Wikipedia:Today's featured article/October 2005
Today's featured article archive
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- October 1
Louisville is Kentucky's largest city and the 16th largest city in the United States. The settlement that became the City of Louisville was founded in 1778 by George Rogers Clark and is named after King Louis XVI of France. Louisville is most famous as the home of the Kentucky Derby, the most widely watched event in American horse racing. Louisville is located on the Kentucky-Indiana border at the only natural obstacle in the Ohio River, the Falls of the Ohio. As of the 2000 census, Louisville had a total population of 256,231. However, in 2003, the city and Jefferson County merged into a single consolidated city-county government.
- October 2
The economy of India is the fourth-largest in the world as measured by purchasing power parity (PPP), with a GDP of $3.3 trillion. When measured in USD exchange rates it is the tenth largest in the world, with a GDP of $691.8 billion. However India's huge population results in a relatively low per capita income ($3,100 at PPP). Services are the major source of economic growth in India today, though two-thirds of Indian workforce earn their livelihood directly or indirectly through agriculture. In recent times, India has also capitalised on its large number of highly-educated populace fluent in the English language to become a major exporter of software services, financial services and software engineers. For most of India's independent history, a socialist inspired approach was adhered to, with strict government control and regulation on private sector participation, foreign trade and foreign direct investment. Since the early 1990s, India has gradually opened up its markets through economic reforms by reducing government controls on foreign trade and investment. The socio-economic problems India faces are the burgeoning population, growing inequality, lack of infrastructure, growing unemployment and growing poverty.
- October 3
Thunderball is the ninth novel in Ian Fleming's James Bond series. It was created with the intention of being turned into a film, and is officially credited as being "based on a screen treatment by Kevin McClory, Jack Whittingham and Ian Fleming", a shared credit which has been the subject of much controversy. The novel was published in 1961 and stands, technically, as the first novelisation of a James Bond screenplay, even though at the time it was written and published, no such film had yet been produced. It was subsequently adapted as a daily comic strip beginning in 1961. Thunderball has, to date, been adapted twice for the cinema. The first adaptation was released in 1965, with Sean Connery as James Bond. It was the fourth official Bond movie in EON Productions' series. McClory later produced an unofficial remake, 1983's Never Say Never Again, which again starred Connery as Bond. Thunderball was originally scheduled to have been the first James Bond film, in 1962, but this was later changed to Dr. No due to a lawsuit brought about by McClory.
- October 4
BC Rail was a railway that operated in the Canadian province of British Columbia between 1912 and 2004. It was a class II regional railway and the third largest in Canada, operating 1,441 miles (2,320 kilometres) of mainline track. It was owned by the provincial government from 1918 until 2004, when it was sold to Canadian National Railway. Chartered in 1912, the railway was acquired by the provincial government in 1918 after running into financial difficulties. A railway that ran from "nowhere to nowhere" for over 30 years, neither passing through any major city nor interchanging with any other railway, it expanded significantly between 1949 and 1984. Primarily a freight railway, it also offered passenger service, as well as some excursion services, most notably the Royal Hudson excursion train. The railway's operations have not always been profitable, and its debts have made it the centre of political controversy on multiple occasions.
- October 5
Asthma is a disease of the respiratory system in which the airways unexpectedly and suddenly narrow, often in response to a "trigger" such as exposure to an allergen, cold air, exercise, or emotional stress. This narrowing causes symptoms such as wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, and coughing, which are the hallmarks of asthma. Between episodes, patients normally feel fine. The disorder is a chronic inflammatory condition in which the airways develop increased responsiveness to various stimuli, characterized by bronchial hyperresponsiveness, inflammation, increased mucus production and intermittent airway obstruction. The symptoms of asthma, which can range from mild to life threatening, can usually be controlled with a combination of drugs and lifestyle changes. Public attention in the developed world has recently focused on asthma because of its rapidly increasing prevalence, affecting up to one in four urban children. Asthma is a complex disease that is influenced by multiple genetic, developmental, and environmental factors, which interact to produce the overall condition.
