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[Daily article] September 4: Hemmema

A hemmema was a type of warship built for the Swedish archipelago fleet
and the Russian Baltic Navy in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
It was designed by Swedish naval architect Fredrik Henrik af Chapman in
collaboration with Augustin Ehrensvärd, commander of the archipelago
fleet. The hemmema was a specialized vessel for use in the shallow
waters and narrow passages that surround the thousands of islands and
islets extending from the Swedish capital of Stockholm into the Gulf of
Finland. It replaced the galley as a coastal warship since it had better
crew accommodations, was more seaworthy and heavily outgunned even the
largest galleys. It could be propelled by either sails or oars but was
still smaller and more maneuverable than most sailing warships, which
made it suitable for operations in the confined waters. The 12 hemmemas
that were built served on both sides of the Russo-Swedish War of
1788–90 and the Finnish War of 1808–09.

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

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Today's selected anniversaries:

476:

Germanic leader Odoacer captured Ravenna, the capital of the
Western Roman Empire, and deposed Emperor Romulus Augustus.
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Odoacer>

1781:

Los Angeles (downtown pictured) was founded as El Pueblo de
Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles de Porciúncula by 44 Spanish
(Continue reading)

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[Daily article] September 3: Hurricane Elena

Hurricane Elena was an unpredictable and damaging tropical cyclone that
affected the United States Gulf Coast in late August and early September
1985. Threatening popular tourist destinations during Labor Day weekend,
Elena repeatedly defied forecasts, triggering an unprecedented series of
evacuations; many residents and tourists were forced to leave twice in a
matter of days. Elena's slow movement off western Florida resulted in
severe beach erosion and damage to coastal buildings, roads, and
seawalls. The hurricane devastated the Apalachicola Bay shellfish
industry, killing off vast oyster beds and leaving thousands of workers
unemployed. Farther west, Dauphin Island in Alabama endured wind gusts
as high as 130 mph (210 km/h) and a significant storm surge. In
Mississippi, over 13,000 homes were damaged and 200 were entirely
destroyed. Overall, nine people died as a result of the hurricane: three
in Florida, two in Louisiana, one in Arkansas, two in Texas from rip
currents, and one in a maritime accident. Damage totaled about $1.3
billion, and power outages from the storm affected 550,000 homes and
businesses.

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

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Today's selected anniversaries:

590:

Gregory I became pope, the first one to come from a monastic
background.
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Gregory_I>

1651:
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[Daily article] September 2: JC's Girls

JC's Girls is an Evangelical Christian women's organization in the
United States whose members preach the gospel to female workers in the
sex industry. The group does not focus upon conversion but rather on
communicating its message that Christians exist who are not judging
female sex workers and are willing to accept them. Now based at The Rock
Church in San Diego, the organization was founded in 2005 at Sandals
Church in Riverside, California by Heather Veitch (pictured), a stripper
for four years before becoming a Christian and leaving the sex industry
in 1999. Terry Barone, spokesman of the California Southern Baptist
Convention, said that JC's Girls members "are doing what Jesus
did ... He ministered to prostitutes and tax collectors." Criticism of
the organization has focused on the way that members dress and the fact
that they do not explicitly encourage women in the sex industry to quit.
Philip Sherwell of the Calgary Herald called the evangelism of JC's
Girls "America's most unusual Christian outreach operation".

Read more: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JC%27s_Girls>

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Today's selected anniversaries:

47 BC:

Caesarion, possibly the son of Julius Caesar, became the last
king of the Ptolemaic dynasty of Egypt, ruling jointly with his mother
Cleopatra.
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caesarion>

1807:

(Continue reading)

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[Daily article] September 1: Acacia pycnantha

Acacia pycnantha, commonly known as the golden wattle, is a tree of the
family Fabaceae native to southeastern Australia. It grows to a height
of 8 m (25 ft) and has sickle-shaped phyllodes (flattened leaf stalks)
instead of true leaves. The profuse fragrant, golden flowers appear in
late winter and spring, followed by long seed pods. Plants are cross-
pollinated by several species of thornbill and honeyeater, which visit
nectaries on the phyllodes and brush against flowers, transferring
pollen between them. An understorey plant in eucalyptus forest, it is
native to southern New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory,
Victoria, and southeastern South Australia. Explorer Thomas Mitchell
collected the type specimen, from which George Bentham wrote the species
description in 1842. Its bark produces more tannin than any other wattle
species, resulting in its commercial cultivation for production of this
compound. It has been widely grown as an ornamental garden plant and for
cut flower production, but has become a weed in South Africa, Tanzania,
Italy, Portugal, Sardinia, India, Indonesia, and New Zealand, as well as
Western Australia, Tasmania and New South Wales. It was made the
official floral emblem of Australia in 1988, and has been featured on
the country's postal stamps.

