Wikipedia:Today's featured article/July 2017

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July 1
Flag of Canada

Canada is a North American country with ten provinces and three territories, bordering three oceans. The world's second-largest country by total area, it is sparsely populated and highly urbanized. One-third of its people live in the Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver metropolitan areas, and most of the rest live in other urban areas, including in Calgary, Edmonton, Quebec City, Winnipeg, Hamilton, and the capital, Ottawa. The British North America Act of July 1, 1867 (now celebrated as Canada Day) united the colonies of Canada, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia in the semi-autonomous federal Dominion of Canada, which became largely independent with the Statute of Westminster 1931. Bilingual in English and French at the federal level, Canada is one of the world's most ethnically diverse and multicultural nations, the product of large-scale immigration from many countries. Its advanced economy is the tenth largest in the world. It ranks among the highest in international measurements of government transparency, civil liberties, quality of life, economic freedom, and education. (Full article...)

July 2
Grey jay

The grey jay (Perisoreus canadensis) is a bird of the crow family, Corvidae. It is found in boreal forests of North America north to the tree line, and in the Rocky Mountains subalpine zone south to New Mexico and Arizona. A fairly large songbird, it has pale grey underparts, darker grey upperparts, and a grey-white head with a darker grey nape. Grey jays live on permanent territories in coniferous forests, surviving in winter months on food cached throughout their territory in warmer periods. The birds form monogamous mating pairs, accompanied by a juvenile from the previous season. Grey jays adapt to human activity in their territories and may approach humans for food. The species is associated with mythological figures of several First Nations cultures, including Wisakedjak, a benevolent figure whose name was anglicized to whisky jack, another name for the bird. In 2016, an expert panel and online poll conducted by Canadian Geographic magazine recommended the grey jay as the national bird of Canada. (Full article...)

July 3

A castle is a type of fortified structure, generally built in Europe and the Middle East during the Middle Ages. Usually the private residences of lords and nobles, castles ranged from hill forts and country houses to expansive keeps surrounded by curtain walls and fortified towers. After the fall of the Carolingian Empire in the ninth century, castles were used for defence, as bases for raiders, as centres of administration, and for controlling trade routes. As symbols of power, some grand castles had long winding approaches that dominated their landscape. In the late 12th and early 13th centuries, a scientific approach to castle defence emerged, leading to the proliferation of towers, with an emphasis on flanking fire. Many new castles were polygonal or relied on concentric stages of defence that could all function at the same time. Castle building began to decline in the 15th century, when artillery became powerful enough to break through stone walls. In the 18th and 19th centuries, mock castles with no military purpose epitomized the Romantic revival of Gothic architecture. (Full article...)

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July 4
A worn-out baseball
A worn-out baseball

Baseball is a bat-and-ball sport, played on a field with bases arranged in a diamond. After batters hit a thrown ball, they and any teammates on a base can try to advance to another base, scoring a run when they return to the home base. The batting team hits against the pitcher of the fielding team, which tries to get players out (off the field), usually by striking them out, catching a hit ball, throwing to a base that players have to run to, or tagging them with the ball between bases. After three outs, the teams trade places, and after three more, the next inning begins. Professional games last at least into the ninth inning. Evolving from older bat-and-ball games, an early form of baseball was being played in England by the mid-eighteenth century. This game and the related rounders were brought by British and Irish immigrants to North America, where the modern version of baseball developed. By the late nineteenth century, baseball was widely recognized as the national sport of the United States. Baseball has become popular in North America and parts of Central and South America, the Caribbean, and East Asia, particularly Japan. (Full article...)

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July 5

Head VI is a 1949 painting by the Irish-born, English figurative artist Francis Bacon. It is the last of six panels making up his "1949 Head" series, which are largely modeled on Diego Velázquez's Portrait of Innocent X. Applying forceful, expressive brush strokes, Bacon placed the figure within a draped glass cage. The intended effect is of a man trapped and suffocated by his surroundings, screaming into an airless void. Head VI was the first of Bacon's paintings to reference Velázquez, whose portrait of Pope Innocent X haunted Bacon and inspired his series of over 45 "screaming popes". Head VI contains many figurations that were to reappear throughout his career; the geometric cages are present as late as the 1985–86 Study for a Self-Portrait—Triptych. In 1949 Bacon was a highly controversial artist, best known for his 1944 Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion, and as the enfant terrible of British art. The curator Lawrence Gowing wrote that the "shock of the picture, when it was seen with a whole series of heads ... was indescribable. It was everything unpardonable." Today the panel is considered among Bacon's finest. (Full article...)

