Wikipedia:Today's featured article/November 2017

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November 1

Super Mario Galaxy is a 2007 platform video game developed and published by Nintendo for the Wii console. In this third 3D-graphics game in the Super Mario series, Mario is on a quest to rescue Princess Peach while saving the universe from Bowser. A central element of gameplay is the way gravitational forces change as Mario navigates galaxies filled with minor planets and worlds. The spherical platforms used in the game first appeared in Super Mario 128, a technology demonstration shown at Nintendo Space World in 2000. Development of Super Mario Galaxy began after the release of Donkey Kong Jungle Beat in late 2004, when Shigeru Miyamoto suggested that Nintendo should commission a large-scale Mario game. The game was a critical and commercial success, hailed as one of the greatest video games of all time. It won multiple Game of the Year titles, and became the first Nintendo title to win a British Academy Games Award for Best Game. It is the highest-rated game of all time on review aggregator GameRankings. (Full article...)


November 2
Regional Route 420's terminus at Falls Avenue in Niagara Falls

King's Highway 420 is a 400-series highway in the Canadian province of Ontario that connects the Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW) with downtown Niagara Falls. The road continues east as the limited-access expressway Niagara Regional Road 420, which was transferred to the jurisdiction of the Regional Municipality of Niagara in 1998. This road connects with the Rainbow Bridge at the border with the United States over the Niagara River. West of the QEW, the freeway ends at an at-grade intersection with Montrose Road. The highway has a speed limit of 80 kilometres per hour (50 mph), making it the only 400-series highway to have a speed limit less than 100 kilometres per hour (62 mph) for its entirety. Originally constructed as a divided four-lane road with two traffic circles, the route of Highway 420 formed part of the QEW between 1941 and 1972 before being assigned a unique route number. This took place during its reconstruction as a freeway and the construction of the large interchange at its western terminus. (Full article...)


November 3

Pru is the debut studio album by American singer Pru, released in November 2000 through Capitol Records. The album was managed by Capital Records executive Roy Lott, who had signed Pru to Warner/Chappell Music Publishing after being impressed by her songwriting and voice on a demo tape. Pru collaborated with Ben Garrison, the Characters, and Rick Williams on the album. According to Lott, Pru was part of Capitol Records' attempts to attract a wider audience through her crossover appeal. Music critics have identified several genres on the album, with some commentators noting influences from neo soul. Pru also used poetry as an inspiration for writing music. Reviews of the album were generally positive, noting its composition and Pru's voice, and comparing her favorably to contemporary artists. The album peaked at number 176 on the Billboard 200 chart, an achievement made possible in part by an intensive marketing strategy devised by Capitol Records executives. Two singles – "Candles" and "Aaroma (of a Man)" – were released to positive reviews. "Candles" peaked at number 68 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs Billboard chart. (Full article...)


November 4

Leek Town Football Club is an English football club based in Leek, Staffordshire, currently playing in the Northern Premier League Division One South. The team, nicknamed "The Blues", play their home games at Harrison Park. The club was founded in 1946 and played in a variety of local leagues, including the Staffordshire County League, Manchester League, Mid-Cheshire League and Cheshire County League, before becoming founder members of the North West Counties League in 1982 and from there progressing to the Northern Premier League in 1987. In 1997 they were Northern Premier League champions and gained promotion to the Football Conference, the highest level of English non-league football, spending two seasons at that level before being relegated. Leek Town reached the final of the FA Trophy in 1990, having progressed all the way from the first qualifying round, but lost in the final at Wembley Stadium 3-0 to Barrow. (Full article...)


November 5
Festivities in Windsor Castle by Paul Sandby, c. 1776

Guy Fawkes Night is an annual commemoration of the events of 5 November 1605, when Guy Fawkes, a member of the Gunpowder Plot, was arrested while guarding explosives the plotters had placed beneath the House of Lords. To celebrate the arrest, which put an end to the plot on King James I's life, people lit bonfires around London, and months later the introduction of the Observance of 5th November Act enforced an annual public day of thanksgiving. Within a few decades Gunpowder Treason Day, as it was known, became the predominant English state commemoration. As it carried strong Protestant religious overtones, it also became a focus for anti-Catholic sentiment; increasingly raucous celebrations featured the burning of effigies of popular hate-figures, such as the pope. Towards the end of the 18th century, children were seen begging for money with effigies of Guy Fawkes. In the 1850s much of the day's anti-Catholic rhetoric was toned down, and by the 20th century Guy Fawkes Day had become an enjoyable social commemoration. Today it is usually celebrated with bonfires and extravagant firework displays. (Full article...)

Part of the Gunpowder Plot series, one of Wikipedia's featured topics.


