Wikipedia:Today's featured article/March 2012

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March 1
Williamsport Falls in Warren County

Warren County, Indiana, is located in the western part of the U.S. state of Indiana, between the Illinois border and the Wabash River. Before the arrival of non-indigenous settlers in the early 1800s, the area was inhabited by several Native American tribes, especially the Miami, Kickapoo and Potawatomi. The county was officially established on March 1, 1827. It covers an area of 366 square miles (950 km2) with a population of about 8,500 people and is one of the most rural counties in the state. It has some of the state's most productive farmland, with a 2009 corn harvest of over 17 million bushels. To the north and west, the land consists largely of open prairie, whereas the land along the river in the south and east is more hilly and wooded. The state's highest waterfall is located in the county seat of Williamsport. (more...)

Recently featured: PsilocybinMurasaki ShikibuJohn McCauley

March 2
Kate Webster, the killer of Julia Martha Thomas

The murder of Julia Martha Thomas was one of the most notorious crimes in Britain in the late 19th century. Thomas, a widow who lived in Richmond in west London, was killed on 2 March 1879 by Kate Webster, her Irish maid (pictured). Webster dismembered the body, boiled the flesh off the bones, and threw most of it into the River Thames, allegedly offering the fat to neighbours as dripping and lard. Part of Thomas's remains were soon recovered but her severed head was only found in October 2010 during building works being carried out for the naturalist Sir David Attenborough. After the murder, Webster posed as Thomas for two weeks but was exposed and fled to her family home at Killanne, Ireland. She was arrested on 29 March and stood trial in London at the Old Bailey in July 1879, where she was convicted and sentenced to death. She confessed to the murder the night before she was hanged on 29 July at Wandsworth Prison. The case attracted considerable interest from the public and press in Great Britain and Ireland. (more...)

Recently featured: Warren County, IndianaPsilocybinMurasaki Shikibu

March 3

Kevin O'Halloran (1937–1976) was an Australian freestyle swimmer of the 1950s, who won a gold medal in the 4 × 200 m freestyle relay at the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne. The first Western Australian to win Olympic gold, O'Halloran learnt to swim in his home town of Katanning. He moved to Perth to attend secondary schooling at Guildford Grammar School, where he became more committed to swimming. Competitive swimming was not well developed in Western Australia; races were held in muddy river pools, so in late 1955, O'Halloran moved to the east coast to support his attempt to qualify for the Olympics. His new coach, Frank Guthrie, overhauled his training regimen, and within a year, O'Halloran had reduced his times by approximately 10%. He gained Olympic selection in the relay and the 400 m freestyle. O'Halloran led off the Australian quartet on the way to a new world record, before placing sixth in the 400 m. Thereafter, O'Halloran's career was beset by ear problems, and he retired in 1958 after failing to qualify for the 1958 British Empire and Commonwealth Games. In 1976, O'Halloran died after tripping and accidentally shooting himself. (more...)

Recently featured: Murder of Julia Martha ThomasWarren County, IndianaPsilocybin

March 4
Rutherford B. Hayes

Rutherford B. Hayes (1822–1893) was the 19th President of the United States (1877–1881). Taking office as president on March 4, 1877, he oversaw the end of Reconstruction and the United States' entry into the Second Industrial Revolution. Hayes was a reformer who began the efforts that would lead to civil service reform and attempted, unsuccessfully, to reconcile the divisions that had led to the American Civil War fifteen years earlier. When the Civil War began, Hayes left a successful political career to join the Union Army. Wounded five times, most seriously at the Battle of South Mountain, he earned a reputation for bravery in combat and was promoted to the rank of major general. After the war, he served in the U.S. Congress from 1865 to 1867 as a Republican. Hayes left Congress to run for Governor of Ohio and was elected to three terms, serving from 1867 to 1871 and 1876 to 1877. In 1876, Hayes was elected president in one of the most contentious elections in American history. Losing the popular vote to Democrat Samuel J. Tilden, Hayes narrowly won the presidency after the Compromise of 1877, in which a Congressional commission awarded him twenty disputed electoral votes. (more...)