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July 6
S. S. Rajamouli and Samantha Ruth Prabhu during the filming of the song "Konchem Konchem"
S. S. Rajamouli and Samantha Ruth Prabhu

Eega (The Fly) is an Indian bilingual fantasy film released on 6 July 2012, written by K. V. Vijayendra Prasad and directed by his son, S. S. Rajamouli. It was produced by Korrapati Ranganatha Sai's production house Varahi Chalana Chitram with an estimated budget of 260 to 400 million, simultaneously in Telugu and Tamil. The film stars Sudeep, Nani and Samantha Ruth Prabhu (pictured with the director). The narrative is in the form of a bedtime story told by a father to his daughter. Its protagonist is Nani, who is in love with his neighbour Bindu. Nani is murdered by a wealthy businessman named Sudeep, who is attracted to Bindu and considers Nani a rival. Nani reincarnates as a housefly and tries to protect Bindu while avenging his death. The film's production began in 2010 at Ramanaidu Studios in Hyderabad, and principal photography ran from early 2011 to early 2012. The two versions of the film, alongside a Malayalam-dubbed version titled Eecha, were released globally on approximately 1,100 screens. Screened at international film festivals, Eega won two National Film Awards, five Filmfare Awards, and three South Indian International Movie Awards. (Full article...)

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July 7
John, Paul, George and Ringo (who was born 7 July 1940)

The Beatles were an English rock band formed in Liverpool in 1960. John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and George Harrison were joined by Ringo Starr two years later. Rooted in skiffle, beat and 1950s rock and roll, they later experimented with musical styles ranging from pop ballads and Indian music to psychedelia and hard rock. They incorporated classical elements and unconventional recording techniques. Manager Brian Epstein moulded them into a professional act, and producer George Martin guided and developed their recordings. Beatlemania took hold in 1963, as the group began to embody the ideals shared by the counterculture of the 1960s. They led the British Invasion of the US pop market in 1964. After their break-up in 1970, they each enjoyed successful musical careers, in which McCartney and Starr remain active. (Lennon was shot and killed in 1980; Harrison died of cancer in 2001.) The Beatles became the best-selling band in history, with estimated sales of over 600 million records worldwide, and they top various sales and most-played lists, including most UK singles sold and most number-one hits on the Hot 100 chart. (Full article...)

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July 8
Cave interior

Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve is a protected area in the northern Siskiyou Mountains of southwestern Oregon near the California border, managed since 1933 by the US National Park Service. The 4,554-acre (1,843 ha) park features a marble cave that was discovered in 1874. Three years after President Theodore Roosevelt signed the Antiquities Act of 1906, President William Howard Taft used it to establish Oregon Caves. In 2014 the protected area was expanded by about 4,000 acres (1,600 ha) and designated a National Monument and Preserve. Oregon Caves is a solutional cave, with passages totaling about 15,000 feet (4,600 m), formed in marble. The parent rock was originally limestone that metamorphosed to marble during the geologic processes that created the Klamath Mountains, including the Siskiyous. Although the limestone formed about 190 million years ago, the cave itself is no older than a few million years. Another attraction at the park is the Oregon Caves Chateau, a six-story hotel built in a rustic style in 1934; it is a National Historic Landmark and is part of the Oregon Caves Historic District within the monument. (Full article...)

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July 9
Weird Tales, March 1942

Weird Tales is an American fantasy and horror fiction pulp magazine founded by J. C. Henneberger and J. M. Lansinger in March 1923. The first editor, Edwin Baird, printed early work by H. P. Lovecraft, Seabury Quinn, and Clark Ashton Smith, all of whom would go on to be popular writers. Under its second editor, Farnsworth Wright, its fiction included Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos stories, some of Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian stories, and Seabury Quinn's series about Jules de Grandin, a detective who specialized in the supernatural. When the magazine was launched there were none specializing in science fiction, and Wright included stories in that genre by Edmond Hamilton and others. After William Delaney took over as publisher, replacing Wright with Dorothy McIlwraith as editor in 1940, some successful new authors and artists, such as Ray Bradbury and Hannes Bok, continued to appear, but the magazine ceased publication in 1954. It was relaunched many times, including for one run of over 20 years that started in 1988. The magazine is regarded by historians of fantasy as one of the most influential in the genre. (Full article...)

