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[Daily article] July 24: Prince William, Duke of Gloucester

Prince William, Duke of Gloucester (1689–1700), was the son of
Princess Anne (later Queen of Great Britain) and her husband, Prince
George, Duke of Cumberland. William was their only child to survive
infancy. Styled Duke of Gloucester, he was viewed as a Protestant
champion because his birth seemed to cement the Protestant succession
established in the "Glorious Revolution" that had deposed his Catholic
grandfather James II the previous year. Anne was estranged from her
brother-in-law, William III, and her sister, Mary II, but supported the
links that developed between them and her son. Prince William befriended
his Welsh body-servant at his nursery in Campden House, Kensington; his
memoir of the Duke is an important source for historians. William's
precarious health was a constant source of worry to his mother. His
death at the age of eleven precipitated a succession crisis as his
mother was the only individual remaining in the Protestant line of
succession established by the Bill of Rights 1689. To avoid the throne
passing to a Catholic, the Act of Settlement 1701 settled the throne on
Electress Sophia of Hanover, a cousin of King James, and her Protestant
heirs.

Read more: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prince_William,_Duke_of_Gloucester>

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Today's selected anniversaries:

1701:

French explorer Antoine de La Mothe Cadillac established Fort
Pontchartrain du Détroit, which later grew into the city of Detroit
(pictured).
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Detroit>
(Continue reading)

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[Daily article] July 23: Alaska-class cruiser

The Alaska-class cruisers were a class of six cruisers ordered prior to
World War II for the U.S. Navy. They were officially classed as large
cruisers (CB), but others have regarded them as battlecruisers. Their
intermediate status is reflected in the naming of the ships after US
territories and insular areas, rather than states (battleships) or
cities (cruisers). The idea for a large cruiser class originated in the
early 1930s when the Navy sought to counter German Deutschland-class
"pocket battleships". Planning of what became the Alaska class began in
the later 1930s after the deployment of Germany's Scharnhorst-class
battleships and rumors that Japan was constructing a new battlecruiser
class. To serve as "cruiser-killers" capable of seeking out and
destroying such ships, the Alaska class was given large guns, limited
armor protection against 12-inch shells, and machinery capable of speeds
of about 31–33 knots (36–38 mph, 58–61 km/h). Of the six
planned, two were completed and a third was cancelled during
construction. Alaska and Guam (pictured) served for the last year of
World War II as bombardment ships and fast carrier escorts, and were
decommissioned in 1947.

Read more: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alaska-class_cruiser>

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Today's selected anniversaries:

1829:

William Austin Burt was awarded a patent for the typographer
(replica pictured), the first practical typewriting machine.
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Typographer_(typewriter)>

(Continue reading)

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[Daily article] July 22: Chat Moss

Chat Moss is a large area of peat bog that makes up 30 per cent of the
City of Salford, in Greater Manchester, England. North of the River
Irwell, 5 miles (8 km) to the west of Manchester, it occupies an area
of about 10.6 square miles (27.5 km2). Peat development seems to have
begun there at the end of the last ice age, about 10,000 years ago, and
the depth of peat ranges from 24 to 30 feet (7 to 9 m). A great deal of
reclamation work has been carried out, but a large network of drainage
channels is required to keep it from reverting to bog. In 1958 peat
extractors discovered the severed head of what is believed to be a
Romano-British Celt, possibly a sacrificial victim. Much of Chat Moss is
now prime agricultural land, although farming in the area is in decline.
A 228-acre (92 ha) area of Chat Moss, notified as Astley and Bedford
Mosses, has been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Chat
Moss threatened the completion of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway,
until George Stephenson succeeded in constructing a railway line through
it in 1829; his solution was to "float" the line on a bed of bound
heather and branches topped with tar and covered with rubble stone.

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

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Today's selected anniversaries:

838:

Arab–Byzantine wars: The forces of the Abbasid Caliphate
defeated Byzantine Empire troops, led by Emperor Theophilos himself, at
the Battle of Anzen near present-day Dazman, Turkey.
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Anzen>

(Continue reading)

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[Daily article] July 21: Leo Minor

Leo Minor is a small and faint constellation in the northern celestial
hemisphere. Its name is Latin for "the smaller lion", in contrast to
Leo, the larger lion (19th-century illustration of both pictured). It
lies between the larger and more recognizable Ursa Major to the north
and Leo to the south. Leo Minor was not regarded as a separate
constellation by classical astronomers; it was designated by Johannes
Hevelius in 1687. There are 37 stars brighter than apparent
magnitude 6.5 in the constellation; three are brighter than
magnitude 4.5. 46 Leonis Minoris, an orange giant of magnitude 3.8,
is located some 95 light-years from Earth. At magnitude 4.4, Beta
Leonis Minoris is the second brightest star and the only one in the
constellation with a Bayer designation. It is a binary star, the
brighter component of which is an orange giant and the fainter a yellow-
white main sequence star. The third brightest star is 21 Leonis
Minoris, a rapidly rotating white main-sequence star of average
magnitude 4.5. The constellation also includes two stars with planetary
systems, two pairs of interacting galaxies, and the unique deep-sky
object Hanny's Voorwerp.

