Wikipedia:Today's featured article/August 2014

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August 1

Flight Unlimited II is a 1997 flight simulator video game developed by Looking Glass Studios and published by Eidos Interactive. The player controls one of five planes in the airspace of the San Francisco Bay Area, which is shared with up to 600 artificially intelligent aircraft directed by real-time air traffic control. The game eschews the aerobatics focus of its predecessor, Flight Unlimited, in favor of general civilian aviation. The team developed new physics code and an engine, seeking to create an immersive world for the player and to compete with the Microsoft Flight Simulator series. Commercially, Flight Unlimited II performed well enough to recoup its development costs. Critics lauded the game's graphics and simulated airspace, and several praised its physics. However, some considered the game to be inferior to Microsoft Flight Simulator '98. Following the completion of Flight Unlimited II, its team split up to develop Flight Unlimited III (1999) and Flight Combat (later Jane's Attack Squadron) simultaneously. Both projects were troubled, and they contributed to the closure of Looking Glass in May 2000. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Royal baccarat scandal – History of Chincoteague, Virginia – William Calcraft


August 2
Pen portrait of Florence Fuller, 1897

Florence Fuller (1867–1946) was a South African-born Australian artist. Originally from Port Elizabeth, Fuller migrated as a child to Melbourne with her family. There she trained with her uncle Robert Hawker Dowling and teacher Jane Sutherland and took classes at the National Gallery of Victoria Art School, becoming a professional artist in the late 1880s. In 1892 she left Australia, travelling first to South Africa, where she met and painted for Cecil Rhodes, and then on to Europe. Between 1895 and 1904 her works were exhibited at the Paris Salon and London's Royal Academy. In 1904, Fuller returned to Australia to live in Perth. She became active in the Theosophical Society and painted some of her best-known works. From 1908, Fuller travelled extensively, living in India and England before ultimately settling in Sydney where she was the inaugural teacher of life drawing at a women's art school. Highly regarded in her lifetime as a portrait and landscape painter, by 1914 Fuller was represented in four public galleries—three in Australia and one in South Africa—a record for an Australian female painter at that time. She subsequently suffered mental illness and sank into obscurity. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Flight Unlimited II – Royal baccarat scandal – History of Chincoteague, Virginia


August 3

Æthelred, Lord of the Mercians (died 911) became ruler of English Mercia shortly after the death of its last king, Ceolwulf II, in 879. His rule was confined to the western half, as eastern Mercia was then part of the Viking-ruled Danelaw. Æthelred's origin is unknown, and he was first recorded as the probable leader of an unsuccessful Mercian invasion of Wales in 881. Shortly afterwards, he married Æthelflæd, a daughter of King Alfred the Great of Wessex, and submitted to Alfred's lordship, an important step towards the unification of England in the next century. In the 890s the Vikings renewed their attacks, and in 893 Æthelred led a joint force of Mercians, West Saxons and Welsh to a decisive victory over the Vikings at the Battle of Buttington. He spent much of the decade fighting the Vikings in cooperation with Alfred's son, the future Edward the Elder. Historians disagree whether Æthelred governed Mercia as Alfred's deputy or whether he was a ruler of a semi-independent territory. Æthelred died in 911 and was succeeded by his widow, and then briefly by his daughter, before Mercia was annexed by Edward the Elder in 918. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Florence Fuller – Flight Unlimited II – Royal baccarat scandal


August 4
Painting detail of a blind man

The Blind Leading the Blind is a painting of 1568 by Flemish renaissance artist Pieter Bruegel the Elder. Executed in distemper on linen canvas, it measures 86 cm × 154 cm (34 in × 61 in). It depicts the Biblical parable of the blind leading the blind from Matthew 15:14. Considered a masterwork for its composition and accurate detail, the painting (detail pictured) reflects Bruegel's mastery of observation: each figure has a different recognizable eye affliction, including corneal leukoma, atrophy of globe and removed eyes. The diagonal composition reinforces the off-kilter motion of the six figures falling in progression. It was painted the year before Bruegel's death, and has a bitter, sorrowful tone. This may be related to the establishment of the Council of Troubles in 1567 by the government of the Spanish Netherlands, which ordered mass arrests and executions to enforce Spanish rule and suppress Protestantism, but it is not clear if the painting was meant as a political statement. The work has inspired poetry by Charles Baudelaire and William Carlos Williams, and a novel by Gert Hofmann. It is part of the collection of the Museo di Capodimonte in Naples, Italy. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Æthelred, Lord of the Mercians – Florence Fuller – Flight Unlimited II


