Wikipedia:Today's featured article/January 2023

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January 1

The history of timekeeping devices dates back to ancient civilizations observing astronomical bodies. Sundials and water clocks originated in ancient Egypt, while incense clocks were used in China. Mechanical clocks were developed in medieval Europe after the invention of the bell-striking alarm; Henry de Vick built a mechanical clock around 1360 that was the basis for improvements in timekeeping for the next 300 years. The mainspring, invented in the 15th century, allowed small clocks to be built. Leonardo da Vinci produced the earliest drawings of a pendulum. The pendulum clock, designed by Christiaan Huygens in 1656, was more accurate than other mechanical timekeepers. The electric clock, invented in 1840, controlled the most accurate pendulum clocks until the 1940s, when quartz timers became the basis for precise measurement of time and frequency. Atomic clocks are the most accurate timekeeping devices in practical use today and are used to calibrate timekeeping instruments. (Full article...)


January 2

Disk found at Ai-Khanoum depicting the Greek deity Cybele
Disk found at Ai-Khanoum depicting the Greek deity Cybele

Ai-Khanoum is the archaeological site of a Hellenistic city in Takhar Province, Afghanistan. It was probably established in the early 3rd century BC by a monarch of the Seleucid Empire at the confluence of the Oxus and Kokcha rivers, controlling access to valuable mines and strategic choke points. Ai-Khanoum, which became a major centre of the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom after it seceded under the Diodotid dynasty, was redesigned by King Eucratides I to be an imperial capital, with a huge palace, religious structures, and massive defences. Nevertheless, it was sacked at the end of his reign (c. 145 BC) by the nomadic Saka and Yuezhi peoples, and the city was soon abandoned. Rediscovered two millennia later by the King of Afghanistan in 1961, Ai-Khanoum was excavated by a team of French archaeologists until the Saur Revolution in 1978. During the subsequent conflicts in Afghanistan, the site was extensively looted. (Full article...)


January 3

Reverse of the Albany Charter half dollar
Reverse of the Albany Charter half dollar

The Albany Charter half dollar is a commemorative half dollar struck by the United States Bureau of the Mint in 1936. It was designed by sculptor Gertrude K. Lathrop, who lived in Albany, New York's state capital. In 1936, Congress approved many commemorative coins for issuance, including some of mostly local significance, such as the Albany piece. City officials wanted the coin to mark the 250th anniversary of Albany's 1686 municipal charter, granted by Thomas Dongan, the governor of colonial New York. Congress passed unopposed legislation, and the Philadelphia Mint coined 25,013 Albany half dollars in October 1936. Lathrop's designs have generally been praised: she placed a beaver on one side of the coin and the persons involved in the charter on the other side (depicted). By late 1936, the demand for commemorative coins was falling, and the issue price of $2 was considered high; more than 7,000 were returned to the Mint in 1943. The Albany half dollar now prices in the low hundreds of dollars. (Full article...)


January 4

Australian M113 in South Vietnam in 1970
Australian M113 in South Vietnam in 1970

Project Waler was an unsuccessful Australian defence procurement exercise which sought to replace the Australian Army's M113 armoured personnel carriers (example pictured) during the mid-1990s with between 500 and 1,000 armoured fighting vehicles optimised for Australian conditions. The vehicles were to be built in Australia to support the local manufacturing industry. After initial scoping work in 1980, proposals were submitted in 1982, and further studies were undertaken during 1983. A tender to acquire them was planned but not issued. Instead, Project Waler was cancelled by the Australian government in July 1985 due to concerns over the cost and capabilities of the proposed vehicles. Most of the M113s were upgraded, although the resultant vehicles were unfit for combat, and the Australian Government launched a new project in 2018 to replace them. Commentators have noted that Project Waler was over-ambitious, with not enough emphasis placed on keeping costs down. (Full article...)


