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[Daily article] January 1: On the Banks of the Wabash, Far Away

100px|Sheet music cover of "On the Banks of the Wabash, Far Away"

"On the Banks of the Wabash, Far Away" was among the best-selling 
songs of the 19th century in terms of sheet music sold. Written and 
composed by American songwriter Paul Dresser, it was published by the 
Tin Pan Alley firm of Howley, Haviland & Co. in October 1897. The 
lyrics of the ballad reminisce about life near Dresser's childhood home 
by the Wabash River in Indiana. It remained popular for decades and the 
Indiana General Assembly adopted it as the official state song on March 
14, 1913. The song was the basis for a 1923 film by the same title. Its 
longtime popularity led to the emergence of several different lyrical 
versions, including an 1898 anti-war song and a Swedish version that 
was a number one hit. The song was composed during a transitory time in 
musical history when songs first began to be recorded for the 
phonograph. It was among the earliest pieces of popular music to be 
recorded. Dresser's inability to control the distribution of phonograph 
cylinders led him and his company to join other composers to petition 
the United States Congress to expand federal copyright protections over 
the new technology. (more...)

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[Daily article] January 2: 2006 Gator Bowl

110px|Jacksonville Municipal Stadium, site of the 2006 Gator Bowl

The 2006 Gator Bowl was a college football bowl game between the 
Louisville Cardinals and the Virginia Tech Hokies in Jacksonville, 
Florida on January 2, 2006. Virginia Tech was selected as a participant 
in the 2006 Gator Bowl following a 10–2 regular season; a loss to 
Florida State in the inaugural ACC Championship Game gave Tech a 
position in the Gator Bowl instead of the more prestigious Orange Bowl 
game. Facing the 12th-ranked Hokies were the 15th-ranked Cardinals, who 
finished 9–2 during the regular season of their first year in the Big 
East Conference. Louisville led for much of the game, beginning with an 
11-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter by backup quarterback 
Hunter Cantwell. In the second half, however, Virginia Tech's offense 
began to have success. Tech earned the only points of the third 
quarter—a 28-yard field goal from kicker Brandon Pace—to narrow 
Louisville's lead to 17–13. In the fourth quarter, the game fully 
turned in the Hokies' favor. Though Louisville scored a touchdown early 
in the quarter, Virginia Tech scored 22 unanswered points in the final 
13 minutes of the game to take a 35–24 lead and earn the win. (more...)

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[Daily article] January 3: Battle of Bardia

120px|Australian troops enter Bardia.

The Battle of Bardia was fought over three days between 3 and 5 
January 1941, as part of Operation Compass in the Second World War. 
Australian Major General Iven Mackay's 6th Division assaulted the 
strongly held Italian fortress of Bardia, Libya, assisted by air 
support and naval gunfire, and under the cover of an artillery barrage. 
The 16th Infantry Brigade attacked at dawn from the west, where the 
defences were known to be weak. This allowed the infantry and 23 
Matilda II tanks of the 7th Royal Tank Regiment to enter the fortress 
and capture all their objectives, along with 8,000 prisoners. In the 
second phase of the operation, the 17th Infantry Brigade exploited the 
breach made in the perimeter. On the second day, the 16th Infantry 
Brigade captured the township of Bardia, cutting the fortress in two. 
On the third day, the 19th Infantry Brigade advanced south from Bardia, 
supported by artillery and the Matilda tanks. Meanwhile, the Italian 
garrisons in the north surrendered to the 16th Infantry Brigade and the 
Support Group of the British 7th Armoured Division. The victory at 
Bardia enabled the Allied forces to continue the advance into Libya and 
ultimately capture almost all of Cyrenaica. (more...)

