February Gnus

Home                                                                 

assaulted peanut

An assaulted peanut

George Washington's birthday, Abraham Lincoln's birthday (on the same day and year as Charles Darwin !), Black History Month, American Heart Month, National Children's Dental Health Week, National Wildlife Week and St. Valentine's Day.  Whew!
 February comes from the Latin word "februare" which means to purify as this was the month that Romans purified themselves in preparation for the festivals at the start of their new year (in March).  It's also the month from which Augustus Caesar took a day and added it to August so that August would have as many days as his "uncle" Julius Caesar's month, July.  This left February with 28 days (except for leap year).

Science Gnus is an almanacish compendium of News of Science, History, Mathematics and Items of Interest as well as Professor Sy Yentz, Dr. Matt Matician, Brain Stuff, the Activity of the Month, Factorinos, Trivia Question, Bonus Trivia Question, Extinct, Trivia Answers, Jokes,  and Obscure Questions 

Thirty days hath September, / April, June, and November; / All the rest have thirty-one, / Excepting February alone, / And that has twenty-eight days clear / And twenty-nine in each leap-year.” – 15th Century English Poem

The February sunshine steeps your boughs And tints the buds and swells the leaves within.  -Willam Cullen Bryant



Calendar Highlights

12345678910Select a Date
11121314151617181920
212223242526272829Weather Wisdoms

1.        1327 –Saturday.  Fifteen year old  Edward III was  crowned King of England, but the country  would continue to be  ruled by his mother Queen Isabella and her inamorata Roger Mortimer. Edward was the grandson of King Edward I and son of the testosteronically challenged Edward II.  Edward II is believed to have met his end (no pun intended) after being deposed and imprisoned by Isabella and Mortimer by having a red hot poker shoved into his rectum. This left no marks to indicate a murder  and was also a comment on the King’s homosexual inclinations.  In 1330 Edward III would have Mortimer executed and his mother exiled.  He would rule for almost fifty years.

            1788- Friday - The steamboat – who invented it?…..not Robert Fulton….who got the patents? Who gets the credit?.........another of the fuzzy “who did what and when” in the history of inventions for which textbooks selected a “chosen one” and that has been it ever since.   On this day, the very first United States patent for a steamboat patent was issued to Isaac Briggs & William Longstreet of Georgia. But it had all started in 1769 with Scotsman James Watt’s development of the steam engine.  In 1787 John Fitch made the first successful trial of a forty-five-foot steamboat on the Delaware River on August 22, (Wednesday) in the presence of members of the Constitutional Convention. Fitch later built a larger vessel that carried passengers and freight between Philadelphia and Burlington, New Jersey. However, Fitch was not granted his first United States patent for a steamboat until Friday, August 26, 1791. So, even though he built his steamboat a year before Briggs and Longstreet, he didn’t obtain his patent until three years after them.  Fulton schmulton.  

            1790-Monday- First session of the U.S. Supreme Court took place in the Royal Exchange Building on New York City's Broad Street. The Court of the United States met for the first time, with Chief Justice John Jay of New York presiding. Other members of the court included, John Rutledge, from South Carolina William Cushing, from Massachusetts, James Wilson, from Pennsylvania, John Blair, from Virginia, James Iredell, from North Carolina,  and Judge Judy from CBS . The Court didn’t actually begin hearing cases until 1792.

            1793Friday- Ralph Hodgson of Lansingburg, NY, (not to be confused with Ralph Hodgson the English poet) patented oiled silk. For the non-cognoscenti out there, oiled silk is waterproof silk.  Boiling it in linseed oil makes it waterproof. It is used to make raincoats.  Note, do not wear the silk while you are boiling it in linseed oil.

            1838-Thursday-  The patent was issued for the screw propeller to John Ericsson, Swedish/English/American inventor. Ericsson later designed and built the ironclad ship Monitor for the Union Navy where it engaged in the famous battle with the Confederate ironclad, Merrimac (aka Virginia) at Hampton Roads, Va. Yes, both propellers and people got  “screwed” during the Civil War.

            1844-Thursday-  Happy Birthday, G. Stanley Hall, American psychologist who coined the phrase Sturm und Drang ("Storm and Stress") relative to adolescence, with the three key aspects of conflict with parents, mood disruptions, and risky behavior which basically is why all adolescents are crazy.

1851 –Saturday-  Either Feb. 1 or Jan. 31 (maybe late at night when he got up to make a snack?). Evaporated milk was invented by Gail Bordon.  Evaporated milk is fresh, (unsweetened) homogenized milk from which 60 percent of the water has been removed.  Evaporated milk is milk concentrated to one-half or less its original bulk by evaporation under high pressures and temperatures, without the addition of sugar, and usually contains a specified amount of milk fat and solids. This gives regular evaporated milk a shelf life of up to 15 months.  Borden was granted a patent for sweetened condensed milk in 1856. The sugar was added to inhibit bacterial growth. Skim milk devoid of all fat was used.

            1851 –Saturday-  On the same day as evaporated milk was invented, the submarine, Le Plongeur-Marin ("The Marine Diver") was tested in Kiel Harbor, Germany. The sinking part was an unqualified success.  That was because it had leaks in the hull and quickly sank 50 feet. Unfortunately, the coming back up to the surface part failed. Its builder, Sebastian Wilhelm Valentin Bauer, a German pioneer inventor of submarines, was on board. He survived by waiting for the inside air pressure, compressed as more water leaked in, to match the water pressure outside. Imagine his surprise when seven hours later, he and his crew opened the hatch and rose to the surface to find funeral services in progress.

            1861-Friday-  Over the objections of 3rd term governor Sam Houston, Texas became the seventh state to secede from the Union.  Texas had just joined the Union 16 years earlier in 1845. Texas rejoined the Union in 1870.  The fickle state seems to have not changed its mind any more since then.

            1862 –Saturday-  "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" was first published in "Atlantic Monthly". The lyric was the work of Julia Ward Howe. The music was from the song John Brown’s Body (John Brown being the abolitionist who attempted to start a slave rebellion by capturing the arsenal at Harper’s Ferry, Va. in 1859) originally written as a camp song by William Steffe around 1856. Howe was visiting a Union hospital and heard the wounded soldiers singing John Brown’s Body. As music critics we note that Howe’s lyrics, “Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory of the Coming of the Lord”, resonates a bit better than “John Brown’s Body Lies a Moulderin’ in the Grave”.

          1884 Friday-  In the words of one time New York Mets (and Yankees) manager, Casey Stengel, “You could look it up”. On this day the  first portion, or fascicle (thanks to the dictionary, you “could look it up” – a fascile is one of the parts of a book published in separate sections. Also called fascicule), of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), considered the most comprehensive and accurate dictionary of the English language, was published. Today, the OED is the definitive authority on the meaning, pronunciation and history of over half a million words, past and present and is constantly updated.  Of course other languages have their dictionaries. In Spanish you would look for Diccionario Larousse Del Espanol, in French one might look for Dictionnaire de l’Académie Française, and in Chinese,  A Syllabic Dictionary of the Chinese Language; Arranged According to the Wu-fang yuen yin, with the Pronunciation as Heard in Peking, Canton, Amoy, and ... Linguists and The Languages of China or, 阿音节词典汉语;包办据吴方园尹,发音为赫德在北京,广州,厦门,并...语言学家和语言中。

             1893-Wednesday- Thomas A. Edison completed the world’s first motion picture studio in West Orange NJ.  The studio was named the Black Maria, (named so, because it reminded Edison employees of a police paddy wagon-commonly called a “black maria”. Pronunciation is ma rye a ) The total cost was $638.  The first motion pictures made in the Black Maria were deposited for copyright by W. K. L. Dickson at the Library of Congress in August 1893. The earliest copyrighted film that still survives is Edison Kinetoscopic Record of a Sneeze, January 7, 1894, also known as Fred Ott's Sneeze, (and yes we know Ott rhymes with snot) which records Fred Ott, an Edison employee, sneezing comically for the camera. The most successful movie to be shown was Star Wars, the Prequel to the Sequel to the Postscript of the Prequel of Chapter 1 Sequel to........ Revenge of the Prequels.

           1896- First performance of Giacomo Puccini’s La Boheme. The opera premiered at the Teatro Regio in Turin. The role of Mimi was sung by Cesira Ferrani (who also created title role in Manon Lescaut).  La Boheme is considered one of the three or four most popular operas in the repertory. The opera, with music by Puccini and libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa is based on Murger's Scenes de la Vie de Boheme; it was Puccini's 4th opera

            1898-Tuesday-  The first auto insurance for an individual owner was sold to one Dr. Truman J. Martin of Buffalo, New York. The doctor paid a premium of $11.25 for the policy that covered $5,000 to $10,000 of liability. We presume he had a car. We note that frequently today, the pen that you use to sign your name may cost more than that original policy. The policy was issued by the Travelers Insurance Company of Hartford, Connecticut.  It wasn’t until 1925, that Massachusetts became the first state to mandate automobile insurance.

                1901 –Friday-  Happy Birthday,  William Clark Gable, better known as just Clark Gable, American actor  born in Cadiz, Ohio.  Gable, known as the “King” of Hollywood, starred in such classic movies as Gone With the Wind, Mogambo, It Happened One Night, Mutiny on the Bounty, and lastly, The Misfits with the ill fated Marilyn Monroe.  Three days after filming ended, Gable suffered a heart attack, and died 11 days later.

             1905-Wednesday-  Happy Birthday, Emilio Segrè, Italian-born American physicist who was co-winner, with Owen Chamberlain of the United States, of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1959 for the discovery of the antiproton (Auntie Proton was married to Uncle Proton and they had little cousin neutrons who never had to pay for anything because for them it was “no charge”). Actually an antiproton is an antiparticle that has the same mass as a proton but is opposite in electrical charge. Segrè, was a student and colleague of Enrico Fermi in Rome, then emigrated to the United States, where he worked in the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos during World War II. He later joined the University of California, Berkeley faculty and worked at the Radiation Laboratory (now Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory), where he co-discovered the elements technetium and astatine and the fissionable isotope of plutonium

            1908-Saturday-  King Carlos I kaput.  In a “twofer” King Carlos I of Portugal and his eldest son, Luis Filipe, were assassinated by revolutionaries while riding in an open carriage through the streets of Lisbon, Portugal. Carlos’ second son, Manoel, succeeded him to the throne, but only lasted until October 1910 when a republican revolution forced him to abdicate and flee to England with the rest of the royal family. In the same year, Teofilo Braga, a well-known writer, was chosen the first president of the newly democratic republic of Portugal.

             1911-Wednesday-  In the first use of fingerprint evidence in a U.S court, Thomas Jennings was found guilty of murder. He was convicted at the Criminal Court of Cook County for killing Clarence B. Hiller. His lawyer appealed (it’s really the only way lawyers can be described as appealing) and it  resulted in the Illinois Supreme Court ruling that fingerprint evidence was admissible. Two months later, Jennings was executed. Which reminds us of – this guy is in jail and his lawyer comes in and says I have good news and bad news for you.  The convict says “what’s the bad news?”  The lawyer says “your blood test came back and your blood matches the blood found on the victim and on your cloths.” The convict says “and what’s the good news?” The lawyer says, “your cholesterol is down 50 points”.

            1911-Wednesday-  On the same day as fingerprint evidence was first used in court (see above),  the first old-age home for pioneers opened in Prescott, Arizona. The home was notable for having them circle the wagons before meals, shooting buffalo, gunfights, using spittoons at the saloon while watching the “dance hall girls”, accusing each other of cheating at poker, having “Indian Attack” drills, and the annual “Donner Party Day” picnic when they would eat……oh, never mind.

          1923-Thursday-  One of the worst inventions of the 20th Century, Thomas Midgely’s leaded gasoline, first went on sale at Willard Talbott's service station on S. Main Street in Dayton, Ohio. The fuel was called Ethyl after its new additive, tetraethyl lead, developed to stop engine knock, a common problem of engines in those days.  The damage done to the atmosphere by leaded gasoline has been incalculable.

            1937 –Monday-  Happy Birthday, Don Everly of the Everly Brothers.  Don is the one on the left, Phil on the right.  The Everly Brothers' career took off in 1957 with their first major hit Bye, Bye Love on Cadence records(with the maroon label).  The two went on to record Wake Up Little Susie, All I Have To Do Is Dream, (the B side was the great Claudette) Bird Dog and Devoted To You.         

            1951-Thursday-  TV station KTLA broadcast of an atomic explosion. It was the first to be seen publicly on television. An NBC camera on Mount Wilson, 300 miles away from the test blast at Frenchman Flats, Nevada took the picture.  The camera was immediately swallowed by an atomic mutant giant 200 ft. gila monster which then attacked Reno.

            1952 –Friday Happy Birthday, singer Rick James who’s riff for Super Freak (1981) is on the great beats of Rock and Roll.

            1964 –Saturday-  The Governor of  Indiana declared the record Louie Louie to be pornographic. Louie Louie was written by an R&B singer named Richard Berry in 1956. With his group The Pharaohs, he was also the first to record it, and it got some airplay in a few cities in the Western US. When bands heard it, many of them started covering it.  The Kingsmen’s version is one of the great “party” songs of all time.  The fact that the singing makes the lyrics impossible to understand rarely prevents people from singing along. This also didn’t stop Indiana Governor Matthew Welsh  who declared Louie Louie as recorded by the Kingsmen to be  a pornographic song and asked the Indiana Broadcasters Association to ban the record. Following a complaint by a constituent, he claimed he listened to hit with head phones and deciphered the lyrics.  Naturally the publisher of Louie Louie denied the claim, and offered a reward of $1000 to anyone who could find anything the least bit suggestive about it. And also on this day in 1964 – providing a bridge in Rock and Roll history between pre and post Beatles….the Beatles had the #1 single in the country . . . the classic: I Want To Hold Your Hand.   

            1972-Tuesday-  The first scientific hand-held calculator (HP-35) was introduced at the bargain price of $395. It was called the HP -35 because it was manufactured by Hewlett Packard and it had 35 keys. Pretty clever, n’est pas?  The HP-35 was the first ever to perform logarithmic and trigonometric functions with one keystroke. As opposed to later HP calculators, it had an x^y function, not y^x, and the trigonometric functions work in degrees only, which we all know is tremendously helpful when adding up your purchases at the check-out counter.

            1983- Tuesday-  Tansil and Fannin Matthews obtained a patent for a digital voice mail system. When the patent office call to inform them, they heard “all of our customer service experts are currently busy, please push the first three letters of the party’s last name, if you are calling to ask about our new voice mail system, please hang up and write us a letter…….The Mathews Brothers described the patent as “An advanced electronic telecommunication system is provided for the deposit, storage and delivery of audio messages. A Voice Message System (10) interconnects multiple private branch exchanges (12) of a subscriber with a central telephone office…”

            2001 –Thursday- Three Scottish judges found Muslim terrorist Abdel Basset al-Mergrahi guilty of the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, which killed 270 people when it exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland – just north of Dumfries- in December 1988.  Megrahi was a member of the Libyan intelligence service and sentenced to life imprisonment.

            2003-Saturday-  STS-107 Flight: January 16-February 1, 2003 -  the space shuttle Columbia broke  up while entering the atmosphere over Texas, killing all seven crew members on board. The 16-day mission was dedicated to research in physical, life, and space sciences, conducted in approximately 80 separate experiments, comprised of hundreds of samples and test points. The seven astronauts worked 24 hours a day, in two alternating shifts. Killed were: Commander Rick D. Husband (second flight), Pilot William C. McCool (first flight), Payload Specialist Michael P. Anderson (second flight), Mission Specialist Kalpana Chawla (second flight), Mission Specialist David M. Brown (first flight), Mission Specialist Laurel B. Clark (first flight), Payload Specialist Ilan Ramon, Israel (first flight).  Eighty seconds into the launch, a piece of foam insulation broke off from the shuttle’s propellant tank and hit the edge of the shuttle’s left wing. During re-entry, as Columbia was 231,000 feet above the California coastline traveling at 23 times the speed of sound, the first indications of trouble began. Because the heat-resistant tiles covering the left wing’s leading edge had been damaged or were missing, wind and heat entered the wing and blew it apart.

             2004 –Sunday-   The nameless and quite possibly the “elementless element”…….Scientists in Russia created the element Ununpentium (Element 115 – a metal, symbol Uup). The unupentium persisted for less than one-tenth of a second before decaying into element 113 (ununtrium), which then persisted for over a second. No name has yet been adopted for element 115, which is therefore called ununpentium, from the Latin roots un for one and pent for five, under a convention for neutral temporary names proposed by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) in 1980. Next on the docket is unbelievable. Some of these “post number 110” elements are so iffy that they are not even listed on some periodic tables.

Next scheduled discovery will be Stupidium Namsium.

            2008-Friday-  It was reported in the Journal of Zoology, that naturalist Francesco Rovero discovered a new species of giant elephant shrew in a Tanzanian forest.  The shrew is the size of a small dog, covered in orange and gray fur.  It has a long snout like an elephant.  When Rovero first saw it, he said, “that’s funny, it doesn’t look shrewish”.

Back To Calendar

2.                  Groundhog Day-   The first Groundhog Day was celebrated in 1887 in Punxsutawney, PA.  The tradition is derived from the Christian ceremony of Candlemas Day in which priests would distribute candles needed for winter.  The candles would become indicators of how long and cold the winter would be (see item below – “Little Ice Age”).  The Germans expanded the tradition by including a small mammal, a hedgehog, into the mix, although we think they started looking for shadows of the hibernating creature, not burning it.  When they moved to Pennsylvania they brought the tradition, but not the hedgehog, with them.  The groundhog would have to suffice. Of course, the groundhog, on the other 364 days of the year is called a woodchuck, but basically it’s a rodent.

            1046-Monday-  The beginning of what is known as the "Little Ice Age." The weather turned especially cold throughout Europe. It remained cold for 200 years as Monks noted in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle that "no man alive...could remember so severe a winter."  It was the first known record of the beginning of a long term weather pattern. Just to make things more cheerful there was another very cold climate between 1560 and 1850 The colder weather impacted agriculture, health, economics, social strife, emigration, and even art and literature. Increased glaciation and storms also had a devastating affect on those that lived near glaciers and the sea

            1509 –Tuesday-  Portugal and Turkey fought The Battle of Diu  near Diu, India. We mention that because you might be wondering what Portugal and Turkey were “Diuing” in India. It was in this battle that the Portuguese established their predominance over the spice trade by defeating a Muslim fleet.

            1522-Thursday-  Happy Birthday, Ludovico Ferrari,  Italian mathematician, who started as a servant for, and then secretary and then successor to the mathematician Girolalmo Cardano. Ferrari was the first to find an algebraic solution to the biquadratic, or quartic, equation  which, in case you didn’t know it already, is an algebraic equation that contains the fourth power of the unknown quantity but no higher power. So basically, it’s what confuses Professor Sy Yentz when he tries to figure out if he should or shouldn’t provide the extra penny when he pays for an item.

            1536 -Sunday The city of Buenos Aires was founded by Pedro de Mendoza of Spain who wanted a nice warm vacation home for the winter.  He placed his settlement  on the shores of the small river called Riachuelo de los navíos a and called his  fortified outpost Puerto de Nuestra Señora Santa María de los Buenos Aires (Port of Our Lady, Holy Mary of the Good Winds). The lengthy name substantially increased the cost  of printing t-shirts for tourists.  The settlement was s abandoned after attacks by American Indians (Querandi), and re-founded in 1580. It became the capital of the viceroyalty of Rió de la Plata in 1776, and federal capital of Argentina in 1880.

            1653 –Sunday-  The Dutch colony of New Amsterdam, now better known as New York, was incorporated as a city.  The governor, Peter Stuyvesant, built a wooden palisade (Stuyvesant had a wooden peg leg but that had nothing to do with the palisade) where Wall Street is located today, to mark the northern city limit. Nine years later, the British took control and it was renamed New York.

            1709 –Saturday- Alexander Selkirk was rescued from  a desert island. His adventures would  inspire the book Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe. Selkirk was the “Sailing Master” on the Cinque Ports, a ninety ton privateer. The expedition was a disaster and after a few sea battles with the Spanish, Selkirk feared the ship would sink. So, in an attempt to save his own life he cleverly demanded to be put ashore on the next island they encountered. He forgot to add, “inhabited island”. In September 1704, Selkirk was castaway on the uninhabited island of Más a Tierra (today known as Robinson Crusoe Island), over 400 miles off the west coast of Chile. He took with him a little clothing, bedding, a musket and powder, some tools, a Bible, several issues of Playboy, his Iphone, a GPS,   and tobacco. Selkirk’s decision to be put ashore saved his life.  After being rescued, he learned that the Cinque Ports had been sunk.  Selkirk wrote an account of his adventures and they were fictionalized in 1719 by Daniel Defoe in his famous novel. Selkirk, however, could never really readjust to life on the land, and, in 1720, a year after he was made famous by Defoe, he joined the Royal Navy. Shortly afterwards he went kaput from a fever off the coast of Africa.

            1795- Monday- The French government, those who still had their heads after the Revolution,  offered a prize of 12,000 francs for a method of preserving food and transporting it to French  armies. The winner was Nicholas Appert, a French chef currently seen on the Food Channel on the show Iron Chef trying to make gourmet meals out of alfalfa …..no, no no….Professor Sy Yentz has his culinary sense of humor.  He actually developed the method of heating food in airtight glass jars, very similar to the home-bottling method now used in Mason jars. Starting in 1801, he published The Art of Preserving Animal and Vegetable Substances.  His other claim to fame is being the inventor of the bouillon cube.  Of course, (and you knew this was coming) he tried the boullion cone, the bullion, sphere, the boullion pyramid, the boullion cone, and the boullion rectangular prism.  Bouillon is a clear soup stock made from poultry, meat, fish, or vegetables

            1803 –Wednesday- Happy Birthday, Albert Sydney Johnston, Confederate General. In 1862 Johnston’s forces completely surprised the forces of Ulysses Grant and William Sherman at Shiloh.  Unfortunately, for Johnston, he was shot in the leg, paid no attention to the blood filling his boot, and bled to death.  The more cautious P.G.T Beauregarde failed for quickly follow up on Johnston’s success. By the next morning (April 7 –Monday), Union reinforcements arrived. The opportunity was lost.

            1841 Tuesday-  Do you want to be a limnologist when you grow up?  Do you know what limnology is? Well, Happy Birthday, François-Alphonse Forel, Swiss physician, scientist, and founder of limnology, the study of lakes.  Forel  studied the  physical and chemical characteristics of lakes as well as diseases of fish, tides, currents and waves.

            1847 –Tuesday-  Uh, oh! The first woman of a group of pioneers now  known as the Donner Party died during the group’s journey through a Sierra Nevada mountain pass. The disastrous trip west ended up killing 42 people and turned many of the survivors into cannibals.  The Donner party was the name given to a group of emigrants, including the families of George Donner and his brother Jacob, who became trapped in the Sierra Nevada Mountains during the winter of 1846-47.  Culinary delights included baked fingers, pancreas a la mode, thyroid soup and pituitary gland sandwiches. The experience has become legendary as the most spectacular episode in the record of Western migration. 

            1848-Wednesday-  The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed.  This officially ended the Mexican War. Guadalupe Hidalgo is a city north of the capital where the Mexican government had fled as U.S. troops advanced. Treaty  provisions called for Mexico to cede 55% of its territory (present-day Arizona, California, New Mexico, and parts of Colorado, Nevada and Utah) in exchange for fifteen million dollars in compensation for war-related damage to Mexican property.

            Other provisions stipulated the Texas border at the Rio Grande,protection for the property and civil rights of Mexican nationals living within the new border, U.S. promise to police its side of the border, and compulsory arbitration of future disputes between the two countries. The treaty added an additional 525,000 square miles to United States territory.

                1863 –Monday- On this day, while living in Carson City Nevada, Samuel Langhorne Clemens decided to use a pseudonym for the first time. Since the name of Alfred Lord Tenneyson was taken, he is better remembered by the name, Mark Twain (and his brothers Lionel Twain, Passenger Twain and Freight Twain). Mark Twain means two fathoms in “riverboat-talk”.  "Twain" would write his first popular story, The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County in 1865.

            1869-Tuesday- Scottish born inventor, James Oliver – living in Indiana - invented the removable tempered steel plow blade.  And no, it wasn’t for snow…it was for farming. James obtained his first patent in 1857  entitled “Improvement in Chilling Plow Shares.”  It covered a new way to process a plow point, or share, to an extremely hard surface.  This was his first improvement in the plow.  The Oliver Plow became the most popular plow in the world.

            1870-Wednesday-  The Cardiff Giant hoax was revealed. Supposedly the petrified remains of a human discovered in Cardiff, N.Y., it was nothing more than carved gypsum. Anyone who paid to see it had been gypped through gypsum.  The hoax was perpetrated by George Hall (or Hull) of Binghamton, New York. A block of gypsum was quarried near Fort Dodge, Iowa, and shipped to Chicago, Illinois. There, in 1868, it was carved (in the shape of a human figure and then buried on a farm near Cardiff, New York. It was “discovered” in 1869 by well diggers and the statue was alleged to be a 10-foot (3-metre) petrified prehistoric man. Of course today, we would have immediately recognized it as Mickey Rourke. The media, as ever, played a huge role in the hoax as they gleefully reported that some “experts” speculated that the find was a “petrified human,” perhaps from Biblical days when giants roamed the earth. Meanwhile, farm owner William C. Newell began charging admission to see the colossus and soon sold ¾ of his interest in the fossil to a syndicate in Syracuse, New York for $37,500. Hall/Hull’s entire venture cost him over $2,600 (all done with the collusion of the farmer Newell and the stonecutters who carved the giant), but the gamble paid off when a group of businessmen paid that $37,500 to buy the giant and move it to Syracuse, where it could be more prominently exhibited.  Othniel C. Marsh, a paleontologist from Yale, paid it a visit and declared it to be a clumsy fake. He pointed out that chisel marks were still plainly visible on it. These should have worn away if the giant had been in the ground for any appreciable length of time. Sensing that the game was up (and having already cashed out), Hull confessed. But the public didn’t seem to care that it was fake. They kept coming to see it anyway. They even began referring to it affectionately as ‘Old Hoaxey.‘ http://www.museumofhoaxes.com/hoax/Hoaxipedia/Cardiff_Giant/

            1876-Wednesday-  The National League of Professional Baseball Clubs, which came to be more commonly known as the National League (NL), was formed. The league’s first rival came with the formation of the American Association began play in 1882. The American Association went kaput after the 1891 season. The American League (AL) was established in 1901 and in 1903, the first World Series was held.  The eight original members of the NL were: the Boston Red Stockings (then Boston Braves then Milwaukee Braves now the Atlanta Braves), Chicago White Stockings (now the Chicago Cubs), Cincinnati Red Stockings (now the Cincinnati Reds) , Hartford Dark Blues (moved to Brooklyn after1877 and played as the Brooklyn Hartfords but no, they didn’t become the Dodgers…they disbanded after a year) , Louisville Grays, (disbanded after a gambling scandal in 1877), Mutual of New York (kicked out of the league in 1878 and disappeared after refusing to pay bills), Philadelphia Athletics (kicked out of the league at the end of 1876 for refusing to make a late season road trip) and the St. Louis Brown Stockings (they were kicked out during the same gambling scandal as the Brooklyn Hartfords……. A few years later, a new team in St. Louis reused the Brown Stockings colors and nickname. These new Brown Stockings, soon called Browns, were a charter member of the American Association in 1882 and they are still around  today as the National League St. Louis Cardinals.

             1880-Monday- The first electric streetlight was installed in Wabash, Indiana. The city paid the Brush Electric Light Company of Cleveland, Ohio the grand sum of $100, which is less than the current weekly electric bill for many homes,  to install a light on the top of the courthouse.

                1882 –Thursday- Happy Birthday, James Joyce, Irish poet, author: Ulysses, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Finnegan’s Wake). We note that  Ulysses was published on his birthday (Feb. 2) 1922. Professor Sy Yentz has read Ulysses (and done the Dublin Ulysses Tour). Joyce is noted for his experimental use of language, he used a complex network of symbolic parallels drawn from the mythology, history, and literature, and created a unique language of invented words, puns, and allusions.  Trust us, Ulysses is a tough read.  Very good. But a tough read.

            1892-Tuesday- The bottle cap with cork seal was patented by William Painter of Baltimore.  This replaced the time-consuming cork and wire bale (still used with champagne) way of sealing bottles, and represented a major saving for the bottlers. It does not take into account the “break the bottle on the side of the bar” method that we used to see in western movies. This cap was used until the 1970s, when cork in soda and beer bottle caps came to be considered unhealthy, so, manufacturers switched to cans and plastic, (plastic, yeah that’s much healthier than cork)  instead. Currently, caps used on bottles use plastic cap "liners", instead of cork. This is where the companies conduct the contests where you can win fabulous prizes if you have the winning “thing” that is on the plastic liner.

            1897-Tuesday-  Here’s a scoop. A patent was issued for an ice-cream scoop invented by black American inventor, Alfred L. Cralle of Pittsburgh- the first African American inventor from Pittsburgh to receive a patent. The original looked almost the same as the scoops used today.

            1923 –Friday-  One of many low points in science for the 20th century, Thomas Midgely’s invention, leaded gasoline – developed to combat “engine knock” had it first sales at Willard Talbott's service station on South Main Street in Dayton, Ohio. By the mid-1930s a monopoly among General Motors, DuPont and Standard Oil produced Ethyl gas. They managed to suppress government reports about the danger of the product and tetraethyl lead was added to 90 percent of the gasoline used in the United States. Leaded gas was phased out in the 1970s. The damage to the atmosphere, environment and people would be incalculable.

            1931-Monday-  The first documented paid-dispatch rocket mail was flown when an Austrian named Friedrich Schmiedl flew 102 letters between rural Austrian villages Schoeckel to Sankt Radegund. He began with what he called 'regular mail service' in September 1931 with launch of his G1 rocket from Hochtroetsch to Semriach. There is no record of the reaction of rural villagers to being bombarded by rockets filled with letters from an unseen location.

        1935-Saturday- The first lie detector was used by detective Leonard Keeler in Portage Wisconsin. His invention, the Keeler polygraph, or lie detector machine was used on two criminals Cecil Loniello and Tony Grignano, who were convicted of assault at their trial when the detector  results were introduced as evidence.  Further proof of the machine’s success came as observers noticed that the two criminals had their fingers crossed behind their backs as they answered questions. Although there were minor changes to Keeler's machine since its advent, the basic composition and functions of the machine remained the same until the creation of the computerized polygraph was developed in 1994. Also note that these lie detectors replaced the more genteel Fib Detector tests.

            1947 –Sunday- Edwin H. Land gave the first demonstration his invention of the instant camera at a meeting of the Optical Society of America. A year later, in November 1948, his Polaroid Land Camera first went on sale, at a Boston department store. Cost was $ 89.75.  But then you had to buy the film. Polarized  light is oriented in a plane with respect to the source. Land had  developed a new kind of polarizer, which he called Polaroid, by aligning and embedding crystals in a plastic sheet.

            1949 –Wednesday  RCA Victor  released the first 45 RPM records. There were seven in all of different genres including That’s All Right Mama (later covered by Elvis) by Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup. Evidently, RCA didn’t  like the idea of Columbia records beating them  by developing a new format before they did. Columbia records had pioneered the invention of "vinyl" plastic and the development of the 12" LP record  in 1948. They tried to convince RCA to join with Columbia in using the new format, but RCA Victor refused. They developed the 45rpm record in retaliation. The 45 RPM speed was the only one to be decided by a precise optimization procedure. The optimum use of a disc record of constant rotational speed occurs when the innermost recorded diameter is half of the outermost recorded diameter. By then the eight minutes had been reduced to around two minutes. This was a huge success with jukebox owners (they could now get four times the revenue due to the reduction in playing time) and for popular music, particularly rock and roll, over the next eighteen or so years.  

            1962-Friday-  The Sun, the Moon, and all the planets from Mercury to Neptune were clustered within a 17-degree area of the sky. To top it off there was a total eclipse of the Sun! According to many astrologers and followers of Nostradamus we were doomed and maybe he was right as Tom Cruise, Paula Abdul, Demi Moore, and Wesley Snipes were born that year so………………..

            1979-Friday-  Sid Vicious, bass player of the seriously overhyped British punk rock group the Sex Pistols, went kaput from a heroin overdose.  Sid, who couldn’t really play the guitar, was released from being held for fifty five days in prison on bail the previous day after his arrest on suspicion of murdering his girlfriend, Nancy Spungen.  After going cold turkey for the fifty five days, Sid cleverly overdosed at the party celebrating his release

Back To Calendar

3.           The Festival of  Setubun, marking the end of winter is celebrated  in Japan – We believe that if the Groundhog eats sushi they get six more weeks of winter.

            1488-Friday- Portuguese navigator, Bartholomeu Diaz rounded the Southern end of the African continent as far as the estuary of what was later named "The Great Fish River".  He landed at Mossal Bay in the Cape, the first European known to have landed on the southern extremity of Africa. Diaz thus opened a sea route fro Europe. Vasco da Gama was able to pioneer the whole route to India, of which rounding the Cape of Good Hope was the key, thus completing the project begun by Henry the Navigator in the early 15th Century.

                1690-Friday-  Massachusetts took what would later prove to be a crucial step in the establishment of a stable American economy and authorized the first official paper currency to be ever used in the Western Hemisphere.   Prior to this, Colonists had used silver, gold, or privately minted copper coins.  Sometimes they would promise “to be your best friend”, “trade you a baseball card”, or “baby sit your dog” if you gave them something.

                1790-Wednesday-  Happy Birthday, Algernon Mantell,  British physician, geologist, and paleontologist, who discovered 4 of the 5 genera of dinosaurs known during his time….and then had the credit stolen by others – notably Richard Owen, an odious human being, yet coiner of the word dinosaur. Mantell’s first identification was of the fossil teeth he found while walking with his wife in 1822.  She  later divorced him when his passion for collecting bones became all consuming and he gave up his medical practice. When he saw the connection with teeth of the present lizard, the iguana, in 1825, he named the animal the iguanadon ("fossil teeth"). See Bill Bryson’s description of Owen’s destruction of Mantell’s career, reputation and ultimately his corpse in his wonderful book,  A Short History of Nearly Everything.

            1809 –Friday-  Happy Birthday, Felix Mendelssohn, composer whose music was rooted in classicism, was born in Hamburg, Germany, to a wealthy and distinguished Jewish family. He was, however, raised as a Protestant but that didn’t stop rival composer Richard Wagner, a  rabid anti-semite from belittling his work.  Mendelssohn is most famous for his work, The Wedding March.  A friend of Professor Sy Yentz has recommended that the Wedding March be replaced by the Beatles’ Why Don’t We Do It in the Road. include the Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in E minor, Op.64, The Midsummer Night's Dream (the Wedding March came from this work)and Hebbrides overtures; the Italian (1842) symphonies; the oratorio Elijah; and a number of chamber works.

            1811 –Sunday-  Happy Birthday, Horace Greeley, American journalist, editor, and publisher born in Amherst, New Hampshire.  Greeley is famous for saying "Go West, young man, and grow up with the country."….which he didn’t really say.  The famous quote was actually made by John B. L. Soule. The quote first appeared as the title to the 1851, Terre Haute Express editorial written by Soule. Greeley published the New York Herald Tribune (a great newspaper doomed by union greed in 1962) and eventually ran for President in 1872 against war hero Ulysses S. Grant. Greeley, won 40% of the popular vote but went kaput soon afterwards on 29th November, 1872.         

            1821-Saturday-  Happy Birthday, Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman in the U.S.A.    to receive a medical degree. Blackwell  was born in Bristol, England. Many 19th century physicians, including a few women, practiced without a degree, but Blackwell wanted professional status. She received her degree from Geneva Medical School in New York State.  Of course it wasn’t as simple as Elizabeth Blackwell’s admittance to the college created an uproar. She faced criticism from fellow students as well as the general public. But she was resolute,  earning the respect of many of her peers. Blackwell graduated in 1849. She worked in clinics in London and Paris for two years, and studied midwifery at La Maternité where she contracted purulent opthalmia from a patient and  lost sight in one eye. This cost her her dream of being a surgeon.  She returned to New York City in 1851.   In 1857, Dr. Blackwell and colleagues founded the New York Infirmary for Women and Children.  She also published several important books on the issue of women in medicine, including Medicine as a Profession For Women in 1860 and Address on the Medical Education of Women in 1864.

            1823-Monday-  Sometimes being  second is better for posterity.  Happy Birthday, Spencer F. Baird, American naturalist, vertebrate zoologist, and in his time the leading authority on North American birds and mammals. He was named the Smithsonian Institution's second Secretary upon the kapution of the first Secretary, Joseph Henry.  Where Henry had envisioned the Smithsonian primarily as a research institute, closed to the public, Baird saw this as the opportunity to develop a national museum. He was primarily responsible for the museum becoming the great public institution it is today.

            1857 Tuesday-  Happy Birthday, Wilhelm L. Johannsen Danish botanist and geneticist who suggested that each portion of a chromosome that controls a phenotype be called a "gene" –from the Greek: "to give birth to". Thus he enabled chromosomes to “put on their genes”.

             1862-Monday-  Fifteen year old, Thomas Edison became the first publisher of a newspaper produced and sold on a moving train. He had set up a small press in the baggage car of the Grand Trunk Railroad (note: Grand TRUNK Railroad, not Grand FUNK Railroad) train from Port Huron to Detroit, Mich. The weekly Grand Trunk Herald, a single sheet measuring 7-in. x 8-in., included local news and advertisements for his father’s store. His gossip column featuring items such as who was sitting next to who and who moved away from which car to avoid who and who was reading a newspaper over who’s shoulder was a big hit.  At its peak, he sold about 200 copies a day to train riders.  In the baggage car, he set up a laboratory for his chemistry experiments as well as his printing press until an accidental fire understandably forced him to stop his experiments on board on board moving trains.

            1870Thursday-  The Fifteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified, granting voting rights to citizens regardless of race. The amendment was initially proposed on February 26, 1869 (Friday) and ratified on this day when Iowa became the 28th state to ratify it. This amendment was specifically rejected by Kentucky, Delaware, Ohio, Tennessee, California, New Jersey, and Maryland.  Typically, the ever confused New York rescinded its ratification on Jan 5, 1870, and rescinded the rescission on Mar 30, 1970.

See Sixteenth  Amendment, 1913 below.  

            1874-Thursday-  Happy Birthday, Gertrude Stein , American author of The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, written by Stein from Toklas's point of view.

            1879-Wednesday-  Speaking of Thomas Edison,  the first practically usable incandescent filament electric light bulb was demonstrated to an audience of 700 by its inventor……… Joseph Wilson Swan…………. at the Literary and Philosophical Society of Newcastle upon Tyne, England.

            1889 Sunday-  Belle Starr kaput two days before her forty first birthday. The outlaw Belle Starr was killed when an unknown assailant shot her twice in the back with a shotgun. “The Bandit Queen’s” career of  train robbery, bank robbery, cattle theft and horse theft, which definitely soap operaean aspects – As the Outlaws Turn, All My Bandits, The Young and the Kleptos,  had begun in 1866 with an affair with Cole Younger of the Jesse James Gang. She later had a common law marriage with Sam Starr and after Sam went kaput during a gunfight, she began an affair with one Jim July.  She was on her way home after escorting July to be arrested when someone shot her from behind.  The murder was never solved. 

            1894-Saturday-  Happy Birthday, Norman Rockwell, American artist and illustrator, famous for his covers for the Saturday Evening Post. Our favorite is his triple self portrait. Norman Rockwell art appeared on 322 covers for The Post over a period of 47 years.He also did illustrations for Sears mail-order catalogs, Hallmark greeting cards, and books such as The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

            1904 –Wednesday-  Happy Birthday, Charles Arthur “Pretty Boy” Floyd, American gangster. Floyd was one of a number of bank robbers and killers to achieve notoriety in early 1930’s during the Depression Era.  Others included John Dillinger, Bonnie and Clyde, Babyface Nelson, the Barker Family and Machine Gun Kelly. Floyd did most of his damage in and around Oklahoma and like Dillinger, was seen as a “Robin Hood” type who robbed the hated banks. In October of 1934, Floyd robbed an Ohio bank. He was tracked down by FBI agents and local sheriff’s deputies each of whom claimed to have shot him to death in either a gunfight or attempted escape.  The bottom line was Pretty Boy was kaput. Pretty Boy hated his nickname.  It is said that name irritated Floyd right up to the moment he lay dying in that  Ohio cornfield. Famed publicity seeking FBI agent Melvin Purvis stood over him and said, "You're Pretty Boy Floyd." The dying gangster replied, "I'm Charles Arthur Floyd."

            1913 –Monday-  One of the worst amendments – if you’re a tax payer - The Sixteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified, authorizing the Federal government to impose and collect an income tax. New Mexico became 36th state to vote for ratification. Boos and catcalls to New Mexico. This amendment was specifically rejected by New Hampshire on Mar 2, 1911. It was also rejected by Arkansas prior to its subsequent ratification, and by Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Utah. No one is quite sure how many words are in the Federal Tax Code but estimates go as high as 9,000,000. The Constitution, on the other hand, contains 4,400 words. The King James Bible contains 12,143 words.

