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October 1

Gustave Doré illustration

Simon Hatley (1685 – after 1723) was an English sailor involved in two hazardous privateering voyages to the South Pacific Ocean. With his ship beset by storms south of Cape Horn, Hatley shot an albatross, an incident immortalised by Samuel Taylor Coleridge in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (illustrated). Hatley went to sea in 1708 under Captain Woodes Rogers, but was captured by the Spanish on the coast of Ecuador and was tortured by the Inquisition. Hatley's second voyage, under George Shelvocke, was the source of the albatross incident, recorded in Shelvocke's journal for 1 October 1719, and also ended with his capture by the Spanish, who held him as a pirate for looting a Portuguese ship. Hatley returned to Britain in 1723, though he hastily sailed to Jamaica lest he risk trial for piracy. His fate thereafter is unknown. In 1797, Wordsworth suggested Hatley's shooting of an albatross as the basis of a poem, which Coleridge published in Lyrical Ballads (1798). (Full article...)

October 2

India has the majority of the world's wild tigers.
India has the majority of the world's wild tigers.

India is a country in South Asia. Comprising the bulk of the Indian subcontinent, India owes its geography, climate and biodiversity to ancient plate tectonics which pushed the Indian Plate north from deep in the Southern Hemisphere. Modern humans arrived on the subcontinent from Africa no later than 55,000 years ago. Settled life emerged in the western margins of the Indus River basin 9,000 years ago. India is home to a large mix of languages, religions, and cultures. It is the world's most populous democracy, with 1.3 billion people, and a secular federal republic governed in a parliamentary system. It is the world's third-largest economy in purchasing power parity, and a fast-growing major economy. After 190 years in the British Empire, India gained independence in 1947 through a campaign of nonviolent resistance whose enduring symbol is Mahatma Gandhi (born 2 October 1869). (Full article...)

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October 3

Bronze bust of Michael Hordern
Bronze bust of Michael Hordern

Michael Hordern (3 October 1911 – 2 May 1995) was an English stage and film actor best known for his Shakespearean roles, especially King Lear, whom he played on stage in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1969 and London in 1970 and on television five years later. Hordern came to prominence in the 1950s with the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre where he played Caliban in The Tempest and Jaques in As You Like It. With Michael Benthall's company at the Old Vic, he played Polonius in Hamlet, and the title role in King John. In 1958 he won a best actor award at the British Academy Television Awards for his role as the barrister in John Mortimer's courtroom drama The Dock Brief. He appeared in nearly 140 cinema roles, including Cleopatra (1963) and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1966). His television credits include Paradise Postponed, the BAFTA-award-winning Memento Mori, and the BBC adaptation of Middlemarch. He was knighted in 1983. (Full article...)

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October 4

Philadelphia Museum version
Philadelphia Museum version

Saint Francis Receiving the Stigmata is the subject of two unsigned paintings, nearly identical except for their size, that were both completed around 1430. Art historians usually attribute them to the Flemish artist Jan van Eyck. The larger panel measures 29.3 cm × 33.4 cm (11.5 in × 13.1 in) and is in the Sabauda Gallery in Turin, Italy; the smaller panel is 12.7 cm × 14.6 cm (5.0 in × 5.7 in) and is in the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The paintings show Saint Francis of Assisi kneeling in front of detailed rock formations as he receives the stigmata of the crucified Christ on the palms of his hands and soles of his feet. A panoramic landscape seems to relegate the figures in the foreground to secondary importance. The Philadelphia wood panel comes from the same tree as that of two paintings definitively attributed to van Eyck, and the Italian panel has underdrawings of a quality that probably could only have come from him. Today the consensus is that both were painted by the same hand. (Full article...)

