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 Post subject: Re: Random Facts
PostPosted: Sat Jul 22, 2017 6:22 am 
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Just a smidge late for 'today', but never mind - on this (more or less) day in 1933 Wiley Post landed his Lockheed Vega "Winnie Mae" in New York after becoming the first person to fly solo around the world (in seven days, eighteen hours, 49 minutes). And happy birthday to Louise Fletcher (to me she'll always be the magnificently despicable Kai Winn from Star Trek DS9; the quick summary would be 'evil space pope'), Terence Stamp ("Kneel before Zod!"), Danny Glover (one more year too old for this shit), and John Leguizamo (Luigi in the Super Mario Bros movie). And appropriately since I'm slightly late and it's only approximately the 22nd as I write this, 22/7 is Pi Approximation Day.

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 Post subject: Re: Random Facts
PostPosted: Sun Jul 23, 2017 5:57 am 
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Science today - at 3pm EDT today back in 1962, the Telstar 1 satellite (which is still up there, although not doing anything much these days) relayed the first live trans-Atlantic TV signal, which was supposed to kick off with President JFK, but they got the line working before he was ready, so they showed some baseball for a bit instead (during which the Cubs were actually doing okay for once). In other tech news, in 1829 William Austin Burt patented the typographer, which looked like a foosball table but was actually the forerunner of the typewriter (and in common with its descendants, was supposed to speed up work, but only did so after making it grind to a halt while everyone worked out how to use it), and in 1903 Ford sold its first car, unsuspecting that it'd inevitably lead to the creation of the used car salesman. And on a Willow/Tara note, happy birthday to Alison Krauss, from the 'soundtrack' for Come Away With Me.

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 Post subject: Re: Random Facts
PostPosted: Sun Jul 23, 2017 8:18 pm 
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Today is Pioneer Day in Utah, which probably means they're specifically thinking or Morman pioneers, but there are a few in the wider world who are relevant. Apollo 11 splashed down safely in the Pacific Ocean after carrying its three crew to the moon and back (the Mormons later tried to one-up this to get their day back, but the Outer Planets Alliance stole their starship to use as a battering ram before they could go anywhere, so back to square one for them), in 1897 Amelia Earhart was born (later to become the first female aviator to fly across the Atlantic Ocean, and the first female aviator to get transported to the Delta Quadrant, along with her co-pilot Tackleberry from Police Academy), and happy birthday also to Zelda Fitzgerald, whose name inspired the Legend of Zelda, which has useful advice for pioneers everywhere ("it's dangerous to go alone, take this" (a sword)), Lynda Carter, who pioneered being Wonder Woman, and Rose Byrne, who I can't actually think of anything tangentially pioneer-related with regards to, but anyway, Rose Byrne.

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 Post subject: Re: Random Facts
PostPosted: Sun Jul 23, 2017 9:12 pm 
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I am seriously hooked on these posts! Random fact on a personal note, my proudest physical achievements are these: Walking a 1" wide 6' high board fence forwards and backwards AND teaching myself to ride a unicycle. I had no spectacular talent, so I'm proud I stuck with something until I got it. Weird I know, but my first career goal at age 4 was to be a tightrope walker. That part I had to give up on. . . .


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 Post subject: Re: Random Facts
PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2017 11:16 pm 
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Wow - I never even really tried bicycles, let alone a unicycle. (I remember being very young and considering a bicycle, but getting stuck at "What keeps it from falling over sideways? Forget it, I'll just walk." Seemed sensible.)

Today in 1976, to the delight of UFOlogists and the dismay of NASA press people who have to put up with all their questions, Viking 1 photographed the 'face' on Mars. In other science news, in 1984 Svetlana Savitskaya became the first woman to do a space walk (oddly there doesn't seem to be a shuttlecraft named after her, they really ought to get around to that), in 1946 the US set off an underwater atomic bomb at Bikini Atoll in a failed attempt to kill Godzilla, and happy birthday to Matt LeBlanc, without whom the Lost in Space movie would've been even more forgettable.

