The Thing About Today – August 20

August 20, 2020
Day 233 of 366


August 20th is the 233rd day of the year. It is World Mosquito Day, which is a commemoration of British doctor Sir Ronald Ross’s discovery in 1897 that female mosquitoes transmit malaria between humans.


In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Radio Day and National Chocolate Pecan Pie Day.


Historical items of note:

  • In 1775, the Spanish established the Presidio San Augustin del Tucson in the town that became Tucson, Arizona.
  • In 1858, Charles Darwin first published his theory of evolution through natural selection in The Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society of London, alongside Alfred Russel Wallace’s same theory.
  • In 1866, United States President Andrew Johnson formally declared the American Civil War over.
  • In 1882, Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture debuted in Moscow, Russia.
  • In 1890, short story writer, editor, novelist H. P. Lovecraft was born. His work was revolutionary in science fiction and horror, but his personal beliefs contained significant amounts of racism, homophobia, misogyny, and general parochialism.
  • In 1920, the first commercial radio station, 8MK (now known as WWJ), began operations in Detroit, Michigan.
  • In 1926, Japan’s public broadcasting company, Nippon Hōsō Kyōkai (NHK) was established.
  • In 1932, actor Anthony Ainley was born. He was the second actor to portray the Master in a recurring role on Doctor Who.
  • In 1943, Scottish actor Sylvester McCoy was born. He portrayed the Seventh Doctor on Doctor Who.
  • In 1946, journalist Connie Chung was born.
  • In 1948, Australian actor John Noble was born.
  • In 1962, The NS Savannah, the world’s first nuclear-powered civilian ship, embarked on its maiden voyage. Savannah was deactivated in 1971 and has been moored at Pier 13 of the Canton Marine Terminal in Baltimore, Maryland, since 2008.
  • Also in 1962, actor and singer James Marsters was born.
  • In 1974, actress and singer Amy Adams was born.
  • In 1975, NASA launched the Viking 1 planetary probe toward Mars.
  • In 1977, NASA launched the Voyager 2 spacecraft.
  • In 1983, actor Andrew Garfield was born.
  • In 1998, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that Quebec cannot legally secede from Canada without the federal government’s approval.


August 20th is Akshay Urja Diwas (Akshay Urja Day), an awareness campaign about the developments in renewable energy in India.

The Indian Ministry for New & Renewable Energy Sources began Akshay Urja Day to commemorate the birthday of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi. The Ministry promotes innovation to adopt renewable energy sources to produce power for the electricity grid, and for several standalone applications, as well as decentralized power production.


The Thing About Today is an effort to look at each day of 2020 with respect to its historical context.

For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.




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