November 6
A toy animal with wheels, from Pre-Columbian Mexico

Rotating locomotion in living systems – the use of wheels and propellers by organisms – has long been pondered among biologists and writers of speculative fiction. Rolling and wheeled creatures have appeared in the legends of many cultures. While other human technologies, like wings and lenses, have common analogues in the natural world, and several species are able to roll, structures that propel by rotating relative to a fixed body are represented only by the corkscrew-like bacterial flagella. That macroscopic organisms have apparently never evolved wheels is attributed to two main factors: limitations of evolutionary and developmental biology, and disadvantages of wheels, when compared with limbs, in many natural environments. Wheels, beyond the molecular scale, may not be within the reach of natural evolution, and may be infeasible to grow and maintain with biological processes. Compared with limbs, they are often less energy-efficient, less versatile, and less capable of traversing or avoiding obstacles. These environment-specific disadvantages of wheels also explain why some historical civilizations abandoned them. (Full article...)


November 7
Lenin in July 1920

Vladimir Lenin (born Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, 1870–1924) was a Russian communist revolutionary, politician and political theorist. He was the first head of government of the Soviet Union, which under his administration became a one-party state governed by the Communist Party. Ideologically a Marxist, he developed political theories known as Leninism. After the 1917 February Revolution ousted the Tsar, he played a leading role in the 7 November 1917 insurrection commonly known as the October Revolution, in which the Bolsheviks overthrew the new regime. Lenin's administration redistributed land among the peasantry and nationalised banks and large-scale industry. It withdrew from the First World War by signing a treaty with the Central Powers, and promoted world revolution through the Communist International. Widely considered one of the most influential figures of the 20th century, Lenin is viewed by supporters as a champion of socialism and the working class, while critics on both the left and right emphasize his role as founder and leader of an authoritarian regime responsible for political repression and mass killings. (Full article...)


November 8
Sthelens ashby east.JPG

St Helen's Church is the Anglican parish church of Ashby-de-la-Zouch, in the deanery of North West Leicestershire and the Diocese of Leicester. A previous church on the site was rebuilt beginning in 1474 by William Hastings, while he was converting his neighbouring manor house into a castle. The church was refurbished in about 1670 and again in 1829 to create more space, and a major rebuild in 1878–80 added two outer aisles, making the nave wider than it is long. The sandstone church has a tower at the west end. Other fixtures include ancient stained glass at the east end, some important funereal monuments, and a font, pulpit and carved heads by Thomas Earp. The finger pillory is a rare item, once seen as a humane form of punishment. The church has a long association with the Hastings family, its patrons for four centuries, and became a centre for Puritanism under Henry Hastings, 3rd Earl of Huntingdon. The church has a Grade I listing for its exceptional architectural interest. (Full article...)


November 9
The Viscount of Inhaúma around age 56, c.1864

Joaquim José Inácio, Viscount of Inhaúma, (1808–1869) was a naval officer, politician and monarchist of the Empire of Brazil. After Brazilian independence in 1822, he enlisted in the armada (navy) and participated in the subduing of secessionist rebellions, including the Confederation of the Equator. He helped quell a military mutiny in 1831 and saw action in the Sabinada (1837–1838) and the Ragamuffin War (1840–1844). In 1849 he was given command of the fleet that was instrumental in subduing the Praieira revolt, the last rebellion in imperial Brazil. Inhaúma entered politics in 1861 as a member of the Conservative Party, serving first as navy minister and then as agriculture minister; the first professional firefighter corps in Brazil was formed during his tenure. In late 1866 he was appointed commander-in-chief of the fleet engaged in the Paraguayan War, and achieved the rank of admiral. Although historical works have not given much coverage to Inhaúma, some historians regard him among the greatest of the Brazilian navy officers. (Full article...)


November 10
Tropical Storm Bonnie near peak intensity on August 11

Tropical Storm Bonnie was the second storm of the 2004 Atlantic hurricane season, making landfall in Florida in August. It developed from a tropical wave to the east of the Lesser Antilles. After moving through the islands, its forward motion caused the wave to dissipate, but it later regenerated into a tropical storm near the Yucatán Peninsula. It attained peak winds of 65 mph (100 km/h) over the Gulf of Mexico, turned to the northeast, and hit Florida with sustained 45 mph (75 km) winds. The storm accelerated to the northeast and became an extratropical cyclone to the east of New Jersey. Bonnie was the first of five tropical systems to make landfall on Florida that year, and the second of a record eight disturbances to reach tropical storm strength during the month of August. Bonnie caused a tornado outbreak across the Southeastern United States that killed three people and inflicted damage costs of over $1 million. Other impacts were minimal, including flooding and minor damage in Florida. The day after Bonnie made landfall, Hurricane Charley struck Florida. (Full article...)


