Wikipedia:Today's featured article/October 2010

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October 1
Ayumi Hamasaki

Ayumi Hamasaki (born 1978) is a Japanese singer-songwriter and former actress. Also called Ayu by her fans, Hamasaki has been dubbed the "Empress of Pop" due to her popularity and widespread influence in Japan. Born and raised in Fukuoka, she moved to Tokyo at fourteen to pursue a career in entertainment. In 1998, under the tutelage of Avex CEO Max Matsuura, she released a string of modestly selling singles that concluded with her 1999 debut album A Song for ××. The album debuted atop the Oricon charts and stayed there for four weeks, establishing her popularity in Japan. Because of her constantly changing image and tight control over her artistry, Hamasaki's popularity extends across Asia; music and fashion trends she has started have spread to countries such as China, Singapore, and Taiwan. She has appeared in or lent her songs to many advertisements and television commercials. Though she originally supported the exploitation of her popularity for commercial purposes, she later reconsidered and eventually opposed her status as an Avex "product". (more...)

Recently featured: Hoover DamTower of LondonAMX-30


October 2
The Come and Take It flag flown by the Texians

The Battle of Gonzales was the first military engagement of the Texas Revolution. It was fought near Gonzales, Texas, on October 2, 1835, between rebellious Texian settlers and a detachment of Mexican army troops. In 1835, several Mexican states revolted against the centralist government of President Santa Anna. As the unrest spread, Colonel Domingo de Ugartechea, the commander of all Mexican troops in Texas, asked the settlers of Gonzales to return a cannon that the army had previously given them. When the initial request was refused, Ugartechea sent 100 dragoons to retrieve the cannon. For two days colonists used a variety of excuses to keep the soldiers at bay, allowing up to 140 Texian reinforcements to gather. In the early hours of October 2, Mexican soldiers opened fire as Texians approached their camp. After several hours of desultory firing, Mexican soldiers withdrew. Although the skirmish had little military significance, it marked a clear break between the colonists and the Mexican government. The battle, considered to have been the start of the Texas Revolution, has been referred to as the "Lexington of Texas". The cannon’s fate is disputed. (more...)

Recently featured: Ayumi HamasakiHoover DamTower of London


October 3
Hugh Douglas Hamilton portrait of Charlotte Stuart

Charlotte Stuart (1753–1789) was the illegitimate daughter of the Jacobite pretender Prince Charles Edward Stuart, and his only child to survive infancy. Her mother was Clementina Walkinshaw, who was mistress to the Prince from 1752 until 1760. After years of abuse, Clementina left him, taking Charlotte with her. Charlotte spent most of her life in French convents, estranged from a father who refused to make any provision for her. Unable to marry, she herself became a mistress with illegitimate children, taking the Archbishop of Bordeaux as her lover. She was finally reconciled to her father in 1784, when he legitimised her and created her Duchess of Albany. She left her own children with her mother, and became her father's carer and companion in the last years of his life, before dying less than two years after him. Her three children were raised in anonymity; however, as the only grandchildren of the pretender, they have been the subject of Jacobite interest since their lineage was uncovered in the 20th century. (more...)

Recently featured: Battle of GonzalesAyumi HamasakiHoover Dam


October 4
Godsmack & Criss Angel

Godsmack is an American rock band from Lawrence, Massachusetts, formed in 1995. The band comprises founder, frontman and songwriter Sully Erna, guitarist Tony Rombola, bassist Robbie Merrill, and drummer Shannon Larkin. Since its formation, Godsmack has released five studio albums, one EP, four DVDs, and one greatest hits collection. The band has had three consecutive No. 1 albums (Faceless, IV, and The Oracle) on the Billboard 200. Godsmack has sold almost 15 million records worldwide, one of the highest figures for an American rock band. Since its inception, the band has performed at Ozzfest on more than one occasion, has played at many other festivals, and has supported its albums with its own arena tours. In the summer of 2009, Godsmack made appearances as support to Mötley Crüe's Crüe Fest 2. (more...)

