[Daily article] May 28: Common starling

The common starling is a medium-sized perching bird in the starling
family, Sturnidae. It is about 20 cm (8 in) long and has glossy black
plumage, which is speckled with white at some times of year. The legs
are pink and the bill is black in winter and yellow in summer; young
birds have browner plumage than the adults. It is a noisy bird,
especially in communal roosts, with an unmusical but varied song. The
starling has about a dozen subspecies breeding in open habitats across
its native range in temperate Europe and western Asia, and it has been
introduced elsewhere. This bird is resident in southern and western
Europe and southwestern Asia, while northeastern populations migrate
south and west in winter. The starling builds an untidy nest in a
natural or artificial cavity in which four or five glossy, pale blue
eggs are laid. These take two weeks to hatch and the young remain in the
nest for another three weeks. The species is omnivorous, taking a wide
range of invertebrates, as well as seeds and fruit. The starling's gift
for mimicry has been noted in literature including the medieval Welsh
Mabinogion and the works of Pliny the Elder and William Shakespeare.

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

Today's selected anniversaries:


Li Shimin defeated and captured Dou Jiande in the Battle of
Hulao, leading to a Tang dynasty victory in the civil war that followed
the collapse of the Sui dynasty.

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[Daily article] May 27: Menominee Tribe v. United States

Menominee Tribe v. United States, 391 U.S. 404 (1968), was a case in
which the Supreme Court ruled that the Menominee Indian Tribe would keep
their historical hunting and fishing rights even after the federal
government ceased to recognize the tribe. It was a landmark decision in
Native American case law. The tribe had entered into treaties with the
United States which did not specifically state that they retained
hunting and fishing rights. In 1961, Congress terminated the tribe's
federal recognition, and two years later, three members of the tribe
were charged with violating Wisconsin's hunting laws on former
reservation land. The Indians were acquitted, but when the state
appealed, the Wisconsin Supreme Court held that the tribe no longer had
hunting and fishing rights due to the termination action. The tribe sued
the United States in the U.S. Court of Claims, which ruled that tribal
members retained those rights. Opposite rulings by the state and federal
courts brought the issue to the Supreme Court, which ruled in the
tribe's favor.

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

Today's selected anniversaries:


Malcolm IV became King of Scotland at the age of twelve.


Russian Tsar Peter I founded Saint Petersburg after
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[Daily article] May 26: Anachronox

Anachronox is a third-person role-playing video game produced by Tom
Hall (pictured) and the Dallas Ion Storm games studio. It was released
worldwide in June 2001 for Microsoft Windows. The turn-based game
follows a down-and-out private investigator looking for work in the
slums of planet Anachronox; he travels to other planets, collects an
unlikely group of friends, and unravels a mystery that threatens the
fate of the universe. The game's design and unconventional humor were
influenced by cyberpunk and film noir; inspirations include the video
game Chrono Trigger and the Final Fantasy series, animator Chuck Jones,
and the novel Ender's Game. The game was built with a heavily modified
version of the Quake II engine, rewritten chiefly to allow a wider color
palette, emotive animations and facial expressions, and better particle,
lighting, and camera effects. Originally planned for a 1998 release,
Anachronox‍‍ '​‍s development was long and difficult. Critics
enjoyed the game and awarded it high marks for its design and story, but
Ion Storm closed down one month after the game's release. In 2003,
Anachronox cinematic director Jake Hughes spliced together gameplay
footage and cutscenes to create a feature-length award-winning film.

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

Today's selected anniversaries:


William of Ockham, an English friar who originated the
methodological principle Occam's razor, secretly left Avignon under
threat from Pope John XXII.
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[Daily article] May 25: Texas Revolution

The Texas Revolution (1835–36) began when colonists in the Mexican
province of Texas rebelled after President Santa Anna overturned the
Mexican constitution, dismissing state legislatures and militias and
centralizing the government. He stepped down from the presidency to lead
Mexican troops in quashing the revolt. Sam Houston was named commander
of the Texian Army and sent Jim Bowie to destroy the Alamo to keep it
out of Mexican hands. Bowie and William B. Travis chose instead to lead
the Alamo defenders in what became the most famous battle of Texas
history. Three weeks later, the Mexican army executed 400 Texians at the
Goliad massacre, then marched east as terrified civilians fled. The
Texian army moved in the same direction, giving the impression that they
were running away. Under a false sense of complacency, Santa Anna was
asleep and his army was on stand-down on April 21, 1836, when shouts of
"Remember the Alamo!" and "Remember Goliad!" pierced the air as Texians
overran them, winning the decisive Battle of San Jacinto in 18 minutes
(monument pictured). Santa Anna fled on horseback but was captured the
next day; the Texians traded him for the full retreat of the Mexican
army and the cessation of hostilities. Intermittent conflicts between
the two countries continued until 1844, when Texas was willingly annexed
into the United States, which in turn caused the Mexican–American War.

