Today is Saturday, Dec. 23, the 357th day of 2017 with eight to follow.
The moon is waxing. The morning stars are Jupiter, Mars and Venus. The evening stars are Mercury and Uranus.
Those born on this date are under the sign of Capricorn. They include John Jay, first chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, in 1745; Egyptologist Jean Francois Champollion, who deciphered the Rosetta Stone, in 1790; Mormon church founder Joseph Smith in 1805; former West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt in 1918; Japanese Emperor Akihito in 1933 (age 84); football Hall of Fame member Paul Hornung in 1935 (age 82); Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Jorma Kaukonen in 1940 (age 77); actor/comedian Harry Shearer in 1943 (age 74); marathon runner Bill Rodgers in 1947 (age 70); football Hall of Fame member Jack Ham in 1948 (age 69); political commentator William Kristol in 1952 (age 65); actor Susan Lucci in 1946 (age 71); actor Corey Haim in 1971; rock musician Eddie Vedder in 1964 (age 53); model/TV personality Holly Madison in 1979 (age 38); actor Sofia Black D'elia in 1991 (age 26); actor Finn Wolfhard in 2002 (age 15).
On this date in history:
In 1620, construction began on the first permanent European settlement in New England. It was one week after the Mayflower arrived at Plymouth Harbor in present-day Massachusetts.
In 1783, Gen. George Washington resigned his commission with the U.S. Army and retired to Mount Vernon, Va. He became the new nation's first president in 1789.
In 1928, the National Broadcasting Co. established a permanent U.S. coast-to-coast radio hookup.
In 1947, the transistor was invented, leading to a revolution in communications and electronics.
In 1948, former Prime Minister Hideki Tojo and six other Japanese war leaders were hanged in Tokyo under sentence of the Allied War Crimes Commission.
In 1972, a series of earthquakes killed about 5,000 people and left the Nicaraguan capital of Managua in ruins.
In 1973, the shah of Iran announced that the petroleum-exporting states of the Persian Gulf would double the price of their crude oil.
In 1982, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told the residents of Times Beach, Mo., to evacuate the town, which was contaminated with the chemical dioxin. The government bought all but one house in the town, which was disincorporated.
In 1995, fire engulfed a tent set up for a school ceremony in Mandi Dabwali, India, killing more than 500 people.
In 2003, the first case of mad cow disease was reported in the United States when a Holstein in Washington state tested positive for the ailment.
In 2004, China reported its Bohai Bay Basin in the north may contain 20.5 billion tons of offshore oil reserves.
In 2008, officials in Guinea's army announced the country's government had been dissolved and the Constitution suspended after the death of President Lansana Conte, who had ruled the African nation for 24 years.
In 2009, Mexico City voters approved a sweeping gay rights measure allowing same-sex couples to marry and adopt children.
In 2013, two members of the Pussy Riot punk band, Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, were released from prison in Russia in an amnesty program. They had served most of their two-year sentences after being convicted of hooliganism for participating in a performance critical of President Vladimir Putin.
A thought for the day: "I don't think the human race will survive the next thousand years unless we spread into space." -- Stephen Hawking