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

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Today's selected anniversaries:

1715:

Louis XIV of France, the "Sun King", died after a reign of 72
years, longer than any other French or other major European monarch at
the time.
(Continue reading)

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[Daily article] August 31: Carrow Road

Carrow Road is a football stadium located in Norwich, Norfolk, England,
and is the home of Norwich City Football Club. The stadium is on the
east side of the city, not far from Norwich railway station and the
River Wensum. The club originally played at Newmarket Road before moving
to The Nest. When The Nest was deemed inadequate for the size of crowds
it was attracting, the Carrow Road ground, named after the road on which
it is located, was purpose-built by Norwich City in just 82 days and
opened on 31 August 1935. The stadium has been altered and upgraded
several times during its history, including after a devastating fire
that destroyed the old City Stand in 1984. Having once accommodated
standing supporters, the ground has been all-seater since 1992, with a
current capacity of 27,244. The stadium's record attendance since
becoming an all-seater ground is 27,036, set during a Premier League
match versus Crystal Palace on 8 August 2015. When standing on the
terraces was permitted, Carrow Road saw a crowd of 43,984 when hosting
Leicester City for an FA Cup match in 1963. Carrow Road has also hosted
under-21 international football and a number of concerts, including
performances by Elton John and George Michael.

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

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Today's selected anniversaries:

1813:

Peninsular War: At the Battle of San Marcial, the Spanish Army
of Galicia under Manuel Alberto Freire turned back Nicolas Soult's last
major offensive against Arthur Wellesley's allied army.
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_San_Marcial>
(Continue reading)

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[Daily article] August 30: Judah P. Benjamin

Judah Benjamin (1811–1884) was a lawyer and United States Senator from
Louisiana, a Cabinet officer of the Confederate States and, after his
escape to the United Kingdom at the end of the American Civil War, an
English barrister. He was the first person professing the Jewish faith
to be elected to the Senate, and the first Jew to hold a cabinet
position in North America. After attending Yale, Benjamin moved to New
Orleans, where he read law and passed the bar. He rose rapidly both at
the bar and in politics, becoming a wealthy slaveowner, and serving in
both houses of the Louisiana legislature prior to his election to the
Senate in 1852. There, he was an ardent supporter of slavery. When war
began, Confederate President Jefferson Davis appointed him Attorney
General, and later Secretary of War. Made Secretary of State in 1862,
Benjamin unsuccessfully tried to gain recognition of the Confederacy by
France and the United Kingdom. When Davis fled from Virginia in early
1865, Benjamin went with him. He escaped to Britain and settled there,
becoming a barrister and again rising to the top of his profession
before retiring in 1883. He died in Paris the following year.

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

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Today's selected anniversaries:

1835:

European settlers landing on the north banks of the Yarra River
in Southeastern Australia founded the city of Melbourne (Parliament
House pictured).
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melbourne>

(Continue reading)

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[Daily article] August 29: Birchington-on-Sea

Birchington-on-Sea is a village and seaside resort in north-east Kent,
England, with a population of around 10,000. It faces the North Sea,
east of the Thames Estuary, between Herne Bay and Margate. Its main
beach is Minnis Bay (pictured); three smaller beaches are surrounded by
chalk cliffs, cliff stacks and caves. Roman and prehistoric artefacts
indicate that the area was inhabited before the existence of the
village, and Minnis Bay was once the site of an Iron Age settlement. The
village was first recorded in 1240. Its parish church, All Saints',
dates to the 13th century and its churchyard is the burial place of the
19th-century Pre-Raphaelite artist, Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Quex Park, a
local 19th-century manor house, is home to the Powell-Cotton Museum and
a twelve-bell tower built for change ringing. The museum displays
stuffed exotic animals collected by Major Percy Powell-Cotton on his
travels in Africa, and houses artefacts unearthed in and around
Birchington.

Read more: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birchington-on-Sea>

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Today's selected anniversaries:

1475:

After an invasion by England and the Duchy of Burgundy, France
signed the Treaty of Picquigny with England, freeing Louis XI to deal
with the threat posed by Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy.
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_Picquigny>

1842:

(Continue reading)

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[Daily article] August 28: Twenty-cent piece (United States coin)

The American twenty-cent piece was a coin struck from 1875 to 1878, but
only for collectors in the final two years. In 1874 Nevada's newly
elected senator, John P. Jones, began promoting his bill for a twenty-
cent piece to alleviate the shortage of small change in the Far West.
The bill passed Congress the following year, and Mint Director Henry
Linderman ordered pattern coins struck. Although the new coin's edge was
smooth rather than reeded, as with other silver coins, the new piece was
close to the size of, and immediately confused with, the quarter. Adding
to the bewilderment, the obverses (front faces) of the coins were almost
identical. After the first year, in which over a million were minted,
there was little demand, and the denomination was abolished in 1878. At
least a third of the total mintage was later melted by the government.
Numismatist Mark Benvenuto called the twenty-cent piece "a chapter of
U.S. coinage history that closed almost before it began".

