Today is Sunday, Feb. 28, the 59th day of 2010. There are 306 days left in the year.
Thought for Today: “In science, all facts, no matter how trivial or banal, enjoy democratic equality.“ — Mary McCarthy, American author and critic (1912-1989).
Today’s Highlight in History:
On Feb. 28, 1960, a day after defeating the Soviets at the Winter Games in Squaw Valley, Calif., the United States won its first Olympic hockey gold medal by defeating Czechoslovakia’s team, 9-4.
In 1844, a 12-inch gun aboard the USS Princeton exploded, killing Secretary of State Abel P. Upshur, Navy Secretary Thomas W. Gilmer and several others.
In 1849, the California gold rush began in earnest as regular steamship service started bringing gold-seekers to San Francisco.
In 1861, the Territory of Colorado was organized.
In 1940, the first televised college basketball games were broadcast, by New York City station W2XBS, as Pittsburgh defeated Fordham, 57-37, and New York University beat Georgetown, 50-27, at Madison Square Garden.
In 1953, scientists James D. Watson and Francis H.C. Crick announced they had discovered the double-helix structure of DNA, the molecule that contains the human genes.
In 1972, President Richard M. Nixon and Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai issued the Shanghai Communique at the conclusion of Nixon’s historic visit to China.
In 1975, more than 40 people were killed in London’s Underground when a subway train smashed into the end of a tunnel.
In 1986, Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme was shot to death in central Stockholm.
In 1993, a gun battle erupted at a compound near Waco, Texas, when Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents tried to serve warrants on the Branch Davidians; four agents and six Davidians were killed as a 51-day standoff began.
In 1997, in North Hollywood, Calif., two heavily armed and armored robbers bungled a bank heist and came out firing, unleashing their arsenal on police, bystanders, cars and TV choppers before they were killed.
Ten years ago:
• Right-wing Austrian leader Joerg Haider resigned as head of the Freedom Party in an apparent bid to end Austria’s international ostracism following his party’s rise to power.
Five years ago:
• In Santa Maria, Calif., the prosecution and defense gave opening statements in the sexual molestation trial of Michael Jackson, who was later acquitted. A US District Judge, Joan Humphrey Lefkow, discovered the bodies of her husband and mother inside her Chicago home. (An unemployed electrician confessed to the murders in a suicide note.)
• A suicide car bombing targeted at security recruits killed 125 people in Hillah, Iraq.
• Lebanon’s pro-Syrian prime minister, Omar Karami, resigned amid large anti-Syria street demonstrations in Beirut.
One year ago:
• Paul Harvey, the news commentator and talk-radio pioneer whose staccato style made him one of the nation’s most familiar voices, died in Phoenix at age 90.
• Oakland Raiders linebacker Marquis Cooper, free-agent NFL defensive lineman Corey Smith and former South Florida player William Bleakley died when their boat overturned in rough seas off the coast of Florida.
Producer Saul Zaentz is 89.
Actor Charles Durning is 87
Svetlana Alliluyeva (ah-lee-loo-YAY’-vah), daughter of Josef Stalin, is 84
Architect Frank Gehry is 81
Actor Gavin MacLeod is 79
Actor Don Francks is 78
Actor-director-dancer Tommy Tune is 71
Hall of Fame auto racer Mario Andretti is 70
Singer Joe South is 70
Actor Frank Bonner is 68
Actress Kelly Bishop is 66
College Football Hall of Famer and retired NFL player Bubba Smith is 65
Actress Stephanie Beacham is 63
Actress Mercedes Ruehl is 62
Actress Bernadette Peters is 62
Energy Secretary Steven Chu is 62
Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman is 57
Comedian Gilbert Gottfried is 55
Basketball Hall-of-Famer Adrian Dantley is 54
Actor John Turturro is 53
Rock singer Cindy Wilson is 53
Actress Rae Dawn Chong is 49
Actor Robert Sean Leonard is 41
Rock singer Pat Monahan is 41
Author Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket) is 40
Actress Maxine Bahns is 39
Actress Ali Larter is 34
Country singer Jason Aldean is 33
Actor Bobb’e J. Thompson is 14
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“I love teaching, but I was surprised at the amount of planning it takes to keep lessons fresh. I also didn’t realize that you’re performing in the classroom, giving 45-minute presentations, almost all day. Then you do it again, day after day.“
—Peter Wilson, on switching careers to teaching.