ON THIS DAY: December 10, 2017

December 10th is

Worldwide Candle Lighting Day *

Dewey Decimal System Day *

National Lager Day

International Human Rights Day *


MORE! Ada Lovelace, Melvil Dewey and Hermes Pan, click



Cambodia – Human Rights Day

Switzerland – Geneva: Fête de l’Escalade
(1602 victory over Duke of Savoy)

Namibia – Namibian Women’s Day

Thailand – Constitution Day

Turkey – Konya:
Whirling Dervishes Festival


On This Day in HISTORY

1317 – The “Nyköping Banquet” – King Birger of Sweden treacherously seizes his two brothers Valdemar, Duke of Finland and Eric, Duke of Södermanland, who are subsequently starved to death in the dungeon of Nyköping Castle

1520 – Outside Wittenberg’s Elster Gate, Martin Luther burns his copy of Pope Leo X’s papal bull Exsurge Domine (‘Arise O Lord’ in Latin), which threatens Luther with excommunication if he doesn’t recant

1538 – Battista Guarini born, Italian poet, dramatist and diplomat; noted for his play, Il pastor fido (The Faithful Shepherd), and the use of his poetry as madrigal lyrics

1541 – Thomas Culpeper and Francis Dereham are executed for treason for having sexual relations with Catherine Howard, Queen of England and wife of Henry VIII – in Culpeper’s case, his confession under torture may not have been true, as the evidence against him is Dereham’s allegation. Catherine was beheaded the following February

1684 – Isaac Newton’s derivation of Kepler’s laws from his theory of gravity, contained in the paper De motu corporum in gyrum (“On the motion of bodies in an orbit”), is read to the Royal Society by Edmond Halley

1768 – The Royal Academy of Arts is founded in London by George III, with Joshua Reynolds is its first president

1787 – Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet born, American educator, founder of the American School for the Deaf

1799 – France adopts the metre as its official unit of length


1815 – Ada Lovelace born, English mathematician and pioneering computer programmer, who collaborated with inventor Charles Babbage in designing an “Analytical Engine”

1816 U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary is established, one of the original standing committees, and one of the oldest and most influential in Congress. Responsible for oversight of key activities of the executive branch, consideration of proposed constitutional amendments, and for the initial stages of the confirmation process for all nominations for the federal judiciary

1822 – César Franck born, Belgian organist and composer

1824 – George MacDonald born, Scottish novelist, poet and minister; At the Back of the North Wind, Wee Sir Gibbie of the Highlands, Within and Without: A Dramatic Poem

1830 – Emily Dickinson born, one of the greatest and most original American poets

1845 – British civil engineer Robert Thompson patents the first pneumatic tires

1851 – Dewey Decimal System Day *– Melvil Dewey born, American creator in 1876 of the library classification system named for him, now used in 135 countries and translated into 30 languages

1864 – Major General William Tecumseh Sherman’s Union Army troops reach the outer Confederate defenses of Savannah, Georgia

1868 – The first traffic lights are installed, outside the Palace of Westminster in London. Resembling railway signals, they use semaphore arms and are illuminated at night by red and green gas lamps

1869 – Women are granted the right to vote in the Wyoming Territory

1870 – Adolf Loos born, influential Austrian Vienna Secession architect and theorist; Ornament and Crime

1884 – Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is published

1885 – Marios Varoglis born in Belgium, Greek composer 

1891 – Nelly Sachs born, German-Swedish poet and playwright, Nobel Prize laureate

1896 – When French symbolist Alfred Jarry’s Ubu Roi (‘King Ubu’) premieres in Paris, a riot breaks out at the end of the performance. Ubu Roi is widely regarded as a forerunner of Dadaism, Surrealism and Theatre of the Absurd

1898 – A treaty signed in Paris officially ends the Spanish-American War, and makes Cuba independent of Spain

1901 – The first Nobel Prizes are awarded

1903 – Mary Norton born, English children’s author; noted for The Borrowers series

1906 – U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt wins the Nobel Peace Prize for his mediation of the Russo-Japanese War, becoming the first American to win a Nobel Prize