Recently featured: Charlotte StuartBattle of GonzalesAyumi Hamasaki


October 5
Proxima Centauri

Proxima Centauri is a red dwarf star approximately 4.2 light-years (3.97×1013 km) distant in the constellation of Centaurus. The star is the nearest star to the Sun and is only 0.24 ly (15,000 ± 700 astronomical units) away from the binary star system Alpha Centauri. Proxima Centauri's diameter is one-seventh that of the Sun; its mass is about an eighth of the Sun's, and its average density is about 40 times that of the Sun. Although it has a very low average luminosity, Proxima Centauri is a flare star that undergoes random increases in brightness because of magnetic activity; during a flare the star generates a total X-ray emission similar to that produced by the Sun. The star's relatively low energy production rate means that it will be a main-sequence star for another four trillion years, or nearly 300 times the current age of the universe. Searches for companions orbiting Proxima Centauri have been unsuccessful; the detection of smaller objects will require the use of new instruments, such as the proposed James Webb Space Telescope. Whether a planet orbiting this star could support life is disputed. Because of the star's proximity, it has been proposed as a destination for interstellar travel. (more...)

Recently featured: GodsmackCharlotte StuartBattle of Gonzales


October 6

Ravenloft is an adventure module written by Tracy Hickman and Laura Hickman for the Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game. TSR, Inc. released it as a standalone adventure booklet in 1983, including art by Clyde Caldwell with maps by David Sutherland III. The plot of Ravenloft focuses on the villain Strahd von Zarovich, a vampire who pines for his lost love. Various story elements, including Strahd's motivation and the locations of certain items, are randomly determined by drawing cards. The player characters attempt to defeat Strahd and, if successful, the adventure ends. The Hickmans began work on Ravenloft in the late 1970s, intent on creating a frightening portrait of a vampire in a setting that combined Gothic horror with the D&D game system. Strahd has since appeared in a number of D&D accessories and novels. The module inspired numerous revisions and adaptations, including a campaign setting of the same name and a sequel. In 1999, on the 25th anniversary of Dungeons & Dragons, two commemorative versions of Ravenloft were released. Ravenloft won the 1984 Strategists' Club Award for Outstanding Play Aid, and appeared second in Dungeon magazine's list of the top 30 D&D adventures. (more...)

Recently featured: Proxima CentauriGodsmackCharlotte Stuart


October 7
Shield nickel obverse

The Shield nickel was the first United States five-cent piece to be made out of copper-nickel, the same alloy of which American nickels are struck today. Designed by James B. Longacre, the coin was issued from 1866 until 1883, when it was replaced by the Liberty Head nickel. Silver half dimes had been struck from the early days of the United States Mint in the late 18th century. They disappeared from circulation, along with most other coins, in the economic turmoil of the Civil War. In 1864, the Mint successfully introduced low-denomination coins, whose intrinsic worth did not approach their face value. Industrialist Joseph Wharton advocated coins containing nickel—a metal in which he had significant financial interests. When the Mint proposed a copper-nickel five-cent piece, Congress required that the coin be heavier than the Mint had suggested, allowing Wharton to sell more of the metal to the government. Longacre's design was based on his two-cent pieces, and symbolizes the strength of a unified America. The nickel proved difficult to strike, and the reverse, or "tails", design was modified in 1867. Even so, production difficulties continued, causing many minor varieties which are collected today. Minting of the Shield nickel for circulation was suspended in 1876 for a period of over two years, and it was struck in only small quantities until 1882. The following year, the coin was replaced by Charles E. Barber's Liberty head design. (more...)

Recently featured: Ravenloft (module)Proxima CentauriGodsmack


October 8
USS LST-469 under repair in August 1943

Convoy GP55 was a convoy of Allied ships that travelled between Sydney and Brisbane in June 1943 during World War II. It comprised ten cargo ships, three Landing Ships, Tank and an escort of five corvettes. The Japanese submarine I-174 attacked the convoy on 16 June, sinking the United States Army transport ship Portmar and damaging USS LST-469. Two of the corvettes subsequently counter-attacked I-174, but only lightly damaged her. The Australian military conducted an intensive search for I-174 in the days after the attack in the mistaken belief that she had been significantly damaged. This search was not successful and highlighted the unsatisfactory communications between the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) and Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). Due to Japan's deteriorating strategic situation, I-174 was the last Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) submarine to operate off the Australian east coast. (more...)