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October 5

Kate Winslet at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival

Kate Winslet (born 5 October 1975) is an English actress. She made her film debut playing a murderer in Heavenly Creatures (1994), and received her first BAFTA Award for playing Marianne Dashwood in Sense and Sensibility (1995). After her leading role in the epic romance Titanic (1997), she appeared in critically acclaimed period pieces, including Quills (2000) and Iris (2001). She starred in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004), Finding Neverland (2004), Little Children (2006), and Revolutionary Road (2008). For playing a Nazi camp guard in The Reader (2008), she won the BAFTA Award and Academy Award for Best Actress. In the 2010s, Winslet played a single mother in 1930s America in the miniseries Mildred Pierce (2011), joined the Divergent film series, and portrayed Joanna Hoffman in Steve Jobs (2015). Winslet's awards include three British Academy Film Awards, an Academy Award, an Emmy Award, and a Grammy Award. Time magazine named her one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2009. In 2012 she was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire. (Full article...)

October 6

Roxann Dawson in 2003
Roxann Dawson

"Barge of the Dead" is an episode from the sixth season of the American science fiction television series Star Trek: Voyager. First broadcast by UPN on October 6, 1999, it was developed from a story by Ronald D. Moore and Bryan Fuller, and directed by Mike Vejar. Set in the 24th century, the series follows the adventures of the Starfleet and Maquis crew of the starship USS Voyager after they are stranded in the Delta Quadrant, far from the rest of the Federation. In this episode, the half-Klingon, half-human B'Elanna Torres – played by Roxann Dawson (pictured) – has a near-death experience and is sent to the Klingon version of Hell. Some television critics praised Dawson's performance, while others faulted the representation of Klingon spirituality. Following the episode's completion, both Moore and Fuller left the series, dissatisfied with their lack of control over its direction and with the storylines. (Full article...)

October 7

Poitevin stallion

The Poitevin is a French breed of draft horse. Named for the former province of Poitou in west-central France, now a part of Nouvelle-Aquitaine, it originated in the seventeenth century when horses of Flemish or Dutch origin, brought to the area by engineers working to drain the Poitevin Marsh, interbred with local horses. It may be of any solid coat color, and is sometimes striped dun, a color not seen in other French draft horses. Although it has the size and conformation of a draft horse, the Poitevin has not generally performed draft work. Its principal traditional use was the production of Poitevin mules, by breeding with large Baudet du Poitou donkeys; the mules were once in worldwide demand for agricultural and other work. In the early twentieth century there were some 50,000 brood mares, producing between 18,000 and 20,000 mules per year, but the Poitevin is today an endangered breed. (Full article...)

October 8

Yellow-faced honeyeater

The yellow-faced honeyeater (Caligavis chrysops) is a bird in the honeyeater family found in eastern and south eastern Australia. It has yellow stripes on the sides of its head and a loud clear call. It inhabits open forests and woodlands at all altitudes. It is short-billed for a honeyeater and feeds on insects and spiders, as well as the nectar and pollen of flowers such as Banksia. It catches insects in flight and from plant foliage. While some yellow-faced honeyeaters are sedentary, large numbers migrate to southern Queensland for the winter, returning in July and August to breed in New South Wales and Victoria. Pairs lay two or three eggs in a delicate cup nest. While breeding success can be low, pairs nest several times during the breeding season. Their woodland habitat is vulnerable to the effects of land clearing, grazing, and weeds, although this bird is common and widespread and considered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature to be of least concern for conservation. (Full article...)

October 9

Bathymetric map of Horizon Guyot

Horizon Guyot is an underwater volcanic mountain with a flat top in the Mid-Pacific Mountains west of Hawaii and northeast of the Line Islands. An elongated ridge over 300 kilometres (190 mi) long and 4.3 kilometres (2.7 mi) high, it stretches in a northeast–southwest direction, rising to a depth of 1,443 metres (4,734 ft). It was probably formed by a hotspot, but evidence is conflicting. Its volcanic activity occurred between 100.5 and 82 million years ago during the Cretaceous Period. Around 89 million years ago, carbonate deposition from lagoonal and reefal environments set in and formed limestone. Volcanic islands developed on Horizon Guyot as well and were colonised by plants. Pelagic ooze has accumulated on the seamount, forming a thick layer that has been further modified by ocean currents, landslides, and various organisms living on it. Ferromanganese crusts have been deposited on exposed rocks. (Full article...)

