What If? 31 Creative Writing Prompts for December

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Hello! Here’s this month’s selection of What Ifs to stimulate your writing brain. Let’s see what can you do with these! Some are deliberately vague or ambiguous so you can interpret them in different ways.

There’s one for each day of the month. If you need more, please take a look at our book The Fastest Way to Get Ideas – 4,400 Essential What Ifs for Writers.

What if…

1. they evacuated Earth and you were one of the few who stayed behind?

2. you told someone you felt sorry for them, but didn’t get the reaction you expected?

3. you used a work skill outside of work?

4. you used something you’d learned in school that you thought you’d never have a use for in real life?

5. you defended the indefensible?

6. you were tricked into saying something in another language that didn’t mean what you thought it did?

7. your toilet was really hungry?

8. your toilet ate you?

9. vehicles only went where they wanted to go?

10. you had a secret identity – online, in the real world, or both?

11. you had your own think-tank?

12. you were hugely respected?

13. you were renowned?

14. you had a bit of a reputation?

15. you had a pair of glasses that enabled you to see ghosts?

16. you ended up in another country, with no idea how you’d got there?

17. your case was to be heard by the Supreme Court?

18. you had never lasted a full week (or even a full day) at any job?

19. you became an Olympic gold medalist?

20. NASA needed your expertise?

21. one of the intelligence services summoned you to join them for a month-long secret mission?

22. teenagers started using your name as rhyming slang for the latest swear word?

23. a product that your family had used for generations was revealed to be toxic – which perhaps explained their early deaths?

24. it was free to get in but you had to pay to get out?

25. you changed the main thing about yourself?

26. parents decided what their children should be taught at school?

27. you escaped into the fictional world of a novel but couldn’t get back out again?

28. every war had turned out the opposite way?

29. we all stopped learning at 8 years old?

30. the general public was paid to solve crimes?

31. Earth was the only planet and the Sun was the only star?

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Available now: Next Year’s News 2018

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Next Year's News 2018Next Year’s News is the new name for our popular “The Date-A-Base Book” series.

Inside you’ll find details of over 5,000 newsworthy and notable anniversaries in 2018, including events, discoveries, inventions, births and deaths.

It’s the ideal (some would say essential!) reference for all writers, journalists, researchers, TV/radio producers and film-makers.

 

Size: 8.5″ x 11.5″. 357 pages.

The ebook (PDF) version is available now. Printed copies will be available in January.

The price is unchanged from last year: £9.99 (US$12.49).

Get your copy now at www.ideas4writers.co.uk/2018

The Date-A-Base Book 2017 is also available.

ideas4writers lifetime members: this ebook is included in your membership. You can download it from the members’ home page after logging in at www.ideas4writers.co.uk.

Next Year’s News: 50 Newsworthy Anniversaries in May 2017 for you to write about

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Here are 50 newsworthy anniversaries coming up in May 2017 for you to write about (and make money from). The anniversaries are listed 6 months in advance to give you enough time to find markets, and research and write your articles.

We have painstakingly cross-checked every entry, but you are advised to check all facts again as part of your research. Please let us know of any errors you find.


The Date-A-Base Book 2017The listing below is a small sample of the entries for May from The Date-A-Base Book 2017
There are 315 anniversaries for May in the book (more than six times more than listed here). The book covers the whole of 2017 from January to December and features more than 4,000 anniversaries in total.

If you need to work further ahead, Next Year’s News 2018 (the new name for the Date-A-Base Book series) is now available!

Just one published article should cover the cost of your copy many times over – and the book also explains how to get your articles published.

400 years ago (23 May 1617)
Birth of Elias Ashmole, English antiquarian and collector. A founding member of the Royal Society. Greatly rewarded for his support for the royalists in the English Civil War. Most of his collection was donated to Oxford University, which established the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology to house it.

200 years ago (15 May 1817)
Friends Hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA was officially opened (as the Asylum for the Relief of Persons Deprived of the Use of Their Reason). It was founded by the Quakers in 1813 and was the first privately run psychiatric hospital in the USA.

150 years ago (7 May 1867)
Swedish chemist and engineer Alfred Nobel was granted a British patent for his invention of dynamite – a safer and more manageable alternative to black powder and nitroglycerin. (He was also granted a Swedish patent on 19th October.)

150 years ago (26 May 1867)
Birth of Mary of Teck, Queen consort of the United Kingdom (1910––36). Wife of King George V. Mother of Edward VIII (the Duke of Windsor) and George VI.

150 years ago (29 May 1867)
Austria-Hungary (also known as the Austro-Hungarian Empire) was established as a dual monarchy when the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867 (also known as the Ausgleich) came into effect. (It was dissolved in 1918 following WWI.)

100 years ago (13 May 1917)
Our Lady of Fátima, an apparition of the Virgin Mary, was reported for the first time by three shepherd children in Fátima, Portugal. (The children later revealed that they had experienced apparitions during 1916 too, but had kept the secret to themselves. The final apparition was on 13th October 1917 during an event now known as the Miracle of the Sun.)

100 years ago (18 May 1917)
The Selective Service Act came into effect in the USA. It authorised a compulsory military draft to increase the size of the U.S. Army as it entered WWI. Draft days were held on 5th June 1917, 5th June 1918 and 12th September 1918. (The war ended on 11th November 1918. All Selective Service operations closed down between March and July 1919.)

100 years ago (21 May 1917)
Birth of Raymond Burr, Emmy Award-winning Canadian-American actor. Best known for his leading roles in the TV series Perry Mason and Ironside.

100 years ago (23 May 1917)
Birth of Edward Lorenz, American mathematician and meteorologist. Noted for his work on chaos theory and the Lorenz attractor. He also coined the term ‘butterfly effect’.

100 years ago (29 May 1917)
Birth of John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States (1961––63).(Assassinated 1963.)

90 years ago (4 May 1927)
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences was founded. The first official meeting took place on 11th May and the actor and producer Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. was elected as its first president.

90 years ago (9 May 1927)
The Australian Parliament convened in the new capital, Canberra, for the first time, after moving from Melbourne.

90 years ago (18 May 1927)
Grauman’s Chinese Theatre (now the TCL Chinese Theatre) opened in Hollywood, California, USA. The theatre is famous for the many (approximately 200) celebrity hand prints, footprints and autographs left in cement in its forecourt.

90 years ago (20 – 21 May 1927)
American aviator Charles Lindbergh made his historic first non-stop solo transatlantic flight, from New York, USA to Paris, France aboard the Spirit of St. Louis.

80 years ago (1 May 1937)
The U.S. Congress passed the Neutrality Act of 1937 in an attempt to avoid becoming entangled in foreign conflicts. (The Neutrality Acts of the 1930s are now regarded as negative as they treated both sides as belligerents and limited the USA’s ability to supply aid to ‘friendly’ nations such as Britain and France during WWII.)

