Wikipedia:Picture of the day/January 2015

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A monthly archive of the English Wikipedia's pictures of the day

These featured pictures have previously appeared (or will appear) as picture of the day (POTD) on the Main Page, as scheduled below. You can add the automatically updating picture of the day to your userpage or talk page using {{Pic of the day}} (version with blurb) or {{POTD}} (version without blurb). For instructions on how to make custom POTD layouts, see Wikipedia:Picture of the day.Purge server cache

January 1
Freedom Monument

The Freedom Monument is a memorial located in Riga, Latvia, which honors the soldiers killed during the Latvian War of Independence. Designed by Kārlis Zāle and unveiled in 1935, this 42-metre (138 ft) monument includes thirteen groups of statues and bas-reliefs depicting Latvian culture and history. At the top is a 19-metre (62 ft)-high travertine column bearing the copper figure of Liberty lifting three gilded stars. Following Soviet occupation of Latvia in 1940, the monument was considered for demolition but ultimately saved. It remains a focal point for public gatherings and official ceremonies.

Monument: Kārlis Zāle; photograph: Diego Delso

January 2
Ophelia (painting)

Ophelia is an oil painting on canvas completed by Sir John Everett Millais between 1851 and 1852. It depicts the character Ophelia, from Shakespeare's play Hamlet, singing before she drowns in a river in Denmark; this death scene is not seen onstage, but is instead described in a speech by Queen Gertrude. The painting was completed in two stages: first, the setting (drawn from the Hogsmill River in Surrey) then Ophelia (portrayed by Elizabeth Siddal). The painting is now owned by Tate Britain and valued at more than £30 million.

Painting: John Everett Millais

January 3
Anthocharis cardamines

A female Anthocharis cardamines, a species of butterfly in the family Pieridae. Found through Europe and into Asia, this butterfly prefers damp grassy areas.

Photograph: Michael Apel

January 4
Check used for the Alaska Purchase

The check used for the Alaska Purchase, issued on August 1, 1868, and signed by US Secretary of State William H. Seward. For a total of $7.2 million, the United States government purchased Russian America from the Russian Empire (represented here by Russian Minister to the United States Eduard de Stoeckl). The lands involved became the modern state of Alaska in 1959.

Check: William H. Seward; scan: Our Documents initiative

January 5
Yellow-bellied marmot

The yellow-bellied marmot (Marmota flaviventris) is a ground squirrel in the marmot genus. Found in the western United States and southwestern Canada, including the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Nevada, these marmots live in colonies of about ten to twenty individuals, typically located in open areas at least 6,500 feet (2,000 m) above sea level.

Photograph: David Iliff

January 6

Adrianne Wadewitz (1977–2014) in a video (full resolution) discussing the workings of Wikipedia, created as part of the 2012 fundraiser. Wadewitz, an American feminist scholar of 18th-century British literature, first began editing the online encyclopedia in 2004. Though she first edited anonymously, Wadewitz later became a public face of Wikipedia and attempted to address the website's gender bias, and was quoted on the subject in the media. She died on April 8, 2014 after a fall while rock climbing in Joshua Tree National Park.

Video: Victor Grigas

January 7
Papuan frogmouth

The Papuan frogmouth (Podargus papuensis) is the longest bird in the frogmouth family. First described by Jean René Constant Quoy and Joseph Paul Gaimard in 1830, this species is found in subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests in Australia, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea. This nocturnal bird feeds by hunting for insects, lizards, frogs, and small rodents on the ground.

Photograph: JJ Harrison

January 8
American burlesque poster

The poster for an American burlesque production, Bend Her, dating from circa 1900; this burlesque was a take on Lew Wallace's novel Ben-Hur, which had recently been adapted to stage by William Young.

Burlesque productions such as this were variety shows involving a blend of satire, performance art, music hall and adult entertainment such as stripteases. As with Victorian burlesque, the stories were often parodies of popular contemporary works. These shows, mostly featuring female performers, could be put on in cabarets, clubs, music halls, and theatres.

Poster: Courier Company; restoration: Adam Cuerden

January 9

Ellmau is a municipality in the Kufstein district of Sölllandl, Austria. This village, first recorded in the 12th century, is a popular resort in both winter and summer.

Photograph: Bernie Kohl

January 10
United States Constitution

The first page of the original handwritten text of the United States Constitution, which took almost four months to draft and over three years to ratify. The first Constitutional Convention began on May 25, 1787, with a quorum at the Pennsylvania State House in Philadelphia to revise the Articles of Confederation. Instead the delegates wrote a new constitution, finishing on September 17 of that year, but its ratification by all 13 states was not completed until January 10, 1791. Since then 27 amendments have been made.