Recently featured: Kevin O'HalloranMurder of Julia Martha ThomasWarren County, Indiana

March 5
Map of the route taken by the Allied forces on the campaign

The Battle of Barrosa (5 March 1811) was an unsuccessful French attack on a larger Anglo-Portuguese-Spanish force attempting to lift the siege of Cádiz in Spain during the Peninsular War. Cádiz had been invested by the French in early 1810, but in March of the following year a reduction in the besieging army gave its garrison of Anglo-Spanish troops an opportunity to lift the siege. A large Allied strike-force was shipped south from Cádiz to Tarifa, and moved to engage the siege lines from the rear. The French, under the command of Marshal Victor, were aware of the Allied movement and redeployed to prepare a trap. Victor placed one division on the road to Cádiz, blocking the Allied line of march, while his two remaining divisions fell on the single Anglo-Portuguese rearguard division under the command of Sir Thomas Graham. Following a fierce battle on two fronts, the British succeeded in routing the attacking French forces. A lack of support from the larger Spanish contingent prevented an absolute victory, and the French were able to regroup and reoccupy their siege lines. Graham's tactical victory proved to have little strategic effect on the continuing war, to the extent that Victor was able to claim the battle as a French victory since the siege remained in force until finally being lifted on 24 August 1812. (more...)

Recently featured: Rutherford B. HayesKevin O'HalloranMurder of Julia Martha Thomas

March 6
Banksia cuneata

Banksia cuneata is an endangered species of flowering plant in the Proteaceae family. Endemic to southwest Western Australia, it belongs to the subgenus Isostylis, which contains three closely related species with flower clusters that are dome-shaped heads rather than characteristic Banksia flower spikes. A shrub or small tree up to 5 m (16 ft) high, it has prickly foliage and pink and cream flowers. The common name Matchstick Banksia arises from the blooms in late bud, the individual buds of which resemble matchsticks. The species is pollinated by honeyeaters. Although B. cuneata was first collected before 1880, it was not until 1981 that Australian botanist Alex George formally described and named the species. There are two genetically distinct population groups, but no recognised varieties. This Banksia is classified as endangered, surviving in fragments of remnant bushland in a region which has been 93% cleared for agriculture. As Banksia cuneata is killed by fire and regenerates from seed, it is highly sensitive to bushfire frequency; fires recurring within four years could wipe out populations of plants not yet mature enough to set seed. Banksia cuneata is rarely cultivated, and its prickly foliage limits its utility in the cut flower industry. (more...)

Recently featured: Battle of BarrosaRutherford B. HayesKevin O'Halloran

March 7
Cyclone Elita

Cyclone Elita was an unusual tropical cyclone that made landfall on Madagascar three times. Elita developed in the Mozambique Channel on January 24, 2004. It strengthened to become a tropical cyclone before striking northwestern Madagascar on January 28. Elita weakened to tropical depression status while crossing the island, and after exiting into the southwest Indian Ocean it turned to the west and moved ashore for a second time on January 31 in eastern Madagascar. After crossing the island, the cyclone intensified again after reaching the Mozambique Channel, and Elita turned to the southeast to make its final landfall on February 3 along southwestern Madagascar. Elita dropped heavy rainfall of over 200 mm (8 inches), which damaged or destroyed thousands of houses in Madagascar. Over 50,000 people were left homeless, primarily in Mahajanga and Toliara provinces. Flooding from the storm damaged or destroyed more than 450 km2 (170 sq mi) of agricultural land, including important crops for food. Across the island, the cyclone caused at least 33 deaths. Elsewhere, the cyclone brought rainfall and damage to Mozambique and Malawi, while its outer circulation produced rough seas and strong winds in Seychelles, Mauritius, and Réunion. (more...)

Recently featured: Banksia cuneataBattle of BarrosaRutherford B. Hayes

March 8
Martha Layne Collins giving a speech in 1986

Martha Layne Collins (born 1936) is a businesswoman and politician from Kentucky who was the state's 56th governor from 1983 to 1987. Prior to her election as governor, she was the 48th Lieutenant Governor of Kentucky, serving under John Y. Brown, Jr. She is the only woman to have been governor of Kentucky, and her election made her the highest-ranking Democratic woman in the U.S. at the time. She was considered as a possible running mate for Democratic presidential nominee Walter Mondale in the 1984 presidential election, but Mondale chose Geraldine Ferraro instead. Her administration had two primary focuses: education and economic development. She secured an increase in education funding during a special legislative session in 1985 and successfully used economic incentives to bring a Toyota manufacturing plant to Georgetown, Kentucky, in 1986. After her term as governor, she became president of Saint Catharine College near Springfield, Kentucky. Her husband's conviction on charges of influence-peddling in 1993 damaged her hopes for a return to political life. She is currently an executive scholar in residence at Georgetown College. (more...)

