Wikipedia:Today's featured article/October 2013

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October 1
Ramaria botrytis

Ramaria botrytis is an edible species of coral fungus in the family Gomphaceae. It is commonly known as the clustered coral, the pink-tipped coral mushroom, or the cauliflower coral. Its robust fruit body can grow up to 15 cm (6 in) in diameter and 20 cm (8 in) tall, and resembles some marine coral. Its dense branches, which originate from a stout, massive base, are swollen at the tips and divided into several small branchlets. The branches are initially whitish but age to buff or tan, with tips that are pink to reddish. The flesh is thick and white. The type species of the genus Ramaria, R. botrytis was first described scientifically in 1797 by mycologist Christiaan Hendrik Persoon. A widely distributed species, it is found in North America, North Africa, central and eastern Europe, Australia, and Asia. Fruit bodies of Ramaria botrytis are edible, and young specimens have a mild, fruity taste. Some authors warn of laxative effects in susceptible individuals. The fungus contains several bioactive compounds, and fruit bodies have antimicrobial activity against several species and strains of drug-resistant bacteria that cause disease in humans. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Les pêcheurs de perles – Rise of Neville Chamberlain – H. C. McNeile

October 2
Keira Knightley

Pride & Prejudice is a 2005 British romance film directed by Joe Wright, based on Jane Austen's novel of the same name. The film depicts five sisters from an English family of landed gentry as they deal with issues of marriage, morality and misconceptions. Keira Knightley (pictured) stars as Elizabeth Bennet, while Matthew Macfadyen plays her romantic interest Mr. Darcy. The film avoided depicting a "perfectly clean Regency world", presenting instead a "muddy hem version" of the time. It was marketed to a younger, mainstream audience; promotional items noted that it came from the producers of 2001 romantic comedy Bridget Jones's Diary before acknowledging its provenance as an Austen novel. Pride & Prejudice earned a worldwide gross of approximately $121 million, which was considered a commercial success. It earned a rating of 82 percent from review aggregator Metacritic, labelling it universally acclaimed. The film earned four nominations at the 78th Academy Awards, including one for Knightley as Best Actress. Pride & Prejudice has failed to match the cultural impact of the British 1995 television series, though Knightley has become associated with her character among younger viewers. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Ramaria botrytis – Les pêcheurs de perles – Rise of Neville Chamberlain

October 3
Lexington at sea, October 1941

USS Lexington (CV-2) was an early aircraft carrier built for the United States Navy during the 1920s. Originally designed as a battlecruiser, she was converted into an aircraft carrier during construction to comply with the terms of the 1922 Washington Naval Treaty. Lexington was at sea when the Pacific War began in 1941, ferrying fighter aircraft to Midway Island. She was sent to the Coral Sea in February 1942 to block any Japanese advances into the area. Together with the carrier Yorktown, she successfully attacked Japanese shipping off the east coast of New Guinea in early March. Lexington rendezvoused with Yorktown in the Coral Sea in early May. A few days later the Japanese began Operation Mo, the invasion of Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, and the two American carriers attempted to stop the invasion. Aircraft from Lexington and Yorktown succeeded in badly damaging the carrier Shōkaku, but Japanese aircraft crippled Lexington. Vapors from leaking aviation gasoline tanks sparked a series of explosions and fires that could not be controlled, and the carrier had to be scuttled by an American destroyer during the evening of 8 May to prevent her capture. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Pride & Prejudice (2005 film) – Ramaria botrytis – Les pêcheurs de perles

October 4
Terry-Thomas in May 1951

Terry-Thomas (1911–90) was an English comedian and character actor, known to a world-wide audience through his portrayals of upper class cads, toffs and bounders. His dress sense and style were striking, as was the gap of a third of an inch between his two front teeth. He worked his way through uncredited film parts in the 1930s before wartime service with Entertainments National Service Association and Stars in Battledress led to a post-war career on stage and then into How Do You View? (1949), the first comedy series on British television. He appeared in British films such as Private's Progress (1956), Blue Murder at St Trinian's (1957), and Carlton-Browne of the F.O. (1959). During the early 1960s he worked extensively in Hollywood, providing a coarser version of his screen persona in films such as Bachelor Flat (1962), It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963) and How to Murder Your Wife (1965). After being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 1971, he spent much of his fortune on medical treatments. He lived in poverty towards the end of his life, existing on charitable hand-outs, before a 1989 charity gala in his honour brought him financial comfort for the remaining months before his death. (Full article...)

