Wikipedia:Main Page queue

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Featured article
December 18
Galaxy1.jpg

Galaxy Science Fiction was an American digest-size science fiction magazine, published from 1950 to 1980. It was founded by World Editions and sold two years later to Robert Guinn, the magazine's printer. Its first editor, H. L. Gold, rapidly made Galaxy the leading science fiction magazine of its time, focusing on stories about social issues rather than technology, including Ray Bradbury's "The Fireman" (later expanded as Fahrenheit 451), Robert A. Heinlein's The Puppet Masters, and Alfred Bester's The Demolished Man. Frederik Pohl, who had been doing most of the production work for some time, took over as editor officially in 1961. Until his departure in 1969, Galaxy had continued success, regularly publishing fiction by writers such as Cordwainer Smith, Jack Vance, Harlan Ellison, and Robert Silverberg. At its peak, Galaxy greatly influenced the science fiction field. Gold brought a "sophisticated intellectual subtlety" to magazine science fiction, according to Pohl. Historian David Kyle suggests that Gold's new direction led to the experimental New Wave, the defining science fiction literary movement of the 1960s. (Full article...)

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Comb

A black plastic comb. Toothed devices used for styling, cleaning and managing hair and scalp, combs have been used since prehistoric times, and examples date back to 5,000 years. Combs vary in shape according to function, and can be made out of a number of materials. Most combs are plastic, metal, or wood; ivory combs were also once common.

Photograph: Chris Woodrich
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Featured list
December 18
Sir Robert Walpole
Sir Robert Walpole

The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom is the head of the Government of the United Kingdom, and chairs Cabinet meetings. There is no specific date when the office of Prime Minister first appeared, as the role was not created but rather evolved over a period of time. The term was used in the House of Commons in 1805 and it was certainly in parliamentary use by the 1880s, and in 1905 the post of Prime Minister was officially given recognition in the order of precedence. Modern historians generally consider Sir Robert Walpole (pictured), who led the government of Great Britain from 1721 to 1742, as the first Prime Minister. Walpole is also the longest-serving Prime Minister by this definition. However, Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman was the first Prime Minister and Margaret Thatcher the longest-serving Prime Minister to have been officially referred to as such. Due to the gradual evolution of the post of Prime Minister, the title is applied to early Prime Ministers only retrospectively; this has sometimes given rise to academic dispute. (Full list...)

On this day

December 18: National Day in Qatar (1878)

Epimetheus
Epimetheus

James Watney (b. 1800) · Ty Cobb (b. 1886) · Alexei Kosygin (d. 1980)

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Tomorrow

Featured article
December 19

Chad Harris-Crane is a fictional character on the American soap opera Passions, which aired on NBC from 1999 to 2007 and on DirecTV in 2007–08. Developed by the soap's creator and head writer James E. Reilly, Chad was portrayed by Donn Swaby (1999 to 2002) and Charles Divins (2002 to 2007). The son of the evil patriarch Alistair Crane of the Crane family, Chad becomes involved in a love triangle with the sisters Whitney and Simone Russell. He is initially believed to be Whitney's half-brother, but is revealed to be her adoptive cousin. His later storylines focus on his confusion over his sexual identity; his relationship with tabloid reporter Vincent Clarkson includes a depiction of the two men having sex, the first such scene in any daytime soap opera. Chad attempts to reconcile with Whitney before being killed by Alistair. Critical response to Chad was mixed; some reviewers praised the handling of the incest storyline and the representation of LGBT characters of color on daytime television, while others criticized his relationship with Vincent as an irresponsible representation of racial and sexual identity. (Full article...)

Part of the Russell family (Passions) series, one of Wikipedia's featured topics.

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The Umbrellas

The Umbrellas is an oil painting on canvas by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, painted in two phases in the 1880s. It depicts a busy street scene in Paris, with most of the people depicted using umbrellas against the rain. The principal female figure to the left of the frame, modelled by Renoir's lover and frequent subject Suzanne Valadon, holds up her skirt against the mud and water on the road as she carries a hatbox, but has no hat, raincoat or umbrella. The painting is owned by the National Gallery in London as part of the Lane Bequest.

