May 2017 archive

FYI May 31, 2017

May 31st is National Macaroon Day!

On this day:

1669 – Citing poor eyesight, Samuel Pepys records the last event in his diary.
Samuel Pepys FRS (/ˈpiːps/ PEEPS;[1] 23 February 1633 – 26 May 1703) was an administrator of the navy of England and Member of Parliament who is most famous for the diary that he kept for a decade while still a relatively young man. Pepys had no maritime experience, but he rose to be the Chief Secretary to the Admiralty under both King Charles II and King James II through patronage, hard work, and his talent for administration. His influence and reforms at the Admiralty were important in the early professionalisation of the Royal Navy.[2]

The detailed private diary that Pepys kept from 1660 until 1669 was first published in the 19th century and is one of the most important primary sources for the English Restoration period. It provides a combination of personal revelation and eyewitness accounts of great events, such as the Great Plague of London, the Second Dutch War, and the Great Fire of London.

Skipped to:
The diary

On 1 January 1660 (“1 January 1659/1660” in contemporary terms), Pepys began to keep a diary. He recorded his daily life for almost ten years. This record of a decade of Pepys’s life is more than a million words long and is often regarded as Britain’s most celebrated diary.[21] Pepys has been called the greatest diarist of all time due to his frankness in writing concerning his own weaknesses and the accuracy with which he records events of daily British life and major events in the 17th century.[22] Pepys wrote about the contemporary court and theatre (including his amorous affairs with the actresses), his household, and major political and social occurrences.[23]

Historians have been using his diary to gain greater insight and understanding of life in London in the 17th century. Pepys wrote consistently on subjects such as personal finances, the time he got up in the morning, the weather, and what he ate. He talked at length about his new watch (which had an alarm, a new thing at the time) which he was very proud of, a country visitor who did not enjoy his time in London because he felt that it was too crowded, and his cat waking him up at one in the morning.[24] Pepys diary is one of the only known sources which provides such length in details of everyday life of an upper middle class man during the seventeenth century.

Aside from day to day activities, Pepys also commented on the significant and turbulent events of his nation. England was in disarray when he began writing his diary. Oliver Cromwell had died just a few years before, creating a period of civil unrest and a large power vacuum to be filled. Pepys had been a strong supporter of Cromwell, but he converted to the Royalist cause upon the Protector’s death. As such, he was on the ship that brought Charles II home to England. He gave a firsthand account of events, such as the coronation of King Charles II and the Restoration of the British Monarchy to the throne, the Anglo-Dutch war, the Great Plague, and the Great Fire of London. Pepys did not plan on other eyes ever seeing his diary, which is evident from the fact that he wrote in shorthand, and many times employed more cryptic codes (utilizing words based on Spanish, French, and Italian)[25] when writing about his illicit affairs.

The women whom he pursued, his friends, and his dealings are all laid out. His diary reveals his jealousies, insecurities, trivial concerns, and his fractious relationship with his wife. It has been an important account of London in the 1660s. The juxtaposition of his commentary on politics and national events, alongside the very personal, can be seen from the beginning. His opening paragraphs, written in January 1660, begin:

Blessed be God, at the end of the last year I was in very good health, without any sense of my old pain but upon taking of cold. I lived in Axe yard, having my wife and servant Jane, and no more in family than us three. My wife, after the absence of her terms for seven weeks,[26] gave me hopes of her being with child, but on the last day of the year she hath them again.

The condition of the State was thus. Viz. the Rump, after being disturbed by my Lord Lambert, was lately returned to sit again. The officers of the army all forced to yield. Lawson lie[s] still in the River and Monke is with his army in Scotland. Only my Lord Lambert is not yet come in to the Parliament; nor is it expected that he will, without being forced to it.

The entries from the first few months were filled with news of General George Monck’s march on London. In April and May of that year, he was encountering problems with his wife, and he accompanied Montagu’s fleet to the Netherlands to bring Charles II back from exile. Montagu was made Earl of Sandwich on 18 June, and Pepys secured the position of Clerk of the Acts to the Navy Board on 13 July.[8] As secretary to the board, Pepys was entitled to a £350 annual salary plus the various gratuities and benefits that came with the job–including bribes. He rejected an offer of £1,000 for the position from a rival and soon afterwards moved to official accommodation in Seething Lane in the City of London.