Recently featured: Shield nickelRavenloft (module)Proxima Centauri


October 9
Portrait of Ernest Augustus I by George Dawe, 1828

Ernest Augustus I of Hanover (1771–1851) was King of Hanover from 20 June 1837 until his death. He was the fifth son and eighth child of George III, who reigned in both the United Kingdom and Hanover. As a fifth son, initially Ernest seemed unlikely to become a monarch, but Salic Law, which debarred women from the succession, applied in Hanover and none of his older brothers had legitimate male issue. Ernest was born in Britain, but was sent to Hanover in his adolescence for his education and military training. While serving with Hanoverian forces in Wallonia against Napoleon, he received a disfiguring facial wound. In 1799, he was created Duke of Cumberland and Teviotdale. Although his 1815 marriage to the twice-widowed Frederica of Mecklenburg-Strelitz met with the disapproval of his mother, Queen Charlotte, it proved a happy relationship. Ernest was active in the House of Lords, where he maintained an extremely conservative record. There were persistent allegations (reportedly spread by his political foes) that he had murdered his valet and had fathered a son by his sister. Before Victoria succeeded to the British Throne, it was rumoured that Ernest intended to murder her and take the Throne himself. When King William IV died on 20 June 1837, Ernest ascended the Hanoverian Throne. Hanover's first ruler to reside in the kingdom since George I, he had a generally successful fourteen-year reign, but excited controversy when he dismissed the Göttingen Seven for agitating against his policies. (more...)

Recently featured: Convoy GP55Shield nickelRavenloft (module)


October 10
Illustration for "To Autumn" by W.J. Neatby

"To Autumn" is a poem written by English Romantic poet John Keats. The work was composed on 19 September 1819 and published in a volume of Keats's poetry that included Lamia and The Eve of Saint Agnes in 1820. "To Autumn" is the final work in a group of poems known as Keats's "1819 odes". Although he had little time throughout 1819 to devote to poetry because of personal problems, he managed to compose "To Autumn" after he was inspired to write the poem following a walk near Winchester one autumnal evening. The work marks the end of his poetic career as he needed to earn money and could no longer devote himself to the lifestyle of a poet. A little over a year following the publication of "To Autumn", Keats died in Rome. The poem has three stanzas, each of eleven lines, that describe the tastes, sights, and sounds of autumn. Much of the third stanza, however, is dedicated to diction, symbolism, and literary devices with negative connotations, as it describes the end of the day and the end of autumn. "To Autumn" includes an emphasis on images of motion, growth, and maturation. The work can be interpreted as a discussion of death, an expression of colonialist sentiment, or as a political response to the Peterloo Massacre. "To Autumn" has been regarded by critics as one of the most perfect short poems in English literature, and it is one of the most anthologized English lyric poems. (more...)

Recently featured: Ernest Augustus I of HanoverConvoy GP55Shield nickel


October 11
William McGregor

William McGregor (1846–1911) was an association football administrator in the Victorian era, who is regarded as the founder of the Football League, the first organised football league in the world. After moving from Perthshire to Birmingham to set up business as a draper, McGregor became involved with local football club Aston Villa, which he helped to establish as one of the leading teams in England. He served the club for over twenty years in various capacities, including president, director and chairman. In 1888, frustrated by the regular cancellation of Villa's matches, McGregor organised a meeting of representatives of England's leading clubs, which led to the formation of the Football League, giving member clubs a guaranteed fixture list each season. This was instrumental in the transition of football from an amateur pastime to a professional business. McGregor served as both chairman and president of the Football League and was also chairman of the Football Association (the FA). He was recognised by the FA for his service to the game shortly before his death in 1911, and was posthumously honoured by the local football authorities and Aston Villa. (more...)

Recently featured: "To Autumn" – Ernest Augustus I of HanoverConvoy GP55


October 12
Rear view of CFM56-5

The CFM International CFM56 series is a family of high-bypass turbofan aircraft engines made by CFM International with a thrust range of 18,500 to 34,000 pound-force (lbf) (80 to 150 kilonewtons (kN)). CFMI is a 50–50 joint-owned company of SNECMA and GE Aviation. Both companies are responsible for producing components and each has its own final assembly line. The CFM56 first ran in 1974 and, despite initial political problems, is now one of the most prolific jet engine types in the world: more than 20,000 have been built in four major variants. It is most widely used on the Boeing 737 airliner and under military designation F108 replaced the Pratt & Whitney JT3D engines on many KC-135 Stratotankers in the 1980s, creating the KC-135R variant of this aircraft. It is also one of two engines used to power the Airbus A340, the other being the Rolls-Royce Trent. The engine is also fitted to Airbus A320 series aircraft. Several fan blade failure incidents were experienced during the CFM56's early service, including one failure that was noted as a cause of the Kegworth air disaster, and some variants of the engine experienced problems caused by flight through rain and hail. However, both these issues were resolved with engine modifications. (more...)

