Wikipedia:Today's featured article/January 2019

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January 1
Bachsaal at Schloss Köthen
Bachsaal at Schloss Köthen

Die Zeit, die Tag und Jahre macht (Time, which day and year doth make), BWV 134a, is a secular cantata by Johann Sebastian Bach for a celebration of New Year's Day in 1719 at the court of Leopold, Prince of Anhalt-Köthen (hall in the palace pictured). The libretto by the author Christian Friedrich Hunold portrays a dialogue between two allegorical figures, Time (representing the past) and Divine Providence (the future). Bach set the words to eight movements consisting of alternating recitatives and arias, culminating in a choral finale. Most movements are duets for alto and tenor, supported by a Baroque instrumental ensemble of two oboes, strings and continuo. The character of the music is close to Baroque opera, including its French dances. In Leipzig in 1724, Bach used this secular work as the basis for a church cantata for the Third Day of Easter, omitting two movements and changing only the text. (Full article...)


January 2
Australian raven

The Australian raven (Corvus coronoides) is a bird native to much of southern and northeastern Australia. Its plumage is all black with glossy upperparts, and its strong legs and feet are grey-black. Nicholas Aylward Vigors and Thomas Horsfield described the bird in 1827, with a species name highlighting its similarity to the carrion crow (C. corone). The preferred habitat is open woodland and transitional zones. It has adapted well to urban environments and is a common city bird in Sydney, Canberra and Perth. An opportunistic feeder, it eats a wide variety of plant and animal material, as well as food waste from urban areas. In eastern Australia its range includes many sheep farms, and it has been blamed for attacking healthy lambs, but very rarely does. The Australian raven is territorial, with pairs breeding between July and September and generally bonding for life. The nest is a bowl-shaped structure of sticks sited high in a tree, or occasionally in a man-made structure. (Full article...)


January 3
The Rogers Centre, location of the 2009 International Bowl
Rogers Centre

The 2009 International Bowl was a postseason American college football bowl game between the Connecticut Huskies and the Buffalo Bulls played in Canada at the Rogers Centre (pictured) in Toronto on January 3, 2009. Connecticut represented the Big East Conference; Buffalo was the Mid-American Conference champion. At the pregame luncheon, members of the 1958 Buffalo Bulls were honored. The 1958 team was the first from the university to be invited to a bowl game, the Tangerine Bowl, where they would have faced Florida State. Because that stadium prohibited integrated football games, the team's African-American players—starting running back Willie Evans and backup defensive end Mike Wilson—were not allowed to play. The players unanimously voted to reject the bowl bid, and Buffalo would not play in a bowl until the 2009 game, which ended in a 38–20 victory for Connecticut. (Full article...)


January 4
British Generals 1939-1945 E16462.jpg

Brian Horrocks (1895–1985) was a British Army officer who commanded XXX Corps during the Second World War, including during Operation Market Garden. He also served in the First World War and the Russian Civil War, was taken prisoner twice, and competed in the 1924 Paris Olympics. Later he was a television presenter, a military history author, and Black Rod in the House of Lords. Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery identified Horrocks as one of his most able officers, appointing him to corps commands in North Africa and Europe. Horrocks was seriously wounded in 1943, and took more than a year to recover before returning to command a corps. His wound caused continuing health problems and led to his early retirement from the army. Since 1945, Horrocks has been regarded by some historians as one of the most successful British generals of the war; Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Supreme Allied Commander in Western Europe, called him "the outstanding British general under Montgomery". (Full article...)


January 5
Bradley Cooper (3699322472) (cropped).jpg

Bradley Cooper (born January 5, 1975) is an American actor and producer. He has been nominated for a Tony Award, four Academy Awards, and two Grammy Awards. In 2000 Cooper enrolled at the Actors Studio in New York City. His career began with a guest role in the television series Sex and the City in 1999, and he played Will Tippin in the spy-action television show Alias (2001–2006). His breakthrough role came in the film The Hangover (2009) and its two sequels. He portrayed a struggling writer in Limitless and a rookie police officer in The Place Beyond the Pines. He also had roles in the romantic comedy-drama Silver Linings Playbook, the black comedy crime film American Hustle, and the biopic American Sniper. In 2014 he portrayed Joseph Merrick in a Broadway revival of The Elephant Man, garnering a nomination for the Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play. (Full article...)