Recently featured: USS Lexington (CV-2) – Pride & Prejudice (2005 film) – Ramaria botrytis

October 5
Jay Farrar

Anodyne is the fourth and final studio album by American alternative country band Uncle Tupelo, released on October 5, 1993. The recording of the album was preceded by the departure of the original drummer Mike Heidorn and the addition of three new band members: bassist John Stirratt, drummer Ken Coomer, and multi-instrumentalist Max Johnston. The band signed with Sire Records shortly before recording the album; Anodyne was Uncle Tupelo's only major label release until 89/93: An Anthology in 2002. Recorded in Austin, Texas, Anodyne featured a split in songwriting credits between singers Jay Farrar (pictured in 2007) and Jeff Tweedy, plus a cover version of the Doug Sahm song "Give Back the Key to My Heart", with Sahm on vocals. The lyrical themes were influenced by country music and—more than their preceding releases—touched on interpersonal relationships. After two promotional tours for the album, which sold over 150,000 copies, tensions between Farrar and Tweedy culminated in the breakup of Uncle Tupelo. Well-received upon its initial release, Anodyne was re-mastered and re-released in 2003 by Rhino Entertainment including five bonus tracks. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Terry-Thomas – USS Lexington (CV-2) – Pride & Prejudice (2005 film)

October 6
Tropical Storm Marco

Tropical Storm Marco was the smallest tropical cyclone on record. The thirteenth named storm of the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season, Marco developed out of a broad area of low pressure over the northwestern Caribbean during late September 2008. Influenced by a tropical wave on October 4, a small low-level circulation center developed over Belize. After crossing the southern end of the Yucatán Peninsula, the low was declared Tropical Depression Thirteen early on October 6. The depression quickly intensified into a tropical storm (pictured) and was given the name Marco later that day. Marco reached its peak intensity with winds of 65 miles per hour (100 km/h) early on October 7. Around this time, tropical storm force winds extended 11.5 miles (18.5 km) from the center of the storm, making Marco the smallest tropical cyclone on record. Around 1200 UTC, Marco made landfall near Misantla, Veracruz. The storm rapidly weakened after landfall, dissipating later that day. Because of its small size, Marco caused minimal damage. However, the storm's heavy rains led to floods up to 10 feet (3.0 m) deep that covered highways and damaged homes. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Anodyne (album) – Terry-Thomas – USS Lexington (CV-2)

October 7
Stanley Bruce

Stanley Bruce (1883–1967) was the eighth Prime Minister of Australia, serving from 1923 to 1929. He was a barrister and businessman before being wounded in the Gallipoli Campaign of World War I. Elected to parliament in 1918 as a member of the Nationalist Party, he served as treasurer in the government of Billy Hughes before replacing him as prime minister in 1923. Bruce overhauled federal government administration and oversaw its transfer to the new capital, Canberra. His "men, money and markets" scheme was an ambitious attempt to rapidly expand Australia's population and economic potential through massive government investment and closer ties with Great Britain and the rest of the British Empire. But his heavy-handed response to industrial unrest and attempts to overhaul labour laws led to a landslide defeat in 1929. After politics, Bruce became involved with the League of Nations until the outbreak of World War II. After the war, he was a leading advocate of development aid, a founder of the Food and Agriculture Organization, the first chancellor of the Australian National University and the first Australian to sit in the House of Lords (as Viscount Bruce of Melbourne). (Full article...)

