On this day in 1836, Sam Houston - sound familiar? - became the first elected president of the Republic of Texas, a nation that would exist for only a decade longer.
Yes, sirree. Texas is one of very few US states once to have been an independent country. The Republic of Texas sprang from a revolution in the Mexican state of Coahuila y Tejas, where citizens objected (among other things) to having to adopt Catholicism.
The war of independence lasted for a year, officially, but sea battles would continue for another decade or so - pretty much until Texas gave up its independence and joined the United States. We'll be raising a glass to Texas, and Texans, with a Texsun cocktail, a cocktail we discovered in Esquire's 1949 Handbook for Hosts.
Britain's First Robot Heart Surgeon
This time in 2012, Britain became the third country in Europe to offer robotic heart surgery, using the Da Vinci surgical robot.
Well, technically, Da Vinci isn't a true robot. It's a slave system that mimics the movements of a surgeon operating a console, although on a smaller scale than the actual hand movements (and with wobbles taken out). What this means, though, is that heart patients don't have to have their entire chest sliced open. Instead, the robot can go in through incisions between two ribs, meaning smaller scars, less operational stress, and faster recovery time.