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Wikipedia:Today's featured article/November 2022

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November 1

Former studio location (on right) at the Christian Science Center
Former studio location (on right) at the Christian Science Center

WBPX-TV (channel 68) is a television station in Boston, Massachusetts, United States, airing programming from the Ion Television network. It is owned by the Ion Media subsidiary of the E. W. Scripps Company and is broadcast from a tower in Hudson, Massachusetts, sharing the same TV spectrum with WDPX-TV (channel 58). WBPX-TV began broadcasting as WQTV in 1979 and primarily broadcast paid subscription television programming until 1983. The station succumbed to financial troubles in 1985 and pared back its programming. After being sold to The Christian Science Monitor in 1986, WQTV became the nucleus of a major production operation, which in 1991 spawned a cable television channel, the Monitor Channel. The service shut down in 1992 amid total losses estimated at $325 million, and the church sold WQTV to Boston University, which operated it for six years as commercial independent WABU. The station was sold in 1999 to become an outlet of the Pax network, known as Ion since 2007. (Full article...)


November 2

Corinna

Corinna was an ancient Greek lyric poet from Tanagra in Boeotia. Although ancient sources portray her as a contemporary of Pindar (born c. 518 BC), not all modern scholars accept this tradition. When she lived has been much debated since the early twentieth century; proposed dates range from the beginning of the fifth century to the late third century BC. Corinna's works survive only in fragments: three substantial sections of poems are preserved on papyri from the second century AD in Egypt, and several shorter pieces survive in quotations by ancient grammarians. They focus on local Boeotian legends, and are distinctive for their mythological innovations. Corinna's poetry often reworks popular myths to include details not known from any other sources. Though respected in her hometown, Tanagra, and popular in ancient Rome, she is regarded by modern critics as provincial and dull. Her poetry is nonetheless of interest as she is one of the few female poets from Ancient Greece whose work survives. (Full article...)


November 3

Laika depicted on a postage stamp
Laika depicted on a postage stamp

Laika (c. 1954 – 1957) was one of the first animals in space and the first animal to orbit Earth. A stray mongrel from Moscow, she was selected as the occupant of Sputnik 2 which launched into low orbit on 3 November 1957. The mission aimed to prove that a living passenger could survive being launched into orbit and endure a micro-g environment, leading to human spaceflight and providing data on how living organisms react to spaceflight environments. Laika died within hours from overheating, possibly caused by a failure of the central R-7 sustainer to separate from the payload. The true cause and time of her death were not made public until 2002; instead, it was reported that she died when her oxygen ran out on day six or, as the Soviet government initially claimed, she was euthanised prior to oxygen depletion. On 11 April 2008, a monument to Laika was unveiled near the military research facility that prepared her flight to space. She also appears on the Monument to the Conquerors of Space. (Full article...)

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November 4

Carter and colleagues looking into the opened shrines within the tomb
Carter and colleagues looking into the opened shrines within the tomb

The tomb of Tutankhamun was uncovered beginning on 4 November 1922 by excavators in the Valley of the Kings led by Howard Carter, an Egyptologist. Whereas the tombs of most pharaohs of ancient Egypt were plundered in ancient times, Tutankhamun's tomb was hidden by debris for most of its existence and not extensively robbed. Conserving the burial goods required a ten-year effort, and their opulence inspired a media frenzy, intensified by speculation that misfortunes connected with the tomb were the result of an ancient curse. Friction between the Egyptian government and the British-led excavation team resulted in a settlement by which the burial goods remained in Egypt, instead of being divided between the excavators and the government as had been standard Egyptological practice. The discovery yielded limited information about events in Tutankhamun's time but a great deal about the material culture of the era. The fame of the discovery made Tutankhamun a symbol of ancient Egypt itself. (Full article...)