November 11
The War Memorial outside City Hall in Norwich (geograph 2488759).jpg

Norwich War Memorial is a First World War memorial in Norwich in Eastern England. Designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, it was the last of his eight cenotaphs (empty tombs) to be erected in England. In 1926 Norwich's newly elected lord mayor established an appeal to raise memorial funds for local hospitals and to construct a physical monument. He commissioned Lutyens, who designed a cenotaph atop a low screen wall with bronze gas-lit torches at either end, and a protruding Stone of Remembrance. Lutyens also installed a roll of honour listing the city's dead at Norwich Castle in 1931. A local disabled veteran unveiled the memorial in October 1927. It was moved from its original location to become the centrepiece of a memorial garden between the market and the City Hall in 1938. The structure on which the garden is built was found to be unstable in 2004; the memorial was closed off, and fell into disrepair. Work was completed in 2011, and the memorial was restored and rotated to face the city hall. It was rededicated on Armistice Day 2011 and is today a grade II* listed building. (Full article...)


November 12

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is a 1982 American science fiction fantasy film co-produced and directed by Steven Spielberg. Written by Melissa Mathison, it stars Henry Thomas, Dee Wallace, Robert MacNaughton, Drew Barrymore, Peter Coyote and Pat Welsh. It tells the story of Elliott (Thomas), a lonely boy who befriends an extraterrestrial who is stranded on Earth. Elliott and his siblings help E.T. return home while attempting to hide him from their mother and the government. Filmed on a budget of $10.5 million, it was shot in rough chronological order, to facilitate convincing emotional performances from the young cast. E.T. was an immediate blockbuster, surpassing Star Wars to become the highest-grossing film of all time—a record it held for eleven years until Jurassic Park, another Spielberg-directed film, surpassed it in 1993. Considered one of the greatest films ever made, it was widely acclaimed by critics as a timeless story of friendship, and it ranks as the greatest science fiction film ever made in a Rotten Tomatoes survey. It was re-released in 1985, and then again in 2002 to celebrate its 20th anniversary, with altered shots and additional scenes. (Full article...)


November 13
Myriostoma coliforme.jpg

Myriostoma, the salt-shaker earthstar, is the largest fungus in the earthstar family, with a fruit body up to 12 cm (4.7 in) across. It has been found in Africa, Asia, Europe, and North and South America. It grows in humus-rich forests or in woodlands, especially on well-drained and sandy soils. Myriostoma coliforme, the only species in the genus, is somewhat rare, appearing on the Red Lists of 12 European countries. It was one of 33 species proposed for protection in 2004 under the Bern Convention by the European Council for Conservation of Fungi. The inedible fruit body, initially shaped like a puffball, is encased within an outer covering. Splitting open from the top, it forms rays that curve down in a star shape to expose a papery spore case surrounding the fertile spore-bearing tissue, the gleba. The fungus is unique among the earthstars in having a spore case that is supported by multiple stalks, and is perforated by several small holes, suggestive of its common name. The spores are dispersed when falling water hits the spore sac, forcing the spores up through the holes. (Full article...)


November 14
Ernest Joyce (right) with Frank Wild (left) and another Ross Sea party comrade

Ernest Joyce (c. 1875 – 1940) was a Royal Naval seaman and Antarctic explorer who served under both Robert Falcon Scott and Ernest Shackleton in the early years of the 20th century. Joyce entered the navy as a boy seaman in 1891; his Antarctic experiences began in 1901 when he joined Scott's Discovery Expedition. In 1907 Shackleton recruited him to take charge of dogs and sledges on the Nimrod Expedition, a role he performed with distinction. Thus Shackleton employed him in a similar capacity in 1914, as a member of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition's Ross Sea party. Despite Joyce's acknowledged heroism during that expedition, it ended his exploring career, although he made attempts to join other expeditions. An abrasive and sometimes truculent character, his effectiveness in the field was nonetheless widely acknowledged. He was awarded a lifesaving Albert Medal and a Polar Medal with four bars, but Joyce made no significant material gains from his exploits, living out his post-Antarctic life in humble circumstances before dying suddenly in 1940. (Full article...)


