Wikipedia:Today's featured article/January 2014

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January 1
Phoenix in Johann Doppelmayr's 1742 work Atlas Coelestis

Phoenix is a constellation in the southern sky that stretches from roughly −39° to −57° declination, and from 23.5h to 2.5h of right ascension. Named after the mythical phoenix, it was first depicted on a celestial atlas by Johann Bayer in his 1603 Uranometria. The French explorer and astronomer Nicolas Louis de Lacaille charted the brighter stars and gave their Bayer designations in 1756. The brightest star, Alpha Phoenicis, or Ankaa, is an orange giant of apparent magnitude 2.4. Nu Phoenicis has a dust disk, while the constellation boasts ten star systems with known planets, and HE0107-5240, possibly one of the oldest stars yet discovered. It has around 1/200,000 the metallicity that the Sun has and hence must have formed very early in the history of the universe. The recently discovered galaxy clusters El Gordo and the Phoenix Cluster—located 7.2 and 5.7 billion light years away respectively, are two of the largest objects in the visible universe. Phoenix is the radiant of two annual meteor showers: the Phoenicids in December, and the July Phoenicids. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Áedán mac Gabráin – T-26 tank – Robert Howe (Continental Army officer)

January 2
Rd Mochtar and Roekiah

Gagak Item (Indonesian for Black Raven) is a 1939 film from the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) written by Saeroen and directed by Joshua and Othniel Wong for Tan's Film. Starring long-time screen couple Rd Mochtar and Roekiah (pictured), with another role held by Eddy T. Effendi, the black-and-white film followed a masked bandit known only as "Gagak Item". The film was shot in rural Bogor (then known by the Dutch name Buitenzorg). It featured the cast and crew from the 1937 hit Terang Boelan, who were hired by Tan's so that the company could better imitate the earlier film's success. Gagak Item was part of the recovery of a domestic film industry which had been severely affected by the Great Depression; in 1939 four domestic productions were released in the Indies. Recorded as a commercial success and receiving positive reviews for its kroncong music and the leading actress' "demure" performance, the film was last shown sometime after 1951, and is now thought to be likely lost. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Phoenix (constellation) – Áedán mac Gabráin – T-26 tank

January 3

The false potto is a lorisoid primate of uncertain taxonomic status found in Africa. Anthropologist Jeffrey H. Schwartz named it in 1996 as the only species of the genus Pseudopotto on the basis of two skeletal specimens of uncertain provenance that had previously been identified as pottos. Schwartz thought the false potto could represent a separate family, but other researchers have argued that the supposed distinguishing features of the animal do not actually distinguish it from the potto; specifically, the false potto shares several features with West African pottos. The false potto generally resembles a small potto, but according to Schwartz it differs in having a longer tail, shorter spines on its neck and chest vertebrae, a smaller, less complex spine on the second neck vertebra, an entepicondylar foramen (an opening in the humerus, or upper arm bone), a lacrimal fossa (a depression in the skull) that is located inside the eye socket, a smaller upper third premolar and molar, and higher-crowned cheekteeth. However, many of these traits are variable among pottos; for example, one researcher found entepicondylar foramina in almost half of the specimens in his sample of pottos. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Gagak Item – Phoenix (constellation) – Áedán mac Gabráin

January 4
Trey Parker and Matt Stone

"Weight Gain 4000" is the second episode of the American animated television series South Park. In the episode, South Park residents excitedly prepare for a visit by celebrity Kathie Lee Gifford, whom teacher Mr. Garrison plans to assassinate because of a childhood grudge, and Cartman becomes extremely obese after buying a bodybuilding supplement called Weight Gain 4000. The episode was written and directed by Trey Parker and Matt Stone (pictured). After the pilot episode drew poor test audience results, Comedy Central requested a further script, and "Weight Gain 4000" helped the network decide to pick up the show. It was the first South Park episode created completely using computers rather than construction paper. Although some reviewers criticized the episode for its profanity and other material deemed offensive, others felt "Weight Gain 4000" was a significant improvement over the pilot, particularly for its satirical element regarding American consumerism. The show's portrayal of Kathie Lee Gifford was the first time a celebrity was spoofed in South Park. Cartman's line "Beefcake" became one of the most popular catchphrases from the series. (Full article...)