August 5
Southern Rhodesians in the British Army in 1914

The involvement of Southern Rhodesia in World War I began on 5 August 1914, when it learned that the United Kingdom had declared war on Germany a day earlier. The British territory of Southern Rhodesia provided over 8,000 soldiers to the British Army during the hostilities, including 1,720 officers. About two-thirds of these servicemen came from the country's white minority—about 40% of the colony's white men enlisted—and these fought primarily on the Western Front in Belgium and France (Rhodesian platoon pictured). Other Southern Rhodesian troops, including 2,500 black soldiers, took part in the South-West African and East African campaigns. Over 800 Southern Rhodesians of all races lost their lives on operational service. The colony's contributions played a part in the UK's decision to grant self-government in 1923, and remained prominent in the Rhodesian national consciousness for decades. Since 1980, when the country became Zimbabwe, the government has removed many memorial monuments and plaques from public view, regarding them as unwelcome vestiges of white minority rule and colonialism. The country's war dead today have no official commemoration, either there or overseas. (Full article...)

Recently featured: The Blind Leading the Blind – Æthelred, Lord of the Mercians – Florence Fuller


August 6
President Lyndon B. Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 is a landmark piece of American federal legislation that prohibits racial discrimination in voting. President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Act into law (pictured) during the height of the Civil Rights Movement on August 6, 1965, and Congress later amended it five times. The Act allowed for a mass enfranchisement of racial minorities across the country, especially in the South. Section 2 of the Act prohibits state and local governments from imposing any voting law that has a discriminatory effect on racial or language minorities, and other provisions specifically ban literacy tests and similar discriminatory devices. Some provisions apply only to jurisdictions covered by the Act's "coverage formula", which was designed to encompass jurisdictions that engaged in egregious voting discrimination. Chiefly, Section 5 prohibits these jurisdictions from changing their election practices without first receiving approval from the federal government that the change is not discriminatory. In Shelby County v. Holder (2013), the Supreme Court struck down the coverage formula as unconstitutional, reasoning that it no longer responded to current conditions. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Southern Rhodesia in World War I – The Blind Leading the Blind – Æthelred, Lord of the Mercians


August 7
American white ibis

The American white ibis is a species of bird in the ibis family, found from the mid-Atlantic and Gulf Coast of the United States south through most of the New World tropics. It is a medium-sized bird with an overall white plumage, bright red-orange down-curved bill and long legs, and black wing tips that are usually only visible in flight. Males are larger and have longer bills than females. Crayfish are its preferred food in most regions. During the breeding season, the American white ibis gathers in huge colonies near water. Pairs are predominantly monogamous and both parents care for the young, although males tend to engage in extra-pair copulation with other females to increase their reproductive success. Males have also been found to pirate food from unmated females and juveniles during the breeding season. Human pollution has affected the behavior of the American white ibis through an increase in the concentrations of methylmercury, which is released into the environment from untreated waste. Exposure to methylmercury alters the hormone levels of American white ibis, affecting their mating and nesting behavior and leading to lower reproduction rates. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Voting Rights Act of 1965 – Southern Rhodesia in World War I – The Blind Leading the Blind


August 8
Marina and the Diamonds

Electra Heart is the second studio album by Welsh singer Marina Diamandis, professionally known as Marina and the Diamonds (pictured). Released in April 2012, it is a concept album inspired by electropop music, a distinct departure from the new wave musical styles seen throughout her debut studio album The Family Jewels (2010). Diamandis created the titular character "Electra Heart" to represent female archetypes of stereotypical American culture, and the album's lyrical content is united by the topics of love and identity. Critical opinion was divided and there was ambivalence towards Diamandis' shift in musical style and its overall production. The record debuted at number one on the UK Albums Chart, her first chart-topping record there, and performed moderately on international record charts, including a peak position at number 31 on the U.S. Billboard 200. "Primadonna" was released as the lead single, and peaked at number 11 on the UK Singles Chart. The record was additionally promoted by two further singles and by Diamandis' headlining The Lonely Hearts Club Tour, which visited Europe and North America from May 2012 through May 2013. (Full article...)

