 at the Actors' Studio, New York, and made his Broadway debut in 1955. He moved into film the following year, rising to fame in 1963 in "The Great Escape". He is also well known as a keen amateur race car driver and motorcycle rider. He died of a heart attack in 1980, less than 24 hours after undergoing surgery to remove the cancerous mesothelioma tumours in his right lung. Born Terence Steven McQueen in Beech Grove, Indiana, USA.
1941Joseph H. Taylor Jr, physicist, radio astronomer. Shared the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1993 for the discovery of the first binary pulsar in 1974. This unique phenomenon, two stars orbiting each other with one of them giving off regular radio-frequency "beeps", has been important as a proof for Einstein's general theory of relativity. He made his discovery using the 1,000 foot radio telescope at Arecibo, Puerto Rico, the largest and most sensitive in the world for catching radio waves from space. Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.
1947Alan Sugar, businessman. Founder of Amstrad Computers and former owner of London Football Club Tottenham Hotspur. Born in London, England.
1455Pope Nicholas V (b. Tomaso Parentucelli), pope (1447 - 55). As Pope, he worked to strengthen the alliance between the papacy and the Holy Roman Empire and initiated the Concordat of Vienna with Frederick III in 1448 which ensured that the Germans remained faithful to the Roman Catholic Church. He also obtained the resignation of Felix V, the last anti-pope, in 1449. Died in Rome, Italy, aged 57.
1603Queen Elizabeth I, Queen of England (1558 - 1603). Known as "The Virgin Queen", daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. She led a traumatic early life, her mother being beheaded when she was 3 years old to make way for Henry's third wife Jane Seymour, and she was subsequently declared illegitimate. She ascended the throne following the death of her sister Mary. Regarded as one of Great Britain's greatest monarchs, she is remembered for preserving stability in the nation at a time when it was inflicted with political and religious dissension, and maintained the authority of the Crown against the growing pressures of Parliament. Died in Richmond, Surrey, England, aged 69.
1776John Harrison, English clock designer. Developed and built the world's first successful maritime clock, one whose accuracy was great enough to allow the determination of longitude over long distances. The development of his device was prompted by a reward offered by the British government for new navigational tools to avoid further disasters at sea. Died in London, England, aged 83.
1864Karl Karlovich Klaus, Russian chemist, biologist. Credited with the discovery of ruthenium in 1844 while investigating the waste residues of the platinum refinery in St Petersburg, Russia. It was the last dense, inert, platinum-like metal to be found. He named the element from Ruthenia, the Latin name for Russia. Died in Dorpat, Russia (now Tartu, Estonia), aged 68.
1889Frans Cornelis Donders, ophthalmologist, physician. Conducted investigations of the physiology and pathology of the eye and made possible a scientific approach to the correction of refractive disabilities such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism. He discovered the cause of hypermetropia (farsightedness) and that the blurred vision of astigmatism is caused by uneven and unusual surfaces of the cornea and lens, which diffuse light rays instead of focusing them. Died in Utrecht, The Netherlands, aged 70.
1905Jules Verne, French author. Studied law in Paris before turning to literature, initially writing opera libretti, then developing a new vein in fiction, exaggerating and anticipating the possibilities of science. His best-known works include "Voyage au centre de la terre" (Journey to the Centre of the Earth), "Vingt mille lieues sous les mers" (20,000 Leagues under the Sea), and "Voyage autour du monde en quatre-vingts jours" (Around the World in Eighty Days). Died in Amiens, France, aged 77.
1953Mary of Teck (b. Victoria Mary Augusta Louise Olga Pauline Claudine Agnes of Teck), queen consort of King George V (1910 - 36). Popularly known as Princess May, she became queen when her husband ascended the throne on the death of Edward VII in 1910. Died at Marlborough House, London, England, aged 86.
1956Willem Hendrik Keesom, Dutch physicist. A pioneer in cryogenics who was first to solidify helium in 1926. In 1932, he produced a temperature just two degrees above absolute zero (-272° C). Died in Oegstgeest, The Netherlands, aged 79.
1962Auguste Piccard, Swiss scientist, explorer. Known for his investigations of the stratosphere and the depths of the ocean in crafts of his own design. He developed a new cabin design for balloons in 1932 and, in the same year, made the first manned balloon flight into the stratosphere, lifting off from Augsberg, Germany, and reaching an altitude of 16,916 metres. Died in Basel, Switzerland, aged 78.