Recently featured: Cyclone ElitaBanksia cuneataBattle of Barrosa

March 9
Claude grahame-white on aeroplane.jpg

The 1910 London to Manchester air race took place between two aviators, Claude Grahame-White (pictured) and Louis Paulhan, who each attempted to win a £10,000 prize for flying from London to Manchester in under 24 hours. Grahame-White was the first to make the attempt, on 23 April 1910, but engine trouble forced him to land near Lichfield, where he had to give up because of inclement weather. Several days later Paulhan began his flight, with Graham-White, his aeroplane only just repaired, following several hours behind. Despite Graham-White's best efforts, Paulhan arrived in Manchester on 28 April, and won the prize. The event marked the first long-distance aeroplane race in England, the first take-off by a heavier-than-air machine at night, and the first powered flight into Manchester from outside the city. (more...)

Recently featured: Martha Layne CollinsCyclone ElitaBanksia cuneata

March 10
Baker Street and Waterloo Railway station platform shortly after opening

The Baker Street and Waterloo Railway (BS&WR) was a British railway company established in 1893 that bored an underground "tube" railway deep below the streets of London. Construction began in 1898, but was delayed by funding problems that included the collapse of its parent company through the massive fraud of its main shareholder Whitaker Wright. In 1902, the BS&WR came under the control of American financier Charles Yerkes who quickly raised the funds to enable the line to be completed. When opened on 10 March 1906, the BS&WR's line served nine stations and ran completely underground in a pair of tunnels for 5.81 kilometres (3.61 mi) between Baker Street and its southern terminus at Elephant and Castle. Extensions took the northern end of the line to the Great Western Railway's Paddington terminus by 1913 and to Watford by 1917, with services covering a total distance of 33.34 kilometres (20.72 mi). In 1933, the B&SWR and its parent company, the Underground Electric Railways Company of London, were taken into public ownership and, today, the railway's tunnels and stations form the London Underground's Bakerloo line. (more...)

Recently featured: 1910 London to Manchester air raceMartha Layne CollinsCyclone Elita

March 11
Bob Bakker with a skeleton with several bone injuries

Gorgosaurus is a genus of tyrannosaurid theropod dinosaur that lived in western North America during the Late Cretaceous Period, between about 76.5 and 75 million years ago. Fossil remains have been found in the Canadian province of Alberta and possibly the U.S. state of Montana. Like most known tyrannosaurids, Gorgosaurus was a bipedal predator weighing more than a metric ton as an adult; dozens of large, sharp teeth lined its jaws, while its two-fingered forelimbs were comparatively small. It lived in a lush floodplain environment along the edge of an inland sea. An apex predator, Gorgosaurus was at the top of the food chain, preying upon abundant ceratopsids and hadrosaurs. In some areas, it coexisted with another tyrannosaurid, Daspletosaurus. Though these animals were roughly the same size, there is some evidence of niche differentiation between the two. Gorgosaurus is the best-represented tyrannosaurid in the fossil record, known from dozens of specimens. These plentiful remains have allowed scientists to investigate its ontogeny, life history and other aspects of its biology. (more...)

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March 12
Cover of Birth Control Review (July 1919)

The birth control movement in the United States was a social reform campaign from 1914 to the 1940s that increased the availability of contraception through education and legalization. The movement was started by Emma Goldman, Mary Dennett, and Margaret Sanger, who were concerned about the hardships that childbirth and self-induced abortions brought to low-income women. In 1916, Sanger opened the first birth control clinic in the US, but it was immediately shut down by police. A major turning point for the movement came during World War I, when many US servicemen were diagnosed with venereal diseases, leading to an anti-venereal disease campaign that treated contraception as a matter of public health. Sanger successfully opened a second birth control clinic in 1923. Legal victories in the 1930s continued to weaken anti-contraception laws and in 1937 the American Medical Association adopted contraception as a core component of medical school curriculums. In 1942, the Planned Parenthood organization was formed, creating a nationwide network of birth control clinics. (more...)