Recently featured: Tropical Storm Marco (2008) – Anodyne (album) – Terry-Thomas

October 8
Crow Dog

Ex parte Crow Dog is an 1883 decision by the Supreme Court of the United States that followed the death of one member of a Native American tribe at the hands of another on reservation land. Crow Dog (pictured) was a member of the Brulé band of the Lakota Sioux. On August 5, 1881, he shot and killed Spotted Tail, a Lakota chief; there are different accounts of the background to the killing. The tribal council dealt with the incident according to Sioux tradition, and Crow Dog paid restitution to the dead man's family. However, the U.S. authorities then prosecuted Crow Dog for murder in a federal court. He was found guilty and sentenced to hang. The Supreme Court held that unless authorized by Congress, federal courts had no jurisdiction to try cases where the offense had already been tried by the tribal council, and so Crow Dog was released. The case led to the Major Crimes Act in 1885, which placed some major crimes under federal jurisdiction if committed by an Indian against another Indian on a reservation or tribal land. This case was the beginning of the plenary power legal doctrine that has been used in Indian case law to limit tribal sovereignty. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Stanley Bruce – Tropical Storm Marco (2008) – Anodyne (album)

October 9
Cover of the first edition

The Diary of a Nobody is an English comic novel written by the brothers George and Weedon Grossmith. Originally serialised in Punch magazine, it first appeared in book form in 1892. It records daily events in the lives of a London clerk, Charles Pooter, his family and numerous friends and acquaintances; most of its humour derives from Pooter's unconscious and unwarranted sense of his own importance, and the frequency with which this delusion is punctured by gaffes and minor social humiliations. The daily routines and modest ambitions described in the Diary were recognised by contemporary readers, and provided later generations with glimpses of the past that it became fashionable to imitate. Before their collaboration the brothers had pursued successful stage careers, George as the principal comedian in the Gilbert and Sullivan operas for 12 years; Weedon had earlier trained as an artist and illustrator. Although the Diary's initial reception was muted, it grew in popularity and helped to establish a 20th-century genre of humorous popular fiction based on lower or lower-middle class aspirations. It has been the subject of several stage and screen adaptations. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Ex parte Crow Dog – Stanley Bruce – Tropical Storm Marco (2008)

October 10
Kellie Loder

Kellie Loder (born 1988) is an independent singer-songwriter from Newfoundland who plays drums, guitar and piano. Having written her first song at age 16 about a cousin who died in a traffic accident, Loder was studying nursing at the Grenfell Campus of Memorial University of Newfoundland when she released her first album, The Way, in August 2009. Later that year, she won a talent-search contest hosted by YC Newfoundland, a Christian youth conference. As part of the award, Loder was given time with music industry and production professionals who helped her with Imperfections & Directions, her second album, which was released at the 2010 YC Newfoundland. Loder's nursing studies hampered her ability to showcase Imperfections & Directions by touring. Loder was nominated as Female Artist of the Year at the 2010 MusicNL awards, and then as Gospel Artist of the Year in 2011. Imperfections & Directions was nominated as Contemporary Christian/Gospel Album of the Year at the 2012 Juno Awards. Loder has asserted that she chose to begin her career in Contemporary Christian music because it gives purpose to her music. (Full article...)

Recently featured: The Diary of a Nobody – Ex parte Crow Dog – Stanley Bruce

October 11
Ficus obliqua

Ficus obliqua, commonly known as the small-leaved fig, is a tree native to eastern Australia, New Guinea, eastern Indonesia to Sulawesi and islands in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. It is a banyan of the genus Ficus, which contains around 750 species worldwide in warm climates, including the edible fig. Beginning life as a seedling, which grows on other plants (epiphyte) or on rocks (lithophyte), F. obliqua can grow to 60 m (200 ft) high and nearly as wide with a pale grey buttressed trunk, and glossy green leaves. The small round yellow fruit ripen and turn red at any time of year, although they peak in autumn and winter (April to July). Known as a syconium, the fruit is an inverted inflorescence with the flowers aligning an internal cavity. F. obliqua is pollinated by two species of fig waspPleistodontes greenwoodi and P. xanthocephalus. Many species of bird, including pigeons, parrots and various passerines, eat the fruit. It is used as a shade tree in parks and public spaces, and is well-suited for use as an indoor plant or in bonsai. All parts of the tree have been used in traditional medicine in Fiji. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Kellie Loder – The Diary of a Nobody – Ex parte Crow Dog

