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Here are the top ten articles for the Today in History Site! These rankings are live and get reset at the beginning of each month, so check back often to see what your fellow visitors are most interested in!
1. The Problem with Project Nim
In 1974, a chimp named Nim was taught to use sign language as part of a linguistic study. Nim signed his first word on February 4. But why was the project problematic? What happened to Nim?
2. Gershwin Debuts ‘Rhapsody in Blue’
The Jazz Age had begun, but in 1924 the music was not considered a serious art form. Then, on February 12, an octave-surfing clarinet glided into ‘Rhapsody in Blue,’ and it made musical history. And to think Gershwin almost didn’t write it …
3. Lego Teaches Us to Play Well
Patented on January 28, 1958, the Lego brick lets us use our imagination to build worlds. Did you know it started with a duck? Here’s a partial visual history, with pictures from the Lego website.
4. Laika - The First Dog in Space
On November 3, 1957, Sputnik 2 was launched into orbit around the Earth. It was the second artificial satellite ever to be sent up into space. On board was a dog named Laika. Do you know her story?
5. 1984 - The Apple Macintosh Ad
Apple’s original Macintosh debuted this week in 1984 – but let’s talk about its ad! Broadcast nationally on January 22, it became a legend in its own right, though not without controversy.
6. A Tolkien Book and a Birthday Coincidence
The final volume of J. R. R. Tolkien’s fantasy masterpiece, The Lord of the Rings, was published on this date in history. But there’s more: an actor from the film versions also celebrates his birthday on October 20.
7. The Last Days of Edgar Allan Poe
“There at length they found me lying, weak and ’wildered, sick and dying, / And my shattered wreck of being to a kindly refuge bore … ” These are just a few lines from a poem entitled “The Streets of Baltimore.” Hauntingly, they evoke the mysterious death of its purported author on October 3, 1849.
8. Wordsworth Writes a Sonnet - September 3
It’s in the title - September 3, commemorated forever in William Wordsworth’s Romantic poem. Did you know it was written on the roof of a carriage? Discover the surprising story behind the poem.
9. The Apple Lisa
The Mac’s older sister is an unsung herald of today’s computers, phones and tablets. Meet the Apple Lisa, introduced on January 19, 1983, and named after the daughter Steve Jobs once rejected.
10. Drake Goes Around the World
Sir Francis Drake, one of history’s most famous privateers, completed a voyage around the world on September 26, 435 years ago. What happened on that voyage? Piracy, of course! What’s the difference between piracy and privateering? There is a difference, though it has become greyed ...
Be sure to visit the Today in History Archives for all the articles!
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