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July 2007 Archives

July 31, 2007

This Day In History: July 31

This Day in History

1556: Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits ), dies in Rome.
1790: The U.S. Patent Office opens and issues the first U.S. patent.
1792: The cornerstone is laid for the Philadelphia Mint, the first U.S. government building.
1877: Thomas Edison receives a patent for his phonograph.
1914: In World War I, Germany declares war on Russia, France mobilizes its army and navy, and a general mobilization is declared for Austria-Hungary.
1948: New York International Airport (later renamed John F. Kennedy International Airport) is dedicated at Idlewild Field in New York.
1987: In Mecca, Saudi police clash with Iranian pilgrims; more than 400 die.

Continue reading "This Day In History: July 31" »

July 30, 2007

The World Almanac Wakes up With Whoopi

whoop_cub_int07.jpgLast Thursday, I paid a visit to Whoopi Goldberg's early-morning radio show "Wake Up With Whoopi" to share some cool facts from the new World Almanac for Kids... and ended up talking about everything from the composition of the U.S. Congress, to why Americans have more fish (139 million of them) than any other pets, to whether or not the next edition should be re-titled The World Almanac for Kids... And Cubby. (The jury's still out on that last one.)

Keep visiting our blog for information about future appearances—and in the meantime, you can listen to last week's segment by clicking here here (mp3, 7MB).

This Day In History: July 30

This Day in History

1619: The House of Burgesses, the first representative assembly in the New World, is elected at Jamestown, VA.
1956: President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs a joint resolution of Congress authorizing "In God We Trust" as the national motto.
1965: President Lyndon B. Johnson signs a bill establishing Medicare.
1974: The House of Representatives votes to recommend the third article of impeachment against President Richard Nixon, charging him with defiance of committee subpoenas.
2002: Amid continuing corporate scandals, President George W. Bush signs a corporate governance reform bill.

Continue reading "This Day In History: July 30" »

July 29, 2007

This Day In History: July 29

This Day in History

1907: Sir Robert Baden-Powell forms the Boy Scouts in England.
1958: Pres. Dwight Eisenhower signs legislation creating the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
1974: The House Judiciary Committee votes the second article of impeachment against Pres. Richard Nixon, 28-10, charging abuses of power.
1981: Congress passes Pres. Ronald Reagan's tax-cut legislation, which is expected to save taxpayers some $750 billion over a 5-year period. Watched by an estimated 750 million TV viewers, Britain's Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer are married in London 's St. Paul Cathedral.

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July 28, 2007

This Day In History: July 28

This Day in History

1794: The Reign of Terror ends in France with the guillotining of Maximilien Robespierre and some 70 others.
1821: South American revolutionary José de San Martín proclaims the independence of Peru .
1868: The 14th Amendment to the Constitution is ratified, guaranteeing full citizenship rights to African Americans and due process of law to all citizens.
1914: World War I officially begins when Austria-Hungary declares war on Serbia.
1932: The Bonus Army—unemployed World War I veterans who marched on Washington demanding that Congress pay their bonuses in full—is evicted by U.S. Army cavalry, tanks, and infantry upon the order of Pres. Herbert Hoover.
1942: Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin issues his most famous order of the war, "Not a step back!", threatening Draconian punishments and calling for a "patriotic" war against the German invaders.
1984: The Summer Olympics open in Los Angeles, with the Soviet Union and more than a dozen of its allies boycotting the games.

Continue reading "This Day In History: July 28" »

July 27, 2007

This Day In History: July 27

This Day in History

1789: The first U.S. federal government agency, the Department of Foreign Affairs, is established by Congress.
1804: The 12th Amendment is ratified, changing the method of electing the president and vice-president.
1866: A telegraph cable across the Atlantic is completed, establishing communication between the United States and England.
1953: Fighting ends in the Korean War with the signing of an armistice in Panmunjom.
1974: The House of Representatives votes to recommend the first article of impeachment against President Nixon, charging him with obstruction of justice.
1996: A bomb explodes in an Atlanta, GA, park filled with people attending the Summer Olympics, directly killing 1 person.

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July 26, 2007

So Easy, a Caveman Can Do It (12 Different Ways)

geico.jpg Even if you see fewer and fewer commercials these days thanks to Tivo and/or your video iPod, they're not going away altogether—at least, not yet. Check out Donald Gunn's analysis of the 12 Kinds of Ads—in a slide show complete with example clips from YouTube—which run the commercial break gamut from 'demo' to 'parody or borrowed format.' It's pretty easy to spot just how advertising uses the same dozen uncreative formats to entice you to stay tuned in. Or at least to slow down a little when you're fast-forwarding.

