This Day in History

US Invades Grenada (1983)
After a left-wing government took control of Grenada in a 1979 bloodless coup, relations between the tiny Caribbean nation and its neighbors became strained. In 1983, the government was overthrown by radicals from within the same movement. Concerned about Grenada's leanings toward Cuba and the Soviet bloc, the US invaded. World leaders were outraged, and the UN voted 108 to 9 to condemn the invasion. How did US President Ronald Reagan respond when asked whether the lopsided vote concerned him? Discuss

Zambia Gains Independence (1964)
The area that is now Zambia came under British control in the early 1900s with the development of the copper mining industry. After decades of nationalist struggle, the British protectorate of Northern Rhodesia became the independent Republic of Zambia. Kenneth Kaunda, a former schoolteacher who had been jailed for nationalist political activities prior to independence, became its first president. Zambia may have been the first country to do what during the Olympics?

The Hungarian Republic Is Officially Proclaimed (1989)
The defeat of the Central Powers in WWI brought the dual monarchy of Austria-Hungary to an end and led to the creation of an independent Hungarian republic, which, in 1949, came under Communist control. Though a 1956 uprising was suppressed, Hungary became the most tolerant of the Soviet bloc nations of Europe and finally replaced Communism with a multi-party democracy with free elections in 1989. Hungary's relative freedom compared to other Eastern bloc countries led to what satirical nickname?

Today

Georges Bizet (1838)
A French composer, Bizet became disgusted with the frivolity of French opera and decided to change it. In 1875, his masterpiece, Carmen, premiered. Though its harsh realism repelled many, it eventually won international acclaim and is now one of the most popular operas in history. Sadly, Bizet did not live to see Carmen's success, dying just months after it premiered. Foul play was initially suspected, but the apparent gunshot wound on his neck was eventually attributed to what? Discuss

Annie Edson Taylor (1838)
On her 63rd birthday, Taylor became the first person to survive a trip over Niagara Falls in a barrel. The interior of the barrel was cushioned and the air was compressed with a bicycle pump. Before her trip, Taylor sent a cat over the falls in her barrel—and it lived. Days later, she drifted over the falls in the same barrel and walked away from the plunge with minor injuries. However, she did not significantly profit from the stunt. According to some accounts, her barrel was stolen by whom?

Michael Crichton (1942)
While pursuing a medical degree at Harvard University, the intensely private Crichton began writing novels under a pseudonym. He published The Andromeda Strain during his final year and went on to write several best-selling works, many of which were made into films, including Jurassic Park and Congo. He unexpectedly died of throat cancer in 2008. While in college, he once submitted an essay by George Orwell under his own name as an experiment. What grade did he receive?