Datebook

Datebook
8:18 am
Wed March 7, 2012

Datebook: March 7 - Happy Purim!

Purim is a Jewish holiday that commemorates the deliverance of the Jewish people in the ancient Persian Empire from destruction in the wake of a plot by Haman, a story recorded in the Biblical Book of Esther.

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Datebook
12:14 pm
Tue March 6, 2012

Datebook: March 6 - Oreo Cookie Turns 100

Nabisco founded the Oreo brand on March 6, 1912 in Chelsea, New York City. Nearly 500 billion Oreo cookies have been sold since they were introduced, making them the best-selling cookie of the 20th century. Their original slogan was "America's Favorite Cookie," and based on the sales figures, this seems like no exaggeration. It was originally called the 'Oreo Biscuit' and the design was simpler, and they were sold for 25 cents a pound in novelty cans with glass tops.

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Datebook
10:23 am
Mon March 5, 2012

Datebook: March 5 - Gerardus Mercator turns 500

Gerardus Mercator was a Flemish cartographer, born on March 5, 1512. He is remembered for the Mercator projection world map, which is named after him. This proved very useful to many later navigators who could, using his map, sail across the entire ocean on approximately straight paths, called rhumb lines. Mercator's first independent map was of Palestine in 1537. In 1544, he was charged with heresy and imprisoned for seven months on the basis of sympathy for Protestant believes and suspicious about his frequent travels.

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Datebook
10:43 am
Fri March 2, 2012

Datebook: March 2 - Wilt Chamberlain's 100-Point Game 50 Years Ago

Wilt Chamberlain set the single-game scoring record in the NBA by scoring 100 points for the Philadelphia Warriors in a 169–147 win over the New York Knicks on March 2, 1962, at Hershey Sports Arena in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Chamberlain set five other league records that game including most free throws made. Both teams broke the record for most combined points in a game (316). In the fourth quarter, the Knicks began fouling other players to keep the ball away from Chamberlain, and they also became deliberate on offense to reduce the number of possessions for Philadelphia.

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Datebook
11:45 am
Thu March 1, 2012

Datebook: March 1 - Salem Witch Trials Begin 320 Years Ago

On March 1, 1692, three women: Sarah Good, Sarah Osborne, and Tituba were brought before local magistrates in Salem Village, Massachusetts, beginning what would be known as the Salem Witch Trials.  In the winter months, two girls (ages 9 and 11), began to have fits described as "beyond the power of epileptic fits or natural disease to effect" by a nearby minister. The girls complained of being pinched by pins, although a local doctor could find no evidence of such. The three women were accused and arrested for afflicting the girls.

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Datebook
10:49 am
Wed February 29, 2012

Datebook: February 29 - Leap Day!

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). 

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Datebook
12:23 pm
Tue February 28, 2012

Datebook: February 28 - Geraldine Farrar Turns 130

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.

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Datebook
10:41 am
Mon February 27, 2012

Datebook: February 27 – John Steinbeck Turns 110

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.

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Datebook
10:14 am
Fri February 24, 2012

Datebook: February 24 – Battle of Los Angeles 70 Years Ago

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.

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Datebook
9:45 am
Thu February 23, 2012

Datebook: February 23 - Supernova 1987A Visible to Naked Eye 25 Years Ago

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.

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