The World Almanac E-Newsletter

 

Volume 1, Number 2 - February 2001

 

 

February Events

 

February is Black History Month

 

February 4 - NHL All-Star Game; NFL Pro Bowl

February 11 - NBA All-Star Game

February 12-13 - Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show

February 18 - Daytona 500

February 21 - Grammy Awards

February 26 - March 26 - America's Cup Yacht Race, Auckland, New Zealand

February 27 - Mardi Gras

 

 

U.S. Holidays

 

February 2 - Groundhog Day

February 12 - Lincoln's Birthday

February 14 - Valentine's Day

February 19 - Washington's Birthday (observed)/Presidents' Day

February 27 - Shrove Tuesday

February 28 - Ash Wednesday; Lent begins

 

 

International Holidays

 

February 5 - Constitution Day, Mexico

February 24-27 - Carnival, Brazil

 

 

IT'S A FACT - Vice President John Tyler ascended to the U.S. presidency after the death of William Henry Harrison in 1841.  Since he was the first person to occupy the presidency without having been elected to that office, he was referred to as "His Accidency."

 

 

February Birthdays

 

01    Boris Yeltsin, former Russian president, 1931

02    Liz Smith, gossip columnist, 1923

03    Frank Tarkenton, football quarterback, 1940

04    Rosa Parks, civil rights activist, 1913

05    Jane Bryant Quinn, financial writer, 1941

06    Zsa Zsa Gabor, actress, 1917

07    Garth Brooks, country singer, 1962

08    John Williams, composer/conductor/pianist, 1932

09    Alice Walker, author, 1944

10    Mark Spitz, Olympic champion swimmer, 1950

11    Brandy (Norwood), singer and actress, 1979

12    Arsenio Hall, TV personality and actor, 1955

13    Kim Novak, actress, 1933

14    Carl Bernstein, journalist/author, 1944

15    Matt Groening, cartoonist and creator of The Simpsons, 1954

16    John McEnroe, tennis champion, 1959

17    Michael Jordan, basketball player, 1963

18    Toni Morrison, novelist, 1931

19    Prince Andrew, Duke of York, 1960

20    Cindy Crawford, model, 1966

21    Mary Chapin Carpenter, singer, 1958

22    Sparky Anderson, baseball player and manager, 1934

23    Sylvia Chase, TV journalist, 1938

24    Abe Vigoda, actor, 1921

25    George Harrison, singer/songwriter, 1943

26    Fats Domino, singer/songwriter, 1928

27    Chelsea Clinton, daughter of former Pres. Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton, 1980

28    Eric Lindros, hockey player, 1973

 

 

This Day in History

 

01    1865    Pres. Abraham Lincoln approves the 13th Amendment, abolishing slavery.

02    1848    A treaty is signed ending the U.S. war with Mexico; Mexico cedes claims to Texas, California, and other territory.

03    1959    Rock and Roll singers Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and "The Big Bopper" die in a plane crash, in an Iowa cornfield.

04    1945    The Yalta Conference in the Crimea begins with Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt, Joseph Stalin, and Winston Churchill.

05    1974    Heiress Patty Hearst is kidnapped in Berkeley, CA, by members of the Symbionese Liberation Army.

06    1778    Britain declares war on France, and France signs a treaty of alliance with the United States.

07    1973    The Senate establishes the Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities to investigate the Watergate scandal.

08    1587    Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, is beheaded in England on the orders of Queen Elizabeth I.

09    1825    After no candidate wins a majority of Electoral College votes, John Quincy Adams is elected president by the U.S. House of Representatives.

10    1967    The 25th Amendment, providing for presidential succession in the event of disability or illness, is ratified.

11    1990    South African leader Nelson Mandela is released after more than 27 years in prison.

12    1909    The NAACP is founded by W. E. B. DuBois and others to fight against lynching and other types of racial oppression.

13    1945    Allied bombing of Dresden, Germany, causes a fire that kills 135,000 and destroys the city.

14    1920    The League of Women Voters is formed in Chicago.

15    1898    The U.S. battleship Maine is blown up in Havana harbor, killing all 260 aboard and leading to calls to "Remember the Maine," during the Spanish-American War.

