A daily dose of tidbits of knowledge, just because we can.
August 5. 1921 First Baseball Game Broadcast Over Radio KDKA of Pittsburgh broadcasts the Pittsburgh Pirates beating the Philadelphia Phillies (8-5).
August 4. 1790 The Revenue cutter service is founded, later becoming the U.S. Coast Guard (1915).
August 2. 1776 Signing of the Declaration of Independence The members of the Continental Congress begin signing their names on the U.S. Declaration of Independence. The last signer, Thomas McKean, didn't add his name until 1781.
August 1. 1936 Pigeons Poop on Hitler's Games During the opening ceremonies of the 1936 Olympics, known as "Hitler's Games," thousands of pigeons were released. When a ceremonial cannon was fired, it startled the pigeons causing them to poop over the spectators below.
July 31. 1964 First Photos of the Moon by a U.S. Spacecraft Ranger 7 sends back a series of pictures as it impacts into the Moon's surface. It would transmit over 4,300 photographs during its final 17 minutes of flight.
July 30. 1956 The phrase "In God We Trust" is adopted as the official U.S. motto. It was first used on coins in 1864 and began appearing on paper money in 1957.
July 29. 1993 Vietnam Women's Memorial Ground is broken for the first memorial in Washington D.C. to honor women's military service. It honors the 11,500 women who served in Vietnam and the 265,000 uniformed women who served during the war. The memorial was dedicated on November 11, 1993.
July 28. 1978 Animal House "TOGA! TOGA! TOGA!" National Lampoon's Animal House debuts, starring John Belushi, Peter Riegert, Tim Matheson, John Vernon, Verna Bloom, Tom Hulce, Stephen Furst, and Donald Sutherland. It was produced on a budget of $2.8 million and grossed over $141 million, making it one of the most successful comedies of all time.
July 27. 1377 First Quarantine Legislation The Adriatic port city of Ragusa (now Dubronvnik) passes the first legislation requiring the mandatory quarantine of all incoming ships and caravans. It required that all those coming from plague-infested areas had to spend 30 days in isolation on the islet of Mrkan or in the town of Cavtat, for the purpose of disinfection. This was during the time of the bubonic plague, or Black Death, which devastated Europe and Asia in the mid-1300s. Many cities had been implementing isolation of incoming sailors on their ships for 30 days, known as a "trentine". In 1448, this was extended to 40 days, or a "quarantena", which is the origin of the modern-day term "quarantine". The Black Death was the most fatal pandemic in recorded human history, resulting in the deaths of between 75 and 200 million people.
July 26. 1920 White House Will be Adorned by a Moron H.L. Mencken's famous prediction appears in The Baltimore Evening Sun newspaper. "But when a candidate for public office faces the voters he does not face men of sense; he faces a mob of men whose chief distinguishing mark is the fact that they are quite incapable of weighing ideas, or even of comprehending any save the most elemental — men whose whole thinking is done in terms of emotion, and whose dominant emotion is dread of what they cannot understand. So confronted, the candidate must either bark with the pack or count himself lost. …All the odds are on the man who is, intrinsically, the most devious and mediocre — the man who can most adeptly disperse the notion that his mind is a virtual vacuum. The Presidency tends, year by year, to go to such men. As democracy is perfected, the office represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron."
July 25. 1960 Greensboro Sit-In Woolworth's opens its lunch counters to blacks. The company had lost $200,000 since February, when four black college students, known as the "Greensboro Four", refused to move from a Woolworth's lunch counter in North Carolina after being denied service. The store manager asked three black employees to order a meal at the counter, officially desegregating the Woolworth's lunch counter. Over 70,000 people participated in the protests.
July 24. 1851 Window Tax Repealed The window tax of England is repealed, it was first levied in 1696. The window tax was originally levied in lieu of an income tax, which was strongly opposed, as people saw revealing your income an intrusion of government into your private affairs. Windows were seen as a sign of wealth, therefore the more windows you had, you more you were taxed. The window tax itself was opposed on the ground that it was a tax on "light and air." Some houses of the era would brick up windows in order to avoid the tax. The Scottish window tax was also abolished at the same time.
July 23. 1851 Treaty of Traverse des Sioux Sioux Indians relinquish their land in Iowa and Minnesota to the U.S. in exchange for annuities of cash and goods with the signing of the Treaty of Traverse des Sioux. The U.S. wanted agricultural lands for more settlers. As part of the signing process, the Sioux were tricked in to signing a separate Trader's paper, having been told it was just a duplicate copy of the original treaty. The Trader's paper paid $400,000 of the promised treaty annuity to fur traders who had financial claims against the tribes. The hardships imposed due to the change of lifestyle and the Trader's paper would lead to the Dakota War of 1862.
