Wikipedia:Today's featured article/February 2021

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February 1

Haane Manahi

Haane Manahi (28 September 1913 – 29 March 1986) was a New Zealand Māori soldier who served in the Second World War with the Māori Battalion. He joined the battalion in 1939 and fought in Greece, in Crete and in North Africa. In April 1943, during the Tunisian campaign, his gallantry in an action at Takrouna resulted in a recommendation, supported by four generals, that he be awarded the Victoria Cross (VC). This was downgraded to an award of the Distinguished Conduct Medal, which disappointed many of his fellow soldiers. After his death in a car crash in 1986, representations were made for a posthumous award of the VC for his valour at Takrouna. These representations were unsuccessful but eventually resulted in a special award in 2007 of an altar cloth for use in a local church, a ceremonial sword and a personal letter from Queen Elizabeth II in recognition of his gallantry. (Full article...)


February 2

Groundhog Day
Bill Murray

Groundhog Day is a 1993 American fantasy comedy film directed by Harold Ramis and written by Ramis and Danny Rubin. It stars Bill Murray (pictured), Andie MacDowell, and Chris Elliott. Murray portrays Phil Connors, a cynical television weatherman who is sent, much to his disgruntlement, to cover the annual Groundhog Day festivities in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. Connors becomes trapped in a time loop forcing him to relive February 2 over and over, with not even death an escape, a repetition that will not change until he does. Much of the filming took place in bitterly cold weather in Woodstock, Illinois. The film led to expanded acting horizons for Murray, known to that point primarily as a comedy actor, as it showed he could handle more serious material. Groundhog Day had moderate to good box office receipts and reviews, but has since become a cult classic, acclaimed as one of the best movies of the 1990s and one of the great comedy films of all time. (Full article...)


February 3

The bee-eaters are near passerine birds of the family Meropidae, containing three genera and twenty-seven species. Most species are found in Africa and Asia, with a few in southern Europe, Australia, and New Guinea. They are characterised by richly coloured plumage and slender bodies, and usually by elongated central tail feathers. All have long down-turned bills and medium to long wings, which may be pointed or round. They predominantly eat flying insects, caught on the wing from an open perch. Most bee-eaters are gregarious, forming colonies and nesting in burrows. The eggs are white, with typically five to the clutch. Most species are monogamous, and both parents care for the young, sometimes with assistance from related birds in the colony. Bee-eaters may be killed by raptors; their nests are raided by rodents and snakes, and they can carry various parasites. Some species are adversely affected by human activity or habitat loss, but none are threatened. (Full article...)


February 4

A Pacific swift in Japan

The Pacific swift (Apus pacificus) is a bird that breeds in eastern Asia. This swift is strongly migratory, spending the northern hemisphere's winter in a wide range of habitats in Southeast Asia and Australia. The general shape and blackish plumage recall its relative, the common swift, from which it is distinguished by a white rump band and heavily marked underparts. Its main call is a screech typical of its family. It breeds in sheltered locations such as caves and rock crevices, or under the eaves of houses. The nest is a half-cup of dry grass and other fine material that is gathered in flight, cemented with saliva and attached to a vertical surface. Two or three white eggs are incubated for about seventeen days before hatching. Like all swifts, the Pacific swift feeds exclusively on insects caught in flight. The species has a large population that occurs as far afield as the US and New Zealand, and rarely in Europe. (Full article...)


February 5

Seven Arches railway viaduct in Cheadle Hulme
Seven Arches railway viaduct in Cheadle Hulme

Cheadle Hulme is a suburb in the Metropolitan Borough of Stockport in Greater Manchester, England. Historically in Cheshire, it lies south-east of Manchester, in the Ladybrook Valley. In 2011, it had a population of 26,479. Evidence of Bronze Age, Roman and Anglo-Saxon activity, including coins, jewellery and axes, has been discovered locally. The area was first mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086; in the early 14th century, it was split into southern and northern parts at about the future locations of Cheadle Hulme and Cheadle respectively. Unlike many English villages, it did not grow around a church; instead it formed from several hamlets. From the late 19th century until 1974, Cheadle Hulme was united with neighbouring places to form the urban district of Cheadle and Gatley. Thereafter, Cheadle Hulme became a distinct place in its own right. Cheadle Hulme has a railway station and is close to Manchester Airport, the M60 and the A34. (Full article...)