Part of the Bradley Cooper series, one of Wikipedia's featured topics.


January 6
Weather Machine

Weather Machine is a lumino-kinetic bronze sculpture in the U.S. city of Portland, Oregon, that serves as a weather beacon, displaying a daily weather prediction at noon. The approximately 30-foot-tall (9 m) sculpture was installed in 1988 in the northwest corner of Pioneer Courthouse Square. Two thousand people attended its dedication, broadcast live nationally from the square by Today weatherman Willard Scott. During its daily two-minute sequence, which includes a trumpet fanfare, mist, and flashing lights, the machine displays one of three metal symbols as a prediction for the following 24-hour period: a sun for clear weather, a blue heron for drizzle and transitional weather, or a dragon and mist for rainy weather. The sculpture includes two bronze wind scoops and displays the temperature via vertical colored lights along its stem. The air quality index is also displayed by a light system below the stainless steel globe. (Full article...)


January 7
Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King, US President Franklin D. Roosevelt and UK Prime Minister Winston Churchill in August 1943
Canadian PM Mackenzie King,
US President Franklin Roosevelt
and British PM Winston Churchill

The Quebec Agreement between the United Kingdom and the United States outlined terms for coordinated scientific development of nuclear energy. It stipulated that the US and UK would pool their resources to develop nuclear weapons, and that neither would use the weapons against another country without mutual consent, or pass information about them to other countries. The agreement merged the British Tube Alloys project with the American Manhattan Project, and created the Combined Policy Committee to control the joint project. It was signed by Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt on 19 August 1943 during World War II, at the Quadrant Conference in Quebec City in Canada. Although Canada was not a signatory, the agreement provided for a Canadian representative on the Combined Policy Committee in view of the country's contribution. On 7 January 1948, the Quebec Agreement was superseded by a provisional agreement allowing for limited sharing of technical information. (Full article...)

Part of the History of the Manhattan Project series, one of Wikipedia's featured topics.


January 8
Cast of Ceratosaurus

Ceratosaurus was a theropod dinosaur in the Late Jurassic, around 150 million years ago. This genus was first described in 1884 by American paleontologist Othniel Charles Marsh based on a nearly complete skeleton discovered in Garden Park, Colorado, in rocks belonging to the Morrison Formation. In 2000 and 2006, a partial specimen from the Lourinhã Formation of Portugal was described, providing evidence for the presence of the genus outside of North America. Ceratosaurus was a predator with deep jaws supporting long, blade-like teeth. It had a prominent, ridge-like horn on the midline of the snout and a pair of horns over the eyes. The forelimbs were very short but remained fully functional, with four-fingered hands. The tail was thick from top to bottom. It shared its habitat with other large theropods including Torvosaurus and Allosaurus. It may have hunted plant-eating dinosaurs or aquatic prey such as fish. The nasal horn was probably used solely for display. (Full article...)


January 9
Obverse

The Walking Liberty half dollar is a silver 50-cent piece that was designed by Adolph A. Weinman and issued by the United States Mint from 1916 to 1947. In 1915, the new Mint director, Robert W. Woolley, incorrectly believed that he was not only allowed but required by law to retire coin designs that had been in use for 25 years. He began replacing the Barber coinage: dimes, quarters and half dollars bearing similar designs, first struck in 1892 by long-time Mint Engraver Charles E. Barber. Weinman's design of Liberty striding towards the Sun for the half dollar proved difficult to perfect, and it never struck well, which may have been a factor in its replacement by the Franklin half dollar beginning in 1948. Nevertheless, art historian Cornelius Vermeule considered the piece to be among the most beautiful US coins. Since 1986, a modification of Weinman's obverse design has been used for the American Silver Eagle, and the half dollar was issued in gold for its centennial in 2016. (Full article...)


