Sunday, January 23, 2011

⅏Did You Know - These Random Facts? #6 - January

Did You Know?  For the month of

back in ...

  • 1556, An earthquake in Shaanxi, China, kills an estimated 830,000 people. Counting casualties is often imprecise after large-scale disasters, especially prior to the 20th century, but this disaster is still considered the deadliest of all time.  The quake struck in late evening, with aftershocks continuing through the following morning. Later scientific investigation revealed that the magnitude of the quake was approximately 8.0 to 8.3, which isn't close to the strongest tremor on record. However, the quake struck in the middle of a densely populated area with poorly constructed buildings and homes, resulting in a horrific death toll.
  • 1922, At Toronto General Hospital, 14-year-old Canadian Leonard Thompson becomes the first person to receive an insulin injection as treatment for diabetes.  A breakthrough came at the University of Toronto in the summer of 1921, when Canadians Frederick Banting and Charles Best successfully isolated insulin from canine test subjects, produced diabetic symptoms in the animals, and then began a program of insulin injections that returned the dogs to normalcy. On November 14, the discovery was announced to the world.
  • 1957, Machines at the Wham-O toy company roll out the first batch of their aerodynamic plastic discs--now known to millions of fans all over the world as Frisbees!
  • 1961, Disney's animated classic One Hundred and One Dalmations yipped its way into theaters.  After each of Disney's Dalmation movies was released, Dalmatian adoptions skyrocketed.
  • 1977, Alex Haley's epic tale of his ancestors, Roots, aired on television for the first time.  It became a miniseries blockbuster, attracting 130 million viewers. 
  • 1987, "Queen of Soul" Aretha Franklin became the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  A few months earlier, Aretha beat out Ray Charles and Elvis to be named Rolling Stone's number-one greatest singer of the rock era!
  • 1991, Darrell Lunsford, a county constable in Garrison, Texas, is killed after pulling over a traffic violator. His murder was remarkable because it was captured on a camera set up in Lunsford's patrol vehicle. The videotape evidence led to the conviction of the three men who beat, kicked, and stabbed the officer to death along the East Texas highway.
    The videotaped murder of Lunsford has ushered in a new era. Video cameras have become ubiquitous in police cars, and have proven to be a potent law-enforcement tool.

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