October 12
John W. Johnston

John W. Johnston (1818–89) was an American lawyer and Democratic politician from Abingdon, Virginia. He served in the Virginia State Senate, and represented Virginia for 13 years in the U.S. Senate after the American Civil War. He had been ineligible to serve in Congress because of the Fourteenth Amendment, which forbade anyone from holding public office who had sworn allegiance to the United States and then sided with the Confederacy during the Civil War. However, his restrictions were removed at the suggestion of the Freedmen's Bureau when he aided a dying former slave after the War. He was the first person who had sided with the Confederacy to serve in the U.S. Senate. Issues in his senatorial career included the Arlington Memorial debate, as he found the initial proposal to relocate the dead distasteful, yet wanted to defend the memory of Robert E. Lee. He was also an outspoken Funder during Virginia's heated debate as to how much of its pre-War debt the state ought to have been obliged to pay back. The controversy culminated in the formation of the Readjuster Party and the appointment of William Mahone as its leader, ending Johnston's Senate career. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Ficus obliqua – Kellie Loder – The Diary of a Nobody

October 13
Charles Cecil

Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars is a 1996 point-and-click adventure game developed by Revolution Software. The player assumes the role of George Stobbart, an American tourist in Paris, as he unravels a conspiracy. The game takes place in both real and fictional locations in Europe and the Middle East. Charles Cecil (pictured), writer and director of the game, began researching the Knights Templar for the game in 1992. It was built with Revolution's Virtual Theatre engine, which was also used for the company's previous two games. The game is serious in tone, but also features humor and graphics in the style of classic animated films. The million-selling title was critically acclaimed and won various awards. It is regarded as one of the best examples of adventure gaming and many developers have cited it as an influence. After its initial release on Windows, Mac OS, and PlayStation, it was ported to the Game Boy Advance, Palm OS, and Windows Mobile. The game spawned a number of sequels collectively known as the Broken Sword series. From 2009 to 2012, a director's cut version was available for various operating systems. (Full article...)

Recently featured: John W. Johnston – Ficus obliqua – Kellie Loder

October 14
Lake Superior as seen from Brockway Mountain Drive

Brockway Mountain Drive is an 8.883-mile (14.296 km) scenic highway just west of Copper Harbor in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in the United States. Drivers can access the road from state highway M-26 on either end near Eagle Harbor to the west or Copper Harbor to the east in the Keweenaw Peninsula. The drive runs along the ridge of Brockway Mountain on the Keweenaw Fault and climbs to 1,320 feet (402 m) above sea level, 720 feet (220 m) above the surface of Lake Superior. Several viewpoints along the route allow for panoramas of Lake Superior (pictured from the road), Copper Harbor, and undeveloped woodland. On a clear day, Isle Royale (approximately 50 miles (80 km) away) can be seen. Brockway Mountain was named for David D. Brockway, one of the pioneer residents of the area. The road was constructed by the county road commission with funding through Depression-era work programs in 1933. It was briefly used as a connection for the parallel state highway after it opened. Since it opened, it has been recognized nationally and locally in several media outlets for its picturesque qualities, usually in profiles of Keweenaw County, the Upper Peninsula or other scenic drives. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars – John W. Johnston – Ficus obliqua

October 15
Blue-faced Honeyeater

The Blue-faced Honeyeater is a passerine bird of the Honeyeater family Meliphagidae and is common in northern and eastern Australia and southern New Guinea. A large honeyeater at around 29.5 cm (11.6 in) in length, it has distinctive plumage, with olive upperparts, white underparts and a black head and throat with white nape and cheeks. Males and females are similar in external appearance. Adults have a blue area of bare skin on each side of the face readily distinguishing them from juveniles, which have yellow or green patches of bare skin. Found in open woodland, parks, and gardens, it appears to be sedentary in parts of its range and locally nomadic in other parts; however, the species has been little studied since it was first described by the ornithologist John Latham in 1802. Its diet is mostly composed of invertebrates, supplemented with nectar and fruit. Its propensity for feeding on the flowers and fruit of bananas in north Queensland has given it the common name of "Bananabird". Blue-faced Honeyeaters often take over and renovate old babbler nests, in which the female lays and incubates two or rarely three eggs. Three subspecies are recognised. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Brockway Mountain Drive – Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars – John W. Johnston

