[Daily article] February 1: Richard Gavin Reid

Richard Gavin Reid (1879–1980) was a Canadian politician who served as 
the sixth Premier of Alberta from 1934 to 1935. He was the last member 
of the United Farmers of Alberta to hold the office, and that party's 
defeat at the hands of the upstart Social Credit League in the 1935 
election made him the shortest-serving Premier in Alberta history. When 
Reid took office, Alberta was experiencing the Great Depression. Reid 
took measures to ease Albertans' suffering, but believed that inducing 
a full economic recovery was beyond the capacity of the provincial 
government. In this climate, Alberta voters were attracted to the 
economic theories of evangelical preacher William Aberhart, who 
advocated a version of social credit. Despite Reid's claims that 
Aberhart's proposals were economically and constitutionally unfeasible, 
Social Credit routed the UFA in the 1935 election; Reid's party did not 
retain a single seat.

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The Supreme Court of the United States first convened at the Merchants' 
Exchange Building in New York City.


The first fascicle of the Oxford English Dictionary, a 352-page volume 
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[Daily article] February 2: Bale Out

"Bale Out" is a satirical dance remix by American composer Lucian 
Piane, also known as RevoLucian, released on February 2, 2009, to 
YouTube and MySpace. The piece utilizes audio from a July 2008 rant 
made by actor Christian Bale on the set of Terminator Salvation. 
Various other elements are used in the remix, including pulsating dance 
track beats and clips of Barbra Streisand from a 2006 exchange with a 
supporter of then-President George W. Bush, creating the impression of 
Streisand arguing with Bale. The day after its release, the YouTube 
page for the song had been viewed over 200,000 times, and over a 
million times by February 5, 2009. The Associated Press called it a 
"hypnotic dance track", and United Press International noted it was 
"catchy", characterizing it as a "YouTube sensation". Gil Kaufman of 
MTV.com described the piece as "a techno-ripping, demonic dance party". 
TIME magazine's website called the track "hilarious", and Nine News 
characterized it as a "raging online success". The director of 
Terminator Salvation McG liked the remix and put a copy of it on his 
iPod, and Bale said he had heard the remix and thought "they did a good 

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An expedition to the New World led by Spanish conquistador Pedro de 
Mendoza founded what is now Buenos Aires, Argentina.
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[Daily article] February 3: Marshalsea

The Marshalsea was a prison on the south bank of the River Thames in 
Southwark, now part of London. From at least 1329 until it closed in 
1842, it housed men under court martial for crimes at sea, including 
"unnatural crimes", political figures and intellectuals accused of 
sedition or other inappropriate behaviour, and—most famously—London's 
debtors, the length of their stay determined largely by the whim of 
their creditors. Run privately for profit, as were all prisons in 
England until the 19th century, the Marshalsea looked like an Oxbridge 
college and functioned largely as an extortion racket. For prisoners 
who could afford the fees, it came with access to a bar, shop, and 
restaurant, and the crucial privilege of being allowed to leave the 
prison during the day, which meant debtors could earn money to pay off 
their creditors. Everyone else was crammed into one of nine small rooms 
with dozens of others, possibly for decades for the most modest of 
debts, which increased as unpaid prison fees accumulated. The prison 
became known around the world during the 19th century through the 
writings of the English novelist Charles Dickens, whose father was sent 
there in 1824 for a debt of £40 and 10 shillings. Much of it was 
demolished in the winter of 1849, though some of its buildings were 
used into the 20th century. "It is gone now," Dickens wrote, "and the 
world is none the worse without it."

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[Daily article] February 4: Wii Sports

Wii Sports is a sports game developed and produced by Nintendo as a 
launch title for the Wii video game console. It was first released in 
North America along with the Wii on November 19, 2006, and was released 
in Japan, Australia, and Europe the following month. The game is 
included as a pack-in game with the Wii console in all territories 
except Japan, making it the first game included with the launch of a 
Nintendo system since Mario's Tennis for the Virtual Boy in 1995. Wii 
Sports is part of the Touch! Generations brand. The game is a 
collection of five sports simulations, designed to demonstrate the 
motion-sensing capabilities of the Wii Remote to new players. The five 
sports included are tennis, baseball, bowling, golf, and boxing. 
Players use the Wii Remote to mimic actions performed in real life 
sports, such as swinging a tennis racket. The rules for each game are 
simplified to make them more accessible to new players. The game also 
features training and fitness modes that monitor player progress in the 
sports. Overall, Wii Sports has been well received by critics and 
received awards from the gaming press and entertainment community. It 
is the best-selling video game of all time, having outsold the previous 
best-seller, Super Mario Bros., in 2009. As of December, 31, 2009, 
60.67 million copies sold worldwide. Wii Sports has been featured on 
television in Wii commercials, news reports, and other programming. It 
was followed by a sequel, Wii Sports Resort, in 2009.