February 6

Robert Goff as an appellate judge.jpg

Robert Goff, Baron Goff of Chieveley (1926–2016) was an English barrister and judge. He was the original co-author of Goff & Jones, the leading English law textbook on restitution and unjust enrichment, first published in 1966. He practised as a commercial barrister from 1951 to 1975, and then began his career as a judge. He was appointed to the Judicial Committee of the House of Lords in 1986 and was Senior Lord of Appeal in Ordinary from 1996 until his retirement in 1998. Goff long advocated a complementary view of the roles of the legal academic and judge. The former Lord Justice of Appeal Stephen Tomlinson said that "no judge has done more than Robert to ensure that the views of legal academic commentators now regularly inform the decision-making in our higher courts". For building bridges between judges in the United Kingdom and Germany, Goff was awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany (First Class). (Full article...)


February 7

Margate F.C. 1901 team
Margate F.C. 1901 team

Margate F.C. is an English football team based in the seaside resort of Margate, Kent. They currently play in the Isthmian League Premier Division. The club was founded in 1896 and joined the Southern Football League in 1933. After a spell in the Kent League after World War II, the team returned to the Southern League in 1959 and remained there until 2001 when they gained promotion to the Football Conference, the highest level of English non-League football. Their stay at this level saw the team forced to groundshare with other clubs due to drawn-out and problematic redevelopment work at their Hartsdown Park stadium, and they were expelled from the Conference National and subsequently relegated to the Isthmian League. The team, known for a number of years during the 1980s as Thanet United, and nicknamed "The Gate", have twice reached the third round proper of the FA Cup. On the second occasion, they played Tottenham Hotspur, the reigning UEFA Cup holders. (Full article...)


February 8

Elizabeth Raffald (cropped) (cropped).jpg

Elizabeth Raffald (1733–1781) was an English author, innovator and entrepreneur. Born and raised in Doncaster, Yorkshire, Raffald went into domestic service for fifteen years, ending as the housekeeper to the Warburton baronets at Arley Hall, Cheshire. She moved with her husband to Manchester, where she opened a register office to introduce domestic workers to employers; she also ran a cookery school and sold food from the premises. In 1769 she published her cookery book The Experienced English Housekeeper, which contains the first recipe for a "Bride Cake" that is recognisable as a modern wedding cake. She is possibly the inventor of the Eccles cake. In August 1772 Raffald published The Manchester Directory, a listing of 1,505 traders and civic leaders in Manchester—the first such listing for the up-and-coming town. Her recipes were plagiarised by other authors, notably by Isabella Beeton in her bestselling Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management (1861). (Full article...)


February 9

Alan Shepard on the Moon
Alan Shepard on the Moon

Apollo 14 (January 31 – February 9, 1971) was the eighth crewed mission in the United States Apollo program, and the third to land on the Moon. Commander Alan Shepard (pictured), Command Module Pilot Stuart Roosa, and Lunar Module Pilot Edgar Mitchell overcame malfunctions en route to the Moon that, after the failure of Apollo 13, might have resulted in a second consecutive aborted mission, and possibly the premature end of the Apollo program. Shepard and Mitchell made their lunar landing on February 5 in the Fra Mauro formation, where they undertook two extravehicular activities (EVAs or moonwalks). In Apollo 14's most famous incident, Shepard hit two golf balls he had brought with him with a makeshift club. Roosa remained in lunar orbit, where he took photographs of the Moon and performed experiments. After liftoff from the surface and a successful docking, the mission returned to Earth, splashing down safely in the Pacific Ocean. (Full article...)


February 10

Jacobo Árbenz
Jacobo Árbenz

Operation PBHistory was a covert operation carried out in Guatemala by the United States Central Intelligence Agency. It followed Operation PBSuccess, which led to the overthrow of Guatemalan president Jacobo Árbenz (pictured) in June 1954 and ended the Guatemalan Revolution. PBHistory attempted to use documents left behind by Árbenz's government, police agencies, trade unions and the communist Guatemalan Party of Labour to demonstrate that the Guatemalan government had been under the influence of the Soviet Union. The documents uncovered by the operation proved useful to the Guatemalan intelligence agencies, enabling the creation of a register of suspected communists. The operation did not find evidence that the Guatemalan communists were controlled by the Soviet government, and could not counter the narrative that the United States had toppled the Árbenz government to serve the interests of the United Fruit Company. (Full article...)


