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Wikipedia:Today's featured article/July 2018

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July 1
Painting by John Rogers Herbert

The Westminster Assembly (1 July 1643 – 1653) was a council of theologians and members of the English Parliament appointed to restructure the Church of England. As many as 121 ministers were called to the Assembly, with 19 replacements added later. The Assembly worked in the Reformed Protestant theological tradition, also known as Calvinism. It produced new standards for church governance, a Confession of Faith or statement of belief, two catechisms or manuals for religious instruction, and a liturgical manual, the Directory for Public Worship, for the Church of England and Church of Scotland. The Confession and catechisms were adopted as doctrinal standards in the Church of Scotland and other Presbyterian churches, where they remain normative. Amended versions of the Confession were also adopted in Congregational and Baptist churches in England and New England in the 17th and 18th centuries. The Confession became influential throughout the English-speaking world, but especially in American Protestant theology. (Full article...)


July 2
Obverse

The Monroe Doctrine Centennial half dollar was an American fifty-cent piece struck at the San Francisco Mint in 1923, bearing portraits of former presidents James Monroe and John Quincy Adams. Sculptor Chester Beach is credited with the design, although the reverse closely resembles an earlier work by Raphael Beck. The commemorative coin was issued to raise funds for an exposition in Los Angeles honoring the 100th anniversary of the Monroe Doctrine; the event was organized in part to generate good press for Hollywood during a time of highly publicized scandals, including manslaughter charges against film star Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle. The exposition was a financial failure. The coins did not sell well, and the bulk of the mintage of over 270,000 was released into circulation. Many of the pieces that had been sold at a premium and saved were spent during the Depression; most surviving coins show evidence of wear. (Full article...)


July 3
A Vultee Vengeance of No. 12 Squadron RAAF in December 1943

Vultee Vengeance dive bombers operated in Australian service between 1942 and 1950, and saw combat during World War II. A total of 400 of the type were ordered for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) in 1942. Large-scale deliveries commenced in 1943, and 342 arrived before the order was cancelled. RAAF Vengeance-equipped units entered combat in mid-1943. The main frontline deployment of the type began in January 1944, but ended after only six weeks as the Vengeance was considered inferior to other available aircraft. All combat units equipped with Vengeances were converted to operate heavy bombers. The type remained in RAAF service for training and support purposes until 1946, and some were used by the Royal Australian Navy until 1950. While there is consensus among historians that the Vengeance was obsolete at the time it entered Australian service, some argue that it proved successful. Others, including the RAAF's Air Power Development Centre, have judged that the type was unsuitable. (Full article...)


July 4
The interior of Chichester Cathedral
Chichester Cathedral

Hilary (c. 1110 – 1169) was a medieval English Bishop of Chichester. He served as Dean of the church of Christchurch in Hampshire and as a clerk for Henry of Blois, who was the Bishop of Winchester and brother of King Stephen, and probably received both offices through the influence of Henry. As a papal clerk in Rome, he got to know the future Pope Adrian IV and the writer John of Salisbury. After Hilary's unsuccessful nomination to become Archbishop of York, Pope Eugene III promoted him to the bishopric of Chichester in 1147. Hilary spent many years in a struggle with Battle Abbey, attempting to assert his right to oversee it as bishop. He supported King Henry II's position in a conflict with Thomas Becket, who was then the king's chancellor and later the Archbishop of Canterbury. Henry appointed Hilary a sheriff, and employed him as a judge in the royal courts; he was also a papal judge-delegate, hearing cases referred back to England. (Full article...)


July 5

Simone Russell is a fictional character that appeared from 1999 to 2007 on the American soap opera Passions on NBC. A member of the show's Russell family, Simone is the daughter of Eve and T. C. and the younger sister of Whitney. Conceived by the soap's founder and head writer James E. Reilly, the role was portrayed by three actresses: Lena Cardwell (1999–2001), Chrystee Pharris (2001–2004), and Cathy Jenéen Doe (2004–2007). The character's love interest in the early years is Chad Harris-Crane, but Doe's character comes out as lesbian and pursues a relationship with Rae Thomas. Passions became the first soap opera to show two women (Simone and Rae) having sex, and the first to feature an African-American lesbian. The show won GLAAD's 2006 Outstanding Daily Drama award for its portrayal of Simone. The representation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender topics, and Doe's performance as Simone, received mixed responses from critics. (Full article...)