- October 6
The Commodore 64 was a popular home computer of the 1980s. Announced by Commodore Business Machines in January 1982 and released in August of that year at a price of US$595, it offered unprecedented value (sound and graphics performance) for the money. Aggressive pricing of the C64 by Commodore was one of the major catalysts for the video game crash of 1983. Approximately 15,000 software titles were made for the Commodore 64, including games, development tools, and office applications. It is also credited with popularizing the computer demo scene. With estimated sales between 17 and 25 million units by the time it was discontinued in 1993, the C64 became and remains the best-selling computer model of all time.
- October 7
The current national flag of Belarus was formally adopted on June 7, 1995, following the result of a referendum voted on by the Belarusian people in the previous month. This new design replaced a historical flag that Belarus had used before becoming a Soviet Republic, and again after it regained its independence in 1991. The current flag is a modification of the 1951 flag used while the country was a republic of the Soviet Union. The 1995 flag has been the basis of several flags used by government bodies. A few groups have continued to use the previous flag, though its use in Belarus has been restricted by the government of president Alexander Lukashenko. The 1991 flag is still used in protests against the government. Independent observers have said that the referendum that selected the current flag did not meet democratic standards.
- October 8
Sun Yat-sen was a Chinese revolutionary leader and statesman who is considered by many to be the "Father of Modern China". He had a significant influence in the overthrow of the Qing Dynasty and establishment of the Republic of China. A founder of the Kuomintang, Sun was the first provisional president of the Republic of China in 1912 and de facto leader from 1923 to 1925. He developed a political philosophy known as the Three Principles of the People which is still one of the guiding principles for Chinese governments today. Although Sun is considered one of the greatest leaders of modern China, his life was one of constant struggle and frequent exile as few of his visions for his country materialized. Sun was a uniting figure in post-imperial China and remains unique among 20th century Chinese politicians for being widely revered in both mainland China and Taiwan. Indeed, soon after his death the nation plunged into civil war. In the 1930s he was posthumously given the title "Father of the Nation" which is currently used in Taiwan. In the mainland, he is commonly referred to as the "forerunner of the revolution".
- October 9
Moorgate was one of the old minor gates of the old London Wall surrounding the City of London, the historic and financial centre of Greater London in the United Kingdom. The name survives as the name of a major street in the heart of the City connecting it with Islington, and in the name of a mainline terminus and London Underground train station. Several major investment and commercial banks congregate in this area. There is a mixture of historic and contemporary office buildings, including Moorhouse, which was designed by Foster and Partners, and stands at the corner of Moorgate and London Wall. Moorgate is named after Moorfields, one of the last pieces of open land in the City. Moorgate station is best known for an incident on February 28, 1975, when a Northern Line tube train terminating at Moorgate failed to stop and crashed into a brick wall beyond a platform, killing 43 people. This resulted in automatic systems for stopping trains at dead-ends being installed on all dead-ends on the Underground. These systems are known as Moorgate control.
- October 10
Isaac Brock was a British major-general and administrator, who served in various parts of the Empire for nearly thirty years, serving in the Caribbean, Denmark, and elsewhere. During that time he challenged duelists, nearly died from fever, was injured in battle, faced both desertions and near mutinies, and also had the privilege of serving alongside Lord Nelson. However, he is best remembered for his actions while assigned to the Canadian colonies. Brock was assigned to Canada in 1802, eventually reaching the rank of Major-General. In this capacity, he was responsible for defending Canada from the United States during the War of 1812. While many in Canada and in England believed war could be averted, Brock began preparing the army, the militia, and the populace for what was to come. Thus, when war broke out, Canada was prepared, and quick victories at Fort Mackinac and in the Battle of Detroit crippled American invasion efforts, securing Brock's reputation as a brilliant leader and strategist. His death in the Battle of Queenston Heights was a crushing blow to British leadership. Brock's efforts earned him accolades, a knighthood, and the moniker "The Hero of Upper Canada".