February 11

Bernard A. Maguire

Bernard A. Maguire (February 11, 1818 – April 26, 1886) was a Catholic priest and Jesuit who twice served as the president of Georgetown University. Maguire emigrated with his family from Ireland to Maryland at the age of six, where he studied under the Jesuits at Saint John's College, and entered the Society of Jesus in 1837. He then continued his education at Georgetown University, where he eventually became a teacher and prefect. As prefect, Maguire was responsible for quelling an uprising of 40 students who were unhappy with rules over the meeting times of the Philodemic Society. In 1852, he became the president of Georgetown University, and oversaw the partial separation of the preparatory division from the college. He left in 1858 to do pastoral work, but returned as president in 1866. Maguire directed the university's rebuilding after the Civil War and the establishment of the law school. His tenure ended in 1870, and he spent the rest of his life in pastoral ministry. (Full article...)


February 12

Grant Memorial gold dollar with star
Grant Memorial gold dollar with star

The Grant Memorial gold dollar and silver half dollar were struck by the United States Bureau of the Mint in 1922 in honor of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Ulysses S. Grant, a leading Union general during the Civil War and later the 18th president of the United States. The two coins are identical in design and were sculpted by Laura Gardin Fraser. The Ulysses S. Grant Centenary Memorial Association wanted to sell 200,000 gold dollars to pay for projects in the areas of Grant's birthplace and boyhood home. Congress authorized 250,000 half dollars, but only 10,000 gold dollars. About 5,000 of each denomination were struck with a special mark, a star (example pictured). All of the gold dollars and most of the half dollars sold. The half dollar with star has long been priced higher than most commemoratives; its rarity has also caused it to be counterfeited. Money from the coins was used to help preserve Grant's birthplace, but other planned projects were not completed. (Full article...)


February 13

Cover of the first issue
Cover of the first issue

Saturn was an American magazine published from 1957 to 1965. It was launched as a science-fiction magazine, but sales were weak, and after five issues the publisher, Robert C. Sproul, switched the magazine to hardboiled detective fiction that emphasized sex and sadism. Sproul renamed the magazine several times, settling on Web Terror Stories in 1962, and the contents became mostly weird-menace tales—a genre in which apparently supernatural powers are revealed to have a logical explanation at the end of the story. Donald A. Wollheim was the editor for the first five issues; he published material by several well-known authors, including Robert A. Heinlein, H. P. Lovecraft, and Harlan Ellison, but was given a low budget and could not always find good-quality stories. It is not known who edited the magazine after the science fiction issues, but themes of violence, torture and sex continued to the end of the magazine's run. Sproul finally cancelled the title in 1965 after a total of 27 issues. (Full article...)


February 14

Australian M113s in South Vietnam during 1966

The M113 armoured personnel carrier has been operated by the Australian Army in large numbers since 1964. Either 817 or 840 M113s were acquired between 1964 and 1979, comprising nine different variants. In Australian service, the M113 has equipped armoured transport and reconnaissance units as well as mechanised infantry formations. It has been used as a support vehicle by many other units. The type played an important role in Australia's commitment to the Vietnam War between 1965 and 1972 (pictured). Small numbers of M113s were deployed to Somalia during 1993 and Rwanda between 1994 and 1995. Larger numbers of M113s operated in East Timor from 1999 to 2002 and 2006 to 2008. A long-running modernisation resulted in 431 being upgraded between 2007 and 2012. Despite the upgrade program, the Australian Army's M113s are now obsolete and they have not been included in recent deployments due to their vulnerability. Replacement infantry fighting vehicles are scheduled to enter service from 2025. (Full article...)


