Today is the 253rd day of 2014 and the 82nd day of summer.
TODAY'S HISTORY: In 1846, Elias Howe patented the first sewing machine.
In 1977, France used a guillotine in carrying out a death sentence for the last time.
In 2002, Switzerland became a member of the United Nations.
In 2008, the Large Hadron Collider was powered up for the first time in Geneva, Switzerland.
TODAY'S BIRTHDAYS: Adele Astaire (1896-1981), dancer; Arnold Palmer (1929- ), golfer; Charles Kuralt (1934-1997), TV journalist; Roger Maris (1934-1985), baseball player; Buck Buchanan (1940-1992), football player; Stephen Jay Gould (1941-2002), biologist/writer; Bill O'Reilly (1949- ), TV host/author; Chris Columbus (1958- ), film director; Colin Firth (1960- ), actor; Randy Johnson (1963- ), baseball player; Guy Ritchie (1968- ), filmmaker; Ryan Phillippe (1974- ), actor.
TODAY'S FACT: The United Nations, which included 193 member states as of August 2014, began in 1945, when representatives of 50 countries met in San Francisco to draw the charter.
TODAY'S SPORTS: In 1972, the U.S. men's basketball team fell for the first time in Olympic competition, suffering a controversial 51-50 loss to the Soviet Union team on a last-second shot in the gold medal match.
TODAY'S QUOTE: "Few tragedies can be more extensive than the stunting of life, few injustices deeper than the denial of an opportunity to strive or even to hope, by a limit imposed from without, but falsely identified as lying within." -- Stephen Jay Gould, "The Mismeasure of Man"
TODAY'S NUMBER: 140 -- countries that have abolished the use of capital punishment in law or practice as of 2014, according to Amnesty International.
TODAY'S MOON: Between full moon (Sept. 8) and last quarter moon (Sept. 15).