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[Daily article] February 5: GRB 970508

GRB 970508 was a gamma-ray burst (GRB) detected on May 8, 1997, at 
21:42 UTC. A gamma-ray burst is a highly luminous flash of gamma rays, 
the most energetic form of electromagnetic radiation, which is often 
followed by a longer-lived "afterglow" emitting at longer wavelengths 
(X-ray, ultraviolet, optical, infrared, and radio). GRB 970508 was 
detected by the Gamma Ray Burst Monitor on the Italian–Dutch X-ray 
astronomy satellite BeppoSAX. Astronomer Mark Metzger determined that 
GRB 970508 occurred at least 6 billion light years from Earth; this was 
the first measurement of the distance to a gamma-ray burst. Until this 
burst, astronomers had not reached a consensus regarding how far away 
GRBs occur from Earth. Some supported the idea that GRBs occur within 
the Milky Way, but are visibly faint because they are not highly 
energetic. Others concluded that GRBs occur in other galaxies at 
cosmological distances and are extremely energetic. Although the 
possibility of multiple types of GRBs meant that the two theories were 
not mutually exclusive, the distance measurement unequivocally placed 
the source of the GRB outside the Milky Way, effectively ending the 
debate. GRB 970508 was also the first burst with an observed radio 
frequency afterglow.

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Running out of medical supplies to combat the disease scurvy, British 
troops surrendered to an allied Franco-Spanish force, ending the 
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[Daily article] February 6: Ghosts I–IV

Ghosts I–IV is the seventh studio release by American industrial rock 
act Nine Inch Nails, released on March 2, 2008. The team behind the 
project included Nine Inch Nails front man Trent Reznor (pictured), 
studio-collaborators Atticus Ross and Alan Moulder, and instrumental 
contributions from Alessandro Cortini, Adrian Belew, and Brian 
Viglione. Reznor described the music of Ghosts as "a soundtrack for 
daydreams", a sentiment echoed by many critics who compared it with the 
work of Brian Eno and Robert Fripp. The songs are unnamed, and are 
identified only by their track listing, position, and album art. The 
album is the first independent release from Nine Inch Nails following 
its announcement that it had severed its ties with Interscope Records. 
Initially intended to be a five-track EP, the final release consists of 
four nine-track instrumental EPs, totaling 36 tracks. The album was 
released under a Creative Commons license, and in a variety of 
differing packages at various price points, including a US$300 
"Ultra-Deluxe Limited Edition". Ghosts was initially released digitally 
on the official Nine Inch Nails website without any prior advertisement 
or promotion. Critical reception of the album has been generally 
favorable, with its unorthodox release attracting positive comments 
from many critics. Much coverage of Ghosts I–IV has compared it to the 
digital-download releases of Radiohead's In Rainbows as well as Saul 
Williams' The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of NiggyTardust!. The 
album was nominated for two Grammy Awards, in the categories "Best Rock 
Instrumental Performance" and "Best Box Set or Limited Edition 

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[Daily article] February 7: Carucage

Carucage was a medieval English land tax introduced by King Richard I 
in 1194, based on the size of the estate owned by the taxpayer. It was 
a replacement for the danegeld, last imposed in 1162, which had become 
difficult to collect because of an increasing number of exemptions. 
Carucage was levied just six times: by Richard in 1194 and 1198; John, 
his brother and successor, in 1200; and John's son, Henry III, in 1217, 
1220, and 1224, after which it was replaced by taxes on income and 
personal property. The taxable value of an estate was initially 
assessed from the Domesday Survey, but other methods were later 
employed, such as valuations based on the sworn testimony of neighbours 
or on the number of plough-teams the taxpayer used. Carucage never 
raised as much as other taxes, but nevertheless helped to fund several 
projects dear to the kings' hearts. It paid the ransom for Richard's 
release in 1194, after he was taken prisoner by Leopold V, Duke of 
Austria; it covered the tax John had to pay Philip II of France in 1200 
on land he inherited in that country; and it helped to finance Henry 
III's military campaigns in England and on the European continent. 
Carucage was an attempt to secure new sources of revenue to supplement 
and increase royal income increase in a time when new demands were 
being made on royal finances. Although derived from the older geld, 
carucage was an experiment in revenue collection, but it was only 
levied for specific purposes, rather than as a regularly assessed tax.

