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[Daily article] July 2: Air raids on Japan

Air raids on Japan by the Allies in World War II caused extensive
destruction and casualties; the most commonly cited estimates are
333,000 killed and 473,000 wounded. During the first years of the
Pacific War, these attacks were limited to the Doolittle Raid in April
1942 and small-scale raids on military positions in the Kuril Islands
starting in mid-1943. Strategic bombing raids began in June 1944 and
were greatly expanded in November. The raids initially attempted to
target industrial facilities, but from March 1945 onwards were generally
directed against urban areas. Aircraft flying from aircraft carriers and
the Ryukyu Islands also frequently struck targets in Japan during 1945
in preparation for an Allied invasion planned for October. In early
August, the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were struck and mostly
destroyed by atomic bombs. Japan's military and civil defenses were not
capable of protecting the country, and the Allied forces generally
suffered few losses. The bombing campaign was one of the main factors in
the Japanese government's decision to surrender in mid-August 1945.
Nevertheless, there has been a long-running debate over the attacks on
Japanese cities, and the decision to use atomic weapons has been
particularly controversial.

Read more: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_raids_on_Japan>

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Today's selected anniversaries:

626:

During the Xuanwu Gate Incident, Prince Li Shimin led his forces
to assassinate his rival brothers, Crown Prince Li Jiancheng and Prince
Li Yuanji, in a bloody palace coup for the imperial throne of the Tang
(Continue reading)

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[Daily article] July 1: Jarome Iginla

Jarome Iginla is a Canadian professional ice hockey player and an
alternate captain for the Colorado Avalanche in the National Hockey
League (NHL). He was a longtime member and former captain of the Calgary
Flames and also played for the Pittsburgh Penguins and Boston Bruins
before joining the Avalanche in 2014. In 2001–02 he led the NHL in
goals and points and won the Lester B. Pearson Award as its most
valuable player as voted by the players. In 2003–04 Iginla led the
league in goals for the second time and captained the Flames to the
Stanley Cup Finals, leading the league in playoff scoring. A six-time
NHL All-Star, he is the Flames' all-time leader in goals, points, and
games played, and is second in assists to Al MacInnis. Iginla twice
scored 50 goals in a season and is one of seven players in NHL history
to score 30 goals in 11 consecutive seasons. He has scored 589 goals and
1,226 points in his career. Internationally, he represented Canada's
championship teams at the 1996 World Junior and 1997 World Championships
as well as the 2004 World Cup of Hockey. He is a two-time Olympic gold
medal winner, including at the 2002 Winter Olympics, where he helped
lead Canada to its first Olympic hockey championship in 50 years.

Read more: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jarome_Iginla>

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Today's selected anniversaries:

1569:

The Union of Lublin was signed, merging the Kingdom of Poland
and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania into a single state, the
Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth.
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Union_of_Lublin>
(Continue reading)

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[Daily article] June 30: Fantastic Novels

Fantastic Novels was an American science fiction and fantasy pulp
magazine published by the Munsey Company of New York from 1940 to 1941,
and by Popular Publications from 1948 to 1951. It was launched as a
bimonthly companion magazine to Famous Fantastic Mysteries in response
to heavy demand for book-length reprints of stories from pulp magazines
such as Amazing Stories and Argosy. It ran science fiction and fantasy
classics from earlier decades, including novels by A. Merritt, George
Allan England, Victor Rousseau and others, and occasionally published
reprints of more recent work, such as Earth's Last Citadel by Henry
Kuttner and C. L. Moore. There were five issues in the magazine's first
incarnation and another twenty in the revived version from Popular
Publications, along with seventeen Canadian and two British reprints.
Mary Gnaedinger edited both series; her interest in reprinting Merritt's
work helped make him one of the better-known fantasy writers of the era.

Read more: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fantastic_Novels>

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Today's selected anniversaries:

1559:

During a jousting match, Gabriel Montgomery of the Garde
Écossaise mortally wounded King Henry II of France, piercing him in the
eye with his lance.
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_II_of_France>

1859:

French acrobat Charles Blondin crossed Niagara Gorge on a
(Continue reading)

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[Daily article] June 29: Robin Friday

Robin Friday (1952–1990) was an English football forward who played
for Reading and Cardiff City during the mid-1970s. Born and raised in
Acton in west London, Friday joined Reading in 1974, quickly becoming a
key player and helping Reading win promotion to the Third Division
during the 1975–76 season. Friday won Reading's player of the year
award in both of his full seasons there as their leading goal scorer.
Many contemporaries would later assert that he was good enough to play
for England, but his habit of unsettling opponents through physical
intimidation contributed to a heavily tarnished disciplinary record, and
his personal life was one of heavy smoking, drinking, womanising and
drug abuse. His intensifying drug habit led Reading to sell him to
Cardiff in 1976. Following incidents on and off the field—including
kicking Mark Lawrenson in the face mid-game—Friday retired from
football in 1977. He died in Acton in 1990, aged 38, after suffering a
heart attack. Despite his short career, Friday remains prominent in the
memory of Reading and Cardiff supporters, as a player and a personality.
He has been voted Reading's best ever player three times.

