Today is Wednesday, May 11, the 131st day of 2005 with 234 to follow.
The moon is waxing. The morning stars are Mars, Neptune, Uranus, Mercury and Pluto. The evening stars are Venus, 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 78); Rev. Louis Farrakhan, Nation of Islam leader, in 1933 (age 72); artificial heart developer Dr. Robert Jarvik in 1946 (age 59); actor Doug McClure in 1938; and actress Natasha Richardson in 1963 (age 42).
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 inspired the name "Hamburger Hill."
In 1987, Emmanuel Vitria died in Marseilles in southern France at age 67, some 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 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, SBC Communications announced it would acquire Ameritech, a deal making 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.
In 2003, the New York Times devoted four pages to a story documenting major inaccuracies and deceptions by one of its reporters, Jayson Blair, in a scandal that cost the paper's two top editors their jobs.
Also in 2003, more than 50 Democratic members of the Texas House of Representatives crossed over into Oklahoma to leave the House without a quorum and block action on a redistricting bill unfavorable to their party.
In 2004, a video showing the beheading of an American civilian was posted on the Web site of an Islamic militant group believed to be linked to al-Qaida. The victim, Nick Berg of Philadelphia, had been repairing Iraq telecommunications infrastructure. His body was found a few days before the video appeared.
A thought for the day: Anatole France said, "To imagine is everything, to know is nothing at all."