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November 5

Reproduction of the most complete known skull of Homo antecessor
Reproduction of the most complete known skull of Homo antecessor

Homo antecessor ('pioneer man') is an archaic human species from 1.2 to 0.8 million years ago during the Early Pleistocene. Fossils have been found in the Sierra de Atapuerca in Spain, the first in 1994. The species was one of the first humans to colonise Western Europe. They followed savanna habitats prevalent in the area when frigid glacial periods were transitioning to warmer interglacials, and vacated at other times. Despite being so ancient, they had a face unexpectedly similar to that of a modern human. Brain volume could have been 1,000 cm3 (61 cu in) or more, compared with present-day human averages of 1,270 cm3 (78 cu in) for males and 1,130 cm3 (69 cu in) for females. Stature estimates range from 162.3 to 186.8 cm (5 ft 4 in to 6 ft 2 in). H. antecessor manufactured simple pebble and flake stone tools out of quartz and chert, although they used a variety of materials. Many of the specimens found were cannibalised, perhaps as a cultural practice. There is no evidence of fire usage. (Full article...)


November 6

Battle of Chesma
Battle of Chesma

The Russian occupations of Beirut were two separate military actions by squadrons of the Imperial Russian Navy as part of Russia's Levant campaign during the Russo-Turkish War of 1768–1774. In July 1770 a Russian fleet established naval command of the Mediterranean at the Battle of Chesma (depicted). In 1772 Russia attempted to assist Egypt's autonomous ruler, Ali Bey al-Kabir, who was in rebellion against the Ottoman Empire. A small Russian squadron helped repel an Ottoman offensive on Sidon, then sailed for Beirut. It bombarded the town and occupied it from 23 to 28 June. In 1773, another Russian squadron accepted an offer by the Druze chieftain Yusuf Shihab to pay the Russians a tribute in exchange for their capturing Beirut. A bombardment of the town began on 2 August, and it surrendered on 10 October. Several hundred Albanian mercenaries were left as occupiers and kept the Russian flag raised over the town until late January or early February 1774. (Full article...)


November 7

Platform level of Toa Payoh MRT station
Platform level of Toa Payoh MRT station

Toa Payoh MRT station is an underground Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) station on the North South line (NSL) in Toa Payoh, Singapore. The station is underneath the intersection of three roads: Lorong 1 Toa Payoh, Lorong 2 Toa Payoh and Lorong 6 Toa Payoh. Located within the town centre, it is integrated with the Toa Payoh Bus Interchange and the HDB Hub, headquarters of the Housing and Development Board. The station was first announced in May 1982. Construction of the station began in 1983 as part of Phase I of the MRT system. In August 1985, Toa Payoh was the first MRT station in Singapore to have its concrete structure completed. The station opened on 7 November 1987 and was one of the first MRT stations to operate in revenue service. The station has a bright yellow scheme (pictured) with a set of coloured tiles at the concourse level. It is also one of the few stations on the initial network to have a double-height ceiling. (Full article...)


November 8

J. Havens Richards

J. Havens Richards (November 8, 1851 – June 9, 1923) was an American Catholic priest and Jesuit. Born to a prominent Ohio family, he was secretly baptized as an infant by his father, an Episcopal priest who converted to Catholicism. Richards studied at Boston College and Woodstock College. In 1888, he became the president of Georgetown University. For the next decade, he instituted reforms that helped transform the school into a modern, comprehensive university. He enlarged the graduate programs, medical school, and law school, established the university hospital, improved the astronomical observatory, and oversaw the completion of Healy Hall and construction of Dahlgren Chapel. Richards also managed tensions with the newly founded Catholic University of America, located in the same city, and fought anti-Catholicism in the Ivy League, particularly at Harvard Law School. In his later years, he held senior positions at Jesuit institutions throughout the northeastern United States. (Full article...)