Read more: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robin_Friday>

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Today's selected anniversaries:

1149:

Second Crusade: An army led by Nur ad-Din Zangi destroyed the
forces of Antioch led by Prince Raymond.
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Inab>

1444:
(Continue reading)

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[Daily article] June 28: Edmontosaurus

Edmontosaurus, a genus with the species E. regalis and E. annectens, was
one of the largest duck-billed dinosaurs, up to 12 metres (39 ft) long
and weighing around 4.0 metric tons (4.4 short tons). Widely distributed
across western North America, especially in the coasts and coastal
plains, it was a herbivore with small solid or fleshy crests that could
move on two legs or four, and is thought to have lived in groups. It was
named after Edmonton, Alberta; the first fossils were discovered in
Alberta's Horseshoe Canyon Formation. Abundant fossils have allowed
researchers to study its brain, feeding habits, pathologies, and even
injuries, including in one case from a tyrannosaur attack. Fossils of E.
regalis have been found in rocks that date from 73 million years ago,
while those of E. annectens (reconstruction pictured) are around
66 million years old, both in the Cretaceous Period. Edmontosaurus was
one of the last non-avian dinosaurs, living alongside Triceratops and
Tyrannosaurus shortly before the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction.

Read more: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edmontosaurus>

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Today's selected anniversaries:

1841:

Giselle, a ballet by French composer Adolphe Adam, was first
performed at the Théâtre de l'Académie Royale de Musique in Paris.
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giselle>

1880:

Police captured Australian bank robber and cultural icon Ned
(Continue reading)

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[Daily article] June 27: Effects of Hurricane Georges in Louisiana

Hurricane Georges hit Louisiana in 1998, doing $30.1 million in damage
and causing three deaths. Attaining a peak intensity of 155 mph
(250 km/h) on September 20, the storm tracked through the Greater
Antilles and later entered the Gulf of Mexico. Half a million residents
in Louisiana evacuated from low-lying areas before the Category 2 storm
made landfall on the 28th in Mississippi. Many homes outside the levee
system were flooded by the storm surge, and 85 fishing camps on the
banks of Lake Pontchartrain were destroyed. An estimated 160,000
residences were left without power; beaches were severely eroded by the
slow-moving storm. Precipitation in Louisiana peaked at 2.98 inches
(75.69 mm) in Bogalusa, and wind gusts reached 82 mph (132 km/h). In
the wake of the hurricane, the Federal Emergency Management Agency
opened 67 shelters across the state, and covered insurance claims
totalling $14,150,532, including from Puerto Rico and Mississippi. The
Clinton administration appropriated $56 million in disaster relief to
regions in Louisiana for recovery from Tropical Storm Frances and
Hurricane Georges.

Read more: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Effects_of_Hurricane_Georges_in_Louisiana>

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Today's selected anniversaries:

678:

Pope Agatho, later venerated as a saint in both the Roman
Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches, began his reign as Pope.
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Agatho>

1743:
(Continue reading)

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[Daily article] June 26: Stanley Savige

Sir Stanley Savige (1890–1954) was an Australian Army soldier and
officer who served in the First and Second World Wars. He enlisted in
the First Australian Imperial Force in March 1915, and served in the
ranks during the Gallipoli Campaign, where he received a commission. He
earned the Military Cross for bravery in fighting on the Western Front.
In 1918 he joined Dunsterforce, and participated in the Caucasus
Campaign, during which he was instrumental in protecting thousands of
Assyrian refugees. After the war he wrote a book, Stalky's Forlorn Hope,
about his wartime experiences, and played a key role in the
establishment of Legacy Australia, a war widows and orphans benefit
fund. During the Second World War, he commanded the 17th Infantry
Brigade in the North African campaign, the Battle of Greece and the
Syria–Lebanon campaign. His outspoken criticism of professional
soldiers earned him their rancour. He returned to Australia after the
Battle of Greece, but later commanded the 3rd Division in New Guinea in
the Salamaua–Lae campaign. He rose to the rank of lieutenant general,
commanding the II Corps in the Bougainville campaign in the final stages
of the war.