Recently featured: William McGregor – "To Autumn" – Ernest Augustus I of Hanover


October 13
A 1991 photo of Sadruddin Aga Khan by Erling Mandelmann

Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan (1933–2003) served as United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees from 1966 to 1978, during which he reoriented the agency's focus beyond Europe and prepared it for an explosion of complex refugee issues. He was also a proponent of greater collaboration between non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and UN agencies. The Prince's interest in ecological issues led him to establish the Bellerive Foundation in the late 1970s, and he was a knowledgeable and respected collector of Islamic art. Born in Paris, France, he was the son of Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah Aga Khan and Princess Andrée Aga Khan. He received his early education in Lausanne, Switzerland, before graduating Phi Beta Kappa in 1954 from Harvard College. He married twice, but had no children of his own. Prince Sadruddin died of cancer at the age of 70, and was buried in Switzerland. (more...)

Recently featured: CFM International CFM56William McGregor – "To Autumn"


October 14
The School Building of the Judd School

The Judd School is a voluntary aided grammar school in Tonbridge, Kent, England. It was established in 1888 at Stafford House on East Street in Tonbridge, by the Worshipful Company of Skinners. There are 935 students in the school aged 11 to 18; the lower school is all boys, but of over 300 students aged 16–18 in the sixth form, up to 60 are girls. Judd pupils generally take ten General Certificate of Secondary Education tests in Year Eleven, and they have a choice of four or five A-levels in the sixth form. An Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills inspection in 2007 graded The Judd School as "outstanding", and in 2009, The Sunday Times newspaper ranked The Judd School as the 27th best state secondary school in the country. The Judd School is a music, English, science and mathematics specialist school. (more...)

Recently featured: Prince Sadruddin Aga KhanCFM International CFM56William McGregor


October 15
Claudio Monteverdi
Play the "Toccata" from L'Orfeo

L'Orfeo is an early Baroque opera by Claudio Monteverdi, with a text by Alessandro Striggio. It is based on the Greek legend of Orpheus, and tells the story of his descent to Hades and his fruitless attempt to bring his dead bride Eurydice back to the living world. Written in 1607 for a court performance during the annual Carnival at Mantua, L'Orfeo is one of the earliest music dramas still regularly performed. Its score was published by Monteverdi in 1609 and again in 1615. After the composer's death in 1643 the opera remained unperformed, and was largely forgotten until a revival of interest in the late 19th century led to a spate of modern editions and performances. After the Second World War most new editions sought authenticity through the use of period instruments. Strings, harpsichords and recorders represent the pastoral fields of Thrace with their nymphs and shepherds; heavy brass illustrates the underworld and its denizens. Composed at the point of transition from the Renaissance era to the Baroque, L'Orfeo employs all the resources then known within the art of music, with particularly daring use of polyphony. The work is not orchestrated as such; in the Renaissance tradition instrumentalists followed the composer's general instructions but were given considerable freedom to improvise. (more...)

Recently featured: The Judd SchoolPrince Sadruddin Aga KhanCFM International CFM56


October 16
Warren Family Mortuary Chapel

Oakwood Cemetery is a nonsectarian rural cemetery in Troy, New York. It was established in 1848 in response to the growing rural cemetery movement in New England and was consecrated on October 16, 1850. It was the fourth rural cemetery in New York, operated by the first rural cemetery association created in the state. Oakwood is located in the Lansingburgh neighborhood on 352 acres (142 ha) of hilly land. It is known for both its dense foliage and rolling lawns, and has historically been used as a public park by local residents; many memorials include benches intended for visitors to rest. Oakwood is home to the Richardsonian Romanesque Earl Crematorium, the English Gothic Warren Chapel (pictured), 24 mausolea, and 60,000 graves. The cemetery was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1984. Oakwood is the burial place of educator Emma Willard, financier Russell Sage, and Samuel Wilson, the progenitor of the United States' national symbol, Uncle Sam. (more...)

Recently featured: L'OrfeoThe Judd SchoolPrince Sadruddin Aga Khan


October 17
"Battle of Lissa, 13 March 1811", engraving by Henri Merke

The Battle of Lissa was a naval action fought between a British frigate squadron and a substantially larger squadron of French and Venetian frigates and smaller ships on 13 March 1811 during the Adriatic campaign of the Napoleonic Wars. The engagement was fought in the Adriatic Sea for possession of the strategically important island of Lissa (later renamed Vis), from which the British squadron had been disrupting French shipping in the Adriatic. The French needed to control the Adriatic to supply a growing army in the Illyrian Provinces, and consequently despatched an invasion force in March 1811 consisting of six frigates, numerous smaller craft and a battalion of Italian soldiers. The French invasion force under Bernard Dubourdieu was met by Captain William Hoste and his four ships based on the island. In the subsequent battle Hoste sank the French flagship, captured two others and scattered the remainder of the Franco-Venetian squadron. The battle has been hailed as an important British victory, due to both the disparity between the forces and the signal raised by Hoste, a former subordinate of Horatio Nelson. Hoste had raised the message "Remember Nelson" as the French bore down and had then manoeuvred to drive Dubourdieu's flagship ashore and scatter his squadron in what has been described as "one of the most brilliant naval achievements of the war". (more...)