July 10
Grace Sherwood memorial stone
Grace Sherwood memorial stone

Grace Sherwood (1660–1740), called the Witch of Pungo, is the last person known to have been convicted of witchcraft in Virginia. A farmer, healer, and midwife, she was charged with witchcraft several times. In 1706, she was accused of bewitching Elizabeth Hill and causing her to miscarry. The court ordered that Sherwood's guilt or innocence be determined by dunking her in water: if she sank, she was innocent; if she did not, she was guilty. Sherwood floated to the surface, and may have spent up to eight years in jail. After being freed from prison and recovering her property from Princess Anne County, she lived on her farm in Pungo from 1714 until her death at the age of about 80. On July 10, 2006, the 300th anniversary of Sherwood's conviction, Governor Tim Kaine reversed the miscarriage of justice and restored her good name. A statue depicting her was erected in Virginia Beach, close to the site of the colonial courthouse where she was tried. (Full article...)

July 11
Karl Urban
Karl Urban

Dredd is a 2012 science fiction action film directed by Pete Travis and written and produced by Alex Garland, released first on 11 July at the San Diego Comic-Con, and worldwide that September. Karl Urban (pictured) stars as Judge Dredd (based on the 2000 AD comic book character), a law enforcer given the power of judge, jury and executioner in a vast, post-apocalyptic metropolis called Mega-City One. Dredd and his apprentice partner, Judge Anderson (Olivia Thirlby), are instructed to bring order to a 200-storey high-rise block of flats and deal with its resident drug lord, Ma-Ma (Lena Headey). Produced by the British studio DNA Films, Dredd began principal photography, using 3D cameras throughout, in November 2010. Filming took place on practical sets and in Cape Town and Johannesburg. Critics were generally positive about the film's visual effects, casting and action, but found it too violent, and out of touch with the satire of the comic strip. It earned just over $41 million at the box office on an estimated budget of $30–45 million, but saw greater success following its home release, and has since been recognised as a cult film. (Full article...)

July 12
German tanks on the southern side of the Kursk salient at the start of Operation Citadel
German tanks during Operation Citadel

The Battle of Prokhorovka (12 July 1943), one of the largest tank battles in history, was fought between Waffen-SS units of Nazi Germany and Red Army units of the Soviet Union during the Second World War on the Eastern Front. The climax of the German offensive Operation Citadel, it resulted when the Soviet 5th Guards Tank Army intercepted the II SS-Panzer Corps of the German Wehrmacht near Prokhorovka. The Soviet forces were decimated in the attack, but succeeded in preventing the Wehrmacht from capturing Prokhorovka and breaking through the last heavily fortified defensive belt. With the Germans unable to accomplish their objective for Operation Citadel, they cancelled it and began redeploying their forces to deal with new pressing developments elsewhere. The failure of the operation marked the first time in the war that a major German offensive was halted before it could break through enemy defences. The Soviet Union permanently gained the strategic initiative, and Germany permanently lost the capacity to launch offensives of this scale on the Eastern Front. (Full article...)

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July 13
Harrison Ford (born July 13, 1942)
Harrison Ford

Blade Runner is a 1982 American neo-noir science fiction film directed by Ridley Scott, starring Harrison Ford (pictured), Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, and Edward James Olmos. It depicts a dystopian world in 2019, where genetically engineered humanoid replicants are used for dangerous work on off-world colonies. Four of them have illegally come to Los Angeles to confront the man who designed them. They are hunted by Rick Deckard (Ford), who is troubled by his relationship with Rachael, an advanced replicant. The film, a loose adaptation of the 1968 novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick, was written by Hampton Fancher and David Peoples. It polarized critics and underperformed in theaters, but won many awards and has since become a cult film. It was one of the first films released on DVD. Hailed for its tech noir production design, it was inducted into the National Film Registry in 1993, and is now highly regarded by many critics. In 2007 Warner Bros. released a remastered version. A sequel, Blade Runner 2049, is set for release in October 2017. (Full article...)

