Push-button telephones introduced on this date in 1963

Today in 1820, S. Navy Captain Nathaniel B. Palmer discovered the frozen continent of Antarctica.

Today, in 1883, the four standard American time zones have been adopted and enforced by the nation’s railroads. Created by Charles Dowd, a Connecticut schoolteacher, they were not officially recognized until Congress passed the US Standard Time Act in 1918.

Today, in 1909, the United States invaded Nicaragua, later overthrowing President Jose Santos Zelaya.

Today, in 1949, Jackie Robinson of the Brooklyn Dodgers received the National League Most Valuable Player award.

Today, in 1963, Bell Telephone introduced push button telephones.

Today, in 1978, California Congressman Leo J. Ryan and four others were killed in Jonestown, Guyana by members of the Peoples Temple. He and his team had traveled to Guyana to investigate allegations of human rights abuses by the alleged sect. These murders were followed by a night of mass murders and suicides by 912 cult members. Initial reports indicated that the members had been drinking Kool-Aid with added cyanide, but a Guyanese coroner’s report said hundreds of bodies had needle marks, indicating foul play. The US government has not released all documents relevant to its investigation of the incident, further complicating the long-running conspiracy theory that Jonestown was a CIA-run mind control experiment.

Today, in 1987, the Iran-Contra congressional committees issued their final report, declaring that President Reagan bears “ultimate responsibility” for the wrongdoings of his aides.

Today, in 1991, Shia Muslim kidnappers in Lebanon freed church emissaries Terry Waite and Thomas Sutherland.

Today in 1999, 12 people were killed and 28 injured when a huge under construction bonfire collapsed at Texas A&M in College Station, Texas.

Today, in 1999, Shawn Allen Berry was spared the death penalty and returned to life in prison in Jasper, Texas for his role in the dragging murder of James Byrd Jr. earlier in the year, John William King and Lawrence Russell Brewer both received the death penalty for their role in the crime.

Now, in 2003, the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled that banning gays and lesbians from marrying violates the state constitution.

Today, in 2004, the $165 million Clinton Presidential Library opened in Little Rock, Arkansas. Bono and The Edge performed at the signing.

Now in 2006, Whitney Houston lost her homes in Atlanta and New Jersey to foreclosure.

Today, in 2011, the Minecraft video game was officially released by Mojang.

Today in 2021 we saw the longest partial lunar eclipse since 1440 – it lasted three hours, 28 minutes and 23 seconds.

Now, in 2021, Muhammad A. Aziz and Khalil Islam – the two men convicted of murdering Malcolm X in 1965 – have been exonerated, with the judge saying they were “wrongly convicted”. The following month, they received a $36 million settlement from New York City.