12 Kinds of Ads

This Day In History: July 26

This Day in History

1775: The Second Continental Congress establishes a postal system.
1788: New York becomes the 11th state to ratify the Constitution.
1947: Pres. Harry Truman signs a law uniting the Army, Navy, and Air Force as the National Military Establishment, directed by the secretary of defense, and creating the National Security Council and CIA.
1948: An executive order signed by Pres. Harry Truman ends racial segregation in the armed forces.
1953: Fidel Castro and a small group of revolutionaries unsuccessfully attack the Moncada army barracks in Santiago de Cuba.
1956: Egypt seizes control of the Suez Canal and is subsequently invaded by Israel, France, and Great Britain.
1973: Pres. Richard Nixon refuses to comply with subpoenas ordering him to turn over tapes of White House conversations on Watergate.
1990: The Americans With Disabilities Act is signed by Pres. George H. W. Bush, barring discrimination against the handicapped and requiring that public facilities be accessible.
2004: U.S. supercyclist Lance Armstrong wins the Tour de France for a record 6th consecutive year.

Continue reading "This Day In History: July 26" »

July 25, 2007

Revised Blood Donation Guidelines

Platelet_donation.jpg

I hope it's not a sign of limited public interest, but information seems to be scarce on new guidelines for blood donations.

These revised guidelines come in response to transfusion-related acute lung injury, or TRALI, in which a blood transfusion recipient's lungs fill with fluid, impairing breathing. This reaction typically occurs within six hours of a transfusion. According to the American Red Cross, "TRALI occurs in about 1:5,000 transfusions, and about 6% of TRALI reactions are fatal."

Researchers think that certain antibodies—specifically antibodies present in female donors who have been pregnant or donors who have themselves received transfusions—may be responsible for TRALI. As these antibodies are found most often in plasma, many blood centers are no longer accepting plasma donations from women.

Women are still eligible to give whole blood and other blood components, such as red blood cells and platelets.

Links:
American Red Cross Blood Bulletin (pdf)
Blood Donation Eligibility Guidelines (American Red Cross)

Photo: Army Cpl. Christopher LeRoy, 932nd Blood Support Detachment blood technician, begins the blood platelet donation procedure on Army Sgt. Jennifer Skebong, 583rd Medlog Co. For the first time in the history of Afghanistan blood platelets are being collected in the country for the treatment of critically injured patients. Courtesy of the Army's Soldiers Media Center.

This Day In History: July 25

This Day in History

1866: Ulysses S. Grant is named General of the Army, the first person to hold this rank.
1909: French engineer Louis Blériot flies across the English Channel in a monoplane that he has designed and built.
1944: During World War II, Allied forces break out of the Normandy beachhead established on D-Day (June 6), penetrating and then bypassing German lines.
1948: In a move widely regarded as marking the beginning of the Cold War, U.S. and British aircraft fly in food and supplies to Berlin, Germany, in response to the July 24 Soviet blockade of approaches from the West.
1952: Puerto Rico becomes a U.S. commonwealth.
1956: The Italian luxury liner Andrea Doria collides with the Swedish liner Stockholm off Cape Cod, MA, and sinks; some 50 people die, but more than 1,600 are rescued by other ships in the area.
1978: The first test-tube baby, Louise Brown, is born in England.
1984: Soviet cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya becomes the first woman to perform a spacewalk.
1999: American cyclist Lance Armstrong—diagnosed with cancer in 1996—wins the Tour de France.
2000: An Air France Concorde crashes shortly after takeoff from Paris, killing all 109 on board and 4 on the ground, marking the first fatal crash for the supersonic jetliner. The peace summit at Camp David between Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat and Israeli Prime Min. Ehud Barak collapses in failure.

Continue reading "This Day In History: July 25" »

July 24, 2007

Viva Las Vegas Gambling Statistics

0707Gambling.jpgI’m not much of a gambler, but I just had to share this wealth of statistics on gambling assembled by the University of Las Vegas’ Center for Gaming Research. They have annual numbers for Las Vegas back to 1967, and for Atlantic City since gambling started in 1978.

I enjoyed looking at the 2006 Nevada Gaming Win Breakdown (PDF). No surprise that slots are by far the most prevalent and lucrative game (for the casinos) but who would’ve thought that Keno had one of the best win percentages (27.63%)?