Part of the Russell family (Passions) series, one of Wikipedia's featured topics.


July 6
NlaJeffrey1942-43.jpg

Peter Jeffrey (6 July 1913 – 6 April 1997) was a senior officer and fighter ace in the Royal Australian Air Force. Posted to the Middle East in July 1940, he saw action with No. 3 Squadron and took command of the unit the following year, earning the Distinguished Flying Cross for his energy and fighting skills. He was appointed wing leader of No. 234 Wing RAF in November 1941, and became an ace the same month with his fifth solo victory. The next month he was awarded the Distinguished Service Order for his achievements, which included rescuing a fellow pilot who had crash-landed in the desert. In 1942, Jeffrey was posted to the South West Pacific, where he helped organise No. 75 Squadron for the defence of Port Moresby, and No. 76 Squadron prior to the Battle of Milne Bay. He served two stints in charge of No. 2 Operational Training Unit in southern Australia before the end of the war, broken by command of No. 1 (Fighter) Wing in the Northern Territory and Western Australia during 1943–44, at which time he was promoted to temporary group captain. (Full article...)


July 7
Banded Stilts Rottnest.jpg

The banded stilt (Cladorhynchus leucocephalus) is a nomadic wader of the stilt and avocet family, Recurvirostridae, native to Australia. It gets its name from the red-brown breast band found on breeding adults, though this is mottled or entirely absent in non-breeding adults and juveniles. Its remaining plumage is pied and the eyes are dark brown. Nestling banded stilts have white down, unlike any other species of wader. Breeding is triggered by the filling of inland salt lakes by rainfall, creating large shallow lakes rich in tiny shrimp on which the birds feed. Banded stilts migrate to these and assemble in large breeding colonies. The female lays three to four brown- or black-splotched whitish eggs on a scrape. The species is not threatened, but it is subject to predation by silver gulls, black falcons and wedge-tailed eagles, and is designated as vulnerable under the South Australian National Parks and Wildlife Act 1972. (Full article...)


July 8
Percy Aldridge Grainger.jpg

Percy Grainger (8 July 1882 – 20 February 1961) was an Australian-born composer, arranger and pianist who played a prominent role in the revival of interest in British folk music in the early 20th century. Grainger left Australia in 1895 to study at the Hoch Conservatory in Frankfurt. Between 1901 and 1914 he was based in London, where he established himself first as a society pianist and later as a concert performer, composer and collector of original folk melodies. He met many of the significant figures in European music, forming friendships with Frederick Delius and Edvard Grieg, and became a champion of Nordic music and culture. In 1914, Grainger moved to the United States, where he took citizenship in 1918. He experimented with music machines that he hoped would supersede human interpretation. Although much of his work was experimental and unusual, the piece with which he is most generally associated is his piano arrangement of the folk-dance tune "Country Gardens". (Full article...)


July 9
Britomart Redeems Faire Amoret

Britomart Redeems Faire Amoret is an oil painting on canvas by English artist William Etty, first exhibited in 1833. Intended to illustrate the virtues of honour and chastity, it depicts a scene from Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene in which the female warrior Britomart slays the evil magician Busirane and frees his captive, the beautiful Amoret. In Spenser's poem Amoret has been tortured and mutilated by the time of her rescue, but Etty portrayed her as unharmed. Despite its depiction of an occult ritual, a violent death, a near-nude woman and strongly implied sexual torture, Britomart Redeems Faire Amoret was uncontroversial on its first exhibition in 1833 and was critically well received. In 1958 it was acquired by the Tate Gallery, and it remains in the collection of Tate Britain. (Full article...)


