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Aceasta zi in istorie - This day in history

In the summer of 1941, a wave of German forces swept into the Soviet Union and proceeded to conquer a vast amount of territory. Stopped at Stalingrad, the Germans became mired in one of the most significant battles of WWII and were ill-prepared for the deteriorating Soviet weather. The enormous Soviet counteroffensive, code-named Operation Uranus, overwhelmed them. Within days, their entire force at Stalingrad was encircled. What nearly delayed the artillery bombardment that began the offensive? Discuss
Before the adoption of time zones, clocks in the US and Canada were set according to the position of the sun overhead, meaning that time varied according to location. For the rail industry, this presented a logistical nightmare, and so many railroads kept their own time, further complicating matters. Standardization solved everything. On "The Day of Two Noons," train stations reset their clocks according to newly adopted time standards. Which US city continued to keep local time until the 1900s? Discuss
King Henry VIII of England died nine years after the birth of his much-desired male heir, Edward VI. However, Edward died at the age of 15, and his chosen successor—his cousin, Lady Jane Grey—was beheaded after a nine-day rule. Jane was succeeded by Henry VIII's eldest daughter, whose turbulent five-year-reign earned her the nickname "Bloody Mary." Mary died childless, and the crowning of her half-sister, Elizabeth, marked the beginning of an era of stability. How long did Elizabeth reign? Discuss
Ergot, a toxic fungus that grows on rye, can cause spasms and hallucinations if accidentally ingested. In 1938, Hofmann was researching potentially useful derivatives of ergot when he first synthesized lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD). However, he did not discover its hallucinogenic properties until five years later, when he accidentally absorbed some of the substance through his fingertips. In 1947, his laboratory introduced LSD as a psychiatric drug. What is "Bicycle Day"? Discuss
Though it did not bring an immediate end to the Troubles, the Anglo-Irish Agreement addressed some specific points of contention. It granted the Republic of Ireland a role in the government of Northern Ireland for the first time, while confirming that Northern Ireland would remain a part of the UK until a majority of its citizens decided otherwise. The agreement met with fierce opposition in Northern Ireland. One politician compared Thatcher, the British Prime Minister, to what biblical villain? Discuss
The original BBC—the British Broadcasting Company—was founded by radio manufacturers eager to provide programs for the radios they were selling. Just two weeks after listeners began purchasing receiving licenses, Arthur Burrows read the first newscast from Marconi House in London. Two more stations—Birmingham and Manchester—went on the air the next day. Within five years, the company was transformed into the British Broadcasting Corporation. What was reported on the second day of broadcasting? Discuss
When ash began to fall on the Colombian town of Armero, local authorities assured residents that it was safe to stay put, despite geologists' warnings to the contrary. It had been more than 140 years since the last serious eruption of the Nevado del Ruiz, known to residents as "the Sleeping Lion." That night, a lahar—a massive flow of mud and debris—swept down the side of the erupting volcano, destroying Armero. It was the worst natural disaster in Columbian history. How many people were killed? Discuss
The Scott party reached the South Pole in January 1912 after a grueling two-and-a-half month journey across Antarctica, only to find that another group had beaten them to it weeks earlier. On the return trek, Scott and his entire team died. Seven months later, a search party found their final camp, retrieved Scott's records, and buried the bodies under a cairn of snow. It is now believed that Scott was the last to die. In his final diary entry, written on March 29, Scott makes what request? Discuss
High above the Austrian ski resort of Kaprun, a funicular railway car carrying over 160 people to a glacier caught fire after a defective heater ignited hydraulic brake fluid in the rear of the car. Only partway through a 2-mi (3.2-km) tunnel, the car came to a sudden halt. As the fire grew, the passengers were plunged into darkness and trapped behind inoperable doors. Almost all who managed to escape the burning car suffocated in the tunnel. How did the 12 survivors manage to escape to safety? Discuss
Today, Sesame Street is an American institution. However, at the time of its debut, the show was revolutionary. Developed by the Children's Television Workshop, Sesame Street was the first educational children's show to base its content on laboratory research. Much of that research went into determining what would capture the attention spans of young viewers, and Muppets—such as Elmo and Oscar the Grouch—were found to be particularly effective. Which US state once banned the show? Discuss