November 9

Priestfield Stadium in 1982
Priestfield Stadium in 1982

In Gillingham F.C.'s 1963–64 season, their 32nd in the Football League, they competed in the Fourth Division. Gillingham were undefeated in their first 13 games, the longest such run by any team in the Football League, and by the end of September were top of the league table, where they remained for much of the season. In April, the postponement of several games allowed other teams to overtake them but they moved back into the promotion places as they played the rescheduled games. They won the championship on goal average in their final game. They were eliminated in the first round of the FA Cup but reached the fourth round of the League Cup. The team played 52 matches, winning 26, drawing 15 and losing 11. Brian Gibbs was their top goalscorer with 18 goals in all competitions. Mike Burgess and John Simpson both played in every game. The highest attendance recorded that season at the club's home ground, Priestfield Stadium (pictured), was 17,421 for a game against Carlisle on 9 October 1963. (Full article...)


November 10

A US C-47 transport plane dropping supplies in October 1942
A US C-47 transport plane dropping supplies in October 1942

Allied logistics in the Kokoda Track campaign played a crucial role in bringing the 1942 World War II campaign in the Territory of Papua to a conclusion. To transform its capital Port Moresby into a major base, engineers built airfields, wharves, roads, and warehouses. The interior was covered with dense rainforest and rugged mountains that wheeled vehicles could not traverse. Few aircraft were available, and they were restricted by the weather and subject to destruction on the ground by Japanese air raids. The loss of the airstrip at Kokoda led to the adoption of airdropping (pictured). Due to a shortage of parachutes, supplies were often dropped without them, with attendant losses and breakages. Trucks, jeeps, and pack animals carried stores, ammunition, and rations only part of the way. The rest of the journey over the Kokoda Track was on the backs of Papuan carriers, who struggled over the mountains lugging heavy loads. They often carried the wounded too, which earned them the sobriquet of "Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels". (Full article...)


November 11

The Cenotaph

The Cenotaph is a war memorial on Whitehall in London. Designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, it was unveiled in 1920 as the United Kingdom's national memorial to the British and Commonwealth dead of the First World War. It was rededicated in 1946 to also commemorate those who had fallen in the Second World War, and has since come to represent British casualties from later conflicts. The word cenotaph is derived from Greek, meaning 'empty tomb'; the monument symbolises the absence of the dead and is a focal point for public mourning. The original temporary Cenotaph was erected in 1919 for a parade celebrating the end of the First World War; calls for it to be rebuilt in permanent form began almost immediately. The permanent Cenotaph was unveiled by George V on 11 November 1920 in a ceremony combined with the repatriation of the Unknown Warrior. The National Service of Remembrance is held annually at the site on Remembrance Sunday. (Full article...)


November 12

Selena Gomez, who portrayed Alex Russo
Selena Gomez, who portrayed Alex Russo

Wizards of Waverly Place is an American fantasy teen sitcom created by Todd J. Greenwald that aired on Disney Channel for four seasons between October 2007 and January 2012. The series centers on Alex Russo – played by Selena Gomez (pictured) – a teenage wizard living in Greenwich Village, Manhattan, who undertakes training alongside her siblings, Justin (David Henrie) and Max (Jake T. Austin). Wizards of Waverly Place enjoyed high viewership in the United States; its series finale was the most-watched final episode of any Disney Channel show. A television film adaptation, Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie, aired in 2009 and was awarded a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Children's Program in 2010. The series Wizards of Waverly Place won two Emmys, in 2009 and 2012. Television critics praised the show for its humor and cast; Gomez's affiliation with the network led to a prominent musical career apart from the program. (Full article...)


November 13

Black-shouldered kite

The black-shouldered kite (Elanus axillaris) is a small raptor found in open habitat throughout Australia. It resembles similar species found in Africa, Eurasia and North America, including the black-winged kite. Measuring around 35 cm (14 in) in length with a wingspan of 80 to 100 cm (30 to 40 in), the adult has predominantly grey and white plumage, prominent black markings above its red eyes, and black patches on its wings. Monogamous pairs engage in aerial courtship displays and breed between August and January. Three or four eggs are laid and incubated for around 30 days. Chicks are fully fledged within five weeks of hatching and can hunt for mice within a week of leaving the nest. Juveniles disperse widely from the home territory. The black-shouldered kite hunts in open fields and grasslands, searching for its prey while hovering. It mainly eats small rodents, particularly the introduced house mouse. The species is not threatened. (Full article...)