Recently featured: American white ibis – Voting Rights Act of 1965 – Southern Rhodesia in World War I


August 9

The Profumo affair was a 1963 British political scandal that originated with a sexual liaison between John Profumo, the Secretary of State for War in Harold Macmillan's government, and Christine Keeler, a 19-year-old would-be model. Profumo initially denied any impropriety, but in June 1963 admitted the truth and resigned from parliament in disgrace. Concern was heightened by Keeler's alleged simultaneous involvement with Yevgeny Ivanov, a suspected Soviet spy. Keeler knew both Profumo and Ivanov through her mentor, Stephen Ward, an osteopath and socialite. After the scandal broke, Ward's private life was investigated, and he was convicted of immorality offences. He took a fatal overdose during the final stages of his trial, which has since been perceived as an act of Establishment revenge, rather than as serving justice. In January 2014 the case was under review by the Criminal Cases Review Commission. Profumo redeemed himself by a long period as a volunteer worker in London's East End; he died, honoured and respected, in 2006. The repercussions of the affair contributed to Macmillan's resignation in October 1963, and to the Conservative Party's defeat in the 1964 general election. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Electra Heart – American white ibis – Voting Rights Act of 1965


August 10
Brazilians and Colorados storm the town of Paysandú

The Uruguayan War (10 August 1864 – 20 February 1865) was fought between Uruguay's governing Blanco Party and an alliance consisting of the Empire of Brazil and the Uruguayan Colorado Party. In 1863, with covert support from Argentina, the Colorado leader Venancio Flores launched a rebellion aimed at toppling president Bernardo Berro. The Blanco government received support from dissident Argentines and made overtures to Paraguayan dictator, Francisco Solano López, who was suspicious of Argentina's motives and keen to form an alliance. Fearing for its interests in the region, the Empire of Brazil intervened, first trying diplomacy and then, when talks stalled, issuing an ultimatum; the Blanco government rejected the Brazilians' conditions, and Brazil's military were ordered to begin exacting reprisals, marking the beginning of the war. In a combined offensive against Blanco strongholds, the Brazilian–Colorado troops advanced through Uruguayan territory, taking one town after another (storming of Paysandú pictured). Eventually, the Blancos were left isolated in Montevideo, the national capital. Faced with certain defeat, the Blanco government capitulated. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Profumo affair – Electra Heart – American white ibis


August 11
Hurricane John

Hurricane John formed during the 1994 Pacific season and became both the longest-lasting and the farthest-traveling tropical cyclone ever observed. John formed during the strong El Niño episode of 1991 to 1994 and peaked as a Category 5 hurricane on the Saffir–Simpson hurricane wind scale, the highest categorization. It was recognized as Tropical Depression Ten-E on August 11, 300 nautical miles (560 km) south-southeast of Acapulco, Mexico, and named Tropical Storm John later the same day. In total, it followed a 7,165 mi (11,530 km) path from the eastern Pacific to the western Pacific and back to the central Pacific, lasting 31 days. Because it existed in both the eastern and western Pacific, John was one of a small number of tropical cyclones to be designated as both a hurricane and a typhoon. It was only the fifth tropical cyclone to enter the central Pacific from the western Pacific. John barely affected land, bringing only minimal effects to the Hawaiian Islands (some minor flooding but no reported injuries or significant damage) and a U.S. military base on Johnston Atoll, where damage to structures was estimated at about $15 million. The storm's remnants later affected Alaska. (Full article...)

Part of the Category 5 Pacific hurricanes series, one of Wikipedia's featured topics.

Recently featured: Uruguayan War – Profumo affair – Electra Heart


August 12
Live quagga mare in London Zoo, 1870

The quagga is an extinct subspecies of the plains zebra that lived in South Africa. Its name is derived from its call, which sounded like "kwa-ha-ha". The quagga is believed to have been around 257 cm (8 ft 5 in) long and 125–135 cm (4 ft 1 in – 4 ft 5 in) tall at the shoulder. It could be distinguished from other zebras by its limited patterning of primarily brown and white stripes, mainly on the front part of the body. Little is known about its behaviour but it may have gathered in herds of 30–50 individuals. They were once found in great numbers in the Karoo of Cape Province and the southern part of the Orange Free State in South Africa. After Dutch settlement of South Africa began, the quagga was heavily hunted, and it competed with domesticated animals for forage. Some specimens were taken to European zoos (one pictured in London Zoo, 1870), but breeding programmes were not successful. It was extinct in the wild by 1878, and the last quagga died in Amsterdam on 12 August 1883. The quagga was the first extinct animal to have its DNA analysed, and the Quagga Project is trying to recreate its pelage characteristics by selectively breeding Burchell's zebras. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Hurricane John (1994) – Uruguayan War – Profumo affair