1907 – The worst night of the ‘Brown Dog Riots’ in London. 1,000 medical students clash with 400 police officers over an anti-vivisectionist memorial statue of the dog used in a vivisection, which triggered allegations in 1903 that William Bayliss of the Department of Physiology at University College London performed a ‘cruel and unlawful’ vivisection, before an audience of 60 medical students, on a brown terrier dog – adequately anaesthetized, according to Bayliss and his team; conscious and struggling, according to Swedish activists who had infiltrated the college. The procedure is condemned by the National Anti-Vivisection Society.  Bayliss, whose research on dogs led to the discovery of hormones, is outraged by the assault on his reputation, sues for libel and wins

1908 – Olivier Messiaen born, French composer and ornithologist

1909 – Selma Lagerlöf becomes the first female writer to win the Nobel Prize in Literature

1909 – Hermes Pan born, American choreographer who collaborated with Fred Astaire on many of his film musicals

1913 – Morton Gould born, American pianist, composer, and conductor

1913 – Pannonica “Nica” de Koenigswarter born in Britain, champion of Jazz, author of Les musiciens de jazz et leurs trois vœux (“The jazz musicians and their three wishes”); served as a decoder, driver, and radio host for the Free French during WWII

1919 – Alexander Courage born, American composer and conductor

1925 – Carolyn Kizer is born, American poet, academic and feminist

1931 – Jane Addams becomes a co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, the first American woman to be honored

1932 – Thailand becomes a constitutional monarchy

1936 – Abdication Crisis: British King Edward VIII signs the Instrument of Abdication, so he can marry Wallis Simpson

1941 – Japan invades the Philippines

1948 – The UN General Assembly adopts the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – In 1950, the Assembly passes a resolution inviting nations and world organizations to join with the UN in marking December 10 as International Human Rights Day *

1949 – The People’s Liberation Army begins its siege of Chengdu, the last Kuomintang-held city in mainland China, forcing President of the Republic of China Chiang Kai-shek and his government to retreat to Taiwan

1950 – Dr. Ralph J. Bunche is presented the Nobel Peace Prize, the first African-American to receive the award, for his efforts in mediation between Israel and neighboring Arab states

1953 – Hugh Hefner publishes the first Playboy magazine with a $7,600 investment

1955 – Mighty Mouse Playhouse premieres on American television

1958 – The first domestic passenger jet flight took place in the U.S. when 111 passengers flew from New York to Miami on a National Airlines Boeing 707

1958 – Cornelia Funke born, bestselling German-American children’s author, the Inkheart trilogy

1960 – Kenneth Branagh born, British actor-director-producer-screenwriter

1963 – Zanzibar gains independence from the United Kingdom as a constitutional monarchy, under Sultan Jamshid bin Abdullah

1964 – In Oslo, Norway, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. receives the Nobel Peace Prize

1965 – The Grateful Dead’s first concert performance under the band’s new name, at San Francisco’s Fillmore Auditorium

1976 – Queen’s single “Somebody To Love” is released in the U.S.

1978 – Arab–Israeli conflict: Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and President of Egypt Anwar Sadat are jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize

1979 – Kaohsiung Incident: Taiwanese pro-democracy demonstrations are suppressed by the KMT dictatorship, and organizers are arrested

1982 – The Law of the Sea Convention is signed by 118 countries in Montego Bay, Jamaica; 23 nations in addition to the U.S. are excluded

1983 – Democracy is restored in Argentina with the inauguration of President Raúl Alfonsín

1984 – South African Bishop Desmond Tutu receives the Nobel Peace Prize

1992 – Oregon Senator Bob Packwood apologizes for what he called “unwelcome and offensive” actions toward women, but refuses to resign

1993 – The last shift leaves Wearmouth Colliery in Sunderland. The closure of the 156-year-old pit marks the end of the old County Durham coalfield, which had been in operation since the Middle Ages

1994 – Yasser Arafat, Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin receive the Nobel Peace Prize,  pledging to pursue their mission of healing the Middle East. Yitzhak Rabin is assassinated in November, 1995, by an ultra-orthodox extremist who opposed the signing of the Oslo Accords

1996 – The new Constitution of South Africa is promulgated by Nelson Mandela

1997 – The Compassionate Friends, which began in Britain is an online support group for those who have lost a child (of any age). The U.S. Society, which  incorporated in 1978 in Illinois, begins Candle Lighting Day * as a national memorial for children who died too young and a way to help their bereaved families find solace and healing, but it’s grown into an international observance

1998 – The Amnesty International Concert for Human Rights Defenders takes place at Bercy Stadium in Paris, France

