Fun Facts for Today – January 25

January 25

It’s Compliment Day



0041 After a night of negotiation, Claudius is accepted as Roman Emperor by the Senate
1504 The English Parliament passed statutes against retainers and liveries, to curb private warfare
1533 Henry VIII of England secretly marries his second wife Anne Boleyn
1798 Benjamin Thompson presented a paper to the Royal Society, “Enquiry concerning the Source of Heat which is excited by Friction”, in which he presented the idea that heat represents a form of motion, as opposed to the prevailing idea of being a fluid
1799 Eliakim Spooner patented the seeding machine
1839 Michael Faraday publicly announced for the first time the existence of photography as the subject of his Friday Evening Discourse at the Royal Institution
1858 Mendelssohn’s “Wedding March” was presented for the first time, as the daughter of Queen Victoria married the Crown Prince of Prussia
1864 Author Lewis Carroll asks illustrator Sir John Tenniel to illustrate his story Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
1870 Gustavus Dows of Lowell, MA received his first patent for an “Improved Soda Fountain” being the vessel in which carbon dioxide was injected, both forming the soda-water beverage, and delivering the drink using the internal pressure
1890 Nellie Bly bested Jules Verne’s Around the World in 80 Days by completing her circumnavigation in 72 days
1915 Alexander Graham Bell in New York spoke to his assistant, Thomas Watson, in San Francisco, inaugurating the first transcontinental telephone service
1921 Karel Capek’s play R.U.R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots) premieres; it introduces the word “robot”
1924 The first Winter Olympic games opened at Chamonix, France
1945 Grand Rapids, MI became the first US city to begin fluoridating the drinking water
1945 The Thin Man Goes Home, the fifth in the Thin Man series of films starring William Powell and Myrna Loy, premieres in New York City
1949 The first Emmy Awards are presented at the Hollywood Athletic Club
1952 The Autronic Eye, an automatic car headlamp beam control, was introduced to the public by General Motors
1955 Columbia University scientists developed an atomic clock accurate to within one second in 300 years
1961 President John F. Kennedy held the first presidential news conference carried live on radio and television
1961 Disney’s 17th animated feature film 101 Dalmatians premieres
1970 Robert Altman’s film M*A*S*H opens in the US
1971 Charles Manson and three female “Family” members are found guilty of the 1969 Tate-LaBianca murders
1971 Idi Amin leads a coup deposing Milton Obote and becomes Uganda’s president
1974 Dr. Christian Barnard transplanted the first human heart without the removal of the old one
1977 France inaugurated its first operational solar generating plant at Odeillo in the Pyranees of southwestern France
1980 Paul McCartney was released from a Tokyo jail where he had been imprisoned for nine days after trying to carry a half pound of marijuana through customs at the Tokyo airport
1981 Super Bowl XV: Oakland Raiders 27, Philadelphia Eagles 10; MVP: Oakland Raiders QB Jim Plunkett
1981 Mao’s widow Jiang Qing is sentenced to death
1993 Toontown holds its official grand opening festivities at Disneyland
1999 The Blair Witch Project premieres at the Sundance Film Festival
1999 In Louisville, KY, man received the first hand transplant in the US
2005 MirrorMask premieres at the Sundance Film Festival
2008 Rambo, hopefully the last of the film series, opens in theaters across the US


1627 Robert Boyle, chemist and natural philosopher noted for his pioneering experiments on the properties of gases and his espousal of a corpuscular view of matter that was a forerunner of the modern theory of chemical elements
1736 Comte De L’empire Joseph-Louis Lagrange, mathematician who made great contributions to the theory of numbers and to analytic and celestial mechanics
1741 Benedict Arnold, traitor
1759 Robert Burns, poet and a lyricist (“Auld Lang Syne,” “A Red, Red Rose”)
1774 George Dollond, optician who invented a number of precision instruments used in astronomy, geodesy, and navigation
1812 William Shanks, mathematician who spent numerous years manually calculating the value of pi
1869 Charles Lane, actor (Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Canary Murder Case, Sadie Thompson)
1874 William Somerset Maugham, playwright, novelist, and short story writer (Of Human Bondage, The Razor’s Edge)
1878 Ernst F.W. Alexanderson, electrical engineer and television pioneer who developed a high-frequency alternator (a device that converts direct current into alternating current) capable of producing continuous radio waves and thereby revolutionized radio communication
1882 Virginia Woolf, author (Mrs Dalloway, Orlando, To the Lighthouse)
1900 Theodosius Dobzhansky, geneticist and evolutionist whose work had a major influence on 20th-century thought and research on genetics and evolutionary theory
1905 Margery Sharp, children’s author (The Rescuers, Britannia Mews)
1917 Ilya Prigogine, physical chemist who received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1977 for contributions to nonequilibrium thermodynamics, or how life could continue indefinitely in apparent defiance of the classical laws of physics
1931 Dean Jones, actor (That Darn Cat!, The Love Bug, Jailhouse Rock)
1931 Harold Lloyd Jr., actor (Mutiny in Outer Space, Frankenstein’s Daughter)
1933 William J. Caunitz, author (One Police Plaza)
1936 Diana Hyland, Emmy Award-winning actress (The Boy in the Plastic Bubble, Eight is Enough)
1938 Etta James, singer/songwriter (“At Last,” “Trust In Me,” “Stop the Wedding,” “Fool That I Am”)
1943 Tobe Hooper, director (The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, Poltergeist, The Mangler)
1944 Leigh Taylor-Young, actress (I Love You, Alice B. Toklas!, Soylent Green, Dallas)
1958 Dinah Manoff, actress (Grease, Soap, Empty Nest)
1973 Geoff Johns, comic book author/screenwriter (Blade: The Series, The Flash, Teen Titans, Infinite Crisis)


1932 Maximilian von Frey, physiologist who studied the sense of touch, providing the first comprehensive information about the cutaneous senses, dies at 79
1941 Al Capone, gangster, dies at 48
1957 Kiyoshi Shiga, bacteriologist, who discovered (1897) the dysentery bacillus Shigella, named after him; Shigellosis is the infectious disease caused by this group of bacteria leading to diarrhea, fever, stomach cramps and possible hospitalization, dies at 85
1960 Beno Gutenberg, seismologist noted for his analyses of earthquake waves and the information they furnish about the physical properties of the Earth’s interior and with Charles Richter, he developed a method of determining the intensity of earthquakes, dies at 70
1963 Sir Isaac Shoenberg, electrical engineer and principal inventor of the first high-definition television system, as used by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) for the world’s first public high-definition telecast from London in 1936, dies at 82
1988 Colleen Moore, actress (Little Orphant Annie, The Sky Pilot, Ella Cinders, The Scarlet Letter), dies at 87
1990 Ava Gardner, actress (On the Beach, Knights of the Round Table, Ghosts on the Loose), dies at 67
1994 Stephen Cole Kleene, mathematician and logician whose work on recursion theory helped lay the foundations of theoretical computer science, dies at 85
1995 William Sylvester, actor (Gorgo, Devil Doll, 2001: A Space Odyssey), dies at 72

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