The World Almanac E-Newsletter

Volume 4, Number 1 - January 2004



What's in this issue?

January Events
Holidays - National and International
This Day in History - January
January Birthdays
Featured Location of the Month: Portland, OR
Obituaries - December 2003
Special Feature: Voting Reform, Past and Present
Science in the News
Chronology - Events of December 2003
Offbeat News Stories
From The World Almanac: Science Glossary - Biology
Links of the Month
How to Reach Us

January Events

January 1 - Rose Bowl (Pasadena, CA); Orange Bowl (Miami, FL); Capital One Bowl (Orlando, FL); Gator Bowl (Jacksonville, FL); New Year's Day Parade (London); Mummers Parade (Philadelphia, PA); Tournament of Roses Parade (Pasadena, CA); Penguin Plunge (Jamestown, RI); Polar Bear Swim (Sheboygan, WI)
January 2 - Fiesta Bowl (Tempe, AZ); Peach Bowl (Atlanta, GA); Cotton Bowl (Dallas, TX); Kakizome festival (Japan)
January 3 - Humanitarian Bowl (Boise, ID); Great Fruitcake Toss (Manitou Springs, CO)
January 4 - Sugar Bowl (New Orleans, LA)
January 7 - Nanakusa festival (Japan)
January 8-11 - Elvis Presley Birthday Celebration (Graceland, Memphis, TN)
January 14-17 - Illinois Snow Sculpting Competition (Rockford, IL)
January 15-18 - Icebox Days XXIII (International Falls, MN)
January 15-22 - International Circus Festival of Monte Carlo (Monaco)
January 15-25 - Florida Citrus Festival (Winter Haven, FL); Sundance Film Festival (Park City, UT)
January 16-18 - Art Deco Weekend (Miami Beach, FL)
January 17-18 - 20th Annual KidFilm Festival (Dallas, TX)
January 18 - Houston Marathon, Half Marathon, and 5K; San Diego Marathon and Half Marathon (Carlsbad, CA)
January 19-25 - Bob Hope Chrysler Classic (La Quinta, CA)
January 19-February 1 - Australian Open tennis tournament
January 22-February 8 - Saint Paul (MN) Winter Carnival
January 23-25 - Big Band/Swing Dance Weekend (Asheville, NC)
January 24 - Golden Dragon Parade (Chinatown, Los Angeles, CA)
January 24-25 - Blue Spring Manatee Festival (Orange City, FL)
January 25 - Golden Globe Awards (Beverly Hills, CA)
January 28-February 1 - Zora Neale Hurston Festival of the Arts and Humanities (Eatonville, FL)
January 30-February 8 - Black Hills Stock Show and Rodeo (Rapid City, SD); Ontario Winter Carnival Bon Soo (Sault Ste. Marie)
January 30-February 15 - Quebec Winter Carnival
January 31-February 1 - CanadaFest (Hollywood, FL); World Championship Shovel Races (Angel Fire, NM)

January Holidays

January 1 - New Year's Day; Saint Basil's Day
January 2 - Berchtoldstag (Switzerland)
January 5 - Twelfth Night
January 6 - Armenian Christmas; Epiphany; Three Kings Day
January 18 - Tu B'Shevat; Pooh Day
January 19 - Martin Luther King Jr. Day
January 22 - Chinese New Year
January 26 - Australia Day; Republic Day (India)


Bill Gates and Paul Allen founded Microsoft in 1975, the same year that the first personal computer, the MITS Altair 8000, was marketed.

This Day in History - January






The North American Free Trade Agreement takes effect.



Russia lifts state price controls on most goods and services--a major economic reform.



George Washington defeats the British under Lord Cornwallis at Princeton, NJ.



In his State of the Union message, Pres. Lyndon Johnson outlines the Great Society program.



In Wyoming, Nellie Tayloe Ross is inaugurated as the nation's first woman governor.



New Mexico is admitted to the Union as the 47th state.



The first U.S. presidential election is held, with George Washington the winner.



A 13-year-old suit brought by the Justice Dept. against AT&T is settled when the company agrees to give up its 22 local "Baby Bells."



In World War II, U.S. troops invade Luzon to begin their final push to retake the Philippines.



The United States resumes full diplomatic relations with the Vatican after more than 100 years.



Aviator Amelia Earhart begins a flight from Honolulu to Oakland, CA, becoming the first woman to fly solo across the Pacific Ocean.



In World War II, Soviet forces launch a huge offensive against the Germans in Eastern Europe.



Emile Zola's J'accuse, defending Capt. Alfred Dreyfus, is published in Paris.



Operating on his wife, Dr. Jesse Bennett of Virginia performs the first successful Caesarean section.



Queen Elizabeth I is crowned in England.



Pres. Laurent Kabila of the Democratic Republic of the Congo is shot and killed in the presidential palace by a bodyguard.



In Boston, masked bandits rob Brinks, Inc., of $2.8 million, $1.2 million of it in cash.



The expedition of England's Robert F. Scott reaches the South Pole, then discovers that Roald Amundsen got there first.



Indira Gandhi is elected prime minister of India.



Minutes after Ronald Reagan's inauguration, the 52 Americans held hostage in Iran for 444 days are released.



The supersonic Concorde makes its first flight between Britain and France.



Britain's Queen Victoria dies after ruling for more than 63 years.



Elizabeth Blackwell becomes the first woman to receive an MD degree.



The Soviet satellite Cosmos 954 falls from space, most of it burning up over northern Canada.



The first transcontinental flight occurs, on an American Airlines 707 nonstop from California to New York.



An earthquake measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale strikes the Indian state of Gujurat, killing more than 20,000 people.



Astronauts Virgil Grissom, Edward White, and Roger Chaffee die when fire breaks out on Apollo I while it is on the ground during a simulation test at Cape Kennedy, FL.



France surrenders in the Franco-Prussian War.



Kansas is admitted to the Union as the 34th state.



Mohandas Gandhi is assassinated by a Hindu fanatic in New Delhi, India.



Pres. Harry Truman authorizes production of the H-bomb.

Born This Day - January






J. D. Salinger, author (New York, NY)



Henry Hugh Shelton, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Speed, NC)



Stephen Stills, singer/songwriter/musician (Dallas, TX)



Doris Kearns Goodwin, historian and TV commentator (Rockville Centre, NY)



Diane Keaton, actress (Santa Ana, CA)



Rowan Atkinson, comedian/actor (Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, England)



Eric Gagne, baseball player (Montreal, Canada)



Shirley Bassey, singer (Cardiff, Wales)



Crystal Gayle, country singer (Paintsville, KY)



Sherrill Milnes, opera singer (Downers Grove, IL)



Stanley Tucci, actor (Katonah, NY)



Dontrelle Willis, baseball player (Oakland, CA)



Julia Louis-Dreyfus, actress (New York, NY)



Andy Rooney, TV commentator (Albany, NY)



Edward Teller, physicist (Budapest, Hungary)



Kate Moss, model (London, England)



Moira Shearer, ballerina (Scotland)



Chun Doo Hwan, South Korean president (Naechonri, Korea)



Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, former UN secretary general (Lima, Peru)



Bill Maher, TV personality (Rivervale, NJ)



Jill Eikenberry, actress (New Haven, CT)



Piper Laurie, actress (Detroit, MI)



Rutger Hauer, actor (Breukelen, Netherlands)



Nastassja Kinski, actress (Berlin, West Germany)



Edwin Newman, TV journalist (New York, NY)



Ellen DeGeneres, actress (Metairie, LA)



Rosamund Pike, actress (London England)



Claes Oldenburg, artist/sculptor (Stockholm, Sweden)



John Forsythe, actor (Penns Grove, NJ)



Tammy Grimes, actress (Lynn, MA)



Minnie Driver, actress (London, England)


As of 2000, more than 60 percent of the world's population lived in Asia.