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[Daily article] January 4: Loggerhead sea turtle

100px|A loggerhead turtle at Océanopolis, Brest, France

The loggerhead sea turtle is an oceanic turtle distributed throughout 
the world. An adult weighs around 135 kilograms (300 lb), with the 
largest specimens weighing in at more than 454 kilograms (1,000 lb). 
The skin ranges from yellow to brown in color, and the shell is 
typically reddish-brown. Found in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian 
oceans as well as the Mediterranean Sea, the loggerhead sea turtle 
spends most of its life in saltwater and estuarine habitats, with 
females briefly coming ashore to lay eggs. The loggerhead sea turtle 
has a low reproductive rate and a lifespan of 47–67 years. Omnivorous, 
the species feeds mainly on bottom dwelling invertebrates. Its large 
and powerful jaws serve as an effective tool in dismantling its prey. 
Loggerheads are considered an endangered species and are protected by 
the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. Turtle excluder 
devices (TEDs) have been implemented in efforts to reduce mortality by 
providing the turtle an escape route. Loss of suitable nesting beaches 
and the introduction of exotic predators has also taken a toll on 
loggerhead populations. Efforts to restore their numbers will require 
international cooperation since the turtles roam vast areas of ocean 
and critical nesting beaches are scattered among several countries. 
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[Daily article] January 5: Justus

Justus (died between 627 and 631) was the fourth Archbishop of 
Canterbury. He was sent from Italy to England by Pope Gregory the 
Great, on a mission to Christianize the Anglo-Saxons from their native 
Anglo-Saxon paganism, probably arriving with the second group of 
missionaries despatched in 601. Justus became the first Bishop of 
Rochester in 604, and attended a church council in Paris in 614. 
Following the death of King Æthelberht of Kent in 616, Justus was 
forced to flee to Gaul, but was reinstated in his diocese the following 
year. In 624 Justus became Archbishop of Canterbury, overseeing the 
despatch of missionaries to Northumbria. After his death he was revered 
as a saint, and had a shrine in St Augustine's Abbey, Canterbury. 
(more...)

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Today's selected anniversaries:

1757:

Louis XV of France survived an assassination attempt by Robert-François 
Damiens, who later became the last person to be executed in France by 
drawing and quartering.
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[Daily article] January 6: Sarah Trimmer

100px|Sarah Trimmer

Sarah Trimmer (1741–1810) was a noted writer and critic of British 
children's literature in the eighteenth century. Her periodical, The 
Guardian of Education, helped to define the emerging genre by seriously 
reviewing children's literature for the first time; it also provided 
the first history of children's literature, establishing a canon of the 
early landmarks of the genre that scholars still use today. Trimmer's 
most popular children's book, Fabulous Histories, inspired numerous 
children's animal stories and remained in print for over a century. 
Trimmer was in many ways dedicated to maintaining the social and 
political status quo in her works. As a high church Anglican, she was 
intent on promoting the Established Church of Britain and on teaching 
young children and the poor the doctrines of Christianity. Her writings 
outlined the benefits of social hierarchies, arguing that each class 
should remain in its God-given position. Yet, while supporting many of 
the traditional political and social ideologies of her time, Trimmer 
questioned others, such as those surrounding gender and the family. 
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[Daily article] January 7: The Entombment (Bouts)

100px|The Entombment

The Entombment is a glue-size painting on linen attributed to the 
Early Netherlandish painter Dirk Bouts. It shows a scene from the 
biblical entombment of Christ, probably completed between 1440 and 1455 
as a wing panel for a large hinged polyptych altarpiece. The now lost 
altarpiece is thought to have contained a central crucifixion scene 
flanked by four wing panel works half its length (two either side) 
depicting scenes from the life of Christ. The larger work was probably 
commissioned for export, possibly to a Venetian patron whose identity 
is lost. The Entombment was first recorded in a mid-19th century Milan 
inventory and has been in the National Gallery, London since its 
purchase on the gallery's behalf by Charles Eastlake in 1861. The 
Entombment is renowned for its austere but affecting portrayal of 
sorrow and grief. It shows four female and three male mourners grieving 
over the body of Christ. It is one of the few surviving 15th-century 
paintings created using glue-size, an extremely fragile medium lacking 
durability. (more...)

