On this date in 1837 the now second-longest reigning monarch, Queen Victoria, ascended to the British throne. In 1840 Samuel Morse received his patent for the telegraph. And in a related event, Alexander Graham Bell installed the world’s first commercial telephone service in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada in 1877.

The famous or infamous 18 1/2 minute gap in the White House tapes was discovered on this date in 1972. In 1975 beachgoers got a scare when Jaws was released in theaters. And disaster struck northern Iran in 1990 when a 7.4 magnitude earthquake hit causing at least 35,000 deaths and at least 60,000 injuries.

German-French composer Jacques Offenbach (Tales of Hoffman) began creating in 1819. This was the birthdate of actors Errol Flynn (1909), Martin Landau (1928), and Olympia Dukakis (1931). Music started coming to us from Beach Boys co-founder Brian Wilson (1942), Canadian songbird Anne Murray (1945), and current American Idol judge and singer Lionel Richie (1949).

The world said goodbye to Jack Kirby (2005) who was involved in work on integrated circuits at Texas Instruments and came up with the invention of the hand-held calculator.

Today is International Surfing Day (think Brian Wilson) , West Virginia Day (was admitted to the Union in 1863) , and World Refugee Day, which was established in 2001.