Recently featured: False potto – Gagak Item – Phoenix (constellation)

January 5
Deepika Padukone

Deepika Padukone (born 1986) is an Indian film actress and model. She has established a successful career in Hindi (Bollywood) films, and is cited in the media as one of the most popular and attractive Indian celebrities. She made her acting debut in 2006 as the titular character of the Kannada film Aishwarya. She then played dual roles in her first Bollywood release—the 2007 blockbuster Om Shanti Om—and won a Filmfare Award for Best Female Debut. Padukone received praise for portraying the lead female role in the 2009 romance Love Aaj Kal, but her performances in the 2008 romantic comedy Bachna Ae Haseeno and the 2010 comedy Housefull met with negative reviews. The 2012 box office hit Cocktail marked a significant turning point in her career, earning her critical acclaim and Best Actress nominations at several award ceremonies. In 2013, Padukone established herself as a leading actress of Hindi cinema by playing primary roles in the comedies Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani and Chennai Express (both of which rank among the highest-grossing Bollywood films of all time), and garnered critical acclaim for her role in the tragic romance Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram-Leela. (Full article...)

Recently featured: "Weight Gain 4000" – False potto – Gagak Item

January 6
Weather Machine

Weather Machine is a lumino-kinetic bronze sculpture in the U.S. city of Portland, Oregon, that serves as a weather beacon, displaying a daily weather prediction at noon. Designed and constructed at a cost of $60,000 by Omen Design Group Inc., the approximately 30-foot (9 m) tall sculpture was installed in 1988 in the northwest corner of Pioneer Courthouse Square. Two thousand people attended its dedication, which was broadcast live nationally from the square by Today weatherman Willard Scott. During its daily two-minute sequence, which includes a trumpet fanfare, mist and flashing lights, the machine displays one of three metal symbols as a prediction of the weather for the following 24-hour period: a sun for clear and sunny weather, a blue heron for drizzle and transitional weather, or a dragon and mist for rainy or stormy weather. The sculpture includes two bronze wind scoops and displays the temperature via vertical colored lights along its stem. The air quality index is also displayed by a light system below the stainless steel globe. Considered a tourist attraction, Weather Machine has been called "bizarre", "playful", "unique" and "wacky". (Full article...)

Recently featured: Deepika Padukone – "Weight Gain 4000" – False potto

January 7
Tropical Cyclone Rewa near its peak intensity

Cyclone Rewa affected six countries and killed 22 people on its 28-day journey across the South Pacific Ocean in December 1993 and January 1994. It developed from a tropical disturbance on 28 December while situated south of Nauru. Crossing from the South Pacific basin into the Australian region, the system strengthened steadily as it paralleled the eastern Australian coast. Rewa initially peaked in intensity as a Category 4 tropical cyclone on 2 January, then weakened and returned to the South Pacific basin. Rewa re-entered the Australian basin on 10 January and reintensified to Category 5 severe tropical cyclone status by 17 January. Rewa transitioned into an extratropical cyclone on 20 January, with its remnants bringing heavy rain to New Zealand. Nine people in a banana dinghy en route to Rossel Island were presumed drowned after wreckage from their boat was found. In Queensland, three people were killed in traffic accidents caused by the storm, and another fatality occurred when a boy became trapped in a storm pipe. One death took place in New Caledonia, while flooding caused eight drownings in Papua New Guinea. Following the storm, the name Rewa was retired. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Weather Machine – Deepika Padukone – "Weight Gain 4000"

January 8
Prince Albert Victor

Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale (1864–92), was a member of the British Royal Family. He was the eldest son of Albert Edward, Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII), and Alexandra, Princess of Wales (later Queen Alexandra), and the grandson of the reigning monarch, Queen Victoria. From the time of his birth, he was second in the line of succession to the throne, but never became king because he died before his father and his grandmother. He travelled the world extensively as a naval cadet and joined the army, but did not undertake any active military duties. After two unsuccessful courtships, he was engaged to be married to Mary of Teck in late 1891. Just a few weeks later, he died in an influenza pandemic. Mary later married his younger brother, George, who became King George V in 1910. Albert Victor's intellect, sexuality and mental health have been the subject of much speculation. Rumours in 1889 linked him with the Cleveland Street scandal, which involved a homosexual brothel, but there is no conclusive evidence verifying or disproving them. Some authors have argued that he was the serial killer known as Jack the Ripper but the claim is widely dismissed. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Cyclone Rewa – Weather Machine – Deepika Padukone