July 14
Special performance at The Santa Fe Opera

Noye's Fludde is a one-act opera written largely for young amateur performers, created by the British composer Benjamin Britten. First performed in 1958 at the annual Aldeburgh Festival, it is based on the 15th-century Chester "mystery" play which recounts the biblical story of Noah, the flood and the ark. Britten had written numerous works for mixed professionals and amateurs, and had also used text from the Chester play cycle, for his 1952 Canticle II. For Noye's Fludde he added to the Chester text three congregational hymns, together with the Greek prayer Kyrie eleison and an Alleluia chorus. Of the solo sung roles, only the parts of Noye (Noah) and his wife are intended to be sung by professionals; the remaining roles are taken by child and adolescent performers. The mainly amateur orchestra contains numerous unconventional instruments. At its premiere Noye's Fludde was acclaimed by critics and the public alike, both for the inspiration of the music and for the design and production. Since then it has been staged worldwide; the performance in Beijing in October 2012 was the first in China of any Britten opera. (Full article...)

July 15

God of War III is a third person action-adventure video game released in 2010 for the PlayStation 3 console, with a remastered version released for PlayStation 4 on July 14, 2015. The player controls Kratos, the former God of War, who was betrayed by his father Zeus. Reigniting the War of the Titans, Kratos ascends Mount Olympus and battles monsters, gods, and Titans in a quest to open Pandora's Box, defeat Zeus, and end the reign of the Olympian Gods. The gameplay focuses on combo-based combat and features quick time events to defeat stronger enemies and bosses. The game also features magical attacks, puzzles, and platforming elements. Critically acclaimed upon release, it won several awards, including "Most Anticipated Game of 2010" and "Best PS3 Game" at the 2009 and 2010 Spike Video Game Awards, respectively, and the "Artistic Achievement" award at the 2011 British Academy of Film and Television Arts Video Game Awards. It is the best-selling game in the God of War series and ninth among all PlayStation 3 games, with nearly 5.2 million copies sold worldwide. (Full article...)

Part of the God of War franchise series, one of Wikipedia's featured topics.

July 16
Ceremony to present the Los Alamos Laboratory with the Army-Navy E Award at the Fuller Lodge

The Los Alamos Laboratory was a secret laboratory in a remote part of New Mexico established by the Manhattan Project during World War II and operated by the University of California. Its mission was to design and build the first atomic bombs. The laboratory was designing a plutonium gun-type fission weapon called Thin Man until April 1944, when it determined that the nuclear reactor-bred plutonium in the bomb could predetonate before the core was fully assembled. Robert Oppenheimer reorganized the laboratory, and orchestrated an all-out effort on an alternative design, an implosion-type nuclear weapon called Fat Man. The gun-type Little Boy was developed using uranium-235. The laboratory also built an aqueous homogeneous reactor, and researched the hydrogen bomb. The Fat Man design was used in the Trinity nuclear test on 16 July 1945, and laboratory personnel participated in the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki as pit crews, weaponeers and observers. Oppenheimer was succeeded as director by Norris Bradbury in December 1945. After the war, assembly activities moved to Sandia. The Los Alamos Laboratory became the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory in 1947. (Full article...)

July 17
Fossil dire wolf skeleton

The dire wolf (Canis dirus, "fearsome dog") was a prehistoric carnivore of North and South America in the late Pleistocene Epoch (125,000–10,000 years ago). The extinct species probably evolved from Armbruster's wolf (Canis armbrusteri). The dire wolf was about the same size as the Yukon and Northwestern wolves, the largest modern gray wolves (Canis lupus). Its skull and dentition matched those of the gray wolf, but its teeth were larger with greater shearing ability, and its bite force at the canine tooth was the strongest of any known Canis species. These adaptations allowed it to hunt, probably in packs, for Late Pleistocene megaherbivores. In North America it competed with the sabre-toothed cat for prey including horses, sloths, mastodons, bison, and camels. Dire wolf remains have been found across a broad range of habitats including the plains, grasslands, and some forested mountain areas of North America, and in the arid savannah of South America. The largest collection of dire wolf fossils comes from the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles; its latest remains date from 9,440 years ago. (Full article...)

July 18
Bonneville Dam, looking east
Bonneville Dam

The Columbia River is the largest river in the Pacific Northwest region of North America. Rising in the Rocky Mountains, it flows south into Washington, then turns west to form most of that state's border with Oregon before emptying into the Pacific, 1,243 miles (2,000 km) from its source. By volume it is the fourth-largest river in the US and the largest in North America that enters the Pacific. The river system hosts salmon and other fish that migrate between freshwater habitats and the saline waters of the Pacific Ocean. In the late 18th century, a private American ship became the first non-indigenous vessel to enter the river. Overland explorers entered the Willamette Valley through the scenic but treacherous Columbia River Gorge. Railroads were built in the valley in the late 19th century, many running along the river. Since the early 20th century, the river has been dammed for power generation, navigation, irrigation, and flood control. The 14 hydroelectric dams on the Columbia (Bonneville Dam pictured), the Snake River, and the Columbia's other tributaries produce more than 44 percent of total US hydroelectric power. (Full article...)

