Today in History: Dec. 2

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UNDATED (AP) Saturday, Dec. 2, is the 336th day of 2017.

  • Highlight in History:
    • On Dec. 2, 1942, an artificially created, self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction was demonstrated for the first time at the University of Chicago.
  • On this date:
    • In 1697, London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral, designed by Sir Christopher Wren, was consecrated for use even though the building was still under construction.
    • In 1804, Napoleon crowned himself Emperor of the French.
    • In 1859, militant abolitionist John Brown was hanged for his raid on Harpers Ferry the previous October.
    • Also in 1859, Artist Georges-Pierre Seurat was born in Paris.
    • In 1927, Ford Motor Co. unveiled its Model A automobile that replaced its Model T.
    • In 1939, New York Municipal Airport-LaGuardia Field (later LaGuardia Airport) went into operation as an airliner from Chicago landed at one minute past midnight.
    • In 1954, the U.S. Senate passed, 67-22, a resolution condemning Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy, R-Wis., which stated he had “acted contrary to senatorial ethics and tended to bring the Senate into dishonor and disrepute.”
    • In 1957, the Shippingport Atomic Power Station in Pennsylvania, the first full-scale commercial nuclear facility in the U.S., began operations. (The reactor ceased operating in 1982.)
    • In 1970, the newly created Environmental Protection Agency opened its doors under its first director, William D. Ruckelshaus.
    • In 1982, in the first operation of its kind, doctors at the University of Utah Medical Center implanted a permanent artificial heart in the chest of retired dentist Dr. Barney Clark, who lived 112 days with the device.
    • In 1997, the film drama Good Will Hunting starring Robin Williams, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck was released by Miramax Films.
    • In 2015, a couple loyal to Islamic State opened fire at a holiday banquet for public employees in San Bernardino, California, killing 14 people and wounding 21 others before dying in a shootout with police.
  • Ten years ago:
    • Venezuela President Hugo Chavez suffered defeat as voters rejected sweeping constitutional reforms by 51 to 49 percent.
    • Russian President Vladimir Putin’s party swept 70 percent of the seats for a new parliament in a vote whose fairness was called into question by European election monitors.
    • Brian Wilson, Martin Scorsese, Steve Martin, Diana Ross and pianist Leon Fleisher received Kennedy Center honors for their career achievements.
  • Five years ago:
    • Hundreds of concrete slabs, each weighing more than a ton, fell from the roof of a highway tunnel west of Tokyo, crushing vehicles below and killing nine people.
    • Dustin Hoffman, David Letterman, Led Zeppelin, Chicago bluesman Buddy Guy and ballerina Natalia Makarova received Kennedy Center Honors.
  • One year ago:
    • Thirty-six people died when fire erupted in an illegally converted warehouse in Oakland, California, during a dance party (two men have pleaded not guilty to charges of involuntary manslaughter).
    • President-elect Donald Trump spoke with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen in a highly unusual move.
  • Birthdays:
    • Former Attorney General Edwin Meese III is 86.
    • Former Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., is 78.
    • Actress Cathy Lee Crosby is 73.
    • Movie director Penelope Spheeris is 72.
    • Actor Ron Raines is 68.
    • Country singer John Wesley Ryles is 67.
    • Actor Keith Szarabajka is 65.
    • Actor Dan Butler is 63.
    • Broadcast journalist Stone Phillips is 63.
    • Actor Dennis Christopher is 62.
    • Actor Steven Bauer is 61.
    • Country singer Joe Henry is 57.
    • Rock musician Rick Savage (Def Leppard) is 57.
    • Actor Brendan Coyle is 54.
    • Rock musician Nate Mendel (Foo Fighters) is 49.
    • Actress Suzy Nakamura is 49.
    • Actress Rena Sofer is 49.
    • Rock singer Jimi (cq) HaHa (Jimmie’s Chicken Shack) is 49.
    • Actress Lucy Liu (loo) is 49.
    • Rapper Treach (Naughty By Nature) is 47.
    • Actor Joe Lo Truglio is 47.
    • International Tennis Hall of Famer Monica Seles is 44.
    • Singer Nelly Furtado is 39.
    • Pop singer Britney Spears is 36.
    • Actress-singer Jana Kramer is 34.
    • Actress Yvonne Orji is 34.
    • Actress Daniela Ruah is 34.
    • NFL quarterback Aaron Rodgers is 34.
    • Actor Alfred Enoch is 29.
    • Pop singer-songwriter Charlie Puth is 26.
    • Actresses Deanna and Daniella Canterman are 25.
  • Thought for the day: “Misery loves company, but company does not reciprocate.” — Addison Mizner, American architect (1872-1933).
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