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 Post subject: Re: Random Facts
PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2017 11:11 pm 
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Further confusing my poor courier who I think is taking the daily sign in the shop literally, today in 2179 the last barricades fell in Hadley's Hope, leaving Rebecca 'Newt' Jordan the only survivor of 158 colonists (with the strictly temporary exception of those captured alive and cocooned in the hive); Weyland-Yutani really should have read the record of the captain of Red Dwarf before they put him in charge of the place. In other news, in 1745 the first recorded women's cricket match was held near Guildford (Hambledon beat Bramley 127-119), NASA launched Apollo 15, the first one to have that adorable little rover vehicle, Barbados is commemorating the Labour Rebellion of 1937 with the most generically-named holiday ever in the Day of National Significance, and a very happy birthday to Nana Visitor, who played Major Kira Nerys in Star Trek DS9 and who I had a major (ha ha) crush on all through high school as a result.

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 Post subject: Re: Random Facts
PostPosted: Wed Jul 26, 2017 11:32 pm 
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And following up on yesterday, on this day in 2179, while Newt was hiding in the air ducts and wondering where she'd find a new mother figure, USS Sulaco conveniently arrived in orbit with Ellen Ripley aboard. Although it also brought Lt Gorman, just to remind everyone that even if the colony's been overrun by alien monsters and almost everyone still alive is stuck in a wall waiting for their ribcage to explode from inside, that doesn't mean things can't get worse by adding an officer. In the real world today, in 1940 A Wild Hare made its debut, introducing the world to none other than Bugs Bunny, and a happy birthday to Roxanne Hart, who in addition to sharing a name with the star of my favourite musical Chicago played Macleod's love interest in the original Highlander movie, Julian McMahon, who will have been relieved with the debut of the recent Fantastic Four movie to no longer be the worst Doctor Doom on film, and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, who before he was one of the highest paid actors in television (although I suppose you'd need compensation if someone's going to put you in a situation where making out with Lena Headey is going to be icky) was in My Name Is Modesty, which admittedly wasn't great, but it was fun to see Modesty Blaise on screen.

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 Post subject: Re: Random Facts
PostPosted: Thu Jul 27, 2017 1:16 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Random Facts
PostPosted: Thu Jul 27, 2017 10:51 pm 
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My book totals always seem low - I'm always re-reading Flashman, but I don't know if they count since they're not new reads.

Today in 1854 the corvette USS Constellation was commissioned (and built partly from the previous frigate Constellation), the last all-sail warship in the US Navy, and she's still around, as a museum ship in Baltimore. And because it's always about sci-fi with me, Captain Picard's first command was a Constellation class starship (USS Stargazer) - although only by chance, they'd first meant for it to be Constitution class (the movie-era Kirk's Enterprise) but decided during filming that they wanted a new design, but had already filmed the scene where Geordi calls it Constitution class, so it became Constellation class on the basis that they could loop the dialogue without his lips looking like they were saying something else entirely (didn't work, people still noticed the dub). In other Star-Trek-goofed news, on this day in 2005 the Provisional IRA called off its armed campaign in Northern Ireland, bringing into question Data suggesting that the Irish Unification of 2024 came about due to a terrorist campaign (although there's still time, but hopefully he was just wrong, it happens even to androids); that episode ('The High Ground') didn't get shown in the UK due to that line. And happy birthday to Jim Davis, the creator of Garfield (without whom we wouldn't have Garfield Without Garfield, although I have to say I was a big fan of Garfield as-is when I was younger).

