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[Daily article] September 23: Fluorine

Fluorine is an extremely reactive chemical element with atomic number 9
(pictured in liquid form at cryogenic temperatures). A highly toxic pale
yellow gas at standard conditions, it was first described in 1529 as its
principal source fluorite, a mineral added as a flux for smelting, and
named after the Latin verb fluo meaning "flow". As the lightest halogen
and most electronegative element, it is difficult to separate from its
compounds, and several early experimenters died or were injured. The
process employed for its modern production—low-temperature
electrolysis—remains the same as that used by Henri Moissan in 1886 to
achieve its first isolation. The high costs of refining fluorine gas
lead most commercial uses, such as aluminium refining, insulation and
refrigeration, to use its compounds; uranium enrichment is the free
element's largest application. Fluorine is a part of some
pharmaceuticals and appears as the fluoride ion in toothpaste, but has
no known metabolic role in mammals; a few plants possess fluorine-
containing poisons to deter herbivores. Fluorocarbon gases are usually
potent greenhouse gases and organofluorine compounds persist in the
environment.

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

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Today's selected anniversaries:

1123:

Pope Calixtus II and Holy Roman Emperor Henry V agreed to the
Concordat of Worms to put an end to the Investiture Controversy.
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concordat_of_Worms>

(Continue reading)

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[Daily article] September 22: System Shock

System Shock is a 1994 first-person action role-playing video game
developed by Looking Glass Technologies and published by Origin Systems.
It was directed by Doug Church with Warren Spector (pictured) serving as
producer. The game is set aboard a space station in a cyberpunk vision
of the year 2072. Assuming the role of a nameless hacker, the player
attempts to hinder the plans of a malevolent artificial intelligence
called SHODAN. System Shock's 3D engine, physics simulation and complex
gameplay have been cited as both innovative and influential. The
developers sought to build on the emergent gameplay and immersive
environments of their previous games, Ultima Underworld: The Stygian
Abyss and Ultima Underworld II: Labyrinth of Worlds, by streamlining
their mechanics into a more "integrated whole". Critics praised System
Shock and hailed it as a major breakthrough in its genre. It was later
placed on multiple hall of fame lists. The game was a moderate
commercial success, with sales exceeding 170,000 copies; but Looking
Glass ultimately lost money on the project. A sequel, System Shock 2,
was released by Looking Glass Studios and off-shoot developer Irrational
Games in 1999.

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

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Today's selected anniversaries:

1586:

Eighty Years' War: Spanish forces were victorious against a
combined Anglo-Dutch army in the Battle of Zutphen.
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Zutphen>

(Continue reading)

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[Daily article] September 21: Gustav Holst

Gustav Holst (1874–1934) was an English composer, arranger and
teacher, best known for his orchestral suite The Planets. He had
originally hoped to become a pianist, but was prevented by neuritis in
his right arm. Unable to support himself as a composer, he played the
trombone professionally and later became a teacher. He was musical
director at Morley College from 1907 until 1924, and pioneered music
education for women at St Paul's Girls' School, where he taught from
1905 until his death. He also founded a series of annual Whitsun music
festivals, which ran from 1916 for the remainder of his life. As a
composer, it was not until the international success of The Planets in
the years immediately after the First World War that he became a well-
known figure. In his later years his style of composition struck many as
too austere, and his brief popularity declined. Nevertheless, he was a
significant influence on a number of younger English composers,
including Michael Tippett and Benjamin Britten. Apart from The Planets
and a handful of other works, his music was generally neglected until
the 1980s, since when recordings of much of his output have been
available.

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

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Today's selected anniversaries:

1860:

Second Opium War: Anglo-French forces earned a decisive victory
against Qing dynasty troops in the Battle of Palikao, allowing them to
capture Beijing.
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Palikao>
(Continue reading)

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[Daily article] September 20: Great North of Scotland Railway

The Great North of Scotland Railway was one of the smaller Scottish
railways operating in the far north-east of the country. Formed in 1845,
it carried its first passengers from Kittybrewster, in Aberdeen, to
Huntly on 20 September 1854. An early expansion was followed by a period
of forced economy, but in the 1880s the railway was refurbished, express
services began to run, and a suburban service in Aberdeen started. The
railway operated its main line between Aberdeen and Keith and two routes
west to Elgin; connections could be made at Keith and Elgin for services
to Inverness. Its eventual area encompassed the counties of
Aberdeenshire, Banffshire and Moray, with short lengths of line in
Inverness-shire and Kincardineshire. Fish from the North Sea ports and
whisky from Speyside became important goods traffic. The Royal Family
used the Deeside Line for travel to and from Balmoral Castle. The
railway became the Northern Scottish area of the London and North
Eastern Railway in 1923, passing on 333 1⁄2 miles (536.7 km) of line
and 122 steam locomotives (including No. 49 Gordon Highlander,
pictured). Only its main line remains, as part of the Aberdeen to
Inverness Line.