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

Today's selected anniversaries:


Ming general Wu Sangui let the invading Manchus pass through
the Great Wall of China, allowing them to capture Beijing, leading to
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[Daily article] May 24: Hurricane Lenny

Hurricane Lenny was the second-strongest November Atlantic hurricane on
record and the record-breaking fifth Category 4 hurricane in the 1999
Atlantic hurricane season. It formed on November 13 in the western
Caribbean Sea and maintained an unprecedented west-to-east track for its
entire duration. It attained hurricane status south of Jamaica and
passed south of Hispaniola and Puerto Rico, attaining peak winds of
155 mph (250 km/h) about 21 mi (34 km) south of Saint Croix in the
US Virgin Islands. It gradually weakened while moving through the
Leeward Islands, dissipating on November 23 over the open Atlantic
Ocean. Damage in the US territories totaled about $330 million, with
widespread flooding and erosion in Saint Croix. Lenny killed two people
in northern Colombia, three in Saint Martin and one in Antigua and
Barbuda, where it also contaminated the local water supply. Significant
storm damage occurred as far south as Grenada, where high surf isolated
towns from the capital city.

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

Today's selected anniversaries:


The Act of Toleration became law in England, granting freedom
of worship to Nonconformists under certain circumstances, but
deliberately excluding Catholics.


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[Daily article] May 23: Paul Tibbets

Paul Tibbets (1915–2007) was a brigadier general in the United States
Air Force, best known as the pilot of the Enola Gay, the first aircraft
to drop an atomic bomb. Tibbets enlisted in the army in 1937 and
qualified as a pilot the next year. After the Japanese attack on Pearl
Harbor he flew anti-submarine patrols over the Atlantic. In July 1942 he
became the deputy group commander of the 97th Bombardment Group, the
first such group deployed to the United Kingdom as part of the Eighth
Air Force. He flew the lead plane in the first American daylight heavy
bomber mission against Occupied Europe on August 17, 1942, and again in
the first American raid of more than 100 bombers on October 9. After
flying 43 combat missions, he joined the staff of the Twelfth Air Force
in North Africa. He returned to the United States in February 1943 to
help with the development of the Boeing B-29 Superfortress. In September
1944, he was appointed the commander of the 509th Composite Group, which
conducted the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. After the war, he was
involved in the development of the Boeing B-47 Stratojet. He left the
Air Force in 1966, working for Executive Jet Aviation until 1987.

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

Today's selected anniversaries:


Girolamo Savonarola of Florence was executed for heresy,
uttering prophecies, sedition, and other crimes.

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[Daily article] May 22: Rodent

Rodents are mammals of the order Rodentia, characterized by two pairs of
continuously growing incisors, one pair in the upper and one in the
lower jaw. About forty percent of all mammal species are rodents, and
they are found in vast numbers on all continents except Antarctica. They
are the most diversified mammalian order, including mice, rats,
squirrels, prairie dogs, porcupines, beavers, guinea pigs, and hamsters,
and can be found in a variety of habitats, including manmade
environments. There are arboreal, burrowing, and semi-aquatic species.
While the largest species, the capybara, can weigh as much as 66 kg
(146 lb), many rodents weigh less than 100 g (3.5 oz) and have robust
bodies, short limbs and long tails. They use their sharp incisors to
gnaw food, defend themselves, and shape their habitat. Most eat seeds or
other plant material. Many species live in societies with complex forms
of communication. Rodents can be monogamous, polygynous, or promiscuous.
The rodent fossil record dates back to the Paleocene on the
supercontinent of Laurasia.

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

Today's selected anniversaries:


Byzantine–Arab Wars: The Byzantine navy sacked and plundered
the port city of Damietta on the Nile Delta, whose garrison was absent
at the time.

