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[Daily article] August 20: Thirty Flights of Loving

Thirty Flights of Loving is a first-person adventure video game
developed by Brendon Chung's video game studio, Blendo Games. It was
released in August 2012 for Microsoft Windows and in November 2012 for
OS X. The game employs a modified version of id Software's id Tech 2
engine—originally used for Quake II—and incorporates music composed
by Idle Thumbs member Chris Remo. An indirect sequel to Gravity Bone
(2008), it features the same main character, an unnamed spy controlled
by the player. The game follows the spy and two other people as they
prepare for an alcohol heist and then deal with the aftermath of the
failed operation. Unlike Gravity Bone, Thirty Flights of Loving employs
non-linear storytelling, forcing the player to piece together the
narrative. Thirty Flights of Loving was developed as part of the
Kickstarter campaign for the revival of the Idle Thumbs podcast and
includes a free copy of Gravity Bone. Thirty Flights of Loving received
generally favorable reviews from video game journalists, scoring 88 out
of 100 on the review aggregator Metacritic. A follow-up, Quadrilateral
Cowboy, is scheduled for release in 2014.

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

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Today's selected anniversaries:

1710:

War of the Spanish Succession: The Spanish-Bourbon army
commanded by the Marquis de Bay was soundly defeated by a multinational
army led by the Austrian commander Guido Starhemberg.
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Saragossa>

(Continue reading)

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[Daily article] August 19: Cyclura nubila

Cyclura nubila, also known as the Cuban iguana, is a species of lizard
of the iguana family. It is the largest of the West Indian rock iguanas,
one of the most endangered groups of lizards. This herbivorous species
with red eyes, a thick tail, and spiked jowls is one of the largest
lizards in the Caribbean. The Cuban iguana is distributed throughout the
rocky southern coastal areas of mainland Cuba and its surrounding islets
with a feral population thriving on Isla Magueyes, Puerto Rico. It is
also found on the Cayman Islands of Little Cayman and Cayman Brac, where
a separate subspecies occurs. Females guard their nest sites and often
nest in sites excavated by Cuban crocodiles. As a defense measure, the
Cuban iguana often makes its home within or near prickly-pear cacti.
Although the wild population is in decline because of predation by feral
animals and habitat loss caused by human agricultural development, its
numbers have been bolstered as a result of captive-breeding and other
conservation programs. Cyclura nubila has been used to study evolution
and animal communication, and its captive-breeding program has been a
model for other endangered lizards in the Caribbean.

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

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Today's selected anniversaries:

1745:

Bonnie Prince Charlie raised the Jacobite standard at
Glenfinnan in the Scottish Highlands to begin the Second Jacobite
Rising.
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jacobite_rising_of_1745>

(Continue reading)

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[Daily article] August 18: Episode 2 (Twin Peaks)

"Episode 2" is the third episode of the first season of the American
mystery television series Twin Peaks. The episode was written by series
creators David Lynch (pictured) and Mark Frost, and directed by Lynch.
Twin Peaks centers on the investigation into the murder of schoolgirl
Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee), in the small rural town in Washington state
after which the series is named. In this episode, FBI agent Dale Cooper
(played by Kyle MacLachlan) tells Sheriff Truman (Michael Ontkean) and
his deputies about a unique method of narrowing down the suspects in
Palmer's death. Meanwhile, Cooper's cynical colleague Albert Rosenfield
(Miguel Ferrer) arrives in town, and Cooper has a strange dream that
elevates the murder investigation to a new level. "Episode 2" was first
broadcast on April 19, 1990, and was watched by an audience of
19.2 million US households. It is regarded by critics as a ground-
breaking television episode and has influenced, and been parodied by,
several television series. Academic readings of the episode have
highlighted its depiction of heuristic, a priori knowledge, and the
sexual undertones of several characters' actions.

Read more: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Episode_2_(Twin_Peaks)>

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Today's selected anniversaries:

1612:

The trials of the Pendle witches, among the most famous of
England's witch trials, began at the assizes in Lancaster.
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pendle_witches>

1864:
(Continue reading)

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[Daily article] August 17: Leslie Groves

Leslie Groves (1896–1970) was a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officer
who oversaw the construction of the Pentagon and directed the Manhattan
Project that developed the atomic bomb. After joining the Corps of
Engineers and assisting with projects in Nicaragua, he was posted to the
War Department General Staff. In 1940, he became special assistant for
construction to the Quartermaster General. He was given responsibility
in 1941 for the gigantic office complex to house the War Department's
40,000 staff which would ultimately become the Pentagon. In September
1942, Groves took charge of the Manhattan Project and was involved in
most aspects of the atomic bomb's development, including the acquisition
of raw materials and selection of target cities in Japan. He remained in
charge of the project until the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission assumed
responsibility for nuclear weapons production in 1947. He then headed
the Armed Forces Special Weapons Project, created to control the
military aspects of nuclear weapons. He was promoted to lieutenant
general just before his retirement in 1948 in recognition of his
leadership of the bomb program, and later became a vice-president at
Sperry Rand.

