Wikipedia:Today's featured article/November 2017

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November 1

Super Mario Galaxy is a platform video game developed and published by Nintendo for the Wii console, first released on 1 November 2007. In this third 3D-graphics game in the Super Mario series, Mario is on a quest to rescue Princess Peach while saving the universe from Bowser. A central element of gameplay is the way gravitational forces change as Mario navigates galaxies filled with minor planets and worlds. The spherical platforms used in the game first appeared in Super Mario 128, a technology demonstration shown at Nintendo Space World in 2000. Development of Super Mario Galaxy began after the release of Donkey Kong Jungle Beat in late 2004, when Shigeru Miyamoto suggested that Nintendo should commission a large-scale Mario game. The game was a critical and commercial success, hailed as one of the greatest video games of all time. It won multiple Game of the Year titles, and became the first Nintendo title to win a British Academy Games Award for Best Game. It is the second-highest-rated game of all time on review aggregator GameRankings. (Full article...)

November 2
The Balfour Declaration, contained within the original letter

The Balfour Declaration (2 November 1917) was a public statement issued by the British government during World War I announcing support for the establishment of a "national home for the Jewish people" in Palestine, then an Ottoman region with a minority Jewish population. It represented the first expression of public support for Zionism by a major political power. The term "national home" had no precedent in international law, and was intentionally vague as to whether a Jewish state was contemplated. The second half of the declaration was added to satisfy opponents, who had claimed that it would otherwise prejudice the position of the local population of Palestine and encourage antisemitism against Jews worldwide. While the declaration called for political rights in Palestine for Jews, rights for the vast majority of the local population, the Palestinian Arabs, were limited to the civil and religious spheres. The declaration greatly increased popular support for Zionism, and led to the creation of Mandatory Palestine, which later became Israel and the Palestinian territories. Historians consider it one of the causes of the ongoing Israeli–Palestinian conflict. (Full article...)

November 3

Pru is the debut studio album by American singer Pru, released in November 2000 through Capitol Records. The album was managed by Capitol Records executive Roy Lott, who had signed Pru to Warner/Chappell Music Publishing after being impressed by her songwriting and voice on a demo tape. Pru collaborated with Ben Garrison, the Characters, and Rick Williams on the album. According to Lott, Pru was part of Capitol Records' attempts to attract a wider audience through her crossover appeal. Music critics have identified several genres on the album, with some commentators noting influences from neo soul. Pru also used poetry as an inspiration for writing music. Reviews of the album were generally positive, noting its composition and Pru's voice, and comparing her favorably to contemporary artists. The album peaked at number 176 on the Billboard 200 chart, an achievement made possible in part by an intensive marketing strategy devised by Capitol Records executives. Two singles – "Candles" and "Aaroma (of a Man)" – were released to positive reviews. "Candles" peaked at number 68 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs Billboard chart. (Full article...)

November 4
Harrison Park, home to Leek Town F.C.
Harrison Park

Leek Town Football Club is an English football club based in Leek, Staffordshire, currently playing in the Northern Premier League Division One South. The team, nicknamed "The Blues", play their home games at Harrison Park (pictured). The club was founded in 1946 and played in a variety of local leagues, including the Staffordshire County, Manchester, Mid-Cheshire and Cheshire County leagues, before becoming a founding member of the North West Counties League in 1982 and from there progressing to the Northern Premier League in 1987. In 1997 they were Northern Premier League champions and gained promotion to the Football Conference, the highest level of English non-league football, spending two seasons at that level before being relegated. Leek Town reached the final of the FA Trophy in 1990, having progressed all the way from the first qualifying round, but lost in the final at Wembley Stadium 3–0 to Barrow. (Full article...)