November 15

Bazy Tankersley (1921–2013) was an American breeder of Arabian horses and a newspaper publisher. She was a daughter of Senator Joseph Medill McCormick. Her mother was progressive Republican Congresswoman Ruth Hanna McCormick, making Tankersley a granddaughter of the late Senator Mark Hanna of Ohio. Although Tankersley was involved with conservative Republican causes as a young woman, including a friendship with Senator Joseph McCarthy, her progressive roots reemerged in later years; by the 21st century, she had become a strong supporter of environmental causes and backed Barack Obama for president in 2008. Tankersley's father died when she was a child. When her mother remarried, the family moved to the southwestern United States where Tankersley spent considerable time riding horses. She became particularly enamored of the Arabian breed after she was given a part-Arabian to ride. At 18 she began working as a reporter for a newspaper published by her mother. She later ran a newspaper in Illinois with her first husband, Peter Miller, and then in 1949 she became the publisher of the conservative Washington Times-Herald. That paper was owned by her uncle, the childless Robert McCormick, who viewed Tankersley as his heir until the two had a falling out over editorial control of the newspaper and her relationship with Garvin Tankersley, who became her second husband. After The Washington Post absorbed the Times-Herald, she shifted to full-time horse breeding. Tankersley purchased her first purebred Arabian when she was 19, and began her horse breeding operation, Al-Marah Arabians, in Tucson, Arizona, in 1941. As she moved across the US for her newspaper career, her horses and farm name went with her. She purchased her program's foundation sire, Indraff, in 1947, while living in Illinois. Upon her move to Washington, DC, her Al-Marah operation relocated to Montgomery County, Maryland, where by 1957 it was the largest Arabian farm in the United States. Tankersley returned to Tucson in the 1970s, where in addition to horse breeding, she created an apprenticeship program at Al-Marah to train young people for jobs in the horse industry. She set up a second horse operation, the Hat Ranch, near Flagstaff, Arizona. Over her career she bred over 2,800 registered Arabians and was one of the largest importers of horses from the Crabbet Arabian Stud in England. Tankersley was a patron of many charities. Upon her death from Parkinson's disease in 2013 she bequeathed her Tucson ranch to the University of Arizona and placed the Hat Ranch in a conservation trust. In her final years, she downsized her breeding operation to about 150 horses, and most remaining stock went to her son, Mark Miller, who moved the Al-Marah Arabian farm name and horse operation to his home base near Clermont, Florida. (Full article...)


November 16
1981-S SBA$ Type Two Deep Cameo.jpg

The Susan B. Anthony dollar is a United States dollar coin minted from 1979 to 1981, when the series was suspended due to poor public acceptance, and again in 1999. Proposed as a smaller replacement for the cumbersome Eisenhower dollar, several shapes and compositions were tested, but all were opposed by the vending machine industry, a powerful lobby affecting coin legislation. Finally, a round planchet with an eleven-sided inner border was chosen for the smaller dollar. The original design for the smaller dollar coin depicted an allegorical representation of Liberty on the obverse but organizations and individuals in Congress called for the coin to depict a real woman. Several proposals were submitted, and social reformer Susan B. Anthony was selected as the design subject. The reverse design of the Eisenhower dollar was retained. Both sides of the coin were designed by Frank Gasparro, the Chief Engraver of the United States Mint. The Mint struck 500 million coins in anticipation of considerable public demand, but the Susan B. Anthony dollar was poorly received, in part because of confusion caused by its similarity in size and metallic composition to the quarter. Despite its poor reception, the coins eventually began seeing use in vending machines and mass transit systems, gradually depleting the surplus. In 1997, Congress passed a law authorizing the mintage of a new gold-colored one dollar coin depicting Sacagawea, but production could not begin quickly enough to meet demand. As a stopgap until the new Sacagawea dollar coin could be issued, the Susan B. Anthony dollar was struck again in 1999 after an eighteen year hiatus; the series was retired the following year. Special coins for sale to collectors were struck in proof finish through the run of the Susan B. Anthony dollar, and some minting variations are valuable to collectors. However, most circulation strikes remained in government stockpiles for several years after minting, so many of the coins are available in uncirculated grades, and the premium over face value is minimal.

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November 17
Affleck at the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con

Ben Affleck (born 1972) is an American actor, director, screenwriter, and producer. His accolades include two Academy Awards, three Golden Globe Awards, two BAFTA Awards and two Screen Actors Guild Awards. He began his career as a child and starred in the PBS educational series The Voyage of the Mimi in 1984, before a second run in 1988. He later appeared in the independent coming-of-age comedy Dazed and Confused (1993) and various Kevin Smith films including Chasing Amy (1997) and Dogma (1999). Affleck gained wider recognition when he and childhood friend Matt Damon won the Golden Globe and Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for Good Will Hunting (1997). He then established himself as a leading man in studio films including the disaster drama Armageddon (1998), the romantic comedy Forces of Nature (1999), the war drama Pearl Harbor (2001) and the thriller Changing Lanes (2002). After a career downturn, during which he appeared in Daredevil and Gigli (both 2003), Affleck received a Golden Globe nomination for his performance in the noir biopic Hollywoodland (2006). His directorial debut, Gone Baby Gone (2007), which he also co-wrote, was well received. He then directed, co-wrote, and starred in the crime drama The Town (2010). For the political thriller Argo (2012), which he directed, co-produced and starred in, Affleck won the Golden Globe and BAFTA Award for Best Director, and the Golden Globe, BAFTA, and Academy Award for Best Picture. He starred in the psychological thriller Gone Girl in 2014. In 2016, Affleck began playing Batman in the DC Extended Universe, starred in the action thriller The Accountant, and directed, wrote and acted in the gangster drama Live by Night. Affleck is the co-founder of the Eastern Congo Initiative, a grantmaking and advocacy-based nonprofit organization. He is also a stalwart member of the Democratic Party. Affleck and Damon are co-owners of the production company Pearl Street Films. His younger brother is actor Casey Affleck, with whom he has worked on several films including Good Will Hunting and Gone Baby Gone. Affleck married actress Jennifer Garner in 2005; they have three children together. The couple announced their separation in 2015 and filed for divorce in early 2017.

