Faraaz Damji | 1 Sep 07:21 2005

September 1: Zambezi

  The Zambezi is the fourth longest river in Africa, and the largest
  flowing into the Indian Ocean. The 2,574 km (1,599 mi) long river has
  its source in Zambia and flows through Angola, along the border
  Zambia and Zimbabwe, to Mozambique, where it empties into the Indian
  Ocean. The Zambezi's most spectacular feature is Victoria Falls, one
  of the world's largest waterfalls. Other notable falls include the
  Chavuma Falls at the border between Zambia and Angola, and Ngonye
  Falls, near Sioma in Western Zambia. Over its entire course, the
  Zambezi is spanned by only five bridges: at Chinyingi, Katima Mulilo,
  Victoria Falls, Chirundu and Tete. There are two main sources of
  hydroelectric power on the river. These are the Kariba Dam, which
  provides power to Zambia and Zimbabwe and the Cabora-Bassa Dam in
  Mozambique which provides power to South Africa.

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Today's selected anniversaries:

  Louis XIV of France, the "Sun King", died after a reign of 72 years,
  longer than any other French or other major European monarch.
  The Great Kanto earthquake devastated Tokyo and Yokohama,
  about 100,000 people.
  Germany launched the Polish Campaign and attacked Poland at Wieluń and
  Westerplatte, starting World War II.
(Continue reading)

Mark Pellegrini | 6 Sep 06:38 2005

September 6: Jean Schmidt

  Jean Schmidt is an American politician.  She is a U.S. 
  Representative-elect of the Republican Party from the U.S. state of 
  Ohio who is scheduled to be sworn in at 6:30 p.m. EDT on September 6, 
  2005, after winning a special election on August 2 in the state's 
  second district to replace Rob Portman.  Schmidt is the second Ohio 
  woman of her party to be elected to Congress without succeeding her 
  husband and the first woman to represent southwestern Ohio in 
  Congress.  Schmidt is a lifelong resident of Clermont County and won an 
  11-candidate primary on June 14, 2005.  Schmidt faced Democratic 
  nominee Paul Hackett, an attorney and Marine who served in the Iraq 
  War in the special election, in which she won by 3.5 percent amid 
  national attention.  The narrowness of her victory in a district 
  accustomed to Republican landslides led many Democrats to claim a 
  victory for their party and forecast trouble for the Republicans in 
  the 2006 House election.  

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Today's selected anniversaries:

  : The Christian Roman Emperor Theodosius I defeated the pagan usurper 
  Eugenius in the Battle of Frigidus.  

  : The Victoria returned to Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Spain, with Juan 
  Sebastián Elcano and 17 survivors of Ferdinand Magellan's 265-man 
(Continue reading)

Mark Pellegrini | 7 Sep 05:02 2005

September 7: Hong Kong

  Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic 
  of China.  It located on the southeastern coast of China.  As a former 
  British colony, Hong Kong has one of the world's most free economies 
  and is a major international center of finance and trade.  Though 
  administered by the PRC under the policy of "one country, two 
  systems," Hong Kong is legally entitled to a high degree of legal and 
  cultural autonomy, retaining its own legal system, currency, and 
  immigration laws.  Hong Kong even maintains its own rules of the road, 
  with traffic continuing to drive on the left.  Only national defense 
  and diplomatic relations are responsibilities of the government in 

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Today's selected anniversaries:

  : Ayyubid forces under Saladin were defeated in the Battle of Arsuf 
  during the Third Crusade.  

  : Napoleonic Wars: The French Grande Armée under Napoleon I forced 
  the Russian army of Alexander I to withdraw in the Battle of Borodino.  