Location: Seat of Multnomah County and also in Clackamas and Washington counties, NW Oregon, on the Willamette River near its confluence with the Columbia River; incorporated 1851. It is Oregon's largest city, a major deepwater port, and an economic center for the surrounding region.

Population (2002): 539,438

Mayor: Vera Katz (Non-Partisan)

January Temperatures: Normal high of 45.4 degrees; normal low of 33.7 degrees

Colleges & Universities: Art Institute of Portland; Columbia Christian College; Concordia University; Lewis & Clark College; Multnomah School of the Bible; Oregon Health & Science University; Pacific Northwest College of Art; Portland State University; Reed College; University of Phoenix-Oregon Campus; University of Portland; Warner Pacific College; Western Conservative Baptist Seminary; Western Evangelical Seminary; Western States Chiropractic College

Events: Jump for Joy, Echo Theatre (January 1-4); Sleigh Bells Ringing and Old Fashioned Holiday Fun, Pittock Mansion (January 1-4); Sundays at Two (Oregon Symphony) - French Impressions, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall (January 4); Amadeus Trio - Friends of Chamber Music, Lincoln Performance Hall (January 5-6); Wrangler Pro Rodeo Classic, the Rose Garden (January 9-11); Reel Music Festival (January 9-February 8); Easyriders Bike Show Tour 2004, Oregon Convention Center (January 10); Classical Series A (Oregon Symphony) - Winter in Scandia, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall (January 10-12); Oregon Vietnamese Community Association - TET 2004, Oregon Convention Center (January 17); Portland Bridal Show, Oregon Convention Center (January 17-18); Pops Series (Oregon Symphony) - Pop Goes British, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall (January 17-19); Mister Rogers' Neighborhood - A Hand's On Exhibit, CM2 - Children's Museum 2nd Generation (January 24-May 8)

Sports teams: Portland Trail Blazers (basketball)

Museums: CM2 - Children's Museum 2nd Generation; Contemporary Crafts Museum & Gallery; Forest Discovery Center; Oregon Art Institute; Oregon Museum of Science and Industry; Portland Art Museum; Portland Institute for Contemporary Art

Places to visit: The Grotto; Hoyt Arboretum; International Rose Test Garden; Japanese Garden; Ladd's Addition Garden; Oaks Amusement Park; Old Town/Chinatown; Oregon Zoo; Peninsula Park Rose Garden; Pittock Mansion; Portland Classical Chinese Garden; Portland Saturday Market; Willamette Jetboat Excursions

Tallest Building: Wells Fargo Tower (546 feet, 40 stories)

History: The community, laid out in 1845, is named for Portland, Maine, the hometown of one of its early residents. The settlement grew as a supply point and trading center for prospectors heading first for the California gold rush (1850s), then for the Alaska and Klondike gold rushes (1890s). Industrial growth was spurred by the completion in the early 1880s of the first transcontinental railroad connecting Portland to the East and by the construction in the 1930s of hydroelectric facilities on the Columbia and Willamette rivers. The Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition of 1905, a world's fair, was held here. During the 1960s and '70s a program of urban redevelopment led to the modernization of the downtown area. In 1980 much volcanic ash fell on the Portland area as a result of eruptions of Mount Saint Helens in nearby Washington State.

Birthplace of: food expert/writer James Beard (1903-85); U.S. Representative (OR, 3rd District) Earl Blumenauer (1948); photographer Imogen Cunningham (1883-1976); cartoonist Matt Groening (1954); Nike CEO Philip H. Knight (1938); sports broadcaster Brent Musburger (1939); chemist/physicist Linus Pauling (1901-94); actress/singer Jane Powell (1929); journalist John Reed (1887-1920); former U.S. Representative Patricia Schroeder (1940); actress Sally Struthers (1948)

Websites: ;

Obituaries in December

Aliyev, Heydar, 80, onetime Azerbaijani communist boss who served as president of post-Soviet Azerbaijan from 1993 until October 2003, when he was succeeded by his son; Cleveland, OH, Dec. 12, 2003.

Bartley, Robert L., 66, one of America's most influential conservative journalists in his capacity as editorial-page editor of the Wall Street Journal (1972-2002); New York, NY, Dec. 10, 2003.

Bates, Alan, 69, British actor acclaimed for his performances in such plays as John Osborne's Look Back in Anger (1956) and Simon Gray's Butley (1971) and in such films as Zorba the Greek (1966) and Women in Love (1969), in which he famously wrestled nude with co-star Oliver Reed; London, England, Dec. 27, 2003.

Berlitz, Charles, 90, linguist (one of his grandfathers founded the Berlitz language-school chain), language-course developer and author of best-selling books on such occult subjects as the Bermuda Triangle and the lost continent of Atlantis; Tamarac, FL, Dec. 18, 2003.

Crain, Jeanne, 78, actress, deemed one of Hollywood's leading beauties in the 1940s and 1950s, who starred in such films as State Fair (1945) and Pinky (1949); Santa Barbara, CA, Dec. 14, 2003.

Dunne, John Gregory, 71, novelist, journalist and screenwriter who was married to, and frequently collaborated with, author Joan Didion and was the brother of another well-known writer, Dominick Dunne; New York, NY, Dec. 30, 2003.

Gonzalez, Ruben, 84, Cuban pianist, as much influenced by jazz as by his country's musical traditions, who became world famous in the late 1990s by virtue of being included in the Buena Vista Social Club recording and film; Havana, Cuba, Dec. 8, 2003.

Graham, Otto, 82, quarterback who led professional football's Cleveland Browns to 10 championship games (and seven titles) in his 10 seasons with the team (1946-55); Sarasota, FL, Dec. 17, 2003.

Hemmings, David, 62, British actor best known for his starring role as a fashion photographer in the seminal 1960s film Blow Up; Bucharest, Romania, Dec. 3, 2003.

Hotter, Hans, 94, German singer known for his definitive interpretations of most of the main bass-baritone roles in the operas of Richard Wagner; Grünwald, Germany, Dec. 8, 2003.

Jones, Reginald H., 86, chairman and chief executive of General Electric Co from 1972 to 1981 and an economic adviser to four U.S. presidents; Greenwich, CT, Dec. 23, 2003.

Keiko, about 27, killer-whale star of the movie Free Willie (1993) and two sequels; Taknes fjord, Norway, Dec. 12, 2003.

Kerr, Clark, 92, economist, labor mediator and educator who, during his tenure as president of the University of California system (1958-67), turned UC into a model for public universities nationwide; El Cerrito, CA, Dec. 1, 2003.

Lange, Hope, 70, actress who earned an Oscar nomination for her role as a troubled teenager in the film Peyton Place (1957) and won two Emmys for her starring role in the late 1960s TV series "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir"; Santa Monica, CA, Dec. 19, 2003.

Lewis Jr., David S., 86, aeronautical engineer who, as chairman and chief executive of General Dynamics Corp. from 1971 to 1985, guided the development of the Trident nuclear submarine and the F-16 fighter aircraft; Charleston, SC, Dec. 15, 2003.

Roth Jr., William V., 82, Delaware Republican who served five terms in the U.S. Senate (1971-2001) and gave his name to the Roth IRA, the tax-sheltered retirement account that became available in 1998; Washington, DC, Dec. 13, 2003.

Simon, Paul, 75, Illinois newspaper publisher turned politician who served two terms in the U.S. Senate (1985-97) and ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1988; Springfield, IL, Dec. 9, 2003.

