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October 17
The Battle of Neville's Cross, as depicted in a 15th-century manuscript

The Battle of Neville's Cross took place on 17 October 1346 during the Second War of Scottish Independence, half a mile (800 m) to the west of Durham, England. During the Hundred Years' War, King Philip VI of France called on the Scots to fulfil their obligation under the terms of the Auld Alliance. King David II obliged and ravaged part of northern England. An English army of approximately 6,000–7,000 men led by Lord Ralph Neville took David by surprise on a hill marked by an Anglo-Saxon stone cross. David's army of 12,000 was defeated, he was captured, and most of his leadership was killed or captured. The English victory freed significant resources for their war against France, and the English border counties were able to guard against the remaining Scottish threat from their own resources. The eventual ransoming of the Scottish king resulted in a truce which brought peace to the border for forty years. (Full article...)

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Locust

Locusts are a collection of certain species of short-horned grasshoppers in the family Acrididae that have a swarming phase. These insects are usually solitary, but under certain circumstances they become more abundant and change their behaviour and habits, becoming gregarious. No taxonomic distinction is made between locust and grasshopper species; the basis for the definition is whether a species forms swarms under intermittently suitable conditions. These grasshoppers are innocuous, their numbers are low, and they do not pose a major economic threat to agriculture. However, under suitable conditions of drought followed by rapid vegetation growth, serotonin in their brains triggers a dramatic set of changes: they start to breed abundantly, becoming gregarious and nomadic (loosely described as migratory) when their populations become dense enough. They form bands of wingless nymphs which later become swarms of winged adults. Both the bands and the swarms move around and rapidly strip fields and cause damage to crops. The adults are powerful fliers; they can travel great distances, consuming most of the green vegetation wherever the swarm settles.

This picture shows an adult garden locust (Acanthacris ruficornis), a species distributed throughout Africa and parts of the Arabian Peninsula, as well as southern Spain; this individual was photographed in Ghana.

Photograph credit: Charles J. Sharp
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On this day

October 17: Dessalines Day in Haiti (1806)

Nativity with St. Francis and St. Lawrence
Nativity with St. Francis
and St. Lawrence

Edward Hawke, 1st Baron Hawke (d. 1781) · Childe Hassam (b. 1859) · Chuka Umunna (b. 1978)

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Tomorrow

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October 18
The Major Oak in Sherwood Forest

The Coterel gang was an armed group in the English North Midlands that roamed across the countryside in the late 1320s and early 1330s, a period of political upheaval and lawlessness. Despite repeated attempts by the crown to suppress James Coterel and his band, they committed murder, extortion and kidnapping across the Peak District. Basing themselves in Sherwood Forest (pictured), other wooded areas of north Nottinghamshire and the peaks of Derbyshire, the Coterels frequently cooperated with other groups, including the Folville gang. As members of the gentry, Coterel and his immediate supporters were expected to assist the crown in the maintenance of law and order, rather than encourage its collapse, but most of the band received royal pardons following service abroad or in Scotland. Groups such as the Coterels may have inspired many of the stories woven around Robin Hood in the 15th century. (Full article...)

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Perseus and Andromeda

Perseus and Andromeda is an oil-on-canvas painting by British artist Sir Frederic Leighton. Completed in 1891, the year it was displayed at the Royal Academy of Arts, it depicts the Greek mythological story of Perseus and Andromeda. In contrast to the basis of a classical tale, Leighton used a Gothic style for the artwork. The mythological theme of Andromeda is depicted in a dramatic manner; the scene is a representation of the myth set on a rocky shore. Perseus is depicted flying above the head of Andromeda, on his winged horse, Pegasus. He is shooting an arrow from the air, that hits the sea monster, Cetus, who turns his head upwards, towards the hero. Andromeda's almost naked, twisted body is shaded by the wings of the dark creature, creating a visual sign of imminent danger. Her sinuous body is contrasted against the dark masses of the monster's irregular and jagged body, as well as depicted in white, representing pure and untouched innocence, indicating an unfair sacrifice for a divine punishment that was not directed towards her, but her mother, Cassiopeia, who, with her husband Cepheus, sacrificed her to Cetus. Pegasus and Perseus are surrounded by a halo of light that connects them visually to the white body of the princess, chained to the rock. The painting is now in the collection of the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool, England.