November 14

Roberta Williams

Roberta Williams (born 1953) is an American video game designer and writer who co-founded Sierra On-Line with her game developer husband, Ken Williams. Her first game, Mystery House, was released in 1980, became a modest commercial success, and is credited as the first graphic adventure game. She is also known for creating and maintaining the King's Quest series, as well as designing the 1995 full motion video game Phantasmagoria. After Sierra was acquired by CUC International in 1996, she grew increasingly frustrated with CUC's creative and business decisions. She left the game industry and focused on her travels and historical fiction writing. In 2021, she released the historical novel Farewell to Tara. Several publications have named Roberta Williams as one of the best or most influential creators in the video game industry. She has received the Industry Icon Award from The Game Awards, and the Pioneer Award at the Game Developers Choice Awards. (Full article...)


November 15

Michael Jackson, who narrated the album
Michael Jackson, who narrated the album

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is an audiobook and soundtrack companion album for the 1982 blockbuster film directed by Steven Spielberg. Composed by John Williams, the album was narrated by Michael Jackson (pictured), and distributed by MCA Records. The original song "Someone in the Dark", sung by Jackson, bookends the album. The album was released on November 15, 1982 – before Jackson's album Thriller was released later that month – which led to a lawsuit by his label, Epic Records, over the soundtrack being released first. The soundtrack album was withdrawn, and the release of the single "Someone in the Dark" was prohibited. The album also featured a poster of Jackson with an animatronic model of E.T.; the image appeared on the cover of Ebony magazine the following month. Despite its curtailed release, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial reached number 37 on the Billboard 200 and number 82 on the UK Albums Chart. Well-received critically, it won Jackson a Grammy Award for Best Recording for Children. (Full article...)


November 16

Eadwig in a 14th-century miniature
Eadwig in a 14th-century miniature

Eadwig (c. 940 – 959) was King of England from 955 until his death. He was the elder son of King Edmund I. Eadwig and his brother Edgar were too young to rule when Edmund was killed in 946, so Edmund was succeeded by his brother Eadred, who died unmarried in his early thirties. Eadwig clashed at the start of his reign with Dunstan, the future archbishop of Canterbury, and exiled him to Flanders. In 956 he issued over sixty charters transferring land, perhaps as an attempt to buy support or to reward his favourites. In 957 the kingdom was divided between Eadwig, south of the Thames, and Edgar to its north. Historians disagree whether this was an agreed settlement or the result of dissatisfaction with Eadwig. The next year, Oda, Archbishop of Canterbury, separated Eadwig from his wife Ælfgifu on the grounds of consanguinity. Edgar succeeded to the whole kingdom when Eadwig died. He was condemned by monastic chroniclers, and some historians see him as a victim of unjust character assassination. (Full article...)


November 17

The Zarafshan Mountains from the Takhtakaracha Pass
The Zarafshan Mountains from the Takhtakaracha Pass

The Battle of the Defile was fought over three days in July 731 in and near the Takhtakaracha Pass (in modern Uzbekistan) between a large army of the Umayyad Caliphate and forces of the Türgesh Khaganate. The Türgesh had been besieging Samarkand; Samarkand's commander, Sawra ibn al-Hurr al-Abani, sent a request for relief to the newly appointed governor of Khurasan, Junayd ibn Abd al-Rahman al-Murri. Junayd's 28,000-strong army was attacked by the Türgesh in the pass, and although the Umayyad army managed to extricate itself and reach Samarkand, it suffered heavy casualties. Sawra's 12,000 men attacked the Türgesh from the rear in a relief effort and were almost annihilated. The battle halted and even reversed Muslim expansion into Central Asia for a decade. In addition, it increased Khurasani disaffection for the Umayyad regime, and drew away reinforcements from the metropolitan regions of the Caliphate, helping to bring about its downfall twenty years later. (Full article...)


