Wikipedia:Today's featured article/February 2014

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February 1
Thomas Truxton

On 1 February 1800, a battle took place between the American frigate USS Constellation and the French frigate La Vengeance, ending in the American ship forcing her French opponent to flee. The Quasi-War (an undeclared war) had begun between the two countries in 1798 due to French seizures of American merchantmen. As part of an effort to deter French attacks, an American naval squadron was dispatched to the Lesser Antilles under Commodore Thomas Truxton (pictured). Learning that regular French naval forces were in the region, Truxton set out in his flagship Constellation and sailed to Guadeloupe to engage them. On 1 February 1800, while nearing the French colony, Constellation met François Marie Pitot's frigate La Vengeance. Although Pitot attempted to flee, his frigate was drawn into a heavy engagement. The French frigate struck her colors (surrendered) twice but Constellation was unable to take her as a prize. Eventually La Vengeance escaped to Curaçao, though only after sustaining severe casualties and damage. Truxton's ship also suffered heavy damage and was forced to sail to Jamaica for repairs before returning home to a hero's welcome. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Jin campaigns against the Song Dynasty – Lemurs of Madagascar (book) – Interstate 70 in West Virginia


February 2
Charlie Chaplin as the Tramp

Charlie Chaplin (1889–1977) was a British comic actor, filmmaker, and composer who rose to fame in the silent era. Chaplin became a worldwide icon through his screen persona "the Tramp" and is considered one of the most important figures of the film industry. His first screen appearance came in February 1914, after which he produced the popular features The Kid (1921), The Gold Rush (1925), and The Circus (1928). Chaplin refused to move to sound films in the 1930s, instead producing City Lights (1931) and Modern Times (1936) without dialogue. He became increasingly political and his next film, The Great Dictator (1940), satirised Adolf Hitler. The 1940s was a decade marked with controversy for Chaplin, and his popularity declined rapidly. Accused of communist sympathies, he was forced to leave the United States. The Tramp was abandoned in his later films, which include Monsieur Verdoux (1947), Limelight (1952), and A King in New York (1957). Chaplin wrote, directed, produced, edited, starred in, and composed the music for most of his films. His work is characterised by slapstick combined with pathos, and continues to be held in high regard. (Full article...)

Recently featured: USS Constellation vs La Vengeance – Jin campaigns against the Song Dynasty – Lemurs of Madagascar (book)


February 3
The cover of Faber & Gwyer's first edition, published in 1928

"A Song for Simeon" is a 37-line poem written in 1928 by American-British poet T. S. Eliot (1888–1965). It is one of five poems that he contributed to the Ariel poems series of 38 illustrated pamphlets with holiday themes by several authors published by Faber and Gwyer and sent to the firm's clients and business acquaintances as Christmas greetings. Eliot had converted to Anglo-Catholicism in 1927 and his poetry, starting with the Ariel Poems (1927–31) and "Ash Wednesday" (1930), took on a decidedly religious character. The poem retells the story of Simeon from the Gospel of Luke. Simeon was a devout Jew told by the Holy Ghost that he would not die until he saw the Saviour of Israel. When he encounters Mary, Joseph and the infant Jesus entering the Temple of Jerusalem, he sees in the infant the Messiah promised by the Lord and asks God to permit him to "depart in peace." Eliot's poem employs references to the Nunc dimittis, a Christian liturgical prayer for Compline, and literary allusions to earlier writers Lancelot Andrewes, Dante Alighieri and St. John of the Cross. Critics have debated whether Eliot's depiction of Simeon is evidence of anti-Semitism on the poet's part. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Charlie Chaplin – USS Constellation vs La Vengeance – Jin campaigns against the Song Dynasty


February 4
Janet Jackson

Control is the third studio album by American recording artist Janet Jackson (pictured in 2008) and was released on February 4, 1986. Her collaborations with songwriters and record producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis resulted in an unconventional sound that established Jackson, Jam and Lewis as the leading innovators of contemporary R&B. The album's lyrics reflect a series of changes in her life, including the annulment of her marriage to R&B singer James DeBarge and severing her business affairs from her father and manager Joseph and the rest of the Jackson family. The album has been praised by critics as both an artistic feat and as a personal testament of self-actualization. Control is widely regarded as the breakthrough album of Jackson's career. It became her first album to top the Billboard 200 and five of its commercial singles, including "What Have You Done for Me Lately", peaked within the top five of the Billboard Hot 100. The album received several accolades, including a nomination for the Grammy Award for Album of the Year, and has sold over fourteen million copies worldwide. (Full article...)

