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MILESTONES: December 17, birthdays for Pope Francis, Manny Pacquiao, Sarah Paulson

December 17, 2018 Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Pope Francis AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino
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NOTABLE PEOPLE born on this day include leader of the Catholic Church Pope Francis, who was born in 1936; actor Bernard Hill, who was born in 1944; actress Laurie Holden, who was born in 1969; actor Ernie Hudson, who was born in 1945; comedian and actor Eugene Levy, who was born in 1946; boxer Manny Pacquiao, who was born in 1978; actress Sarah Paulson, who was born in 1974; actor Bill Pullman, who was born in 1953; actor Tommy Steele, who was born in 1936; actor Sean Patrick Thomas, who was born in 1970; baseball player Chase Utley, who was born in 1978; and actress Shannon Woodward, who was born in 1984.

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TODAY IS THE ANNIVERSARY OF THE WRIGHT BROTHERS’ FIRST POWERED FLIGHT. Orville and Wilbur Wright, brothers, bicycle-shop operators, inventors and aviation pioneers, after three years of experimentation with kites and gliders, achieved the first documented successful powered and controlled flights of an airplane. The flights, near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, piloted first by Orville and then by Wilbur Wright, were sustained for less than one minute but represented man’s first powered airplane flight and the beginning of a new form of transportation. Orville Wright was born in Dayton, Ohio, in 1871 and died there in 1948. Wilbur Wright was born in Millville, Indiana, in 1867 and died in Dayton in 1912.

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SIMON BOLIVAR DIED ON THIS DAY IN 1830. Commemorated in Venezuela and other Latin American countries. Bolívar, called “The Liberator,” was born in 1783 in Venezuela and died in Colombia.

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JOSEPH HENRY WAS BORN ON THIS DAY IN 1797. Scientist Joseph Henry was born in Albany, N.Y. One of his great discoveries was the principle of self-induction; the unit used in the measure of electrical inductance was named “the henry” in his honor. In 1831 Henry constructed the first model of an electric telegraph with an audible signal. This formed the basis of nearly all later work on commercial wire telegraphy. In 1832 Henry was named professor of natural philosophy at the College of New Jersey, now Princeton University. Henry was involved in the planning of the Smithsonian Institution and became its first secretary in 1846. President Abraham Lincoln named Henry as one of the original 50 scientists to make up the National Academy of Sciences in 1863. He served as that organization’s president from 1868 until his death in 1878 in Washington, D.C.

 

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THE AZTEC CALENDAR STONE WAS DISCOVERED ON THIS DAY IN 1790. One of the wonders of the Western Hemisphere — the Aztec Calendar, or Solar Stone — was found beneath the ground by workmen repairing Mexico City’s Central Plaza. The centuries-old, intricately carved stone — 11 feet, 8 inches in diameter and nearly 25 tons — proved to be a highly developed calendar monument to the sun. Believed to have been carved in the year 1479, this extraordinary time-counting basalt tablet originally stood in the Great Temple of the Aztecs. Buried along with other Aztec idols soon after the Spanish conquest in 1521, it remained hidden until 1790. Its 52-year cycle had regulated many Aztec ceremonies, including grisly human sacrifices, to save the world from destruction by the gods.

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Special thanks to “Chase’s Calendar of Events” and Brooklyn Public Library.

 

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“The seeds of great discoveries are constantly floating around us, but they only take root in minds well-prepared to receive them.” — scientist Joseph Henry, who was born on this day in 1797


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