July 22. 1980 TV Strike The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) joins the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) strike. The strike boycotted that year's prime-time Emmy awards, with Powers Boothe the only one of the 52 nominated actors to attend, and caused the delay of the start of the fall TV season. The strike ended October 3, when the guild ratified a new pact for a 32.25% increase in minimum salaries and a 4.5% share of movies made for pay TV.
July 21. 1972 George Carlin Arrested for Seven Words The comedian George Carlin is arrested in Milwaukee for performing his Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television routine. The charges were dismissed when the judge declared that the language was indecent but Carlin had the freedom to say it as long as he caused no disturbance.
July 20. 1925 Monkey Trial Prosecutor William Jennings Bryan takes the witness stand to defend his fundamentalist views against the teaching of evolution. He is completely humiliated by Clarence Darrow, who pointed out the absurdity of a strict reading of the Bible. The resulting stress may have contributed to Bryan's death six days later.
July 19. 1985 Challenger Disaster - New Hampshire school teacher Christa McAuliffe is chosen from among 11,000 applicants to ride aboard the space shuttle. It would later explode on lift-off killing all aboard.
July 18. 1863 Civil War - First African American to Earn the Medal of Honor During the assault on Fort Wagner in Charleston, South Carolina, Former slave and Union Sgt. William Harvey Carney, despite serious wounds, struggled across the battlefield carrying the Union flag. For his actions, he was awarded the Medal of Honor in 1900. His citation reads, "When the color sergeant was shot down, this soldier grasped the flag, led the way to the parapet, and planted the colors thereon. When the troops fell back he brought off the flag, under a fierce fire in which he was twice severely wounded." Although his were the first actions for which a Medal of Honor was awarded to an African American, he wasn't awarded his medal until 1900, during which time other African Americans had received their award for actions which occurred after his heroics. It is believed he escaped slavery via the Underground Railroad. This battle is portrayed in the film Glory (1989).
July 17.709 B.C. Earliest Record of a Total Solar Eclipse The Chinese make records of the celestial event.
July 16.1969 First Manned Flight to Land on the Moon Apollo 11 is launched, landing on the Moon four days later. Neil Armstrong became the first person to step onto the lunar surface six hours after landing on July 21, with Buzz Aldrin following him shortly thereafter. Aldrin would later joke that while Armstrong was the first man to walk on the Moon, he was the first to piss his pants on the Moon.
They also left behind a laser reflector which was used to prove the Moon was 131.2 feet farther away than previously believed.
July 15. 1834 - The Spanish Inquisition was officially disbanded after nearly 356 years. Several thousand people were actually executed over this time, averaging about a dozen per year.
July 14. 1960 - Jane Goodall arrived at the Gombe Stream Reserve (Tanzania) to begin her study of chimpanzees in the wild.
July 13. 1787 First Federal Law Prohibiting Slavery in a U.S. Territory The Northwest Ordinance is enacted. The banning of slavery in the territory had the effect of establishing the Ohio River as the boundary between free and slave territory in the region between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River. It also established the precedent that the United States would expand westward by admitting new states, rather than by expanding existing states
July 12. 1967 Newark Race Riots The riots in Newark, New Jersey begin. Six days of rioting left 26 dead and 727 injured. The riots were in response to two Newark Police officers who arrested and beat an African American taxi driver. This was one of 159 race riots that swept U.S. cities during the "Long Hot Summer of 1967".
July 11. 1804 Vice-President Kills Former Secretary of the Treasury in Duel - U.S. Vice President Aaron Burr mortally wounds former Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton in a duel. Burr, while still Vice President, was running for governor of New York State and Hamilton campaigned against him as unworthy. Burr took offense and challenged Hamilton to a duel in which Burr shot and mortally wounded him. Hamilton died the following day. Burr was charged with murder, as dueling was illegal, but was never brought to trial.
There is much debate over the actual sequence of events during the duel. Some witness saying Hamilton intentionally wasted his first shot (it was later found to have hit the trees well above Burr's head). A common practice in duels of the day was for both parties to intentionally miss and then call the duel over, with both parties saving their honor. Other's say Hamilton didn't fire until after he was shot - his reflexes pulling the trigger as he fell to the ground. Hamilton had written a letter beforehand stating that he did not intend to fire - but that might have been only to shine a bad light on Burr in case he lost. Hamilton's son had died in a duel at the same location in 1801.
