Today in History: December 30th

1903: The Iroquois Theater Fire in Chicago, Illinois kills at least 600. Although the theater was advertised at completely fireproof, numerous deficiencies were present including a lack of sufficient exits, extinguishers, water connections, sprinklers or alarms.

1922: The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) is formed.

2004: The República Cromañón nightclub fire in Buenos Aires, Argentina kills 194. The fire started when a pyrotechnic flare for the performing rock band ignited the flammable materials used in the club’s decorations. Four of the six exits were chained shut to prevent people from entering without paying.

See also Learning from Past Disasters, @issue: The Resurgence of Russia

Today in History: December 27th

1968: Apollo 8 lands in the Pacific Ocean, ending the first orbital manned mission to the Moon.   Apollo 8 was the first human spaceflight to leave Earth orbit, the first to be captured by and escape from the gravitational field of another celestial body, and the first crewed voyage to return to Earth from another celestial body—Earth’s Moon.  See also Canada in Space.

1979: The USSR invades Afghanistan. The Soviet war in Afghanistan was a nine-year proxy war during the Cold war involving the Soviet Union, supporting the Marxist-Leninist government of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan. Due to the interminable nature of the war, the conflict in Afghanistan has sometimes been referred to as the “Soviet Union’s Vietnam War” or “the Bear Trap”.  See also @issue: The Resurgence of Russia.

1836: The deadliest avalanche in the United Kingdom occurs in Lewes, Sussex, killing eight people and destroying a row of workers’ cottages when a huge build-up of snow on a chalk cliff overlooking the town collapses into the settlement 100 metres below.    See also Learning from Past Disasters

Today in History: December 25th

1991: Mikhail Gorbachev resigns as President of the USSR, one day before the Soviet Union’s collapse; Ukraine officially leaves the Soviet Union. See also the Resurgence of Russia.

1990: Tim Berners-Lee implements the first successful communication between a Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) client and server via the Internet. This marks the beginning of the World Wide Web.

1989: Nicolae Ceauşescu, former communist President of Romania, and his wife, First-Deputy Prime-Minister Elena are condemned to death and executed.

Today in History: December 18th

2006: The first of a series of floods strikes Malaysia, killing at least 118 people, with over 400,000 people displaced.

1982: A power plant fire begins in Venezuela, and by the time it ended, the fire killed 128 people and injured hundreds more. Half the capital city of Caracas lost electrical power and 40,000 people had to be evacuated. In the aftermath, fuel tanks like those at the Tacoa plant were no longer placed where they could threaten civilian populations.

1958: The world’s first communications satellite, Project SCORE (Signal Communications by Orbiting Relay Equipment) is launched. SCORE provides a first test of a communications relay system in space. This puts the U.S. on a technological par with the U.S.S.R. as a response to the Sputnik satellites.

Today in History: November 19th

2010: The first of four explosions take place at a mine in New Zealand. In all, 29 people will die in the worst mining disaster in New Zealand since 1914.

1863: US President Abraham Lincoln delivers the Gettysburg Address at the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, during the American Civil War.

Political Conventions – The Smell of the Greasepaint

1824:  A flood on the Neva River in Russia claims an estimated 10,000 lives. Winter came early to Russia in 1824. The very cold weather caused blocks of ice to form on the Neva River, near the city of St. Petersburg. Much of the city’s rich cultural history was lost in the flood.

Today in History: November 12th

2001: An American Airlines flight leaving JFK Airport in New York City for the Dominican Republic crashes into a Queens neighborhood after takeoff, killing 265 people. The cause was quickly proven to be a combination of pilot error and wind conditions.

1999: An earthquake in Turkey kills 894 people. This was less than three months after another earthquake in Turkey killed 17,000 people.

1995: Canadian Space Agency astronaut Chris Hadfield blasts off on the Atlantis shuttle from Kennedy Space Center for an eight-day mission, including a rendezvous with the Russian space station Mir. See also Canada in Space