November 18

The winner, Joe Perry
The winner, Joe Perry

The 2022 Welsh Open in snooker took place from 28 February to 6 March 2022 at the International Convention Centre Wales at the Celtic Manor Resort in Newport, Wales. It was the 12th ranking event of the 2021–22 snooker season, and the 31st Welsh Open. The seventh of eight tournaments in the season's European Series, it was the fourth and last event of the Home Nations Series. It was broadcast by BBC Cymru Wales, BBC Online, BBC Red Button, Quest and Eurosport domestically. Jordan Brown was the defending champion, having defeated Ronnie O'Sullivan 9–8 in the 2021 event. However, Brown lost 3–4 in his held-over qualifying match against Mitchell Mann. Joe Perry (pictured) defeated Judd Trump 9–5 in the final to win his first Welsh Open title and his second ranking title. Aged 47, Perry became the oldest to win a ranking tournament since Ray Reardon in 1982. There were 58 century breaks made during the main venue stage of the event; the highest was a 142 made by Michael White in the second round. (Full article...)


November 19

Adele
Adele

"I Drink Wine" is a song by English singer Adele (pictured) from her fourth studio album 30 (2021). Adele co-wrote the song with its producer Greg Kurstin. It was released by Columbia Records as the album's seventh track on 19 November 2021. "I Drink Wine" is a ballad with gospel influences. It is reminiscent of church music and incorporates a piano and an organ in its instrumentation. The song is about letting go of one's ego and addresses Adele's divorce from Simon Konecki, comprising arduous realisations about the condition of her marriage and life. It received generally positive reviews from music critics, some of whom viewed it as one of Adele's best songs and a career highlight. "I Drink Wine" reached the top ten in the United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and Sweden. Joe Talbot directed the music video for the song, in which Adele floats in a river and drinks wine. Adele performed it for her television specials and at the Brit Awards 2022. (Full article...)


November 20

Ceres

Ceres is the smallest identified dwarf planet in the Solar System and the only one in the asteroid belt. It was discovered on 1 January 1801, by Giuseppe Piazzi, and for half a century was classified as the eighth planet. It is named after Ceres, a Roman goddess. With a diameter of about 950 km (590 miles), Ceres is the largest and most massive body in the asteroid belt and contains about a third of the belt's total mass. It is spheroidal and its surface probably consists of a mixture of water ice and various hydrated minerals like carbonates and clays. Ceres appears to be differentiated into a rocky core and icy mantle, with brines reaching the surface. From the Earth, the apparent magnitude of Ceres ranges from 6.7 to 9.3; at its brightest it is generally too dim to be seen with the naked eye. On 27 September 2007, NASA launched the space probe Dawn to explore the asteroid Vesta from 2011 to 2012, and Ceres from 2015 to 2018. (This article is part of a featured topic: Solar System.)


November 21

Betsy Bakker-Nort

Betsy Bakker-Nort (1874–1946) was a Dutch feminist, lawyer, and politician who served as a member of the House of Representatives for the Free-thinking Democratic League (VDB) from 1922 to 1942. Born in Groningen, she became involved with the feminist movement in 1894. At age 34, Bakker-Nort started studying law, realising that the fight for women's rights required a thorough understanding of the law. In the 1922 general election, the first in which women were allowed to vote, she was elected to parliament and became the VDB's first female representative. She was re-elected four times and was an advocate for more women's rights with respect to marriage and labour law. She took a leading role in preparations for a 1930 League of Nations conference. After the German invasion of the Netherlands in May 1940, Bakker-Nort did not return to parliament. From December 1942 she was detained in internment and concentration camps. She was liberated in June 1945 and died the following year. (Full article...)