July 10. 1925 - In Dayton, Tennessee, the Monkey Trial began with John T. Scopes, a high school science teacher accused of teaching the theory of evolution in violation of the Butler Act. The law was repealed on May 17, 1967.
July 9. 1868 14th Amendment Ratified Defined U.S. citizenship and granted it to those born or naturalized in the U.S. It also stated that the rights of a citizen could not be removed without due process of the Law.
July 8. 1924 First Black to Win an Individual Olympic Gold Medal DeHart Hubbard (American) becomes the first black to win an individual Olympic gold medal; in the running long jump in the 1924 Summer Olympics.
July 7. 1946 First American Saint Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini (1850-1917) is declared a saint by the Roman Catholic Church. She is the Patron Saint of Emigrants. She founded the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Born in the Austrian empire, she was a naturalized American citizen. Imigrants get it done!
July 6. 1942 Anne Frank and her family go into hiding from the Nazis in a friend's attic. They were later joined by others and remained hidden for two years until discovered and sent to concentration camps. Anne's father Otto Frank was the only one of the hidden people to survive. One of the men who hid them was sent to prison, but managed to escape. The other was sent to a concentration camp till he was liberated at the end of the war.
July 5. 1935 The Wagner Act U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs into law the Wagner Act, guaranteeing workers the right to organize and collectively bargain with their employers. It also created the National Labor Relations Board. It did not cover those working for the government, and those in the railway or airline industries.
July 4. 1777 The First Fourth of July Was Celebrated in 1777 When the Declaration of Independence was finalized in July of 1776, future president John Adams wrote a letter to his wife Abigail, saying he expected the date to become an annual celebration in America—and he was right. In 1777, the first Fourth of July was celebrated with fireworks and parades. 1918 Birthday (fictional) Captain America, Marvel Cinematic Universe
July 3 through August 11 are the "Dog Days of Summer" Why? In the summer, Sirius rises and sets with the Sun. ... Thus, the term Dog Days of Summer came to mean the 20 days before and 20 days after this alignment of Sirius with the Sun—July 3 to Aug. 11. This is why Sirius is sometimes called the Dog Star.
July 2. 1919 - First Lighter-Than-Air Transatlantic Flight. Major George H. Scott takes off from Firth of Fourth, Scotland. He landed in Mineola, New York on July 13. 1937 - Amelia Earhart Disappears. The aviator Amelia Earhart's plane disappears over the Pacific Ocean, as she and Fred Noonan attempted to circle the globe.
July 1. 1847 - The first US postage stamps were issued (Ben Franklin 5 cents & George Washington 10 cents)
June 30. 1953 - The first Chevrolet Corvette rolled off the assembly line in Flint, Michigan.
June 29. 1983: Prince Mongo of the uncharted planet of Zambodia, accused of tampering with an electric meter in Memphis, was sentenced to 10 days for contempt when he appeared in court wearing green body paint, a fur loincloth, gold goggles, and carrying a skull under one arm. Later that year Prince Mongo ran for mayor of Memphis and got 2,650 votes.
June 28. 1977 Kiss Comic Book - The rock group Kiss releases its comic book. The red ink contained blood from the Kiss members.
June 27. 1979 First Black Woman Judge On the U.S. Court of Appeals - Amalya Lyle Kearse is sworn in at the U.S. Court of Appeals, New York City.
June 26. 1978 First Women to Graduate From a U.S. Service Academy - Eight women graduate from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. The Merchant Marine Academy is one of the five U.S. service academies, which also include The U.S. Military Academy, U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Air Force Academy, and the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.
June 25. 1876 - Native American forces, led by Chiefs Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull, defeated the US Army troops lead by Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer in a battle near southern Montana's Little Bighorn River.
June 24. 1947 - Kenneth Arnold reported seeing the Mount Rainier UFO and in 1997 - US Air Force officials released a 231-page report dismissing all of the claims of an alien spacecraft crash in Roswell, New Mexico, in 1947.
June 23. 1888 Frederick Douglass for President - Frederick Douglass becomes the first African-American to have his name put forward for a presidential nomination in a major party's roll call vote, receiving one vote from the Kentucky Delegation at the Republican Convention in Chicago, although they ultimately nominated Benjamin Harrison. While this was his first nominating vote by a major party, this was the second time Douglass had been nominated for U.S. president. The first was in 1848 at the National Liberty Party Convention.
