Today is the 350th day of 2014 and the 86th day of autumn.
TODAY'S HISTORY: In 1773, Tea Act protesters dumped hundreds of crates of tea into Boston harbor, an act that came to be known as the "Boston Tea Party."
In 1835, a huge fire destroyed nearly 700 buildings in New York City.
In 1944, German forces began a 90-minute artillery barrage against the Allied front, signaling the onset of the Battle of the Bulge.
In 2000, President George W. Bush selected Colin Powell as the first African-American secretary of state.
TODAY'S BIRTHDAYS: Jane Austen (1775-1817), author; Noel Coward (1899-1973), playwright; Margaret Mead (1901-1978), anthropologist; Arthur C. Clarke (1917-2008), writer; Philip K. Dick (1928-1982), author; Lesley Stahl (1941- ), journalist; Steven Bochco (1943- ), screenwriter/producer; Shane Black (1961- ), actor/screenwriter/director; William "The Refrigerator" Perry (1962- ), football player; Benjamin Bratt (1963- ), actor; Krysten Ritter (1981- ), actress.
TODAY'S FACT: Margaret Mead was named "Mother of the World" by Time magazine in 1969.
TODAY'S SPORTS: In 1973, Buffalo Bills running back O.J. Simpson became the first player in NFL history to rush for 2,000 yards in a season.
TODAY'S QUOTE: "The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible." -- Arthur C. Clarke
TODAY'S NUMBER: $2.8 billion -- worldwide box-office gross of James Cameron's "Avatar," which began its wide international release on this day in 2009. It remains the highest-grossing film of all time.
TODAY'S MOON: Between last quarter moon (Dec. 14) and new moon (Dec. 21).