October 10

The Kinks in 1969

Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire) is the seventh studio album by the English rock band the Kinks (pictured), released 10 October 1969. Kinks frontman Ray Davies constructed the concept album as the soundtrack to a Granada Television play with Julian Mitchell, but the television programme was cancelled and never produced. The plot revolves around Arthur Morgan, a carpet-layer based on Arthur Anning, the brother-in-law of Ray and guitarist Dave Davies. The album received generally positive reviews and generous coverage in the US rock press. The lead single, "Victoria", peaked at number 62 on the Billboard charts in 1969, the Kinks' highest position there since "Sunny Afternoon" in 1966. The album itself reached number 50 in the US on the Record World charts, and number 105 on Billboard. Arthur paved the way for the success of the Kinks' 1970 album Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One and its accompanying US Top 10 and UK Top 5 hit "Lola". (Full article...)

October 11

Douglas A. Munro.jpg

Douglas Albert Munro (October 11, 1919 – September 27, 1942) served in the United States Coast Guard in World War II, and was the Coast Guard's only recipient during the war of the Medal of Honor. He was awarded the medal posthumously after leading the evacuation of American marines whose positions had been overrun during the Second Battle of the Matanikau. He was shot while piloting a Higgins boat to shield a landing craft filled with marines from Japanese fire. Numerous warships, buildings, and monuments have been dedicated to him, and he is the only non-marine to be enshrined on the Wall of Heroes of the National Museum of the Marine Corps. He is annually memorialized in ceremonies held in his hometown of Cle Elum, Washington, and at Coast Guard Training Center Cape May. Munro was the nephew of Francis Fairey, a commanding officer of the Irish Fusiliers of Canada and a member of the Canadian House of Commons. (Full article...)

October 12

William de Corbeil oversaw construction of Rochester Castle's keep.
Rochester Castle

William de Corbeil (c. 1070 – 1136) was an Archbishop of Canterbury, and the first Augustinian canon to become an archbishop in England. Born at Corbeil, south of Paris, he was educated as a theologian. In 1123 he was elected to the See of Canterbury. Throughout his archbishopric, William was embroiled in a dispute with Thurstan, the Archbishop of York, over the primacy of Canterbury. As a temporary solution, the pope appointed William the papal legate for England, giving him powers superior to those of York. He presided over three legatine councils, which condemned the purchase of benefices or priesthoods and admonished the clergy to be celibate. He oversaw construction of the keep of Rochester Castle (pictured), the tallest Norman-built keep in England. Towards the end of his life William crowned Count Stephen of Boulogne as King of England, despite his oath to the dying King Henry I that he would support the succession of Henry's daughter, the Empress Matilda. (Full article...)

October 13

Banksia caleyi-2.JPG

Banksia caleyi, the red lantern banksia, is a species of dense, woody shrub of the family Proteaceae native to Western Australia. It generally grows up to 2 m (7 ft) tall, with serrated leaves and red inflorescences. First described by Scottish naturalist Robert Brown in 1830, it was named in honour of the English botanist George Caley. No subspecies are recognised. It is one of three or four closely related species within the genus with hanging inflorescences. Found from the vicinity of Jerramungup to south and east of the Stirling Range, B. caleyi is killed by periodic bushfires and regenerates by seed afterwards. The species was classified as "Not Threatened" under the Wildlife Conservation Act of Western Australia. In contrast to most other Western Australian banksias, it appears to have some resistance to dieback from the soil-borne water mould Phytophthora cinnamomi, and is comparatively easy to grow in cultivation. (Full article...)

October 14

Crowds await news at the Universal Colliery.
Crowds await news at the Universal Colliery.