Pepys stopped writing his diary in 1669. His eyesight began to trouble him and he feared that writing in dim light was damaging his eyes. He did imply in his last entries that he might have others write his diary for him, but doing so would result in a loss of privacy and it seems that he never went through with those plans. In the end, Pepys’s fears were unjustified and he lived another 34 years without going blind, but he never took to writing his diary again.[27]

However, he dictated a journal for two months in 1669–70 as a record of his dealings with the Commissioners of Accounts at that period.[28] He also kept a diary for a few months in 1683 when he was sent to Tangier, Morocco as the most senior civil servant in the navy, during the English evacuation. The diary mostly covers work-related matters.[29]

More on wiki:


Born on this day:

1919 – Robie Macauley, American editor, novelist and critic (d. 1995)
Robie Mayhew Macauley (May 31, 1919 – November 20, 1995) was an American editor, novelist and critic whose literary career spanned more than 50 years.

Early life
Robie Macauley was born on May 31, 1919 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He was the older brother of the noted photographer and movie producer C. Cameron Macauley. His uncle owned and published the Hudsonville newspaper, The Ottawa Times (named for Ottawa County), and Macauley used the printing press to publish his first books of fiction and poetry.[1] At age 18 he printed and bound a limited edition of Solomon’s Cat, a previously unpublished poem by Walter Duranty,[2] setting the type and engraving the illustrations.[3]

As an undergraduate at Olivet College, he was a student of Ford Madox Ford (describing him as “my first teacher and editorial mentor.”[4]) and then won a three-year literary prize scholarship and transferred to Kenyon College to be a student of John Crowe Ransom. There he lived in a writer’s house with Robert Lowell,[5] Peter Taylor,[6] and Randall Jarrell. He was elected to Phi Beta Kappa during February 1941, and the same year was awarded a fellowship to attend the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference.[7] He graduated summa cum laude from Kenyon in June 1941.

War years
He was drafted in March 1942 and served in World War II as a special agent in the Counterintelligence Corps (CIC) with the 97th Infantry Division, in the “Ruhr Pocket” and then in Japan after the war.[8] On April 23, 1945 Macauley’s division helped liberate Flossenbürg concentration camp. Macauley later said, “I entered some concentration camps the day we liberated them– the most horrifying days of my life. My job was to interview survivors. Most of the bodies that I saw had been stripped and it was impossible to tell which were those of Jews and which of Christians. Nazi murder was a great leveler, fully ecumenical… Hitler’s bell tolled for all…[9]”

Macauley wrote four autobiographical short stories based on his experiences doing intelligence work, collected in The End of Pity and Other Stories, (1957). In “A Nest of Gentlefolk,” (winner of the 1949 Furioso Prize) he describes the CIC’s futile search for Nazi war criminals in the war-ravaged town of Hohenlohe;[10] in “The Thin Voice” he describes the unlawful murder of a Russian prisoner by American troops in Heiligenkreuz, Germany;[11] in “The End of Pity” he tells the story of a woman’s suicide after visiting her ruined house in a combat zone in Oberkassel;[12] and in “The Mind is its Own Place” he describes his brief post-war encounter in Karuizawa, Japan with Captain Kermit Beahan, bombardier of the bomber “The Bockscar” who released the atomic bomb over Nagasaki. Macauley described Beahan as “a young captain with a college-boy face [who] had suffered some strange mutation of feeling so deep and so destructive…[13]”

According to Macauley’s letters archived at the University of North Carolina, while in Karuizawa he was friends with former Japanese Ambassador to the US Saburo Kurusu and German Admiral Paul Wenneker, as well as pianist Leo Sirota and artist Paul Jacoulet.[14] He was also acquainted with former Japanese Prime Minister Prince Fumimaro Konoe, to whom he presented a copy of The Republic by Charles A. Beard.[15] In his capacity as CIC Station Chief he supervised the arrests, on October 30, 1945 of a number of major Nazi leaders who were in hiding in Karuizawa:[16] Dr. Franz Joseph Spahn, Nazi Gruppenleiter in Japan; Paul Sperringer, a former SS Stormtrooper and assistant to Gestapo Chief Colonel Josef Meisinger; Karl Hamel, Meisinger’s secretary; Charles Schmidt-Jucheim, a former San Francisco police officer and an ex-US Army sergeant who attended Gestapo training in Germany and renounced his US citizenship; Karlfried Graf Dürckheim, chief of the Nazi propaganda system in Japan;[17] Heinrich Loy, a Gestapo spy who allegedly participated in the Munich Beer Hall Putsch;[18] Dr. Karl Kindermann, Meisinger’s Jewish interpreter who was an informant for the Gestapo; Alrich Mosaner, chief of the Hitler Youth in Japan; and Otto Burmeister, chief of the Nazi education system in Japan.[19][20] Most of these individuals were later released by the CIC.[21]