SPECIAL FEATURE: Voter Reform, Past and Present

by Erik Gopel

Forty years ago, in January 1964, the 24th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution made the poll tax, which had historically been used by Southern states to disenfranchise black voters, illegal. Although the United States was established as a democratic republic more than 200 years ago, giving its citizens the right to vote has been a long and embattled process. Throughout the nation's history, voting rights have changed as American society confronted important and divisive issues. While the states have most of the control over elections, in the period from the Civil War to the Civil Rights movement, more than a dozen pieces of federal legislation -- including several amendments to the Constitution -- were passed in order to grant and protect the right to vote for women and minorities, especially for African-Americans.

Over the past forty years, significant progress has been made. Still, many say there is a need for more. In the 2000 election, many voters faced the problems of outdated voting technology, and the nation witnessed an error-prone system bringing a presidential election to the Supreme Court. The process of voting reform is controversial in itself, as the Constitution never clearly defined federal or state jurisdiction over its control.

Civil Rights During Reconstruction

In the early years of the new nation, the franchise was limited to white males over the age of 21, and many states had laws imposing further restrictions on voting based on property ownership and religion. As new states entered the union without a landed property class or established religion, many of these limitations fell into disuse, and by 1850, had all but vanished. However, women, African-Americans, and Native Americans were still denied the right to vote.

During the period of Reconstruction following the Civil War, when the former Confederate states were administered and occupied by the federal government, the civil rights of the former slaves were significantly expanded. >From 1866 to 1875, Congress passed four civil rights acts, defining the various rights that go along with citizenship, such as the right to sue and be sued and to own property, for all persons born in the United States. By ratifying the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1868, Congress affirmed the full citizenship of persons born or naturalized in the United States, and granted "equal protection of the laws" to all citizens. These amendments were specifically designed to liberate the African-American population.

Two years later, in 1870, the 15th Amendment was ratified, which ensured that all male citizens in the United States had the right to vote, regardless of race. The two amendments were supported by the Enforcement Act of 1870, which included criminal penalties for voting interference, and the Force Act of 1871, which allowed for federal election supervision. Within the next few years, 22 African-Americans were elected to Congress -- two senators and 20 representatives. However, the newly won rights would not last long.

After Reconstruction ended in 1877, and federal troops were withdrawn from the area, state governments in the South enacted a series of discriminatory laws collectively known as "Jim Crow." Besides making segregation a legal way of life, eleven states in the South created laws to circumvent the 15th Amendment's extension of rights to African-Americans. These included the poll tax, literacy tests, and the "grandfather clause," which required that a voter's father or grandfather had to have been an eligible voter -- a law that restricted descendents of African-American slaves outright. Some states, most notably Texas, created "white primaries" -- primary elections in which minorities were altogether banned from participating. Finally, violent hate groups such as the Klu Klux Klan were formed and terrorized African-Americans who tried to vote. To further exclude the African-American vote, officials "gerrymandered" congressional districts, manipulating their boundaries to minimize minority voting power as much as possible, even in many Southern counties where African-Americans held a majority.

Rulings from the Supreme Court over the next twenty years seemed to erode the rights granted in the previous legislation. The Supreme Court ruled in 1878 that voting was a privilege, rather than a right, and that states did not have a constitutional obligation to grant women the right to vote. In 1883, the Court overruled the Civil Rights Act of 1870, deciding that discrimination in public accommodations was not unconstitutional. This precedent, along with the Court's 1896 ruling in Plessy vs. Ferguson, which established the "separate but equal" principle, allowed Jim Crow to become entrenched in Southern society. By 1910, the progress made during Reconstruction had all but vanished, as almost all African-American voters in the South were disenfranchised, and every African-American legislator elected from the former Confederate states had disappeared from Congress.

The Poll Tax and the 24th Amendment

During this time, voting restrictions imposed in the South took several forms, but the most common method was the poll tax or "head tax," in which payment of the tax was a prerequisite for voting. It had been levied by various governments since ancient times, and briefly by John of Gaunt in England in the 14th century. In the U.S. poll taxes were rare until eleven states adopted them in the years after Reconstruction, with the intention of preventing impoverished and recently freed slaves from voting.

During the early decades of the 20th century, the nation confronted its ongoing problems with race relations and social inequality. Women gained the right to vote when the 19th Amendment was ratified in 1920, and Native Americans were given citizenship and voting rights in 1924. Yet it would be another 40 years before the voting rights of African-Americans were fully protected. The Supreme Court ruled in the 1915 Gwinn v. United States case that the "grandfather clause" was unconstitutional under the 15th Amendment. In a series of cases from Texas in 1927, 1932, and 1944, the Court ruled that "white primaries" created by state law were unconstitutional under the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment, and that political parties were not legally allowed to decide who could vote. In 1957, legislation was passed that allowed the U.S. Attorney General to prosecute violators of the 15th Amendment, and new laws in 1960 gave federal courts the power to appoint voting referees to conduct registration in areas experiencing voter discrimination. That year, the Supreme Court struck down a gerrymandering case from Alabama as a violation of the 15th Amendment.

Still, the poll tax remained strongly in place. Congress had attempted to abolish the poll tax as a voting requirement in 1939, with notable supporters including Eleanor Roosevelt. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, groups such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Congress of Racial Equality, and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference began voter registration drives in the South.

As the new civil rights legislation began to be implemented, Senator Spessard L. Holland (D., Florida) proposed an anti-poll tax amendment to the Constitution; it was passed by the Senate but not enacted. In 1962 Holland's proposal again came to a Senate vote. It was opposed by Southern Democrats, who filibustered for 10 days. Senator Jacob Javits (R., New York) and several civil rights groups also opposed the amendment, on the basis that the ban should be enacted by statute. The Javits proposal was defeated March 27, and the Senate approved the amendment the same day. The House passed it on August 27, 1962. At the time, five states still imposed poll taxes: Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Texas, and Virginia.

Three-quarters of the 50 states had to approve the new amendment before it could take effect. On January 23, 1964, when South Dakota became the 38th state to approve the legislation, the 24th Amendment was ratified. Anticipating ratification, many state legislatures in the South had passed other laws to circumvent the poll-tax ban in federal elections. In July 1964, the federal government enacted the Civil Rights Act of 1964, designed to bar discrimination. It also protected voting rights. Title I of the act barred the unequal use of registration procedures and rejections of registration forms for minor errors. It made a 6th-grade education level an adequate qualification for literacy; required that literacy tests be administered in writing rather than orally, and that copies of the test with its answers be available if requested. Title VIII of the law mandated the Census Bureau to keep a tally of voting and registration statistics based on race and ethnicity. However, in a setback to the advances made by the 24th Amendment and other new laws, a November 1964 federal court decision upheld the constitutionality of a poll tax imposed on voters in Virginia's state and local elections.

From Selma to Montgomery

Despite these reforms, resistance to African-American voters in the South continued. In early 1965, to protest voter discrimination in Alabama, civil rights groups planned to march from Selma to the state's capitol at Montgomery. On March 7, about 300 non-violent marchers were attacked with billy clubs and tear gas by state and local police at the Edmund Pettus Bridge, and sent back to Selma. Two days later, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. led a symbolic march to the bridge, and asked for federal protection for a third march, which was granted by Federal District Judge Frank M. Johnson Jr.

The Selma-Montgomery march generated enormous publicity, fueled by a nationally televised showdown between President Lyndon B. Johnson and Alabama governor George C. Wallace over using Alabama's National Guard to protect the marchers. In the end, Johnson federalized the Alabama Guard and ordered 1,863 of these troops to keep order during the 5-day march to Montgomery.

Meanwhile, in May 1965, the Supreme Court struck down a Virginia law that required residents to file a notarized residence affidavit six months prior to an election in order to be eligible to vote, or pay a state poll tax. In the decision, Chief Justice Earl Warren stated that "for federal elections, the poll tax is abolished absolutely as a prerequisite to voting, and no equivalent or substitute may be imposed." Regarding state elections, Warren declared that "constitutional deprivations may not be justified by some remote administrative benefit to the state."

