Today is the 20th day of 2017 and the 31st day of winter.
TODAY'S HISTORY: In 1841, China ceded the island of Hong Kong to the British.
In 1885, LaMarcus Thompson patented the first roller coaster.
In 1920, the American Civil Liberties Union was founded.
In 1981, the Iran hostage crisis ended as 52 American captives were released in Tehran, just after President Jimmy Carter left office.
In 2009, Barack Obama was sworn in as the first African-American president.
TODAY'S BIRTHDAYS: George Burns (1896-1996), actor/comedian; Federico Fellini (1920-1993), director; DeForest Kelley (1920-1999), actor; Slim Whitman (1923-2013), singer-songwriter; Patricia Neal (1926-2010), actress; Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin (1930- ), astronaut; David Lynch (1946- ), director; Paul Stanley (1952- ), singer-songwriter; Bill Maher (1956- ), comedian/TV host; Rainn Wilson (1966- ), actor; Questlove (1971- ), musician.
TODAY'S FACT: Martin Luther King Jr. Day was celebrated as a federal holiday for the first time on this day in 1986.
TODAY'S SPORTS: In 1892, the first official basketball game was played in Springfield, Massachusetts. The two nine-man teams used a soccer ball and peach baskets.
TODAY'S QUOTE: "The problem is that the people with the most ridiculous ideas are always the people who are most certain of them." -- Bill Maher
TODAY'S NUMBER: 444 -- days the hostages were held in the U.S. embassy in Iran.
TODAY'S MOON: Between last quarter moon (Jan 19) and new moon (Jan. 27).