UNLV Online Gaming Abstract


Old Ladies Love Their Slots from What Rhymes With Nicole's flickr stream

This Day In History: July 24

This Day in History

1704: During the War of the Spanish Succession, Gibraltar is captured by combined English and Dutch forces.
1847: Brigham Young and the first Mormon pioneers arrive at Utah 's Salt Lake Valley.
1948: Soviet forces cut off roads and railways into Berlin, Germany, from the West.
1974: The Supreme Court rules, 8-0, that Pres. Richard Nixon must turn over 64 tapes of White House conversations to special prosecutor Leon Jaworski. The House Judiciary Committee begins holding televised hearings into the impeachment of Pres. Richard Nixon over Watergate.
1998: Russell Eugene Weston Jr. opens fire in the Capitol building, killing two police officers.
2001: Pope John Paul II meets with President George W. Bush and expresses opposition to the creation of human embryos for research.
2003: A report by a joint Congressional committee details intelligence lapses and other failures that preceded the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C.

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July 23, 2007

OLPC on YPC

OLPC.jpg(That's One Laptop Per Child, on Your Personal Computer.) In the latest edition of the World Almanac for Kids, we gave a big shout-out to the XO computer, created by the One Laptop Per Child organization. Now it looks like curious geeks (and other parties interested in creating software for the innovative laptops) can play around with the XO's unique SUGAR operating system.

This is not for the faint-of-heart (or limited-of-disk-space), however: you'll need virtualization software like VMWare or Parallels, plus a disk image of the OLPC OS... altogether, at least 300MB of downloads. But if you're infatuated with the XO, this is the closest you're going to get to it for a while.

For download links and installation instructions, visit UneasilySilence [via Gizmodo]

Previously: The Other 90 Percent

This Day In History: July 23

This Day in History

1829: William Austin Burt of Michigan receives a patent for his typographer, the precursor to the typewriter.
1952: Army officers launch a revolution in Egypt, transforming the country from a monarchy to a republic.
1967: Riots begin in Detroit, MI; by July 30, more than 40 have died, 2,000 are injured, and 5,000 left homeless by rioting, looting, and burning in the city's black ghetto.
1974: The Greek military junta collapses.
1986: Britain's Prince Andrew marries Sarah Ferguson in London 's Westminster Abbey. The couple are named duke and duchess of York.
1999: With the launch of the space shuttle Columbia, Eileen Collins becomes the first woman to command a U.S. shuttle flight.
2000: Tiger Woods, 24, becomes the youngest golfer ever to achieve a Grand Slam—winning all 4 major golf tournaments.
2001: The Indonesian Legislature ousts President Abdurrahman Wahid after charges of widespread corruption.
2003: California announces a special election on recalling Governor Gray Davis.

Continue reading "This Day In History: July 23" »

July 20, 2007

The Seven Wonders: New Style or Classic?

As Andy noted yesterday, we've all been so wrapped up in plotting out the next edition of the World Almanac that we haven't had much spare time for blogging. We're hoping to return to a regular (if somewhat lighter) posting schedule next week, so keep coming back!

7wonders.jpgFirst up on my personal list of blog-worthy events from recent months: the votes are in, and the NewOpenWorld Foundation has named The New Seven Wonders of the World (announced, naturally, on 7/7/07):

  • Chichen Itza (Yucatán, Mexico)
  • Christ the Redeemer (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
  • Great Wall of China (China)
  • Machu Picchu (Cuzco, Perú)
  • Petra (Jordan)
  • Roman Colosseum (Rome, Italy)
  • Taj Mahal (Agra, India)

Take the results with a grain of salt, since people could cast as many votes as they liked—and there is no connection with UNESCO's preservation-oriented World Heritage program. But the new list is an interesting collection, nevertheless. Surprised by any of the "winners," or by the conspicuous absence of other famous landmarks? Talk it up in the comments... and hit the jump for a little extra information on the "classic" Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, straight from The World Almanac.

Continue reading "The Seven Wonders: New Style or Classic?" »

This Day In History: July 20

This Day in History

1871: British Columbia becomes part of the Confederation of Canada as the sixth province.
1881: Sioux Indian chief Sitting Bull surrenders to federal troops.
1944: A group of German officers and civilians try to assassinate Adolf Hitler by placing a bomb in his headquarters in East Prussia.
1951: Abdullah ibn Husein, king of Jordan, is assassinated by a Palestinian Arab.
1969: After making the first lunar landing, astronaut Neil Armstrong, commander of the Apollo 11 mission, becomes the first person to set foot on the Moon; he is followed by Edwin Aldrin.
1974: Turkey invades the island of Cyprus, which Greek officers seized a week earlier.
1976: Hank Aaron hits the 755th and final home run of his baseball career in Milwaukee's County Stadium.
1983: The House of Representatives formally censures two congressmen who admitted having affairs with congressional pages, Daniel Crane (R, IL) and Gerry Studds (D, MA).

Continue reading "This Day In History: July 20" »

July 19, 2007

Ruffles and Flourishes

0707flourishes.jpgWe apologize for the lack of entries recently but we’ve been hard at work on the next World Almanac and Book of Facts. I was recently reviewing the Military Affairs section where, in between the lists for chief commanding officers and number of personnel on active duty, we cover personal salutes and honors (page 129 in the 2007 edition). This includes what song is to be played for dignitaries and how many ruffles and flourishes should be performed beforehand.