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1797:
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[Daily article] January 8: Elvis Presley

100px|Elvis in 1970

Elvis Presley (1935–1977) was an American singer and one of the most 
important figures of 20th-century popular culture. He is often referred 
to as the "King of Rock and Roll" or simply "the King". Born in Tupelo, 
Mississippi, Presley moved to Memphis, Tennessee at the age of 13. He 
began his career there in 1954 and became the leading figure of the 
newly popular sound of rock and roll with a series of television 
appearances and chart-topping records during the late 1950s. 
Conscripted in 1958, Presley relaunched his recording career two years 
later with some of his most commercially successful work. In 1968, 
after seven years away from the stage, he returned to live performance 
in a celebrated comeback television special that led to an extended Las 
Vegas concert residency and a string of profitable tours. In 1973 
Presley staged the first concert broadcast globally via satellite, 
Aloha from Hawaii, seen by around 1.5 billion viewers. Prescription 
drug abuse severely affected his health, and he died suddenly in 1977 
from cardiac arrest. With his versatile voice and unusually wide 
success encompassing many genres, Presley is the best-selling solo 
artist in the history of popular music. Nominated for 14 competitive 
Grammys, he won three, and received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement 
Award at age 36. He has been inducted into multiple music halls of 
fame. (more...)

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[Daily article] January 9: The Green Child

The Green Child is the only completed novel by the English anarchist 
poet and critic Herbert Read. Written in 1934 and first published by 
Heinemann in 1935, the story is based on the 12th-century legend of two 
green children who mysteriously appeared in the English village of 
Woolpit, speaking an apparently unknown language. Read described the 
story in his English Prose Style, published in 1931, as "the norm to 
which all types of fantasy should conform". Each of the novel's three 
parts ends with the apparent death of the story's protagonist, 
President Olivero, dictator of the fictional South American Republic of 
Roncador. In each case Olivero's death is an allegory for his 
translation to a "more profound level of existence", reflecting the 
book's overall theme of a search for the meaning of life. Read's 
interest in psychoanalytic theory is evident throughout the novel, 
which is constructed as a "philosophic myth ... in the tradition of 
Plato". The story contains many autobiographical elements, and the 
character of Olivero owes much to Read's experiences as an officer in 
the British Army during the First World War. The novel was positively 
received, although some commentators have considered it to be 
"inscrutable", and one has suggested that it has been so differently 
and vaguely interpreted by those who have given it serious study that 
it may lack the form and content to justify the praise it has received. 
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[Daily article] January 10: Brad Pitt

100px|Brad Pitt at the 2008 premier of Burn After Reading

Brad Pitt (born 1963) is an American actor and film producer. Pitt 
has received two Academy Award nominations and five Golden Globe Award 
nominations, winning one. Described as one of the world's most 
attractive men, Pitt's first leading roles in big-budget productions 
came with A River Runs Through It (1992) and Interview with the Vampire 
(1994). He was cast opposite Anthony Hopkins in the 1994 drama Legends 
of the Fall, which earned him his first Golden Globe nomination. In 
1995 he gave critically acclaimed performances in the crime thriller 
Seven and the science fiction film 12 Monkeys, the latter securing him 
a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor and an Academy Award 
nomination. Four years later, in 1999, Pitt starred in the cult hit 
Fight Club. He then starred in the major international hit as Rusty 
Ryan in Ocean's Eleven (2001) and its sequels, Ocean's Twelve (2004) 
and Ocean's Thirteen (2007). His greatest commercial successes have 
been Troy (2004) and Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005). Following a high-profile 
relationship with actress Gwyneth Paltrow, Pitt was married to actress 
Jennifer Aniston for five years. Pitt lives with actress Angelina Jolie 
in a relationship that has generated wide publicity. (more...)

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