- October 11
Wario is a fictional Nintendo video-game character who was created as an antagonist to Mario and has since become the protagonist of his own games. He first appears in the 1992 video game Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins as the main villain and final boss. He is voiced by Charles Martinet, who also voices the Mario, Luigi, and Waluigi characters. The name "Wario" can be taken to be a blending of Mario's name with the Japanese adjective warui meaning "bad"; hence, a "bad Mario". In the United States, the name is often seen as a play on the word "war" and on the fact that the letter W resembles an upside-down M. As Wario is Mario's evil counterpart, his actions are often the opposites of Mario's, just as the first letters in their names appear to be opposites.
- October 12
A shrimp farm is an aquaculture business designed to raise and produce marine shrimp or prawn for human consumption. Commercial shrimp farming began in the 1970s and production grew steeply to match the market demands of the United States, Japan and the present-day European Union. The majority of farmed species are penaeids, the most popular being the Pacific White Shrimp and the Giant Tiger Prawn. The total global production of farmed shrimp reached more than 1.6 million metric tonnes in 2003, representing a value of nearly 9,000 million U.S. dollars. About 75% of farmed shrimp is produced in Asia, in particular in China and Thailand. Shrimp farming has evolved from traditional, small-scale businesses in Southeast Asia into a global industry. Technological advances have increased the density at which shrimp can be grown, and broodstock is shipped on a world-wide scale. Ecological problems, repeated disease outbreaks, and pressure and criticism from both NGOs and the consumer countries led to changes in the industry in the late 1990s and generally stronger regulations by governments to improve the sustainability of the practice.
- October 13
The Hubble Deep Field is the result of a series of observations by the Hubble Space Telescope of a small region of the northern celestial hemisphere. It was assembled from 342 separate exposures taken with the Space Telescope's Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 over 10 consecutive days between December 18 and December 28, 1995. The field is small enough that only a few foreground stars in the Milky Way lie within it; thus, almost all of the 3,000 objects in the image are galaxies, some of which are among the youngest and most distant known. By revealing such large numbers of very young galaxies, the HDF has become a landmark image in the study of the early universe, and it has been the source of almost 400 scientific papers since it was created. Three years after the HDF observations were taken, a region in the south celestial hemisphere was imaged in a similar way and named the Hubble Deep Field South. The similarities between the two regions strengthened the belief that the universe is uniform over large scales and that the Earth occupies a typical region in the universe (the cosmological principle).
- October 14
The Liberal Party of Canada leadership convention of 1968 elected Pierre Elliott Trudeau as the new leader of the Liberal Party. Trudeau was the unexpected winner in what was one of the most important leadership conventions in the history of the Liberal Party of Canada. The Globe and Mail newspaper report the next day called it "the most chaotic, confusing, and emotionally draining convention in Canadian political history." The convention was held following the retirement of Lester B. Pearson, who was a much respected party leader and prime minister of Canada, but had failed to win a majority government in two attempts. Eight high profile cabinet ministers entered the race, but by the time the convention began on April 3 the charismatic Trudeau had emerged as the front runner. He was strongly opposed by the party's right wing, but this faction was divided between former Minister of Trade and Commerce Robert Winters and Minister of Transport Paul Hellyer, and failed to mount a united opposition. Trudeau won the leadership on the fourth ballot of the convention.
- October 15
"Layla" is the title track on the Derek and the Dominos album Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, released in December of 1970. It is considered one of rock music's definitive love songs, featuring an unmistakable guitar figure, played by Eric Clapton and Duane Allman, as lead-in. Its famously contrasting movements were composed separately by Clapton and Jim Gordon, similarly to the combination of fragments John Lennon and Paul McCartney used to create "A Day In The Life". Clapton was inspired to write the piece by his burning unrequited love for Pattie Boyd, the wife of his friend George Harrison.
Recently featured: Liberal Party of Canada leadership convention, 1968 – Hubble Deep Field – Shrimp farm
- October 16
Indian Railways is the state-owned railway company of India; it has a complete monopoly over the country's rail transport. Indian Railways (IR) has one of the largest and busiest rail networks in the world, transporting over 5 billion passengers and over 350 million tonnes of freight annually. IR is also the world's largest commercial or utility employer, having more than 1.6 million regular employees on its payroll. Railways were first introduced to India in 1853, and by 1947, the year of India's independence, it had grown to forty-two rail systems. In 1951 the systems were nationalised as one unit, to become one of the largest networks in the world. Indian Railways operates both long distance, as well as suburban rail systems.
