Category: FYI


FYI February 26, 2017

February 26th is National Pistachio Day



On this day:

1909 – Kinemacolor, the first successful color motion picture process, is first shown to the general public at the Palace Theatre in London.
Kinemacolor was the first successful color motion picture process, used commercially from 1908 to 1914. It was invented by George Albert Smith of Brighton, England in 1906. He was influenced by the work of William Norman Lascelles Davidson and, more directly, Edward Raymond Turner.[1] It was launched by Charles Urban’s Urban Trading Co. of London in 1908. From 1909 on, the process was known as Kinemacolor. It was a two-color additive color process, photographing and projecting a black-and-white film behind alternating red and green filters.

“How to Make and Operate Moving Pictures” published by Funk and Wagnalls in 1917 notes the following:

Of the many attempts to produce cinematograph pictures… the greatest amount of attention so far has been attracted by a system invented by George Albert Smith, and commercially developed by Charles Urban under the name of “Kinemacolor.” In this system (to quote from Cassell’s Cyclopædia of Photography, edited by the editor of this present book), only two colour filters are used in taking the negatives and only two in projecting the positives. The camera resembles the ordinary cinematographic camera except that it runs at twice the speed, taking thirty-two images per second instead of sixteen, and it is fitted with a rotating colour filter in addition to the ordinary shutter. This filter is an aluminium skeleton wheel… having four segments, two open ones, G and H; one filled in with red-dyed gelatine, E F; and the fourth containing green-dyed gelatine, A B. The camera is so geared that exposures are made alternately through the red gelatine and the green gelatine. Panchromatic film is used, and the negative is printed from in the ordinary way, and it will be understood that there is no colour in the film itself.[2]

The first motion picture exhibited in Kinemacolor was an eight-minute short filmed in Brighton titled A Visit to the Seaside, which was trade shown in September 1908. On 26 February 1909, the general public first saw Kinemacolor in a programme of twenty-one short films shown at the Palace Theatre in London. The process was first seen in the United States on 11 December 1909, at an exhibition staged by Smith and Urban at Madison Square Garden in New York.[3]

In 1910, Kinemacolor released the first dramatic film made in the process, Checkmated. The company then produced the documentary films With Our King and Queen Through India (also known as The Durbar at Delhi, 1912), and the notable recovery of £750,000 worth of gold and silver bullion from the wreck of P&O’s SS Oceana in the Strait of Dover (1912).[4] With Our King and Queen Through India and the dramas The World, the Flesh and the Devil (1914), and Little Lord Fauntleroy (1914) were the first three feature films made in color. Unfortunately, these latter two features were also among the last films released by Kinemacolor.
Success and decline

Kinemacolor enjoyed the most commercial success in the UK where, between 1909 and 1918, it was shown at more than 250 entertainment venues. The system was made available to exhibitors either by licence or from 1913 through a series of touring companies. Although in most cases the system stayed at licensed venues for only a few months there were instances where it remained at a hall for up to two years.[5] 54 dramatic films were produced. Four dramatic short films were also produced by Kinemacolor in the United States in 1912–1913,[6] and one in Japan, Yoshitsune Senbon Zakura (1914).

However, the company was never a success, partly due to the expense of installing special Kinemacolor projectors in cinemas. Also, the process suffered from “fringing” and “haloing” of the images, an unsolvable problem as long as Kinemacolor remained a successive frame process. Kinemacolor in the U.S. became most notable for its Hollywood studio being taken over by D. W. Griffith, who also took over Kinemacolor’s failed plans to film Thomas Dixon’s The Clansman, which eventually became The Birth of a Nation (1915).

The first (additive) version of Prizma Color, developed by William Van Doren Kelley in the U.S. from 1913 to 1917, used some of the same principles as Kinemacolor. In the U.K., William Friese-Greene developed another additive color system for film called Biocolour. However, in 1914 George Albert Smith sued Friese-Greene for infringing Kinemacolor’s patents, slowing the development of Biocolour by Friese-Greene and his son Claude in the 1920s.
Predecessor process

In 2012, the National Media Museum in Bradford, England publicized its digital restoration of some very early three-color alternating-filter test films, dated to 1902, made by Edward Raymond Turner. They are believed to be the earliest existing color movie footage. Turner’s process, for which Charles Urban had provided financial backing, was adapted by Smith after Turner’s sudden death in 1903, and this in turn became Kinemacolor.[7]


