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H.G. Wells

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End of the Holy Roman Empire: Francis II Abdicates

Francis II, last of the Holy Roman Emperors, came to power shortly before the outbreak of war with Napoleon's France. His armies were defeated, and he ceded the left bank of the Rhine to France but was granted Venetia and Dalmatia. In 1798, he joined the Second Coalition against France, but he was again defeated and eventually consented to the virtual dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire. Who was his famous aunt, a woman executed by guillotine at the beginning of his reign?

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Copito de Nieve

The most popular resident of the Barcelona Zoo during his life, Copito de Nieve was an albino Western Lowland Gorilla—the only known albino gorilla. Originally captured in 1966 in what is now Equatorial Guinea, where he was called Nfumu Ngi, or "White Gorilla," he later gained fame as Copito de Nieve, Spanish for "Snowflake," a nickname given to him by National Geographic magazine. During his nearly 40 years in captivity, Snowflake fathered 22 offspring. How many survived to adulthood?

Born on a day like today

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Alexander Fleming

Motivated by the devastating infection he saw in battlefield hospitals during WWI, Fleming, an English bacteriologist, set about searching for an effective antiseptic. In 1922, he discovered lysozyme, an antibacterial enzyme present in saliva, nasal secretions, and tears. In 1928, he isolated the antibiotic substance penicillin, a finding that earned him a Nobel Prize and has forever changed modern medicine. In what accidental way did Fleming discover penicillin?

Last updated on Wednesday, 6th August 2008

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