October 16

Lê Quang Tung (1923–63) was the commander of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam Special Forces under the command of Ngô Đình Nhu, brother of South Vietnam's president, Ngô Đình Diệm. During the 1950s, Tung was a high-ranking official in Nhu's Cần Lao, a secret political apparatus which maintained the Ngô family's grip on power. Appointed as commander of the special forces in 1960, his leadership was noted more for repressing dissidents than fighting the Viet Cong insurgents. His most well-known attack was the raid on Xá Lợi pagoda in August 1963 in which hundreds died or disappeared. Tung's main military programme was a scheme in which army personnel attempted to infiltrate North Vietnam for intelligence gathering and sabotage. The program was ineffective, with the vast majority of infiltrators being killed or captured. Tung was also reported to be planning an assassination attempt on Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., the U.S. Ambassador to South Vietnam. Following the pagoda raids, America terminated funding to Tung's men because they were used as a political tool rather than against the communists. Along with Diệm and Nhu, Tung was assassinated during the November 1963 coup. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Blue-faced Honeyeater – Brockway Mountain Drive – Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars

October 17
Herrerasaurus skeleton

Herrerasaurus was one of the earliest dinosaurs. Its name means "Herrera's lizard", after Victorino Herrera, a goatherd who discovered the first specimen. All known fossils of Herrerasaurus have been discovered in northwestern Argentina in rocks dated to 231.4 million years ago. It was a lightly built bipedal carnivore with a long tail and a relatively small head. Its length is estimated at 3–6 meters (10–20 ft) and it may have weighed around 210–350 kilograms (463–772 lb). The type species, Herrerasaurus ischigualastensis, was described by Osvaldo Reig in 1963 and is the only species assigned to the genus. Where Herrerasaurus and its close relatives lie on the early dinosaur evolutionary tree is unclear. For many years, it was known from very fragmentary remains. However, with the discovery of an almost complete skeleton and skull in 1988, Herrerasaurus has been classified as either an early theropod or an early saurischian, with many researchers treating it at least tentatively as the most primitive member of Theropoda. It is a member of the Herrerasauridae, a family of similar genera that were among the earliest of the dinosaurian evolutionary radiation. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Lê Quang Tung – Blue-faced Honeyeater – Brockway Mountain Drive

October 18
Russell Square station

The Great Northern, Piccadilly and Brompton Railway (GNP&BR) was a railway company that constructed the deep-level underground railway that is now the core central section of London's Piccadilly line. The GNP&BR, formed in 1902 through a merger of two older companies, was a subsidiary of the Underground Electric Railways Company of London (UERL). A number of different routes were planned, but most were rejected by Parliament. When it opened in 1906, the GNP&BR's line served 22 stations (Russell Square pictured) and ran for 14.17 kilometres (8.80 mi) between its western terminus at Hammersmith and its northern terminus at Finsbury Park. A short branch connected Holborn to the Strand. Most of the route was in a pair of tunnels, with 1.1 kilometres (0.68 mi) at the western end above ground. Within a year of opening it became apparent to the management and investors that the estimated passenger numbers for the GNP&BR and the other UERL lines were over-optimistic. Despite improved integration and cooperation with the other tube railways, the GNP&BR struggled financially, and in 1933 it and the rest of the UERL were taken into public ownership. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Herrerasaurus – Lê Quang Tung – Blue-faced Honeyeater

October 19
Bart King

Bart King (1873–1965) was an American cricketer, active in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. King was part of the Philadelphia team that played from the end of the 19th century until the outbreak of World War I. This period of cricket in the United States was dominated by "gentlemen cricketers"—men of independent wealth who did not need to work. King, an amateur from a middle-class family, was able to devote time to cricket thanks to a job set up by his teammates. A skilled batsman who proved his worth as a bowler, King set numerous records in North America during his career and led the first-class bowling averages in England in 1908. He successfully competed against the best cricketers from England and Australia. King was the dominant bowler on his team when it toured England in 1897, 1903, and 1908. He dismissed batsmen with his unique delivery, which he called the "angler," and helped develop the art of swing bowling. Sir Pelham Warner described Bart King as one of the finest bowlers of all time, and Donald Bradman called him "America's greatest cricketing son." (Full article...)

