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[Daily article] December 1: 2008 Monaco Grand Prix

The 2008 Monaco Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held on May 25, 
2008 at the Circuit de Monaco; contested over 76 laps, it was the sixth 
race of the 2008 Formula One season. The race was won by the season's 
eventual Drivers' Champion, Lewis Hamilton, for the McLaren team. BMW 
Sauber driver Robert Kubica finished second, and Felipe Massa, who 
started from pole position, was third in a Ferrari. Conditions were wet 
at the start of the race. Massa maintained his lead into the first 
corner, but his teammate Kimi Räikkönen was passed for second by 
Hamilton, who had started in third position on the grid. Hamilton 
suffered a punctured tyre on lap six, forcing him to make a pit stop 
from which he re-entered the race in fifth place. As the track dried 
and his rivals made their own pit stops Hamilton became the race 
leader, a position he held until the end of the race. Kubica's strategy 
allowed him to pass Massa during their second pit stops, after the 
latter's Ferrari was forced to change from wet to dry tyres. Räikkönen 
dropped back from fifth position to ninth after colliding with Adrian 
Sutil's Force India late in the race. The race was Hamilton's second 
win of the season, his first in Monaco, and the result meant that he 
led the Drivers' Championship, seven points ahead of Räikkönen and 
eight ahead of Massa.

Read the rest of this article:
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008_Monaco_Grand_Prix>

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Today's selected anniversaries:

1640:

John IV was declared King of Portugal, resulting in the Portuguese 
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[Daily article] December 2: Eadbald of Kent

Eadbald was King of Kent from 616 until his death. He succeeded his 
father Æthelberht, who made Kent the dominant force in England during 
his reign and became the first Anglo-Saxon king to convert to 
Christianity. Eadbald's accession was a significant setback for the 
growth of the church, since he was a pagan and did not convert for at 
least a year, and perhaps for as much as eight years. He was ultimately 
converted by either Laurentius or Justus, and separated from his first 
wife, who had been his stepmother, at the insistence of the church. 
Eadbald's second wife was Ymme, who may have been a Frankish princess. 
She bore him two sons, Eormenred and Eorcenberht, and a daughter, 
Eanswith. Eadbald's influence was less than his father's, but Kent was 
powerful enough to be omitted from the list of kingdoms dominated by 
Edwin of Northumbria. Edwin's marriage to Eadbald's sister, Æthelburg, 
established a good relationship between Kent and Northumbria which 
appears to have continued into Oswald's reign. When Æthelburg fled to 
Kent on Edwin's death in about 633, she sent her children to Francia 
for safety, fearing the intrigues of both Eadbald and Oswald. The 
Kentish royal line made several strong diplomatic marriages over the 
succeeding years, including the marriage of Eanflæd, Eadbald's niece, 
to Oswiu, and of Eorcenberht to Seaxburh, daughter of King Anna of East 
Anglia. Eadbald died in 640, and was succeeded by Eorcenberht.

Read the rest of this article:
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eadbald_of_Kent>

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Today's selected anniversaries:

1805:

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[Daily article] December 3: William Speirs Bruce

William Speirs Bruce (1867–1921) was a London-born Scottish naturalist, 
polar scientist and oceanographer who organized and led the Scottish 
National Antarctic Expedition to the South Orkney Islands and the 
Weddell Sea. Among other achievements the expedition established the 
first permanent weather station below the Antarctic Circle. Bruce later 
founded the Scottish Oceanographical Laboratory, but his plans for a 
transcontinental Antarctic march via the South Pole were stillborn 
through lack of public and financial support. In 1892 Bruce abandoned 
his medical studies at the University of Edinburgh and joined the 
Dundee Whaling Expedition to Antarctica as a scientific assistant. This 
was followed by Arctic voyages to Novaya Zemlya, Spitsbergen and Franz 
Josef Land. In 1899 Bruce, by then Britain's most experienced polar 
scientist, applied for a post on Robert Falcon Scott's Discovery 
Expedition, but delays over this appointment and clashes with Royal 
Geographical Society president Sir Clements Markham led him instead to 
organize his own expedition, and earned him the permanent enmity of the 
British geographical establishment. Between 1907 and 1920 Bruce made 
many journeys to the Arctic regions, both for scientific and for 
commercial purposes.