July 10
Science fiction plus 195303 v1 n1.jpg

Science-Fiction Plus was a U.S. science fiction magazine published by Hugo Gernsback for seven issues in 1953, his first involvement in the genre since 1936, when he sold Wonder Stories. The managing editor, Sam Moskowitz, published many writers who had been popular before World War II, such as Raymond Gallun, Eando Binder, and Harry Bates. Combined with Gernsback's earnest editorials on the educational power of science fiction, the stories gave the magazine an anachronistic feel. Sales were initially good, but soon fell. Moskowitz was able to obtain fiction from some of the better-known writers of the day, including Clifford D. Simak, Murray Leinster, Robert Bloch, and Philip José Farmer, and some of their stories were well-received, including "Spacebred Generations", by Simak, "Strange Compulsion", by Farmer, and "Nightmare Planet", by Leinster. Science fiction historians consider the magazine a failed attempt to reproduce the early days of the science fiction pulps. (Full article...)


July 11
USS Michigan
USS Michigan

The South Carolina-class battleships, South Carolina and Michigan (pictured), were built during the first decade of the twentieth century. They were the first American dreadnoughts, far outstripping older battleships that relied on smaller fast-firing guns at close range. The two ships were designed by Rear Admiral Washington L. Capps with a homogeneous battery of superfiring large guns and relatively thick armor, both favored by naval theorists. They were smaller than foreign dreadnoughts because of congressionally mandated limits on displacement (weight), and the inherent design trade-offs between armament, armor, and propulsion left them with a top speed of about 18.5 kn (21 mph; 34 km/h). Both ships were soon surpassed by faster battleships and by ever-larger and stronger super-dreadnoughts, relegating them to serving with older, obsolete battleships during the First World War. Both ships were scrapped after the war with the signing of the Washington Naval Treaty. (Full article...)


July 12
Excavation of the castle's stone curtain wall in 2007
Excavation of the stone curtain wall in 2007

Buckton Castle was a medieval enclosure castle and one of the earliest stone castles in North West England, near present-day Carrbrook in Stalybridge, Greater Manchester. It was surrounded by a 2.8-metre-wide (9 ft) stone curtain wall (excavation pictured) and a ditch 10 metres (33 ft) wide by 6 metres (20 ft) deep. It was probably built and demolished in the 12th century, but may never have been completed, and survives only as buried remains, overgrown with heather and peat. In the 16th century, the site may have been used as a beacon for the Pilgrimage of Grace. During the 18th century, the ruins were of interest to treasure hunters following rumours that gold and silver had been discovered at Buckton. The site was used as an anti-aircraft decoy during the Second World War. Between 1996 and 2010 the ruins were investigated by archaeologists and community archaeology volunteers as part of the Tameside Archaeology Survey. The site has been designated as a Scheduled Ancient Monument since 1924. (Full article...)


July 13

Euryoryzomys emmonsae, Emmons's rice rat, is a rodent from the Amazon rainforest of Brazil in the genus Euryoryzomys of the family Cricetidae. Initially misidentified as E. macconnelli or E. nitidus, it was formally described in 1998. A ground-dwelling rainforest species, it may also be adapted to climbing trees. It occurs in a limited area south of the Amazon River in the state of Pará, a distribution that is apparently unique among the muroid rodents of the region. E. emmonsae is a relatively large rice rat, weighing 46 to 78 g (1.6 to 2.8 oz), with long, tawny brown fur and a distinctly long tail. The skull is slender and the incisive foramina (openings in the bone of the palate) are broad. The animal has 80 chromosomes, and its karyotype is typical of its genus. Its conservation status is listed as data deficient, meaning more information is needed, but deforestation may pose a threat to the species. Its name honors Louise H. Emmons, who, among other contributions to Neotropical mammalogy, collected three of the known examples of the species in 1986. (Full article...)