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July 19
An A-4G landing on a Royal Australian Navy aircraft carrier in 1980

The McDonnell Douglas A-4G Skyhawk, a variant of the Douglas A-4 Skyhawk attack aircraft, was developed for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), and first flown on 19 July 1967. Ten were delivered in 1967 and another ten in 1971, and the type was in service with the RAN until 1984. They joined the air group of the aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne, and were primarily used to provide air defence for the fleet and take part in exercises throughout the Pacific region. They did not see combat. Ten A-4Gs were destroyed as a result of equipment failures and non-combat crashes during the type's service with the Navy, causing the deaths of two pilots. The RAN had no need for most of its fixed-wing aircraft after Melbourne was decommissioned in 1982, and the ten remaining A-4Gs were sold to the Royal New Zealand Air Force in 1984; they were initially used for training purposes, and were retired in 2001. Eight A-4Ks, including six former A-4Gs, were sold to Draken International in 2012, and are in service supporting United States military training exercises. (Full article...)

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July 20
Chris Cornell; July 20, 1964 – May 18, 2017
Chris Cornell in 2011

Audioslave was an American rock supergroup formed in Los Angeles in 2001. The four-piece band consisted of Chris Cornell, Soundgarden's lead singer and rhythm guitarist (pictured), and Rage Against the Machine members Tom Morello (lead guitar), Tim Commerford (bass and backing vocals), and Brad Wilk (drums). Their sound was created by blending 1970s hard rock with 1990s alternative rock, using only guitar, bass, drums, and vocals. The group released three albums, received three Grammy nominations, and became the first American rock band to perform an open-air concert in Cuba. They disbanded in February 2007 when Cornell announced he was leaving "due to irresolvable personality conflicts as well as musical differences". The 2007 Rage Against the Machine reunion and tour involving the rest of the band cemented the supergroup's demise, as did the solo albums released that same year by Morello and Cornell. The group announced a reunion in January 2017, and performed together for the first time in over a decade at Prophets of Rage's Anti-Inaugural Ball. Cornell died in May 2017. (Full article...)

July 21

Dwayne Jones was a Jamaican 16-year-old who was killed by a violent mob in Montego Bay on the night of 21 July 2013, after he attended a dance party dressed in women's clothing. Perceived as effeminate, Jones had been bullied in school and rejected by his father, and had moved into a derelict house in Montego Bay with transgender friends. When some men at the dance party discovered that the cross-dressing Jones was not a woman, they confronted and attacked him. He was beaten, stabbed, shot, and run over by a car. Police investigated, but the murder remains unsolved. The death made news internationally. While voices on social media accused Jones of provoking his killers by cross-dressing in public, the murder was condemned by Jamaican educators and by Justice Minister Mark Golding. In the wake of the attack, domestic and international organisations devoted to LGBT rights and human rights – among them Human Rights Watch and Jamaicans for Justice – asked the Jamaican authorities for a proper investigation and for legal recognition of LGBT rights on the island. (Full article...)

July 22
Bradley Wiggins at the 2012 Tour de France
Bradley Wiggins

The 2012 Tour de France was the 99th edition of the race, one of cycling's Grand Tours. The 21 race stages, including the prologue, covered 3,496.9 km (2,173 mi), from the Belgian city of Liège on 30 June to the Champs-Élysées in Paris on 22 July. Bradley Wiggins (pictured) from Team Sky won the overall general classification, becoming the first British rider to win the Tour. Wiggins's teammate Chris Froome placed second, and Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas–Cannondale) was third. Wiggins maintained leadership of the race after stage seven, the first mountainous stage. The points classification was won by Nibali's teammate Peter Sagan, who won three stages, as did André Greipel of Lotto–Belisol and Team Sky rider Mark Cavendish. Team Europcar's Thomas Voeckler won the mountains classification. BMC Racing Team's Tejay van Garderen, in fifth place overall, won the young rider classification. The team classification was won by RadioShack–Nissan, and Chris Anker Sørensen (Saxo Bank–Tinkoff Bank) was given the award for the most combative rider. (Full article...)

