Manuel Noriega was sentenced to 40 years in prison. (1992) Noriega was captured by the US military and returned to the US as a prisoner of war. He was convicted of drug trafficking, money laundering and racketeering. His 40-year sentence was later reduced to 30 years and he was released in 2007, after serving 17 years, for good behavior.
The man who was the voice of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Porky Pig died. (1989) Mel Blanc, a voice actor and comedian, had a 60-year career voice acting for many Warner Brothers characters. Blanc was also the voice for Yosemite Sam, Captain Caveman and Wile E. Coyote.
DNA evidence was found in a Neanderthal skeleton suggesting that modern humans evolved from Africa between 100,000 and 200,000 years ago. (1997) Charles Darwin hypothesized that man evolved from a single origin, and modern scientists started agreeing with the theory in the 1980s. Based on DNA and fossil evidence, most scientists now agree that humans originated in East Africa.
The Coca-Cola Company bowed to consumer pressure and ended New Coke, returning to the older formula. (1985) Coca-Cola returned to the old formula, calling the drink "Coca-Cola Classic," after "New Coke" formula failed. Sales skyrocketed with the return, and some speculated the new formula was a marketing ploy.
The Monkey Trial began — a high school teacher was charged with violating Tennessee state law for teaching evolution. (1925) The State of Tennessee v. John Thomas Scopes trial started on July 21st. Scopes, a high school science teacher, was found guilty of teaching evolution and ordered by the judge to pay $100 US Dollars in fines — about $1,200 USD in today's market. His lawyers appealed to the State Supreme Court, and though they found the conviction constitutional, they set aside the verdict on a technicality — the judge was not allowed to set fines above $50 USD; the jury should have set the fine. The Attorney General refused to retry the case. Years later in 1968, the US Supreme Court ruled in Epperson v. Arkansas that banning such teaching violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
London, England, burned to the ground. (1212) The Great Fire of 1212 was the second of the destructive medieval fires to destroy London. The London Bridge has just been rebuilt in stone, so the structure survived, but many people who tried to cross the bridge to help put out the fire were trapped. As many as 3,000 people may have died on the bridge, but some historians believe that number to be exaggerated.
The Big Ben clock tower in London, England, rang for the first time. (1859) Big Ben is the third tallest clock tower in the world, measuring 315.9 feet (96.3 meters) tall. The original bell was damaged during testing and had to be recast before it was ever installed. The replacement bell was installed and rang for the first time on this day, but by September, it too had cracked. It was repaired and the hammer was repositioned.
The highest temperature in US history was recorded in Death Valley, California. (1913) Temperatures rose on this day to 134 degrees Fahrenheit (almost 57 degrees Celsius). It is still considered the record temperature for the United States.
Meher Baba began his 44 years of silence. (1925) A spiritual master and Indian mystic remained silent from this day to his death on January 31, 1969. He communicated through alphabet boards and hand gestures; he felt his silence helped him connect with his universal work. His followers celebrate this day, called Silence Day, in his honor.
Howard Hughes set a new world record, flying around the world in just 91 hours. (1938) Hughes, one of the wealthiest men in the world, set many aviation records and was known for making controversial films, such as Scarface.