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Today in History
- 1234 – Richard Marshal, Earl of Pembroke, was defeated by knights loyal to King Henry III of England at the Battle of the Curragh in County Kildare, Ireland.
- 1871 – The Duke of Buckingham formally opened the Brill Tramway (locomotive pictured), a short railway line to transport goods between his lands and the national rail network.
- 1918 – The United Kingdom's Royal Air Force was founded, towards the end of the First World War.
- 1970 – U.S. president Richard Nixon signed the Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act into law, requiring that a prominent warning by the surgeon general be placed on cigarette packages.
Did You Know?
- ... that former President Clinton said his day would be ruined if he didn't get a bacon butty (pictured) and a cup of tea?
- ... that some atheists believe in the Ten Commandments?
- ... that New York once neighbored Philadelphia?
- ... that a Queen of England was named after a blast furnace?
- ... that South Dakota once sued 15 cats?
- ... that a Briton told the European Union to fuck off 17 million times?
- ... that Turing wrote Prof: Alan Turing Decoded sixty years after his death?
- ... that a bim bam boom aboard an airplane caused quite a stir in France?
- ... that Captain Kirk can encrypt your computer, but Spock might decrypt it for a fee?
- ... that you can have sex with two cans of Pepsi, though one might need to be twisted?
- ... that Volkswagen part number 199 398 500 A is typically lubricated with ketchup?
Today's Featured Article
Tirpitz was the second of two Bismarck-class battleships built for Nazi Germany during World War II. The ship was laid down in November 1936 and commissioned in February 1941. Tirpitz was armed with a main battery of eight 38-centimetre (15 in) guns in four twin turrets. She was the heaviest battleship ever built by a European navy. In early 1942, the ship sailed to Norway to act as a fleet in being, forcing the British navy to retain significant forces in the area. In September 1943, Tirpitz, along with the battleship Scharnhorst, bombarded Allied positions on Spitzbergen, the only time the ship's main battery was used offensively. On 12 November 1944, British Lancaster bombers equipped with 12,000-pound (5,400 kg) "Tallboys" bombed the ship, causing her to capsize. A deck fire spread to an ammunition magazine causing a large explosion. Between 1948 and 1957, the wreck was broken up in a salvage operation. (This article is part of a featured topic: Battleships of Germany.)
Today's Featured Picture
A ha-ha is a recessed landscape design element that creates a vertical barrier while preserving an uninterrupted view of the landscape beyond. The design includes a turfed incline that slopes downward to a sharply vertical face, typically a masonry retaining wall. Ha-has are used in landscape design to prevent access to a garden, for example by grazing livestock, without obstructing views. In security design, the element is used to deter vehicular access to a site while minimizing visual obstruction. The name "ha-ha" is thought to have stemmed from the exclamations of surprise by those coming across them, as the walls were intentionally designed so as not to be visible on the plane of the landscape.
This picture shows a ha-ha at Hopetoun House in West Lothian, Scotland, which keeps animals off the lawn while remaining unseen from the main house, visible here in the background. The wall disappears from view as it curves away to the left of the photograph.
Photograph credit: Andrew Shiva
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