January 9
John Adair

John Adair (1757–1840) was an American pioneer, soldier, and statesman. He was the eighth Governor of Kentucky and represented the state in both the U.S. House and Senate. Adair participated in the Revolutionary War and the Northwest Indian War, and was elected to eight terms in the Kentucky House of Representatives. He ascended to the U.S. Senate to fill the seat vacated by John Breckinridge's resignation, but failed to win the subsequent election due to his implication in the Burr conspiracy. He was eventually acquitted of any wrongdoing, but the negative publicity kept him out of politics for more than a decade. Adair's participation in the War of 1812, and his defense of Kentucky's soldiers against charges of cowardice at the Battle of New Orleans, restored his reputation. He returned to the state House in 1817 and was elected governor three years later on a platform of financial relief for Kentuckians hit hard by the Panic of 1819. He created the Bank of the Commonwealth, but other financial reforms were deemed unconstitutional by the Kentucky Court of Appeals, touching off the Old Court – New Court controversy. He later served in the U.S. House of Representatives. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale – Cyclone Rewa – Weather Machine

January 10
Waveguide post filter with tuning screws

A waveguide filter is an electronic filter that is constructed in waveguide technology. Waveguides are hollow metal tubes inside which an electromagnetic wave may be transmitted. Filters are a basic component of electronic engineering designs and have numerous applications. Waveguide filters are most useful in the microwave band of frequencies, where they are a convenient size and have low loss. Examples are found in satellite communications, telephone networks, and television broadcasting. Waveguide filters were developed during World War II for radar and electronic countermeasures, but afterwards soon found civilian applications. Post-war development was concerned with reducing size, first with new analysis techniques that eliminated unnecessary components, then by innovations such as dual-mode cavities and ceramic resonators. Waveguides can support a variety of electromagnetic wave modes: both a disadvantage, spurious modes frequently cause problems, and an advantage; dual-mode designs can be much smaller. The chief advantages of waveguide filters are ability to handle high power and low loss. The chief disadvantages are bulk and cost compared to technologies like microstrip. (Full article...)

Recently featured: John Adair – Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale – Cyclone Rewa

January 11
The Marquis of Paraná

Honório Hermeto Carneiro Leão, Marquis of Paraná (1801–56) was a politician of the Empire of Brazil, widely regarded by historians as one of the most influential statesmen of his time. He was elected in 1830 to represent Minas Gerais in the Chamber of Deputies. After Pedro I abdicated in 1831, the regency created to govern Brazil during the minority of Pedro II soon dissolved into chaos. Paraná formed a political party in 1837, and he and his party provided a stalwart defence of constitutional order. As president of Rio de Janeiro Province, he helped put down a rebellion headed by the opposition Liberal Party. In 1843, he became the de facto first president of the Council of Ministers, but resigned after a quarrel with the Emperor. After years in opposition, in 1849, Paraná was appointed as president of Pernambuco Province and then helped to forge an successful alliance in 1851 with Uruguay against the Argentine Confederation. In 1853 Paraná was again appointed president of the Council of Ministers. His electoral reforms caused severe harm to the system of parliamentary government and led to a virtual split in his party. He died unexpectedly while still in office. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Waveguide filter – John Adair – Prince Albert Victor, Duke of Clarence and Avondale

January 12
Bohemian Waxwing

The Bohemian Waxwing is a passerine bird that breeds in the northern forests of Eurasia and North America. It has mainly buff-grey plumage, black face markings and a pointed crest. Its wings are patterned white and bright yellow, and some feather tips have the red waxy appearance that give this species its English name. Its breeding habitat is coniferous forests, usually near water. The pair build a lined cup-shaped nest in a tree or bush for a clutch of 3–7 eggs, incubated by the female alone for 13–14 days. Many birds desert their nesting range in winter and migrate further south. Large numbers of Bohemian Waxwings sometimes travel well beyond their normal winter range in search of the fruit that makes up most of their diet. Waxwings can be very tame in winter, entering towns and gardens in search of food, rowan berries being a particular favourite. They can metabolise alcohol produced in fermenting fruit, but can still become intoxicated, sometimes fatally. The Bohemian Waxwing's high numbers and very large breeding area mean that it is classified as being of Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Honório Hermeto Carneiro Leão, Marquis of Paraná – Waveguide filter – John Adair

