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Articles of the Day April 1–13, 2021

Featured articles of the day for this month, selected by Wikipedia contributors.

April 13

Reconstructed Argentinosaurus skeleton

Argentinosaurus is a genus of giant sauropod dinosaur that lived during the Late Cretaceous in what is now Argentina. It was one of the largest land animals of all time, and possibly the largest, with length estimates ranging from 30 to 39.7 metres (98 to 130 ft) and weight estimates from 50 to 100 tonnes (55 to 110 short tons). It was a member of Titanosauria, the dominant group of sauropods during the Cretaceous. The first Argentinosaurus bone was discovered in 1987 by a farmer near the city of Plaza Huincul in the Huincul Formation, which is rich in dinosaur fossils. A scientific excavation of the site led by the Argentine palaeontologist José Bonaparte was conducted in 1989, yielding several back vertebrae and parts of a sacrum—fused vertebrae between the back and tail vertebrae. Additional specimens include a complete femur (thigh bone) and the shaft of another. The fragmentary nature of the remains makes their interpretation difficult. (Full article...)

April 12

Space Shuttle Discovery lifting off

The Space Shuttle was a partially reusable low Earth orbital spacecraft system operated from April 12, 1981, to July 21, 2011, by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in the United States. Launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, five Space Shuttle orbiter vehicles flew on a total of 135 missions during 30 years. They conducted science experiments in orbit, helped build the International Space Station, and launched numerous satellites, interplanetary probes, and the Hubble Space Telescope. Four fully operational orbiters were initially built: Columbia, Challenger, Discovery (pictured), and Atlantis. Lost in mission accidents were Challenger in 1986 and Columbia in 2003, with a total of fourteen astronauts killed. A fifth operational orbiter, Endeavour, was built in 1991 to replace Challenger. The Space Shuttle was retired from service upon the conclusion of Atlantis's final flight. (Full article...)

April 11

Oxford men's crew celebrating victory

The 2015 Boat Races took place on 11 April. The Boat Race is an annual side-by-side rowing race between crews from the universities of Oxford and Cambridge along a 4.2-mile (6.8 km) tidal stretch of the River Thames. For the first time ever, the men's, women's and both reserve races were all held on the Tideway. In the men's reserve race, Cambridge's Goldie faced Oxford's Isis after the women's race, as a preliminary to the main men's race, while the women's reserve race, held the day before, saw Oxford's Osiris race against Cambridge's Blondie. Oxford's women won the first running of the Women's Boat Race on the Tideway, and the 70th overall, by ​6 12 lengths, to take the overall record in the event to 41–29 in Cambridge's favour. Oxford also won the men's reserve race, with Isis winning by 3 lengths. In the main men's race, umpired by Boris Rankov, Oxford (crew pictured) won by ​6 12 lengths, taking the overall record in the event to 81–79 in Cambridge's favour. The women's reserve race was won by Osiris by 15 lengths, making the overall record 21–20 to Cambridge. (Full article...)

April 10

Isopogon anethifolius is a shrub in the family Proteaceae. The species is found only in coastal areas near Sydney in New South Wales, and to the immediate west. It occurs naturally in woodland, open forest and heathland on sandstone soils. An upright shrub, it can reach to 3 m (10 ft) in height, with terete leaves that are divided and narrow. The yellow flowers appear from September to December and are prominently displayed. They are followed by round grey cones, which give the plant its common name of drumsticks. The small hairy seeds are found in the old flower parts. I. anethifolius regenerates after bushfire by resprouting from its woody base, known as a lignotuber, as well as from seed. It was described by Richard Salisbury in 1796, and was first grown in the United Kingdom the same year. One of the easiest members of the genus Isopogon to cultivate, I. anethifolius grows readily in the garden if located in a sunny or partly shaded spot with sandy soil and good drainage. (Full article...)