Robie Macauley was awarded the Legion of Merit for his work in detaining members of the Gestapo in Japan.[22]

More on wiki:



By Meg Miller: Terry Crews’s Next Act: Designing Chairs
By Meg Miller: Google’s New Viz Tool Makes Snappy GIFs Out Of Your Data
David Tracy: Engineers Are Not Mechanics

Best of
by Johan Deckmann

by Christopher Jobson: Art Therapy: Fictional Self-Help Book Titles Painted by Johan Deckmann
by Kate Sierzputowski: The First Annual International Bamboo Architectural Biennale Explores Material’s Use in Contemporary Design
Samantha Sullivan: 20 Recipes That Prove a Ripen Banana Is Still Good to Go!


Music May 31, 2017






Quotes May 31, 2017

The ancient Greek definition of happiness was the full use of your powers along lines of excellence.
John F. Kennedy, 1917-1963
Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterwards.
Vernon Sanders Law, 1930-present
Rudeness is the weak man’s imitation of strength.
Eric Hoffer, 1902-1983
You can have the nine greatest individual ballplayers in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.
Babe Ruth,
baseball player
“When a resolute young fellow steps up to the great bully, the world, and takes him boldly by the beard, he is often surprised to find it comes off in his hand, and that it was only tied on to scare away the timid adventurers.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
There is a debt of service due from every man to his country, proportioned to the bounties which nature and fortune have measured to him.
Thomas Jefferson,
third US president
“The mind…is rarely so disturbed, but that the company of a friend will restore it to some degree of tranquility and sedateness.”
Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments
“The most congenial social occasions are those ruled by cheerful deference of each for all.”
Goethe, Maxims and Reflections
“I’m glad to report that even now, at this late day, a blank sheet of paper holds the greatest excitement there is for me—more promising than a silver cloud, prettier than a little red wagon. It holds all the hope there is, all fears. I can remember, really quite distinctly, looking a sheet of paper square in the eyes when I was seven or eight years old and thinking, ‘This is where I belong, this is it.’”
E. B. White, letter to Stanley Hart White January 1947
“The most fundamental aggression to ourselves, the most fundamental harm we can do to ourselves, is to remain ignorant by not having the courage and the respect to look at ourselves honestly and gently.”
Pema Chödrön

907 Updates May 31, 2017

Must Read Alaska
By Travis Khachatoorian: Email warns state workers of potential layoffs, government shutdown
By Dan Carpenter: Alaska Native leaders discuss priorities with Zinke
By Blake Essig: Alaska Native Veterans seek to revive expired land bill
Author: Travis M. Andrews, The Washington Post: The National Spelling Bee starts today. What’s Alaska’s most troublesome word?

Shorpy May 31, 2017

Dayton, Ohio, 1902. “Power House, National Cash Register Co.” 8×10 inch dry plate glass negative by William Henry Jackson.


Atlantic City, New Jersey, 1904. “Pier at the Inlet.” With nary a T-shirt or flip-flop in sight. 8×10 inch glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company.

Congratulations Capt. Amanda Plachek!

First female Alaska Army National Guard Soldier completes army maneuver course
JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska —When Capt. Amanda Plachek isn’t commanding the 134th Public Affairs Detachment or running the State Partnership Program for the Alaska National Guard, she’s paving the way for her fellow Soldiers by becoming the first Alaska Army National Guard female to complete a combat arms branch training course.

Videos May 30, 2017







FYI May 30, 2017

May 30 is National Mint Julep Day!

On this day:

1834 – Minister of Justice Joaquim António de Aguiar issues a law seizing “all convents, monasteries, colleges, hospices and any other houses” from the Catholic religious orders in Portugal, earning him the nickname of “The Friar-Killer”.