Recently featured: Layla – Liberal Party of Canada leadership convention, 1968 – Hubble Deep Field
- October 17
Seattle is the largest city in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. It is located in the U.S. state of Washington between Puget Sound and Lake Washington, about 108 miles (180 km) south of the United States-Canadian border. Seattle was founded in the 1850s and named after Chief Seattle. As of 2004, the population estimate of the city given by the U.S. Census Bureau was 571,480, with a metropolitan population of almost 3.8 million. Its official nickname is "the Emerald City". Seattle is known as the home of grunge music, and has a reputation for heavy coffee consumption. Seattle was also the site of the 1999 meeting of the World Trade Organization and anti-globalization demonstrations.
Recently featured: Indian Railways – Layla – Liberal Party of Canada leadership convention, 1968
- October 18
Colley Cibber was an English actor-manager, playwright, and Poet Laureate. His colorful Apology for the Life of Colley Cibber (1740) started a British tradition of personal, anecdotal, and even rambling autobiography. He wrote some plays for performance by his own company at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, and adapted many more from various sources, receiving frequent criticism for "miserable mutilation" of dramatists like Shakespeare and Molière. He regarded himself as first and foremost an actor and had great popular success in comical fop parts. Cibber's brash, extroverted personality did not sit well with his contemporaries, and he was frequently accused of tasteless theatrical productions, social and political opportunism, and shady business methods. He rose to herostratic fame when he became the chief target, the head Dunce, of Alexander Pope's satirical poem The Dunciad. Cibber's importance in British theatre history rests on his being the first in a long line of actor-managers, and on the value of his autobiography as a source for our knowledge of the 18th-century London stage.
- October 19
The history of Poland from 1945 to 1989 was shaped by the influence of Soviet Communism and opposition to it from the Roman Catholic Church, trade unions and other groups. In the aftermath of the Second World War, forces of Nazi Germany were driven from Poland by the advancing Red Army of the Soviet Union. A liberalizing "thaw" in Eastern Europe followed the death of Stalin in early 1953, sparking the desire for further reform. However, de-Stalinization left Poland's Communist Party in a difficult position. In the 1970s, Edward Gierek's economic program brought a rise in living standards and expectations, but it faltered unexpectedly because of worldwide recession and increased oil prices following the 1973 world oil crisis. The election of John Paul II, a Pole, as Pope in 1978 triggered radical changes in the political atmosphere of the country. In 1980, electrician Lech Wałęsa and his independent "Solidarity" trade union led a wave of strikes at the Gdańsk Shipyards. In 1990 Wojciech Jaruzelski resigned as Poland's leader and was succeeded by Wałęsa. By the end of August, a Solidarity-led coalition government was formed, and in December Wałęsa was elected president; the Communist People's Republic of Poland became the Republic of Poland.
- October 20
Mercantilism is the economic theory holding that the prosperity of a nation depends upon its supply of capital and that the global volume of trade is unchangeable. The amount of capital, represented by bullion (amount of precious metal held by the state), is best increased through a favorable balance of trade with large exports and low imports. Mercantilism suggests that the government should advance these goals by playing an active, protectionist role in the economy by encouraging exports and discouraging imports, especially through the use of tariffs. Mercantilism was the dominant school of economics throughout the early modern period (from the 16th to the 18th century). Domestically, this led to some of the first instances of significant government intervention and control over the economy, and it was during this period that much of the modern capitalist system was established. Internationally, mercantilism encouraged the many European wars of the period and fueled European imperialism. Belief in mercantilism began to fade in the late 18th century, as the arguments of Adam Smith and the other classical economists won out.
- October 21
"England expects that every man will do his duty" was a signal sent by Admiral Horatio Nelson, 1st Viscount Nelson from his ship HMS Victory as the Battle of Trafalgar (1805) was about to commence. Trafalgar was the decisive naval engagement of the Napoleonic Wars. It gave the United Kingdom control of the seas, removing all possibility of a French invasion and conquest of Britain. The phrase has become extremely well-known in Britain as a result of Lord Nelson's fame and the importance of the Battle of Trafalgar in British history. The phrase is known so widely in Britain that it has entered the British popular consciousness. Today "England expects…", as an abbreviated version of the phrase, is often adapted for use in the media, especially in relation to the expectations for the victory of English sporting teams.
