[Daily article] January 3: Red-backed fairywren

The red-backed fairywren (Malurus melanocephalus) is a species in the
Australasian wren family, Maluridae. It is endemic to Australia and can
be found near rivers and coastal areas along the northern and eastern
coastlines from the Kimberley in the northwest to the Hunter Region in
New South Wales. Most males adopt a striking breeding plumage, with
brown wings, a brightly coloured red back, and a black head, upperparts
and tail. Females, juveniles, and some males have brownish upperparts
and paler underparts. The species mainly eats insects, and supplements
its diet with seed and small fruits. The preferred habitat is heathland
and savannah, particularly where low shrubs and tall grasses provide
cover. A group consists of a socially monogamous pair with one or more
grown offspring who assist in raising the young. The red-backed
fairywren is sexually promiscuous, and each partner may mate with other
individuals. As part of a courtship display, the male wren plucks red
petals from flowers and displays them to females.

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Today’s selected anniversaries:

1749:

The first issue of Berlingske, Denmark’s oldest continually
operating newspaper, was published.

1777:

American Revolutionary War: American forces under General
George Washington defeated British troops at the Battle of Princeton
(pictured).

1919:

Emir Faisal of Iraq signed an agreement with Zionist leader
Chaim Weizmann on the development of a Jewish homeland in Palestine and
an Arab nation in a large part of the Middle East.

1976:

The multilateral International Covenant on Economic, Social and
Cultural Rights, part of the International Bill of Human Rights, came
into effect.

1990:

United States invasion of Panama: General Manuel Noriega, the
deposed “strongman of Panama”, surrendered to American forces.

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Wiktionary’s word of the day:

quacksalver:
(archaic) One falsely claiming to possess medical or other skills,
especially one who dispenses potions, ointments, etc., supposedly having
curative powers; a quack.

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Wikiquote quote of the day:

  The news today about “Atomic bombs” is so horrifying one is
stunned. The utter folly of these lunatic physicists to consent to do
such work for war-purposes: calmly plotting the destruction of the
world! Such explosives in men’s hands, while their moral and
intellectual status is declining, is about as useful as giving out
firearms to all inmates of a gaol and then saying that you hope “this
will ensure peace”. … Well we’re in God’s hands. But He does not look
kindly on Babel-builders.  
–J. R. R. Tolkien

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