August 13
The main tunnel entrance of the Ramsgate Tunnels at the official reopening in 2014

The Tunnel Railway was a narrow gauge underground railway in Ramsgate, Kent, England. Following the restructuring of railway lines in Ramsgate in 1926 a section of main line between Broadstairs and Ramsgate Harbour including a tunnel was abandoned. In 1936 a narrow gauge railway was opened in the disused tunnel to connect tourist attractions and shops near Ramsgate harbour with the new railway main line at Dumpton Park. Except for its two stations—one at each end of the tunnel—the line ran entirely underground. The line was built in less than three months, and on its completion in 1936 was one of the shortest independent railway lines in the country. It was open for only three years before being converted to a major air-raid shelter during World War II. After the war's end, it was not included in the 1948 nationalisation of British railways but remained in private hands. Passenger numbers fell during the 1960s, and the line became economically nonviable. Following a train crash in 1965, the owners decided to close at the end of September that year. The tunnel still exists (pictured), but no trace of the stations remains. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Quagga – Hurricane John (1994) – Uruguayan War


August 14
Xeromphalina setulipes

Xeromphalina setulipes is a species of Mycenaceae fungus. First collected in 2005, it was described and named in 2010 by Fernando Esteve-Raventós and Gabriel Moreno, and is known only from oak forests in Ciudad Real Province, Spain. The species produces mushrooms with dark reddish-brown caps up to 15 millimetres (0.59 in) across, dark purplish-brown stems up to 45 millimetres (1.8 in) in height and distinctive, arched, brown gills. The mushrooms were found growing directly from the acidic soil of the forest floor, surrounded by plant waste, during November. Morphologically, the dark colour of the gills and stem, lack of a strong taste, and characters of the cystidia (large cells found on the mushrooms) are the most distinguishing characteristics of X. setulipes. These features allow the species to be readily distinguished from other, similar species. Its ecology and habitat are also distinct, but it is unclear whether they can serve as certain identifying characteristics. According to Esteve-Raventós and colleagues, further analysis is required to accurately judge the relationships between the species of Xeromphalina. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Tunnel Railway – Quagga – Hurricane John (1994)


August 15

Marshall Applewhite (1931–1997) was an American religious leader who founded the Heaven's Gate religious group and organized their mass suicide in 1997. It was the largest mass suicide in the United States. Applewhite and his friend Bonnie Nettles discussed mysticism at length and concluded that they were divine messengers. They traveled around the U.S., gaining a group of committed followers, who were told that extraterrestrials would provide them with new bodies. Applewhite initially stated that they would physically ascend to a spaceship, where their bodies would be transformed, but later believed that their souls would be placed into new bodies. In 1985, Nettles died, leaving Applewhite distraught and challenging his views on physical ascension. In 1996, they learned of the approach of Comet Hale–Bopp and rumors of an accompanying spaceship. Believing that their souls would ascend to the spaceship and be given new bodies, all the group members killed themselves in their mansion. Some commentators attributed his followers' willingness to commit suicide to his skill as a manipulator, while others argued that their willingness was due to their faith in the narrative that he constructed. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Xeromphalina setulipes – Tunnel Railway – Quagga


August 16
Villa Park

Aston Villa Football Club are an English professional association football club based in Witton, Birmingham. Founded in 1874, the club have played at their current home ground, Villa Park (pictured), since 1897. Aston Villa were founder members of The Football League in 1888. They were also founder members of the Premier League in 1992, and have remained there ever since. Aston Villa are one of the oldest and most successful football clubs in the history of English football. Villa won the 1981–82 European Cup, and are thus one of five English clubs to win what is now the UEFA Champions League. They have the fourth highest total of major honours won by an English club, having won the First Division Championship seven times (most recently in the 1980–81 season), the FA Cup seven times (last won in 1957), the Football League Cup five times (last won in 1996) and the UEFA Super Cup in 1982. The club's traditional kit colours are claret shirts with sky blue sleeves, white shorts and sky blue socks. Their traditional badge is of a rampant gold lion on a light blue background with the club's motto "Prepared" underneath; a modified version of this was adopted in 2007. (Full article...)

