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Almanac - Friday, 2/2/18

It's Groundhog Day! Today is Friday, February 2, 2018, the 33rd day of the year with 332 days remaining.

  • Sunrise: 7:13am  
  • Sunset: 5:35pm

...giving us 10 hours and 22 minutes of daylight.  97% of the now waning moon will be visible, rising at 8:23pm
Tides at the Golden Gate

  • High: 1:15am/12:28pm  
  • Low: 6:21am/6:55pm

Special international celebrations today…

  • Candlemas, Presentation of the Lord - Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Mexico, Brazil, Bolivia, Sweden, Peru
  • Groundhog Day - Canada, US
  • National Change your Windshield Wipers Day - US

It’s also…

  • Bubble Gum Day
  • Crepe Day
  • Give Kids A Smile Day
  • Imbolc
  • Marmot Day
  • Sled Dog Day
  • World Play Your Ukulele Day
  • World Wetlands Day
  • Wear Red Day
  • Working Naked Day
  • Heavenly Hash Day
  • Tater Tot Day

On this day in…

1536 - The Argentine city of Buenos Aires was founded by Pedro de Mendoza of Spain.

1653 - New Amsterdam, now known as New York City, was incorporated.

1802 - The first leopard to be exhibited in the United States was shown by Othello Pollard in Boston, MA.

1848 - The Mexican War was ended with the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. The treaty turned over portions of land to the U.S., including Texas, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, California and parts of Colorado and Wyoming. The U.S. gave Mexico $15,000,000 and assumed responsibility of all claims against Mexico by American citizens. Texas had already entered the U.S. on December 29, 1845.

1848 - The first shipload of Chinese emigrants arrived in San Francisco, CA.

1863 - Samuel Langhorne Clemens used a pseudonym for the first time. He is better remembered by the pseudonym which is Mark Twain.

1870 - The "Cardiff Giant" was revealed to be nothing more than carved gypsum. The discovery in Cardiff, NY, was alleged to be the petrified remains of a human.

1876 - The National League of Professional Base Ball Clubs (known as the National League) was formed in New York. The teams included were the Chicago White Stockings, Philadelphia Athletics, Boston Red Stockings, Hartford Dark Blues, Mutual of New York, St. Louis Brown Stockings, Cincinnati Red Stockings and the Louisville Grays.

1878 - Greece declared war on Turkey.

1880 - The S.S. Strathleven arrived in London with the first successful shipment of frozen mutton from Australia.

1887 - The beginning of Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney, PA.

1892 - William Painter patented the bottle cap.

1893 - The Edison Studio in West Orange, NJ, made history when they filmed the first motion picture close-up. The studio was owned and operated by Thomas Edison.

1897 - The Pennsylvania state capitol in Harrisburg was destroyed by fire. The new statehouse was dedicated nine years later on the same site.

1913 - Grand Central Terminal officially opened at 12:01 a.m. Even though construction was not entirely complete more than 150,000 people visited the new terminal on its opening day.

1935 - Leonard Keeler conducted the first test of the polygraph machine, in Portage, WI.

1943 - During World War II, the remainder of Nazi forces from the Battle of Stalingrad surrendered to the Soviets. Stalingrad has since been renamed Volgograd.

1945 - U.S. President Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill left for a summit in Yalta with Soviet leader Josef Stalin.

1946 - The first Buck Rogers automatic pistol was made.

1946 - The Mutual Broadcasting System aired "Twenty Questions" for the first time on radio. The show moved to television 3 years later.

1949 - Golfer Ben Hogan was seriously injured in an auto accident in Van Horn, TX.

1950 - "What's My Line" debuted on CBS television.

1962 - The 8th and 9th planets aligned for the first time in 400 years.

1967 - The American Basketball Association was formed by representatives of the NBA.

1971 - Idi Amin assumed power in Uganda after a coup that ousted President Milton Obote.

1980 - The situation known as "Abscam" began when reports surfaced that the FBI had conducted a sting operation that targeted members of the U.S. Congress. A phony Arab businessmen were used in the operation.

1989 - The final Russian armored column left Kabul, Afghanistan, after nine years of military occupation.

1990 - South African President F.W. de Klerk lifted a ban on the African National Congress and promised to free Nelson Mandela.

1998 - U.S. President Clinton introduced the first balanced budget in 30 years.

1999 - 19 people were killed at Luanda international airport when a cargo plane crashed just after takeoff.

1999 - Hugo Chávez Frías took office. He had been elected president of Venezuela in December 1998.

2004 - It was reported that a white powder had been found in an office of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) later confirmed that the powder was the poison ricin.

Today’s birthday celebrants include (or included)...

  • Fritz Kreisler 1875
  • James Joyce 1882
  • Charles Correll 1890
  • George Halas 1895
  • Jascha Heifetz 1901
  • Ayn Rand 1905
  • Gale Gordon 1906
  • Burton Lane 1912
  • James Dickey 1923
  • Elaine Stritch 1926
  • Stan Getz 1927
  • Russell Arms 1929
  • Robert Mandan 1932
  • Tom Smothers 1937
  • Martina Arroyo 1937
  • Alan Caddy (The Tornados, Johnny Kidd and The Pirates) 1940
  • Bo Hopkins 1942
  • Graham Nash (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young) 1942
  • Howard Bellamy (The Bellamy Brothers) 1946
  • Farrah Fawcett 1947
  • Peter Lucia (Tommy James and The Shondells) 1947
  • Brent Spiner 1949
  • Ross Valory (Journey) 1949
  • Christie Brinkley 1954
  • Kim Zimmer 1955
  • Michael Talbott 1955
  • Robert DeLeo (Stone Temple Pilots) 1966
  • Ben Mize (Counting Crows) 1971


David Latulippe is host of On the Arts, KALW's weekly radio magazine of the performing arts, as well as for Explorations in Music, and the Berkeley Symphony broadcasts. He has also hosted and produced the radio series From the Conservatory, Music from Mills, and Music at Menlo, and is principal guest host for Revolutions Per Minute.