- October 22
The Kingdom of Bhutan is a landlocked nation in the Himalaya Mountains, sandwiched between India and the People's Republic of China in South Asia. Bhutan is one of the most isolated nations in the world, and one where local traditions have remained the most unaffected by Western styles and economic practices. Foreign influences and tourism are heavily regulated by the government to preserve its traditional culture. The landscape ranges from subtropical plains to the Himalayan heights, in excess of 7000 m. Mahayana Buddhism is the state religion and accounts for about half the population. Thimphu is the capital and largest town.
- October 23
The Black Seminoles are descendants of free African Americans and fugitive slaves traditionally allied with Seminole Indians in the U.S. states of Florida and Oklahoma. Twentieth-century historians popularized the name "Black Seminoles" to describe the community, whose members were known in the 19th century as Seminole Negroes, or Seminole maroons. Today Black Seminoles are concentrated in parts of Oklahoma, in Nacimiento in the Mexican state of Coahuila, and along the U.S.-Mexico border near Del Rio and Brackettville, Texas. As early as 1689, African slaves fled from the British American colonies to Spanish Florida seeking freedom. Under an edict from the King of Spain, the black fugitives received liberty in exchange for defending the Spanish settlers at St. Augustine.
- October 24
Schizophrenia is a psychiatric disorder denoting an often chronic, major mental illness primarily affecting thinking, with attendant difficulties in perception of reality, which in turn can affect behavior and emotion. The primary sign of schizophrenia is considered to be fragmentation of basic thought structure and cognition, and the inability to distinguish between internal and external experience. People with schizophrenia may report hallucinations or be observed responding to them and may express clearly delusional beliefs. Social or occupational dysfunction, a number of secondary signs, and the lack of an identifiable organic cause may be used to confirm the diagnosis. Mainstream research has suggested that both biological and sociocultural influences are important contributing factors, with current research often focusing on the influences of biochemical and genetic factors on the neurobiology of the brain. The status of schizophrenia is considered controversial by some, who claim a lack of objectivity in the stated diagnostic criteria. There is no objective biological test for schizophrenia, and diagnosis is based on the basis of the self-reported experiences of the patient combined with the observations of the psychiatrist or other responsible clinician.
- October 25
The French law on secularity and conspicuous religious symbols in schools is an amendment to the French Code of Education banning students from wearing conspicuous religious symbols in French public primary and secondary schools. The law expands principles founded in existing French law, especially the constitutional requirement of laïcité: the separation of state and religious activities. The bill passed France's national legislature and was signed into law by President Jacques Chirac on March 15, 2004 and came into effect on September 2, 2004, at the beginning of the new school year. The law does not mention any particular symbol, though it is considered by many to specifically target the wearing of headscarves (hijab) by Muslim schoolgirls. The law was controversial: while its proponents contended that it protected young Muslim women from peer pressure to wear the veil, critics claimed that it infringed on religious freedom.
- October 26
The history of Alaska dates back to the Paleolithic Era when it was inhabited by people who crossed the Bering Land Bridge in western Alaska. At the time of European contact by the Russian explorers, the area was populated by the Eskimos and a variety of Native American groups. Vitus Bering, a Danish navigator in the service of the Russian Navy aboard the St. Peter, is often credited with the discovery of Alaska. William H. Seward, the U.S. Secretary of State engineered the Alaskan purchase on April 9, 1867 for US$7.2 million (approximately US$90 million in 2005 dollars). The nearby Yukon Territory in Canada and Alaska itself were the site of a gold rush in the 19th century, and they remained a significant source of mining even after gold reserves diminished. On July 7, 1958, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Alaska Statehood Act into law which paved the way for Alaska's admission into the Union as the 49th State on January 3, 1959.