  : Carl III of Sweden was crowned king of Norway.  
(Continue reading)

Mark Pellegrini | 8 Sep 07:59 2005

September 8: Wladyslaw Sikorski

  Wladyslaw Sikorski was a Polish military and political leader.
Before World War I, he became a founder and member of several
underground organizations that promoted the cause of Polish
independence. He fought with distinction during the Polish-Soviet War,
in which he played a prominent role in the decisive Battle of Warsaw.
During World War II he became Prime Minister of the Polish Government
in Exile, Commander-in-Chief of the Polish Armed Forces, and a staunch
advocate of the Polish cause on the diplomatic scene. He supported the
reestablishment of diplomatic relations between Poland and the Soviet
Union, which had been severed after the Soviet alliance with Germany
in the 1939 invasion of Poland. In April 1943, however, Soviet
dictator Joseph Stalin broke off Soviet-Polish diplomatic relations
following Sikorski's request that the International Red Cross
investigate the Katyn Massacre. In July 1943, Sikorski was killed in a
plane crash into the sea immediately on takeoff from Gibraltar. The
exact circumstances of his death remain in dispute, which has given
rise to ongoing conspiracy theories.

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Today's selected anniversaries:

: Stefan Dusan (pictured right) of the House of Nemanjić declared
himself Tsar of Serbia.

(Continue reading)

Mark Pellegrini | 9 Sep 06:54 2005

September 9: Anarcho-capitalism

  Anarcho-capitalism is a socio-economic ideology based on the idea of 
  individual sovereignty (or "self-ownership"), an unlimited right to 
  private property, and a prohibition against initiatory coercion and 
  fraud, with contracts between sovereign individuals being the basis of 
  law.  From this is derived a rejection of the state (an entity claiming 
  a territorial monopoly on the use of force) and the embrace of 
  absolute laissez-faire capitalism.  Anarcho-capitalists would protect 
  individual liberty and property by replacing a government monopoly 
  that is involuntarily funded through taxation, with private and 
  competing businesses.  The philosophy embraces stateless capitalism as 
  one of its foundational principles.  The first well-known version of 
  anarcho-capitalism to identify itself with this term was developed by 
  Austrian School economists and libertarians Murray Rothbard and Walter 
  Block in the mid-20th century as an attempted synthesis of Austrian 
  School economics, classical liberalism, and 19th-century American 
  individualist anarchism.  While Rothbard bases his philosophy on 
  natural law, others, such as David Friedman take a pragmatic 
  consequentialist approach by arguing that anarcho-capitalism should be 
  implemented on the basis that such a system would have superior 
  consequences than other alternatives.  

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Today's selected anniversaries:

  : King Olaf I of Norway fell overboard during the Battle of Svolder 
  and disappeared in the Baltic Sea.  
(Continue reading)

Mark Pellegrini | 11 Sep 18:13 2005

September 11: Italian Renaissance

  The Italian Renaissance began the opening phase of the Renaissance, a 
  period of great cultural change and achievement from the 14th to the 
  16th century.  The word renaissance means "rebirth," and the era is 
  best known for the renewed interest in the culture of classical 
  antiquity.  The Italian Renaissance began in northern Italy, centering 
  in Florence.  It then spread south, having an especially significant 
  impact on Rome, which was largely rebuilt by the Renaissance popes.  
  The Italian Renaissance is best known for its cultural achievements.  
  This includes works of literature by such figures as Petrarch, 
  Castiglione, and Machiavelli; artists such as Michaelangelo and 
  Leonardo da Vinci, and great works of architecture such as The Duomo 
  in Florence and St.  Peter's Basilica in Rome.  At the same time, 
  present-day historians also see the era as one of economic regression 
  and of little progress in science.  Furthermore, some historians argue 
  that the lot of the peasants and urban poor, the majority of the 
  population, worsened during this period.  

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Today's selected anniversaries:

  : Scots under William Wallace defeated English troops in the Battle of 
  Stirling Bridge.  

  : The British Mandate of Palestine began.  
(Continue reading)

Faraaz Damji | 12 Sep 13:57 2005

September 12: Sandy Koufax

  Sandy Koufax is a former left-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball
  who played his entire career for the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers
  from 1955 to 1966.  He is best known for his string of six amazing
  seasons from 1961 to 1966 before arthritis ended his career at the age
  of 31.  A notoriously difficult pitcher to hit against, he was the
  first major leaguer to pitch more than three no-hitters, the first to
  allow fewer than seven hits per nine innings pitched over his career,
  and the first to strike out more than nine batters per nine innings
  pitched in his career.  Among National League pitchers with at least
  2000 innings pitched who have debuted since 1913, he has both the
  highest career winning percentage (.655) and the lowest career earned
  run average (2.76); his 2396 career strikeouts ranked seventh in major
  league history upon his retirement, and trailed only Warren Spahn's
  total of 2583 among left-handers.  Retiring virtually at the peak of
  his career, Koufax later became–at age 36–the youngest person ever
  elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