Recently featured: Great Northern, Piccadilly and Brompton Railway – Herrerasaurus – Lê Quang Tung

October 20
Sega Genesis

Sega Enterprises Ltd. v. Accolade, Inc. was a decision in 1992 by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit that applied American intellectual property law to the reverse engineering of computer software. Issues in the case included the scope of copyright, permissible uses for trademarks, and the scope of the fair use doctrine for computer code. It arose after video game publisher Accolade published several games for the Sega Genesis (pictured), disassembling it to publish games without being licensed by Sega. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ruled in favor of Sega, preventing Accolade from publishing any more games for the Genesis and requiring them to recall all of their Genesis games on sale. Accolade appealed on the grounds that their reverse engineering of the Genesis was protected under fair use. The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court's order and ruled that Accolade's use of reverse engineering to publish Genesis titles was protected under fair use, and that its alleged violation of Sega trademarks was the fault of Sega. The case is frequently cited in matters involving reverse engineering and fair use under copyright law. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Bart King – Great Northern, Piccadilly and Brompton Railway – Herrerasaurus

October 21
Horatio Nelson

The Battle of the Nile was fought between the British and French navies at Aboukir Bay on the Egyptian coast from 1 to 3 August 1798. It ended in victory for the British under Horatio Nelson (pictured). It was the climax of a Mediterranean naval campaign during the previous three months, as a large French convoy sailed to Alexandria carrying an expeditionary force under Napoleon Bonaparte, pursued by Nelson and his fleet. After the French army had landed in Egypt, the French fleet anchored in what its commander believed was a formidable defensive position. When the British fleet arrived, Nelson ordered an immediate attack on both sides of the French position simultaneously. Trapped in a crossfire, the leading French warships were battered into surrender. The centre initially repelled the attack but was defeated after renewed assault from British reinforcements. The battle reversed the strategic situation in the Mediterranean and encouraged other European countries to turn against France. Bonaparte's army was trapped and was later defeated at the Siege of Acre. Nelson was made Baron Nelson and proclaimed a hero across Europe, and his captains were also highly praised. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Sega v. Accolade – Bart King – Great Northern, Piccadilly and Brompton Railway

October 22

Quatermass II is a British science-fiction serial, originally broadcast by BBC Television in 1955. It is the second in the Quatermass series by writer Nigel Kneale, and the first of those serials to survive in its entirety in the BBC archives. It is also the earliest surviving complete British science-fiction television production. The serial sees Professor Bernard Quatermass of the British Experimental Rocket Group being asked to examine strange meteorite showers. His investigations lead to his uncovering a conspiracy involving alien infiltration at the highest levels of the British Government. As some of Quatermass's closest colleagues fall victim to the alien influence, he is forced to use his own unsafe rocket prototype, which recently caused a nuclear disaster at an Australian testing range, to prevent the aliens from taking over mankind. Although sometimes compared unfavourably to the first and third Quatermass serials, Quatermass II was praised for its allegorical concerns of the damaging effects of industrialisation and the corruption of governments by big business. It is described on the British Film Institute's "Screenonline" website as "compulsive viewing." (Full article...)

Recently featured: Battle of the Nile – Sega v. Accolade – Bart King

October 23
American Cream Draft

The American Cream Draft is a rare draft horse breed, the only such breed developed in the United States that is still in existence. It is recognized by its cream color, known as "gold champagne", produced by the action of the champagne gene upon a chestnut base color, and by its amber eyes, also characteristic of the gene; the only other color found in the breed is chestnut. Like several other breeds of draft horses, the American Cream is at risk for the autosomal recessive genetic disease junctional epidermolysis bullosa. The breed was developed in Iowa during the early 20th century, beginning with a cream-colored mare named Old Granny. The Great Depression threatened the breed's existence, but several breeders worked to improve the color and type of the breed, and in 1944 a breed registry was formed. The mechanization of farming in the mid-20th century led to a decrease in the breed's population and the registry became inactive for several decades. It was reactivated in 1982 and population numbers have slowly grown since then. However, population numbers are still considered critical by The Livestock Conservancy and the Equus Survival Trust. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Quatermass II – Battle of the Nile – Sega v. Accolade