Painting: Pierre-Auguste Renoir
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On this day

December 19: Liberation Day in Goa (1961)

Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens

J. M. W. Turner (d. 1851) · Ann Bishop (b. 1899) · Dwight Macdonald (d. 1982)  · Stella Gibbons (d. 1989)

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In two days

Featured article
December 20
1904 Guilden Morden boar drawing.png

The Guilden Morden boar is a sixth- or seventh-century Anglo-Saxon copper alloy figure of a boar that may have once served as the crest of a helmet. It was found around 1864 or 1865 in a grave in the village of Guilden Morden in Cambridgeshire. Herbert George Fordham, whose father discovered the boar, donated it to the British Museum in 1904, where it is now displayed. It is simply designed, with a prominent mane; eyes, eyebrows, nostrils and tusks are only faintly present. A pin and socket design formed by the front and hind legs suggests that the boar was mounted on another object, such as a helmet. Boar-crested helmets are a staple of Anglo-Saxon imagery, evidence of a Germanic tradition in which the boar invoked the protection of the gods. They may have been common, and in the Anglo-Saxon poem Beowulf, boar-adorned helmets are mentioned five times. The Guilden Morden boar is one of three known to have survived to the present, together with the ones on helmets from Benty Grange and Wollaston. (Full article...)

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Salak

Salak (Salacca zalacca) is the fruit of a species of palm tree native to Java and Sumatra in Indonesia. The fruits grow in clusters at the base of the palm, and are also known as snake fruit due to the reddish-brown scaly skin. Individual fruits are about the size and shape of a ripe fig, with a distinct tip that can be pinched to peel the fruit. Inside the fruit are three edible lobes, which resemble and have the consistency of peeled garlic cloves. The taste is usually sweet and acidic, with a strong astringent edge.

Photograph: Chris Woodrich
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On this day

December 20: Yaldā Night in Iran (2017)

Cardiff City Hall
Cardiff City Hall

Robert Menzies (b. 1894) · Elizabeth Kekaaniau (d. 1928) · Jon Burge (b. 1947) · Beatrice Beeby (d. 1991) ·

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In three days

Featured article
December 21
BayerMusca.jpg

Musca (Latin: fly) is a small constellation in the deep southern sky. It was one of twelve constellations created by Petrus Plancius from the observations of Pieter Dirkszoon Keyser and Frederick de Houtman, first appearing on a 35-cm (14 in) diameter celestial globe by Plancius and Jodocus Hondius published in 1597 or 1598 in Amsterdam. The first depiction in a celestial atlas was in Johann Bayer's Uranometria of 1603. Musca remains below the horizon for most Northern Hemisphere observers. Many of the constellation's brighter stars are in the Scorpius–Centaurus Association, hot blue-white stars that appear to share a common origin and motion across the Milky Way. These include Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Zeta2 and (likely) Eta Muscae, as well as HD 100546, a blue-white Herbig Ae/Be star that is surrounded by a complex debris disk containing a large planet or brown dwarf and possible protoplanet. Two further star systems have been found to have planets. The constellation also contains two Cepheid variables visible to the naked eye. Theta Muscae is a triple star system, the brightest member of which is a Wolf–Rayet star. (Full article...)

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Peter and Paul Fortress

Peter and Paul Fortress is the original citadel of St. Petersburg, Russia, founded by Czar Peter the Great in 1703 and built to Domenico Trezzini's designs from 1706 to 1740. Through the early 1920s, it was used as a prison and execution ground by the Bolshevik government. Since then, it has been adapted as the central and most important part of the State Museum of the History of St. Petersburg, which occupies most of the fortress building save the structure occupied by the Saint Petersburg Mint.