July 14
The Somerset Levels, seen from Glastonbury Tor

The Somerset Levels are about 160,000 acres (650 km2) of coastal plains and wetlands in Somerset, South West England, running south from the Mendip Hills to the Blackdown Hills. About 70 per cent of the land is used as grassland and the rest is arable. Willow and teazel are grown commercially, and peat is extracted. Neolithic people exploited the resources of the reed swamps and started to construct wooden trackways, including the world's oldest known timber trackway, the Post Track, dating from the 3800s BC. Several settlements and hill forts were built on slightly raised land, including at Brent Knoll and Glastonbury. The Shapwick Hoard, 9,238 silver Roman coins discovered at the village of Shapwick, is the second largest Roman coin collection ever found in Britain. In 1685 the Battle of Sedgemoor ended the Monmouth Rebellion. The area has been extensively studied for its biodiversity and history, and has a growing tourism industry. (Full article...)

Part of the Physical geography of Somerset series, one of Wikipedia's featured topics.


July 15
The Portland Vase
The Portland Vase

Nigel Williams (15 July 1944 – 21 April 1992) was a British conservator. From 1961 until his death he worked at the British Museum, where he became the Chief Conservator of Ceramics and Glass in 1983. He was one of the first people to study conservation, before it was recognised as a profession. In the 1960s he assisted with the re-excavation of the Sutton Hoo ship-burial, and in his twenties he conserved many of the objects found therein, including a shield, drinking horns, and maplewood bottles. Restoration of the Sutton Hoo helmet alone occupied a year of his time. After nearly 31,000 fragments of shattered Greek vases were found in 1974 amidst the wreck of HMS Colossus, Williams set to work piecing them together, and the process was televised for a BBC programme. His crowning achievement, the reassembly of the Portland Vase (pictured) in 1988 and 1989, took nearly a year to complete, and was also televised. The Ceramics & Glass group of the Institute of Conservation awards a biennial prize in his honour. (Full article...)


July 16
NASA image

Hurricane Daniel was the second strongest storm of the 2006 Pacific hurricane season. The fourth named storm of the season, it originated on July 16 from a tropical wave off the coast of Mexico. It tracked westward and intensified steadily, reaching Category 4 on the Saffir–Simpson scale on July 20 and attaining peak winds of 150 mph (240 km/h) on July 22. An annular hurricane with a large and symmetric eye surrounded by a thick ring of intense convection, it gradually weakened as it entered an area of cooler water temperatures and increased wind shear. After crossing into the Central Pacific Ocean, it degenerated into a remnant low pressure area on July 26, and dissipated southeast of Hawaii within two days. The storm brought light to moderate precipitation to the Island of Hawaii and Maui, causing minor flooding, with no fatalities or major damage reported. (Full article...)


July 17
Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna

Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia (18 June 1901 – 17 July 1918) was the youngest daughter of Tsar Nicholas II, the last sovereign of Imperial Russia, and his wife, Tsarina Alexandra Feodorovna. She was murdered with her family by members of the Cheka, the Bolshevik secret police. The location of her burial was unknown during the decades of Communist rule, and rumors that she had escaped circulated after her death. A mass grave near Yekaterinburg which held the remains of the Tsar, his wife, and three of their daughters was revealed in 1991, and the bodies of the remaining daughter and the Tsarevitch Alexei were discovered in 2007. Forensic analysis and DNA testing have confirmed that the remains are those of the imperial family, showing that Anastasia and the other grand duchesses were killed in 1918. Several women have claimed to be Anastasia, including Anna Anderson, who died in 1984, but DNA testing in 1994 showed that she was not related to the Romanov family. (Full article...)


July 18
Mandela

Nelson Mandela (18 July 1918 – 5 December 2013) was a South African anti-apartheid revolutionary and political leader. A Xhosa, in the 1940s he joined the African National Congress (ANC) party and campaigned against the white-only government's system of apartheid, a form of racial segregation that privileged whites. An African nationalist and socialist, in 1961 he co-founded the militant Umkhonto we Sizwe, which led a sabotage campaign against the apartheid government. He was arrested in 1962, convicted of conspiring to overthrow the state, and imprisoned for 27 years. Released in 1990 amid growing ethnic strife and violence, he became leader of the ANC and helped negotiate an end to apartheid with President F. W. de Klerk. In the country's first multi-racial election, in 1994, he was elected President of South Africa. His administration stressed racial reconciliation and measures to alleviate poverty. He retired in 1999 to focus on philanthropic causes. Controversial throughout much of his life, in South Africa he is widely regarded as the "Father of the Nation". (Full article...)


