Happy Birthday to Bob Barker, Frank Sinatra and the Motel Inn

December 12 has been a rather eventful day throughout history. You may know about some of today's bigger historical events, such as Juan Diego seeing the apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe in 1531; the first trans-Atlantic radio signal being received by Guglielmo Marconi in Newfoundland in 1901; and Delhi replacing Calcutta as India's capital in 1911. But you probably don't know about many of today's notable births and less well-known historical events, including"¦

1. Both Anne of Denmark and Marie Louise of Austria were born, the former in 1574 and the latter in 1791. Anne was the daughter of King Frederick II of Denmark and wife of King James VI of Scots, while Marie Louise was Marie Antoinette's great-niece, the second wife of Napoleon Bonaparte, and the Empress of France.

2. John Jay, the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, was born in New York City in 1745.

3. In 1805, the abolitionist and journalist who founded the American Anti-Slavery Society and who was editor of the radical newspaper The Liberator, William Lloyd Garrison, was born.

4. Gustave Flaubert, who gained lasting fame with his first novel, Madame Bovary, was born in France in 1821.

5. The first king of the Netherlands, William I, died in Berlin in 1843 at the age of 71, just three years after abdicating the throne. Fifteen years later, Jacques Viger, the first mayor of Montreal, also died at age 71.

6. The architect Bruce Price was born in 1845. Although he was an American, he is most well-known for the stations and hotels he designed for Canadian Pacific Railway. His daughter, Emily Price, became famous as the etiquette author Emily Post.

7. In 1866, Alfred Werner, a Swiss chemist and professor who won a Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1913, was born.

8. The first black congressman, Joseph H. Rainey of South Carolina, took his seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1870.

9. 1876 marked the birth of Alvin Kraenzlein, an American athlete. Kraenzlein was the first sportsman to win four Olympic titles in a single Olympic game (1900, Paris).

10. Robert Browning, the British poet and playwright, died in Venice, Italy, in 1889 at the age of 77.

11. Herman Potocnik, aka Hermann Noordung, was born in Pola, Austria-Hungary (now Pula, Croatia), in 1892. Noordung was a rocket engineer and a pioneer of cosmonautics.

12. In Paris in 1904, Baron Nicolas Louise Alexandre de Gunzburg was born. He would later become editor-in-chief of Town & Country as well as fashion editor at Vogue and Harper's Bazaar.

13. Frank Sinatra, singer and Academy Award-winning actor, was born in Hoboken, New Jersey, in 1915.

14. The American cartoonist best known for developing the look of Archie Comics in the '50s and '60s, Dan DeCarlo, was born in 1919. A year later, Fred Kida, another American comic book and comic strip artist was born in New York City.

15. Bob Barker, the nineteen-time Emmy Award winner and former host of The Price is Right, was born in 1923.

16. Motel Inn, the first motel, opened in San Luis Obispo, California, in 1925.

17. Douglas Fairbanks died in 1939, after a successful career as an actor, screenwriter, director, and producer, most famous for his roles in The Mark of Zorro, The Three Musketeers, and Robin Hood.

18. The five-time Grammy Award-winning singer, United Nations Global Ambassador for the Food and Agriculture Organization, and former U.S. Ambassador of Health, Dionne Warwick, was born in 1940.

19. A six-block tract of Manhattan real estate was accepted as the site of U.N. headquarters after it was offered as a gift by John D. Rockefeller, Jr.

20. The satirist Joseph Heller, author of Catch-22 and Three Short Stories of Utter Annoyance, died at age 76 in 1999.

21. Keiko, the world's favorite killer whale, died in a Norwegian fjord in 2003.

And for all you readers born on December 12, happy birthday! Does this date hold special significance to anyone else?

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Hulton Archive/Getty Images
6 Radiant Facts About Irène Joliot-Curie
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Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Though her accomplishments are often overshadowed by those of her parents, the elder daughter of Marie and Pierre Curie was a brilliant researcher in her own right.


A black and white photo of Irene and Marie Curie in the laboratory in 1925.
Irène and Marie in the laboratory, 1925.
Wellcome Images, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY 4.0

Irène’s birth in Paris in 1897 launched what would become a world-changing scientific dynasty. A restless Marie rejoined her loving husband in the laboratory shortly after the baby’s arrival. Over the next 10 years, the Curies discovered radium and polonium, founded the science of radioactivity, welcomed a second daughter, Eve, and won a Nobel Prize in Physics. The Curies expected their daughters to excel in their education and their work. And excel they did; by 1925, Irène had a doctorate in chemistry and was working in her mother’s laboratory.


Like her mother, Irène fell in love in the lab—both with her work and with another scientist. Frédéric Joliot joined the Curie team as an assistant. He and Irène quickly bonded over shared interests in sports, the arts, and human rights. The two began collaborating on research and soon married, equitably combining their names and signing their work Irène and Frédéric Joliot-Curie.


Black and white photo of Irène and Fréderic Joliot-Curie working side by side in their laboratory.
Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Their passion for exploration drove them ever onward into exciting new territory. A decade of experimentation yielded advances in several disciplines. They learned how the thyroid gland absorbs radioiodine and how the body metabolizes radioactive phosphates. They found ways to coax radioactive isotopes from ordinarily non-radioactive materials—a discovery that would eventually enable both nuclear power and atomic weaponry, and one that earned them the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1935.


The humanist principles that initially drew Irène and Frédéric together only deepened as they grew older. Both were proud members of the Socialist Party and the Comité de Vigilance des Intellectuels Antifascistes (Vigilance Committee of Anti-Fascist Intellectuals). They took great pains to keep atomic research out of Nazi hands, sealing and hiding their research as Germany occupied their country, Irène also served as undersecretary of state for scientific research of the Popular Front government.


Irène eventually scaled back her time in the lab to raise her children Hélène and Pierre. But she never slowed down, nor did she stop fighting for equality and freedom for all. Especially active in women’s rights groups, she became a member of the Comité National de l'Union des Femmes Françaises and the World Peace Council.


Irène’s extraordinary life was a mirror of her mother’s. Tragically, her death was, too. Years of watching radiation poisoning and cancer taking their toll on Marie never dissuaded Irène from her work. In 1956, dying of leukemia, she entered the Curie Hospital, where she followed her mother’s luminous footsteps into the great beyond.

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Live Smarter
You Can Now Order Food Through Facebook
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After a bit of controversy over its way of aggregating news feeds and some questionable content censoring policies, it’s nice to have Facebook roll out a feature everyone can agree on: allowing you to order food without leaving the social media site.

According to a press release, Facebook says that the company decided to begin offering food delivery options after realizing that many of its users come to the social media hub to rate and discuss local eateries. Rather than hop from Facebook to the restaurant or a delivery service, you’ll be able to stay within the app and select from a menu of food choices. Just click “Order Food” from the Explore menu on a desktop interface or under the “More” option on Android or iOS devices. There, you’ll be presented with options that will accept takeout or delivery orders, as well as businesses participating with services like or EatStreet.

If you need to sign up and create an account with or Jimmy John’s, for example, you can do that without leaving Facebook. The feature is expected to be available nationally, effective immediately.

[h/t Forbes]


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