16    1959    Fidel Castro becomes prime minister of Cuba.

17    1998    The U.S. team takes the gold medal in the first-ever Olympic women's ice hockey competition.

18    1861    Jefferson Davis is inaugurated as president of the Confederacy's provisional government.

19    1942    Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt issues an executive order that Japanese-Americans living in the western United States be placed in internment camps.

20    1962    John Glenn becomes the first American to orbit the earth - 3 times in the Mercury capsule Friendship 7.

21    1965    Civil rights leader Malcolm X is assassinated during a rally in New York City.

22    1956    Eighty of the people boycotting buses in Montgomery, AL--including Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr.--give themselves up for arrest, after white city leaders had threatened to begin making arrests.

23    1997    Scottish researchers announce the first cloning of an adult animal--a sheep named Dolly.

24    1803    In the case of Marbury v. Madison, the Supreme Court for the first time overturns a U.S. law.

25    1986    In the Philippines, Ferdinand Marcos flees the country as Corazon Aquino is inaugurated president.

26    1993    A bomb explodes in a parking garage beneath New York City's World Trade Center, killing 6 people and injuring more than 1,000.

27    1973    Members of the American Indian Movement occupy the reservation of Wounded Knee, SD, demanding an investigation of federal treatment of Native Americans.

28    1993    Four federal agents and several cult members are killed during an unsuccessful raid on the Branch Davidian compound near Waco, TX.

 

 

Featured Location of the Month: New Orleans, LA

 

Site of:    Mardi Gras, February 27, 2001

 

Location:    Orleans Parish, SE Louisiana; port on the Mississippi River

 

Population:    465,538

 

Name origin:    named for the duc d'Orleans, regent of France

 

Mayor:    Marc H. Morial

 

February Temperatures:    Normal high of 65 degrees; Normal low of 46 degrees

 

Colleges & Universities:    Tulane University; Loyola University New Orleans; Southern University at New Orleans; Xavier University of Louisiana; University of New Orleans; Dillard University; New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary

 

Museums:    New Orleans Museum of Art; Louisiana State Museum; Confederate Civil War Museum; Louisiana Children's Museum; Louisiana Nature Center; Musee Conti Wax Museum

 

Zoos/Aquariums:    Audubon Zoo; Aquarium of the Americas

 

Festivals:    Mardi Gras; Jazz Fest; New Orleans Wine and Food Experience

 

Pro Sports teams:    New Orleans Saints (football)

 

Places to visit:    The French Quarter, a historic neighborhood and the site of the city's original settlement; Basin and Bourbon Streets, where Dixieland Jazz originated in the early 1900's; City Park; the Garden District, a neighborhood of 19th-century homes; the French Market; The Riverwalk; Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve; New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park; Jazzland Theme Park; Lake Pontchartrain

 

Tallest Building:    One Shell Square (51 stories)

 

History:    Founded by French in 1718; became a major seaport on Mississippi River; acquired by U.S. as part of Louisiana Purchase 1803; incorporated as city 1805; Battle of New Orleans was last battle of War of 1812.

 

Birthplace of:    Louis Armstrong (1900); Truman Capote (1924); Kitty Carlisle Hart (1915); Harry Connick Jr. (1967); Fats Domino (1928); Pete Fountain (1930); Bryant Gumbel (1948); Lillian Hellman (1905); Al Hirt (1922); Mahalia Jackson (1911); Frances Parkinson Keyes (1885); Dorothy Lamour (1914); John Larroquette (1947); Elmore Leonard (1925); Branford Marsalis (1960); Wynton Marsalis (1961); Garrett Morris (1937): "Jelly Roll" Morton (1885); Mel Ott (1909); Louis Prima (1911); Anne Rice (1941); Cokie Roberts (1943); Richard Simmons (1948); "Rusty" Staub (1944); Jay Thomas (1948); John Kennedy Toole (1937); Ray Walston (1922); Andrew Young (1932)

 

Websites:    http://www.new-orleans.la.us     http://www.neworleanscvb.com

 

 

Obituaries in January 2001

 

Agee, Tommie, 58, center fielder whose spectacular catches helped the "Miracle Mets" win the 1969 World Series; New York, NY, Jan. 22, 2001.