Read further: Page 2, Page 3, Page 4

Document: Constitutional Convention; scan: National Archives

January 11
Diet Coke and Mentos eruption

A Diet Coke and Mentos eruption is a reaction between the carbonated beverage Diet Coke and Mentos mints that causes the liquid to spray out of its container. The mints cause nucleation that releases dissolved carbon dioxide so fast it pushes the liquid up and out of the bottle, in what has been described as an eruption or geyser. Though this was demonstrated on television as early as 1999, the reaction went viral in 2005, after Steve Spangler posted a video to YouTube.

Photograph: Michael Murphy

January 12
Tobler hyperelliptical projection

The Tobler hyperelliptical projection is a family of equal-area pseudocylindrical map projections first described by Waldo R. Tobler in 1973. The imagery used for the map is derived from NASA's Blue Marble summer months composite, with oceans lightened to enhance legibility and contrast.

Map: Strebe, using Geocart

January 13
The Pearl and the Wave

The Pearl and the Wave is an oil painting on canvas completed by Paul-Jacques-Aimé Baudry in 1862 which depicts a nude woman lying on the edge of a rocky shore as waves break around her. It was an object of curiosity when exhibited, and the artist Kenyon Cox described it as "the perfect nude". More recently, however, it has been described as voyeuristic. In 1863 the painting was purchased by Empress consort Eugénie de Montijo. It is now in the Museo del Prado in Madrid, Spain.

Painting: Paul-Jacques-Aimé Baudry

January 14
PlayStation 2

Two versions of the PlayStation 2, a home video game console produced by Sony and the most successful console of the sixth generation. The original model (left), known informally as the "fat" model, was released in 2000 and included a docking bay for an internal hard disk drive. The "slimline" version (right) was released in 2004; it did not include the docking bay or an internal power supply, but was smaller, lighter, and quieter, and included an Ethernet port.

Photograph: Evan Amos

January 15
Black-capped kingfisher

The black-capped kingfisher (Halcyon pileata) is a large tree kingfisher found throughout tropical Asia. First described by Pieter Boddaert in 1783, this species frequents coastal waters, particularly those with mangroves. It feeds primarily on insects.

This individual was found in Phra Non, Nakhon Sawan, Thailand.

Photograph: JJ Harrison

January 16
Austroicetes frater

Austroicetes frater (the southern austroicetes) is a species of grasshopper in the genus Austroicetes which is found in Australia. First described by Karel Brančik in 1898, this species is abundant from mid-August to early December.

Photograph: JJ Harrison

January 17

A samurai with his sword and armor, photographed by Felice Beato c. 1860. The samurai, records of which date back to the early 10th-century Kokin Wakashū, were the military nobility of medieval and early-modern Japan. As Japan modernized during the Meiji period beginning in the late 1860s, the samurai lost much of their power, and the status was ultimately dissolved. However, samurai values remain common in Japanese society.

Photograph: Felice Beato

January 18
Tunnel View

Tunnel View is a scenic overlook on California State Route 41 in Yosemite National Park. Opened in 1933, it provides an expansive view looking east along Yosemite Valley. El Capitan dominates the view on the left, on the right are the Cathedral Rocks and Bridalveil Fall, and in the distance near the center of the picture is Half Dome.

Photograph: David Iliff

January 19
Petra Martić

Petra Martić (b. 1991) is a tennis player from Split, Croatia. Beginning her career as a junior in 2006, Martić turned professional in 2008. She reached a career high of World No. 42 in 2012 in women's singles.

This portrait was taken during her first-round win against Anna Tatishvili during the 2013 Wimbledon Championships; Martić was eliminated in the 3rd round.

Photo: David Iliff

January 20
Boeing YAL-1

The Boeing YAL-1 is a missile defense weapons system consisting of a megawatt-class chemical oxygen iodine laser (COIL) mounted inside a modified Boeing 747-400F. It was intended to destroy tactical ballistic missiles while in their boost phase. Only one YAL-1 was produced, and the program was canceled in December 2011; the aircraft made its first flight on July 18, 2002, and its last on February 14, 2012.

