On This Day: October 10
This is the 283rd day of the year.
Fact of the Day: woodpecker
Woodpeckers tap and peck on tree trunks with their beaks as a form of communication and as a method of locating and accessing insects under the bark or in long winding tunnels within trees. Some woodpeckers have discovered that metal gutters or siding can work like a loud drum in order to communicate with other birds. Woodpeckers do not damage their brains from the tapping and pecking because the force generated does not pass through their braincase. The force travels along the bird's upper jaw, which connects below the brain, and allows shock to dissipate through the bird's entire body. Only a slight force reverberates back into the thick cranium and is easily absorbed.
Feast day of St. Francis Borgia, St. Daniel, St. Cerbonius, Saints Eulampius and Eulampia, St. Paulinus of York, St. Maharsapor, and St. Gereon.
Fiji: Independence Day.
Oklahoma: Oklahoma Historical Day.
Taiwan: Double Tenth Day/National Day.
United Nations: World Mental Health Day.
Japan: Health-Sports Day.
Kenya: Moi Day.
19 - Germanicus, beloved Roman prince, died of poisoning. He accused Piso, governor of Syria.
732 - Charles Martel, the mayor of the palace of the last Merovingian Kings of France, halted the Moslem expansion into Western Europe by defeating Saracen troops at the Battle of Tours.
1733 - France declared war on Austria over the question of Polish succession.
1845 - United States Naval Academy opened in Annapolis, Maryland.
1850 - The Chesapeake & Ohio Canal was completed and opened for business along its entire 184.5 mile length from Washington, D.C. to Cumberland, Maryland.
1865 - John Hyatt patented the celluloid billiard ball.
1886 - The dinner jacket made its U.S. debut at a ball in Tuxedo Park, New York. It was named tuxedo, after its venue. Griswold Lorillard designed it.
1911 - Revolutionaries under Sun Yat-sen overthrew China's Manchu dynasty.
1913 - The U.S.-built Panama Canal was completed with the explosion of the Gamboa Dike, concluding one of the largest construction projects in history.
1935 - George Gershwin's opera "Porgy and Bess" opened on Broadway.
1943 - Chiang Kai-shek took the oath of office as president of China.
1957 - "Zorro" premiered on television.
1959 - The first global airline service was announced by Pan American World Airways.
1961 - The entire population of the South Atlantic island of Tristan da Cunha was evacuated to the United Kingdom after a volcano erupted.
1970 - During the October Crisis, Quebec Labor Minister Pierre Laporte was kidnapped by the Quebec Liberation Front, a militant separatist group. He was found dead a week later.
1970 - After nearly a century of British rule, Fiji became independent.
1971 - "Upstairs, Downstairs" premiered on TV.
1973 - Vice President Spiro T. Agnew, accused of accepting bribes, pleaded no contest to one count of federal income tax evasion, and resigned. He was the first U.S. Vice President to resign in disgrace.
2002 - The House of Representatives voted 296-133 to give President George W. Bush the authority to use military force against Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, with or without United Nations support. The next day, the Senate joined the House in approving 77-23 the use of America's military against Iraq.
1731 - Henry Cavendish, English physicist.
1813 - Guiseppe Verdi, Italian composer.
1830 - Queen Isabella II of Spain (1833-1868).
1900 - Helen Hayes (Brown), American actress.
1901 - Frederick Douglass Patterson, American educator, president of Tuskegee Institute, and founder of United Negro College Fund.
1917 - Thelonious Monk, American jazz pianist and composer.
1924 - James Clavell, American novelist.
1930 - Harold Pinter, British dramatist.
1974 - Dale Earnhardt Jr., NASCAR driver.
1964 - Eddie Cantor, American star of vaudeville, Broadway, radio, and television.
1985 - Orson Welles, American actor, director, writer and producer.
1985 - Yul Brynner (Taidje Khan), Russian-born American stage and film actor.
2004 - Christopher Reeve, American actor, who became a quadriplegic after a May 1995 horse riding accident, age 52.