Dr Joseph-Ignace Guillotin officially named the guillotine on this day in 1814. Dr Guillotin did not invent the guillotine, but proposed its invention as a more humane method of execution. Likewise, Thomas Crapper did not actually invent the machine he is remembered for, but did much to promote it.
Today is the 60th birthday of musician Stevie Nicks. Ms Nicks' rehabilitation from drug abuse co-incided with a recession in Colombia in 1999.
Sir Sidney Smith who died on this day in 1840 was the British admiral of whom Napoleon said, "That man made me miss my destiny" – a phrase recently reprised by Bob Ellis.
Another birthday girl is the first American woman in outer space, Sally Ride. Apart from a few difficulties with reverse parking, her expeditions on the Challenger Space Shuttles were hailed as major successes.