Don’t know what a ruffle or flourish is? Those are the drum rolls (ruffles) and horns (flourishes) heard before the song begins. The more important the person, the more ruffles and flourishes. You can hear the maximum amount, four, before the President’s anthem, “Hail to the Chief.”

Perhaps you know about ruffles and flourishes, but can you hum some of the other honor songs like “General’s March” or “Flag Officer's March” played for generals and admirals? The U.S. Air Force Band has a comprehensive list of songs that includes honor music—with ruffles and flourishes—on their ceremonial music page.

U.S. Air Force Band: Ceremonial Music

Photo of band at Hunter Army Airfield from whitehouse.gov

This Day In History: July 19

This Day in History

1848: A seminal women’s rights convention opens in Seneca Falls, NY.
1863: Union troops fail to capture Fort Wagner, SC; 1,515 Union troops die, in the battle that marks the first use of black soldiers in the Civil War.
1993: Pres. Bill Clinton announces a "don't ask, don't tell, don't pursue" policy for homosexuals in the U.S. military.
1999: A record heat wave begins in the eastern half of the United States; by August 1, at least 200 are dead.

Continue reading "This Day In History: July 19" »

July 18, 2007

This Day In History: July 18

This Day in History

1918: In World War I 's Battle of the Marne, the Allies launch a counteroffensive at Château-Thierry, eventually resulting in a German retreat.
1925: Adolf Hitler publishes his manifesto, Mein Kampf.
1947: President Harry S. Truman signs the Presidential Succession Act, designating the speaker of the House and the president pro tempore of the Senate as next in line after the vice president.
1969: Senator Edward M. Kennedy drives his car off a narrow bridge on Chappaquiddick Island, MA, and his only passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne, drowns. He is found guilty of leaving the scene of an accident.
1993: Japan 's Liberal Democratic Party, in office since 1955, loses its majority in parliament in general elections.
2003: Dr. David Kelly, a senior adviser to the British government, is found dead by his own hand after being named as the source for a BBC report that stated the government had exaggerated the danger of Iraq 's weapons programs.

Continue reading "This Day In History: July 18" »

July 17, 2007

This Day In History: July 17

This Day in History

1945: The Potsdam Conference begins, with the leaders of the United States, the Soviet Union, and Britain agreeing on the disarmament of Germany, occupation zones, and war crimes trials.
1948: The States' Rights Party, made up of "Dixiecrats" opposed to Pres. Harry Truman 's civil rights agenda, forms; it nominates Strom Thurmond of South Carolina for president.
1955: Disneyland opens in Anaheim, California.
1989: The B-2 Stealth bomber makes its first successful test flight.
1996: TWA Flight 800 explodes off the coast of Long Island, New York, killing all 230 aboard.

Continue reading "This Day In History: July 17" »

July 16, 2007

This Day In History: July 16

This Day in History

1790: Pres. George Washington signs legislation naming the District of Columbia as the permanent capital of the United States.
1918: In Russia, Czar Nicholas II and his family are executed by a firing squad on the order of the Bolsheviks.
1945: The first atomic bomb, produced at Los Alamos, NM, is tested in an explosion at a desert site in Alamogordo, NM.
1969: Apollo 11, the mission to land the first men on the Moon, is launched.
1988: At the U.S. Olympic Trials in Indianapolis, Florence Griffith Joyner runs the 100 meters in a record-smashing 10.49 seconds.
1999: John F. Kennedy Jr., his wife Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, and his sister-in-law Lauren Bessette die in a plane crash off Martha's Vineyard, MA, in a private plane piloted by Kennedy.

Continue reading "This Day In History: July 16" »

July 15, 2007

This Day In History: July 15

This Day in History

1099: During the First Crusade, Jerusalem is taken by the Crusaders, who massacre virtually every inhabitant.
1410: Poles and Lithuanians inflict a decisive defeat on the Teutonic Knights at Tannenberg (Stebark, Poland ), marking the beginning of the decline of that order.
1870: The Northwest Territories enter the Canadian confederation.
1912: Amassing 8,412 points—800 more than his nearest competitor—Jim Thorpe wins the Olympic decathlon.
1916: William Boeing incorporated Pacific Aero Products, later named the Boeing Co.
1918: In World War I, the decisive Battle of the Marne begins when the Germans launch a major offensive.
1958: Two battalions of U.S. Marines are landed near Beirut during a two-day period to prevent Communist intervention in a rebellion then in progress in Lebanon.
1974: Greek army officers serving in the National Guard of Cyprus stage a coup on the island, hoping to unify it with Greece; the action ultimately leads to the overthrow of the Greek junta.
1987: Martial law is lifted in Taiwan after 38 years.
1992: Bill Clinton is nominated at the Democratic presidential convention in New York City.
1997: Serial killer Andrew Phillip Cunanan kills fashion designer Gianni Versace outside his Miami home.
2002: U.S. citizen John Walker Lindh pleads guilty to having fought as a soldier with the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Continue reading "This Day In History: July 15" »

