Today is the 349th day of 2012 and the 84th day of autumn.
TODAY'S HISTORY: In 1799, George Washington died at Mount Vernon, his home in Virginia.
In 1911, explorer Roald Amundsen and his party became the first humans to reach the South Pole.
In 2001, after Hurricane Michelle devastated Cuba, a commercial shipment of food left the United States for the island nation for the first time since 1962.
TODAY'S BIRTHDAYS: Nostradamus (1503-1566), astrologer/physician; James Doolittle (1896-1993), military aviator; Margaret Chase Smith (1897-1995), politician; Shirley Jackson (1919-1965), author; Lee Remick (1935-1991), actress; Patty Duke (1946- ), actress; Vanessa Hudgens (1988- ), actress.
TODAY'S SPORTS: In 1988, after losing the first 17 games of the season, the Miami Heat defeated the Los Angeles Clippers 89-88 for the franchise's first win.
TODAY'S FACT: Historians have estimated that physicians drained five to seven pints of blood from President George Washington in the day prior to his death, in an attempt to cure him.
TODAY'S QUOTE: "I don't believe the American people will uphold any political party that puts political exploitation above national interest." -- Margaret Chase Smith
TODAY'S NUMBER: 3 -- actual poles at the South Pole: the ceremonial pole, the geographical pole and the magnetic pole.
TODAY'S MOON: Between new moon (Dec. 13) and first quarter moon (Dec. 20).