Fun Facts for Today – February 24

February 24

It’s National Tortilla Chip Day


0303 Galerius, Roman Emperor, publishes his edict that begins the persecution of Christians in his portion of the Empire
1582 Pope Gregory XIII signs a papal bull introducing the Gregorian calendar, which corrects the Julian calendar, eliminating 10 days in October 1582
1803 Marbury v. Madison establishes the authority of the Supreme Court of the United States to decide whether acts of Congress are legitimate under the US Constitution
1821 Mexico declares independence from Spain
1839 William S. Otis received a patent for the steam shovel
1863 Arizona, formerly part of the Territory of New Mexico, was organized as a separate territory
1868 The first parade to use floats occurred in New Orleans at Mardi Gras
1871 Charles Darwin’s Descent of Man was published in London
1887 Paris and Brussels become the first two capital cities to be linked by telephone
1900 New York City Mayor Van Wyck signed the contract to begin work on New York’s first rapid transit tunnel; the tunnel would link Manhattan and Brooklyn
1909 The Hudson Motor Car Company is founded
1920 The Nazi Party is organized in Germany
1938 Nylon is produced for the first time in Arlington, NJ; it is used for toothbrush bristles
1942 Mistaking a weather balloon that strayed over Los Angeles for a Japanese bomber, the army unleashes a saturation antiaircraft barrage; three civilians are trampled to death in the attending panic, and dozens more injured by falling shrapnel
1946 Juan Perón is elected for the first of three presidential terms in Argentina
1949 A two-stage rocket was launched from the White Sands Proving Grounds, NM; it was the first to reach outer space
1951 Friz Freleng’s short Putty Tat Trouble starring Tweety Bird and Sylvester Cat is released in the US
1956 Police in Cleveland, OH invoke a 1931 ordinance barring people under the age of eighteen from dancing in public unless accompanied by an adult
1956 The Disney short Chips Ahoy, featuring Donald Duck and Chip ‘n’ Dale, is released in the US
1960 Kidnapped, starring Peter Finch, Peter O’Toole, and James MacArthur is released in the US
1968 Nature carried the announcement of the discovery of pulsars (pulsating radio sources)
1970 National Public Radio is founded
1979 The single “Roxanne” was released by The Police
1980 The US hockey team defeated Finland to win the gold medal at the Lake Placid Olympics
1981 Buckingham Palace announced the engagement of Britain’s Prince Charles to Lady Diana Spencer
1982 John Lennon is awarded a posthumous Grammy for “Double Fantasy”
1988 Alice Cooper announced he would run for Governor of Arizona as a member of the “Wild Party”
1989 A 150-million-year-old fossil egg discovered in Utah was found by CAT scan to contain the oldest dinosaur embryo; the egg was still inside the mother
1992 Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love were married

1663 Thomas Newcomen, inventor of the the world’s first successful atmospheric steam engine
1697 Bernard Siegfried Albinus, anatomist who was the first to show the connection of the vascular systems of the mother and the fetus
1709 Jacques de Vaucanson, inventor of automata – robot devices of later significance for modern industry; he produced a transverse flute player, a pipe and tabor player, and a mechanical duck, which was especially noteworthy, not only imitating the motions of a live duck, but also the motions of drinking, eating, and “digesting”
1786 Wilhelm Carl Grimm, philologist and folklorist
1804 Heinrich Lenz, physicist who framed Lenz’s Law to describe the direction of flow of electric current generated by a wire moving through a magnetic field
1836 Winslow Homer, landscape painter and printmaker, most famous for his marine subjects
1840 John Philip Holland, inventor, “father of the modern submarine,” who designed and built the first underwater vessel accepted by the US Navy
1890 Marjorie Main, actress (Dead End, The Harvey Girls, Ma and Pa Kettle series)
1921 Abe Vigoda, character actor (Barney Miller, The Cheap Detective, Underworld, Joe Versus the Volcano)
1922 Steven Hill, actor (Law & Order, The Firm, Yentl, Mission: Impossible)
1932 John Vernon, actor (Dirty Harry, The Questor Tapes, National Lampoon’s Animal House, I’m Gonna Git You Sucka)
1932 Michel Legrand, three-time Academy Award-winning composer (Yentl, Summer of ’42, The Thomas Crown Affair for the song “The Windmills of Your Mind”)
1938 James Farentino, actor (The Final Countdown, Dynasty, Blue Thunder)
1940 Pete Duel (Peter Deuel), actor (Alias Smith and Jones, Love on a Rooftop, Gidget)
1945 Barry Bostwick, actor (The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Spin City, George Washington, Nancy Drew)
1947 Edward James Olmos, Emmy Award-winning actor (Miami Vice, Battlestar Galactica, Selena, Blade Runner, Stand and Deliver)
1948 Dennis Waterman, actor (New Tricks, Minder, The Sweeney)
1955 Steve Jobs, co-founder, Chairman and CEO of Apple Inc. who helped popularize the personal computer in the late 1970’s
1964 Bill Bailey, comedian-actor-writer-musician (Never Mind The Buzzcocks, Black Books, Saving Grace, Hot Fuzz)
1966 Billy Zane, actor (Back to the Future, Orlando, Tombstone, The Phantom)

1810 Henry Cavendish, physicist and chemist who, researching in his own private laboratory, identified hydrogen as a separate gas, studied carbon dioxide, and determined their densities relative to atmospheric air, dies at 78
1815 Robert Fulton, inventor, engineer, and artist who brought steamboating from the experimental stage to commercial success, dies at 49
1875 Marc Séguin, the Elder, engineer and inventor of the wire-cable suspension bridge and the tubular steam-engine boiler, dies at 88
1947 Pierre-Marie-Félix Janet, psychopathologist and neurologist influential in bringing about in France and the United States a connection between academic psychology and the clinical treatment of mental illnesses, dies at 87
1970 Conrad Nagel, prolific actor who survived the transition from silents to sound films (Little Women (1918), London After Midnight, Stage Struck), dies at 82
1991 George Gobel, Emmy Award-winning comedian (1955’s “Most Outstanding New Personality”), dies at 71
1994 Dinah Shore, multiple Emmy Award-winning entertainer (The Dinah Shore Show, Dinah!), dies at 77
1998 Henny Youngman, actor-comedian known for his snappy, irreverent one-liners, dies at 91
2006 Octavia Butler, Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author (Bloodchild, Speech Sounds, Parable of the Talents), dies at 58
2006 Don Knotts, five-time Emmy Award-winning actor (The Andy Griffith Show, Pleasantville, The Ghost and Mr. Chicken, The Shakiest Gun in the West), dies at 81
2006 Dennis Weaver, Emmy Award-winning actor (Gunsmoke, McCloud, Gentle Ben, Duel), dies at 81

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