RECENT EVENTS

Computer-generated Painting Sells for $432,000
October 25, 2018 AI portrait
A computer-generated painting has sold for $432,000 at auction. Christie's in New York had put an estimated sale value on the painting, Portrait of Edmond de Belamy, of between $7,000 and $10,000. Winning the auction was an anonymous telephone bidder, who outbid two other phone bidders, an online bidder, and a bidder physically in the auction room. Pulling the strings behind the AI painting efforts are Hugo Caselles-Dupré, Pierre Fautrel, and Gauthier Vernir, owners of a collective named Obvious. They used a computer model called a Generative Adversarial Network to take a virtual fine-toothed-comb tour through 15,000 human-drawn portraits for the last several centuries and recreate art based on the dataset.

Oldest Intact Shipwreck Found in Black Sea
October 23, 2018 Oldest intact shipwreck
Archaeologists have disturbed a ship at the bottom of the Black Sea for the first time in more than 2,400 years. The international team of maritime archaeologists, scientists, and surveyors found more than 60 shipwrecks during their three-year geophysical survey of the lower reaches of the Black Sea. The intact ship was found lying on its side 50 miles off the coast of what is now Bulgaria, 1.3 miles below the surface, and was preserved mainly because of a lack of oxygen at that level. The ship is 75 feet long and still has its mast, rudders, and rowing benches, looking very much the kind of ship that is depicted on ancient Greek pottery. One example is the famous Siren Vase, now in the British Museum, which depicts an episode from The Odyssey in which Odysseus is strapped to the side of the ship so as to be able to ignore the tempting call of the sirens.

China's Artificial Moon to Replace Streetlights
October 22, 2018
China has plans to launch an artificial moon in order to provide more illumination in one of its provinces. Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, is the target for the extra light. The city has a population of 14 million. The satellite is expected to be 500 kilometers (310 miles) above the surface of Earth. Scientists say that the artificial moon will be up to eight times brighter than Earth's Moon simply because it is much closer.

China to Open World's Longest Sea Bridge
October 21, 2018 Longest sea bridge
The longest sea bridge in the world, as of 23 October, will be the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge, at 55 kilometers, or 34 miles. President Xi Jinping attended the opening ceremony. As the name suggests, the bridge links Hong Kong and Macau to the Chinese mainland. It's part of the Greater Bay Area plan, an initiative to create a high-tech counterpart to America's Silicon Valley. Anyone wanting to drive the bridge just for run will have to apply for a special permit, though. The intent is for the bridge to be used by private buses, hired cars, and commercial vehicles. Public transport routes will not cross the bridge.

IN THE SPOTLIGHT

The Midterm Election
Members of the House of Representatives serve two-year terms. Thus, Representatives are up for re-election every two years. Members of the Senate serve six-year terms. Thus, Senators are up for re-election every six years. The President serves a four-year team. Thus, a new President is elected (or the incumbent is re-elected if he or she has not served two terms already) every four years. Presidential elections always coincide with elections for the House, since two House elections take place within a President's four-year term. Elections for the Senate are staggered through the six-year period, so one-third of Senators are up for re-election every two years. When elections for the House and Senate occur in a year in which a presidential election is not taking place, it is called a midterm election, since it is midway through a President's four-year term in office.

The Largest Midterm Election Gains/Losses in History
One thing that sometimes happens as a result of a midterm election is that a political party that has a majority in the House of Representatives or the Senate before the election does not have that majority after the election. In some cases, the gain or loss by one party as a result of a midterm election has been quite high. These are the five highest gains/losses in American midterm election history.

The History of Halloween
Where does Halloween come from anyway? Where do Americans get those ideas about jack-o-lanterns and "trick-or-treating?

The Story of the Jack-O-Lantern
Who was Jack? Why did he have a lantern? Why are pumpkins carved with goofy faces? This fun articles tells you the story behind the story.

The First Trick-Or-Treaters
Trick-Or-Treating hasn't been around forever. Find out where it started and why it's still popular.

Halloween Candy Doesn't Last Forever
Don't hang on to that Halloween candy too long, a food safety expert says, because it might go bad.

 

IN DAYS GONE BY

The First Parliament of Great Britain
The first Parliament of the newly formed Great Britain met initially on October 23, 1707. The first session began in earnest two days later. The Act of Union 1707 had merged the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland, and the Kingdom of Great Britain had sprung into existence on May 1. England's House of Commons ceased to exist but sent its members wholesale to sit in the House of Commons of Great Britain. Scotland's Parliament appointed 61 representatives to join the new Parliament of Great Britain.

Statue of Liberty Dedicated
The Statue of Liberty, symbol of freedom to the world, was dedicated in New York harbor on Oct. 28, 1886.

The Statue, many years in the making, was a gift from France and the brainchild of noted architect Auguste Bartholdi. The statue was built first in France, then dismantled and shipped to the U.S., where it was reassembled in time for the unveiling, to celebrate 110 years since the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

Find out more about this impressive landmark here.

Read a review of a great book on the Statue here.

Why Is It?

Why Is It That American Elections Are on Tuesday?

Elections in American happen on a Tuesday. That's the law. But why?

Have a suggestion for this feature? Email Dave.



Significant Sevens are the highest, the lowest, the deepest, the farthest, the oldest, the youngest, and a host of other lists in economics, geography, history, and much more.


Cultural Icons are the instantly recognizable monuments, landforms, buildings, and many other kinds of landmarks that define a people, place, or culture.

 

 

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