Recently featured: Oakwood CemeteryL'OrfeoThe Judd School


October 18

Ninja Gaiden is a side-scrolling platforming video game. It was developed and published by Tecmo for the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES); its development and release coincided with the beat 'em up arcade version of the same name. It was released in December 1988 (1988-12) in Japan, in March 1989 in North America, and in September 1991 (1991-09) in Europe. It was ported to the PC Engine in Japan in 1992, to the Super NES as part of the Ninja Gaiden Trilogy compilation. The story follows a ninja named Ryu Hayabusa as he journeys to America to avenge his murdered father. There, he learns that a person named "the Jaquio" plans to take control of the world by unleashing an ancient demon through the power contained in two statues. Featuring platforming gameplay similar to Castlevania and the NES version of Batman, players control Ryu through six "Acts" that comprise 20 levels; they encounter enemies that must be dispatched with Ryu's katana and other secondary weapons. Ninja Gaiden has been renowned for its elaborate story and usage of anime-like cinematic cutscenes. It received extensive coverage and won several awards from video gaming magazines, while criticism focused on its high and unforgiving difficulty, particularly in the later levels. It has been described as one of the best arcade-style games, and the best ninja-related game, released for the NES. (more...)

Recently featured: Battle of LissaOakwood CemeteryL'Orfeo


October 19
Pine Creek Gorge with Pine Creek and Pine Creek Rail Trail, in Tioga County, Pennsylvania

Leonard Harrison State Park is a 585-acre (237 ha) Pennsylvania state park near Wellsboro in Tioga County, Pennsylvania in the United States. It is on the east rim of the 800-foot (240 m) deep Pine Creek Gorge, also known as the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania, carved by Pine Creek. The park is known for its vistas, hiking, fishing, hunting, whitewater boating, and camping. Native Americans used the Pine Creek Path; later used by lumbermen, it became the course of a railroad from 1883 to 1988, and the 63.4-mile (102.0 km) Pine Creek Rail Trail in 1996. The gorge, named a National Natural Landmark in 1968, is protected as a Pennsylvania State Natural Area and Important Bird Area, while Pine Creek is a state Scenic and Wild River. Although the gorge was clearcut in the 19th and early 20th centuries, it is now covered by second growth forest, thanks in part to the work of the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. The park is named for Leonard Harrison, a Wellsboro lumberman who cut the timber, then donated the land to the state in 1922. The park attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year, and was chosen by the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources for its "Twenty Must-See Pennsylvania State Parks" list, which praised its "spectacular vistas and a fabulous view of Pine Creek Gorge". (more...)

Recently featured: Ninja GaidenBattle of LissaOakwood Cemetery


October 20
Track of the 1910 Cuba hurricane

The 1910 Cuba hurricane was a destructive and unusual tropical cyclone which struck Cuba and the United States in October 1910. It formed in the southern Caribbean on October 9 and intensified as it moved northwestward, becoming a hurricane on October 12. After crossing the western tip of Cuba, it peaked on October 16, corresponding to Category 4 on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale. It moved in a counterclockwise loop and hit Cuba again. It then tracked toward Florida, landing near Cape Romano. After moving through the state, it hugged the coast of the Southeastern United States on its way out to sea. Due to its unusual loop, initial reports suggested it was two separate storms which hit in rapid succession. It is considered one of the worst natural disasters in Cuban history. It also had a widespread impact in Florida. (more...)