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March 13
Titan, as photographed by the Cassini spacecraft in 2009

Titan is the largest moon of Saturn, the only natural satellite known to have a dense atmosphere, and the only object other than Earth for which clear evidence of stable bodies of surface liquid has been found. Discovered on 25 March 1655 by the Dutch astronomer Christiaan Huygens, Titan is the sixth ellipsoidal moon from Saturn. Frequently described as a planet-like moon, it is the second-largest natural satellite in the Solar System, after Jupiter's moon Ganymede, and it is larger by volume than the smallest planet, Mercury. Titan itself is primarily composed of water ice and rocky material. Its dense, opaque atmosphere meant that little was known of the surface features or conditions until the Cassini–Huygens mission in 2004. Although mountains and several possible cryovolcanoes have been discovered, its surface is relatively smooth and few impact craters have been found. Owing to the existence of stable bodies of surface liquids and its thick nitrogen-based atmosphere, Titan has been cited as a possible host for microbial extraterrestrial life or, at least, as a prebiotic environment rich in complex organic chemistry. (more...)

Recently featured: Birth control movement in the United StatesGorgosaurusBaker Street and Waterloo Railway

March 14
The logo for Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss

Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss is a first-person role-playing video game released in March 1992 for IBM PC compatible systems running DOS. Set in the fantasy world of the Ultima series, it was developed by Blue Sky Productions (later Looking Glass Studios). The protagonist has to find and rescue a baron's kidnapped daughter from an underground cave system that contains the remnants of a failed utopian civilization. It introduced many technological innovations and has been hailed as the first first-person perspective role-playing game with 3D computer graphics. Although it was not an immediate commercial success, the effects of critical acclaim and word of mouth caused sales to reach nearly 500,000. The game has been highly influential. It is said to have inspired "all 3D RPG titles from Morrowind to World of Warcraft", and the designers of BioShock, Tomb Raider and other major 3D games have cited it as an inspiration for their own work. It resulted in one sequel, 1993's Ultima Underworld II: Labyrinth of Worlds. (more...)

Recently featured: TitanBirth control movement in the United StatesGorgosaurus

March 15
The Shankly Gates at Anfield

Liverpool Football Club is an English Premier League football club based in Liverpool. It has played at its home ground, Anfield, since its founding in 1892. The club has won eighteen League titles, the second most in English football, as well as seven FA Cups and a record eight League Cups. It has also won more European titles than any other English club, with five European Cups, three UEFA Cups and three Super Cups. The most successful period in Liverpool's history was the 1970s and 1980s, when the club won numerous honours both domestically and in Europe. The club's supporters have been involved in two major tragedies: the first was the Heysel Stadium disaster in 1985, in which charging Liverpool fans caused a wall to collapse, killing 39 Juventus supporters. In the 1989 Hillsborough disaster, 96 Liverpool supporters died following a crush against perimeter fencing. Liverpool have long-standing rivalries with city neighbours Everton and with Manchester United. The team has played in an all-red home strip since 1964, and its anthem is "You'll Never Walk Alone". (more...)

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March 16
Arnold Schwarzenegger (pictured in 1984) held the title role in Conan.

Conan the Barbarian is a 1982 fantasy film. It is based on the stories by Robert E. Howard, a pulp fiction writer of the 1930s, about the adventures of the eponymous character in a fictional pre-historic world of dark magic and savagery. The film adaptation was written and directed by John Milius, and produced by Raffaella De Laurentiis and Buzz Feitshans. The film stars Arnold Schwarzenegger (pictured) and James Earl Jones, and tells the story of a young barbarian (Schwarzenegger) who seeks vengeance for the death of his parents. Filming took place in Spain over five months, in the regions around Madrid and Almería. Conan grossed more than $68 million at box-offices around the world, though the revenue fell short of the level that would qualify the film as a blockbuster. Academics and critics interpreted the film as advancing the themes of fascism or individualism, with the fascist angle featured in most of the criticisms of the film. Critics also negatively reviewed Schwarzenegger's acting and the film's violent scenes. Despite the criticisms, Conan was popular with young male audiences, and the film brought Schwarzenegger worldwide recognition. The film spawned a sequel, Conan the Destroyer in 1984, and a remake in 2011. (more...)