Recently featured: "A Song for Simeon" – Charlie Chaplin – USS Constellation vs La Vengeance


February 5
Intel's Ronler Acres Campus in Hillsboro, Oregon

Hillsboro is an American city of 95,000 people in the Portland metropolitan area of Oregon. It is the fifth-largest city in the state and serves as the county seat of Washington County. Located in the Tualatin Valley on the west side of Portland, Hillsboro is home to many high-technology companies, such as Intel (one campus pictured) and TriQuint, which compose what has become known as the Silicon Forest. Other important sectors to the economy are health care, retail, and agriculture (including grapes and local wineries). The area was inhabited by the Atfalati tribe of the Kalapuya people prior to the arrival of European-American settlers. Hillsboro was settled in 1842 and is named after David Hill, an Oregon politician and one of the first settlers. A railroad reached the area in the early 1870s and the city incorporated on October 19, 1876. Hillsboro has a council–manager government consisting of a city manager and a seven-person city council headed by a mayor. The city operates more than twenty parks along with Hillsboro Stadium and Hillsboro Ballpark, home to Minor League Baseball's Hillsboro Hops. Nine sites in the city are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Control (Janet Jackson album) – "A Song for Simeon" – Charlie Chaplin


February 6
The original Oslo flag used in the 1952 Winter Olympics

The 1952 Winter Olympics took place in Oslo, Norway, from 14 to 25 February. All of the venues for the games were located in Oslo's metropolitan area with the exception of the alpine skiing events, which were held at Norefjell, 113 km (70 mi) away. A new hotel was built for the press and dignitaries, along with three dormitories to house athletes and coaches, creating the first modern Olympic Village. The games attracted 694 athletes representing 30 countries, who participated in four sports and 22 events. There was one demonstration sport, bandy, in which three Nordic countries competed. Women were allowed to compete in cross-country skiing for the first time. Portugal and New Zealand competed at their first Winter Olympics, and Japan and Germany competed for the first time since World War II. Norway won the overall medal count with sixteen medals, seven of which were gold. Hjalmar Andersen from Norway was the most decorated athlete with three gold medals for speed skating. The games closed with the presentation of a flag (pictured) by the city of Oslo to the International Olympic Committee. The "Oslo Flag" has been displayed in the host city during each subsequent winter games. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Hillsboro, Oregon – Control (Janet Jackson album) – "A Song for Simeon"


February 7

Hattie Jacques (1922–1980) was an English comedy actress of stage, radio and screen, known to a world-wide audience through her portrayals of strict, no-nonsense characters in 14 of the Carry On films. She started her career on stage at the Players' Theatre, London, before progressing onto radio, where she appeared in three popular BBC series, It's That Man Again, Educating Archie and Hancock's Half Hour. Her cinematic debut—in Green for Danger—was brief and uncredited, but she grew to have a prolific screen career. Jacques developed a long professional stage and television partnership with Eric Sykes, with whom she co-starred in the long-running series Sykes and Sykes and a.... The role endeared her to the public and the two became staples of British television. Her private life was turbulent: she was married to the actor John Le Mesurier from 1949 until their divorce in 1965, a separation caused by her five-year affair with another man. Jacques, who had been overweight since her teenage years, suffered ill-health soon after the separation from Le Mesurier. She died in 1980 of a heart attack. (Full article...)

Recently featured: 1952 Winter Olympics – Hillsboro, Oregon – Control (Janet Jackson album)


February 8
Gertie the Dinosaur cries when scolded by her master.

Gertie the Dinosaur (1914) is an animated short film by American cartoonist Winsor McCay (c. 1867–1934). He first used the film before live audiences as an interactive part of his vaudeville act: the frisky, childlike Gertie did tricks at the command of her master. His employer, newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, later curtailed McCay's vaudeville activities, so McCay added a live-action introductory sequence to the film for its theatrical release. Gertie was the first film to use animation techniques such as keyframes, registration marks, tracing paper, the Mutoscope action viewer, and animation loops. Although Gertie is popularly thought to be the earliest animated film, it was McCay's third, and his earlier films were preceded by animation made at least as far back as J. Stuart Blackton's 1900 film The Enchanted Drawing. Gertie influenced the next generation of animators, including the Fleischer brothers, Otto Messmer, Paul Terry, and Walt Disney. McCay abandoned a sequel, Gertie on Tour (c. 1921), after producing about a minute of footage. Gertie is the best preserved of his films—others are lost or in fragments—and has been preserved in the US National Film Registry. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Hattie Jacques – 1952 Winter Olympics – Hillsboro, Oregon