January 10
First page of the notes from Rykener's interrogation at the Guildhall, December 1394 – January 1395
First page of the interrogation notes

John Rykener was a sex worker who was arrested in December 1394 for performing a sex act in women's clothes with John Britby in the Cheapside area of London. The Lord Mayor questioned him on the offences of prostitution and sodomy; a record of the interrogation was found in the 1990s in the City of London archives. Rykener introduced himself as Eleanor. He told the mayor that he had sex with both men and women, including priests and nuns, and that he had paid sexual encounters in Oxford and near the Tower of London. There is no evidence that he was prosecuted for either crime; prostitutes were not usually arrested in London during this period, and sodomy was pursued in ecclesiastical courts. Rykener has appeared in studies of English social, sexual and gender history and as a character in at least one modern work of popular historical fiction. His story has been adapted for the stage. (Full article...)


January 11
Cover of the first issue of Amazing Stories, April 1926

American science fiction and fantasy magazines flourished from the mid-1920s to the 1940s. The first magazine to focus on fantasy and horror was Weird Tales, launched in 1923, which established itself as the leading weird fiction magazine over the next two decades, with regular contributors such as H. P. Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith and Robert E. Howard. In 1926 Hugo Gernsback's Amazing Stories appeared (pictured), running only science fiction. Its letters column, which often provided contact information, marked the beginning of organized science fiction fandom. Astounding Stories of Super-Science, founded in 1930, became the leading magazine in its genre, publishing early classics such as Murray Leinster's "Sidewise in Time". John W. Campbell took over as editor in 1937 and ran works by Robert A. Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, and A. E. van Vogt. Only eight science fiction and fantasy magazines survived World War II, with all but Astounding still in pulp magazine format. (Full article...)


January 12
Banksia oblongifolia2 Georges River NP email.jpg

Banksia oblongifolia, the fern-leaved banksia, is a many-stemmed shrub up to 3 m (9.8 ft) high, with leathery serrated leaves and rusty-coloured new growth. It is found along the eastern coast of Australia from Wollongong, New South Wales, in the south to Rockhampton, Queensland, in the north, generally growing in sandy soils in heath, open forest or swamp margins and wet areas. The yellow flower spikes commonly appear in autumn and early winter, developing up to 80 seed pods. The pods open and release seed when burnt, and the shrub resprouts from its woody lignotuber after bushfires. Spanish botanist Antonio José Cavanilles described B. oblongifolia in 1800. Two varieties were recognised in 1987, but these have not been generally accepted. A wide array of mammals, birds, and invertebrates visit the flower spikes. Though easily grown as a garden plant, the shrub is not commonly seen in horticulture. (Full article...)


January 13
A late-medieval imaginative interpretation of King Edward II's arrest in November 1326, with Isabella watching from the right
Late-medieval depiction of Edward II's arrest in 1326

The Parliament of 1327 was instrumental in the transfer of the English crown from King Edward II to his first son, Edward III, on 13 January. Edward II had become increasingly unpopular with the English nobility, and by 1325 even his wife Isabella despised him. Toward the end of the year, she took their first son to France, where she joined and probably entered into a relationship with the powerful and wealthy nobleman Roger Mortimer, whom her husband had exiled. The following year, they invaded England to depose Edward II, who was soon captured and imprisoned. Isabella and Mortimer summoned a parliament, which began gathering at the Palace of Westminster on 7 January. The king was accused of offences ranging from the promotion of favourites to the destruction of the church, a betrayal of his coronation oath to the people. An unruly mob may have helped intimidate those attending parliament into agreeing to oust the king. (Full article...)