Born on this day:

1903 – Giulio Natta, Italian chemist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1979)
Giulio Natta (26 February 1903 – 2 May 1979) was an Italian chemist and Nobel laureate. He won a Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1963 with Karl Ziegler for work on high polymers. He was also a recipient of Lomonosov Gold Medal in 1969.[1]

Natta was born in Imperia, Italy. He earned his degree in chemical engineering from the Politecnico di Milano university in Milan in 1924. In 1927 he passed the exams for becoming a professor there. In 1933 he became a full professor and the director of the Institute of General Chemistry of Pavia University, where he stayed until 1935. In that year he was appointed full professor in physical chemistry at the University of Rome.[1]
From 1936 to 1938 he moved as a full professor and director of the Institute of Industrial Chemistry at the Polytechnic Institute of Turin. In 1938 he took over as the head of the Department of chemical engineering at the Politecnico di Milano university, in a somewhat controversial manner, when his predecessor Mario Giacomo Levi was forced to step down because of racial laws against Jews being introduced in Fascist Italy.[1]

Natta’s work at Politecnico di Milano led to the improvement of earlier work by Karl Ziegler and to the development of the Ziegler-Natta catalyst. He received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1963 with Karl Ziegler for their research in high polymers.
Personal life
In 1935 Natta married Rosita Beati, a woman of great culture and sensitivity, who helped his career in many ways. A graduate in literature, she coined the terms “isotactic”, “atactic” and “syndiotactic” for polymers discovered by her husband.[2] They had two sons, Giuseppe and Franca. Beati died in 1968.[1]

Natta was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 1956. By 1963, his condition had progressed to the point that he required the assistance of his son and four colleagues to present his speech at the Nobel ceremonies in Stockholm. Prof. Natta died in Bergamo, Italy at age 76.[1]



Delaware Aqueduct

infoplease: Delaware Aqueduct
Delaware Aqueduct (dĕlˈəwâr, –wər) [key], SE N.Y., 85 mi (137 km) long, carrying water from the Rondout Reservoir, Sullivan co., SE into the New York City water system at the Hillview Reservoir, Westchester co.; built 1937–62. The tunnel taps the Delaware River basin and supplies more than half of New York City’s water. The aqueduct’s deep, gravity-flow construction requires little maintenance. The Rondout Reservoir receives water from other Delaware basin reservoirs through a tunnel system. In 1965 the aqueduct was extended; its total distance is now 105 mi (170 km).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

Great American Infrastructure: The Delaware Aqueduct Tunnel

Construction of the Delaware Aqueduct in Pictures





DamnDelicious: Slow Cooker Tater Tot Casserole

FYI February 25, 2017

February 25 is National Chocolate Covered Peanuts Day


January 21st is National Clam Chowder Day!





On this day:

1866 – Miners in Calaveras County, California, discover what is now called the Calaveras Skull – human remains that supposedly indicated that man, mastodons, and elephants had co-existed.
The Calaveras Skull was a human skull found by miners in Calaveras County, California, which was purported to prove that humans, mastodons, and elephants had coexisted in California. It was later revealed to be a hoax. Coincidentally, “calaveras” is the Spanish word for “skulls”.

On February 25, 1866, miners claimed to have found a human skull in a mine, beneath a layer of lava, 130 feet (40 m) below the surface of the earth, which made it into the hands of Josiah Whitney, then the State Geologist of California as well as a Professor of Geology at Harvard University. A year before the skull came to his attention, Whitney published the belief that humans, mastodons, and elephants coexisted;[1] the skull served as proof of his convictions. After careful study, he officially announced its discovery at a meeting of the California Academy of Sciences on July 16, 1866, declaring it evidence of the existence of Pliocene age man in North America, which would make it the oldest known record of humans on the continent.[2]

Its authenticity was immediately challenged. In 1869 a San Francisco newspaper reported that a miner had told a minister that the skull was planted as a practical joke.[3] Thomas Wilson of Harvard ran a fluorine analysis on it in 1879 (the first ever usage of such on human bone), with the results indicating it was of recent origin.[4] It was so widely believed to be a hoax that Bret Harte famously wrote a satirical poem called “To the Pliocene Skull” in 1899.[5]