Part of the 2012 Tour de France series, one of Wikipedia's featured topics.

July 23
Satellite image of Hurricane Alicia
Hurricane Alicia

The 1983 Atlantic hurricane season was the least active Atlantic hurricane season in 53 years. Although the season begins by convention on June 1, there were no tropical depressions until July 23, and only four of the season's seven depressions became tropical storms. Tropical Depression Three became Hurricane Alicia (satellite image pictured) on August 17 and made landfall in Texas the next day, breaking thousands of glass windows in Houston's skyscrapers, killing 22 people and causing $1.7 billion in damage. The storm that became Hurricane Barry formed on August 25, crossed Florida, and made landfall near Brownsville, Texas, dissipating five days later. Hurricane Chantal stayed out at sea, and was absorbed by a front on September 15. Tropical Depression Six formed on September 19 and caused heavy rains in the Caribbean. Tropical Storm Dean, the final storm of the season, attained peak winds of 65 mph (105 km/h), and made landfall on the Delmarva Peninsula on September 29. (Full article...)

July 24

Monte Ne is a former health resort and planned community in the U.S. state of Arkansas, open from 1901 to the mid-1930s. It was owned and operated by William Hope Harvey, a financial theorist and writer, in the Ozark hills of the White River valley east of Rogers on the edge of Beaver Lake. Two of its hotels, Missouri Row and Oklahoma Row, were the largest log buildings in the world at the time, and Oklahoma Row's tower is one of the earliest examples of a multi-story concrete structure. The resort was not a financial success, due in part to Harvey's management style, and shortly after his death the property was sold off. The remainder of the resort and town was almost completely submerged after Beaver Lake was created in 1964. The severely vandalized Oklahoma Row tower is the only remaining structure that can be seen at normal lake levels. The area on the edge of Beaver Lake still referred to as Monte Ne, owned and managed by the United States Army Corps of Engineers, serves mainly as a boat ramp. (Full article...)

July 25
Lars Ulrich
Lars Ulrich, drummer and co-founder of Metallica

Kill 'Em All is the debut studio album by the American heavy metal band Metallica, released on July 25, 1983, by the independent record label Megaforce Records. It is a groundbreaking album for thrash metal, which fuses riffs of the new wave of British heavy metal with hardcore punk tempos. Its musical approach and lyrics, markedly different from rock's mainstream of the early Eighties, inspired other thrash metal bands. The album did not enter the Billboard 200 until 1986, when it peaked at number 155, following Metallica's commercial success with its third studio album Master of Puppets; the 1988 Elektra reissue peaked at number 120. Kill 'Em All was critically praised at the time of its release and was ranked at number 35 on Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest Metal Albums of All Time list. It was certified 3× Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America in 1999 for shipping three million copies in the United States. The album generated two singles: "Whiplash" and "Jump in the Fire". Metallica promoted the album on the Kill 'Em All for One tour with Raven in the United States. (Full article...)

July 26
Calvatia sculpta

Calvatia sculpta, commonly known as the sculpted puffball, is a species of puffball fungus in the family Agaricaceae. Up to 8 to 15 cm (3.1 to 5.9 in) tall by 8 to 10 cm (3.1 to 3.9 in) wide, the pear- or egg-shaped puffball is readily recognizable from the large pyramidal or polygonal warts covering its surface. It is edible when young, before the spores inside the fruit body disintegrate into a brownish powder. Originally described from the Sierra Nevada, C. sculpta is found in mountainous areas in western North America, and was found in a Brazilian dune in 2008. It may be easily confused with Calbovista subsculpta, a similar puffball that—in addition to differences observable only with microscopy—is larger, and has slightly raised warts with a felt-like texture. Other similar species include Calvatia arctica and immature specimens of Amanita magniverrucata. The species was first described in 1885 by American mycologist Harvey Willson Harkness, who called it "a curious and strikingly beautiful species". (Full article...)

July 27
2017-D Roosevelt dime

The Roosevelt dime is the current ten-cent piece of the United States, displaying President Franklin D. Roosevelt on the obverse. Authorized soon after his death in 1945, it has been produced by the Mint continuously since 1946 in large numbers. Roosevelt had been stricken with polio, and was one of the moving forces of the March of Dimes. The ten-cent coin could legally be changed by the Mint without the need for congressional action, and officials moved quickly to replace the Mercury dime. Chief Engraver John R. Sinnock prepared models, but faced repeated criticism from the Commission of Fine Arts. He modified his design in response, and the coin went into circulation in January 1946. The Mint transitioned from striking the coin in silver to base metal in 1965, and the design remains essentially unaltered from when Sinnock created it. Without rare dates or silver content, the dime is less widely sought by coin collectors than other modern American coins. (Full article...)