Photograph: Andrew Shiva
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On this day

December 21: December solstice (16:28 UTC, 2017), Yule

Emma Goldman
Emma Goldman

Giovanni Boccaccio (d. 1375) · Benjamin Disraeli (b. 1804) · Iris Cummings (b. 1920)

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In four days

Featured article
December 22

Blast Corps is an action video game for the Nintendo 64, released worldwide on December 22, 1997, in which the player uses vehicles to destroy buildings in the path of a runaway nuclear missile carrier. Through the game's 57 levels, the player solves puzzles by choosing vehicles to move objects and bridge gaps. The game was developed at Rare by a small team of recent graduates over the course of a year. They were inspired, in part, by the puzzle elements of Donkey Kong (1994). Nintendo published and released Blast Corps to critical acclaim in March 1997 in Japan and North America, with a wider release at the year's end. The game received several editor's choice awards and Metacritic's second highest Nintendo 64 ratings of 1997, but sold below the team's expectations at one million copies. Reviewers praised the game's originality, variety, and graphics, but some critiqued its controls and repetition. Reviewers of the 2015 Rare Replay retrospective compilation noted Blast Corps as a standout title. (Full article...)

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Levi Woodbury

Levi Woodbury (1789–1851) was an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, a U.S. Senator, the 9th Governor of New Hampshire, and a cabinet member in three U.S. administrations. Over the course of his political career, he was affiliated with the Democratic Party of Andrew Jackson. At the 1848 Democratic National Convention, he received significant support for the presidential nomination, but lost to Lewis Cass.

Engraving: Bureau of Engraving and Printing; restoration: Andrew Shiva
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December 22
2016 recipient Claressa Shields
2016 recipient Claressa Shields

The Val Barker Trophy is presented every four years to the most "outstanding boxer" at the Olympic Games. In theory, the award goes to the top "pound for pound" boxer in the Olympics. The winner is selected by a committee of International Boxing Association (amateur) (AIBA) officials. The trophy is named after British boxer Val Barker who won the Amateur Boxing Association of England heavyweight title in 1891, before becoming the secretary of the AIBA between 1926 and 1929. The inaugural recipient of the Val Barker Trophy was American flyweight Louis Laurie who won bronze at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin. He is one of just three boxers who did not win gold at the same Olympics in which they were presented with the trophy. American boxers are the most successful with six awards, while Kazakhstani boxers have won the trophy on three occasions. In the 2016 Games, two Val Barker Trophies were presented for the first time, one for men and one for women. (Full list...)

On this day

December 22

President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan
President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan

Peggy Ashcroft (b. 1907) · Samuel Beckett (d. 1989) ·

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In five days

Featured article
December 23

Mortimer Wheeler (1890–1976) was a British archaeologist and army officer who served as Director of the National Museum of Wales and the London Museum, headed the Archaeological Survey of India, and wrote twenty-four books on archaeology. He argued that excavation and the recording of stratigraphic context required an increasingly scientific and methodical approach, developing the "Wheeler Method". In 1934, he established the Institute of Archaeology as part of the federal University of London, becoming its Honorary Director and overseeing excavations of the Roman sites at Lydney Park and Verulamium and the Iron Age hill fort of Maiden Castle. During World War II, he rose to the rank of brigadier, serving in the North African Campaign and the Allied invasion of Italy. In India, he oversaw excavations of sites at Harappa, Arikamedu, and Brahmagiri. In later life, his popular books, cruise ship lectures, and appearances on radio and television, particularly the BBC series Animal, Vegetable, Mineral?, helped to bring archaeology to a mass audience. Appointed Honorary Secretary of the British Academy, he raised large sums of money for archaeological projects. (Full article...)

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Cheomseongdae

Cheomseongdae is an astronomical observatory in Gyeongju, South Korea. It is the oldest surviving astronomical observatory in Asia. It was constructed in the 7th century in the kingdom of Silla. Cheomseongdae was designated as South Korea's 31st national treasure in 1962. Modeled on Baekje's Jeomseongdae, which now exists only in historical records, Cheomseongdae influenced the construction of a Japanese observatory in 675, and Duke Zhou's observatory in China in 723.