January 13
Roxy Ann Peak

Roxy Ann Peak is a 3,576-foot-tall (1,090 m) mountain in the Western Cascade Range in the U.S. state of Oregon. Composed of several geologic layers, the majority of the peak is of volcanic origin and dates to the early Oligocene. It is primarily covered by oak savanna and open grassland on its lower slopes, and mixed coniferous forest on its upper slopes and summit. Despite the peak's relatively small topographic prominence of 753 feet (230 m), it rises 2,200 feet (670 m) above Medford, and it is the city's most important viewshed, open space reserve, and recreational resource. Roxy Ann Peak was originally settled 8,000 to 10,000 years ago by ancestors of the native Latgawa tribe. In the early 1850s, a sudden influx of non-indigenous settlers led to the Rogue River Wars. After the wars, the Latgawa were forced away from the region onto reservations. The peak was named in the late 1850s after one of its first landowners, Roxy Ann Bowen. In 1937, the 1,740-acre (704.2 ha) Prescott Park was created on the peak's upper slopes and summit from land donated by the Lions Club and the federal government, and the park is largely undeveloped. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Bohemian Waxwing – Honório Hermeto Carneiro Leão, Marquis of Paraná – Waveguide filter

January 14
A British Army Gazelle helicopter

A British Army helicopter was destroyed in a friendly fire incident during the Falklands War, killing its four occupants. In the early hours of 6 June 1982, the Royal Navy destroyer HMS Cardiff was looking for aircraft supplying the Argentine forces on the Falkland Islands. An Army Air Corps Gazelle helicopter (example pictured) was making a routine delivery to British troops on East Falkland. Cardiff's crew assumed it was hostile, given its speed and course, and fired two missiles, destroying it. When the wreckage was found, the loss was attributed to enemy fire. Although Cardiff was suspected, scientific tests on the wreckage were inconclusive. No formal inquiry was held until four years later. Defending their claim that the helicopter had been lost in action, the UK Ministry of Defence stated that they had not wanted to upset relatives while they were still trying to ascertain how the Gazelle had been shot down. The board of inquiry did not blame any individuals but identified factors including a lack of communication between the army and the navy and the army's decision to turn off helicopters' identification friend or foe transmitters. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Roxy Ann Peak – Bohemian Waxwing – Honório Hermeto Carneiro Leão, Marquis of Paraná

January 15
Hobey Baker

Hobey Baker (1892–1918) was an American amateur athlete of the early twentieth century, widely regarded by his contemporaries as one of the best athletes of his time. He excelled at ice hockey and football at Princeton University, where he was a member of three national championship teams, and became a noted amateur hockey player for the St. Nicholas Club in New York City, helping the club win a national amateur championship. Baker graduated in 1914 and worked for J.P. Morgan Bank until he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Service. During World War I he served with the 103rd and 13th Aero Squadrons before being promoted to captain and named commander of the 141st Aero Squadron. Baker died in December 1918 after a plane he was test-piloting crashed, hours before he was due to return to America. In 1921, Princeton named its new hockey arena the Hobey Baker Memorial Rink. He was one of the first nine inductees in the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1945 and was also inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1975, making him the only person to be in both Halls of Fame. The Hobey Baker Award is presented annually to the best collegiate hockey player in the United States. (Full article...)

Recently featured: 1982 British Army Gazelle friendly fire incident – Roxy Ann Peak – Bohemian Waxwing

January 16
A Steamtown excursion in Vermont

Steamtown, U.S.A. was a steam locomotive museum that ran steam excursions out of North Walpole, New Hampshire, and Bellows Falls, Vermont, from the 1960s to 1983. The museum was founded by millionaire seafood industrialist F. Nelson Blount and was operated by the Steamtown Foundation after his death in 1967. Due to Vermont's air quality regulations restricting steam excursions, declining visitor attendance, and track use disputes, some of the collection was relocated to Scranton, Pennsylvania, in the mid-1980s and the rest was sold. Steamtown, U.S.A. failed to attract the expected 200,000–400,000 visitors in Scranton and, facing bankruptcy, it sold more of the collection. In 1986, the U.S. House of Representatives approved funding to begin the process of making it a National Historic Site. Historical research was carried out by the National Park Service (NPS) on the remaining equipment. By 1995, Steamtown had been acquired and developed by the NPS as the Steamtown National Historic Site with a $66 million allocation. Several more pieces have been removed from the collection as a result of the government acquisition. Part of the Blount collection is still on display in Scranton. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Hobey Baker – 1982 British Army Gazelle friendly fire incident – Roxy Ann Peak