February 9
Boulonnais horse

The Boulonnais is a heavy draft horse breed from France. It is known for its large but elegant appearance and is usually gray, although chestnut and black are also allowed by the French breed registry. Its origins trace to a period before the Crusades; Spanish Barb, Arabian and Andalusian blood were added during the 17th century to create the modern type. Originally there were several sub-types, but they were crossbred until only one is seen today. The smallest type was used to pull carts of fresh fish from Boulogne to Paris, while the larger varieties performed heavy draft work on farms and in the cities. During the early 1900s, the Boulonnais were exported in large numbers to the United States. Wars in the 20th century nearly led to the breed's extinction, but it revived in France in the 1970s as a popular choice for horse meat. From an estimated population of over 600,000 in the early 1900s, there are thought to be fewer than 1,000 Boulonnais presently in Europe, mostly in France. Studies as early as 1983 indicated a danger of inbreeding within the Boulonnais population, and a 2009 report suggested that the breed should be a priority for conservation within France. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Gertie the Dinosaur – Hattie Jacques – 1952 Winter Olympics


February 10
Operation Kita

Operation Kita was conducted by the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) during the Pacific War in February 1945 to return both Ise-class hybrid battleship-aircraft carriers (Ise pictured) and their escorts to Japan from Singapore, where they had been based since November 1944. Before departing, the Japanese ships (designated the Completion Force) were loaded with oil and other raw materials to help bring supplies through the Allied blockade of Japan. The Completion Force sailed on 10 February 1945 and was sighted leaving port by a Royal Navy submarine. The Allies, who had learned of the Completion Force's composition and goals from decrypting Japanese radio signals, planned coordinated attacks by U.S. submarines and aircraft. All attempts failed and the Completion Force reached its destination of Kure, Japan, on 20 February without suffering any casualties. Due to the intensifying Allied blockade, the Ise-class ships and their escorts were among the last IJN warships to reach Japan safely from the Southwest Pacific. All the ships of the Completion Force were sunk in or near Japanese home waters before the end of the war. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Boulonnais horse – Gertie the Dinosaur – Hattie Jacques


February 11
Perseus

Perseus is a constellation in the northern sky named after the Greek mythological hero Perseus. It was one of 48 listed by the 2nd-century astronomer Ptolemy and is among the 88 modern constellations defined by the International Astronomical Union. It is located in the northern celestial hemisphere near several other constellations named after legends surrounding Perseus, including Andromeda and Cassiopeia. The galactic plane of the Milky Way passes through Perseus but is mostly obscured by molecular clouds. The constellation's brightest star is the yellow-white supergiant Alpha Persei, which shines at magnitude 1.79. It and many surrounding stars are members of the Alpha Persei Cluster. The best-known star is Algol, an eclipsing binary linked with ominous legends because of its variability, which is noticeable to the naked eye. Other notable features in Perseus include X Persei (a binary system containing a neutron star), GK Persei (a nova that peaked at magnitude 0.2 in 1901), the Double Cluster (comprised of two open clusters near each other in the sky), and the Perseus Cluster (a massive galaxy cluster). Perseus also hosts the radiant of the annual Perseids meteor shower. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Operation Kita – Boulonnais horse – Gertie the Dinosaur


February 12
Bill Russell

Bill Russell (born 1934) is an American retired professional basketball player, widely considered one of the best in National Basketball Association (NBA) history. Playing center for the Boston Celtics, he was the centerpiece of their dynasty and his shot-blocking and man-to-man defense were major reasons for the team's success. A five-time NBA Most Valuable Player and a twelve-time All-Star, he won 11 NBA championships during his 13-year career, and jointly holds the record for the most championships won by an athlete in a North American sports league. He led the NBA in rebounds four times, and remains second all-time in both total rebounds and rebounds per game. Russell was the first African American player to achieve superstar status in the NBA and the first African American NBA coach. For his accomplishments in the Civil Rights Movement on and off the court, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011. Russell is a member of three basketball Halls of Fame (Naismith Memorial, National Collegiate, and FIBA) and the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award is named in his honor. He also won a 1956 Olympics gold medal as captain of the U.S. national basketball team. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Perseus (constellation) – Operation Kita – Boulonnais horse