January 5

Brazza's martin depicted by Richard Bowdler Sharpe
Brazza's martin depicted by Richard Bowdler Sharpe

Brazza's martin (Phedinopsis brazzae) is a bird in the swallow family with grey-brown upperparts, black-streaked white underparts, and a brownish breast. The sexes are similar, but juveniles have more diffuse breast streaking. Its song is of a series of short notes of increasing frequency, followed by a complex buzz that is sometimes completed by a number of clicks. Its range lies within Angola, the Republic of the Congo, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Nesting in burrows in river banks, it lays a clutch of three white eggs. It feeds on flying insects, including termites, and may hunt over rivers or savanna. It forms mixed flocks with other swallows, but is identifiable by its combination of brown upperparts, streaked underparts, and square tail. This little-known bird appears to be common and widespread, and has been listed as a least-concern species since 2008. There may be some hunting of this martin for food, but it does not appear to be facing any serious short-term threats. (Full article...)


January 6

London and North Western Railway War Memorial

The London and North Western Railway War Memorial is a First World War memorial outside Euston station in London, England. The memorial was designed by Reginald Wynn Owen and commemorates employees of the London and North Western Railway (LNWR) who were killed in the First World War. Over 37,000 LNWR employees left to fight in the war, of whom 3,719 were killed. The memorial cost £12,500 and consists of a single obelisk, 13 metres (43 feet) tall, on a pedestal. At the top, on each side, is a cross in relief and a bronze wreath. At each corner of the base is a statue of a military figure—an artilleryman, an infantryman, a sailor, and an airman—each larger than life-size. Field Marshal Earl Haig unveiled the memorial on 21 October 1921, accompanied by the Archbishop of Canterbury; more than 8,000 people attended the ceremony. The memorial and two entrance lodges are all that remain of the former Euston station complex, as it was rebuilt in the 1960s. The memorial is a Grade II* listed building. (Full article...)


January 7

Statue of Charles in Hyères, Provence
Statue of Charles in Hyères, Provence

Charles I of Anjou (1226/1227–1285) was the youngest son of Louis VIII of France. He acquired vast territories and many titles by a variety of means and founded the Second House of Anjou. He accompanied Louis during the Seventh Crusade to Egypt. In 1263 he agreed with the Holy See to seize the Kingdom of Sicily, which included southern Italy to well north of Naples. Pope Urban IV declared a crusade against the incumbent Manfred, and Charles occupied the kingdom with little resistance. In 1270 he took part in the Eighth Crusade and forced the caliph of Tunis to pay him a yearly tribute. The popes tried to channel his ambitions away from Italy and assisted him in acquiring claims to Achaea and Jerusalem. In 1281 Charles was authorised to launch a crusade against the Byzantine Empire. A riot, known as the Sicilian Vespers, broke out in March 1282 that put an end to his rule on the island of Sicily. He was able to defend the mainland territories with the support of France and the Holy See. (Full article...)


January 8

Alfred Russel Wallace

Alfred Russel Wallace (8 January 1823 – 7 November 1913) was a British naturalist, explorer, and biologist. He is known for independently conceiving the theory of evolution through natural selection. Wallace did extensive fieldwork, identified the faunal divide called the Wallace Line, and was considered the 19th century's leading expert on the geographical distribution of animal species, leading some to call him the father of biogeography, or more specifically of zoogeography. An account of his adventures in Southeast Asia, titled The Malay Archipelago, was published in 1869. He worked on warning coloration in animals, and on reinforcement, a way that natural selection could contribute to speciation by encouraging barriers against hybridisation. He was also a social activist, critical of the social and economic system of 19th-century Britain. He was one of the first prominent scientists to raise concerns over the environmental impact of human activity. (Full article...)


January 9

Modern depiction of a Roman siege engine during the siege of Carthage
Modern depiction of a Roman siege engine during the siege of Carthage

The Third Punic War was the third and last of the Punic Wars between Carthage and Rome, and lasted from 149 to 146 BC. The war was fought in what is now northern Tunisia. In 149 BC anti-Carthaginian factions in Rome manufactured a pretext for war. The Carthaginians surrendered all of their weapons, but the Romans pressed on to besiege the city of Carthage (siege engine depicted). The Romans suffered repeated setbacks. A new Roman commander took over in 148 BC, and fared equally badly. Scipio Aemilianus was appointed commander in Africa for 147 BC; he tightened the siege and prevented supplies from entering. He then destroyed Carthage's field army and forced the remaining pro-Carthaginian towns to surrender. In spring 146 BC the Romans launched their final assault, systematically destroying the city and killing its inhabitants; 50,000 survivors were sold into slavery. The formerly Carthaginian territories became the Roman province of Africa. (This article is part of a featured topic: Punic Wars.)