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 Post subject: Re: Random Facts
PostPosted: Fri Jul 28, 2017 1:46 pm 
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I made a new friend at my volunteer work :)

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 Post subject: Re: Random Facts
PostPosted: Sat Jul 29, 2017 5:25 am 
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Starting off today with a birthday - a big happy birthday to David Warner, who wore the warrior ridges of a Klingon as Chancellor Gorkon in Star Trek VI (and the scaly ridges of a Cardassian as Gul Madred in TNG's 'Chain of Command'), both much more fun than being a human in Star Trek V, voiced Ra's al Ghul in the Batman animated series, was in far too little Penny Dreadful as Van Helsing, went looking for the Holy Grail in space in Babylon 5, and gave Tron a run for his money as Sark (and I have to admit, even though in TARA Warren was Sark's user and therefore would 'play' the program as well, I was totally imagining David Warner the whole time), and it seems will be in the new Mary Poppins film, make what you will of that. And while we're on birthdays, John Clarke (go to youtube and search for 'the front fell off' if you don't know his and Brian Dawe's interview series already), and Wil Wheaten (Star Trek TNG's Wesley Crusher, who honestly isn't that bad... most of the time, anyway, but it certainly wasn't Wil's fault).

And because history's fun, on this day in 1836 the Arc de Triomphe was inaugurated (there's a Lego set of that I intend to take a good look at when it hits the shelves soon), in 1958 Eisenhower created NASA, and it's International Tiger Day, so if you happen to see a tiger today while you're out and about... well, hide, but still, tigers are cool. The day was created in 2010 at the Saint Petersburg Tiger Summit, and yes, I'm imagining a bunch of tigers sitting in a conference room too.

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 Post subject: Re: Random Facts
PostPosted: Sun Jul 30, 2017 5:16 am 
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Starting off again with a birthday - happy birthday to Yvonne Strahovski, currently appearing on The Handmaid's Tale, formerly of Dexter and Chuck, but most importantly (for me, anyway), the voice of Miranda Lawson in Mass Effect, genetically engineered prodigy turned ruthless human supremacist scientist turned redeemed vigilante badass. There aren't a lot of Space Australians (except in Farscape, where Earth is apparently the only planet to have anyone other than Australians), so they should be celebrated when they turn up. Also celebrating a birthday today (give or take their relation to the mortal plane), Emily Brontë, author of Wuthering Heights (I once spent an entire night, evening to next morning, with a bunch of friends watching different versions of Wuthering Heights, interspersed with Jane Austen movies, with us all getting more loopy from lack of sleep as the night wore on; Timothy Dalton headbutting a tree with a resounding 'bonk' in one of them had us in hysterics), Henry Ford (as in Ford Motor Company), William Atherton (who's probably had moments of regret about turning in memorable performances as two of cinema's greatest jerks, in Die Hard and Ghostbusters), Martian tourism advocate Arnold Schwarzenegger, action philosopher Laurence Fishburne, and Hilary Swank, who once piloted a laser driller to the Earth's core to restart its rotation with a bunch of nukes. And also on this day, in 762 Baghdad was founded, in 1619 the House of Burgesses, the first representative assembly in what would become the USA, had its first meeting in blissful ignorance of where this whole government thing would end up, in 1930 Uruguay won the first FIFA World Cup, and having spent a few days in transit, Dave Scott and Jim Irwin set Falcon down on the moon and unpack their nifty little rover to take it for a spin.

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 Post subject: Re: Random Facts
PostPosted: Sun Jul 30, 2017 11:21 pm 
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A birthday of a sort - on this day in 1930, the Shadow made his debut as the mysterious narrator of the radio Detective Story Hour. Intended just to sell the Detective Story magazine, the publisher took notice of sudden demand for 'the Shadow magazine', and commissioned Walter B. Gibson, an author and stage magician, to invent a character to go with the voice and name. The Shadow Magazine hit stands the next year, which led in turn to the Shadow radio drama in 1937, with the Shadow voiced by Orson Welles, and the master crime-fighter spawned numerous successors, including Batman (as a character and in-universe - there's a comic where Batman meets the Shadow, and credits him with inspiring him). And by way of the 1994 Alec Baldwin film (which is actually pretty decent), got me into writing Willow/Tara uberfic. I really must revisit that setting some day, that first story's very rudimentary and I'd love to take another shot at it. And speaking of superheroes, another couple celebrating today - Wesley Snipes (Blade), and Dean Cain (Superman, and currently Jeremiah Danvers, Kara's adoptive father (along with Helen Slater as Eliza Danvers) on Supergirl). And some time before all that, in 1588 the Spanish Armada was spotted off the coast of England, which no doubt caused some commotion; luckily for old Blighty it was sent packing, partly by Drake and co., and partly by storms generated by a young Justicar Samara, who'd discovered Earth by accident and taken quite a liking to England, what with Shakespeare writing sonnets about her and all that.

