Good News in History, August 16

96 years ago today, the Migratory Bird Treaty was signed between the U.S. and Canada. It read that the King of England and the United States “being desirous of saving from indiscriminate slaughter and of insuring the preservation of such migratory birds as are either useful to man or are harmless, have resolved to adopt some uniform system of protection which shall effectively accomplish such object.” It has been expanded to more or less include Mexico, Japan, and Russia, and protects over 800 species. READ more…. 

A stamp issued by the Postal Service at the 60th anniversary of the law.

Both countries similarly expanded their versions of the treaty in later decades to include measures to protect tracks of land as migratory bird sanctuaries, the first of which were Bird Rocks and Bonaventure Island & Percé Rock sanctuaries, both established in 1919, in Quebec. This was paired in the U.S. with the National Wildlife Refuge system, one of the finest examples of public land management on Earth.

MORE Good News on this Day:

The first transatlantic telegraph cable was inaugurated by U.S. President Buchanan who exchanged greetings with UK’s Queen Victoria (1858)
Dominican Republic gained freedom after four-year war against Spanish Annexation (1865)
First female students admitted to the (Imperial) Tōhoku University of Japan (1913)
Sports Illustrated was first published by Time Inc (1954)
Britain granted independence to Cyprus (1960)
Ringo Starrreplaced Pete Best to become the drummer for The Beatles (1962)
Thousands of people worldwide began a two-day celebration of the “harmonic convergence,” a planetary alignment with the Sun, Moon and six planets, which believers marked as the start of a new, more enlightened age (1987)
By David Shankbone, CC license

62 years ago today, Air Force Captain Joe Kittinger parachuted from space after climbing in a balloon to 102,800 feet (31,330 m). He set four historical records over New Mexico: highest parachute jump, highest balloon ascent, longest free-fall (four minutes), and fastest speed by a human without an aircraft.

Joseph Kittinger, 1957

The former Vietnam War fighter pilot and prisoner of war for 11 months, he was participating in research about high altitude bailouts.

Captain Kittinger’s record skydive jump, USAF

The Tampa-born retired Colonel, who later wrote an autobiography, fell for 19 miles and reached a maximum speed of 614 miles per hour (988 km/h).

Many years later, at the age of 84, Joe participated in the 2012 Red Bull Stratos project as capsule communicator, directing Felix Baumgartner on his record-breaking 39-kilometer (24 mi) free-fall from Earth’s stratosphere. WATCH him talk about the experience… (1960)

Also, Happy 64th Birthday to the incomparable Madonna. Over the last 12 years, the singer–songwriter–actress has opened her wallet to help revitalize Detroit in her home state of Michigan, and built 10 primary schools in Malawi, where she has adopted several children and supported other charity initiatives. She has also started many businesses (cosmetics, fashion, fitness, and a pub), directed acclaimed films, and has earned more money touring than any other solo artist overall. Having sold more than 300 million records worldwide, Madonna has been recognized as the best-selling female recording artist of all time worldwide. According to Billboard, she is the most successful solo act on its Hot 100 song chart, second overall behind the Beatles. (1958)

And 53 years ago today Neil Young joined Crosby, Stills and Nash on stage for the first time, playing at the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago—a collaboration that would continue on and off for the next 30 years. Young was originally offered a position as a sideman, but agreed to join only if he received full membership, and the group—winners of the 1969 Grammy for Best New Artist—was renamed Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. At the show, they mentioned they were going to someplace called Woodstock the next day, but they had no idea where that was.

The band’s second show at the massive Woodstock festival was a “baptism by fire,” with a crowd of famous performers looking on from offstage prompting Stills to say, “This is only the second time we’ve performed in front of people. We’re scared shitless!” Soon after, their recording of the Joni Mitchell song, Woodstock, along with other hits like Teach Your Children and Our House on the debut album, Déjà Vu in 1970, sealed their prominence in rock history. Later that year, Young released his third solo album, After the Gold Rush, which featured, his former bandmate from Buffalo Springfield, Stephen Stills.

Neil Young refused to be filmed on stage that day, but played on this performance, with historic footage of the festival in a montage over the recording… WATCH Wooden Ships from Woodstock… (1969)

Other Notable Birthdays: James Cameron, Director of Titanic, Aliens, Avatar, and The Terminator series (67); Timothy Hutton, Actor–Ordinary People (61); Steve Carell, Actor and comedian–The Office (59)

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