 

De La Beckwith, Byron, 80, White Supremacist convicted in 1994 of the 1963 killing of civil rights leader Medgar Evers; Jackson, MS, Jan. 21, 2001.

 

Hewlett, William, 87, co-founder of global computer and electronics powerhouse Hewlett-Packard; Portola Valley, CA, Jan. 13, 2001.

 

Kabila, Laurent, 59, Conglose president who toppled longtime dictator Mobutu Sese Seko in 1997, but soon plunged the country into regional warfare; Kinshasa, Jan. 16, 2001.

 

McGuire, Al, 72, Hall of Fame college basketball coach and broadcaster; Milwaukee, WI, Jan. 26, 2001

 

Rogers, William P., 87, secretary of state Under President Nixon from 1969 to 1973; Bethesda, MD, Jan. 2, 2001.

 

Walston, Ray, 86, film, stage, and television actor best known for his role as the alien on TV's "My Favorite Martian"; Beverly Hills, CA, Jan. 1, 2001.

 

 

IT'S A FACT:    The Sept. 12-20, 1992, flight of the space shuttle Endeavour marked a number of firsts for shuttle personnel: Mae Carol Jemison became the first black woman in space, Mark C. Lee and N. Jan Davis became the first married couple to fly on the same mission, and Mamoru Mohri bacame the first Japanese astronaut to fly on a shuttle.

 

 

Science in the News

    On January 12, 2001, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a joint warning to pregnant women, women who may become pregnant, nursing mothers, and small children not to consume four types of large ocean fish: shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish. These fish were found to contain dangerous deposits of "biomagnified" mercury, a deadly toxin polluted into waterways and fed up the aquatic food chain.

    The secrets of the ancients are coming out at Emory University. Heidi Hoffman and other researchers there are using modern medical diagnostic tools such as computerized tomography (CT) scans to look inside ancient Egyptian mummies.  Their findings could reshape historians' ideas about both the family relationships between pharaohs and daily life among  ancient Egyptian commoners. Scientists led by Andreas Nerlich at the Ludwig-Maximillian University in Munich, Germany, also recently found the first ancient Egyptian prosthesis, of a big toe, known to have been used during life.

    The speed of light came to a screeching halt in January at the Rowland Institute for Science at Harvard University. Physicists Lene Hau, Chien Liu, Zachary Dutton, and Cyrus Behroozi reported in the January 25, 2001, issue of the journal Nature that they had frozen a pulse of photons for up to a millisecond and then released it. That same light would normally travel at up to 300,000 kilometers (186,000 miles) per second in a vacuum. Hau and team, working with laser beams in ultracold gas clouds, hope their slow-down technique will speed up advances in quantum computing, a revolutionary technology that may rely on photons for carrying and storing information. 

    NASA's Chandra X-Ray Observatory and the Hubble Space Telescope may have witnessed a black hole sucking stardust out of the known universe. At a January 11, 2001, conference of the American Astronomical Society, astronomers from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and NASA's Goddard Spaceflight Center reported long-awaited evidence of theorized "event horizons" that mark the boundary of no return for matter around black holes. If confirmed, this will be the first direct evidence for the existence of black holes. An artist's animation of matter disappearing beyond a black hole's event horizon can be viewed at http://oposite.stsci.edu/pubinfo/PR/2001/03/index.html.

 

Upcoming Astronomical Events 

February 12, 2001 - NASA plans to land NEAR Shoemaker spacecraft on Manhattan-sized asteroid Eros.

All Month February 2001 - Jupiter and Saturn will appear very bright together, very high in the south as darkness falls. They begin separating during February. This will be the last month for about 20 years that they will fit together in a binocular field.  