February 15

Prussian grenadiers overrunning Saxon forces during the Battle of Hohenfriedberg
Prussian grenadiers overrunning Saxon forces during the Battle of Hohenfriedberg

The Silesian Wars were a series of three wars fought between Prussia (under King Frederick the Great) and Austria (under Archduchess Maria Theresa) for control of the Central European region of Silesia (now in south-west Poland). The First (1740–1742) and Second Silesian Wars (1744–1745) formed parts of the War of the Austrian Succession, in which Prussia was a member of an anti-Austrian coalition. The Third Silesian War (1756–1763) was one theatre of the global Seven Years' War, in which Austria led a coalition aiming to seize Prussian territory. All three ended in Prussian victories, and their overall territorial result was Austria's cession of the majority of Silesia to Prussia, which emerged from the Silesian Wars as a new European great power. Austria's defeat by a lesser German power significantly damaged its prestige. The conflict foreshadowed a century-long Austria–Prussia rivalry for hegemony over the German-speaking peoples. (This article is part of a featured topic: Silesian Wars.)


February 16

Sunda colugo, a living relative of Dermotherium
Sunda colugo, a living
relative of Dermotherium

Dermotherium is a genus of fossil mammals closely related to the living colugos, a small group of gliding mammals from Southeast Asia. The two species are known from Thailand; D. major from the late Eocene, based on a fragment of the lower jaw, and D. chimaera from the late Oligocene from three jaw fragments and two molars. Another upper molar from the early Oligocene of Pakistan may be from a putative D. chimaera. The animals probably lived in forested environments, like living colugos, but whether they could glide is unknown. The fossil teeth differ from those of living colugo species (example pictured), and they lack their comblike dental features involving the lower incisors, canines, and third premolars. The fossil species differ from each other in their tooth structure. The front part of the lower chewing teeth, the trigonid, is broader in D. chimaera than in D. major. (Full article...)


February 17

Planet of the Apes franchise logo

Planet of the Apes is an American science-fiction media franchise consisting of films, books, television series, comics, and other media about a world in which humans and intelligent apes clash for control. Based on French author Pierre Boulle's 1963 novel La Planète des singes, its 1968 film adaptation, Planet of the Apes, was a critical and commercial hit. From 1970 to 1973 four sequels followed the original film: Beneath the Planet of the Apes, Escape from the Planet of the Apes, Conquest of the Planet of the Apes and Battle for the Planet of the Apes. They did not approach the critical acclaim of the original, but were commercially successful, spawning two television series in 1974 and 1975. Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes film was released in 2001. A reboot film series began in 2011 with Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which was followed by Dawn of the Planet of the Apes in 2014 and War for the Planet of the Apes in 2017. The films have grossed over $2 billion worldwide. (Full article...)


February 18

Map plotting Dorian's track and intensity
Map plotting Dorian's track and intensity

Hurricane Dorian was the strongest hurricane to affect the Bahamas, causing catastrophic damage in September 2019. Dorian originated from a tropical wave off the western coast of Africa on August 19 and became a tropical storm on August 24. It strengthened over the next few days and on August 27 made landfalls on Barbados and Saint Lucia before entering the Caribbean Sea, where it became a Category 1 hurricane as it moved over the United States Virgin Islands. Dorian achieved Category 5 intensity on September 1 and peak intensity with winds of 185 mph (295 km/h) and a central pressure of 910 mbar (hPa; 26.87 inHg) while making landfall at Elbow Cay in the Bahamas. Weakening steadily throughout the next day, the storm's forward momentum slowed drastically while it was crossing over Grand Bahama. On September 6, Dorian made landfall at Cape Hatteras as a Category 2 hurricane. It transitioned into a post-tropical cyclone on September 7 just before passing over Nova Scotia and was absorbed by a larger extratropical cyclone on September 9. (Full article...)


February 19

SS Mauna Loa

SS Mauna Loa was a steam-powered cargo ship of the Matson Navigation Company that was sunk in the Bombing of Darwin in February 1942. Built in 1919 for the United States Shipping Board, she was christened West Conob and renamed Golden Eagle in 1928, sailing for a variety of owners. In 1934, she was taken over by the Matson Navigation Company for service between Hawaii and the U.S. mainland and renamed Mauna Loa. Shortly before the United States' entry into World War II, Mauna Loa was chartered by the United States Department of War to carry supplies to the Philippines. The ship was part of an aborted attempt to reinforce Allied forces under attack by the Japanese on Timor in mid-February 1942. After the return of her convoy to Darwin, Northern Territory, Mauna Loa was one of eight ships sunk in Darwin Harbour in the first Japanese bombing attack on the Australian mainland on 19 February. The remains of her wreck and her cargo are a dive site in the harbor. (Full article...)