Recently featured: French law on secularity and conspicuous religious symbols in schools – Schizophrenia – Black Seminoles
- October 27
The names of the Greeks have shifted throughout history. The soldiers that fell at Thermopylae did so as Hellenes, while centuries later when Jesus preached his beliefs any person of non-Jewish faith was a Hellene. By the time Constantine the Great became Emperor they were known as Romans, and all the while their neighbours in the Western Roman Empire would call them Greeks, while those in the Persian Empire would call them Yunans. The onset of every historical era was accompanied by a new name, either completely new or old and forgotten, extracted from tradition or borrowed from foreigners. Every single one of them was significant in its own time and all can be used interchangeably, which is perhaps why the Greeks are such a polyonymous people.
Recently featured: History of Alaska – French law on secularity and conspicuous religious symbols in schools – Schizophrenia
- October 28
Husein Gradaščević was a Bosniak general who fought for Bosnian autonomy in the Ottoman Empire. Gradaščević was born in Gradačac in 1802 and grew up surrounded by a political climate of turmoil in the western reaches of the Ottoman Empire. After rising to the head of the Gradačac military captaincy, the young Husein developed a reputation for wise rule and tolerance and soon became one of the most popular figures in Bosnia. In 1831 Gradaščević was called upon to lead the movement for Bosnian autonomy. He overthrew the loyalist vizier and other anti-rebellion figures, becoming the de facto ruler of the Bosnian pashaluk in the process. By 1832 however, the tide of the rebellion had turned. Although the Bosniak uprising would not be completely quelled for another 18 years, Gradaščević was forced to flee to the Habsburg Monarchy on May 31. From there he negotiated for his return with the Sultan and was ultimately allowed back but barred from ever entering Bosnia again. He moved to Belgrade and then to Istanbul, where he died under mysterious circumstances. A legend in his own time, Gradaščević is considered a Bosniak national hero and one of the most revered figures in the history of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
- October 29
Metrication is the process of converting from the various other systems of units used throughout the world to the metric system. This process began in France in the 1790s and spread over the following two centuries to all but four countries, representing 95 percent of the world's population. The process was completed in most of the world in the 19th and early 20th centuries, replacing numerous historical weights and measures. The countries of the former British Empire completed metrication during the second half of the 20th century, with Ireland recently completing metrication on January 20, 2005. Today only the United States, Liberia, and Myanmar have not officially switched to the metric system, although Liberia and Myanmar use it in practice; the United Kingdom is currently in the process of conversion. Only France, the U.S., the U.K., and Japan have seen significant popular opposition to metrication, the main objections being based on tradition, aesthetics, and distaste for measures viewed as foreign.
- October 30
The Speaker of the House of Commons in the United Kingdom is the presiding officer of the Lower House of Parliament, the House of Commons, and is seen historically as the "First Commoner of the Land". The current Speaker is The Right Honourable Michael Martin MP, who took office in 2000 and was re-elected on 11 May 2005 following the 2005 general election. The office of Speaker dates to the fourteenth century. The Speaker presides over the House's debates, determining which members may speak. The Speaker is also responsible for maintaining order during debate, and may punish members who break the rules of the House. Conventionally, the Speaker remains non-partisan, and renounces all affiliation with his or her former political party when taking office. The Speaker does not take part in debate nor vote (except to break ties). Aside from duties relating to presiding over the House, the Speaker also performs administrative and procedural functions, and remains a constituency MP. The Lord Chancellor presides in the Upper House of Parliament, the House of Lords, but this function will be devolved to a separate person under the Constitutional Reform Act 2005, the Speaker of the House of Lords.
- October 31
The Gray Wolf is a mammal of the Canidae family and shares common ancestry with the domestic dog. Wolves once had a nearly worldwide distribution, but are now limited primarily to North America, Eurasia, and the Middle East. The habitat of wolves include forests, tundra, taigas, plains, and mountains. In the Northern Hemisphere, human habitat destruction and hunting of the animals themselves have drastically reduced their range. The wolf is today frequently involved in conflicts between many different interests: tourism versus industry, city versus country, as well as conservationism versus urban development. Since the wolf is an apex predator, the state of the wolf can frequently be seen as a state of the land where it lives. Wolves are still endangered after being hunted down in the 17th century.