Recently featured: Liverpool F.C.Ultima Underworld: The Stygian AbyssTitan

March 17
Shackleton as a young man

Ernest Shackleton (1874–1922) was an Anglo-Irish polar explorer, one of the principal figures of the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration. His first experience of the polar regions was as third officer on Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s Discovery Expedition, 1901–04, from which he was sent home early on health grounds. Determined to make amends for this perceived personal failure, he returned to Antarctica in 1907 as leader of the Nimrod Expedition. In January 1909 he and three companions made a southern march which established a record Farthest South latitude at 88° 23′ S, 97 geographical miles (114 statute miles, 190 km) from the South Pole. For this achievement, Shackleton was knighted by King Edward VII on his return home. After the race to the South Pole ended in 1912 with Roald Amundsen's conquest, Shackleton turned his attention to what he said was the one remaining great object of Antarctic journeying—the crossing of the continent from sea to sea, via the pole. To this end he made preparations for what became the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, 1914–17. Disaster struck this expedition when its ship, Endurance, became trapped in pack ice and was slowly crushed before the shore parties could be landed. There followed a sequence of exploits, and an ultimate escape with no lives lost, that would eventually assure Shackleton's heroic status. (more...)

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March 18
"Abyssinia, Henry" was the last episode to feature this character lineup.

"Abyssinia, Henry" is the 72nd episode of the M*A*S*H television series, and the final episode of the series' third season. First aired on March 18, 1975, and written by Everett Greenbaum and Jim Fritzell, the highly rated episode was most notable for its shocking and unexpected ending. The plot of the episode centers on the honorable discharge and subsequent departure of the 4077th MASH's commander, Lieutenant Colonel Henry Blake (played by McLean Stevenson). The highly controversial ending to the episode, which has since been referenced and parodied many times, prompted an estimated 1,000-plus letters to series producers Gene Reynolds and Larry Gelbart, and drew fire from both CBS and 20th Century Fox. After the production of this episode, both Stevenson and Wayne Rogers, who played the character of Trapper John McIntyre, left the series to pursue other interests. These combined departures and their subsequent replacements signaled the beginning of a major shift in focus of the M*A*S*H series as a whole. (more...)

Recently featured: Ernest ShackletonConan the BarbarianLiverpool F.C.

March 19
Tom Swift and His Motor Cycle (1910), the first Tom Swift book

Tom Swift is the name of the central character in five series of books, first appearing in 1910, totaling over 100 volumes, of American juvenile science fiction and adventure novels that emphasize science, invention and technology. The character was created by Edward Stratemeyer. His adventures have been written by a number of different ghostwriters over the years. Most of the books are published under the collective pseudonym Victor Appleton. The 33 volumes of the second series use the pseudonym Victor Appleton II. The character first appeared in 1910. New titles have been published as recently as 2007. Most of the various series focus on Tom’s inventions, a number of which anticipated actual inventions. The character has been presented in different ways over the years. In general, the books portray science and technology as wholly beneficial in their effects, and the role of the inventor in society is treated as admirable and heroic. Translated into a number of languages, the books have sold over 30 million copies worldwide. Tom Swift has also been the subject of a board game and a television show. Development of a feature film based on the series was announced in 2008. (more...)

Recently featured: "Abyssinia, Henry" – Ernest ShackletonConan the Barbarian

March 20
Tom Derrick

Tom Derrick (1914–1945) was an Australian recipient of the Victoria Cross (VC) during the Second World War. He was awarded the VC for his assault on a heavily defended Japanese position at Sattelberg, New Guinea, in November 1943. During the engagement, he scaled a cliff face while under heavy fire and silenced seven machine-gun posts, before leading his platoon in a charge that destroyed a further three. Derrick enlisted in the Second Australian Imperial Force in July 1941, joining the 2/48th Battalion. He was posted to the Middle East, where he took part in the Siege of Tobruk, was recommended for the Military Medal and promoted to corporal. Later, at El Alamein, Derrick was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal for knocking out three German machine-gun posts, destroying two tanks, and capturing a hundred prisoners. He returned to Australia with his battalion in February 1943, and subsequently served in the South West Pacific Theatre where he fought in the battle to capture Lae. A year later, he returned to Australia for officer cadet training and was commissioned lieutenant in November 1944. During the Battle of Tarakan on 23 May 1945, he was hit by five bullets from a Japanese machine gun. Derrick died from his wounds the next day. (more...)