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

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Today's selected anniversaries:

1066:

King Harald III of Norway and Tostig Godwinson, his English
ally, fought and defeated the Northern Earls Edwin and Morcar in the
Battle of Fulford near York, England.
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Fulford>
(Continue reading)

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[Daily article] September 19: History of a Six Weeks' Tour

History of a Six Weeks' Tour is a travel narrative by the British
Romantic authors Mary Shelley (pictured) and Percy Bysshe Shelley.
Published in 1817, it describes two trips taken by Mary, Percy, and
Mary's stepsister, Claire Clairmont: one across Europe in 1814, and one
to Lake Geneva in 1816. It consists of a journal, four letters, and
Percy Shelley's poem "Mont Blanc". Apart from the poem, the text was
primarily written and organised by Mary Shelley. In 1840 she revised the
journal and the letters, republishing them in a collection of Percy
Shelley's writings. Part of the new genre of the Romantic travel
narrative, History of a Six Weeks' Tour exudes spontaneity and
enthusiasm; the authors demonstrate their desire to develop a sense of
taste and distinguish themselves from those around them. The romantic
elements of the work would have hinted at the text's radical politics to
19th-century readers. The text's frank discussion of politics, including
positive references to the French Revolution and praise of Enlightenment
philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau, was unusual for a travel narrative at
the time. History of a Six Weeks' Tour sold poorly but received
favourable reviews.

Read more: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_a_Six_Weeks%27_Tour>

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Today's selected anniversaries:

1676:

During Bacon's Rebellion, Virginia settlers led by Nathaniel
Bacon burned the colonial capital of Jamestown to the ground.
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bacon%27s_Rebellion>

(Continue reading)

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[Daily article] September 18: Murder of Joanna Yeates

Joanna Yeates (1985–2010) was a 25-year-old landscape architect from
Hampshire, England, who went missing on 17 December 2010 in Bristol
after an evening out with colleagues. Following a highly publicised
appeal for information on her whereabouts and intensive police
enquiries, her body was discovered on 25 December 2010; a post-mortem
examination determined that she had been strangled. The murder inquiry
was one of the largest police investigations ever undertaken in the
Bristol area. The case dominated UK news coverage around Christmas. The
police initially arrested Christopher Jefferies, Yeates' landlord; he
was subsequently released and later obtained substantial libel damages
from eight newspapers over their coverage of his arrest. Vincent Tabak,
a 32-year-old Dutch engineer and neighbour of Yeates, was arrested on 20
January 2011. He was convicted at trial of her murder and sentenced to
life imprisonment. A memorial service was held for Yeates at the parish
church in the Bristol suburb where she lived; her funeral took place
near the family home in Hampshire. Several memorials were planned,
including one in a garden she had been designing for a new hospital in
Bristol.

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

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Today's selected anniversaries:

1851:

The New York Times, the largest metropolitan newspaper in the
United States, was founded.
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_New_York_Times>

(Continue reading)

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[Daily article] September 17: George Formby

George Formby (1904–1961) was an English actor, singer-songwriter and
comedian. On stage, screen and record he sang light, comical songs,
usually playing the ukulele or banjolele, and became the UK's highest-
paid entertainer. After an early career as a stable boy and jockey,
Formby took to the music hall stage after the early death of his father
in 1921. In 1923 he purchased a ukulele, and married Beryl Ingham, a
fellow-performer who became his manager. She insisted that he appear on
stage formally dressed, and introduced the ukulele to his performance.
He started his recording career in 1926 and, from 1934, he increasingly
worked in film to develop into a major star. During the Second World
War, Formby entertained civilians and troops (pictured in France), and
by 1946 it was estimated that he had performed in front of three million
service personnel. After the war his career declined, although he toured
the Commonwealth, and continued to appear in variety and pantomime.
Formby was considered Britain's first properly home-grown screen
comedian. He was an influence on future comedians—particularly Charlie
Drake and Norman Wisdom—and, culturally, on entertainers such as the
Beatles.

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

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Today's selected anniversaries:

1176:

Byzantine–Seljuk wars: The Seljuk Turks prevented the
Byzantines from taking the interior of Anatolia at the Battle of
Myriokephalon in Phrygia.
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Myriokephalon>
(Continue reading)

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[Daily article] September 16: 2011 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final

The 2011 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Final was a soccer match between
Seattle Sounders FC and the Chicago Fire played on October 4, 2011 at
CenturyLink Field in Seattle, Washington. Seattle Sounders FC won by
defeating the Chicago Fire 2–0 with goals scored by Fredy Montero and
Osvaldo Alonso. The match was the culmination of the 2011 tournament,
which was open to amateur and professional soccer teams affiliated with
the United States Soccer Federation. The tournament was the 98th edition
of the U.S. Open Cup, the oldest ongoing competition in American soccer.
The attendance of 36,615 at the final set a tournament record. Seattle
had previously won the 2009 and 2010 tournaments, making them the first
team since 1968 to win three consecutive championships (trophies
pictured) and the fourth team to do so in the tournament's history.
Seattle won a berth in the 2012–13 CONCACAF Champions League and a
$100,000 cash prize. Following the final, criticism arose regarding
Seattle hosting each round of the tournament they played. In response,
changes to the rules for determining hosting rights were announced.

