From today's featured article
The secretarybird (Sagittarius serpentarius) is a large, mostly terrestrial bird of prey. Endemic to Africa, it is usually found in the open grasslands and savannas of the sub-Saharan region. It is a very large bird with an eagle-like body on crane-like legs that give the bird a height of about 1.3 m (4 ft 3 in). The sexes are similar in appearance. Adults have a featherless red-orange face and mostly grey plumage, with a flattened dark crest and black flight feathers and thighs. The secretarybird hunts and catches prey on the ground, often stomping on victims to kill them. Insects and small vertebrates make up its diet. Although the secretarybird has a large range, localised surveys suggest that the total population is experiencing a rapid decline, probably as a result of habitat degradation. The species is therefore classed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The secretarybird appears on the coats of arms of Sudan and South Africa. (Full article...)
Did you know ...
- ... that disputes in the acclaimed refurbishment of Swiss Cottage Library (pictured) in London prompted the library's operators to sue its developers?
- ... that Olga Onuch is believed to be the first professor of Ukrainian politics in the English-speaking world?
- ... that Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, Seth Meyers and John Oliver started a podcast to support their employees during the 2023 Writers Guild of America strike?
- ... that as a child, New Zealand economist Brad Olsen would write notes about stock market trends while watching the evening news?
- ... that the University of Maryland's Iribe Center was partly funded by a businessman who dropped out of the university?
- ... that Stan Lee modeled Tony Stark after 20th-century business magnate Howard Hughes?
- ... that in his 2000 book, Michael Cook argues that the West prefers to "rescue" people after wrongdoing has occurred, while Muslims prefer to "forbid wrong"?
- ... that the Ninja of Heisei, who robbed places in Japan while wearing a ninja costume, was caught at the age of 74?
In the news
- A suicide bombing kills more than 50 people in Mastung, Pakistan.
- Waheeda Rehman (pictured) receives the Dadasaheb Phalke Award for her work in Hindi cinema.
- A fire at a wedding in Qaraqosh, Iraq, kills more than 110 people.
- More than 100,000 Armenians flee Nagorno-Karabakh after the region falls to an Azerbaijani offensive.
On this day
- 1139 – A violent earthquake struck the Caucasus near Ganja, killing up to an estimated 300,000 people.
- 1791 – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's opera The Magic Flute, composed shortly before his death, premiered at Theater auf der Wieden in Vienna.
- 1920 – Times Square Theater (pictured) opened on Broadway with a production of The Mirage, a play written by its owner, Edgar Selwyn.
- 1939 – NBC broadcast the first televised American football game, between the Fordham Rams and the Waynesburg Yellow Jackets.
- 2000 – Twelve-year-old Muhammad al-Durrah was shot dead in the Gaza Strip; the Israel Defense Forces initially accepted responsibility but retracted it five years later.
Today's featured picture
Ignace-Gaston Pardies (1636–1673) was a French Catholic priest and scientist. His celestial atlas, entitled Globi coelestis in tabulas planas redacti descriptio, comprised six charts of the night sky and was first published in 1674. The atlas uses a gnomonic projection so that the plates make up a cube of the celestial sphere. The constellation figures are drawn from Uranometria, but were carefully reworked and adapted to a broader view of the sky. This is the first plate from a 1693 edition of Pardies's atlas, centred on the north celestial pole and depicting part of the northern sky. An index of constellations is provided in the left and right margins, in Latin and French, respectively.
Map credit: Ignace-Gaston Pardies