June 22. 1633 Galileo Prosecuted for Teaching Earth Revolves Around Sun - The astronomer Galileo Galilei is sentenced to prison by the Roman Inquisition for teaching that the Earth revolves around the Sun (heliocentrism). In 1615, The Roman Inquisition had determined that heliocentrism contradicted the Holy Scripture, citing Biblical passages such as: Psalm 93:1, 96:10, and 1 Chronicles 16:30 - "the world is firmly established, it cannot be moved." Psalm 104:5 - "the Lord set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved." Ecclesiastes 1:5 - "And the sun rises and sets and returns to its place." Galileo's Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems (1632) supported heliocentrism and appeared to attack Pope Urban VIII. For this indiscretion, Pope Urban VIII had him brought before the Roman Inquisition. Under threat of torture, Galileo recanted. He was sentenced to house arrest for life and publication of any of his works was forbidden. As late as 1990, the Church still showed support for Galileo's prosecution as evidenced in a speech by Cardinal Ratzinger (who later became Pope Benedict XVI) in which he stated, "Her (the Roman Catholic Church) verdict against Galileo was rational and just, and the revision of this verdict can be justified only on the grounds of what is politically opportune." However, in 1992, the Catholic Church admitted they were wrong in this decision.
June 21. 1910 - Father's Day -Sonora Smart Dodd of Spokane, Washington, is credited with starting Father's Day after hearing a sermon on Mother's Day while attending church with her father.Dodd wanted to honor her father, William Jackson Smart, a Civil War veteran who raised six children after his wife died during childbirth.
June 20. 1963 Washington-Moscow Hotline The famous "hotline" direct communications line between the U.S. and the Soviet Union is ordered. The need for the line was realized during the Cuban Missile Crisis when it could take up to six hours to deliver diplomatic messages. It took the United States nearly twelve hours to receive and decode Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev's 3,000-word initial settlement message. By that time, Moscow had sent a tougher message. The belief was that a faster reply could have avoided this. Although it became known as the "Red Phone", it was never actually a telephone line, and no red phones were ever used. The first implementation used Teletype equipment, and then fax machines in 1986. In 2008 it became a secure computer link over which email messages are sent.
June 19. 1865 Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. News of the end of the Civil War reaches Galveston, Texas with Union army general Gordon Granger's reading of federal orders. Confederate General Robert E. Lee had surrendered two months earlier. Along with the Emancipation Proclamation two years earlier, this freed the slaves. This event is celebrated in Texas as an official state holiday and across the U.S. as an unofficial American holiday known as Juneteenth and has been celebrated in the Texas area since 1866.
June 18. 1948 First Successful Long-Playing Microgroove Record Columbia Records introduces its long play 10-inch and 12-inch 33⅓ rpm record. One side played for 23 minutes as compared to about 4 minutes for the current 78 records. The 10-inch version was soon phased out. They were developed by Peter Goldmark. RCA Victor had previously attempted to introduce a long-playing record for home use, but it didn't catch on. Why is it called a "Record Album"? Prior to the 33⅓ Long Play, records had a thicker groove and ran at 78 rpms and therefore were only about 3-5 minutes per side. Because of this, music was sold on multiple records gathered together in a book called an "album." The new 33⅓ LP could play about 23 minutes per side, therefore, all the records from a typical "album" could by stored on a single 33⅓ LP, but the name "album" stuck.
June 17. 1885 - The Statue of Liberty arrived in New York Harbor.
June 16. 1858 - Abraham Lincoln gave his "a house divided against itself cannot stand" speech.
June 15. 1878 - Eadweard Muybridge took a series of photographs to prove that all four feet of a horse leave the ground when it runs; the study becomes the basis of motion pictures. The purpose of the shoot was to determine whether a galloping horse ever lifts all four feet completely off the ground during the gait, since the human eye could not break down the action. It is considered by many to be the first 'motion picture.'
June 14. Flag Day - 1939 First Black Performer on Television Ethel Waters becomes the first black performer on television when NBC broadcasts the one-hour variety show The Ethel Waters Show. Also appearing on the show were African-American actresses Fredi Washington and Georgette Harvey and white performers Joey Faye and Philip Loeb. Waters also went on to become the first black star of a TV dramatic series (1950-51, Beulah) and the first black actress nominated for an Emmy (1961, for an episode of Route 66).