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 Post subject: Re: Random Facts
PostPosted: Mon Jul 31, 2017 11:32 pm 
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On this first day of the month, in 1957 the North American Aerospace Defense Command, NORAD, was formed, operating out of Peterson Air Force Base, and their far more famous backup site Cheyenne Mountain, as seen in WarGames and Stargate. Allegedly they do have a door marked 'Stargate Command' down there, but it's a broom closet. In other news, in 1981 MTV started broadcasting with 'Video Killed The Radio Star', unaware that in time trashy reality TV would kill the video star (but they did make Aeon Flux in the meantime, so that's something to be proud of), and it's officially Yorkshire Day, so if you can do a Yorkshire accent, now's the time. And a happy birthday to the actor behind Space Khal Drogo (Ronan Dex), actual Khal Drogo, PG-rated Khal Drogo (the not-very-good Conan remake) and Khal Drogo Having A Swim (Aquaman), Jason Momoa.

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 Post subject: Re: Random Facts
PostPosted: Tue Aug 01, 2017 11:02 pm 
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Today is the birthday of the late Wah Chang, a Chinese-American artist and sculptor whose name will probably ring a bell to hardcore Trekkies as the guy who designed and built a whole lot of the props and costumes of the original series, including the communicator and tricorder, tribbles, and the Romulan Bird of Prey (as well as the successful redesign of the hand phaser after Matt Jeffries did the prototype that they weren't entirely sold on); basically, when the DS9 crew accidentally travel back in time and Dax gets all gushy about "classic 23rd Century design", that's who designed it. And speaking of Star Trek, in 216 BC Hannibal (who looked an awful lot like Dr Bashir, according to the last time I saw him on tv) handed the Romans a nasty setback at the Battle of Cannae, and in 1932 Carl D. Anderson discovered the positron (which is what you have to make android brains out of, not sure but Asimov seemed pretty clear on that and who's going to argue with Asimov?)

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 Post subject: Re: Random Facts
PostPosted: Thu Aug 03, 2017 9:58 pm 
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Former cool leaders birthdays today - happy birthday to Barack Obama, the late Don S. Davis, who played Hammond of Texas (that's General Hammond to us Tau'ri) on Stargate, Billy Bob Thornton who was in charge of NASA when they got Bruce Willis to blow up that asteroid, and Daniel Dae Kim, who was first officer of the Excalibur on Crusade and who totally should be King of Atlantis if Marvel ever decides to add Namor the Submariner to their movieverse. And speaking of him, it's Coast Guard Day in the US today, so spare a thought for those poor people who inevitably bear the brunt of it whenever Namor decides to invade the surface world, which he does like every six months (they were founded, as the Revenue Cutter Service, in 1790 today).

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 Post subject: Re: Random Facts
PostPosted: Sat Aug 05, 2017 6:47 am 
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Slightly late again, but for most of the world that's still slightly early, so - on this day in 2023 Weyland Industries patented artificial humans, such as Ash, Bishop, Call, and David, who between them have a 50% homicidal maniac rate. Which sounds pretty high for a commercial product, but maybe people in the future just like to be kept on their toes (it would explain why they keep going looking for xenomorphs). In other news today, in Croatia it's the Victory and Homeland Thanksgiving Day and the Day of Croatian Defenders - yes that is all one thing, seriously guys, just pick one - in 1816 the British Admiralty were shown the newly invented electric telegraph but decided semaphore was working just fine thanks, so no need to upgrade (I shouldn't make fun of them though, I'm still using an iPhone 4), and way back in 910 the Danish were shown the door during an attempt to raid England by the combined forces of King Edward the Elder and Æthelred, Lord of the Mercians; I just wanted to note that because it's so rare you get a chance to use Æ.