November 5
Revellers in Lewes, 5 November 2010
Revellers in Lewes

Guy Fawkes Night is an annual commemoration of the events of 5 November 1605, when Guy Fawkes, a member of the Gunpowder Plot, was arrested while guarding explosives the plotters had placed beneath the House of Lords. To celebrate the arrest, which put an end to the plot on King James I's life, people lit bonfires around London, and months later the introduction of the Observance of 5th November Act enforced an annual public day of thanksgiving. Within a few decades Gunpowder Treason Day, as it was known, became the predominant English state commemoration. As it carried strong Protestant religious overtones, it also became a focus for anti-Catholic sentiment; increasingly raucous celebrations featured the burning of effigies of popular hate-figures, such as the pope. Towards the end of the 18th century, children were seen begging for money with effigies of Guy Fawkes. In the 1850s much of the day's anti-Catholic rhetoric was toned down, and by the 20th century Guy Fawkes Day had become an enjoyable social commemoration. Today it is usually celebrated with bonfires and extravagant firework displays. (Full article...)

Part of the Gunpowder Plot series, one of Wikipedia's featured topics.

November 6
A toy animal with wheels, from Pre-Columbian Mexico
Wheeled toy animal

Rotating locomotion in living systems – the use of wheels and propellers by organisms – has long been pondered among biologists and writers of speculative fiction. Rolling and wheeled creatures have appeared in the legends of many cultures. While other human technologies, like wings and lenses, have common analogues in the natural world, and several species are able to roll, structures that propel by rotating relative to a fixed body are represented only by the corkscrew-like bacterial flagella. Macroscopic organisms have apparently never evolved wheels, and this is attributed to two main factors: limitations of evolutionary and developmental biology, and disadvantages of wheels, when compared with limbs, in many natural environments. Wheels, beyond the molecular scale, may not be within the reach of natural evolution, and may be infeasible to grow and maintain with biological processes. Compared with limbs, they are often less energy-efficient, less versatile, and less capable of traversing or avoiding obstacles. These environment-specific disadvantages of wheels also explain why some historical civilizations abandoned them. (Full article...)

November 7
Lenin in July 1920

Vladimir Lenin (born Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, 1870–1924) was a Russian communist revolutionary, politician and political theorist. He was the first head of government of the Soviet Union, which under his administration became a one-party state governed by the Communist Party. Ideologically a Marxist, he developed political theories known as Leninism. After the 1917 February Revolution ousted the Tsar, he played a leading role in the 7 November 1917 insurrection commonly known as the October Revolution, in which the Bolsheviks overthrew the new regime. Lenin's administration redistributed land among the peasantry and nationalised banks and large-scale industry. It withdrew from the First World War by signing a treaty with the Central Powers, and promoted world revolution through the Communist International. Widely considered one of the most influential figures of the 20th century, Lenin is viewed by supporters as a champion of socialism and the working class, while critics on both the left and right emphasize his role as founder and leader of an authoritarian regime responsible for political repression and mass killings. (Full article...)

November 8
St Helen's Church

St Helen's Church is the Anglican parish church of Ashby-de-la-Zouch, in the deanery of North West Leicestershire and the Diocese of Leicester. A previous church on the site was rebuilt beginning in 1474 by William Hastings, while he was converting his neighbouring manor house into a castle. The church was refurbished in about 1670 and again in 1829 to create more space, and a major rebuild in 1878–80 added two outer aisles, making the nave wider than it is long. The sandstone church has a tower at the west end. Other fixtures include ancient stained glass at the east end, some important funereal monuments, and a font, pulpit and carved heads by Thomas Earp. The finger pillory is a rare item, once seen as a humane form of punishment. The church has a long association with the Hastings family, its patrons for four centuries, and became a centre for Puritanism under Henry Hastings, 3rd Earl of Huntingdon. The church's architecture has earned it a Grade I listing, denoting a building of "exceptional interest". (Full article...)

November 9
Joaquim José Inácio, Viscount of Inhaúma, c. 1864

Joaquim José Inácio, Viscount of Inhaúma, (1808–1869) was a naval officer, politician and monarchist of the Empire of Brazil. After Brazilian independence in 1822, he enlisted in the armada (navy) and participated in the subduing of secessionist rebellions, including the Confederation of the Equator. He helped quell a military mutiny in 1831 and saw action in the Sabinada rebellion (1837–1838) and the Ragamuffin War (1840–1844). In 1849 he was given command of the fleet that was instrumental in subduing the Praieira revolt, the last rebellion in imperial Brazil. Inhaúma entered politics in 1861 as a member of the Conservative Party, serving first as navy minister and then as agriculture minister; the first professional firefighter corps in Brazil was formed during his tenure. In late 1866 he was appointed commander-in-chief of the fleet engaged in the Paraguayan War, and achieved the rank of admiral. Although historical works have not given much coverage to Inhaúma, some historians regard him among the greatest of the Brazilian navy officers. (Full article...)