Arching high above the Neretva River, the Stari Most—or "Old Bridge"—was a 16th-century bridge in Bosnia and Herzegovina and one of the greatest architectural works of its time. Despite being of little strategic value, it was shelled during wartime by Croat forces. After the war, it was carefully rebuilt as close to its original dimensions as possible. Divers were even brought in to recover materials that had fallen into the river. What dangerous competition is held on the bridge each summer? Discuss
The first of the Seven Sisters—traditionally female colleges often considered the equivalent to the historically male-dominated Ivy League—Mount Holyoke is one of the oldest women's colleges in the US. It was founded by Mary Lyon, a pioneer in women's education, in the midst of a movement that created unprecedented new educational opportunities for women in the US. Many colleges were later modeled on Mount Holyoke. What unusual feature did each dorm room at the seminary originally have? Discuss
Johnson had been a basketball star for more than a decade when he announced, at a press conference, that he had tested positive for HIV and would retire. He vowed to battle the disease, while confirming that neither his pregnant wife nor their unborn child was infected. As a popular athlete, Johnson helped combat the stigma of HIV, which was then predominantly associated with disproportionately affected groups such as drug addicts and homosexuals. Did Johnson ever return to basketball? Discuss
Extremely arid and almost entirely sand and gravel, the sparsely populated territory of Western Sahara was a protectorate of Spain until the 1970s. Despite internal calls for independence, the king of neighboring Morocco led a march of more than 300,000 unarmed Moroccans into the territory as a show of support for annexation. Known as the Green March, the mass demonstration led to Spanish withdrawal, but control of the region is still contested. What other group claims the territory? Discuss
The Sunday evening express train from Hastings to London was traveling 70 miles per hour (113 km/h) when it struck a stressed and fractured rail not far from London's Hither Green depot. Several other trains may have successfully passed over the broken rail earlier, but the packed Hastings to London train derailed and partially overturned, killing 49 people in one of the worst rail disasters in British history. What pop singer survived the accident? Discuss
Rabin was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994 for his role in the historic Oslo Accords—widely considered a major milestone in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process—but not everyone supported the treaty, which stipulated that Israel would withdraw from certain contested Palestinian territories. Following a Tel Aviv peace rally, Rabin was shot and killed by Yigal Amir, an extremist Israeli law student who opposed Rabin's peace efforts. What Jewish law did Amir claim justified the assassination? Discuss
Soviet scientists found her wandering the streets of Moscow. Nicknamed Laika, or "Barker," the little stray dog was recruited because she had already learned to withstand hunger and cold—two things she might experience in space. After intensive training, Laika became the first animal to be launched into orbit. Though she survived the launch—and even ate some food while in orbit—her capsule was not designed for a return trip. Within hours, she overheated and died. How long did the capsule orbit? Discuss
In 1988, Cornell University student Robert Morris launched a program supposedly aimed at measuring the size of the Internet. He had designed the ostensibly harmless program to count the computers connected to the small but growing Web by copying itself to each unit. Due to a design flaw, however, the program spread wildly, repeatedly copying itself to some computers and rendering them useless. A large part of the Internet was affected by the so-called Morris worm. What was Morris's punishment? Discuss
First performed at London's Whitehall Palace, Shakespeare's Othello—a timeless story of jealousy, betrayal, and racism—is still studied and debated today. The play is likely an adaptation of a short story by Italian writer Cinthio called "Un Capitano Moro" and may have been inspired by certain events of the day—such as the arrival of a Moorish delegation in London in 1600. In Shakespeare's tale, the protagonist strangles his wife, but in Cinthio's story, she is killed in what brutal way? Discuss
The city of Leiden played a prominent role in the revolt that would create an independent Dutch nation. In 1575—a year after Leiden had survived a siege by the Spanish—Prince William the Silent founded a university in the city. Today, Leiden University is the oldest in the Netherlands. Its library, once housed in a single room, is now home to a monumental collection of books, manuscripts, maps, and letters—some of which are centuries old and very rare. What was the library's first book? Discuss
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