80 years ago (6 May 1937)
The Hindenburg disaster. The German airship Hindenburg burst into flames as it docked at Lakehurst Naval Air Station in New Jersey, USA. 36 people were killed.

80 years ago (12 May 1937)
The coronation of King George VI of the United Kingdom. (This was also the BBC’s first official outdoor television broadcast and marked the first use of an Outside Broadcast Van – a mobile television control/production room.)

80 years ago (27 May 1937)
The Golden Gate Bridge was officially opened. It links San Francisco and Marin County in California, USA.

80 years ago (28 May 1937)
Neville Chamberlain became British Prime Minister.

75 years ago (3 May 1942)
World War II: Japanese American internment. The USA ordered all people of Japanese ancestry living in Military Area No. 1’ (near San Francisco, California) to go to assembly centres and await transportation to permanent relocation centres.

75 years ago (5 May 1942)
World War II: food rationing began in the USA. The first food item to be rationed was sugar, which was restricted to half of normal consumption.

75 years ago (5 May 1942)
Birth of Tammy Wynette, American country music singer and songwriter. Known as ‘the first lady of country music’. Best known for her song Stand By Your Man. (Died 1998.)

75 years ago (12 May 1942)
Birth of Ian Dury, British punk/rock/new wave singer and songwriter. Known for his songs Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll, Hit Me with Your Rhythm Stick, Reasons to be Cheerful (Part Three) and the controversial Spasticus Autisticus. (Died 2000.)

75 years ago (15 May 1942)
The Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps was established in the USA.

75 years ago (15 May 1942)
World War II: mandatory gasoline (petrol) rationing was introduced in the eastern United States. Non-essential vehicles were allowed 3 gallons per week. Rationing was expanded to cover the whole country on 1st December. (Gasoline was not in short supply, but rubber was. Rationing gasoline reduced the demand for replacement tyres.)

75 years ago (19 May 1942)
Birth of Gary Kildall, American computer scientist who created the CP/M operating system and founded Digital Research, Inc. (Died 1994).

75 years ago (22 May 1942)
United Steelworkers was founded. It is the largest trade union in North America.

70 years ago (22 May 1947)
Cold War: U.S. President Harry S. Truman signed what is now known as the Truman Doctrine. It granted $400 million in military and economic aid to Greece and Turkey to help fight the spread of communism.

60 years ago (2 May 1957)
Death of Joseph McCarthy, American politician. Senator from Wisconsin. Known for his sensational accusations and investigations of the so-called communist infiltration of the State Department and other branches of government. His charges ultimately proved unfounded and he was discredited and censured by the Senate.

60 years ago (10 May 1957)
Birth of Sid Vicious, notorious British punk rock star (the Sex Pistols). (Died 1979.)

60 years ago (15 May 1957)
Operation Grapple: Britain carried out its first hydrogen bomb test explosion over Malden Island in the Pacific Ocean. Immediately after the test, Britain announced to the world that it had become a thermonuclear power. However, the test was actually disappointing and the bomb produced less than a third of its expected 1 megaton yield. (The first real success was Grapple X, which was dropped over Kiribati on 8th November 1957 and produced a yield of 1.8 megatons – this is regarded as the date when Britain actually became a thermonuclear power.)

60 years ago (16 May 1957)
Death of Eliot Ness, American federal law enforcement officer. Best known for his efforts to enforce Prohibition in Chicago, Illinois. Leader of ‘The Untouchables’ – the legendary fearless and incorruptible group that worked to end Al Capone’s illegal activities.

60 years ago (28 May 1957)
The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, best known for the Grammy Awards, was established in Hollywood.

60 years ago (31 May 1957)
The British Computer Society (BCS) was formed. Its first president was the renowned computer scientist Maurice Wilkes.

50 years ago (1 May 1967)
American singer Elvis Presley married Priscilla Beaulieu in Las Vegas.

50 years ago (5 May 1967)
Ariel 3, the first satellite designed and built in Britain, was launched to study the Earth’s atmosphere. It remained operational (or semi-operational) until September 1969 when it was deactivated. It re-entered the atmosphere in December 1970.

50 years ago (25 May 1967)
Celtic became the first British football team to win the European Cup, beating Internazionale Milan 2 – 1 in Lisbon, Portugal.

50 years ago (28 May 1967)
British sailor and aviator Sir Francis Chichester became the first person to complete a true solo circumnavigation of the world from west to east via the clipper route and great capes.

50 years ago (30 May 1967)
The Republic of Biafra was established when the Eastern Region of Nigeria declared independence. (After a bitter civil war, Biafra was reintegrated with Nigeria in January 1970.)

50 years ago (30 May 1967)
Death of Claude Rains, British-born American stage and film actor. Noted for his smooth, polished style. His films include The Invisible Man, The Adventures of Robin Hood, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Casablanca, Lawrence of Arabia and more.

40 years ago (25 May 1977)
The film Star Wars (later retitled Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope) was released in the USA. (UK: 27th December.)

40 years ago (27 May 1977)
British punk rock band the Sex Pistols released their controversial single God Save the Queen. It reached #2 in the charts during the Queen’s Silver Jubilee celebrations in June. Many believe the sales figures were manipulated to keep it from the #1 spot.

40 years ago (29 May 1977)
American racing driver Janet Guthrie became the first woman to compete in the Indianapolis 500. (She suffered engine problems and finished 29th.)

30 years ago (28 May 1987)
Mathias Rust, a 19-year-old amateur pilot from West Germany, illegally landed his plane in Red Square, Moscow, Soviet Union. (He was arrested and detained until August 1988.)

25 years ago (6 May 1992)
Death of Marlene Dietrich, German-born American stage and film actress and singer.

25 years ago (9 May 1992)
Westray Mine Disaster, Nova Scotia, Canada. 26 miners were killed by a methane explosion.

20 years ago (6 May 1997)
The Bank of England was granted operational independence by the government. It was also granted sole responsibility for setting the country’s interest rates.

20 years ago (11 May 1997)
The IBM computer Deep Blue defeated world chess champion Garry Kasparov in a six-game match in New York City, USA. (Kasparov: 1 win, Deep Blue: 2 wins, drawn games: 3.)

20 years ago (27 May 1997)
American software developer Eric S. Raymond published his famous essay The Cathedral and the Bazaar, which discusses software engineering methods – particularly the struggle between top-down and bottom-up design. The essay, and his 1999 book of the same name, is regarded as the principal manifesto of the open source software movement.

10 years ago (25 May 2007)
Google Street View was launched in the USA. It provides panoramic views along streets, and now covers many parts of the world.


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(including The Date-A-Base Book 2017 and
Next Year’s News 2018) for just £49.95!

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Price if purchased individually: £214.56
Save: £164.61

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What If? 30 Creative Writing Prompts for November

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Hello! Here’s this month’s selection of What Ifs to stimulate your writing brain. Let’s see what can you do with these! Some are deliberately vague or ambiguous so you can interpret them in different ways.