Read more: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanley_Savige>

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Today's selected anniversaries:

1295:

Przemysł II was crowned King of Poland, the first coronation
of a Polish ruler in 219 years.
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Przemys%C5%82_II>

(Continue reading)

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[Daily article] June 25: Astatine

Astatine is a very rare radioactive chemical element with the chemical
symbol At and atomic number 85. It occurs on Earth as the decay product
of various heavier elements. All its isotopes are short-lived, with
half-lives of 8.1 hours or less. Elemental astatine has never been
viewed because a mass large enough to be seen by the naked eye would be
immediately vaporized by its radioactive heating. The bulk properties of
astatine are not known with any certainty, but they have been predicted
based on its similarity to the other halogens, the lighter elements
directly above it in the periodic table: fluorine, chlorine, bromine and
especially iodine. It is likely to have a dark or lustrous appearance
and may be a semiconductor or possibly a metal; it will probably have a
higher melting point than iodine. Chemically, several anionic species of
astatine are known and most of its compounds resemble those of iodine.
It also shows some metallic behavior, including the ability to form a
stable monatomic cation in aqueous solution (unlike the lighter
halogens).

Read more: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astatine>

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Today's selected anniversaries:

1658:

Anglo-Spanish War: English colonial forces repelled a Spanish
attack in the largest battle ever fought on Jamaica.
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Rio_Nuevo>

1910:

(Continue reading)

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[Daily article] June 24: L'Arianna

L'Arianna (Ariadne) was the second opera by Claudio Monteverdi, composed
in 1607–08; all the music is lost apart from the extended recitative
known as "Lamento d'Arianna", or "Ariadne's Lament" (pictured). One of
the earliest operas, it was first performed on 28 May 1608, as part of
the musical festivities for a royal wedding at the court of Duke
Vincenzo Gonzaga in Mantua. The libretto was written in eight scenes by
Ottavio Rinuccini, who used Ovid's Heroides and other classical sources
to relate the story of Ariadne's abandonment by Theseus on the island of
Naxos and her subsequent elevation as bride to the god Bacchus.The
composer later said that the effort of creating the opera almost killed
him. The first performance, produced with lavish and innovative special
effects, was highly praised, and the work was equally well received in
Venice when it was revived under the composer's direction in 1640 as the
inaugural work for the Teatro San Moisè. Expressive laments became an
integral feature of Italian opera for much of the 17th century. In
recent years the "Lamento" has become popular as a concert and recital
piece and has been frequently recorded.

Read more: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L%27Arianna>

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Today's selected anniversaries:

1340:

Hundred Years' War: The English fleet commanded by Edward III
almost totally destroyed the French fleet at the Battle of Sluys.
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Sluys>

1622:
(Continue reading)

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[Daily article] June 23: Great Stink

In London's Great Stink of 1858, the smell from untreated human waste
and industrial effluent being pumped onto the banks of the River Thames
was exacerbated by the low levels of the river in the hot summer
weather. The cause was the inadequate and archaic sewerage system, which
poured waste into the river. Victorian doctors still believed in the
miasma theory, that smell transmitted contagious diseases, rather than
microorganisms; three outbreaks of cholera prior to the Great Stink were
blamed on the ongoing problems with the river. Local and national
administrators who had been looking at possible solutions accepted a
proposal from the civil engineer Joseph Bazalgette (pictured) to move
the effluent eastwards along a series of interconnecting sewers that
sloped towards outfalls beyond the metropolitan area. Pumping stations
were built to lift the sewage from lower levels into higher pipes, and
two of the more ornate buildings, Abbey Mills in Stratford and Crossness
on the Erith Marshes, are listed for protection by English Heritage.
Bazalgette's plan introduced three embankments to London in which the
sewers ran—the Victoria, Chelsea and Albert Embankments. The work
ensured that sewage was no longer dumped onto the shores of the Thames
and brought an end to the cholera outbreaks. Although Bazalgette planned
for the sewers to support a city of 4.5 million, the system still
operates into the 21st century, servicing a city that has grown to over
8 million.

Read more: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Stink>

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Today's selected anniversaries:

1280:

(Continue reading)

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[Daily article] June 22: M-theory

In physics, M-theory is a unification of what were originally thought to
be five distinct versions of superstring theory. The possibility of such
a theory was first conjectured by Edward Witten (pictured) at a string
theory conference at the University of Southern California in 1995,
initiating a flurry of research activity known as the second superstring
revolution. Work by several physicists showed that the original five
theories could be related by transformations called S-duality and
T-duality. Witten's conjecture drew on these dualities and on a field
theory called eleven-dimensional supergravity. Some physicists believe
that a complete formulation of M-theory could provide a framework for
developing a unified theory of all the fundamental forces of nature.
Current directions of research in the theory include matrix theory and
gauge/gravity duality. According to Witten, the M in M-theory can stand
for "magic", "mystery", or "membrane" according to taste, and the true
meaning of the title should be decided when a more fundamental
formulation of the theory is known.

Read more: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M-theory>

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Today's selected anniversaries:

1633:

Galileo Galilei was forced to recant his heliocentric view of
the Solar System by the Roman Inquisition, after which, as legend has
it, he muttered under his breath, "And yet it moves".
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galileo_affair>

1813:
(Continue reading)


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