The Voting Rights Act of 1965

Though the 24th Amendment and the subsequent court decisions were successful in outlawing the poll tax in various states, African-American voters in the South faced other obstacles, such as literacy tests used to discourage voting, and difficulties in registering. Prosecuting cases under previous laws was proving cumbersome and ineffective. After the Selma-Montgomery marches drew national attention to the problem, President Johnson called on Congress to draft new voting rights legislation, and Congress passed the Voting Rights Act in August 1965, which gave the federal government significant authority in overseeing the election process in areas deemed problematic.

Before signing the legislation, President Johnson addressed the nation on August 6 and stated that, "If any county anywhere in this nation does not want federal intervention it need only open its polling places to all of its people" He then signed the bill in the "President's Room," where 104 year earlier President Abraham Lincoln had signed a law freeing slaves conscripted into the Confederate army. Among others present at the ceremony were civil rights leaders Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Roy Wilkins and James Farmer.

The new law combated voting restrictions in a more comprehensive manner than had previous legislation. First, it banned literacy tests and other voter qualification tests in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Virginia, and in many North Carolina counties. In these "covered" areas, no voting procedure changes could be made without the approval of a three-judge federal court in the District of Columbia or by the U.S. Attorney General. The laws also authorized federal voting examiners for areas that had used literacy tests in the November 3, 1964 presidential election and areas in which less than 50% of registered voters had participated in the election. It also provided for federal court suits against discriminatory poll taxes. Within a day of the bill being signed, the Justice Department filed suit in several Southern states to outlaw poll taxes still being levied there. In March 1966, the Supreme Court ruled against using the poll-tax in state and local level elections as a violation of the 24th Amendment, reversing an opinion upheld as recently as 1964.

Broadening the Vote

The Voting Rights Act of 1970 extended the 1965 legislation for another five years, with some modifications. Long residency requirements for voter eligibility in presidential elections were abolished, and a 30-day residency requirement was instituted for all states. The laws retained the coverage of Southern counties previously monitored as well areas with less than 50% voter participation. Most notably, the 1970 measure lowered the voting age in all elections to 18. In 1970, only nine states allowed 18-20-year-olds to vote in elections. With large numbers of young men in that age group serving in the Vietnam War, and an equally large number politically active in protesting the war, many called for expanding the electorate to include them. The popular argument was "If we're old enough to fight, we're old enough to vote."

As with previous election reform legislation, the Supreme Court was called upon to interpret the new law with regard to states' rights, and ruled that the new voting age could only be used in federal elections. In order to make the new voting age applicable to elections at all levels of government, Congress passed the 26th Amendment, which was then ratified June 30, 1971, when Ohio became the 38th state to approve the measure. The Voting Rights Act was renewed in 1975, this time for seven years; it included coverage for Spanish-speaking Americans and other language minorities, and mandated bilingual election materials in districts when such a minority comprised 5% or more of the population. Some parts were renewed again in 1982 for twenty-five years, and a permanent nationwide ban on literacy tests for voter eligibility was instituted.

The legislation between 1965 and 1970 had far-reaching impact. Between 1964 and 1970, about 800,000 African Americans were registered -- compared to an estimated 32,000 registered by the civil rights laws passed in the years before 1965. From 1965 to 1974, the number of African-American elected officials in the Southern states rose from 100 to 1,398. The passage of the 26th Amendment expanded the electoral rolls by an estimated 11 million people.

Other important reforms were made in the next two decades, though not as many as in the 1960s and 1970s. The Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act was passed in 1984. It required access for the disabled at polling places for federal elections, and a means to cast a ballot for people who could not get to the poll. It mandated that states make available voting and registration aids for the disabled and elderly, such as materials with larger type and improved communications for the deaf. The next major step in voting reform came in 1993, when Congress passed the National Voter Registration Act, the "Motor-Voter" law, which took effect in 1995. It mandated that voter registration services be available at motor vehicle departments and offices of public assistance in each state, and authorized registration by mail.

The 2000 Election and Aftermath

The 2000 presidential election was plagued with technology problems. Poll problems in about half of Florida's counties, caused a month-long delay in certifying the state's election results. With large elderly and foreign-born populations, outdated punch-card voting technology was showing its limits: any mistake by the voter could not be corrected before the ballot was cast. In Palm Beach County, the notorious "butterfly ballot" itself was so confusing, according to many voters, that they wound up apparently voting for the wrong candidate. The question of whether to recount the vote in Florida eventually went to the Supreme Court, which ruled that Florida did not have time to meet the December deadline for certification, and that recounting the ballots would violate the equal protection clause.

To address the problems that surfaced in Florida, and less conspicuously in other states, President George W. Bush signed the Help America Vote Act on October 29, 2002. (None of its provisions took effect before the midterm elections that year.) The new measures allocated $3.9 billion over three years to help states upgrade voting technology. Anti-fraud standards were set, including provisions that new voters registering by mail would need to furnish identification when voting for the first time. By 2004, new voters would have to register with either a driver's license or Social Security number.

New election standards for the states were also created by the law. By 2004, states will need to create a provisional ballot for voters with unclear eligibility to be used until eligibility is established. By 2006, states will be required to install voting technology that offers the voter a second chance if an error is made before casting the final ballot, with at least one voting machine in each precinct provided for the disabled. The act mandates statewide voter registration databases and criteria for legal votes for each type of technology. Many critics of the new legislation believe the reforms are not sufficient to correct widespread problems, and that a more uniform system must be adopted by the federal government. Again, the conflict state and federal election jurisdiction may delay the necessary reforms.

Redrawing the Lines

Despite the progress made in enfranchising minorities through civil rights legislation, a more subtle form of voter discrimination has persisted in the redrawing of Congressional districts to strengthen or dilute a particular bloc's vote. Since 1960, the Supreme Court has ordered many new districts redrawn, to correct state legislatures' malapportioned or oddly shaped districts that would endanger the representation of different minorities or ethnic groups. But it has also struck down some redistricting intended to unite pocket of minority voters in the same district. In the 1993 Shaw vs. Reno case, the Supreme Court ruled that a majority African-American district in North Carolina was unconstitutional under the equal protection clause. In 1996 it ruled against racially gerrymandered districts that favored minorities in North Carolina and Texas. Problems with redistricting have led many to call for a new system altogether, such as proportional representation, in which the different populations of a state are given a proportional number of representatives without the use of districts.

At the beginning of another presidential election year, one lesson of this history is clear: To be a truly democratic and representative process, an election itself must be appropriately governed. For more information, visit the Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Justice.


Saturn is the last of the planets in the Solar System that is visible to the naked eye.

Science in the News: Grandma Gorilla Teaches Baby Care

Mothers are important in great ape families. When gorillas are growing up, their moms often teach them how to walk and climb and a chimpanzee was once observed teaching her child how to correctly grip a hammer. Researchers have now reported a new lesson: the first example of a mother gorilla teaching her adult daughter how to care for her newborn baby.

Ione, an 11-year-old western lowland gorilla (Gorilla gorilla) at the San Diego Wild Animal Park, had neglected her first baby, which was raised by the zookeepers. So when her second baby, named Ajari (which means 'rascal' in Swahili) was born in late October 2000, she was closely watched for several days. The keepers and a visiting Japanese primatologist, Masayuki Nakamichi of Osaka University, who led the study that will be published in an upcoming issue of the journal Primates, were surprised by what they saw.

Baby gorillas usually spend their first six months in almost constant contact with their mothers, usually being held by mom. But on the day of Ajari's birth, Ione left him on the ground in front of her mother, 21-year-old Alberta. Grandma Alberta picked up Ajari and tried to hand him back to Ione. When she did not take back her baby, Alberta moved Ajari closer to Ione's face, until she finally took him back.

