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San Jacinto Monument

The Texas Revolution (1835–36) began when colonists in the Mexican province of Texas rebelled after President Santa Anna overturned the Mexican constitution, dismissing state legislatures and militias and centralizing the government. He stepped down from the presidency to lead Mexican troops in quashing the revolt. Sam Houston was named commander of the Texian Army and sent Jim Bowie to destroy the Alamo to keep it out of Mexican hands. Bowie and William B. Travis chose instead to lead the Alamo defenders in what became the most famous battle of Texas history. Three weeks later, the Mexican army executed 400 Texians at the Goliad massacre, then marched east as terrified civilians fled. The Texian army moved in the same direction, giving the impression that they were running away. Under a false sense of complacency, Santa Anna was asleep and his army was on stand-down on April 21, 1836, when shouts of "Remember the Alamo!" and "Remember Goliad!" pierced the air as Texians overran them, winning the decisive Battle of San Jacinto in 18 minutes (monument pictured). Santa Anna fled on horseback but was captured the next day; the Texians traded him for the full retreat of the Mexican army and the cessation of hostilities. Intermittent conflicts between the two countries continued until 1844, when Texas was willingly annexed into the United States, which in turn caused the Mexican–American War. (Full article...)

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Solitary male African migratory locust

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May 25: First Patriotic Government in Argentina (1810); Independence Day in Jordan (1946); Memorial Day in the United States (2015); Towel Day

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The Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award is an annual award presented by the Center for the Study of Science Fiction at the University of Kansas to the author of the best short science fiction story published in English in the preceding calendar year. It is the short fiction counterpart of the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Science Fiction Novel, awarded by the same organization. The award is named in honor of Theodore Sturgeon (1918–85), one of the leading authors of the Golden Age of Science Fiction from 1939 to 1950. The award was established in 1987 by his heirs—including his widow, Jayne Sturgeon—and James Gunn, at the time the Director of the Center for the Study of Science Fiction. From 1987 through 1994 the award was given out by a panel of science fiction experts led by Orson Scott Card. Beginning in 1995, the committee was replaced by a group of jurors, who vote on the nominations submitted for consideration. The winner is selected by May of each year, and is presented at the Campbell Conference awards banquet in June at the University of Kansas in Lawrence. During the 28 years the award has been active, 167 authors have had works nominated, 29 of whom have won, including one tie. No author has won more than once. (Full list...)

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Trithemis annulata

Trithemis annulata, or violet dropwing, is a species of dragonfly which is found in most of Africa, in the Middle East and the Arabian Peninsula, and is increasing its range in southern Europe. As the larvae develop rapidly, this highly adaptable species can breed in temporary bodies of water.

Photograph: Muhammad Mahdi Karim

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