There’s one for each day of the month. If you need more, please take a look at our book The Fastest Way to Get Ideas – 4,400 Essential What Ifs for Writers.

What if…

1. everyone was illiterate?

2. your destination kept getting further away?

3. there were no depths you wouldn’t sink to?

4. you were a cause of dismay?

5. you couldn’t wipe the smile off your face?

6. you couldn’t see through all the tears?

7. sharks could fly?

8. your whole life was sponsored – by a product, brand, organisation or individual?

9. you needed someone killed?

10. words didn’t have vowels?

11. words didn’t have consonants?

12. you accidentally researched the wrong subject and discovered something extraordinary?

13. you were frozen to the spot?

14. you had nothing to do?

15. there was nothing you could have done?

16. you could have done something but you chose not to?

17. a great revelation was revealed?

18. it all suddenly made complete sense?

19. you doubled the amount of exercise you were getting?

20. you had twice as many ideas?

21. you opened it and then decided you didn’t want it after all?

22. you liked to keep people on their toes?

23. you always made a point of rejecting the first one?

24. you were microscopic?

25. you owned the world’s biggest company?

26. you were fired from the company you founded?

27. you managed your kids’ band, and they suddenly became huge?

28. you had to make a life-or-death decision every single day?

29. you were poisonous?

30. you caused an earthquake?

Become a lifetime member of ideas4writers
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(Other currencies also accepted)

Price if purchased individually: £214.56
Save: £164.61

Click here to find out more or email us to ask a question

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Next Year’s News: 50 Newsworthy Anniversaries in April 2017 for you to write about

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Here are 50 newsworthy anniversaries coming up in April 2017 for you to write about (and make money from). The anniversaries are listed 6 months in advance to give you enough time to find markets, and research and write your articles.

We have painstakingly cross-checked every entry, but you are advised to check all facts again as part of your research. Please let us know of any errors you find.


The Date-A-Base Book 2016The listing below is a small sample of the entries for April from The Date-A-Base Book 2017
There are 322 anniversaries for April in the book (more than six times more than listed here). The book covers the whole of 2017 from January to December and features more than 4,000 anniversaries in total.

Just one published article should cover the cost of your copy many times over – and the book also explains how to get your articles published.

200 years ago (12 Apr 1817)
Death of Charles Messier, French astronomer. Best known for publishing the first systematic catalogue of diffuse (or ‘blurry’) celestial light sources – which we now know as galaxies, star clusters and nebulae.

200 years ago (15 Apr 1817)
The first school for the deaf in the USA was founded: the Hartford Asylum for the Education and Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb (now the American School for the Deaf), in Hartford, Connecticut.

150 years ago (10 Apr 1867)
Birth of George William Russell, (‘AE’), Irish nationalist, poet, artist and mystic.

150 years ago (16 Apr 1867)
Birth of Wilbur Wright, American aviation pioneer (Wright brothers) who achieved the first powered, sustained and controlled plane flight.

125 years ago (8 Apr 1892?)
Birth of Mary Pickford, (‘America’s Sweetheart’), pioneering Canadian-born American film actress. One of the first film stars in the USA. Co-founder of United Artists film studio and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. (Britannica gives her year of birth as 1893, but this appears to be incorrect.)

125 years ago (13 Apr 1892)
Birth of Sir Robert Watson-Watt, Scottish physicist who developed radar.

125 years ago (15 Apr 1892)
General Electric was founded in the USA when the Edison General Electric Company and the Thomson-Houston Company merged.

125 years ago (15 Apr 1892)
Birth of Corrie ten Boom, Dutch writer and speaker. Best known for helping many Jews escape the Holocaust during WWII. She also established a rehabilitation shelter for concentration camp survivors.

100 years ago (1 Apr 1917)
The Danish West Indies were officially transferred to the USA and renamed the United States Virgin Islands, after the USA purchased them from Denmark for $25 million (£16 million).

100 years ago (1 Apr 1917)
Death of Scott Joplin, (‘king of ragtime’), American composer and pianist. Known for his ragtime pieces including Maple Leaf Rag and The Entertainer. (Died from syphilitic dementia in a mental institution.) Posthumously awarded the Pulitzer Prize.

100 years ago (6 Apr 1917)
World War I: the USA declared war on Germany and entered the war.

100 years ago (14 Apr 1917)
Death of L. L. Zamenhof, Polish physician and linguist who created Esperanto.

100 years ago (16 Apr 1917)
Birth of Barry Nelson, American film and television actor. The first actor to play James Bond on screen (in a 1954 adaptation of Casino Royale on the TV anthology series Climax!). He also appeared in the films Airport, The Shining and more. (Died 2007.)

100 years ago (25 Apr 1917)
Birth of Ella Fitzgerald, world famous American jazz singer.

80 years ago (17 Apr 1937)
Daffy Duck made his debut appearance in the Warner Brothers’ cartoon Porky’s Duck Hunt.

80 years ago (26 Apr 1937)
Spanish Civil War: German planes bombed the Basque town of Guernica.

80 years ago (27 Apr 1937)
The National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, London opened.

75 years ago (8 Apr 1942 – Nov 1945)
World War II – the Hump. Allied pilots carried out a daily airlift of supplies into China from India after Axis forces blocked supply routes including the Burma Road. They resupplied the Chinese war effort as well as U.S. Army Air Force units stationed in China. They were forced to fly a challenging route over the eastern end of the Himalayas – which they nicknamed ‘the Hump’. 594 aircraft were lost or irreparably damaged during the mission and 1,659 personnel were killed.

75 years ago (9 Apr 1942)
World War II: the Bataan Death March. The Japanese forced 75,000 captured Philippines and American troops to march for 6 days without food or water to a prisoner-of-war camp. Thousands died.

75 years ago (15 Apr 1942)
World War II: Britain awarded the George Cross to the island of Malta in recognition of the bravery of its people.

75 years ago (23 Apr – 6 Jun 1942)
World War II: Germany launched the ‘Baedeker Blitz’ in retaliation for the bombing of the city of Lübeck. They planned to bomb every building in Britain that scored 3 stars in the Baedeker tourist guide. Exeter, Bath, Norwich, York and Canterbury were the main targets.

75 years ago (24 Apr 1942)
Death of Lucy Maud Montgomery, Canadian romantic novelist. Best known for Anne of Green Gables.

75 years ago (26 Apr 1942)
The worst mining disaster in history. An explosion at the Honkeiko (also known as Benxihu) colliery in Benxi, China killed 1,549 miners.

70 years ago (6 Apr 1947)
The first Tony Awards were presented, at the Waldorf Astoria hotel, New York City, USA.

70 years ago (15 Apr 1947)
Jackie Robinson became the first African American to play major league baseball. He played for the Brooklyn Dodgers, ending the racial segregation that had relegated black players to the Negro leagues.