Whitney did not waver in his belief that it was genuine. His successor at Harvard, F. W. Putnam, also believed it to be real. By 1901 Putnam was determined to discover the truth and he headed to California. While there, he heard a story that in 1865 one of a number of Indian skulls had been dug up from a nearby burial site and planted in the mine specifically for miners to find. Putnam still declined to declare the skull a fake, instead conceding, “It may be impossible ever to determine to the satisfaction of the archaeologist the place where the skull was actually found.”[2] Others, such as adherents of Theosophy, also were unwavering in their belief in the authenticity of the skull.[3]

To further complicate the issue, careful comparison of the skull with descriptions of it at the time of its discovery revealed that the skull Whitney had in his possession was not the one originally found.[2]

Anthropologist William Henry Holmes of the Smithsonian Institution investigated around the turn of the century. He determined that the plant and animal fossils that had been discovered near the skull were indeed genuine, but the skull was too modern, and concluded that “to suppose that man could have remained unchanged… for a million years, roughly speaking… is to suppose a miracle.”[3] Likewise, J. M. Boutwell, investigating in 1911, was told by one of the participants in the discovery that the whole thing was indeed a hoax.[6] The miners of the Sierra Nevada apparently did not greatly like Whitney (“being an Easterner of very reserved demeanor”) and were “delighted” to have played such a joke on him.[2] Furthermore, John C. Scribner, a local shopkeeper, claimed to have planted it, and the story was revealed by his sister after his death.[7] Radiocarbon dating in 1992 established the age of the skull at about 1,000 years, placing it in the late Holocene age.[8]

Despite evidence to the contrary, the Calaveras Skull continues to be cited by creationists as proof that paleontologists ignore evidence that does not fit their theories,[9][10] although others have acknowledged that the Calaveras Skull is a hoax.[11]



1870 – Hiram Rhodes Revels, a Republican from Mississippi, is sworn into the United States Senate, becoming the first African American ever to sit in the U.S. Congress.
Hiram Rhodes Revels (September 27, 1827[note 1] – January 16, 1901) was a minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME), a Republican politician, and college administrator. Born free in North Carolina, he later lived and worked in Ohio, where he voted before the Civil War. He became the first African American to serve in the U.S. Congress when he was elected to the United States Senate to represent Mississippi in 1870 and 1871 during the Reconstruction era.

During the American Civil War, Revels had helped organize two regiments of the United States Colored Troops and served as a chaplain. After serving in the Senate, Revels was appointed as the first president of Alcorn Agricultural and Mechanical College (now Alcorn State University), 1871–1873 and 1876 to 1882. Later he served again as a minister.

Revels was born free in Fayetteville, North Carolina, to free people of color, parents of African and European ancestry. He was tutored by a black woman for his early education. In 1838 he went to live with his older brother, Elias B. Revels, in Lincolnton, North Carolina, and was apprenticed as a barber in his brother’s shop. After Elias Revels died in 1841, his widow Mary transferred the shop to Hiram before she remarried.[citation needed] Revels attended the Union County Quaker Seminary in Indiana, and Darke County Seminary in Ohio.[1] He was a second cousin to Lewis Sheridan Leary, one of the men who was killed taking part in John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry and to North Carolina lawyer and politician John S. Leary.[2]

In 1845 Revels was ordained as a minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME); he served as a preacher and religious teacher throughout the Midwest: in Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Tennessee, Missouri, and Kansas.[1] “At times, I met with a great deal of opposition,” he later recalled. “I was imprisoned in Missouri in 1854 for preaching the gospel to Negroes, though I was never subjected to violence.”[3] During these years, he voted in Ohio.

He studied religion from 1855 to 1857 at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois. He became a minister in a Methodist Episcopal Church in Baltimore, Maryland, where he also served as a principal for a black high school.[4]

As a chaplain in the United States Army, Revels helped recruit and organize two black Union regiments during the Civil War in Maryland and Missouri. He took part at the battle of Vicksburg in Mississippi.[5]

In 1865, Revels left the AME Church and joined the Methodist Episcopal Church. He was assigned briefly to churches in Leavenworth, Kansas, and New Orleans, Louisiana. In 1866, he was called as a permanent pastor at a church in Natchez, Mississippi, where he settled with his wife and five daughters. He became an elder in the Mississippi District of the Methodist Church,[4] continued his ministerial work, and founded schools for black children.