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[Daily article] February 8: Roman–Persian Wars

The Roman–Persian Wars were a series of conflicts between states of the 
Greco-Roman world and two successive Iranian empires. Contact between 
Parthia and the Roman Republic began in 92 BC; wars began under the 
late Republic, and continued through the Roman and Sassanid empires. 
Although warfare between the Romans and the Iranians lasted for seven 
centuries, the frontier remained largely stable. Neither side had the 
logistical strength or manpower to maintain such lengthy campaigns so 
far from their borders, and thus neither could advance too far without 
risking stretching their frontiers too thin. Both sides did make 
conquests beyond the border, but the balance was almost always restored 
in time. The resources expended during the Roman–Persian Wars 
ultimately proved catastrophic for both empires. The prolonged and 
escalating warfare of the sixth and seventh centuries left them 
exhausted and vulnerable in the face of the sudden emergence and 
expansion of the Caliphate, whose forces invaded both empires only a 
few years after the end of the last Roman–Persian war. Arab Muslim 
armies swiftly conquered the entire Sassanid Empire, and deprived the 
Eastern Roman Empire of its territories in the Levant, the Caucasus, 
Egypt, and the rest of North Africa. Over the following centuries, most 
of the Byzantine Empire came under Muslim rule.

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Mary I, Queen of Scots was executed at Fotheringhay Castle for her 
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[Daily article] February 9: Cloud Gate

Cloud Gate, a public sculpture by Indian-born British artist Anish 
Kapoor, is the centerpiece of the AT&T Plaza in Millennium Park within 
the Loop community area of Chicago, Illinois. The sculpture and AT&T 
Plaza are located on top of Park Grill, between the Chase Promenade and 
McCormick Tribune Plaza & Ice Rink. Constructed between 2004 and 2006, 
the sculpture is nicknamed "The Bean" because of its legume-like shape. 
Made up of 168 stainless steel plates welded together, its highly 
polished exterior has no visible seams. It is 33 feet by 66 feet by 42 
feet (10 m × 20 m × 13 m), and weighs 110 short tons (99.8 t; 98.2 long 
tons). Kapoor's design was inspired by liquid mercury and the 
sculpture's surface reflects and distorts the city's skyline. Visitors 
are able to walk around and under Cloud Gate's 12-foot (3.7 m) high 
arch. On the underside is the omphalos, a concave chamber that warps 
and multiplies reflections. The sculpture builds upon many of Kapoor's 
artistic themes, although many tourists simply view the sculpture and 
its unique reflective properties as a photo-taking opportunity.

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As the seven-year old Leo II was deemed too young to rule, his father 
Zeno was crowned as the co-emperor of the Byzantine Empire.

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[Daily article] February 10: HMAS Melbourne (R21)

HMAS Melbourne was an aircraft carrier of the Royal Australian Navy. 
She was laid down for the Royal Navy in 1943 as the lead ship of the 
Majestic class of light aircraft carriers, but work on her was 
suspended when World War II ended. The carrier was purchased by the 
Australian government in 1947, and upgraded to become the third ship in 
the world constructed with an angled flight deck. Renamed for the 
Australian city of Melbourne, the ship was commissioned in 1955. 
Melbourne never served in combat, but collided with and sank two 
destroyers during her career: HMAS Voyager in 1964, and USS Frank E. 
Evans in 1969. These, along with several minor incidents, led to the 
reputation that the carrier was jinxed. The last carrier in Australian 
service, Melbourne was decommissioned in 1982. Although sold to China 
for breaking, the People's Liberation Army Navy studied Melbourne over 
many years to further plans for a Chinese aircraft carrier. The British 
carrier HMS Invincible was to be acquired as a replacement, but this 
was cancelled following the Falklands War and the 1983 Australian 
federal election.

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Baghdad, the capital of the Abbasid caliphate, surrendered to Hulagu 
Khan and the Mongols after almost a two-week siege.

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