This Day in History

The Armory Show Opens in New York City (1913)
The Armory Show was an international exhibition of modern art held in 1913 at the 69th-regiment armory in New York City. Representing a range of avant-garde movements in Europe, the show was one of the most important art exhibitions ever held in the US. The Armory Show aroused the curiosity of the public and helped to change the direction of American painting. What painting at the exhibition was singled out by hostile critics as emblematic of the so-called insanity and degeneracy of modern art? Discuss

Ash Wednesday Fires (1983)
In 1983, extreme weather and years of severe drought combined to create one of Australia's worst fire days in a century. Within 12 hours, more than 180 fires—fanned by high winds—were burning, causing widespread destruction across the states of Victoria and South Australia. The fires killed 75 people and left thousands of others injured and homeless. They obliterated entire townships in just minutes. This series of fires was the deadliest bushfire event in Australian history until what disaster?

USS Maine Sinks, Prompting the US to Declare War on Spain (1898)
In January 1898, the USS Maine was sent to protect American interests in Cuba, where an anti-Spanish insurrection was taking place. It sank weeks later, after an onboard explosion. Fueled by the conspiracy theories of American yellow journalism, outrage over the deaths of 260 of the ship's crew members helped push the nation toward the Spanish-American War. Several investigations into the sinking have since taken place, including one that was conducted in 1998. What were its findings?

Today

Thomas John Watson, Sr. (1874)
After rising from clerk to sales executive in the National Cash Register Co., Watson became president of the Computing-Tabulating-Recording Co., which made scales, time clocks, and tabulators that sorted information using punched cards—all forerunners of mainframe computers. Watson renamed the company International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) in 1924 and became its chairman in 1949, widening IBM's line to include electronic computers. What one-word motto did Watson promote at IBM? Discuss

Salvatore Phillip "Sonny" Bono (1935)
Bono was an American record producer, singer, actor, and politician. He began his music career working with legendary producer Phil Spector in the early 1960s and went on to write, arrange, and produce a number of hit singles like "I Got You Babe" and "The Beat Goes On," which he performed with his then-wife Cher. The duo also hosted a popular television variety show in the 1970s. Later, Bono became involved in politics and served as a member of the US House of Representatives. How did he die?

Jeremy Bentham (1748)
Bentham was a British moral philosopher and legal theorist. A precocious student, he graduated from Oxford at age 15. In his writings, he became the earliest expounder of utilitarianism—the theory that the rightness or wrongness of an action is determined by its usefulness in bringing about the greatest happiness for all those affected by it. His work inspired much reform legislation, especially regarding prisons. What was done with Bentham's body after his death, in accordance with his will?