July 14, 2007

This Day In History: July 14

This Day in History

1789: The French Revolution begins with the fall of the Bastille in Paris.
1798: The U.S. Sedition Act is passed, prohibiting "false, scandalous and malicious" writing against the government.
1853: Comm. Matthew C. Perry of the U.S. Navy is received by Japan, on his mission to negotiate a treaty to open the country to U.S. ships.
1881: Outlaw William H. Bonney Jr., better known as Billy the Kid , is shot and killed in Fort Sumter, NM, by Sheriff Pat Garrett.
1951: The George Washington Carver National Monument in Missouri is dedicated, becoming the first U.S. national monument to honor an African American.
1966: Richard Speck murders 8 student nurses in a Chicago dormitory.
1970: In a controversial baseball play, Cincinnati's Pete Rose bowls over Cleveland's catcher Ray Fosse at the plate to give the National League a 12th-inning, 5-4 win over the American League in the All-Star Game.
2000: A jury assesses $144.8 billion in punitive damages against 5 tobacco companies in a Miami-Dade County Circuit Court, concluding the first class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of smokers to go to trial.

Continue reading "This Day In History: July 14" »

July 13, 2007

This Day In History: July 13

This Day in History

1787: The Continental Congress adopts the Northwest Ordinance for the Northwest Territory (north of the Ohio River); it makes rules for statehood and guarantees freedom of religion, support for schools, and no slavery.
1863: Draft riots begin in New York City; by July 16, some 1,000 people are killed or wounded and some blacks are hanged by mobs.
1977: A 25-hour blackout hits the New York City area, leaving some 9 million people in darkness and resulting in looting and disorder.
1985: Pres. Ronald Reagan undergoes surgery for colon cancer. Live Aid, a rock concert in London and Philadelphia broadcast around the world, raises $70 million for African famine relief.
2003: The 37-member Iraqi Governing Council begins work.

Continue reading "This Day In History: July 13" »

July 12, 2007

This Day In History: July 12

This Day in History

1690: In the Battle of the Boyne, William III, recently named king of England and Ireland in the Glorious Revolution, defeats the exiled former king James II.
1862: Congress authorizes the Medal of Honor.
1871: Rioting between Irish Catholics and Protestants in New York City leaves more than 50 dead.
1967: Riots by blacks begin in Newark, NJ; by July 17, 26 are killed, 1,500 injured, and more than 1,000 left homeless.
1974: John D. Ehrlichmann and 3 White House "plumbers" are found guilty of conspiracy to violate the civil rights of Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg's psychiatrist by breaking into his office in 1971.
1975: São Tomé and Príncipe, formerly an overseas province of Portugal, attains independence.
1984: Walter Mondale, the expected Democratic presidential nominee, announces the choice of New York Rep. Geraldine Ferraro as his running mate—the first woman chosen as a vice presidential candidate on a major party ticket.
1996: Britain 's Charles and Diana, the prince and princess of Wales, announce that they have reached an agreement on getting divorced, after 15 years of marriage.

Continue reading "This Day In History: July 12" »

July 11, 2007

Taking a Closer Look

StreetView.jpg

I remember way back when, using Amazon's A9 maps to scope out different blocks in my neighborhood. I was apartment hunting and thought I'd save myself some trouble by pulling up A9's photos of certain streets—what did the building look like? Was the block it was on seedy or going through gentrification? Was there a bodega (as corner stores are called in New York) on the same block?

If my above description of A9 sounds familiar, it might be because you've heard of the Street View feature in Google Maps.

The feature has opened up a new dimension of interactivity, beyond what I was capable of with A9. Privacy issues aside--see "Google Maps Is Spying on My Cat" for one discussion--there is something very Internet-age about browsing street photos for peculiar scenes, posting them on a Web site, and inviting readers to contribute humorous captions.

Street View is currently only available for Denver, Las Vegas, Miami, New York City, and the San Francisco Bay area. The San Francisco photos are of a higher resolution, making it possible to play Where's Waldo? with real life.

Links:
Google Street View
"Google Spy: Zooming in on Neighbors, Nose-Pickers, and Sunbathers with Street View" (Slate)
"Frank Chu Located on Google Maps Street View, Plus Others" (Laughing Squid)
Streetviewr--collection of odd Street View photos

Photo: Looking north to Times Square outside of the World Almanac offices.

