Today is Saturday, Oct. 4, the 277th day of 2014. There are 88 days left in the year.
Today’s highlight in history
On Oct. 4, 1957, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite, into orbit.
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In 1777, Gen. George Washington’s troops launched an assault on the British at Germantown, Pennsylvania, resulting in heavy American casualties.
In 1814, French painter Jean-Francois Millet was born in Normandy.
In 1822, the 19th president of the United States, Rutherford B. Hayes, was born in Delaware, Ohio.
In 1931, the comic strip “Dick Tracy,” created by Chester Gould, made its debut.
In 1940, Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini conferred at Brenner Pass in the Alps.
In 1959, the Soviet Union launched Luna 3, a space probe which transmitted images of the far side of the moon.
In 1960, an Eastern Air Lines Lockheed L-188A Electra crashed on takeoff from Boston’s Logan International Airport, killing all but 10 of the 72 people on board.
In 1970, rock singer Janis Joplin, 27, was found dead in her Hollywood hotel room.
In 1976, agriculture secretary Earl Butz resigned in the wake of a controversy over a joke he’d made about blacks.
In 1989, Fawaz Younis, a Lebanese hijacker convicted of commandeering a Jordanian jetliner with two Americans aboard in 1985, was sentenced in Washington to 30 years in prison. Triple Crown-winning racehorse Secretariat, suffering a hoof ailment, was humanely destroyed at age 19. Graham Chapman, a founding member of the British comedy group Monty Python, died at age 48.
In 1991, 26 nations, including the United States, signed the Madrid Protocol, which imposed a 50-year ban on oil exploration and mining in Antarctica.
In 2002, John Walker Lindh, the so-called “American Taliban,” received a 20-year sentence after a sobbing plea for forgiveness before a federal judge in Alexandria, Virginia. In a federal court in Boston, a laughing Richard Reid pleaded guilty to trying to blow up a trans-Atlantic flight with explosives hidden in his shoes (the British citizen was later sentenced to life in prison).
Ten years ago: The SpaceShipOne rocket plane broke through Earth’s atmosphere to the edge of space for the second time in five days, capturing the $10 million Ansari X prize aimed at opening the final frontier to tourists. Pioneering astronaut Gordon Cooper died in Ventura, California, at age 77. American researchers Richard Axel and Linda B. Buck won the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for their studies on humans’ sense of smell.
Five years ago: Greek Socialists trounced the governing conservatives in a landslide election. Argentine folk singer Mercedes Sosa, 74, died in Buenos Aires.
One year ago: Vo Nguyen Giap, the brilliant and ruthless military commander who’d led Vietnamese Communist forces to victory first over the French and then the Americans, died in Hanoi at age 102.
Country singer Leroy Van Dyke is 85. Actress Felicia Farr is 82. Pro and College Football Hall of Famer Sam Huff is 80. Actor Eddie Applegate is 79. Author Jackie Collins is 77. Author Roy Blount Jr. is 73. Author Anne Rice is 73. Actress Lori Saunders (TV: “Petticoat Junction”) is 73. Baseball Hall of Famer Tony La Russa is 70. Actor Clifton Davis is 69. The former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, is 68. Actress Susan Sarandon is 68. Blues musician Duke Robillard is 66. Playwright Lee Blessing is 65. Actor Armand Assante is 65. Actor Alan Rosenberg is 64. Actor Christoph Waltz is 58. Actor Bill Fagerbakke is 57. Music producer Russell Simmons is 57. Former actress Kyra Schon (Film: “Night of the Living Dead”) is 57. Actress-singer Wendy Makkena is 56. Musician Chris Lowe (The Pet Shop Boys) is 55. Country musician Gregg “Hobie” Hubbard (Sawyer Brown) is 54. Actor David W. Harper is 53. Singer Jon Secada is 53. TV personality John Melendez is 49. Actor Liev Schreiber is 47. Actor Abraham Benrubi is 45. Country singer-musician Heidi Newfield is 44. Singer-guitarist M. Ward (She & Him) is 41. Actress Alicia Silverstone is 38. Actress Dana Davis is 36. Actor Phillip Glasser is 36. Rock singer-musician Marc Roberge (O.A.R.) is 36. Actor Brandon Barash is 35. Actress Rachael Leigh Cook is 35. Actor Jimmy Workman is 34. Bassist Cubbie Fink (Foster the People) is 32. Rhythm-and-blues singer Jessica Benson (3lw) is 27. Actor Michael Charles Roman is 27. NBA All-Star Derrick Rose is 26. Figure skater Kimmie Meisner is 25. Actress Dakota Johnson is 25. Actress Leigh-Anne Pinnock (Little Mix) is 23. Actor Ryan Scott Lee is 18.
Thought for today
“Sometimes even to live is an act of courage.” – Seneca the Younger, Roman statesman and philosopher (3 B.C.-A.D 65)