Today is Wednesday, Aug. 3, the 215th day of 2011 with 150 to follow.
The moon is waxing. The morning stars are Mercury and Saturn. The evening stars are Neptune, Jupiter, Uranus, Venus and Mars.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Leo. They include Elisha Graves Otis, inventor of the modern elevator, in 1811; World War II correspondent Ernie Pyle and "Monkey Trial" defendant John Scopes, both in 1900; orchestra leader Ray Bloch in 1902; actor Dolores del Rio in 1905; band leader Les Elgart in 1917; authors P. D. James in 1920 (age 90) and Leon Uris in 1924; football Hall of Fame coach Marv Levy in 1925 (age 86); singer Tony Bennett in 1926 (age 85); football Hall of fame member Lance Alworth in 1940 (age 71); TV personality and lifestyle consultant Martha Stewart in 1941 (age 70); actors Martin Sheen in 1940 (age 71) and Jay North in 1951 (age 60); hockey Hall of Fame member Marcel Dionne in 1951 (age 60); football quarterback Tom Brady in 1977 (age 34); and actor Evangeline Lilly in 1979 (age 32).
On this date in history:
In 1492, Christopher Columbus set sail from Spain for the New World with a convoy of three small ships -- the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria -- and fewer than 100 crewmen.
In 1914, Germany declared war on France and invaded Belgium. The following day, Britain declared war on Germany and World War I was under way.
In 1958, the U.S. nuclear submarine "Nautilus" crossed under the North Pole.
In 1981, U.S. air traffic controllers went on strike. The strikers were fired within one week.
In 1990, the prime ministers of East and West Germany agreed to move up unification to early fall and rescheduled all-German elections for Oct. 14.
In 1997, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced he wouldn't honor agreements with the Palestine National Authority unless it cracked down on terrorism.
In 1998, talks broke down between Iraqi officials and Richard Butler, the head of the U.N. team overseeing the dismantling of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.
In 2004, the Statue of Liberty in New York harbor was opened to the public for the first time since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
In 2005, in the first emergency repair conducted in space, astronauts fixed a potentially dangerous problem by removing two strips of protruding cloth from the underside of the space shuttle Discovery.
Also in 2005, South Korea scientists reported the first successful cloning of a dog, considered one of the most difficult animals to copy.
In 2006, U.S. Army Gen. John Abizaid, commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East, told Congress that sectarian violence in Baghdad was "probably as bad as I've seen it" and predicted a possible civil war.
Also in 2006, Ukrainian leaders reached a coalition agreement after President Viktor Yushchenko nominated his archrival as prime minister.
In 2007, the U.S. Congress passed a bill allowing the National Security Agency to monitor e-mail and telephone communications between the United States and foreign countries without a court warrant if terrorism was believed to be involved.
In 2008, more than 120 religious pilgrims were trampled to death and 40 more were injured during a stampede in northern India. Emergency workers said most of those killed were women and children caught in a panic caused by rumors of a landslide.
Also in 2008, once exiled Russian writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, whose works revealed the harshness of the Soviet penal system, died at the age of 89. The Nobel Prize-winning author of "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich," had been reported ill for years.
And, 11 mountain climbers were killed when a large mass of ice broke off and caused an avalanche on K2, the world's second-tallest mountain. It was the deadliest climbing accident on the northern Pakistan mountain since 1986.
In 2009, a former Chicago rabbi who allegedly led an effort to obtain illegally $35 million in state and U.S. income tax refunds was arrested in Israel, U.S. officials said. Marvin Berkowitz was one of 10 people indicted.
Also in 2009, Massachusetts is the most Democratic state in the nation, topping a field of 30 states and the District of Columbia, a Gallup Poll analysis indicated. The survey said only four states -- Utah, Wyoming, Idaho and Alaska -- could be considered solidly Republican.
In 2010, a driver for a beer and wine distributorship in Manchester, Conn., allegedly caught stealing beer, went on a shooting rampage during a disciplinary hearing, killing eight people and himself.
A thought for the day: it was Henry David Thoreau who said, "Some circumstantial evidence is very strong, as when you find a trout in milk."