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Friday December 20, 2013

  • Day of 2013 / Remaining
  • Days Until The First Day of Winter

  • Sunrise:7:21
  • Sunset:4:53
  • 9 Hours 32 Minutes of Daylight

  • Moon Rise:7:21am
  • Moon Set:4:54pm
  • Moon’s Phase: %

  • The Last Full Moon
  • December 17 @ 1:29am
  • Full Cold Moon
  • Full Long Nights Moon

During this month the winter cold fastens its grip, and nights are at their longest and darkest. It is also sometimes called the Moon before Yule. The term Long Night Moon is a doubly appropriate name because the midwinter night is indeed long, and because the Moon is above the horizon for a long time. The midwinter full Moon has a high trajectory across the sky because it is opposite a low Sun.

  • Tides
  • High:
  • Low:

  • Rainfall (measured July 1 – June 30)
  • This Year:2.09
  • Last Year:9.36
  • Normal To Date:7.39
  • Annual Seasonal Average:23.80

  • Holidays
  • Cathode-Ray Tube Day
  • Mudd Day
  • Louisiana Purchase Day
  • National Sangria Day
  • National Fried Shrimp Day

  • International Human Solidarity Day
  • Las Posadas-Mexico

  • On This Day In …
  • 1606 --- The Susan Constant, Godspeed and Discovery set sail from London. Their destination: America. Captain Christopher Newport commanded the three tiny ships (and, we do mean tiny -- check out Jamestown village in Virginia to see for yourself. The ships are on display and you can climb aboard) for the royally chartered Virginia Company. Their landing at Jamestown, VA was the start of the first permanent English settlement in America.

  • 1699 --- Peter the Great ordered that the Russian New Year be changed from September 1 to January 1.

  • 1790 --- The first successful cotton mill in the United States began operating at Pawtucket, R.I.

  • 1803 --- The United States finally took possession of the Louisiana Territories from France. The treaty that France drew up, giving the Territories to the United States for $15 million, was actually dated April 30, 1803 and signed on May 2. It didn’t reach Washington until
    July 14. After much objection from Federalists and a bit of stretching of Constitutional Law, Congress ratified the treaty on October 25 with possession final on December 20. The Louisiana Purchase effectively doubled the size of the existing U.S. With 827,987 square miles in the deal, that price translates to roughly $18 per square mile -- under 3 cents per acre. The area was later made into 15 states and if that subdivision had not occurred, Louisiana would be the largest state in the Union (Alaska and Texas would easily fit inside the boundaries). The following is the list of states that were created (or *partially created) from the Louisiana Purchase: Arkansas, *Colorado, Iowa, *Kansas, Louisiana, *Minnesota, Missouri, *Montana, Nebraska, *New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, *Texas and *Wyoming.

  • 1879 --- Thomas Edison privately demonstrated his incandescent light at Menlo Park, N.J.
  • 1920 --- An English-born comedian named Leslie Townes Hope became an American citizen. He had lived in the United States since 1908 and became one of the nation’s true ambassadors for show business and charity. We say, “Thanks for the memory,” to Bob Hope.

  • 1946 --- The Frank Capra film "It's A Wonderful Life" had a preview showing for charity at New York City's Globe Theatre, a day before its "official" world premiere.
  • 1951 --- EBR-I (Experimental Breeder Reactor-I) ushered in a new era in nuclear history when it became the first reactor to generate useable amounts of electricity from nuclear energy. It accomplished
    this feat by lighting four light bulbs this day at the National Reactor Testing Station of Argonne National Laboratory, Butte County, Idaho. EBR-I was registered as a National Historic Landmark in 1966.