For the first two days of baby Ajari's life, his mother repeatedly tried to hand him off to his grandmother, who always refused or, when he was left on the ground, gave him back to his mother. By days three and four, Ione had stopped trying to hand off Ajari so often, only doing so when Alberta approached Ione and held the baby's arm. Even then, Ione did not let Alberta hold the baby for very long and quickly took him back. Eventually, Ione took over complete care of little Ajari.

In the published study of the gorilla family, Nakamichi attributed the improvement in Ione's care of Ajari, at least in part, to Alberta. She suggests that Alberta helped to teach Ione how to take proper care of her new baby during those first few days. If this theory were correct, it would be the first observation of a grandmother great ape teaching her daughter proper baby care.

"These behaviors are subtle. It takes an acute observer to spot them," James Moore, a behavioral ecologist from the University of California San Diego, told New Scientist.

Unfortunately, baby Ajari did not get to spend much time with his mother. Ione died when he was only 10 months old and he was fostered with another female gorilla.

CHRONOLOGY - December 2003


Bush Lifts Tariffs on Steel Imports - Pres. George W. Bush reversed one of his trade policies Dec. 4 when he lifted tariffs on imported steel, effective Dec. 5. His administration had imposed the tariffs in March 2002, and they were scheduled to be in effect for 3 years. However, the World Trade Organization had Nov. 10 upheld an earlier ruling declaring the tariffs illegal, and the European Union and a number of countries had threatened to retaliate against the United States. The tariffs had been imposed to assist the struggling domestic steel industry, and U.S. steel producers and their workers criticized the lifting of the tariffs.

Congressman Resigns After Conviction - Rep. William Janklow (R, SD) was convicted Dec. 8 of 2nd-degree manslaughter, and announced that he would resign from Congress on Jan. 20, 2004, when he was to be sentenced. In August, Janklow's car had struck and killed the driver of a motorcycle. The jury in Moody County also convicted him of speeding, running a stop sign, and reckless driving. Janklow was a former governor of South Dakota.

Gore Endorses Dean for Democratic Nomination - Former Vice Pres. Al Gore Dec. 9 endorsed Dr. Howard Dean for the Democratic presidential nomination. Gore was the Democratic nominee for president in 2000. Gore's support was expected to give a lift to Dean, who already was leading in polls. Gore passed over another candidate, Sen. Joe Lieberman (CT), his 2000 running mate, but the latter said his campaign had been energized by what he regarded as a snub. Gore had not informed Lieberman in advance of his decision. In Dec. 9 speeches in Harlem, in New York, and in Cedar Rapids, IA, Gore declared that only Dean among leading Democratic contenders had opposed the Iraq war all along. The 9 Democrats seeking the nomination debated in Durham, NH, Dec. 9, where the first primary would take place in 2 months. On Dec. 14, Lieberman asserted, "If Howard Dean had his way, Saddam Hussein would be in power today, not in prison." On Dec. 15, Dean said, "The capture of Saddam Hussein has not made America safer." On Dec. 23, consumer advocate Ralph Nader, the nominee of the Green Party for president in 1996 and 2000, said he would not seek the party's nomination for 2004.

Democrats Elected in San Francisco, Houston - Gavin Newsom, a Democrat and a businessman, won a runoff election for mayor of San Francisco Dec. 9. In the nonpartisan election, he defeated Matt Gonzalez, who was supported by the Green Party, by only 53% to 47%. This was the best showing by a Green candidate in any U.S. big-city mayor election. Newsom would succeed Willy Brown, who was term-limited. In Houston, TX, Dec. 6, in another nonpartisan runoff, Bill White, a Democrat, won 62% against Orlando Sanchez, a Republican who had been born in Cuba. White had been a U.S. deputy energy secretary.

Supreme Court Upholds Campaign Finance Law - A 5-4 majority on the U.S. Supreme Court concluded, Dec. 10, that the 2002 campaign-finance law represented a constitutional approach to combating spending abuses in the political process. The 2002 act of Congress, the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, had been challenged on first-amendment grounds by a number of disparate organizations. They objected, citing the right of free political speech, to the ban on unlimited contributions to political parties, or soft money, which could be utilized in advertising if no candidate was explicitly endorsed. They also objected to a ban on some ads just prior to primary and general elections. The co-authors of the principal majority opinion, Justices Sandra Day O'Connor and John Paul Stevens, found "disquieting evidence" of widespread and corrosive circumvention of existing limits on contributions. The 4-justice minority deplored the loss of protection of speech in the name of fighting corruption.

Governor Declares Fiscal Crisis in California - Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger of California Dec. 18 declared that his state was in a fiscal crisis. This proclamation would allow him, he said, to cut spending by $150 mil without the need to get the Legislature's approval. California's bond ratings had been reduced to near junk-bond levels. A state deficit of $15 bil was projected for 2004.

Terror Alert in U.S. Is Raised to 'High' - Tom Ridge, secretary of Homeland Security, announced Dec. 21 that the U.S. antiterrorism alert status was being raised to "high," or orange, from "elevated," or yellow. Ridge said that the danger of a terrorist attack was "perhaps greater now than at any point since Sept. 11, 2001." Ridge mentioned unspecified new intelligence information that suggested plans to strike during the holiday season.

Responses to the perceived threat focused on the skies. On Dec. 24, Air France, responding to a U.S. request, canceled 6 flights between Paris and Los Angeles. U.S. officials reportedly suspected that passengers on the flights had links to terrorism. On Dec. 29, the Bush administration demanded that foreign airlines put armed marshals on flights into, out of, or across the United States, whenever U.S. authorities concluded that the flight posed a threat. When a British Airways plane landed at Dulles International Airport outside Washington, DC, Dec. 31, U.S. authorities held the passengers, interviewing some, and rescreened the luggage.

U.S. Bans Use of Weight-Reduction Pill - The Bush administration Dec. 30 said it would prohibit use of Ephedra, an herbal supplement used by millions of Americans to lose weight or improve athletic performance. Tommy Thompson, secretary of Health and Human Services, said the supplement "was too risky to be used." Ephedra had been linked to heart attacks, strokes, and sudden deaths. In February 2003, Steve Bechler, a pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles, died after taking Ephedra tablets, and a medical examiner said that the supplement was a factor in his death.

Special Counsel to Investigate Leak of Agent's Name - Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft Dec. 30 removed himself from any role in the investigation into the leak of the name of a CIA agent to a reporter. At issue was whether anyone in the Bush administration had violated the law by revealing the name of the agent, Valerie Plame, to a newspaper columnist, Robert Novak, who published her name in July. The Justice Dept. said Dec. 30 that a special counsel, Patrick Fitzgerald, the U.S. attorney in Chicago, would head the investigation.

Stock Values Rose Sharply in 2003 - After watching their stocks decline in value for 3 years in a row, U.S. investors had much to cheer about Dec. 31, when the major indices showed large gains for 2003. The Dow Jones industrial average had risen 25% to 10,453.92. A broader measure, Standard & Poor's 500-stock index, posted a 26% gain. The NASDAQ index, which was heavily laden with tech stocks, advanced 50%. The averages were still below their all-time highs of the late 1990s.


Iraq Insurgents Continue Attacks; U.S. Strikes Back - U.S. forces continued the tactic of launching massive raids that targeted adversaries who had been resisting the occupation. On Dec. 2, 1,000 troops raided Hawija, west of Kirkuk, in an effort to capture an aide to former Pres. Saddam Hussein. At a meeting in Iraq Dec. 6 with Sec. of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez said that attacks on U.S. forces had declined to less than 20 a day, half the rate of a few weeks earlier. Two suicide bombers killed themselves and wounded about 60 U.S. soldiers, Dec. 9, as they set off explosions near military bases.