January 14
Roxy Ann Peak

Roxy Ann Peak is a 3,576-foot-tall (1,090 m) mountain in the Western Cascade Range in the U.S. state of Oregon. Composed of several geologic layers, the peak is mostly of volcanic origin and dates roughly to the early Oligocene, 30–35 million years ago. It is primarily covered by oak savanna and open grassland on its lower slopes, and mixed coniferous forest on its upper slopes and summit. Despite the peak's relatively small topographic prominence of 753 feet (230 m), it rises 2,200 feet (670 m) above Medford and is the city's most important open space reserve and recreational resource. The area was originally inhabited beginning 8,000 to 10,000 years ago by ancestral Native Americans. The Latgawa Native American tribe was present in the early 1850s when a sudden influx of non-indigenous settlers led to the Rogue River Wars. The peak was named after one of its first landowners, Roxy Ann Bowen, in the late 1850s. In 1937, the 1,740-acre (700 ha) Prescott Park was created on the peak's upper slopes and summit. (Full article...)


January 15
Micronesia and Marshall islands bathymetry, Wōdejebato (Sylvania) Guyot.png

Wōdejebato is an undersea volcanic mountain with a flat top (a guyot), and probably a shield volcano, in the northern Marshall Islands of the Pacific. Formed of basaltic rocks, it is connected through a 74-kilometre (46 mi) submarine ridge to the smaller Bikini Atoll to its southeast. Named for a sea god of Bikini, Wōdejebato rises 4,420 metres (14,500 ft) above the ocean floor, to within 1,335 metres (4,380 ft) of the surface. It was probably formed by a hotspot in present-day French Polynesia before being shifted by plate tectonics. A volcanic episode in the Late Cretaceous led to the formation of an island and a carbonate platform that disappeared below the sea. A second volcanic episode between 85 and 78.4 million years ago created an island that was eventually eroded, generating an atoll or atoll-like structure that covered the former island with carbonates. The second carbonate platform drowned about 68 million years ago. (Full article...)


January 16

The political career of John C. Breckinridge included service in the governments of Kentucky, the United States, and the Confederate States of America. Breckinridge (January 16, 1821 – May 17, 1875) was inaugurated in 1857 as James Buchanan's vice president, and remains the youngest person to ever hold the office. In 1860 he ran as the presidential candidate of a dissident group of Southern Democrats and won the electoral votes of most of the Southern states, but he finished a distant second among four candidates, losing the election to the Republican candidate, Abraham Lincoln. Most Southern states seceded, but Kentucky stayed in the Union. Previously elected to a U.S. Senate term that began in 1861, Breckenridge fled the state, joined the Confederate States Army, and was expelled from the Senate. Confederate President Jefferson Davis appointed him Secretary of War in February 1865. (Full article...)


January 17
Rihanna 5, 2012.jpg

"Talk That Talk" is a song recorded by Barbadian singer Rihanna for her 2011 studio album of the same name. It features a rap verse by Jay-Z, who had previously collaborated with her on "Umbrella" in 2007 and "Run This Town" in 2009. A hip hop song with R&B beats, rough drums and unrefined synths, it was written by Jay-Z, Ester Dean, The Notorious B.I.G., Buckwild, Sean Combs, and Chucky Thompson together with the Norwegian production duo StarGate. Def Jam Recordings serviced the track to urban radio in the United States on January 17, 2012. The single was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration at the 2013 ceremony. It reached number 31 on the US Billboard Hot 100 and number 25 on the UK Singles Chart, and made top ten lists in Israel, Norway, and South Korea. Over one million copies were downloaded in the US. Rihanna performed the song on The Jonathan Ross Show and Saturday Night Live, and included it on set lists on tour with Eminem. (Full article...)


January 18
Francisco de Goya y Lucientes - Witches' Sabbath (The Great He-Goat) crop.jpg

Witches' Sabbath (The Great He-Goat) is an oil mural by the Spanish artist Francisco Goya. Satan is depicted as a goat in moonlit silhouette who rules over a coven of terrified witches; a young woman in black sits at far right, withdrawn from the others, perhaps in defiance. The mural is one of the fourteen Black Paintings Goya created on the plaster walls of his home, the Quinta del Sordo, around 1822. He was in his mid-70s, living alone and suffering mental and physical distress. As in some of his earlier works, Witches' Sabbath seems to explore themes of aging, death, violence and intimidation. It is generally seen by art historians as a satire on the credulity of the age and as a condemnation of superstitions, such as the witch trials of the Spanish Inquisition. Some fifty years after Goya's death, the murals were removed from the home by transferring them to canvas supports. Today the paintings are in the collection of the Museo del Prado in Madrid. (Full article...)