 

Special Feature:    Valentine's Day

 

David Faris, Editor

 

Every Feb. 14, Americans pause to observe Valentine's Day, a holiday honoring lovers, which traces its roots to the Romans.  Although no one knows for sure, its origins are usually traced to the Roman festival of Lupercalia, which took place annually on Feb. 15.  As the Roman Empire became Christianized, its leaders looked for a way to give their formerly pagan holidays and festivals a Christian sheen, and in the third century AD, two Romans (both named Valentine) gave them the perfect opportunity to phase out Lupercalia.  One was a priest who defied the Emperor to wed couples, and another was a man imprisoned for helping Christians, who later fell in love with the jailer's daughter before his execution on Feb. 14, 289 AD.  In 496 AD, Pope Gelasius decided that Lupercalia should be merged with a day of martyrdom for St. Valentine into a Christian holiday dedicated to the celebration of love.  To this day, no one is sure to which of the two Valentines the day is dedicated, and many historians suspect that Gelasius simply combined the tales for the sake of simplicity.

 

The holiday developed over the years; during the Middle Ages it was customary for men to draw the name of a woman out of a hat on St. Valentine's Eve and then wear it on their sleeves for the entire year (hence the adage "to wear your heart on your sleeve").  The couple would exchange gifts and notes during the year, and often they would form these notes into the shape of a heart, which became known as "valentines."  The heart along with the image of Cupid (the son of Venus, the goddess of love in Roman mythology) became the primary symbols of the holiday.  Valentine's Day developed as a commercial event and lost its overtly religious overtones sometime in the 1800's.  Today it is a boon to many a commercial industry, including flower retailers, greeting card manufacturers, candy producers, and winemakers.  The holiday is not confined to the United States -- it is celebrated in varying degrees (the Germans reportedly have little use for it) all over Europe, and even outside of it, by Christians and non-Christians alike.  In Japan, only women send gifts on the actual holiday; men reciprocate a month later, on something called White Day.  Valentine's Day is also observed by some Israelis, who have adopted the practice of sending gifts and letters to declare their love.

 

 

Golden Globe Awards - Awarded for work in 2000

 

FILM

Drama:    "Gladiator"

Musical/comedy:    "Almost Famous"

Actress, drama:    Julia Roberts, "Erin Brockovich"

Actor, drama:    Tom Hanks, "Cast Away"

Actress, musical/comedy:    Renee Zellweger, "Nurse Betty"

Actor, musical/comedy:    George Clooney, "O Brother, Where Art Thou?"

Sup. actress:    Kate Hudson, "Almost Famous"

Sup. actor:    Benicio Del Toro, "Traffic"

Director:    Ang Lee, "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,"

Screenplay:    Stephen Gaghan, "Traffic"

Foreign-language film:    "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," Taiwan

Original score:    Hans Zimmer and Lisa Gerrard, "Gladiator"

Original song:    "Things Have Changed," from "Wonder Boys," Bob Dylan

Cecil B. DeMille award for lifetime achievement:    Al Pacino

 

TELEVISION

Series, drama:    "The West Wing," NBC

Actress, drama:    Sela Ward, "Once and Again," ABC

Actor, drama:    Martin Sheen, "The West Wing," NBC

Series, musical/comedy:    "Sex and the City," HBO

Actress, musical/comedy:    Sarah Jessica Parker, "Sex and the City," HBO

Actor, musical/comedy:    Kelsey Grammer, "Frasier," NBC

Miniseries, movie made for TV:    "Dirty Pictures," Showtime

Actress, miniseries/movie:    Judi Dench, "Last of the Blonde Bombshells," HBO

Actor, miniseries/movie:    Brian Dennehy, "Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman," Showtime

Sup. actress, miniseries/movie:    Vanessa Redgrave, "If These Walls Could Talk 2," HBO

Sup. actor, miniseries/movie:    Robert Downey Jr., "Ally McBeal," FOX

 

 

Chronology - Events of January 2001

 

 

NATIONAL

 

    In a surprise move designed to bolster the stalling economy, the Federal Reserve Board, Jan. 3, slashed its benchmark federal funds target rate on overnight loans between banks to 6% from 6.5%.

 

    The nomination of Linda Chavez, director of the Civil Rights Commission under President Reagan, to be secretary of labor was derailed Jan. 9, when it was revealed she had had an illegal immigrant living and working in her home in the early 1990s.

 

    Edwin W. Edwards, former four-term governor of Louisiana, was sentenced, Jan. 9, to ten years in federal prison for extortion.