Photo: Missile Defense Agency

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January 21
Maillezais Cathedral

Maillezais Cathedral is a ruined Roman Catholic cathedral in the commune of Maillezais in the Vendée, France, which was constructed between the 11th and 15th centuries. Formerly the Abbey of Saint-Pierre, it was once part of the Diocese of Luçon and had St. Peter as its Patron Saint. The ruins, consisting of a church, refectory, dormitory, kitchen, cellars, turrets and ramparts, have been declared a heritage monument in reflection of their Romanesque, Gothic, and Renaissance form.

Photo: Selbymay

January 22
Armenian woman

An Armenian woman in traditional dress, photographed on a hillside near Artvin circa 1910 by Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky.

This early color photograph was created through the three-color separation process. Three black-and-white exposures were taken, using red, blue, and yellow filters. These exposures were then projected with similar colored filters to create a full-color image.

Photo: Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky; restoration: Keraunoscopia

January 23

The Sophienkirche in Dresden, Germany, as presented in a photochrom from c. 1895. Established in 1333 as a Franciscan monastery and chapel, the church stood empty for years after the Protestant Reformation. Restored in 1610 by Sophie of Brandenburg, the church received an organ made by Gottfried Silbermann in the 18th century, and the composer Johann Sebastian Bach performed several of his works there. The church, redesigned during the mid-19th century, was heavily damaged during the bombing of Dresden in 1945, and in 1962 the East German government ordered it destroyed.

Photochrom: Detroit Publishing Company; restoration: Adam Cuerden

January 24
Black-backed jackal

A black-backed jackal (Canis mesomelas) feeding on a springbok carcass in Etosha National Park, Namibia. This jackal species, found in southern and eastern Africa, is among the most basal of the canines. It is listed by the IUCN as least concern, due to its widespread range and adaptability, though it continues to be hunted.

Individuals stand 38–48 cm (15–19 in) at the shoulder and measure 67.3–81.2 cm (26.5–32.0 in) in body length and are omnivores despite being well adapted to eat meat. They live in monogamous pairs, defending their shared territory together.

Photograph: Yathin S Krishnappa

January 25

The common greenshank (Tringa nebularia) is a sub-Arctic migratory wader which breeds from northern Scotland eastwards across northern Europe and Asia. They feed on small invertebrates, but will also take small fish and amphibians.

Photograph: JJ Harrison

January 26
Artificial cranial deformation

The skull of a proto-Nazcan person (c. 200-100 BC), which has been artificially shaped. In the proto-Nazcan culture, this was achieved by binding a cushion to an infant's forehead and a board to the back of the head, creating an elongated shape. It is unknown why this was done; theories suggest that this was meant to create an ethnic identity, form the individual into a social being, or illustrate social status.

Photograph: Didier Descouens

January 27
Lindau harbor

The entrance to the harbor of Lindau, Bavaria, Germany, a major town and island in the international Lake Constance. The current harbor in Lindau was built in the mid-19th century, together with the Bavarian Lion (left) and the Lindau Lighthouse (right). The harbor entrance serves as a tourist attraction.

Photograph: Julian Herzog

January 28
Bharata Natyam

Bharata Natyam is a classical Indian dance which originated from the temples of Tamil Nadu and is practiced today by male and female dancers all over the world. This dance is a modern attempt to reconstruct the Sadir of the temple dancers, a form which can be traced back to the beginning of the common era. Shiva is considered the god of this dance form, which is performed here by Ranjitha Shivanna.

Photograph: Augustus Binu

January 29
Albers projection

The Albers projection is a conic, equal area map projection, named after Heinrich C. Albers, that uses two standard parallels. Although scale and shape are not preserved, distortion is minimal between the standard parallels. This map is used by such agencies as the United States Geological Survey, the United States Census Bureau, and the governments of British Columbia and Yukon.

Map: Strebe, using Geocart

January 30
Charles Baudelaire

Charles Baudelaire (1821–67) was a French poet best known for his collection Les Fleurs du mal (1857), which expresses the changing nature of beauty in modern, industrializing Paris during the 19th century. The author also worked as an essayist, art critic, and translator; in the 1850s and 1860s, he published several translations of works by Edgar Allan Poe.

Photograph: Étienne Carjat

January 31
Chinese pond heron

The Chinese pond heron (Ardeola bacchus) is an East Asian freshwater bird of the heron family. Generally measuring 47 cm (19 in) in length, this heron feeds on insects, fish, and crustaceans. The specimen shown here, photographed in Laem Phak Bia, Thailand, is in its winter plumage.

Photograph: JJ Harrison

Picture of the day archive

Today is Wednesday, November 20, 2019; it is currently 11:43 UTC.