Part of the Aston Villa F.C. series, one of Wikipedia's featured topics.

Recently featured: Marshall Applewhite – Xeromphalina setulipes – Tunnel Railway


August 17
Leslie Groves

Leslie Groves (1896–1970) was a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officer who oversaw the construction of the Pentagon and directed the Manhattan Project that developed the atomic bomb. After joining the Corps of Engineers and assisting with projects in Nicaragua, he was posted to the War Department General Staff. In 1940, he became special assistant for construction to the Quartermaster General. He was given responsibility in 1941 for the gigantic office complex to house the War Department's 40,000 staff which would ultimately become the Pentagon. In September 1942, Groves took charge of the Manhattan Project and was involved in most aspects of the atomic bomb's development, including the acquisition of raw materials and selection of target cities in Japan. He remained in charge of the project until the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission assumed responsibility for nuclear weapons production in 1947. He then headed the Armed Forces Special Weapons Project, created to control the military aspects of nuclear weapons. He was promoted to lieutenant general just before his retirement in 1948 in recognition of his leadership of the bomb program, and later became a vice-president at Sperry Rand. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Aston Villa F.C. – Marshall Applewhite – Xeromphalina setulipes


August 18
David Lynch

"Episode 2" is the third episode of the first season of the American mystery television series Twin Peaks. The episode was written by series creators David Lynch (pictured) and Mark Frost, and directed by Lynch. Twin Peaks centers on the investigation into the murder of schoolgirl Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee), in the small rural town in Washington state after which the series is named. In this episode, FBI agent Dale Cooper (played by Kyle MacLachlan) tells Sheriff Truman (Michael Ontkean) and his deputies about a unique method of narrowing down the suspects in Palmer's death. Meanwhile, Cooper's cynical colleague Albert Rosenfield (Miguel Ferrer) arrives in town, and Cooper has a strange dream that elevates the murder investigation to a new level. "Episode 2" was first broadcast on April 19, 1990, and was watched by an audience of 19.2 million US households. It is regarded by critics as a ground-breaking television episode and has influenced, and been parodied by, several television series. Academic readings of the episode have highlighted its depiction of heuristic, a priori knowledge, and the sexual undertones of several characters' actions. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Leslie Groves – Aston Villa F.C. – Marshall Applewhite


August 19
Cyclura nubila

Cyclura nubila, also known as the Cuban iguana, is a species of lizard of the iguana family. It is the largest of the West Indian rock iguanas, one of the most endangered groups of lizards. This herbivorous species with red eyes, a thick tail, and spiked jowls is one of the largest lizards in the Caribbean. The Cuban iguana is distributed throughout the rocky southern coastal areas of mainland Cuba and its surrounding islets with a feral population thriving on Isla Magueyes, Puerto Rico. It is also found on the Cayman Islands of Little Cayman and Cayman Brac, where a separate subspecies occurs. Females guard their nest sites and often nest in sites excavated by Cuban crocodiles. As a defense measure, the Cuban iguana often makes its home within or near prickly-pear cacti. Although the wild population is in decline because of predation by feral animals and habitat loss caused by human agricultural development, its numbers have been bolstered as a result of captive-breeding and other conservation programs. Cyclura nubila has been used to study evolution and animal communication, and its captive-breeding program has been a model for other endangered lizards in the Caribbean. (Full article...)

Recently featured: "Episode 2" (Twin Peaks) – Leslie Groves – Aston Villa F.C.