60 years ago (1 Apr 1957)
The BBC TV current affairs programme Panorama broadcast its famous April Fool’s Day ‘spaghetti tree’ hoax.

60 years ago (24 Apr 1957)
The first episode of the British astronomy programme The Sky at Night was broadcast on BBC TV. It became the world’s longest-running television programme with the same presenter (Patrick Moore) until his death in December 2012. (His final appearance was in the January 2013 episode, which was pre-recorded. The programme continues with new presenters.)

50 years ago (8 Apr 1967)
The United Kingdom won the Eurovision Song Contest for the first time, with the song Puppet on a String sung by Sandie Shaw. The contest was held in Vienna, Austria.

50 years ago (28 Apr 1967)
American world heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali refused to be inducted into the U.S. Army after being drafted to fight in the Vietnam War. He was arrested, his boxing license suspended, and he was stripped of his title. He was found guilty at a trial held on 20th June. As he was unable to box, he spent the time giving inspirational speeches at schools and colleges. (The Supreme Court overturned the decision in June 1971, but he had lost 4 years’ boxing time when he would have been at the prime of his career. He became world heavyweight champion again in 1974 and 1978.)

40 years ago (2 Apr 1977)
British race horse Red Rum won the Grand National for a historic third time. It is considered one of the greatest moments in sporting history, and the record still stands today.

30 years ago (1 Apr 1987)
U.S. President Ronald Reagan declared AIDS ‘public health enemy No. 1’’.

30 years ago (19 Apr 1987)
The Simpsons was first broadcast as a cartoon short on The Tracey Ullman Show in the USA.

25 years ago (2 Apr 1992)
American Mafia boss John Gotti was convicted of 13 counts of murder, racketeering and obstruction of justice. (On 23rd June he was sentenced to life imprisonment. He died in 2002.)

25 years ago (5 Apr 1992)
Death of Sam Walton, American retail executive. Founder of Wal-Mart – the world’s largest company (by revenue).

25 years ago (6 Apr 1992 – Dec 1995)
The Bosnian War. Result: military stalemate and the internal partition of Bosnia and Herzegovina according to the Dayton Accords.

25 years ago (6 Apr 1992)
Microsoft released its Windows 3.1 graphical operating environment. This version introduced TrueType fonts and the famous Control-Alt-Delete command (also known as the ‘three finger salute’). It also allowed users to copy and paste data between different applications.

25 years ago (6 Apr 1992)
Death of Isaac Asimov, prolific Russian-born American writer and biochemist. Known for his hugely successful science fiction stories and popular science books.

25 years ago (9 Apr 1992)
Former Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega was convicted of drug trafficking, racketeering and money laundering at a court in Miami, Florida, USA. (Sentenced to 40 years in prison – later reduced to 30. After his release in 2007 he was extradited to France, retried, and sentenced to 7 years. In 2011 he was extradited to Panama and sentenced to 20 years.)

25 years ago (9 Apr 1992)
British general election. The Conservative Party won a fourth consecutive term in power, confounding expectations.

25 years ago (10 Apr 1992)
Baltic Exchange bombing, 30 St. Mary Axe, London. A one-ton IRA truck bomb exploded outside the Baltic Exchange, destroying part of the façade and damaging the rest of the building and surrounding buildings – cost of damage £800 million. 3 people were killed and 91 injured. (English Heritage wanted the building restored but, upon learning that the damage was far more severe than initially thought, it was demolished in 1998. The ‘Gherkin’ skyscraper now stands in its place.)

25 years ago (12 Apr 1992)
Disneyland Paris (formerly known as Euro Disney) opened in France.

25 years ago (18 Apr 1992?)
Death of Benny Hill, British comedian and actor. Best known for The Benny Hill Show. (Found dead on 20th April but probably died two days earlier.)

25 years ago (19 Apr 1992)
Death of Frankie Howerd, British comedian and comic actor. Known for the stage show A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and the TV series Up Pompeii!, and as a member of the Carry On… team.

25 years ago (20 Apr 1992)
The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert for AIDS Awareness was held at Wembley Stadium in London. It was a tribute to the Queen singer who died in November 1991, with all proceeds going to AIDS research.

25 years ago (27 Apr 1992)
Betty Boothroyd became the first female Speaker of Britain’s House of Commons.

25 years ago (29 Apr 1992)
Los Angeles riots, California, USA. A jury acquitted four police officers of the (videotaped) beating of African American motorist Rodney King, sparking six days of riots in which 53 people were killed.

20 years ago (29 Apr 1997)
The Chemical Weapons Convention came into effect, banning their use, development, manufacture, stockpiling, and sale or transfer. (Angola, Egypt, North Korea and South Sudan are the only countries that have not signed the convention. Israel and Myanmar have signed but not ratified it.)

20 years ago (30 Apr 1997)
The famous ‘coming out’ episode of the sitcom Ellen was broadcast on ABC TV in the USA. The title character, played by Ellen DeGeneres, admitted that she was a lesbian.

10 years ago (4 Apr 2007)
The first Earth-like exoplanet, Gliese 581 c, was discovered by astronomers at the European Southern Observatory in Chile. It is 20.5 light years away, in the constellation Libra and has a mass 5.5 times that of the Earth. (In April 2009 another planet in that system, Gliese 581 e, was discovered with a mass 1.9 times that of the Earth.)

10 years ago (16 Apr 2007)
Virginia Tech shooting, Blacksburg, Virginia, USA. Seung-Hui Cho, a senior student diagnosed with a severe anxiety disorder, shot and killed 32 people and wounded 17 others (6 more were injured when they jumped out of windows to escape). He then committed suicide. It is the deadliest shooting incident by a single gunman in U.S. history.


Become a lifetime member of ideas4writers
and get ALL 40 of our ebooks
(including The Date-A-Base Book 2017 and the exclusive 2018 preview) for just £49.95!

(or the equivalent in your local currency)

Price if purchased individually: £214.56
Save: £164.61

Click here to find out more or email us to ask a question

ideas4writers: inspiring you since 2002

What If? 31 Creative Writing Prompts for October

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Hello! Here’s this month’s selection of What Ifs to stimulate your writing brain. Let’s see what can you do with these! Some are deliberately vague or ambiguous so you can interpret them in different ways.

There’s one for each day of the month. If you need more, please take a look at our book The Fastest Way to Get Ideas – 4,400 Essential What Ifs for Writers.

What if…

1. there was no oil on Earth?

2. there were no precious metals on Earth?

3. there were no precious gems on Earth?

4. all humans were deaf?

5. you were sued for more money than you were worth?

6. someone carried out a threat they had made against you?

7. you were bullet-proof?

8. you could stop bullets from being fired?

9. you were seconds away from launching your new book on TV/radio when the government sent a message to say they were banning it?

10. they had the wrong man (or woman)?