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 Post subject: Re: Random Facts
PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2017 6:20 am 
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Happy birthday today to Michelle Yeoh, who's soon to occupy a captain's chair in Star Trek: Discovery, so that's pretty cool (I can't make head nor tails of all the rumours coming out about the show and whether or not it's doing fine or spiralling towards disaster, so I'm just ignoring it and hoping for some decent Star Trek out of it all... although I can't say I love the design of the ship, but maybe it'll look better in action). In other space news, on this day in 1996 came the announcement from NASA that a meteorite believed to originate from Mars showed evidence of primitive life having existed there at some point (Bill Clinton's address regarding the news was cleverly edited to provide his 'appearance' in Contact, talking about the signal from Vega), speaking of Mars we returned the favour on this day in 2012 with the landing of Curiosity on a two-year mission which has since been extended to 'as long as it keeps going' since it's still going strong, and slightly closer to the surface of Earth, in 1986 a record 13 inches of rain fell on Sydney (can't say I remember it). And sharing a birthday with Captain Yeoh are Alfred, Lord Tennyson (notable to Trekkies, as Bashir and O'Brien quoted from 'Charge of the Light Brigade' just before Starfleet took on the numerically superior Dominion fleet to retake Deep Space Nine, and "For I dipt in to the future, far as Human eye could see; Saw the vision of the world, and all the wonder that would be" from 'Locksley Hall' is on USS Voyager's dedication plaque), Lucille Ball (also notable to Trekkies - when nobody else was particularly interested in Star Trek back when Gene was trying to get it off the ground, it was Desilu who took a chance on it), and M. Night Shyamalan (who hasn't done anything Star Trek related that I know of, unless it turns out Signs is set in the Trek universe and the moron aliens are what Breen look like out of their refrigeration suits, I wouldn't put it past him). And also Danish botanist Hjalmar Kiærskou, who so far as I can judge from his wikipedia page did a bunch of botany things that botanists would probably find interesting; it's just that now I've made a big deal of it, I can't ignore an æ when it pops up.

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 Post subject: Re: Random Facts
PostPosted: Sun Aug 06, 2017 11:06 pm 
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Going back a little way today - on this day in 1420 workers in Florence put down their Papal Scandal Weekly magazines and got to work on the dome of Santa Maria del Fiore (Florence Cathedral), under the direction of Lorenzo Ghiberti and Filippo Brunelleschi, the latter of whom had actually won the contest to oversee the project and wasn't at all pleased that his rival Ghiberti, who'd done the Baptistery doors twenty years earlier, had gotten into the job and was set to get shared credit for the dome; Brunelleschi subsequently 'became ill' and left Ghiberti to stew in it until he finally admitted the dome was out of his league, upon which Brunelleschi's health cleared right up and, since it's now known as 'Brunelleschi's dome', got the credit he was after. It took sixteen years to build, and getting to the top is quite a climb. In other notable milestones of conflict, in 1789 the US Department of War was established, in 1947 Thor Heyerdahl's balsa wood raft come off second-best to a reef in the Tuamotu Islands (though since he'd managed to get it across 7000km already, his idea that prehistoric folks might've undertaken the journey from South America to the Pacific islands wasn't looking bad), and 1858 saw first game of Australian Rules Football (which the Onion fairly accurately described as a combination of soccer, rugby, and murdering people in cold blood, although it's calmed down a bit since the early decades).

Celebrating birthdays today, Elizabeth Bathory (although depending on how accurate the historical record is, you may not want to go to the party), Charlize Theron (who we forgive for Aeon Flux - of all the countless problems with the film, she wasn't one of them), Mata Hari (records of her trial are set to be declassified in October this year, so that'll be something for us historians to take a look at (I know I mainly do this just by looking up the wikipedia page and making fun of it, but I've got a degree, honest (my thesis was on Star Trek)), Alexei Sayle, David Duchovny, and the lesser (though not bad) General Zod, Michael Shannon. And Abbie Cornish (the original Penne on 'Life Support'), from whom I borrowed the voice for my Mass Effect roleplay character (yeah, I invented Australian asari).