June 13. 1966 - The United States Supreme Court rules in Miranda v. Arizona that the police must inform suspects of their rights before questioning them. It is a bit more detailed than what police say in most televised crime dramas.
June 12. 1967 Interracial Marriage Legalized The banning of interracial marriage is ruled unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court, bringing to an end such laws in 16 states. The case was brought by Mildred Loving, a woman of color, and Richard Loving, a white man, who had been sentenced to a year in prison in Virginia for marrying each other. After becoming pregnant, the couple went to Washington D.C. to marry in order to avoid Virginia law which made marriage between whites and non-whites a crime. After returning, the police raided their home finding the couple in bed together. Sex between interracial couples was a crime in Virginia. The Lovings pleaded guilty to "cohabiting as man and wife, against the peace and dignity of the Commonwealth" and were sentenced to one year in prison, with the sentence suspended on condition that the couple leave Virginia and not return together for at least 25 years. In 1964, the couple requested that judgments be vacated, only to receive the judge's response, "Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix." The case eventually went to the U.S. Supreme Court. June 12th is now known as "Loving Day."
June 11. 1928 First Seeing Eye Dog in the U.S. Blind owner Morris Frank arrives in the U.S. with Buddy, who was trained as a guide dog in Switzerland. Frank then cofounded The Seeing Eye, the first guide dog school in the U.S.
June 10. 1692 Salem Witch Trials Bridget Bishop is hanged for witchcraft, making her the first of 20 people executed in 1692 for witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts. She was accused of bewitching five young women, who claimed the "shape" of Bishop would pinch, choke, and bite them. She was also accused of "dressing more artistically than women of the village" by using colored lace and playing shuffleboard - both signs of consorting with the devil.
June 9. 1915 d. 2009 American guitarist Les Paul (Lester William Polsfuss) born today. Music: Tiger Rag and Vaya con Dios (#1). He invented the solid-body electric guitar (1941), first 8-track recording device, sound-on-sound recording, and the solid-body neck-worn harmonica holder, which allows hands-free playing of the harmonica.
June 8. 1972 Nick Ut takes his Pulitzer-winning photo of a napalm attack on a South Vietnamese village. It showed nine-year-old Kim Phúc running naked after being badly burned and tearing her clothes off during a South Vietnamese Air Force napalm attack near Trang Bang. Trang Bang had been occupied by North Vietnamese forces. After taking the photograph, Ut took Kim Phúc and other injured children to a hospital in Saigon, where she stayed 14-months and had 17 surgical procedures including skin transplantations. This photo helped turn public opinion against the war.
June 7. 1965 The U.S. Supreme Court rules Connecticut's law banning the use of contraceptives is unconstitutional. The case involved a Connecticut "Comstock law" that prohibited the use of any drug, medicinal article, or instrument to prevent conception.
June 6. 1944 Allied troops invade Europe at Normandy, during World War II. Over 4,000 allied troops were killed on the first day of the invasion, with the Germans losing about 1,000. Also, known as the Normandy landings, this was the largest seaborne invasion in history, with 875,000 men disembarking by the end of June.
June 5. 1989 - The Tiananmen Square protests ended violently in Beijing by the People's Liberation Army, with at least 241 dead. Many western journalists had errantly speculated that the army would not fight against the people.
June 4. 1919 - The US Congress approved the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which guaranteed voting for women, and sent it to the individual states for ratification.
June 3. 1965 Edward White goes for walk outside of Gemini 4. His walk lasted for 23 minutes. He died the in the 1967 Apollo 1 disaster, making him and the crew the first American astronauts to die in a spacecraft.
June 2. 1899 Butch Cassidy's Wild Bunch gang, which included the Sundance Kid, commit their first train robbery. They stole between $30,000 and $60,000. The robbers were gang members Cassidy, Sundance, Harvey Logan, and Elzy Lay.
June 1. 1869 The soon to be famous inventor Thomas Edison is granted his first patent - for an electrical vote recorder. Although his vote recorder was a failure and was never used, Edison went to on to invent many other famous devices.
May 31. 1927 - The last Ford Model T rolls off the assembly line after a production run of 15,007,003 vehicles. Henry took the last one home, to be with the first one and the prototype.
May 30. 1922 The memorial to U.S. President Abraham Lincoln in Washington D.C. is dedicated. The dedication was presided over by U.S. Presiding Warren G. Harding. Lincoln's only surviving son, 78-year-old Robert Todd Lincoln, was in attendance. The memorial is featured on the backs of U.S. 1¢ coins and $5 bills and houses the famous seated statue of Lincoln, created by Daniel Chester French.
