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Today's Featured Article - Space Shuttle Challenger

Challengercrew

The Space Shuttle Challenger (NASA Orbiter Vehicle Designation: OV-099) (born: 1983; died: 1986) was the largest government fireworks show ever put on, not even coinciding with Independence Day but serving as an early commemoration of Presidents Day (now "Martin Luther King's Birthday," which was not yet celebrated nationwide).

The Challenger project shows that — despite recent American history in which U.S. Presidents brazenly sacrifice military and diplomatic personnel for the sake of a safe re-election, a "theme" for a Presidency, or an inspiring media event — the tendency to treat people as expendable props went all the way back to Ronald Reagan and was not confined to defending Marines in Lebanon by sentries with unloaded weapons.

The January 28, 1986 launch of OV-099 (which had a number of its own: STS-51-L) was no ordinary space launch. For one thing, a schoolteacher was going to be on board. For another thing, President Ronald Reagan was going to telephone the astronauts with a greeting. Reagan would make carefully scripted remarks demonstrating his commitment to Public Education despite slashing funds because of that silly "It's not in the Constitution" preoccupation of his. The launch was a perfect example of what Americans would now call Homeland Security. It had to go forward despite pesky obstacles, such as the fact that the bitter cold temperature on January 28 would normally call for the launch to be aborted. (more...)

Yesterday's Featured Article - Battle of Bosworth

Richardthird01

The Battle of Bosworth (22nd August 1485) is classified as the last ruckus in the War of the Roses. It saw King Richard III slain on the battlefield and his successor Henry VII proclaimed king by a patriotic army of mercenaries, Welshmen, Frenchmen, felons, traitors and turncoats. The battle was so famous that years later no one could remember exactly what happened, where it had been fought or whether it had been a good idea after all.

England in the 15th century had gone through a long struggle between rival groups of aristocrats who had nothing better to do but to argue about the colour of roses. Some said the red rose (of England) was more noble but others said white was purer. After some polite discussions, leading on to debates and finally fights - the issue had appeared to have been resolved when King Edward IV killed his rivals in 1471. The Whites or the 'Yorkists' won whilst the Reds (the Lancastrians) were broken and left only an itinerant Welshman called Henry 'Dai' Tudor as their standard bearer. Since there was a price on his head, Henry moved to a caravan park in Brittany where he lived with his uncle Sir Jasper Tudor ('Do Not Touch Me'). Jasper was also Welsh and a creep.

That should have been that for the Lancastrians but in 1483 Edward IV died whilst trying to row off his excess body fat in a fishing expedition. His son Edward became King Edward V but needed to have his fancy dress day out (a coronation) to be 'King in the eyes of God'. But Edward was still in short tights so a regent was required or 'protector' as the title was then called. (more...)

Featured today, a long long time ago

Featured Pssst, featured on 30 October 2013. See the featured version.
UnNews:100m Americans watch West Indies win cricket final, featured on 30 October 2012. See the featured version.
SpongeBob SquarePants, featured on 30 October 2011. See the featured version.
Cemetery of the Absurd, featured on 30 October 2010. See the featured version.
UnNews:Man who claimed to have found God arrested for wasting police time, featured on 30 October 2009. See the featured version.

Did you know...

Giraffe love
  • ...that male and female giraffes have been banned from living together in the New York City Zoo since 1975? (pictured)
  • ...that none of the links in this sentence have anything to do with it?
  • ...that if Abraham Lincoln was alive today, he would be clawing desperately at the lid of his coffin and screaming for help?
  • ...that many diseases can be prevented by washing hands before eating, after eating, during eating, and another couple of times just in case?
  • ...that we all smell a little bit like teen spirit, if we go a while without washing?
  • ...that back in my day, we didn't have no fancy Did you know sections on our wikis? We had to get all of our factoids from the library, like decent folk! And after we walked there barefoot across three counties 'cause bicycles hadn't been invented yet, we had to teach ourselves how to read the books - none of that fancy free-contents education you kids're all on about...
  • ...that being safe with guns is- *BANG*

In the news

On this day...

Pumpkinhead man

October 30: Halloweve (Eve of Halloween).

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Fifa2010 logo

The revised logo for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa has been designed to incorporate the host nation's actual national sport...

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