August 20
Screenshot of Thirty Flights of Loving

Thirty Flights of Loving is a first-person adventure video game developed by Brendon Chung's video game studio, Blendo Games. It was released in August 2012 for Microsoft Windows and in November 2012 for OS X. The game employs a modified version of id Software's id Tech 2 engine—originally used for Quake II—and incorporates music composed by Idle Thumbs member Chris Remo. An indirect sequel to Gravity Bone (2008), it features the same main character, an unnamed spy controlled by the player. The game follows the spy and two other people as they prepare for an alcohol heist and then deal with the aftermath of the failed operation. Unlike Gravity Bone, Thirty Flights of Loving employs non-linear storytelling, forcing the player to piece together the narrative. Thirty Flights of Loving was developed as part of the Kickstarter campaign for the revival of the Idle Thumbs podcast and includes a free copy of Gravity Bone. Thirty Flights of Loving received generally favorable reviews from video game journalists, scoring 88 out of 100 on the review aggregator Metacritic. A follow-up, Quadrilateral Cowboy, is scheduled for release in 2014. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Cyclura nubila – "Episode 2" (Twin Peaks) – Leslie Groves


August 21
X-ray of a hoof showing stacks and nails

The Horse Protection Act of 1970 is a United States federal law, under which the practice of soring is a crime punishable by both civil and criminal penalties. Soring is the practice of applying irritants (including objects such as nails, example pictured) or blistering agents to the front feet or forelegs of a horse, making it pick its feet up higher in an exaggerated manner that creates the "action" desired in the show ring, giving practitioners an unfair advantage over other competitors. The Act makes it illegal to show a horse or enter it at a horse show, to auction, sell, offer for sale, or transport a horse for any of these purposes if it has been sored. It is enforced by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, a branch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Violations are detected by observation, palpation and gas chromatography/mass spectrometry to identify chemicals on horses' legs. Certain training techniques and topical anesthetics can be used to avoid detection by the first two methods. In 2013, an amendment to the Act was proposed in the U.S. House of Representatives to toughen penalties and outlaw "stacks", or layers of pads attached to the front hooves. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Thirty Flights of Loving – Cyclura nubila – "Episode 2" (Twin Peaks)


August 22
One of the two surviving complete manuscripts of Liber Eliensis

The Liber Eliensis ("Book of Ely") is a 12th-century English chronicle and history, written in Latin. Composed in three books, it was written at Ely Abbey on the island of Ely in the fenlands of eastern Cambridgeshire. Ely Abbey became the cathedral of a newly formed bishopric in 1109. The Liber covers the period from the founding of the abbey in 673 until the middle of the 12th century, building on a number of earlier historical works. It incorporates documents and stories of saints' lives and is a typical example of a kind of local history produced during the latter part of the 12th century. The longest of the contemporary local histories, it describes the devastation caused by the disorders during the reign of King Stephen, as well as the career of Nigel (Bishop of Ely 1133–69) and his disputes with the king. The two surviving complete manuscripts of the work are complemented by a number of partial manuscripts. A printed version of the Latin text appeared in 1963 and an English translation was published in 2005. The Liber Eliensis is an important source of historical information for the region and period it covers, and particularly for the abbey and bishopric of Ely. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Horse Protection Act of 1970 – Thirty Flights of Loving – Cyclura nubila


August 23
John Sherman Cooper

John Sherman Cooper (1901–1991) was an American politician, jurist, and diplomat. He began his political career in the Kentucky House of Representatives (1927–29) before being elected as a county judge in 1930. After serving in the U.S. Army in World War II and reorganizing the Bavarian judicial system after Germany's defeat, he was a Kentucky circuit judge before winning election to the U.S. Senate in 1946. He was defeated in the 1948 election, but re-elected to partial terms in 1952 and 1956, serving as Ambassador to India in between. He was re-elected to the Senate in 1960 and 1966 by record margins for Kentucky. President John F. Kennedy chose Cooper to conduct a secret fact-finding mission to Moscow and New Delhi. Following Kennedy's assassination in November 1963, President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed Cooper to the Warren Commission to investigate the assassination. Cooper soon became an outspoken opponent of Johnson's decision to escalate U.S. military involvement in the Vietnam War. Aging and increasingly deaf, Cooper did not seek re-election in 1972. His last acts of public service were as Ambassador to East Germany from 1974 to 1976 and as an alternate delegate to the United Nations in 1981. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Liber Eliensis – Horse Protection Act of 1970 – Thirty Flights of Loving


August 24
Jason and Brandon Trost

The FP is a 2011 American independent comedy film written and directed by brothers Brandon (pictured right) and Jason Trost (pictured left). The film focuses on two gangs—the 248 and the 245—that are fighting for control of Frazier Park (The FP). The gangs settle their disputes by playing Beat-Beat Revelation, a video game similar to Dance Dance Revolution. Gang member JTRO (Jason Trost) undergoes training to defeat L Dubba E (Lee Valmassy), the leader of a rival gang. Jason Trost conceived The FP when he was 16 years old, and developed it into a short film. He was then encouraged to make a feature-length version. Ron Trost—Brandon and Jason Trost's father—served as special effects supervisor and executive producer of the film, and his property was the primary filming location. The full-length version of The FP premiered at South by Southwest on March 13, 2011, and received positive reviews. After its screening at the Fantasia Festival on July 30 that year, Drafthouse Films acquired the film for distribution. It had a limited release and received mixed reviews, failing to recoup its production budget. (Full article...)