April 9

Amy Poehler

The six episodes of the first season of Parks and Recreation originally aired in the United States on the NBC television network on Thursdays between April 9 and May 14, 2009. The comedy series was created by Greg Daniels and Michael Schur, who served as executive producers with Howard Klein. The season stars Amy Poehler (pictured), Rashida Jones, Paul Schneider, Aziz Ansari, Nick Offerman, and Aubrey Plaza, and focuses on Leslie Knope (Poehler), the deputy director of the parks and recreation department of the fictional town of Pawnee, Indiana. Early test screenings were poor, and many critics and industry observers were skeptical about the show's chances of success. The premiere episode was watched by 6.77 million viewers, but the ratings declined to a season low of 4.25 million viewers for the final episode, "Rock Show". Even so, "Rock Show" received the best reviews of the season and convinced some critics that the series had found the right tone. (Full article...)

April 8

Antiochus XII Dionysus (died 82 BC) was a Seleucid ruler who reigned as King of Syria during the Hellenistic period from 87 BC until his death. He was the youngest son of Antiochus VIII, who was assassinated in 96 BC. Antiochus XII's four brothers laid claim to the throne. His brother Philip I defeated his brother Demetrius III in 87 BC and remained in the Syrian capital Antioch. Ignoring the territories of Philip I, Antiochus XII gained control of Damascus and consolidated his territory within inner Syria. He focused his attention on Syria's southern reaches into which the Judaeans and Nabataeans sought to expand, reinforced his southern frontier, and fought two campaigns against Nabataea and Judea. After winning several victories, he was killed by the Nabateans at the Battle of Cana in 82 BC. The Nabatean king Aretas III captured Damascus, and the Syrian throne was claimed by Cleopatra Selene and her son Antiochus XIII. (Full article...)

April 7

French battleship Patrie

The République class consisted of a pair of pre-dreadnought battleshipsRépublique and Patrie (pictured)—built for the French Navy in the early 1900s. They were a significant improvement over previous French battleships, with the same four 305 mm (12 in) guns and eighteen 164 mm (6.5 in) guns, but with most of the 164 mm guns mounted in gun turrets rather than in casemates. They also had more effective armored protection. Both ships entered service in January 1907, shortly after the British HMS Dreadnought made all existing battleships obsolescent. During World War I, both ships operated in the Mediterranean. Patrie supported the Gallipoli campaign from May 1915 and République joined her in January 1916. Both ships then became involved in Greece, where they assisted a coup against the neutral but pro-German government that ultimately led to Greece's entry into the war on the side of the Allies. Neither ship saw any further action. République was decommissioned in 1921, and Patrie not until 1937. (Full article...)

April 6

Dancers in the 1913 production of the ballet

The Rite of Spring is a ballet and orchestral concert work by the Russian composer Igor Stravinsky. It was written for the 1913 Paris season of Sergei Diaghilev's Ballets Russes company, with choreography by Vaslav Nijinsky and stage designs and costumes (pictured) by Nicholas Roerich. The ballet caused a near-riot in the audience when first performed, on 29 May 1913 at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris, but rapidly achieved success, and later became recognised as one of the most influential musical works of the 20th century. The score has many novel features, including experiments in tonality, metre, rhythm, stress and dissonance. The scenario is the celebration of spring by various primitive rituals, at the end of which a sacrificial victim dances herself to death. After its explosive premiere the ballet was not performed until the 1920s, when Léonide Massine's rechoreographed version was the first of many innovative productions directed by the world's leading choreographers. Providing "endless stimulation for performers and listeners" alike, The Rite is among the most recorded works in the classical repertoire. (Full article...)

April 5

Barracks at Auschwitz concentration camp

Siegfried Lederer escaped from Auschwitz on the night of 5 April 1944, wearing an SS uniform provided by Viktor Pestek, a guard at the concentration camp (barracks pictured). Pestek opposed the Holocaust because of his Catholic faith and infatuation with Renée Neumann, a Jewish prisoner. Lederer, a former Czechoslovak Army officer and a Jewish member of the Czech resistance, tried unsuccessfully to warn the Jews at Theresienstadt Ghetto about the mass murders at Auschwitz. After he and Pestek returned to Auschwitz in an attempt to rescue Neumann and her mother, Pestek was arrested and later executed. Lederer returned to occupied Czechoslovakia, where he rejoined the resistance movement and attempted to smuggle a report on Auschwitz to the International Committee of the Red Cross in Switzerland. After the war he remained in Czechoslovakia. The story of the escape was retold by Lederer, historian Erich Kulka, and other writers. (Full article...)