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

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Today's selected anniversaries:

1807:

Robert Fulton's North River Steamboat, the world's first
commercially successful paddle steamer, went into service on the Hudson
River in New York.
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_River_Steamboat>
(Continue reading)

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[Daily article] August 16: Aston Villa F.C.

Aston Villa Football Club are an English professional association
football club based in Witton, Birmingham. Founded in 1874, the club
have played at their current home ground, Villa Park (pictured), since
1897. Aston Villa were founder members of The Football League in 1888.
They were also founder members of the Premier League in 1992, and have
remained there ever since. Aston Villa are one of the oldest and most
successful football clubs in the history of English football. Villa won
the 1981–82 European Cup, and are thus one of five English clubs to
win what is now the UEFA Champions League. They have the fourth highest
total of major honours won by an English club, having won the First
Division Championship seven times (most recently in the 1980–81
season), the FA Cup seven times (last won in 1957), the Football League
Cup five times (last won in 1996) and the UEFA Super Cup in 1982. The
club's traditional kit colours are claret shirts with sky blue sleeves,
white shorts and sky blue socks. Their traditional badge is of a rampant
gold lion on a light blue background with the club's motto "Prepared"
underneath; a modified version of this was adopted in 2007.

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

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Today's selected anniversaries:

1513:

War of the League of Cambrai: King Henry VIII of England and
his Imperial allies defeated French cavalry, who were then forced to
retreat.
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Guinegate_(1513)>

(Continue reading)

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[Daily article] August 15: Marshall Applewhite

Marshall Applewhite (1931–1997) was an American religious leader who
founded the Heaven's Gate religious group and organized their mass
suicide in 1997. It was the largest mass suicide in America. Applewhite
and his friend Bonnie Nettles discussed mysticism at length and
concluded that they were divine messengers. They traveled around
America, gaining a group of committed followers, who were told that
extraterrestrials would provide them with new bodies. Applewhite
initially stated that they would physically ascend to a spaceship, where
their bodies would be transformed, but later believed that their souls
would be placed into new bodies. In 1985, Nettles died, leaving
Applewhite distraught and challenging his views on physical ascension.
In 1996, they learned of the approach of Comet Hale–Bopp and rumors of
an accompanying spaceship. Believing that their souls would ascend to
the spaceship and be given new bodies, all the group members killed
themselves in their mansion. Some commentators attributed his followers'
willingness to commit suicide to his skill as a manipulator, while
others argued that their willingness was due to their faith in the
narrative that he constructed.

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

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Today's selected anniversaries:

1461:

The Empire of Trebizond, the longest surviving Byzantine
successor state, was conquered by Ottoman sultan Mehmed II following a
month-long siege.
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empire_of_Trebizond>
(Continue reading)

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[Daily article] August 14: Xeromphalina setulipes

Xeromphalina setulipes is a species of Mycenaceae fungus. First
collected in 2005, it was described and named in 2010 by Fernando
Esteve-Raventós and Gabriel Moreno, and is known only from oak forests
in Ciudad Real Province, Spain. The species produces mushrooms with dark
reddish-brown caps up to 15 millimetres (0.59 in) across, dark
purplish-brown stems up to 45 millimetres (1.8 in) in height and
distinctive, arched, brown gills. The mushrooms were found growing
directly from the acidic soil of the forest floor, surrounded by plant
waste, during November. Morphologically, the dark colour of the gills
and stem, lack of a strong taste, and characters of the cystidia (large
cells found on the mushrooms) are the most distinguishing
characteristics of X. setulipes. These features allow the species to be
readily distinguished from other, similar species. Its ecology and
habitat are also distinct, but it is unclear whether they can serve as
certain identifying characteristics. According to Esteve-Raventós and
colleagues, further analysis is required to accurately judge the
relationships between the species of Xeromphalina.

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

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Today's selected anniversaries:

1842:

American Indian Wars: American general William J. Worth
declared the Second Seminole War to be over.
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Seminole_War>

1888:
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[Daily article] August 13: Tunnel Railway

The Tunnel Railway was a narrow gauge underground railway in Ramsgate,
Kent, England. Following the restructuring of railway lines in Ramsgate
in 1926 a section of main line between Broadstairs and Ramsgate Harbour
including a tunnel was abandoned. In 1936 a narrow gauge railway was
opened in the disused tunnel to connect tourist attractions and shops
near Ramsgate Harbour with the new railway main line at Dumpton Park.
Except for its two stations—one at each end of the tunnel—the line
ran entirely underground. The line was built in less than three months,
and on its completion in 1936 was one of the shortest independent
railway lines in the country. It was open for only three years before
being converted to a major air-raid shelter during World War II. After
the war's end, it was not included in the 1948 nationalisation of
British railways but remained in private hands. Passenger numbers fell
during the 1960s, and the line became economically nonviable. Following
a train crash in 1965, the owners decided to close at the end of
September that year. The tunnel still exists, but no trace of the
stations remains.