Recently featured: John Sherman Cooper – Liber Eliensis – Horse Protection Act of 1970


August 25
Francis Marrash

Francis Marrash (1836–1873) was a Syrian writer and poet of the Nahda movement—the Arabic renaissance—and a physician. Most of his works revolve around science, history and religion, analysed under an epistemological light. He travelled through the Middle East and France in his youth, and after some medical training and a year of practice in his native Aleppo, during which he wrote several works, he enrolled in a medical school in Paris. Declining health and growing blindness forced his return to Aleppo, where he produced more literary works until his early death. Middle Eastern historian Matti Moosa considered Marrash to be the first truly cosmopolitan Arab intellectual and writer of modern times. Marrash adhered to the principles of the French Revolution and defended them in his own works, implicitly criticising Ottoman rule in the Middle East. He was also influential in introducing French romanticism in the Arab world, especially through his use of poetic prose and prose poetry, of which his writings were the first examples in modern Arabic literature. He has had a lasting influence on contemporary Arab thought and on the Mahjari poets. (Full article...)

Recently featured: The FP – John Sherman Cooper – Liber Eliensis


August 26
Thelonious Monk

Misterioso is a live album by American jazz ensemble the Thelonious Monk Quartet, released in 1958 by Riverside Records. Pianist and composer Thelonious Monk (pictured) had overcome an extended period of career difficulties by the time of his 1957 residency at the Five Spot Café in New York City. He returned to the venue the following year for a second residency and recorded Misterioso with drummer Roy Haynes, bassist Ahmed Abdul-Malik, and tenor saxophonist Johnny Griffin. Misterioso and its title track refer to Monk's reputation as an enigmatic, challenging musician. The album features four of his earlier compositions, which Monk reworked live. It was one of the first successful live recordings of his music and was produced by Orrin Keepnews, who said that Monk played more distinctly than on his studio albums in response to the audience's enthusiasm. Music critics at the time complimented Monk's performance, but were critical of Griffin, whose playing they felt was out of place with the quartet. Later critics have viewed Griffin's playing as a highlight. The album was remastered and reissued in 1989 and 2012 by Original Jazz Classics. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Francis Marrash – The FP – John Sherman Cooper


August 27
Rivadavia at speed, c. 1914–15

ARA Rivadavia was an Argentine battleship, the lead ship of its class, constructed during the South American dreadnought race. When the Brazilian government placed an order for two powerful new "dreadnought"-type warships in 1907, the Argentines moved quickly to acquire their own. After an extended bidding process, contracts to build Rivadavia and Moreno (its only sister ship) were given to the Fore River Shipbuilding Company. Given the tense international climate that soon broke out into the First World War, the Argentine government received several offers for the ships. This dovetailed with a legislative movement that aimed to sell the ships and devote the proceeds to improving the country's educational system. These efforts were defeated, and Rivadavia was commissioned into the Argentine Navy on 27 August 1914, one hundred years ago. Both Argentine dreadnoughts underwent extensive refits in the United States in 1924–25, and saw no active duty during the Second World War. Rivadavia '​s last cruise was in 1946. The ship was sold for scrapping in 1957 and broken up two years later. (Full article...)

Part of the South American dreadnought race and the Rivadavia-class battleships series, two of Wikipedia's featured topics.

