Thursday, August 25, 2016

PARACULTURAL CALENDAR FOR AUGUST 25


On this day in 1609, medieval scientist/astronomer Galileo demonstrates his first telescope to Venetian lawmakers. Unfortunately, these lawmakers turn out to be a buncha fuckin' assholes.

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On this day in 1835, the New York Sun begins running a series of stories about astronomer John Herschell's discovery - with the help of an immensely powerful South African telescope - of a society of intelligent, bat-like humanoids on the moon. Although almost forgotten today, the Great Moon Hoax of 1835 remains the greatest prank in the history of journalism.

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On this day in 1914, the library of the Catholic University of Leuven is deliberately destroyed by the German Army. Hundreds of thousands of irreplaceable volumes and Gothic and Renaissance manuscripts are lost.

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On this day in 1916, the United States National Park Service is created.

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On this day in 1944, Paris is liberated by the Allies.

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On this day in 1945, ten days after World War II ends with Japan announcing its surrender, armed supporters of the Chinese Communist Party kill Baptist missionary John Birch, regarded by some of the American conservative movement as the first victim of the Cold War... hence the creation of the right-wing and rabidly anti-communist (and often virulently anti-Semitic) John Birch Society.

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On this day in 1948, the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) holds first-ever televised congressional hearing: "Confrontation Day" between commie-turned-right-winger Whittaker Chambers and accused commie spy Alger Hiss.

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On this day in 1950, President Harry Truman orders the U.S. Army to seize control of the nation's railroads to avert a strike. Just imagine that happening today.

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On this day in 1981, the Voyager 2 spacecraft makes its closest approach to Saturn. Eight years later, on this day in 1989 – it makes its closest approach to Neptune, the second to last planet in the Solar System at the time.

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On this day in 1991, the nation of Belarus gains its independence from the Soviet Union. It is now home to the last remaining bona-fide dictatorship in mainland continental Europe.

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On this day in 1996, Netscape launches Navio Communications. The new company was dedicated to integrating Netscape software into televisions, phones, cars, and other electronic devices. Thankfully, Bill Gates put a stop to that nonesense!

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