Recently featured: Tom Swift – "Abyssinia, Henry" – Ernest Shackleton

March 21
Nuffield College Tower

The buildings of Nuffield College, one of the colleges of the University of Oxford, are to the west of the city centre of Oxford, England, and stand on the site of the basin of the Oxford Canal. Nuffield College was founded in 1937 after a donation to the university by the car manufacturer Lord Nuffield. He rejected the initial designs of the architect Austen Harrison, which were heavily influenced by Mediterranean architecture, describing them as "un-English". Harrison then aimed for "something on the lines of Cotswold domestic architecture", as Nuffield wanted. The college was built to the revised plans between 1949 and 1960. During construction, the tower, about 150 feet (46 m) tall, was redesigned to hold the college's library. Reaction to the architecture has been largely unfavourable. It has been described as "Oxford's biggest monument to barren reaction" and "a hodge-podge from the start". However, the architectural historian Sir Nikolaus Pevsner thought that the tower helped the Oxford skyline and predicted that it would "one day be loved". The writer Simon Jenkins doubted Pevsner's prediction, though, saying that "vegetation" was the "best hope" for the tower, and for the rest of the college too. (more...)

Recently featured: Tom DerrickTom Swift – "Abyssinia, Henry"

March 22
Ring-tailed lemurs

The ring-tailed lemur is a large strepsirrhine primate. It belongs to Lemuridae, one of five lemur families. Like all lemurs, it is endemic to Madagascar, living in the gallery forests and spiny scrubland in the southern regions of the island. It is omnivorous, diurnal and highly social, living in groups of up to 30 individuals. Communities are matriarchal, a trait common among lemurs. Like other lemurs, this species relies strongly on its sense of smell and marks its territory with scent glands. As one of the most vocal primates, the ring-tailed lemur uses numerous vocalizations such as alarm calls. Experiments have shown that, despite the lack of a large brain, the ring-tailed lemur can organize sequences, understand basic arithmetic operations and preferentially select tools based on functional qualities. Despite being listed as Near Threatened by the IUCN Red List and suffering from habitat destruction, the ring-tailed lemur reproduces readily in captivity and is the most populous lemur in zoos worldwide, numbering more than 2000 individuals. It typically lives 16 to 19 years in the wild and 27 years in captivity. (more...)

Recently featured: Buildings of Nuffield College, OxfordTom DerrickTom Swift

March 23
Goose Green, Altrincham

Altrincham is a market town within the Metropolitan Borough of Trafford, in Greater Manchester, England. It lies on flat ground south of the River Mersey about 8 miles (13 km) southwest of Manchester city centre, 3 miles (5 km) south-southwest of Sale and 10 miles (16 km) east of Warrington. As of the 2001 UK census, it had a population of about 41,000. Historically a part of Cheshire, Altrincham was established as a market town in 1290, a time when most communities were based around agriculture rather than trade, and there is still a market in the town today. Further socioeconomic development came with the extension of the Bridgewater Canal to Altrincham in 1765 and the arrival of the railway in 1849, stimulating industrial activity in the town. Outlying villages were absorbed by Altrincham's subsequent growth, along with the grounds of Dunham Massey Hall, formerly the home of the Earl of Stamford, and now a tourist attraction with three Grade I listed buildings and a deer park. Altrincham today is an affluent commuter town, partly because of its transport links. It is also home to Altrincham F.C. and an English Premier League ice hockey club, Manchester Phoenix. (more...)

Recently featured: Ring-tailed lemurBuildings of Nuffield College, OxfordTom Derrick

March 24
Logo for the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement

The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement is an environmental movement that calls for all people to abstain from reproduction to cause the gradual voluntary extinction of mankind. VHEMT supports human extinction primarily because it would prevent environmental degradation. The group states that a decrease in the human population would prevent a significant amount of man-made human suffering. The extinctions of non-human species and the scarcity of resources required by humans are frequently cited by the group as evidence of the harm caused by human overpopulation. VHEMT was founded in 1991 by Les U. Knight, an activist who became involved in the environmental movement in the 1970s and thereafter concluded that human extinction was the best solution to the problems facing the Earth's biosphere and humanity. Knight publishes the group's newsletter and serves as its spokesperson. Although the group is promoted by a website and represented at some environmental events, it relies heavily on coverage from outside media to spread its message. Many commentators view its platform as unacceptably extreme, though other writers have applauded VHEMT's perspective. In response to VHEMT, some journalists and academics have argued that humans can develop sustainable lifestyles or can reduce their population to sustainable levels. Others maintain that, whatever the merits of the idea, because of the human reproductive drive mankind will never voluntarily seek extinction. (more...)