During Reconstruction, Revels was elected alderman in Natchez in 1868. In 1869 he was elected to represent Adams County in the Mississippi State Senate. As the Congressman John R. Lynch later wrote of him in his book on Reconstruction:

Revels was comparatively a new man in the community. He had recently been stationed at Natchez as pastor in charge of the A.M.E. Church, and so far as known he had never voted, had never attended a political meeting, and of course, had never made a political speech. But he was a colored man, and presumed to be a Republican, and believed to be a man of ability and considerably above the average in point of intelligence; just the man, it was thought, the Rev. Noah Buchanan would be willing to vote for.[6]

In January 1870, Revels presented the opening prayer in the state legislature. Lynch wrote,

“That prayer—one of the most impressive and eloquent prayers that had ever been delivered in the [Mississippi] Senate Chamber—made Revels a United States Senator. He made a profound impression upon all who heard him. It impressed those who heard it that Revels was not only a man of great natural ability but that he was also a man of superior attainments.”[6]

At the time, as in most states, the state legislature elected U.S. senators from the state. In 1870 Revels was elected by a vote of 81 to 15 in the Mississippi State Senate to finish the term of one of the state’s two seats in the US Senate, which had been left vacant since the Civil War. Previously, it had been held by Albert G. Brown, who withdrew from the US Senate in 1861 when Mississippi seceded.[7]

When Revels arrived in Washington, D.C., southern Democrats opposed seating him in the Senate. For the two days of debate, the Senate galleries were packed with spectators at this historic event.[8] The Democrats based their opposition on the 1857 Dred Scott Decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled that people of African ancestry were not and could not be citizens. They argued that no black man was a citizen before the 14th Amendment was ratified in 1868, and thus Revels could not satisfy the requirement of the Senate for nine years’ prior citizenship.[9]

Supporters of Revels made a number of arguments, from the relatively narrow and technical to fundamental arguments about the meaning of the Civil War. Among the narrower arguments was that Revels was of primarily European ancestry (an “octoroon”) and that the Dred Scott Decision ought to be read to apply only to those blacks who were of totally African ancestry. Supporters argued that Revels had long been a citizen (and had voted in Ohio) and that he had met the nine-year requirement before the Dred Scott decision changed the rules and held that blacks could not be citizens.[10]

The more fundamental arguments by Revels supporters boiled down to this idea: that the Civil War, and the Reconstruction Amendments, had overturned Dred Scott. The meaning of the war, and also of the Amendments, was that the subordination of the black race was no longer part of the American constitutional regime, and that therefore, it would be unconstitutional to bar Revels on the basis of the pre-Civil War Constitution’s racist citizenship rules.[10] One Republican Senator supporting Revels mocked opponents as still fighting the “last battle-field” of that War.[10]

Massachusetts senator Charles Sumner said, “The time has passed for argument. Nothing more need be said. For a long time it has been clear that colored persons must be senators.”[9] On February 25, 1870, Revels, on a party-line vote of 48 to 8, with only Republicans voting in favor and only Democrats voting against, became the first African American to be seated in the United States Senate.[9] Everyone in the galleries stood to see him sworn in.[8]

Sumner’s Massachusetts colleague, Henry Wilson, defended Revels’s election,[11] and presented as evidence of its validity signatures from the clerks of the Mississippi House of Representatives and Mississippi State Senate, as well as that of Adelbert Ames, the military Governor of Mississippi.[12] Wilson argued that Revels’s skin color was not a bar to Senate service, and connected the role of the Senate to Christianity’s Golden Rule of doing to others as one would have done to oneself.[12]




Born on this day:

1670 – Maria Margarethe Kirch, German astronomer and mathematician (d. 1720)
Maria Margarethe Kirch (née Winckelmann; 25 February 1670 – 29 December 1720) was a German astronomer, and one of the first famous astronomers of her period due to her writings on the conjunction of the sun with Saturn, Venus, and Jupiter in 1709 and 1712 respectively.[1]

