It's Leap Day! You know you were looking forward to it... until you woke up to severe weather, anyway. A complete revolution around the sun takes approximately 365 days and 6 hours. Every four years, during which an extra 24 hours have accumulated, one extra day is added to keep the count coordinated with the sun's position. Well... technically it's five hours, 49 minutes, and 16 seconds. In order to account for this, an end-of-century year is not considered a leap year unless it's exactly divisible by 400 (so 1600 and 2000 were leap years, but 1900 wasn't and neither will 2100).
Geraldine Farrar was born February 28, 1882 (and died March 11, 1967). She was an American soprano opera singer and film actress, noted for her beauty, acting ability, and "the intimate timbre of her voice." She had a large following among young women, who were nicknamed "Gerry-flappers." She was made a sensation in her debut as marguerite in Charles Gounod's Faust in 1901. She was admired by the Crown Prince Wilhelm of Germany, with whom she is believed to have had a relationship.
John Steinbeck was born February 27, 1902 (and died December 20, 1968). He was an American writer, widely known for the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Grapes of Wrath; and East of Eden and the novella Of Mice and Men. He authored 27 books and stylistically notable for his distinct sense of place - growing up in California's Salinas Valley, and often centered on working class and migrant workers struggling during the Dust Bowl and Great Depression.
On the evening of February 24, 1942, air raid sirens went off throughout Los Angeles County. A total blackout was ordered and air raid wardens were summoned to position. At 3:16 a.m., the 37th Coast Artillery Brigade began firing 12.8-pound anti-aircraft shells at a reported unidentified aircraft. Pilots of the 4th Interceptor Command were alerted but stayed grounded. Artillery fire continued until the 4:14 a.m., over 1,400 shells fired. An “all clear” was sounded and a blackout order lifted at 7:21 a.m.
Supernova 1987A was located in the outskirts of the Tarantula Nebula in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a nearby dwarf galaxy, approximately 168,000 light-years away, though close enough to be visible to the naked eye if you lived in the Southern Hemisphere. The light from the supernova reached Earth on February 23, 1987. It was the first opportunity for modern astronomers to see a supernova up close and observations have provided much insight into core-collapse supernovae. Voyager 2, then enroute to Neptune, was able to observe the supernova with its cameras.
George Washington was born on February 22, 1732 (and died December 14, 1799). We all know him as the 1st U.S. President (1789-1797), and as a great military leader. He was elected unanimously and oversaw the creation of a strong, well-financed government that maintained neutrality in the wars raging in Europe. He was born into a wealthy Colonial Virginia family, who owned tobacco plantations and slaves. He was mentored by William Fairfax, who promoted his career into the military. He quickly became a senior officer in the colonial forces during the French and Indian War.
What ever happened to the flying car? Why don’t we live like the Jetsons today? Waldo Waterman invented the first tailless monoplane, the first aircraft with modern tricycle landing gear, and the first successful low cost and simple to fly flying car. The idea behind the Arrowbile was to develop a transmission drive system that could operate the propeller for flight and the rear wheels for groudn operation. The aircraft was required to meet the certification standards of thee Bureau of Air Commerce. Waldo used readily available auto components for most of the vehicle.
On February 17, 1972, the Volkswagen Beetle overtook the Ford Model-T as the most popular car ever made. On this day, the 15,007,034 car rolled off the assembly line in Germany, making the new record for most highly produced car in history. This record was eventually surpassed by the Toyota Corolla, but there’s no doubt that the Beetle has one of the most recognizable designs, originating in pre-war Nazi Germany to present day – the look of the Beetle has remained largely unchanged.
The Battle of Fort Donelson was fought from February 11 to February 16, 1862. The capture of the fort by Union forces opened the Cumberland River as an avenue for the invasion of the South. The success elevated Brig. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant to the rank of major general, and earned him the nickname "Unconditional Surrender" Grant in the process. The battle followed the capture of Fort Henry on February 6. Grant moved his army 12 miles to Fort Donelson on February 12 and conducted several small probing attacks. On February 14, U.S. Navy gunboats under Flag Officer Andrew H.