11. you didn’t know it worked like that?

12. you were regarded as a medical oddity?

13. people thought you were weird?

14. you shunned all medicines and pills?

15. you thought you were ready, but you weren’t?

16. you were prepared for anything … except that?

17. the one person you thought you could trust let you down?

18. it ended in a fist fight?

19. someone died at your workplace today?

20. you had to deliver a baby?

21. you had to perform surgery?

22. you failed to notice the hidden camera?

23. you made a list of impossible things and set about doing them?

24. you were a doctor to the dead?

25. the hospital called to say there had been a terrible mistake?

26. the police groaned whenever your name was mentioned?

27. your company was forced to recall a product you had produced?

28. your new product/invention saved people millions, but put an entire industry out of work?

29. they couldn’t wait to see what you had in store?

30. you were embarrassed at the way you used to be?

31. you were embarrassed at what you had become?

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Next Year’s News: 50 Newsworthy Anniversaries in March 2017 for you to write about

Monday, 19 September 2016

Here are 50 newsworthy anniversaries coming up in March 2017 for you to write about (and make money from). The anniversaries are listed 6 months in advance to give you enough time to find markets, and research and write your articles.

For more details about how to do this, download our free booklet:
Ditch Your Day Job – the easiest way to make a living as a writer.

We have painstakingly cross-checked every entry, but you are advised to check all facts again as part of your research. Please let us know of any errors you find.


The Date-A-Base Book 2016The listing below is a small sample of the entries for March from The Date-A-Base Book 2017
There are 357 anniversaries for March in the book (more than seven times more than are listed here). The book covers the whole of 2017 from January to December and features more than 4,000 anniversaries in total.

Just one published article should cover the cost of your copy many times over – and the book also explains how to get your articles published.

400 years ago (21 Mar 1617?)
Death of Pocahontas, Native American daughter of Powhatan, paramount chief of the tribal nations in the Tsenacommacah, Virginia. She was captured by English settlers and held for ransom, but chose to stay with them and convert to Christianity rather than return to her own people. She married an English tobacco planter and moved to England with him. (Her funeral took place on this date, but her date of death is uncertain.)

300 years ago (2 Mar 1717)
The first ballet to be performed in England: The Loves of Mars and Venus by John Weaver, at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London.

250 years ago (15 Mar 1767)
Birth of Andrew Jackson, 7th President of the United States.

200 years ago (4 Mar 1817)
James Monroe was inaugurated as the 5th President of the United States. He was the last president who was also a founding father.

200 years ago (8 Mar 1817)
The New York Stock Exchange was founded.

150 years ago (1 Mar 1867)
Nebraska became the 37th state of the USA.

150 years ago (2 Mar 1867)
The U.S. Congress passed the first Reconstruction Act (of four) following the end of the U.S. Civil War. States which had seceded from the Union had to meet the conditions of the Act before they would be readmitted.

150 years ago (5 Mar 1867)
Fenian Rising: failed Fenian uprisings against English rule took place in Cork, Limerick and Dublin, Ireland. 12 people were killed.

150 years ago (16 Mar 1867)
British surgeon Joseph Lister published the first article outlining his discovery of antiseptic surgery, in the medical journal The Lancet. He explained how his use of carbolic acid (now known as phenol) to sterilise instruments and clean wounds had significantly reduced infections.

150 years ago (21 Mar 1867)
Birth of Florenz Ziegfeld, American theatrical producer. Best known for the Ziegfeld Follies revue show, as well as a string of successful Broadway shows including Show Boat.

150 years ago (25 Mar 1867)
Birth of Arturo Toscanini, acclaimed Italian conductor.

150 years ago (30 Mar 1867)
The USA purchased Alaska from the Russian Empire for $7.2 million (£4.6 million) – about 2 cents per acre. (It became a U.S. state in 1959.)

100 years ago (2 Mar 1917)
The people of Puerto Rico were granted U.S. citizenship when U.S. President Woodrow Wilson signed the Jones-Shafroth Act into effect.

100 years ago (2 Mar 1917)
Birth of Desi Arnaz, Cuban-born American bandleader, musician, actor and television producer. Husband of the actress Lucille Ball. Best known for his role as Ricky Ricardo in the TV sitcom I Love Lucy, and for his internationally acclaimed Latin music band, the Desi Arnaz Orchestra.

100 years ago (4 Mar 1917)
Jeannette Rankin from Montana took office as the first woman elected to the U.S. Congress.

100 years ago (6 Mar 1917)
Birth of Frankie Howerd, British comedian and comic actor. Best known for the stage show A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and the TV series Up Pompeii!, and as a member of the Carry On… team.

100 years ago (7 Mar 1917)
The world’s first jazz record was released: Livery Stable Blues by the Original Dixieland Jass Band. (The spelling of jass was changed to jazz later that year.)

100 years ago (8 – 12 Mar 1917)
The February Revolution, Petrograd (now St. Petersburg), Russia. This resulted in Tsar Nicholas II’s abdication (on 15th) and the end of the Russian Empire as Russia became a republic. (It is known as the February Revolution because Russia was still using the Julian calendar, under which the dates were 23rd – 27th February 1917.)

100 years ago (8 Mar 1917)
Death of Ferdinand, Graf von Zeppelin, German rigid airship manufacturer. Founder of the Zeppelin airship company.

100 years ago (16 – 18 Mar 1917)
World War I: Germany sank 3 U.S. ships in the Atlantic without warning: the SS Vigilancia, the SS City of Memphis and the tanker Illinois. On 2nd April U.S. President Woodrow Wilson declared that enough was enough and asked Congress for a declaration of war against Germany, which was granted on 6th April.

100 years ago (27 Mar 1917)
Birth of Cyrus Vance, U.S. Secretary of State (1977-–80).

100 years ago (31 Mar 1917)
The USA formally took possession of the Danish West Indies, which it purchased from Denmark under the Treaty of the Danish West Indies. The territory was renamed the U.S. Virgin Islands.

80 years ago (15 Mar 1937)
The first blood bank in the USA was established by Bernard Fantus at Cook County Hospital, Chicago, Illinois. (The world’s first blood bank was established in the Soviet Union in 1930.)

75 years ago (8 Mar 1942)
World War II: Dutch forces on Java surrendered to the Japanese.

75 years ago (8 Mar 1942)
World War II: the Bombing of Essen (Germany). The first attack on a German city by the British RAF following the Area Bombing Directive (14th February 1942) which authorised the bombing of civilian areas. A small number of houses were damaged or destroyed and 10 people were killed. (There were larger raids over the following two nights and later in the month.)

75 years ago (12 Mar 1942 – or 9th?)
Death of Robert Bosch, German engineer and industrialist. Founder of the Bosch company which developed the spark plug and magneto and later became one of the world’s largest engineering and electronics companies.

