Wikipedia:Today's featured article/March 2017

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March 1
Enslaved performing at Roadburn Festival, 2015

Viking metal is a style of heavy metal music characterized by a lyrical and thematic focus on Norse mythology, Norse paganism, and the Viking Age. It is a genre, or group of genres, often featuring slow-paced and heavy riffing, anthemic choruses, use of both sung and harsh vocals, inclusion of folk instrumentation, and frequent use of keyboards for atmospheric effect. It emerged during the late 1980s and early 1990s from black metal groups who were influenced by Nordic folk music. Artists such as Led Zeppelin, Yngwie Malmsteen, Heavy Load, and Manowar had used lyrics that invoked the Vikings, but Bathory from Sweden is generally credited with pioneering the style. Enslaved, from Norway, followed up Bathory's work with several Viking-themed albums released during the 1990s. Burzum, Emperor, Einherjer, and Helheim, among others, further developed the genre. Viking metal soon spread outside the Nordic countries and across the globe. The death metal bands Unleashed and Amon Amarth also adopted Viking themes, broadening the style from its primarily black metal origin. (Full article...)


March 2

Burning Rangers is a 1998 3D action video game developed by Sonic Team and published by Sega for the Sega Saturn. The game is set in a futuristic society threatened by frequent fires. Players control one of an elite group of firefighters, the Burning Rangers, who extinguish the fires and rescue civilians in burning buildings. Most of the tasks the players complete are centred around collecting energy crystals used to transport civilians to safety. Development began shortly after the release of Christmas Nights in November 1996, when Yuji Naka set out to create a game focused on saving people rather than killing them. Sonic Team chose the themes of firefighting and heroism. Burning Rangers received mostly positive reviews, with unanimous commendation for the game's soundtrack and audio. Responses to the graphics were mixed; some critics asserted that the game had the best visuals on the Saturn, but others faulted its poor collision detection and occasional glitching. The game was among the final five Saturn titles released in America. (Full article...)


March 3

Ian O'Brien (born 3 March 1947) is an Australian breaststroke swimmer who won the 200 metre breaststroke at the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo in world record time. In 1962 at the age of 15 he competed in his first national championships, winning the 220 yard breaststroke. At the 1962 British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Perth, Western Australia, he won both the 110 and 220 yd breaststroke and the 4 × 110 yd medley relay. He won both breaststroke events at the 1963 Australian Championships, repeating the feat for the next three years. He added a bronze in the medley relay. O'Brien successfully defended both his breaststroke titles at the 1966 British Empire and Commonwealth Games in Kingston, Jamaica. He won five Commonwealth Games gold medals and claimed a total of nine individual and six relay titles at the Australian Championships before retiring from the sport at the age of 21. (Full article...)


March 4
Sabrina Sidney in 1833

Sabrina Sidney (1757–1843), was a British foundling girl taken in when she was 12 by author Thomas Day, who wanted to mould her into his perfect wife, inspired by Rousseau's Emile, or On Education. In 1769, Day and his barrister friend John Bicknell chose Sabrina and another girl, Lucretia, from orphanages. Day took the girls to France to begin Rousseau's methods of education in isolation but soon returned to Lichfield with only Sabrina. He used eccentric techniques to try to increase her fortitude, such as firing blanks at her skirts. When Sabrina reached her teenage years, Day was persuaded by Edgeworth that his ideal wife experiment had failed, and arranged for Sabrina to first attending a boarding school, then becoming an apprentice to a dressmaker family, and eventually being employed as Day's housekeeper. In 1783, Bicknell sought out Sabrina and proposed marriage, telling her the truth about Day's experiment. Horrified, she confronted Day in a series of letters. Sabrina married Bicknell, and the couple had two children. Sabrina went on to work with schoolmaster Charles Burney, managing his schools. In 1804, Anna Seward published a book about Sabrina's upbringing. (Full article...)