            1920 – Tuesday- Quick, wrap your arms around someone from behind, hold you hands together just below the chest and ….say Happy Birthday, Henry Heimlich, American physician born in Wilmington, Delaware.  In 1974, Dr Henry Heimlich, a specialist in digestive disorders,  announced the maneuver which now carries his name. Prior to the Heimlich maneuver, when a person choked on food, it was generally thought that forcefully slapping the victim's back was helpful, but in reality slapping often causes the blockage to drop deeper into the throat, making the situation even worse. Also rejected were holding them upside down by the ankles and shaking, making them watch  a TV  reality show to cause retching, or forcing them listen to a Congressional Hearing in order to drive them to suicide.  In an 1974 article in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Heimlich wrote that applying upward pressure to the diaphragm, under the choke point, might force the blockage to pop out, like a cork from a champagne bottle. Among the celebrities saved by the maneuver are serial rhinoplasty practicer,Cher, serial life threatening disease when your career is on ebb actress, Elizabeth Taylor, Ronald Reagan, former New York Mayor Ed Koch, Goldie Hawn, Walter Matthau., Carrie Fisher,  buffoonish sportscaster Dick Vitale, news anchor John Chancellor and Jack Lemmon.

            1947 Monday-  The lowest temperature in North America was recorded in Snag, Yukon, Alaska. The temperature dropped to 81 degrees below zero Fahrenheit. This put a damper on the “Fun in the Sun Picnic” scheduled for the 60 or so minutes of daylight that they would enjoy that day .

            1950 –Friday-  Showing his gratitude to Great Britain for giving his family asylum from the Nazis, Klaus Fuchs, a scientist who helped developed the atomic bomb, was  arrested for passing top-secret information about the bomb to the Communist Soviet Union. The arrest of Fuchs led authorities to several other individuals involved in a spy ring, culminating with the arrest of American traitors Julius and Ethel Rosenberg and their subsequent execution at Sing Sing Prison in 1953.

            1953-Tuesday-   French oceanographer Jacques-Yves Cousteau published his most famous work, The Silent World. No, it was not the biography of Marcel Marceau, it was Cousteau’s story of how during World War II, Cousteau and Emile Gagnan, a Parisian engineer, invented and successfully tested the first aqualung or SCUBA (self-contained underwater breathing apparatus), which became the key to the modern age of underwater exploration. The book was a huge success, Silent World sold more than 5 million copies in 22 languages. 

            1959- In his song American Pie, Don MacLean called it “the day the music died”.  Rock stars Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson were killed when their chartered plane crashed in Iowa a few minutes after takeoff on a flight from Mason City to Moorehead, Minnesota. Holly had chartered the plane for his band to fly between tour dates during the Winter Dance Party Tour. However, Richardson, who had a cold, talked Holly's band member Waylon Jennings out of his seat, and Ritchie Valens won a coin toss for another seat on the plane. Holly was 22 years old, Valens, 17. “The Big Bopper’s” hit Chantilly Lace could legitimately be called the first rap record with its talking voice over background music.

But February made me shiver

With every paper Id deliver.

Bad news on the doorstep;

I couldnt take one more step.

I cant remember if I cried

When I read about his widowed bride,

But something touched me deep inside

The day the music died.

The show must go on - Dion & The Belmonts (aside – Dion had one of the great Rock n Roll voices) continued until the end of the tour. Bobby Vee & The Shadows performed on the Feb. 3rd date, Jimmy Clanton, Fabian & Frankie Avalon were substituted as headliners, The Crickets finished the tour with Ronnie Smith as lead vocalist.

            1966- Thursday- The unmanned Soviet Luna 9 spacecraft landed safely on the moon in the Ocean of Storms. It was the first ever soft landing on another celestial body, and opened the way for manned trips to the moon, by removing doubts that the surface might be an unsafe dusty quicksand.  The Lunar Welcome Wagon set up by lunar mutant life forces also contributed to the congenial atmosphere ……no, no, no….everyone knows that the moon has no atmosphere.

            1966-Thursday-  On the same day as the Luna 9  moon landing (see 1966 above), the U.S. launched its first operational weather satellite, ESSA-1 to provide cloud-cover photography to the U.S. National Meteorological Center for preparation of operational weather analyses and forecasts. The spacecraft was an 18-sided polygon, 42-in. diameter, 22-in. high and weight 305-lb……..and they STILL get the forecast wrong!

             1984-Friday-  A Long Beach, Calif., hospital announced the birth of the world's first baby conceived by embryo transplant. The baby, a boy born about two weeks previously was the product of  a procedure in which an embryo that was just beginning to develop was transferred from one woman in whom it had been conceived by artificial insemination to another woman who gave birth to the infant 38 weeks later. The sperm used in the artificial insemination came from the husband of the woman who bore the baby. The child would be forever conflicted on Mother’s Day.  

            1984 –Friday On the same day as they were cutting the umbilical cord for the embryo transplant baby, up in space, the STS-41-B Mission  aboard the Challenger,  Astronauts, Bruce McCandless II and Robert L. Stewart made the first untethered (no cord attaching them to the shuttle) spacewalks using the Manned Maneuvering Unit.

            1994 –Thursday-  STS – 60, the  space shuttle Discovery blasted off. Crew members, Commander,  Charles F. Bolden, Pilot Kenneth S. Reightler and Mission Specialists N. Jan Davis, Ronald M. Sega, Franklin R. Chang-Diaz and Sergei K. Krikalev.  Krikalev marked the first flight of Russian cosmonaut on U.S. space shuttle as the first  element in implementing the Agreement on NASA/Russian Space Agency Cooperation in Human Space Flight. He later asked for political asylum and expressed a desire to visit Disneyland and meet Britney Spears.

            1995STS- 63 – The Discovery, with Eileen Collins as the first woman to pilot a shuttle.  Crew members included;  Commander James D. Wetherbee, Missions Specialists C. Michael Foale, Janice E. Voss, Bernard A. Harris, Jr. and Vladimar G. Titov.  Titov marked second flight of Russian cosmonaut on shuttle (see Feb. 3, 1994 Discovery above) and the first approach and fly around by shuttle with the Russian space station Mir.  Discovery flew  to within 37 feet from Russian space station before it was ticketed by Space Troopers for tailgating. "As we are bringing our spaceships closer together, we are bringing our nations closer together," Wetherbee said after Discovery was at point of closest approach. "The next time we approach, we will shake your hand and together we will lead our world into the next millennium." However former KGB agent Vladimir Putin would become the leader of Russia, renew tensions with the U.S  and that was, symbolically, the closest the nations may ever become

Back To Calendar

4.            211 –Monday- Roman Emperor Septimius Severus went kaput after eighteen years of emperoring, leaving the Empire in the hands of his two feuding sons, Caracalla and Geta. Caracalla would slew Geta, last as emperor for five years until he too was slewn, rather ignonimously as his guards claimed the emperor was ambushed while defecating, and that the alleged assassin was one of their own, a soldier named Martialis. Martialis was himself killed by the avenging guards, or so the story went. Suspicion was strong that Caracalla’s Prefect, Macrinus arranged the entire affair.  Caracalla was responsible for building his baths.  The Baths of Caracalla were public baths.  You can still se them today when you visit Rome.

            960 –Monday-  “With a song in my heart………” The coronation of Zhao Kuangyin as Emperor Taizu of Song, initiating the Song Dynasty period of China that would last more than three centuries.  After the Tang and Five Dynasties period, a time full wars, clashes, struggle, and cheating during three legged races,  the Song Dynasty was a time of consolidation for Chinese culture.  The Song time is often called a "Chinese Renaissance" because - similar to the European renaissance - progress in technology and inventions, the upcoming of new philosophical interpretations of the old texts meant a rebirth of the old in “tune” with creation of new culture.

            1677 –Thursday-  “ Bach to the future”…..Happy Birthday, Johann Ludwig Bach, German composer. He was Johann Sebastian Bach’s second cousin (once removed on his father’s step brother’s, uncle-in-law’s side by a third marriage of his aunt). His compositions style could be described as “going for Baroque”.   

               1778-Wednesday-   Happy Birthday, Augustin de Candolle (brother of Roman Candolle).  He studied and classified the plant kingdom . . He developed a system of plant classification that became the foundation for the method used today. Categories included; the one that made me throw up when I ate it;  the one that gave me a rash on my nose; the one that ate my dog;  the one that looks like Elvis,  and the one that is smarter than the average teenager. The last 25 years of his life were spent on a monumental work, Prodromus Systematis Naturalis Regni Vegetabilis, in which he attempted to classify and describe every seed plant species. He completed the first seven volumes, and the last ten volumes were completed by specialists and edited by his son, Alphonse de Candolle. He also produced monographs of 100 plant families. Some families included the Bonnano Family, the Genovese Family and the Partridge Family. He “invented” the word, taxonomy. Yes, he would sooner light a “candolle”  than curse the darkness.         

           1783 –Tuesday-    O.K, you win.Britain declared a formal cessation of hostilities with its former colonies, the United States of America.  That meant that even though the  war was over they would continue to consider themselves superior in every way….especially with the dollar vs. pound exchange rate being what it is.

            1789 –Wednesday-  Ending the suspense over the results of the very first presidential election, Presidential Election (actually, there was no doubt) George Washington was unanimously elected the first president of the United States by all 69 presidential electors who cast their votes. The rest of the votes went to a bunch of Johns.  John Adams of Massachusetts, received 34 votes, and was elected Vice President, John Jay of NY received 9, John Rutledge of SC, 6, John Hancock of Massachusetts. 4, and breaking the “John” streak, George Clinton of NY (who later went on to fame in the late 20th century as the lead singer of Parliament/Funkadelic……received 3 electoral votes. The electors, who represented the states that had ratified the U.S. Constitution, were chosen by popular vote, legislative appointment, or a combination of both four weeks before the election. Rhode Island, North Carolina, and New York (a state that puts the fun in dysfunction) did not cast electoral votes for any candidate.

            1792 –Saturday-  George Washington was reelected at President of the United States. This time (there were more states) Washington received 132 electoral votes (see 1789 above).  John Adams was the only John left…unlike 1789 which featured four Johns (Adams, Jay, Rutledge, and Hancock) and was elected vice-president.  Others receiving votes were; George Clinton of NY, 50, Thomas Jefferson of Va. 4, and the odious Aaron Burr of NY, 1.

             1824 –Wednesday-  J.W. Goodrich introduced rubber galoshes to the public. So where did galoshes come from? The Romans adapted their boots from the Gauls and only wore them in bad weather. Gaulish boots became known as galoshes. Technically,  a galosh is an overshoe that slips over the wearer's indoor footwear but is made of waterproof material to protect the more delicate materials of the shoe as well as the wearer's foot from cold and damp.  These first galoshes were a less than rousing success since rubber-soled shoes also failed on their first introduction in 1832 because they stuck to floors in the heat and cracked in winter…..aside from that they were fine.   It wasn’t until Charles Goodyear and his vulcanization of rubber – initially for tires, but later for rain wear that galoshes would become “user friendly”.

            1841-Thursday-  Happy Birthday, Clement Ader, French engineer and inventor. Ader actually flew before the Wright brothers. In 1890 he constructed a steam-powered aircraft with bat-shaped wings. His craft, the Eole, could not be steered but it did make the first heavier-than-air flight. He traveled about 50 meters then had to circle the landing area for 3 hours due to heavy plane traffic, bad weather  and a new air traffic controller computer glitch at O’Hare Airport.           

1902-Tuesday-  Happy Birthday, Charles Lindbergh, American aviator and first pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic on a 33 ½ hour flight in 1927. In 1929, he was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. He married Anne Morrow and later their first child was kidnapped – “in a national cause celebre”- and killed by Bruno Richard Hauptman in 1932.  After becoming involved with the “America First” isolationist movement immediately prior to WW II, and being used by the Nazis for propaganda purposes in 1939, Lindbergh became a combat pilot during the WWII, flying Corsairs and P-38s in the Pacific theater. 

1906-Sunday-  Happy Birthday, Clyde Thombaugh, American astronomer who at age nineteen discovered the planet Pluto (at least it used to be a planet until demoted to dwarf planet by some astronomers on the last day of the International Astronomers Union in 2006) in 1930 - the only ( now former) planet discovered in the twentieth century. He continued searching the skies, discovering a comet, five open clusters, a globular cluster, a supercluster of galaxies stretching from Andromeda to Perseus, three French hens,  two turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree.  In 1932 he discovered a nova in Corvus that had exploded a year earlier.

1913 –Tuesday-  A patent for a "demountable tire-carrying rim, was issued to Louis Henry Perlman of New York City. This was the first automobile tire rim that was designed to be removed and remounted. This was a very tiring process. Until then, changing a tire meant changing the entire wheel assembly. As Elmer Fudd would say that was “wheely tyawing”

1913 –Tuesday  Happy Birthday, Rosa Parks , born Rosa McCauley in Tuskegee, Alabama. On December 1, 1955 (Thursday), Parks then an unknown seamstress in Montgomery, Alabama refused to give up her bus seat to a white passenger. She was arrested and fined for violating a city ordinance, but her lonely act of defiance began the movement that ended legal segregation in America,

1936-Tuesday- Dr. John Jacob Livingood at the University of California at Berkeley created the first radioactive substance to be produced in the U.S. synthetically. He created radium E, by bombarding the element bismuth with neutrons. He had been told to “mind his own bismuth”.  Livingood who was later chairman of the United States Atomic Energy Commission, bombarded natural elements with neutrons to produce a long series of radioactive isotopes, including radioactive iodine and in 1936 he used the cyclotron for the artificial production of bismuth 210, a natural radioactive substance.

1941-Tuesday-  Roy Plunkett received a U.S. patent for "Tetrafluoro-ethylene Polymers" – Teflon. He had invented it in 1938 but the idea didn’t “stick” until 1941. Plunkett had produced 100 pounds of tetrafluoroethylene gas (TFE) and stored it in small cylinders at dry-ice temperatures preparatory to chlorinating it. When he and his helper prepared a cylinder for use, none of the gas came out !!!—yet the cylinder weighed the same as before!!!!  Holy Houdini! They opened it and found a white powder, which Plunkett tested for properties other than refrigeration potential. He found the new substance to be heat resistant and chemically inert, and to have very low surface friction so that most other substances would not adhere to it, yes it was Paris Hilton.

1951-Sunday-  This could have been an entire season of "E.R !- as surgery began to remove a huge ovarian cyst. It became the longest operation in medical history when it extended to four days. The patient, in Chicago, was Mrs Gertrude Levandowski, whose original 616-lb weight dropped to a svelt 308-lb after the operation. After four days, the surgeons had to “cease and de-cyst”. Mrs. Levandowski later took to the media promoting the wonders of the Desist Diet.

1954 – The Drifters, with Bill Pinckney providing the bass voice and Clyde McPhatter the soprano,  recorded their great doo wop version of White Christmas.

1974 –Monday-  Newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst was kidnapped in Berkeley, Calif., by a collection of loons calling themselves the Symbionese Liberation Army. She remained “missing” for over a year until on  September 18, 1975, after crisscrossing the country with her captors--or conspirators--for more than a year, Hearst, was captured in a San Francisco apartment and arrested for armed robbery. Despite her rightful claim that she had been brainwashed by the SLA mutants, she was convicted and sentenced to seven years in prison. She served 21 months before her sentence was commuted by President Carter. She was pardoned by President Clinton in January 2001.

1976 –Wednesday-  An earthquake, 7.5 on the Richter scale,  struck Guatemala and Honduras, killing more than 22,000 people.  The quake was the result of a clash between the Caribbean and North American plates on the Motagua Fault. In a matter of minutes, about one third of Guatemala City was destroyed.

1998- An earthquake, 6.1 on the Richter scale, hit Afghanistan. It did about $8.95 worth of damage.

2009- On September 6, 2003,( Saturday) the NOAA N-Prime satellite was dropped – it fell to the floor, just like when you drop a plate on your tile floor-  of the factory where it was being assembled, and suffered, to put it mildly,  significant damage. Repairs took five years later. Luckily  it wasn’t dropped anymore.  The satellite was finally launched into polar orbit around the Earth to improve weather forecasting and monitor environmental events around the world. NOAA N-Prime will provide a continuity of service, as well as restoring degraded service from older weather forecasting satellites.

Back To Calendar

5.      

1631-Wednesday- Roger Williams, the founder of Rhode Island and an important American religious leader, arrived in Boston in the Massachusetts Bay Colony from England. He immediately recorded “Born Free”—no,no, no that was Roger Williams the pianist…. There were Puritans and there were Puritans in those days each trying to outdo the other in strict orthodoxy.  Williams, a Puritan, clearly had issues with working with his new neighbors and was kicked out of Massachusetts over religious freedom and cooperation with the Indians.  With the assistance of the Narragansett tribe, established a settlement located in present-day Rhode Island. Williams named the community "Providence."

            1788 –Tuesday-  Happy Birthday, Sir  Robert Peel (brother of Banana Peel), British politician who opposed Catholic emancipation (he did not find the idea to be apeeling) but was most famous for establishing London’s municipal police force, the first of its kind.  Policemen are still referred to as “ Bobbies” in his honor.  Robert Peel twice served as Prime Minister: from 1834 to 1835 and from 1841 to 1846

            1799- Tuesday- Happy Birthday, John Lindley, English botanist who, along with Candolle, is known for his system of classification of plants. The initial classification  system was rather crude, consisting of “that fuzzy one, “the one with the pointy things”, “the ones that die when you give them too much water”, the ones that taste yucky”, “ the one that gave me a rash”.........etc.  Lindley’s attempts to formulate a natural system of plant classification greatly aided the transition from the artificial (considering the characters of single parts) to the natural system (considering all characters of a plant). i.e “tastes yucky”.

            1824 Thursday-Samuel Vaughan Merrick,  and William H. Keating founded "The Franklin Institute of the State of Pennsylvania for the Promotion of the Mechanic Arts" to honor Ben Franklin and advance the usefulness of his inventions. Merrick later served as first president of the Pennsylvania Railroad, (traded Ventnor Avenue for it) and Keating was a professor of chemistry and mineralogy at the University of Pennsylvania. It’s still around today. The Franklin Institute is now a museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and one of the oldest and premier centers of science education and development in the United States.

            1825 –Saturday- “Home-maker” Hannah Lord Montague of 139 Third Street, Troy, N.Y. took her scissors and created the first detachable collar on one of her husband's shirts in order to reduce her laundry load to just  the collar only. Of course he looked a bit silly walking around with just a collar and no shirt but he quickly got a job dancing at Chippendales…..The “invention” became so popular that Troy, New York, became "Collar City" to the rest of America.  When detachable collars went out of fashion, so did Troy, New York.  Perhaps they could have built a giant horse with a detachable collar, hidden inside and …………….

            1826- A social note followed by a health advisory about standing in the cold. Millard Fillmore, who later became the 13th president of the United States following the kapution of  President Zachary Taylor, married Abigail Powers.  The bride was resplendent in a gown purchased at Walmart.  The groom’s tuxedo was designed by Bob Mackey.  The reception was held at The Cayuga County of the Finger Lakes VFW center.  Music was provided by Lawrence Welk’s drummer. And the cautionary note- At his successor, Franklin Pierce’s inauguration, held outdoors in the freezing cold, Abigail became ill with pneumonia and went kaput a short time later.

            1840-Wednesday-  Happy Birthday, John Dunlop, Scottish scientist who developed the world's first pneumatic tire and put it on his son's bicycle. Luckily, someone had already invented the wheel.  He patented it in 1888 . Dunlop’s development of the pneumatic tire arrived at a crucial time in the development of road transportation. Commercial production began in late 1890 in Belfast, Ireland.  Charles Goodyear invented vulcanization, the process used to produce cured rubber tires in 1844.

            1848-Saturday-  Happy Birthday, Myra Belle Shirley aka Belle Starr the notorious female outlaw of the 1870s and 80s.  Shot in the back by an unknown assailant on February 3, 1889 (Sunday). “The Bandit Queen’s” career of train robbery, bank robbery, cattle theft and horse theft, which definitely soap operaean aspects – As the Outlaws Turn, All My Bandits, The Young and the Kleptos,  had begun in 1866 with an affair with Cole Younger of the Jesse James Gang. She later had a common law marriage with Sam Starr and after Sam went kaput during a gunfight, she began an affair with one Jim July.  She was on her way home after escorting July to be arrested when someone shot her from behind.  The murder was never solved. 

            1850-Tuesday-  Gail Borden of Brooklyn, NY, received a  patent for his mouth-watering process that baked a combination of extracts from meat with flour to produce a meat biscuit capable of long term storage. This preserved meat-based product could be carried by the military, seamen and other travelers. It was reconstituted with hot water as a soup, so the product was cleverly called "Preparation of Portable Soup-Bread." This came before he developed the process to heat milk in a vacuum to produce condensed milk capable of extended storage known as evaporated milk.

            1850-Tuesday- Same day as Gail Borden perfected his meat biscuit. the first U.S. patent for push-key operation for an adding machine was patented by Dubois D. Parmelee of New Paltz, The adding machine was invented by a nineteen-year-old Frenchman Blaise Pascal  in 1642. Pascal’s invention consisted of a wooden box with sixteen dials on it. By turning the dials, one could do simple addition and subtraction very quickly.

            1861-Tuesday-  A stereoscope design that may be regarded as the first precursor to the peep show machine (this did not feature what you think was featured - at least we hope not) was patented by Samuel D. Goodale of Cincinnati, Ohio.  The proprietor stood at one end of the machine, and after accepting payment, operated a turn screw that rotated the stereo views in front of the eyepieces. A show consisted of 12 views. http://www.civilwarphotography.org/news-vol6iss1.html

            1861-Tuesday-  Interestingly, on the same day, a patent was issued for the kinematoscope - a photographic attempt to show motion - to Coleman Sellers of Philadelphia.  He described it as an "improvement in exhibiting stereoscopic pictures of moving objects. Both of these inventions laid the foundation for development of moving pictures of the 1880’s and for modern day classics such as Saw 9 in which Jigsaw tortures his victims by tickling them to death with an ostrich feather.

            1897 –Saturday-  Ah government!  The Indiana State House legislature passed a bill which in effect gave 3.2 exactly as the value of pi. It stated, in part, "the ratio of the diameter and circumference [pi] is as five-fourths to four." That is (4 divided by 5/4) = 16/5 = 3.2 exactly. It was introduced by Representative Taylor I. Record, a farmer (way too much breathing of manure) and lumber merchant (would have been better off with logarithms), on behalf of a mathematical hobbyist, one Dr. Edwin J. Goodwin, M.D. As with most politicians, they had no idea what they were talking about.  Nor did they understand it was mathematically incorrect. Clarence A. Waldo, a mathematics professor at Purdue University, advised the geniuses they were wrong.  They indefinitely postponed the bill on a week later. Pi is, in fact, an irrational number, approx. 3.141592 but then most politicians are irrational too.

            1901-Tuesday-  The patent for the first loop-the-loop centrifugal railway (a roller coaster) was awarded to the very dizzy Edwin Prescott in Arlington, Mass. It was installed, appropriately, at Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY…..home of the first gravity powered roller coaster. The roller coaster had the unique distinction of being more popular to watch than to ride.  Built on West 10th Avenue, Coney Island, the track was made of steel, the loop was larger, but most importantly it was an ellipse which pulled relatively few g's and provided a safe ride. Sadly, since the public was more inclined to watch than ride, The Loop-the-Loop would barely survive until World War One, making money by charging people admission to the viewing area. Many more paid to watch than to ride and the coaster faded into history http://www.ultimaterollercoaster.com/coasters/history/early_1900/history_coney.shtml

          1915 –Saturday-  Happy Birthday, Richard Hofstadter, American physicist who shared the Nobel Prize (with Rudolf L. Moessbauer of Germany) for Physics in 1961 for his investigations in which he measured the sizes of the neutron and proton in the nuclei of atoms. He had this really really small measuring tape.  It was one of those tapes with the button on the side so it could automatically retract. Hofstadter was able to show that nucleons (protons and neutrons) were not simply point particles, but had definite size and form. Both appeared to be composed of charged mesonic clouds (or shells) with the charges adding together in the proton, but canceling each other out in the neutral neutron. Neutron walks into a bar, orders a drink, offers to pay, and is told “for you, there is no charge”. This led him to predict the existence of the rho-meson, omega-meson.

            1916 –Saturday- Enrico Caruso, considered the greatest operatic tenor ever,  recorded O Solo Mio -   written in 1898 by Giovanni Capurro, and  Eduardo di Capua. for the Victor Talking Machine Company, which eventually became Victor Records, then RCA Victor.  The “Hip Hop” version of O Solo Mio by Fifty Cent with “sampling” from Verdi’s Four Seasons was released in 2006.

            1929-Tuesday-  The next time you watch the sprinters at the starting line at the Olympics, think of George T. Bresnahan of Iowa City, Iowa. He received a patent for his invention of starting blocks, titled "Foot Support,"

            1934-Tuesday-  Happy Birthday, Henry Louis Aaron Jr., the baseball slugger who broke Babe Ruth’s legendary record of 714 homers (without the aid of performance enhancing drugs) , born in Mobile, Alabama.  Aaron starred in right field for the Milwaukee Braves (beginning in 1954, the year after they moved from Boston) and Atlanta Braves before finishing his career where he started back in Milwaukee with the Brewers. Aaron was also the last Negro League player to compete in the majors. He held the major league record for most career home runs (755 before the steroidically enhanced mutant in San Francisco), home runs with one club (Braves, 733), RBIs (2,297), total bases (6,856), most games played (3,298)

            1936-Wednesday-  During a February 3-7 Conference called by President Franklin Roosevelt, The National Wildlife Federation was founded. The conference was called the North American Wildlife Conference.  At this conference an organization was created to  called the General Wildlife Federation. Norwood Darling (political cartoonist but also chief of the U.S. Biological Survey)  was elected president. The first annual meeting was held March 3, 1937 (Wednesday) in St. Louis, Missouri. The General Wildlife Federation became the National Wildlife Federation in 1938.

 

            1952 –Tuesday- The first "Don't Walk" sign was installed in New York City. The city began putting up the signs in response to the growing number of people who did not seem to understand that a red light meant stop.  This meant a growing number of pedestrian fatalities.  Of course, this being New York, many clever geniuses decided to run instead of walk. As with so many, “dates of things”, this too is uncertain.  Some sources claim Don’t Walk signs appeared as early as the 1930s.  An article in The New York Times for December 4, 1938 (Sunday) , described an initiative to stop jaywalkers: "Pedestrian control signals reading alternately "Wait" and "Walk" will be installed in Times Square, at the intersection of Broadway and Forty-fifth Street, about Jan. 1. http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/infrastructure/walk.cfm

                1953 –Friday-  The debut of Disney’s Peter Pan at the Roxy Theater in New York City. The cartoon starred the “voices” of  Bobby Driscoll (Peter), Kathryn Beaumont (Wendy), and Hans Conried (Captain Hook, Mr. Darling).  It was rereleased in theaters in 1958, 1969, 1976, 1982, and 1989. Released on video in 1990.

                1958 –Thursday- Some people lose socks, some people lose gloves.  The U.S Military seems to have a problem with losing nuclear bombs.  In yet another instance, 1958 - A hydrogen bomb which came to be known as the Tybee Bomb was lost by the US Air Force off the coast of Savannah, Georgia, never to be recovered. A B-47 bomber on a training mission out of Homestead Air Force Base in Florida had a collision with an F-86. Well that’s understandable, the skies must be filled with F-86 Sabre Jets and B-47s. The pilot of the F-86 parachuted to safety and the fighter jet crashed. The B-47 also sustained damage. The crew requested and received permission to jettison the 7,600 pound Mark 15 bomb it was carrying so that the aircraft could more safely land at Hunter Air Force Base. The bomb was lost somewhere in Wassaw Sound off the shores of Tybee Island, Georgia.

                1971 –Saturday-  Apollo 14, the third US manned Moon expedition, landed near Fra Mauro, Alan Shepard and Edward Mitchell romped on the Moon for four hours. Fra Mauro was the same area that was to have been explored by Apollo 13 which had made an abrupt U-turn when some oxygen tanks exploded.  Although the primary mission objectives for Apollo 14 were the same as those of Apollo 13, the latter had an innovation that allowed an increase in the range of lunar surface exploration and the amount of material collected was the provision of a collapsible, two-wheeled cart, the modular equipment transporter (MET), for carrying tools, cameras, a portable magnetometer, and lunar samples. Included in the lunar samples were space microbes that overran humanity resulting in the failure of men to put down the toilet seat after use.

            1974-Wednesday-  The U.S. space probe Mariner 10 returned the first close-up photos of Venus' cloud structure. So, let’s get this straight.  They went to Venus and took pictures of clouds? Mariner 10 was the seventh successful launch in the Mariner spacecraft series, and the first to use the gravitational pull of one planet (Venus) to reach another (Mercury). Instruments on board the spacecraft were designed to measure the atmospheric, surface, and physical characteristics of Mercury and Venus. Experiments included television photography, magnetic field, plasma, infrared radiometry, ultraviolet spectroscopy, and radio science detectors. Mariner photos also revealed that Zsa Zsa Gabor, star of the movie The Queen of Outer Space which takes place on Venus, was, in fact, really from Venus.

            2001 –Tuesday-  A social note: Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman announced their separation. Cruise would return to his home on Mars.  Kidman would devote the rest of her life to developing a giant forehead and box office busts. 

Back To Calendar

6.               1564 –Thursday- Happy Birthday, Christopher Marlowe English poet, dramatist:  as well as a  contemporary and sometimes  rival of William Shakespeare. His first notable work was Tamburlaine the Great, Marlowe's dramatic career was only to last six years. In that time he wrote The Jew of Malta, The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus, The Queen of Carthage, Edward II, and The Massacre at Paris. His work ranged from tragedy to historical drama, but he also wrote popular poetry such as Hero and Leander, and The Passionate Shepherd ("Come live with me and be my love; and we shall all the pleasures prove...").  He was mysteriously killed in a barroom brawl in 1593. The long-accepted version, there are quite a few, is that he and a close friend, one Ingram Frizer, dined in a tavern in Deptford. The two men quarreled (Marlowe had a notoriously violent temper) over paying the bill, and in the fight that followed, Marlowe grabbed Frizer's dagger and attacked him from behind. Frizer managed to wrest the dagger from Marlowe and stabbed the author fatally in the eye. Other theories include:  Marlowe, according to Marlovian Theory, was not killed and faked his death. According to Professor David Riggs, the “Queen Elizabeth and her Privy Council were cracking down on disobedient subjects, Marlowe gave offense and the Queen, in turn, made him pay”.

                   1665 – Happy Birthday, Queen Anne of Britain. She became pregnant 17 times, but only one child lived, William, who became the Duke of Gloucester. Unfortunately he went kaput aged 11, it is thought of hydrocephalus. Despite her drunken sot of a husband, she had a very successful reign.  It included many exceptionally talented men - Swift, Pope, Addison and Steele were writing prose and verse, Sir Christopher Wren was finishing the building of St. Paul's Cathedral and Locke and Newton were propounding their new theories.   The United Kingdom of Great Britain was created by the Union of England and Scotland. She went kaput and the monarchical vacuum had to be filled by importing “German Georgie” of Hanover, King George I,  thus beginning a hundred years of so of Teutonic temperaments.

             1685 – Tuesday- With the kapution of his brother Charles II, King James V of Scotland became King James I of England (and Ireland). He would be officially crowned on February 16.  On the long list of inept monarchs, James should rank near the top.  He was the last Catholic king of England.  He refused to compromise with Parliament.  When his second (Roman Catholic) wife, Mary of Modena, gave birth on June 10 1688 (Thursday) to a son (James Stuart, later known as the 'Old Pretender' and father of Charles Edward Stuart, 'Bonnie Prince Charlie'), it seemed that a Roman Catholic dynasty would be established. His maladroit military skills resulted in his deposition in 1688 (replaced by Protestants William and Mary) and bungling siege of Derry in Ireland culminating in disastrous defeat at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690.  He went kaput in exile in St. Germaine, France in 1701. 

                         1695 –Monday-  The 16th, and 17th centuries were rampant with Bernoullis.  Here’s another one. Happy Birthday – Nicolaus (II) Bernoulli was the favorite of three sons of Johann Bernoulli. He made important mathematical contributions to the problem of trajectories while working on the mathematical arguments behind the dispute between Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz.

                           1754-Wednesday-  Benjamin Banneker, African-American mathematician and inventor, built the first chiming clock in the United States.  Banneker was inspired by a business associate's pocket watch and decided to build a clock. His clock was bigger than the pocket watch, and he added a bell, so the clock chimed on the hour.

            1756 –Friday-  Happy Birthday, Aaron Burr 3rd U.S. Vice President. He killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel and was known as a traitor for his participation in the attempt to get the western U.S to secede from the Union, although never convicted.  He also came thisclose to being elected President. In the presidential election of 1800, Burr and Thomas Jefferson each had seventy-three votes, and the House of Representatives on the thirty-sixth ballot elected Jefferson President and Burr Vice President.

            1788 –Wednesday- Although they had already drafted their state constitution some eight years earlier, it wasn’t until this day that  Massachusetts became the sixth state to enter the United States of America.

            1819- Saturday- Sir Stamford Raffles of British East India Company established trading post on Singapore island.  This location, later known as just Singapore, prospered from the start. Independent merchants were attracted by the tax free zone. This started trading posts for traffic between East and West. When the British government became aware of the prosperity being generated at Singapore, they immediately gave their approval to the new colony. Although not the authorized governor, Raffles stayed on to manage the colony’s affairs.

          1833-Wednesday-  Happy Birthday, James Ewell Brown “Jeb” Stuart, Robert E.Lee’s cavalry commander.  Stuart was noted for such feats as completely riding around the Union Army….twice,  once after the Peninsula Campagne and then again after Antietam.  Both exploits provided a boost for Southern morale.  During the 2nd Bull Run Campaign, he lost his famous plumed hat and cloak to pursuing Federal troops. In a later  raid, Stuart managed to overrun Union army commander  John Pope's headquarters and recapture his full uniform plus orders that provided Lee with much valuable intelligence. Unfortunately, Stuart was busy riding around the Union forces at the beginning of the Battle of Gettysburg, depriving Lee of crucial intelligence.  Stuart  was killed at Yellow Tavern in 1864 by troops led by George Armstrong Custer. Custer would meet his own unpleasant end at Little Big Horn in 1876.

            1886-Saturday- German chemist, Clement Winkler discovered the element germanium. Germanium, at room temperature is a solid.  The atomic number is 32 and the atomic weight is 72.64. Winkler discovered the new element in the mineral argyrodite. While he was analyzing the argyrodite (a silver sulfide ore), he found that all the known elements it contained amounted to only 93 per cent of its weight. Tracking down the remaining 7 per cent, he found the new element he called germanium (for Germany). This had been predicted by Dmitri Mendeleyev and called eka-silicon in 1871.  Today, germanium is primarily obtained from the smelting of zinc ores and from the byproducts of burning certain types of coal.  The principal  use of germanium is in the semiconductor industry. With small amounts of arsenic, gallium, indium, antimony or phosphorus, germanium is used to make transistors for use in electronic devices. At one time Germanium tried to conquer all the other elements on the Periodic Table during the War of the Periodic Table.  It was defeated by a coalition of Zinc, Gallium, Arsenic, and Selenium.

            1891-Friday- The “Dalton Gang”s first robbery.  It failed. Not deterred, Bob, Emmett and Grat Dalton conducted a series of robberies over the next year until 1892 when they cleverly tried to rob two banks at the same time in Coffeyville, Kansas, failed with both and got Bob and Grat killed in the process.  Nevertheless, thanks to western movies and books, a bank robbing career lasting one year, bookended by failures has become legendary.

            1895 –Wednesday-  Happy Birthday, Babe Ruth, The greatest baseball player of all time. Yes, other players have since hit more home runs (although not as many dramatic ones) driven in more runs, but how many of them also won ninety two games as a pitcher or held the World Series record for consecutive scoreless innings pitched at 292/3 until broken by another New York Yankee, Whitey Ford. Babe Ruth was the greatest baseball player of all time! Note that Ruth’s birthday is the day after Hank Aaron’s birthday.  Aaron surpassed Ruths’ all time home record. 

            1899-Monday-  The peace treaty ending the Spanish-American War was ratified by the U.S. Senate.  It was yet another Treaty of Paris. The U.S likes Treaties of Paris.  The American Revolution and the War of 1812 also ended with Treaties of Paris. Hostilities were halted on August 12, 1898 (Friday), with the signing in Washington of a Protocol of Peace between the United States and Spain. The formal peace treaty was signed in Paris on December 10, 1898 (Saturday)  and ratified on this day. Secretary of State John Hay called it a "splendid little war."

            1911-Monday- Happy Birthday, Ronald Reagan, 40th President of the U.S. Also a movie actor of some note – Bonzo Goes to College, Hellcats of the Navy, Kings Row, Knute Rockne –All American (“win one for the Gipper”), as well as television host of Death Valley Days and General Electric Theater.  Reagan was elected Governor of California in 1966, re-elected in 1970 and elected President in 1980 and again 1984. One of the great American Presidents, his Vice President was the lamentable George H.W Bush.         

            1913-Thursday-  Happy Birthday, Mary Leakey, born Mary Douglas Nicol,  English archaeologist and paleoanthropologist, wife of Louis Leakey (the plumbing in their home consisted of “Leakey pipes”). Described as "the woman who found our ancestors", Mary Leakey’s work in East Africa opened new doors to our understanding  of  human evolution. In 1978 she and her team found what would be her greatest discovery, adjacent footprint tracks that had been left by two bipedal hominids. This indicated that man's ancestors were walking upright at a much earlier period than previously believed. Actor Sylvester Stallone is a contemporary example of a bipedal hominid.

            1917 –Tuesday-  On February 3, President Woodrow Wilson broke diplomatic relations with Germany.  He warned the Germans not to interfere with U.S commerce on the seas. Germany delivered its answer on this day as a U-boat torpedoed and sunk the Anchor Line steamship, California off the Irish coast.  Forty three people were killed. Stupid German tricks, combine this with the Zimmerman Telegram offering to help Mexico get back lost territory in the U.S and by April 2, the U.S had declared war on Germany.

            1933-Monday- The 20th Amendment to the U.S Constitution, which set the dates for the beginning of congressional and presidential terms went into effect. The amendment moved the start of presidential, vice-presidential and congressional terms from March to January.  It had been ratified by Utah on January 23.

            1937 –Saturday-  “Gee George, did you know that John Steinbeck’s novella Of Mice and Men was published on this day? The title came from a poem by Scottish poet Robert Burns – “The best-laid schemes o' mice an 'men / Gang aft agley”

            1943 –Sunday-  Happy Birthday, “singer” Fabian (Fabiano Forte).  Of all of Dick Clark’s creations, (Frankie Avalon, Bobby Rydell) Fabian is conspicuous for having the least talent. He couldn’t sing.  Couldn’t act. He was a fairly good lip syncher.  Had great hair though and teenage girls loved him. If you ever want to get even with loud neighbors just play Turn Me Loose or Like a Tiger at full volume.

            1944-Sunday-  American obstetrician and gynecologist Dr John Rock, the developer of the birth control pill,  while working with Miriam F. Menkin, fertilized the first human egg in a test tube. The egg developed into one of actress Elizabeth Tayor’s husbands, probably the guy she met in rehab.

            1945-Tuesday-  Happy Birthday, Reggae musician Bob Marley, born in St. Ann parish in Jamaica.  1965, he formed a group called ‘The Wailers’ with Bunny Livingstone (later known as Bunny Wailer) and Peter McIntosh (later known as simply Peter Tosh.)  Their recognition abroad was enhanced  by Eric Clapton’s hit version of  I Shot the Sheriff, a song from their second Island album. Some other top hits included hits with No Woman No Cry(1975), Exodus (1977), Waiting in Vain”(1977), and Satisfy My Soul (1978

    1952-Wednesday-  King George the VI went kaput and his elder daughter, Elizabeth became Queen Elizabeth II.  She had previously married the exiled, elegant, distinguished and not particularly bright Prince Philip of Greece.  They proceeded to produce a series of not exceptionally bright offspring (several of whom resemble Equidae) whose sole purpose for being appears to be as gossip column fodder.

            1959-Friday- The United States successfully test-fired for the first time a Titan intercontinental ballistic missile from Cape Canaveral. It was the United States' first true multistage liquid fueld, rocket-powered ICBM. It had a liquid cryogenic fuel system. The first stage delivered 300,000 pounds of thrust; the second stage 80,000 pounds.  The missile utilized both radio and all-inertial guidance. Deployed in a "hard" silo, it had to be raised to surface by a special launcher for firing.  The Titan I had an effective range of 5,500 nautical miles. The Titan would become a principal weapon in the MAD (Mutual Assured Destruction) era of the “Cold War”.

            1959 – Jack Kilby and Texas instruments filed a patent for their invention, the integrated circuit. An integrated circuit is a microelectronic computer circuit incorporated into a chip or semiconductor; a whole system rather than a single component.  Now, circuits of all colors could attend school together and not be discriminated against in Housing.   Meanwhile out in California,  Robert Noyce realized a whole circuit could be made on a single chip. While Kilby had hammered out the details of making individual components, Noyce thought of a much better way to connect the parts. That spring, he began a push to build what was called "unitary circuits" and t also applied for a patent on the idea. Knowing that Kilby and Texas Intruments had already filed a patent on something similar, Fairchild wrote out a highly detailed application, hoping that it wouldn't infringe on TI 's similar device.  All that detail paid off. On April 25, 1961,(Tuesday)  the patent office awarded the first patent for an integrated circuit to Robert Noyce while Kilby's application was still being analyzed. Today, both men are acknowledged as having independently conceived of the idea. And now you can turn on your computer. http://www.pbs.org/transistor/background1/events/icinv.html

            1961-Monday-  Photographic evidence from satellites revealed that the Earth is a “sightly irregular ellipsoid.”  And you thought it was round….. but Isaac Newton had stated it wasn’t round back in the 17th century. Scientists found it hard to believe.

