220 years ago in the afternoon, thousands of small meteorite fragments rained down from the sky over L’Aigle, France. Upon hearing of this event, the French Academy of Sciences sent the young scientist Jean-Baptiste Biot to investigate the spectacular fall of stones. Biot’s paper on the subject effectively birthed the research field of “meteoritics.” READ more… (1803)
The stone that broke apart that day may have been as large as 37 kilograms, or 82 pounds The L’Aigle event was a milestone in the understanding of meteorites and their origins because at that time the mere existence of meteorites was harshly debated.
If they were recognized, their origin was controversial, with most commentators agreeing with Aristotle that they were terrestrial, and witnessed meteorite falls were treated with great skepticism.
MORE Good News on this Day:
- An expedition of English colonists went ashore to establish the first permanent English settlement in the Western Hemisphere, later calling it Jamestown (1607)
- Libya amended its constitution to allow for female participation in elections (1963)
- Physicists announced the first evidence of a top quark subatomic particle (1994)
- The nation’s first bill allowing same-sex couples to form civil unions was signed by Vermont Gov. Howard Dean (2000)
- Under international pressure, Syria withdrew the last of its 14,000 troops from Lebanon, ending its 29-year military domination of that country (2005)
Happy 120th birthday to Atletico Club Madrid! Formed by Basque students living in Madrid, the football club was originally put together as a youth club extension of the students’ hometown team of Atletico Bilbao, and they recruited some dissident members of Real Madrid to make it happen. Several “Golden” periods brought them success during the 20th century, despite always being in the shadow of FC Barcelona, and Real Madrid.
Today Atleti is known as the nightmare game for clubs around Europe. Their physicality, never-say-die attitude, union with the fans and their manager, and a mastery of football’s “dark arts,” will disrupt almost any game plan made by an opposition coach.
The modern Atletico has competed for a decade with Diego Simeone as head coach. Prowling the technical area on the side of the pitch, with the Stadio Wanda Metropolitano’s swirling cauldron of noise and aggression at his command, he is as famous and loved as he is notorious and disparaged.
The current generation of Atletico Madrid relies on smart player acquisition, often overseas from South America, as well as a strong foundation of youth development, and selecting for character as often as for skill. With a sprinkling of stardust, often in the form of a talented striker or playmaker such as Antoine Griezmann, Luis Suarez, or Joao Felix, they’ve consistently achieved or challenged under Simeone, winning La Liga twice, reaching two Champions League Finals, and winning the UEFA Europa League. WATCH a video on the rise of the current decade of success… (1903)
1,902 years ago today, Marcus Aurelius was born. The wise Emperor of Rome (161-180) was known as much for his philosophical writing as for his reign.
He didn’t believe a society should be divided by class or engage in slavery. He believed all men were equal and that the government’s purpose was to serve the people. He wrote, “Men exist for the sake of one another.”
He was a faithful husband and father. He studied the Stoic Greek philosophers who believed in detaching yourself from everything that is outside of your power to control. He compiled a handbook, entitled Meditations, which advises how to live one’s life, which is also revered as a literary monument to a government of service and duty. The greatest leader of Rome died at age 58. WATCH a bio and CHECK out some of his famous quotes… (121 AD)
Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present.Remember that neither the future nor the past pains thee, but only the present.The things you think about determine the quality of your mind.Your soul takes on the color of your thoughts.Look within. Within is the fountain of the good, and it will ever bubble up, if thou wilt ever dig. (Get Meditations on Amazon)
Happy 90th Birthday to Carol Burnett, who for 11 years beginning in the 60s hosted her iconic weekly television variety series, The Carol Burnett Show.
Her 2016 autobiography describes hosting one of the funniest weekly variety shows on television: In Such Good Company: Eleven Years of Laughter, Mayhem, and Fun in the Sandbox. She returned to television in 2018 with a Netflix show, A Little Help with Carol Burnett, an unscripted series featured the legendary comedian asking little kids to give advice to fans and celebrities like Derek Hough, Lisa Kudrow, and Wanda Sykes. (1933)
And, on this day 238 years ago, the French-American artist and birdwatcher, John James Audubon was born.
As an ornithologist, he documented all types of American birds in great detail and illustrated them in their natural habitats. At age 35 he dedicated the rest of his life to illustrating every single bird in the United States. His iconic color-plate book, The Birds of America, with its 436 life-sized paintings, is still considered one of the finest ornithological works ever completed. He also discovered and named 25 new species of birds.
In Pennsylvania, after his father helped him emigrate at age 17 from France, he began conducting the first known bird-banding on the continent: he tied yarn to the legs of eastern phoebes and determined that they returned to the same nesting spots year after year.
After moving to Kentucky, Audubon improved his painting techniques, and began traveling to other states trying to illustrate a bird a day. He then took his growing collection of work to England to be engraved and was met with great success at age 41. He raised enough money ($115,640) to publish the monumental work, created from his 14 years of field studies. It contained hand-water-colored life-size prints on 39 x 26-inch pages, and included six now-extinct birds. There are about 115 sets still in existence today—including one at auction in the video, which likely sold for more than $8 million.
Audubon died in 1851 and is buried in the graveyard at the Church of the Intercession in the Trinity Church Cemetery at 155th Street and Broadway in Manhattan, near his family home. WATCH a video about his amazing works… (1785)
Also on this day 69 years ago, Seven Samurai was released in theaters, the epic cinematic masterpiece co-written, directed, and edited by Akira Kurosawa. A technical and creative marvel, it became Japan’s highest-grossing movie but also was highly influential among Hollywood filmmakers like Martin Scorsese and George Lucas.
The story, set in 1586 Japan, centers around a village of farmers that hires seven samurai to combat the bandits who plan to return after the harvest and steal their crops. Seven Samurai was recently voted the greatest foreign-language film of all time in BBC’s poll of film critics from 43 countries.
A black and white film that runs three hours and 27 minutes long with subtitles isn’t normally the type of film enjoyed by average consumers, but with Akira Kurosawa’s engaging characters (especially the actor, Toshiro Mifune) along with the emotional film sequences, it really can grip even the most amateur of film fans. It is one of the most remade, reworked, and referenced movies in history. For instance, the Hollywood Western The Magnificent Seven was based on this Japanese classic. WATCH the trailer and a review. (1954)
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