Wikipedia:Main Page history/2012 January 1

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

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

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Cloud cover of the Earth

An image of the Earth's cloud cover, which is the amount of sky obscured by clouds, based largely on observations from NASA's Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on board the Terra satellite. Clouds play multiple critical roles in the climate system. In particular, being bright objects in the visible part of sunlight, they efficiently reflect light to space and thus contribute to the cooling of the planet.

Image: Marit Jentoft-Nilsen, NASA

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