July 19
Canadian troops under fire

The Battle of Verrières Ridge was part of the Battle of Normandy, in northwestern France, during the Second World War. Two Canadian infantry divisions—with additional support from the 2nd Canadian Armoured Brigade—fought elements of three German SS Panzer divisions. The battle began on 19 July 1944 as part of the British and Canadian attempts to break out of Caen. The immediate Allied objective was Verrières Ridge, a belt of high ground dominating the route from Caen to Falaise, which was occupied by battle-hardened German veterans. Over six days, Canadian and British forces made repeated attempts to capture the ridge, with heavy Allied casualties for little strategic gain. The battle is remembered for its tactical and strategic miscalculations, including a controversial attack by The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada on 25 July, the costliest single day for a Canadian battalion since the 1942 Dieppe Raid. (Full article...)


July 20
Ramesses VI head from sarcophagus

Ramesses VI was the fifth ruler of the Twentieth Dynasty of Egypt. He succeeded Ramesses V and reigned for about eight years in the mid-to-late 12th century BC before dying in his forties. Egypt lost control of its last strongholds in Canaan around the time of his reign. The pharaoh's power waned in Upper Egypt during his rule, while the high priest of Amun, Ramessesnakht, was turning Thebes in Upper Egypt into the religious capital and a second center of power on par with Pi-Ramesses in Lower Egypt, where the pharaoh resided. He was fond of cult statues of himself; more are known to portray him than any other Twentieth-Dynasty king after his father, Ramesses III. He usurped KV9, a tomb in the Valley of the Kings planned by and for Ramesses V, and had it enlarged and redecorated for himself. His mummy lay untouched for fewer than 20 years before pillagers damaged it. The Egyptologist Amin Amer characterises him as "a king who wished to pose as a great pharaoh in an age of unrest and decline". (Full article...)


July 21
In western Iowa

In Iowa, Interstate 80 (I-80) enters at the Missouri River in Council Bluffs, extends east through the southern Iowa drift plain, passes around Des Moines and through Iowa City, and crosses into Illinois at the Mississippi River near Le Claire. I-80 is an American transcontinental Interstate Highway stretching from San Francisco, California, to Teaneck, New Jersey. Before the Interstate was built, US Route 6 was the busiest highway in Iowa. In the early 1950s, a turnpike along the US 6 corridor was slated to be the first modern four-lane highway in the state, but those plans were shelved when the Interstate Highway System was created in 1956. The first section of I-80 opened in 1958 in the western suburbs of Des Moines, and new sections of the Interstate opened up regularly over the next twelve years. The final segment in Iowa, the Missouri River bridge to Omaha, Nebraska, opened in 1972. About one-third of Iowa's population lives along the I-80 corridor, most of which runs through farmland. (Full article...)


July 22
Model of jaws

Megalodon (Carcharocles megalodon), an extinct species of shark, lived around 23 to 2.6 million years ago, from the Early Miocene to the Late Pliocene. Once thought to be closely related to the great white shark (C. carcharias), it may be a member of the extinct family Otodontidae. It may have looked like a stocky great white, measuring at most 18 meters (59 ft), and averaging 10.5 metres (34 ft). Its large jaws exerted an estimated bite force of 108,500 to 182,200 newtons (24,400 to 41,000 lbf), coupled with thick teeth to grab large, struggling prey, crushing the heart and lungs of the marine mammals – mainly baleen whales – that it fed on in oceans around the world. It is thought that its decline was due to competition from other large predators (such as Livyatan), the ice ages, and the shift in whale populations. The shark has made appearances in media such as the Discovery Channel's docufiction Megalodon: The Monster Shark Lives. (Full article...)