Rumsfeld Visits Afghanistan as Attacks Increase - Amid reports of a growing number of attacks on U.S. forces in Afghanistan, Defense Sec. Donald Rumsfeld met in Kabul, the capital, Dec. 4 with Pres. Hamid Karzai. Rumsfeld also met in Mazar-I-Sharif Dec. 4 with 2 warlords who controlled regional military forces. In 2 U.S. air strikes that went wrong, 15 Afghan children were killed Dec. 5 and 6.

Chinese Premier Visits U.S. - Premier Wen Jiabao of China visited the United States for the first time, Dec. 7-10. He met with Pres. George W. Bush and some other administration officials at the White House, Dec. 9. During a joint news conference Dec. 9, Bush criticized a referendum scheduled by Taiwan that would call on China to withdraw missiles aimed at the island. China regarded Taiwan as a rebel province.

Russia's Ruling Party Wins Parliamentary Elections - United Russia, the political party led by Pres. Vladimir Putin, received 37% of the popular vote Dec. 7 in elections for the State Duma, the lower house of parliament. The party would have about half of the seats in the Duma, and allied parties would provide it with a large majority, possibly enough to pass constitutional amendments. The Communist Party received 13% of the vote, a decline from 24% in the 1999 election.

The rebellious province of Chechnya remained a major problem for the government. A suicide bomber killed over 45 people and injured about 150 in an explosion Dec. 5 inside a crowded commuter train in Yessentuki, in southern Russia. A female suicide bomber killed herself and 5 others, and injured 13, when a bomb exploded outside the National Hotel near Red Square on Dec. 9.

Contracts Rule Punishes Countries Opposing War - On Dec. 9, the U.S. Defense Dept. made known that countries that had not supported the invasion of Iraq would not have an opportunity to bid on $18.6 bil in contracts for reconstruction projects there. Contracts would be limited to Iraq, the United States, and 61 supporters of the coalition war effort. Companies from countries left out, including Canada, France, Germany, and Russia, would be allowed to bid on subcontracts. Japan Dec. 9 approved deployment of 600 troops to Iraq, but said they would use force only if directly attacked. On Dec. 19, James Baker, a former secretary of state and a special envoy of Pres. George W. Bush, briefed Bush on his trip abroad. France, Germany, and Russia - 3 nations that had opposed the war in Iraq - were among 5 nations that had agreed to seek to reduce Iraq's debts to them.

Martin Is Canada's New Prime Minister - Paul Martin, new leader of the majority Liberal Party, became Canada's 21st prime minister Dec. 12. His cabinet was sworn in the same day. He succeeded Jean Chretien, who retired after a decade as the country's leader. Martin had been CEO of a shipping firm, Canada Steamship Lines, and had been finance minister in Chretien's cabinet. Martin said he wanted to improve relations with the United States, recently strained by Canada's opposition to the Iraq war. The opposition Conservative Party of Canada was established Dec. 8 in a merger of the Canadian Alliance and the Progressive Conservative Party.

Saddam Hussein Captured by U.S. Forces - Saddam Hussein, the deposed president of Iraq, was captured by U.S. military forces Dec. 13. Acting on a tip from an unidentified individual, soldiers of the 4th Infantry Division found him in a small underground hideout near Ad Dawr, a village 9 miles southeast of Tikrit. The region had been loyal to Hussein during his tyrannical reign, which had ended when he fled Baghdad in April as U.S. forces advanced.

Some 600 infantry troops as well as Special Forces soldiers, supported by tanks, artillery, and helicopters, had closed in on Saddam's hideout, which was no more than a 6-foot hole that opened into a shaft just long enough for someone to lie down. Bearded and reportedly disoriented, Saddam did not attempt to use a pistol in his possession. Two rifles and $750,000 in U.S. cash were nearby. The hole was near 2 mud huts that contained clothing and a kitchen. Two other Iraqis were seized in the same raid.

Hussein's capture concluded a massive 8-month manhunt. His 2 sons had been killed in July while resisting capture. In the hours after Hussein's arrest, his identify was verified through DNA testing. At a press conference Dec. 14, L. Paul Bremer, the U.S. civilian administrator in Iraq, began by saying, "Ladies and gentlemen, we got him." A video taken of Hussein after his capture was shown and several Iraqis were allowed to meet him in an effort to dispel any doubts that the capture was real. The news triggered both pro- and anti-Hussein demonstrations in Iraq. Political leaders of many countries hailed the U.S. achievement. Hussein was taken to an undisclosed location.

Iraqi leaders urged that Hussein be tried by a war crimes tribunal that the governing council had created a week earlier. Pres. George W. Bush said, Dec. 15, that he would work with the Iraqis to find a way to try Hussein "that will withstand international scrutiny." He said Dec. 15 that Hussein should suffer the "ultimate penalty."

Documents found with Hussein led, Dec. 15, to the seizure by U.S. troops of several of his associates. U.S. officials said Dec. 15 that Hussein had denied to interrogators that his government had had weapons of mass destruction, and he denied directing the postwar insurgency.

Violent Incidents Continue in Iraq - The capture of Saddam Hussein did not, at least in the short run, sharply reduce the level of insurgent attacks and terrorist incidents in Iraq. An explosion outside a police station west of Baghdad Dec. 14 killed 17 Iraqis and wounded 33. Bombs at 2 Baghdad police stations Dec. 15 killed 8 and wounded more than 20. U.S. troops killed 17 Iraqis Dec. 15 and 16 during violent clashes. They arrested 73 Iraqis Dec. 16 at what appeared to be a meeting of insurgents. On Dec. 25 and 26, guerrillas launched rocket and bomb attacks across Iraq, killing 4 American soldiers and 6 Iraqi civilians and wounding dozens. More violent incidents followed, and were capped on the eve of the New Year, Dec. 31, when a car bomb killed 8 Iraqis and wounded 35 including 3 Americans, at the Nabil Restaurant in Baghdad.

President of Pakistan Survives 2 Assassination Attempts - Pres. Pervez Musharraf, head of the military regime that rules Pakistan, survived 2 attempts to kill him in December. On Dec. 14, a bomb exploded at a bridge in Rawalpindi 30 seconds after his motorcade had crossed it. Responding to criticism from opposition Islamic parties, Musharraf announced Dec. 24 that by the end of 2004 he would step down as army chief. He also agreed to seek a vote of confidence from Parliament in order to serve the rest of his presidential term. Would-be assassins struck again Dec. 25. Two suicide bombers drove into Musharraf's motorcade in Rawalpindi and detonated bombs, killing themselves and 13 other people. More than 40 were wounded.

Libya to Abandon Unconventional Arms Programs - Pres. George W. Bush and British Prime Min. Tony Blair announced Dec. 19 that Libya's Pres. Muammar el-Qaddafi had admitted seeking to develop nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons, and that he had agreed to abandon these efforts. Qaddafi had also agreed to international inspections. Libya had concealed facilities to produce nuclear fuel, and its agreement to end its weapons programs came after 9 months of secret talks. Libya hoped that other countries would lift economic sanctions.


Influenza Spreads in the U.S. - Influenza, a respiratory illness associated with the onset of cold weather, was spreading more quickly in December than in recent years. By Dec. 4, Colorado had reported more than 6,300 cases, with the deaths of 5 children. Reports of flu cases were already higher than normal in 10 states, mostly in the West. Health officials said an especially virulent strain, Fujian A, was to blame. By Dec. 11, the flu was significantly on the rise in 24 states. Demand was outrunning the available supply of vaccine. The secretary for health and human services, Tommy Thompson, said Dec. 11 that the government had managed to obtain 100,000 doses for adults and 150,000 for children; the doses would be made available to individuals in high-risk categories. Thompson said Dec. 15 that the United States was purchasing 375,000 more doses. To slow the spread of the flu, some schools in Idaho and elsewhere were closed. By Dec. 24 the flu was classified as widespread in 45 states.

