" Every man is as heaven made him, and sometimes a great deal worse. "
Miguel de Cervantes

Back in the day


Gertrude Ederle Becomes First Woman to Swim across the English Channel

Only five men had managed to swim across the 35-mile (56-km) English Channel by the time Ederle became the first woman to make the trip. On her second attempt, the 19-year-old Olympic medalist from America made the swim from France to England in 14 hours and 31 minutes—beating the male record-holder by two hours. Hours before Ederle reached England, the weather deteriorated. A supporter following her by boat called out and urged her to get out of the water. What was Ederle's reply?



The Three Gorges Dam

The largest hydroelectric dam in the world, China's Three Gorges Dam stretches 1.4 miles (2.3 km) across the Yangtze River. Begun in 1993 and largely completed by 2006, the controversial project displaced more than a million people and inundated huge tracts of land. However, it increased the river's shipping capacity, reduced the threat of flooding, and will eventually generate nearly 85 billion kilowatts a year. How much electricity will the dam have to generate to recoup building costs?

Born on a day like today


Lucille Désirée Ball

Ball was the star of the tremendously popular 1950s television show I Love Lucy. Prior to her superstardom, Ball appeared in many B-movies, earning the nickname "Queen of the B's." With her rasping voice and a comic persona alternately brassy and feminine, she became the preeminent female star of the early decades of television. She and costar Desi Arnaz, married in real life and on I Love Lucy, divorced after the show ended. In what other shows and films did Ball appear?

Last updated on Monday, 6th August 2012

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