  • 1954 --- Buick Motor Company signed Jackie Gleason to one of the largest contracts ever entered into with an entertainer. Gleason agreed to produce 78 half-hour shows over a two-year period for $6,142,500.
  • 1957 --- While spending the Christmas holidays at Graceland, his newly purchased Tennessee mansion, rock-and-roll star Elvis Presley receives his draft notice for the United States Army. 
  • 1967 --- President Lyndon B. Johnson attends a memorial service for Australian Prime Minister Harold Holt in Melbourne and then visits Vietnam, Thailand, and the Vatican. Arriving in Thailand on December 23, Johnson visited the U.S. air base at Korat, where he told the U.S. pilots there that the United States and its allies were "defeating this aggression." The president then visited U.S. combat troops in Cam Ranh, South Vietnam, and told them that the enemy "knows that he has met his master in the field." Next, Johnson flew to Rome and met with Pope Paul VI for over an hour with only interpreters present. A Vatican statement said the Pope advanced proposals toward attaining peace in Vietnam during the meeting.
  • 1980 --- TV experimented, as NBC covered the meaningless NFL game between the New York Jets (4-11) and the Miami Dolphins (8-7). No announcers were in the booth. The only sounds heard were field noise and spectators as the pictures tried to convey the emotion of the game. Headlines the next day read, “Jets Silence Dolphins 24-17.”

  • 1987 --- A passenger ferry collides with an oil tanker near Manila in the Philippines on this day in 1987, leaving 4,000 people dead. The ferry, the Dona Paz, was severely overcrowded, carrying more than twice its stated capacity, and nearly everyone on board was killed. Sulpicio Lines owned the 2,215-ton Dona Paz, which was supposed to carry 1,400 passengers among the many islands of the Philippines. On December 20, it was going from Tacloban on Leyte Island to Manila. There was much demand due to the Christmas holidays and the company allowed approximately 4,000 people to board. Passengers shared cots and mats were laid out in the corridors as night fell during the 375-mile journey. By 10 p.m., many of the ship's officers were drinking and watching television while an apprentice officer piloted the ship through the busy Tablas Strait, 110 miles south of Manila. Also coming through the strait was the 629-ton tanker Victor, carrying 8,000 barrels of oil to Masbate Island. The two ships collided, for reasons still unknown, and a huge explosion resulted. Both ships sank quickly and although the Don Eusebio arrived on the scene shortly to help, it could only circle the fiery area in vain looking for survivors. Only 24 survivors were found, half of whom were crew members from the Victor. For the next week, burned or drowned bodies washed ashore up and down Manila Island. President Corazon Aquino called it a "tragedy of harrowing proportions." The precise number of people on board the Dona Paz is not known, but the best estimate puts the death toll near 4,000. This makes it twice as deadly as the Titanic disaster and the worst maritime tragedy in history.

  • 1989 --- The United States invades Panama in an attempt to overthrow military dictator Manuel Noriega, who had been indicted in the United States on drug trafficking charges and was accused of suppressing democracy in Panama and endangering U.S. nationals.
    Noriega's Panamanian Defense Forces (PDF) were promptly crushed, forcing the dictator to seek asylum with the Vatican anuncio in Panama City, where he surrendered on January 3, 1990.

  • 1996 --- Astronomer, educator and Pulitzer Prize-winning author (1978: The Dragons of Eden) Carl Sagan died after a two-year battle with a bone marrow disease at age 62. Sagan became one of the best-known scientists in the U.S. by enthusiastically conveying the wonders of the universe to millions of people on TV and in books. Dr. Sagan was also familiar to TV viewers from appearances in the 1970s and 1980s on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, who was known to don a black wig and perform a Sagan impersonation. Carson delighted in parodying Sagan’s references to “billions and billions of stars” in the universe.

  • 1999 --- The Vermont Supreme Court ruled that homosexual couples were entitled to the same benefits and protections as wedded couples of the opposite sex.

  • Birthdays
  • Samuel Mudd
  • Branch Rickey
  • Matty Alou
  • Bob Hayes
  • Jonah Hill
  • Peter Criss
  • John Hillerman
  • Alan Parsons
  • Billy Bragg
  • Irene Dunn
  • Uri Geller