Photograph: Matt and Nayoung Wilson
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On this day

December 23: Night of the Radishes in Oaxaca City, Mexico; The Emperor's Birthday in Japan; Festivus

Coelacanth (preserved specimen)
Coelacanth (preserved specimen)

Jean-François Champollion (b. 1790) ·

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In six days

Featured article
December 24
Us mil Foxworthy 0411 cropped.JPG

The American Bible Challenge (2012–2014) is a Biblical-themed American television game show created by Game Show Network. The series is hosted by Jeff Foxworthy (pictured), joined by Kirk Franklin in the second season. Each season of the series is played as a nine-episode tournament with six episodes of opening rounds, two semi-finals, and a final. Each opening round starts with three teams of three contestants answering questions about the Bible. One contestant from each team participates in the following round. The two highest-scoring teams compete in a final one-minute round, and a $20,000 prize is donated to a charity of the winning team's choice. Over the course of the season, winning teams advance to semi-final games and then to a final game with a grand prize of $100,000, for a total possible payout of $140,000 for the season winner's charity. The show became GSN's highest rated original program in the history of the network. In 2014, the show received a nomination at the 41st Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Game Show, and Foxworthy was nominated as Outstanding Game Show Host. (Full article...)

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Confocal microscope image

An osteosarcoma cell that was stained with phalloidin to visualise actin and imaged using a confocal microscope. It was then deconvoluted using a point spread function and colour coded to better show the position of the filaments.

Photograph: Howard Vindin
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On this day

December 24: Christmas Eve (Gregorian calendar)

Earthrise as seen by the crew of Apollo 8
Earthrise as seen by the crew of Apollo 8

Vasco da Gama (d. 1524) · Adam Mickiewicz (b. 1798) · Cosima Wagner (b. 1837)  · George I of Greece (b. 1845)

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In seven days

Featured article
December 25
Quaidportrait.jpg

Muhammad Ali Jinnah (25 December 1876  – 11 September 1948) is honoured as the founder of Pakistan, where his birthday is observed as a national holiday. He served as leader of the All-India Muslim League from 1913 until Pakistan's independence from Great Britain in 1947, and then as the first Governor-General of Pakistan until his death. Jinnah rose to prominence in the Indian National Congress in the first two decades of the 20th century. In these early years of his political career, he advocated HinduMuslim unity, helping to shape the 1916 Lucknow Pact between the Congress and the All-India Muslim League. By 1940, he had come to believe that Muslims of the Indian subcontinent should have their own state. As the first leader of Pakistan, he worked to establish the nation's government and policies, and to aid the millions of Muslim migrants who had emigrated from the new nation of India to Pakistan after independence, personally supervising the establishment of refugee camps. Several universities and public buildings in Pakistan bear Jinnah's name. (Full article...)

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Nativity (Christus)

Nativity is a devotional mid-1450s oil-on-wood panel painting by the Early Netherlandish painter Petrus Christus. It shows a nativity scene—the birth of the Christ Child as narrated in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke—with grisaille archways and trompe-l'œil sculptured reliefs. The panel, which may have once been part of a triptych, was acquired by Andrew Mellon in the 1930s. One of several hundred works from Mellon's personal collection donated to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, Nativity was restored in the early 1990s.

Painting: Petrus Christus
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December 25
Church of St Mary and St Michael, Bonds
Church of St Mary and St Michael, Bonds

English architect E. G. Paley designed nearly 50 new, rebuilt, and restored churches. Paley partnered with Edmund Sharpe in 1845, and by 1847 Paley was responsible for most of the firm's work, carrying out commissions independently from at least 1849. During the time Paley was being trained by Sharpe the practice was involved mainly with ecclesiastical work, although it also undertook commissions for country houses and smaller projects. When Paley became sole principal in 1856, he continued to work mainly on churches, designing new ones and restoring, rebuilding, and making additions and alterations to existing churches. In almost all his designs, Paley used the Gothic Revival style, initially with Early English or Decorated features. During the early 1860s he introduced Perpendicular features. Paley was an Anglican and most of his ecclesiastical work was carried out on Church of England churches: exceptions include St Mary and St Michael, Bonds (pictured), and St Peter, Lancaster, both Roman Catholic, and Clark Street Congregational Church, Morecambe. (Full list...)

On this day

December 25: Christmas (Gregorian calendar); Quaid-e-Azam Day (Pakistan)

St Mel's Cathedral
St Mel's Cathedral

Leo V the Armenian (d. 820) · Nina E. Allender (b. 1873)

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