January 17
Stephen Malkmus

Slay Tracks (1933–1969) is the debut extended play (EP) by the American indie rock band Pavement. The group, then consisting of founding members Stephen Malkmus (pictured in 2005) and Scott Kannberg, recorded Slay Tracks with producer and future member Gary Young during a four-hour session on January 17, 1989. The EP was released as a 7" vinyl record on the band's own record label Treble Kicker. The music in Slay Tracks is influenced by indie and punk rock bands, including Swell Maps and The Fall, and many of the lyrics are inspired by life in the band's hometown of Stockton, California. Although only 1000 copies were pressed, the EP became an underground hit. Most of its initial reviews were from independently produced zines, and it met with generally positive reactions. The songs on Slay Tracks would later appear on the 1993 compilation Westing (By Musket and Sextant), reaching a wider audience than the EP's limited initial release. The release of Slay Tracks was significant to Pavement's signing to Drag City, and later to Matador Records. All of the songs from it were played live throughout Pavement's history. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Steamtown, U.S.A. – Hobey Baker – 1982 British Army Gazelle friendly fire incident

January 18
Mounted skeleton of the Nigersaurus

Nigersaurus (meaning "Niger reptile") is a genus of rebbachisaurid sauropod dinosaur that lived during the middle Cretaceous period, about 115 to 105 million years ago. It was discovered in the Elrhaz Formation in an area called Gadoufaoua, in Niger. Fossils of this dinosaur were first described in 1976, but it was only named in 1999. The genus contains a single species, N. taqueti, named after French palaeontologist Philippe Taquet, who discovered the first remains. At 9 m (30 ft) long—small for a sauropod—it weighed around 4 tonnes, comparable to a modern elephant. It had a wide muzzle filled with more than 500 teeth, which were replaced every 14 days. Unlike other tetrapods, its jaws were wider than the skull, its teeth were located far to the front, and it fed with its head close to the ground. It lived in a riparian habitat, and its diet probably consisted of soft plants, such as ferns, horsetails, and angiosperms. It is one of the most common fossil vertebrates found in the area, and shared its habitat with other dinosaurian megaherbivores, as well as large theropods and crocodylomorphs. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Slay Tracks (1933–1969) – Steamtown, U.S.A. – Hobey Baker

January 19
An RAAF F/A-18 Hornet

No. 2 Operational Conversion Unit (No. 2 OCU) is a fighter training unit of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). Located at RAAF Base Williamtown, New South Wales, it trains pilots to operate the McDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet (pictured), conducts refresher courses, and trains future Hornet instructors. Pilots new to the Hornet enter No. 2 OCU after first qualifying to fly fast jets at No. 79 Squadron and undertaking initial fighter combat instruction at No. 76 Squadron. Once qualified on the F/A-18, they are posted to one of the RAAF's operational Hornet squadrons. No. 2 OCU was established as No. 2 (Fighter) Operational Training Unit in April 1942. During World War II it provided training on a wide range of aircraft, including P-40 Kittyhawks, Vultee Vengeances, Avro Ansons, CAC Boomerangs, Supermarine Spitfires and Airspeed Oxfords. Disbanded in March 1947, the unit was re-formed at Williamtown in March 1952 in response to the demand for more highly trained pilots in the Korean War. It was renamed No. 2 (Fighter) Operational Conversion Unit in September 1958, and before the Hornet it conducted training with the CAC Sabre, Dassault Mirage III, and Macchi MB-326. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Nigersaurus – Slay Tracks (1933–1969) – Steamtown, U.S.A.