            1962 –Wednesday-  Happy Birthday, William Bailey, better known as  Axl Rose, lead singer of 80’s supergroup, Guns N Roses.

            1971 –Saturday-  With Apollo 14 getting ready to depart from the Moon, astronaut Alan Shepard took two shots at some golf balls. Near the end of the second moonwalk, and just before entering the lunar module for the last time, Shepard, who was an avid golfer,  attached a 6-iron golf club to the end of a sample collecting tool. Because to the thickness of his gloves and space suit, he hit the golf balls with one hand. The first landed in a nearby crater (designated a “bunker” in golf terminology). The second was hit right on the nose and in the one-sixth gravity (of Earth)  of the moon, Shepard said it traveled "miles and miles and miles." Not quite that far but further than any drive ever hit on Earth.  Unfortunately there was no putting green so they left. Of note is that while Shepard and Edgar Mitchell walked on the Moon’s surface, Stuart Roosa, a former U.S. Forest Service smoke jumper, orbited above in the command module. Packed in small containers in Roosa's personal kit were hundreds of tree seeds, part of a joint NASA/USFS project. Upon return to Earth, the seeds were germinated by the Forest Service. Known as the "Moon Trees", the resulting seedlings were planted throughout the United States (often as part of the nation's bicentennial in 1976) and the world. They have become carnivorous and have been known to eat birds, mammals and conservationists who try to live in their branches.

            2000-Sunday- -   In Finland, Foreign Minister Tarja Halonen became the first woman to be elected president. During a runoff election, she captured 51.6 percent of the vote.  Halonen soon established herself as one of Finland's most popular leaders. In 1906, Finland became the first European country to grant women the right to vote.  Suomen ulkoministeri Tarja Halonen tuli ensimmäinen nainen, joka on vaaleilla valittu presidentti. Aikana valuman vaaleissa hän pyydystää 51,6 prosenttia äänistä. Halonen pian perustettu itse on yksi Suomen suosituimmista johtajia. Vuonna 1906 Suomi oli Euroopan ensimmäinen maa, joka myöntää naisille äänioikeus.

            2004-Friday-  Islamic Chechan terrorists,set off an explosion in a Moscow subway car during rush hour, killing 41 people.

Back To Calendar

7.                1478 –Thursday-  Happy Birthday, Sir Thomas More, the ‘Man for All Seasons’: English statesman, philosopher and author. More  found guilty of treason when he wouldn't go along with Henry VIII's plans for divorce of Catherine of Aragon so he could marry sweet young thing, Anne Boleyn. In April, 1534, More refused to swear to the Act of Succession and the Oath of Supremacy, and was committed to the Tower of London.  He was found guilty of treason and was beheaded alongside Bishop Fisher in 1535.  More's final words on the scaffold were: "The King's good servant, but God's First." He was awarded sainthood in 1935. As an author/philosopher/cleric, he is noted for his work Utopia published in 1516.

           1795 –Saturday The 11th Amendment to the U.S constitution, which limits Supreme Court jurisdiction was ratified as North Carolina became the 12th state to vote for ratification.  The first ten amendments are the Bill of Rights.

             1804-Tuesday-  Dear John, Happy Birthday, John Deere, American agricultural equipment inventor and pioneer manufacturer born in born in Rutland, Vermont. As a blacksmith in Illinois, Deere noticed that a large number of people were bringing in broken plows. The plows were traditionally made from cast iron, but the soil in the midwest was different from the sandy soil in the east and got stuck in the plows. This made it necessary for farmers to scrape the soil off of the plow blade quite frequently. Having read David Mamet’s Speed the Plow, Deere designed a prototype plow that used highly polished steel, a sort of “self-cleaning” plow. He plowed through the next few years and eventually opened a factory in 1848.  The rest, “Deere Reader” is agricultural history.  

1812Friday- "What the dickens was the name of the guy who wrote Great Expectations?” Happy Birthday, Charles Dickens  English novelist and autor of, among others, David Copperfield, A Christmas Carol, A Tale of Two Cities, Oliver Twist.  Yes, his father was the original of Mr. Micawber in David Copperfield,  and  Dickens's mother was the original for the querulous Mrs. Nickleby. Dickens works usually appeared in serial form in the newspapers.  His last, unfinished at his kapution, was the Mystery of Edwin Drood.

1812 –Friday- Nothing to do with the birth of Charles Dickens but on this day a violent of a series of earthquakes near New Madrid, Missouri caused a so-called fluvial tsunami in the Mississippi River, actually making the river run backward for several hours. Instead of flowing towards the Gulf of Mexico, it flowed up towards Iowa. Everyone had to take fluvial shots.  

1817-Friday-  The first public gas street light in the U.S. was lit in Baltimore, Maryland at Rembrandt Peale’s Museum.  Rembrandt Peale was famous for his idealized portraits of prominent Baltimoreans as well as his establishment of the Peale Museum, a museum of paintings and natural history,   Gas lighting is the process of burning piped natural gas or coal gas for illumination. Before electricity became sufficiently widespread and economical to allow for general public use, gas was the most popular means of lighting in cities and suburbs. The first public street lighting with gas took place in Pall Mall, London on January 28, 1807 (Wednesday).

1817 (?)  Friday- And, on the same day as the first gas street light (perhaps symbolically), Happy Birthday, Frederick Douglas, (born Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey)  American black abolitionist and one of the most eminent human-rights leaders of the 19th century.  Separated as an infant from his slave mother (he never knew his white father), Frederick lived with his grandmother on a Maryland plantation.  On September 3, 1838, he escaped from Baltimore and traveling by train, then steamboat, then train again, he arrived in New York City.  Several weeks later he had settled in New Bedford, Massachusetts, living with his newlywed bride (whom he met in Baltimore and married in New York) under his new name, Frederick Douglass.During the Civil War  Douglass became a consultant to President Abraham Lincoln, advocating that former slaves be armed for the Union Army and that the war be made a direct confrontation against slavery. During Reconstruction, he fought for full civil rights for freedmen and also vigorously supported  developing the women's rights movement. After Reconstruction, Douglass served as assistant secretary of the Santo Domingo Commission (1871), and in the District of Columbia he was marshal (1877–81) and recorder of deeds (1881–86); finally, he was appointed U.S. minister and consul general to Haiti (1889–91).

1867 –Thursday-  Laura Ingalls Wilder, American writer: who wrote the Little House on the Prairie and the six other novels that make up what is known as the "Little House" series. Wilder was 65 when her first "Little House" book was published.

1870- Happy Birthday, Alfred Adler, Austrian doctor and psychologist who founded the school of individual psychology (each classroom had only one seat…….ha ha ha, Professor Sy Yentz has his id sense of humor). He was a prominent member of the psychoanalytical group formed by Sigmund Freud in 1900. Adler rejected Freud's emphasis on sex, and maintained that personality difficulties are rooted in a feeling of inferiority deriving from restrictions on the individual's need for self-assertion. His best-known work is The Practice and Theory of Individual Psychology (1923), followed by Who’s Afreud of Freud, a critical essay.

1893 Tuesday- The next time you write to someone famous, oh maybe the President, to request an autograph, think of Elisha Gray, of Highland Park, IL, who patented a machine called the telautograph. It automatically signed autographs to documents.  Gray would be more famous except he got to the patent office with his invention of the telephone a few hours after Alexander Graham Bell

1904-Sunday-  Nothing to do with the first streetlight, see 1817- but in Baltimore, a small fire in the business district developed into an uncontrollable conflagration that destroyed  a large portion of the city by evening. The fire is believed to have been started by a discarded cigarette in the basement of the Hurst Building

1915- The first wireless message sent from a moving train to a station was received. The message was “help help, they won’t stop”.  Of note is that a wireless transmission had been sent from train to a newspaper almost two years earlier.  The New York Times received the  transmission from a Delaware, Lackawanna & Western train on January 22, 1914. George Cullen, passenger traffic manager, sent the following message: “On board Lackawanna Civil Engineers Special. 35 miles east of Scranton, Penn., going sixty-four miles an hour. Greetings in the first wireless message from a moving train to a newspaper.” This reminded us of  “But did he ever return? No he never returned. And his fate is still unlearned. He may ride forever neath the streets above……..”Kingston Trio “Ridin on the MTA (Boston).

1926-Sunday- Happy Birthday, Konstantin P. Feoktistov, Russian cosmonaut and space engineer. He was part of the team that would design the Sputnik, Vostok, Voskhod, and Soyuz spacecraft under the leadership of Sergey Korolev. He trained as a cosmonaut, and was eventually part of the Voskhod 1 crew launched on Oct 12, 1964 (Monday)  for 16 earth orbits.  This was the world's first multi-manned (three man crew) spaceflight. Of note is that Nikita Khrushchev was the Soviet leader at launch, Khrushchev was removed and presto, the charismatic Leonid Brezhnev was Soviet leader when they landed.

1932 –Sunday- A neutron walks into a bar, orders a drink.  When it offers to pay the bartender refuses the money saying "for you there is no charge". The "neutron" was described in an article in the journal Nature by its discoverer, James Chadwick, who coined the name for this neutral particle he discovered present in the nucleus of atoms. Chadwick based his work on experiments conducted by Irene Joliot-Curie, one of Marie Curie’s daughters, and her husband, Frederic Joliot-Curie. Chadwick not only bombarded the hydrogen atoms in paraffin with the beryllium emissions, but  he also used helium, nitrogen, and other elements as targets. By comparing the energies of recoiling charged particles from different targets, he proved that the beryllium emissions contained a neutral component with a mass approximately equal to that of the proton. He called it the neutron.

1932  - Happy Birthday, Al Worden, American astronaut.  Worden served as command module pilot for Apollo 15, July 26 - August 7, 1971. Apollo 15 was the fourth manned lunar landing mission and the first to visit and explore the moon's Hadley Rille and Apennene Mountains which are located on the southeast edge of the Mare Imbrium (Sea of Rains). Included in the 171 pounds of Lunar material that the astronauts brought back to Earth were microbes that cause people to get on the “Express Line” with more than ten items.

1935-Thursday-  Monopoly was first marketed by Charles Darrow, with the symbol of “Rich Uncle Pennybags”. He had perfected the game on Mar 7 1933. A patent was issued for the game on Dec 31 1935 and assigned to Parker Brothers, Inc.  Darrow did not actually invent Monopoly.  Origins go back to the 1904 The Landlord's Game, patented by Quaker, Lizzie Magie. In 1924 Magie was issued another patent for her enhanced board game.  By the late 1920s it was known as just plain "Monopoly" and was played very much as it is now.  In 1929,  Hoosier Ruth Hoskins and her friends changed the game street names to street names in Atlantic City, New Jersey.  After buying up Lizzie Magie's patent for $500 and no royalties, Parker Brothers marketed a few hundred sets of The Landlord's Game and then buried it forever. http://www.ideafinder.com/history/inventions/monopoly.htm

1940 –Wednesday- The world premiere of the Walt Disney’s second feature length film,  Pinocchio, in New York City.  Critics who lied about their reactions to the movie had their noses grow longer with each lie. Pinocchio was written in 1880 by Italian writer and journalist, Carlo Lorenzini aka Carlo Collodi,

1962 – Happy Birthday, Garth Brooks, country western singer born born Troyal Garth Brooks in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Brooks was THE break through country western star into the “Land of Pop”. He was the first country artist to go multi-platinum in 1991, with his second album, No Fences.  The follow-up, Ropin' the Wind, became the first country album to debut at the top of the pop charts; No Fences would eventually sell a record-shattering 13 million copies.

'Cause I've got friends in low places

Where the whiskey drowns

And the beer chases my blues away

And I'll be okay

I'm not big on social graces

Think I'll slip on down to the oasis

Oh, I've got friends in low places

1964 –Friday-  "I Wanna Hold Your money .....er  ahh ....Hand."  The Beatles, via Pan Am Flight 101, arrived in America for the first time.  They were mobbed by adoring fans (overwhelmingly female) after landing at Idlewild (later to be renamed Kennedy) Airport to start their first U.S. tour. On Sunday, the Beatles appeared on Ed Sullivan's TV show, becoming the first British rock group to perform on U.S. television.

1976-Saturday-  Use of the world‘s largest reflector telescope at Zelenchukskaya, in the Caucasus Mountains of the Soviet Union. User requirements included being  able to say Zelenchukskaya quickly three times without making a mistake.

1984 –Tuesday-  The first untethered spacewalks (that meant they were not attached to the spacecraft by a rope) were made by STS 41 B Challenger astronauts Bruce McCandless II and Robert L. Stewart. It was a 5 hour 55 minute romp. They used the manned maneuvering unit (MMU), during this tenth flight of a Space Shuttle. McCandless used the MMU first, and later, Stewart used the MMU.  This was the first MMU MMU in space.  This was also the first shuttle flight to conclude with a night landing after which everyone gathered around the camp fire and told spooky stories.

Back To Calendar

8.        National Inventor‘s Day.  Who is the youngest person to hold a patent? The youngest person to be granted a patent is a four-year-old girl from Houston, Texas, for an aid for grasping round knobs.

            1291 –Thursday-  Happy Birthday, King Afonso IV of Portugal.  Known as the Brave, he was the seventh king of Portugal from 1325 until his kapution. His most important contribution was the priority he gave to the Portuguese navy. Alfonso IV granted public funding to raise a proper commercial fleet and ordered the first maritime explorations. The Canary Islands (today a part of Spain) were discovered during his reign

            1587 –Sunday-  After 15 years of imprisonment, Mary Queen of Scots was beheaded for treason by order of her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I. Mary was not the sharpest knife in the drawer, and this combined with her propensity for awful choices in her selection of husbands and lovers got her involved in a plot to overthrow Elizabeth.  Her son, King James VI of Scotland, raised no objections to his mother's execution, and upon Queen Elizabeth's death in 1603 he became king of England, Scotland, and Ireland

                1677- Monday-Happy Birthday, Jacques Cassini, French astronomer who compiled the first tables of the orbital motions of Saturn's moons. He was the son of Jean-Dominique Cassini, head of the Paris Observatory, and Geneviève de Laistre. With his father he measured the meridian from Paris to Perpignan, which is 13 km west of the Mediterranean coast (He must have had a really really long measuring tape). Unfortunately, the results they obtained suggested (incorrectly) that the Earth was elongated at the poles. He resolutely stuck to this misconception.  He even refused to accept Newton’s theories.  We note that Cassini could be  a  suitable plural for casino.

                1692 –Friday-  Uh Oh! A doctor in Salem Village, Massachusetts Bay Colony suggested that two girls in the family of the village minister, Samuel Parris, may have been suffering from bewitchment. Obviously, they were “Bewitched Bothered and Bewildered”. Parris’ daughter Elizabeth, age 9, and niece Abigail Williams, age 11, started having "fits." They screamed, threw things, uttered peculiar sounds and contorted themselves into strange positions, and a local doctor blamed the supernatural when obviously they should have called for televisions “Super Nanny”.  Instead of giving the girls Ritalin, this lead to the Salem witch trials.  More than 200 people would be accused of practicing witchcraft—the Devil's magic—and 20 would be executed.

             1700-Monday-  Happy Birthday, Daniel Bernoulli, one of a seemingly endless number of Bernoullis all of who were Swiss mathematicians. He investigated not only mathematics but also such fields as medicine, biology, physiology, mechanics, physics, astronomy, and oceanography.  His most important work considered the basic properties of fluid flow, pressure, density and velocity, and gave the Bernoulli principle – publishished in his boo, Hydrodynamica in 1738. The “principle holds that as the velocity of a fluid increases, the pressure exerted by that fluid decreases. Airplanes get a part of their lift by taking advantage of Bernoulli's principle. Race cars employ Bernoulli's principle to keep their rear wheels on the ground while traveling at high speeds.

            1777-Saturday-  Happy Birthday, Bernard Courtois,  French chemist who discovered the element iodine.  Courtois was working at his fathers saltpeter factory. Saltpeter was obtained from the seaweed washed ashore in Normandy; the ashes (known as ‘varec’) were leached for sodium and potassium salts.  In 1811 Courtois accidentally added excess sulfuric acid resulting in a violet vapor cloud that condensed on colder objects forming dark, lustrous crystals.  He observed that the new substance combined with hydrogen, phosphorus and certain metals but not readily with oxygen or carbon.  It did not decompose under red heat, but formed an explosive (typical chemist….always trying to make things explode) with ammonia.  Courtois believed it was a new element and turned over further investigation to his friends, the chemists Charles-Bernard Desormes and Nicolas Clement who announced the discovery in 1813.  Humphry Davy and Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac independently established it as an element.  Iodine..I: Ioeides –Greek  means violet colored.  Iodine, Atomic number: 53; Atomic weight: 126.90447 was named for the color of its vapor with the suffix -ine added in analogy with chlorine, the apparently similar element.  

            1795-Sunday-  Happy Birthday, Friedlieb F. Runge German chemist.  In studying the possibility of carrying out reactions on filter paper, he produced pictures which strongly resemble present-day, circular paper chromatograms. He is considered to be the originator of paper chromatography. Chromatography works by separating the individual parts of a mixture so that each one can be analyzed and identified.

            1820-Tuesday- Happy Birthday, William Tecumseh Sherman, born in Lancaster, Ohio. His younger brother was John Sherman who later became a United States Senator Sherman would become the  2nd best known of the Union generals (after his friend, Ulysses Grant), famous and infamous for his “march to the sea” through Georgia in 1864.  Also famous for saying “war is hell”. Edwin Starr would later add “War, huh, yeah.What is it good for Absolutely nothing. Uh-huh. War, huh, yeah.What is it good for..Absolutely nothing Say it again, y'all. After capturing Atlanta in September 1864, Sherman (not Edwin Starr) left  in November  and traveled the more than two hundred miles with his army  to Savannah by December 21. He faced little resistance from the Confederate military. In 1865, Sherman led his army into the Carolinas, using the same tactics that he had used on the "March to the Sea." General Joseph E. Johnston surrendered at Durham Station, North Carolina, on April 26, 1865 and the Civil War soon came to an end.  In June of 1884 Sherman refused the Republican presidential nomination, saying, "I will not accept if nominated and will not serve if elected”. The nomination went to James G. Blaine who would be narrowly defeated by Democrat Grover Cleveland.

            1828-Friday-  Happy Birthday Jules Verne (brother of Heart Verne….is that a reach?), the “father of science fiction.” French author of such books as, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Around the World in Eighty Days. Verne predicted the use of hydrogen as an energy source (in From the Earth to the Moon) and many future modern conveniences and technological inventions such as skyscrapers, submarines, helicopters, and airplanes. The names of his inventions and characters such as Captain Nemo, Phileas Fogg, and the submarine Nautilus have entered, and remain, a part of our popular culture.

            1834-Saturday-  Happy Birthday Dimitri Mendeleev, the youngest of a family of seventeen, born at Tobolsk, Siberia. He was  the Russian (Why didn't he just take his time instead of "rushin"?) chemist who put the (at the time) 63 known elements in order according to their atomic mass and established the periodic table of elements which he published in Principles of Chemistry in 1869. He left space in the “table” for new elements, and predicted three yet-to-be-discovered elements he called ekaboron, ekaaluminium, and ekasilicon; and his prediction was  was completely vindicated within fifteen years by the discovery of  silicon (named after a funny convict) and boron (which showed how determined he was as he “boron”).         

            1837 – Wednesday- Richard Johnson became the only Vice President to be chosen by the Senate. In the Presidential election of 1836, Martin Van Buren was elected President but neither Johnson nor his opponent for VP, Francis Granger, received a majority of Electoral votes, which, according to the 12th Amendment, required the Senate to choose the winner. Johnson was eventually declared the winner, becoming the only Vice President to be chosen by the Senate. Johnson, a protégé of Andrew Jackson received  33 votes to Granger's 14, mostly as a result of pressure from the revered Jackson as well as Van Buren.

            1855 –Thursday-  The “Devil’s Footprints” appeared. After a dense snowfall on February 7 and 8, the people of Devonshire, England awoke to find strange footprints throughout their small town. They have never been adequately explained explained. According to contemporary reports, they stretched for over a hundred miles, and went through solid walls and haystacks, appearing on the other side as though there was no barrier.              They were strange hoof-shaped prints in straight lines. Nowadays we would probably think they were made by one of the horse faced offspring of the British Royal Family. The ever helpful clergy, always anxious to make a questionable situation worse, suggested that the prints belonged to the Devil, who was roaming the countryside in search of sinners

            1866-Thursday-  Happy Birthday, Moses Gomberg,  Russian-born American chemist who initiated the study of free radicals in chemistry (that’s funny, we thought most of the free radicals were at U Cal Berkeley or Columbia University), when in 1900 he prepared the first authentic one, triphenylmethyl.  His work led to modern theories of the structure and reactivity of organic molecules-theories whose application has had tremendous impact on modern life. Organic free radicals are essential to the way in which some enzymes function in the human body. We have discovered that organic free radicals are involved in the body's aging process, in its healthy functioning, and in the development of cancer and other serious diseases. Outgrowths of Gomberg’s work with  organic free radicals has helped explain DNA synthesis in the body and many other natural phenomena, from food spoilage to the effects of sunburn. Organic free radicals also play a major role in the production of plastics, synthetic rubber, and other widely used synthetic materials.

            1887- In one of the severest blows yet to Native Americans, President Grover Cleveland- signed the Dawes Severalty Act into law. The act split up reservations held communally by Indian tribes into smaller units and distributed these units to individuals within the tribe. The law changed the legal status of Native Americans from tribal members to “individuals” subject to federal laws and dissolved many tribal affiliations The Dawes Severalty/General Allotment Act constituted a huge blow to tribal sovereignty. Cleveland’s goal was to encourage Native Americans to integrate into American agrarian culture. We note that Congressman Henry Dawes, author of the act, once expressed his faith in the civilizing power of private property with the claim that to be civilized was to "wear civilized clothes...cultivate the ground, live in houses, ride in Studebaker wagons, send children to school, drink whiskey [and] own property."] The Dawes Act significantly undermined Indian tribal life, but did little to further their acceptance into the broader society. In addition, the law severely reduced Indian holdings; after all individual allocations had been made, the extensive lands remaining were declared surplus and opened for sale to non-Indians. http://www.pbs.org/weta/thewest/resources/archives/eight/dawes.htm

            1898 – Tuesday- John A. Sherman of Worcester, Mass. received a patent for the first envelope folding and gumming (early prototypes used Bazooka grape flavored bubble gum) machine.  It was a "mechanism for folding and sealing envelopes”, which significantly reduced the bad taste in people’s mouths from licking.  It also reduced the manufacturing cost per thousand from 60 cents to 8 cents.

            1904 –Monday-  Following the Russian rejection of a Japanese plan to divide Manchuria and Korea into spheres of influence, Japan launched a surprise naval attack against Port Arthur, a Russian naval base in China. The Russian fleet was decimated. Gee, a Japanese surprise attack. Thirty seven years later, they would do it again at Pearl Harbor.  What was that Georges Santayana said about those who forget the past?

                 1906- You may wish to duplicate this entry. Happy Birthday, Chester Carlson, American physicist and patent attorney who invented xerography, an electrostatic dry-copying process that found applications ranging from office copying to reproducing out-of-print books.  That’s exactly the way you think of it as you stand in line waiting to make your copies. However, you might know the company as Xerox.  Carlson based his work on the little-known field of photoconductivity, specifically the findings of Hungarian physicist Paul Selenyi, who was experimenting with electrostatic images. He learned that when light strikes a photoconductive material, the electrical conductivity of that material is increased.  From 1939 to 1944, he was turned down by more than twenty companies. It was not until 1959, twenty-one years after Carlson invented xerography, that the first convenient office copier using xerography was unveiled.

            1922-Wednesday-  President Warren G. Harding had a radio installed in the White House. Warren and the gang particularly enjoyed boogying down to the classic Disco sounds of Hot 97.

            1924-Friday-  The first execution by lethal gas in American history was carried out in Carson City, Nevada. The executed man was Tong Lee, a member of a Chinese gang who was convicted of murdering a rival gang member. The lethal gas was supplied by  20 “executioners” had been consuming vast quantities of baked beans for many hours. The were all in a 9x 12 room.  The executioners had gas masks…………..

            1928 –Wednesday-  First transatlantic TV – Scotsman John Logie  Baird's transmission of a TV image was received across the Atlantic ocean, from Purley, England to Hartsdale, NY. The picture showed the face of Mrs. Mia Howe. Baird invented mechanical television. Vladimir Zworkyn and Philo Farnsworth were responsible for the development (invention) of electronic television.  Note: Professor Sy Yentz looked high and low for exactly who Mrs. Mia Howe was.  We could find nothing other than the reference to her as the first televised picture.  Elucidation from Gnusoids would be appreciated.

            1936 –Saturday-  In the first National Football League Draft of college football players, the Philadelphis Eagles selected Heisman Trophy winner Jay Berwanger. They promptly traded his rights to the Chicago Bears. Considering pro football wasn't a very lucrative career in 1936, Berwanger never played in the NFL

            1968 –Thursday-  The premier of Planet of the Apes, starring Charlton Heston, and the heavily simeon made up;  Roddy McDowall ,  Kim Hunter, Maurice Evans, and Linda Harrison as Nova, the “barbarian” babe. Based on the novel by Pierre Boule, with a screenplay co-written by Rod Serling,  an astronaut crew crash lands on a planet in the distant future where intelligent talking apes are the dominant species, and humans are the oppressed and enslaved

            Zira: "Not only can this man speak, he can think, he can reason."

            Zaius: "I see you've brought the female of your species, I didn't realize that man could be monogamous."

            Taylor: "On this planet it's easy."

            The worst thing about the movie was its spawn:

            Planet of the Apes (2001 – a remake) 

Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970)

Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971)

Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973)

Conquest of the Planet of the Apes (1972)  

 Behind the Planet of the Apes (1998) (TV) 

 Planet of the Apes (1974) (TV series) 

Back to the Planet of the Apes (1981) (TV)

Return to the Planet of the Apes (1975) (TV series) 

Farewell to the Planet of the Apes (1981) (TV) 

 The Making of 'Planet of the Apes' (2001) (TV) 

Planet of the Apes: Rule the Planet (2001) (TV)    

            1969-Saturday-  Pieces of a large meteorite were recovered in Chihuahua, Mexico. It fell at 1:05 am as a huge fireball that scattered several tons of material over a large area. It was named after the nearby village of Allende.  The meteorite, was a carbonaceous chondrite stone and contained an aggregated mass of particles several of which were identified as chondrules. Chondrules originated before our Solar System formed, (sort of like Larry King) and are over 4.6 billion years old. Thus the meteorite carried information that could help explain the evolution of the our galaxy.  Since 1969 was the year the Mets won the World Series in a stunning upset, the presence of chondrules at Shea Stadium should be investigated.

            1974-Friday- The crew of Skylab 3 concluded 84 days, 1hr. and 16 min. in orbit.  This third and final astronaut crew returned from the U.S. earth-orbiting Skylab Space Station, completing their mission in space that began on  Nov 16, 1973 (Friday). Overall, Skylab had orbited Earth 2,476 times during the 171 days of its occupation during a total of three manned Skylab missions which started with the first crew in Many 1973. During that time, about 2,000 hours of scientific and medical experiments had been conducted by the three crews, many of which concerned how astronauts adapted to prolonged time spent under conditions of microgravity. After spending time in a parking orbit, the vacant Skylab was steered to Earth, disintegrated in its atmosphere on  Wednesday- July 11, 1979. Mutant microbes accidentally returned Earth after disintegration resulted in the irresistible urge of women to shout “woo hoo” at the slightest prompting at any time

            1983 –Tuesday-  The Melbourne Dust Storm caused by exceptionally dry conditions in Eastern Australia – due to an El Nino-  turned day into night. At its height, the dust-storm extended across the entire width of  the state of Victoria, and was many kilometers across. The dust-cloud was some 320m deep when it struck Melbourne, but in other areas extended thousands of meters into the atmosphere. It was estimated that about 1,000 tons of  loose topsoil were dumped on the city.

            1993 –Monday- In another example of lazy, dishonest, biased television journalism, the investigative show Dateline NBC aired a report titled ''Waiting to Explode?''.  The report questioned the safety of some General Motors trucks. To try to ensure dramatic footage, the show's producers allowed incendiary devices to be strapped to trucks for a crash-test demonstration.  Kablooey! When GM discovered the setup, the carmaker sued NBC for defamation and temporarily removed its ads from the network's news programs. NBC settled the next day. Then came the ultimate embarrassment: Dim Dateline anchors Jane Pauley and Stone Phillips were ordered to read a 3.5-minute on-air apology to viewers and GM.

Back To Calendar

9.        1773-Tuesday-  Happy Birthday William Henry Harrison, born in Berkeley Virginia.  The 9th President of the U.S,  Old "Tippicanoe" was, at 68, the oldest elected president prior to Ronald Reagan.  Mr. Harrison gave a 3 hr. inauguration speech on March 19 in a cold rain and went kaput a month later of pneumonia making the span of his presidency, March 4, 1841 to April 4, 1841.  Who was his vice-president? Yep, “Tippicanoe and Tyler (John) too”. In 1811, Harrison first achieved fame with a victory over the Indians at Tippecanoe and in 1813 a more decisive one at the Battle of the Thames, where the great chief Tecumseh was killed.Harrison and his vice president  Tyler are the only president and vice president born in the same county – Charles County, Virginia. .Harrison's father was a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

            1814-Wednesday-  See 1825 below also for stolen elections, Happy Birthday, Samuel Tilden, lawyer and governor of New York. Tilden, a Democrat, was most famous for the election of 1876 in which he won the popular vote (easily) but was 1 electoral vote short of a majority. Politicians did their usual posing and ethically questionable maneuvering until an Electoral Commission with five representatives each from the Senate, the House, and the Supreme Court was selected . The Commission was composed of  seven Republican and seven Democratic members. The crucial 15th member was a Republican who first favored Tilden but, under pressure from his party, switched to Republican Rutherford B. Hayes which meant his election by the Commission voting 8 to 7 on party lines and awarding him all disputed electoral votes of South Carolina, Florida and Louisiana.  Samuel Tilden went kaput on  August 4,  1886. He left most of his $6 million estate to help the establishment of a free public library in New York City.       

                1822-Saturday-   Haiti invaded the newly founded Dominican Republic.  The two countries share the island of Hispanola. On this day Jean-Pierre Boyer, the ruler of Haiti united the entire island (to the chagrin of the Dominicans). Boyer ruledFrench-speaking Haiti, and governed (badly) Spanish-speaking Santo Domingo as a conquered province, until he was overthrown in a revolution in 1843. The upheaval of that year also gave Santo Domingo the chance to proclaim its independence, as the Dominican Republic, in 1844.

            1825-Wednesday- In the presidential election of 1824(see Dec. 1), John Quincy Adams, won fewer votes than Andrew Jackson in the popular election(sound familiar?).  131 electoral votes, just over half of the 261 total, were necessary to elect a candidate president. On December 1, 1824, the results were announced. Jackson of Tennessee won 99 electoral votes; John Quincy Adams of Massachusetts received 84 electoral votes; Secretary of State William H. Crawford, received 41 electoral votes; and Representative Henry Clay of Kentucky won 37 electoral votes. The 12th Amendment to the Constitution states that if no electoral majority is won, only the three candidates who receive the most popular votes will be considered in the House. Representative Henry Clay was disqualified from the House vote as a fourth-place candidate and Crawford had suffered a stroke (although we have since  had comatose presidents).  Clay made a deal with Quincy Adams, threw his support to the Quinster and  Adams was elected on this day. And ………surprise surprise, Clay  was appointed Secretary of State.

            1854-Thursday- Happy Birthday, Aletta Jacobs, Dutch physician who pioneered family planning and started the world's first birth control clinic .She was also the first woman to attend university in the Netherlands where she studied medicine, and became the country's first woman doctor.

            1864 – A social note with wedding of the Union General George Armstrong Custer to  Elizabeth Bacon in Monroe, Michigan. The groom donned an “All I Got Was the Lousy Monroe” t-shirt, while the bride wore an “I’m with Stupid” t-shirt.  Music was provided by the Monroe Symphonic Kazoo Orchestra.  The reception was held at Guido’s Catering of Monroe.

            1865-Thursday-  Happy Birthday, Erich Dagobert von Drygalski, born in Köningsberg, East Prussia, German geographer and glaciologist who led an expedition to the Antarctic in1901-03. When his research ship Gauss was caught in frozen seas he discovered a volcano!!!!!! It was free of ice, on the coldest of the continents. He called the volcano Gaussberg.  Not one to waste his time while being trapped in the ice, von Drygalski became the first person to fly in a balloon over Antarctica.

            1870-Wednesday-  Congress authorized the first public weather service.

Congressionally inspired, the first forecast naturally consisted of, gushing wind and hot air, and posturing.  Cleveland Abbe (brother of Westminster Abbe) had begun a private weather reporting and warning service at Cincinnati and had been issuing weather reports or bulletins since Sept. 1, 1869.  Since Abbe was basically the only person in the country who was already experienced in drawing weather maps from telegraphic reports and forecasting from them he was offered an important position in this new service and became the  was the first U.S. meteorologist,

           1871-Thursday-  Happy Birthday, Howard T Ricketts, American pathologist who discovered  that Rocky Mountain spotted fever is spread by cattle ticks and caused by a blood-borne "bipolar bacillus."  The microorganism is now called  Rickettsia rickettsii. In 1910 he showed that typhus is caused by a similar organism carried by lice.  He died that same year in Mexico City …….of typhus.

            1883 –Friday-  Happy Birthday, Garnet Carter American inventor of miniature golf.  In 1926, Carter opened his miniature golf course,Tom Thumb, at the Fairyland  Club on Lookout Mountain, Tennessee.  The course was designed for children but was (as usual with children’s toys) taken over by adults.  We have also seen it reported that in 1916, James Barber of Pinehurst, North Carolina, designed Thistle Dhu, the first quintessential miniature golf course. http://www.ocf.berkeley.edu/~haeber/creations/minigolf.html

            1893 –Tuesday-  Eighty year old Giuseppe Verdi’s last opera, Falstaff made its debut at Milan, Teatro alla Scala  in Milan. The librett was by Arrigo Boito and it was based on Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor and Henry IV. Interestingly, it was also his comic opera after his first, Un Giorno diRegno, more than 50 years earlier.

            1895 Saturday- The invention of volleyball as William G. Morgan, an instructor at the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) in Holyoke, Mass., decided to blend elements of basketball, baseball, tennis, and handball to create a game for his classes of businessmen. The game would  demand less physical contact than the newly invented basketball (invented by James Naismith at the Springfield Mass. YMCA) . He created the game of Mintonette. Morgan borrowed the net from tennis, and raised it 6 feet 6 inches above the floor. During a demonstration game, someone remarked to Morgan that the players seemed to be volleying the ball back and forth over the net, and perhaps "volleyball" would be a more descriptive name for the sport and voila! We’re not sure when the idea of bikini clad women playing beach volleyball came to the fore but it sure is a hit in the Olympics.  http://volleyball.org/history.html

             1900-Friday-  The beginning of the Davis Cup Tennis competition as Dwight F. Davis, a student on the Harvard tennis squad, wanted to match the skills of four members of his team against a team from Britain. Davis devised a format that called for three days of competition, with two singles matches on the first day, a doubles match on the second, and two more singles matches on the final day. This head-to-head arrangement pits country against country and remains in use today. Davis wisely decided against the Davis cup symbol being an athletic supporter, so he purchased a trophy and set the first event at the Longwood Club in Brookline, Massachusetts. Surprise surprise, the Americans won.

            1916-Wednesday-  Happy Birthday, Alec Zino, Portuguese ornithologist and conservationist who gave his name to Zino's petrel, Europe's rarest breeding bird. Zino’s petrel is one of those rare happy (so far) endings in the fight against species extinction.  There are approximately 45 mating pairs of the Zino's petrel (Pterodroma madeira) left on the island of Madeira, south-west of Portugal. Once abundant, the population of the bird started to decline with the arrival of settlers (surprise!) in1419. One would think that with all that delicious Madeira wine available they’d be too busy to harass little black and white birds. By mid-20th century it was thought to be extinct. Zino, re-discovered a small colony of the birds, in June1969.

            1942-Monday-  Just two months after the Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, the Normandie, regarded by many as the most beautiful passenger liner of the time, burned at its dock in New York City while being converted into a troop carrier.  German or Japanese sabotage? No, a careless welder set fire to flammables on the ship and by the next morning it was a capsized wreck. The 1029 ft., 83,000 ton ship had been launched in 1932.

            1942 –Monday-  Same day as the Normandie fire, Congress pushed ahead standard time for the United States by one hour in each time zone, imposing daylight saving time and called it "war time." This had also been done during WW1 to conserve energy.

            1942 – Monday, an eventful day as Happy Birthday, Carole King, American singer. Her landmark 1971 album, Tapestry was ranked number 1 album on the Billboard Chart  for 15 weeks and remained on the charts for over six years. The album also won her  four Grammy Awards including Album of the Year, Best Pop Vocal Performance, Female, Record of the Year (It's Too Late); and Song of the Year (You've Got a Friend).

            1943- The battle of Guadalcanal in the southwest Pacific ended with an American victory over Japanese forces.  Guadalcanal is located in the Solomon Islands of the Pacific.  American troops had landed in August  1942 shortly after the sea Battle of Midway. The victory at Midway was also a turning point for the Americans as after this battle, they could think in terms of re-capturing taken Pacific islands - the first confrontation was Guadalcanal.  The American victory at Guadalcanal ensured that Australia was safe from a Japanese invasion while the sea route from Australia to America was also protected.

            1959 –Monday-  Just six days after the kapution of Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and the Big Bopper during the Winter Dance Party, one of the replacements, Frankie Avalon developed pneumonia……remember this was Wisconsin in February.   He was then replaced by Paul Anka (pre Vegas) and Fabian.

            1961-Thursday-  The Beatles made their debut in an appearance at Liverpool’s Cavern Club, at 10 Mathew Street. They would soon become the house band.  Then they would become rock stars.  Then they would change rock music forever.  Then they would become legends.  Then they broke up in 1970. Then Yoko Ono, assassination, cancer, and a one-legged gold digger would take their toll. From 1961 to 1963 The Beatles made 292 appearances at the club.

            1964 – Seventy three million viewers watched The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show.  They sang All My Lovin', Til There Was You, She Loves You, I Saw Her Standing There and I Wanna Hold Your Hand. Also appearing on the show was a pre-Monkees Davy Jones who was appearing in the Broadway show Oliver at the time. He did a duet of I’d Do Anything with co-star Georgia Brown. Impressionist Frank Gorshin who would go onto fame as the Riddler in TV’s Batman also performed.

            1991 –Saturday-  Japan's worst nuclear accident occured at Mihama. Some radioactivity was released to the atmosphere and the plant's emergency core cooling system was activated. The release of radiation into the atmosphere was kept to a small amount. No deaths resulted. But………later that week, a giant caterpillar answering to the name of Mothra, attacked Tokyo. Longer lasting effects  resulted in hip hop recording stars constantly changing their names. Once you figure out who was Puff Daddy, you had to deal with P. Diddy.

            1995 - STS-63, aboard the Discovery astronauts Bernard A. Harris, Jr. and Michael Foale become the first African American and first Briton, respectively, to perform spacewalks. It was also the first flight of a female shuttle pilot, Eileen Collins.

            1996-Friday-  Here today, gone in a fraction of a second…. only a little more than a year after they created element 111, a team of German scientists at Darmstadt, Germany, claimed to have created an atom of the element 112. Its nucleus has 112 protons and 166 neutrons, giving it a mass number of 277. As a new element it was named ununbium, symbol Uub. It lasted a fraction of a thousandth of a second before decaying into a smaller nucleus So, basically, it takes longer to say ununbium than it actually lasts.

            2001 –Friday- Slapstick US nuclear submarine USS Greeneville collided with the Japanese fishing training boat Ehime Maru, in the Pacific Ocean south of Oahu, Hawaii sinking the vessel. Nine aboard the Ehime Maru were killed in the collision, including four high school students. There were sixteen civilian “VIPs” on board the Greeneville.  Before the collision, the sonar room was left without its supervisor, who was assigned to be a "tour guide" instead of watching over a trainee manning the sonar display.  The Greenville wasn’t finished with its Laurel and Hardy type adventures as it went on to be involved in two other incidents the following year: In August, it ran aground in a Saipan port, and in 2002, it collided with the USS Ogden near Oman.

Back To Calendar

10.   1355- Tuesday- We all know of the friction between “town and gown’ but today’s St. Cholastica Day Riot seems to have been the genesis. The St Scholastica’s Day Riot was an altercation between the Oxford students and the Oxford townspeople, which resulted in nearly 100 deaths. Noting that student behavior has not changed much over the last 800 or so years, a group of Oxford students were drinking in the Swindlestock Tavern.  Some of the students made derisory comments on the quality of the beer (must have been Budweiser).  The landlord, John Barford, who was at the time Mayor of the town, retorted with ‘stubborn and saucie language’, whereupon he was conked on the head by a tankard thrown by a student.  Barford went to St Martin’s, the City Church, and rang the bell, to summon the townsmen to arms. In response, the students ran to St Mary’s, the University Church and rang the bell to call out the students to fight, et voila! http://www.wardsbookofdays.com/10february.htm

            1763-Thursday- The French and Indian War, aka the Seven Years War outside America, ended with the Treaty of Paris by France, Great Britain, and Spain.  Note that America did not sign because it would not become a country for another 12 years. As a result of the treaty, France lost all claims to Canada and gave Louisiana to Spain, while Britain received Spanish Florida, Upper Canada, and various French holdings overseas. Spain also received a “player to be named later” and naming rights to a new stadium. No one wanted New Jersey so it remained a colony. Fifteen years later, French bitterness over the loss of most of their colonial empire contributed to their intervention in the American Revolution on the side of the colonists.