February 20

Evelyn Mase (1922–2004) was a South African nurse who was the first wife of the anti-apartheid activist and later president Nelson Mandela, to whom she was married from 1944 to 1958. Born in Engcobo, Transkei, Mase moved to Johannesburg to train as a nurse, and there met and married Mandela. Living together in Soweto, they raised four children; three of them—Thembekile, Makgatho, and Makaziwe—survived into adulthood. In the 1950s, her relationship with Mandela became strained; they separated in 1956 and divorced in 1958. Mase moved to Cofimvaba with the children and opened a grocery store. She spoke to reporters in 1990, when Mandela was released from prison after 27 years, and in 1994, when he was elected as South Africa's first Black president. In 1998 she married a businessman, Simon Rakeepile. Her 2004 funeral attracted international media attention and was attended by Mandela, his second wife, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, and his third wife, Graça Machel. (Full article...)


February 21

F1 W06 Hybrid, which won Mercedes the Constructors' Championship
F1 W06 Hybrid, which won Mercedes the Constructors' Championship

The 2015 Formula One World Championship was a motor racing championship for Formula One cars. It was the 69th Formula One World Championship recognised by the sport's governing body, the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), as the highest class of competition for open-wheel racing cars. Twenty-two drivers representing ten teams contested nineteen Grands Prix, starting in Australia on 15 March and ending in Abu Dhabi on 29 November as they competed for the World Drivers' and World Constructors' championships. The calendar featured two changes from the 2014 season: the return of the Mexican Grand Prix for the first time since 1992 and the cancellation of the German Grand Prix, leaving Germany without a World Championship event for the first time in fifty-five years. Lewis Hamilton secured his third Drivers' Championship, and the runner-up was his teammate Nico Rosberg, with Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel third. The Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team (car pictured) clinched the Constructors' Championship ahead of Ferrari and Williams, and ended the season with a record 703 points. Hamilton also won the FIA Pole Trophy, with a total of 11 pole positions in the season, and the DHL Fastest Lap Award. Ferrari won the inaugural DHL Fastest Pit Stop Award. (Full article...)


February 22

The Siege of Lilybaeum lasted from 250 to 241 BC, as the Roman army laid siege to the Carthaginian-held Sicilian city of Lilybaeum (modern Marsala; reconstruction pictured) during the First Punic War. Lilybaeum was well-fortified and situated on the coast, where it could be supplied and reinforced by sea. In mid–250 BC the Romans besieged the city with more than 100,000 men. They made a concerted effort to take it by assault, but were unsuccessful. The Romans then attacked the Carthaginian fleet, but their fleet was itself destroyed in the naval battles of Drepana and Phintias. In 242 BC, the Romans built a new fleet and cut off supplies. The Carthaginians reconstituted their fleet and despatched it to Sicily loaded with provisions. The Romans met it not far from Lilybaeum and defeated it at the Battle of the Aegates in 241 BC. The Carthaginians sued for peace and the war ended after 23 years with a Roman victory; by the terms of the Treaty of Lutatius Carthage evacuated the city. (Full article...)


February 23

Margaret

Margaret (born 1991) is a Polish singer and songwriter. Before her mainstream debut, she performed with underground bands, recorded soundtracks for television commercials and produced a fashion blog. Through her blogging, she was discovered by music manager Sławomir Berdowski and signed by the record label Extensive Music. Margaret gained international recognition with her singles "Thank You Very Much" (2013) and "Cool Me Down" (2016), the first of which was included on her first extended play (EP) All I Need, and charted in several European countries. In 2014, she released her debut studio album Add the Blonde, which reached the top ten in the Polish charts. By re-releasing it in 2016, Margaret had her first Polish top five and Sweden-charting single with "Cool Me Down". In 2015, she recorded a collaborative jazz album with Matt Dusk titled Just the Two of Us. Her third studio album, Monkey Business (2017), became her second top-ten album in Poland. (This article is part of a featured topic: Overview of Margaret.)