Recently featured: AltrinchamRing-tailed lemurBuildings of Nuffield College, Oxford

March 25
1920s-era photograph of Charlie Macartney

Charlie Macartney (1886–1958) was an Australian cricketer who played in 35 Tests between 1907 and 1926. He was known as The Governor-General in reference to his authoritative batting style and his flamboyant strokeplay, which drew comparisons with his close friend and role model Victor Trumper. Making his Test debut in 1907, his most noteworthy Test contribution in his early career was a match-winning ten wicket haul at Headingley in 1909. It was around this time that Macartney befriended Trumper and began to transform himself into an audacious attacking batsman. The First World War stopped all first-class cricket and Macartney enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force. Upon the resumption of cricket, Macartney stamped himself as one of the leading batsmen in the world with his performances during the 1921 Ashes tour. Macartney produced an Australian record score in England of 345 against Nottinghamshire, which led to him being named one of the five Wisden Cricketers of the Year in 1922. After missing the 1924–25 series due to mental illness or a recurrence of war injuries, Macartney departed international cricket on the 1926 tour of England. Macartney was posthumously inducted into the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame in 2007. (more...)

Recently featured: Voluntary Human Extinction MovementAltrinchamRing-tailed lemur

March 26
The first wave of US troops lands on Los Negros, Admiralty Islands, 29 February 1944

The Admiralty Islands campaign was a series of battles in the New Guinea campaign of World War II in which the United States Army's 1st Cavalry Division occupied the Japanese-held Admiralty Islands. Acting on reports from airmen that there were no signs of enemy activity and the islands may have been evacuated, General Douglas MacArthur accelerated his timetable for capturing the islands and ordered an immediate reconnaissance in force. The campaign began on 29 February 1944 when a force landed on Los Negros, the third largest island in the group. By using a small, isolated beach where the Japanese had not anticipated an assault, the force achieved tactical surprise, but the islands proved to be far from unoccupied. A furious battle developed for control of the Admiralties. In the end, air superiority and command of the sea allowed the Allies to heavily reinforce their position on Los Negros. The 1st Cavalry Division could then overrun the islands. The campaign officially ended on 18 May 1944. The Allied victory completed the isolation of the major Japanese base at Rabaul that was the ultimate objective of the Allied campaigns of 1942 and 1943. A major air and naval base was developed in the Admiralty Islands that became an important launching point for the campaigns of 1944 in the Pacific. (more...)

Recently featured: Charlie MacartneyVoluntary Human Extinction MovementAltrincham

March 27
Hurricane Eloise in the Gulf of Mexico before striking Florida

Hurricane Eloise was the most destructive tropical cyclone of the 1975 Atlantic hurricane season. Eloise formed as a tropical depression on September 13 to the east of the Virgin Islands. The depression tracked westward as it intensified into a tropical storm, and after passing north Puerto Rico, Eloise briefly attained hurricane intensity. However, the storm quickly weakened back into a tropical storm upon making landfall over Hispaniola. After eventually striking the northern Yucatan Peninsula, the cyclone entered the Gulf of Mexico and became a Category 3 hurricane on September 23. Eloise made landfall along the Florida Panhandle west of Panama City before moving inland across Alabama and eventually dissipating on September 24. The storm produced torrential rainfall throughout Puerto Rico and Hispaniola, causing extensive flooding, over 40 deaths, and severe damage. Thousands in these areas were left homeless. As Eloise progressed westward, it affected Cuba, though to a lesser extent. Upon making landfall in Florida, Eloise generated winds reportedly gusting to 155 mph (249 km/h). Hundreds of buildings were demolished by the powerful winds and strong storm surge. Torrential rains along the entire East Coast of the United States created an unprecedented and far-reaching flooding event, especially into the Mid-Atlantic States. The storm killed 80 people along its entire track, and due to its severe impacts, the name "Eloise" was retired from the list of Atlantic tropical cyclone names. (more...)

