This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.
Find the past “On This Day in History” here.
November 24 is the 328th day of the year (329th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 37 days remaining until the end of the year.
On this day in 1859, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, a groundbreaking scientific work by British naturalist Charles Darwin, is published in England. Darwin’s theory argued that organisms gradually evolve through a process he called “natural selection.” In natural selection, organisms with genetic variations that suit their environment tend to propagate more descendants than organisms of the same species that lack the variation, thus influencing the overall genetic makeup of the species.
Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, published on 24 November 1859, is a work of scientific literature which is considered to be the foundation of evolutionary biology. Its full title was On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. For the sixth edition of 1872, the short title was changed to The Origin of Species. Darwin’s book introduced the scientific theory that populations evolve over the course of generations through a process of natural selection. It presented a body of evidence that the diversity of life arose by common descent through a branching pattern of evolution. Darwin included evidence that he had gathered on the Beagle expedition in the 1830s and his subsequent findings from research, correspondence, and experimentation.
Various evolutionary ideas had already been proposed to explain new findings in biology. There was growing support for such ideas among dissident anatomists and the general public, but during the first half of the 19th century the English scientific establishment was closely tied to the Church of England, while science was part of natural theology. Ideas about the transmutation of species were controversial as they conflicted with the beliefs that species were unchanging parts of a designed hierarchy and that humans were unique, unrelated to animals. The political and theological implications were intensely debated, but transmutation was not accepted by the scientific mainstream.
The book was written for non-specialist readers and attracted widespread interest upon its publication. As Darwin was an eminent scientist, his findings were taken seriously and the evidence he presented generated scientific, philosophical, and religious discussion. The debate over the book contributed to the campaign by T.H. Huxley and his fellow members of the X Club to secularise science by promoting scientific naturalism. Within two decades there was widespread scientific agreement that evolution, with a branching pattern of common descent, had occurred, but scientists were slow to give natural selection the significance that Darwin thought appropriate. During the “eclipse of Darwinism” from the 1880s to the 1930s, various other mechanisms of evolution were given more credit. With the development of the modern evolutionary synthesis in the 1930s and 1940s, Darwin’s concept of evolutionary adaptation through natural selection became central to modern evolutionary theory, now the unifying concept of the life sciences.
380 – Theodosius I makes his adventus, or formal entry, into Constantinople.
1429 – Joan of Arc unsuccessfully besieges La Charite.
1542 – Battle of Solway Moss: The English army defeats the Scots.
1639 – Jeremiah Horrocks observes the transit of Venus, an event he had predicted.
1642 – Abel Tasman becomes the first European to discover the island Van Diemen’s Land (later renamed Tasmania).
1835 – The Texas Provincial Government authorizes the creation of a horse-mounted police force called the Texas Rangers (which is now the Texas Ranger Division of the Texas Department of Public Safety.
1850 – Danish troops defeat a Schleswig-Holstein force in the town of Lottorf, Schleswig-Holstein.
1859 – Charles Darwin publishes On the Origin of Species.
1863 – American Civil War: Battle of Lookout Mountain – Near Chattanooga, Tennessee, Union forces under General Ulysses S. Grant capture Lookout Mountain and begin to break the Confederate siege of the city led by General Braxton Bragg.
1906 – The Canton Bulldogs-Massillon Tigers Betting Scandal, the first major scandal in professional American football.
1922 – Author and Irish Republican Army member Robert Erskine Childers is executed by an Irish Free State firing squad for illegally carrying a revolver.
1932 – In Washington, D.C., the FBI Scientific Crime Detection Laboratory (better known as the FBI Crime Lab) officially opens.
1935 – The Senegalese Socialist Party holds its second congress.
1940 – World War II: Slovakia becomes a signatory to the Tripartite Pact, officially joining the Axis Powers.
1941 – World War II: The United States grants Lend-Lease to the Free French.
1943 – World War II: The USS Liscome Bay is torpedoed near Tarawa and sinks with nearly 650 men killed.
1944 – World War II: Bombing of Tokyo – The first bombing raid against the Japanese capital from the east and by land is carried out by 88 American aircraft.
1950 – The “Storm of the Century”, a violent snowstorm, paralyzes the northeastern United States and the Appalachians, bringing winds up to 100 mph and sub-zero temperatures. Pickens, West Virginia, records 57 inches of snow. 323 people die as a result of the storm.
1962 – The West Berlin branch of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany forms a separate party, the Socialist Unity Party of West Berlin.
1963 – Lee Harvey Oswald is murdered by Jack Ruby in the basement of Dallas police department headquarters. The shooting is broadcast live on television.
1963 – Vietnam War: Newly sworn-in US President Lyndon B. Johnson confirms that the United States intends to continue supporting South Vietnam both militarily and economically.
1965 – Joseph Desire Mobutu seizes power in the Congo and becomes President; he rules the country (which he renames Zaire in 1971) for over 30 years, until being overthrown by rebels in 1997.
1966 – A Bulgarian plane with 82 people on board crashes near Bratislava, Czechoslovakia.
1966 – New York City experiences the smoggiest day in the city’s history.
1969 – Apollo program: The Apollo 12 command module splashes down safely in the Pacific Ocean, ending the second manned mission to the Moon.
1971 – During a severe thunderstorm over Washington state, a hijacker calling himself Dan Cooper (AKA D. B. Cooper) parachutes from a Northwest Orient Airlines plane with $200,000 in ransom money. He has never been found.
1973 – A national speed limit is imposed on the Autobahn in Germany due to the 1973 oil crisis. The speed limit lasted only four months.
1974 – Donald Johanson and Tom Gray discover the 40% complete Australopithecus afarensis skeleton, nicknamed “Lucy” (after The Beatles song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”), in the Awash Valley of Ethiopia’s Afar Depression.
1992 – A China Southern Airlines domestic flight in the People’s Republic of China, crashes, killing all 141 people on-board.
2007 – Australians elect the centre-left Australian Labor Party at a federal election; the outgoing prime minister, John Howard, becomes the first since 1929 to lose his own seat.
* Christian Feast Days:
o Andrew Dung-Lac and other Vietnamese Martyrs
o Chrysogonus (Roman Catholic Church)
o Colman of Cloyne (Roman Catholic Church)
o Flavian of Ricina (Roman Catholic Church)
o Mercurius (Eastern Church)
* Evolution Day (Secular)
* Lachit Divas (Assam)
* Teacher’s Day or Ogretmenler Gunu (Turkey)