Painting credit: Frederic Leighton
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October 18
Satyajit Ray
Satyajit Ray

Indian filmmaker Satyajit Ray received numerous awards and honours, including India's highest award in cinema, the Dadasaheb Phalke Award (1984) and India's highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna (1992). He was also awarded the Commander of the National Order of the Legion of Honour, the highest decoration in France (1987) and an Honorary Award at the 64th Academy Awards (1991). Ray won thirty-five National Film Awards during his four-decade career. Six of his films – Pather Panchali (1955), Apur Sansar (1959), Charulata (1964), Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne (1968), Seemabaddha (1971) and Agantuk (1991) – won Best Feature Film. Three films – Jalsaghar (1958), Abhijan (1962) and Pratidwandi (1970) – were awarded with Second Best Feature Film and Mahanagar (1963) was awarded the Third Best Feature Film. Ray won 21 awards for his direction, including seven Bengal Film Journalists' Association Awards, six Indian National Film Awards, two Silver Bear awards at the Berlin International Film Festival and two Golden Gate Awards at the San Francisco International Film Festival. (Full list...)

On this day

October 18: Feast day of Saint Luke (Christianity); Alaska Day (1867); Independence Day in Azerbaijan (1991)

Scene from Moby-Dick
Scene from Moby-Dick

Anna Jagiellon (b. 1523) · Isaac Jogues (d. 1646) · Christine Murrell (b. 1874; d. 1933)

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In two days

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October 19
Statue outside Cardiff Stadium

Fred Keenor (1894–1972) was a Welsh professional footballer. He began his career at Cardiff City after impressing the club's coaching staff in a trial match in 1912. A hard-tackling defender, he appeared sporadically for the team in the Southern Football League before his spell at the club was interrupted by the outbreak of the First World War. Keenor served in the 17th (Service) Battalion, Middlesex Regiment, known as the Football Battalion. He fought in the Battle of the Somme, suffering a severe shrapnel wound to his thigh in 1916. He returned to the game with Cardiff, which joined the Football League in 1920 and won promotion to the First Division one season later. Keenor helped the club get to the 1925 FA Cup Final, in which Cardiff suffered a 1–0 defeat to Sheffield United. He led the team to success in the 1927 FA Cup Final, defeating Arsenal 1–0. Their triumph remains the only time the competition has been won by a team based outside England. (Full article...)

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October 19: Arba'een / Arba'een Pilgrimage (Shia Islam, 2019)

George Abbot (b. 1562) · Peter Aduja (b. 1920) · Edna St. Vincent Millay (d. 1950)

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In three days

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October 20
Hurricane track

Hurricane Patricia set records for the highest maximum sustained winds ever recorded in a tropical cyclone and the second-lowest barometric pressure (after Typhoon Tip of 1979). Originating near the Gulf of Tehuantepec off the Pacific coast of southern Mexico, the system was classified as a tropical depression on October 20, 2015. The next day it became a tropical storm, the twenty-fourth named storm of the 2015 Pacific hurricane season. The following day it grew from a tropical storm to a Category 5 hurricane in just 24 hours. The National Hurricane Center ultimately estimated that Patricia attained winds of 215 mph (345 km/h) and a minimum pressure of 872 mbar (hPa; 25.75 inHg). The storm made landfall on October 23 near Cuixmala, Jalisco, in a significantly weakened state, but it was still the strongest recorded hurricane to strike Mexico's Pacific coast, with winds estimated at 150 mph (240 km/h). (Full article...)

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October 20

Maria Theresa of Austria
Maria Theresa of Austria

Pauline Bonaparte (b. 1780) · Tom Petty (b. 1950) · Farooq Leghari (d. 2010)

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In four days

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October 21
Ursula Kroeber Le Guin, 2004 (cropped).jpg

Ursula K. Le Guin (October 21, 1929 – January 22, 2018) was an American author best known for her works of speculative fiction. She wrote more than twenty novels and over a hundred short stories, in addition to poetry, literary criticism, translations, and children's books. She achieved critical and commercial success with A Wizard of Earthsea (1968) and The Left Hand of Darkness (1969). Le Guin was influenced by cultural anthropology, Taoism, feminism, and the writings of Carl Jung. Many of her stories used anthropologists or cultural observers as protagonists. Several works reflect Taoist ideas about balance and equilibrium. Le Guin often subverted typical speculative fiction tropes, such as through her use of dark-skinned protagonists in the Earthsea fantasy series. She won eight Hugo Awards, six Nebulas, and twenty-two Locus Awards, and in 2003 became only the second woman honored as a Grand Master of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. (Full article...)

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October 21
Trevor Hoffman, the number seven pick
Trevor Hoffman, the number seven pick

The 1992 Major League Baseball expansion draft was held by Major League Baseball (MLB) to allow two expansion teams, the Florida Marlins and Colorado Rockies, to build their rosters prior to debuting in the National League's (NL) East and the West divisions, respectively, in the 1993 MLB season. The 1990 collective bargaining agreement between MLB owners and the MLB Players Association allowed the NL to expand by two members to match the American League (AL). In June 1991, MLB accepted bids of groups from Miami, Florida, and Denver, Colorado, with debuts set for 1993. The Marlins and Rockies used the expansion draft to build their teams using different strategies. As the Rockies had a smaller operating budget than the Marlins, the Rockies targeted prospects with low salaries, while the Marlins selected older players intended to provide more immediate impact. (Full list...)