The Senghenydd colliery disaster occurred at the Universal Colliery in Senghenydd, near Caerphilly, Glamorgan, Wales, on 14 October 1913. The explosion, which killed 439 miners and a rescuer, is still the worst mining accident in the United Kingdom. In an earlier disaster in May 1901, three underground explosions at the colliery killed 81 miners; the inquest into that accident established that the colliery had high levels of airborne coal dust, which would have exacerbated the explosion and carried it further into the mine workings. The cause of the 1913 explosion may have been a spark from underground signalling equipment. The miners in the east side of the workings were evacuated, but the men in the western section bore the brunt of the explosion, fire and afterdamp—a poisonous mixture of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and nitrogen left after an explosion. It took several weeks for most of the bodies to be recovered. (Full article...)

October 15

Gold dinar of al-Mu'tadid
Gold dinar of al-Mu'tadid

Al-Mu'tadid (c. 857 – 5 April 902) was the Abbasid Caliph from 15 October 892 until his death. As a prince, he served under his father al-Muwaffaq during various military campaigns and helped suppress the Zanj Rebellion. As caliph, he restored to the Abbasid state some of the power it had lost during the turmoils of the previous decades. In a series of campaigns he recovered the provinces of Jazira, Thughur and Jibal, and effected a rapprochement with the Saffarids in the east and the Tulunids in the west. He brought the capital back to Baghdad, where he engaged in major building projects. He was a firm supporter of Sunni traditionalist orthodoxy, and notorious for his fiscal stringency and cruel punishments, but also interested in the learning and science that had flourished under his predecessors, promoting men like Thabit ibn Qurra, a mathematician and translator of Greek texts. His reign marks the last revival of the Abbasid empire before its terminal decline during the 10th century. (Full article...)

October 16

1916 McKinley Birthplace Memorial gold dollar, obverse (left) and reverse (right)

The McKinley Birthplace Memorial gold dollar was a commemorative coin struck by the United States Bureau of the Mint in 1916 and 1917, with the obverse designed by Mint Chief Engraver Charles E. Barber, and the reverse by his assistant, George T. Morgan. As William McKinley had appeared on a version of the 1903-dated Louisiana Purchase Exposition gold dollar, the 1916 release made him the first person to appear on two issues of U.S. coins. The coins benefitted the National McKinley Birthplace Memorial at Niles, Ohio. The issue was originally proposed as a silver dollar; this changed when it was realized it would not be appropriate to honor a president who had supported the gold standard with such a piece. The coins were poorly promoted, and did not sell well. Despite an authorized mintage of 100,000, only about 20,000 were sold, many of these at a reduced price to Texas coin dealer B. Max Mehl. Another 10,000 pieces were returned to the Mint for melting. (Full article...)

October 17

The Battle of Neville's Cross, as depicted in a 15th-century manuscript

The Battle of Neville's Cross took place on 17 October 1346 during the Second War of Scottish Independence, half a mile (800 m) to the west of Durham, England. During the Hundred Years' War, King Philip VI of France called on the Scots to fulfil their obligation under the terms of the Auld Alliance. King David II obliged and ravaged part of northern England. An English army of approximately 6,000–7,000 men led by Lord Ralph Neville took David by surprise on a hill marked by an Anglo-Saxon stone cross. David's army of 12,000 was defeated, he was captured, and most of his leadership was killed or captured. The English victory freed significant resources for their war against France, and the English border counties were able to guard against the remaining Scottish threat from their own resources. The eventual ransoming of the Scottish king resulted in a truce which brought peace to the border for forty years. (Full article...)

October 18

Sherwood Forest
Sherwood Forest

The Coterel gang was an armed group in the English North Midlands that roamed across the countryside in the late 1320s and early 1330s, a period of political upheaval and lawlessness. Despite repeated attempts by the crown to suppress James Coterel and his band, they committed murder, extortion and kidnapping across the Peak District. Basing themselves in Sherwood Forest (pictured), other wooded areas of north Nottinghamshire and the peaks of Derbyshire, the Coterels frequently cooperated with other groups, including the Folville gang. As members of the gentry, Coterel and his immediate supporters were expected to assist the crown in the maintenance of law and order, rather than encourage its collapse, but most of the band received royal pardons following service abroad or in Scotland. Groups such as the Coterels may have inspired many of the stories woven around Robin Hood in the 15th century. (Full article...)