Teen Gets Life in Prison in Sniper Rampage - Lee Malvo, who had participated in a month of sniper attacks in the Washington, DC, area, was found guilty of 2 counts of capital murder by a jury in Chesapeake, VA Dec. 18. On Dec. 23 he was sentenced to life in prison without parole. Malvo was 17 at the time of the shooting spree in the fall of 2002. John A. Muhammad, his adult partner in the killings, had been convicted and sentenced to death in November. The Malvo jury found that he had pulled the trigger in the fatal shooting of FBI analyst Linda Franklin in Falls Church, VA. In a taped confession, which he later disavowed, Malvo admitted to having pulled the trigger in all the shootings. His lawyers had contended that he was insane at the time of the shootings and that he had been brainwashed by his older partner.

Michael Jackson Charged With Child Molestation - Pop star Michael Jackson was formally charged Dec. 18 with molesting a boy, then 13, at his ranch near Santa Barbara. In the 7-count indictment, Prosecutor Thomas Sneddon asserted that Jackson had given the boy an "intoxicating agent"-alcohol or drugs-before engaging in "substantial sexual conduct" with him.

U.S. Holstein Found to Have 'Mad Cow Disease' - The Bush administration announced Dec. 23 that a Holstein in Washington State had tested positive for the so-called mad-cow disease. The animal, first in the United States to be so identified, had been slaughtered. Also known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), the disease eats holes in the brains of cattle. The disease could be fatal in humans if they consumed meat from an infected animal. It had claimed more than 100 lives after first being diagnosed in Britain in 1986.

The announcement had potentially serious economic consequences for the U.S. cattle industry. Japan and South Korea said Dec. 23 that they would ban imports of American beef. By Dec. 24, Taiwan, Russia, and a number of other countries had joined the list. U.S. officials said Dec. 28 that meat from the diseased cow, which had been born in Canada, was in a batch of ground beef that was shipped to 8 states and Guam. Officials said that only tissue from the brain, spinal cord, and part of the intestine would have been infected, and these parts were not processed.

Earthquake in Ancient Iran City Kills Many Thousands - An earthquake struck the ancient city of Bam, in southeastern Iran, Dec. 26, bringing death to as many as 40,000 people and injuring thousands more. In Bam, a city of 80,000, most people lived in mud-brick homes not capable of withstanding quakes. The old quarter of the city was ruined. The 2,000-year-old citadel, said to be the world's largest mud-brick structure, was largely destroyed.

Sports Highlights

In the 2003 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo held Dec. 5-14 in Las Vegas, NV, Trevor Brazile of Anson, TX, won the all-around world championship. Other world champions were Terry Don West, Henryetta, OK, bull riding; Will Lowe, Canyon, TX, bareback riding; Teddy Johnson, Checotah, OK, steer wrestling; Speed Williams, Jacksonville, FL, & Rich Skelton, Llano, TX, team roping; Dan Mortensen, Billings, MT, saddle bronc riding; Cody Ohl, Stephenville, TX, calf roping; Janae Ward, Addington, OK, barrel racing.

In the NCAA Div. I Women's Soccer Championship on Dec. 7 in Cary, NC, unbeaten and untied North Carolina defeated Connecticut, 6-0.

Oklahoma quarterback Jason White won the Heisman Trophy on Dec. 13.

On Dec. 14, Indiana defeated St. John's, 2-1, in the NCAA Div. I Soccer Championship held in Columbus, OH.

NCAA football bowl game results:

Dec. 16, New Orleans Bowl (LA): Memphis 27, North Texas 17
Dec. 18, GMAC Bowl (Mobile, AL): Miami (Ohio) 49, Louisville 28
Dec. 22, Tangerine Bowl (Orlando, FL): North Carolina State 56, Kansas 26
Dec. 23, Fort Worth Bowl (TX): Boise State 34, TCU 31
Dec. 24, Las Vegas Bowl (NV): Oregon State 55, New Mexico 14
Dec. 25, Hawaii Bowl (Honolulu): Hawaii 54, Houston 48 (3 OT)
Dec. 26, Motor City Bowl (Pontiac, MI): Bowling Green 28, Northwestern 24
Dec. 26, Bowl (Phoenix, AZ): California 52, Virginia Tech 49
Dec. 27, Continental Tire Bowl (Charlotte, NC): Virginia 23, Pittsburgh 16
Dec. 29, Alamo Bowl (San Antonio, TX): Nebraska 17, Michigan State 3
Dec. 30, Houston Bowl (TX): Texas Tech 38, Navy 14
Dec. 30, Holiday Bowl (San Diego, CA): Washington State 28, Texas 20
Dec. 30, Silicon Valley Classic (San Jose, CA): Fresno State 17, UCLA 9
Dec. 31, Music City Bowl (Nashville, TN): Auburn 28, Wisconsin 14
Dec. 31, Sun Bowl (El Paso, TX): Minnesota 31, Oregon 30
Dec. 31, Liberty Bowl 3:30 p.m., ESPN Memphis, Tenn. Utah 17, Southern Mississippi 0
Dec. 31, Independence Bowl (Shreveport, LA): Arkansas 27, Missouri 14
Dec. 31, San Francisco Bowl (CA): Boston College 35, Colorado State 21

On Dec. 30 and 31, the Associated Press announced 3 Baltimore Ravens players for its annual NFL awards. Linebacker Ray Lewis won the Defensive Player of the Year award and Terrell Suggs, also a linebacker, was named Defensive Rookie of the Year. Running back Jamal Lewis was named the AP Offensive Player of the Year. Lewis set a NFL single-game rushing record of 295 yards on Sept. 14 and became only the 5th back to surpass 2,000 yards in a season, finishing with 2,066 in 2003, the 2nd highest total in NFL history.


The military tank was invented by English engineer officer Ernest Dunlop Swinton in 1914.

Offbeat News Stories

And We Thought The World Almanac Was Big. At a whopping 5 feet by 7 feet and weighing 130 pounds, the 112-page Bhutan: A Visual Odyssey Across the Kingdom is the heavyweight champion of the book world. But the most remarkable thing about this unique tome created by Michael Hawley of the MIT Media Lab may not be its size, but its price-$10,000. It costs about $2,000 to produce a copy of the book, which can only be ordered on Proceeds from the sales go to the charity Friendly Planet, founded by Hawley. The photographic image for each page is nearly 2 gigabytes in size and the whole book requires a roll of paper longer than a football field. Located between Nepal, Tibet, and India, Bhutan is a country about the size of Switzerland with a population of 700,000. Friendly Planet will use the money to fund educational programs in the country.

Really Heavy Reading. Rescuers filled 50 industrial garbage bags with reading material in their efforts to free New Yorker Patrice Moore, who had been trapped in his apartment for 2 days when piles of books and magazines piled nearly to the ceiling collapsed on him. It took firefighters 3 hours to free Moore, who had been buried up to his neck. A former mailroom clerk, Moore said he sells the material on the street and has been collecting books, catalogs, newspapers, and magazines in his apartment for more than 10 years. Moore's cries for help finally reached his landlord, who couldn't open the door because of the mountain of paper piled against it. Except for a little dehydration and some leg injuries, Moore was in stable condition after his ordeal.

From The World Almanac: Science Glossary - Biology

Amino acid: one of about 20 similar small molecules that are the building blocks of proteins.

Antibiotic: a drug made from a substance produced by a bacterium, fungus, or other organism that battles bacterial infections and diseases, killing the bacteria or halting their growth.

Autoimmunity: a condition in which an individual's immune system reacts against his or her own tissues; leads to diseases such as lupus, diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis.