November 10
Tropical Storm Bonnie near peak intensity on August 11

Tropical Storm Bonnie was the second storm of the 2004 Atlantic hurricane season, making landfall in Florida in August. It developed from a tropical wave to the east of the Lesser Antilles. After moving through the islands, its forward motion caused the wave to dissipate, but it later regenerated into a tropical storm near the Yucatán Peninsula. It attained peak winds of 65 mph (100 km/h) over the Gulf of Mexico, turned to the northeast, and hit Florida with sustained 45 mph (75 km) winds. The storm accelerated to the northeast and became an extratropical cyclone to the east of New Jersey. Bonnie was the first of five tropical systems to make landfall on Florida that year, and the second of a record eight disturbances to reach tropical storm strength during the month of August. Bonnie caused a tornado outbreak across the Southeastern United States that killed three people and inflicted damage costs of over $1 million. Other impacts were minimal, including flooding and minor damage in Florida. The day after Bonnie made landfall, Hurricane Charley struck Florida. (Full article...)

November 11
Norwich War Memorial

Norwich War Memorial is a First World War memorial in Norwich in Eastern England. Designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, it was the last of his eight cenotaphs (empty tombs) to be erected in England. In 1926 Norwich's newly elected lord mayor established an appeal to raise memorial funds for local hospitals and to construct a physical monument. He commissioned Lutyens, who designed a cenotaph atop a low screen wall with bronze gas-lit torches at either end, and a protruding Stone of Remembrance. Lutyens also installed a roll of honour listing the city's dead at Norwich Castle in 1931. A local disabled veteran unveiled the memorial in October 1927. It was moved from its original location to become the centrepiece of a memorial garden between the market and the City Hall in 1938. The structure on which the garden is built was found to be unstable in 2004; the memorial was closed off, and fell into disrepair. Work was completed in 2011, and the memorial was restored and rotated to face the city hall. It was rededicated on Armistice Day 2011 and is today a grade II* listed building. (Full article...)

November 12
The film's logo

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial is a 1982 American science fiction fantasy film co-produced and directed by Steven Spielberg. Written by Melissa Mathison, it stars Henry Thomas, Dee Wallace, Robert MacNaughton, Drew Barrymore, Peter Coyote and Pat Welsh. It tells the story of Elliott (Thomas), a lonely boy who befriends a stranded extraterrestrial. Elliott and his siblings help E.T. return home while attempting to hide him from their mother and the government. Filmed on a budget of $10.5 million, it was shot in rough chronological order, to facilitate convincing emotional performances from the young cast. E.T. was an immediate blockbuster, surpassing Star Wars to become the highest-grossing film of all time—a record it held for eleven years until Jurassic Park, another Spielberg-directed film, surpassed it in 1993. Considered one of the greatest films ever made, it was widely acclaimed by critics as a timeless story of friendship, and it ranks as the greatest science fiction film ever made in a Rotten Tomatoes survey. It was re-released in 1985, and then again in 2002 to celebrate its 20th anniversary, with altered shots and additional scenes. (Full article...)

November 13
Salt-shaker earthstar

Myriostoma, the salt-shaker earthstar, is the largest fungus in the earthstar family, with a fruit body up to 12 cm (4.7 in) across. It has been found in Africa, Asia, Europe, and North and South America. It grows in humus-rich forests or in woodlands, especially on well-drained and sandy soils. Myriostoma coliforme, the only species in the genus, is somewhat rare, appearing on the Red Lists of 12 European countries. It was one of 33 species proposed for protection in 2004 under the Bern Convention by the European Council for Conservation of Fungi. The inedible fruit body, initially shaped like a puffball, is encased in an outer covering that splits open from the top to form rays. These pieces curve down in a star shape to expose a papery spore case surrounding the fertile spore-bearing tissue, the gleba. The fungus is unique among the earthstars in having a spore sac that is supported by multiple stalks, and is perforated by several small holes, suggestive of its common name. The spores are dispersed when falling water hits the sac, forcing them up through the holes. (Full article...)

