The Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands (25–27 October 1942) was the fourth aircraft carrier battle fought between the navies of the United States and Japan during World War II. It was part of the Guadalcanal Campaign, through which the Allies sought to parry and reverse Japanese advances in the southwest Pacific. The Japanese Army, in an attempt to drive Allied forces from Guadalcanal and nearby islands and end the stalemate there, planned a ground offensive for 20–25 October. In support, carriers and other large warships were moved into position near the southern Solomon Islands, where they hoped to engage and defeat any Allied naval forces responding to the offensive. As in the battles of the Coral Sea, Midway, and the Eastern Solomons, almost all attacks by both sides were mounted by or against carrier- or land-based aircraft. Allied surface ships were forced to retreat after one carrier was sunk and another heavily damaged, but the veteran pilots lost by the Japanese proved to be irreplaceable. (Full article...)
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AirTrain JFK vehicle
AirTrain JFK vehicle
... that AirTrain JFK (vehicle pictured), an airport rail link in New York City, took almost 30 years to plan?
... that Eleri Rees became a judge without ever practising as a barrister?
... that a Vector General 3D terminal was used to create the 3D animation near the end of the original Star Wars?
... that Karam Singh was the first living recipient of the Param Vir Chakra, India's highest military decoration?
... that Drake's song "KMT" sampled the theme "His World" from the 2006 video game Sonic the Hedgehog?
... that the 1982 Bristow Helicopters Bell 212 crash was one of three fatal helicopter accidents Bristow Helicopters suffered in little more than a year in the North Sea?
... that the musicologist Beatrix Borchard researched female musicians such as Clara Schumann, Amalie Joachim, and Pauline Viardot, and worked for the Goethe-Institut in Portugal, Romania, and China?
... that a global search yielded two mating partners for Jeremy, a rare left-coiled snail, but they began to mate with each other instead?
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In the news
Xi Jinping in 2016
At the National Congress of the Communist Party of China, Xi Jinping (pictured) assumes his second term as General Secretary, and the political theory Xi Jinping Thought is written into the party's constitution.
In Japan, the ruling coalition, led by incumbent Prime Minister Shinzō Abe, retains its house supermajority in the general election.
The ANO party, led by Andrej Babiš, wins the most seats in the Czech legislative election.
Jacinda Ardern becomes Prime Minister of New Zealand after forming a coalition government.
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders wins the Man Booker Prize.
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On this day...
1682 – William Penn landed at New Castle, Delaware Colony, on his way to founding the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
1914 – World War I: The Royal Navy dreadnought HMS Audacious was sunk by a mine, but its loss was kept secret for four more years.
1958 – General Ayub Khan (pictured) deposed Iskander Mirza to become the second President of Pakistan.
1992 – U.S. Navy Petty Officer Allen R. Schindler Jr. was killed in Sasebo, Nagasaki, Japan, a victim of a hate crime for being gay, which led to the U.S. Armed Forces' "Don't ask, don't tell" policy.
2011 – Michael D. Higgins was elected President of Ireland with far more votes than any Irish politician in the history of the republic.
Gabriel Báthory (d. 1613) · Oliver Leese (b. 1894) · Zoya Phan (b. 1980)
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From today's featured list
A budgerigar with pin feathers showing
A budgerigar with pin feathers showing
There are thousands of common English language terms that are used in relation to the study of birds—warm-blooded vertebrates of the class Aves, characterized by feathers, the ability to fly in all but the approximately 60 extant species of flightless birds, toothless, beaked jaws, the laying of hard-shelled eggs, a high metabolic rate, a four-chambered heart and a strong yet lightweight skeleton. Among other details such as size, proportions and shape, terms defining bird features developed and are used to describe features unique to the class—especially evolutionary adaptations that developed to aid flight. There are, for example, numerous terms describing the complex structural makeup of feathers (e.g., barbules, rachides and vanes); types of feathers (e.g., filoplume, pennaceous and plumulaceous feathers); and their growth and loss (e.g., colour mourph, nuptial plumage and pterylosis). Although some terms in the area may be familiar, such as back or belly, they too are defined in relation to distinct features of external bird anatomy, sometimes called topography. (Full glossary...)
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Ramaria gracilis is a species of coral fungus in the family Gomphaceae. Originally described by Christiaan Hendrik Persoon in 1797, this species is found in European coniferous woodland, where it grows on leaf litter. Fruit bodies are made up of a dense cluster of branches that measure up to 8 centimetres (3.1 in) in height and 4 centimetres (1.6 in) in width.
Photograph: H. Krisp
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