75 years ago (14 Mar 1942)
The first successful use of penicillin to treat a patient. Anne Miller, who was dying of streptococcal septicaemia, was given an injection of penicillin by doctors Orvan Hess and John Bumstead at Yale-New Haven Hospital, Connecticut, USA. She showed signs of improvement within 24 hours and made a full recovery. (Her treatment used up half of the USA’s entire stock of penicillin.)

75 years ago (16 Mar – 1 Apr 1942)
Holocaust: the Nazis began exterminating Jews in gas chambers. 15,000 Jews from the Lwów Ghetto in Poland (now Lviv, Ukraine) were transported by train to Belzec, where the first extermination camp began operating on 17th March.

75 years ago (19 Mar 1942)
The Thoroughbred Racing Associations (TRA) was established in the USA.

75 years ago (27 Mar 1942)
Capitol Records was established in Los Angeles, California, USA (as Liberty Records – it was renamed Capitol Records in May). It opened its first office on 4th June.)

60 years ago (4 Mar 1957)
The Standard & Poor 500 stock market index (commonly known as the S&P 500) was introduced.

60 years ago (6 Mar 1957)
The Gold Coast declared its independence from the UK and changed its name to Ghana. It was the first African nation to declare independence from European colonisation.

60 years ago (25 Mar 1957)
The Treaty of Rome was signed, creating the European Economic Community which was founded on 1st January 1958. (It was renamed the European Community in 1993 and was dissolved in 2009 having been replaced by the European Union).

50 years ago (6 Mar 1967)
The first North Sea gas was pumped ashore at Easington in County Durham, England. This led to a 10-year programme to convert all of the nation’s gas appliances from town gas (coal gas) to North Sea gas.

50 years ago (6 Mar 1967)
Death of Nelson Eddy, American baritone singer and actor. A crossover star of both opera and film musicals. The world’s highest-paid singer during his heyday. Best known for the films he starred in with Jeanette MacDonald, including Rose Marie, Maytime, New Moon and more. He introduced millions of young Americans to classical music and inspired many of them to take up musical careers.

50 years ago (18 Mar 1967)
Torrey Canyon oil spill, Cornwall, England. The supertanker SS Torrey Canyon hit a rock on a reef between the Cornish mainland and the Isles of Scilly while attempting to take a shortcut to South Wales. 32 million gallons of crude oil were spilled – the worst spill in UK history. Hundreds of miles of coastline were affected in the UK, France and Spain. The RAF and Royal Navy bombed the ship and attempted to set fire to the oil to burn it off, but met with limited success (25% of the bombs missed the large, stationary target). First-generation dispersal agents/detergents/solvents used on the spill were highly toxic. 15,000 sea birds were killed. The government was heavily criticised for its handling of the incident.

40 years ago (4 Mar 1977)
Vrancea earthquake (also known as the 1977 Bucharest earthquake), Eastern Carpathians. 1,578 people were killed and more than 11,300 injured, mainly in Bucharest, Romania. About 35,000 buildings were damaged, which led the Romanian government to impose stricter building standards on construction.

40 years ago (27 Mar 1977)
Tenerife airport disaster, Canary Islands. Two Boeing 747 jumbo jets collided on the runway in heavy fog. 583 people were killed – the deadliest accident in aviation history.

30 years ago (4 Mar 1987)
In a nationally televised address, U.S. President Ronald Reagan accepted full responsibility for the Iran-Contra scandal and admitted making mistakes, saying his heart and best intentions told him he did not trade arms for hostages, but the facts and evidence said he did.

30 years ago (6 Mar 1987)
The British ferry Herald of Free Enterprise capsized off Zeebrugge, Belgium after it set sail with its bow doors open. 193 people were killed.

30 years ago (19 Mar 1987)
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved AZT, a drug used in the treatment of AIDS and found to prolong the lives of patients.

25 years ago (3 Mar 1992)
Bosnia and Herzegovina declared its independence from Yugoslavia following a referendum held on 29th February and 1st March. (Independence was recognised internationally on 6th April, leading to the Bosnian War.)

25 years ago (5 Mar – 29 Apr 1992)
The trial of four Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officers who were caught on videotape beating motorist Rodney King took place in Simi Valley, California, USA. The jury acquitted all 4 defendants of assault, acquitted 3 of them of using excessive force and could not agree a verdict of excessive force on the 4th defendant. The shock result is thought to have led to the 1992 Los Angeles riots (29th April) in which 53 people were killed.

25 years ago (9 Mar 1992)
Death of Menachem Begin, Prime Minister of Israel (1977-–83). Joint winner of the 1978 Nobel Peace Prize.

25 years ago (13 Mar 1992)
Erzincan earthquake, eastern Turkey. About 500 people were killed and 2,000 injured.

25 years ago (17 Mar 1992)
In a referendum the people of South Africa voted to back political reform and end apartheid.

20 years ago (13 Mar 1997)
The Net Book Agreement was abolished in Britain after being ruled anti-competitive by the Restrictive Practices Court. The agreement had allowed publishers to fix the price of books, preventing them from being sold at a discount. (Some retailers had deliberately damaged or defaced copies in order to sell obsolete stock at a lower price, as the agreement only covered books that were ‘new’.)

20 years ago (26 Mar 1997)
Police discovered the bodies of 39 members of the Heaven’s Gate religious cult who had committed suicide in Rancho Santa Fe, California, USA. (Cult members apparently believed this would allow their souls to reach an alien spacecraft that was following Comet Hale-Bopp, and they would then be transported to a level of existence above human.)

10 years ago (4 Mar 2007)
2007 Estonian parliamentary election. This was the world’s first nationwide election in which online voting was allowed. The incumbent Prime Minister Andrus Ansip was re-elected. 3.4% of voters (30,275 citizens) voted online.

10 years ago (31 Mar 2007)
The first Earth Hour was held in Sydney, Australia. 2.2 million participants switched off all their non-essential electric lights for 1 hour – including the floodlights on the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House. In March 2008 it became a global event.


Become a lifetime member of ideas4writers
and get ALL 40 of our ebooks
(including The Date-A-Base Book 2017 and the exclusive 2018 preview) for just £49.95!

(or the equivalent in your local currency)

Price if purchased individually: £214.56
Save: £164.61

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Reviewers and bloggers wanted!

Monday, 12 September 2016

dab_cover_17We’re looking for reviewers and bloggers who would be interested in reviewing The Date-A-Base Book 2017.

The book gives details of more than 3,800 newsworthy anniversaries in 2017, including significant historic events, inventions, discoveries, births and deaths. We publish them months in advance to allow time for research, writing and editing.

We believe it’s the ideal reference/source book for writers, journalists, editors, TV and radio producers, researchers, film-makers, teachers, speakers, event planners and quiz setters.

If you’d be willing to review it, and your blog or website is aimed at this sort of audience, please contact us by email (mail@ideas4writers.co.uk) giving the address of your blog or website. We’ll send you a free PDF copy by return.