American Airlines announced, Jan. 10, it will pay $500 million to take over most of the assets of Trans World Airlines, which filed for bankruptcy protection.

 

    President Bill Clinton accepted an immunity deal Jan. 19, his last full day in office, protecting him from further prosecution stemming from the Monica Lewinsky scandal.  As part of the deal, he was fined $25,000, barred from practicing law in Arkansas for the next five years, and cannot sue to seek reimbursement for legal fees.

 

    George W. Bush was sworn in as the 43rd president of the United States, Jan. 20.  Also on that day, the Senate approved seven nominations to serve in the new president's cabinet.  Among those confirmed were Secretary of State Colin Powell, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, and Secretary of Treasury Paul O'Neill.

 

    On Jan. 22, the 28th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, President George W. Bush, during his first full day as president, barred any federal aid to overseas groups that provide abortion counseling and/or help women obtain abortions.

 

    President George W. Bush made education reform his first proposal to Congress, Jan. 23, offering a multibillion dollar plan linking federal aid to school performance.

 

INTERNATIONAL

   

    President Bill Clinton met with Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat, Jan. 2, in continued hopes of brokering peace in the Middle East.

 

    Cambodian lawmakers, Jan. 2, agreed to set up a tribunal to try former Khmer Rouge leaders, a key step forward in U.N.-led efforts to bring to justice those behind the Maoist regime that killed more than one million people in the 1970s.

 

    Three Taiwanese ships made the first direct legal voyages to mainland China in 51 years, Jan. 2, carrying government officials and religious pilgrims, and raising hopes for better relations.

 

    Biljana Plavsic, former Bosnian Serb president from 1996 to 1998, accused of a major role in Europe's worst atrocities since World War II, surrendered to the U.N. war crimes tribunal, Jan. 10.

 

    An earthquake measuring 7.6 on the Richter scale hit El Salvador, Jan. 13, triggering deadly landslides.  Officials estimate the final number of dead will exceed 1,000.

 

    Congolese officials confirmed, Jan. 18, the death of President Laurent Kabila, after two days of conflicting statements.  The government said he had died of wounds sustained in a gun battle at the presidential palace Jan. 16.

 

    Philippine President Joseph Estrada quit, Jan. 20, in the midst of an on going corruption scandal.  The vice president, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, was sworn in as president.

 

    An earthquake measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale struck western India during the country's Republic Day celebrations, Jan. 26.  It is estimated as many as 20,000 people may have died in the disaster.

 

    A Scottish court, Jan. 31, unanimously convicted Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi, a Libyan intelligence officer, of murder in the 1998 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, which killed 270 people.  He was sentenced to life imprisonment with the possibility of parole after 20 years.  Lamen Khalifa Fhimah, the second defendent, was acquitted.

 

 

GENERAL

   

    Astronomers announced, Jan. 9, they had discovered two planetary systems in the universe that bore little resemblance to each other or to the solar system.  In one of the systems, a massive planet and an even larger object 17 times as massive as Jupiter accompany a sun-like star.

 

    Scientists in Portland, OR, reported, Jan. 11, they had inserted a new gene into a monkey egg, fertilized the egg, and produced a baby monkey with the added gene in its cells.

 

    The FCC approved, Jan. 11, the AOL/Time Warner merger, thereby creating the world's biggest media business.

 

SPORTS HIGHLIGHTS

 

    The Associated press, Dec. 31, named linebacker Brian Urlacher of the Chicago Bears as the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.  On Jan. 1, Denver Bronco running back Mike Anderson was named the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.  Ray Lewis, linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens, was the AP's choice for Defensive Player of the Year on Jan. 2. The AP picked St. Louis running back Marshall Faulk, who scored a record 26 touchdowns in 2000, as the MVP (Dec. 27), Offensive Player of the Year (Jan. 4), and Player of the Year (Jan. 24).

 

    On Jan. 1, the Washington Huskies beat the Purdue Boilermakers, 34-24, in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA.  At the Fiesta Bowl in Tempe, AZ, the same day, the Oregon State Beavers defeated the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame, 41-9.