January 19
Distribution of the species
Distribution of Thomasomys ucucha

Thomasomys ucucha is a rodent in the family Cricetidae. Found only in the Cordillera Oriental mountain range of Ecuador (map shown), it lives in forests and grasslands at 3,380 to 3,720 meters (11,090 to 12,200 ft) above sea level. It may share its habitat with seven other species of Thomasomys. First collected in 1903 and formally described in 2003, T. ucucha most closely resembles the woodland Oldfield mouse, which occurs further to the north. Medium-sized, dark-furred, and long-tailed, T. ucucha can be distinguished from other species of Thomasomys by its large, broad, procumbent upper incisors. Head-and-body length is 94 to 119 mm (3.7 to 4.7 in), and body mass is 24 to 46 grams (0.85 to 1.62 oz). The front part of the skull is flat, short, and broad. The incisive foramina, openings at the front of the palate, are short, and the palate itself is broad and smooth. It is listed as a Vulnerable species due to the threat of habitat destruction. (Full article...)


January 20
Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Mackenzie Davis

"San Junipero" is the fourth episode of the third series of the science fiction anthology programme Black Mirror. Premiering on Netflix on 21 October 2016 with the rest of series three, the episode stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Mackenzie Davis (pictured) as the outgoing Kelly and the more introverted Yorkie. They meet at a 1980s nightclub in San Junipero, a beach resort town. Written by series creator Charlie Brooker as an optimistic love story, it is more positive in tone than previous episodes. "San Junipero" was the first episode written following the show's departure from Channel 4; it was inspired by nostalgia therapy and originally featured a heterosexual couple. Some pieces of music, such as "Heaven Is a Place on Earth" by Belinda Carlisle, hint at the episode's plot twist. Filming took place in Cape Town, South Africa, and London, England, with Owen Harris as director. The episode received critical acclaim, winning two Primetime Emmy Awards and two British Academy Television Craft Awards. (Full article...)


January 21
Jane Austen by her sister Cassandra

Jane Austen's novels have risen in popularity in recent decades, becoming the subject of intense scholarly study and the centre of a diverse fan culture. Austen, the author of Pride and Prejudice (1813) and Emma (1815), is one of the most widely read novelists in the English language. During her lifetime, her novels brought her little personal fame; like many women writers, she published anonymously. When they were published, her works received few positive reviews. By the mid-19th century, her novels were admired by members of the literary elite, but it was not until the 1940s that Austen was widely accepted in academia as a "great English novelist". The second half of the 20th century saw a proliferation of scholarship exploring artistic, ideological and historical aspects of her works. Television and film adaptations started with the 1940 film Pride and Prejudice. In the 21st century, Austen fandom supports an industry of printed sequels and prequels. (Full article...)


January 22
Beijing National Stadium, 2008 summer games

Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games is a sports and party game developed by Sega Sports R&D. Published by Nintendo in Japan and by Sega in other regions, it was released on the Wii in November 2007 and the Nintendo DS handheld in January 2008. It features the two title characters and fourteen others from the Mario and Sonic the Hedgehog games, participating in twenty-four events based on the official venues of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China, including the Bird's Nest (pictured). Players assume the role of a Nintendo or Sega character, using either the Wii Remote or a stylus and button controls. Critics praised the multiplayer interaction of the Wii game (not offered on the DS) and the variety of events of both versions, but criticized the Wii version for its complexity. Mario & Sonic was awarded "Best Wii game of 2007" at the Games Convention in Leipzig. It sold over ten million units and started a series of related sports video games to coincide with Olympic events. (Full article...)