            1785- Happy Birthday, Claude-Louis Navier b French engineer and physicist. He born in Dijon. He was a specialist in road and bridge building. He was the first to develop a theory of suspension bridges which before then had been built to empirical principles. His major project to build a suspension bridge over the Seine was, however, to end in failure. That’s why he is remembered for the Navier-Stokes equations of fluid dynamics. We’d explain it to you but this is self explanetory: Using the rate of stress and rate of strain tensors, it can be shown that the components of a viscous force F in a nonrotating frame are given by

(1)

 

(2)


(Tritton 1988, Faber 1995), where is the dynamic viscosity, is the second viscosity coefficient, is the Kronecker delta, is the divergence, is the bulk viscosity, and Einstein summation has been used to sum over j = 1, 2, and 3.
(Tritton 1988, Faber 1995), where  is the dynamic viscosity,  is the second viscosity coefficient,  is the Kronecker delta,   is the divergence,   is the bulk viscosity, and Einstein summation  has been used to sum over j = 1, 2, and 3. Clear?  http://scienceworld.wolfram.com/physics/Navier-StokesEquations.html

            1835-Tuesday- Happy Birthday, Victor Hanson, physiologist and oceanographer who first used the name plankton in 1887 to describe the tiny organisms that live suspended in the sea. So, that means in pirate lingo, he walked the plankton.

            1840-Monday Happy Birthdayium to Per Teodor Cleve, Swedish chemist and geologist who discovered the elements holmium (Symbol: Ho Atomic weight: 164.9304 Atomic number 67)  and thulium Atomic Number: 69,Atomic Weight: 168.93421. Symbol –TM)  In 1874, Cleve concluded that what was known as didymium was in fact two elements. This was proved in 1885ium and the two elements were named neodymium and praseodymium. In 1879ium, he showed that scandium was in fact the boron predicted by Dmitri Mendeleev in his periodic table. This scandium was scandalous. Also in 1879ium, working with a sample of erbia that had all traces of scandia and ytterbia removed, he found two new elements, which he named holmium, after Stockholm, and thulium, after the old name for Scandinavia.. In 1886, Lecoq de Boisbaudran discovered that holmium was a mixture and contained the new element dysprosium. Holmiun Cowmium!! There is no data to indicate anything about holmium sexual.

            1840-Monday-  The very dowdy Queen Victoria married her cousin, Prince Albert of Saxe Coburg, Germany. Victoria was a carrier of the hemophilia gene, from which the disease appeared among a number of their descendants from their nine children. This family tree provided a famous case history in genetics…..as well as  another low in royal inbreeding. At the wedding, the bride wore a Victorian gown by Vera Wang, and the groom a Teutonic tuxedo by Tommy Hilfiger. The reception was held at Ira’s of Balmoral with music by Ben Disraeli and his Harmonicats.

            1846-Tuesday-  Happy Birthday, Ira Remsen, American chemist born in New York City. In his  work On the Sulphinides, he studied a new class of organic compounds, some of which have remarkable properties. One, discovered in his laboratory, has come into prominence under the name of saccharine.  It is about 250 times sweeter than ordinary sugar. Remsen (in 1879), was working on the chemistry of compounds made from coal tar, but noticed a sweet taste after not thoroughly washing his hands before dinner. Note some sources indicate that it was co-discoverer Constantine Fahlberg who had the hand washing issue.

            1861-Sunday-  After privately considering William Yancey, Howell Cobb, Robert Toombs, Alexander Stephens, Robert Barnwell Rhett,  Homer Simpson, Sylvester Stallone, Dick Cheney, and Judge Judy for President of the Confederate States of America, the Provisional Congress of the Confederate States of America settled on Jefferson Davis. They selected Alexander Stephens, both pro-Union and a friend of Abraham Lincoln, as vice-president. Davis had been hoping to be given command of the military.

            1863Tuesday-  The fire extinguisher was patented by Alanson Crane of Fortress Monroe, Virginia. “Yes Virginia, there is a fire extinguisher”. George William Manby  invented the first fire extinguisher in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1813. Manby's extinguisher consisted of a four-gallon copper cylinder which held three gallons of water. Of course we can go back to about 200 BC, where Ctesibius of Alexandria invented a hand pump able to deliver water to a fire. It is also  known that the Romans used bucket chains, buckets passed hand-to-hand to deliver water to the fire. Then, in the middle Ages, 'squirts' began to be used to apply jets of water to fires. Crane’s extinguisher, however,  was not portable.  It consisted of a water pipe under the foundation of the outside wall, vertical pipe leading up inside of wall to one or more perforated pipes extending horizontally throughout the building and included stop clock with locking cover that could be operated outside wall by authorized person in event of fire when building was unoccupied; water could flood the floors, quickly extinguish a fire.

            1863-Tuesday-  And on the same day that the fire extinguisher was patented, Dubois D. Parmelee was issued a patent for an "Improvement in Artificial Legs" using a custom-molded suction cup to attach the artificial limb to the stump.  This was the artificial leg.  Before this invention, he “didn’t have a leg to stand on”. The artificial leg and the fire extinguisher on the same day……the Gnus marches on.  Parmelee also invented the first key-operated adding machine

            1890-Monday. Happy Birthday, Boris Pasternak, the Russian Nobel Prize (1958)-winning novelist and poet, author of Doctor Zhivago…his only novel.  A baseball team had been named in the book’s honor.  You all know the Zhivago Cubs. In the Soviet Union the book was banned for three decades.

            1890-Monday. Sharing a birthday with Pasternak is Fannie Kaplan (born Faina Yefimovna Kaplan) who would have been more famous (and perhaps spared the world decades of grief and mass murder) had she been successful in her attempt to assassinate Vladimir Lenin. In 1918 she  approached Lenin near a Moscow factory and fired three shots at him. One passed through Lenin's coat, the other two hit him in the left shoulder and jaw. Lenin survived, but his health never fully recovered from the attack and it is believed the shooting contributed to the strokes that incapacitated and later killed him.

            1906 –Saturday-  The first true battleship, Dreadnought, an 18,110-ton battleship was launched.  Dreadnought represented one of the most notable design transformations of the armored warship era. Her "all-big-gun" main battery of ten twelve-inch guns, steam turbine powerplant and 21-knot maximum speed so thoroughly eclipsed earlier types that subsequent battleships were commonly known as "dreadnoughts". The new battleship served as Flagship of the Home Fleet in 1907-1912 and remained part of that fleet thereafter. Dreadnought served in the North Sea during the first two years of World War I. On 18 March 1915, she rammed (so much for all the big guns) and sank the German Submarine U-29. Placed in reserve in 1919, the once-revolutionary warship was sold for scrap in 1922.

             1920-Tuesday-  Kathleen Mavourneen, Annie Crawford's poem and Dion Boucicault's stage play starring Theda Bara, provoked a riot when it opened in San Francisco. Rioters wrecked the Sun Theater protesting of the film's portrayal of the Irish poor and the opening feature movie which starred Adam Sandler in the title role of Othello and Rosie O’Donnell as Iago. Note: IMDb informs us that the film Kathleen Mavourneen is presumed lost and we should please check our attics.

            1920- Tuesday- Baseball outlawed the spitball except for existing spitballers who were grandfathered in and allowed to keep throwing the pitch legally until they retired. Burleigh Grimes lasted the longest, retiring in 1934.  A spitball is an illegal baseball pitch in which the ball has been altered by the application of saliva, petroleum jelly, or some other foreign substance. The spitball rose to prominence in the early 1900s and was widely used into the 1910s. Since Grimes's retirement the spitball has been completely illegal in the majors, but some pitchers have been suspected of throwing it. Notable pitchers who admitted throwing the spitter include Preacher Roe, Don Drysdale, and Gaylord Perry. A number of other pitchers, most notoriously Joe Niekro, were caught throwing the gooey mess – can you imagine being the catcher? Eew!, or other defaced ball pitches.

            1931 –Tuesday-  British ruled New Delhi was made the capitol of India.  Although Old Delhi has a history dating back a thousand years, New Delhi was developed by the British and is only nearly a hundred years old. During British rule, India was made to shift its capital from Calcutta to New Delhi in 1931. New Delhi was laid out to the south of the Old City, Dellhi,  which was constructed by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. However, New Delhi overlays the site of seven ancient cities and hence includes many historic monuments

            1933-Friday-  The first singing telegram was introduced by the Postal Telegram Co. in New York.  Postal was later taken over by Western Union and a more famous, sometimes called the first, singing telegram was sent on July 28  as Western Union public relations director George P. Oslin is credited with thinking of, and sending, the first singing telegram. Oslin talked, the appropriately named, operator Lucille Lipps into singing Happy Birthday to singer Rudy Vallee.

            1846 –Tuesday- Utah sounds like a nice place”. On this day Mormon leader Brigham Young left  Nauvoo, Illinois and began leading 1,600 Mormons west across the frozen Mississippi in subzero temperatures to a temporary stop at Sugar Grove, Iowa. The mass of Mormons made the journey to the Missouri River, and by the fall of 1846, the Winter Quarters were home to 12,000 Mormons. In 1847 they would reach the Salt Lake Valley in Utah.

            1950 –Friday-  Happy Birthday, Mark Spitz, American swimmer. During the 1972 Olympics, he became the first athlete to win seven gold medals in an Olympiad. His performances were even more remarkable considering world records were set in all seven events. In meeting  all the pre-Olympic hype, he won four individual events -- in the 100- and 200-meter freestyle and 100- and 200-meter butterfly -- and three relay races. Requests for new events such as the 100 meter Dog Paddle and the Longest Dead Man Float were denied or he might have won more medals, especially if the Dog Paddle was a relay too.

            1957-Sunday-  The Styrofoam cooler was invented.  Since all the references found by Professor Sy Yentz are just that simple sentence, we will presume that since Styrofoam was invented by Dow Chemical Co., they were also responsible for the invention of the Styrofoam cooler. What we commonly call styrofoam, is actually the most recognizable form of foam polystyrene packaging. Styrofoam ® is a  Dow Chemical Co. trademarked form of  polystyrene foam insulation, introduced in the U.S. in 1954. Although Styrofoam® is the trademarked name, the real name of the product is foamed polystyrene. Ray McIntire invented Styrofoam and said his invention of foamed polystyrene was accidental. His invention came as he was trying to find a flexible electrical insulator around the time of World War II. Polystyrene, which already had been invented, was a good insulator but too brittle. McIntire tried to make a new rubber-like polymer by combining styrene with isobutylene, a volatile liquid, under pressure. The result was a foam polystyrene with bubble, 30 times lighter than regular polystyrene. At some point someone (references requested) decided, “hey this stuff could keep beer cool”.

            1957 –Sunday – The premiere of cinematic excellence, The Attack of the Crab Monsters. No, it had nothing to do with an STD.  Directed by Roger Corman and starring Richard Garland,

 Pamela Duncan and  Russell Johnson.  People were trapped on a shrinking island by intelligent, brain-eating giant crabs

            1962-The Soviet Union exchanged captured American U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers for Rudolph Ivanovich Abel, a Soviet spy (perhaps the major communist spy) held by the United States. In this very uneven trade, which greatly favored the Soviets, Powers who had been shot down in his U-2 in 1960 returned home. Abel returned to Russia with all his espionage gathered information.  The U.S also received the starting line-up of the New York Mets, and cash considerations. The Soviets received a spy to be named later and ten anchovy pizzas.

            1967 –Friday-  The Twenty Fifth Amendment to the U.S Constitution was ratified by Nevada.  The 25th Amendment details presidential disability procedures, notably: In case of the removal of the President from office or of his death or resignation, the Vice President shall become President. 2. Whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, the President shall nominate a Vice President who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress…..which happened in 1974 faster than you can say Gerald Ford and Nelson Rockefeller. 

            1992 –Monday-  Pugilistic train wreck, former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson, was found guilty  of raping 18-year-old beauty-pageant contestant Desiree Washington, by an Indiana jury. The following month, Tyson was given a 10-year prison sentence, with four years suspended.

            2009 – Tuesday- The need for traffic signals  in space was highlighted as a commercial Iridium communications satellite collided with a Russian satellite or satellite fragment, creating a cloud of wreckage in low-Earth orbit.. U.S. Space Command tracked  about 280 pieces of debris, most of it from a non-operational Russian satellite. That Russian made junk just falls apart at the slightest impact. Iridium operated a constellation of approximately 66 satellites, along with orbital spares, to support satellite telephone operations around the world. Needless to say, even with “No-fault”, their insurance premiums will go up.

Back To Calendar

11.   660 B.C – Saturday- The traditional founding date of Japan. Emperor Jimmu, was the mythical founder of Japan and is the first emperor named in the traditional lists of emperors. The Imperial house of Japan traditionally based its claim to the throne on its descent from Jimmu.

            1752-Friday-  The Pennsylvania Hospital, the first in America, opened, as it received its first patient. It was built in Philadelphia through the efforts of Benjamin Franklin, who was involved in drafting the petition for its establishment and also fund-raising. You may remember watching those classical music shows on PBS that were constantly interrupted by Ben seeking donations.  You could even get a tote bag with a contribution of $100 or more.

          1794 –Tuesday-  First session of United States Senate was open to the public. Causing people to run from the room with nausea and others to just hold their heads in their hands moaning “how can politicians  be so pompously posing, one dimensional,  ersatz, shallow…no, wait that’s the contemporary Senate.  In 1794 the Senate featured luminaries ranging from the morally challenged Aaron Burr of New York to  future President James Monroe of Virgina

            1800- Tuesday- Happy Birthday, William Henry Fox Talbot, English inventor and politician.  He had tried taking pictures with a camera lucida, an optical device that allows you  to see what you want to paint or draw as if reflected on your piece of paper and  wasn’t pleased with the results. He began to experiment with light-sensitive chemistry, corresponding with the preeminent astronomer and scientist Sir John Herschel about their mutual photographic discoveries. Unfortunately, Talbot then placed his photographic investigations on hold to pursue other interests. Big Mistake.  Talbot finally announced his invention of the photogenic drawing in January 1839, two weeks after Louis Daguerre's daguerreotype process was introduced in France. Daguerre seems to get history’s credit while Talbot's negative/positive process, the calotype, which was introduced in 1840 shortened exposure times and allowed multiple prints to be made from a single negative, became the basis for photography as it is practiced today.

            1805-Monday-  Sacagawea, the Shoshone Indian interpreter and guide to the Lewis and Clark expedition, gave birth to her first child, a bouncing baby boy, Jean Baptiste Charbonneau, nicknamed Pompy by William Clark.  Meriwether Lewis assisted with the birth. Fifteen year old Sacagawea carried the baby for the rest of the trip.  Her husband was French-Canadian fur trapper, Toussaint Charbonneau, who had purchased her from Hidatsa kidnappers the year before.

            1808-Thursday- Judge Jesse Fell of Wilkes-Barre, Penn experimented by burning anthracite coal to keep his house warm. He developed a method to burn the stone coal without the use of forced air and his invention of the fireplace grate opened up the home heating market…..not to mention marshmallow roasting. Anthracite coal  was abundant along the banks of the Susquehanna River throughout its length in the Wyoming Valley. However, because this “stone coal” was as hard as granite, it simply would not burn or maintain a fire. There was plenty of this ultra hard coal throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania, but no one had yet discovered a way to make any money from it.

            1809-Saturday (after 1848 all patents would be issued on Tuesdays)  Robert Fulton patented his steamboat for the first time, although he had already made his first successful steamboat trip on the Clermont between New York City and Albany in 1807.  Lots of steamboats invented over lots of years and lots of suits against Fulton from competitors but at least in American history textbooks, Fulton gets the credit.  John Fitch was granted his first United States patent for a steamboat on August 26, 1791 after a patently patented patent battle with James Rumsey over claims to the same invention. Both men had similar designs. Robert Fulton was accredited with turning the steamboat into a commercial success. On August 7, 1807 (Friday) , Fulton's Clermont went from New York City to Albany with the 150-mile trip taking 32 hours at an average speed of about 5 miles-per-hour.

            1812 –Tuesday-  Massachusetts Gov. Elbridge Gerry signed a redistricting law that favored his political party. Gerry’s law originated the term ''gerrymandering.'' Gerry had redistricted his state to overwhelmingly benefit his party, the Democrat/Republican Party. The opposition party, the Federalists, were, to put it mildly, quite upset.  Governor Gerry went on to become vice president under James Madison from 1813 until his kapution a year later. Gerry was the second vice president to go kaput while in office. One of the Massachusetts congressional districts was shaped very strangely and, as the story goes, one Federalist remarked that the district looked like a salamander. No, said another Federalist, “it’s a gerrymander”.

            1847-Thursday-  Happy Birthday, Thomas Alva Edison, American inventor who, singly or jointly, held a world record 1,093 patents. In addition, he created the world's first industrial research laboratory. In 1868, his first invention was an electric vote-recording machine (probably still used in Florida – see presidential election, 2000). In 1869, he made improvements on the stock-ticker. In 1876 he moved his laboratory to Menlo Park, N.J., where he invented the first prototype of a commercially practical incandescent electric light bulb in 1879. By the late 1880s he made motion pictures. Edison developed electric power from central generating stations. By 1900 he had invented everything that would ever be  invented……no,no,no Professor Sy Yentz has his patented sense of humor.

            1858 –Thursday- In France, Marie Soubirous, a 14-year-old French peasant girl,  claimed to have seen the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ in a  vision. The sight of her visions was Lourdes, a town in the Pyrenees. Marie Soubirous was canonized as St. Bernadette by the Roman Catholic Church. Today, millions of people travel to Lourdes every year to visit St. Bernadette's grotto, where the water supposedly has healing powers.

            1898-Friday- Happy Birthday, Leo Sziliard, Hungarian-born American physicist who, working  with Enrico Fermi, designed the first nuclear reactor that sustained nuclear chain reaction on Dec. 2 1942 (Wednesday) . Szilard was one of the first to realize that nuclear chain reactions could be used in bombs and was instrumental in urging the U.S. government to prepare the first atomic bomb, but he later actively protested nuclear warfare and supported the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

            1922-Saturday-  The use of insulin to treat diabetes in a dog was announced in the first paper published on the subject by the Canadian surgeon Frederick Banting and his assistant Charles Best. On July 10, 1921,(Sunday) they injected an extract from pancreatic tissue  into a diabetic dog. After an hour, the blood glucose had dropped from 0.2 to 0.1%. They continued their research, and improved the purity of what they named insulin, the hormone responsible for controlling blood sugar levels. Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas. The discovery was one of the watershed moments in medicine. Diabetics now had hopes of living full and productive lives. Banting received a share of the Nobel Prize in 1923 for the work

            1926- Happy Birthday, Leslie Nielson, actor born in Saskatchewan, Canada. Nielson starred as Revolutionary War hero, Francis Marion in the Disney television series, Swamp Fox. “Swamp Fox, Swamp Fox, tail on his hat. Nobody knows where the Swamp Fox’s at….”.  His later career resulted inFilm critic Roger Ebert calling  him "the Laurence Olivier of spoofs". Starting with the movie version of his television detective spoof, Police Squad, starred in the movies; The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! The Naked Gun 2½: The Smell of Fear  Naked Gun 33⅓: The Final Insult, Dracula: Dead and Loving It, Spy Hard Dick Steele, Agent WD-40 and  Wrongfully Accused Ryan Harrison  

            1928 –Saturday-  Celebrating the invention of television and anticipating the invention of the remote control……Attention "couch potatoes", the La-Z-Boy reclining chair was invented by Ed Shoemaker. The first chair didn’t exactly look like the one you fall asleep on while watching C-SPAN. This one was a wood slat outdoor folding chair from orange crates.  Oh yes, the remote control was invented by the Zenith Corporation and interestingly enough the remote control was initially called the “Lazy Bone”.

            1935 –Monday-  Happy Birthday, Gene Vincent, one of the greats of early Rock n Roll. The echo effect on the recording of Be Bop a Lula is just as fresh today as when he recorded it in 1956.  Vincent was injured in the same 1960 car crash that killed fellow rocker Eddie Cochran.

            1937-Thursday-  For the first time, all three major radio networks simultaneously broadcast a program. At the time, the three networks were CBS, NBC, and Mutual. All three broadcast a benefit concert from Radio City Music hall benefiting the American National Red Cross. The concert, featuring “a Salsa Salute to Chopin”, the finals of the World Finger Snapping Contest, and Madonna reading excerpts from the works of Friedrich Nietzsche.

            1938-Friday-  A  thirty-five minute adaptation of Karel Capek’s play a RUR, Rossum's Universal Robots (1921), from which the word 'robot' is derived was broadcast on the BBC television.  It is believed to be the first piece of television science-fiction ever to be produced. The play  describes the elimination of humanity by robots.

            1942 – “Pardon me, boy, Is that the Chattanooga choo choo? Track twenty-nine…” The first “gold record” was presented to band leader Glen Miller for his recording of the song, Chatanooga Choo Choo. His orchestra, fronted by feature vocalist and saxophonist Gordon 'Tex' Beneke, performed the song in the unmemorable movie Sun Valley Serenade starring figure skater Sonja Henie and John Payne. The movie went kaput (these days it would have gone straight to DVD)  but the song exploded. In less than three months more than one million copies of the record were sold.  In an effort to reward Miller - and call attention to its own success as well - RCA Victor took one of the master copies of Chattanooga Choo Choo, and sprayed it with gold lacquer. On this day the music company presented it to  Miller during a live radio broadcast with the 'gold record.'  The actual award recognized today as a Gold Record was not initiated for another sixteen years when the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) copied the publicity stunt and trademarked the Gold Record. The first Gold Record single was awarded to Perry Como in 1958 for his recording of Catch A Falling Star. The first Gold Record album was earned by Gordon McRae and the cast of Oklahoma for its soundtrack release. http://www.essortment.com/all/whatisgoldrec_rixf.htm

            1945-Sunday-  The controversial Yalta Conference between Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and the odious Joseph Stalin.  An ill and failing Roosevelt, desperate to end the war in the Pacific and not sure if the atomic bomb would work basically gave away Eastern Europe and North Korea in exchange for Stalin’s promise to attack Japan within 2-3 months of the end of the war in Europe. Stalin attacked Japanese territories for his own purposes just after the first atomic bomb in August.

            1954 –Thursday-  It must have had a really big lampshade -a 75,000-watt light bulb was lit at Rockefeller Center in New York, to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Edison’s first light bulb.

            1960 – Thursday- Tonight Show host Jack Paar walked off while live on the air on the with four minutes left in the show. He was protesting censors cutting out a joke (in which W.C was confused between water closet and wayside chapel, from the show the night before. A few weeks later he returned to the show with the quip, "As I was saying before I was interrupted..."

            1970-Wednesday-  The first Japanese satellite, Osumi 5, was launched, making Japan the fourth country to put a satellite into earth orbit.  The first three?  The USSR, the U.S and …………….France.  Of course when this satellite returned to Earth’s atmosphere, it released microbes that resulted in the awful dubbing of Japanese monster movies into English.  It also caused the insertion of Raymond Burr, post production, into the movie Godzilla, Kind of the Monsters so that it would be more user friendly for English speaking audiences.  

            1978 –Saturday-  The enlightened Bourgois, perhaps bowing to the proletariat,  of the People's Republic of China lifted a ban on works by Aristotle, Shakespeare and Dickens

            1981 –Wednesday-  Oops! Operator error as a worker triggered an emergency alert, sending 100,000 gallons of 'slightly' radioactive water raining down on the heads of 14 workers at T.V.A.'s Sequoyah nuclear plant in Tennessee. The accident occurred while the plant was shut down for maintenance. The plant uses slightly contaminated water for emergency coolant, because clear water would raise costs "needlessly".  Workers were easily located as they now glowed in the dark.

            1990-Sunday-  After 27 years in prison, Nelson Mandela was released from prison in South Africa.  By 1994 he was elected president of South Africa.  His release followed the relaxation of apartheid laws - including lifting the ban on leading black rights party the African National Congress (ANC) - by South African President FW de Klerk. The bad news for Mandela was that he would now be united with his dotty wife, Winnie.

            1990- Sunday- Opening the trapdoor that destroyed the career and life of seemingly unbeatable Heavyweight Champion Mike Tyson, journeyman James “Buster”  Douglas shocked himself and the world with a KO of the champ in the 10th round. Perhaps Tyson was so happy about Nelson Mandela’s release that he could hardly wait to get home to watch the news.

            1994- Contented cows? Or Big Squirts?  The rBGH genetically engineered growth hormone for cows was first sold to dairy farmers under the name Posilac. It was made by Monsanto Company. This was the first time altered genes had been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for injection into live animals. The purpose was to improve a cow's production of milk as much as 5 to 15 pounds per day per cow. The approval process took nine years. Nevertheless, the rBGH worries  people concerned about food purity, not to mention people who watch the increasingly strange people who appear on reality television shows who may have been created by rBGH.

            1997 –Tuesday-  Launch of the shuttle Discovery, STS-82 with the objective of making significant upgrades to the scientific capabilities of the Hubble Space Telescope….basically they were going of fix that blurry stuff.  Starting on the third day of the mission, the seven-member crew would conduct at least four spacewalks (also called Extravehicular Activities or EVAs for the cognescenti) to remove two older instruments and install two new astronomy instruments, as well as other servicing tasks……like breathing on the lens and polishing it with their sleeves.

            2000-Friday-  STS-99, the shuttle Endeavour was finally launched. There had been a number of postponements going back to September 1999. The mission  objective was to obtain the most complete high-resolution digital topographic database of the Earth. i.e map the world. Also aboard Endeavour was a student experiment called EarthKAM, which took 2,715 digital photos during the mission through an overhead flight-deck window. The NASA-sponsored program let middle school students select photo targets and receive the images via the Internet. The pictures were used in classroom projects on earth science, geography, mathematics and space science. More than 75 middle schools around the world participated in the experiment.

Back To Calendar

            12.    881 –Wednesday-   We put this item in because it’s one of our favorite historical nicknames. Pope John VIII crowned Charles the Fat, the King of Italy. The chubby one, was the Frankish king and Holy Roman Emperor, whose fall in 887 marked the final disintegration of the empire of Charlemagne.  He descended from a line of portly monarchs, notably  Charles the  plump, Charlie the chubby, Chuck the stout, and Chip the obese.

          1541 –Wednesday-  What is now the city of Santiago Chile, was founded as a fortified encampment, known by the name Santiago de la Nueva Extremadura, by conquistador Pedro de Valdivia. 

                    1554 –Friday-  Lady Jane Grey, who had claimed the throne of England for nine days, was beheaded after being charged with treason.  When Henry VIII died in 1547, probably from the effects of his six marriages and lifelong sense of gluttony, his heir was his son Edward VI.  Unfortunately, the teenaged Edward went to that big throne in the sky in 1553, probably due to turberculosis. Next in line for  the throne was Henry’s eldest daughter, the Mary (a Catholic). Unfortunately, again, due to various marriages and wills, and changing of wills Lady Jane Grey (a Protestant), could also lay claim to the throne.  She did.  Jane was a pawn in the monarchical game of chess between Catholics (Mary) and Protestants ( Jane), particularly  John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland who as Edward's chief Minister, knew that he would be punished by Mary for his harsh anti-Catholic policies. She was queen for just nine days before Mary’s supporters overthrew her.

                        1637 –Tuesday-  Happy Birthday, Jan Swarmmerdam Dutch biologist born in Amsterdam Swammerdam made major discoveries in anatomy when he demonstrated the presence of valves in the lymph vessels, and in nerve-muscle function his work on the frog muscle put paid to pre-scientific ideas of nervous action being due to "vital spirits".  He put a frog on a lab table and said “jump”.  The frog jumped 10 ft.  He cut off one leg and said “jump”. The frog jumped 6 ft.  He cut off a second leg, said “jump” and the frog jumped 3 ft. He cut off a third leg, said “jump” and the frog jumped  1 ft.  He cut off the last leg, said “jump” and when the frog didn’t move he announced that if you cut off all four of a frog’s legs he becomes deaf.  Anticipating Viagra and all the other annoying dysfunctional commercials he also discovered the mechanism of penile erection and was one of the first to discover the human ovarian follicles.

            1733-Thursday-  Just about fifty years after the founding of the twelfth colony of Pennsylvania in 1682, English colonists led by James Oglethorpe founded Savannah, Georgia (named after King George I). Oglethorpe had been granted the charter in 1732.  On this day he and his settlers, looking for a nice beach front property on Tybee Island, settled for what is now Savannah.  They nested in Monterey Square so they could be near Mercer House and get in the book, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.  Georgia created a buffer between the English colonies and Spanish Florida. Oglethorpe also promoted the idea that the area be used to settle the worthy poor of England, to provide an alternative to the overcrowded debtors' prisons.      

                        1791-Happy Birthday, Peter Cooper, American inventor, manufacturer, and philanthropist who built the "Tom Thumb" locomotive and founded The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, New York City. Peter Cooper has had a profound effect on the lives of millions of people. He obtained the first American patent for the manufacture of gelatin in1845 and in 1895, Pearl B. Wait, a cough syrup manufacturer, bought the patent from Cooper’s estate  and adapted Cooper's gelatin dessert into an entirely prepackaged form, which his wife, May David Wait, named "Jell-O.".  Also of note; Professor Sy Yentz grew up in the apartment development of Stuyvesant Town in lower Manhattan.  Just across 20th street from “Stuy Town” is Peter Cooper Village.

                    1809- One of our favorite items,  Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin were both born on this day.  No they weren‘t fraternal twins, Lincoln was born in Kentucky and Darwin was born in England. Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States (1861–65), preserved the Union during the American Civil War and brought about the emancipation of the slaves. He was born in a log cabin in rural Kentucky, 3 miles (5 km) south of Hodgenville. Charles Robert Darwin, the scientist, produced a prolific array of work during his lifetime. Of his 19 books, his most famous and historic work On the Origin of Species was published in 1859. Darwin was born in Shrewsbury, England and he didn’t look “Shrewish”. His five year voyage aboard the Beagle, changed science history.

                        1850-Tuesday-  Happy Birthday, William M. Davis, American geographer, geologist, and meteorologist who founded the science of geomorphology, which is, of course, the study of landforms.

                        1873-Wednesday-  Happy Birthday, Barnum Brown, American paleontologist who discovered the first Tyrannosaurus rex fossil in 1902 in Montana. Only about 30 Tyrannosaurus fossils have been found, mostly in the western part of the United States. Fossils of different Tyrannosaurus species have been found in the US; Montana, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming,  in Canada; Alberta and Saskatchewan, and, Mongolia.  Contemporary fossil, Madonna seems to have been uncovered in a chemistry lab.  Interestingly for you plate tectonics techies,   T Rex was named T Rex  in 1905 by Henry Fairfield Osborn. Brown also found and many other types of fossils including Joan Rivers, Suzanne Sommers, and Mick Jagger.

                        1878 –Tuesday-  Probably lots of broken noses before  Frederick W. Thayer, the captain of the Harvard University Baseball Club, patented the now familiar, baseball catcher's mask.

                        1879 -The first artificial ice rink in North America was built at the original Madison Square Garden (formerly Gilmore’s Park)  in New York City.  There have now been four Madison Square Gardens, the first two were actually at Madison Square at 26th street and Madison Avenue. The current one is at 7th Avenue between 31st and 33rd Streets – not even close to Madison Square. Principal users of the articial ice at Madison Square Garden are the perennially underachieving New York Rangers of the National Hockey League.  The first artificial ice rink (mechanically-refrigerated) was built in 1876, at Chelsea, London, England and was named the Glaciarium. It was built near the King's Road in London by John Gamgee

            1912-Monday-  Hsian-T'ung, the last  Manchu emperor of China, was  forced to abdicate following Sun Yat-sen's revolution. A provisional government was established in his place, ending 267 years of Manchu rule in China and 2,000 years of imperial rule. The former emperor, who was only six years old at the time was allowed to keep up his residence in Beijing's Forbidden City, in addition to his toy truck, his trains, and his puppy.  He took the new name of  Henry Pu Yi.

                            1924-Tuesday-   Note: Other sources give the date as December 4, 1923 (Tuesday) .  The first network radio program to be sponsored by advertising made its debut. The show, The Eveready Hour, was sponsored by the National Carbon Company – maker of Eveready batteries-  and broadcast in New York, Washington, and Providence. The program started locally on radio station WEAF in New York City in 1923 and became a multi-station feed in 1924 over a hookup of stations, mostly in the East and Midwest, which would later serve as the basis of the National Broadcasting Company (NBC), beginning in 1927. The Eveready Hour went kaput in  1930.

                        1924 – Tuesday, on the same day as the first commercial network radio broadcast, came the premiere of George Gershwin’s brilliant Rhapsody in Blue. The concert, billed by orchestra leader Paul Whiteman as an eclectic concert to take place at New York City's Aeolian Hall, with the purpose of displaying modern American music in all its varieties has been described as long and tedious.  Rhapsody in Blue, with Gershwin at the piano came near the end.

            http://www.classicalnotes.net/classics/gershwin.html

            1936 –Wednesday- Happy Birthday, Fang Lizhi, Chinese astrophysicist and dissident who was held by the Chinese leadership to be partially responsible for the 1989 student rebellion in Tiananmen Square.  He had been expelled from the Communist Party for his human rights stands and in  1972, he published a paper on the big bang theory. This was previously a forbidden topic in China, (and they had not even seen the awful television show of the same name) and was condemned by  the Communists; the Marxists claimed that the universe was infinite.

                        1941-Wednesday The first injection of penicillin into a human test subject was conducted by British doctors, Ernst Chain and Howard Walter Florey, who had developed the antibiotic. The patient, Albert Alexander, had cleverly scratched his face on a rose bush. When the scratches turned septic, he developed blood poisoning and abscesses. Because he was in great pain, and abscess makes the heart grow fonder, he agreed to be treated with the new drug. Good news:  "within four days, there was a striking improvement... he was vastly better... with obvious resolution of the abscesses," according to the doctors.  Bad news: They ran out of penicillin.  The treatment stopped. The infection returned. He died four weeks later. 

            1956 –Tuesday-  Screamin Jay Hawkins recorded the gentle, poetic ballad, I Put a Spell on You. It would be released in 1957 after his new version was even more gentle and poetic. This version with various grunts and groans was banned by most radio stations

            1961 – Sunday- The Soviet Union launched Venera 1, the first space probe to fly by Venus. On 4 March, at a distance of 7.5 million km, communications failed, and no further contact was made with Venera 1. The mid-course correction motors could not be fired, and on May 19 and 20, 1961, Venera 1 passed within 100,000 km of Venus and entered a heliocentric orbit. Probable cause for the failure was magic two-handed backhand brain waves served by tennis playing Venusian resident Venus Williams which caused radio communication failure.

            1961 – Sunday- Released in late 1960, the Miracles (with lead singer Smokey Robinson) Shop Around became Motown’s first million selling and top ten single.

             1973 –Monday-  Gee, the metric system sure caught on fast.  Four metric distance road signs, the first in the U.S., were erected along Interstate 71 in Ohio. They showed the distance in both miles and kilometers between Columbus and Cincinnati, and Columbus and Cleveland. In 1971, a report recommended a switch to the metric system and hilariously established a 10-year target time to accomplish it ( ha ha ha ha ha) . This led to a National Metric Conference in 1973, which prompted Ohio to display metric highway signs. The Metric Conversion Act of planned a voluntary conversion to the metric system.

            1991 –Tuesday-  North and South Korea form a joint team for table tennis competition. The team broke apart when the North invaded the South’s half of the table.  The U.S team rushed to assist the South and pushed the North back to its own side and then further.  But then Chinese “volunteers” rushed to the aide of the North and pushed the South back to its own side.  Then they declared a truce and drew a line down the middle and neither side could go to the other side, although the North kept threatening to invade again…..

            1999-Friday-  The five week impeachment trial of Presidential stud muffin Bill Clinton ended with the Senate voting to acquit the old horn dog on both articles of impeachment: perjury and obstruction of justice.  With sixty votes needed to convict, fifty five of the solons 45 Democrats and 10 Republicans voted "not guilty" the first charge of perjury, and on the charge of obstruction of justice the national exemplars of morality  split 50-50.

            2001 –Monday-  The NEAR Shoemaker (named after Eugene Shoemaker, the great planetary scientist, who influenced decades of research on the role of asteroids and comets in shaping the planets.) spacecraft touched down on Eros, after transmitting 69 close-up images of the surface during its final descent and completing the first landing on an asteroid. The probe had been launched in February 1996. Scientists were shocked to discover that the asteroid Eros was the original home of Nancy Pelosi.

            2002-Tuesday- US Secretary of Energy, Spencer Abraham. made the decision that Yucca Mountain was suitable to be the United States' nuclear waste repository.  for spent nuclear fuel rods and solidified high-level radioactive waste. The material would be stored in tunnels deep underground. A complex of buildings would receive, package, and prepare the material for disposal underground. Naturally, Secretary Abraham did not live anywhere near Yucca Mountain which is Nye County, in the south-central part of the U.S. state of Nevada approximately 100 miles northwest of Las Vegas…..as if Vegas isn’t weird enough already.

            2004 –Thursday-  On a social note, Mattel Toy Company announced that the "Barbie" and "Ken" dolls were breaking up. Both were still virgins. The dolls had been an item since 1961.  The most important outcome of the break up was the incredibly expensive  “Divorce Barbie”. Divorce Barbie came with Ken’s car, his bank account, his house, his boat and his residuals.

Back To Calendar

13.     1259 – The Mongols captured Bagdad. The Battle of Baghdad in 1258 was a victory of Hulagu Khan, grandson of Genghis Khan and brother of the Khan Mangu. Baghdad was the capital of an Islamic state and was ruled by Al-Musta'sim, the current Abbasid Caliph. The Abbasid state had been in existence for over 500 years, since the rule of the first caliph in Baghdad 751 following the defeat of the previously ruling Umayyads.

            1542-Friday If you’ve been keeping track of Henry VIII’s six wives (you’ll need two hands) , the fifth wife, Catherine Howard, was executed for adultery.  Unlike Anne Boleyn, (Catherine was her cousin)  also convicted and beheaded for adultery, Catherine was probably guilty.She was flirtatious, emotional, and not the brightest bulb in the chandelier. She rarely understood the consequences of her actions. She made the mistake of continuing her indiscretions as queen  and, after just seventeen months of marriage she was kaput at either age nineteen or twenty.  Remember, for keeping track of the six: Divorced, Beheaded, Died, Divorced, Beheaded, Survived. While there was only Jane, there were two Annes and three Catherines (different spellings).

             1588-Saturday-    Tycho Brahe (he of the silver nose), and possibly anticipating Galileo’s troubles –see below- and not wishing to get into the same difficulties with the Church,  first outlined his "Tychonic system" idea of the structure of the solar system. The Tychonic system was a hybrid, sharing both the basic idea of the Earth-centered system of  Ptolemy, and the Sun-centered idea of Nicholas Copernicus. Brahe kept the t Sun and Moon revolving about Earth in the center of the universe and, at a great distance, the shell of the fixed stars was centered on the Earth. But like Copernicus, he agreed that all the other planets Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn revolved about the Sun.

            1633-Sunday Galileo Galilei arrived in Rome to answer charges of heresy. Galileo had advocated the Copernican Theory of a sun-centered solar system first promulgated in 1514 by Polish astronomer Nicolas Copernicus.  He agreed to plead guilty in exchange for a lighter sentence (evidently being burned at the stake did not thrill him for some reason) and was placed under house arrest for the remaining nine years of his life.  Evidently they didn’t have community service or counseling classes as alternative sentences in those days.   In 1833 the College of Cardinals announced that "the printing and publication of works treating of the motion of the earth and the stability of the sun, in accordance with the opinion of modern astronomers, is permitted."  Two weeks later, Pope Pius VII ratified the Cardinals' decree.  However, things do move slowly sometimes and it was not until 1992!!!!! That the Catholic Church admitted that Galileo’s views were correct.  Also note that Galileo and Shakespeare were born in the same year – 1564 – which was also the year that Michelangelo died.

            1635 –Tuesday- The Boston Latin School, the first public school building in the United States, was establishedium. This was a year before Harvard University was established.  The first classes were held in the home of the Master who’s name was  Philemon Pormort. From the earliest years the town assigned public funds to the support of the school. It was eventually voted "to allow forever fifty pounds to the Master, and a house, and thirty pounds to an usher" or assistant teacher. The first building for the school was built in 1645. The Master still lived there.           It made for an easy commute.

            1668 – In the Treaty of Lisbon, Spain recognized Portugal. Portugal had been wearing a wig along with a fake beard and glasses and…… Spain didn’t know who it was. Dom Pedro, the Prince Regent of Portugal, future king Peter II of Portugal, and Queen Mariana of Austria, Regent of Spain signed with the mediation of Lord Sandwich,   ambassador from King Charles II.  The Treaty ended the 26 year-long Portuguese Acclamation War between Portugal and Castile. 