Recently featured: Leonard Harrison State ParkNinja GaidenBattle of Lissa


October 21
Sunderland Stadium of Light

Sunderland A.F.C. is an English association football club based in Sunderland, Tyne and Wear that competes in the Premier League. Since its formation in 1879, the club has won six First Division titles—in 1892, 1893, 1895, 1902, 1913, and 1936 and the FA Cup twice, in 1937 and 1973 (see Sunderland A.F.C. seasons). The club was founded by schoolteacher James Allan and was elected into The Football League in 1890 where the team performed well in the league, earning plaudits such as a "wonderfully fine team". The Sunderland team won their first FA Cup in 1937 with a 3–1 victory over Preston North End, and remained in the top league for 68 successive seasons, losing the record to Arsenal when they were relegated in 1958. Sunderland's most notable trophy win after the Second World War was their second FA Cup in 1973, when the club secured a 1–0 victory over Leeds United. The team has won the second tier title five times in that period and the third tier title once. Sunderland play their home games at the 49,000 capacity all-seater Stadium of Light having moved from Roker Park in 1997. The original ground capacity was 42,000 which was increased to 49,000 following redevelopment in 2000. Sunderland have a long-standing rivalry with their neighbouring club Newcastle United, with whom they have contested the Tyne–Wear derby since 1898. (more...)

Recently featured: 1910 Cuba hurricaneLeonard Harrison State ParkNinja Gaiden


October 22
A Puerto Rican Amazon

The Puerto Rican Amazon is the only bird endemic to the archipelago of Puerto Rico belonging to the Neotropical genus Amazona. Measuring 28–30 cm (11–12 in), the Puerto Rican Amazon is a predominantly green parrot with a red forehead and white rings around the eyes. Two subspecies have been described, although there are doubts regarding the distinctiveness of the form gracilipes from Culebra Island, extinct since 1912. The Puerto Rican Amazon reaches sexual maturity between three and four years of age. It reproduces once a year and is a cavity nester. Once the female lays eggs she will remain in the nest and continuously incubate them until hatching. The chicks are fed by both parents and will fledge 60 to 65 days after hatching. This parrot's diet is varied and consists of flowers, fruits, leaves, bark and nectar obtained from the forest canopy. The species is the only remaining native parrot in Puerto Rico and has been listed as critically endangered by the World Conservation Union since 1994. Once widespread and abundant, the population declined drastically in the 19th and early 20th centuries with the removal of most of its native habitat; the species completely vanished from Vieques and Mona Island, nearby to the main island of Puerto Rico. Conservation efforts commenced in 1968 to save the bird from extinction. In 2006, the total estimated population was 34 to 40 individuals in the wild and 143 individuals in captivity. (more...)

Recently featured: Sunderland A.F.C.1910 Cuba hurricaneLeonard Harrison State Park


October 23
The International Space Station

The International Space Station is an internationally developed research facility currently being assembled in low Earth orbit. On-orbit construction of the station began in 1998 and is scheduled for completion by late 2011. The station is expected to remain in operation until at least 2015, and likely 2020. With a greater mass than that of any previous space station, the ISS can be seen from Earth with the naked eye, and is by far the largest artificial satellite that has ever orbited Earth. The station serves as a research laboratory that has a microgravity environment in which crews conduct experiments and observations in various biological, chemical and physical sciences. The ISS is operated by Expedition crews of six astronauts and cosmonauts, with the station programme maintaining an uninterrupted human presence in space since the launch of Expedition 1 on 31 October 2000, a total of 18 years and 257 days, taking the record for the longest unbroken human presence in space from the Mir programme today, 23 October 2010. The ISS project began in 1994 with the Shuttle-Mir programme, and the first module of the station, Zarya, was launched in 1998 by Russia. Assembly continues, as pressurised modules and other components are launched by American space shuttles, Russian Proton rockets and Russian Soyuz rockets. The station currently consists of 14 pressurised modules and an extensive integrated truss structure. (more...)

Recently featured: Puerto Rican AmazonSunderland A.F.C.1910 Cuba hurricane


October 24
Robert Falcon Scott in 1912

Robert Falcon Scott (1868–1912) was a Royal Navy officer and explorer who led two expeditions to the Antarctic regions: the Discovery Expedition, 1901–04, and the ill-fated Terra Nova Expedition, 1910–13. During this second venture, Scott led a party of five which reached the South Pole on 17 January 1912, only to find that they had been preceded by Roald Amundsen's Norwegian expedition. On their return journey, Scott and his four comrades all perished from a combination of exhaustion, starvation and extreme cold. Following the news of his death, Scott became an iconic British hero, a status maintained for more than 50 years and reflected by the many permanent memorials erected across the nation. In the closing decades of the 20th century, however, in a more sceptical age, the legend was reassessed as attention focused on the causes of the disaster and the extent of Scott's personal culpability. From a previously unassailable position, Scott became a figure of controversy, with questions raised about his competence and character. Commentators in the 21st century have on the whole regarded Scott more positively, emphasising his personal bravery and stoicism while acknowledging his errors, but ascribing his expedition's fate primarily to misfortune. (more...)