This Day In History: July 11

This Day in History

1798: The United States Marine Corps is established.
1804: Alexander Hamilton is shot by Vice Pres. Aaron Burr in a duel in Weehawken, NJ; he dies the next day.
1955: Congress authorizes the addition of the phrase "In God We Trust" to all U.S. currency.
1979: The 82-ton spacecraft Skylab—in orbit since 1973—reenters the earth's atmosphere, breaking up and falling harmlessly in a shower of pieces over the Indian Ocean.
1985: Houston Astros pitcher Nolan Ryan becomes the first major league baseball player to strike out 4,000 batters during a 4-3 victory over the NY Mets.
1995: The United States announces it is reestablishing diplomatic relations with Vietnam.

Continue reading "This Day In History: July 11" »

July 10, 2007

This Day In History: July 10

This Day in History

1890: Wyoming is admitted to the Union as the 44th state.
1913: Death Valley, California, temperatures reach a whopping 134 degrees Fahrenheit (56.7 Celsius), the hottest on U.S. record.
1934: In baseball 's second All-Star Game, Carl Hubbell of the Giants strikes out 5 players in a row who will go on to the Hall of Fame: Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons, and Joe Cronin.
1973: The Bahamas gains independence from Britain after 250 years as a crown colony.
1985: Coca-Cola announces that it will bring back its original Coke formula—replaced by New Coke in April, to a storm of protest—as Coca-Cola Classic.
The Rainbow Warrior, a ship belonging to the environmental group Greenpeace, is sunk, apparently by a bomb, in New Zealand.:
1997: British scientists, using DNA from a Neanderthal skeleton, back a theory that humanity descended from an "African Eve" over 100,000 years ago.
1999: The United States wins the Women's World Cup in soccer, defeating China in the final on penalty kicks.

Continue reading "This Day In History: July 10" »

July 9, 2007

This Day In History: July 9

This Day in History

1386: Swiss win a decisive battle in the struggle for independence from Austrian rule at Sempach.
1497: Portuguese explorer and navigator Vasco da Gama, commissioned by the king of Portugal to reach India by sea, sails from Lisbon with four ships.
1850: Pres. Zachary Taylor dies and is succeeded by Vice Pres. Millard Fillmore.
1868: The 14th Amendment to the Constitution is ratified, defining U.S. citizenship and providing that states cannot abridge the rights of citizens without due process and equal protection under the law.
1896: William Jennings Bryan delivers his famous "Cross of Gold" speech to the Democratic national convention en route to winning the party’s presidential nomination.
1943: During World War II, American, Canadian, and British forces begin the invasion of Sicily.
1977: In one of golf 's most dramatic confrontations, Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus conclude the British Open with identical scores of 68-70-65; Watson then shoots a 65 over the final 18 holes to win over Nicklaus's 66.
1986: An advisory panel named by the attorney general links sexual violence to some pornography and calls for increased action against the pornography industry.
1992: Bill Clinton, the Democratic presidential candidate, names Tennessee Sen. Al Gore as his running mate.
2002: Baseball 's All-Star Game ends in a tie after 11 innings when both teams run out of players.

Continue reading "This Day In History: July 9" »

July 8, 2007

This Day In History: July 8

This Day in History

1889: The Wall Street Journal publishes its first issue.
1942: Anne Frank and her family go into hiding during the Holocaust.
1950: Gen. Douglas MacArthur is appointed commander of UN forces in Korea.
1969: The withdrawal of U.S. forces from Vietnam begins.
1986: The U.S. government bans the use of sulfites in fresh vegetables and fruits.
1998: In a tentative settlement, Dow Corning agrees to pay $3.2 billion to 170,000 women who claim they have become ill from silicone breast implants.

Continue reading "This Day In History: July 8" »

July 7, 2007

This Day In History: July 7

This Day in History

1865: Four conspirators in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln are hanged.
1898: Pres. William McKinley signs a resolution annexing Hawaii.
1937: Japanese troops open fire on the Chinese Army at the Marco Polo Bridge in a Beijing suburb, marking the beginning of the Sino-Japanese War.
1981: Pres. Ronald Reagan announces the nomination of Sandra Day O'Connor to the Supreme Court, the first woman ever named to the Court.

Continue reading "This Day In History: July 7" »

July 6, 2007

Danger: Octosquid!

octosquid.jpgIt's not as fearsome as the giant squid (highlighted in The World Almanac for Kids 2008), but it's cool, nonetheless:

"It's kind of an 'octosquid,'" said Jan War, operations manager at NELHA [Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority] at Keahole Point. "It's got the body of a squid but the eight tentacles of an octopus."

