Today in History – December 3

1736 – Astronomer Anders Celsius took measurements that confirmed Newton’s theory that the earth was an ellipsoid rather than the previously accepted sphere.

1775 – USS Alfred became the first vessel to fly the Grand Union Flag (the precursor to the Stars and Stripes); the flag was hoisted by John Paul Jones.

1800 – United States presidential election: The Electoral College cast votes for president and vice president that resulted in a tie between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr.

1818 – Illinois became the 21st U.S. state.

1901 – In a State of the Union message, U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt delivered a 20,000-word speech to the House of Representatives asking Congress to curb the power of trusts “within reasonable limits”.

1904 – The Jovian moon Himalia, one of over 80 of Jupiter’s moons, was discovered by Charles Dillon Perrine at California’s Lick Observatory.

1910 – Modern neon lighting was first demonstrated by Georges Claude at the Paris Motor Show.

1929 – President Herbert Hoover delivered his first State of the Union message to Congress. It was presented in the form of a written message rather than a speech.

1947 – Tennessee Williams’ “Streetcar Named Desire” premiered in New York City.

1950 – Paul Harvey began his national radio broadcast.

1953 – “In the Jailhouse Now” single was recorded by Webb Pierce (Billboard Song of the Year, 1955).

1960 – The musical Camelot debuted at the Majestic Theatre on Broadway. It became associated with the Kennedy administration.

1961 – The Beatles met their future manager, Brian Epstein.

1965 – The Beatles began their final UK concert tour in Glasgow.

1965 – “Rubber Soul”, the sixth studio album by the Beatles, was released in the United Kingdom.

1966 – Television pop group “The Monkees” made their live concert debut at the Honolulu International Centre Arena in Hawaii.

1967 – At Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa, a transplant team headed by Christiaan Barnard carried out the first heart transplant on a human (53-year-old Louis Washkansky).

1967 – Assassination attempt made on Bob Marley and others during concert rehearsals in Jamaica.

1968 – Elvis comeback special airs on NBC.

1971 – US President Richard Nixon commuted Jimmy Hoffa’s jail term.  Hoffa disappeared on July 30, 1975.

1973 – Pioneer program: Pioneer 10 sent back the first close-up images of Jupiter.

1979 – In Cincinnati, 11 fans were suffocated in a crush for seats on the concourse outside Riverfront Coliseum before a Who concert.

1979 – Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini became the first Supreme Leader of Iran.

1979 – Christies auctions a thimble for a record $18,400

1982 – A soil sample was taken from Times Beach, Missouri, that was found to contain 300 times the safe level of dioxin.

1982 – 35.7 cm rainfall at Big Fork, Arkansas (state record).

1984 – “Do They Know It’s Christmas” single written by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure and sung by Band Aid was released in the UK.

1984 – Bhopal disaster: A methyl isocyanate leak from a Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal, India, killed more than 3,800 people outright and injured 150,000–600,000 others (some 6,000 of whom later died from their injuries) in one of the worst industrial disasters in history.

1989 – In a meeting off the coast of Malta, U.S. President George H. W. Bush and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev released statements indicating that the Cold War between NATO and the Warsaw Pact might be coming to an end.

1992 – A test engineer for Sema Group used a personal computer to send the world’s first text message via the Vodafone network to the phone of a colleague.

1995 – Cameroon Airlines Flight 3701 crashed on approach to Douala International Airport in Douala, Cameroon, and killed 71 of the 76 people on board.

1997 – In Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, representatives from 121 countries signed the Ottawa Treaty which prohibited the manufacture and deployment of anti-personnel landmines. The United States, People’s Republic of China, and Russia did not sign the treaty.

1999 – NASA lost radio contact with the Mars Polar Lander moments before the spacecraft entered the Martian atmosphere.

2005 – XCOR Aerospace made the first manned rocket aircraft delivery of U.S. Mail in Kern County, California.

2007 – Winter storms caused the Chehalis River to flood many cities in Lewis County, Washington, and close a 20 mile portion of Interstate 5 for several days. At least eight deaths and billions of dollars in damages were blamed on the floods.

2014 – The Japanese space agency, JAXA, launched the space explorer Hayabusa2 from the Tanegashima Space Center on a six-year round trip mission to an asteroid to collect rock samples.

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