Recently featured: International Space StationPuerto Rican AmazonSunderland A.F.C.


October 25
GRB 970228 as seen by Hubble

GRB 970228 was a gamma-ray burst (GRB) detected on February 28, 1997 at 02:58 UTC. A gamma-ray burst is a highly luminous flash of gamma rays, the most energetic form of electromagnetic radiation. Since 1993, physicists had predicted these bursts to be followed by a longer-lived afterglow at longer wavelengths, such as radio waves, x-rays, and even visible light. Until this event, GRBs had only been observed at gamma wavelengths. This was the first burst for which an afterglow was observed. The burst had multiple peaks in its light curve and lasted approximately 80 seconds. Peculiarities in the light curve of GRB 970228 suggested that a supernova may have occurred as well. The position of the burst coincided with a galaxy about 8.1 billion light-years from Earth, providing early evidence that GRBs occur well beyond the Milky Way. (more...)

Recently featured: Robert Falcon ScottInternational Space StationPuerto Rican Amazon


October 26
Air Vice Marshal Frank McNamara VC, England, 1942

Frank McNamara (1894–1961) was an Australian recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest decoration for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to a member of the British and Commonwealth forces. Serving with the Australian Flying Corps, he was honoured for his actions on 20 March 1917, when he rescued a fellow pilot who had been forced down behind enemy lines. McNamara was the first Australian aviator, and the only one in World War I, to receive the Victoria Cross. He later became a senior commander in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). Born and educated in Victoria, McNamara was a teacher when he joined the militia prior to World War I. In 1915, he was selected for pilot training at Central Flying School, Point Cook, and transferred to the Australian Flying Corps the following year. He was based in the Middle East with No. 1 Squadron when he earned the Victoria Cross. In 1921, McNamara enlisted as a Flying Officer in the newly formed RAAF, rising to the rank of Air Vice Marshal by 1942. He held senior posts in England and Aden during World War II. Retiring from the Air Force in 1946, McNamara continued to live in Britain until his death from heart failure in 1961. (more...)

Recently featured: GRB 970228Robert Falcon ScottInternational Space Station


October 27

The 2004 World Series was the Major League Baseball championship series for the 2004 season. It was the 100th World Series and featured the American League champion Boston Red Sox, against the National League champion St. Louis Cardinals. The Red Sox defeated the Cardinals four games to none in the best-of-seven series, played at Fenway Park and Busch Memorial Stadium. The series was played between October 23 and October 27, 2004, broadcast on Fox, and watched by an average of just under 25 and a half million viewers. The Cardinals earned their berth into the playoffs by winning the National League Central, and had the best win–loss record in the National League. The Red Sox won the American League wild card to earn their berth. The Cardinals reached the World Series by defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers in the best-of-five National League Division Series, and the Houston Astros in the best-of-seven Championship Series. The Red Sox defeated the Anaheim Angels in the American League Division Series and the New York Yankees in the Championship Series to advance to their first World Series since 1986. The Cardinals made their first trip to the World Series since 1987. The Red Sox swept the series, winning their first championship since 1918, which ended the "Curse of the Bambino", a curse that was supposed to have been inflicted on the team when Babe Ruth was sold to the Yankees in 1919. (more...)

Recently featured: Frank McNamaraGRB 970228Robert Falcon Scott


October 28
The Chetco River near Boulder Creek, Oregon

The Chetco River is a 56-mile (90 km) long stream located in the southwestern portion of the U.S. state of Oregon. It drains approximately 352 square miles (912 km2) of Curry County. Flowing through a rugged and isolated coastal region, it descends rapidly from about 3,200 feet (975 m) to sea level at the Pacific Ocean. The river's watershed was originally settled one to three thousand years ago by the Chetco and other Native American tribes. Several explorers, including Sir Francis Drake, George Vancouver, and Jedediah Smith visited the region between the 16th and 19th centuries. European American settlers arrived soon after gold and other precious metals were discovered in the 1840s and 1850s. The watershed remains largely undeveloped, protected by the Rogue River – Siskiyou National Forest and the Kalmiopsis Wilderness. The upper 45 miles (72 km) of the river have been designated Wild and Scenic since October 28, 1988. Supporting a large population of salmon and trout, the Chetco's water is of very high quality. The watershed is home to many other species, including several that are endemic to the Siskiyou Mountains area. The northernmost grove of Redwoods—the tallest trees on Earth—grow in the southern region of the Chetco's drainage basin. In total, the river is home to over 200 species of animals, and 97 percent of the watershed is forested. (more...)