February 13
Mary Shelley

Rambles in Germany and Italy is a travel narrative by the British Romantic author Mary Shelley (pictured). Issued in 1844, it describes two European trips that she took with her son and some of his friends. She had lived in Italy with her husband, Percy Bysshe Shelley, between 1818 and 1823 and it was associated with joy and grief: she had written much there but had also lost her husband and two children. Shelley presented her material from what she describes as "a political point of view", challenging the convention that it was improper for women to write about politics. Her aim was to arouse English sympathy for Italian revolutionaries, having associated herself with the "Young Italy" movement when in Paris on her second trip. Although Shelley herself thought the work "poor", it found favour with reviewers who praised its independence of thought, wit, and feeling, and her political commentary on Italy. However, for most of the 19th and 20th centuries, Shelley was usually known only for Frankenstein and her husband. Rambles was not reprinted until the rise of feminist literary criticism in the 1970s provoked a wider interest in her entire corpus. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Bill Russell – Perseus (constellation) – Operation Kita


February 14
Bismarck

Bismarck was the first of two Bismarck-class battleships built for the German Kriegsmarine. Named after Chancellor Otto von Bismarck, the primary force behind German unification in 1871, the ship was launched on 14 February 1939 and commissioned in August 1940. Bismarck and her sister ship Tirpitz were the largest battleships ever built by Germany, and two of the largest built by any European power. Bismarck conducted only one offensive operation, in May 1941. The ship, along with the heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen, was to raid Allied shipping from North America to Great Britain. The two ships were detected several times off Scandinavia, and British naval units were deployed to block them. At the Battle of the Denmark Strait, Bismarck destroyed the battlecruiser HMS Hood, the pride of the Royal Navy, and forced the battleship HMS Prince of Wales to retreat. After two days of relentless pursuit by the Royal Navy, she was attacked by torpedo bombers from the aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal and her steering gear was rendered inoperable. In her final battle the following morning, Bismarck was neutralised by a sustained bombardment, was scuttled by her crew, and sank with heavy loss of life. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Rambles in Germany and Italy – Bill Russell – Perseus (constellation)


February 15
Mark Hanna

Mark Hanna (1837–1904) was a Republican United States Senator from Ohio and the friend and political manager of President William McKinley. Born in New Lisbon (today Lisbon), Ohio, in 1837, he moved to Cleveland with his family in his teenage years and attended high school with John D. Rockefeller. Hanna made millions as a businessman by his 40th birthday, and turned his attention to politics. Despite Hanna's efforts on his behalf, Ohio Senator John Sherman failed to gain the Republican nomination for president in 1884 and 1888. With Sherman too old to be considered a contender, Hanna used his money and business skills to successfully manage McKinley's presidential campaign in 1896. Declining a Cabinet position, Hanna secured appointment as senator from Ohio after Sherman was made Secretary of State; the Ohio General Assembly re-elected Hanna in 1898 and 1904. He managed McKinley's successful re-election campaign in 1900. Savage cartoons by such illustrators as Homer Davenport lampooned him as McKinley's political master. After McKinley's assassination in 1901, Hanna worked for the building of a canal in Panama, rather than elsewhere in Central America. (Full article...)

Recently featured: German battleship Bismarck – Rambles in Germany and Italy – Bill Russell


February 16
Cabbage and cross section

Cabbage is a leafy green or purple biennial plant, grown as an annual vegetable crop for its dense-leaved heads. It is closely related to other cole crops, such as broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts. Cabbage heads generally range from 1 to 8 pounds (0.5 to 4 kg), and can be green, purple and white. Smooth-leafed firm-headed green cabbages are the most common, with smooth-leafed red and crinkle-leafed savoy cabbages of both colors seen more rarely. Although the exact history of cabbage is uncertain, it had become a prominent part of European cuisine by the Middle Ages. Cabbages are prepared in many different ways for eating. They can be pickled for dishes such as sauerkraut, steamed, stewed, sautéed, braised, or eaten raw. Cabbage is a good source of beta-carotene, vitamin C and fiber. Cabbage plants are prone to several nutrient deficiencies, as well as multiple pests, bacteria and fungal diseases. World production of cabbage and other brassicas for 2011 was almost 69 million metric tons (68 million long tons; 75 million short tons). Almost half of these crops were grown in China, where Chinese cabbage is the most popular Brassica vegetable. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Mark Hanna – German battleship Bismarck – Rambles in Germany and Italy