May 29. 1913 Igor Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring premieres in Paris. Its daring harmonies and shifting rhythms created an uproar that is unequaled in music history. It has been much derided, with many calling it "The Riot of Spring." It is now one of the most recorded works of classical music.
May 28. 1897 - Jell-o was introduced.
May 27. 1937 - The Golden Gate Bridge, connecting San Francisco with Marin County, California opened. Today was "Pedestrian Day" - cars were allowed the following day.
May 26 If a statue in the park of a person on a horse has one or both front legs in the air, the person died as a result of wounds received in battle; if the horse has all four legs on the ground, the person died of natural causes.
May 25. Memorial day was first celebrated on May 30, 1868. It was observed by placing flowers on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers during the first national celebration. Gen. James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery, after which around 5,000 participants helped to decorate the graves of the more than 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers who were buried there.
May 24. 1775 - John Hancock was elected president of the Second Continental Congress.
May 23. 1900 First Actions by an African-American to Earn the Medal of Honor. Sergeant William Harvey Carney is awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions in 1863 during the Civil War. During the assault on Fort Wagner in Charleston, South Carolina, Carney, although seriously wounded, struggled across the battlefield carrying the Union flag. His citation reads, "When the color sergeant was shot down, this soldier grasped the flag, led the way to the parapet, and planted the colors thereon. When the troops fell back he brought off the flag, under a fierce fire in which he was twice severely wounded." Although his were the first actions for which a Medal of Honor was awarded to an African American, he wasn't awarded his medal until 1900, during which time other African Americans had received their award for actions which occurred later. It is believed he escaped slavery via the Underground Railroad. This battle is portrayed in the film Glory (1989).
May 22. 1849 Future U.S. President Abraham Lincoln is issued U.S. Patent #6469 for an "Improvement for Buoying Vessels Over Shoals." He is the only U.S. President to have held a patent. His device consisted of large bellows attached to the sides of a boat that expanded via air chambers to help lift a stuck boat over shoals. The device was never put into actual use.
May 21. 1980 - The Coyote finally caught the Road Runner. link Also - - Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back was released in theaters. At the time, we just called it The Empire Strikes Back.
May 20. 1932 First Solo Transatlantic Flight by a Woman Amelia Earhart departs from Newfoundland, arriving in Ireland.
May 19. 2124 (fiction) Jake Sully landed on Pandora, Avatar, Film
May 18. 1980 (Volcano Eruption) Mount St. Helens in Washington erupted with a 5.1 magnitude, causing a massive avalanche and killed 57 people. David Johnson was a volcanologist studying Mt. St. Helens from 6 miles away when it erupted. He made a transmission stating: "Vancouver! Vancouver! This is it!" as the volcano erupted. The transmission went dead at this point, and his body was never recovered.
May 17. 1954 - The US Supreme Court handed down an unanimous decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, ruling that racial segregation in public educational facilities was unconstitutional.
May 16. 1975 First Woman to Summit Mt. Everest. Junko Tabei of Japan summits Mt. Everest. In 1992, she also became the first woman to ascend all Seven Summits by climbing the highest peak on every continent.
May 15.1501 - Ottaviano Petrucci opened the first modern-style music publishing house, by producing the first book of music made from movable type, in Venice.
May 14. 1973 The U.S. space station Skylab is launched. About a minute after take-off a protective shield and a solar panel broke off, damaging the other solar panel in the process. The crew was sent up on the 25th and made repairs.
May 13. International Hummus Day! What's your favorite flavor of Hummus?
May 12. 1551 - The National University of San Marcos, the oldest university in the Americas, was founded in Lima, Peru.
May 11. 868 - The first known dated printed book was the Diamond Sutra, a Buddhist scripture. A citation included : "printed on 11 May 868, by Wang Chieh, for free general distribution".
May 10. Happy Mother's Day - Anna Jarvis was a woman that may have been behind our traditional Mother’s Day celebration on the second Sunday of May. Anna never had any children, but wanted to carry out her own mother’s wishes of having a day just for moms. Anna tirelessly campaigned and on May 8th, 1914 President Woodrow Wilson signed a Joint Resolution designating the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.
May 9. 1960 - The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the world's first commercially produced birth-control bill-Enovid-10.