January 10

Parsley's memorial in Norwich Cathedral
Parsley's memorial in Norwich Cathedral

Osbert Parsley (1510/1511–1585) was an English Renaissance composer and chorister who wrote mainly church music for both the Latin and English rites, as well as instrumental music. He was a boy chorister at Norwich Cathedral, where he spent his musical career. He was first mentioned as a lay clerk, was appointed a "singing man" around 1534, and was probably the cathedral's unofficial organist for half a century. His works include the elegant polyphonic Conserva me, domine, two Morning Services, an Evening Service, and the five-part Lamentations. His Latin settings are considered to be more fluent and attractive than those to be sung in English. His instrumental music, nearly all for viols, included six consort pieces. Some of his incomplete instrumental music has survived. He died in Norwich in 1585 and was buried in Norwich Cathedral, where he has a commemorative plaque (pictured). Compositions that have been recorded include his Lamentations and Spes Nostra. (Full article...)


January 11

Combe Hill

Combe Hill is a causewayed enclosure, near Eastbourne in East Sussex, on the northern edge of the South Downs. It consists of an inner circuit of ditch and bank, incomplete where it meets a steep slope on its north side, and the remains of an outer circuit. Causewayed enclosures were built in England from shortly before 3700 BC until at least 3500 BC; their purpose is not known. The enclosure has been excavated twice: in 1949, by Reginald Musson; and in 1962, by Veronica Seton-Williams, who used it as a training opportunity for volunteers. Charcoal fragments from Musson's dig were later dated to between 3500 and 3300 BC. Musson also found a large quantity of Ebbsfleet ware pottery in one of the ditches. Seton-Williams found three polished stone axes deposited in another ditch, perhaps not long after it had been dug. The site is only 800 metres (870 yd) from Butts Brow, another Neolithic enclosure; both sites may have seen Neolithic activity at the same time. (Full article...)


January 12

Robin Hobb
Robin Hobb

The Farseer trilogy is a series of fantasy novels by American author Robin Hobb (pictured). Set in and around the fictional realm of the Six Duchies, it tells the story of FitzChivalry Farseer (known as Fitz), an illegitimate son of a prince. Fitz is trained as an assassin and possesses two forms of magic: the telepathic Skill that runs in the royal line, and the socially despised Wit that enables a bond between Fitz and the wolf Nighteyes. Through her portrayal of the Wit, Hobb examines otherness and ecological themes. Societal prejudice against the ability exposes Fitz to persecution and shame, and he leads a closeted life as a Wit user, which scholars see as an allegory for queerness. The series follows his life as he seeks to restore stability to the kingdom. Published between 1995 and 1997, the Farseer trilogy was Margaret Astrid Lindholm Ogden's first work under the pen name Robin Hobb. It met with critical and commercial success, and led to several other series in the same setting. (Full article...)


January 13

Zork running on a computer
Zork running on a computer

Zork is a text-based adventure game first released in 1977 by Tim Anderson, Marc Blank, Bruce Daniels, and Dave Lebling for mainframe computers. Developed between 1977 and 1979 at MIT, and inspired by Colossal Cave Adventure (1976), it was split into three episodes for personal computers (PCs) by Infocom. In Zork, the player searches for treasure in the abandoned Great Underground Empire, moving between the game's hundreds of locations and interacting with objects by typing commands in natural language that the game interprets. Zork was a massive success, with sales increasing for years as the market for PCs expanded. The first episode sold over 38,000 copies in 1982, and around 150,000 copies in 1984. Infocom was purchased by Activision in 1986, leading to new Zork games beginning in 1987. Critics regard it as one of the greatest games ever and foundational to the adventure game genre. In 2007, the Library of Congress deemed Zork as one of the ten most important video games of all time. (Full article...)