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

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Today's selected anniversaries:

230:

Pope Pontian began his pontificate, succeeding Urban I.
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Pontian>

1645:
(Continue reading)

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[Daily article] July 20: Australian contribution to the Battle of Normandy

The Australian contribution to the Battle of Normandy involved more than
3,000 military personnel serving under British command, the majority
from the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) (Australian members of No.
196 Squadron pictured). Others served with the Royal Navy and British
Army. After participating in the Allied landings on 6 June 1944,
Australian air force and army personnel fought in the subsequent Battle
of Normandy between June and August 1944, and an RAAF fighter squadron
operated from airfields in Normandy. Throughout the campaign, Australian
airmen provided direct support to the Allied ground forces by attacking
German military units and their supply lines, as well as forming part of
the force which defended the beachhead from air attack. Australians also
indirectly contributed to the campaign by attacking German submarines
and ships which posed a threat to the invasion force. Australia's
contribution to the fighting in Normandy is commemorated in memorials
and cemeteries in London and Normandy.

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

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Today's selected anniversaries:

1779:

Tekle Giyorgis I began the first of his six reigns as Emperor
of Ethiopia.
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tekle_Giyorgis_I>

1807:

French brothers Claude and Nicéphore Niépce received a patent
(Continue reading)

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[Daily article] July 19: McDonald's Cycle Center

McDonald's Cycle Center is an indoor bike station in Millennium Park in
the Loop community area of Chicago. The city built the center and opened
it July 2004. Since June 2006, it has been sponsored by McDonald's and
other partners, including city departments and bicycle advocacy
organizations. The bike station, which serves bicycle commuters and
utility cyclists, provides lockers, showers, a snack bar with outdoor
summer seating, bike repair, bike rental and 300 bicycle parking spaces.
The Cycle Center is accessible by membership and day pass. It also
accommodates runners and inline skaters, and provides space for a
Chicago Police Department Bike Patrol Group. Planning for the Cycle
Center was part of the larger "Bike 2010 Plan", in which the city aimed
to make itself more accommodating to bicycle commuters. Chicago Mayor
Richard M. Daley was an advocate of the plan. Suburban Chicago-based
McDonald's controversially claimed that their sponsorship of the Cycle
Center fit with their efforts to promote health. Environmentalists,
urban planners and cycling enthusiasts around the world have expressed
interest in the Cycle Center, and want to match its urban planning and
transit-oriented development success story.

Read more: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McDonald%27s_Cycle_Center>

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Today's selected anniversaries:

64:

The Great Fire of Rome started among the shops around the Circus
Maximus, eventually destroying three of fourteen Roman districts and
severely damaging seven others.
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Fire_of_Rome>
(Continue reading)

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[Daily article] July 18: Today (The Smashing Pumpkins song)

"Today" is a song by American alternative rock band The Smashing
Pumpkins, written by lead vocalist and guitarist Billy Corgan (pictured
in 2010). "Today" was released in September 1993 as the second single
from the band's second album and major label debut, Siamese Dream. The
song, seemingly upbeat, contains dark lyrics. Corgan wrote it about a
day when he had suicidal thoughts, exemplified by the reference to self-
mutilation in the chorus. The contrast between the grim subject matter
of the song and the soft instrumental part during the verses, coupled
with use of irony in the lyrics, left many listeners unaware of the
song's tale of depression and desperation. Although Corgan opted for
"Cherub Rock", the lead single from the album, to be the opening track,
"Today" and its follow-up "Disarm" are credited in AllMusic for
popularizing the band and "sen[ding] [Siamese Dream] into the
stratosphere". "Today" has been generally well received by critics, and
in an article about the song in Blender it was described as having
"achieved a remarkable status as one of the defining songs of its
generation, perfectly mirroring the fractured alienation of American
youth in the 1990s." (Full article...).

Read more: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Today_(The_Smashing_Pumpkins_song)>

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Today's selected anniversaries:

1389:

France and England agreed to the Truce of Leulinghem,
establishing a 13-year peace during the Hundred Years' War.
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truce_of_Leulinghem>

(Continue reading)

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[Daily article] July 17: Somerset County Cricket Club in 2009

Somerset County Cricket Club's 2009 season saw the team compete in four
English competitions: the first divisions of the County Championship and
the NatWest Pro40 League, the Friends Provident Trophy, and the Twenty20
Cup. Somerset were in contention to win the County Championship until
the last few weeks of the season, but the batting-friendly pitch at
their home ground meant that they finished with too many draws to claim
their first Championship title. Somerset were unbeaten in the group
stage of the Friends Provident Trophy, but were eliminated in the first
knock-out round, and finished runners-up by one point in the NatWest
Pro40. In the Twenty20 Cup, Somerset finished as losing finalists, thus
qualifying for the international Champions League Twenty20, where they
were eliminated in the second group stage. Overall, Somerset had a
successful season but fell short of winning any competitions, prompting
their Director of Cricket Brian Rose to say "We've had enough of being
cricket's nearly men." Marcus Trescothick (pictured) topped the national
batting tables and was named by the Professional Cricketers' Association
as Player of the Year and Most Valuable Player of the Year.