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October 29
Ralph Bakshi, the director of Fritz the Cat

Fritz the Cat is a 1972 American animated film written and directed by Ralph Bakshi (pictured) as his feature film debut. Based on the comic strip of the same name by Robert Crumb, the film was the first animated feature film to receive an X rating in the United States. It focuses on Fritz (voiced by Skip Hinnant), an anthropomorphic feline in mid-1960s New York City who explores the ideals of hedonism and sociopolitical consciousness. The film is a satire focusing on American college life of the era, race relations, the free love movement, and left- and right-wing politics. Fritz the Cat was the most successful independent animated feature of all time, grossing over $100 million worldwide. The film had a troubled production history and controversial release. Creator Robert Crumb is known to have had disagreements with the filmmakers, claiming in interviews that his first wife signed over the film rights to the characters, and that he did not approve the production. Crumb was also critical of the film's approach to his material. Fritz the Cat was controversial for its rating and content, which viewers at the time found to be offensive. (more...)

Recently featured: Chetco River2004 World SeriesFrank McNamara


October 30
Cover of the Ludwig von Mises's Institute new edition of Essai.

Richard Cantillon (1680s–1734) was an Irish economist and author of Essai Sur La Nature Du Commerce En Général (Essay on the Nature of Trade in General), a book considered by William Stanley Jevons to be the "cradle of political economy". Although little information exists on Cantillon's life, it is known that he became a successful banker and merchant at an early age. Essai remains Cantillon's only surviving contribution to economics. It was written around 1730 and circulated widely in manuscript form, but was not published until 1755. Despite having much influence on the early development of the physiocrat and classical schools of thought, Essai was largely forgotten until its rediscovery by Jevons in the late 19th century. During the late 1710s and early 1720s, Cantillon speculated in, and later helped fund, John Law's Mississippi Company, from which he acquired great wealth. Cantillon's entrepreneurial success, however, came at a cost to his debtors, who pursued him with lawsuits, criminal charges, and even murder plots until his death in 1734. (more...)

Recently featured: Fritz the CatChetco River2004 World Series


October 31

Two different articles ran as TFA on this date: see Wikipedia:Today's featured article oddities for more. Until 12:28 UTC, the TFA was this:

A depiction of the Salem witch trials, which took place about 12–13 years before Sherwood's trial

Grace Sherwood was a healer, midwife, and farmer from Princess Anne County and Pungo, Virginia. Sherwood's neighbors claimed that she ruined crops, killed livestock, and conjured storms. She was tried for witchcraft several times, the first in 1697 when she was accused of casting a spell on a bull, resulting in its death. The following year she was charged again, for bewitching the hogs and cotton crop belonging to one of her neighbors. Her final trial took place in 1706, when she was accused of bewitching Elizabeth Hill, causing Hill to miscarry. The court ordered that Sherwood's guilt or innocence should be determined by ducking her in water. If the water rejected her and she floated, then she was guilty; if the water accepted her and she drowned, then she was innocent. Sherwood floated to the surface, and subsequently spent up to seven years and nine months in the jail next to Lynnhaven Parish Church. She was free by 1714 and succeeded in recovering her property from Princess Anne County, after which she lived quietly until her death in 1740 at the age of 80. (more...)

After 12:28 UTC, the TFA was this:

Tropical Storm Chantal after landfall on the Yucatán Peninsula

Tropical Storm Chantal was a poorly forecast Atlantic tropical cyclone that moved across the Caribbean Sea in August 2001. Chantal developed from a tropical wave on August 14 in the tropical Atlantic Ocean. It tracked rapidly westward for much of its duration, and after degenerating into a tropical wave it passed through the Windward Islands. Chantal reached a peak intensity of 70 miles per hour (110 km/h) twice in the Caribbean Sea, and each time it was anticipated to attain hurricane status; however, wind shear and later land interaction prevented strengthening to hurricane status. On August 21 Chantal moved ashore near the border of Mexico and Belize, and the next day it dissipated. In the Windward Islands, lightning caused two indirect deaths in Trinidad. Chantal dropped light to moderate rainfall across its path, most significantly in Quintana Roo in Mexico where it caused widespread mudslides. Damage in Belize totaled $4 million (2001 USD, $4.8 million 2008 USD), due to the combined impact of high waves, moderate winds, and rainfall. Overall damage was minor. (more...)

Recently featured: Richard CantillonFritz the CatChetco River