March 5
Myotis alcathoe

Myotis alcathoe, the Alcathoe bat, is a small European bat. First described in 2001 from specimens taken from Greece and Hungary, its known distribution has expanded to include isolated areas in Western and Central Europe, Spain, Italy, the Balkans, Sweden, and Azerbaijan. It is similar to the whiskered bat (M. mystacinus), but its brown fur is distinctive, and it is known to be a separate species from DNA sequencing. M. alcathoe has a forearm length of 30.8 to 34.6 mm (1.21 to 1.36 in) and a body mass of 3.5 to 5.5 g (0.12 to 0.19 oz). The fur is brown on the wings, usually reddish-brown on the upperparts, and brown below, but more grayish in juveniles. It has a very high-pitched echolocation call, with a frequency that falls from 120 kHz at the beginning of the call to about 43 kHz at the end. Usually found in old-growth deciduous forest near water, it forages high in the canopy and above water, mostly for flies. It roosts in cavities high in trees. The species is considered at risk in Catalonia, Germany and parts of Switzerland due to its rarity and vulnerability to habitat loss. (Full article...)


March 6

"Death on the Rock" was a 1988 British television documentary produced by Thames Television as part of the current affairs series This Week on ITV. It examined the shooting deaths of three Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) members by the British Special Air Service in Gibraltar on 6 March 1988. The series' editor, Roger Bolton, had dispatched journalists to Gibraltar and Spain to interview witnesses to the shootings and Spanish police officers who had surveilled the IRA team. The documentary presented evidence that the militia members were unarmed, and shot without warning or while attempting to surrender. The British government denounced the programme, and Geoffrey Howe, the foreign secretary, attemped to get the broadcast postponed by the Independent Broadcasting Authority. An independent inquiry, the Windlesham–Rampton report, found that the documentary was made in "good faith and without ulterior motives". It was praised within the television industry and won that year's BAFTA Award for Best Documentary. (Full article...)


March 7
SMS Nassau

SMS Nassau was the first dreadnought battleship built for the Imperial German Navy, a response to the launching of the British battleship HMS Dreadnought. Nassau was laid down in 1907 at the Imperial Shipyard in Wilhelmshaven and launched on 7 March 1908. Three more battleships followed in the same class: Posen, Rheinland, and Westfalen. Assigned to the First Battle Squadron of the German High Seas Fleet, Nassau saw service in the North Sea in the beginning of World War I. In August 1915 the ship engaged the Russian battleship Slava in the Battle of the Gulf of Riga in the eastern Baltic Sea. Nassau took part in the Battle of Jutland on 31 May and 1 June 1916, suffering a total of 11 killed and 16 injured. After World War I, the bulk of the High Seas Fleet was interned in Scapa Flow, but the Nassau-class ships, the oldest German dreadnoughts, were initially permitted to remain in German ports. After the German fleet was scuttled, Nassau and her sister ships were surrendered to the victorious powers as replacements for the sunken ships. Nassau was ceded to Japan, then sold to a British wrecking firm for scrapping. (Full article...)


March 8

Bessie Braddock (1899–1970) was a British Labour Party politician who served as Member of Parliament (MP) for the Liverpool Exchange division from 1945 to 1970. She was a member of Liverpool County Borough Council from 1930 to 1961. Although she never held office in government, she won a national reputation for her forthright campaigns in connection with housing, public health and other social issues. Braddock was a pugnacious presence in parliament, and a keen supporter of the 1945–51 Attlee ministry's reform agenda, particularly the establishment of the National Health Service in 1948. She served on Labour's National Executive Committee between 1947 and 1969. For most of her parliamentary career she remained a member of Liverpool's council, and was a central figure in the controversy that arose in the 1950s over the city's flooding of the Tryweryn Valley for the construction of a reservoir. When Labour won the 1964 general election she refused office on the grounds of age and health; thereafter her parliamentary contributions dwindled as her health worsened. Towards the end of her life she became Liverpool's first woman freeman. After her death in 1970 her Guardian obituarist hailed her as "one of the most distinctive political personalities of the century". (Full article...)