Read more: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twenty-cent_piece_(United_States_coin)>

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Today's selected anniversaries:

1850:

German composer Richard Wagner's romantic opera Lohengrin (2015
production pictured), containing the Bridal Chorus, was first performed
under the direction of Franz Liszt in Weimar, present-day Germany.
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lohengrin_(opera)>

1861:

American Civil War: The Union Army successfully extended its
(Continue reading)

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[Daily article] August 27: Jim Thome

Jim Thome (born 1970) played Major League Baseball for 22 years,
starting with the Cleveland Indians in 1991 and joining the Philadelphia
Phillies in 2002. Traded to the Chicago White Sox before the 2006
season, he won the American League Comeback Player of the Year Award
that year. After back pain limited him to being a designated hitter, he
had stints with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Minnesota Twins, Indians and
Phillies before ending his career with the Baltimore Orioles. A prolific
power hitter, Thome hit 612 home runs during his career—the seventh-
most of all time. He was a member of five All-Star teams and won a
Silver Slugger Award in 1996. One of his trademarks was his unique
batting stance, pointing the bat at right field before the pitcher
threw, something he first saw in the film The Natural. He was known for
his consistent positive attitude and gregarious personality. An active
philanthropist during his playing career, he was honored with two Marvin
Miller Man of the Year Awards and a Lou Gehrig Memorial Award.

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

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Today's selected anniversaries:

1810:

Napoleonic Wars: The French Navy defeated the Royal Navy,
preventing them from taking the harbour of Grand Port on Île de la
Passe.
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Grand_Port>

1832:

(Continue reading)

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[Daily article] August 26: Pather Panchali

Pather Panchali is a 1955 Bengali drama film adapted from Bibhutibhushan
Bandopadhyay's 1929 Bengali novel of the same name. The debut film of
the Indian director Satyajit Ray, it depicts the lives of a family from
a poor Indian village with two children, Apu (Subir Banerjee) and his
elder sister Durga (Uma Dasgupta). The film, shot mainly on location in
rural India, took nearly three years to complete. Sitar virtuoso Ravi
Shankar composed the score. After a screening in May at New York's
Museum of Modern Art, it was officially released in Kolkata on August
26, 1955, and was enthusiastically received after a slow start. Many
critics have praised the film's realism and humanity, though a few have
found fault with its slow pace; other critics have condemned it,
claiming it romanticizes poverty. The tale of Apu's life is continued in
Aparajito (The Unvanquished, 1956) and Apur Sansar (The World of Apu,
1959). The three films constitute the Apu Trilogy. Pather Panchali was a
pioneer film of the Parallel Cinema movement and was the first film from
independent India to attract major international attention, winning a
number of awards and establishing Ray as a major director. It has been
featured in lists of the greatest films ever made.

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

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Today's selected anniversaries:

1071:

Byzantine–Seljuq Wars: Seljuk Turks led by Alp Arslan
captured Byzantine Emperor Romanos IV at the Battle of Manzikert.
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Manzikert>

(Continue reading)

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[Daily article] August 25: Caloboletus calopus

Caloboletus calopus, known as the bitter beech bolete, is a fungus of
the bolete family, found in Asia, Northern Europe and North America.
Appearing in coniferous and deciduous woodland in summer and autumn, the
stout mushrooms are attractively coloured, with a beige to olive cap up
to 15 cm (6 in) across, yellow pores, and a reddish stalk up to 15 cm
(6 in) long and 5 cm (2 in) wide. The pale yellow flesh stains blue
when broken or bruised. Christian Persoon first described Boletus
calopus in 1801. Modern molecular phylogenetics has shown that it is
only distantly related to the type species of Boletus, and it was placed
in a new genus as the type species of Caloboletus in 2014. It is not an
edible mushroom, rendered unpalatable by its intensely bitter taste,
which does not disappear with cooking. Its red stalk distinguishes it
from edible species such as Boletus edulis.

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

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Today's selected anniversaries:

1248:

Ommen in the Netherlands received city rights and fortification
rights from Otto III, the Archbishop of Utrecht, after the town was
pillaged at least twice by a local robber baron.
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ommen>

1609:

Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei demonstrated his first
telescope, a device that became known as a terrestrial or spyglass
(Continue reading)


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