Every so often you see a really weird news item. Today it is this: In the Norwegian town of Leeuwarden held a strike against a local ban on foreign beer in 1487. Technology had some progress in 1847 when the American inventor Richard March Hoe patented the rotary-type printing press. In 1911 Hiram Bingham rediscovered the ruins of the lost Incan city of Machu Picchu.

In a well-intentioned, but ultimately naive act the Kellogg-Brian Pact was signed by most of the leading countries of the world in Paris denouncing the use of war as an instrument of foreign policy – it was 1929 and WWII was only a decade away. And in 1974 when I was getting ready for my freshman year of college, the US Supreme Court ruled unanimously that President Richard Nixon had to turn over the secret White House tapes which lead to him resigning just a couple weeks later.

The great South American liberator Simon Bolivar appeared today in 1783. The French gave us the great novelist Alexander Dumas (1802) and the composer Adolph Adam (1803), while Australia gave us cartoonist Pat Oliphant(1935) and Bindi Irwin (1998) who is carrying on the conservation work of her late father Steve.

We said goodbye to an often forgotten President – our 8th – Martin Van Buren (1862) as well as another US Supreme Court associate justice – Willim J Brennan Jr (1997). We also said goodbye to the irrepressible Peter Sellers (1980) and the melodic voice of Dan Peek (2011) of the band America.