Maria was educated from an early age by her father, a Lutheran minister, who believed that she deserved an education equivalent to that given to young boys of the time. After her father’s death, her education was continued by her uncle. As Maria, had an interest in astronomy from an early age, she took the opportunity of studying with Christoph Arnold, a self-taught astronomer who worked as a farmer in Sommerfeld, near Leipzig. She became Arnold’s unofficial apprentice and later his assistant, living with him and his family.[2]

Through Arnold, Maria met astronomer and mathematician Gottfried Kirch, one of the most famous German astronomers of the time. Despite Kirch being 30 years her senior, they married in 1692, later having four children, all of whom followed in their parents’ footsteps by studying astronomy.[3]

Gottfried Kirch gave Maria further instruction in astronomy, as he had his sister and many other students. While at the time women were not allowed to attend universities, much work was conducted outside universities and Gottfried himself had never attended a university.

Maria and Gottfried worked together as a team, though Maria was mainly seen as Gottfried’s assistant rather than equal. Together they made observations and performed calculations to produce calendars and ephemerides. From 1697, the couple also began recording weather information.

The data collected by the Kirches was used to produce calendars and almanacs and was also very useful in navigation. The Royal Academy of Sciences in Berlin handled sales of their calendars, which included information on the phases of the moon, the setting of the sun, eclipses, and the position of the sun and other planets.[2]

On 21 April 1702, while making her regular nighttime observations, Maria discovered a previously unknown comet, the so-called “Comet of 1702” (C/1702 H1), becoming the first woman to make such a discovery (actually two observers in Rome had found this comet about two hours before her).

In the words of her husband:
“     Early in the morning the sky was clear and starry. Some nights before I had observed a variable star, and my wife wanted to find and see it for herself. In so doing she found a comet in the sky. At which time she woke me and I found that it was indeed a comet… was surprised that I had not seen it the night before.     ”

However, the comet was not named after her as was the case with most newly discovered comets, Gottfried instead taking credit for its discovery, something he may have done from fear of possible ridicule if the truth were widely known. It is likely, though, that Maria could not have made a claim in her own name because she published solely in German while the preferred language in the German scientific circles of the time was Latin, a fact which prevented her publishing her works in Germany’s only scientific journal of the period, Acta Eruditorum. Gottfried later admitted the truth regarding the discovery in 1710 but the comet was never named after her.

Maria continued to pursue important work in astronomy, publishing in German under her own name, and with the proper recognition. Her publications, which included her observations on the Aurora Borealis (1707), the pamphlet Von der Conjunction der Sonne des Saturni und der Venus on the conjunction of the sun with Saturn and Venus (1709), and the approaching conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in 1712 became her lasting contributions to astronomy. The latter contained both astrological and astronomical observations and some have claimed that it leaned towards the former.[3] However, Alphonse des Vignoles, president of the Berlin Academy, said in her eulogy: “Madame Kirch prepared horoscopes at the request of her friends, but always against her will and in order not to be unkind to her patrons.”[2]
As widow

After Gottfried died in Berlin on 25 July 1710, Maria attempted to assume her husband’s place as astronomer and calendar maker at the Royal Academy of Sciences, saying that she had been carrying out most of this work during the illness from which he died, as at that time it was not unusual for widows to take over their husband’s business. However, the Royal Academy’s council refused to let her do this and in fact did not even consider the possibility before she petitioned them, as they were reluctant to set a precedent.

The only person who supported Maria was the then president of the Academy, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, who had long encouraged her and had arranged for her to be presented to the royal court of Prussia in 1709 where she made a good impression as she discussed sunspots. Even Leibniz’s support was insufficient to change the Academy’s mind even though Maria had been left without any income.

Maria was of the opinion that her petitions were denied due to her gender. This is somewhat supported by the fact that Johann Heinrich Hoffmann, who had little experience, was appointed to her husband’s place instead of her. Hoffmann soon fell behind with his work and failed to make required observations and it was even suggested that Maria become his assistant.[2] Maria wrote: Now I go through a severe desert, and because… water is scarce… the taste is bitter. However, she was admitted by the Berlin Academy of Sciences.[2]

In 1711, she published Die Vorbereitung zug grossen Opposition, a well-received pamphlet in which she predicted a new comet, followed by a pamphlet concerning Jupiter and Saturn which was again a blend of astronomical calculations and astrological material.

