27 BC – Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus is granted the title Augustus by the Roman Senate, marking the beginning of the Roman Empire.
1412 – The Medici family is appointed official banker of the Papacy.
1547 – Ivan the Terrible becomes Czar of Russia.
1556 – Philip II becomes King of Spain.
1786 – Virginia enacts the Statute for Religious Freedom authored by Thomas Jefferson.
1862 – Hartley Colliery disaster: Two hundred and four men and boys killed in a mining disaster, prompted a change in UK law which henceforth required all collieries to have at least two independent means of escape.
1919 – Temperance movement: The United States ratifies the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, requiring Prohibition in the United States one year after ratification.
1920 – The League of Nations holds its first council meeting in Paris, France.
1942 – Crash of TWA Flight 3, killing all 22 aboard, including film star Carole Lombard ( on her birthday )
1945 – Adolf Hitler moves into his underground bunker, the so-called Führerbunker.
1969 – Soviet spacecraft Soyuz 4 and Soyuz 5 perform the first-ever docking of manned spacecraft in orbit, the first-ever transfer of crew from one space vehicle to another, and the only time such a transfer was accomplished with a space walk.
Click the geodesic sphere
1970 – Buckminster Fuller receives the Gold Medal award from the American Institute of Architects.
“Something hit me very hard once, thinking about what one little man could do. Think of the Queen Elizabeth – the whole ship goes by and then comes the rudder. And there’s a tiny thing at the edge of the rudder called a trim tab. It’s a miniature rudder. Just moving the little trim tab builds a low pressure that pulls the rudder around. Takes almost no effort at all. So I said that the little individual can be a trim tab. Society thinks it’s going right by you, that it’s left you altogether. But if you’re doing dynamic things mentally, the fact is that you can just put your foot out like that and the whole big ship of state is going to go. So I said, “Call me Trim Tab.”
The truth is that you get the low pressure to do things, rather than getting on the other side and trying to push the bow of the ship around. And you build that low pressure by getting rid of a little nonsense, getting rid of things that don’t work and aren’t true until you start to get that trim-tab motion. It works every time. That’s the grand strategy you’re going for. So I’m positive that what you do with yourself, just the little things you do yourself, these are the things that count. To be a real trim tab, you’ve got to start with yourself, and soon you’ll feel that low pressure, and suddenly things begin to work in a beautiful way. Of course, they happen only when you’re dealing with really great integrity.
2002 – The UN Security Council unanimously establishes an arms embargo and the freezing of assets of Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda, and the remaining members of the Taliban.
2003 – The Space Shuttle Columbia takes off for mission STS-107 which would be its final one. Columbia disintegrated 16 days later on re-entry.
1477 – Johannes Schöner, German astronomer and cartographer (d. 1547)
1821 – John C. Breckinridge, 14th Vice President of the US (d. 1875)
1853 – André Michelin, French businessman, co-founded the Michelin Tyre Company (d. 1931)
1901 – Frank Zamboni, American businessman, founded the Zamboni Company (d. 1988)
1930 – Norman Podhoretz, American journalist and author
1932 – Dian Fossey, American zoologist and anthropologist (d. 1985)
1933 – Susan Sontag, American novelist, essayist, and critic (d. 2004)
1935 – A. J. Foyt, American race car driver
1980 – Lin-Manuel Miranda, American actor, playwright, and composer
1547 – Johannes Schöner, German astronomer and cartographer (b. 1477)
1595 – Murad III, Ottoman sultan (b. 1546)
1957 – Arturo Toscanini, Italian cellist and conductor (b. 1867)
2017 – Eugene Cernan, American captain, pilot, and astronaut (b. 1934)
The last astronauts to walk on the moon were mission Commander Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt. The astronauts of Apollo 17 landed on the moon on Dec. 11, 1972, and left on Dec. 14.
Before Cernan left the moon, he wrote his 9-year-old daughter’s initials TDC (Teresa “Tracy” Dawn Cernan) on the surface.