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What Happened on August 30?

  • A hotline directly connecting Moscow and Washington DC was established. (1963) The line provided direct communication access between the White House and the Kremlin. The line was established after the US and Russia came perilously close to a nuclear war after the Cuban Missile Crisis.

  • Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin was shot in an assassination attempt. (1918) Fanny Kaplan shot Lenin twice, but Lenin survived the attack. The shooting was one of the major incidences to instigate the "Red Terror" campaign in the Soviet Union, during which thousands were arrested and executed.

  • NASA's Space Shuttle Discovery launched for the first time. (1984) Discovery has flown on 38 missions to perform space station maintenance and to do research. It may be best known for launching the Hubble Space Telescope. There are plans in 2010 to decommission the Discovery Shuttle and donate it to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.

  • The Burgess Shale fossil field was discovered. (1909) Charles D. Walcott made the discovery of the remarkably well-preserved fossil field, which is about 500 million years old. The fossils contain both soft and hard parts; most fossils only have preserved hard parts as a result of being buried in mud.

  • The US state of California passed the Global Warming Solutions Act — the first US state to pass such an act. (2006) The act put stiff regulations in place that capped greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and emissions from automobiles. The Act set up a goal of reducing automobile emissions by 25 percent by 2025 to comply with the climate-change treaty called the Kyoto Protocol.

  • Thurgood Marshall became the first black US Supreme Court Justice. (1967) The US Senate voted 69 to 11 to appoint Marshall. He served on the Court from 1967 to 1991.

  • The first black astronaut flew into space. (1983) Guion S. Bluford Jr., a US Air Force Lieutenant Colonel, flew on the third mission of the Space Shuttle Challenger. Bluford had entered the US Astronaut program in 1979; this was his first mission.

  • The Japanese occupation of Hong Kong ended. (1945) The British military took control of Hong Kong after Japan's four-year reign, during which nearly half of Hong Kong's population died. Britain retained control of the island until 1997 when Hong Kong became part of China.

  • The Lake Pontchartrain Causeway, which may contain the longest bridge in the world, opened. (1956) The causeway has two bridges; the longer one is 23.87 miles (38.42 km) long. Only two bridges may have claim to be longer: Bang Na Expressway in Bangkok and the Weinan Weihe Grand Bridge in China. Definition causes the controversy. Only a short span of the Bang Na Expressway actually crosses water and both are viaducts — several short spans connected to make a bridge.

  • English author Mary Shelley was born. (1797) Shelley is perhaps best known for her book, Frankenstein, which she wrote when she was 18 years old.

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What is burgess shale?

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