January 14

Shannon Lucid

Shannon Lucid (born January 14, 1943) is an American biochemist and retired NASA astronaut. Lucid earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry in 1963, a master's degree in biochemistry in 1970, and a PhD in biochemistry in 1973. In 1978, she was recruited by NASA for astronaut training in the first class to include women. She flew on STS-51-G, STS-34, STS-43, STS-58, and completed a six-month mission aboard the Russian space station Mir in 1996, traveling there on the Space Shuttle Atlantis with STS-76 and returning with STS-79. Lucid is the only American woman to have stayed on Mir. From 1996 to 2007, she held the record for the longest duration spent in space by an American and by a woman. She was awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor in December 1996, making her the tenth person and the first woman to be accorded the honor. Lucid was NASA Chief Scientist from 2002 to 2003 and a capsule communicator at Mission Control for numerous Space Shuttle missions, including STS-135, the final mission of the Space Shuttle program. She announced her retirement from NASA in 2012. (Full article...)


January 15

James Ashley was killed in a police raid in the English town of St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex, on 15 January 1998. An inquiry found that using armed officers breached guidelines, the raid team was inadequately trained, and officers in charge misrepresented intelligence to gain raid authorisation. A second inquiry accused chief officers of colluding to obstruct the first inquiry. The officer who shot Ashley was charged with murder but acquitted on the grounds of self-defence. The officers who led the operation, charged with misconduct in public office, were also acquitted. Ashley's family sued the police for negligence and battery; the case was heard by the House of Lords who ruled that the threshold for pleading self-defence in a civil case was higher than in a criminal one and that the litigants should decide which causes of action to pursue. Ashley's death was considered in a report that recommended stronger control of armed operations and equipping officers with non-lethal alternatives. (Full article...)

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January 16

Cliff Thorburn

Cliff Thorburn (born 16 January 1948) is a Canadian retired professional snooker player. Nicknamed "the Grinder" because of his slow, determined style of play, he won the 1980 World Snooker Championship, becoming the first world champion in snooker's modern era from outside the United Kingdom. He remains the sport's only world champion from the Americas. Ranked world number one during the 1981–82 season, he was the first non-British player to top the world rankings. In 1983, Thorburn became the first player to make a maximum break in a World Championship. He is the first player to win the Masters three times (in 1983, 1985, and 1986) and the first to retain the title. He retired from the main professional tour in 1996. Inducted into Canada's Sports Hall of Fame in 2001 and the Snooker Hall of Fame in 2014, he competed in Snooker Legends events and on the World Seniors Tour, winning the 2018 Seniors Masters. He retired from competitive snooker after the 2022 UK Seniors Championship. (Full article...)


January 17

Editorial cartoon supporting Quay
Editorial cartoon supporting Quay

The 1899 United States Senate election in Pennsylvania was held by the Pennsylvania General Assembly starting on January 17, 1899, to fill the Senate seat occupied by Matthew Quay, the state's Republican political boss. Quay sought election to a third term, but was damaged by an indictment for financial irregularities. Although Republicans had a majority in the legislature, enough were opposed to Quay to deny him re-election. After 79 ballots, the session ended on April 20, the day Quay was acquitted, without the election of a senator. Governor William A. Stone appointed Quay to the seat, but the Senate refused to seat him. Quay blamed his fellow Republican boss, Senator Mark Hanna of Ohio, for this and revenged himself at the 1900 Republican National Convention by backing Thomas C. Platt's scheme to politically sideline Governor Theodore Roosevelt of New York by making him vice president, over Hanna's strong objection. The 1901 legislature elected Quay to the Senate and he served there until his death in 1904. (Full article...)


January 18

Mounted Peloneustes fossil skeleton
Mounted Peloneustes fossil skeleton

Peloneustes is a genus of pliosaurid plesiosaur from the Middle Jurassic of England, known from the Oxford Clay Formation. Its sole species was originally named Plesiosaurus philarchus by Harry Govier Seeley in 1869 before Richard Lydekker gave it its own genus in 1889. It is known from many specimens, some very complete. It had a total length of 3.5 to 4 metres (11 to 13 ft), and a large, triangular skull elongated into a narrow snout with conical teeth. The two sides of its mandible (lower jaw) were fused into a long symphysis at the front. Its neck was short for a plesiosaur and its limbs were modified into flippers, with the back pair larger than the front. Peloneustes is classified in Thalassophonea with other short-necked pliosaurids. It was well-adapted to aquatic life, using its flippers for swimming, and its skull was reinforced against the stresses of feeding. Peloneustes's long, narrow snout could have been swung through the water to catch fish with its sharp teeth. (Full article...)