January 20
The Rockfort

Tiruchirappalli is the fourth largest city in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu and is the administrative headquarters of Tiruchirappalli District. Its recorded history begins in the 3rd century BC, when it was under the rule of the Cholas. The city has also been ruled by the Pandyas, Pallavas, Vijayanagar Empire, Nayak Dynasty, the Carnatic state and the British. It played a crucial role in the Carnatic Wars (1746–63) between the British and the French East India companies. During British rule, the city was popular for the Trichinopoly cigar, its unique brand of cheroot. Monuments include the Rockfort (pictured), the Ranganathaswamy temple and the Jambukeswarar temple. It is an important educational centre in Tamil Nadu, housing nationally recognised institutions such as the Indian Institute of Management and the National Institute of Technology. The presence of a large number of energy equipment manufacturing units in and around the city has earned it the title of "Energy equipment and fabrication capital of India". Located almost at the centre of Tamil Nadu, the city has become a major road and railway hub in the state and is served by Tiruchirappalli International Airport. (Full article...)

Recently featured: No. 2 Operational Conversion Unit RAAF – Nigersaurus – Slay Tracks (1933–1969)

January 21
New Jersey Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno

The Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey is an elected constitutional officer in the executive branch of the state government of New Jersey in the United States. The person elected to this position is the second highest-ranking official in the state government. Before 2010, New Jersey was one of a few U.S. states that did not have a lieutenant governor. Two men were appointed to the office during brief periods in New Jersey's colonial era (1664–1776), but for most of the state's history, the senate president would become "acting governor" during vacancies in the governor's office. After the resignations of Governors Christine Todd Whitman in 2001 and Jim McGreevey in 2004, the state had several acting governors in the span of a few years. Popular sentiment and political pressure from the state's residents and news media outlets sought a better rule for gubernatorial succession. In a referendum, the state's voters authorized a 2006 amendment to the State Constitution to create the position. In the 2009 gubernatorial election, voters elected Republican Kim Guadagno (pictured) to be the first to serve in the post in its modern form. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Tiruchirappalli – No. 2 Operational Conversion Unit RAAF – Nigersaurus

January 22

Gymnopilus maritimus is a species of Cortinariaceae fungus first collected in northern Sardinia, Italy, in 2006. The species produces moderately sized, sturdy mushrooms of a reddish-orange colour. The cap, which can measure up to 70 millimetres (3 in) across, is covered in orange fibrils, and sometimes has small scales. The yellowish stem measures up to 110 mm (4 in) in length by 8 mm (0.3 in) in width, and sometimes shows remnants of the partial veil. The mushrooms have thick gills of a variable colour, ranging from yellow to rust but staining darker, and the yellow flesh has a mild taste. The mushrooms leave a rusty-brown spore print, while the spores themselves measure from 7.5 to 11.5 micrometres in length. The species is most similar in appearance to G. arenophilus and G. fulgens, but is not closely related to either and is not particularly similar to any of its closest relatives. The species has been found only on coastal sand dunes near Olbia, Sardinia, where it was observed growing at the base of Juncus maritimus (the sea rush), between the winter months of October and January. However, there is speculation that it may also grow elsewhere in Europe. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey – Tiruchirappalli – No. 2 Operational Conversion Unit RAAF

January 23

Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars is a crossover fighting game featuring characters from Capcom's video game franchises and from various anime series by Tatsunoko Production. The game was released in Japan for arcades and the Wii video game console in December 2008. It was released for the Wii in North America, Japan, and Europe in January 2010, featuring additional characters and an online mode. Players engage in combat with a team of two characters or with a single giant character and attempt to knock out their opponents. It is the seventh Capcom-designed installment in their Vs. fighting game series, which includes the Marvel vs. Capcom and Capcom vs. SNK series, and the first to be fully rendered in 3D graphics. The game is designed around a simplified three-button attack system, which was inspired by the simplistic control schemes commonly used by both the Vs. series and the Wii. The game received generally positive reviews from critics, who praised its approachable gameplay for newcomers and depth for veteran players. However, reviewers had mixed experiences with its online component, and found Arcade mode lacking in replay value. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Gymnopilus maritimus – Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey – Tiruchirappalli