            1689-Sunday-  Following Britain's bloodless “Glorious Revolution” in 1688, Mary, the daughter of the deposed king, James II and William of Orange, her husband, were proclaimed joint sovereigns (King and Queen) of Great Britain under Britain's new Bill of Rights. William, a Dutch prince had married Mary, the daughter of the King James II, in 1677. James was a Catholic.  When a son was born, the Protestant opposition in Parliament offered the throne to the Protestant Mary and her husband.  William and Mary invaded England. No battles were fought (except possibly over billing for the couple – should it be Mary and William?). James fled the country.  Parliament reigned supreme, William and Mary were succeeded by Anne. On Anne’s kapution  Parliament imported the German, George of Hanover with a direct line to Elizabeth II and her brood of graduates from the Home for the Chronically Stupid.

            1692 –Wednesday-  The Massacre at Glencoe, Scotland.  Glen Coe had been home to the cland MacDonald since at least the early 14th century when they supported King Robert the Bruce. The chief of the MacDonalds of Glen Coe was Alasdair MacDonald, known as MacIain.  Four years after the ascension of William and Mary in England, William ordered that the Scottish Highland Clans sign and oath of allegiance.  Many of the clans supported the deposed James II.  Soldiers arrived at Glen Coe 12 days before the massacre, as friends, seeking shelter due to the fact that a nearby  fort was full. The MacDonalds, honoring the Highland hospitality code, gave Campbell soldiers quarter in their own houses. For 12 days they lived together with neither the clan nor the common Argyll soldiers knowing what lay ahead. On this day, As the clan slept the soldier house guests gathered, received their orders, and set about systematically killing everyone they could. Thirty eight lay dead the next morning, including the chief, MacIain.   To this day to this day the old Clachaig Inn at Glen Coe carries the sign on its door, 'No Campbells'. http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/scottishhistory/union/trails_union_glencoe.shtml

            1743-Wednesday-  Happy Birthday, Joseph Banks,  British explorer and one of the greatest naturalists of all time.  He was also long-time president of the Royal Society, and known for his promotion of science. Banks participated in a voyage to Newfoundland and Labrador in 1767. He was the naturalist  on what was to be James Cook's first great voyage of discovery, on board the Endeavour  from 1768-71.  This expedition made known to Europeans such wonders as the marsupial animals of Australia as well as the expression “throw another shrimp on the Barbie”.

            1805-Wednesday-  Happy Birthday, Peter Gustav Lejeune Dirichlet  German mathematician who made valuable contributions to number theory, (inspired by the work of Carl Gauss)  analysis, and mechanics. In 1829 he was able to solve the outstanding problem of stating the conditions sufficient for a Fourier series to converge. Note; if you have a pencil and paper handy, the other problem of giving necessary conditions is still unsolved. Dirichlet is best known for his papers on conditions for the convergence of trigonometric series and the use of the series to represent arbitrary functions.  Of course there are 3 sides to that story but that’s another matter.  In 1837 he proposed the modern definition of a function. In 1966 Shorty Long recorded Function at the Junction.

            1822-Wednesday-  A patent was issued for the first practical grass mowing machine to Jeremiah Bailey of Chester County, Pennsylvania. It could mow ten acres a day. After all, it was “the mow the merrier”. The mower was horse-drawn.  There had been an earlier attempt at a mower by Peter Gaillard in 1811 but it was a failure…..probably the crab grass. 

            1866-Tuesday-  Frank James, Cole Younger and their gang commit the first armed bank robbery in United States history during peacetime in Liberty, Missouri. Jesse James was probably not with them as they escaped with about $60,000. Jesse’s first confirmed robbery was December 7, 1869 at the Daviess County Savings Association in Gallatin, Missouri

            1875-Saturday-    The first recorded birth of quintuplets in the United States at  Watertown, Wisconsin. Sadly, all five of the Kanouse boys died within 2 weeks.  

            1891 –Friday-  Happy Birthday, Grant Wood, American artist born in Iowa.  His most famous work is American Gothic. You know it as that picture with rather unhappy stern faced, shallow cheeked looking man and woman (he’s holding a pitchfork) standing in front of a white house.  After Wood began sketching for the painting, he learned that the house  was a brothel. Wood's sister Nan and her dentist-friend, Dr. B. H. McKeeby, reluctantly posed for the painting after Wood assured them that they would not be recognized. Obviously, both were a few French fries short of a happy meal.  When the picture appeared at the Chicago Art Institute's annual exhibition in 1930, it caused a sensation and was awarded the Harris Prize. It was bought by the Art Institute for $300. It  is a primary example of Regionalism. The painting has become part of American popular culture, and the couple has been the subject of endless parodies.

            1895-Wednesday- French inventors Louis and August Lumiere patented the Cinematographe, a combination portable motion-picture camera, film processing unit and projector. Three functions in one invention.  Thomas Edison had patented his movie camera, the Kinetograph, and a separate viewing machine, the Kinetoscope, in 1893.   The first French movie on the Cinematographe was “Rocky Eats Escargot”.

            1910-Sunday- Happy Birthday, William Shockley, English-American engineer and teacher, co-winner  of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1956 for the development of the transistor, a device that largely replaced the bulkier and less-efficient vacuum tube and basically (take note all you MP3, Ipoders, and now Iphoners) began the age of micro-miniature electronics.

            1923-Tuesay-  Happy Birthday, Chuck Yeager, the most famous test pilot of all time. He was also a great fighter pilot. He flew 64 combat missions in World War II. On one occasion he shot down a German jet from a prop plane. By the end of the war he had shot down 13 enemy aircraft, including five in a single day. He was the test pilot who was the first to break the sound barrier in October 1947 in the fixed wing X-1 fighter plane. Of course when he landed he was “ground Chuck.”

            1935-Wednesday-  Bruno Richard Hauptmann was found guilty of first-degree murder in the kidnap-death of the infant son of Charles and Anne Lindbergh. Hauptmann was later executed

            1945 –Tuesday-  773 Avro Lancasters  fire bombed the German city of Dresden. During the next two days the USAAF sent over 527 heavy bombers to follow up the RAF attack. Dresden was nearly totally destroyed. By February 15, the city was a smoldering ruin  As a result of the firestorm from the incendiary bombs,  it was afterwards impossible to count the number of victims. Recent research suggests that 35,000 were killed but some German sources have argued that it was over 100,000.

            1967 –Tuesday-  The Beatles released Penny Lane, with the B side of Strawberry Fields Forever in the U.S. By any stretch of the imagination neither was a rock n roll song but the Beatles could do no wrong. Some considered it a let down. Paraphrasing the words of the “rate the record” folks on American Bandstand, you have to be able to dance to it for it to be rock. If anyone tried to dance to Strawberry Fields, either Jerry Lewis would have a telethon for them or the séance would break up. Of course this raises the question of music or singer.  Some fans who would call themselves “true fans” will follow the singer (musician) through all musical changes. For example Bruce Springsteen, great rocker.  Some fans would sit through Tom Joad or the Pete Seeger gruel because it’s Bruce.  Others prefer the singer they first admired. Does this mean they can’t grow/change?  Nah, just don’t forget your roots. Many Beatles fans followed them into musical avant gardism. Others preferred the Beatles of Tell Me Why, not Yellow Submarine.  Then there was the Paul McCartney mucilage of The Long and Winding Road then the saccharification of music known as Wings……………

            1971 –Saturday-  Felonious Vice President Spiro T. Agnew hit two golf shots into a crowd injuring two people, conking one of them in the head

            1975 –Thursday-  Rock has always had some treacle. On this day, Starship (an abysmal mutant offspring of the great Jefferson Airplane) recorded Miracles.

            1990-Tthe U.S. space probe Voyager I , while heading out to the edge of the Solar System, photographed a look backward which captured the Sun and six planets in one image, the first record of most of the Solar System from space. The Sun appeared as a distant star would to us and the planets were mere dots. Camera shy for the photo were Uranus, Neptune and Pluto which at the time was a planet but currently is not.

            1991-Wednesday-  Sometimes it really happens.  A 62-year-old Los Angeles librarian, Barbara Gluck Testa,  finally got around to sorting through some old papers in six trunks sent to her when an aunt from upstate New York died.   In the trunk was a long-lost manuscript of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. The manuscript was the last half of Twain's original version, heavily corrected in his own handwriting.  It had been missing for more than a century. Twain had sent the second half of the manuscript to the librarian's grandfather, James Gluck, who had solicited it for the Buffalo and Erie Library in Buffalo, New York, where Twain lived in 1885. At the time, Twain was unable to find the entire manuscript. He thought the printers had lost it.  He later found the other half and sent it to James Gluck but evidently Gluck never put the two together so for over 100 years the 2nd half was missing until the lady opened the trunk.

            2000-Sunday-  Charles M. Schulz's last original Sunday "Peanuts" comic strip appeared posthumously in newspapers. Schulz had died the day before. Schulz had begun the comic strip in 1950. He announced his retirement in 1999. http://comics.com/peanuts?DateAfter=2000-02-13&DateBefore=2000-02-13&Order=d.DateStrip+DESC&PerPage=1&Search=&x=40&y=8

            2001 –Tuesday-  Having already suffered an earthquake on January 13, at 7:22 AM local time El Salvador was hit by another one.  This  earthquake measured 6.6 Magnitude with an epicenter 15 miles from San Salvador.

            2004 –Friday- The discovery of the white dwarf star, BPM 37093 by the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. It is actually a  crystallized white dwarf. A white dwarf is the hot core of a star, (or it could be one of seven who assisted Snow White) left over after a star uses up its nuclear fuel and dies. It is made mostly of carbon, just like a diamond. This cosmic diamond is a chunk of crystallized carbon, 4,000 km across, some 50 light-years from the Earth in the constellation Centaurus.  Astronomers decided to call the star "Lucy" after the Beatles song, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. Remember to pack your bags as our Sun will become a white dwarf when it dies 5 billion years from now.

Back To Calendar

14.     Support the economy, buy Valentine’s Day cards, flowers and undies (well maybe not undies -see what not to buy below)   After the late 3rd century, see 278 below, it was not until the 14th century that this Christian feast day became definitively associated with love. According medieval scholar Henry Ansgar Kelly, author of Chaucer and the Cult of Saint Valentine, it was Geoffrey Chaucer of Canterbury Tales fame who first linked St. Valentine's Day with romance.
In 1381, Chaucer composed a poem in honor of the engagement between England's Richard II (ironic considering that Richard was, shall we say, testeronically challenged, and Anne of Bohemia. It was the poetic tradition to associate the occasion with a feast day. In medieval France and England it was believed that birds mated on February 14, and the image of birds as the symbol of lovers began to appear in poems dedicated to the day. In Chaucer's The Parliament of Fowls,the royal engagement, the mating season of birds, (can’t you just see the birds marking off the dates on their little Avian calendars) and St. Valentine's Day are linked:"For this was on St. Valentine's Day, When every fowl cometh there to choose his mate."

The association of Valentine’s Day with romance and courtship continued through the Middle Ages. Over the centuries, the holiday evolved, and by the 18th century, gift-giving and exchanging hand-made cards on Valentine's Day had become common in England. Hand-made valentine cards made of lace, ribbons, and featuring cupids and hearts eventually spread to the American colonies. The first commercial Valentine's Day greeting cards produced in the U.S. were created in the 1840s by Esther A. Howlanda Mount Holyoke, a graduate and native of Worcester, Mass. Howland, known as the Mother of the Valentine, made elaborate creations with real lace, ribbons and colorful pictures known as "scrap". The tradition of Valentine's cards did not become widespread in the United States, however, until Howland began producing them in large scale. Today, of course, the holiday has become a booming commercial success. According to the Greeting Card Association, 25% of all cards sent each year are valentines.The Valentine's Day card spread with Christianity, and is now celebrated all over the world. One of the earliest card was sent in 1415 AD by Charles, duke of Orleans, to his wife while he was a prisoner in the Tower of London. The card is now preserved in the British Museum. http://www.infoplease.com/spot/valentinesdayhistory.html

And – Things not to buy your sweetie on Valentine’s Day-

Lotion

Undies:  Too dangerous unless it's requested and you have all the specifics

Stuffed Animals or, worse, balloons

Fat Free Anything – Way too dangerous Along these lines, pass on fitness equipment, workout videos, a bathroom scale or anything to do with weight loss.

Vacuum Cleaner -  

Razor or anything that has anything to do with hair removal.

A gift card – You’re supposed to care about him/her, right?

No re-gifting or repeat gifting.  If you gave it before, don’t do it again.

Don’t just sign the card -  Put some thought into it. At least write a sentence or two.

No pets - Don't ever give a pet without permission. Pets don't make the perfect surprise, especially noisy, smelly or messy (well, that’s just about all of them) They need good homes with someone who can care for them properly.

 Source: www.frugalvillage.com

            278-Thursday (or thereabouts) – Valentine was beheaded to kapution. The Emperor Claudius II (Claudius the Cruel to his friends) had decided that the soldiers in the Roman Army were getting too soft. Claudius, in his infinite wisdom decided that this was because they were allowed to marry.  He announced there would be no more marriages. Valentine, a priest, continued to conduct marriages. He was arrested and condemned to death.  Legend also has it that while in jail, St. Valentine left a farewell note for the jailer's daughter, who had become his friend, and signed it "From Your Valentine." At least three different Saint Valentines, all of them martyrs, are mentioned in the early martyrologies under date of 14 February. One is described as a priest at Rome, another as bishop of Interamna (modern Terni), and these two seem both to have suffered in the second half of the third century. Of both these St. Valentines some sort of Acta are preserved but they are of relatively late date and of no historical value. Of the third Saint Valentine, who suffered in Africa with a number of companions, nothing further is known.   In 496 A.D. Pope Gelasius set aside February 14 to honor St. Valentine.

            1766-Friday-  Happy Birthday, Robert Malthus, English economist and demographer, best known for his Malthusian Economics theory that population growth will always tend to outrun the food supply and that betterment of the lot of mankind is impossible without stern limits on reproduction.  This did not take into account the “Big Mac”, Taco Bell, and the pizza places that give three pizzas for the price of two.

            1779-Sunday-  Captain James Cook, the great English explorer and navigator, was killed by natives of Hawaii during his third visit to the Pacific island group.  Cook made the fatal mistake of overestimating his power and influence with strangers.  Cook and the gang had left Hawaii on strained terms with the natives.  They encountered a storm, remembered that they had not had their outrigger lessons, roast pig luau, and Don Ho concert and returned. This time they were welcomed with a storm of rocks thrown by the natives who promptly stole one of Cook’s cutters ( that’s a ship for you landlubbers out there and please….no remarks about “Cookie Cutters”), the resulting negotiations got ugly, a Hawaiian was shot, a fight broke out and Cook was kaputed at Kealakekua on the Island of Hawaii.

                1803-Monday- Moses Coats (brother of Mink Coats) a mechanic from Downingtown, Pennsylvania was awarded a patent for an apple parer which probably could also be used as a pear parer even if you had a pair of pears to pare which is, of course, beyond compare.  Colonists launched the apple as a key agricultural product when they introduced apple trees and, also, honeybees to America during the 17th century. 

            1838-Wednesday-  Happy Birthday, Margaret Knight, American inventor of machines designed  for a variety of industrial and everyday purposes. In 1870 she invented a machine to make paper bags with flat bottoms instead of the usual V-shaped ones. She founded the Eastern Paper Bag Company in 1870. Her flat bottom bag design is still in use today. Other inventions included shoe-cutting machines and a new valve sleeve for an auto engine. In all she had twenty six patents.            

            1849-Wednesday-  "Say cheese". The first photograph of a U.S. President was taken by future Civil War photographer,  Matthew Brady in a New York City studio. President James Knox Polk, the 11th President, was the subject of the famous daguerreotype.

            1859-Monday-  Happy Birthday George Ferris, inventor of guess which kind of wheel. The Ferris wheel was "the hit" of the 1892 Chicago World's Fair.  We highly recommend the book The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson, study of the amazing engineering and architectural innovations of  this World's Fair juxtaposed with the discovery and hunt for H.H Holmes, serial murderer of tourists. Ferris' wheel was modeled on a bicycle wheel: as spokes to maintain the wheel's shape and balance, it had heavy steel beams; the "forks" in which the axle was set were two steel girder pyramids. The wheel was 264 feet high, the supporting towers were 140 feet high, and the axle - the largest piece of steel ever forged in the US - weighed 46 1/2 tons. The wheel carried 36 elegantly outfitted passenger cars, each of which could fit 40 people sitting or 60 people standing. The wheel was spun by either of two 1,000 horsepower steam engines, and stopped by an oversized air brake. Customers paid fifty cents for a twenty minute ride. After the Exhibition ended, the owners of resorts like Coney Island stole Ferris' idea.

            1859 –Monday-  And, on the same day that George Ferris entered the world, Oregon, the 33rd state, entered Union.  Many Indian tribes lived in Oregon when Europeans first explored the area.  Spanish explorers were the first to discover the coast of Oregon during the 1500s.  During the late 1770s, British explorers claimed the Oregon Country, the land from Alaska down to California. The first Americans to establish a permanent settlement in Oregon were Methodist missionaries.  In 1834, they established Willamette Valley.  By 1843, thousands of American pioneers were migrating west on the Oregon Trail.  It began in Independence, Missouri and ended in Oregon City, crossing over 2,000 miles of prairie, desert, and mountains. Because of boundary disputes with Britain, citizens of both countries were free to trade and settle Oregon Country.  In 1846, following the furor of  “54˚ 40˚ or Fight” the United States signed an agreement with Great Britain on a boundary fixed at the 49th parallel.  Oregon became a territory in 1848.  The state flower-Oregon grape, tree Douglas- fir, animal – beaver, bird - western meadowlark, and the fish - chinook salmon. Oregon even has a state nut, the hazelnut. 

            1869- Sunday- Happy Birthday, Charles Wilson, Scottish physicist Who worked for some time at the observatory on Ben Nevis, the highest “mountain” in Scotland, summit, at 1,344 metres (4,409 ft).  He found that clouds seemed to need dust particles to start the formation of water droplets and that x-rays, which charged the dust, greatly speeded up the process. Inspired by this, he showed that charged subatomic particles traveling through supersaturated air also formed water droplets. His observations of cloud formation led to his invention of the cloud chamber, for which he received the Nobel Prize in 1927.

             1872-Wednesday-  The first state bird refuge center was established in California.   At fitting location for a state filled with cuckoos and loonies.

            1876-Monday- They both must have been very anxious on Sunday night.  Inventors Alexander Graham Bell and Elisha Gray applied separately for patents related to the telephone. Bell and Gray had been working independently on the invention.  The work pace was so close that they actually got to the patent office on the same day.

 Bell got there before Gray.  Gray sued. Bell won……that’s history. That’s also not the whole story.  Both Bell and Gray had filed on February 14, but Bell filed a patent application, with the claim that stated “I have invented“. Gray, on the other hand, filed a caveat, a document used at the time to claim “I am working on inventing“.  Priority in American patent law follows date of invention, not date of filing. So that caveat, and being there to file first helped Bell avoid a possible costly and time-consuming dispute.

The U.S. Patent Office issued patent #174,465 to Bell on March 7, 1876.  The U.S. Supreme Court eventually ruled Bell the rightful inventor.

            1878-Thursday- Happy Birthday, Julius A. Nieuwland, Belgian-born American organic chemist who studies of acetylene culminated in the discovery of lewisite, a chemical-warfare agent, and neoprene, the first commercially successful synthetic rubber. Working with chemists from DuPont, he found that if monovinylacetylene were treated with hydrogen chloride and the resulting chloroprene polymerized, neoprene would result. Eventually, neoprene was put on the market in 1932 by DuPont under the brand name Duprene. Remember that when you put on your wet suit to go diving.

            1879-Friday-  The War of the Pacific began as a result of a dispute between Chile and Bolivia over control of a part of the Atacama Desert that lies between the 23rd and 26th parallels on the Pacific coast of South America. The territory contained valuable mineral resources, particularly sodium nitrate.  Chilean armed forces occupied the port city of Antofagasta on this day. Bolivia then declared war on Chile and called upon Peru (they had a treaty) for help. Chile declared war on both Peru and Bolivia. Chile won. http://www.onwar.com/aced/data/papa/pacific1879.htm

            1884-Thursday- And you think you had a bad day. Future President Theodore Roosevelt’s wife and mother died, only hours apart. His mother, age 50, succumbed
to typhus, and his wife Alice died at the age of 22, probably of Bright’s Disease, just two days after giving birth to his daughter who would be named Alice. Roosevelt was at the state legislature in Albany when he received word of his mother’s passing.  He rushed home and his wife was gone too.

            1899 –Tuesday- Voting machines for use in federal elections were approved by the U.S. Congress on this day. "So in a 101 years we'll send them to Florida to see how they work".

            1894 –Wednesday-  Happy Birthday, Jack Benny, born Benny Kubelsky in Chicago, Illinois,  American actor and comedian. He was famous for his inept violin playing, his theme song: Love in Bloom, his  image as penny-pincher and never admitting to being older than 39 . Benny’s career spanned Vaudeville, the hey days of radio, some movies (To Be or Not to Be) and television.

            1895 –Thursday-  Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, (A Trivial Comedy for Serious People)starring George Alexander and  Allen Aynesworth premiered at the St. James’s Theatre in London. It is Wilde’s most popular play. It is filled with witty dialogue and satirizes some of the foibles and hypocrisy of late Victorian society.

             1898-Monday-  Happy Birthday, Fritz Zwicky Swiss-American astrophysicist. A noted eccentric, and generally unpleasant human being,  he  discovered more than 120 supernovas and with Rudolf Minkowski and Walter Baade he developed several models to explain their occurrence. Decades before the observational discovery of neutron stars , Zwicky suggested that the Crab Nebula in Taurus originated in a supernova. He is also known for his study of jet propulsion, cosmic rays, crystals, and slow electrons and ions in gases.

            1911-Tuesday-  Happy Birthday, Willem Kolff,  Dutch-American physician, and biomedical engineer who pioneered the construction of artificial organs. He invented the artificial kidney machine. One of his students was Robert K. Jarvik,  who designed and implanted the artificial heart (Willem supervised the operation) which kept the patient, Barney Clark, alive for 112 days, in 1982.. 

            1912 –Wednesday- Arizona (in Indian, Arizonac means ‘little or young spring’) entered the Union as the 46th state.  Hopi, Pima, and Papago Indians, descendants of the Anasazi and Hohkam, lived in Arizona when Navajo and Apache Indians migrated to the area.  A short time later, European exploration of Arizona began. In 1540, Francisco Vasquez de Coronado of Spain came searching for the Seven Cities of Cibola.  Coronado never found the cities but he did find a nice condo on a golf course in Scotsdale, never the less, he claimed Arizona as part of New Spain.  In 1848, the United States, victorious in the Mexican War gained all of Arizona north of the Gila River.  In 1853, the United States acquired the remaining land southward through the Gadsden Purchase.

After the Civil War President Lincoln approved Congress in organizing the Arizona Territory.  The capital was first established in Prescott, in 1867 changed to Tucson, and was eventually moved in 1889 to Phoenix. The state  flower is the flower of saguaro cactus,bird - cactus wren, song- “Arizona” tree -palo verde, fossil - petrified wood gemstone – turquoise, mammal –ringtail, reptile - Arizona ridgenose rattlesnake , and yes, there is a state tie – the bola tie

            1918 –Thursday- The Soviet Union adopted the Gregorian calendar. It had first been adopted by most countries in 1582, then by most Protestant countries in the 18th century,  and France, Japan and Egypt joined the parade in the 19th century,  

            1929 –Thursday-  Beloved by gangster film and TV movie makers, the “St. Valentine’s Day Massacre” occurred in Chicago, Illinois. Al Capone, fed up with his on-going feud with George “Bugs” Moran, and anxious for complete control over the Chicago “rackets”, arranged to take a “vacation” in Florida for St. Valentine’s Day. This provided an alibi.  A delivery of bootleg whiskey was expected at Moran's warehouse at 2122 North Clark Street. But Moran was late to receive the delivery and happened to see police officers entering his establishment. Moran waited outside, thinking that his cronies inside were being arrested in a raid. However, the “policemen” were actually disguised Capone gunmen who lined the seven men inside against a wall and killed them all. No one was ever tried for the killings.

            1929-Thursday-  And on the same day that gangsters were being mowed down in Chicago, Sir Alexander Fleming, a young Scottish bacteriologist working at St. Mary’s Hospital in London, announced his discovery of penicillin. In yet another serendipitous moment in  science had discovered it by accident having left a plate of staphylococcus bacteria uncovered.  Fleming noticed that a mold that had fallen on the culture had killed many of the bacteria. He identified the mold as penicillium notatum, similar to the kind found on bread. On February 14, 1929, Fleming introduced his mold by-product called penicillin to cure bacterial infections.

            1931 –Saturday The premiere of Dracula directed by Tod Browning and starring Bela Lugosi, Helen Chandler, David Manners, and Dwight Frye as Renfield.  Nosferatu, the original vampire movie had been released in 1922. It was directed by the German director F.W. Murnau and was produced while Irish author Bram Stoker's widow was alive. The  filmmakers were forced to change the setting and the characters' names for copyright reasons. The vampire in Nosferatu is called Count Orlok rather than Count Dracula.

Since then, oy vey, there have been a few more.  The story of Dracula has been the basis for countless films and plays. Of all the movies, the most popular seem to be The Horror of Dracula (1958), and Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992). Dracula has rather remained popular over the years, and many films have used the character as a villain, while others have named him in their titles, such as Dracula's Daughter, Brides of Dracula, and the immortal,  Zoltan, Hound of Dracula. An estimated 160 films feature Dracula in a major role. Believe it or not, only to Sherlock Holmes has more. The number of films that include a reference to Dracula may be as high as 649, according to the Internet Movie Database.

             1940-Wednesday- The first porpoise born in captivity was born at Marineland  Fla. Prior to this event, much unauthorized breeding took place. During the process of feeding them the culprits were arrested and charged with raising fish for illegal porpoises.  Ooooh.

            1961-Tuesday-  Element 103, lawrencium, (LR), Atomic Weight: 262,

 was first produced in Berkeley California. It was named after the scientist Ernest O. Lawrence. Lawrencium is another of those elements that disappears rather quickly so look fast.  In fact, several different isotopes of lawrencium were created and there is some confusion as to which isotope the group actually detected.  Since only tiny amounts of lawrencium have ever been produced, there are currently no uses for it outside of basic scientific research.

            1962 –Wednesday-  First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy took Charles Collingwood and CBS or NBC television viewers on a tour of the White House. “ And here is the Lincoln bathroom, as you can see……whoops! Sorry about that Jack.”

            1970 –Saturday-  The Who recorded their Live At Leeds album in Yorkshire, England. Live at Leeds is one of the great rock albums of all time. The hall on the campus of Leeds University was intentionally scheduled for the main purpose of recording a live album and the results were put together on this day. The album featured cover versions of Young Man Blues, Summertime Blues and Shakin’ All Over respectively, while delivering expanded and stripped down versions that moved their own Substitute, Magic Bus and My Generation to new levels

            1978-Tuesday- The first "micro on a chip" – microchip- was patented  by Texas Instruments.  This was a quantum leap forward from the previously used “potato chip” which crumpled easily and left the fingers, not to mention the chip, oily and greasy. Sort of like with the telephone (see 1876 above) two separate inventors, unaware of each other's activities, invented almost identical integrated circuits at nearly the same time.

Jack Kilby, worked for Texas Instruments. Research engineer Robert Noyce had co-founded the Fairchild Semiconductor Corporation. Both electrical engineers were working on an answer to the same dilemma: how to make more of less. There was quite a bit of independent work and standards until Caltech’s Carver Mead laid down a standard set of design rules, creating a systematic science of chip design and ensuring that new ideas could be easily implemented. Disseminating that standard fell to the government.

In the late 1970’s, DARPA created a program called MOSIS (Metal Oxide Semiconductor Implementation System) that would allow individual researchers and students to test new chip ideas based on Mead’s design rules. Of course that does not explain the catastrophe known as Vista.

            1980-Thursday-  An unmanned Delta rocket, a Solar Maximum Mission Observatory was launched to study solar flares. A malfunction in the satellite in January 1981 cut short the original mission. SMM was recovered by the space shuttle Challenger in April 1984 and serviced in orbit. It then served out its productive life until burning up in the Earth's atmosphere on  December 2, 1989.     

            1984 –Tuesday On a social note Elton John and Renata Blauel (she is a woman) were married. The marriage lasted for four years.

            1989 –Tuesday-   The first of  what would be the 24 satellites of the Global Positioning System were placed into orbit. On June 26, 1993, the U.S. Air Force launched the 24th Navstar satellite into orbit, completing the  network of 24 satellites. With a GPS receiver that costs less than a few hundred dollars you can instantly learn your location on the planet--your latitude, longitude, and even altitude--to within a few hundred feet. The satellites in each of three orbital planes are spaced 120º apart. Now people had the technology to get really really lost, just like Professor Sy Yentz’ sister-in-law who has visited the Yentz homestead in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania dozens of time.  The last time she decided to use her new GPS.  The 90 minute  trip took three hours as she circled endlessly through rural roads. 

            1996 –Wednesday- Oops!  Communist China launched a Long March 3 rocket, carrying the Intelsat 708 satellite.  The long march of the Long March 3 ended quickly as the rocket flew off course 3 seconds after liftoff and crashed into a rural village killing four people and injuring fifty two.

             2003-Friday-  “Goodbye Dolly”. Dolly, the world's most famous cloned sheep, was put down. She had been suffering from a progressive lung disease (probably due to her long years working in a coal mine…..no, no no, Professor Sy Yentz has his anthracitic sense of humor). Dolly had been born at the Roslin Institute, Edinburgh, Scotland on July, 5 1996 (Friday). An oocyte (pronounced "oh-oh-sight") is an unfertilized egg and it has no chance of developing into an animal unless it's fertilized. A recently fertilized egg is called a zygote (pronounced "zye-goat"). Stockmen involved in Dolly’s birth noted  that the original cell used came from a mammary gland and arrived at Dolly Parton, the country and western singer.

Back To Calendar

15.     

1564-Saturday-  Happy Birthday Galileo Galilei, Italian scientist born in Pisa.  He was a natural philosopher, astronomer, and mathematician who made fundamental contributions to the sciences of motion, astronomy, and strength of materials and to the development of the scientific method. Galileo was the first astronomer to use a telescope to study the stars.  He confirmed Copernicus‘ theory—see Feb. 19.  Also see Feb. 13 for when he got into trouble with the Church over it. His formulation of (circular) inertia, the law of falling bodies, and parabolic trajectories marked the beginning of a fundamental change in the study of motion. He  that all objects, regardless of their density, fall at the same rate in a vacuum. To determine this, Galileo performed various experiments in which he dropped objects from a certain height while trying not to conk someone on the head.  Improving on the telescope invented by  Hans Lippershey, Galileo built his own version.  With this telescope, he was able to look at the moon and see its craters, discover the first four moons of Jupiter, observe a supernova, verify the phases of Venus, see Babette LaTouche and her Magic Feathers from a half mile away, and discover sunspots. Galileo was born in the same year as Shakespeare.  It was also the year that Michelangelo died.  Galileo died in 1642- the same year that Isaac Newton was born.

            1748 –Thursday-  Happy Birthday- Jeremy Bentham, "English utilitarian philosopher and social reformer. Bentham is mainly notable because you can see him to his day. He has been stuffed an on display.  The dear boy willed his body to be preserved and displayed. Displayed it is. His organs were removed, and the original head replaced with a wax one. The body, dressed in Bentham's own clothes, still remains stuffed with hay, straw, wool, cotton, and lavender to keep moths away. Since he was a founder of University College, Mr. Bentham is currently ensconced inside a glass fronted mahogany case (on casters), set unceremoniously in a busy hallway. The  defunct philosopher is regularly visited by scholars from all over the world. He once went to a beer festival in Germany, and has dinner once a year, at the annual Bentham Dinner. He was rolled out to the annual Board of Directors meeting for years, evidently refusing to partake in the snacks or votes. For a similar item, call your attention to the creation of the Teddy Bear in 1903. http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=3365

            1758-Wednesday- This was before the hot dog? Mustard was first advertised for sale in America, by Benjamin Jackson who had set up business in Globe Mills, Germantown, Philadelphia, selling mustard packed in glass bottles with his label on them.  The advertisement was in the Philadelphia Chronicle. There are about 40 species of mustard plant. The ones used to make the commercial mustard products are the black, brown and white mustard.  The condiment is made from the tiny seeds of the plant, which do not become pungent until they are cracked and mixed with a liquid. Nineteen years later, 1777,  in France the modern history of mustard began when two townsmen, Maurice Grey and Antoine Poupon, founded a company using Grey’s recipe and Poupon’s money.  Their original store still stands in downtown Dijon. http://www.thenibble.com/REVIEWS/MAIN/condiments/history-of-mustard.asp

            1764-Wednesday-  Before this day you couldn’t say “meet me in St. Louis” because before this day there was no St. Louis. So on this day the city of St. Louis was established.  French explorer, Pierre Laclede Liguest, chose this site to establish his fur trading post so it would not be subject to flooding, yet would have a central location.

            1776 - Governor Francis Legge reported to British headquarters in London that elements in Cumberland, Nova Scotia, had contacted American General George Washington in which they expressed their sympathy for the American cause, on February 8. They invited General Washington and the Continental Army to invade Nova Scotia at his earliest possible convenience. Washington’s reply, “What! Are You Nuts?” It’s an island, its cold, everybody says ‘eh’ all the time, they don’t have a hockey team, they hate tourists, and I don’t even know where it is!” 

            1797-Wednesday-  Happy Birthday, Henry E. Steinway, German-born American inventor of the overstrung iron-frame grand piano in 1859. While many pianists may occasionally, become overwrought, or high strung, this was the first piano to be overstrung.  In 1856 he had produced his first grand piano, and in 1862 the first upright upright piano. So basically by 1862 we have a grand, upright, overstrung piano.  No wonder the company is famous.

            1809-Wednesday- Happy Birthday, Cyrus McCormick, born in Virginia, inventor of the reaper.  Those without a sense of humor are of course called grim reapers, although on a farm, one needs a good sense of humus.  The reaper was a horse drawn farm implement invented by McCormick in 1831 to cut small grain crops. The mechanical reaper replaced the manual cutting of the crop with scythes and sickles (motor sickles?). Developed to cut down wheat more quickly and more efficiently. McCormick received his patent for the invention in 1834.

            1812 –Saturday- Happy Birthday, Charles Lewis Tiffany, American jeweler (he always liked to have people visit for breakfast), born in Killingly Connecticut. Opened a fancy goods store, turned it into a jewelry store, sold some jewelry.......

           1820-Tuesday-  Happy Birthday, Susan B. Anthony, American suffragette, and women’s rights campaigner, born in Adams, Massachusetts. Anthony founded the National Woman's Suffrage Association in 1869 with her life-long friend Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Together they worked for women's suffrage for over 50 years. She published The Revolution from 1868-1870, a weekly paper about the woman suffrage movement whose motto was, "Men their rights and nothing more, women their rights and nothing less. She was the first person arrested, put on trial and fined for voting on November 5, 1872 (Tuesday). She wrote the Susan B. Anthony Amendment in 1878 which later became the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote

            1826-Wednesday-  Happy Birthday, Irish physicist George S. Stoney (brother of Gall Stoney and Kidney Stoney).  Stoney's most important scientific work was the conception and calculation of the magnitude of the atom or particle of electricity, for which he coined the term "electron". He also estimated the number of molecules in a cubic millimeter of gas, at room temperature and pressure, as well as how many angels can fit on the head of pin at room temperature under windless conditions.

            1845-Saturday- Happy Birthday, Robert Wood Johnson, American manufacturer who, with his two brothers, James and Edward founded the Johnson & Johnson (shouldn’t it have been Johnson & Johnson & Johnson?)  Corporation, to make surgical dressings. Surgical dressings does not refer to what the doctor wears when he/she is operating on you., although some may think a tiara and pink taffeta or a  tuxedo may do.  It is a dressing for wounds or incisions made by surgery made of loosely woven material such as cotton.  Johnson was an early proponent of the teachings of Joseph Lister, who advocated antiseptic surgery and care of the wound to prevent infection.

            1858-Monday-  Happy Birthday, William H. Pickering, American astronomer who discovered Phoebe, the ninth moon of Saturn  in 1899. Why is Phoebe and the discovery important?  This was the first planetary satellite with retrograde motion to be detected. That means its orbital motion directed in an opposite sense to that of the planets.  Phoebe is going the wrong way around the planet.

            1883-Thursday-  Happy Birthday, English mystery writer, Sax Rohmer (Arthur Henry Sarsfield Ward), best known for his  master criminal Dr. Fu Manchu.

             1884-Friday-  Happy Birthday, A.C Gilbert , inventor the Erector Set – beloved by children of the 1950’s and 60’s. Gilbert, along with Lionel was an early developer of toy electric trains. Gilbert's American Flyer had 2 rails.  Lionel's Lionel Trains had 3 rails.  Naturally Professor Sy Yentz as a youth wanted the 2 rails.  Naturally, Lionel Trains are now worth a fortune.  American Flyer has increased in value of, oh, about $1.98 in the last 40 years but he still has his trains.

            1898 –Tuesday-  The USS Maine exploded  at 9:40 p.m in el Puerto De Habana, Cuba. The Maine had been sent to Cuba to help ‘calm’ the situation between Cuba and Spain. A U.S Navy Board of Inquiry concluded that a mine had detonated under the ship. The board did not attempt to fix blame for the placement of the device. Inflammatory articles in the "Yellow Press" – shrieking  “Remember the Maine” blamed Spain for the disaster.  Although he continued to press for a diplomatic settlement to the Cuban problem, President McKinley ordered the Navy to begin a blockade of Cuba, and Spain followed with a declaration of war on 23 April. Congress responded with a formal declaration of war on 25 April, made retroactive to the start of the blockade.  The explosion, which killed 266 crewmen, did not start the war but it was the catalyst for   the Spanish-American War.

            1903-Sunday-  The first teddy bear was introduced in America. It was made by Morris and Rose Michtom, Russian immigrants and owners of a toy novelty store in Brooklyn, New York. In the U.S., it is said they connected teddy bear name with President Theodore Roosevelt (also nicknamed "Teddy").  They even asked Roosevelt’s permission to call it the teddy bear. That’s the most popular story. Meanwhile on the other side of the pond, Margarete Steiff, a disabled German seamstress with a soft toy factory in Giengen, had added a soft plush bear to the Steiff catalogue and sold 3,000 to America in 1903.

            Or, as Elvis would say, “Baby let me be,

            Your lovin teddy bear

            Put a chain around my neck,

            And lead me anywhere

            Oh let me be

            Your teddy bear.”

            1933-Wednesday-  Would be presidential assassin, Giuseppe Zangara tried to kill President Franklin D. Roosevelt in Miami Fla.  He ended up shooting Chicago Mayor Anton Cermak by mistake. Zangara, an Italian anarchist, had lived in New Jersey since 1924, and had only been in Miami for a couple of months. According to the papers, "he was in Miami because it was warm and he was out of work, and that he had lost $200 on the dog races." It is said that he wanted to kill kings and presidents of wealthy governments since he was 17.( http://digital.library.miami.edu/gov/FDRAssn.html), missed Roosevelt from twenty five feet away (who would not be sworn in as president for a few more weeks) but shot five people including Mayor Cermak who was shaking hands with Roosevelt at the time. Zangara was tried and convicted within weeks and executed on March 20……the same year. Justice was swift and final in those days.

            1942-Sunday= Continuing its tradition of sneak attacks (see Russia 1905 and Pearl Harbor, 1941), Japan inflicted one of the great defeats in British history as Britain surrendered its fortress at Singapore.  The Japanese had attacked on December 8, 1941.  The major defenses of Singapore, located at the end of the Malay Peninsula were focused on repelling a sea attack.  Evidently it had not occurred to great minds constructing the defenses that that the fortress was vulnerable to a land attack from the north……which was where the Japanese attacked.

            1951-Thursday- The first atomic reactor to be used in medical therapy treated its first patient at the Brookhaven National Laboratory, Upton, NY. Offspring and descendants of those treated by the reactor have had strange urges to participate in American Idol, Survivor, and the Jerry Springer show.  They also appear on daytime court shows and think that the people on the “bench” are real judges.

            1958 - The Dick Clark Saturday Night Beechnut Show premiered.  Most folks called it the Dick Clark Show.  After years of daytime American Bandstand, Clark made the jump to prime time – 7:30 (that was prime time in those days) Saturday nights. The Royal Teens opened the show with the cultural classic Short Shorts featuring the Tennysonion lyrics, “Who wears short shorts?” “We wear short shorts”.  Also appearing were Jerry Lee Lewis - Great Balls Of Fire, Breathless, Chuck Willis - Betty And Dupree Connie Francis - Who's Sorry Now. Pat Boone (!!!!!!???????)  - Wonderful Time Up There, and It's Too Soon To Know and the Top 10 Countdown.  Sometimes singers would be introduced as part of the Top Ten Countdown, such as a later show when the Monotones debuted at number  4 with Book of Love and the stage was filled with Monotones…..there must have been eight of them.

            1961 – Wednesday- The Marcels recorded the great Rogers and Hart song Blue Moon.  It wasn’t quite what Lorenz and Richard had in mind as it opened with the classic bass of (you can sing along if you wish)  “ Bom ba ba bom ba bom ba bom bom ba ba bom ba ba bom ba ba dang a dang dang Ba ba ding a dong ding Blue moon moon blue moon dip di dip di dip Moo Moo Moo Blue moon dip di dip di dip Moo Moo Moo Blue moon dip di dip di dip Bom ba ba bom ba bom ba bom bom ba ba bom ba ba bom ba ba dang a dang dang Ba ba ding a dong ding …Blue Moon, you saw me standing alone”

            1965 –Monday-  Canada adopted the Maple Leaf flag.  It had taken forty years to decide on the leaf.  Rejected designs included one featuring the national motto, “eh”, a picture of Wayne Gretzky, all white symbolizing the snow that seems to cover the country for 300 days a year, and suggested by Quebec, “nous devrions tous ne parlent que le français”.

