In 1770, Wolfgang von Kempelen unveiled his Mechanical Turk, a chess-playing automaton. Dressed in a cloak and turban and seated behind a chessboard, the mannequin played chess and executed complex mathematical puzzles. The Turk performed before numerous world leaders before it was revealed to be a hoax; the cabinet beneath the chessboard, which housed the internal mechanism, actually hid a chess master who secretly operated the machine. Which French Emperor was defeated by von Kempelen's Turk?
Back in the day
The separatist Quebec Liberation Front's (FLQ) kidnapping of Pierre Laporte, Quebec's Vice-Premier and Minister of Labour, began the October Crisis, during which the Canadian government assumed sweeping emergency powers to combat the insurrection. Though the FLQ had carried out approximately 200 violent crimes since 1963, the October Crisis provided the impetus for the government to search out and arrest a number of the group's members. What happened to Laporte?
Born on a day like today
Verdi's romantic and nationalistic operas were widely popular during his lifetime and are considered masterpieces today. Many of his themes transcend the boundaries of the genre and have taken root in popular culture. Despite the composer's widespread popularity, some critics describe his works as overly simple and shamelessly melodramatic. Though the baptismal register for October 11, 1813 lists Verdi as "born yesterday," his date of birth remains a source of debate. Why is this?