February 24

Portrait of a Musician

The Portrait of a Musician is an unfinished painting widely attributed to the Italian Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci. His only known male portrait painting, it was probably painted between 1483 and 1487 while Leonardo was in Milan. It has been in the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana in Milan since at least 1672. Perhaps influenced by Antonello da Messina's introduction of the Early Netherlandish style of portrait painting to Italy, the work marks a shift from the profile portraiture that predominated in 15th-century Milan. It shares many similarities with other paintings Leonardo executed there, such as the Virgin of the Rocks and the Lady with an Ermine. Most current scholarship attributes at least the portrait's face to Leonardo, based on stylistic resemblances to his other works. Uncertainty over the rest of the painting is due to the stiff and rigid qualities of the body, which are uncharacteristic of Leonardo's work. (Full article...)


February 25

Subspecies versicolor
Subspecies versicolor

The grey currawong (Strepera versicolor) is a large passerine bird native to southern Australia, including Tasmania. One of three currawong species, it is a large crow-like bird, around 48 cm (19 in) long, with yellow irises, a heavy bill, and dark plumage, with a white undertail and wing patches. The male and female are similar in appearance. The six subspecies are distinguished by their overall plumage shade. They have a distinctive loud ringing or clinking call. The currawong is generally sedentary, although it is a winter visitor in south-easternmost Australia. Much of its behaviour and habits is poorly known. It is a ground-foraging omnivore and builds its nests high in trees. It is found in forests and scrubland in drier regions. Unlike its more common relatives, it has adapted poorly to human impact, and has declined in much of its range. (Full article...)


February 26

The marsh rice rat (O. palustris), a similar species to O. gorgasi
The marsh rice rat (O. palustris), a similar species to O. gorgasi

Oryzomys gorgasi, also known as Gorgas's rice rat, is a rodent in the genus Oryzomys of the family Cricetidae. First collected as a living animal in 1967, it is known from only a few localities, including a freshwater swamp in the lowlands of northwestern Colombia and a mangrove islet in northwestern Venezuela. An extinct form from the island of Curaçao off Venezuela has been described as a separate species, O. curasoae, but does not differ morphologically from mainland populations. It is a medium-sized, brownish species with large, semiaquatically specialized feet. It differs from other Oryzomys species in several features of its skull. Its diet includes crustaceans, insects, and plant material. The species is listed as "Endangered" by the IUCN due to destruction of its habitat and competition with the introduced black rat. (This article is part of a featured topic: Oryzomys.)


February 27

"The Body" is the sixteenth episode of the fifth season of the supernatural drama television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Written and directed by series creator Joss Whedon, it originally aired on The WB Television Network in the United States on February 27, 2001. In the series, Buffy Summers is a teenager chosen by mystical forces and endowed with superhuman powers to defeat vampires, demons, and other evils in the fictional town of Sunnydale. In "The Body", Buffy discovers the body of her mother, who has died of a brain aneurysm. In the series Buffy and her friends deal with death every week, often in gruesome and fantastic ways, but in this episode they are bewildered by the natural death of Buffy's mother and struggle to comprehend what the loss means to them. Buffy must begin to face her life and her duties as the Slayer without parental support and comfort. "The Body" is regarded by many critics as one of the best episodes of the series. (Full article...)


February 28

1080° Snowboarding is a 1998 snowboarding video game developed by Nintendo Entertainment Analysis & Development and published by Nintendo. It was released for the Nintendo 64 and re-released in 2008 for the Wii's Virtual Console. In the game, the player controls one of five snowboarders from a third-person perspective, using a combination of buttons to snowboard past flags, jump and perform tricks over eight levels. The objective is either to arrive quickly at a level's finish line or to receive maximum points for grabbing or spinning the board in trick combinations. 1080° was announced in November 1997 and developed over the course of nine months; it garnered critical acclaim and won an Interactive Achievement Award from the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences. It sold over two million units, and a second installment, 1080° Avalanche, was released for the Nintendo GameCube in November 2003. (Full article...)