Recently featured: Admiralty Islands campaignCharlie MacartneyVoluntary Human Extinction Movement

March 28
The Court of Chancery during the reign of George I. Painting by Benjamin Ferrers

The Court of Chancery was a court of equity in England and Wales that followed a set of loose rules to avoid the slow pace of change and possible harshness (or "inequity") of the common law. The Chancery had jurisdiction over all matters of equity, including trusts, land law, the administration of the estates of lunatics and the guardianship of infants. Its initial role was somewhat different, however; as an extension of the Lord Chancellor's role as Keeper of the King's Conscience, the Court was an administrative body primarily concerned with conscientious law. Thus the Court of Chancery had a far greater remit than the common law courts, whose decisions it had the jurisdiction to overrule for much of its existence, and was far more flexible. Until the 19th century, the Court of Chancery could apply a far wider range of remedies than the common law courts, such as specific performance and injunctions, and also had some power to grant damages in special circumstances. With the shift of the Exchequer of Pleas towards a common law court, the Chancery was the only equitable body in the English legal system. (more...)

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March 29

William Walton (1902–1983) was an English composer. During a sixty-year career, he wrote music in several classical genres and styles, from film scores to opera. His best-known works include Façade – An Entertainment, the cantata Belshazzar's Feast and his First Symphony. Born in Lancashire, the son of a musician, Walton was a chorister and then an undergraduate at Christ Church, Oxford. On leaving the university, he was taken up by the literary Sitwell siblings, who provided him with a home and a cultural education. His earliest work of note was a collaboration with Edith Sitwell, Façade, which at first brought him notoriety as a modernist, but later became a popular ballet score. Other early works that made his name were a Viola Concerto and Belshazzar's Feast. By middle age, he had ceased to be regarded as a modernist, and some of his compositions of the 1950s were criticised as old-fashioned. In his last years, his works came back into critical fashion; his later compositions, dismissed by critics at the time of their premieres, were revalued and regarded alongside his earlier works. (more...)

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March 30
Photograph of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception of the Holy Virgin Mary

The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception of the Holy Virgin Mary is a neo-Gothic church that serves as the cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Moscow. Located in the Central Administrative Okrug, it is one of only two Catholic churches in Moscow and the largest in Russia. The construction of the cathedral was proposed by the Czarist government in 1894. Groundbreaking was in 1899; construction work began in 1901 and was completed ten years later. Three-aisled and built from red brick, the cathedral is based on a design by architect Tomasz Bohdanowicz-Dworzecki. The style was influenced by Westminster Abbey and Milan Cathedral. With the help of funds from Catholic parishes in Russia and its neighbouring states, the church was consecrated as a chapel for Moscow's Polish parish in 1911. In the aftermath of the Russian Revolution, to promote state atheism, the government ordered many churches closed; the cathedral was closed in 1938. During World War II, it was threatened with demolition, and was used after the war for civil purposes, as a warehouse and then a hostel. In 1996, following the fall of communism, it once again became a church, and in 2002 it was elevated to the status of cathedral. Following an extensive and costly program of reconstruction and refurbishment, the cathedral was reconsecrated in 2005. (more...)

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March 31
Rapper Ice-T performing on stage

Body Count is the eponymous debut album of American heavy metal band Body Count. Released in 1992, the album material focuses on various social and political issues ranging from police brutality to drug abuse. The album presents a turning point in the career of Ice-T (pictured), who co-wrote the album's songs with lead guitarist Ernie C and performed as the band's lead singer. Previously known only as a rapper, Ice-T's work with the band helped establish a crossover audience with rock music fans. The album produced one single, "There Goes the Neighborhood". Body Count is best known for the inclusion of the controversial song "Cop Killer", which was the subject of much criticism from various political figures, although many defended the song on the basis of the group's right to freedom of speech. Ice-T eventually chose to remove the song from the album, although it continues to be performed live. While the album received mixed reviews, it was ranked among The Village Voice's list of the 40 Best Albums of 1992, and is believed to have helped pave the way for the mainstream success of the rapcore genre, although the album itself does not feature rapping in any of its songs. (more...)

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