From today's featured article
The Space Shuttle Columbia disaster was a fatal accident in the NASA Space Shuttle program on February 1, 2003. During the launch of the STS-107 mission, foam insulation from the Space Shuttle external tank fell and damaged the thermal protection system of the orbiter. During atmospheric reentry at the end of the mission, the damage allowed hot gases to penetrate the heat shield and destroy the internal wing structure. The orbiter broke apart inflight, killing all seven astronauts on board (crew pictured). Debris was scattered over eastern Texas and Louisiana, and a massive recovery effort was launched to recover debris and crew remains. The accident resulted in a two-year hiatus for the Space Shuttle program, and an investigation into its cause discovered that NASA had become accustomed to insulation foam hitting the orbiter on previous missions. The accident contributed to the eventual cancellation and retirement of the Space Shuttle, which last flew in 2011. (Full article...)
Did you know ...
- ... that around 1400, the Embriachi workshop in northern Italy specialised in marriage caskets with carved bone plaques (example pictured)?
- ... that after David Glenn Lewis was killed in an apparent hit-and-run incident 30 years ago today 1,600 miles (2,600 km) from his home, it took a Google search in 2004 to identify his body?
- ... that the launch of a Florida TV station was brought forward nearly two months because the local ABC affiliate stopped airing more than half of its prime-time shows?
- ... that Peruvian foreign minister Manuel María Gálvez Egúsquiza was arrested by Chilean troops for refusing to sign peace with the cession of territory during the War of the Pacific?
- ... that Rolling Stone named Mission of Burma's "Academy Fight Song" as one of the 100 greatest debut singles of all time?
- ... that the first issue of Allan, one of the earliest Japanese magazines focused on male–male romance for a female audience, featured a pin-up poster of David Bowie?
- ... that the Banu Kalb tribe were originally Christians but became Muslims after the Muslim conquest of the Levant?
- ... that a donut has a donutussy?
In the news
- A green comet (pictured) makes its closest approach to the Earth.
- A suicide bombing in a mosque in Peshawar, Pakistan, kills 100 people and injures more than 220 others.
- Petr Pavel is elected as president of the Czech Republic.
- Cyclone Cheneso leaves at least 33 people dead in Madagascar.
- A Palestinian attack at a synagogue in East Jerusalem kills seven Israeli civilians, following an Israeli raid in the Jenin refugee camp that killed nine Palestinians, including two civilians.
- An armed attack on the Azerbaijani Embassy in Iran leaves one person dead and two others injured.
On this day
- 1327 – Fourteen-year-old Edward III was crowned King of England, but with the country ruled by his mother Queen Isabella and her lover Roger Mortimer.
- 1662 – Sino-Dutch conflicts: The Dutch East India Company's rule in Taiwan ended after a siege by the Ming loyalist Koxinga.
- 1942 – Voice of America, the official external radio and television service of the United States federal government, began broadcasting to Germany during World War II.
- 1972 – Kuala Lumpur (pictured), the capital of Malaysia, was granted city status.
- 2012 – Following an Egyptian Premier League match in Port Said, Al Masry fans rioted and violently attacked Al Ahly supporters, resulting in 74 deaths.
Today's featured picture
La bohème is an opera in four acts composed by Giacomo Puccini between 1893 and 1895 to an Italian libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa, based on Scènes de la vie de bohème (1851) by Henri Murger. The opera, which had its world premiere on 1 February 1896 in Turin, is set in Paris around 1830 and shows the Bohemian lifestyle of the poor seamstress Mimì and her artist friends, including Rodolfo, Marcello and Musetta. This 1895 poster was produced by Adolfo Hohenstein for the publishing house G. Ricordi & C. to advertise the musical score of La bohème, and depicts Mimì and Rodolfo at the end of the opera's third act. Knowing that Mimì is dying and Rodolfo is too poor to help her, but too much in love to separate, they agree to remain together until the spring, when the world is coming to life again and no one feels truly alone. Meanwhile, Marcello and Musetta quarrel about Musetta's flirtatiousness in counterpoint to the other pair's reconciliation.