2001 – The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, the first in a three-film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic fantasy trilogy, premieres in London

2002 – Former President Jimmy Carter accepts the Nobel Peace Prize for his diplomacy in the Middle East in the 1970s

2007 – Cristina Fernandez is sworn in as Argentina’s first elected female president

2009 – James Cameron’s film Avatar has its world premiere in London


About wordcloud9

Nona Blyth Cloud has lived and worked in the Los Angeles area for the past 50 years, spending much of that time commuting on the 405 Freeway. After Hollywood failed to appreciate her genius for acting and directing, she began a second career managing non-profits, from which she has retired. Nona has now resumed writing whatever comes into her head, instead of reports and pleas for funding. She lives in a small house overrun by books with her wonderful husband.
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8 Responses to ON THIS DAY: December 10, 2017

  1. Malisha says:

    Thank you for this write-up of the significance of this day.
    International Human Rights Day seems to me to be a fine day to write up what I call “the life interest” but I have to confess that right now, as a pretty Christmas-card scene unfolds in this East Coast America (“Mid-Atlantic,” which of course it is NOT) location, I don’t feel like writing it at all. Your history of today reveals how much human energy has been expended on making our world better and worse and worse and better and inconceivably worse and immeasurably better. I am reminded of the Talmudic advice that whosoever saves one life saves the world; whosoever destroys one life destroys the world. My own small life having been repeatedly saved and destroyed I feel like I have a box of mementoes (sp: check!) whose significance I have forgotten but whose symbolic existence reminds me of something… was there a kitten, a fire, a favor?
    I promise myself I will write an abbreviated version of the legalistic “definition” of the “life interest” at 2:30 pm today. Between now and then I will clean the kitchen, if there is justice on earth. Here, goes an emoticon; I don’t know the technological way to insert it but believe me, it is a rueful smile.

  2. wordcloud9 says:

    I remember the blind optimism of Youth, that when we had prevailed, and ended the war, won civil rights and women’s rights, and then let people know what “civilization” was doing to the planet, that what we fixed would stay fixed. That when the old dinosaurs that were holding back positive change died off, a new age of Enlightenment would flourish.

    Little did I know then that old dinosaurs are always replaced, and reason and facts and the obvious Greater Good can be so easily overcome by Greed, Fear-Mongering and Expediency, or that I would have the unhappy fate to live to see our republic in its death throes.

    Ah well, nothing to do but keep writing letters, signing petitions, and voting – while we still can.

  3. Malisha says:

    Now I’ll devote a few minutes to it.
    Most international or even quasi-international statements of rights I have read (and I have no time to refresh my research here) talk about rights in the hierarchy of essential/personal (“freedom from terror” or “personal security”), then freedom from oppression, then freedom from discrimination, on and so forth until some (but not all and not even MOST) note freedom to OWN. Our own hierarchy of rights says “life, liberty and property.”
    Most of our litigation over our rights has been focused on property. Wow, wonder why? THEN we check liberty, and in the category of “life,” ONLY one’s actual life gets court time, so that if someone actually kills us or causes our “extrajudicial” death tortiously, we recognize a problem.
    From property flows a LOT OF “Property Interests.” People organize giant class action lawsuits over fractions of pennies. From liberty flows “liberty interest” litigation that has included such freedoms as the right to see the ocean or the right of a prisoner to get hobby material through mail-order. But no litigation of the “life interest.”
    Examples: Children in Flint, Michigan had a life interest in non-poisonous water.
    Trayvon Martin had a life interest in walking home from the store unmolested, and without being called or treated as a “suspect” by any particular person with a gun and a grudge.
    The poor in this country have a life interest in food stamps.
    All Americans have a life interest in health care and education.
    Ah, there’s more, but my zeal ran out….

    • wordcloud9 says:

      I am in agreement wit you that property is way too high up on the list in America – It certainly has created a long legacy of shameful and bloody history, from our abuse of the indigenous people. shoving them off their traditional lands to make way for more settlers, to the horrors inflicted on those brought to the country as slaves. Indentured servants were often treated as if they were property, since the terms of their servitude could be changed or extended at the whim of their employers, and they had little or no legal recourse.

      Not to mention the conflicts between Labor and Capital in which all levels of government have sided with Capital almost every time.

  4. Malisha says:

    I finally did write up the “life interest” concept briefly but it seems my comment vanished. Can you find it?

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