October 19

Statue outside Cardiff City Stadium
Statue outside Cardiff City Stadium

Fred Keenor (1894–1972) was a Welsh professional footballer. He began his career at Cardiff City after impressing the club's coaching staff in a trial match in 1912. A hard-tackling defender, he appeared sporadically for the team in the Southern Football League before his spell at the club was interrupted by the outbreak of the First World War. Keenor served in the 17th (Service) Battalion, Middlesex Regiment, known as the Football Battalion. He fought in the Battle of the Somme, suffering a severe shrapnel wound to his thigh in 1916. He returned to the game with Cardiff, who joined the Football League in 1920 and won promotion to the First Division one season later. Keenor helped the club get to the 1925 FA Cup Final, in which Cardiff suffered a 1–0 defeat to Sheffield United. He captained the team in a 1–0 victory over Arsenal at the 1927 FA Cup Final. Their triumph remains the only time the competition has been won by a team based outside England. (Full article...)

October 20

Hurricane Patricia set records for the highest maximum sustained winds ever recorded in a tropical cyclone and the second-lowest barometric pressure (after Typhoon Tip of 1979). Originating near the Gulf of Tehuantepec off the Pacific coast of southern Mexico, the system was classified as a tropical depression on October 20, 2015. The next day it became a tropical storm, the twenty-fourth named storm of the 2015 Pacific hurricane season. The following day it grew from a tropical storm to a Category 5 hurricane in just 24 hours. The National Hurricane Center ultimately estimated that Patricia attained winds of 215 mph (345 km/h) and a minimum pressure of 872 mbar (hPa; 25.75 inHg). The storm made landfall on October 23 near Cuixmala, Jalisco, in a significantly weakened state, but it was still the strongest recorded hurricane to strike Mexico's Pacific coast, with winds estimated at 150 mph (240 km/h). (Full article...)

October 21

Ursula K. Le Guin in 2004

Ursula K. Le Guin (October 21, 1929 – January 22, 2018) was an American author best known for her works of speculative fiction. She wrote more than twenty novels and over a hundred short stories, in addition to poetry, literary criticism, translations, and children's books. She achieved critical and commercial success with A Wizard of Earthsea (1968) and The Left Hand of Darkness (1969). Le Guin was influenced by cultural anthropology, Taoism, feminism, and the writings of Carl Jung. Many of her stories used anthropologists or cultural observers as protagonists. Several works reflect Taoist ideas about balance and equilibrium. Le Guin often subverted typical speculative fiction tropes, such as through her use of dark-skinned protagonists in the Earthsea fantasy series. She won eight Hugo Awards, six Nebulas, and twenty-two Locus Awards, and in 2003 became the second woman honored as a Grand Master of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. (Full article...)

October 22

The megabat family, Pteropodidae, includes the largest bat species, some weighing up to 1.45 kg (3.2 lb) with wingspans up to 1.7 m (5.6 ft), as well as smaller species, some less than 50 g (1.8 oz). They are found in tropical and subtropical areas of Eurasia, Africa, and Oceania. Unlike other bats, they have dog-like faces and clawed second digits. Well-adapted for flight, megabats have sustainable heart rates of more than 700 beats per minute and large lungs. Most of them are active at night. They roost in trees or caves, sometimes in colonies of up to a million individuals. Most are unable to echolocate, relying instead on their keen senses of sight and smell to navigate and locate food, usually fruits or nectar. A quarter of all megabat species are listed as threatened, due mainly to habitat destruction and overhunting. Even though they can transmit a variety of dangerous viruses, they are a popular food source for humans in some areas. (Full article...)