February 17
Daisuke Amaya

Cave Story is a freeware platform-adventure video game released in 2004 for the PC. It was developed over five years by Daisuke "Pixel" Amaya (pictured) in his free time. Cave Story features 2D platform mechanics and pays homage to the classic games that the author played in his youth, such as Metroid. The game focuses on an amnesiac protagonist who awakens in a cave. Through his explorations, he discovers a plot by the Doctor, a megalomaniac who intends to force the inhabitants of the cave to fight for him in his bid to conquer the world. The protagonist is thrust into the position of savior as he endeavours to defeat the Doctor. After its initial self-published release, Cave Story slowly gained popularity on the Internet. It received wide critical acclaim for its compelling story and gameplay. Independent developer Nicalis worked with Amaya to port the game to WiiWare and DSiWare in 2010. An enhanced version, Cave Story+, was released for Steam in November 2011, with a Nintendo 3DS release in October 2012. A 3D remake of the game, titled Cave Story 3D, was developed by Nicalis and published by NIS America for the Nintendo 3DS in November 2011. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Cabbage – Mark Hanna – German battleship Bismarck


February 18
Claudio Monteverdi

L'incoronazione di Poppea (The Coronation of Poppaea) is an Italian opera by Claudio Monteverdi (pictured), with a libretto by Giovanni Francesco Busenello. It was first performed during the 1643 carnival season in Venice. One of the first operas to use historical events and people, it describes how Poppaea, mistress of the Roman emperor Nero, achieves her ambition to be crowned empress. The opera was revived in 1651, but was then neglected until the score was rediscovered in 1888. Since the 1960s, the work has been performed and recorded many times. The original manuscript of the score does not exist; two surviving copies from the 1650s differ significantly. How much of the music is actually Monteverdi's is disputed. Details of the original cast are largely speculative, and there is no record of the opera's initial public reception. Despite these uncertainties, it is generally accepted as part of the Monteverdi operatic canon, his last and perhaps his greatest work. Written when the genre of opera was only a few decades old, the music for L'incoronazione di Poppea has been praised for its originality and melody, and it helped to redefine the boundaries of theatrical music. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Cave Story – Cabbage – Mark Hanna


February 19
Brabham BT19

The Brabham BT19 is a Formula One racing car designed by Ron Tauranac for the British Brabham team. The BT19 competed in the 1966 and 1967 Formula One World Championships and was used by Australian driver Jack Brabham to win his third World Championship in 1966. The BT19, which Brabham referred to as his "Old Nail", was the first car bearing its driver's name to win a World Championship race. The car was initially conceived in 1965 for a 1.5-litre (92-cubic inch) Coventry Climax engine, but never raced in this form. For the 1966 season the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile doubled the limit on engine capacity to 3 litres (183 cu in). Australian company Repco developed a new V8 engine for Brabham's use in 1966, but a disagreement between Brabham and Tauranac over the latter's role in the racing team left no time to develop a new car to handle it. Instead, the existing BT19 chassis was modified for the job. Only one BT19 was built. It was bought by Repco in 2004 and put on display in the National Sports Museum in Melbourne, Australia, in 2008. It is often demonstrated at motorsport events. (Full article...)

Recently featured: L'incoronazione di Poppea – Cave Story – Cabbage


February 20
Beys Afroyim and his son

Afroyim v. Rusk is a 1967 U.S. Supreme Court case which ruled that American citizens may not be deprived of citizenship involuntarily. The U.S. government tried to revoke the citizenship of Beys Afroyim (pictured with his son), who had voted in an Israeli election after becoming a naturalized American citizen, but the court decided that his right to retain his citizenship was guaranteed by the Citizenship Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. It overruled Perez v. Brownell (1958), in which it had upheld loss of citizenship under similar circumstances. Afroyim opened the way for a wider acceptance of multiple citizenship in American law. Its impact was narrowed by Rogers v. Bellei (1971), which held that the Fourteenth Amendment did not apply in all cases, but the specific law in that case was repealed in 1978. The Bancroft Treaties—a series of agreements between the United States and other nations which sought to limit dual citizenship—were abandoned after the Carter administration concluded that they had been rendered unenforceable. As a consequence of revised government policies adopted in 1990, it is now "virtually impossible" to lose American citizenship involuntarily. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Brabham BT19 – L'incoronazione di Poppea – Cave Story