November 22

John Frusciante
John Frusciante

Niandra LaDes and Usually Just a T-Shirt is the debut solo album by American musician John Frusciante (pictured), released on November 22, 1994, by American Recordings. Frusciante was previously a member of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, but left in 1992 after he became overwhelmed by the band's newfound popularity. During this period, he became severely depressed and developed a serious drug addiction. He isolated himself in his home to record music for an eventual album. For Niandra LaDes and Usually Just a T-Shirt, Frusciante combined avant-garde and stream-of-consciousness styles, with guitar, piano and various effects on a four-track recorder. It was met with general confusion and a mixed response from fans and critics. David Wild of Rolling Stone wrote that the album "is twisted, cool stuff". It sold 15,000 copies by 1996. Two years later, Frusciante rehabilitated and rejoined the Red Hot Chili Peppers. (Full article...)


November 23

Kathryn D. Sullivan

Kathryn D. Sullivan (born 1951) is an American geologist and oceanographer, and a former government official and NASA astronaut, who flew on three Space Shuttle missions. Sullivan was one of six women selected in NASA Astronaut Group 8, the first group to include women. During her first mission, STS-41-G, Sullivan performed the first spacewalk by an American woman. On her second, STS-31, she helped deploy the Hubble Space Telescope. On the third, STS-45, she served as Payload Commander on the first Spacelab mission dedicated to NASA's Mission to Planet Earth. Sullivan was Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration from 2014 to 2017. On June 7, 2020, Sullivan became the first woman to reach the Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench, the deepest part of the Earth's oceans. In September 2021, President Joe Biden appointed her to the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. (Full article...)


November 24

Life restoration showing Phosphatodraco in terrestrial pose
Life restoration showing Phosphatodraco in terrestrial pose

Phosphatodraco is a genus of azhdarchid pterosaur that lived during the Late Cretaceous in what is now Morocco. In 2000, a pterosaur specimen consisting of five neck vertebrae was discovered in the Ouled Abdoun phosphatic basin. The specimen was made the holotype of the new genus and species Phosphatodraco mauritanicus in 2003. It is one of the last known pterosaurs, and its neck is one of the best preserved among the azhdarchids. Due to the fragmentary nature of the holotype vertebrae, it is unclear how Phosphatodraco is distinguished from other azhdarchids and how large it was: it may have had a wingspan of either 4 m (13 ft) or 5 m (16 ft). Its neck may have been 865 mm (2 ft 10 in) long. It would have had a proportionally long neck, small body, and long limbs, compared to other pterosaurs. The diversity in pterosaur taxa in the Ouled Abdoun Basin, including Phosphatodraco, right before the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event suggests the extinction of pterosaurs happened abruptly. (Full article...)


November 25

The Byzantine Empire around the time of David
The Byzantine Empire around the time of David

David (born 630) was one of three co-emperors of the Byzantine Empire for a few months in late 641. David was the son of Emperor Heraclius and his wife and niece Empress Martina. His name was an attempt to link the family with the Biblical David. After the death of Heraclius in February 641 a power struggle ensued. In a compromise, 10-year-old David was raised to co-emperor, alongside his brother Heraclonas and their nephew Constans II. At the time the Byzantine state faced the ongoing Muslim conquest of Egypt and continuing religious strife over monothelitism and other Christological doctrines. All three emperors were children and the Empress Dowager Martina acted as regent. Martina was deeply unpopular due to her incestuous relationship with Heraclius and her unconventional habits. Her regime was deposed, probably by January 642. She and her sons were exiled to Rhodes and, in an early example of Byzantine political mutilation, Martina's tongue was cut out and her sons' noses were cut off. (Full article...)


November 26

Two crossed white keys on a black background
Insignia of the 2nd Infantry Division (1940–2012)

The 2nd Infantry Division was an infantry division of the British Army, first formed in 1809 for service in the Peninsular War. The second formation fought at the Battle of Waterloo and played an important role in defeating the final French attack. It was disbanded in December 1818. During the mid to late 19th century, several formations bearing the name 2nd Division were formed, including in 1854 to take part in the Crimean War and in 1899 for the Second Boer War. From 1902 the division was based at Aldershot, in southern England. When World War I broke out in 1914, it was deployed to France as part of the British Expeditionary Force. It served on the Western Front and suffered heavy casualties. The division returned to Aldershot for the interwar period. During World War II, the formation was deployed to France again, evacuated from Dunkirk, and served in Burma. In the post-war years it formed part of the British Army of the Rhine in Germany. The division was most recently disbanded in 2012. (Full article...)