Joaquim António de Aguiar (Coimbra, 24 August 1792 – Lisbon, 26 May 1884) was a Portuguese politician. He held several relevant political posts during the Portuguese constitutional monarchy, namely as leader of the Cartists and later of the Partido Regenerador (English: Regenerator Party). He was three times prime minister of Portugal: between 1841 and 1842, in 1860 and finally from 1865 to 1868, when he entered a coalition with the Partido Progressista (English: Progressist Party), in what became known as the Governo de Fusão (English: Fusion Government).

He also served as minister of justice during the regency of Peter IV and in that capacity issued the 30 May 1834 law which extinguished “all convents, monasteries, colleges, hospices and any other houses of the regular religious orders”. Their vast patrimony was taken over by the Portuguese State and incorporated into the Fazenda Nacional (the National Exchequer). This law and its anti-ecclesiastical spirit earned Joaquim António de Aguiar the nickname “O Mata-Frades” (English: “The Friar-Killer”).

Dissolution of the monasteries in Portugal
The dissolution of the monasteries in Portugal was a nationalization of the property of male monastic orders effected by a decree of 28 May 1834 enacted by Joaquim António de Aguiar at the conclusion of the Portuguese Civil War.[1] Portugal thus terminated the State sanction of masculine religious orders, and nationalized the lands and possessions of over 500 monasteries.[2] The new government hoped to distribute land and goods in the hands among the poorer landowners, but there were few who could buy.[3]


Born on this day:

1869 – Grace Andrews, American mathematician (d. 1951)
Grace Andrews (May 30, 1869 – July 27, 1951) was an American mathematician.

Andrews obtained her undergraduate degree from Wellesley College in 1890. She received an A.M. from Columbia University in 1899 and a Ph.D. in 1901.[1] She, along with Charlotte Angas Scott, was one of only two women listed in the first edition of American Men of Science, which appeared in 1906.[2]

She worked as an Assistant Professor of Mathematics for Barnard College from 1900 to 1902. She then served as accountant to the Treasurer for Wesleyan University from 1903 to 1926.[3]



Shared from Vector’s World
Hong Kong population density.
Kowloon was once the densest place on the planet. This notorious city was mostly demolished in the 1990’s, but portions of it remain. Andy Yeung gives a great perspective on apartment living in Kowloon with a series of images taken with a drone. More:
Density by drone: Andy Yeung highlights claustrophobic living in Hong Kong
Hazel Cills: Walker Art Center Will Remove Sculpture After Protests from Native American Artists
Karen Grigsby Bates: Remembering The Great Poet Gwendolyn Brooks At 100
By Stephanie Vozza: The Best Advice From 2017’s Commencement Speeches
Stef Schrader: Listen To Japanese Commentators Go Nuts At Takuma Sato’s Indianapolis 500 Win
Timothy Burke: Denver Post Columnist Fired After Racist Tweet About Indy 500 Winner

Raphael Orlove: Watch This 2006 NASCAR Dodge Scream Down A Public Highway At 243 MPH
Raphael Orlove: Watch The Fastest Rear-Wheel Drive Run Of America’s Best Rally Stage
By Glenn Fleishman: Here’s How To Track The Smartphone Apps That Are Tracking You

Patrick Redford: Iconic Sports Writer Frank Deford Dead At 78

907 Updates May 30, 2017

Froze last night~

By Mike Ross: Quake rattles Kenai Peninsula
Author: Tom Morphet, Chilkat Valley News: Survivor of fatal Haines plane crash rescued by local residents as water rose
By KTUU Staff: WATCH: JBER holds its Memorial Day Ceremony

By Sidney Sullivan: DATA VIZ: Homeless Veterans in Alaska
And if you are an Alaska veteran who has lost your home, contact USVA’s National Call Center for Homeless Veterans at 1-877-424-3838 or go to for more information.

Shorpy May 30, 2017

Atlantic City, New Jersey, 1904. “Boardwalk and Hotel Chalfonte.” Demolished in 1980 to make room for a parking lot. 8×10 inch glass negative.


May 1942. Southington, Connecticut. “An American town and its way of life. The Memorial Day parade moving down the main street. The small number of spectators is accounted for by the fact that the town’s war factories did not close. The town hall is in the left foreground.” Medium format Kodachrome transparency by Fenno Jacobs for the Office of War Information.