This Day in History

Heaven's Gate Cult Members Found Dead (1997)
Established in 1972, Heaven's Gate was a cult that advocated self-renunciation, to the point of castration, as preparation for the "transition" to a new life on a spaceship, which adherents believed was trailing behind the comet Hale-Bopp. As the comet made its closest approach to Earth, 39 members of the group committed suicide. Authorities found the dead lying neatly in their bunk beds, dressed identically and wearing armbands that read "Heaven's Gate Away Team." How did the group fund itself? Discuss

John Lennon and Yoko Ono Hold Their First Bed-In for Peace (1969)
Five days after John Lennon of the Beatles married the Japanese avant-garde artist Yoko Ono, the couple held the first of two week-long Bed-Ins for Peace as a non-violent way of protesting war and promoting peace. For the first Bed-In, the couple invited members of the press into their Amsterdam hotel room and then sat in bed and talked about peace. Months later, they held their second Bed-In in Montreal. What hit song did they record during the second Bed-In?

Robert Koch Announces Discovery of Tuberculosis Bacterium (1882)
Tuberculosis, a contagious, wasting disease that commonly attacks the lungs but may affect other organs and systems as well, is caused by several strains of mycobacteria, particularly Mycobacterium tuberculosis in humans. First identified in 1882 by German bacteriologist Robert Koch, M. tuberculosis is unusual because of its lipid-rich cell wall and because it divides every 15 to 20 hours, when other bacteria divide in minutes. Why are these bacteria sometimes called red snappers?

Today

Robert Frost (1874)
Perhaps the most popular and beloved of 20th-century American poets, Frost wrote of the character, people, and landscape of New England. Rooted in the New England landscape, yet deeply symbolic, his work is concerned with human tragedies and fears, the complexities of life, and the ultimate acceptance of one's burdens. Frost was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for poetry four times—in 1924, 1931, 1937, and 1943. He recited a poem at the inauguration of which US president? Discuss

Béla Bartók (1881)
Bartók was a Hungarian composer, virtuoso pianist, and collector of folk music. In 1904, having discovered that the folk-music repertory generally accepted as Hungarian was in fact largely urban Roma—Gypsy—music, he set about researching Hungarian folk music. He worked folk themes and rhythms into his own music, achieving a style that was at once nationalistic and deeply personal. What surprising discoveries did he make in his study of folk music?

Ub Iwerks (1901)
After starting an unsuccessful art studio with Walt Disney, Iwerks continued working on film animation until Disney brought him to Hollywood in 1923 to help draw Alice in Cartoonland. Together, Disney and Iwerks created Mickey Mouse—drawn by Iwerks, with Disney providing the voice. Iwerks went on to develop many special effects for animated movies, winning Academy Awards in 1959 and 1965 for his technical contributions to motion pictures. What other cartoon characters did Iwerks create?