Fun Facts for Today

June 24

It’s Deaf-Blindness Awareness Week and Swim a Lap Day


451AD The tenth recorded perihelion passage of Halley’s Comet
1314 In the Battle of Bannockburn, the decisive victory for Scottish independence, forces led by Robert Bruce, king of Scotland, defeat the troops of English king Edward II
1374 A sudden outbreak of St. John’s Dance causes people in the streets of Aachen, Germany, to experience hallucinations and begin to jump and twitch uncontrollably until they collapse from exhaustion
1441 Eton College is founded
1497 An English expedition led by John Cabot makes the first recorded sighting of North America by a European, landing at what may have been Cape Breton Island
1509 Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon crowned King and Queen of England
1534 Jacques Cartier makes the European discovery of Prince Edward Island
1571 Miguel Lopez de Legazpi founded Manila, the capital of the Republic of the Philippines
1597 The first Dutch voyage to the East Indies reaches Bantam on Java
1664 The colony of New Jersey is founded
1692 Kingston, Jamaica is founded
1717The Grand Lodge of England, the first Freemasonic Grand Lodge is founded in London
1793 The first republican constitution in France is adopted
1812 Napoleon’s invasion of Russia begins
1821 Venezuela gains total independence from Spain
1861 Tennessee becomes the 11th and last state to secede from the US
1873 Samuel Clemens (the author known as Mark Twain) received a US patent for a self-pasting scrapbook
1881 Sir William Huggins made the first photographic spectrum of a comet and discovered the cyanogen emission at violet wavelengths
1898 A US commemorative stamp was first used that carried the design of a major engineering construction project, the Mississippi River Bridge, a triple-arch steel bridge between East St. Louis, IL and St. Louis, MO
1901 Pablo Picasso has his first exhibit in Paris, at the age of 19
1902 King Edward VII of the United Kingdom develops appendicitis, delaying his coronation
1910 Japan invades Korea
1913Alan Alexander Milne (future creator of Winnie-the-Pooh) marries Daphne de Selincourt. In 1920, they will have a son and name him Christopher Robin
1916 Mary Pickford becomes first film star to get million dollar contract
1922 German nationalists assassinate foreign minister Walther Rathenau, a German Jew, in response to his policy of paying reparations for Germany’s role in World War I
1930 The first radar detection of aircraft took place at Anacostia, DC
1932 A military coup ends the absolute power of the king of Siam (Thailand)
1940 France and Italy sign an armistice
1947 First known sighting of UFOs: Kenneth Arnold, flying over Washington, notices nine luminous disks in the form of saucers
1948 The start of the Berlin Blockade; the Soviet Union makes overland travel between the West with West Berlin impossible
1949 The first television western, Hopalong Cassidy, begins on NBC-TV starring William Boyd
1959 Disney’s Darby O’Gill and the Little People premieres in Dublin, Ireland
1963 The first demonstration of a home video recorder was made at the BBC News Studios in London
1963 Zanzibar is granted internal self-government by the UK
1964 The Federal Trade Commission requires that a message be placed on all cigarette packages that warns consumers that cigarette smoking is dangerous to their health
1974 The UPC label is used for the first time to ring up purchases at a supermarket
1975 A moon tremor, caused by a strike of Taurid meteors, was detected by the seismometer network left on the Moon’s surface by American astronauts
1981 For what would be the world’s longest single-span suspension bridge for 17 years, the Humber Bridge, connecting Yorkshire and Lincolnshire, opens
1993 Yale computer science professor Dr. David Gelernter loses the sight in one eye, the hearing in one ear, and part of his right hand after receiving a mail bomb from the Unabomber
2004 In New York, capital punishment was declared unconstitutional
2006 The Disneyland Resort hosts a world premiere event for the new feature film Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest
2006 Patricia Arquette and Thomas Jane are married
2007 The Angora Fire starts near South Lake Tahoe, CA destroying 200+ structures in its first 48 hours