 

    The Miami (FL) Hurricanes beat the Florida Gators, 37-20, in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans on Jan. 2.

 

    The top-ranked and undefeated Oklahoma Sooners beat the defending champion Florida State Seminoles, 13-2, in the Orange Bowl in Miami, Jan. 3, to take the national title.  It was the 7th national championship for Oklahoma, who last won it in 1985.

 

    The New York Giants shut out the Minnesota Vikings 41-0 in the NFC Championship game at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ, on Jan. 14.  Later the same day, in the AFC Championship at Network Associates Coliseum in Oakland, CA, the Baltimore Ravens defeated the Oakland Raiders, 16-3.

 

    Outfielders Dave Winfield and Kirby Puckett, in their first year of eligibility, were elected to the Hall of Fame by the Baseball Writers' Association of America on Jan. 16.

 

    On Jan. 20, at the New Balance Games in New York, senior Alan Webb, of Reston, VA, became the 4th U.S. high school runner to break 4 minutes for the mile and the first since 1967.  Webb, timed in 3 min., 59.86 sec., is the first to accomplish the feat indoors.  Jim Ryun, of Wichita, KS, set the U.S. high school record of 3 mins., 55.3 sec. in 1965.

 

    The National Board of Selectors announced, Jan. 27, that linebacker Nick Buoniconti, coach Marv Levy, guard Mike Munchak, tackle Jackie Slater, wide receiver Lynn Swann, tackle Ron Yark, and defensive end Jack Youngblood had been chosen for the NFL's Hall of Fames class of 2001.

 

    Led by a record-setting defense, the AFC Champion Baltimore Ravens defeated the NFC Champion New York Giants, 34-7, in Super Bowl XXXV, Jan. 28, at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, FL.  Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis was named MVP.

 

    In the women's final of the Australian Open, Jan. 27, American Jennifer Capriati upset top-seeded Martina Hingis of Switzerland, 6-4, 6-3, to win her first Grand Slam title.  On Jan. 28, Andre Agassi defeated Frenchman Arnaud Clement, 6-4, 6-2, 6-2, in the men's final.  It was Agassi's 3d win at the Australian Open and 7th career Grand Slam title.

 

    With birdies on 32 of 72 holes, Mark Calcavecchia won the Phoenix Open, Jan. 28, with a PGA record 28-under-par 256.  The previous record of 257 was set by Mike Souchak at the Texas Open in 1955.

 

 

Super Bowl Facts

 

Estimated worldwide broadcast audience:    800 million (201 countries, 26 languages)

Estimated U.S. TV audience:    131.2 million (60% of televisions in use; lowest previous rating was 61% in 1992 and 1999)

Attendance at Raymond James Stadium:    71,921

Cost of airing a 30-second TV commercial during the game:    $2.3 million

Prize money per player on the winning team:    $58,000

Prize money per player on the losing team:    $34,500

Number of $5,000 rings that the NFL will buy for the winning team:    125

 

Offbeat News Stories

 

    President Bush's much-publicized middle initial seemed to be in short supply during his first 'eek at the 'hite House.  Call it vandalism or call it political high jinks, but as they moved into their offices, Jan. 22, Bush aides discovered that the "W" key on dozens of computer keyboards in the Old Executive Office Building in the White House complex were missing, broken, or blacked out by outgoing Clinton administration staff members.

 

    Though the Bush White House imposed a strict moratorium on implementing last-minute rules issued by the Clinton administration, the USDA was able to put through its new cheese standard.  Calling it a "notice" instead of a new regulation (the standards are technically voluntary), government officials announced that beginning Feb. 22, 2001, most of the holes, or "eyes," in Grade A Swiss cheese can be as small as 3/8 inch in diameter.  The smaller eyes will help keep the cheese from getting tangled in high-speed slicing machines.  (Bacteria that emit carbon dioxide are responsible for the bubbles that form the holes in Swiss cheese.)

