Friday, March 18, 2011

POPnews - March 18th

[The globular cluster in the constellation Hercules now known as M92 was first discovered by Johann Elert Bode in 1777, but was named for Charles Messier who independently rediscovered it* in 1781; located 26,000 light years from Earth, it contains a shitload** of stars and potentially an equal number of inhabited Earth-like planets. Although one of the larger globular clusters visible from the Northern Hemisphere, it is easily outshone by the even bigger and brighter Messier 13, just like Nick Jonas outshines his equally talented brothers Joe and the ugly one***.]

1227 - Pope Honorius III died; he was succeeded by Gregory IX the following day.

1314 - Jacques de Molay - the 23rd and last Grand Master of the Knights Templar - was burned at the stake at Paris' Île de la Cité on the orders of France's King Philip IV.

1608 - Susenyos was formally crowned Emperor of Ethiopia.

1781 - Charles Messier rediscovered the global cluster M92.

1871 - Following the Declaration of the Paris Commune, Adolphe Thiers - the President of the French Republic - ordered the evacuation of Paris.

1913 - Greece's King George I was assassinated by Alexandros Schinas in the recently liberated city of Thessaloniki.

1922 - The first public celebration of a Bat mitzvah, for the daughter of Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan, was held in New York City at the headquarters of the Society for the Advancement of Judaism.

1937 - An explosion caused by a natural gas leak killed and/or injured hundreds, most of them children, at a school in New London, Texas; of the approximately 600 students and 40 teachers in the building at the time, only about 130 escaped without serious injury.

1940 - Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini met at Brenner Pass in the Alps, when they agreed to form an alliance against France and the United Kingdom.

1950 - The Belgian government fell after a referendum in which 57% of Belgians favoured the return of King Leopold III from exile in Switzerland; his return to Belgium was nevertheless met by widespread unrest, following which he abdicated in favour of his son Baudouin in July 1951.

1962 - The Evian Accords put an end to the Algerian War of Independence, which had begun in November 1954.

1967 - The oil supertanker Torrey Canyon (chartered by British Petroleum) ran aground on Pollard's Rock in the Seven Stones reef off the Cornish coast, spilling 100,000 tons of crude oil; 15,000 sea birds were killed in the aftermath, many from the toxic detergents used in an attempt to clean them.

1982 - Britain's Attorney General Sir Michael Havers halted an obscenity trial brought by Mary Whitehouse against director Michael Bogdanov and the National Theatre for its production of Howard Brenton's The Romans in Britain.

1990 - In the largest art theft in US history, 12 paintings (collectively worth around $300 million) were stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, Massachusetts.

1992 - South Africa voted to end apartheid in a special referendum.

2003 - British Sign Language was recognized as a language, but not as an official language of Britain, meaning it has no legal protections.

2005 - Terri Schiavo's feeding tube was removed at the request of her husband, fueling a worldwide debate on euthanasia; Schiavo died less than two weeks later.

Photobucket2009 - Iranian blogger Omid Reza Mir Sayafi was murdered in Tehran's Evin Prison, where he'd been incarcerated for telling the truth about the mullahs and their Islamic Republic. He was 29. Despite the removal of his blog - which was ostensibly concerned with traditional Persian music - by the authorities, his work will live on thanks to the power of the Internet and foes of tyranny like the Pop Culture Institute. The March 18 Movement was created to honour his memory, and to oppose any attempts to silence new media and citizen journalists; it's a movement which this humble blog is proud to have joined.

*Hard as it may be for modern minds to comprehend, in the olden days e'rybody wasn't up in e'rybody else's bidness like they are today; there was no Twitter in 1781 - except by birds - so two different people could easily discover something at around the same time without it devolving into a spate of name-calling on YouTube. Geez, huh? Old-timey guys were some messed up shizzle!
**In Canada, a 'shitload' is an official measure; all's I know is it's bigger than a 'buttload'. Maybe it's metric... Look it up!
***Ummm... In the interest of full disclosure I should say that this photo caption is a blatant hit grab... Not unlike the
Jonas Brothers themselves!

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