Recently featured: Misterioso (Thelonious Monk album) – Francis Marrash – The FP


August 28
Creek Turnpike shield

The Creek Turnpike is a 33.22-mile-long (53.46 km) freeway-standard toll road that lies entirely in the U.S. state of Oklahoma. The turnpike forms a partial beltway around the south and east sides of Tulsa, Oklahoma's second largest city. The western terminus is at the Turner Turnpike in Sapulpa, while the northeastern terminus is at the Will Rogers Turnpike in Fair Oaks; both ends of the Creek Turnpike connect with Interstate 44 (I-44). Along the way, the highway passes through the cities of Sapulpa, Jenks, Tulsa, and Broken Arrow, and the counties of Creek, Tulsa, Wagoner and Rogers. The first section of the Creek Turnpike, from US-75 in Jenks to US-64/US-169 in Tulsa, was first authorized in 1987. Its construction was controversial. Homeowners along the route of the highway formed a group called Tulsans Against Turnpikes to fight the highway in both the courtroom and the media, and the highway was also challenged on environmental grounds. Nevertheless, the highway opened to traffic in the first half of 1992. Further extensions to both the east and the west followed in later years after several years of false starts under the administrations of two different governors. (Full article...)

Recently featured: ARA Rivadavia – Misterioso (Thelonious Monk album) – Francis Marrash


August 29
The scoreboard at Michigan Stadium, showing the final result of the game

The 2007 Appalachian State vs. Michigan football game was a regular season college football game between the Appalachian State Mountaineers and Michigan Wolverines. The Wolverines were ranked No. 5 in the upper-tier Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), while the Mountaineers were ranked No. 1 in the second-tier Football Championship Subdivision (FCS), of which they were the defending champions. Games between FBS and FCS teams typically result in lopsided victories for the FBS team, and the game was not expected to be an exception. However, in an upset hailed as one of the greatest in college football history, the Mountaineers won 34–32 (scoreboard pictured), blocking a potentially game-winning field goal attempt by Michigan in the waning seconds to secure their win. The Mountaineers became the first FCS team to defeat a ranked FBS team, while the Wolverines became the first top-five team to drop out of the top 25 of the AP Poll as the result of a single game. The game received a large amount of coverage in American sports media, and both teams went on to have successful seasons, with Appalachian State winning the FCS championship and Michigan winning a bowl game. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Creek Turnpike – ARA Rivadavia – Misterioso (Thelonious Monk album)


August 30
Clackline Bridge

Clackline Bridge is a road bridge in Clackline, Western Australia, 77 kilometres (48 mi) east of Perth, that carried Great Eastern Highway until 2008. It is the only bridge in Western Australia to have spanned both a waterway and railway, the Clackline Brook and the former Eastern Railway alignment. The mainly timber bridge has a unique curved and sloped design, due to the difficult topography and the route of the former railway. The bridge was designed in 1934 to replace two dangerous rail crossings and a rudimentary water crossing. Construction began in January 1935, and the opening ceremony was held on 30 August 1935. The bridge was still a safety hazard, with increasing severity and numbers of accidents in the 1970s and 1980s. Planning for a highway bypass of Clackline and the Clackline Bridge began in the 1990s, and was constructed between January 2007 and February 2008. The local community had been concerned that the historic bridge would be lost, but it remains part of the local road network, and has been listed on both the Northam Municipal Heritage Inventory and the Heritage Council of Western Australia's Register of Heritage Places. (Full article...)

Recently featured: 2007 Appalachian State vs. Michigan football game – Creek Turnpike – ARA Rivadavia


August 31
Liberty wearing a Native American headdress

The Indian Head eagle was an American ten-dollar gold piece, or eagle, produced from 1907 until 1916, and then irregularly until 1933. Beginning in 1904, President Theodore Roosevelt proposed the introduction of more artistic designs on US coins, prompting the Mint to hire the sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens to create them. Roosevelt chose a design for the obverse of the eagle (pictured) that the sculptor had meant to use for the cent, and for its reverse he selected a design featuring a standing bald eagle, which had been developed for the twenty-dollar piece designed by Saint-Gaudens. Following the sculptor's death on August 3, 1907, Roosevelt insisted that the new eagle be finished and struck that month, and new pieces were given to the President on August 31. The omission of the motto "In God We Trust" on the new coins caused public outrage, and prompted Congress to pass a bill mandating its inclusion. The Indian Head eagle was struck regularly until 1916, and then intermittently until President Franklin Roosevelt directed the Mint to stop producing gold coins in 1933; many were later melted down. Its termination ended the series of eagles struck for circulation begun in 1795. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Clackline Bridge – 2007 Appalachian State vs. Michigan football game – Creek Turnpike