Today is the 31st day of 2014 and the 42nd day of winter.
TODAY'S HISTORY: In 1606, Guy Fawkes was executed for his role in the Gunpowder Plot in Britain.
In 1917, Germany announced the renewal of submarine warfare in the Atlantic.
In 1958, Explorer 1 was launched, marking the first successful launch of an American satellite into orbit.
In 1968, the North Vietnamese Tet Offensive began in South Vietnam.
In 2006, Samuel Alito Jr. was sworn in as the 110th U.S. Supreme Court justice.
TODAY'S BIRTHDAYS: Franz Schubert (1797-1828), composer; John O'Hara (1905-1970), author; Jackie Robinson (1919-1972), baseball player; Carol Channing (1921- ), actress; Norman Mailer (1923-2007), author/journalist; Ernie Banks (1931- ), baseball player; Jessica Walter (1941- ), actress; Jonathan Banks (1947- ), actor; Nolan Ryan (1947- ), baseball player; Minnie Driver (1970- ), actress; Portia de Rossi (1973- ), actress; Bobby Moynihan (1977- ), actor/comedian; Justin Timberlake (1981- ), singer-songwriter; Vernon Davis (1984- ), football player.
TODAY'S FACT: The first Social Security check, issued on this day in 1940, was for $22.54 and went to Ida May Fuller, who lived on a Vermont farm. Having worked less than three years under Social Security, she paid only $24.75 into the system, but she had collected $22,888.92 by the time of her death in 1975.
TODAY'S SPORTS: In 1999, Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway won his second consecutive Super Bowl and the final game of his NFL playing career, leading the Denver Broncos to a 34-19 victory over the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl XXXIII. Elway was also selected as the game's MVP.
TODAY'S QUOTE: "Every moment of one's existence one is growing into more or retreating into less. One is always living a little more or dying a little bit." -- Norman Mailer, "Advertisements for Myself"
TODAY'S NUMBER: $2 billion -- worldwide gross achieved on this day in 2010 by James Cameron's "Avatar," the first film to reach that mark. "Avatar" remains the highest-grossing film of all time, with $2.8 billion in worldwide gross as of mid-January 2014.
TODAY'S MOON: Between new moon (Jan. 30) and first quarter moon (Feb. 6).