Stripped bassOct. 31, 1969: The world's biggest retailer is officially born as Wal-Mart Stores incorporates. The Walton family's discount store network started in Rogers, Ark., in 1962, and as of this date includes stores in Missouri and Oklahoma.

Oct. 31, 1982: The Knoxville World's Fair closes after drawing 11 million visitors in six months. The fair's central theme was "energy turns the world," and exhibits included future looks at solar and wind energy. The fair also featured the world's first touchscreen displays.

Oct. 31, 1984: The U.S. Congress passes the Atlantic Striped Bass Conservation Act in response to a crash in catch totals for the popular sport and commercial fish. Catching striped bass (at right), also called rockfish, is deemed off limits off the coasts of the mid-Atlantic states for the next five years. The population stages a strong recovery, but some threats and some restrictions remain, including fishing bans in the Hudson River due to PCB contamination.

Oct. 31, 1994: Death Valley National Park is established in California. Originally made a National Monument in 1933, Death Valley is one of the hottest, driest, and lowest (282 feet below sea level at its lowest point) places in the world. Joshua Tree National Monument is also elevated to national park status.

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

This feature is compiled by Peter Dykstra, an MNN contributor and publisher of Environmental Health News and The Daily Climate.