. . . War, who fed the octosquid shrimp for breakfast Wednesday morning, said everyone was excited because it was still alive. "And we're also excited because we may have found a new species."


The foot-long creature was sucked up through a 3,000-foot-deep sea pipeline last week.

Scientists all agog at 'octosquid' (Hawaii Tribune-Herald)

This Day In History: July 6

This Day in History

1777: In the Revolutionary War, Britain 's Maj. Gen. John Burgoyne and a force of 8,000 from Canada capture Fort Ticonderoga.
1785: Congress chose the dollar as the money unit of the United States, adopting a decimal coinage system.
1854: The Republican Party is officially founded at a convention in Jackson, MS.
1885: Louis Pasteur successfully tests his vaccine against rabies.
1892: Seven guards and 11 strikers and spectators are shot to death at a strike at the Carnegie steel mills in Homestead, PA.
1933: Baseball 's first major league All-Star Game is played in Chicago 's Comiskey Park, with the American League defeating the National League, 4-2, on a home run by Babe Ruth.
1944: Fire destroyed a circus tent in Hartford, CT, killing 168 people.
1964: Malawi gains independence.
1997: NASA 's Mars Pathfinder deploys the roving robotic Sojourner, which moves about and analyzes the Martian rocks and soil.
1999: First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton informs the Federal Election Commission that she is forming an exploratory committee to consider running for the Senate from New York.

Continue reading "This Day In History: July 6" »

July 5, 2007

Free eBooks All Month!

worldebookfair.jpg Need some summer reading? The World eBook Library is offering more than 400,000 digital titles for free through August 4. Titles range from classics to sacred religious texts to children’s books.

There is an annual fee to download books during the rest of the year, although Project Gutenberg is always free. Read up.

World eBook Fair

This Day In History: July 5

This Day in History

1811: Venezuela 's independence is formally proclaimed.
1935: The National Labor Relations Act is passed, guaranteeing workers the right to organize and bargain collectively and creating an enforcement agency, the National Labor Relations Board.
1975: Cape Verde becomes independent. Arthur Ashe upsets Jimmy Connors in 4 sets at the Wimbledon tennis tournament, becoming the first African-American man ever to win the tournament.
1988: Pres. Ronald Reagan's attorney general, Edwin Meese, resigns hours after an independent prosecutor's report says he may have violated the law.

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July 4, 2007

This Day In History: July 4

This Day in History

1776: The Continental Congress adopts and signs the Declaration of Independence.
1826: Both Thomas Jefferson and John Adams die.
1831: James Monroe dies.
1848: Construction of the Washington National Monument begins in Washington, D.C.
1863: During the Civil War, Vicksburg, MS, is captured by Union troops after a long seige.
1894: The Republic of Hawaii is proclaimed when President Grover Cleveland 's administration rejects the provisional government's proposal of annexation by the U.S.
1939: Baseball player Lou Gehrig, dying from the disease that will bear his name, is honored at Yankee Stadium and tells the crowd of more than 61,000, "Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth."
1946: The United States gives the Philippines its independence.
1963: The highest civilian award in the United States, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, is established to recognize significant contribution to the national interest or world peace.
1967: The Freedom of Information Act, providing public access to U.S. government files, goes into effect.
1976: The United States celebrates its the bicentennial with festivals, parades, fireworks, and Operation Sail in New York City.
1997: NASA 's Pathfinder spacecraft lands on Mars after a 7-month flight.
2002: A gunman is killed by an El Al guard after killing two people at the Israeli airline's ticket counter at Los Angeles's international airport.

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July 3, 2007

The Birth of Commercial TV

WNBT_Program.jpgOn July 1, 1941, NBC’s WNBT (now WNBC) was the first station licensed for commercial television programming. Broadcasting from the top of the Empire State Building in New York City, WNBT aired a Brooklyn Dodgers/Philadelphia Phillies baseball game (Phils won 6-4 in the 10th inning) and two television versions of NBC radio shows, Uncle Jim’s Question Bee and Truth or Consequence. Four companies bought ad time that afternoon: Bulova watches, Ivory soap, Spry shortening, and Sun Oil.

The station also aired a USO drive that, according to The New York Times, featured “privates and noncommissioned officers of the Signal Corps replacement training center at Fort Monmouth, NJ, who came to Radio City to stage a tabloid version of their own revue, ‘Bottlenecks of 1941.’” Still five months away from the bombing at Pearl Harbor, the show dealt with “the lighter side of Army camp life.”