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 Post subject: Re: Random Facts
PostPosted: Mon Aug 07, 2017 8:55 pm 
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History in that brief period where we were the Alternate History Earth with airships - on this day in 1929 the Graf Zeppelin, the largest airship in the world at the time of its construction, set off from New Jersey on a round-the-world flight, crossing the Atlantic to Europe, across Siberia to Japan (annoying the Soviets in the process, who wanted it to pass over Moscow for publicity, but the pilot decided they were getting nice tailwinds where they were, so they didn't), and across the Pacific back to America. The whole thing was on behalf of William Randolph Hearst, who backed the trip in exchange for exclusive media rights - one of his correspondents was Lady Grace Drummond-Hay, who thereby became the first woman to circumnavigate the world by air. In other airborne news, in 1908 Wilbur Wright did his first public demonstration of flying at Le Mans (the French were potential buyers, as well as the US Army, if this whole flying machine thing could be demonstrated to their satisfaction), and in 1946 was the first flight of the Convair B-36 'Peacemaker', which as you'd expect with a euphemistic name like that was a nuke carrier, but still an impressively colossal intercontinental aircraft. And on a happier note it's Roger Federer's birthday, as well as Terry Nation (creator of the Daleks, as well as Blake's 7, and Survivors (although not the version with Willow and Tara), and speaking of TV creators, Donald P. Bellisario, of JAG and NCIS, and also (I didn't know this before looking him up today) Quantum Leap, starring future Enterprise Captain Scott Bakula.

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 Post subject: Re: Random Facts
PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 4:16 am 
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In later than usual today, because I had to scurry off from work as quick as I could to catch a preview showing of Valerian (which is amazing, the stuff critics are complaining about is... mostly true, but I don't care, it's crazy and beautiful, I'll put more in one of the movie threads tomorrow), but there's still time today to wish a happy birthday to Rhona Mitra, who may not have set the world on fire (except back when she was the first PR model 'playing' Lara Croft and then went on to do a nude photo shoot, which sure got the attention of the nerd crowd *cough*), but she's been in some really fun movies, including Doomsday, where she bore one of my favourite heroine names just for sheer style, Major Eden Sinclair. Also born today, Robert Shaw (From Russia With Love, The Sting, and Jaws) Rod Laver (Australian tennis player), Gillian Anderson, and Betty Boop, who made her cartoon debut today in 1930's Dizzy Dishes, and as she said in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, she's still got it. And per the United Nations, today is the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples, which I know what they mean, but part of me can't help pointing out that we're all indigenous to the world (so far as we know...)

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 Post subject: Re: Random Facts
PostPosted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 10:38 pm 
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Another birthday today - Devon Aoki, Dominique in D.E.B.S., Deadly Little Miho in Sin City, and Princess Kasumi in possibly the most so-bad-it's-wonderful film ever, DOA: Dead or Alive (and she would've popped up in Arrow if not for a scheduling conflict with modelling or something, so hopefully she's still keeping an eye out for some other fun genre role - she'd be a great Poison Ivy). And also Claudia Christian of Babylon 5, Antonia Banderas of a ton of stuff (but especially Zorro), and Kate O'Mara, villainous Time Lady the Rani in Doctor Who. And on this day in 1776 word finally reached London that the US had declared its independence, which I like to imagine caused everyone to exclaim "I say!" as their monocles popped out and landed in their teacups.

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 Post subject: Re: Random Facts
PostPosted: Thu Aug 10, 2017 10:49 pm 
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It's birthday season (if that's a thing), yet another one today - Chris Hemsworth, better known as the mighty Thor (and also-but-not-quite-as-better known as Kirk's dad in the new Star Trek films - captain of a starship for twelve minutes, and what with cutaways to other scenes had somewhat less screen time, but produced probably the most emotional moment of the whole movie). Also in Kirk-related news on this day, 85 years ago Ole Kirk Kristiansen founded the Lego company; in 1942 Hedy Lamarr patented wi-fi (which is simplifying things a bit, but maybe not as much as you might imagine, she was quite the inventor in her hobby time), and in 3114 BC the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar began, to the merriment of its architects who had a good chortle at how everyone would panic in 2012.