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[Daily article] May 21: City of Angels (Thirty Seconds to Mars song)

"City of Angels" is a song by American rock band Thirty Seconds to Mars
(pictured), featured on their fourth studio album Love, Lust, Faith and
Dreams (2013). The song's name is a reference to Los Angeles, and the
lyrics were influenced by its culture. Written by lead vocalist Jared
Leto, who also produced the song with Steve Lillywhite, "City of Angels"
is imbued with elements of arena rock and 1980s music; the track has
been cited as an example of the album's variety and experimentation. It
was generally acclaimed by music critics, who commended the composition,
the lyrics, and Leto's vocal performance. The song was released in
October 2013 as the third single from the album, reaching number eight
on the US Alternative Songs chart. An accompanying music video that
features well-known entertainers and colorful personalities sharing
their visions about Los Angeles was positively reviewed by critics; it
received the Loudwire Music Award for Best Rock Video and was nominated
for Best Cinematography at the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards. Thirty
Seconds to Mars performed "City of Angels" on their major concert tours
from 2013 through 2015.

Read more: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/City_of_Angels_(Thirty_Seconds_to_Mars_song)>

Today's selected anniversaries:


Pope John VIII officially recognised Croatia as an independent
state, and Branimir as its Duke.

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[Daily article] May 20: The Bread-Winners

The Bread-Winners is an 1883 anti-labor novel by John Hay, who was
Assistant Secretary to the President under Abraham Lincoln and
McKinley's final Secretary of State. Originally published anonymously in
installments in The Century Magazine, the book attracted wide interest
and provoked considerable speculation over the author's identity. Hay
wrote his only novel as a reaction to several strikes that affected him
and his business interests in the 1870s and early 1880s. In the main
storyline, a wealthy former army captain, Arthur Farnham, organizes
Civil War veterans to keep the peace when the Bread-winners, a group of
lazy and malcontented workers, call a violent general strike. Hay had
left hints as to his identity in the novel, and some guessed right, but
he never acknowledged the book as his, and it did not appear with his
name on it until after his death in 1905. Hay's hostile view of
organized labor was soon seen as outdated, and the book is best
remembered for its onetime popularity and controversial nature.

Read more: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bread-Winners>

Today's selected anniversaries:


According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, King Æthelberht II of
East Anglia was beheaded on the order of King Offa of Mercia.


Thomas Thorpe published the first copies of Shakespeare's
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[Daily article] May 19: Light Tank Mk VII Tetrarch

The Tetrarch, a British light tank with a 2-pounder gun, was deployed in
the Second World War. Vickers-Armstrongs produced over 100 of them, but
the tanks had design flaws and most remained in Britain. Twenty were
sent to the USSR as part of the Lend-Lease program. In early 1941 one
Royal Armoured Corps squadron used in overseas amphibious operations was
equipped with Tetrarchs, and in May 1942 a few joined the British force
invading Madagascar. During the British airborne landings in Normandy in
June 1944, the 6th Airborne Division used around 20 Tetrarchs, but those
not lost in accidents proved to be inferior in firepower and armour to
the German armoured fighting vehicles. The tanks were removed from
direct engagement with German armour, and all were replaced with
Cromwell cruiser tanks and M22 Locusts by December. Tetrarchs did not
see any further combat, and the last was retired in 1950. There were
several variations on the design, including the Alecto self-propelled
gun and the Light Tank Mk VIII, but none of these were used in active
service with the British Army.

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

Today's selected anniversaries:


The papacy of Gregory II began; his conflict with Byzantine
emperor Leo III eventually led to the establishment of the popes'
temporal power.

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[Daily article] May 18: Boeing 757

The Boeing 757 is a mid-size, narrow-body twin-engine jet airliner.
Boeing Commercial Airplanes designed and built 1,050 of them for 54
customers from 1981 to 2004. The twinjet has a two-crewmember glass
cockpit, a conventional tail, a low-drag supercritical wing design, and
turbofan engines that allow takeoffs from relatively short runways and
at high altitudes. Intended for short and medium routes, variants of the
757 can carry 200 to 295 passengers for a maximum of 3,150 to 4,100
nautical miles (5,830 to 7,590 km). The 757 was designed concurrently
with a wide-body twinjet, the 767, and pilots can obtain a common type
rating that allows them to operate both aircraft. Passenger 757-200s
(the most popular model) have been modified for cargo use; military
derivatives include the C-32 transport, VIP carriers, and other multi-
purpose aircraft. All 757s are powered by Rolls-Royce RB211 or Pratt &
Whitney PW2000 series turbofans. Eastern Air Lines and British Airways
were first to place the 757 in commercial service, in 1983. The airliner
had recorded eight hull-loss accidents, including seven fatal crashes,
as of April 2015.

Read more: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_757>

Today's selected anniversaries:


During the Battle of Buyur Lake, General Lan Yu led a Chinese
army forward to crush the Mongol hordes of Toghus Temur, the Khan of
Northern Yuan.

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