April 4

Soprano part in Bach's hand

Christ lag in Todes Banden (Christ lay in death's bonds), BWV 4, is a chorale cantata for Easter by Johann Sebastian Bach, one of his earliest church cantatas. It is agreed to be an early work, partly for stylistic reasons and partly because there is evidence that it was probably written for a performance in 1707. Text and music are based on Luther's hymn of the same name, derived from medieval models. In each of seven vocal movements, Bach used the unchanged words of a stanza of the chorale and its tune as a cantus firmus. Although all movements are in E minor, Bach intensified the meaning of the text through a variety of musical forms and techniques. He performed the cantata again as Thomaskantor in Leipzig, beginning in 1724 for his first Easter there. Only this second version survived, scored for four vocal parts (soprano part pictured) and a Baroque instrumental ensemble with strings and a choir of cornetto and three trombones. John Eliot Gardiner described the cantata as Bach's "first-known attempt at painting narrative in music" and "a bold, innovative piece of musical drama". (Full article...)

April 3

The scarlet myzomela (Myzomela sanguinolenta) is a small bird of the honeyeater family Meliphagidae native to Australia. It was described by English ornithologist John Latham in 1801. At 9 to 11 centimetres (3.5 to 4.3 in) long, it is the smallest honeyeater in Australia. It has a short tail and relatively long down-curved bill. The male (example pictured) is a striking bright red with black wings, while the female is entirely brown. It is more vocal than most honeyeaters; its varied calls include a bell-like tinkling. Found along most of the eastern coastline, the scarlet myzomela is migratory in the southern parts of its range. Its natural habitat is forest, where it forages mainly in the upper tree canopy for insects as well as nectar. Up to three broods may be raised over the course of a breeding season. The female lays two or rarely three flecked white eggs in a cup-shaped nest 5 centimetres (2 in) across, high in a tree. The species is not threatened. (Full article...)

April 2

The Honan Chapel is a small Catholic church built in the Celtic-Romanesque Revival style on the grounds of University College Cork. Designed in 1914, the building was completed in 1916 and fully furnished by 1917. Its architecture and fittings are representative of the Celtic Revival movement. Its construction was initiated by Dublin solicitor John O'Connell, and funded by Isabella Honan, a member of a wealthy Cork family, who made a significant donation towards the works. O'Connell guided the architect James F. McMullen and the builders John Sisk and Sons, and hired the craftsmen and artists involved in its artwork. In 1986, the sculptor Imogen Stuart was commissioned to oversee the installation of a new altar and other furnishings and fittings. The chapel's interior is designed and fitted in a traditional Irish style, but with an appreciation of contemporary trends. Its furnishings include the mosaic flooring, altar plate, metalwork and enamel pieces, liturgical textiles, and nineteen stained-glass windows. (Full article...)

April 1

Bill Murray

Groundhog Day is a 1993 American fantasy comedy film directed by Harold Ramis and written by Ramis and Danny Rubin. It stars Bill Murray (pictured), Andie MacDowell, and Chris Elliott. Murray portrays Phil Connors, a cynical television weatherman who becomes trapped in a time loop forcing him to relive the same day over and over. The film is a comedy directed by Harold Ramis and written by Ramis and Danny Rubin. It stars Bill Murray (pictured), Andie MacDowell, and Chris Elliott. Murray portrays Phil Connors, a cynical television weatherman who becomes trapped in a time loop forcing him to relive the same day over and over. The film is a comedy directed by Harold Ramis and written by Ramis and Danny Rubin. It stars Bill Murray (pictured), Andie MacDowell, and Chris Elliott. Murray portrays Phil Connors, a cynical television weatherman who becomes trapped in a time loop forcing him to relive the same day over and over.[April Fools!] (Full article...)

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