1839 Gustavus Swift, manufacturer and inventor of the first refrigerated railroad cars
1842 Ambrose Bierce, editorialist, journalist, short-story writer and satirist; today, he is best known for his short story, “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” and his satirical dictionary, The Devil’s Dictionary
1852 Friedrich August Johannes Löffler, bacteriologist who discovered the organism that causes diphtheria, Corynebacterium diphtheriae
1883 Victor Francis Hess, physicist who was a joint recipient of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1936 for his discovery of cosmic rays, high-energy radiation originating in outer space
1895 Jack Dempsey, boxer who held the world heavyweight title from 1919 to 1926
1904 Phil Harris, bandleader of the 1940’s and a radio, film, and TV actor (The Jungle Book, Robin Hood, The AristoCats, Rock-A-Doodle)
1909 William Penney, nuclear physicist who led Britain’s development of the atomic bomb
1915 Sir Fred Hoyle, mathematician and astronomer, best known as the foremost proponent and defender of the steady-state theory of the universe; this theory holds both that the universe is expanding and that matter is being continuously created to keep the mean density of matter in space constant
1927 Martin Perl, physicist who received the 1995 Nobel Prize for Physics for discovering a subatomic particle that he named the tau, a massive lepton with a negative charge
1938 Lawrence Block, crime writer best known for two long-running New York-set series, about the recovering alcoholic P.I. Matthew Scudder and gentleman burglar Bernie Rhodenbarr; he was named a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America in 1993
1942 Michele Lee, actress (Knots Landing, The Love Bug, Alias Smith and Jones, Along Comes Polly)
1943 Georg Stanford Brown, actor and Emmy Award-winning director (Cagney & Lacey, The Rookies, Mystery Woman)
1947 Peter Weller, actor (The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension, RoboCop, Leviathan, Odyssey 5, 24)
1950 Mercedes Lackey, prolific author of fantasy novels
1950 Nancy Allen, actress (1941, I Wanna Hold Your Hand, Carrie, Dressed to Kill, RoboCop, Out of Sight)
1951 Simon Rouse, actor (The Bill, Doctor Who)
1956 Joe Penny, actor (Mother, Juggs & Speed (TV), Riptide, Jake and the Fatman, Jane Doe)
1961 Iain Glen, actor (Gorillas in the Mist, Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, Beautiful Creatures, Resident Evil: Apocalypse)
1966 Adrienne Shelly, actress, writer, director (Waitress, Trust, Hexed, The Unbelievable Truth)

1908 Grover Cleveland, both the 22nd (1885-89) and 24th (1893-97) President of the United States, 28th Governor of New York (1883-85), dies of a heart attack at 71
1950 Charles Lanier Lawrance, aeronautical engineer who designed the first successful air-cooled aircraft engine, used on many historic early flights; he also designed a new type of wing section with an exceptionally good lift-to-drag ratio, dies at 67
1968 Hattie Elizabeth Alexander, pediatrician and microbiologist whose groundbreaking work on influenzal meningitis significantly reduced infant death rates and advanced the field of microbiological genetics, dies at 67
1985 Valentine Dyall, actor (The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, The Chronicle History of King Henry the Fift with His Battell Fought at Agincourt in France, The Wrong Box, Secret Army, Doctor Who), dies at 77
1987 Jackie Gleason, actor, comedian, composer, conductor (The Honeymooners, The Hustler, Larceny Inc., Smokey and the Bandit), dies at 71
1997 Brian Keith, actor (The Family Affair, The Parent Trap, Hardcastle and McCormick, The Rare Breed, The Westerner), commits suicide at 75
2000 David Tomlinson, actor (Mary Poppins, The Love Bug, Bedknobs and Broomsticks), dies at 83
2005 Paul Winchell, voice actor and ventriloquist who was also an amateur inventor who was the first person to build and patent a mechanical artificial heart that was implantable in the chest cavity but he’s certainly best known for voicing the character Tigger in Disney’s Winnie the Pooh films, and won a Grammy for his performance in Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too, dies at 82

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