Thursday, February 17, 2011

POPnews - February 17th

[Try as I might to find colour pictures to accompany POPnews, this week the Internet Photo Gods continue sending me black and white photos instead, meaning you the reader get yet another glimpse at this dull, lifeless surface; still, if this were another blog the dull lifeless surface you'd be looking at would be Paris Hilton... You're welcome!]

1600 - The philosopher Giordano Bruno was burned at the stake by the Roman Inquisition at Rome's Campo de' Fiori for teaching such despicable heresies as heliocentrism. Because that's what Jesus would have done.

1621 - Myles Standish was appointed the first military commander of Plymouth Colony.

1801 - An Electoral College tie between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr was resolved when Jefferson was elected President and Burr Vice President by the US House of Representatives.

1854 - The United Kingdom recognized the independence of the Orange Free State.

1864 - During the American Civil War the H. L. Hunley became the first submarine to engage and sink a warship, in this case the USS Housatonic.

1871 - The victorious Prussian Army paraded though Paris after the end of the Siege of Paris, the principal conflict of the Franco-Prussian War.

1904 - Giacomo Puccini's opera Madama Butterfly (with a libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa) premiered at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan. In the starring roles were Rosina Storchio (as Cio-Cio San), Giovanni Zenatello (as B. F. Pinkerton), and Giuseppe De Luca (as US consul Sharpless). It was, in fact, Puccini's first version of the opera, meant to be performed in two acts; after a disastrous opening, the show was rewritten into three acts, and thereafter flourished.

1913 - The Armory Show opened in New York City, displaying works of artists who were to become some of the most influential painters of the early 20th century.

1933 - The Blaine Act repealed the Eighteenth Amendment to the US Constitution, ending Prohibition in the United States; it would be accepted as the Twenty-first Amendment on December 5th.

1936 - The world's first superhero, The Phantom, made his first appearance in comics.

1958 - Pope Pius XII declared Saint Clare of Assisi the patron saint of television.

1959 - Turkish Prime Minister Adnan Menderes survived an air crash a few miles short of the runway at London's Gatwick Airport near the Sussex village of Rusper which killed 12 people.

1965 - As part of NASA's Project Ranger, the Ranger 8 probe was launched on its mission to photograph the Mare Tranquillitatis region of the Moon in preparation for the manned Apollo missions to come; the so-called 'Sea of Tranquility' would eventually become the site chosen for the Apollo 11 lunar landing.

1974 - Robert K. Preston, a disgruntled U.S. Army private, buzzed the White House at 2 AM with a helicopter stolen from nearby Fort Meade, Maryland; neither President Richard Nixon nor any of his family were in residence at the time.

1992 - A court in Milwaukee sentenced serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer to 957 years in prison on 15 counts of first-degree murder.

1995 - Colin Ferguson was convicted of six counts of murder for the December 1993 Long Island Rail Road shootings; he later received a 200+ year sentence.

1996 - In Philadelphia, world champion Garry Kasparov beat the Deep Blue supercomputer in a chess match.

2003 - The London Congestion Charge scheme began.

2008 - Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia.

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