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November 18
Presque Isle State Park in winter

Presque Isle State Park is a 3,112-acre (1,259 ha) Pennsylvania state park on an arching, sandy peninsula that juts into Lake Erie, near the city of Erie, Pennsylvania. The peninsula was formed from glacial deposits more than 14,000 years ago, and is constantly being reshaped by waves and wind. The Erielhonan, a Native American tribe who gave their name to Lake Erie, probably lived on Presque Isle, which was named by the French in the 1720s. A French fort was built nearby, followed by a British and then an American fort. During the War of 1812 the peninsula sheltered the fleet of Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry. With the growing importance of shipping on Lake Erie in the 19th century, several lighthouses were built on Presque Isle. In 1876 the US Life-Saving Service opened a station, still in use and operated by the US Coast Guard. In 1921 Presque Isle became a state park. It has been a National Natural Landmark since 1967. There are seven ecological zones within the park, each with a different plant and animal community. (Full article...)


November 19

Freak Out! is the debut studio album by the American rock band the Mothers of Invention, released June 27, 1966, on Verve Records. Often cited as one of rock music's first concept albums, the album is a satirical expression of frontman Frank Zappa's perception of American pop culture. It was also one of the earliest double albums in rock music (Bob Dylan's Blonde on Blonde was originally scheduled to precede it by a week, but its release was delayed until more than a month later), and the first 2-record debut. In the UK the album was originally released as an edited single disc. The album was produced by Tom Wilson, who signed The Mothers, formerly a bar band called the Soul Giants. Zappa said many years later that Wilson signed the group to a record deal in the belief that they were a white blues band. The album features Zappa on vocals and guitar, along with lead vocalist/tambourine player Ray Collins, bass player/vocalist Roy Estrada, drummer/vocalist Jimmy Carl Black and guitar player Elliot Ingber, who later joined Captain Beefheart's Magic Band under the name Winged Eel Fingerling. The band's original repertoire consisted of rhythm and blues covers; though after Zappa joined the band he encouraged them to play his own original material, and the name was changed to The Mothers. The musical content of Freak Out! ranges from rhythm and blues, doo-wop and standard blues-influenced rock to orchestral arrangements and avant-garde sound collages. Although the album was initially poorly received in the United States, it was a success in Europe. It gained a cult following in America, where it continued to sell in substantial quantities until it was discontinued in the early 1970s. In 1999, the album was honored with the Grammy Hall of Fame Award, and in 2003, Rolling Stone ranked it among the "500 Greatest Albums of All Time". In 2006, The MOFO Project/Object, an audio documentary on the making of the album, was released in honor of its 40th anniversary.

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November 20
The name ship of the class Beograd (right) and the flotilla leader Dubrovnik in the Bay of Kotor after being captured by Italy.

The Beograd class consisted of three destroyers built for the Royal Yugoslav Navy in the late 1930s, to a French design. Beograd was constructed in France and Zagreb and Ljubljana were built in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. During the German-led Axis invasion of Yugoslavia in April 1941, Zagreb was scuttled to prevent its capture, and the other two were captured by the Italians. The Royal Italian Navy operated the two captured ships as convoy escorts between Italy, the Aegean Sea and North Africa. One was lost in the Gulf of Tunis in April 1943; the other was seized by the Germans in September 1943 after the Italian surrender, and was subsequently operated by the German Navy. There are conflicting reports about the fate of the last ship, but it was lost in the final weeks of the war. In 1967, a French film was made about the scuttling of Zagreb. In 1973, the President of Yugoslavia and wartime Partisan leader Josip Broz Tito posthumously awarded the two officers who scuttled Zagreb with the Order of the People's Hero.