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

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Today's selected anniversaries:

1624:

Cardinal Richelieu became the chief minister to King
Louis XIII, and under his supervision, France's feudal political
structure transformed into one with a powerful central government.
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cardinal_Richelieu>

(Continue reading)

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[Daily article] August 12: Quagga

The quagga is an extinct subspecies of the plains zebra that lived in
South Africa. Its name is derived from its call, which sounded like
"kwa-ha-ha". The quagga is believed to have been around 257 cm (8 ft
5 in) long and 125–135 cm (4 ft 1 in–4 ft 5 in) tall at the
shoulder. It could be distinguished from other zebras by its limited
patterning of primarily brown and white stripes, mainly on the front
part of the body. Little is known about its behaviour but it may have
gathered in herds of 30–50 individuals. They were once found in great
numbers in the Karoo of Cape Province and the southern part of the
Orange Free State in South Africa. After Dutch settlement of South
Africa began, the quagga was heavily hunted, and it competed with
domesticated animals for forage. Some specimens were taken to European
zoos (one pictured in London Zoo, 1870), but breeding programmes were
not successful. It was extinct in the wild by 1878, and the last quagga
died in Amsterdam on 12 August 1883. The quagga was the first extinct
animal to have its DNA analysed, and the Quagga Project is trying to
recreate its pelage characteristics by selectively breeding Burchell's
zebras.

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

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Today's selected anniversaries:

1323:

Sweden and the Novgorod Republic signed the Treaty of Nöteborg
to temporarily end the Swedish–Novgorodian Wars.
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_N%C3%B6teborg>

(Continue reading)

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[Daily article] August 11: Hurricane John (1994)

Hurricane John formed during the 1994 Pacific season and became both the
longest-lasting and the farthest-traveling tropical cyclone ever
observed. John formed during the strong El Niño episode of 1991 to 1994
and peaked as a Category 5 hurricane on the Saffir–Simpson hurricane
wind scale, the highest categorization. It was recognized as Tropical
Depression Ten-E on August 11, 300 nautical miles (560 km) south-
southeast of Acapulco, Mexico, and named Tropical Storm John later the
same day. In total, it followed a 7,165 mi (11,530 km) path from the
eastern Pacific to the western Pacific and back to the central Pacific,
lasting 31 days. Because it existed in both the eastern and western
Pacific, John was one of a small number of tropical cyclones to be
designated as both a hurricane and a typhoon. It was only the fifth
tropical cyclone to enter the central Pacific from the western Pacific.
John barely affected land, bringing only minimal effects to the Hawaiian
Islands (some minor flooding but no reported injuries or significant
damage) and a U.S. military base on Johnston Atoll, where damage to
structures was estimated at about $15 million. The storm's remnants
later affected Alaska.

Read more: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurricane_John_(1994)>

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Today's selected anniversaries:

2492 BC:

According to legend, Armenian culture hero Hayk slew the
giant king Bel with a shot from a longbow near Lake Van (in modern
Turkey).
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hayk>
(Continue reading)

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[Daily article] August 10: Uruguayan War

The Uruguayan War (10 August 1864 – 20 February 1865) was fought
between Uruguay's governing Blanco Party and an alliance consisting of
the Empire of Brazil and the Uruguayan Colorado Party. In 1863, with
covert support from Argentina, the Colorado leader Venancio Flores
launched a rebellion aimed at toppling president Bernardo Berro. The
Blanco government received support from dissident Argentines and made
overtures to Paraguayan dictator, Francisco Solano López, who was
suspicious of Argentina's motives and keen to form an alliance. Fearing
for its interests in the region, the Empire of Brazil intervened, first
trying diplomacy and then, when talks stalled, issuing an ultimatum; the
Blanco government rejected the Brazilians' conditions, and Brazil's
military were ordered to begin exacting reprisals, marking the beginning
of the war. In a combined offensive against Blanco strongholds, the
Brazilian–Colorado troops advanced through Uruguayan territory, taking
one town after another (storming of Paysandú pictured). Eventually, the
Blancos were left isolated in Montevideo, the national capital. Faced
with certain defeat, the Blanco government capitulated.

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

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Today's selected anniversaries:

955:

Forces under Otto I were victorious at the Battle of Lechfeld
near present-day Augsburg, Germany, holding off the incursions of the
Magyars into Central Europe.
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Lechfeld_(955)>

(Continue reading)


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