New featured picture shot just over a month ago by User:Diliff: a high-res 12,000 × 4,105 px panorama of the French town of Blois, viewed from the south-east on the far side of the Loire River. Like many panoramic images, this was painstakingly "stitched" together from many segments (in this case 28 of them). Please use the scroller to pan across the image if necessary.
This week's "Featured content" covers Sunday 21 – Saturday 27 August
This manuscript illustration from the new featured article Gerard, archbishop of York is of King Henry I. During the first years of his reign, Gerard was one of his chief advisors.
From the new featured article Far Eastern Party, Antarctic explorer Douglas Mawson rests on one of the sledges at the food depot "Aladdin's Cave" in November 1912, probably on the first day during the outward journey.
New featured picture: Sonia Sotomayor, an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. She is the Court's 111th justice, its first Hispanic justice, and its third female justice.
Put your shades on: NASA's spectacular shot of the white-hot launch of Space Shuttle Discovery STS-120 in 2007 is among our new featured pictures.
Gerard (archbishop of York) (nom), who owned a book of astrology and studied Hebrew, actions so disturbing to his clergy that they refused to have his body inside York Minster. Or perhaps it was the man's temper that got him off-side with his colleagues: he once kicked over an Archbishop of Canterbury's chair in a fit of anger. (Ealdgyth) picture at right
Far Eastern Party (nom)—how Douglas Mawson was forced to eat his dogs to survive almost two months in the Antarctic, and how the livers of those dogs poisoned his companion, Xavier Mertz. "It's an incredible story" of epic survival, says nominator Apterygial. picture at right
Harmon Killebrew (nom), Baseball Hall of Famer, who died last month. Nominator Wizardman says the article was harder to develop "because he was known as a nice, quiet guy; it's a lot easier to write about someone if they are (at least a little bit) verbose or controversial, as there's more to sink your teeth into." The article was the first promotion by User:Ucucha, who became an FAC delegate last week.
Gobrecht dollar (nom), a coin minted from 1836 to 1839 to determine whether or not a circulating silver dollar would prove favorable with the American public. Nominator RHM22 says, "Evidently it did, as the denomination continued steady production until 1873."
Rova of Antananarivo (nom), the palace complex of the kings and queens of Madagascar. It was established in 1610 on a traditional model dating back to the 1400s or earlier. Just before the site's anticipated inscription on the World Heritage List it was destroyed by fire, in 1995. It is currently being rebuilt. (Lemurbaby)
Manhattan Project (nom), a World War II research and development program—led by the US with contributions from the UK and Canada—that produced the first atomic bomb. (Hawkeye7)
Iranian Embassy siege (nom) in London in April/May 1980, which ended when the SAS stormed the building. The assembled press captured the images of men dressed entirely in black and armed to the teeth abseiling down the back of the building and broadcast them on live television during prime time, a defining moment in British history and for the Thatcher government. Just 17 minutes later, five of the six terrorists were dead and all but one of their hostages freed. (HJ Mitchell)
Maple syrup (nom), which nominator Nikkimaria says is "the syrup of Sunday mornings, the sweet topping on everything from waffles to ice cream, and the best thing to combine with snow in spring".