1964Peter Lorre (b. László Löwenstein), actor (M, The Maltese Falcon, The Man Who Knew Too Much). Died of a stroke in Los Angeles, California, USA, aged 59.
1976Bernard L. Montgomery, British army Field Marshal. Regarded by many as the best British field commander since Wellington. He is best known as commander of the British 8th Army in the North African campaign of 1942, successfully pushing back Erwin Rommel and forcing him to retreat from Egypt after the Second Battle of El Alamein. He successfully led the Allied invasion of Sicily in 1943, which was also notable for the clash of personalities with the American officer leading the 7th Army General George Patton, both being renowned for their enormous egos. He was created first Viscount Montgomery of Alamein in 1946. Died in Alton, Hampshire, England, aged 88.
1990Dr An Wang, Chinese physicist, computer scientist. A pioneer of the digital computer industry, he was the founder of Wang Laboratories and Wang Computer Corporation. He also invented a pulse transfer controlling device which regulated the flow of magnetic energy and made magnetic core memory a practical reality. Died of cancer in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, aged 70.
Events on this day:
1603Elizabeth I dies and is succeeded by James VI of Scotland, who also becomes King James I of England.
1721Johann Sebastian Bach opens his Brandenburgse Concerts.
1832A group of men beat, tar, and feather the founder of the Latter Day Saint movement Joseph Smith in Hiram, Ohio, USA.
1877The University boat race between Oxford and Cambridge ends in a dead heat.
1882German scientist Robert Koch announces to the Berlin Physiological Society that he has discovered the bacillus responsible for tuberculosis.
1906The "Census of the British Empire" shows that Great Britain rules approximately 20% of the world.
1922Only 3 horses out of 32 starters finish the Grand National Steeplechase at Aintree, England.
1930The planet Pluto is officially named.
1944In the 'Great Escape' from Stalag Luft III in Germany, 79 Allied airmen flee but 50 are caught and shot.
1944811 British bombers attack Berlin, Germany.
1944Nazis execute more than 300 civilians in occupied Rome.
1955The first seagoing oil drilling rig, for drilling in over 100 feet (305 metres) of water, is placed in service by the C. G. Glasscock Drilling Company, USA.
1958Elvis Presley joins the US army (serial number 53310761).
1959The maser (Microwave Amplification by the Stimulated Emission of Radiation), an apparatus for amplifying and producing electromagnetic energy directly from excited molecules or atoms, is patented by Charles Townes.
1962Mick Jagger and Keith Richards perform as Little Boy Blue and the Blue Boys, prior to the formation of the Rolling Stones.
1972Great Britain imposes direct rule over Northern Ireland.
1976Argentine President Isabel Perón is deposed in a military coup.
1925Sylvester Stallone wins the Worst Actor award at the 5th annual Golden Raspberry Awards for his performance in "Rhinestone". Bo Derek wins Worst Actress for "Bolero" and her husband John Derek wins Worst Director for the same film. "Bolero" also wins the Worst Picture and Worst Screenplay awards.
1986Surinam army captain Etienne Boerenveen is arrested for cocaine smuggling.
1991"The Adventures of Ford Fairlane" and "Ghosts Can't Do It" are joint winners of the Worst Picture award at the eleventh annual Golden Raspberry Awards.
1996"Showgirls" wins the Worst Picture award at the sixteenth annual Golden Raspberry Awards. Paul Verhoeven wins Worst Director for "Showgirls".
1999NATO launches air strikes in Yugoslavia which was refusing to sign a peace treaty, marking the first time NATO has attacked a sovereign country.
2001Apple Computer Corp releases Mac OS X version 10.0.
Quote of the day:
A new randomly-selected quote each day.

"If freedom is short of weapons, we must compensate with willpower."
~ Adolf Hitler

Daily Trivia
A new (mostly science-related) question each day.
Q. When did Einstein publish his general theory of relativity?
show answer

Site of the Day:
A random site to visit each day, some of which I've found interesting, useful, humourous, provocative, etc...
The Skeptics Society is a scientific and educational organization of scholars, scientists, historians, magicians, professors and teachers, and anyone curious about controversial ideas, extraordinary claims, revolutionary ideas and the promotion of science.
Astronomy Picture of the Day
Marking 2009 as the International Year of Astronomy. Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

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 The blog of Derren Brown, a performer who combines magic, suggestion, psychology, misdirection and showmanship in order to seemingly predict and control human behaviour. 

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