Bacterium (plural, bacteria): one of a large, varied class of microscopic and simple, single-celled organisms; bacteria live almost everywhere--some forms cause disease, while others are useful in digestion and other natural processes.

Biodiversity: richness of variety of life forms--both plant and animal--in a given environment.

Cell: the smallest unit of life capable of living independently, or with other cells; usually bounded by a membrane; may include a nucleus and other specialized parts.

Cholesterol: a fatty substance in animal tissues; it is produced by the liver in humans, and is found in foods such as butter, eggs, and meat, and is an essential body constituent.

Chromosome: one of the rod-like structures in the nuclei of cells that carry genetic material (DNA); humans have 46 chromosomes.

Cloning: the process of copying a particular piece of DNA to allow it to be sequenced, studied, or used in some other way; can also refer to producing a genetic copy of an organism.

DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid): the chemical substance that carries genetic information, which determines the form and functioning of all living things.

Ecosystem: an interdependent community of living organisms and their climatic and geographical habitat.

Enzyme: a protein that promotes a particular chemical reaction in the body.

Estrogen: one of a group of hormones that promote development of female secondary sex characteristics and the growth and health of the female reproductive system; males also produce small amounts of estrogen.

Evolution: the process of gradual change that may occur as a species adapts to its environment; natural selection is the process by which evolution occurs.

Fight-or-flight response: the physical response that occurs in all animals when they encounter a threat; bodies release hormones, such as cortisol and epinephrine, that speed up the heart rate and increase blood flow to the muscles, allowing animals to fight enemies or run away.

Gene: a portion of a DNA molecule that provides the blueprint for the assembly of a protein.

Gene pool: the collection and total diversity of genes in an interbreeding population.

Gene therapy: a treatment in which scientists try to implant functioning genes into a person's cells so the genes can produce proteins that the person lacks or that help the person fight disease.

Genetic sequencing: the process of determining the order of subunits within a gene or even the order of all genes for an organism.

Genome: the complete set of an organism's genetic material.

Hormone: a substance secreted in one part of an organism that regulates the functioning of other tissues or organs.

Metabolism: the sum total of the body's chemical processes providing energy for vital functions, and enabling new material to be synthesized.

Neuron: a nerve cell, of the type found in the brain or spinal cord, that sends electrical and chemical messages to other cells.

Nucleus (plural: nuclei): the center of an atom; or the portion of a cell containing the chemical directions for functioning.

Organism: a living being.

Phenotype: the observable properties and characteristics of an organism arising at least in part from its genetic makeup.

Pheromone: a chemical secreted by an animal to influence the behavior of other members of its own species.

Placebo effect: a phenomenon in which patients show improvements even though they have taken a medically inactive substance, called a placebo.

Protein: a complex molecule made up of one or more chains of amino acids; essential to the structure and function of all cells.

RNA (ribonucleic acid): a complex molecule similar to the genetic material DNA, but usually single-stranded; several forms of RNA translate the genetic code of DNA and use that code to assemble proteins for structural and biological functions in the body.

Species: a population of organisms that breed with each other in nature and produce fertile offspring; other definitions of species exist to accommodate the diversity of life on Earth.

Stem cell: a cell that can give rise to other types of cells; for instance, bone marrow stem cells divide and produce different types of blood cells.

Steroid: type of hormone that freely enters cells (other hormones bind to cell surfaces); different varieties can suppress immune response or influence stress reaction, blood pressure, or sexual development; includes testosterone- and estrogen-related compounds.

Testosterone: a hormone that stimulates the development and maintenance of male sexual characteristics and the production of sperm; women also produce small amounts of testosterone.

Virus: a microscopic, often disease-causing, organism made of genetic material surrounded by a protein shell; can only reproduce inside a living cell.

Links of the Month

Edward A. Thomas, Editor in Chief

From my office, I can view an outstanding example of Art Deco architecture, the Empire State Building. Built in fourteen months, during the Depression, and completed in 1931, this magnificent building was the world's tallest for 41 years. In 1976 the top 30 floors of the building were illuminated in red, white & blue, and since that time, the building is lit in a variety of colors recognizing events from ranging from Oscar Week (gold), Bastille Day (blue, white & red), to Martin Luther King, Jr. day (red, black & green). To learn more about the lighting schedule, as well as information about this New York City treasure, visit:

The year 2003 marked the 100th anniversary of the Wright Brother's first flight, as well as the ending of an era, with the last flight of the supersonic Concorde. The last commercial flight of the Concorde took place on October 24, 2003. The Concorde fleet, created by the British and French in the 1960s, cruised at 1350 mph, twice the speed of sound, and was capable of making a transatlantic trip from London to New York, in 3-1/2 hours. To learn more about the Concorde visit: and

The editors of The World Almanac ranked Scrabble (R) as the number one favorite parlor game in the 2004 edition of the book. I'll admit that this is my favorite game too. I've often wanted to play the game when no one is available to play with me, but I found an Internet Scrabble site that allows me to play with other interested players from around the world. Just create an account at, download the Windows program, and hopefully someone will be online to play with. Good luck!

My friend Tim is celebrating his birthday in January, so this month we'll celebrate famous Tim's! Other than people into pop culture, I would assume that very few people under the age of 40 will remember Tiny Tim (not to be confused with the boy in "A Christmas Carol"). I clearly remember hearing the warble of his voice singing "Tip Toe Thru the Tulips With Me," a Top 40 hit of 1968. To learn more about one of the most peculiar singers, visit: To learn about a current, more popular singing Tim, visit the country music star Tim McGraw's site at One of the movies that is constantly run on cable television is "The Shawshank Redemption." I never tire of watching this Tim Robbins film. To learn more about the great movie that Robbins is currently receiving rave reviews for, "Mystic River," visit: The basketball player Tim Duncan was named both the 2003 regular season MVP and the 2003 Finals MVP. To learn more about Duncan visit:

Seeing people eating live bugs on television, which has become a staple of the current television programs, makes me squirm. I ran across a cam of live Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches, that you can e-mail to the person in your life you either want to torture, or just amuse. Visit Care2, an environmental site, and click on E-Cards (World-Live Pictures) at

When it comes to food, my favorite dish is tabouleh. Long before it became a health conscious staple, my family was eating this Lebanese salad, consisting of bulgar wheat, mint, parsley and scallions. Last summer, after many failed attempts, I finally was able to make the salad up to the standards I grew up with. To get a good recipe, and 100 other Greek/Middle Eastern recipes, visit Recipes Around the World at:

Many years ago, I arrived at an airport for an international flight with my prescription sunglasses on, only to discover that my regular glasses were sitting on my desk at home. Since then, whenever I plan on taking a trip, I always make a list of things I want to bring, and check them off as I am packing. At Free Travel Tips, a packing list is supplied to make suggestions as to what you should pack for travel. The site also offers a variety of other tips, from traveling with kids, to planning a trip to a Theme Park.

Quite a few elderly celebrities passed on in 2003, including Benny Carter (95), Buddy Ebsen (95), Katharine Hepburn (96), Al Hirschfeld (99), Bob Hope (100), Johnny Longden (96), Leni Riefenstahl (101), and Strom Thurmond (100). If you are interested in knowing what other celebrities are over 90, visit Dead or Alive Of course, you can find basic information on thousands of celebrities, living and dead, in the Notable Personalities chapter of the latest World Almanac. You can also find brief obituaries of major personalities who died during 2003.

Weird website of the month:

© World Almanac Education Group

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

Newsletter Contributors:
Louise Bloomfield, Erik Gopel, Walter Kronenberg, Chris Larson, Bill McGeveran, Kevin Seabrooke and Lori Wiesenfeld

Comments and suggestions can be sent to:

If you have enjoyed this newsletter, and would like your family and friends to subscribe for free, have them send an e-mail to:

Change of e-mail address? Send to