TODAY'S HISTORY: In 1791, the Bill of Rights took effect after ratification by Virginia.
In 1961, Adolf Eichmann, considered the architect of the Nazis' "final solution," was convicted of war crimes and sentenced to death by an Israeli court.
In 1970, the Soviet probe Venera 7 landed on Venus, becoming the first spacecraft to complete a soft landing on another planet.
In 1978, President Jimmy Carter announced his intention to grant diplomatic recognition to Communist China, severing ties with Taiwan, on Jan. 1, 1979.
TODAY'S BIRTHDAYS: Gustave Eiffel (1832-1923), engineer/architect; Maxwell Anderson (1888-1959), playwright; J. Paul Getty (1892-1976), oil tycoon/philanthropist; Betty Smith (1896-1972), author; Tim Conway (1933-2019), actor/comedian; Dave Clark (1942- ), musician; Don Johnson (1949- ), actor; Julie Taymor (1952- ), director; Rodney Harrison (1972- ), football player; Adam Brody (1979- ), actor; Charlie Cox (1982- ), actor.
TODAY'S FACT: The Venera probe that landed on Venus in 1970 transmitted data to Earth for a total of 53 minutes, including just 20 minutes from the surface of the planet.
TODAY'S SPORTS: In 1982, Bill Parcells became the coach of the NFL's New York Giants.
TODAY'S QUOTE: "Oh, magic hour, when a child first knows she can read printed words." -- Betty Smith, "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn"
TODAY'S NUMBER: 3.99 degrees -- angle of the Leaning Tower of Pisa's lean. The tower reopened on this day in 2001 after an 11-year, $27 million effort to reduce the 5.5-degree tilt of the famed structure.
TODAY'S MOON: Between new moon (Dec. 14) and first quarter moon (Dec. 21).