January 19

Final of the 2020 Masters
Final of the 2020 Masters

The 2020 Masters was a professional non-ranking snooker tournament held from 12 to 19 January 2020 at Alexandra Palace in London, England. It was the 46th Masters tournament, and the second of three Triple Crown events in the 2019–20 snooker season, following the 2019 UK Championship and preceding the 2020 World Snooker Championship. The knockout tournament involved the top 16 players in the snooker world rankings. Organised by the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association, it was broadcast by the BBC and Eurosport in Europe. Judd Trump was the defending champion, but was eliminated in the first round. The previous year's finalist, Ronnie O'Sullivan, chose not to participate, thus giving his entry to Ali Carter, who reached the final (pictured) but lost to Stuart Bingham. Claiming his first Masters title, Bingham became the oldest Masters champion, at the age of 43 years and 243 days, beating the previous record set by Ray Reardon in 1976. (Full article...)


January 20

Tommy Boyle, Burnley's captain
Tommy Boyle, Burnley's captain

Burnley F.C.'s 1920–21 season was the 29th of their seasons in the Football League, and their 4th consecutive season in the Football League First Division. After losing their first three games, Burnley had a 30-match unbeaten league run, winning the First Division and becoming English champions for the first time in their history. Their unbeaten run stood as a Football League record for more than 80 years. Burnley ended the 1920–21 season on 59 points, having won 23 games, drawn 13, and lost 6. They reached the third round of the FA Cup, defeating Leicester City away and Queens Park Rangers at home, before unexpectedly losing to Hull City of the Second Division. Burnley used 23 players during the season. Their top scorer was Scottish forward Joe Anderson, with 31 competitive goals. Eight new players were signed by Burnley, and eleven left the club. Match attendances were the highest they had been at the club's home ground, Turf Moor, with an average gate of more than 30,000 and a highest attendance of 42,653. (Full article...)


January 21

Satellite image of the caldera, the gray-yellow area at lower centre left
Satellite image of the caldera, the gray-yellow area at lower centre left

The Cerro Blanco is a caldera in the Andes, located in Argentina's Catamarca Province. Part of the Andes' Central Volcanic Zone, it is a volcano collapse structure located at an altitude of 4,670 metres (15,320 ft) in a depression. It has been active for the last eight million years and its eruptions have created several ignimbrites. An eruption 73,000 years ago formed the Campo de la Piedra Pómez ignimbrite layer, while another eruption in 2,300 ± 160 BCE became the largest volcanic eruption of the Central Andes, and reached the highest level in the Volcanic Explosivity Index, ejecting an estimated 170 cubic kilometres (41 cu mi) of tephra. This eruption led to the formation of the most recent caldera, as well as thick ignimbrite layers. However, the Cerro Blanco has been dormant since then, although some deformation and geothermal activity have been recorded. The volcano is also known for giant ripple marks that have formed on its ignimbrite fields. (Full article...)


January 22

Lat
Lat

Kampung Boy is a Malaysian animated television series. It is about the adventures of a young boy, Mat, and his life in a kampung (village). The series is adapted from the eponymous autobiographical graphic novel by local cartoonist Lat (pictured). It had two seasons and twenty-six episodes, one of which won an Annecy Award. The series was first shown on the Malaysian satellite television network Astro before being distributed to sixty other countries. It ran for one year from September 1999. A main theme of Kampung Boy is the contrast between the traditional rural way of life and the modern urban lifestyle. The series promotes the village lifestyle as a healthy, fun environment for an intelligent child. It proposes that new values and technologies should be carefully examined. Lat's animation was praised for its technical work and content, and Malaysian critics held up the series as an exemplar for their country's animators. Academics regarded the series as using modern technologies to preserve Malaysian history. (Full article...)