January 23
Front page of The Illustrated London News depicting the chase

The Tottenham outrage of 23 January 1909 was a theft of wages from the Schnurmann rubber factory in Tottenham, north London, followed by a two-hour, six-mile (10 km) police chase. The armed robbers, Paul Helfeld and Jacob Lepidus, killed themselves at the end of the pursuit. The bravery of the police led to the creation of the King's Police Medal, awarded to several of those involved in the pursuit. A joint funeral for the two shooting victims—Police Constable William Tyler and Ralph Joscelyne, a ten-year-old boy—was attended by a crowd of up to half a million mourners, including 2,000 policemen. The deaths exacerbated ill feelings towards immigrants in London, and much of the press coverage was anti-Semitic in nature; Helfeld and Lepidus were Jewish Latvian Socialists. Public sentiment was further inflamed the following year after another criminal act by Latvian immigrants, culminating in the Siege of Sidney Street, in which three policemen were murdered. (Full article...)


January 24
Troop ships

Operation Pamphlet (24 January – 27 February 1943) was a World War II convoy that brought the Australian Army's 9th Division home from Egypt. The convoy included five transports, which were protected from Japanese warships by several Allied naval task forces during their trip across the Indian Ocean and along the Australian coastline. The Australian Government had requested an end to the Second Australian Imperial Force's role in the North African Campaign. Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt attempted to convince the Australian Prime Minister, John Curtin, to withdraw the request until the Allied victory in North Africa was complete, but Curtin and Allied military leaders in the South West Pacific believed that the veteran division was needed for planned offensive operations in New Guinea. The 9th Division arrived in Australian ports with no losses from enemy action, and went on to make important contributions in New Guinea during late 1943. (Full article...)


January 25
ZETA reactor left side.jpg

ZETA was an early experiment in fusion power research. Built at the Atomic Energy Research Establishment in England, it was much larger and more powerful than any other fusion machine at that time. It went into operation in August 1957, and by the end of the month was giving off bursts of about a million neutrons per pulse. Measurements suggested temperatures between 1 and 5 million kelvins, hot enough to produce nuclear fusion reactions. Early results were leaked to the press, and front-page headlines announced a breakthrough. Further experiments revealed measurement errors, and the claim of fusion was publicly withdrawn, casting a chill over the entire fusion establishment. The neutrons were later explained as the product of instabilities in the fuel. ZETA went on to have a long experimental lifetime, supporting work in plasma theory and originating more accurate laser-based temperature measurements that supported the tokamak approach a decade later. (Full article...)


January 26
Pairs figure skaters

The 1956 Winter Olympics was a multi-sport event celebrated in Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy, from 26 January to 5 February. Cortina, which had originally been awarded the 1944 Winter Olympics, beat out Montreal, Colorado Springs and Lake Placid for the right to host the 1956 Games. The Cortina Games were the first to rely heavily on corporate sponsorship for funding. Thirty-two nations—the largest number of participating Winter Olympic countries to that point—competed in four sports and twenty-four events. The Italian army transported large amounts of snow to cover the alpine skiing courses. Toni Sailer of the Austrian team became the first person to win all three alpine skiing events in a single Olympics. The figure skating competition (pictured) was held outdoors for the last time. These games were the first Winter Olympics televised to a multi-national audience. For the first time at an Olympic Games, the venues were built with television in mind. (Full article...)


January 27
Boletus torosus 1.JPG

Imperator torosus, the brawny bolete, is a fungus in the family Boletaceae. Native to southern Europe east to the Caucasus and Israel, it is generally associated with deciduous trees such as hornbeam, oak and beech in warm, dry locales. Although generally rare in Europe, it appears to be relatively common in Hungary. Appearing in summer and autumn on chalky soils, the stocky mushrooms have an ochre cap up to 20 cm (8 in) across, yellow pores on the cap underside, and a wine-red to brown or blackish stalk up to 6–15 cm (2.4–5.9 in) long by 3–6 cm (1.2–2.4 in) wide. The pale yellow flesh changes colour when broken or bruised depending on age; younger mushrooms become reddish, and older ones take on bluish tones. Swedish mycologists Elias Magnus Fries and Christopher Theodor Hök described this species as Boletus torosus in 1835, relying in part on the work of Louis Secretan. Eating raw, or sometimes even cooked, mushrooms of this species leads to vomiting and diarrhea. (Full article...)