Ferugliotheriidae (nom), an enigmatic group of extinct mammals from 84–66 million years ago. Although they coexisted with dinosaurs, their size was of a different order: they weighed only about 70 g. (Ucucha)
John Treloar (museum administrator) (nom) (1894–1952), the soldier who seemed to have never fired a shot in battle. Instead, he became one of the most important figures in Australia's military history, heading the military's record-keeping units during both world wars and the Australian War Memorial for the last three decades of his life. A workaholic, he lived next to his office in the years before his early death. (Nick-D)
Corn Crake (nom), a secretive bird species that breeds in Europe and Russia in the summer and migrates to south-eastern Africa for the northern winter. It has declined over much of its range due to changes in haymaking techniques that rob it of one of its favourite foods. (Jimfbleak)
Murder of Julia Martha Thomas (nom), one of the most notorious crimes in late 19th-century Britain. Mrs Thomas, a widow in her 50s who lived in Richmond in west London, was murdered on 2 March 1879 by her maid Kate Webster, who disposed of the body by dismembering it, boiling the flesh off the bones, and throwing most of what was left into the Thames. It was alleged, although never proved, that she had offered the fat to neighbours and street children as dripping and lard. (Prioryman)
Alister Murdoch (nom) (1912–84), a senior commander in the Royal Australian Air Force, having trained as a seaplane pilot and participated in an Antarctic rescue mission for lost explorers in 1935. During World War II, he commanded No. 221 Squadron RAF in Europe and the Middle East. (Ian Rose)
Super Science Stories (nom), a companion to Astonishing Stories, which recently went through FAC. Science-fiction historian Raymond Thompson describes Super Science Stories as "one of the most interesting [sci-fi] magazines to appear during the 1940s", despite the variable quality of the stories. (Mike Christie)
Final Fantasy XIII (nom), a video game set in the fictional floating world of Cocoon, whose government is ordering a purge of civilians who have allegedly come into contact with Pulse, the much-feared world below. (Sjones23, PresN)
Brazilian battleship São Paulo (nom), a dreadnought battleship designed for the Brazilian Navy by the British company Armstrong Whitworth. Launched in 1910, the São Paulo was soon involved in the Revolt of the Lash, in which crews on four Brazilian warships mutinied over poor pay and harsh punishments for even minor offenses. The ship sank in 1951 while en route to be scrapped. (The ed17)
Paxillus involutus (nom), a fungus widely eaten in Eastern Europe that mysteriously kills people, a fact that nominator Casliber read about as a child. He says, "now I am a doctor and we know why it does, and I find it even freakier".
Thurisind (nom) (died c. 560) was king of the Gepids, an East Germanic Gothic people, from c. 548 to 560. He was the penultimate Gepid king, and succeeded King Elemund by staging a coup d'état and forcing the king's son into exile. Thurisind's kingdom was in Central Europe and had its centre in Sirmium, a former Roman city on the Danube River. His reign was marked by multiple wars with the Lombards, a Germanic people. aldux
Eleven images were promoted. Medium-sized images can be viewed by clicking on "nom":
Kukenan Tepuy at sunset (nom; related article), and example of the table-top mountains, or mesas found in the Guiana Highlands of South America, especially in Venezuela. This image is taken from Tëk river base camp. (Created by Paolo)
Black-headed heron (nom; related article), Mikumi National Park, Tanzania. Common throughout much of sub-Saharan Africa and Madagascar, it is mainly resident, but some west African birds move further north in the rainy season. This species usually breeds in the wet season in colonies in trees, reedbeds, or cliffs, and builds a bulky stick nest for two to four eggs. Its flight is slow, with neck retracted, and its call is a loud croaking. The image was a stitch of several segments. (Created by User:Muhammad Mahdi Karim)
Sonia Sotomayor (nom; related article), an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. A graduate of Princeton and Yale, she has served since August 2009. (Created by Steve Petteway, from the Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States) picture at right
Space Shuttle Discovery STS-120 (nom; related article, plus more than 60 other articles), the Space Shuttle Discovery and its seven-member STS-120 crew head toward Earth-orbit and a scheduled link-up with the International Space Station. Lift-off from Kennedy Space Center's launch-pad was at 11:38:19 a.m. (EDT) on 28 October 2007. On board were astronauts Pam Melroy, commander; George Zamka, pilot; Scott Parazynski, Stephanie Wilson, Doug Wheelock, European Space Agency's (ESA) Paolo Nespoli and Daniel Tani, all mission specialists. (Created by NASA, edited by User:Jjron) picture at right
A new featured picture: the Thames Barrier, downstream from London, was built to prevent the city from flooding by storm surges and exceptionally high tides. The concept of the rotating gates was devised by Charles Draper. The site was chosen because of the relative straightness of the banks, and because the underlying river chalk is strong enough to support the barrier.