January 23

The siege of Thessalonica (1422–1430) was a successful campaign to capture the city by the Ottoman Empire under Sultan Murad II. It remained in Ottoman hands until 1912, when it became part of the Kingdom of Greece. Thessalonica had already been under Ottoman control from 1387 to 1403 before returning to Byzantine rule in the aftermath of the Battle of Ankara. In 1422 Murad attacked the city. Its ruler, Andronikos Palaiologos, was unable to provide manpower or resources for the city's defense, and handed it over to the Republic of Venice in September 1423. The Ottomans blockaded the city and attacked it by land. The blockade reduced the inhabitants to near starvation, and many fled the city. In 1429 Venice declared war on the Ottomans, and on 29 March 1430 Murad's forces took the city. The siege and the subsequent sack reduced the city to a shadow of its former self, from perhaps as many as 40,000 inhabitants to around 2,000. (Full article...)


January 24

Galton Bridge (foreground)
Galton Bridge (foreground)

Galton Bridge is a cast-iron bridge in Smethwick, near Birmingham, in central England. It was built by Thomas Telford to carry a road across the new main line of the Birmingham Canal, which was built in a deep cutting. The bridge is 26 ft (7.9 m) wide, 150 ft (46 m) long, and 70 ft (21 m) above the canal, making it reputedly the highest single-span arch bridge in the world when it was built. Galton Bridge was cast at the nearby Horseley Ironworks, and has masonry abutments. The design includes decorative lamp-posts and X-shaped bracing in the spandrels. In the 1840s, a railway bridge was built from one of the abutments, with a parapet in keeping with the original. Galton Bridge carried traffic for over 140 years until it was bypassed by a new road in the 1970s, and now only carries pedestrians and cyclists. The bridge is one of six built by Telford that share common design features and the only one still standing without modification. It is a Grade I listed building. (Full article...)


January 25

Witold Lutosławski

Witold Lutosławski (25 January 1913 – 7 February 1994) was a Polish composer and conductor. His compositions include symphonies, concertos, orchestral song cycles, and chamber works. During his youth, he studied piano and composition in Warsaw. Having narrowly escaped German capture, during World War II he earned income by playing the piano in Warsaw bars. Post-war Stalinist authorities banned his First Symphony for being "formalist". His early works were inspired by Polish folk music, including Concerto for Orchestra and Dance Preludes in the mid-1950s. He often built up harmonies from small groups of musical intervals. From the late 1950s he developed new and characteristic composition techniques that stipulated elements of aleatoric music within a tightly controlled musical architecture. In the 1980s, he supported the Solidarity movement artistically. He received the Grawemeyer Award, the Royal Philharmonic Society's Gold Medal, and in 1994, the Order of the White Eagle, Poland's highest honour. (Full article...)


January 26

August 1934 cover of Dime Mystery Magazine
August 1934 cover

Dime Mystery Magazine was a US pulp magazine published from 1932 to 1950 by Popular Publications. Originally Dime Mystery Book Magazine, it contained mysteries, including a novel in each issue. Competing with established magazines, it failed to sell. From 1933, inspired by Grand Guignol, publisher Harry Steeger changed its style, publishing horror stories in what became known as "weird menace" fiction, where the apparently supernatural transpired to have an everyday explanation. Further magazines in the same genre followed. The emphasis on sex and sadism increased, but reverted to detective stories in 1938. The stories now featured detectives with a handicap such as amnesia or hemophilia. After a return to weird menace, it reverted to detective stories until it ceased publication in 1950. Most stories were low-quality, but some well-known authors appeared, including Edgar Wallace, Ray Bradbury, Norvell Page, and Wyatt Blassingame. The last issues appeared as 15 Mystery Stories. (Full article...)