On this day

October 21: Shemini Atzeret (Judaism, 2019)

Florence Nightingale
Florence Nightingale

Edmund Waller (d. 1687) · Ursula K. Le Guin (b. 1929) · Steph Davies (b. 1987)

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In five days

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October 22
Little red flying foxes

The megabat family, Pteropodidae, includes the largest bat species, some weighing up to 1.45 kg (3.2 lb) with wingspans up to 1.7 m (5.6 ft), as well as smaller species, some less than 50 g (1.8 oz). They are found in tropical and subtropical areas of Eurasia, Africa, and Oceania. Unlike other bats, they have dog-like faces and clawed second digits. Well-adapted for flight, megabats have sustainable heart rates of more than 700 beats per minute and large lungs. Most of them are active at night. They roost in trees or caves, sometimes in colonies of up to a million individuals. Most are unable to echolocate, relying instead on their keen senses of sight and smell to navigate and locate food, usually fruits or nectar. A quarter of all megabat species are listed as threatened, due mainly to habitat destruction and overhunting. Even though they can transmit a variety of dangerous viruses, they are a popular food source for humans in some areas. (Full article...)

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John Sherman

John Sherman (May 10, 1823 – October 22, 1900) was an American congressman and senator from Ohio during the Civil War and into the late nineteenth century. He was the principal author of the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890, which was signed into law by President Benjamin Harrison. His brothers included General William Tecumseh Sherman, Judge Charles Taylor Sherman, and Hoyt Sherman, an Iowa banker. As a Republican senator, he worked on legislation to restore the nation's credit abroad and produce a stable, gold-backed currency at home. Serving as Secretary of the Treasury in the administration of Rutherford B. Hayes, Sherman helped to end wartime inflationary measures and to oversee the law allowing dollars to be redeemed for gold. He returned to the Senate after his term expired, continuing his work on financial legislation, as well as writing and debating laws on immigration, business competition law, and interstate commerce. In 1897, he was appointed Secretary of State by President William McKinley, but due to failing health, he retired in 1898 at the start of the Spanish–American War.

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October 22: International Stuttering Awareness Day

Train wreck at Gare Montparnasse
Train wreck at Gare Montparnasse

George Coulthard (d. 1883) · Edith Kawelohea McKinzie (b. 1925) · Oona King (b. 1967) Bob Odenkirk (b. 1962)

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In six days

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October 23
Retvizan in 1902

Retvizan was a pre-dreadnought battleship built for the Imperial Russian Navy, launched on 23 October 1900. Named after a Swedish ship of the line that was captured during the battle of Vyborg Bay in 1790, Retvizan was transferred to the Far East in 1902. In the Russo-Japanese War, the ship was torpedoed during the Japanese attack on Port Arthur on the night of 8/9 February 1904 and grounded in the harbour entrance when she attempted to take refuge inside. She was refloated and repaired in time to join the rest of the 1st Pacific Squadron when they attempted to reach Vladivostok through the Japanese blockade on 10 August. The Japanese battle fleet engaged them again in the Battle of the Yellow Sea, forcing most of the Russian ships to return to Port Arthur. Retvizan was sunk there by Japanese howitzers in December, then raised and commissioned into the Imperial Japanese Navy as Hizen in 1908. After World War I she supported the Japanese intervention in the Russian Civil War. (Full article...)

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Hurricane Patricia

Hurricane Patricia (pictured on 23 October 2015)

Photograph: NASA
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October 23: Mole Day

Paulina Kellogg Wright Davis
Paulina Kellogg Wright Davis

Sweyn III of Denmark (d. 1157) · Ludwig Leichhardt (b. 1813) · Soong Mei-ling (d. 2003)

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In seven days

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October 24
Microstrip filters

Distributed-element circuits are electrical circuits composed of lengths of transmission lines or other distributed components. Used mostly at microwave frequencies, they perform the same functions as conventional circuits composed of passive components, such as capacitors, inductors, and transformers. They are made by patterning the conducting medium itself, rather than connecting pre-manufactured components with the medium. A major advantage is that they can be produced cheaply on printed circuit boards for consumer products, such as satellite television. They are also made in coaxial and waveguide formats for applications such as radar, satellite communication, and microwave links. Distributed element circuits were used in radar in World War II, and later in military, space, and broadcasting infrastructure. Improvements in materials science led to broader applications, and they can now be found in domestic products such as satellite dishes and mobile phones. (Full article...)

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October 24

George Washington Bridge
George Washington Bridge

William Prynne (d. 1669) · Letitia Woods Brown (b. 1915) · Roman Abramovich (b. 1966)

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