May 8. 2010 - Betty White hosted Saturday Night Live, thanks to a push by fans on Facebook. She won an Emmy for her appearance.
May 7. 1963 - NASA launched the Telstar 2 communications satellite on behalf of AT&T.
May 6. 1937 The Hindenburg Disaster - "Oh, the Humanity!" News reporter Herbert Morrison makes his famous proclamation, "Oh, the Humanity!" as he witnesses the disaster unfolding. The giant airship Hindenburg explodes and burns killing 36 people while preparing to land at Lakehurst, New Jersey. The exact cause of the fire has never been determined, but theories range from a hydrogen leak, sabotage from either crew or passengers, static electricity, and a flammable coating on the skin of the craft. This disaster marked the end of the airship era.
May 5. Taco Tuesday and Cinco de Mayo -
May 4. is Star Wars Day. "May the Fourth be with you." 1933 - The discovery of radio waves from the center of the Milky Way galaxy was announced by Karl Jansky.
May 3. 1802 - Washington, District of Columbia. was incorporated as a city.
May 2. 1998 (fiction) The Battle of Hogwarts took place. SPOILER: Neville Longbottom really stepped up. Harry Potter
May 1. 1964 - The BASIC computer program was used for the first time at Dartmouth University by John G. Kemeny and Thomas E. Kurtz. The name is an acronym for 'Beginner's All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code'.
April 30.1945 Hitler Commits Suicide. German Chancellor Adolf Hitler and his newly-wed bride Eva Braun reportedly commit suicide by taking cyanide capsules. Their bodies were taken to the garden outside, doused in petrol, and set on fire. Some accounts say Hitler shot himself as he bit down the cyanide capsule. In 2009, DNA tests were conducted on a skull Soviet officials had long believed to be Hitler's. The tests and examination revealed that the skull was actually that of a woman less than 40 years old. Hitler and his mistress Eva Braun were married the previous day. Germany surrendered a week later, ending the war in Europe.
April 29. 1953 The first U.S. experimental 3D-TV broadcast showed an episode of Space Patrol on Los Angeles ABC affiliate KECA-TV
April 28. 1789 - The HMS Bounty was taken over in a mutiny led by Fletcher Christian, the first mate. Captain William Bligh and 18 of his loyal supporters were set adrift in a small boat.
April 26. In 1564 - Playwright William Shakespeare was baptized in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England. People were traditionally baptized three days after birth, this is how we know his birthday was April 23.
April 25. There's enough Harry Potter trivia to fill a seven book series, but a rarer fact that has changed many lives involves The Tales of Beedle the Bard. J.K. Rowling hand-wrote seven copies of the short stories collection and had them bound with jewel-encrusted covers. Six went to people who helped her with Harry's journey, and the final copy was auctioned for £1.95m ($3.98 million). Proceeds went to a Romanian orphanage.
April 24. Carly Simon's dad is the Simon of Simon and Schuster. He co-founded the company.
April 23. The blob of toothpaste that sits on your toothbrush has a name. It's called a "nurdle," and there was a lawsuit over which toothpaste company had the right to depict it.
April 22. Too much water can kill you. Drinking too much water can be deadly. When guzzling a lot of liquid, you can suffer from water intoxication or hyponatremia, which occurs after an obscene amount of water is consumed, often during endurance events when participants are also losing sodium through their sweat. There have been many notable cases, including the 2002 Boston Marathon competitor Cynthia Lucero, who died from overhydration.
April 21.The “Windy City” name has nothing to do with Chicago weather. Was this one of the random facts you already knew? Chicago’s nickname was coined by 19th-century journalists who were referring to the fact that its residents were “windbags” and “full of hot air.”
April 20. Scotland has 421 words for “snow” Yes—421! That's too many fun facts about snow. Some examples: sneesl (to start raining or snowing); feefle (to swirl); flinkdrinkin (a light snow). Don't miss these other 11 random interesting facts about snow.
April 19.Johnny Appleseed’s fruits weren’t for eating. Yes, there was a real John Chapman who planted thousands of apple trees on U.S. soil. But the apples on those trees were much more bitter than the ones you’d find in the supermarket today. “Johnny Appleseed” didn’t expect his fruits to be eaten whole, but rather made into hard apple cider.
April 18. Some fungi create zombies, then control their minds. The tropical fungus Ophiocordyceps infects ants’ central nervous systems. By the time the fungi been in the insect bodies for nine days, they have complete control over the host’s movements. They force the ants to climb trees, then convulse and fall into the cool, moist soil below, where fungi thrive. Once there, the fungus waits until exactly solar noon to force the ant to bite a leaf and kill it.