January 27

Memorial to homosexual victims of Nazi persecution
Memorial to homosexual victims of Nazi persecution

The persecution of homosexuals in Nazi Germany was a priority of the Nazi police state. Before 1933, homosexual acts were illegal in Germany but a thriving gay culture existed. Nazi persecution of homosexuals peaked prior to World War II. Between 1933 and 1945, an estimated 100,000 men were arrested. Those arrested were presumed guilty, and subjected to harsh interrogation and torture to elicit a confession. Their death rate has been estimated at 60 percent, a higher rate than other prisoner groups. Nazi Germany's persecution of homosexuals is considered to be the most severe episode in a long history of discrimination and violence targeting sexual minorities. After the war, homosexuals were initially not counted as victims of Nazism because homosexuality continued to be illegal in Nazi Germany's successor states. Few survivors came forward to discuss their experiences. This changed during the gay liberation movement of the 1970s, and the pink triangle was reappropriated as an LGBT symbol. (Full article...)


January 28

SMS Rheinland in 1910

The Nassau class was a group of four dreadnought battleships built for the Imperial German Navy in the mid-1900s. The class comprised Nassau, Rheinland (pictured), Posen, and Westfalen. All four were laid down in mid-1907, and completed by late 1910. The battleships adopted a main battery of twelve 28 cm (11 in) guns in six twin-gun turrets. The ships served as II Division, I Battle Squadron of the High Seas Fleet for the duration of their careers. From 1910 to 1914, they participated in squadron exercises, training cruises, and fleet maneuvers. During World War I, the ships took part in operations intended to isolate and destroy parts of the numerically superior British Grand Fleet. These culminated in the Battle of Jutland in 1916, where the ships helped to sink HMS Black Prince, an armored cruiser. They also saw service in the Baltic Sea against the Russian Empire. After the war, all four ships were ceded to the Allied powers and broken up. (This article is part of a featured topic: Battleships of Germany.)


January 29

Yukio Futatsugi, the game's director
Yukio Futatsugi, the game's director

Panzer Dragoon Saga is a 1998 role-playing video game (RPG) developed by Team Andromeda and published by Sega for the Sega Saturn. The third in the Panzer Dragoon series, it replaced the games' rail shooter gameplay with RPG elements such as random encounters, semi-turn-based battles and free-roaming exploration. The player controls Edge, a young mercenary who encounters a mysterious girl from a vanished civilization. The development was arduous and repeatedly delayed; incorporating the Panzer Dragoon shooting elements with full 3D computer graphics and voice acting, both unusual features in RPGs at the time, pushed the Saturn to its technical limits and strained team relations. Saga is the most acclaimed Saturn game and is often listed among the greatest games of all time, earning praise for its story, graphics and combat. It had a limited release in the West and worldwide sales were poor. It has never been re-released and English copies sell for hundreds of US dollars. (Full article...)


January 30

Male
Male

The black-breasted buttonquail (Turnix melanogaster) is a buttonquail endemic to eastern Australia. It is a plump quail-shaped bird with white eyes and predominantly marbled black, rufous and pale brown plumage, marked prominently with white spots and stripes. Like other buttonquails, it is unrelated to the true quails, and the female is larger and more boldly coloured than the male, with a distinctive black head and neck sprinkled with fine white markings. The usual sex roles are reversed, as the female mates with multiple male partners and leaves them to incubate the eggs. It is usually found in rainforest and in forages with large areas of thick leaf litter. Most of its original habitat has been cleared, and the remaining populations are fragmented. The black-breasted buttonquail is listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List and under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. A three-year conservation project has been under way since 2021. (Full article...)


January 31

Leah LaBelle

Leah LaBelle (September 8, 1986 – January 31, 2018) was an American singer. Born in Toronto, Ontario, and raised in Seattle, Washington, she began pursuing music as a career in her teens, which included performing in the Total Experience Gospel Choir. LaBelle rose to prominence in 2004 as a contestant on the third season of American Idol, placing twelfth in the season finals. Attending the Berklee College of Music for a year, she dropped out to move to Los Angeles. Starting in 2007, LaBelle recorded covers of R&B and soul music for her YouTube channel. These videos led to work as a backing vocalist starting in 2008 and a record deal in 2011 with Epic in partnership with I Am Other and So So Def Recordings. LaBelle released a sampler, three singles, and a posthumous extended play (EP), and received the Soul Train Centric Award at the 2012 Soul Train Music Awards. In 2018, LaBelle and her boyfriend Rasual Butler died in a car crash in Los Angeles. (Full article...)