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 Post subject: Re: Random Facts
PostPosted: Sat Aug 12, 2017 6:23 am 
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Eek, a couple of minutes past midnight (don't feed the mogwai) - I lost track of time building junk out of Lego (literally). Anyhoo, happy birthday to Cara Delevigne of Valerian (ignore the reviews, it's awesome), Cecil B. DeMille speaking of movies (I admit for a couple of years in school I only knew him as 'the guy in the lyrics of Vogue'), and physicist and cat-botherer Erwin Schrödinger. Also on this day, in 1977 the Space Shuttle Enterprise made its first free flight, in 1981 the first IBM personal computer was released, and in 1990 Sue Hendrickson, patiently brushing away with one of those little brushes in the dust in South Dakota, found the most complete skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus Rex so far, which is also therefore named Sue. And on the topic of large animals (although they're probably feeling kind of medium compared to a T-Rex) it's World Elephant Day, so if you know any elephants give them a call to say hi.

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 Post subject: Re: Random Facts
PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2017 5:17 am 
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Just popping in quickly before sleep tonight to say happy birthday to Sebastian Stan (Marvel's Bucky Barnes/Winter Soldier), and Sir Alfred Hitchcock, and in 1624 Cardinal Richelieu was probably also throwing himself a party after being appointed prime minister by Louis XIII, all unaware that his reputation was going to be thrown under a bus by Dumas no matter what he did (not that he was a saint, mind you, but let's say he wasn't so much an arch-villain as a gifted statesman at the level where the line between those two is just naturally kind of blurry); still, he did get to be played by Tim Curry, which is fair compensation.

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 Post subject: Re: Random Facts
PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2017 11:33 pm 
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And welcome to a hazy and wood-fire-smell-y Monday, since we've had a couple of days in a row lately where you didn't need to wear a coat outside to avoid freezing, and that means it's time to start the hazard reduction burns in any nearby bushland. Happy birthday today to Brianna Hildebrand (the X-Men's Negasonic Teenage Warhead) and speaking of X-Women, Halle Berry (Storm... and Catwoman, even though she was a good sport and showed up to collect her Razzie, she's not allowed to cross it off her CV), and also Brannon Braga, who's not a mutant but couldn't seem to stop writing Star Trek episodes about them, even though he plainly had no idea how mutation (or evolution) worked (I mean, it's pretty silly to have one 'x-gene' that randomly assigns superpowers to people, but at least nobody died and then turned into a catfish). Speaking of things Brannon Braga doesn't understand, it's also Engineer's Day in the Dominican Republic (look, infinite velocity is more complicated than just 'really really fast'...) And not entirely unrelated to science fiction itself, on this day in 1975 the Rocky Horror Picture Show made its debut; everyone take a moment to muse about Amber singing 'Touch-a-touch-a-touch Me' in torn silky slip costume.

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 Post subject: Re: Random Facts
PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2017 10:29 pm 
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More super-birthdays today - Batman/Daredevil (Ben Affleck), Mystique/whoever-Mystique-is-pretending-to-be (Jennifer Lawrence), and the Bug-Eyed Bandit/no-seriously-that's-the-character's-actual-super-name (Emily Kinney). And (if you go with the theory that Jedi qualify as superheroes) Ahsoka Tano, who made her debut in the Clone Wars movie today in 2008. And speaking of things that happened a long time ago (although not in a galaxy far, far away, just Scotland) on this day in 1057 Mac Bethad mac Findlaích, better known as Macbeth, came runner-up in a scrap with the future Malcolm III at Lumphanan and ended up going home on his shield rather than with it; despite how Shakespeare would have it he didn't seem to be an especially unpopular ruler (except with Malcolm, obviously). It's worth noting, though, that any time anyone in sci-fi learns anything about the future they'll start bending over backwards to preserve the timeline, even at the cost of getting themselves (or Joan Collins) killed, lest the universe implode if something gets changed, so maybe even Shakespeare's Macbeth wasn't so much treasonous as just ahead of his time.