November 14
Ernest Joyce in 1914

Ernest Joyce (c. 1875 – 1940) was a Royal Naval seaman and Antarctic explorer who served under both Robert Falcon Scott and Ernest Shackleton in the early years of the 20th century. Joyce entered the navy as a boy seaman in 1891; his Antarctic experiences began in 1901 when he joined Scott's Discovery Expedition. In 1907 Shackleton recruited him to take charge of dogs and sledges on the Nimrod Expedition, a role he performed with distinction. Thus Shackleton employed him in a similar capacity in 1914, as a member of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition's Ross Sea party. Despite Joyce's acknowledged heroism during that expedition, it ended his exploring career, although he made attempts to join other expeditions. An abrasive and sometimes truculent character, his effectiveness in the field was nonetheless widely acknowledged. He was awarded a lifesaving Albert Medal and a Polar Medal with four bars, but Joyce made no significant material gains from his exploits, living out his post-Antarctic life in humble circumstances before dying suddenly in 1940. (Full article...)

November 15

Bazy Tankersley (1921–2013) was an American breeder of Arabian horses and a newspaper publisher. She was a daughter of Senator Joseph M. McCormick and Congresswoman Ruth Hanna McCormick. Her father died when she was a child, and she moved west when her mother remarried, where she was given a part-Arabian horse. She began working as a reporter at 18, and began her horse breeding operation, Al-Marah Arabians, in 1941. In 1949, she became the publisher of the conservative Washington Times-Herald owned by her uncle, Robert R. McCormick, where she became a friend of Senator Joseph McCarthy. When McCormick demanded she choose between the newspaper and Garvin "Tank" Tankersley, who became her second husband, she shifted to full-time horse breeding. By 1957 Al-Marah was the largest Arabian horse farm in the United States. Over her career she bred more than 2,800 registered Arabians. Though she was involved with conservative Republican causes as a young woman, she was a strong supporter of environmental causes in the 21st century and backed Barack Obama for president in 2008. She was a patron of many charities. (Full article...)

November 16
Obverse of a 1999 Susan B. Anthony dollar

The Susan B. Anthony dollar is a U.S. dollar coin that was minted from 1979 to 1981, when the series was suspended due to poor public reception, and briefly minted again in 1999. It was proposed as a replacement for the cumbersome Eisenhower dollar. A round planchet with an eleven-sided inner border, acceptable to the vending machine industry (a powerful lobby affecting coin legislation), was chosen for the smaller dollar. Social reformer Susan B. Anthony was selected for the obverse side; on the reverse, the design of the Eisenhower dollar was retained. Both sides of the coin were designed by Frank Gasparro, the Chief Engraver of the United States Mint. The Mint struck 500 million coins, but these entered circulation slowly, in part because of confusion caused by their similarity in size and appearance to the quarter. A final run of these dollar coins was struck in 1999 to compensate for the slow production of the Sacagawea dollar, authorized in 1997. Susan B. Anthony dollars are still plentiful, including many in uncirculated condition, so they hold little extra value for collectors. (Full article...)

November 17
Affleck at the 2017 San Diego Comic-Con

Ben Affleck (born 1972) is an American actor, director, screenwriter, and producer. His accolades include two Academy Awards, three Golden Globe Awards, two BAFTA Awards and two Screen Actors Guild Awards. He starred as a child in the PBS educational series The Voyage of the Mimi beginning in 1984. He later appeared in several Kevin Smith films, including Chasing Amy (1997) and Dogma (1999). Affleck gained wider recognition when he and childhood friend Matt Damon won the Golden Globe and Academy Award for the scre