Read more: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Somerset_County_Cricket_Club_in_2009>

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Today's selected anniversaries:

1453:

The Battle of Castillon, the last conflict of the Hundred
Years' War, ended with the English losing all landholdings in France,
except Calais.
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Castillon>

(Continue reading)

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July 16: Chaplain–Medic massacre

The Chaplain–Medic massacre was a war crime that took place in the
Korean War on July 16, 1950, on a mountain above the village of Tunam,
South Korea. Operating at the Kum River during the Battle of Taejon,
troops of the US Army's 19th Infantry Regiment were cut off from
resupply by a roadblock established by North Korean troops of the NK 3rd
Division. The roadblock proved difficult to break, and forced US troops
to move through nearby mountains to evacuate their wounded. Thirty
unarmed and critically wounded US troops were stranded at the top of a
mountain along with a chaplain (Herman G. Felhoelter, pictured) and a
medic. They were discovered by a North Korean patrol. Though the medic
was able to escape, the North Koreans executed Felhoelter as he prayed
over the wounded, then killed the rest of them. The massacre was one of
several incidents that led US commanders to establish a commission in
July to look into war crimes during the war. The same month, the North
Korean commanders, concerned about the way their soldiers were treating
prisoners of war, laid out stricter guidelines for handling enemy
captives.

Read more: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chaplain%E2%80%93Medic_massacre>

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Today's selected anniversaries:

1782:

Mozart's opera Die Entführung aus dem Serail made its
premiere, after which Emperor Joseph II anecdotally made the comment
that it had "too many notes".
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Die_Entf%C3%BChrung_aus_dem_Serail>

(Continue reading)

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[Daily article] July 15: Frank Headlam

Frank Headlam (1914–1976) was a senior commander in the Royal
Australian Air Force. He joined as an air cadet in 1934 and specialised
in flying instruction and navigation before the outbreak of World
War II. In April 1941, he became commanding officer of No. 2 Squadron
and saw action against Japanese forces in the South West Pacific. After
returning to Australia, he held staff appointments and training
commands, finishing the war a group captain. Headlam served as Officer
Commanding North-Western Area in 1946, and was Director of Training from
1947 to 1950. In 1950–51, during the Malayan Emergency, he was
stationed at Singapore as commander of No. 90 (Composite) Wing and,
later, RAF Tengah. Promoted air vice-marshal, he successively held the
positions of Air Officer Commanding (AOC) Operational Command, AOC
No. 224 Group RAF during the Indonesia–Malaysia Konfrontasi, Deputy
Chief of the Air Staff, and AOC Support Command. He was appointed a
Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1958 and Companion of
the Order of the Bath in 1965, and retired in 1971 following a posting
to London as Head of the Australian Joint Services Staff.

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

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Today's selected anniversaries:

1410:

The Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania defeated
the Monastic State of the Teutonic Knights in the Battle of Grunwald,
the decisive engagement of the Polish–Lithuanian–Teutonic War.
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Grunwald>

(Continue reading)

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[Daily article] July 14: Broad-billed parrot

The broad-billed parrot is a large extinct parrot in the family
Psittaculidae that was endemic to the island of Mauritius in the Indian
Ocean. It has been classified as a member of the tribe Psittaculini, and
may have been closely related to the Rodrigues parrot. The broad-billed
parrot had a large head in proportion to its body, a distinct crest of
feathers on the front of the head, and a very large beak that would have
enabled it to crack hard seeds. Subfossil bones indicate that the
species exhibited greater sexual dimorphism in overall size and head
size than any living parrot. A contemporary description indicates that
it had a blue head, a greyish or blackish body, and perhaps a red beak.
The broad-billed parrot was first referred to as the "Indian raven" in
Dutch ships' journals from 1598 onwards. It was first scientifically
described from a subfossil mandible in 1866, but this was not linked to
the few brief contemporary descriptions until the rediscovery of a
detailed 1601 sketch (pictured). The bird became extinct in the 17th
century owing to a combination of deforestation, predation by introduced
invasive species, and probably also because of hunting.

Read more: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broad-billed_parrot>

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Today's selected anniversaries:

756:

Emperor Xuanzong fled the Tang capital Chang'an as An Lushan's
forces advance toward the city during the An Lushan Rebellion.
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emperor_Xuanzong_of_Tang>

1791:
(Continue reading)


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