January 28
Paul Henderson (ice hockey).JPG

Paul Henderson (born January 28, 1943) is a former professional ice hockey player from Canada. A left winger, he played thirteen seasons in the National Hockey League for the Detroit Red Wings, Toronto Maple Leafs and Atlanta Flames and five in the World Hockey Association for the Toronto Toros and Birmingham Bulls. Appearing in over 1,000 games, he scored 376 goals and 758 points. He led Team Canada to victory at the 1972 Summit Series against the Soviet Union, scoring the game-winning goal in the sixth, seventh and eighth games, the last of which was voted the "sports moment of the century" by The Canadian Press. The series, played at the height of the Cold War, was viewed as a battle for hockey supremacy. Henderson played in two All-Star Games and has twice been inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame (individually and as a member of the 1972 national team). He was inducted into the International Ice Hockey Federation Hall of Fame in 2013. (Full article...)


January 29
Antlia IAU.svg

Antlia (from Latin for "pump") is a constellation in the southern celestial hemisphere. It was established by Nicolas-Louis de Lacaille in the 18th century, and its name was later abbreviated from "Antlia Pneumatica" by John Herschel. Completely visible from latitudes south of 49 degrees north, it is close to the stars forming the old constellation of the ship Argo Navis. Antlia is a faint constellation; its brightest star is Alpha Antliae, an orange giant that is a suspected variable star, ranging between apparent magnitudes 4.22 and 4.29. S Antliae is an eclipsing binary star system, changing in brightness as one star passes in front of the other. Sharing a common envelope, the stars are so close they will one day merge to form a single star. Two star systems with known exoplanets, HD 93083 and WASP-66, lie within Antlia, as do NGC 2997, a spiral galaxy, and the Antlia Dwarf Galaxy. (Full article...)


January 30
Psittacula bensoni.jpg

The Mascarene grey parakeet was a parrot from the Mascarene islands of Mauritius and Réunion in the western Indian Ocean that became extinct by the 1760s. It has been classified as a member of the tribe Psittaculini, along with other parrots from the islands. Subfossil bones of this parakeet found on Mauritius were very similar to those of other Mascarene parrots. The subfossils were connected with 17th- and 18th-century descriptions of small grey parrots on Mauritius and Réunion, together with a single illustration published in a journal describing a voyage in 1602. The Mascarene grey parakeets had long tails and were larger than the many green species of the genus Psittacula. They were hunted for their meat, and were considered to be crop pests. Captured individuals would call out to summon a whole flock, a behaviour that may have contributed to their rapid annihilation. Deforestation was also a factor in their extinction. (Full article...)


January 31
Ambrose RookewoodPlotter.jpg

Ambrose Rookwood (c. 1578 – 31 January 1606) was a member of the failed 1605 Gunpowder Plot, a conspiracy to replace the Protestant English King James I with a Catholic monarch. Born into a wealthy family of Catholic recusants, and educated by Jesuits at Flanders, Rookwood became a horse-breeder. He was enlisted into the plot in September 1605 by Robert Catesby, a religious zealot whose impatience with James's treatment of English Catholics had grown so severe that he conspired to blow up the House of Lords with gunpowder, looking to kill the king and much of the Protestant hierarchy. Rookwood's stable of fine horses was seen as essential for the uprising to succeed. The plan failed when the man left in charge of the gunpowder stored beneath the House of Lords, Guy Fawkes, was discovered there and arrested. After surviving an attack by the Sheriff of Worcestershire, Rookwood was imprisoned in the Tower of London and executed. (Full article...)

Part of the Gunpowder Plot series, one of Wikipedia's featured topics.

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