October 23

The ship in 1902
Retvizan in 1902

Retvizan was a pre-dreadnought battleship built for the Imperial Russian Navy, launched on 23 October 1900. Named after a Swedish ship of the line that was captured during the battle of Vyborg Bay in 1790, Retvizan was transferred to the Far East in 1902. In the Russo-Japanese War, the ship was torpedoed during the Japanese attack on Port Arthur on the night of 8/9 February 1904 and grounded in the harbour entrance when she attempted to take refuge inside. She was refloated and repaired in time to join the rest of the 1st Pacific Squadron when they attempted to reach Vladivostok through the Japanese blockade on 10 August. The Japanese battle fleet engaged them again in the Battle of the Yellow Sea, forcing most of the Russian ships to return to Port Arthur. Retvizan was sunk there by Japanese howitzers in December, then raised and commissioned into the Imperial Japanese Navy as Hizen in 1908. After World War I she supported the Japanese intervention in the Russian Civil War. (Full article...)

October 24

A microstrip band-pass hairpin filter (top) and a low-pass stub filter

Distributed-element circuits are electrical circuits composed of lengths of transmission lines or other distributed components. Used mostly at microwave frequencies, they perform the same functions as conventional circuits composed of passive components, such as capacitors, inductors, and transformers. They are made by patterning the conducting medium itself, rather than connecting pre-manufactured components with the medium. A major advantage is that they can be produced cheaply on printed circuit boards for consumer products, such as satellite television. They are also made in coaxial and waveguide formats for applications such as radar, satellite communication, and microwave links. Distributed element circuits were used in radar in World War II, and later in military, space, and broadcasting infrastructure. Improvements in materials science led to broader applications, and they can now be found in domestic products such as satellite dishes and mobile phones. (Full article...)

October 25

Science Fantasy was a British fantasy and science fiction magazine, launched in 1950 by Nova Publications. John Carnell edited the magazine beginning with the third issue, typically running a long lead novelette along with several shorter stories. Prominent contributors in the 1950s included John Brunner, Ken Bulmer, and Brian Aldiss, whose first novel Nonstop appeared (in an early version) in the February 1956 issue. Fantasy stories began to appear more frequently during the latter half of the 1950s, and in the early 1960s Carnell began to publish Thomas Burnett Swann's well-received historical fantasies. In the early 1960s Carnell's efforts were rewarded with three consecutive Hugo nominations for best magazine. After Nova went out of business in early 1964, Roberts & Vinter took over as publishers until 1967. Kyril Bonfiglioli, the editor, attracted new writers, including Keith Roberts, Brian Stableford and Josephine Saxton. In the opinion of science fiction historian Mike Ashley, the final year of the magazine, when it was renamed Impulse, included some of the best material ever published in a British science fiction magazine. (Full article...)

October 26


Jaekelopterus was a predatory aquatic arthropod of the order of eurypterids, often called sea scorpions. Its claws and compound eyes indicate it was active and powerful with high visual acuity, most likely an apex predator in the ecosystems of Euramerica. Fossils have been discovered from roughly 400 million years ago, during the Early Devonian. There are two known species: the type species J. rhenaniae from brackish to fresh water strata in the Rhineland, and J. howelli from estuarine strata in Wyoming. Based on isolated fossil remains from the Klerf Formation of Germany, J. rhenaniae has been estimated to have reached a size of around 2.3–2.6 metres (7.5–8.5 ft), making it the largest arthropod ever discovered. J. howelli was much smaller, reaching 80 centimetres (2.6 ft) in length. In overall appearance, Jaekelopterus was similar to other pterygotid eurypterids, with enlarged pincers and forelimbs. The genus was named for German paleontologist Otto Jaekel, who described the type species. (Full article...)

October 27

Sandringham House

Sandringham House in Norfolk, England, is the private home of Elizabeth II. Although architecturally undistinguished (Pevsner Architectural Guides describing it as "frenetic Jacobean"), the house has been a favoured residence of the Royal family for over 150 years. The estate was bought in 1862 for Albert Edward, Prince of Wales. Between 1870 and 1900 the house was rebuilt and Edward developed the wider property into one of the best sporting estates in England. George V inherited it in 1910 and in 1932 made the first ever Christmas broadcast from the house. George died at Sandringham on 20 January 1936. The property passed to his son Edward VIII, and, at his abdication, it was purchased by Edward's brother, George VI. As devoted to the house as his father, he died there on 6 February 1952. On the King's death, Sandringham was inherited by Elizabeth II. The Queen spends much of the winter at the house, including the anniversary of her father's death and of her own accession. (Full article...)