April 17. There really was a Captain Morgan. He was a Welsh pirate who later became the lieutenant governor of Jamaica.
April 16. Stop signs used to be yellow. In 1922, the American Association of State Highway Officials met to determine a standard design for stop signs, and that's where they decided on the color—yellow. Wait, what? Yes, according to Business Insider, stop signs were yellow because they thought that would grab drivers' attention. They'd also considered red, but there was no dye available at the time that wouldn't eventually fade. By 1954, however, sign makers had access to fade-resistant porcelain enamel, and could finally start making stop signs the red color we recognize today.
April 15. To Kill a Mockingbird is Harper Lee's only novel, even though it won a Pulitzer Prize and spent 88 weeks on the bestseller list. Go Set a Watchman was published months before Harper's 2016 death, but while being called a sequel was actually a first draft of To Kill a Mockingbird, thus the one novel.
April 14. Susan Eloise Hinton embraced the idea "to write the book you want to read." She was 15 and frustrated with the lack of relatable pop culture being produced for teens when she wrote The Outsiders. Bonus fact: she used her initials to avoid any gender bias from a woman writing novels.
April 13. In 1939, Hitler's nephew wrote an article called "Why I Hate My Uncle." He came to the U.S., served in the Navy, and settled on Long Island.
April 12. Oscar the Grouch used to be orange. Jim Henson decided to make him green before the second season of Sesame Street. How did Oscar explain the color change? He said he went on vacation to the very damp Swamp Mushy Muddy and turned green overnight.
April 11. Some cats are actually allergic to humans. Though it's uncommon—since humans bathe more than your typical animal, and don't shed as much hair or skin—some animals can still be allergic to humans, according to Popular Science. (However, it's more often because of the perfume or cologne we wear, or the soap we use.)
April 10. Amelia Earhart and Eleanor Roosevelt once went on a joyride. In 1933, Eleanor Roosevelt and Amelia Earhart ditched a fancy dinner in Washington, D.C., and hopped into an Eastern Air Transport Curtis Condor for a quick trip to Baltimore and back, according to The Baltimore Sun. Earhart, who was wearing a white silk gown, piloted the plane for most of the flight.
April 9. According to the National Retail Federation, Americans spend $310 million on pet costumes last Halloween.
April 8. M&M's actually stands for "Mars & Murrie's," the last names of the candy's founders.
April 7. "Jay" used to be slang for "foolish person." So when a pedestrian ignored street signs, he was referred to as a "jaywalker."
April 6. Johnny Cash's "A Boy Named Sue" was penned by beloved children's author Shel Silverstein.
April 5. The Encyclopedia Britannica, which is the Wikipedia of the past, originated in Scotland. It was the idea of an Edinburgh bookseller, Colin Macfarquhar.
April 4.The Library of Alexandria, Greatest Library of the Ancient World. The Ancient Library of Alexandria, located in Alexandria, Egypt, was one of the largest libraries of the ancient world. Any books that came into the Port of Alexandria became library property and the library created a copy for the owner. The Library of Alexandria is estimated to have housed up to 400,000 scrolls of text, before a fire engulfed the collection. The destruction of the Library of Alexandria is famed and romanticized as one of the greatest historical cultural losses to mankind. [Wikipedia]
April 3. The Largest Published Book: The largest book ever published in a conventional manner is a Brazilian copy of The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (who also happens to be a pioneer of the aviation world). This extra large edition of The Little Prince measures 3.08 meters wide (opened) and 2.01 meters high. The Biannual Book Fair of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil featured the giant book in their September 2007 fair. [Guinness World Records]
April 2. Green Eggs and Ham started as a bet. The Dr. Seuss classic grew out of a bet with his editor that he could not create a book using fewer than 50 different words. The editor, Random House founder Bennett Cerf, put—you guessed it—$50 on the line, and lost.
April 1. Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon or "Bacon's Law" is a parlour game based on the "six degrees of separation" concept, which posits that any two people on Earth are six or fewer acquaintance links apart. Movie buffs challenge each other to find the shortest path between an arbitrary actor and prolific actor Kevin Bacon. It rests on the assumption that anyone involved in the Hollywood film industry can be linked through their film roles to Bacon within six steps. Use the Oracle of Bacon to to find the Bacon number from your favorite actor to Kevin Bacon.