The Almanac

By United Press International   |   May 11, 2003 at 3:30 AM

Today is Sunday, May 11, the 131st day of 2003 with 234 to follow.

The moon is waxing.

The morning stars are Mercury, Venus, Mars, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. The evening stars are Jupiter and Saturn.

Those born on this date are under the sign of Taurus. They include Ottmar Mergenthaler, inventor of the Linotype typesetting machine, in 1854; cornetist Joseph "King" Oliver, in 1885; songwriter Irving Berlin in 1888; dancer/choreographer Martha Graham in 1893; Spanish surrealist painter Salvador Dali in 1904; comic actor Phil Silvers in 1912; comedian "Doodles" Weaver, in 1914; actor Denver Pyle in 1920; actor Bernard Fox and satirist Mort Sahl, both in 1927 (age 76); Nation of Islam leader the Rev. Louis Farrakhan in 1933 (age 70); artificial heart developer Dr. Robert Jarvik in 1946 (age 57); actor Doug McClure in 1938; and actress Natasha Richardson in 1963 (age 40).

On this date in history:

In 1858, Minnesota, dubbed the "Land of 10,000 Lakes," joined the United States as the 32nd state.

In 1862, the Confederate navy destroyed its iron-clad vessel Merrimac to prevent it from falling into the hands of advancing Union forces.

In 1910, Glacier National Park in Montana was created by an act of Congress.

In 1928, the first regularly scheduled television programs were begun by station WGY in Schenectady, N.Y.

In 1969, one of the more infamous and bloody battles of the Vietnam War began with U.S. attempts to seize Dong Ap Bia mountain. After 10 days, American troops conquered the hill -- only to abandon it soon after. The heavy casualties to take the mountain inspired the name "Hamburger Hill."

In 1987, Emmanuel Vitria died in Marseilles in southern France at age 67, 18 years after receiving a transplanted human heart. He was the longest-surviving heart transplant patient.

In 1992, a three-day ordeal on Oregon's Mount Hood ended safely for three climbers stranded with minimal gear by a sub-zero whiteout.

In 1994, Joseph Hazelwood, captain of the Exxon Valdez, told a federal court in Anchorage, Alaska, he'd had three vodkas just hours before the tanker ran aground, spilling 11 million gallons of oil into Prince William Sound in 1989.

In 1995, a federal grand jury in Detroit indicted James Nichols with conspiring with Oklahoma City bombing suspects Terry Nichols, his brother, and Timothy McVeigh to make and set off bombs at James's farm in Decker, Mich.

In 1996, a ValuJet airliner crashed in the Florida Everglades, killing 110 people.

In 1997, world chess champion Gerry Kasparov was defeated by a computer, IBM's Deep Blue, in a six-game match in New York City.

In 1998, India conducted the first of five underground nuclear tests.

Also in 1998, in what would be the second-largest merger in corporate history, SBC Communications announced it would acquire Ameritech. The deal would make SBC the largest local telephone service provider in the United States.

In 2000, five pharmaceutical companies offered to negotiate cuts in the price of AIDS drugs for Africa and other poor regions.

A thought for the day: Anatole France said, "To imagine is everything, to know is nothing at all."

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