Today is Tuesday, Oct. 4, the 277th day of 2011. There are 88 days left in the year.
Today's Highlights in History:
On Oct. 4, 1861, during the Civil War, the United States Navy authorized construction of the first ironclad ship, the USS Monitor. Writer and illustrator Frederic Remington was born in Canton, N.Y.
On this date:
In 1777, Gen. George Washington's troops launched an assault on the British at Germantown, Pa., resulting in heavy American casualties.
In 1822, the 19th president of the United States, Rutherford B. Hayes, was born in Delaware, Ohio.
In 1931, the comic strip "Dick Tracy," created by Chester Gould, made its debut.
In 1951, the MGM movie musical "An American in Paris," starring Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron, had its U.S. premiere in New York.
In 1957, the Space Age began as the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite, into orbit.
In 1959, the Soviet Union launched Luna 3, a space probe which transmitted images of the far side of the moon.
In 1961, the animated TV series "The Alvin Show" premiered on CBS.
In 1970, rock singer Janis Joplin, 27, was found dead in her Hollywood hotel room.
In 1976, agriculture secretary Earl Butz resigned in the wake of a controversy over a joke he'd made about blacks.
In 1991, 26 nations, including the United States, signed the Madrid Protocol, which imposed a 50-year ban on oil exploration and mining in Antarctica.
Ten years ago: A Russian airliner flying from Israel to Siberia was accidentally downed by a Ukrainian anti-aircraft missile over the Black Sea, killing all 78 people aboard. Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants hit his 70th home run to tie Mark McGwire's 1998 record in a 10-2 victory over the Houston Astros. Rickey Henderson homered to pass Ty Cobb and become baseball's career leader in runs scored with 2,246 during San Diego's 6-3 win over Los Angeles.
Five years ago: Ousted Hewlett-Packard Chairwoman Patricia Dunn, a company officer and three investigators were charged with violating California privacy laws in a corporate spying scandal. (The charges were later dropped, with a judge calling their conduct a "betrayal of trust and honor" that nonetheless did not rise to the level of criminal activity.) The domain name wikileaks.org was registered (the website began publishing in Dec. 2006). American Roger D. Kornberg won the Nobel Prize in chemistry. New York Times correspondent R.W. Apple Jr. died in Washington at age 71.
One year ago: The Supreme Court began a new era with three women serving together for the first time as Elena Kagan took her place at the end of the bench. The Nobel Prize in medicine went to Robert Edwards of Britain, whose work led to the first test tube baby. The Europeans reclaimed the Ryder Cup, winning 14 1/2-13 1/2.
Today's Birthdays: Country singer Leroy Van Dyke is 82. Pro and College Football Hall of Famer Sam Huff is 77. Actor Eddie Applegate is 76. Actress Felicia Farr is 76. Author Jackie Collins is 74. Author Roy Blount Jr. is 70. Author Anne Rice is 70. Actress Lori Saunders ("Petticoat Junction") is 70. Baseball manager Tony La Russa is 67. Actor Clifton Davis is 66. The former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, is 65. Actress Susan Sarandon is 65. Blues musician Duke Robillard is 63. Playwright Lee Blessing is 62. Actor Armand Assante is 62. Actor Alan Rosenberg is 61. Actor Bill Fagerbakke is 54. Producer Russell Simmons is 54. Musician Chris Lowe (The Pet Shop Boys) is 52. Country musician Gregg "Hobie" Hubbard (Sawyer Brown) is 51. Actor David W. Harper is 50. Singer Jon Secada is 50. TV personality John Melendez is 46. Actor Liev Schreiber is 44. Actor Abraham Benrubi is 42. Country singer-musician Heidi Newfield is 41. Actress Alicia Silverstone is 35. Actor Phillip Glasser is 33. Rock singer-musician Marc Roberge (O.A.R.) is 33. Actress Rachael Leigh Cook is 32. Actor Jimmy Workman is 31. Rhythm-and-blues singer Jessica Benson (3lw) is 24. Actor Michael Charles Roman is 24. Figure skater Kimmie Meisner is 22.
Thought for Today: "Trying to determine what is going on in the world by reading newspapers is like trying to tell the time by watching the second hand of a clock." -- Ben Hecht, American screenwriter (1894-1964).