Read more: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_Lamar_Hunt_U.S._Open_Cup_Final>

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Today's selected anniversaries:

1400:

Owain Glyndŵr was proclaimed Prince of Wales and instigated a
revolt against the rule of Henry IV of England.
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glynd%C5%B5r_Rising>

1810:

(Continue reading)

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[Daily article] September 15: Battle of Morotai

The Battle of Morotai, part of the Pacific War, began on 15 September
1944, and continued until the end of the war in August 1945. The
fighting started when United States and Australian forces landed on the
south-west corner of Morotai, a small island in the Netherlands East
Indies (NEI), which the Allies needed as a base to support the
liberation of the Philippines later that year. The invading forces
greatly outnumbered the island's Japanese defenders, and secured their
objectives in two weeks. Japanese reinforcements were landed on the
island between September and November, but lacked the supplies needed to
effectively attack the Allied defensive perimeter. Intermittent fighting
continued until the end of the war, with the Japanese troops suffering
heavy loss of life from disease and starvation. South-western Morotai
was subsequently developed into a major Allied base, with facilities on
the island being used to support landings in the Philippines and Borneo.
Torpedo boats and aircraft based at Morotai also harassed Japanese
positions in the NEI. Morotai remained an important logistical hub and
command center until the Dutch reestablished their colonial rule in the
NEI.

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

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Today's selected anniversaries:

1830:

The Liverpool and Manchester Railway opened (train pictured) as
the first locomotive-hauled railway to connect two major cities.
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opening_of_the_Liverpool_and_Manchester_Railway>

(Continue reading)

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[Daily article] September 14: SMS Kaiser Wilhelm II

SMS Kaiser Wilhelm II was the second of the Kaiser Friedrich III class
of pre-dreadnought battleships, built at the Imperial Dockyard in
Wilhelmshaven. She was launched on 14 September 1897 and commissioned
into the fleet in 1902. She was armed with four 24-centimeter (9.4 in)
guns in two twin turrets and powered by triple expansion engines that
delivered a top speed of 17.5 knots (32.4 km/h; 20.1 mph). Kaiser
Wilhelm II served as the flagship of the German fleet until 1906,
participating in fleet training exercises and visits to foreign ports.
After the new dreadnought battleships began entering service in 1908,
she was decommissioned, then reactivated between 1910 and 1912 for
training ship duties in the Baltic. With the outbreak of World War I in
August 1914, Kaiser Wilhelm II and her sister ships were brought back
into duty as coastal defense ships in the V Battle Squadron. Her age,
coupled with shortages of ship crews, led to her withdrawal from this
role in February 1915; after which she served as a command ship for the
High Seas Fleet, based in Wilhelmshaven. She was sold for scrap in the
early 1920s.

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

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Today's selected anniversaries:

81:

Domitian became the last Flavian emperor of Rome, succeeding his
brother Titus.
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Domitian>

1752:
(Continue reading)

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[Daily article] September 13: September 1964 South Vietnamese coup attempt

An attempted coup took place in South Vietnam before dawn on September
13, 1964. Generals Lâm Văn Phát and Dương Văn Đức sent
dissident units into the capital Saigon to overthrow the ruling military
junta led by General Nguyễn Khánh. They captured key points and
announced the overthrow of the regime on national radio. In the previous
month, Khánh's leadership had became increasingly troubled. He had
tried to augment his powers by declaring a state of emergency; this
provoked large-scale protests calling for an end to military rule.
Fearful of losing power, Khánh began making concessions and promised
democracy in the near future. He also removed military officials linked
to the discriminatory Catholic rule of the former President Ngô Đình
Diệm, including Phát (Interior Minister) and Đức (IV Corps
commander), who responded with a coup. With American help, Khánh
rallied support and the coup collapsed the next morning without
casualties. Despite Khánh's survival, the historian George McTurnan
Kahin has described the coup as the start of Khánh's ultimate political
decline. His relations with America became increasingly strained and he
was deposed in February 1965 with US connivance.

Read more: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/September_1964_South_Vietnamese_coup_attempt>

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Today's selected anniversaries:

509 BC:

The Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus on Capitoline Hill, the
most important temple in Ancient Rome, was dedicated.
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temple_of_Jupiter_Optimus_Maximus>

(Continue reading)


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