July 23
Suillus spraguei 58269.jpg

Suillus spraguei, the painted suillus, is a species of fungus in the family Suillaceae. Its readily identifiable fruit bodies have caps that are dark red when fresh, dry to the touch, and covered with mats of hairs and scales that are separated by yellow cracks. On the underside of the cap are small, yellow, angular pores that become brownish as the mushroom ages. The stalk bears a grayish cottony ring, and is typically covered with soft hairs or scales. S. spraguei grows in symbiosis with roots of several pine species, particularly the eastern white pine. The fruit body grows on the ground, appearing from early summer to autumn. It is found in eastern Asia, northeastern North America, and Mexico throughout the range of the host tree. The mushroom is edible, although opinions about its quality vary. It bears a resemblance to several other Suillus species, including the closely related S. decipiens, although the species can be differentiated by variations in color and size. (Full article...)


July 24
Utility pole with lechis attached, Mahwah, New Jersey
Utility pole with lechis attached

Three municipalities in the U.S. state of New Jersey resisted the construction of an eruv within their borders in 2017 and 2018. An eruv is used by Orthodox Jews as a ritual boundary that facilitates travel on the Jewish Sabbath, and the one in Bergen County was marked by plastic pipes attached to utility poles. Mahwah, Upper Saddle River and Montvale ordered it dismantled, as their permission had not been obtained. During the controversy, many Mahwah residents angrily protested against the prospect of Orthodox Jews from Rockland County, New York, using local parks or seeking to buy homes there. The eruv association brought federal lawsuits against each of the municipalities. In Mahwah, an ordinance was passed barring nonresidents of New Jersey from its parks, leading to accusations of anti-Semitism. A settlement was reached allowing the eruv to remain, but Mahwah still faces a lawsuit from the New Jersey Attorney General accusing it of discrimination. (Full article...)


July 25
Reconstruction

The Shorwell helmet (replica pictured) is a sixth-century Anglo-Saxon helmet found near Shorwell on the Isle of Wight in southern England. It was one of the grave goods of a high-status Anglo-Saxon warrior, and was found with other objects such as a pattern-welded sword and hanging bowl. One of only six known Anglo-Saxon helmets, alongside those from Benty Grange, Sutton Hoo, Coppergate, Wollaston, and Staffordshire, it is the sole example to derive from the continental Frankish style rather than the contemporaneous Northern crested style used in England and Scandinavia. Exhibiting hardly any decoration other than a speculative exterior leather covering, this was a utilitarian fighting helmet. It was simply and sturdily designed out of eight pieces of riveted iron, and its only decorative elements were paired with functional uses. The helmet's plainness belies its significance; helmets were rare in Anglo-Saxon England, and appear to have been limited to the higher classes. (Full article...)


July 26
A cooperative pulling experiment with dogs

The cooperative pulling paradigm is an experimental design in which animals cooperate to pull food towards themselves. Researchers use these experiments to try to understand how cooperation works and how and when it may have evolved. Meredith Crawford ran the first such experiment in 1937, attaching two ropes to a rolling platform that was too heavy to be pulled by a single chimpanzee. In another design, a rope comes loose if only one animal pulls it, and the platform can no longer be retrieved. Researchers look for signs of cooperation, such as when an animal waits for another animal's actions before pulling the rope. Chimpanzees, bonobos, orangutans, capuchins, tamarins, wolves, elephants, ravens, and keas appear to understand the requirements of the task, and other animals sometimes manage to retrieve the food. The superior scale and range of human cooperation comes mainly from the ability to use language to exchange social information. (Full article...)


