On this date in 1291, the Swiss Confederation was formed. Like the cheese, it had holes in it.

In 1785, Caroline Herschel became the first woman to discover a comet.
  • She also became the first person to discover a comet and not crack the joke, "Nice tail!" 
  • Most astronomers at the time went for the same joke: "Well, then you can clean the sink!" 
  • She was making dinner at the time and named one of her dishes after the event: "Comet taters." 

On this date in 1793, France became the first nation to switch to the metric system. You know the old saying, "Give 'em inch and they'll convert it to 2.54 centimeters."

Francis Scott Key was born on this date back in 1799. Actually, "The Star Spangled Banner" was the second national anthem he wrote for our country. He tried out another song at a baseball game, but no one would stand for it.

On this date in 1873, Inventor Andrew S. Hallidie successfully tested a cable car he had designed for the city of San Francisco.
That's what made him an inventor. He left San Francisco a huge success but without his heart.
It was quite popular until the satellite car came along.

Shredded Wheat was patented by Henry Perky and William Ford in 1893 -- "What's your favorite cereal?" Everything from Shredded Wheat to Frosted Flakes. What's your favorite old cereals that not around anymore. What's your favorite cereal commercials and characters they use to hawk them.

Today was the opening day for Hitler's Olympics in 1936. A couple of specials about that year on PBS tomorrow night.

It was on this date in 1957 that the first solar heated commercial building was completed in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Then again, during the summer, pretty much all of the buildings in Albuquerque are solar heated.

On this date in 1958, the price of a postage stamp went up to 4 cents. Back then, that's what it cost to mail a letter. Now, that's the average price increase.

In 1960, the very first felt-tipped pen went on sale. The felt part made up 10% of the pen. It was criticized because most people felt a 15% tip was more appropriate.


Tonight is "National Night Out!" Get out there and meet your neighbors!

Tempestt Bledsoe, who played Vanessa on the old Cosby Show, turns 44 today.
She's the one walking around with the "I survived the Cosby Show" t-shirt.
It's weird to realize the kids on the TV shows you used to watch are now as old you think you still feel.
She's almost getting too old for Pudding Pops.

Rap singer Coolio turns 54 today. He gave us "Gangsta's Paradise" (which was taken from a Stevie Wonder song, in case you didn't know). At what point do you say, "Okay, I need to start using a real name, like Hank or Floyd?"

Chuck D of Public Enemy somehow made it to 57 today.

Today would have been Jerry Garcia's 75th birthday, but that's okay -- he wouldn't have known it anyway.


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