While NBC was the only station broadcasting with commercials, it wasn’t alone on the airwaves. Across town, CBS was toiling atop the Chrysler Building with test signals. On July 1, they aired selections of art from the Metropolitan Museum. During the program, the Met’s director Francis Henry Taylor made a memorable comment:

"We are living in a visual age where the complexities of modern civilization have demanded a minimum of words and a maximum of images... We hope the day may not be far off when we can telecast our great treasures into every home and classroom of the nation. When that day is reached the visual senses of the American people will rival the ‘musical ear,’ which radio has done so much to develop."

So 66 years later, has television improved our visual senses?

Image from TVHistory.TV

This Day In History: July 3

This Day in History

1608: French explorer Samuel de Champlain founds the first European settlement on the site of the present city of Québec, Canada.
1754: The opening battle of the French and Indian War takes place at Fort Necessity in Pennsylvania.
1775: George Washington takes command of the Continental Army.
1890: Idaho is admitted to the Union as the 43d state.
1898: During the Spanish-American War, a Spanish fleet is sunk off Santiago, Cuba.
1954: By 12 strokes, Babe Didrikson Zaharias wins the U.S. Women's Open, a tournament that marks her return to golf after taking time off to recuperate from cancer surgery.
1973: The Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), a multinational forum for the promotion of peace, security, justice, and cooperation in Europe, convenes in Helsinki, Finland.
1976: At Entebbe airport in Uganda, an Israeli commando unit stages a raid on an Air France airliner that was hijacked en route from Tel Aviv to Paris; 103 hostages are rescued, while 3 hostages, 7 hijackers, and 20 Ugandan soldiers are killed.
1988: Mistaking a commercial Iranian airliner for an F-14 fighter plane, the U.S. Navy warship Vincennes, in the Persian Gulf, fires a missile that destroys the plane, killing all 290 on board.

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July 2, 2007

This Day In History: July 2

This Day in History

1644: At the Battle of Marston Moor, an engagement of the English Civil War, the Parliamentarians, led by Oliver Cromwell , win a great victory over the Royalists.
1776: The U.S. Continental Congress adopts the resolution "that these united colonies are and of right ought to be free and independent states."
1862: The Land Grant Act is approved, providing for the sale of public lands to benefit agricultural education; this eventually leads to the establishment of state university systems.
1881: Pres. James Garfield is shot by a mentally disturbed office-seeker, Charles Guiteau, in Washington, DC ; he lingers on until September 19.
1890: The Sherman Antitrust Act is passed, beginning the federal effort to curb monopolies.
1900: The German inventor Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin tests his airship for the first time.
1937: Aviator Amelia Earhart and her copilot Fred Noonan disappear during a flight while over the Pacific.
1964: An omnibus civil rights bill is passed by Congress and signed by Pres. Lyndon Johnson, banning discrimination in voting, jobs, and public accommodations.
1979: The U.S. Mint issues the Susan B. Anthony dollar coin.
2000: Mexico 's ruling party, the PRI, is ousted in the presidential election, after ruling the country for 71 years.
2001: 59-year-old Robert Tools receives the world's first fully implantable artificial heart after a 7-hour surgery.

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July 1, 2007

This Day In History: July 1

This Day in History

1847: The first adhesive U.S. postage stamps go on sale.
1862: President Abraham Lincoln signs the Pacific Railroad Act, which authorizes the building and operation of a transcontinental railroad. It is completed seven years later.
1863: In the Civil War, the Battle of Gettysburg begins in Pennsylvania; Union forces win a major victory over the Confederates after 3 days of brutal fighting.
1867: The Dominion of Canada is formed by the confederation of Upper and Lower Canada and some of the Maritime Provinces.
1893: Pres. Grover Cleveland undergoes surgery on a cancerous growth in his mouth; the surgery is kept secret until 1917.
1943: Wage and salary earners start having money withheld from their paychecks to cover their income tax.
1944: The Bretton Woods Conference, which results in the creation of the International Monetary Fund and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (World Bank), begins in New Hampshire.
1949: With French backing, South Vietnam is established as a separate country with its capital at Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City).
1957: The International Geophysical Year (IGY), an international project of concentrated, coordinated exploration of the earth and its cosmic environment, begins.
1960: Ghana is proclaimed a republic. Somalia is granted independence.
1962: Rwanda and Burundi become independent.
1963: The United States introduces the ZIP code for mail.
1968: The United States, Great Britain, Soviet Union, and 58 other nations sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
1974: In Argentina, Pres. Juan Perón dies and is succeeded by his wife, Isabel.
1997: After 99 years as a British territory, Hong Kong is returned to China.
2002: An accidental U.S. air force attack leaves dozens dead in Southern Afghanistan, prompting President Hamid Karzai to demand an investigation.

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About July 2007

This page contains all entries posted to The World Almanac in July 2007. They are listed from newest to oldest.

June 2007 is the previous archive.

August 2007 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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