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in the news today

Leonid Meteor Shower Peaks Today
The annual Leonid meteor shower is expected to reach its peak today, with viewers witnessing between 30 and 300 shooting stars an hour depending on their locations. The Leonids are bits of debris from the Tempel-Tuttle comet, and this year’s sky show will peak as Earth passes through a cloud of debris left behind by the comet in 1467 and 1533. The greatest number of meteors is expected to streak through the sky at around 4:45 PM Eastern Time on November 17, but daylight will essentially obscure views in North America at that time. Instead, North Americans are advised to look to the skies between 2 and 4 AM on the 17th. In Asia, however, the Leonids’ peak is expected to come during the predawn hours, providing an ideal viewing situation

fact of the day

FACT OF THE DAY: Support Refdesk
According to one study, using a cell phone while driving can be just as dangerous as driving while intoxicated, causing drivers to miss traffic signals and react more slowly to driving conditions. Frighteningly, the NHTSA estimates that more than 100 million U.S. drivers use their cell phone while driving and about 8% of drivers on the roadway at any given daylight moment are either conversing or texting on their cell phone

Ronald DeFeo, Jr., Murders Family in Amityville, NY (1974)

THIS DAY IN HISTORY: provided by The Free Dictionary Archive >>
At around 6:30 on the evening of November 13, 1974, Ronald DeFeo, Jr. burst into Henry's Bar in Amityville, Long Island, New York and declared: “You got to help me! I think my mother and father are shot.” DeFeo and a small group of people went to 112 Ocean Avenue, which was located not far from the bar, and found that DeFeo's parents were indeed dead. One of the group, Joe Yeswit, made an emergency call to the Suffolk County Police, who searched the house and found that six members of the same family were dead in their beds. [1]

The victims were Ronald DeFeo, Sr., 43, Louise DeFeo, 42, and four of their children, Dawn, 18, Allison, 13, Marc, 11, and John Matthew, 9. All of the victims had been shot with a .35 caliber lever action Marlin rifle at around three o'clock in the morning of that day. DeFeo's parents had both been shot twice, while the children had all been killed with single shots. The DeFeo family had occupied 112 Ocean Avenue since purchasing it in 1965.

Ronald DeFeo, Jr. was the eldest son of the family, and was also known as "Butch". He was taken to the local police station for his own protection after suggesting to police officers at the scene of the crime that the killings had been carried out by a mob hit man named Louis Falini. However, an interview with DeFeo at the station soon exposed serious inconsistencies in his version of events, and the following day he confessed to carrying out the killings himself. He told detectives: "Once I started, I just couldn’t stop. It went so fast."

this day in history

THIS DAY IN HISTORY: provided by The Free Dictionary Archive >>
Battle of Taranto (1940)
This battle, which took place during World War II, marked the first all-aircraft naval attack in history. The results were definitive, as British planes destroyed much of the Italian fleet anchored in Taranto. The battle is seen as a turning point in military history, marking the end of the reign of "big-gun" battleships and leading to the rise of naval air power. Certain aspects of the attack were studied as part of the planning for what other notorious aerial bombardment?