February 21
Malcolm X

The Autobiography of Malcolm X (1965) was the result of a collaboration between the African-American Muslim minister and human rights activist Malcolm X and the journalist Alex Haley. Haley based it on a series of interviews between 1963 and Malcolm X's assassination on February 21, 1965. It is a spiritual conversion narrative outlining Malcolm X's philosophy of black pride, black nationalism, and pan-Africanism. While Malcolm X and scholars contemporary to the book's publication regarded Haley as the book's ghostwriter, modern scholars regard him as an essential collaborator who subsumed his authorial voice to allow readers to feel as though Malcolm X were speaking directly to them. Haley also influenced some of Malcolm X's literary choices and Haley's proactive censorship of antisemitic material significantly influenced the ideological tone of the Autobiography, increasing its popularity although distorting Malcolm X's public persona. A New York Times reviewer described it as a "brilliant, painful, important book" and Time named it in 1998 as one of ten "required reading" nonfiction books. A screenplay adaptation provided the source material for Spike Lee's 1992 film Malcolm X. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Afroyim v. Rusk – Brabham BT19 – L'incoronazione di Poppea


February 22
Tropical Depression Ten

Tropical Depression Ten was a short-lived tropical cyclone that made landfall on the Florida Panhandle of America in September 2007. The system developed as a subtropical depression on September 21 in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico from the interaction of a tropical wave, the tail end of a cold front, and an upper-level low. Initially containing a poorly defined circulation and intermittent thunderstorm activity, the system transitioned into a tropical depression after convection increased over the center. Tracking northwestward, the depression moved ashore near Fort Walton Beach early on September 22, before dissipating over southeastern Alabama. Initially the depression was forecast to move ashore as a minimal tropical storm, prompting state of emergency declarations in Mississippi and Louisiana. It was the first tropical cyclone to threaten the New Orleans area since Hurricane Katrina and the destructive 2005 hurricane season. Overall impact from the cyclone was minor and largely limited to light rainfall. However, the precursor system spawned a damaging tornado in Eustis, Florida, where 20 houses were destroyed and 30 more were damaged. (Full article...)

Recently featured: The Autobiography of Malcolm X – Afroyim v. Rusk – Brabham BT19


February 23
Jack Marsh

Jack Marsh (c. 1874 – 1916) was a first-class cricketer of Australian aboriginal descent whose career was curtailed by continual controversy surrounding the legality of his bowling action. Born into the Bundjalung people at Yulgilbar in New South Wales, he first made an impression as a professional runner before playing club cricket in Sydney. In a trial match against the New South Wales state team in 1900, he dismissed two Test cricketers but was called for throwing; he then bowled with his arm in splints to prove that his action was legitimate. Having topped the bowling averages in the local competition, Marsh was selected to make his debut in the Sheffield Shield. He made an immediate impression and led the first-class bowling averages for the season after three matches. He was no-balled in his second match and then seventeen times in his fourth match, leading to angry crowd demonstrations. Marsh only played in two more first-class matches and he was passed over for selection for Australia because of his action. Regarded as one of the outstanding talents of his era, his lack of opportunities has often been attributed to racial discrimination. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Tropical Depression Ten (2007) – The Autobiography of Malcolm X – Afroyim v. Rusk


February 24
Olga Constantinovna of Russia

Olga Constantinovna of Russia (1851–1926) was Queen of the Hellenes as the wife of King George I of Greece. A member of the Romanov dynasty, she married George in 1867 aged 16. At first, she felt ill at ease in the Kingdom of Greece, but she quickly became involved in social and charitable work, although her attempt to promote a new, more accessible, Greek translation of the Gospels sparked riots by religious conservatives. On the assassination of her husband in 1913, Olga returned to Russia. When the First World War broke out, she set up a military hospital in Pavlovsk Palace. She was trapped there after the Russian Revolution of 1917, until the intervention of the Danish embassy allowed her to escape to Switzerland. Olga could not return to Greece as her son, King Constantine I, had been deposed. In October 1920, she returned to Athens on the fatal illness of her grandson, King Alexander. After his death, she was appointed regent until the restoration of Constantine I the following month. The Greek royal family were again exiled after defeat in the Greco-Turkish War (1919–22) and Olga spent the last years of her life in the United Kingdom, France and Italy. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Jack Marsh – Tropical Depression Ten (2007) – The Autobiography of Malcolm X