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November 21
Westbound I-96 as it passes under Sternberg Road approaching US 31

Interstate 96 (I-96) is an east–west Interstate Highway that runs for approximately 192 miles (309 km) entirely within the US state of Michigan. The western terminus is at an interchange with US Highway 31 (US 31) and Business US 31 (Bus. US 31) on the eastern boundary of Norton Shores southeast of Muskegon, and the eastern terminus is at I-75 near the Ambassador Bridge in Detroit. From Grand Rapids through Lansing to Detroit, the freeway parallels Grand River Avenue, never straying more than a few miles from the decommissioned US 16. The Wayne County section of I-96 is named the Jeffries Freeway from its eastern terminus to the junction with I-275 and M-14. Though maps still refer to the freeway as the Jeffries, the portion within the city of Detroit was renamed by the state legislature as the Rosa Parks Memorial Highway in December 2005 in honor of the late civil rights pioneer. There are four auxiliary Interstates as well as two current and four former business routes associated with I-96. Grand River Avenue originated as an Indian trail before Michigan statehood. It later was used as a wagon road across the state. The roadway was included in the State Trunkline Highway System in 1919 as M-16 and later the United States Numbered Highway System as US 16. Construction of a freeway along the length of the corridor was proposed in the 1940s, and included as part of the Interstate Highway System in the mid-1950s. This construction was started in 1956 and initially completed across the state to Detroit in 1962. The proposed route for the Jeffries Freeway in Detroit was moved in the 1960s; it was built in the 1970s. I-96 was completed on November 21, 1977, in the Detroit area, closing the last gap along the route. Since then, additional interchanges and lanes have been added in places to accommodate traffic needs.

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Part of the Interstate 96 and the Interstate Highways in Michigan series, two of Wikipedia's featured topics.


November 22
Drawing of a sea mink published by the Canadian Field Naturalist in 1988.

The sea mink (Neovison macrodon) is a recently extinct species of mink which was most closely related to the American mink (Neovison vison); though there is debate about whether or not the sea mink should be considered a subspecies of the American mink (making it Neovison vison macrodon) or a species of its own. The main justification for this is the size difference between the two minks. Its actual size is speculative, based largely on tooth remains. The sea mink was first described in 1903, after its extinction; its appearance and habits stem from speculation and from accounts made by fur traders and Native Americans. Its behavior may have been similar to the American mink, in that it probably maintained home ranges, was polygynandrous, and had a similar diet. It was probably found on the New England coast and the Maritime Provinces. Largest of the minks, it was more desirable to fur traders and became extinct in the late 1800s or the early 1900s. (Full article...)


November 23
Smog over New York City in 1953

The 1966 New York City smog (November 23–26) was an air-pollution event, with damaging levels of carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, smoke, and haze. Coming during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, it was the third major smog in New York City, after similar events in 1953 and 1963. Leaders of local and state governments announced an alert and asked residents and industry to take voluntary steps to minimize emissions. Health officials advised people with respiratory or heart conditions to stay indoors. The alert ended after a cold front dispersed the smog. It was an environmental disaster with severe public health effects, including 168 deaths, according to a statistical analysis. The smog catalyzed greater national awareness of air pollution as a serious health problem, and became a political issue. With support from presidents Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard Nixon, a series of bills and amendments aimed at regulating air pollution culminated in the 1967 Air Quality Act and the 1970 Clean Air Act. (Full article...)


November 24
Coragyps-atratus-001.jpg

The black vulture (Coragyps atratus) also known as the American black vulture, is a bird in the New World vulture family whose range extends from the southeastern United States to Central Chile and Uruguay in South America. Although a common and widespread species, it has a somewhat more restricted distribution than its compatriot, the turkey vulture, which breeds well into Canada and south to Tierra del Fuego. Despite the similar name and appearance, this species is unrelated to the Eurasian black vulture. The latter species is an Old World vulture in the family Accipitridae (which includes eagles, hawks, kites and harriers), whereas the American species is a New World vulture. It is the only extant member of the genus Coragyps, which is in the family Cathartidae. It inhabits relatively open areas which provide scattered forests or shrublands. With a wingspan of 1.5 m (4.9 ft), the black vulture is a large bird though relatively small for a vulture. It has black plumage, a featherless, grayish-black head and neck, and a short, hooked beak. The black vulture is a scavenger and feeds on carrion, but will also eat eggs or kill newborn animals. In areas populated by humans, it also feeds at garbage dumps. It finds its meals either by using its keen eyesight or by following other (New World) vultures, which possess a keen sense of smell. Lacking a syrinx—the vocal organ of birds—its only vocalizations are grunts or low hisses. It lays its eggs in caves or hollow trees or on the bare ground, and generally raises two chicks each year, which it feeds by regurgitation. In the United States, the vulture receives legal protection under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. This vulture also appeared in Mayan codices.