            1990- A lockout begand as major league baseball owners refused to open spring training camp without reaching a new Basic Agreement with the players. The players rang the bell, no one would answer the door, they knocked and heard a faint falsetto “we can’t hear you”, they pretended to be pizza delivery guys…nothing worked. A settlement was reached on March 18, as Owners raised their annual pension fund contribution to $55 million, salary arbitration eligibility agreed to for 17 percent of the players with between two and three years of experience, and the minimum salary increases to $100,000, and free steroids for all.

            2000 –Tuesday- The Indian Point II nuclear power plant just north of New York City, in a thickly populated area, vented a small amount of radioactive steam when a steam generator fails. Only noticeable ill effect was the creation of Senator Charles Schumer.

            2005 Tuesday- YouTube  a free service that lets users upload, share, and view video clips and entirely too much information about people we care nothing about, was founded by Chad Hurley, Steve Chen and Jawed Karim. It would officially be launched in November 2005.

 Back To Calendar

16.   

1514-Monday-  Continuing with a February theme (see Galileo) of a Sun-centered solar system, Happy Birthday, Georg Joachim Rheticus, Austrian-born astronomer and mathematician who was among the first to adopt and spread the heliocentric theory of Nicolaus Copernicus. Called the “first Copenican”, in 1540, Rheticus published the first popular account of the Helio-centered theory. Rheticus was also the first mathematician to see the trigonometric functions in terms of angles rather than arcs of a circle.  He thought there were three sides to every story.

            1685 –Friday-  The brief monarchy of James II began as he ascended the throne of England. James would prove to be as stubborn and uncompromising as the rest of the Stuarts and it would cost him his kingship in 1688.  His brother, Charles II had left James a strong executive office and a loyal Tory-dominated Parliament. James, however, acted recklessly attempting to restore royal prerogative and turn England back to the Catholic faith, and when his wife, Mary of Modena had a son who would be raised Catholic, that was it for Jimbo. In addition to being an awful monarch, he was a worse military leader, failing with his siege of Derry after he tried to re-group his forces in Ireland, and then losing the Battle of the Boyne to King William.

            1786 – On a social note, twenty six year old future President James Monroe married 17-year-old New York teenager, Elizabeth Kortright. The bride, had to leave the reception at Squanto’s Tidewater Caterers early since she had a math mid-term the next day. Monroe wore a tuxedo designed by Ralph Lauren of Jamestown, the bride, a gown by Vera Wang of Manassas. Music was provided by Lil’ Pasquale and His Hip Hop Harps.

            1804 –Friday- Thus far no Hollywood movie, that we know of,  about this great act of bravery…. During the First Barbary War, U.S. Lieutenant Stephen Decatur lead a military mission into Tripoli Harbor.  In October 1803, the U.S. frigate Philadelphia ran aground near Tripoli and was captured by Tripolitan (aka Barbary Pirates) gunboats. The Americans feared that the well-constructed warship would be both a formidable addition to the Tripolitan navy and provide a model for building future Pirate frigates. Arrrgh! Decatur led a daring expedition into Tripoli harbor to destroy the captured American vessel on this day. After disguising himself and his men as Maltese sailors,(we know what a Maltese Falcon looks like and we know what a Maltese dog looks like but a Maltese sailor?)  Decatur's force of 74 men, which included nine U.S. Marines (….”to the shores of Tripli”..), sailed into the harbor on a small ship. The Americans snuck on board the ship, and set it on fire. Decatur and his men escaped without the loss of a single American.  The great British admiral, Horatio Nelson called it the "most daring act of the age."

            1822-Saturday-  Happy Birthday, Francis Galton, Charles Darwin’s cousin and English scientist. He  founded the science of and coined the term eugenics. Eugenics is the study of or belief in the possibility of improving the qualities of the human species or a human population, by such means as discouraging reproduction by persons having genetic defects or presumed to have inheritable undesirable traits (negative eugenics) or encouraging reproduction by persons presumed to have inheritable desirable traits (positive eugenics). Eugenics was embraced by Friedrich Nietzsche  and Margaret Sanger among others. He also coined the phrase "nature versus nurture."  A very busy man, Galton also experimentally verified the uniqueness of fingerprints, and suggested the first classification based on grouping the patterns into arches, loops, and whorls. Not content with Earth’s surface, in meteorology, he was first to recognize and name the anticyclone and on April 1, 1875 (Thursday)  he published the first newspaper weather map

            1826 –Thursday-  Happy Birthday, Julia Grant, wife of Ulysses S. Grant and partial answer to the question “Who is buried in Grant’s Tomb?” Yes, Mr. and Mrs. Grant.

            1843-Thursday-  Happy Birthday, Henry M. Leyland, American inventor and industrialist who founded Cadillac Motors on Aug 22, 1902.  Cadillac was the first automobile with high-precision, fully-interchangeable parts. After WW I, he converted an aircraft manufacturing company into Lincoln motors.  He later sold Lincoln to Henry Ford.  Oh yes, he also invented the first mechanical barber's clippers.

            1852 –Monday-  Same day as the founder of Cadillac was born,  Henry and Clement Studebaker founded H. & C. Studebaker, a blacksmith and wagon building business, in South Bend, Indiana.  Studebaker went on to manufacture cars up until the 1950s. We really liked the ones with the bullet shaped rear and circular rear window.

            1862-Sunday-  14,000 Confederate soldiers surrendered at Fort Donelson, Tenn., to Union forces. The victory brought the name of the Union commander, Gen. Ulysses S. Grant to the attention of the public. The North was beside itself, reveling in the victory and in Grant's memorable answer to Buckner, the Confederate commander who had asked for terms. "No terms except unconditional and immediate surrender can be accepted," said Grant. "I propose to move immediately upon your works."

            1923-Friday-  Mummy Dearest. Archaeologist Howard Carter opened the sealed doorway to the sepulchral chamber of the boy king, Tutankhamen's (who reigned about 1350 B.C) tomb in Thebes, Egypt.  An ex wrestler came running out yelling “I am the Scorpion King”, got him in a hammerlock, pinned him for a three-count, and went to Hollywood to make some sequels. In November 1922 Carter's team found steps hidden in the debris near the entrance of another tomb. The steps led to an ancient sealed doorway bearing the name Tutankhamen. When Carter and his sponsor,  Lord Carnarvon entered the tomb's interior chambers on November 26, they were thrilled to find it virtually intact, unlike most tombs which had been victimized by grave robbers and looters over the millennia, with its treasures untouched after more than 3,000 years. It took another three months of careful exploration and digging until this day when Carter. Tutankhamen probably ascended the throne at age eight or nine and was kaput by age eighteen.  Tutankhamen's father is widely believed to have been the Pharaoh Akhenaten. As for his mother, there are all sorts of theories, but she is not known.

1932-Tuesday-  James Markham of Stark Brothers Nurseries and Orchards in Mississippi received the first fruit tree patent - a peach tree which ripens later than other varieties of peaches and isn’t that just peachy?  

1937- Tuesday-  Wallace H. Carothers issued patent for nylon. (#2,071,250). Work on what would become nylon was based on the research of German chemist, Herman Staudinger who demonstrated that polymers are long-chain molecules.  While working for DuPont, Carothers' and his team had invented nylon on May 24, 1934. The group had been trying to produce a synthetic fabric that could be produced in the States because Japan was the leading producer of silk and the relationship between these two countries was decaying. The problem was not that they could not invent a fabric but rather that there was a small amount of water produced in the process which would drip back into the mixture, weakening the fibers. Carothers soon fixed this problem by using a machine called the "molecular still," which made it possible to make longer molecules than ever before. He used a process of pulling out the fibers once they had cooled. This made them several times longer, with more elasticity and much stronger than ever before. Later this nylon was coined nylon 66 because both chemicals used to make it had six carbon atoms.  Unfortunately, Carothers's scientific creativity was crippled by worsening bouts of depression that finally prompted his suicide in April 1937 just weeks after his great patent.

 1948-Monday-  Miranda, a famous moon of Uranus, was photographed for first time.  Remember our rules of pronunciation.  It is NOT “your anus”, the emphasis is on the first syllable as in “Ure an us”.  Although when you think about it, “moon” and “your anus” seems to work better in this case. Miranda is a small satellite with a diameter of 470 kilometers (290 miles). Its surface is unlike anything in the solar system with features that are jumbled together in a haphazard fashion. Miranda consists of huge fault canyons as deep as 20 kilometers (12 miles), terraced layers and a mixture of old and young surfaces. It was discovered by Gerard Kuiper and is the home world of singer Pat Boone.

1948 –Monday  Same day as the picture of Miranda, Fox movie-tone newsreels (those newsreels that used to be shown in theaters before the beginning of the movie before they were replaced by incredibly loud and intrusive commercials)  that were shown on TV for the first time.  The sponsor was Camel cigarettes.

 1960-Tuesday-  The U.S.S Triton left New London, Connecticut for the first submerged circumnavigation of the Earth.  The Triton was a submarine of course. She arrived in the middle Atlantic off St. Peter and St. Paul Rocks on February 24 to commence the history-making voyage. Having remained submerged since her departure from the east coast, Triton continued on south towards Cape Horn, rounded the tip of South America, stopped for  I Love Cape Horn t-shirts and refrigerator magnets, and headed west across the Pacific. After transiting the Philippine and Indonesian archipelagoes and crossing the Indian Ocean, she rounded the Cape of Good Hope and arrived off the St. Peter and Paul Rocks on  April 10 just  60 days and 21 hours after departing the mid-ocean landmark. Only once did she break the surface of the sea, when an emergency required the  transfer of a sick sailor to the heavy cruiser Macon off Montevideo, Uruguay, on March 5. She arrived back at Groton on May 10, having completed the first submerged circumnavigation of the earth….just in time too, since the crew ran out of deodorant on May 4.

            1961 – Explorer 9 was launched.  Explorer 9 was the first in a series of 3.66 m inflatable spheres to be successfully placed into orbit solely for the determination of atmospheric densities. And there are a lot of densities in our atmosphere, just watch some of your fellow passengers on your next plane trip. Explorer 9 was the first spacecraft placed in orbit by an all-solid rocket and the first spacecraft successfully launched from Wallops Island, Virginia. The spacecraft reentered the earth's atmosphere on April 9, 1964 carrying with it space microbes that mutated into people who text message while driving.

1964 – Knowing a good thing when he found it, Ed Sullivan brought back the Beatles for the 2nd week in a row.   They sang, She Loves You, This Boy, All My Lovin', I Saw Her Standing There, From Me to You and I Want to Hold Your Hand. Also on the show was the comedy team of  Allen and Rossi, comedian Myron Cohen, and singer Mitzi Gaynor.

1968-Friday- The first telephone system in the U.S. to use 911 as the universal emergency services telephone number was inaugurated in Haleyville, Alabama.  Why Haleyville Alabama? Several countries had experimented with a single three-digit emergency number.  In 1967 President Lyndon Johnson's Commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice issued a report, recommending that police departments have a single number to call, and that eventually that single number should be used nationwide.  In January 1968, AT&T announced plans to implement at 911 system.  A gentleman from Alabama,  Robert Gallagher –head of Alabama’s independent AT&T, decided to beat them to the punch and be first.  His operations manager suggested Haleyville as the perfect first site. Et voila!

1994 –Wednesday- “Fetal Attraction.” The first successful operation on a fetus without surgically opening the woman's body was announced by Dr. Ruben Quintero, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan.

2005 –Wednesday-  The National Hockey League canceled what was left of its schedule after a round of last-gasp negotiations failed to resolve differences over a salary cap - the issue that led to a lockout. So, no hockey. Now no one could watch those scintillating Nashville Predator – Columbus Blue Jacket games.

Back To Calendar

17.    1665- Tuesday- Happy Birthday, Rudolph Jacob Camerarius, German botanist who demonstrated the existence of sexes in plants. He demonstrated experimentally the sexuality of plants in his Epistolae de Sexu Plantarum (Letter on the Sexuality of Plants), written in 1694 in which he identified the stamen and pistil as the male and female organs, and the pollen as the fertilizing agent. Later in Plants Gone Wild he studied raucous parties and orgies that plants held when they thought no one was looking.  His later books featured centerfolds of “Pistil of the Month” or “ Studley Stamens of the Ivy League”. 

            1753 –Saturday - Calendrical confusion in Stockholm.  Procrastinators were hopelessly bumfuzzled as February 17 was followed by Thursday, March 1 when Sweden moved from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian calendar.

            1723 –Wednesday-  Happy Birthday, Tobias Mayer, German mathematician and astronomer.  Astronomer. In 1758, Mayer  gave a famous lecture featuring PowerPoint and video to the Göttingen Academy of Science entitled "De affinitate colorum commentatio" in which he tried to identify the exact number of colors which the eye is capable of perceiving. He chose red, yellow and blue as his basic colors, and vermillion, massicot and azurite as their representatives amongst the pigments. To this day, we cannot understand why crayola does not include massicot (yellowish with a reddish tint)  as a crayon color. Black and white were considered to be the agents of light and darkness, which either lighten of darken the colors.

            1781-Saturday- Happy Birthday, René Laënnec, French physician who invented the stethoscope and is generally considered the father of chest medicine. While it did not do much good for his current patients, for three years he studied their chest sounds and correlated them with the diseases found in autopsy.  While working at Necker Hospital in Paris he invented the stethoscope. Laennec had closely followed patients with chest ailments from the bedside to kapution to the autopsy table. He reached the conclusion that intrathoracic organs generated specific sounds with speaking, breathing, and coughing in health and in disease; and that these sounds could be conveyed to the ear with a stethoscope.  The story goes that one day in 1816, facing a “queen size” woman complaining of heart problems, he rolled sheets of paper into a tube. He placed one end of the tube to his ear and the other end on the woman's chest. The sounds of her beating heart came through loud and clear. Laënnec would call his invention a stethoscope, from Greek words meaning "to study the chest."

            1801-Tuesday- And you thought the 2000 Presidential election was confusing…..After one tie vote in the Electoral College and 35 indecisive ballot votes in the House of Representatives, Vice President Thomas Jefferson was elected the third president of the United States over his running mate, Aaron Burr. The bewildering election, which ended just 15 days before a new president was to be inaugurated, exposed major problems in the presidential electoral process set forth by the framers of the U.S. Constitution. A deadlock was broken when a small group of Federalists reasoned that the peaceful transfer of power required that the majority party have its choice as president and voted in Jefferson's favor. The 35th ballot gave Jefferson victory with 10 votes. Burr received four votes and two states voted blank. Yes, Mel Blanc, the voice of Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck received two votes.  It was thisclose and the country got Thomas Jefferson, one of the greatest presidents instead of the odious Burr, who went on to kill Alexander Hamilton in a duel, and was later arrested and tried for treason and acquitted in August 1807 for attempting to form a republic in the Southwest of which he was to be the head honcho.

            1817-Monday-  A street, actually the corner of Market and Lemon streets, in Baltimore became the first to be lighted with gas from America's first gas company. Note; most sources give the date as February 7 but by this date there were sixteen lights.See History of Baltimore City and County, from the Earliest Period...‎ - Page 500 by John Thomas Scharf - Baltimore (Md.) - 1881

            1818- Tuesday- Baron Karl von Drais de Sauerbrun, Germany, invented the "draisine", the forerunner of the bicycle.  This model had a steering bar attached to the front wheel. It had two wheels (of the same size), and the rider sat between the two wheels, but there were no pedals. You propelled yourself by using your feet, sort of like with a scooter. Lance Armstrong tried this in his first Tour de France but didn’t do too well, especially in the Alps. The draisine was made entirely of wood. It  enjoyed a short lived popularity as a fad but it was not practical for transportation in any other place than a well maintained pathway such as in a park or garden

            1820-Thursday-  As the slippery sliding slope towards Civil War continued, Henry Clay’s Missouri Compromise was passed in congress.  In exchange for admitting Missouri without restrictions on slavery, the Compromise called for bringing in Maine as a free state. The Compromise also dictated that slavery would be prohibited in all future western states carved out of the Louisiana Territory that were higher in latitude than the northern border of Arkansas Territory.  Since the Revolution, the country had grown from 13 states to 22 and had managed to maintain a balance of power between slave and free states. There were 11 free states and 11 slave states, a situation that gave each faction equal representation in the Senate and the power to prevent the passage of legislation not to its liking. The free states, with their much larger populations, controlled the House of Representatives, 105 votes to 81.  Note: The Missouri Compromise was repealed by the 1854 Kansas-Nebraska Act and declared unconstitutional in the 1857 Dred Scott decision.

                1821 –Saturday-  Happy Birthday, Lola Montez, An Irish-born "Spanish" dancer and adventuress, born Elisa Rosanna Gilbert in Grange, County Sligo. Leading a fascinating life, Lola was one of the more colorful characters of the 19th century.  She claimed to be Spanish and was best known for her "Spider Dance", a sort of tarantella which involved shaking rubber tarantulas out of her clothing in such a way as to provide generous views of her “personal effects”. Among other exploits, she became the mistress of King Ludwig I of Bavaria, who made her a countess; she was the virtual ruler of the country until she was ousted during the revolution of 1848. She also added composer Franz Liszt to her list of conquests. All this and she actually found time to marry and live near San Francisco just after the Gold Rush.

             1846-Tuesday- Happy Birthday, Vasily V. Dokuchayev, Russian geomorphologist who began the recognition of biomes as he pioneered the study of soil creation processes and their classification. Dokuchayev regarded the composition of soil as the product of the combined interaction of climate, bedrock, and organisms. He was one of the very first to “dish the dirt”.

            1864 Wednesday-  The Confederate submarine H.L Hunley became the first submarine to sink a surface vessel as the Federal steam sloop-of-war USS Housatonic went kaput near the entrance to Charleston Harbor.  The Hunley, launched in 1863 at Mobile, Alabama was 39 feet, 5 inches in the length with a beam of 3 feet, 10 inches. Eight obviously not claustrophobic crewmen were on board. Displacement was two tons and it could remain submerged for two hours. After sinking the Housatonic  by detonating an explosive charge against its side (not a torpedo), H.L. Hunley failed to return from the mission, and the exact cause for its loss remains a mystery. The submarine was discovered May 3, 1995 and recovered from Davy Jones’ Locker on August 8, 2000.

            1867-Wednesday-  Even though it would not be officially completed until 1869, (Giuseppe Verdi wrote the famous opera Aida for this ceremony) on this day the first ship passed through the Suez Canal.  Elucidation would be appreciated. In the xeroxographic world of the internet, everyone says “the first ship passed ……” but we cannot find the name of the stupid ship. Some citations say the waterway was “borrowed” for the passage.  The Suez is of the most important waterways in the world. It runs north to south across the Isthmus of Suez in northeastern Egypt. The Canal connects the Mediterranean Sea with the Gulf of Suez, an arm of the Red Sea. The artificial canal provides an important shortcut for ships operating between both European and American ports and ports located in southern Asia, eastern Africa, and Oceania. Because no locks interrupt traffic on this sea level waterway, the transit time only averages about 15 hours.

            1869-Wednesday- Now-a-days we just watch TV talk-shows on a sick day, but on this day, Russian Scientist Dmitri Mendeleev literally stayed home from work and worked on the problem of how to arrange the chemical elements in a systematic way. He must have been bored at one point since he based his periodic table of the set up for Solitaire. These historic documents still exist, and mark the beginning of the form of the Periodic Table as commonly used today.

            1874-Tuesday- Happy Birthday, Thomas J. Watson, Sr., the American industrialist who built I.B.M. After leaving the National Cash Register Company, yes he cashed in, Watson became president of Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company. The firm was a small holding company which controlled four other small firms that produced a punch-card tabulator, time clocks, and other machines. In 1924 the firm merged with International Business Machines Corporation (IBM) and took its name. Watson built IBM through its patents and renting its equipment rather than selling it.

            1876 –Thursday-  Someone had to think of it or else the language would be missing a great cliché. Sardine import broker James Wolff is believed to be the first to can sardines. The U.S. imported $12 million worth of sardines and anchovies, that’s a lot of little fish. Almost all of it came from France. When the Franco-Prussian war put an end to the imported delicacy. The quest for American sardines brought Wolff, owner of a New York brokerage firm that had imported them, to eastern Maine during the fall of 1875. The young herring found off the coast of Maine suited his needs.  In  late 1875, he opened the nation’s first sardine cannery in Eastport. Five years later, there were 18 more canneries around the state

            1893 – Happy Birthday, Wally Pipp, first baseman for the New York Yankees.  Pipp contracted one of the most famous headaches in baseball history.  On June 2, 1925, Pipp told Yankee manager Miller Huggins he needed to sit that day out... ...Rookie Lou Gehrig took his place. Gehrig would play every day for the next fourteen years.  Pipp would be traded to Cincinnati. He played two more years and retired

            1904- Wednesday- The première of Giacomo Puccini’s Madame Butterfly at La Scala in Milan. It was not exactly a resounding success. As Ricordi described it in the March edition of Musice e Musicisti : “Growls, shouts, groans, laughter, giggling, the usual single cries of "bis," designed to excite the public still more; that sums up the reception which the public of La Scala accorded the new work by Maestro Giacomo Puccini . . . “The reviews of the following day were no more forgiving, boasting such headlines as "Puccini hissed," "Fiasco at La Scala," and "Butterfly, Diabetic Opera, The Result of an Automobile Accident." http://www.columbia.edu/itc/music/NYCO/butterfly/fiasco.html
One can only imagine the crowd and critical reaction had Puccini stuck with his original ideas of Madame Larva, Madame Caterpillar, Madame Chrysalis, or Madame Pupa.
  

            1911-Friday -Using the crank in early cars made people cranky so, the first self-starter, based on patented inventions created by General Motors engineers Clyde Coleman and Charles Kettering, was installed in a Cadillac

            1924 –Sunday-  In Miami, Florida, Johnny Weissmuller, who would go on to fame as Tarzan,  set a new world record in the 100-yard freestyle swimming competition with a time of 52-2/5 seconds. He was being pursued by Rosie O’Donnell at the time.

            1933 –Friday-  “Happy days are here again….” The Blaine Act, approved by the United States Senate, ended the prohibition of alcohol in the United States that began in 1919 by modifying the Volstead Act. The Act allowed the sale of 3.2 beer as a non-intoxicating liquor and was labeled a cereal malt beverage.

             1934- Saturday- Drivers Education started up as the first driving course was offered at State College High School in State College, Pennsylvania. The course, taught by Amos Neyhart, resembled today's courses. It provided both classroom and behind-the-wheel instruction. Of course parallel parking wasn’t such a problem and nor was applying make up, shaving, eating, reading newspapers, or talking on the telephone. Students who completed the course received State of Pennsylvania driver's licenses.

                  1938- Thursday- The first public experimental demonstration of Scotsman John Logie Baird color television was transmitted from Crystal Palace to the Dominion Theatre, London. Baird, who’s research was no longer supported by the BBC was looking for funding for his development projects.   The broadcast was presented as part of a variety show to an audience of 3,000 at the Dominion theatre by Baird, using a two-color process giving a 120-line interlaced picture on a screen 12ft x 9ft. The program was transmitted from the Baird studio at Crystal Palace in South London, eight miles away..

            1946 –Sunday-  Happy Birthday, Dodie Stevens, singer whose 1959 hit Tan Shoes and Pink Shoelaces remains one of the high water marks in musical history.

            1959-Tuesday- The first weather satellite, Vanguard II, was launched. It was the first satellite designed to observe and record the cloud cover of the earth. It was a forerunner of the television infrared observation satellites (TIROS). Vanguard II was also the first full-scale Vanguard (20-inch diameter sphere, 21 pounds) to be launched, and it is also still in orbit. Fallout from Vanguard has resulted in large numbers of obese people wearing way too small bathing suits.

            1963 –Sunday-  Happy Birthday, Michael Jordan, born in Brooklyn, New York. The greatest basketball player of all time.  He would win five regular season MVP awards, six NBA championships, six NBA finals MVP awards, three All-Star game MVP awards, and a defensive player of the year award but that does not describe the celestial elegance with which he played the game.  Too bad he  decided to try his hand at being a team executive. As great a player as he was was matched negatively by his unerring eye for mediocrity in his player selections.

            1983-Thursday- Eureka California‘s warmest winter day- 86 degrees F.  See 2/18/59

            1993 –Wednesday-  The ferry Neptune sank near Porto Prince, off the coast of Haiti.  Grossly overcrowded with over 2000 passengers on their way to market, the 150ft vessel capsized in a squall. It was said that the turn over was caused by passengers rushing to the leeward side of the ship to shelter from a rain shower. An estimated 900 people lost their lives. Oh yes, and  the Neptune carried no lifeboats or emergency gear.

            1996-Saturday- World chess champion Gary Kasparov defeated Deep Blue, IBM's chess-playing computer, by winning a six-game match 4-2, in a regulation-style match held in Philadelphia, as part of the ACM Computer Science Conference. Kasparov had lost the first two games but then  employed time tested tactics such as saying “look at that girl in the thong” when that didn’t work he said, “ look, a naked Mac Notebook” and when the computer was distracted he switched  rooks, or pretending to yawn and moving the bishop when his hand came down, or pulling the plug on the machine and switching knights in the dark.

            2006 –Friday- A mudslide triggered by two weeks of  heavy rains and a minor earthquake of magnitude 2.6 on the Richter scale buried an entire village in the Philippine province of Southern Leyte. Reportedly more than 200 people were killed in the slide with about 1,500 people missing.

Back To Calendar

18. 1268 -Saturday We mention this because it sounds like it should be a movie, maybe starring Chuck Norris, Jean Claude Van Damme, Sylvester Stallone, the Rock, and Jessica Simpson.  The Livonian Brothers of the Sword, a German military and religious order, founded in 1202 by Bishop Albert of Livonia for the purpose of conquest and Christianization in the Baltic lands,  were defeated by Dovmont of Pskov, Duke of Lithuania. Dovmont, commanding a federation of Russian princes defeated the Livonian Brothers (sounds like a wrestling match)  in the Battle of Rakovor. The Knights were beaten so thoroughly that they would not undertake a new campaign against Northern Russia for thirty years.

            1478 –Monday- “I’ll have a barrel of that Madeira Wine”. Oh that malmsey wine !!!! During the Wars of  the Roses, George, Duke of Clarence, convicted of treason against his older brother Edward IV of England, was privately executed in the Tower of London. George loved  Malmsey wine, a rich dessert version of Madeira. A conviction for treason meant a death sentence of being hanged (till not quite dead), drawn (disemboweled), and quartered (pulled apart by horses). since George was the king's brother and of royal blood this sentence was commuted to one of beheading, or whatever method of execution selected by George himself. And George – who had a lifelong pattern of betraying Edward, being forgiven and then betraying him again for many years, evidently chose to be drowned in the barrel of fortified wine.

            1516-Friday-  Happy Birthday, Mary Tudor, eldest child of King Henry VIII, and the Queen of England with the cuddly nick name of ''Bloody Mary.''  Mary, a Catholic implemented a violent suppression of Protestants after she ascended to the throne following the kapution of half brother Edward (son of Jane Seymour) probably from tuberculosis in 1553.  Following a brief, nine day attempt of install Lady Jane Gray on the throne, Mary (daughter of Catherine of Aragon) would be queen until her own kapution in 1558. She was followed to queenship by half sister Elizabeth (daughter of Ann Boleyn).

        1564 –Tuesday-  Three days after Galileo was born, the great artist, architect, and sculptor, Michelangelo Buonarroti, age eighty eight,  went kaput, probably from a fever.  He would have been eighty nine on March 6.

            1745-Thursday- A day charged with electricity. Happy Birthday, Alessandro Volta, Italian physicist whose invention of the electric battery in1800 provided the first source of continuous, reliable current produced by the contact of two dissimilar metals. The volt, a unit of electrical measurement, is named after him. His first “battery” was the voltaic pile, which consisted of an alternating column of zinc and silver disks separated by porous cardboard soaked in brine.…..so obviously, he was in a pickle over this one.  Also named after his is the famous Supreme Court decision of  “one man, one Volta”.

            1838-Sunday-  Happy Birthday, Ernest Mach, Austrian physicist and philosopher who established important principles of optics, mechanics, and wave dynamics. He studied the Doppler Effect by optical and acoustic experiments and introduced the "Mach number" for the ratio of speed of object to speed of sound, such as when an aircraft achieves “mach 1”,  is named for him.

            1848-Friday-  “Hey! Let’s have breakfast at Lou’s”. “You mean breakfast at Tiffany’s?”   Happy Birthday, Louis Comfort Tiffany, a craftsman and designer who made significant advancements in the art of glassmaking. His chief innovation was his glasstechnology. He was also a pioneer of the Art Nouveau style.  His father, Charles Lewis Tiffany, had previously founded the famous Tiffany & Co. jewelery stor.

            1861-Monday- Jefferson Davis was sworn in as president of the Confederate States of America in Montgomery, Ala.  Davis had served in the United States Congress representing the State of Mississippi as a Senator from 1847 to 1851 and from 1857 to 1860. He also served as U. S. Secretary of War under President Franklin Pierce.

            1871-Saturday-  Happy Birthday, Harry Brearly,  English metallurgist who invented stainless steel, which is an alloy of steel with chromium and nickel. Brearly accidentally discovered that adding chromium to low carbon steel gives it stain resistance. It is the addition of a minimum of 12% chromium to the steel that makes it resist rust, or stain 'less' than other types of steel. And, of course we- know that in WWII, the “alloys” defeated the Germans and Japanese.

            1885-Wednesday-  Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) published The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Clemens had introduced the character of Huckleberry Finn in his Adventures of Tom Sawyer in 1876.  Also note that ½ of the original manuscript of this book went missing until February 13 (see Feb. 13) 1991 when it was discovered in a trunk.  What some call  the greatest American novel was published first in England by Chatto & Windus on December 10, 1884. The first American edition appeared on this day in 1885. According to the title page of both the manuscript and Webster’s edition, the correct title is Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. http://www.americanheritage.com/articles/magazine/ah/1984/4/1984_4_81.shtml

            1898-Friday- Happy Birthday, Enzo Ferrari, Italian automobile manufacturer, designer, and racing-car driver born in Modena.  

            1901-Monday-  This invention really sucked. A dust removing suction cleaner was patented by Hubert Cecil Booth, an English bridge engineer.  On August 30th, Booth’s improved work received a British patent for a vacuum cleaner. It couldn’t quite do the corners in your living room.  It took the form of a large, horse-drawn, gas-driven unit which was parked outside the building to be cleaned with long hoses being fed through the windows.

            1901-Tuesday-  Long after  the birth of Alessandro Volta, Thomas A. Edison was issued a patent for an improvement to "Alkaline Storage Battery", a storage battery in which the electrolyte consists of an alkaline solution, usually potassium hydroxide. This was actually one of three patents issued to Edison this month 700,136 Reversible Galvanic Battery came on this day but two more for Galvanic batteries were issued on February 23. http://www.jhalpin.com/metuchen/tae/ehlai32.htm

 A galvanic battery is a battery consisting of a number of voltaic cells arranged in series or parallel Benjamin Franklin first coined the term "battery" to describe an array of charged glass plates in 1748. Luigi Galvani demonstrated what we now understand to be the electrical basis of nerve impulses and provided the cornerstone of research for later inventors like Volta. 

            1911 –Saturday-  The first official flight with air mail took place in Allahabad, British India, when Henri Pequet, a 23-year-old pilot, delivered 6,500 letters to Naini, about 10 km away. Pequet’s  biplane flew to Naini at 40 mph at an altitude of 130 feet. He landed at Naini, to be greeted by the lone postmaster who promptly grabbed an automatic rifle and shot everyone in site. Pequet flew back. The whole journey lasted 27 minutes.  Meanwhile, a day earlier, Fred Wiseman of Petaluma, California, flew (unofficially) a sack of coffee beans, 50 newspapers, and three letters 18 miles to Santa Rosa on February 17, 1911. Although it took him over two days for the 12-minute, 20-second trip, because of a crash and a broken propeller he was probably the first in the U.S  to carry the mail.

             1913 –Tuesday-  "Soddy, wrong number". Chemist Frederick Soddy introduced the term "isotope".  An isotope occurs when different elements produced in different radioactive transformations are capable of occupying the same place on the Periodic Table. Isotope comes from the Greek meaning same place. In his lecture at his Nobel Award winning ceremony, he said of isotopes, "Put colloquially, their atoms have identical outsides but different insides."            

            1929 – Beginning years of professional log rolling, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the winners of the first Academy Awards.  Sparing no expense, the winners names were published on the back page of the academy's newsletter. A few days later Variety also published the names although now they had moved up to page 7. The awards were handed out at a banquet in May, entertainment was provided by Britney Spears singing Al Jolson’s  Mammy. In the bizarre world of Hollywood, even though the first awards were for films made in 1927-1928, they weren't announced until February 1929. Wings won the Best Picture award; Janice Gaynor won Best Actress for her roles in 7th Heaven, Street Angel and Sunrise and Emil Jannings won Best Actor for his roles in The Last Command and The Way of All Flesh. Frank Borzage- 7th Heaven and Lewis Milestone – Two Arabian Nights both won Best Director awards. Wings remains the only silent movie to win an Academy Award.

            1930-Tuesday-  Nineteen year old Clyde Thombaugh discovered what was then a planet but now according some members of the IAU, is a Dwarf Planet, Kuiper Belt Object Pluto.  He named the (now dwarf) planet in honor of  astronomer Percival Lowell (P L) whose calculations led him to the discovery. Note, Lowell was more famous for his belief in canals on Mars…oh well. Lowell believed there to be a "Planet X" somewhere in the outer reaches of the solar system, based on calculations done with the study of the motions of Uranus and Neptune. Lowell funded three searches for the Planet X and set up the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona. Tombaugh conducted a survey of the sky by taking sets of photographs, each one to two weeks apart. Any shifting of any object against the backdrop of the stars indicated the presence of a planetary body. Through this repeated procedure, the former planet Pluto was found on this day in 1930. It is the only planet to be found by an American astronomer until (first called Xena) the now officially dubbed Eris–thought to be a planet but currently joining Pluto in the netherworld of former planets-was discovered in 2005.

            1953 –Wednesday- The movie Bwana Devil premiered in New York City.  The world premiere had been in Los Angeles on Nov. 26,  1952.  Starring Robert Stack (whose career would recover when he went on to star in television’s The Untouchables),    

Barbara Britton, as the derageur ripped blouse heroine, and  Nigel Bruce (who had played Dr. Watson to Basil Rathbone’s Sherlock Holmes), this was the first 3D movie.  It required two projectors to show the film, was probably a major reason that 3-D did not last very long as a mainstream film format. Theaters then as well as now, were slow to adopt technology that cost them a lot of money. http://www.lionlamb.us/tsavo/bwanadev.html
It did have a great tagline though, “A lion in your lap! A lover in your arms!”

            1959-Wednesday-  Mt. Shasta, CA. set the North American record for a single snow storm- 189"……thus putting quite a damper on the plans for the “fun in the sun barbecue” scheduled for that day.

            1964 –Tuesday- Obviously punch drunk or worse after appearing on Ed Sullivan’s show for two weeks in a row, the Beatles, in some publicist’s deranged brainstorm went to a Miami Florida Drive In movie theater to see Elvis in Fun in Alcapulco. Unforeseen long term effects would include Yoko Ono, Ringo starring in the movie Caveman, the Maharishi, marrying groupies, Yoko Ono, Ringo thinking he could sing, sitar music, The Long and Winding Road, Yoko Ono, plagiarizing He’s So Fine, much of Lennon’s solo career, and one legged gold diggers,

            1977-Friday-  The first space shuttle orbiter, the Enterprise - one designed for ground and gliding tests only- was flight tested in "captive mode," attached to the top of a 747 jumbo jet.  It resembled two aircraft mating in mid-air (the 747 did, in fact, give birth to a Piper Cub several months later). The flight was the first of five captive flights before the orbiter was released to land on its own, sort of like taking the training wheels away while you’re riding the bicycle. The orbiter prototype was originally to be named Constitution (in honor of the U.S. Constitution's Bicentennial). However, viewers of  Star Trek started a write-in campaign urging the White House to rename the vehicle to Enterprise.

            2001- Sunday- Dale Earnhardt Sr., one of the greatest drivers in NASCAR history, died in a  last-lap crash at the 43rd Daytona 500 race  in Daytona Beach, Florida. Earnhardt was about half a mile from the finish line when his car  spun out of control and then crashed into a wall while simultaneously colliding another car.

Back To Calendar

19.    197 –Sunday-  The shelf life of quite a few Roman Emperors was sometines as short as that of a banana stored in a bowl of tomatoes. And so when Pertinax was slewn in 193, there four generals ready to replace him. Two of them Clodius Albinus and Septimus Severus, initially formed a political alliance. They cut the odds in half by defeating the other two.  Severus then consolidated his power in Rome and broke his alliance with Albinus. He was selected as Emperor by the Senate. On this day the battle of Lugdunum, also called the battle of Lyon, was fought between the armies of the Severus and of the usurper Albinus. It was said to be the largest, most hard fought and bloodiest of all clashes between Roman forces….the Romans by this time spent more time fighting each other than fighting barbarians.  Albinus lost the battle, slew himself in a house near the Rhône River and his head was sent to Rome as a gentle reminder and warning to his supporters.

            1473- Wednesday-  As you may have noted, February is a busy month for the Sun-centered Solar System – We’ve had Galileo’s heresy trial and the birthday of Georg Joachim Rheticus.  And now……Happy Birthday, Nicholas Copernicus, (born Nicolaus Koppernigk  but he adopted the Latin spelling and pronunciation), Polish astronomer who theorized that the sun is the center of the solar system. This was later confirmed by Galileo using his telescope. Up to the time of Copernicus the general belief  was in the Ptolemiac theory that the universe was a closed space bounded by a spherical envelope beyond which there was nothing……..sort of like President Gerald Ford’s brain.  Ptolemy, an Egyptian living in Alexandria, at about 150 A.D., gathered and organized the thoughts of the earlier thinkers. (It is to be noted that one of the ancient Greek astronomers, Aristarchus, did have ideas similar to those more fully developed by Copernicus but they were rejected in favor of the geocentric or earth-centered scheme espoused by Aristotle.) Ptolemy's findings were that the earth was a fixed, inert, immovable mass, located at the center of the universe, and all celestial bodies, including the sun and the fixed stars, revolved around it.  Copernicus worked on his book ,for over thirty years.  He was a perfectionist and would have kept making revisions ad infinitum (sort of like The Gnus in General) until Rheticus (see Feb. 16, 1514) convinced him to publish. De Revolutionibus was placed on the Index of Forbidden Books in 1616 by the Catholic Church and only removed in 1835.  While Galileo was forced to recant and sent to bed without his dinner, another Italian astronomer, Giordano Bruno, went  beyond Copernicus, and, dared to suggest, that space was boundless and that the sun was and its planets were but one of any number of similar systems. The Church met these ideas with its usual equanimity, Bruno was tried before the Inquisition, condemned and burned at the stake in 1600. Interestingly, Copernicus' original manuscript, lost to the world for 300 years, was located in Prague in the middle of the 19th century; it shows Copernicus' making  revision after revision; all in Latin as was the vogue for scholarly writings in those days.

           1526-Friday-  Happy Birthday, Charles de L'Écluse (a.k.a. Carolus Clusius) French botanist who introduced the tulip to Holland……”Holland, this is the tulip.  Tulip, this is Holland”. Or course he would have said, “Pays-Bas, il s'agit de la tulipe. Tulip, c'est aux Pays-Bas”.  De L'Ecluse also introduced the potato into Germany, Austria, France and the Low Countries. Germany, this is the potato.  Potato, this is Germany.  The Tulip was originally a wild flower, growing in Central Asia. It was first cultivated by the Turks as early as 1000 AD. During the 17th century, Holland was enveloped by a “tulip mania” – a description of which is in the Alexander Dumas novel, The Black Tulip. L’Ecluse was serving as the court botanist in Austria when and envoy brought them from Constantinople to Vienna.  When he became a teacher at Leiden University, he brought tulips with him and interest just blossomed.  Over the years the tulip has come to be a beloved symbol of the Netherlands.

            1600 Saturday-  The Peruvian stratovolcano Huaynaputina exploded in has been called the most violent eruption in the recorded history of South America (prior to a belch from Hugo Chavez in 2004). According to chronicles, the eruption began on February 19 and lasted until March 6. Repeated pyroclastic flows (the ash cloud rushing down the flanks of the mountain and covering everything around it), and surges devastated an area 70X40 km 2 west of the vent and affected all of southern Peru. Steep. conical volcanoes built by the eruption of viscous lava flows, tephra, and pyroclastic flows, are called stratovolcanoes.  A stratovolcano typically consists of many separate vents. Huaynaputina had at least four vents. Of Earth's 1,511 volcanoes known to have erupted in the past 10,000 years, 699 are stratovolcanoes. Both Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Shasta in the Cascade Mountains of the U.S are stratovolcanoes.

