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1957

Soviet dog Laika launched into space

The Soviet Union launches the first animal into space, a dog named Laika, aboard the Sputnik 2 spacecraft. Laika, part Siberian husky, lived as a stray on the Moscow streets before being enlisted into the Soviet space program. Laika survived for several days as a passenger in the USSR’s second artificial Earth satellite, kept alive by a sophisticated life-support system. Electrodes attached t... Read more >

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1974

Hotel fire ends in disaster in South Korea

On this day in 1974, a fire rages out of control in a hotel in South Korea, killing 88 people, most of whom were enjoying a late-night party in a club on the hotel’s top floor. It was very early on a Sunday morning in the eastern part of downtown Seoul, when a guest staying on the sixth floor of a seven-story hotel fell asleep while smoking in bed. The resulting fire quickly spread through th... Read more >

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1844

Thackeray completes Barry Lyndon

On this day in 1844, William Makepeace Thackeray completes The Luck of Barry Lyndon: A Romance of the Last Century, which is published in Fraser’s Magazine. Thackeray was born in Calcutta in 1811. As a young man, he attended Cambridge but left without a degree, then drifted through a variety of professions. He tried studying law, then decided to become a painter. While studying art in Paris, ... Read more >