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November 25

New Worlds was a British science fiction magazine that began in 1936 as a fanzine called Novae Terrae. It adopted its current title in 1939, after John Carnell became editor. First published professionally in 1946, it became the leading publication of its type; the period to 1960 has been described by historian Mike Ashley as the magazine's "Golden Age". Carnell joined the British Army in 1940 following the outbreak of the Second World War, and did not return to civilian life until 1946. He negotiated a publishing agreement for the magazine with Pendulum Publications, but only three issues of New Worlds were subsequently produced before Pendulum's bankruptcy in late 1947. A group of science fiction fans formed a company called Nova Publications to revive the magazine; the first issue under their management appeared in mid-1949. New Worlds continued to appear on a regular basis until issue 20, published in early 1953, following which a change of printers led to a hiatus in publication. It was not until early 1954, when Maclaren & Sons acquired control of Nova Publications, that the magazine returned to a stable monthly schedule. New Worlds was acquired by Roberts & Vinter in 1964, when Michael Moorcock became editor. By the end of 1966 financial problems led Roberts & Vinter to abandon New Worlds, but with the aid of an Arts Council grant obtained by Brian Aldiss, Moorcock was able to publish the magazine independently. He featured a good deal of experimental and avant-garde material, and New Worlds became the focus of the "New Wave" of science fiction. Reaction among the science fiction community was mixed, with partisans and opponents of the New Wave debating the merits of New Worlds in the columns of critical journals such as Speculation. Several of the regular contributors during this period, including Brian Aldiss, J. G. Ballard and Thomas M. Disch, became major names in the field. By 1970 Moorcock was too deeply in debt to be able to continue with the magazine, and it ceased publication with issue 200. The title has been revived multiple times, with Moorcock's direct involvement or approval; as of 2012, 22 additional issues have appeared in various formats, including several anthologies.

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November 26
The First World War shoulder patch

The 38th (Welsh) Division (initially the 43rd Division, later the 38th (Welsh) Infantry Division and then the 38th Infantry (Reserve) Division) of the British Army was active during both the First and Second World Wars. In 1914, the division was raised as the 43rd Division of Herbert Kitchener's New Army, and was originally intended to form part of a 50,000-strong Welsh Army Corps that had been championed by David Lloyd George; the assignment of Welsh recruits to other formations meant that this concept was never realised. The 43rd was renamed the 38th (Welsh) Division on 29 April 1915, and shipped to France later that year. It arrived in France with a poor reputation, seen as a political formation that was ill-trained and poorly led. The division's baptism by fire came in the first days of the Battle of the Somme, where it captured the strongly held Mametz Wood at the loss of nearly 4,000 men. This strongly held German position needed to be secured in order to facilitate the next phase of the Somme offensive; the Battle of Bazentin Ridge. Despite securing its objective, the division's reputation was adversely affected by miscommunication among senior officers. A year later it made a successful attack in the Battle of Pilckem Ridge, the opening of the Third Battle of Ypres. This action redeemed the division in the eyes of the upper hierarchy of the British military. In 1918, during the German Spring Offensive and the subsequent Allied Hundred Days Offensive, the division attacked several fortified German positions. It crossed the Ancre River, broke through the Hindenburg Line and German positions on the River Selle, ended the war on the Belgian frontier, and was considered one of the Army's elite units. The division was not chosen to be part of the Occupation of the Rhineland after the war, and was demobilised over several months. It ceased to exist by March 1919. In March 1939, following the reemergence of Germany and their occupation of Czechoslovakia, the British army increased the number of divisions within the Territorial Army by duplicating existing units. On paper, the division was recreated as the 38th (Welsh) Infantry Division, a duplicate of the 53rd (Welsh) Infantry Division; it formed in September. It was never deployed overseas as a division, having been restricted to home defence duties around the United Kingdom. In 1944, it was disbanded and its units were either deployed or broken up to reinforce the 21st Army Group in Normandy during Operation Overlord The 38th Division was recreated on 1 September 1944 as the 38th Infantry (Reserve) Division, a training formation that took over the role previously occupied by the 80th Infantry (Reserve) Division. In this form, the division completed the training of recruits, who were then dispatched overseas as reinforcements. At the end of the war, the division was again stood down.

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November 27

The Battle of Winterthur (27 May 1799) was an important action between elements of the Army of the Danube and elements of the Habsburg army, commanded by Friedrich Freiherr von Hotze, during the War of the Second Coalition, part of the French Revolutionary Wars. The small town of Winterthur lies 18 kilometers (11 mi) northeast of Zürich, in Switzerland. Because of its position at the junction of seven cross-roads, the army that held the town controlled access to most of Switzerland and points crossing the Rhine into southern Germany. Although the forces involved were small, the ability of the Austrians to sustain their 11-hour assault on the French line resulted in the consolidation of three Austrian forces on the plateau north of Zürich, leading to the French defeat a few days later. By mid-May 1799, the Austrians had wrested control of parts of Switzerland from the French as forces under the command of Hotze and Count Heinrich von Bellegarde pushed them out of the Grisons. After defeating Jean-Baptiste Jourdan's 25,000-man Army of the Danube at the battles of Ostrach and Stockach, the main Austrian army, under command of Archduke Charles, crossed the Rhine at the Swiss town of Schaffhausen and prepared to unite with the armies of Hotze and Friedrich Joseph, Count of Nauendorf, on the plains surrounding Zürich. The French Army of Switzerland and the Army of the Danube, now both under the command of André Masséna, sought to prevent this merger. Masséna sent Michel Ney and a small mixed cavalry and infantry force from Zürich to stop Hotze's force at Winterthur. Despite a sharp contest, the Austrians succeeded in pushing the French out of the Winterthur highlands, although both sides took high casualties. Once the union of the Habsburg armies took place in early June, Archduke Charles attacked French positions at Zürich and forced the French to withdraw beyond the Limmat.