March 9
The Mothers of the Disappeared join U2 on stage in Chile in 1998

"Mothers of the Disappeared" is a song by the rock band U2, the closing track on their album The Joshua Tree, released on 9 March 1987. The song was inspired by lead singer Bono's experiences in Nicaragua and El Salvador in July 1986, following U2's involvement on Amnesty International's A Conspiracy of Hope tour. He learned of the Madres de Plaza de Mayo, a group of women whose children had been "disappeared" by the Argentine and Chilean dictatorships. Thematically the song has been interpreted as an examination of failures and contradictions in US foreign policy and as a criticism of the Reagan Administration, which backed two South American regimes that seized power during coups and which provided financial support for the military regime in El Salvador. The song was favourably received by critics, and has been performed live on several tours, starting with the 1987 Joshua Tree Tour. It was played at four concerts on the 1998 PopMart Tour in South America; during two of these, the Madres joined the band onstage (pictured). (Full article...)


March 10
Mangrove swallow perching

The mangrove swallow (Tachycineta albilinea) is a bird in the swallow family that breeds in coastal regions of Mexico and Central America. It is a seasonal breeder and is territorial when breeding, much like the related tree swallow. Its nests are frequently found near water, no more than 2 metres (7 ft) above the ground. It usually forages close to the nest when feeding its chicks, but will go much further when foraging for itself. In between foraging attempts, it perches near water. It subsists primarily on a diet of flying insects, including dragonflies and bees, unusually large prey for a bird of its size. It has blue-green upperparts, white underparts, a white streak above the eye, and blackish flight and tail feathers. This swallow's song is a soft trilling, with a rolled jeerrt call, and a sharp alarm note. With a slowly decreasing population of at least 500,000 individuals, the mangrove swallow is classified as a species of least concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. (Full article...)


March 11
Milovan Đilas was the chief Partisan negotiator.

The German–Yugoslav Partisan negotiations were held between German commanders and the Yugoslav Partisans in March 1943 during World War II. The negotiations – focused on obtaining a ceasefire and establishing a prisoner exchange – were conducted during an Axis offensive. They were used by the Partisans to delay the Axis forces while the Partisans crossed the Neretva river, and to allow the Partisans to focus on attacking their Chetnik rivals led by Draža Mihailović. They were accompanied by an informal ceasefire that lasted about six weeks before being called off by Adolf Hitler. The advantage gained by the Partisans was lost when another Axis offensive was launched in mid-May 1943. Although aspects of the negotiations were published in several languages from 1949 onwards, the key Partisan negotiator was not named until 1973. Subsequently, accounts of the negotiations were published by Yugoslav historians and the main Yugoslav protagonists. (Full article...)


March 12
The Homunculus Nebula, surrounding Eta Carinae, imaged by WFPC2 at red and near-ultraviolet wavelengths

Eta Carinae is a stellar system containing at least two stars with a combined luminosity over five million times that of the Sun, located around 7500 light-years (2300 parsecs) distant in the constellation Carina. First recorded as a 4th-magnitude star, it brightened considerably over the period 1837 to 1856 in an event known as the Great Eruption. Eta Carinae became the second-brightest star in the sky between 11 and 14 March 1843 before fading well below naked eye visibility. It has brightened consistently since about 1940, peaking above magnitude 4.5 in 2014. Eta Carinae is circumpolar south of latitude 30°S, so it is never visible north of latitude 30°N. The two main stars of the Eta Carinae system have an eccentric orbit with a period of 5.54 years. The primary is a peculiar star similar to a luminous blue variable (LBV) that was initially 150–250 M of which it has lost at least 30 M already, and is expected to explode as a supernova in the astronomically near future. The secondary star is hot and also highly luminous, probably of spectral class O, around 30–80 times as massive as the Sun. The system is heavily obscured by the Homunculus Nebula, material ejected from the primary during the Great Eruption. (Full article...)


March 13
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March 14
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March 15
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March 16
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March 17
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March 18
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March 19
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March 20
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March 21
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March 22
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March 23
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March 24
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March 25
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March 26
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March 27
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March 28
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March 29
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March 30
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March 31
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