July 27
James Hetfield of Metallica

Ride the Lightning is the second studio album by American heavy metal band Metallica. It was produced by Flemming Rasmussen in Copenhagen, Denmark, and released on July 27, 1984, by the independent record label Megaforce Records. Rooted in the thrash metal genre, the album showcased bassist Cliff Burton's songwriting and the band's musical growth and lyrical sophistication, with acoustic guitars, extended instrumentals, and complex harmonies. Music critics considered the album a more ambitious effort than its predecessor. In 1985 the band performed at major music festivals such as Monsters of Rock and Day on the Green. Two months after the album's release, Elektra Records reissued it and signed Metallica to a multi-year deal. It peaked at number 100 on the Billboard 200 with no radio exposure. It was certified 6× platinum in 2012 for shipping six million copies in the United States. Many rock publications have ranked Ride the Lightning on their best album lists. (Full article...)


July 28
In 2004

The Nine Stones is a stone circle near the village of Winterbourne Abbas in the south-western English county of Dorset. The circle was probably erected during the Bronze Age; stone circles were built throughout much of Britain, Ireland, and Brittany between 3,300 and 900 BCE, during the Late Neolithic and Early Bronze Age. The stone circle tradition was accompanied by the construction of timber circles and earthen henges, reflecting a growing emphasis on circular monuments. At least nine of these stone circles are known in modern Dorset. They are smaller than those found elsewhere in Britain and are typically built from sarsen stone. Located in the bottom of a narrow valley, the Nine Stones circle consists of nine irregularly spaced sarsen megaliths, with a small opening on the circle's northern side. Two of the stones on the north-western side are considerably larger than the other seven. The site, adjacent to the A35 road, is owned by English Heritage. (Full article...)


July 29
Wilder-Neligan as a lieutenant colonel

Maurice Wilder-Neligan (1882–1923) was a British-born Australian soldier who commanded the 10th Battalion during the latter stages of World War I. Emigrating to Australia before the war, he enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force. He was decorated for bravery and commissioned during the Gallipoli Campaign of 1915. He received a severe head wound while leading a successful raid on German trenches near Fleurbaix, France, in early 1916, earning a second decoration for gallantry and the praise of war historians. In July 1917 he was promoted to lieutenant colonel and received command of the battalion. He led it during the Battle of the Menin Road Ridge in September and was made a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George in June 1918. He was again decorated for courage for the capture of the commune of Merris on 29 July. After the war, he worked as a district officer in the Territory of New Guinea, where he died at the age of 40, probably of complications from his war wounds. (Full article...)


July 30
Common octopus

The octopus is a soft-bodied, eight-armed mollusc of the order Octopoda, with around 300 known species. Along with squids, cuttlefish and nautiloids, they are classed as cephalopods. The mouth with its hard beak is at the base of the arms, which trail behind the animal as it swims. A siphon is used both for respiration and for locomotion, by expelling a jet of water. Octopuses have a complex nervous system and excellent sight, and are among the most intelligent and behaviourally diverse of all invertebrates. They inhabit all parts of the ocean, from the intertidal zone and coral reefs to the abyssal depths. They can escape from predators by hiding in a cloud of ink, camouflaging themselves, or contorting their bodies to squeeze through narrow gaps. They are all venomous, but only the blue-ringed octopus is known to be deadly to humans. Octopus is sold as food around the world, especially in the Mediterranean and along the coasts of Asia. (Full article...)


July 31
BillBrown2.jpg

Bill Brown (31 July 1912 – 16 March 2008) was an Australian cricketer. A right-handed opening batsman, he played 22 Tests between 1934 and 1948, captaining his country in one of them. His partnership with Jack Fingleton in the 1930s is regarded as one of the finest in Australian Test history. In the 1938 tour of England, Brown had 1,854 runs, including an unbeaten 206 that saved Australia from defeat in the second Test, and was honoured as one of the five Wisden Cricketers of the Year. The outbreak of the Second World War cost Brown his peak years as a player, time that he spent in the Royal Australian Air Force. After the war, he was a member of Don Bradman's Invincibles, who toured England in 1948 without defeat. He performed reasonably well in the tour matches, but struggled while batting out of position in the middle order during the first two Tests, and was dropped from the Test team. (Full article...)

Part of the Australian cricket team in England in 1948 series, one of Wikipedia's featured topics.