February 25
Yul Brynner and Gertrude Lawrence

The King and I is a musical by the team of composer Richard Rodgers and dramatist Oscar Hammerstein II. It is based on the 1944 novel Anna and the King of Siam by Margaret Landon, which derives from the memoirs of Anna Leonowens, governess to the children of King Mongkut of Siam in the early 1860s. The musical relates the experiences of Anna, a British schoolteacher hired as part of the King's drive to modernize his country. Their relationship is marked by conflict through much of the piece, and a love that neither can admit. Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote the musical for veteran star Gertrude Lawrence. Rex Harrison, who played the King in the 1946 movie of Landon's book, was unavailable, so Yul Brynner was chosen. The musical premiered in March 1951 at Broadway's St. James Theatre and ran nearly three years. It was an immediate hit, winning Tony Awards for Best Musical and for Best Actress and Best Featured Actor for Lawrence and Brynner (pictured). A hit London run and U.S. national tour followed, together with a 1956 film for which Brynner won an Academy Award. Professional and amateur revivals of The King and I are staged regularly throughout the English-speaking world. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Olga Constantinovna of Russia – Jack Marsh – Tropical Depression Ten (2007)


February 26
John F. Bolt

John F. Bolt (1921–2004) was a United States Marine Corps aviator and a decorated flying ace who served during World War II and the Korean War. After dropping out of the University of Florida for financial reasons in 1941, he joined the Marine Corps at the height of World War II. Sent to the Pacific Theater of Operations, he flew an F4U Corsair during the campaigns in the Marshall Islands and New Guinea, claiming six victories against Japanese A6M Zeros. Bolt continued his service through the Korean War, entering combat through an exchange program with the U.S. Air Force in late 1952. Over a period of several weeks in mid-1953, he led flights of F-86 Sabres into combat with MiG-15s of the Chinese Air Force, scoring six victories during fights along the northern border of North Korea, commonly known as "MiG Alley," giving him a total of 12 career victories. Bolt stayed in the Marine Corps until 1962, rising to the rank of lieutenant colonel and serving as an analyst and instructor in his later career. In retirement, he qualified as a lawyer in Florida. He remains the only US Marine to achieve ace status in two wars and was also the only Marine jet fighter ace. (Full article...)

Recently featured: The King and I – Olga Constantinovna of Russia – Jack Marsh


February 27
Bruce Campbell

"Terms of Endearment" is the seventh episode of the sixth season of the American science fiction television series The X-Files, originally airing in January 1999. The show centers on FBI special agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) who work on cases linked to the paranormal called X-Files. In this episode, an unborn child is apparently abducted from its mother's womb by a demon after the prospective parents discover that their child has birth defects, leading Mulder and Scully to investigate. They discover that Wayne Weinsider (played by Bruce Campbell, pictured in 2011) is a child-abducting demon. The plot was criticized but Campbell, already well known as a cult film actor in several Sam Raimi horror movies, received positive comments for his performance. Critics have complimented the episode's unique representation of its antagonist, who has been classified as a sympathetic villain. Many of the episode's special effects were created without elaborate computer-generated effects. It earned a Nielsen rating of 10.5 and was watched by 18.7 million people on its initial broadcast. (Full article...)

Recently featured: John F. Bolt – The King and I – Olga Constantinovna of Russia


February 28
Starfish

There are about 1,500 living species of starfish to be found on the seabed in all the world's oceans, from the tropics to subzero polar waters and from the intertidal zone down to abyssal depths. Starfish are among the most familiar of marine invertebrates. They typically have a central disc and five or more arms. The upper surface may be smooth, granular or spiny, and is clad in overlapping plates. Many species are brightly coloured in shades of red or orange, while others are blue, grey or brown. Starfish have tube feet operated by a hydraulic system and a mouth at the centre of the lower surface. Most are voracious predators, either swallowing their prey whole or turning their stomachs inside out to engulf it. They have complex life cycles and can reproduce both sexually and asexually. Most can regenerate damaged parts and many can shed arms as a means of defence. Starfish such as the ochre sea star and the reef sea star have become widely known as examples of the keystone species concept in ecology. With their appealing symmetrical shape, starfish are found in literature, legend and popular culture. They are sometimes collected as curios, used in design or as logos, and in some cultures they are eaten. (Full article...)

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