How to Win Short Story CompetitionsIf The Date-A-Base Book 2017 doesn’t appeal to you or your audience, how about How to Win Short Story Competitions? Ask for a free review copy of that one instead – or as well!

Thanks in advance for your help.

What If? 30 Creative Writing Prompts for September

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Hello! Here’s this month’s selection of What Ifs to stimulate your writing brain. See what can you do with these! Some are deliberately vague or ambiguous so you can interpret them in different ways.

There’s one for each day of the month. If you need more, take a look at our book The Fastest Way to Get Ideas – 4,400 Essential What Ifs for Writers.

What if…

1. you were actually a toy?

2. textbooks were written by people who’d failed their exams?

3. the fog cleared and everything was different?

4. it was closed to you but open to everyone else?

5. there was no wind?

6. there was a school where you could learn to do the impossible?

7. you were 3 seconds from disaster?

8. everyone would be calling you a hero tomorrow?

9. you would be on all the front pages tomorrow?

10. someone from your distant past was taking revenge on you?

11. you decided that 15 years was long enough?

12. everyone had forgotten by now?

13. you wrongly assumed that everyone had forgotten?

14. anything less than top marks was unacceptable?

15. top marks were unacceptable?

16. you were the victim of reverse discrimination?

17. it was well outside the margin of error?

18. the predictable became unpredictable?

19. you were recruited to work on a secret project that your boss knew nothing about?

20. a secret project you had been working on for years was finally revealed to the public?

21. the design/recipe had been changed without your knowledge?

22. you tried to publish a book that contained a banned sequence of words – but no one would publish it, nor would they tell you what the words were?

23. you were blacklisted because of your (real or supposed) religious or political convictions?

24. foreigners took over your neighbourhood, and they wanted you out?

25. every attempt you made to become a better person was thwarted?

26. you had more money than sense?

27. an alien walked past you in the street?

28. the animals all started speaking English?

29. it was the modern custom to greet people by yelling at them as loudly as possible?

30. everyone started muttering to themselves?

Become a lifetime member of ideas4writers
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ideas4writers: inspiring you since 2002

50 Newsworthy Anniversaries in February 2017 for you to write about (and make money from)

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Here are 50 newsworthy anniversaries coming up in February 2017 for you to write about (and make money from). The anniversaries are listed 6 months in advance to give you enough time to find markets, and research and write your articles.

For more details about how to do this, download our booklet: Ditch Your Day Job – the easiest way to make a living as a writer.

We have painstakingly cross-checked every entry, but you are advised to check all facts again as part of your research. Please let us know of any errors you find.


The Date-A-Base Book 2016The listing below is a small sample of the entries for February from The Date-A-Base Book 2017
There are 272 anniversaries for February in the book (more than five times more than are listed here). The book covers the whole of 2017 from January to December and features more than 4,000 anniversaries in total.

Just one published article should cover the cost of your copy many times over – and the book also explains how to get your articles published.

600 years ago (23 Feb 1417)
Birth of Pope Paul II.

300 years ago (19 Feb 1717)
Birth of David Garrick, British actor, playwright, producer and theatre manager. Manager of London’s Drury Lane Theatre for 29 years, during which time it became one of the leading theatres in Europe.

150 years ago (3 Feb 1867)
Meiji became Emperor of Japan.

150 years ago (7 Feb 1867)
Birth of Laura Ingalls Wilder, American children’s writer. Best known for her Little House series, based on her childhood in a pioneer family in the American Midwest.

150 years ago (15 Feb 1867)
Johann Strauss’s waltz The Blue Danube was performed for the first time, in Vienna, Austria.

125 years ago (15 Feb 1892)
Birth of James Forrestal, the first U.S. Secretary of Defense (1947–-49). As U.S. Secretary of the Navy (1944-–47) he directed the huge naval expansion and procurement programmes of WWII. The world’s first supercarrier (aircraft carrier) was named USS Forrestal in his honour.

125 years ago (27 Feb 1892)
Death of Louis Vuitton, French businessman. Known for his luxury luggage products.

100 years ago (3 Feb 1917)
World War I: the American cargo ship Housatonic was sunk by a German submarine in the Atlantic. The crew were ordered into the lifeboats before the torpedo was fired, and all survived. (The Housatonic was formerly the German passenger ship SS Georgia. It was interned by the USA at the outbreak of the war and sold to a U.S. company for conversion into a cargo ship.)

100 years ago (5 Feb 1917)
The U.S. Congress passed the Immigration Act of 1917 (also known as the Asiatic Barred Zone Act) on its 4th attempt, over President Woodrow Wilson’s veto. It banned a wide range of ‘undesirables’ from entering the country. The most controversial part of the act banned immigration from large parts of Asia and the Pacific Islands (previously only the Chinese had been banned). Parts of it were repealed in 1943 (Chinese) and 1946 (Asian Indians and Filipinos) and it was superseded by the McCarran-Walter Act in 1952 (which covered Japanese, Koreans and other Asians).

100 years ago (11 Feb 1917)
Birth of Sidney Sheldon, Tony Award-winning American novelist and screenwriter. During his TV career he created popular shows including The Patty Duke Show, I Dream of Jeannie and Hart to Hart. He then became a best-selling crime/thriller novelist. His books include Master of the Game, The Other Side of Midnight and Rage of Angels.

100 years ago (12 Feb 1917)
Birth of Dom DiMaggio, (‘The Little Professor’), American baseball player (Boston Red Sox). Brother of Joe DiMaggio and Vince DiMaggio.

100 years ago (25 Feb 1917)
Birth of Anthony Burgess, British novelist, playwright, composer and literary critic . Best known for his novels A Clockwork Orange (adapted into a controversial film by Stanley Kubrick) and Earthly Powers.

80 years ago (11 Feb 1937)
The Flint (Michigan) sit-down strike against General Motors (GM) ended. This famous strike led to the formal establishment and recognition of the United Automobile Workers (UAW) trade union, and later to the unionisation of the entire U.S. car industry. (The strike had begun on 30th December 1936, and ended when GM agreed to recognise the UAW.)

75 years ago (1 Feb 1942)
Vidkun Quisling became Minister President of Nazi-occupied Norway. (This led to his conviction for treason and execution after the war in 1945.)

75 years ago (1 Feb 1942)
World War II – the Marshalls-Gilberts raids (Micronesia). The first offensive action by the U.S. Navy against Japan following the attacks on Pearl Harbor and Wake Island. Minor damage was inflicted on Japanese garrisons, but it helped raise U.S. morale. This raid led to the Battle of Midway in June.

75 years ago (8 – 15 Feb 1942)
World War II – the Battle of Singapore. Japanese victory, leading to the Japanese occupation of Singapore until September 1945. This battle included the Battle of Bukit Timah (10th – 12th February) and the Battle of Pasir Panjang (13th – 14th February) – both Japanese victories.