November 27

Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga

"Dance in the Dark" is a song written, produced and arranged by American singer Lady Gaga (pictured) and Fernando Garibay. It is taken from her third extended play, The Fame Monster (2009)—the reissue of her debut studio album, The Fame (2008). It is about a girl who prefers to have sex in the dark as she is insecure about her body. A Europop track containing retro and new-wave influences, it begins with a stuttering introduction and includes a spoken memorial as an interlude. Critics praised the song for its chorus and theme, although some found its production formulaic. Retrospective reviewers ranked the song as one of Gaga's best. "Dance in the Dark" reached the top ten on charts in Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, as well as the US Dance/Electronic Digital Song chart. It was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Dance Recording. Gaga performed "Dance in the Dark" as the opening song of The Monster Ball Tour, at the 2010 Brit Awards and at her Las Vegas residency, Enigma. (Full article...)


November 28

E. electricus
E. electricus

The electric eels are a genus, Electrophorus, of tropical freshwater fish from South America in the family Gymnotidae. They are electric fish, and can stun their prey by delivering shocks at up to 860 volts. Their electrical capabilities were first studied in 1775, contributing to the invention in 1800 of the electric battery. Despite their name, they are not closely related to the true eels (order Anguilliformes) but are electroreceptive knifefish (order Gymnotiformes), more closely related to catfish. Previously, the genus was believed to be monotypic, containing only Electrophorus electricus. In 2019 it was discovered that there were three species. They are nocturnal, air-breathing animals, with poor vision complemented by electrolocation; they mainly eat fish. Males are larger than females. Electric eels grow for as long as they live, adding more vertebrae to their spinal column. Some captive specimens have lived for more than 20 years. (Full article...)


November 29

Shepseskaf's cartouche
Shepseskaf's cartouche

Shepseskaf was a pharaoh of ancient Egypt who reigned in the late 26th to the mid–25th century BC. He was the sixth and probably last ruler of the fourth dynasty during the Old Kingdom period. His name means "His soul is noble". Shepseskaf might have been the son or possibly the brother of his predecessor Menkaure. During his reign of four to seven years, Shepseskaf completed the mortuary complex of the Pyramid of Menkaure, the smallest of the three main pyramids of Giza, using mudbricks. For his own tomb he abandoned the Giza necropolis and built a mastaba, a flat-roofed rectangular structure now known as the Mastabat al-Fir'aun, at South Saqqara. These decisions may have reflected his short reign, a declining economy, or a power struggle between the King and the priesthood of Ra. Alternatively, Shepseskaf may have intended his tomb to be a pyramid, but after his death it was completed as a mastaba. (Full article...)


November 30

Minas Geraes firing the heaviest warship broadside at the time
Minas Geraes firing the heaviest warship broadside at the time

The South American dreadnought race took place in the early twentieth century between Argentina, Brazil and Chile—the three most powerful and wealthy countries in South America. In 1906 the revolutionary British warship HMS Dreadnought made all existing battleships obsolete. Brazil ordered three Minas Geraes-class dreadnoughts (lead ship pictured). These warships would be the most powerful in the world. The incomplete third vessel was sold to the Ottoman Empire in 1913 over economic concerns and a fear that it would be outclassed by even larger super-dreadnoughts. Meanwhile, Argentina and Chile ordered two dreadnoughts each: of the Rivadavia class in 1910 and Almirante Latorre class in 1911, respectively. The outbreak of World War I ended the naval arms race. The Brazilian super-dreadnought Riachuelo was canceled, the two Chilean dreadnoughts were purchased by the British, and Argentina's two dreadnoughts were completed in US yards. (This article is part of a featured topic: South American dreadnought race.)