January 24

Sudirman (1916–50) was a high-ranking military officer during the Indonesian National Revolution. The first commander-in-chief of the Indonesian Armed Forces, he was declared a National Hero in 1964. A teacher when the Japanese occupied the Indies in 1942, he joined the Japanese-sponsored Defenders of the Homeland and oversaw the Japanese surrender in Banyumas after Indonesia proclaimed its independence. Elected commander-in-chief in November 1945, he ordered an assault on British and Dutch forces at Ambarawa, strengthening his popular support. During the next three years negotiations with the Dutch failed and in December 1948 the Dutch tried to capture Yogyakarta, the republican capital. While the political leadership sheltered, Sudirman led a small group of soldiers in a seven-month guerrilla campaign. When the Dutch began withdrawing, he wanted to continue fighting them but was forbidden. Sudirman retired because of illness and died soon after the Dutch recognised Indonesia's independence. His guerrilla campaign has been credited with developing the army's esprit de corps, and the 100-kilometre (62 mi) long route he took must be followed by Indonesian cadets before graduation. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars – Gymnopilus maritimus – Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey

January 25
Bust of a pioneer

The Elgin, Illinois, Centennial half dollar was a fifty-cent commemorative coin issued by the U.S. Bureau of the Mint in 1936, part of the wave of commemoratives authorized by Congress and struck that year. Intended to commemorate the centennial of the founding of Elgin, the piece was designed by local sculptor Trygve Rovelstad. The obverse depicts an idealized head of a pioneer man. The reverse shows a grouping of pioneers, and is based upon a sculptural group that Rovelstad hoped to build as a memorial to those who settled Illinois, but which was not erected in his lifetime. He hoped that the coin would both depict and be a source of funds for the memorial. Texas coin dealer L.W. Hoffecker, who assisted Rovelstad, was able to sell about 20,000 coins, four-fifths of the issue: the remaining 5,000 were returned to the Mint for melting. Unlike many commemorative coins of that era, the piece was not bought up by dealers and speculators, but was sold directly to collectors at the issue price. Art historian Cornelius Vermeule considered the Elgin coin among the most outstanding American commemoratives. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Sudirman – Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars – Gymnopilus maritimus

January 26
Douglas MacArthur in 1945

Douglas MacArthur (1880–1964) was an American general who played a prominent role in the Pacific theater during World War II. He received the Medal of Honor, as did his father, was one of only five men to rise to the rank of General of the Army in the U.S. Army, and was the only man to become a field marshal in the Philippine Army. After graduating first in his West Point class in 1903, MacArthur participated in the 1914 occupation of Veracruz and served on the Western Front during World War I, becoming the U.S. Army's youngest major general. Thereafter he held a variety of posts, including Superintendent of West Point and Chief of Staff. He retired in 1937, but was recalled to active duty during World War II. After the Japanese invasion of the Philippines, he escaped with his family and staff to Australia, where he became Supreme Commander, Southwest Pacific Area. He fulfilled a famous pledge to return to the Philippines, and officially accepted Japan's surrender on 2 September 1945. Overseeing the occupation of Japan from 1945 to 1951, he implemented many reforms, and led the United Nations Command in the Korean War until President Harry Truman had him relieved of his commands in April 1951. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Elgin, Illinois, Centennial half dollar – Sudirman – Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars

January 27
American alligator

Crocodilia is an order of large, predatory, semi-aquatic reptiles. They appeared in the Late Cretaceous, and include true crocodiles, alligators, caimans, and gharials. Solidly built animals, they have long flattened snouts, eyes, ears, and nostrils at the top of the head and laterally compressed tails. Their skin is thick and covered in scales; they have conical teeth and a powerful bite. They swim well and can move quite rapidly on land. They are found mainly in lowlands in the tropics, but alligators are also found in the United States (American alligator pictured) and China. They are largely carnivorous; some specialise on fish while others have generalised diets. They are typically solitary and territorial. In some species, females care for their young. Eight species have attacked humans, the largest number of attacks being by the Nile crocodile. Crocodilian populations are threatened by habitat destruction and being hunted by humans, but farming the reptiles has reduced the unlawful trade in wild skins. They have appeared in art since at least Ancient Egypt. Tales of crocodile tears date to the 9th century, repeated by Sir John Mandeville in 1400 and William Shakespeare. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Douglas MacArthur – Elgin, Illinois, Centennial half dollar – Sudirman

