Today is Wednesday, May 20, the 140th day of 2015 with 225 to follow.
The moon is waxing. Morning stars are Neptune, Uranus and Saturn. Evening stars are Jupiter, Mars, Mercury and Venus.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Taurus. They include William Thornton, architect of the Capitol in Washington, in 1759; Dolley Madison, wife of the fourth U.S. president, James Madison, in 1768; Canadian explorer Simon Fraser in 1776; French novelist Honore de Balzac in 1799; English philosopher and economist John Stuart Mill in 1806; German Emile Berliner, inventor of the flat phonograph record, in 1851; actor James Stewart in 1908; Israeli military commander and politician Moshe Dayan in 1915; comedian George Gobel in 1919; actor Anthony Zerbe in 1936 (age 79); hockey Hall of Fame member Stan Mikita in 1940 (age 75); Japanese baseball home run king Sadaharu Oh in 1940 (age 75); singer/songwriter Joe Cocker in 1944 (age 71); singer/actor Cher, born Cherilyn Sarkisian, in 1946 (age 69); actor Dave Thomas in 1949 (age 66); Ronald Prescott Reagan, son of former U.S. President Ronald Reagan, in 1958 (age 57); actor Bronson Pinchot in 1959 (age 56); actor Timothy Olyphant in 1968 (age 47); race car driver Tony Stewart in 1971 age 44); rapper Busta Rhymes in 1972 (age 43); singer/actor Naturi Naughton in 1984 (age 31).
On this date in history:
In 526, up to 300,000 people were killed in an earthquake in Syria and Antioch.
In 1506, Christopher Columbus died in Spain.
In 1873, Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis were granted a patent for blue jeans with copper rivets.
In 1927, Charles Lindbergh took off from New York in his single-engine monoplane, "The Spirit of St. Louis," bound for Paris. (He landed 33 1/2 hours later, completing the first solo non-stop trans-Atlantic flight.)
In 1974, Judge John Sirica ordered U.S. President Richard Nixon to turn over tapes and other records of 64 White House conversations on the Watergate affair.
In 1989, Chinese Premier Li Peng declared martial law in Beijing in response to heightened student demonstrations in Tiananmen Square.
In 1999, a high school student in Georgia opened fire on his classmates, wounding six of them before surrendering to school authorities. The same day, U.S. President Bill Clinton and first lady Hillary Clinton met in Littleton, Colo., with students, teachers and families of the victims of the previous month's deadly shootings at Columbine High School.
In 2002, East Timor, a small Pacific Coast nation, gained independence from Indonesia. It is called Timor Leste.
In 2006, Barbaro, the unbeaten Kentucky Derby winner, entered the Preakness a heavy favorite but pulled up shortly after the race began with a fractured right hind leg. The race was won by Bernardini, owned by the Dubai royal family.
In 2008, U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., 76, a champion of liberal causes in the Senate for more than four decades, was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. (Kennedy died Aug. 25, 2009.)
In 2010, researchers announced the creation of a "synthetic" genetic cell that could replicate itself.
In 2012, the Pakistani government temporarily blocked access to Twitter because of what an official called "objectional" discussions about the Prophet Muhammad.
In 2013, a tornado struck the Moore, Okla., area near Oklahoma City, killing 24 people, injuring more than 300 and destroying many buildings, including two elementary schools.
In 2014, NFL owners chose Minneapolis (and its planned $1 billion stadium) as the site of the 2018 Super Bowl.
A thought for the day: "Children are made readers on the laps of their parents." -- Emilie Buchwald