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November 28

"X-Cops" is the twelfth episode of the seventh season of the American science fiction television series The X-Files. Directed by Michael Watkins and written by Vince Gilligan, the installment serves as a "Monster-of-the-Week" story—a stand-alone plot unconnected to the overarching mythology of The X-Files. Originally aired in the United States by the Fox network on February 20, 2000, "X-Cops" received a Nielsen rating of 9.7 and was seen by 16.56 million viewers. The episode earned positive reviews from critics, largely due to its unique presentation, as well as its use of humor. Since its airing, the episode has been named among the best episodes of The X-Files by several reviewers. The X-Files centers on Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) special agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson), who work on cases linked to the paranormal, called X-Files. Mulder is a believer in the paranormal; the skeptical Scully was initially assigned to debunk his work, but the two have developed a deep friendship. In this episode, Mulder and Scully are interviewed for the Fox reality television program Cops during an X-Files investigation. Mulder, hunting what he believes to be a werewolf, discovers that the monster terrorizing people instead feeds on fear. While Mulder embraces the publicity of Cops, Scully is more uncomfortable about appearing on national television. "X-Cops" serves as a fictional crossover with Cops and is one of only two X-Files episodes to be shot in real time, in which events are presented at the same rate that the audience experiences them. Gilligan, who was inspired to write the script because he enjoyed Cops, pitched the idea several times to series creator Chris Carter and the series writing staff, receiving a mixed reception; when the crew felt that the show was nearing its end with the conclusion of the seventh season, Gilligan was given the green light because it was seen as an experiment. In the tradition of the real-life Cops program, the entire episode was shot on videotape and featured several members of the crew of Cops. The episode has been thematically analyzed for its use of postmodernism and its presentation as reality television.

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November 29
Josephine Butler in 1851

Josephine Butler (1828–1906) was an English feminist and social reformer in the Victorian era. She campaigned for women's suffrage and better education for women. She was instrumental in the 1886 repeal of the Contagious Diseases Acts, which had subjected prostitutes to enforced vaginal medical examinations, and she founded an organisation to combat similar practices across Europe. After she became aware that English women and children were being sold into prostitution on the continent, her allegations led to the sacking of a Belgian police commissionaire and the imprisonment of his deputy and 12 brothel owners. Josephine fought child prostitution with help from the campaigning editor of The Pall Mall Gazette, William Thomas Stead, leading to the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1885, which raised the age of consent from 13 to 16 years of age. Her final campaign came in the late 1890s, against the Contagious Diseases Acts of the British Raj. She wrote more than 90 books and pamphlets, including three biographies. Her Christian feminism is celebrated by the Church of England with a Lesser Festival, and Durham University named one of their colleges after her. (Full article...)


November 30

Fallout 4: Far Harbor is an expansion pack for the 2015 video game Fallout 4, developed by Bethesda Game Studios and published by Bethesda Softworks. Far Harbor was released on May 19, 2016 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One as downloadable content (DLC). The game is set in the year 2287, in the aftermath of a nuclear war that destroys most of the United States. In the expansion, the player character is recruited by a detective agency to investigate the disappearance of a young girl living in a remote area. The game can be played in first-person or third-person perspective; in either case, the player controls the protagonist throughout their investigation on The Island, a landmass off the coast of Maine. Far Harbor's main gameplay consists of quests and puzzle sections. Upon completing the quests in the game, the player is rewarded with bottle caps from Nuka-Cola bottles (the franchise's main fictional currency), and experience points. The puzzles feature a variety of different game mechanics; some require the player to hit targets with lasers, and others allow building using blocks. Far Harbor's announcement was made three months after the release of Fallout 4. The expansion was influenced by player feedback on the base game's dialogue system, which was not considered to be as successful as the other game mechanics. The development team also noticed the players' interest in releases that added large amounts of explorable territory. The price of Fallout 4's season pass was increased because of the expansion's size. The expansion received generally favorable reviews from critics. The addition of new quests was praised, but there were mixed opinions on the expansion's atmosphere and its use of fog. The main criticisms were directed at the puzzles, which reviewers thought were a waste of time, unnecessary, or overly frustrating. In July 2016, Guillaume Veer accused Bethesda of copying his Fallout: New Vegas mod, named Autumn Leaves, though Veer said that he was not upset even if Bethesda had deliberately incorporated material from Autumn Leaves in Far Harbor.

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