In 1712, Maria accepted the patronage of a family friend, Bernhard Friedrich Baron von Krosigk, who was an enthusiastic amateur astronomer, and began work in his observatory. She trained her son and daughters to act as her assistants and continued the family’s astronomical work, continuing the production of calendars and almanacs as well as making observations.

After Baron von Krosigk died in 1714 Maria moved to Danzig to assist a professor of mathematics for a short time before returning. In 1716, she received an offer to work for Russian czar, Peter the Great, but preferred to remain in Berlin where she continued to calculate calendars for locales such as Nuremberg, Dresden, Breslau, and Hungary.

Also in 1716, Maria’s son Christfried became the director of Berlin Observatory of the Royal Academy of Sciences following Hoffmann’s death and Maria and her daughter, Christine, became his assistants. Academy members complained that she took too prominent a role during visits to the observatory and demanded that she behave like an assistant and stay in the background. Maria refused to do this and was forced to retire, being obliged to relinquish her home, which was sited on the observatory’s grounds.

Maria continued working in private but conditions eventually forced her to abandon all astronomical work and she died in Berlin on 29 December 1720. Her three daughters continued much of her work after her death, assisting their brother in his position as master astronomer.


1869 – Phoebus Levene, Russian-American biochemist and physician (d. 1940)
Phoebus Aaron Theodore Levene, M.D. (25 February 1863 – 6 September 1940) was an American biochemist who studied the structure and function of nucleic acids. He characterized the different forms of nucleic acid, DNA from RNA, and found that DNA contained adenine, guanine, thymine, cytosine, deoxyribose, and a phosphate group.[citation needed]

He was born into a Litvak (Lithuanian Jewish) family as Fishel Rostropovich Levin in the town of Žagarė in Lithuania, then part of the Russian Empire, but grew up in St. Petersburg. There he studied medicine at the Imperial Military Medical Academy (M.D., 1891) and developed an interest in biochemistry. In 1893, because of anti-Semitic pogroms, he and his family emigrated to the United States and he practiced medicine in New York City.

Levene enrolled at Columbia University and in his spare time conducted biochemical research, publishing papers on the chemical structure of sugars. In 1896 he was appointed as an Associate in the Pathological Institute of the New York State Hospitals, but he had to take time off to recuperate from tuberculosis. During this period, he worked with several chemists, including Albrecht Kossel and Emil Fischer, who were the experts in proteins.

In 1905, Levene was appointed as head of the biochemical laboratory at the Rockefeller Institute of Medical Research. He spent the rest of his career at this institute, and it was there that he identified the components of DNA. (He had discovered ribose in 1909[citation needed] and deoxyribose in 1929[citation needed].) Not only did Levene identify the components of DNA, he also showed that the components were linked together in the order phosphate-sugar-base to form units. He called each of these units a nucleotide, and stated that the DNA molecule consisted of a string of nucleotide units linked together through the phosphate groups, which are the ‘backbone’ of the molecule. His ideas about the structure of DNA were wrong; he thought there were only four nucleotides per molecule. He even declared that it could not store the genetic code because it was chemically far too simple. However, his work was a key basis for the later work that determined the structure of DNA. Levene published over 700 original papers and articles on biochemical structures. Levene died in 1940, before the true significance of DNA became clear.

Levene is known for his “tetranucleotide hypothesis” (formulated around 1910) which first proposed that DNA was made up of equal amounts of adenine, guanine, cytosine, and thymine. Before the later work of Erwin Chargaff, it was widely thought that DNA was organized into repeating “tetranucleotides” in a way that could not carry genetic information. Instead, the protein component of chromosomes was thought to be the basis of heredity; most research on the physical nature of the gene focused on proteins, and particularly enzymes and viruses, before the 1940s.[1]






Adam Clark Estes: Everything You Need to Know About Cloudbleed, the Latest Internet Security Disaster


Daniel Dopps stupidity is criminal.
Kristen V. Brown: Please Don’t ‘Glue’ Your Vagina Shut During Your Period



By Bruce McClure: Ring of fire eclipse on Sunday, February 26, 2017



Ted Mills: I wrote for Open Culture on a service called And Vinyly, which will press your cremated ashes into a vinyl record for your loved ones to play.