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Today's selected anniversaries:

  Great Turkish war: Polish troops led by Jan III Sobieski joined forces
  with an Habsburg army to defeat the Ottoman Empire at the Battle of

(Continue reading)

Faraaz Damji | 14 Sep 03:07 2005

September 14: San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge

  The San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge spans the San Francisco Bay and
  links the California cities of Oakland and San Francisco in the United
  States.  The bridge consists of two major segments connecting a central
  island, Yerba Buena Island, with each shore.  The western segment
  terminating in San Francisco consists of two suspension bridges
  end-to-end with a central anchorage.  The eastern span terminating in
  Oakland consists of a truss causeway, five medium-span truss bridges
  and a double-tower cantilever span, scheduled to be replaced by an
  entirely new structure now under construction.  The original bridges
  were designed by Ralph Modjeski.  The bridge was built at the same time
  as San Francisco's other famous bridge – the Golden Gate.

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Today's selected anniversaries:

  The British Empire adopted the Gregorian calendar, skipping eleven
  days (September 2 was followed directly by September 14).

  Napoleon's invasion of Russia: Napoleon and his Grande Armée
  captured Moscow, only to find the city deserted and burning.

  Theodore Roosevelt became President of the United States upon the
(Continue reading)

Faraaz Damji | 15 Sep 02:01 2005

September 15: Krag-Petersson

  The Krag-Petersson rifle was the first repeating rifle adopted by the
  armed forces of Norway, and one of the first repeating arms adopted
  anywhere in the world.  Developed by Ole Herman Johannes Krag, the
  action of the Krag-Petersson was uniquely actuated by the oversized
  hammer.  Another distinguishing feature is that the cartridge rising
  from the magazine is not seated automatically, but has to be pushed
  into the breech of the rifle.  Testing by the Norwegian military
  revealed that the Krag-Peterssen was a robust, accurate and quick
  firing weapon, and the Royal Norwegian Navy adopted the rifle in 1876.
  The rifle was also extensively tested by other nations, but not
  adopted.  After being phased out around 1900, the remaining rifles were
  sold off to civilians, and often extensively rebuilt.  Today it is so
  difficult to find one in original condition that the Krag-Petersson
  has been described as "the rifle everybody has heard about, but hardly
  anybody has ever seen".  It was the first rifle designed by Ole H.  J.
  Krag that was adopted by an armed force.

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Today's selected anniversaries:

  Giovanni Battista Pamphili became Pope Innocent X.

  Aboard the HMS Beagle, Charles Darwin reached the Galápagos
  Islands, where he began to develop his theories of evolution.
(Continue reading)

Faraaz Damji | 16 Sep 13:27 2005

September 16: Cerebellum

  The cerebellum is a region of the brain that plays an important role
  in the integration of sensory perception and motor output.  Many neural
  pathways link the cerebellum with the motor cortex—which sends
  information to the muscles causing them to move—and the
  spinocerebellar tract—which provides feedback on the position of the
  body in space (proprioception).  The cerebellum integrates these two
  functions, using the constant feedback on body position to fine-tune
  motor movements.  Because of this 'updating' function of the
  cerebellum, lesions within it are not so debilitating as to cause
  paralysis, but rather present as feedback deficits resulting in
  disorders in fine movement, equilibrium, posture, and motor learning.
  Initial observations by physiologists during the 18th century
  indicated that patients with cerebellar damage show problems with
  motor coordination and movement.  Modern research has shown that the
  cerebellum has a broader role in a number of key cognitive functions,
  including attention and the processing of language, music, and other
  sensory temporal stimuli.

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Today's selected anniversaries:

  Twelve Korean ships commanded by Admiral Yi Soon Shin sank 31 enemy
  ships and defeated a Japanese invasion.

(Continue reading)