On this day 130 years ago, the National Geographic Society was founded as a a club for academics and wealthy patrons interested in travel—and they met at the private Cosmos Club in Washington, D.C. The group’s second president, Alexander Graham Bell (who patented the first telephone), along with the Grosvenor family, devised a successful marketing strategy of ‘Society membership’ and they decided to use of photography to tell stories in magazines. Still headquartered in DC today, the nonprofit funds scientific exploration, runs a major museum, and sponsors popular traveling exhibits, such as the King Tut collection, The Cultural Treasures of Afghanistan, and China’s Terracotta Warriors—all in the last decade… WATCH 130 years of Nat’l Geo magazine covers in 2 minutes… (1888)

With a mission to increase geographic knowledge while promoting environmental, cultural, and historical conservation, the Society is best known for its media arm, which includes its magazine (published in nearly 40 local-language), maps, and Nat Geo projects for the web, film and TV serving people beyond its 6.8 million paying members.

MORE Good News on This Day:

  • The University of Georgia was founded as the first public university in U.S. (1785)
  • Relief for Leningrad: The German siege was broken after 900 days (1944)
  • Auschwitz and Birkenau death camps were liberated by Red Army in Poland; Holocaust Memorial Day for UN, UK, Germany, Poland, Denmark (1945)
  • 60 nations signed the Outer Space Treaty to ban nuclear weapons there (1967)
  • Paris Peace Accords officially ended the Vietnam War (1973)
  • World’s longest subaqueous tunnel (53.90km) in Japan successfully linked 2 islands (1983)
  • The National Recording Registry at the Library of Congress enshrines their first selections (2003)
  • Kathleen Wynne was named by the Liberal Party of Ontario to become Canada’s first openly gay Premier (2013)

Also, on this date in 2010, Steve Jobs announced Apple would soon unveil the iPad tablet, fulfilling his publicly stated goal from a quarter century earlier.

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He strove “to put an incredibly great computer in a book that you can carry around with you and learn how to use in 20 minutes … with a radio link in it so you don’t have to hook up to anything and you’re in communication with all of these larger databases and computers.”

Also, on this day in 1756, the musical genius child prodigy Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in Salzburg, Austria. By the age of five he was already prolific on the piano and violin and performing his original compositions for European royalty.

An inspiration for Beethoven, who was 15 years younger, Mozart composed over 600 works, many acknowledged as pinnacles of symphonic, chamber, operatic, and choral music, before his death at age 35.

The thin, small man, “except for his large intense eyes, gave no outward signs of genius.” Some of his most renowned works were operas, such as The Marriage of Figaro, Don Giovanni, and Così fan tutte. You are probably familiar with Mozart melodies, even without realizing it–like this “Turkish March” Rondo Alla Turca, below…

From the 1984 film called Amadeus, which won 8 Academy Awards, a short clip on YouTube shows an amused Mozart playing a piece composed by an inferior rival musician in the court.

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