January 28
Paul Henderson

Paul Henderson (born 1943) is a Canadian former professional ice hockey player. A left winger, he played 13 seasons in the National Hockey League (NHL) for the Detroit Red Wings, Toronto Maple Leafs and Atlanta Flames and 5 in the World Hockey Association for the Toronto Toros and Birmingham Bulls. He played over 1,000 games, scoring 376 goals and 758 points. He is best known for leading Team Canada to victory at the 1972 Summit Series against the Soviet Union. Played at the height of the Cold War, the series was viewed as a battle for both hockey and cultural supremacy. Henderson scored the game-winning goal in the sixth, seventh and eighth games, the last of which was voted the "sports moment of the century" by The Canadian Press. Henderson played in two NHL All-Star Games and has twice been inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame (individually and as a member of the 1972 national team). He was inducted into the International Ice Hockey Federation Hall of Fame in 2013. A born-again Christian, Henderson became a minister and motivational speaker after his playing career, and has co-written three books. He was made a Member of the Order of Canada in 2012. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Crocodilia – Douglas MacArthur – Elgin, Illinois, Centennial half dollar

January 29
Interstate 70 sign in West Virginia

At 14.45 miles (23.26 km), the West Virginia segment of Interstate 70 (I-70) is the shortest in any state through which I-70 passes on its way from near Cove Fort, Utah, to near Baltimore, Maryland. Part of the U.S. Interstate Highway System, it crosses the Northern Panhandle region of West Virginia through Ohio County and the city of Wheeling. The Fort Henry Bridge carries I-70 from Wheeling Island across the Ohio River and into downtown Wheeling before the freeway enters the Wheeling Tunnel. I-470, the lone auxiliary Interstate Highway in West Virginia, is intersected near Elm Grove. Before crossing into Pennsylvania, I-70 passes The Highlands, a major shopping center, and the Bear Rock Lakes Wildlife Management Area. Between 27,000 and 53,000 vehicles use the freeway daily. The I-70 designation was brought to the Northern Panhandle with the passage of the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956, and a controlled-access highway was built across the panhandle, bypassing portions of the old National Road constructed in 1818 to connect Wheeling and Cumberland, Maryland. The first portions of I-70 were opened in 1963, and construction was completed across the panhandle by 1971. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Paul Henderson – Crocodilia – Douglas MacArthur

January 30
A male ring-tailed lemur

Lemurs of Madagascar is a reference work and field guide giving descriptions and biogeographic data for all the known lemur species in Madagascar (ring-tailed lemur pictured). It also provides general information about lemurs and their history and helps travelers identify species they may encounter. The primary contributor is Russell Mittermeier, president of Conservation International. The first edition in 1994 received favorable reviews for its meticulous coverage, numerous high-quality illustrations, and engaging discussion of lemur topics, including conservation, evolution, and the recently extinct subfossil lemurs. The American Journal of Primatology praised the second edition's updates and enhancements. Lemur News appreciated the expanded content of the third edition (2010), but was concerned that it was not as portable as before. The first edition identified 50 lemur species and subspecies, compared to 71 in the second edition and 101 in the third. The taxonomy promoted by these books has been questioned by some researchers who view these growing numbers of lemur species as insufficiently justified inflation of species numbers. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Interstate 70 in West Virginia – Paul Henderson – Crocodilia

January 31
Emperor Huizong of Song

The Jin campaigns against the Song Dynasty were a series of wars that took place in the 12th and 13th centuries between the Jurchen Jin Dynasty and the Chinese Song Dynasty. The Jin invaded the Song in 1125 and captured the Song capital of Kaifeng in 1127, imprisoning Emperor Qinzong and Huizong (pictured). The Jin conquered northern China and remnants of the Song retreated to southern China, relocating the capital to Hangzhou. A treaty ended the war in 1142 and settled the boundary along the Huai River. Prince Hailing invaded the Song in 1161, but lost at Caishi and was assassinated shortly after. A Song invasion of the Jin motivated by revanchism in 1206–08 and a Jin invasion of the Song in 1217–24 were both unsuccessful. The Song allied with the Mongols in 1233, and jointly captured the last refuge of the Jin emperor in 1234, the year the Jin collapsed. The wars between the Song and Jin gave rise to an era of technological, cultural, and demographic changes in China. The Jin adopted the political and cultural institutions of past Chinese dynasties, gunpowder weapons like the fire lance were introduced, and the Song resettled and rebuilt their government in southern China. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Lemurs of Madagascar (book) – Interstate 70 in West Virginia – Paul Henderson