75 years ago (9 Feb 1942)
World War II: the Joint Chiefs of Staff was officially established in the USA.

75 years ago (9 Feb 1942)
World War II: ‘War Time’ (year-round Daylight Saving Time) went into effect in the USA. (Ended September 1945.)

75 years ago (9 Feb 1942)
World War II: soap rationing began in Britain so that supplies of fats and oils could be saved for food production.

75 years ago (17 Feb 1942)
Birth of Huey P. Newton, American political activist. Co-founder of the Black Panther Party – established following incidents of alleged police brutality and racism. Convicted of killing a police officer (later acquitted). Jailed for misappropriating public funds. (Shot dead in 1989.)

75 years ago (18 Feb – 4 Mar 1942)
World War II: the Sook Ching. Japanese forces massacred up to 100,000 Chinese in Singapore and Malaya. (The exact death toll is disputed.)

75 years ago (19 Feb 1942)
World War II: U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 authorising the military to relocate and intern Japanese Americans living along the Pacific coast.

75 years ago (22 Feb 1942)
World War II: U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered General Douglas MacArthur out of the Philippines. He was the USA’s most experienced general and regarded as a symbol of the Allied resistance against the Japanese. If the Philippines fell, as seemed likely, he would be captured as a prisoner of war, which would benefit the Japanese. He was ordered to take command of U.S. forces in Australia instead. (He received the message on 23rd February and left the Philippines – with considerable reluctance – on 12th March, vowing to return to finish the job.)

70 years ago (7 Feb 1947)
The first of the Dead Sea Scrolls were found in caves in Khirbat Qumran (now in the West Bank, Palestine).

70 years ago (25 Feb 1947)
Prussia was officially abolished and became part of Germany.

65 years ago (1 Feb 1952)
The British Post Office began using detector vans to track down users of unlicensed television sets.

65 years ago (6 Feb 1952)
Death of George VI, King of the United Kingdom. Succeeded by his daughter Elizabeth II.

65 years ago (17 Feb 1952)
British Prime Minister Winston Churchill announced that Britain had developed its own atomic bomb and would carry out a test before the end of the year. (The test took place on 3rd October.)

50 years ago (3 Feb 1967)
Death of Joe Meek, Ivor Novello Award-winning British record producer and songwriter. He wrote songs for numerous artists. His best-remembered hit is Telstar by the Tornadoes. He also produced music for films. (Committed suicide after murdering his landlady.)

50 years ago (5 Feb 1967)
NASA launched its Lunar Orbiter 3 spacecraft to the Moon to photograph potential landing sites for the Surveyor and Apollo missions.

50 years ago (10 Feb 1967)
The 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was adopted. It clarifies the procedure for dealing with presidential succession or disability and the appointment of the Vice President.

50 years ago (18 Feb 1967)
Death of J. Robert Oppenheimer, American theoretical physicist, educator and administrator. Known as the ‘father of the atomic bomb’. Director of Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Mexico (1943-–45). Director of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, New Jersey (1947-–66).

50 years ago (28 Feb 1967)
Death of Henry Luce, American magazine publishing magnate who established Time, Life, Fortune, House & Home and Sports Illustrated. Husband of the playwright and politician Clare Boothe Luce.

40 years ago (12 Feb 1977)
The Boston Computer Society was founded in Massachusetts, USA, with over 30,000 members in 40 countries, including many notable computer pioneers. Several major organisations made important product announcements at its meetings. (Disbanded 1996.)

30 years ago (26 Feb 1987)
The Tower Commission published its report on the Iran-Contra affair. It criticised U.S. President Ronald Reagan for failing to properly supervise his national security staff and not being aware of their actions.

25 years ago (7 Feb 1992)
The Maastricht Treaty was signed, establishing the European Union (with effect from 1st November 1993).

25 years ago (10 Feb 1992)
American boxer Mike Tyson was convicted of raping Miss Black America contestant Desiree Washington. (He served 3 years in prison.)

25 years ago (17 Feb 1992)
American serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer was sentenced to 15 consecutive life terms by a court in Wisconsin. He was particularly notable for the gruesome nature of his crimes, which included cannibalism and necrophilia. (Beaten to death by a fellow inmate in November 1994.)

25 years ago (20 Feb 1992)
The English Premier League was founded, superseding the first division of the Football League.

25 years ago (20 Feb 1992)
Death of Dick York, American film and television actor. Best known for his role as Darrin Stephens in the TV sitcom Bewitched. (He was forced to quit the show due to back pain from an injury incurred while filming a movie, and spent much of his later years bedridden.)

25 years ago (25 – 26 Feb 1992)
Nagorno-Karabakh War – the Khojaly Massacre, Azerbaijan. Hundreds of civilians were killed by Armenian armed forces.

20 years ago (4 Feb 1997)
American actor and former football star O. J. Simpson was found liable for the deaths of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman at a civil trial in Santa Monica, California. (On 10th February he was ordered to pay a fine of $25 million and compensation of $8.5 million.)

20 years ago (4 Feb 1997)
Apple Computer bought Steve Jobs’ company NeXT, and Jobs returned to Apple as an adviser. Apple CEO Gil Amelio, who oversaw the purchase, was ousted in July 1997 and replaced by Jobs in September. (Jobs had been ousted from Apple, the company he co-founded, in 1985. NeXT’s operating system NeXTSTEP became the basis for Apple’s Mac OSX.)

20 years ago (21 Feb 1997)
The ‘Bridgewater Three’ were released. The 3 British men had been jailed for the 1978 murder of newspaper delivery boy Carl Bridgewater, but were released after their trial was ruled unfair. (A 4th man had also been convicted but he died in jail in 1981.)

20 years ago (22 Feb 1997)
Scientists at the Roslin Institute in Edinburgh, Scotland announced that they had successfully cloned a mammal for the first time: a sheep named Dolly (born 5th July 1996).

20 years ago (23 Feb 1997)
A large fire broke out on the Russian Space station Mir after an oxygen-generating canister malfunctioned.

20 years ago (26 Feb 1997)
Switzerland announced the establishment of the Swiss Humanitarian Fund (also known as the Swiss Fund for Needy Victims of the Holocaust). It distributed about £200 million ($315 million) to about 312,000 victims of the Nazi atrocities worldwide.

20 years ago (27 Feb 1997)
The Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997 came into effect in Britain. It banned the possession of most handguns. (All handguns were banned in February 1998 when the Firearms (Amendment) (No. 2) Act 1997 came into effect.)

20 years ago (27 Feb 1997)
Divorce was legalised in Ireland.

20 years ago (28 Feb 1997)
Ardabil earthquake, north-west Iran. More than 1,000 people were killed, 2,600 injured, and around 40,000 left homeless.


Become a lifetime member of ideas4writers
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Price if purchased individually: £214.56
Save: £164.61

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