October 24
Presidio La Bahía

The Battle of Goliad was the second skirmish of the Texas Revolution. Early on October 9, 1835, rebellious Texas settlers attacked the Mexican Army soldiers garrisoned at Presidio La Bahía (pictured), a fort near the Mexican Texas settlement of Goliad. It was halfway between the Mexican garrison at San Antonio de Béxar and the major port of Copano. Texians were plotting to kidnap Mexican General Martín Perfecto de Cos, who was en route to Goliad, although they knew before their arrival that he had departed for San Antonio de Béxar. The garrison at La Bahía was understaffed and could not mount an effective defense of the perimeter. Using axes borrowed from townspeople, the Texians chopped through a door and entered the complex before the bulk of the soldiers were aware of their presence. After a 30-minute battle, the Mexican garrison surrendered. The majority of the Mexican soldiers were instructed to leave Texas, and the Texians confiscated $10,000 worth of provisions and several cannons, later used in the Siege of Béxar. The victory isolated Cos's men in Béxar from the coast, forcing them to rely on a long overland march to request or receive reinforcements or supplies. (Full article...)

Recently featured: American Cream Draft – Quatermass II – Battle of the Nile

October 25
Georges Bizet

Georges Bizet (1838–75) was a French composer, mainly of opera, whose final work, Carmen, became one of the most popular and frequently performed in the opera repertory. As a young composer during the 1860s he struggled for recognition; he began many theatrical projects, but found that the main Parisian opera theatres preferred the established classics to the works of newcomers. Two early operas—Les pêcheurs de perles and La jolie fille de Perth—failed to achieve initial success on the stage. The production of Carmen was delayed through fears that its themes of betrayal and murder would offend audiences; after its premiere in 1875, Bizet was convinced that the work was a failure. He died of a heart attack three months later, aged 36, unaware that Carmen would prove an enduring success. After his death Bizet's other work was largely forgotten. Manuscripts were given away or lost, and published versions were often the result of revision by other hands. As his operas began to be performed more frequently in the 20th century, commentators increasingly acclaimed Bizet as a brilliant and original composer, whose premature death was a significant loss to French musical theatre. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Battle of Goliad – American Cream Draft – Quatermass II

October 26
George Jones

George Jones (1896–1992) was a senior commander in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). He served as Chief of the Air Staff from 1942 to 1952, the longest continuous tenure of any RAAF chief. During World War I, Jones fought as an infantryman at Gallipoli before transferring to the Australian Flying Corps. Posted to a fighter squadron in France, he achieved seven victories to become an ace, and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. After a short spell in civilian life, he joined the newly formed RAAF in 1921, and rose steadily through training and personnel commands prior to World War II. Jones was a surprise appointee as Chief of the Air Staff, and his achievements were coloured by a divisive relationship with the head of RAAF operations in the Pacific, Air Vice Marshal William Bostock. This was partly the result of a divided command structure, which neither man had any direct role in shaping. After World War II, Jones had overall responsibility for transforming what was then the world's fourth largest air force into a peacetime service that was also able to meet overseas commitments in Malaya and Korea. He was promoted to air marshal in 1948, and knighted in 1953. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Georges Bizet – Battle of Goliad – American Cream Draft

October 27

George Went Hensley (c. 1880 – 1955) was an American Pentecostal minister. He experienced a religious conversion around 1910 and came to believe that the New Testament commanded all Christians to handle venomous snakes. Although illiterate, he was a licensed minister of the Church of God from 1915 to 1922. He was arrested on moonshine-related charges and sentenced to a term in a workhouse, from which he escaped. He then held revival services in Ohio, and established churches, known as the Church of God with Signs Following, in Tennessee and Kentucky. His services ranged from small meetings in houses to gatherings with hundreds of attendees and media attention. He was arrested for violating laws against snake handling at least twice. He claimed to have survived more than 400 snake bites, but fell ill after being bitten during a service in 1955. He refused medical attention and died the next day. Despite his personal failings—he had conflicts with his family because of his drunkenness, frequent travels, and lack of steady income—Hensley convinced many residents of rural Appalachia that snake handling was commanded by God, and his followers continued the practice after his death. (Full article...)

