Today is Wednesday, Oct. 21, the 294th day of 2009 with 71 to follow.
The moon is waxing. The morning stars are Mercury, Venus, Mars and Saturn. The evening stars are Neptune, Jupiter and Uranus.
Those born this date are under the sign of Libra. They include English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge in 1772; Swedish chemist and industrialist Alfred Nobel, inventor of dynamite and founder of the Nobel Prize, in 1833; dancer/choreographer Ted Shawn in 1891; conductor Georg Solti in 1912; jazz trumpeter John "Dizzy" Gillespie, in 1917; former pitcher Whitey Ford in 1928 (age 81); author Ursula K. Le Guin in 1929 (age 80); and actress-author Carrie Fisher in 1956 (age 53).
On this date in history:
In 1805, in one of history's greatest naval battles, the British fleet under Adm. Horatio Nelson defeated the combined French-Spanish fleet at Trafalgar off the coast of Spain.
In 1879, after 14 months of experiments, Thomas Edison invented the first practical electric incandescent lamp.
In 1908, The Saturday Evening Post magazine carried an ad for a brand new product: a two-sided phonograph record.
In 1950, Chinese troops occupied Tibet.
In 1959, rocket designer Wernher von Braun and his team were transferred from the U.S. Army to the newly created National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
In 1987, the U.S. Senate rejected U.S. President Ronald Reagan's nomination of Judge Robert Bork to the U.S. Supreme Court by the biggest margin in history, 58-42.
In 1990, gunmen stormed the home of a key supporter of Lebanese Christian military leader Michel Aoun, killing him, his wife and their two sons.
In 1991, Beirut University professor Jesse Turner, a hostage since January 1987, was released by his captors in Lebanon.
In 1992, New York protesters upset with Sinead O'Connor for ripping up a photo of Pope John Paul II on "Saturday Night Live," used a steamroller to crush dozens of the Irish singer's CDs, records and tapes.
In 1994, Rosario Ames, wife of confessed spy Aldrich Ames, was sentenced to 63 months in prison for collaborating with her husband.
In 1996, the Dow Jones industrial average of 30 major stocks topped the 6,000 mark for the first time.
In 2004, the most senior soldier accused in the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal in Iraq, Staff Sgt. Ivan "Chip" Frederick, was sentenced to eight years in prison.
In 2005, results from the Afghanistan parliamentary elections showed that Islamic conservatives and former jihad fighters made up at least half of the lower house.
In 2007, U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, in one of the strongest warnings from Washington on the matter, said, "We will not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon."
In 2008, U.S. President George Bush reportedly decided not to close the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba where the United States holds suspected terrorists, despite his stated desire to do so.
Also in 2008, Saudi Arabian officials said they have indicted nearly 1,000 suspected militants, saying the country was a target for an organized terror campaign. The campaign was said to be aimed at undermining the country's lifestyle and economy and had a direct link to al-Qaida.
A thought for the day: Italian goldsmith and sculptor Benvenuto Cellini wrote in his autobiography, "One can pass on responsibility, but not the discretion that goes with it."