            1626-Thursday-  Happy Birthday, Francesco Redi, Italian physician and poet who demonstrated that the presence of maggots in putrefying meat does not result from spontaneous generation but from eggs laid on the meat by flies. Now, don’t you feel better? From the time of the ancient Romans, through the Middle Ages, and until the late nineteenth century, it was generally accepted that some life forms arose spontaneously from non-living matter……sort of like celebutards…. Such "spontaneous generation" appeared to occur primarily in decaying matter. For example, a seventeenth century recipe for the spontaneous production of mice required placing sweaty underwear and husks of wheat in an open-mouthed jar, then waiting for about 21 days, during which time it was alleged that the sweat from the underwear would penetrate the husks of wheat, changing them into mice.  Redi became interested after reading William Harvey's book which raised the idea that insects, worms and frogs came from seeds or eggs too small to be seen. For his experiment, Redi prepared eight flasks of various meats, with half left open to the air and half sealed (just like they do at MacDonalds).  Maggots were found only in the unsealed flasks where flies had been able to enter and lay their eggs. This was one of the earliest examples of a biological experiment planned with proper controls. However Redi didn’t get it completely right.  He still believed that spontaneous generation occurred in such animals as intestinal worms and gall flies, and it was not until the time of Louis Pasteur that the spontaneous-generation theory was finally discredited.

            1674 –Monday-  “ It’s up to you, New Amsterdam. New Amsterdam”…..as of this date they could change the song to “New York, New York” when England and the Netherlands signed the Peace of Westminster, ending the Third Anglo-Dutch War. A provision of the agreement transferred the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam to England, which renamed it New York. The first Anglo-Dutch War lasted from 1652 until 1654. The second Anglo-Dutch War began in 1665, and lasted until 1667. This third Anglo-Dutch War began in 1672, and ended in 1674 and yes, there was a he fourth and final Anglo-Dutch War that took place from 1680 until 1684.We note that the now New York  was named after the brother of Charles II,  James Duke of York, who would become the lamentable King James II, driven from the throne by the Glorious Revolution of 1688. Gene Chandler suggested Duke of Earl but then we would live in New Earl.

            1777 –Wednesday-  Oops! 1777, Benedict Arnold was passed over for promotion to Major General.  In fact five junior officers were promoted ahead of him.  He continued to be passed over by the Continental Congress.  In fact the Congress began a corruption investigation into his affairs. This did made Benedict a very unhappy camper indeed.  In July 1780, he sought and obtained command of West Point (he had, after all, been a vital part of Washington’s army) in order to surrender it to the British. Arnold's scheme was detected when American forces captured British Major John André carrying papers that revealed Arnold's plan. Upon learning of André's capture, Arnold escaped down the Hudson River to the British Sloop-of-War Vulture, narrowly avoiding capture by the forces of General Washington who had departed for West Point immediately upon learning of Arnold's plan. Arnold received a commission as a Brigadier General in the British Army

            1804-Sunday-  Happy Birthday, Baron Karl Rokitansky, Austrian pathologist He is one of the greatest descriptive pathologists, and his claim to fame is that he himself performed more than 30,000 autopsies, averaging two a day, seven days a week, for 45 years. “Another day, another thoracic split”.

            1807-Loser of the 1801 presidential election (see Feb. 18.) and killer of Alexander Hamilton, the ever sleazy Aaron Burr, a former U.S. vice president, was arrested in Alabama on charges of plotting to annex Spanish territory in Louisiana and Mexico to be used toward the establishment of an independent republic.  "The gods invite us to glory and fortune," Burr wrote to his coconspirator, Gen. James Wilkinson; "it remains to be seen whether we deserve the boon." While Burr and a handful of followers were on their way to New Orleans, however, Wilkinson informed President Thomas Jefferson of the conspiracy. Jefferson ordered Burr’s  arrest.  The Defense attorneys were Edmund Randolph  and Luther Martin, both delegates to the Constitutional Convention and among the most prominent men of the day. The  Prosecutors were  Charles Lee, former Attorney General, and William Wirt, future presidential candidate. The trial became a farce as Chief Justice John Marshall issued such a narrow definition of treason that Burr was acquitted in twenty five minutes….just about the amount of time (including commercials) that it takes on contemporary fictional courtroom dramas. Jefferson, suspected that the Chief Justice's judgment was warped in favor of Burr by his own dislike of Jefferson and the course of his Administration. 

            1834-Wednesday- Happy Birthday, Herman Snellen, Dutch ophthalmologist who developed the Snellen Chart.  Anyone who has taken an eye test has seen the Snellen Chart. It’s the one with one big black letter on the top and smaller letters on each row below. Snellen also came up with the Snellen fraction. The “fraction” is a ratio.You know it as  20/20 or 20/100 (metric equivalent 6/6, 6/30), measuring the acuity of a person's eyesight compared to a standard observer with good normal acuity. 20/20 means he can resolve 2 target features at 20 feet.

            1847-Friday-  The first rescuers from Sutter's Fort reached the surviving remnants of the Donner emigrant party at their snowbound camp in the high Sierra Nevada Mountains. The party, going to California, had started with 89 people.  Trapped in snow and without food, they resorted to cannibalism………roast foot a la pinecone, pancreas and tendon sandwiches, and ear and nostril pasta were particular favorite.  There were 45 survivors.

            1856 –Tuesday-  The tintype photographic process was invented by Professor Hamilton L.Smith of Ohio (not to be confused with Nobel Laureate Hamilton O. Smith of Illinois).  Also called ferrotype, tintypes were negatives on iron, coated with black paint, lacquer or enamel.  The tintype process was a cheap process, used mainly by beach photographers and other itinerant photographers.  Chances are that the photo you have of great great grandpa and grandma wearing bathing suits that looked like suits of armor is a tintype. Because the tintype could be sent through the mail without the risk of much damage it represented the perfect snapshot memento, especially during the Civil War.

            1861 –Tuesday-  “Serfs Up!” In the year that American Civil War would begin, with slavery a major issue, serfdom was abolished in Russia. A serf was an agricultural laborer under various similar systems, especially in 18th- and 19th-century Russia and eastern Europe. They were usually  in bondage or servitude. When Alexander II became the Czar of Russia, during the Crimean war in 1855, he realized that Russia was no longer a great military power. His advisers argued that Russia's serf-based economy could no longer compete with industrialized nations such as Britain and France. Alexander considered the possibility of bringing an end to serfdom in Russia. The nobility objected to this move but as Alexander told a group of Moscow nobles: "It is better to abolish serfdom from above than to wait for the time when it will begin to abolish itself from below.” In 1861 Alexander issued his Emancipation Manifesto that proposed 17 legislative acts that would free the serfs in Russia. On March 1, 1881 (Tuesday)  Alexander would be assassinated by a group of radicals.

            1878-Tuesday-  Thomas Edison received a patent for his invention, the phonograph. First record was Shania Twain's Country Western Gregorian Chants.  The phonograph was developed as a result of Thomas Edison's work on two other inventions, the telegraph and the telephone.  He had experimented with a diaphragm which had an embossing point and was held against rapidly-moving paraffin paper. The speaking vibrations made indentations in the paper. Edison changed the paper to a metal cylinder with tin foil wrapped around it. The machine had two diaphragm-and-needle units, one for recording, and one for playback. When one would speak into a mouthpiece, the sound vibrations would be indented onto the cylinder by the recording needle in a vertical groove pattern. Edison immediately tested the machine by speaking a nursery rhyme into the mouthpiece, "Mary had a little lamb." The machine had two needles: one for recording and one for playback. When you spoke into the mouthpiece, the sound vibrations of your voice would be indented onto the cylinder by the recording needle. The Edison Speaking Phonograph Company had been established on January 24, 1878, to market the new machine by exhibiting it. As a novelty, the machine was an instant success, but was difficult to operate except by experts, and the tin foil would last for only a few playings.

            1881-Saturday-  Kansas became the first state to prohibit all alcoholic beverages. Up until then, beer was the fourth largest industry in the territory. Over 90 brewery plants were forced to close their doors. By 1916, over half of the U.S. states already had statutes that prohibited alcohol. In 1919, the 18th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which prohibited the sale and manufacture of alcohol, was ratified. It went into effect on January 16, 1920. Kansas had statewide prohibition from 1881 to 1948, and continued to prohibit on-premises liquor sales until 1987.

            1940 –Monday-  Happy Birthday, Bill “Smokey” Robinson, American singer, songwriter, and record producer. He founded a singing group called the Matadors in the late 1950’s and then changed the name to the Miracles. The Miracles had  their, and Motown’s first big hit with Shop Around in1960. The group had numerous hits, including You Really Got a Hold on Me, 1962 and I Second That Emotion 1967, not to mention the immortal Mickey’s Monkey in 1963.  Robinson left The Miracles to go solo in 1972, and met with even more success, turning out hits through the 1970s and 1980s. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. Robinson is noted for being one of the primary figures associated with Motown, second only to the company's founder, Berry Gordy.  Think 60’s Motown and you have to think Smokey Robinson.

            1942 –Thursday-  Nearly 250 Japanese warplanes attacked  the northern Australian city of Darwin killing 243 people.  During World War II, the Japanese flew sixty-four raids on Darwin and thirty-three raids on other targets in Northern Australia.

            1945 –Monday-  American marines landed on Iwo Jima, beginning one of the bloodiest battles of the war in the Pacific.  Iwo Jima was seen as a staging point for American bombers in the anticipated battle for Japanese mainland. The  island  is 4.5 miles long and at its broadest point only 2.5 miles wide. Of the 21,000 Japanese defenders, only 1,000 were taken prisoner. The Allied forces suffered 25,000 casualties, with nearly 7,000 dead. Over 1/4 of the Congressional Medals of Honor awarded to marines in World War II were given for conduct in the invasion of Iwo Jima.

            1952 –Tuesday-  Happy Birthday, Rodolfo Neri Vela, NASA astronaut and the first Mexican to fly in space.  Neri Vela went into space as Mexico’s first astronaut on NASA / European Space Agency mission STS-61-B- launched November 26, 1985.  He spent seven days in outer space aboard the space shuttle Atlantis, carrying out multiple experiments and placing in orbit the Mexican telecommunications satellite Morelos 2.

            1958 –Wednesday-  The Miracles (see Smokey Robinson, 1940 above) released their first single (on Smokey Robinson’s 18th birthday), Got a Job – an answer song to the Silhouettes hit of Get a Job.  Note, “answer songs were big in those days….for example Carol King released Oh Neil as and answer to Neil Sedaka’s Oh Carol.

            1974 –Tuesday-  Dick Clark’s ersatz Grammy Awards, dubbed the American Music Awards made its debut. Remarkably, winners always seem to be on hand to receive their awards.  They couldn’t know about it before hand, could they? Anyway,  among the first winners were pure musical mucilage - Favorite Pop/Rock Male Artist• Jim Croce, Favorite Pop/Rock Female Artist, gasp! Helen Reddy,Favorite Pop/Rock Band, Duo, or Group, double gasp!!  The Carpenters, Favorite Pop/Rock Album Lady Sings The Blues (pop/rock?)- Diana Ross and, so help us, Favorite Pop/Rock Single - Tie A Yellow Ribbon - Tony Orlando & Dawn. For some bizarre reason, Bill Cosby received an “Award of Merit”.

            1977-Saturday- Deep-ocean researchers found an oasis of extremophile. Extremophile is not an X-Games fan.  It is  an organism adapted to living in conditions of extreme temperature, pressure, or chemical concentration-  life. John B. Corliss and John M. Elmond used the research submersible Alvin, to descend to the Pacific Ocean floor off the Galapagos Islands. New types of worms, clams and crabs and United States senators were seen thriving around geothermal hot water vents. The food-chain of the ecosystem depends upon bacteria oxidizing hydrogen sulphide contained in the volcanic gases that spew out of the hot springs. Thus, the energy source that sustains this deep-ocean ecosystem is not sunlight, but rather the energy from chemical reaction (chemosynthesis rather than photosynthesis). Also clustered around the geothermal hot water events were organisms that developed into non handicapped people who park in handicapped only parking spaces.

            1982 –Friday-  George Harrison (possibly still suffering the effects of seeing Elvis in Fun in Acapulco at a Miami Drive in movie theater in 1964 (see Feb. 18, 1964) was found guilty of “subconsciously” (oh, yeah, sure, right, subconscious….just listen to them)  plagiarizing the Chiffon’s He’s So Fine for his own My Sweet Lord.  He had to pay ABKCO Music the sum of $587,000. He’s So Fine was a 1963 hit was composed by Ronald Mack, recorded by the Chiffons. George Harrison recorded a version of My Sweet Lord for his album, All Things Must Pass,  and released MSL as the first single from that album. It was released on November 28, 1970 in the United States. http://abbeyrd.best.vwh.net/mysweet.htm

            2002 –Tuesday- America’s Mars Odyssey space probe began to map the surface of Mars using its thermal emission imaging system.  Mars Odyssey was launched April 7, 2001 on a Delta II rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida, and reached Mars on October 24, 2001. Mars Odyssey continued to operate beyond expectations and it turned into an extended mission. The orbiter conducted scientific observations and also served as the primary communications relay for NASA's Mars rovers as well as trying to protect the Earth from space micro bacteria that mutates into people who speak loudly on their cell phones in restaurants.

            2005 –Saturday-  The USS Jimmy Carter, the last of the Seawolf class of attack subs, was commissioned at Groton, Conn. The Seawolf class attack submarine (SSN) was the intended successor to the Los Angeles class in 1989. At one time, a projected  fleet of 29 submarines was to be built over a ten-year period.  That was  later reduced to twelve. The end of the Cold War and budget constraints led to the fleet being cancelled at three boats in 1995, and led to the design of the smaller Virginia class. The three seawolf class submarines built were the Seawolf, Connecticut , and Jimmy Carter , commissioned and in service.  Hopefully, the Jimmy Carter, is unlike its presidential namesake and does not sail in a malaise, is not indecisive, does not blame America people for its troubles, is not  friendly towards terrorists, and is not unable to complete a mission.

 Back To Calendar

20.     1472 –Tuesday-  King James III of Scotland acquired Orkney and Shetland from Norway.  No, it wasn’t a war. No, it wasn’t because he liked miniature ponies.  It was a dowry. In the fifteenth century, Norway, which had ruled the islands for six hundred years,  had fallen under the control of Denmark, and the Danes held little interest in their acquisitions to the west……especially the little tiny ponies. Christian I was King of Denmark and Norway and in 1468 his daughter Margaret married Scotland’s James III. Her dowry was set at sixty thousand florins of the Rhine which was a lot of money. Christian pledged his lands and rights in Orkney for the first fifty thousand florins due, and was to pay the remaining ten thousand in coins. He could only spare two thousand in coins, and so pledged the Shetlands to cover the remaining unpaid eight thousand in 1469. On this day in 1472, Scotland took possession of Orkney and Shetland.  Note, The paperwork has never been completed for these transactions and so the lands pledged have not been formally transferred.

            1547 –Thursday- Edward VI of England was crowned King of England at Westminster Abbey.  His father, Henry VIII had succumbed on January  28 probably from over eating and over marrying.  Edward, who’s mother was Jane Seymour (star of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman)  – Henry VIII’s third wife- was Henry’s first son, and the ten at the time of his coronation.  He was betrothed to his cousin, Mary Queen of Scots, but deteriorating English-Scot relations soon ended that love match. The frail, Protestant – important to remember since his half sister, Mary Tudor was Catholic - boy died of consumption (tuberculosis) at age sixteen having never married. He would be succeeded by Henry’s eldest daughter, Mary Tudor (see February 18 above) in 1553.

            1673 –Monday- The first recorded wine auction was held in London as inexpensive Portuguese wine entered the English market. The most expensive whine in the world is “I’ve got nothing to wear”.  “I need new jewelry”.  “You never take me anywhere”………..

            1792-Monday- President George Washington gave his stamp of approval and signed legislation establishing the United States Post Office as a cabinet department led by the postmaster general. The legislation also guaranteed inexpensive (ha ha ha ) delivery of all newspapers, stipulating the right to privacy and granting Congress the ability to expand postal service to new areas of the nation.  The Post Office was “Plutoed” in 1970 when President Richard M. Nixon reorganized the federal Post Office Department as the United States Postal Service. It was no longer a cabinet department. Just as Pluto had become a Dwarf Planet, the Post Office had become a “Dwarf Cabinet Department”.

                1835 Friday- Concepción, Chile was destroyed by an earthquake. The earthquake was witnessed and experienced  by Charles Darwin who wrote, “I happened to be on shore, and was lying down in the wood to rest myself. It came on suddenly, and lasted two minutes; but the time appeared much longer. The rocking of the ground was most sensible. The undulations appeared to my companion and myself to come from due east; whilst others thought they proceeded from south-west; which shows how difficult it is in all cases to perceive the direction of these vibrations. There was no difficulty in standing upright, but the motion made me almost giddy. It was something like the movement of a vessel in a little cross ripple, or still more like that felt by a person skating over thin ice, which bends under the weight of his body." http://www.univie.ac.at/wissenschaftstheorie/heat/heat-2/heat281f.htm

                 1872-Saturday-- The first patent was granted for an elevator.  Of course this industry has had its ups and downs. It was not granted to Elisha Otis, who had invented the freight elevator (the first elevator) in 1853.  This was for the first vertical geared hydraulic electric elevator and the patent went to Cyrus W. Baldwin. The elevator was installed in the Stephens Hotel in New York City.  That same year Timothy Stebins designed and patented a rack and pinion machine driven by a vertical hydraulic piston. By changing gear size, the carrying capacity and speed could be modified.   In 1857,  Otis Elevator Company received the first order for a passenger elevator. when they opened. That same year, the first elevator for public use was a steam-driven type installed by Otis Brothers in the five-story department store on Broadway for E.W Haughtwhat & Company

            1872- Saturday- We’re having a tough time with this one since post 1848 patents were issued on Tuesdays.  And.....in another of "it happened on the same day" – the same day as the vertical geared hydraulic elevator - , Luther Childs Crowell, of Cape Cod, Mass., received a patent for a machine for manufacturing square-bottom paper bags.  Historian Daniel J. Boorstin  who said that because it was a technology that sharply improved the efficiency with which goods could be delivered to the consumer (think about it the next time you go shopping), it was the ''most effective innovation during the preceding decade in speeding up American retail sales''; that within only a few years of its introduction becomes a pervasive feature of American life.    As of this day, you could carry the things you bought in a flat bottom paper bag up and down on an elevator!                

            1872—Saturday- Gadzooks! Three earth changing events on the same day!  Be still my heart! First the elevator, then the paper bag and now……  Getting picky with this one, a toothpick-making machine was patented by Silas Noble and James P. Cooley of Granville, Massachusetts. It converted a block of wood into toothpicks.  Did you know that 7.5 million toothpicks can be made from one cord of wood. Don't you feel better knowing that? But first you have to know what a cord of wood is, don’t you? Surprisingly, the company of Noble and Cooley has been in business since 1854 when Silas Noble and James Cooley starting building marching snare drums.  These drums would be used during the Civil War by the   Union Army. They are still in the business of making professional snare drums.

            1872 –Saturday-  Four! Four major events on the same day!   Was there ever such a day as this?  In New York City the Metropolitan Museum of Art opened.  The idea for the museum was first proposed by John Jay (grandson of the John Jay who was one of America’s founding fathers) in 1866 who wanted to create a museum to bring art and art education to the American people. The Met’s first address was at 681 Fifth Avenue. Later it was moved l to 128 West 14th Street. In 1880, the museum got over its wanderlust moved to its present location in Central Park on Fifth Avenue between 80th and 84th Streets. You may wish to read Loot by Sharon Waxman on how some famous museums, including the Met, acquired some of the objects in their collections.

             1894 Tuesday- -You might not have heard of him but you've heard of his work. Happy Birthday, Curt P.Richter, American psychobiologist who discovered the body’s biorhythms and identified the part of the brain that controls daily cycles of sleeping, waking and other activities.  He first wrote about this “biological clock” in a 1927 paper in which he described how biorhythms control an animal's drinking, eating, running, TV watching,and, yes, sexual behavior

            1901 –Wednesday-  Happy Birthdya, René Jules Dubos, American bacteriologist, born in France. While researching the properties of soil bacteria he isolated, in crystalline form, the antibiotic gramicidin.  He discovered that gramicin  destroys Gram-positive germs. It does not, however, harm graham crackers.Dubos’ work laid the basis of a new field of chemotherapy. He had a grand old time killing bacteria and or rendering it harmless. 

            1902-Thursday-  Happy Birthday, Ansel Adams, American photographer and environmentalist whose famous pictures of the American landscape (Half Dome in Yosemite is perhaps the most famous) are staples of thousands of calendars today.  Adams was also a member of the Sierra Club and spent much of his life dedicated to the conservation of those lands.

            1910 –Sunday-  Happy Birthday- Carl E. Stotz,  American sports organizer, the founder and commissioner of Little League baseball- Williamsport, Pennsylvania.   Stotz, a lumberyard clerk, solicited sponsorship for an amateur youth baseball league from local businesses, and in the first game (June 6, 1939 Tuesday) Lundy Lumber beat Lycoming Dairy 23–8. He modified the playing diamond by spacing the bases 60 feet apart,  A $30 donation was sufficient to purchase uniforms for each of the first three teams, named after their sponsors: Lycoming Dairy, Lundy Lumber, and Jumbo Pretzel. Twenty years later, young Professor Sy Yentz would play second base for the Lobel Cubs in New York City. He got no hits, none, zero during his three year little league career.  He was a great fielder and his “glove” kept him in the lineup.  In fact, the only time the Professor even hit a fair ball, it was a sacrifice bunt.  Unfortunately, 246 pound Joe Lomenzo was at first base.  Joe was about 18” off first base on his way to second when the 3rd baseman threw him out. 

            1931 –Friday-  Happy Birthday, John W. Milnor, American mathematician and winner of the Fields Medal (the mathematical equivalent of the Nobel Prize) who developed the proof that a 7-dimensional sphere can have 28 different differential structures (we knew that). This work opened up the new field of differential topology. Topology, for all you non topologists out there is the study of qualitative questions about geometrical structures. They do not ask: how big is it? But do ask, does it have any holes in it? (something the rest of us ask when buying a house). Is it all connected together, or can it be separated into parts?  Milnor's theorem shows that the total curvature of a knot is at least 4. So basically, it is “to be or knot to be” but it is also a “ (pie) in the sky notion”.

            1932 –Saturday-  The premiere of Freaks. Directed by Tod Browning, who had directed Dracula in 1931, this genuinely unpleasant movie featuring circus side-show performers enjoyed a renaissance during the 1970’s era of “midnight movies”.

            1934-Tuesday-  Ernest Lawrence at the University of California Berkeley, received a patent for his cyclotron, which he had invented in 1929. Lawrence at first resisted applying for a patent--like many prewar scientists, he did not think of academic research as a money-making business. But when he learned that an engineer at Raytheon had applied for a patent on a similar circular accelerator, the fear of an industrial monopoly made him file an application for the cyclotron.  And what is a cyclotron?  We’re glad you asked. It’s a circular particle accelerator in which charged subatomic particles generated at a central source are accelerated spirally outward in a plane perpendicular to a fixed magnetic field by an alternating electric field. A cyclotron is capable of generating particle energies between a few million and several tens of millions of electron volts. Got it?

  Lawrence realized that to achieve particle energies of a few MeV (million electron volts) required for nuclear experiments, he could convert the particle's linear trajectory into a circular one by superimposing a magnetic field at right angles to the particle's path. So as with most things in  life, it goes around in circles. In addition to being vital for nuclear experiments, cyclotrons can be used to treat cancer. Ion beams from cyclotrons can be used, as in proton therapy, to penetrate the body and kill tumors by radiation damage, while minimizing damage to healthy tissue along their path. Radioactivity from cyclotrons has been responsible for the peculiar brain processes emanating from the skulls of teenagers inhabiting malls.

            1935 –Wednesday- Caroline Mikkelsen, wife of a Norwegian whaling captain, became the first woman to set foot in/on Antarctica. They had sailed on the whaling vessel Thorshaven. She thought he was taking her to Club Med Curacao.  On this day, the crew, including Mikkelsen, set ashore in a small bay near the Vestfold Hills, named by them after the area in Norway where their company's headquarters were located. The crew erected the Norwegian flag and a cairn – a mound of stones set as a memorial or marker - to commemorate the occasion.  The first women to winter on the continent, half a century after the first men, were the very cold and very loyal Americans Edith Ronne and Jennie Darlington, wives of Ronne Antarctic Research Expedition members.

            1937 –Saturday Happy Birthday, German biochemist who, along with Johann Deisenhofer and Hartmut Michel, received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1988 for their determination of the structure of a protein complex that is essential to photosynthesis in bacteria.  That means that once a protein has been reduced to a pure crystalline form, its atomic structure can be deduced by analyzing the manner in which the crystal's atoms scatter a beam of X rays. Huber and his colleagues used this technique to determine the structure of a protein complex (called a photosynthetic reaction centre) that is essential to photosynthesis in certain bacteria. While much work focused on the bacteria, they never really did get around to the fronteria.

            1943-Saturday-  A new volcano, Paricutin, started to form in a Mexican farm field. In two months it was 1,000 ft. high and had resulted in popcorn, baked wheat, and fricasseed eggplant. The eruptions continued until 1952. For those of you thinking of buying real estate in Guanajuato and Michoacoan states, Paricutin is part of a 40,000 square-kilometer field containing almost 1,000 volcanoes - one of the largest fields in the world. However, The volcano has been quiet since 1952 and like most cinder cones, Parícutin is a monogenetic volcano, which means that it will never erupt again.

1952 –Wednesday- Bogie and Hepburn.  The African Queen premiered in New York City. Directed by John Huston and starring Humphrey Bogart, Katherine Hepburn and Robert Morly, it was based on the C.S Forester novel. This was Bogart and Hepburn’s first and only movie together.  They portrayrf an unshaven, drinking and smoking captain of a cranky tramp steamer, and a prissy and proper, but imperious and unorthodox WWI-era African missionary spinster. This was 44 year-old Hepburn's first screen appearance as a spinster, and marked her transition to more mature roles for the rest of her career. At 52 years of age, Bogart was also past his prime as a handsome, hard-boiled detective.]John Mills, David Niven, and Bette Davis were, at one time, considered for the lead roles. http://www.filmsite.org/afri.html

1963-Wednesday-  John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth. A the 3rd American in space, following Alan Shepherd and Virgil Grissom,  He made 3 orbits in his Mercury capsule, Friendship 7, staying in space 4 hrs.55 min. and 23 sec.   That‘s almost the length of the Super Bowl half-time show.  A four-cent U.S. stamp was put on sale the same day, making it the first U.S. stamp issued on the day of the event it commemorated. Glenn returned to space 36 years later at age 77, making 134 more orbits as a crew member of the space shuttle Discovery from Oct 29 – Nov. 7 1998.

            1965-Saturday-  Ranger 8 space probe crashed into the moon after taking 7,000 pictures of possible landing sites.  There were no soft landings in those days so the first image was taken at 9:34:32 UT at an altitude of 2510 km. Transmission of 7,137 photographs of good quality occurred over the final 23 minutes of flight. The final image taken before impact was from 1.5 meters.  It showed a terrified alien holding up six appendages trying to protect itself from the missile that appeared from nowhere.

            1986 –Thursday-  “The Mir, the merrier”.  The Soviet Union launched the Mir space station. This was the first Mir module….”mir” modules would follow. Mir was assembled in orbit by successively connecting several modules, each launched separately from 1986 to 1996. Mir was made internationally accessible to cosmonauts and astronauts of many different countries. The most notable of these, the Shuttle-Mir Program, saw American Space Shuttles visiting the station eleven times, bringing supplies and providing crew rotation. The station existed until 23 March 2001, at which point it was deliberately de-orbited, breaking apart during atmospheric re-entry over the South Pacific Ocean. As it fell it released microbes that mutated some humans into thinking they could kiss dogs on the mouth.

            1996- Tuesday-- V4334 SGR, better known as Sakurai's Object was discovered as a variable on by – you guessed it - Yukio Sakurai. Sakurai, an amateur astronomer from Japan. Sakurai was looking for comets. Sakurai's Object is in fact a very old star (even older than Clint Eastwood). It is so old that it is very near the last phase of its life: the white dwarf stage. But Sakurai's Object is not quietly fading away, as normal stars (like our Sun) do. Instead, it is giving in to fits and starts, trying to regain its stature as a giant. It is re-igniting its nuclear furnace for one final blast of energy called the "final helium flash." http://www.aavso.org/vstar/vsots/0602.shtml

            2003 –Thursday-  Indoor fireworks? What were they thinking? In West Warwick, Rhode Island, 99 people were killed when fire destroyed the nightclub The Station. The fire started with sparks from a pyrotechnic display being used by one hit wonders (Once Bitten, Twice Shy) way past their expiration date, Great White. Ty Longley, guitarist for Great White, was one of the victims in the fire.

            2005 –Sunday Hunter S. Thompson kaput.  The American “gonzo” journalist and author –Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and Hell's Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs, died from self inflicted gun shot wound.

Back To Calendar

21. 1613 –Thursday-  The beginning of the Romanov dynasty (it would end with the “slewing” of Czar Nicholas II in July of 1917) as  sixteen year old Mikhail I was elected unanimously as Czar by a national assembly. Mikhail would rule until 1645. Mikhail Romanov was a weak ruler, his father Metropolitan Filaret was the real power until his death in 1633. After Mikhail's kapution, his son Alexis ruled from 1645-1676. The Romanovs would really solidify their dynastic legacy with the accession of Peter the Great in 1682

            1794 Friday- Happy Birthday, Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, Mexican general. In 1833 Santa Anna was overwhelmingly elected President of Mexico. That didn’t work out too well. From 1833 to 1855 Mexico had no fewer than thirty-six changes in presidency; Santa Anna himself directly ruled eleven times. When Texas rebelled, he enforced a "take-no-prisoners" policy at the Alamo and ordered the execution of Texans captured at Goliad. He was defeated by Sam Houston in  a crushing defeat at the battle of San Jacinto. He was captured he was allowed to return to Mexico.  Santa Anna participated in the Mexican War where he didn’t do any better than he had in the Texas War.  Santa Anna reemerged as president in September 1846. Almost immediately, Santa Anna mobilized Mexican forces and marched northward, boasting that the superior numbers and courage of his men meant that he would sign a peace treaty in Washington. Santa Anna was beaten at Buena Vista by Zachary Taylor. The U.S decided that Mexico could be beaten only by capturing Mexico City, via Veracruz. General Winfield Scott was given command of the expedition. He defeated Santa Anna in the critical battle at Cerro Gordo and then Scott captured Mexico City. Santa Anna went into voluntary exile while a new Mexican government negotiated peace. He was allowed to return a few years before his death in 1876.  That was too bad since there was a movement afoot to have Santa Anna command any army in any country that fought the United States, thus guaranteeing a quick U.S victory in any war.

            1804 Tuesday-  The first self-propelling steam locomotive designed to ride on rails made its first appearance at the Pen-y-Darren ironworks in Wales.  It was developed by British engineer and inventor Richard Trevithick who liked to sit in the front with an engineer’s cap on going “woo woo”. This locomotive, with four driving wheels, had smooth wheels o success proved that sufficient traction could be obtained without using gear wheels and a cogged or toothed track. During the nine mile journey the Penydarren locomotive reached speeds of nearly five miles an hour. 

            1811 –Thursday- The next time you jump into a chlorine treated  swimming pool, think of Humphry Davy one of the greatest chemists in history.  Davy, introduced the name "chlorine" (Atomic Number: 17,Atomic Weight: 35.453)

             from the Greek word for "green," for the bright yellow green gas chemists then called as oxymuriatic gas. Davy's work would show that the chlorine gas was in fact an element, unable to be decomposed into any simpler substances. Chlorine was first isolated by the rather unlucky,Swedish chemist Carl Wilhelm Scheele (Scheel got almost no credit for any of his discoveries) in 1774. Scheele did not regard this pungent green gas as an element. He referred to it as "dephlogisticated marine acid".

            1842 –Monday-  Sew what! John J Greenough of New York patented (the first U.S patent)  a leather stitching machine. A working model was made and exhibited, but he couldn’t find investors and it appears never to have gone into production. Possibly the first working sewing machine was built by Frenchman Barthélemy Thimonnier. The first of three patents was awarded in 1830. Using a barbed needle, his wooden framed machines produced a simple chain stitch. Elias Howe would patent a shuttle machine in 1846. The machine was to feature a curved & grooved, eye pointed needle.

             1848-Monday-  The Communist Manifesto, written by Karl Marx with the assistance of Friedrich Engels, was published in London by a group of German-born revolutionary socialists known as the Communist League. The political pamphlet (not a book) proclaimed that "the history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles".  It is still beloved by Lenin’s “useful idiots”, idealistic college students, aging sixties academics, and several dictators to this day.

                1849-Wednesday-  Happy Birthday, Édouard Gaston (Daniel) Deville was a French-born Canadian surveyor of Canadian lands who perfected the first practical method of photogrammetry, or the making of maps based on photography in which geometric properties about objects are determined from photographic images.  Its most important feature is the fact, that the objects are measured without being touched.  Yes, photorammetry was a “coupe Deville”.

                1858-Sunday-  The first electrical burglar alarm installation in the U.S. was made by Edwin T. Holmes in Boston, Mass.  Someone (the designated burglar alarm) sat in a chair in a darkened house and when a burglar tried to enter, the “burglar alarm” jumped up and started yelling  “burglar! There’s a burglar at the window!”…..no, no, no  Professor Sy Yentz has his larcenous sense of humor. Actually, when a door or window was opened, a spring was released that closed an electrical circuit resulting in a loud noise. Holmes then started a burglar alarm company.  Between 1858 and 1893, Holmes controlled no less than 20 patents directly or indirectly related to the burglar alarm business.

            1866-Wednesday- Lucy Hobbs Taylor, born in Constable, New York,  became the first woman dentist in the United States. In 1859 she moved to Cincinnati. Because she was a female, she was turned down for admission to the (oddly named) Eclectic College of Medicine. At the suggestion of one of the professors,  she turned to dentistry. Again, as a private pupil, she pursued the profession under the guidance of the dean of the Ohio College of Dental Surgery and later apprenticed herself to a graduate of the school. After being refused admission to the dental college -- again because she was female -- she opened her own practice at the age of 28 in Cincinnati. She later moved her practice to Bellevue, Iowa  and then to McGregor, Iowa. In time, she came to be known by what sounded like a translated Native American name -- "the woman who pulls teeth." Here, she also mastered the dentistry art of putting as many objects as possible in the patient’s mouth and then engaging him in conversation.   In July 1865, the Iowa State Dental Society accepted her as a member and sent her as a delegate to the American Dental Association convention in Chicago. In November 1865, after serving patients for four years in her own dentistry practice, she was admitted to the senior class of the Ohio College of Dental Surgery. Hobbs tbecame the first woman in U.S. (and probably world) history to earn a doctorate in dentistry. While later practicing in Chicago, she met and married Civil War veteran and railway maintenance worker James M. Taylor in April 1867. Under his wife's guidance, he too became a dentist.

            1866-Wednesday-  And speaking of unpleasant medical intrusions (see Lucy Hobbs – dentist above), Happy Birthday, August von Wassermann, German bacteriologist whose discovered a universal blood-serum test in1906, called the Wasserman Test, for syphilis.  The bacterium that causes syphilis, Treponema pallidum, can lay dormant in a person's body for many years, even a lifetime, without ever manifesting overt symptoms……sort of like appreciating the music of Cher.   The Wasserman Test helped connect immunology to diagnosis.

1878- Thursday- The first U.S. telephone book was published by Alexander Graham Bell. It was the  New Haven (Ct.) District Telephone Company

with an office at  219 Chapel Street.  The first telephone "book" - actually just a single 14 cm. x 21 cm. sheet - was issued in New Haven in 1878.  A New Haven telephone book issued later in the year, contained numerous pages and included advertisements.  It was sold at auction in 2008 for $170,500. This was purportedly the first telephone book with more than one sheet of paper.

            1885-Saturday-  On the day before George Washington’s birthday (February 22), after 37 years of interrupted construction, the Washington Monument was dedicated.  Some things you need to know: Total cost: $1,187,710.  Height of monument above the ground: 555 feet 5 1/8 inches. Width at base of shaft: 55 feet 1 1/2 inches. Width at top of shaft: 34 feet 5 1/2 inches.  Thickness of walls at base of shaft: 15 feet.  Thickness of walls at top of shaft: 18 inches.  Depth of foundation: 36 feet 10 inches.  Weight of monument: 90,854 tons. Sway of monument in 30-mile-per-hour wind: 0.125 of an inch. Try spewing out those facts as you go to the top and see how many friends you can make. The construction of a monument to honor George Washington was first considered by the Continental Congress in 1783. At the time of his death, and during the next three decades, Congress----- we use the word 'politics' to describe the process so well: 'Poli' in Latin meaning 'many' and 'tics' meaning 'bloodsucking creatures'.---- neglected to take definite action on many additional proposals for the erection of a suitable memorial.  Finally, on July 4, 1848, the cornerstone was laid. The trowel used by Washington at the laying of the cornerstone of the Capitol in 1793 was used on this occasion.  This resulted in a “trowel movement”.

1893 –Tuesday-  Happy Birthday, Andres Segovia, the great Spanish guitarist despite the opposition of his parents.  First, they opposed his learning the guitar and got him cello and piano teachers instead. When he persisted in teaching himself guitar, they opposed his becoming a musician. He became the founding father of the modern classical guitar movement.  He is noted for his riffs in Purple Haze, Satisfaction, and Layla, but Bach's Chaconne is perhaps Segovia’s most famous piece.

            1895-Thursday- Happy Birthday,  Carl Peter Henrik Dam, Danish biochemist who, with Edward A. Doisy, was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1943 for the discovery of the previously unknown, vitamin K in 1939. Dam found that the blood of chicks fed on a vitamin K-free diet was very deficient in prothrombin, which is normally present and essential to clotting. He established a method of estimation, defined the vitamin K unit, and found the best sources to be green leaves and tomatoes. Vitamin K is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays an important role in blood clotting. The body can store fat-soluble vitamins in fatty tissue and vitamin K is known as the clotting vitamin, because without it blood would not clot. Some studies indicate that it helps in maintaining strong bones in the elderly. Vitamin K is found in cabbage, cauliflower, spinach and other green leafy vegetables, cereals, soybeans, and other vegetables. Vitamin K is also made by the bacteria that line the gastrointestinal tract.

1902-Friday- The first brain surgery in the U.S was performed, appropriately enough, by the first brain surgeon in the U.S, Dr. Harvey Cushing. Cushing’s assistant, Elizabeth Eisenhart became the first woman trained in neurosurgery. This was some day, with the first brain surgery, first woman dentist (Lucy Hobbs), birth of developer of syphilis test (Wassemann). Interestingly, brain surgery is perhaps the oldest of all practiced medical arts. The remains of successful brain operations were found in France circa 7000 BC, and the success rate was remarkable even then. There is evidence of brain surgery as early as 3000 BC in Africa. Historical records show that surgery of the brain was practiced by Hippocrates in Greece, in the Roman times, and by Medieval surgeons and in the Arab world, well until the 18th century. Hippocrates, the father of modern medical ethics, left many texts on brain surgery. http://www.brain-surgery.com/history.html

1916 –Monday- Another of those WW I battles with colossal casualty figures, the  Battle of Verdun began in France as German forces attacked the French ring of forts surrounding the town of Verdun. The German siege of Verdun comprised the longest battle of the First World War. The battle lasted from  February 21  until  December 19 and the battlefield was not even a square ten kilometers. Erich von Falkenhayn, chief of staff of the German army, believed that the key to winning the war lay not in confronting Russia in the east but in defeating the French in a major battle on the Western Front. The city was selected because in addition to its symbolic importance—it was the last stronghold to fall in 1870 during the Franco-Prussian War—it was possible to attack the fortress city from three sides, which made it a good strategic target French casualties during the ten month battle were estimated at 550,000 with German losses set at 434,000, half of the total being fatalities.  The only real effect of the battle was the horrible and  irrevocable damage to both armies.  No tactical or strategic advantage had been gained by the end of the battle.

            1918 –Thursday-  The last captive Carolina parakeet, named Incas, died at the Cincinnati Zoo. We note that the last Passenger pigeon, Martha, also died at the Cincinnati Zoo in 1914. The Cincinnati Zoo was a dangerous place for endangered species.  The last reported sighting in the wild of the Carolina parakeet was a small flock Florida in 1920.  It was declared extinct by the American Ornithologists Union in 1939.  The Carolina parakeet measured about 30 cm (12 inches) long and weighed about 280 grams (10 ounces) it was bright green with a yellow head and an orange face and bill. It ranged from central Texas to southern Wisconsin in the west, and ranged east to Maryland in the north and Florida in the south.  Its extinction was the result of the rapid cultivation of North America. The parakeet's rapid adaptation to eating commercial farm crops allowed it to wipe out entire harvests. In response, farmers relentlessly slaughtered the parakeets, killing them en mass whenever they could find them and eventually wiping them out.

1925 – Saturday- Happy Birthday.  Sam Peckinpah, American director who turned violence into ballet. We note that ballet has turned violent over stolen tutus or dropped ballerinas. His  Wild Bunch (1969) is one of the great movies of all time. Amidst the shooting on the “porch” near the climax, note the look exchanged  between William Holden and Ernest Borgnine.