Recently featured: George Jones (RAAF officer) – Georges Bizet – Battle of Goliad

October 28
George Herriman, 1922 self-portrait

George Herriman (1880–1944, seen in a self-portrait) was an American cartoonist best known for the comic strip Krazy Kat (1913–44). He started as a newspaper cartoonist in 1897 and introduced Krazy Kat in the strip The Dingbat Family in 1910. A Krazy Kat strip began in 1913; in its main motif, Ignatz Mouse pelted Krazy with bricks, which the naïve Kat interpreted as symbols of love. The strip was noted for its poetic dialogue, fantastic backgrounds, and experimental page layouts. Herriman was drawn to the landscapes of Monument Valley and the Enchanted Mesa, and his artwork used Navajo and Mexican motifs against shifting desert backgrounds. More influential than popular, Krazy Kat had an appreciative audience among people in the arts. Gilbert Seldes' article "The Krazy Kat Who Walks by Himself" was the earliest example of a critic from the high arts giving serious attention to a comic strip. Newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst gave Herriman a lifetime contract with King Features Syndicate, guaranteeing him a comfortable living. The Comics Journal placed the strip first on its list of the greatest comics of the 20th century, and his work has been a primary influence on many cartoonists. (Full article...)

Recently featured: George Went Hensley – George Jones (RAAF officer) – Georges Bizet

October 29
Title page of The Black Moth, Georgette Heyer's debut novel

Georgette Heyer (1902–74) was a British historical romance and detective fiction novelist. Her writing career began in 1921, when she turned a story for her younger brother into the novel The Black Moth (title page pictured). After These Old Shades became popular despite its release during the General Strike, Heyer determined that publicity was not necessary for good sales and refused to give interviews thereafter. She essentially established the historical romance genre and its subgenre Regency romance. To ensure accuracy, Heyer kept detailed notes on all aspects of Regency life. While some critics thought the novels were too detailed, others considered the detail to be her greatest asset. Beginning in 1932, Heyer released one romance novel and one thriller each year. Her husband often provided basic plot outlines for the thrillers, leaving Heyer to develop character relationships and dialogue. Although many critics describe Heyer's detective novels as unoriginal, others praise them for their wit and plots. Her success was sometimes clouded by problems with tax inspectors and alleged plagiarists. Heyer continued writing until her death; her last book, My Lord John, was published posthumously. (Full article...)

Recently featured: George Herriman – George Went Hensley – George Jones (RAAF officer)

October 30
Charles Rudd

The Rudd Concession, a written concession for exclusive mining rights in Matabeleland, Mashonaland and other adjoining territories in southern Africa, was granted by King Lobengula of Matabeleland to Charles Rudd (pictured), James Rochfort Maguire and Francis Thompson, three agents acting on behalf of the politician and businessman Cecil Rhodes, on 30 October 1888. The concession conferred on the grantees the sole rights to mine throughout Lobengula's country, as well as the power to defend this exclusivity by force, in return for weapons and a regular monetary stipend. Despite Lobengula's retrospective attempts to disavow it on the grounds of alleged deceit by the concessionaires regarding the settled terms, it proved the foundation for the royal charter granted by the United Kingdom to Rhodes' British South Africa Company in October 1889, and thereafter for the Pioneer Column's occupation of Mashonaland in 1890, which marked the beginning of white settlement, administration and development in the country. The Company officially named the territory Rhodesia, after Rhodes, in 1895, and governed it until 1923. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Georgette Heyer – George Herriman – George Went Hensley

October 31
Forest of Pendle

Malkin Tower is the site of perhaps the best-known alleged witches' coven in English legal history. It was the home of Elizabeth Southerns and her granddaughter Alizon Device, two of the chief protagonists in the Lancashire witch trials of 1612. A pedlar collapsed soon after refusing to sell Alizon some pins. She and her grandmother were summoned to the home of local magistrate Roger Nowell on suspicion of causing harm by witchcraft, and were thereafter detained in the gaol at Lancaster Castle. Friends met at Malkin Tower on 10 April 1612 (Good Friday), allegedly to plot their escape by blowing up the castle. Nowell learned of the meeting and concluded that it had been the scene of a witches' coven. Eight of those attending were subsequently arrested and tried for causing harm by witchcraft, seven of whom were found guilty and executed; the house may have been demolished shortly after the trials. The only firm evidence for its location comes from the official account by the clerk to the court, who places it somewhere in the Forest of Pendle (pictured). Archaeological excavations in the area have failed to discover any confirmed remains of the building. (Full article...)

Recently featured: Rudd Concession – Georgette Heyer – George Herriman