 

    For an entire year, the man legally known as DotComGuy participated in his own brand of "reality" programming.  DCG, as he is known to his friends, entered a house in Dallas, TX, with nothing but a computer and an Internet connection.  For the next 12 months he documented his entire life via webcams (except in the restroom).  He furnished the house, shopped, ate, slept, and gave hundreds of interviews, including one to Ed McMahon, without leaving the house.  Though he had sponsors and an estimated 300,000 to 400,000 Internet visitors a month, the DotComGuy project only managed to break even.  "I'm not the most entertaining guy," he admitted.  However, DCG's efforts were not wholly without reward.  When he emerged from his Internet exile at 12:01 a.m. CT, Jan. 1, 2001, he had something he didn't have when he started: a fiancée.

 

    Masiakasaurus knopfleri is one of the newest, and by far the most culturally hip dinosaur, to be discovered.  A team of scientists, led by Dr. Scott Sampson of the University of Utah, decided to name the 6-foot-long, meat-eating dinosaur after Mark Knopfler, singer/songwriter for the rock band Dire Straits, because the team listened to his music as they dug in 100-degree heat on the island of Madagascar and felt that it brought them luck in discovering the creature.  For the record, the name translates roughly as "vicious lizard knopfler."

 

 

100 Years Ago in the WORLD ALMANAC

 

Review of Scientific Progress in 1901 - Aeronautics

 

An immense advance was made in aeronautics during the first year of the new century, and aerial navigation would now appear to be an accomplished fact.  M. Santos-Dumont, a Brazilian scientist, has invented a dirigible airship, or balloon, which, after several successful trials in Paris, has been pronounced by the highest authorities on this subject as "an unqualified success."  Guided by its inventor, it made the circuit of the Longchamps race-course, a distance of two and a quarter miles, six times in succession.  It answered its rudder most perfectly, and was brought to a stop repeatedly at the exact spot designated beforehand.  Subsequently it circled the Eiffel Tower, returned and again stopped at the precise place named by the judges.  A balloon or airship, which can be controlled and steered, is destined to work a revolution in traveling facilities.  Further confirmation of its wonderful performance will be looked for with great eagerness by all scientists and others interested in aerial navigation.

 

 

Links of the Month

 

You remember that it was the 7th season of "The Simpsons," and that in that episode Bart and Milhouse were both up for the role of "Fallout Boy" in the new "Radioactive Man" movie. But who was the guest star of that episode?  If you visit http://www.snpp.com you will have the opportunity to learn everything you'd ever want to know about the show.  (The guest star was Mickey Rooney.)

 

Ever thought about visiting the graves of all the deceased Presidents of the United States? When you visit http://www.findagrave.com you will be able to find the gravesites of all the Presidents, as well as thousands of other famous people.  This site can also help genealogists locate the graves of 2.5 million non-famous graves.

 

You've purchased eight of the nine "Star Wars" Pez dispensers in your local drug store, but somehow the Princess Leia dispenser continues to allude you.  By visiting http://www.pez.com/ you can not only order the missing dispenser, but learn about the company, the current dispensers available and the history of the company.

 

Whether you are trying to find out the families that sailed on the Mayflower, or who Ravi Shankar is, try the search engine http://www.google.com. It's quick and provides easy access to websites.

 

Oops, it's your mother-in-law's birthday, and you forgot to send a card.  Visit http://www.bluemountain.com and select from hundreds of birthday greetings to send an on-line greeting.

 

Want to see some of your favorite TV moms from the past --- Florence Henderson (Carol Brady from "The Brady Bunch"), Marion Ross (Marion Cunningham from "Happy Days") and Shirley Jones (Shirley Partridge from "The Partridge Family") in a fun ad promoting the drinking of milk?  See their images plus many more at http://www.whymilk.com

 

Lou Gehrig, who played for the New York Yankees, is considered by some to be the greatest first baseman ever.  He retired from baseball after being diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (now known as Lou Gehrig's Disease).  On July 4, 1939, Lou Gehrig Day at Yankee Stadium, the stoical slugger told a packed house, "I may have been given a bad break, but with all this I have a lot to live for. I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth."  To learn more about the "Iron Horse," visit http://cbs.sportsline.com/u/baseball/bol/ballplayers/G/Gehrig_Lou.html


 

World Almanac Education Group

World Almanac E-Newsletter
Edward A. Thomas, Editor in Chief
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