Read the rest of this article:
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Speirs_Bruce>

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Today's selected anniversaries:

1800:

War of the Second Coalition: French forces under General Jean Moreau 
defeated the Austrians and Bavarians under Archduke John in 
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[Daily article] December 4: Blade Runner

Blade Runner is a 1982 American science fiction film, directed by 
Ridley Scott and starring Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, and Sean Young. 
The screenplay, written by Hampton Fancher and David Peoples, is based 
on the novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick. 
The film depicts a dystopian Los Angeles in November 2019 in which 
genetically manufactured beings called replicants — visually 
indistinguishable from adult humans — are used for dangerous or menial 
work on Earth's "off-world colonies". Following a replicant uprising, 
replicants become illegal on Earth and specialist police called "blade 
runners" are trained to hunt down and "retire" escaped replicants on 
Earth. The plot focuses on a brutal and cunning group of 
recently-escaped replicants hiding in Los Angeles and the semi-retired 
blade runner, Rick Deckard, who reluctantly agrees to take on one more 
assignment. Blade Runner initially polarized critics: some were 
displeased with the pacing, while others enjoyed its thematic 
complexity. The film performed poorly in North American theaters. 
Despite the box office failure of the film, it has since become a cult 
classic. Blade Runner has been hailed for its production design, 
depicting a "retrofitted" future. It remains a leading example of the 
neo-noir genre. Seven versions of the film have been shown, for various 
markets, and as a result of controversial changes made by film 
executives. A rushed Director's cut was released in 1992 after a strong 
response to workprint screenings. In 2007, Warner Bros. released in 
select theaters and on DVD/HD DVD/Blu-ray, the 25th anniversary 
digitally remastered definitive Final Cut by Scott.

Read the rest of this article:
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blade_Runner>

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[Daily article] December 5: Tawny Owl

The Tawny Owl is a stocky, medium-sized owl which is common in 
woodlands across much of Eurasia. Its underparts are pale with dark 
streaks, and the upperparts are either brown or grey, with several of 
the eleven recognised subspecies having both variants. The nest is 
typically in a tree hole, and eggs and young are fiercely defended 
against potential predators. This owl is non-migratory and highly 
territorial, and many young birds starve if they cannot find a vacant 
territory once parental care ceases. This nocturnal bird of prey hunts 
mainly rodents, usually by dropping from a perch to seize its victim, 
which is swallowed whole, although in more urban areas its diet 
includes a higher proportion of birds. Its night hunting is aided by 
vision and hearing adaptations and silent flight. The Tawny is capable 
of catching smaller owls, but may itself be killed by the Eagle Owl or 
Northern Goshawk, and foxes are an important cause of mortality in 
newly fledged young. Although this owl is often claimed to have 
exceptional night vision, its retina is no more sensitive than a 
human's, but its asymmetrically placed ears give the Tawny Owl 
excellent directional hearing. Its nighttime habits and eerie, easily 
imitated call have led to an association in myth with bad luck and 
death.

Read the rest of this article:
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tawny_Owl>

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Today's selected anniversaries:

1484:

Pope Innocent VIII issued the papal bull Summis desiderantes 
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[Daily article] December 6: George H. D. Gossip

George H. D. Gossip (1841–1907) was a minor American-English chess 
master and writer. He competed against most of the world's leading 
players in chess tournaments between 1870 and 1895, but with only 
modest success. The writer G. H. Diggle calls him "the King of Wooden 
Spoonists" because he usually finished last in strong tournaments. 
Gossip was also a noted writer. His 1874 treatise The Chess-Player's 
Manual—A Complete Guide to Chess was harshly received by the critics, 
largely because he had included a number of informal skittles games 
that he had (atypically) won against stronger players. He developed a 
lifelong enmity toward chess critics, attacking them ferociously in his 
books. However, his 1879 book Theory of the Chess Openings was well 
received, becoming one of the standard opening works of the time. He 
made his living primarily as a journalist, author, and translator, 
writing for publications in England, France, Australia, and the U.S. At 
various times he lived in each of those countries, Germany, and Canada. 
In 1898 and 1899, two publishers issued his only non-chess book, The 
Jew of Chamant. Published under the pseudonym "Ivan Trepoff", it was 
virulently anti-Semitic. Chess writers have often mocked Gossip's play. 
However, a modern assessment system, Chessmetrics, concludes that at 
his peak he was close to grandmaster strength.

Read the rest of this article:
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_H._D._Gossip>

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Today's selected anniversaries:

1534:

Over 200 Spanish settlers led by conquistador Sebastián de Belalcázar 
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[Daily article] December 7: Remain in Light

Remain in Light is the fourth studio album by American New Wave band 
Talking Heads, released on 8 October 1980 on Sire Records. It was 
recorded at locations in the Bahamas and the United States between July 
and August 1980 and was produced by the quartet's long-time 
collaborator Brian Eno. The album entered the Billboard 200 in the US 
at number 19 and peaked at number 21 on the UK Albums Chart. Two 
singles were released from Remain in Light: "Once in a Lifetime" and 
"Houses in Motion". The record was certified Gold in the US and in 
Canada during the 1980s. The members of Talking Heads wanted to make an 
album that dispelled notions of frontman and chief lyricist David Byrne 
leading a back-up band. They decided to experiment with African 
polyrhythms and, with Eno, recorded the instrumental tracks as a series 
of samples and loops, a novel idea at the time. Remain in Light was 
widely acclaimed by critics. Praise centered on its cohesive merging of 
disparate genres and sonic experimentation. The record has featured in 
several publications' lists of the best albums of the 1980s and the 
best albums of all time.