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 Post subject: Re: Random Facts
PostPosted: Tue Aug 15, 2017 10:15 pm 
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Taking a break from birthdays (unless inanimate objects have birthdays), today in 1858 the new transatlantic telegraph cable was inaugurated, with President Buchanan and Queen Victoria sending each other awkward 'how r u' and 'asl pls' messages, after which the whole thing came to a grinding halt for a few weeks while they worked on signal issues. Not for the last time either - after having to try to lay the cable three times due to it breaking hundreds of miles in, to the frustration of the crews of HMS Agamemnon and USS Niagara who were about ready to restart the War of Independence just to stave off tedium, its US end was promptly put in the care of Dr. Wildman Whitehouse, who seemed to be under the impression its purpose was to boil the Atlantic Ocean by pumping as much voltage as possible into it, requiring the Great Eastern to go out and fix the cable when it inevitably burned through its insulation and did what electrical cables do when they're not insulated and under quite a lot of water. And we think it's annoying when the 3G drops out momentarily. Still, they finally got the blasted thing going, reducing the time it took for the US and UK to find out what was going on over the other side of the pond and shake their heads in despair from ten days to 17 hours.

And speaking of things that started off innocent and ended up being mostly used for porn, today in 1954 the first issue of Sports Illustrated was published, featuring a photo of some guys playing baseball on the cover.

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 Post subject: Re: Random Facts
PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2017 10:58 pm 
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Slightly more random fact than usual today - on this day in 1977 the nuclear-powered icebreaker NS Arktika reached the north pole, the first ship to do so. In other unconventional ways of getting around, a year later Double Eagle II became the first balloon to cross the Atlantic, so if anyone out there's planning to traverse the Sahara on a unicycle or something, this is the day you want to shoot for to finish the trip. And it's the late Harve Bennett's birthday - he's the guy who came up with Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, and really deserves a lot of credit for transforming Star Trek from a cult-popular old TV show that got a film made when everyone was scrambling to cash in on Star Wars with whatever space properties they had to hand, to a runaway blockbuster success that would go on to spawn, well, the rest of Star Trek, so that's a pretty big deal. And also happy birthday to Franco Columbu, Italian actor and bodybuilder (well, former bodybuilder these days presumably), whose brief role in the original Terminator, as the terminator who shoots up the resistance base in the future, pre-emptively fixed the problem the franchise then blundered into with subsequent films: why the heck would Skynet make the entire T800 line have the same face? (I try to come up with diverse facts, but it inevitably comes back to rambling about sci-fi trivia...)

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 Post subject: Re: Random Facts
PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 10:42 pm 
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Happy birthday to the incredible Hulk today - no, not the original, or the one who's soon to co-star in Thor: Ragnarok, or the one who got to have Jennifer Connelly make lovey eyes at him (I mean, even if it's just acting, that's got to be nice) - poor old Edward Norton, who was the big green guy in 2008's Incredible Hulk, the second film in the MCU that kind of snuck in between Iron Man wowing everyone and Iron Man 2 making it clear that they were building up to a genuine shared universe, not just one-scene cameos. It's really a pretty good film though, I think it gets overlooked unfairly. And speaking of Marvel, happy birthday also to Robert Redford of The Winter Soldier (and The Sting, one of my all-time favourite films), speaking of films that get overlooked happy birthday to Craig Bierko who was in The Thirteenth Floor, check it out if you ever get the chance, and speaking of Star Trek (because when am I not on some level) happy birthday Christian Slater, who cameod in Star Trek VI.

And also today, in 1868 astronomer PIerre Janssen discovered helium, and excitedly told everyone about it in a high squeaky voice (actually he discovered it while studying the spectrum of the sun, but just for comedy's sake let's imagine).

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