Today is the 364th day of 2015 and the ninth day of winter.
TODAY'S HISTORY: In 1853, the United States completed the Gadsden Purchase, establishing the border with Mexico.
In 1916, a group of Russian aristocrats carried out the murder of Rasputin, private adviser to the ruling Romanov family.
In 1922, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was officially established.
In 2006, former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was executed.
TODAY'S BIRTHDAYS: Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936), writer; Bo Diddley (1928-2008), singer-songwriter; Sandy Koufax (1935- ), baseball player; Davy Jones (1945-2012), singer; Patti Smith (1946- ) singer-songwriter; Meredith Vieira (1953- ), TV journalist; Matt Lauer (1957- ), TV journalist; Tracey Ullman (1959- ), actress/comedian; Sean Hannity (1961- ), TV host; Tiger Woods (1975- ), pro golfer; Tyrese Gibson (1978- ), singer/actor; Eliza Dushku (1980- ), actress; LeBron James (1984- ), basketball player.
TODAY'S FACT: The geographic center of the United States lies 17 miles west of Castle Rock, South Dakota. The center of population is about 5.5 miles southwest of Plato in Wright County, Missouri.
TODAY'S SPORTS: In 1908, a special commission tasked with discovering the origins of baseball ruled that Abner Doubleday had invented the sport in Cooperstown, New York, in 1839. The finding has since been debunked.
TODAY'S QUOTE: " I keep six honest serving-men: / (They taught me all I knew); / Their names are What and Why and When / And How and Where and Who." -- Rudyard Kipling, "Just So Stories"
TODAY'S NUMBER: 28 -- record-setting number of tropical and subtropical storms in the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season. This includes one unnamed storm in October that was identified after the season ended.
TODAY'S MOON: Between full moon (Dec. 25) and last quarter moon (Jan. 1).