July 28
The ship on the Danube river in 1914

The ship that became the Yugoslav monitor Sava began as SMS Bodrog, a river monitor built for the Austro-Hungarian Navy. She and two other monitors fired the first shots of World War I on the night of 28 July 1914, when they shelled Serbian defences near Belgrade. She fought the Serbian and Romanian armies during the war, and was captured in its closing stages. She was transferred to the newly created Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (later Yugoslavia), and renamed Sava. During the Axis invasion of Yugoslavia in April 1941, she fought off several air attacks, but was scuttled on 11 April. Sava was later raised by the Independent State of Croatia, an Axis puppet state, and continued to serve under that name until 1944 when she was again scuttled. Following World War II, Sava was raised again, and was refurbished to serve in the Yugoslav Navy from 1952 to 1962. After that she became a commercial gravel barge. In 2005, the government of Serbia granted her limited heritage protection after citizens demanded that she be preserved as a floating museum. (Full article...)

July 29
Isidor Isaac Rabi in 1944

Isidor Isaac Rabi (1898–1988) was an American physicist and Nobel laureate. Born on 29 July 1898 into a traditional Jewish family in what was then part of Austria-Hungary, Rabi came to the United States as a baby and was raised in New York's Lower East Side. In collaboration with Gregory Breit, he developed the Breit-Rabi equation, and predicted that the Stern–Gerlach experiment could be modified to confirm the properties of the atomic nucleus. During World War II he worked on radar at the MIT Radiation Laboratory, and on the Manhattan Project. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1944 for his discovery of nuclear magnetic resonance, used in spectroscopy and imaging. He was also one of the first scientists in the US to work on the cavity magnetron, a key component in microwave radar and microwave ovens. After the war, he served on the General Advisory Committee of the Atomic Energy Commission, and was its chairman from 1952 to 1956. He was Science Advisor to President Dwight D. Eisenhower, and was involved in the creation of the Brookhaven National Laboratory (1947) and CERN (1954). (Full article...)

July 30

Giganotosaurus ("giant southern lizard") is a genus of theropod dinosaur that lived in what is now Argentina, around 99.6 to 97 million years ago. It was one of the largest known terrestrial carnivores, but the exact size has been hard to determine from the incomplete remains found so far. The holotype specimen, discovered in Patagonia in 1993, is almost 70% complete, and indicates a length of 12 to 13 m (39 to 43 ft), a skull 1.53 to 1.80 m (5.0 to 5.9 ft) in length, and a weight of 4.2 to 13.8 t (4.6 to 15.2 short tons). A length of 13.2 m (43 ft) has been extrapolated from another individual's dentary bone. Some researchers believe the animal to have been larger than Tyrannosaurus, generally considered the largest theropod. The skull was low, with a ridge-like crest in front of the eye. The teeth were serrated, and the front of the lower jaw was flattened. Giganotosaurus is thought to have had a homeothermic metabolism, between that of a mammal and a reptile, which would have enabled rapid growth but not fast movement. It was probably the apex predator of its ecosystem, feeding on juvenile sauropod dinosaurs. (Full article...)

July 31
Gubby Allen

Gubby Allen (1902–1989) was a cricketer who captained England in eleven Test matches. Born in Sydney, Australia, on 31 July 1902, his family moved to London when he was six. In first-class matches, he played for Middlesex and Cambridge University. A fast bowler and hard-hitting lower-order batsman for England, Allen was appointed captain in 1936 and led the team during the unsuccessful 1936–37 tour of Australia. He captained England in a Test series in the West Indies in 1947–48. He later became an influential cricket administrator who held key positions in the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), which effectively ruled English cricket at the time. He was instrumental in the creation of an MCC coaching manual, and worked hard to eliminate illegal bowling actions. As chairman of selectors from 1955 to 1961, he presided over a period of great success for English cricket, during which he worked closely with the Test captain Peter May. In 1963, he became MCC's president, and was made the club's treasurer the following year. In this role, he was deeply involved in the D'Oliveira affair, a controversy over the potential selection of Basil D'Oliveira to tour South Africa. He was knighted in 1986. (Full article...)

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