1931-Saturday-   Alka Seltzer was introduced in the U.S. by Miles Laboratories.  In another of those lucky breaks that make good science, Hub Beardsley, the president of Miles Laboratories visited a local newspaper in Elkhart, Indiana where he learned from the editor, Tom Keene, that the staff seemed to be resistant to the flu. That means they “didn’t look fluish”.  Keene said that at the first sign of illness, he treated staff members with a combination of aspirin and baking soda. Bubbling over with enthusiasm, Beardsley asked his chief chemist, Maurice Treneer, to develop an effervescent tablet with aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) and sodium bicarbonate as the main ingredients. As the tablets dissolve, the base (bicarbonate) and the acid (citric acid) react vigorously producing carbon dioxide gas (hence the "Seltzer"), which also produces enough agitation to allow the active ingredients to dissolve slowly. The patient then ingests the resulting solution. Hmmmm….delicious…It was also the subject of the Rollin Stones song, Gimme Seltzer.

1937- Sunday- The first a successful automobile-airplane combination flight took place. Built by the Westerman Arrowplane Corporation of Santa Monica, Cal., and powered by a Studebaker engine, the vehicle was named the Arrowbile. It had a top air-speed of 120 mph and 70 mph on a highway. The designer was  Waldo Dean Waterman.  The Studebaker Corporation, which supplied the 100 hp engines, eventually took delivery of five Arrowbiles.  Of course nowadays it would be a double failure.  First you’d get caught in a traffic jam on the road and then take-off at the airport would be delayed because of………..well they always think of a reason to delay your flight. You can see an Arrowbile  at the Smithsonian in Washington D.C. Could projectile vomiting also be arrowbile?

1947- Friday- E.H Land, (brother of Green Land, Ice Land, and Disney Land) invented the first camera to take, develop, and print on photographic paper.  This first Polaroid camera developed pictures in 1 minute.  It was first demonstrated on this day at a meeting of the Optical Society of America at the Hotel Pennsylvania, New York City. The first Polaroid camera would  actually be sold in November, 1948.

                1948 –Saturday-  NASCAR was incorporated. Jeff Gordon was booed. The first meeting of the National Association for Stock Car Automobile Racing had been  held on December 12, 1947 at the Streamline Inn Motel in Daytona Beach, Florida. The organization named Bill France Sr. as its first president. That first meeting was a gathering of a group of racing promoters, drivers, and mechanics with the idea of establishing an organization to set a standard set of rules and regulations to help promote stock car racing. Incorporated on this day, the organization hired Erwin "Cannonball" Baker to be the first Commissioner of Racing. Immediately afterwards, Tony Stewart got in a fight with him.  

            1950 – The first International Pancake Race was held in Liberal Kansas.  The battering competition is between competitors from the towns of Liberal, Kansas and Olney England. Pancake Day is always on Shrove Tuesday, aka Fat Tuesday - the day before Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent. Running with pancakes had originated in England in 1445 when a housewife in Olney, England got a late start baking her pancakes. They were not quite finished when the church bell rang. Not wishing to leave her pancakes to burn, she hurried to the "shriving" carrying her griddle and the pancakes with her. This led to the annual sporting event in England. In Olney traffic stops while the competitors make their 415 yard dash from the Bull Hotel (old coaching Inn) to the Parish Church of St.Peter & St. Paul. The Liberal vs. Olney race originated during WW II from conversations between soldiers from Liberal and Olney..http://www.lasr.net/pages/city.php?City_ID=KS1019015&VA=Y&Attraction_ID=KS1019015a009

            1953 –Saturday-  Francis Crick and James D. Watson discovered the molecular structure of the DNA. Waiting a week, Watson and Crick made their first announcement on Feb 28, and their paper A Structure for Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid  was published in the  April 25, 1953 issue of journal Nature.  Rosalind Franklin had obtained sharp X-ray diffraction photographs of DNA as far back as  1951.  Franklin went down the wrong path ( she got bogged down in calculations) didn’t share the information that collaboration with  Maurice Wilkins would have solved.  Because of lack of communication, Wilkins was trying to reproduce Franklin’s results, but he failed to get the same quality.  Franklin came up with a a draft paper, dated March, 17,  1953, which outlined that the molecule was a double helix, had specific base pairing and the antiparallel A form, which had not been applied to the B form.
Franklin did not realize that Watson and Crick were racing to publish first, which they did on the 18th of March, 1953, so beating her because she had not published.
Rosalind Franklin died of cancer in 1958By 1962, when Watson, Crick, and Wilkins won the Nobel Prize for physiology/medicine. The Nobel Prize only goes to living recipients, and can only be shared among three winners. DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, is the hereditary material in humans and almost all other organisms. Nearly every cell in a person’s body has the same DNA. Most DNA is located in the cell nucleus (where it is called nuclear DNA), but a small amount of DNA can also be found in the mitochondria (where it is called mitochondrial DNA or mtDNA).

            1964Friday-  Happy Birthday - Mark E. Kelly and Scott J. Kelly, American astronauts – Yep!  twin astronauts.  Mark went into space as the pilot for STS-108 Endeavour (December 5–17, 2001), and returned to space as the pilot of STS-121, Discovery in 2006. Brother Scott is awaiting his first space flight. Do you suppose they could have, like, switched places for flights and maybe Scott went into space after all?

             1965-Sunday- Black Muslim minister, Malcolm Little, aka, Malcolm X, aka Detroit Red, was assassinated by three Black Muslim gunmen in the Audubon Ballroom in the Washington Heights section of  New York City.  Talmadge Hayer, Norman Butler, and Thomas Johnson -- were convicted of murdering the 39-year-old black leader. Though prosecutors suggested at trial that the slaying was plotted as "an object lesson for Malcolm's followers," no direct evidence linked the Nation of Islam -- from which Malcolm had publicly broken – to the murder.

            1970 –Saturday--  The Jackson 5 appeared on American Bandstand.  With lead singer Michael Jackson, who was black at the time, they sang (really lip synched….everyone on American Bandstand lip synched) I Want You Back. Great song, great riff, easy to dance to.  On the downside, host Dick Clark made a big deal of the breakup of the Supremes and the audience danced to the treacley Someday We’ll Be Together.

            1972 –Monday- The Soviet unmanned spaceship Luna 20 landed on the Moon. Lunar samples were obtained by means of an extendable drilling apparatus. After a stay of just one day (the room rates and buffet breakfast costs were ridiculously high), the ascent stage of Luna 20 was launched from the lunar surface on  February 22 carrying 30 grams of collected lunar samples in a sealed capsule. It landed in the Soviet Union on February 25. The lunar samples were recovered the following day.  Among the samples were alien pods that migrated to America and captured some peoples brains and made them talk out loud while movie theaters thus annoying everyone around them and proving their stupidity.

            1994-Monday-  The Whirlpool Corporation began production of an energy efficient refrigerator that did not use Freon……you know, that stuff that destroys the ozone. It had an efficiency 25% better than the U.S. law required.

            1995 –Tuesday-  Steve Fossett became the first person to fly solo across the Pacific Ocean in a balloon, landing in Leader, Saskatchewan, Canada. O.k, o.k, o.k, so he flew across the Pacific and landed in Saskatchewan in February??????  And he was happy about this????????? We note that sadly, Steve Fossett was reported missing on September 5, 2007after failing to return to an airstrip at a southern Nevada ranch while piloting a light aircraft. He was flying solo. His s remains were found near the wreckage on October 2, 2008.  

Back To Calendar

22.     1295 BC - The coronation of the Pharaoh, Ramses II.  The son of Seti I, he was the third ruler of the Nineteenth Dynasty of Egypt. He spent most of his reign at war with the Hittites, but he was also the builder of some of Egypt's most famous monuments. No pharaoh ever surpassed the building achievements of Ramses II. Among the most notable of his constructions are his temple at Abydos, his funerary temple, known as the Ramesseum, at Thebes, and the great rockcut temple at Abu Simbel in Nubia. on whose face the sun's rays fall each year. He was also renowned for his football team, the St. Louis Rameses.

            1403-Monday- Happy Birthday, Charles VII, King of France from 1422 to 1461. Charles owed a large part of his success to Joan of Arc, the “Maid of Orleans” who help break the English siege on that city.  Joan was captured by the English in 1430. Charles showed his gratitude by being unable and unwilling to mount a counter offensive or rescue her or even negotiate for her release. In 1431 she was tried and executed as a heretic in the Norman city of Rouen. Under Charles, France regained much of the territory lost to the English during the Hundred Years War (which actually lasted 116 years from 1337 to 1453). Henry V, who achieved the English high water mark following his victory at Agincourt had died and his son, Henry VI was hopeless.

                1630-Thursday-  A Native American, Quadequina, brother of the Wampanoag chief Massasoit,  introduced the Massachusetts colonists to “popped” corn. He brought it in deerskin bags as his contribution at their first Thanksgiving dinner. Popcorn is a type of corn with smaller kernels than regular corn, and when heated over a flame, it "pops" into the snack we know it as today. In 1964, scientists digging in southern Mexico found a small cob of popcorn discovered to be 7,000 years old. Last week, Professor Sy Yentz purchased some popcorn in a movie theater that was over 9,000 years old.

1632 –Saturday- Galileo Galilei’s  book, Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems was published. This was the book that got him into lots of trouble with the Church and resulted in his trial and conviction for “grave suspicion” of heresy.  The book was Galileo's comparison of the Copernican system, in which the Earth and other planets orbit the Sun, with the traditional Ptolemaic system, in which everything in the universe circles around the Earth. We note that many people believe in the Ptolomaic system except that they believe the universe circles around them.  The book was published in Florence in 1632 under a formal license from the Inquisition. In 1633 Galileo was convicted of "grave suspicion of heresy" based on the book, which was then placed on the Index of Forbidden Books, from which it was not removed until 1822. In an action that was not announced at the time, the publication of anything else he had written or ever might write was also banned

1732-Thursday-  Happy Birthday, George Washington, one of the greatest leaders in American History.  Commander of the Continental Army, he kept it together through a series of military setbacks during the first years of the American Revolution and then led it to victory.  He became a prime mover in the steps leading to the Constitutional Convention at Philadelphia in 1787. When the new Constitution was ratified, the Electoral College unanimously elected Washington the first President of the United States.  He did have wooden teeth and had a transportation span named after them.  Yes, it was George Washington's Bridge. We note that his salary as President was $25,000/year and refused by Washington.

            1777- Friday- Archibald Bulloch kaput. Never heard of him?  You would have if he hadn’t gone kaput under mysterious circumstances. Georgia’s Council of Safety had granted him the powers of a dictator in expectation of a British invasion. The British were hoping to get condos near a golf course on St. Simon’s Island. Just two days after he was handed what amounted to dictatorial powers, the forty seven year old Bulloch died. Though some have speculated that he was poisoned, the cause of his death remains unknown. He did, however stick around long enough to have children and become the great-great-grandfather of America’s 26th president, Theodore Roosevelt.  After all, if your grandparents didn’t have children, it is highly unlikely that you will.

            1788-Sunday-  Happy Birthday, Arthur Schopenhauer, German philosopher. Even before African countries became “failed states” and the any State Legislature, and My Mother the Car, Pink Lady and Jeff appeared on television, and the Hannah Montana movie, among 19th century philosophers, Arthur Schopenhauer was among the first to contend that at its core, the universe is not a rational place. He was inspired by Plato and Kant, both of whom regarded the world as being more amenable to reason. Schopenhauer developed their philosophies into an instinct-recognizing and ultimately ascetic outlook, emphasizing that in the face of a world filled with endless strife, we ought to minimize our natural desires to achieve a more tranquil frame of mind and a disposition towards universal beneficence.

            1810 –Wednesday-  Happy Birthday, we think, to Polish composer and pianist Frederic Chopin. Chopin always gave his date of birth as March 1 but according to his baptismal certificate, which was written several weeks after his birth, the date was February 22. In 1831 he arrived in Paris for a concert; he fell in love with the city, decided to make it his new home and never to returned to Warsaw.  Gee! Why would anyone rather stay in Paris than Warsaw? Interesting to note that on this same day that streptomycin, a cure for tuberculosis was announced in 1946, that Chopin died at age 39 of……..tuberculosis. Chopin is currently decomposing.

            1819 –Sunday-  The U.S purchased the rest of Florida as Spanish minister Don Luis de Onis and U.S. Secretary of State John Quincy Adams signed the Adams-Onis Treaty.  Spain agreed to cede the remainder of its old province of Florida to the United States.  The colonies of East Florida and West Florida had remained loyal to the British during the war for American independence, but by the Treaty of Paris in 1783 they returned to Spanish control. After 1783, Americans immigrants moved into West Florida. In 1810, these American settlers in West Florida rebelled, declaring independence from Spain. President James Madison and Congress used the incident to claim the region, knowing full well that the Spanish government was seriously weakened by Napoleon’s invasion of Spain. The United States asserted that the portion of West Florida from the Mississippi to the Peridido rivers was part of the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. There was no cost for the purchase of Florida beyond the U.S. assumption of some $5 (currently the cost of a small two bedroom condo on South Beach) million of claims by U.S. citizens against Spain. Formal U.S. occupation began in 1821, and General Andrew Jackson, the hero of the War of 1812, was appointed military governor. Under the Adams-Onis Treaty, also called the Transcontinental Treaty, ratified on February 22, 1821, the United States and Spain defined the western limits of the Louisiana Purchase and Spain surrendered its claims to the Pacific Northwest. In return, the United States recognized Spanish sovereignty over Texas…… ha ha ha and we all know how long that lasted … Florida was organized as a U.S. territory in 1822 and was admitted into the Union as a slave state in 1845. To celebrate the purchase, Quincy Adams and cohorts had a wild night at club Babaloo, highlighted by doing the Macarena.  

            1824 –Saturday-  Happy Birthday, Pierre Jules César Janssen, French astronomer who, along with the English scientist Joseph Norman Lockyer, is credited with discovering the gas helium. Helium was discovered spectroscopically in the sun by Lockyer of England in 1868 and, around the same time independently (again  spectroscopic) by Janssen of France in the same year.  Spectroscopically means that bright emission lines from solar  prominences were recorded and then tests carried out at to reproduce the lines. It was impossible to find the source for the strong yellow line and thus in 1870 Lockyer suggested that is was due to a hypothetical element that he named `Helium', after the greek Sun god `Helios'.  Helium was isolated on earth by Sir William Ramsay of England in 1895. Primarily a solar observer, Janseen successfully observed two transits of Venus, that of 1874 in Japan, that of 1882 at Oran in Algeria; and he took part in a long series of solar eclipse expeditions. To see the eclipse of 1870 he escaped from besieged Paris (the Paris Commune had blockaded the city) in a balloon. At the great Indian eclipse of 1868 he demonstrated the gaseous nature of the solar prominences, and devised a method of observing them under ordinary daylight conditions. 

            1857-Saturday-  Happy Birthday, Heinrich Rudolph Hertz ( brother of  It Hertz), discoverer of radio-waves. Hertz, a German physicist, was the first to broadcast and receive radio waves. Hertz was also the first to discover the photoelectric effect - which is generally defined as the emission of electrons from a surface exposed to electromagnetic radiation above a certain threshold frequency -.  In 1887, Hertz was (again) the first  to detect and generate electromagnetic waves in order to prove James Clerk Maxwell’s theory of electromagnetism, which had been published in 1865. The unit of frequency - one cycle per second - is named after him.  He died at the age of 37 of blood poisoning.

           1879-Friday-  Frank Winfield (F.W)Woolworth started a retail revolution by opening the Great 5 Cents Store in Utica, New York. He pledged to sell "nothing" that cost more than a nickel. Though the Utica store ultimately failed, probably because there were like six people living in Utica.  Really, who would want to live in Utica?  Woolworth had major success later that same year when he opened another discount variety store in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. The shop, which was expanded to include items that cost up to a dime,  and so was born the “Five and Ten Cents Store”…..best we can do nowadays is the “Dollar Store”……and everything costs more than a dollar anyway.  

            1892 –Sunday-  Happy Birthday, Edna St. Vincent Millay, American born in Rockland Maine. She was a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and one of the most popular of the 20th Century. Her sonnet XLIII , What Lips My Lips Have Kissed, And Where, And Why takes on an interesting twist considering she was bisexual.

            1889 –Thursday-  President Grover Cleveland signed a bill admitting North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana and Washington as U.S. states. This was the Enabling Act, an act to provide for the division of Dakota Territory into two states and to enable the people of North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, and Washington to form constitutions and state governments and to be admitted into the Union on an equal footing with the original States.  Criteria for admission was being very very very cold having very few people but lots of moose, and/or (for Washington) having generally miserable weather. North Dakota and South Dakota would be admitted on November 2, 1889.  Montana on November 8, and Washington, November 11.

            1902-Friday-  Happy Birthday – Fritz Strassman, German physical chemist who, with Otto Hahn and Lise Meitner, discovered neutron-induced nuclear fission  in uranium (uranium nuclei split when bombarded with neutrons) in 1938 and thereby opened the field of atomic energy used both in the atomic bomb for war and in nuclear reactors to produce electricity. Strassman enjoyed “fission” and caught bass, trout and pickerel.

             1918-Thursday-  Happy Birthday to the world record tallest human, (there is irrefutable evidence for his height not so for some “pretenders”) Robert Pershing Wadlow, was born in Alton, Ill. He grew to a height of 8 feet 11 inches. This unique size was attributed to an over active pituitary gland, which produced much higher than normal levels of growth hormone. He needed leg braces to support him while standing or walking. He didn’t play basketball because he couldn’t go to his left.   In 1940 one of these braces caused irritation resulting in an infection resulting in his death. At the time of his death he weighed 490 pounds. His casket required twelve pall bearers. http://www.altonweb.com/history/wadlow/

            1920 –Saturday-  The first transcontinental flying mail service arrived in New York from San Francisco. The trip took 33 hours and 20 minutes - nearly three days faster than rail service, or about the contemporary wait time if your plane is number twenty three on line for takeoff at Newark Airport.   A series of airmail stamps was issued primarily for use in the new night flying air mail service. Three zones were established, the first from New York to Chicago, the second from Chicago to Cheyenne, and the third from Cheyenne to San Francisco. The rate of postage was 8 cents an ounce, or fraction there of, for each zone, or part of zone, in which mail was carried by plane.

            1924- Calvin Coolidge delivered the first presidential radio broadcast from the White House. The broadcast consisted of the “Top Ten Hits Countdown”, an interview with Larry King, and a commercial for “Cal’s Cool Cucumbers”. Coolidge's address for Washington's Birthday was heard on 42 stations from coast to coast. President Warren G. Harding had the first radio installed in the White House in February 1922.  Unfortunately Harding went kaput in 1923.  Coolidge, who was his Vice President, became the first to use the radio to broadcast.

            1946-Thursday-  Dr Selman Abraham Waksman announced his discovery of the antibiotic streptomycin, the first specific antibiotic effective against tuberculosis. Waksman had been working on a treatment for TB since 1914.  In 1940, he and his team were able to isolate an effective anti-TB antibiotic, actinomycin.  However, this proved to be too toxic for use in humans or animals. Although being dead was a sure cure for the disease, the patient feedback tended to be negative.  Waksman’s team first isolated streptomycin on October 19, 1943 in some soil from the Andes in South America.  It was in a bacterium called Actinomyces griseus. Bacteria which do not divide up into separate cells but instead grow as long continuous branching threads are called Actinomyces, or under an earlier system of naming bacteria – Streptomyces. Sometimes we call these bacteria college students. This particular bacterium produced a substance which killed many of the bacteria unaffected by penicillin including the tubercle bacillus. He called it streptomycin since he had given the name actinomycin to that earlier discovered antibiotic ruled out at that time as too toxic to animals. http://www.lung.ca/tb/tbhistory/treatment/antibiotics.html

            1959 –Saturday-  They called it the 500 Mile NASCAR International Sweepstakes, and the green flag went down at noon. Nowadays we call it the Daytona 500. Admission was $ 8 and there were 59 cars entered including Richard Petty, Junior Johnson, Joe Weatherly and Fireball Roberts.  Jeff Gordon was booed and Tony Stewart got into a fight.  Johnny Beauchamp appeared to edge Lee Petty in a photo finish, after  3 hour, 41 minutes of left turns. Officials reviewed still photos and newsreel footage, and declared Lee Petty the official winner more than two days later.

            1974 –Thursday-  Lunatic Samuel Byck tried and failed to assassinate U.S. President Richard Nixon but shot three other people in the attempt.  His idea was to hijack an airplane and crash it into the White House. He drove to the Baltimore International Airport with intent to hijack the plane. He was stopped by a security officer at the airport, but ended up shooting him so he could continue on his way. He ran through the airport and boarded  Flight 523 to Atlanta aboard a DC-9. On the plane, he went to the cabin and ordered the pilots to take off, but they refused and stated that the wheel blocks had to be removed before the plane could leave. In a fit of rage, he shot both pilots and ordered a random passenger to fly the plane at gunpoint. In the meantime, police officers managed to board the plane and fired shots through the door, injuring Byck. As the police attempted to enter the cabin, he shot himself in the head.

            1980-Thursday-  In a stunning upset, the amateur United States Olympic hockey team defeated the (“amateur” – wink, wink, nod, nod) Soviets at Winter Olympics at Lake Placid, N.Y., 4-to-3. Called the “Miracle on Ice”, this stunning upset was only a semi-final game.  The U.S. team went on to defeat Finland in a close game to win the gold medal.

            1983 –Monday The Broadway play, Moose Murders opened.

            1983 Monday-  The Broadway play, Moose Murders closed.  Written by Arthur Bicknell and directed by John Roach it is considered the standard of awfulness against which all Broadway flops are judged. The critics were not kind.  Critics described Moose Murders as “titanically bad” and “indescribably bad,” a play that “would insult the intelligence of an audience consisting entirely of amoebas” (Brendan Gill, The New Yorker), that looked as it were staged by “a blind director repeatedly kicked in the groin” (John Simon, New York magazine). Obviously, these critics had not seen Paul Simon’s Capeman.

            1984-Tuesday- Twelve-year-old David Vetter who had spent most his life in a plastic bubble because he had no immunity to disease, died 15 days after being removed from the bubble for a bone-marrow transplant – provided by his sister.  It had been hoped that transplanted marrow stem cells - precursors to blood cells - would evolve and become the patient's own T-cells. David lacked T-cells. He had lived since birth in this protective, germ-free environment since birth at Texas Children's Hospital, Houston

            1986 –Friday-  Suicides numbers spiked, divorces hit an all time high, nine months later there was a notable increase in birth defects, people started to think that chain store pizza was real, That's What Friends Are For was recorded by Dionne Warwick, Elton John, and Gladys Knight , and the Olsen twins were born as MTV aired 22 hours of the Monkees TV episodes in celebration of their 20th anniversary as a group.

            1987 –Saturday- Andy Warhol kaput.  “Pop” Artist, the very strange Andy Warhol died of complications following  the removal of a gangrenous gallbladder. In the early 1960s his huge and colorful silk-screen renderings of banal objects like Coke bottles and a Campbell's Soup can were hugely popular and established him as the leader of the so-called Pop Art movement Warhol was buried wearing his platinum wig and sunglasses..

            1990 – Here’s your Grammy Award Milli Vanilli…whoops, not so fast. In November artificial Pop duo Milli Vanilli would be  stripped of its 1990 Grammy Award won on February 22.  It would be the  first time that the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences had taken back one of its trophies.  Following revelations  that Rob Pilatus and Fabrice Morvan didn't sing a note on Girl You Know It's True, the album that won them the award on this day, the academy, contacted one at a time by phone, voted to rescind the award Milli Vanilli won in ...

     1994 –Monday-  One of the most damaging traitors in American history, CIA operative Aldrich Ames was arrested for selling secrets to the Soviet Union. Ames had access to the names and identities of all U.S. spies in Russia.  At least 10 men were killed after Ames revealed their identities, and more were sent to Russian gulags. Rather than the death he deserved, he was sentenced to life in prison.

Back To Calendar

23.     1455 –Friday-  Generally accepted, traditional date, but open to quibbling,  for the publication of the Johann Gutenberg’s Gutenberg Bible, the first book printed from movable type. Before Gutenberg, every book had to be copied by hand. The earliest books were written on scrolls. From the Second Century A.D. to the present time, however, most books have been produced in the familiar codex format—in other words, bound at one edge. During the Middle Ages, manuscript books were produced by monks who worked with pen and ink in a copying room known as a scriptorium. Even a small book could take months to complete, and a book the size of the Bible could take several years.  It  was now possible to speed up the process without sacrificing quality and get more bibles into circulation. We know for certain about this first printed Bible from a letter written on March12 1455 by Enea Silvio Piccolomini, later Pope Pius II, who reported that in Frankfurt, the year before,  a man had been promoting the Bible. Piccolomini had seen parts of it and it had such neat lettering that, he said,  one could read it without glasses….presuming of course that one could read.   In less than fifty years after the printing of this page, more than ten million printed books had been produced.  It is thought that Gutenberg printed 165 copies on paper, thirty-five copies on parchment, and one as a tattoo on his biceps and chest. Of this total, only forty-eight Gutenberg Bibles are known to have survived.

           1583 –Wednesday-  Happy Birthday, to the consistently wrong, Jean-Baptiste Morin, French mathematician, astrologer, and astronomer. Morin believe the Earth was fixed in space and did not move and thus opposed Galileo.  Not content with opposing one of the great scientists in history, as the last of the notable French astrologers, he also opposed Rene Descartes, one of history’s great philosophers.

            1663-Friday-  Happy Birthday, Samuel Pepys (pēps, pĕp'ĭs), English diarist, Pepys began his diary, which provided the best eye-witness report of life in late 17th century England, on  January 1, 1660. It is written in a form of shorthand, with names in longhand. The diary  ranges from private remarks, including revelations of infidelity - to detailed observations of events in 17th-century England - such as the plague of 1665, the Great Fire of London and King Charles II's coronation - and some of the key figures of the era, including Sir Christopher Wren and Sir Isaac Newton. Fear of losing his eyesight prompted Pepys to stop writing the diary in 1669. Pepys had  his degree in 1654 and  he was employed as secretary in London by Edward Mountagu, a distant relative who was now a Councilor of State. In 1655 Pepys married Elizabeth St Michel and at some point after 1656, while still attached to Mountagu’s service, Pepys became clerk to George Downing, a Teller of the Receipt in the Exchequer. Later the same year Pepys and his wife moved from a single room in Mountagu’s lodgings to Axe Yard near the palace of Westminster, where he was living when starting the diary in 1660. http://www.pepysdiary.com/about/history/

            1685-Friday-  Happy Birthday, George Frideric Handel German composer who is currently decomposing. Handel (yes, the music on his sheets could be described as “Handel bars”.) was of the greatest composers of the late baroque period (1700-1750) and, during his lifetime, perhaps the most internationally famous of all musicians.  Hallelujah, his most famous work, Messiah,  was written in London and premiered on April 13, 1742 as a charitable benefit

            1778 –Monday-  Baron Friedrich Wilhelm Augustus von Steuben arrived at Valley Forge, Pennsylvania to help to train the Continental Army. Von Steuben was introduced to George Washington by means of a letter from Benjamin Franklin (in France at the time)  as a "Lieutenant General in the King of Prussia's service,".  This was quite an exaggeration of his actual credentials. Washington accepted his offer to volunteer, without pay for the time, and Steuben reported for duty to at Valley Forge. Steuben did not speak English, but his French was fluet and he could communicate with some of the officers. Alexander Hamilton as well as Nathanael Greene spoke French. The two men assisted Steuben in drafting a training program for the soldiers in March.

            1787-Friday-  Happy Birthday, Emma Hart Willard pioneer in higher education  for women.  She founded the Willard Association for the Mutual Improvement of Female Teachers in 1837.  Earlier, she had started a school for women in Middlebury, Ct. and moved it to 1821, to the town of Troy N.Y. In September 1821, the Troy Female Seminary, offering an education for girls that was comparable to a college preparatory education for boys opened. Subjects included reading, writing, grammar, arithmetic, algebra, trigonometry, geometry, astronomy, botany, natural philosophy, zoology, geology, mineralogy, chemistry, physiology, history, geography, maps, the globe, Greek and Higher mathematics as well as such women 's finishing schools' staples as drawing, dancing, painting, French, Italian, Spanish, and German.  It was a long day.  And talk about homework!

            1820 –Wednesday-  The Cato Street Conspiracy was an attempt to murder all the British cabinet ministers and Prime Minister Lord Liverpool. The participants were followers of Thomas Spence, a teacher who advocated the radical transformation of society.  When Spence went kaput in 1814, the even more radical Arthur Thistlewood took over the organization.  When they discovered – from the newspapers- that the entire British Cabinet would be having dinner at Emeril’s Restaurant…no, no, no Professor Sy Yentz has his culinary sense of humor….at a home on Harrow Street, the “Spencerians” decided this was the time to foment a revolution by kaputing the cabinet.  They met at a house on Cato Street.  Fortunately, the police were aware of the plans from the beginning and waited till the conspirators had gathered and then arrested them.  Two months later Thistlewood, William Davidson, James Ings, Richard Tidd, and John Brunt were found guilty of high treason and sentenced to death and kaputed on May 1.

            1833-Saturday-  Happy Birthday- Caroline Earle White who organized the first antivivisection society, in Philadelphia, PA. in 1883. White was a member of the Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals –PSPCA. She organized a women’s branch, (WBPSPCA), known today as the Women’s Humane Society of Pennsylvania—in 1869. White believed the humane treatment of animals was a moral issue that Americans could not ignore. The WBSPCA and PSPCA focused their early activities on fighting cruelty to horses and service animals as well as humane treatment and sheltering for dogs and cats.  Vivisection is the act or practice of cutting into or otherwise injuring living animals, especially for the purpose of scientific research.

            1836-Tuesday-  The siege of the Alamo in San Antonio, Texas began.  Note that this is also the day the Battle of Buena Vista (see 1847 below) ended with overwhelming victory for the Americans. In addition to the dates, the principal common thread is Mexican forces were led by General Santa Anna on both occasions.  Unfortunately for those in the Alamo, this was one of Santa Anna’s rare victories – odds of 5,000 troops vs. 200 or so defenders helpd.  The 13-day siege ended on Sunday, March 6, 1836, with the capture of the mission and the death of nearly all the Texan defenders, including Davy Crockett, Jim Bowie and William Travis, except for a few slaves, women and children.

            1847-Tuesday-  During the Mexican War, the Battle of Buena Vista occurred as 5,000 U.S troops under the command of General Zachary Taylor (“Old Rough and Ready”) defeated General Santa Anna’s (yes, following his defeat at San Jacinto in 1836 he was still around and still losing battles) 15,000 troops. Taylor parlayed his victory into election to the Presidency the following year.  He died in 1850, leaving the immortal Millard Fillmore as president.  Santa Anna went on to bigger and more glorious defeats.

            1851-Sunday- The first bathtub was installed in the White House.  Who was the    president in 1851? Well it wasn’t Zachary Taylor who had had gone kaput in 1850.  Did you say Millard Fillmore? He enjoyed a leisurely bubble bath surrounded by flowery flagrances that left his skin soft and tingly and  sandlewood/jasmine scented candles while sipping  a glass of merlot.  Whoops! Not so fast.  There is some debate surrounding the Fillmore tub. It is based on a story by prominent journalist H.L Mencken which appeared in the Dec. 28, 1917, edition of The New York Evening Mail. Mencken recanted the Fillmore tub tale as fiction 10 years later when it was being hyped and embellished in newspapers, journals and reference books. Mencken later explained that he concocted the tale as a diversion for a country that was suffering the horrors of World War 1. That admission led to the story being subsequently referred to as "The Mencken Hoax." However, the article continued to be printed as fact long after the author's confession. So, when was the first tub put in? Andrew Jackson had two free standing portable tubs and running water was added to the White House during his administration.  The first tubs with running water were installed during Martin Van Buren's tenure. http://www.theplumber.com/white.html

            1861-Saturday-  Following discovery of an assassination plot in Baltimore, Abraham Lincoln arrived secretly in Washington for his presidential inauguration.  Detective Alan Pinkerton had uncovered the assassination plot against Lincoln. The conspirators intended to kill Lincoln in Baltimore during a stop along the way to his inauguration. They planned to kidnap him and make him sit through all nine innings of a Baltimore Oriole baseball game.  They anticipated that he would be bored to death by the 7th inning.  Pinkerton warned Lincoln of the threat, and the president-elect's itinerary was changed so that he passed through the city secretly at night. Passing through Baltimore at night is not a big loss tourist wise.

            1883 –Friday-  Alabama became the first U.S. state to enact an antitrust law. Now it was officially against the law to trust anyone.

            1868-Sunday- Happy Birthday, W.E.B. DuBois, (William Edward Burghardt DuBois) American sociologist and author who co-founded the N.A.A.C.P.  His teachings were an important influence on the Civil Rights Movement of the'50s and'60s. Ironically, DuBois went kaput on the eve of the historic march on Washington in 1963. Actor and playwright Ossie Davis read an announcement of his death to the 250,000 people gathered the next day at the Washington Monument.

            1884-Saturday-  Happy Birthday, Casimir Funk, Polish-American biochemist who first used the term "vitamine.". Funk's work (continuing an idea developed by Sir Frederick Hopkins - English biochemist who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1929), with what are now called vitamins began when he recognized that certain food factors were needed to prevent nutritional-deficiency diseases, such as beriberi (vitamin B1 deficiency), scurvy (vitamin C deficiency), pellagra (niacin deficiency), and rickets (vitamin D deficiency).He found nothing to combat insipient stupidity however, which is why it continues in epidemic proportions to this day. He suggested that these unidentified substances were all in a class of organic compounds called amines, which are vital to life, so he named them vitamines (vital amines). He later confirmed the existence of vitamins B1, B2, C, and D, and he stated that they were necessary for normal health and the prevention of deficiency diseases. When later it was discovered that not all the factors were amines, they dropped the “e” at the end and we have  "vitamin." So, Casimir Funk……..Or, as Parliament/Funkadelic put it,

“Ow, we want the funk

Give up the funk

Ow, we need the funk

We gotta have that funk”

            1885 – Monday- If at first you don’t succeed……convicted murderer, John Lee was taken to the gallows in Exeter England.  The neck was noosed. The lever for the trap door was pulled.  Lee would fall though and be kaputed.  The trap door didn’t open.  Lee was temporarily removed.  The trap door was inspected.  Lee was re-noosed.  The lever was pulled.  The trap door didn’t open. Lee was again temporarily removed.  The trap door was inspected.  The lever was inspected. Trap door consultants were consulted.  Lever consultants were consulted.  Lee was re-noosed.  The lever was pulled.  The trap door again failed to open. Three times they tried to hang Lee and three times it failed. The executioner explained that it had worked when they were practicing the execution.  The execution was postponed. Home Secretary, Sir William Harcourt commuted the sentence to penal servitude for life. Lee would be  released twenty two years later.

1893-Saturday- Rudolf Diesel received a German patent for the diesel engine. The diesel engine burns fuel oil rather than gasoline and differs from the gasoline engine in that it uses compressed air in the cylinder rather than a spark to ignite the fuel. Diesel was almost killed by his engine when it exploded during one of his experiments.  However, his engine was the first that proved that fuel could be ignited without a spark

1896-Sunday-  The Tootsie Roll was introduced by Leo Hirshfield an Austrian immigrant. Working in a small store in New York City, he began producing a chocolaty, chewy candy, which he named "Tootsie", the nickname of  his five-year-old daughter, Clara. During World War II, Tootsie Rolls were added to American soldiers' rations because of their ability to withstand severe weather conditions, give quick energy and keep teeth stuck together. Professor Sy Yentz’s  childhood staple the “Tootsie Pop” was introduced in 1931. What’s in a tootsie roll?  Sugar ,corn syrup, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, condensed skim milk, cocoa, whey, soya lecithin and “Artificial and Natural Flavors”.

1903 –Monday-  Shortly after the end of the Spanish-American War, Cuba leased Guantanamo Bay to the United States "in perpetuity". Through the years, despite repeated offers of “free cigars”, a week at the beach, and Fidel’s autograph, the U.S continues to hold the land. In the early 20th century it was used to successfully quarantine Islamic terrorists who were awaiting trial.

1904 –Tuesday- Continuing the Caribbean real estate theme (see acquisition of Guantanamo Bay a year earlier) for $10 million the United States gained control of the Panama Canal Zone.  The US gained sovereign rights over the Panama Canal Zone, a 16km wide strip flanking the planned canal, in 1903, as a reward for sending a gunboat to help Panama gain its independence from Colombia.

1934 –Friday- Casey Stengel was hired as manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers – see Ebbet’s Field demolition, 1960).  He managed the Dodgers from 1934 to 1936 – finishing in the bottom half of the league each year, and then the Boston Braves  from 1938 to 1943. Fame came when he was hired as manager by the New York Yankees in 1949 to replace the retiring Joe McCarthy.  Stengel went on to be one the great managers of baseball history. His record of 1149 wins versus 696 losses with the Yankees over the next 12 seasons included 10 American League pennants and seven World Series victories. At the end of his career he was the first manager of the New York Mets, serving more as a promoter and crowd attraction than anything else.

 1940-Friday- Folk singer Woody Guthrie wrote the beloved song, This Land is Your Land. Among his discarded titles were: This Property is Your Property, This Acre is Your Acre, This Hectare is Your Hectare, This Arpent is Your Arpent, This Furlong  is Your Furlong, This Meander line is Your Meander line , This Plat is Your Plat, This Rancho is Your Rancho, and This Subdivision is Your Subdivision,   

            1941 –Sunday- Plutonium (Atomic Number:  94 , Atomic Weight:  244) was first produced and isolated by Dr. Glenn T. Seaborg. He bombarded an isotope of uranium, uranium-238, with deuterons (The nucleus of the deuterium atom) that had been accelerated in a cyclotron. This created neptunium-238 and two free neutrons (obtainable with coupons). Neptunium-238 which has a half-life of 2.1 days decays into plutonium-238 through beta decay. Although they conducted their work at the University of California in 1941, their discovery was not revealed to the rest of the scientific community until 1946 because of wartime security concerns. Plutonium's most stable isotope, plutonium-244, has a half-life of a mere 82,000,000 years, just about the same as a convenience store apple pie.  Plutonium-238 is used in radioisotope thermoelectric generators to provide electricity for space probes that venture too far from the sun to use solar power, such as the Cassini and Galileo probes. Since Pluto has been demoted to dwarf planet, will plutonium be demoted to dwarf element?

            1942-Monday- The first shelling of the U.S. mainland during World War II occurred as a Japanese submarine fired on an oil refinery in Ellwood, Calif.  Japanese Navy's submarine I-17, under the command of Commander Nishino Kozo, surfaced and fired shells at the oil refinery. Before the war, as captain of an oil tanker, Nishino had refueled there. The shelling did only minor damages to a pier and an oil well derrick, but created "invasion" fears along the West Coast. When the shelling failed to do major damage, the Japanese then fired spoiled sushi. Americans cannot tell the difference between good and bad sushi – years later President George H.W Bush would exact revenge by vomiting all over the Japanese Prime Minister during dinner - so then they fired autographed pictures of noted American league pitching failure, Hideki Irabu.  That didn’t work so they sent tapes of Japanese game shows.  Americans were already inured against this ploy having watched the Newlywed Game.  Then the Japanese commander fired stuffed Godzilla dolls…

1944 –Wednesday-  Happy Birthday, John Sandford, American novelist ,famous for the “Prey” books: Rules of Prey, Mortal Prey, Broken Prey, Invisible Prey among others. 

And also, Happy Birthday, Bernard Cornwell, British historical novelist –including  the Sharpe books: Sharpe’s Rifles, Sharpe’s Waterloo, Sharpe’s Fury, and the Saxon series.

1945-Friday-  The U.S Marines raised the American flag over Mt. Suribachi on the island of Iwo Jima (see Feb. 19). A historic photograph was taken by Joe Rosenthal. It depicts five United States Marines and a U.S. Navy corpsman raising the flag of the United States The picture taken became a defining image of WWII.  This was not final victory however.  Fighting continued for another 31 days.  Mt. Suribachi, 546 ft (166 m) high, on the south side of the island, is an extinct volcano.

1951 –Friday- Happy Birthday, Shigefumi Mori, Japanese mathematician, and Fields Medal winner who has made important contributions to the field of algebraic geometry. His major work,  proved the existence of minimal models for all three-dimensional algebraic varieties. We have no idea what that means. He  found that the concept of minimal models can be applied to three-folds as well if some singularities are allowed on them. We have no idea what that means either.  We got a 48 on the Geometry Regents…..after studying for three weeks. The extension of Mori’s results to dimensions higher than three published in January 1988, is cleverly called  Mori's Program. Within ten years since his first published paper, Mori had completed what many said could never be done……he had balanced his checkbook.

 1954-Tuesday-  First mass inoculations of children using Salk anti-polio vaccine. Now, due to the separation of church and state, there can be only Non-denominational inoculations instead of mass inoculations.  A group of children from Arsenal Elementary School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, received the first injections of the new polio vaccine developed by Dr. Jonas Salk. Polio (also called poliomyelitis) is a contagious, historically devastating disease that was virtually eliminated from the Western hemisphere in the second half of the 20th century thanks to Salk’s and later Sabin’s vaccines. At the height of the polio epidemic in 1952, nearly 60,000 cases with more than 3,000 deaths were reported in the United States alone. However, with widespread vaccination, wild-type polio, or polio occurring through natural infection, was eliminated from the United States by 1979 and the Western hemisphere by 1991.

1960 –Tuesday-  Demolition began on Ebbet’s Field, (seating capacity 32,000)  home to the Brooklyn Dodgers from 1913 – 1957 when (the evil)Walter O’Malley took the heart of Brooklyn, moved the team to Los Angeles where its soul would whither and die. Ebbet’s field was built by then owner Charles Ebbets in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn. Y