October 28

1708 drawing

The Rodrigues solitaire (Pezophaps solitaria) was a flightless bird that was endemic to the Indian Ocean island of Rodrigues. With the extinct dodo of Mauritius, it formed a subfamily of the pigeons and doves. The male solitaire was much larger than the female and his plumage was a darker grey-brown. Both sexes had a black band at the base of the hooked beak and a long neck. They were territorial, using bony knobs on their wings in combat. The female laid a single egg that was incubated by both sexes. Their diet included fruits and seeds. The solitaire was first described in detail by François Leguat, the leader of French Huguenot refugees who were marooned on Rodrigues in 1691–1693, but little else was known about the bird until the first of thousands of subfossil bones were found in 1786. Hunted by humans and introduced animals, the solitaire was extinct by the late 18th century. A former constellation was named after it. (This article is part of a featured topic: Raphinae.)

October 29

Tirpitz in 1943 or 1944
Tirpitz in 1943 or 1944

Operation Obviate was an unsuccessful British air raid of World War II that targeted the German battleship Tirpitz (pictured in 1943 or 1944). Conducted by Royal Air Force heavy bombers during the early hours of 29 October 1944, it sought to destroy the damaged battleship after she moved to a new anchorage near Tromsø in northern Norway. The attack followed the previous month's successful Operation Paravane, during which Tirpitz was crippled by British heavy bombers. In Operation Obviate, 38 bombers and a film aircraft departed from bases in northern Scotland. Obscured by clouds, the battleship was not directly hit, but was damaged by a bomb that exploded near her hull. A British bomber made a crash landing in Sweden after being hit by German anti-aircraft fire, and several others were damaged. The plans for the attack were reused for the next raid on the battleship, Operation Catechism, on 12 November, when Tirpitz was sunk with heavy loss of life. (Full article...)

October 30

Newspaper advertisement

Sorga Ka Toedjoe is a film from the Dutch East Indies (present-day Indonesia) which had its premiere in Surabaya on 30 October 1940, one of fourteen domestic productions released that year. The black-and-white film featured traditional kroncong music and was targeted at native audiences. It was directed by Joshua and Othniel Wong for Tan's Film, a company owned by the ethnic Chinese brothers Khoen Yauw and Khoen Hian. The Wongs had worked for Tan's since 1938, when they directed the hit film Fatima featuring Rd Mochtar. Sorga Ka Toedjoe was the first production by Tan's Film after Mochtar left the company. Starring Roekiah and Djoemala as a younger couple and Kartolo and Annie Landouw as an older couple, it was a commercial and critical success. Roekiah and Djoemala took leading roles in three more films before Tan's closed in 1942, following the Japanese occupation of the country. Sorga Ka Toedjoe is now believed to be lost. (Full article...)

October 31

Michael Collins (S69-31742, restoration).jpg

Michael Collins (born October 31, 1930) is a former astronaut and test pilot who was the command module pilot of Apollo 11 in 1969. The first person to perform more than one spacewalk, he is one of 24 people to have flown to the Moon. Collins joined the U.S. Air Force after graduating from West Point in 1952. He graduated in 1960 from the Air Force Experimental Flight Test Pilot School and was selected for NASA's third group of astronauts in 1963. He made two spacewalks on his first mission on Gemini 10 in 1966. During Apollo 11, he remained in orbit around the Moon in the command module Columbia while his crewmates Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin made the first crewed landing on the surface. After retiring from NASA, Collins became Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs and later director of the National Air and Space Museum. Under his guidance, the museum opened on time and within budget for the United States Bicentennial in 1976. (Full article...)