Read the rest of this article:
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Remain_in_Light>

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Today's selected anniversaries:

43 BC:

Cicero, widely considered one of Rome's greatest orators and prose 
stylists, was assassinated.
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cicero>

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[Daily article] December 8: The Lucy poems

The Lucy poems are a series of five poems composed by the English 
Romantic poet William Wordsworth between 1798 and 1801. All but one 
were first published in the second edition of Lyrical Ballads in 1800, 
a collaboration between Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge that was 
both Wordsworth’s first major publication and a milestone in the early 
English Romantic movement. In the series, Wordsworth sought to write 
unaffected English verse infused with abstract ideals of beauty, 
nature, love, longing and death. Although they individually deal with a 
variety of themes, as a series they focus on the poet's longing for the 
company of his friend Coleridge, who had stayed in England, and on his 
increasing impatience with his sister Dorothy, who had travelled with 
him abroad. Wordsworth channeled his frustrations into an examination 
of unrequited love for the idealised character of Lucy, an English girl 
who has died young. The idea of her death weighs heavily on the poet 
throughout the series, imbuing it with a melancholic, elegiac tone. 
Whether Lucy was based on a real woman or was a figment of the poet's 
imagination has long been a matter of debate among scholars. The "Lucy 
poems" consist of "Strange fits of passion have I known", "She dwelt 
among the untrodden ways", "I travelled among unknown men", "Three 
years she grew in sun and shower", and "A slumber did my spirit seal".

Read the rest of this article:
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lucy_poems>

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Today's selected anniversaries:

1609:

Milan's Biblioteca Ambrosiana opened its reading room to the public, 
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[Daily article] December 9: Amagi class battlecruiser

The Amagi class battlecruiser was a planned class of warship for the 
Imperial Japanese Navy, as part of the so-called "Eight-eight fleet". 
The class was to have been composed of four ships: Amagi, Akagi, Atago, 
and Takao. The first three were named for mountains (Mount Amagi, Mount 
Akagi and Mount Atago), while the fourth was named for the town Takao, 
Formosa (present-day Kaohsiung, Taiwan). The Amagi design was 
essentially an enlarged version of the Tosa-class battleship, but with 
a thinner armored belt and deck and a modified secondary battery 
arrangement. Limitations imposed by the 1922 Washington Naval Treaty 
prevented the class from being completed as designed. However, the 
treaty had a limited allowance for hulls already under construction to 
be converted into aircraft carriers. Amagi and Akagi were both intended 
for conversion, but an earthquake damaged the hull of Amagi so 
extensively that the ship was scrapped. Akagi was refitted as an 
aircraft carrier and served with distinction during World War II as 
part of the Kido Butai before being sunk at the Battle of Midway.

Read the rest of this article:
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amagi_class_battlecruiser>

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Today's selected anniversaries:

1425:

Pope Martin V issued a papal bull establishing what later became the 
Catholic University of Leuven , the largest, oldest and most prominent 
university in Belgium.
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_University_of_Leuven>

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[Daily article] December 10: Spyro: Year of the Dragon

Spyro: Year of the Dragon is a platform game developed by Insomniac 
Games and published by Sony Computer Entertainment for the PlayStation. 
The game was released in North America on November 30, 2000. Year of 
the Dragon is the third installment in the Spyro series and the last 
Spyro game to be released for the PlayStation. The game was the last 
Spyro game Insomniac developed; their next title would be Ratchet & 
Clank for the PlayStation 2. Named after the animal of the Chinese 
zodiac, Year of the Dragon follows the titular purple character Spyro 
as he travels to the "Forgotten Realms" after 150 magical dragon eggs 
are stolen from the land of the dragons by an evil sorceress. Players 
travel across thirty different worlds gathering gems and eggs. Year of 
the Dragon introduced new characters and minigames to the series, as 
well as offering improved graphics and music. Upon release, the game 
sold more than two million units in the United States, and received 
positive critical response, with reviewers noting the game built on the 
successful formula of its predecessors by adding more games and 
expansive environments. At Game Rankings, Year of the Dragon is one of 
the top twenty highest-rated PlayStation games of all time. The game 
was followed by the multiplatform title Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly, and 
was later released for download on the PlayStation Store on May 14, 
2009.

Read the rest of this article:
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spyro%3A_Year_of_the_Dragon>

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Today's selected anniversaries:

1508:

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Gmane