Happy 50th Birthday to actor–producer Paul Giamatti who earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor in Cinderella Man (2005). His brilliant role as a depressed author and wine aficionado in the film Sideways, nearly brought down the Merlot industry in California, when his character despised the red, preferring Pinot Noir. He’s also known for his work in the Illusionist, Straight Outta Compton, American Splendor, Too Big To Fail, Downton Abbey, and playing the U.S. president in John Adams. WATCH him introduce, in an R-rated clip, his new TV series, Billions… (1967)

 (Photo of Giamatti from 2006 by iphegenia1– CC)

MORE Good News on this Day:

  • The first drive-in theater opened in Camden, New Jersey. In the 1960’s some 4,000 were operating across the U.S. but only a few hundred outdoor theaters remain (1933)
  • The National Basketball Association (NBA) was created with 11 teams (1946)
  • The first Internet connection was created, as Network control protocol packets were sent from the data port of one IMP to another (1969)
  • The video game, Tetris, was released (1984)
  • 172 nations meet at a United Nations Environmental Conference – the Earth Summit — in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, the largest ever of its kind with unprecedented scope (1992)
  • In Australian Rules Football, Tony Lockett breaks the record for career goals, previously 1299 by Gordon Coventry, which had stood since 1937 (1999)
  • Phylicia Rashad became the first African-American to win a Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play, for her work in “A Raisin in the Sun” (2004)


On this day in 2006, the Brazilian government announced a new park system that would protect an area of Amazon rainforest even more vast than the state of California. Partnering with Germany, the World Bank and WWF in 2002, a Brazilian conservation group worked to establish the Juruena National Park—now the third-largest park in Brazil—and a system of 80 reserves and parks to protect the vital habitat of more than 190,000 square miles. The Success has been phenomenal. As one of the world’s most ambitious conservation projects, ARPA (Amazon Region Protected Area Program) last year established permanent funding for the continued protection and upkeep of the area, with Germany donating a total of almost 90 million euros. Thanks to these funding partners, Brazil has been able to reduce deforestation in Amazonia by nearly 90% in the last ten years. The Amazon, the world’s largest river basin and source of one-fifth of the earth’s fresh water, contains the world’s highest diversity of birds and freshwater fish, as well as the planet’s largest rainforest— home to more than one third of all species.