Andrew P Collins: Watch The Dukes Of Hazzard Dodge Charger Catch Air And Crash In Downtown Detroit


Michael Ballaban: Here’s Jeremy Clarkson Watching His Own Very First Top Gear Appearance


Trent Hamm: How We Plan Frugal Family Vacations in National Parks



Nagi: Homemade Baked Beans with Bacon (Southern Style)


by Lauren Young: Lady Jane Franklin, the Woman Who Fueled 19th-Century Polar Exploration



FYI February 24, 2017



February 24th is National Tortilla Chip Day


On this day:

1803 – In Marbury v. Madison, the Supreme Court of the United States establishes the principle of judicial review.
Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 137 (1803), was a landmark United States Supreme Court case in which the Court formed the basis for the exercise of judicial review in the United States under Article III of the Constitution. The landmark decision helped define the boundary between the constitutionally separate executive and judicial branches of the American form of government.

The case resulted from a petition to the Supreme Court by William Marbury, who had been appointed Justice of the Peace in the District of Columbia by President John Adams but whose commission was not subsequently delivered. Marbury petitioned the Supreme Court to force the new Secretary of State, James Madison, to deliver the documents. The Court, with John Marshall as Chief Justice, found firstly that Madison’s refusal to deliver the commission was both illegal and correctible. Nonetheless, the Court stopped short of ordering Madison (by writ of mandamus) to hand over Marbury’s commission, instead holding that the provision of the Judiciary Act of 1789 that enabled Marbury to bring his claim to the Supreme Court was itself unconstitutional, since it purported to extend the Court’s original jurisdiction beyond that which Article III established. The petition was therefore denied.



1831 – The Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek, the first removal treaty in accordance with the Indian Removal Act, is proclaimed. The Choctaws in Mississippi cede land east of the river in exchange for payment and land in the West.
The Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek was a treaty signed on September 27, 1830 (and proclaimed on February 24, 1831) between the Choctaw (an American Indian tribe) and the United States Government. This was the first removal treaty carried into effect under the Indian Removal Act. The treaty ceded about 11 million acres (45,000 km2) of the Choctaw Nation (now Mississippi) in exchange for about 15 million acres (61,000 km2) in the Indian territory (now the state of Oklahoma). The principal Choctaw negotiators were Chief Greenwood LeFlore, Musholatubbee, and Nittucachee; the U.S. negotiators were Colonel John Coffee and Secretary of War John Eaton.

The site of the signing of this treaty is in the southwest corner of Noxubee County; the site was known to the Choctaw as Bok Chukfi Ahilha (creek “bok” rabbit “chukfi” place to dance “a+hilha” or Dancing Rabbit Creek). The Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek was the last major land cession treaty signed by the Choctaw.[1] With ratification by the U.S. Congress in 1831, the treaty allowed those Choctaw who chose to remain in Mississippi to become the first major non-European ethnic group to gain recognition as U.S. citizens.

On August 25, 1830, the Choctaw were supposed to meet with Andrew Jackson in Franklin, Tennessee, but Greenwood Leflore informed the Secretary of War, John H. Eaton, that the chiefs were fiercely opposed to attending.[2] The president was upset but, as the journalist Len Green wrote in 1978, “Although angered by the Choctaw refusal to meet him in Tennessee, Jackson felt from LeFlore’s words that he might have a foot in the door and dispatched Secretary of War Eaton and John Coffee to meet with the Choctaws in their nation.”[3] Jackson appointed Eaton and General John Coffee as commissioners to represent him to meet the Choctaws where the “rabbits gather to dance.”

The commissioners met with the chiefs and headmen on September 15, 1830, at Dancing Rabbit Creek.[5] In a carnival-like atmosphere, the US officials explained the policy of removal through interpreters to an audience of 6,000 men, women and children.[5] The Choctaws faced migration west of the Mississippi River or submitting to U.S. and state law as citizens.[5] The treaty would sign away the remaining traditional homeland to the United States; however, a provision in the treaty made removal more acceptable.

The Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek was one of the largest land transfers ever signed between the United States Government and American Indians in time of peace. The Choctaw ceded their remaining traditional homeland to the United States. Article 14 allowed for some Choctaw to remain in the state of Mississippi, if they wanted to become citizens:

“ART. XIV. Each Choctaw head of a family being desirous to remain and become a citizen of the States, shall be permitted to do so, by signifying his intention to the Agent within six months from the ratification of this Treaty, and he or she shall thereupon be entitled to a reservation of one section of six hundred and forty acres of land, to be bounded by sectional lines of survey; in like manner shall be entitled to one half that quantity for each unmarried child which is living with him over ten years of age; and a quarter section to such child as may be under 10 years of age, to adjoin the location of the parent. If they reside upon said lands intending to become citizens of the States for five years after the ratification of this Treaty, in that case a grant in fee simple shall issue; said reservation shall include the present improvement of the head of the family, or a portion of it. Persons who claim under this article shall not lose the privilege of a Choctaw citizen, but if they ever remove are not to be entitled to any portion of the Choctaw annuity.”[6]

The Choctaw were the first of the “Five Civilized Tribes” to be removed from the southeastern United States, as the federal and state governments desired Indian lands to accommodate a growing agrarian American society. In 1831, tens of thousands of Choctaw walked the 800-kilometer journey to Oklahoma and many died.[citation needed] Like the Creek, Cherokee, Chickasaw, and Seminole who followed them, the Choctaw attempted to resurrect their traditional lifestyle and government in their new homeland.

The Choctaw at this crucial time became two distinct groups: the Nation in Oklahoma and the Tribe in Mississippi. The nation retained its autonomy to regulate itself, but the tribe left in Mississippi had to submit to state and U.S. laws. Under article XIV, in 1830 the Mississippi Choctaws became the first major non-European ethnic group to gain U.S. citizenship.[7][8] The Choctaw sought to elect a representative to the U.S. House of Representatives.

The preamble begins with,
“     A treaty of perpetual, friendship, cession and limits, entered into by John H. Eaton and John Coffee, for and in behalf of the Government of the United States, and the Mingoes, Chiefs, Captains and Warriors of the Choctaw Nation, begun and held at Dancing Rabbit Creek, on the fifteenth of September, in the year eighteen hundred and thirty …     ”
— -Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek, 1830[9]

The following terms of the treaty were:

1. Perpetual peace and friendship.
2. Lands (in what is now Oklahoma) west of the Mississippi River to be conveyed to the Choctaw Nation.
3. Lands east of the Mississippi River to be ceded and removal to begin in 1831 and end in 1833.
4. Autonomy of the Choctaw Nation (in Oklahoma) and descendants to be secured from laws of U.S. states and territories forever.
5. U.S. will serve as protectorate of the Choctaw Nation.
6. Choctaw or party of Choctaws part of violent acts against the U.S. citizens or property will be delivered to the U.S. authorities.
7. Offenses against Choctaws and their property by U.S. citizens and other tribes will be examined and every possible degree of justice applied.
8. No harboring of U.S. fugitives with all expenses to capture him or her paid by the U.S.
9. Persons ordered from Choctaw Nation.
10. Traders require a written permit.
John Eaton was a close personal friend of Andrew Jackson. He was Secretary of War for the Jackson administration. Painted 1873 by Robert Weir.

11. Navigable streams will be free for Choctaws, U.S. post-offices will be established in the Choctaw Nation, and U.S. military posts and roads may be created.
12. Intruders will be removed from the Choctaw Nation. U.S. citizens stealing Choctaw property shall be returned and offender punished. Choctaw offending U.S. laws shall be given a fair and impartial trial.
13. U.S. agent appointed to the Choctaws every four years.
14. Choctaws may become U.S. citizens and are entitled to 640 acres (2.6 km2) of land (in Mississippi) with additional land for children.
15. Lands granted to the Choctaw chiefs (Greenwood LeFlore, Musholatubbee, and Nittucachee) with annuities granted to each of them.
16. Transportation in wagons and steamboats will be provided at the costs of the U.S. Ample food will be provided during the removal and 12 months after reaching the new homes. Reimbursements will be provided for cattle left in Mississippi Territory.
17. Annuities to Choctaws to continue from other treaties. Additional payments after removal.
18. Choctaw Country to be surveyed
19. Lands granted to I. Garland, Colonel Robert Cole, Tuppanahomer, John Pytchlynn, Charles Juzan, Johokebetubbe, Eaychahobia, and Ofehoma.
20. Improve the Choctaw condition with Education. Provide tools, weapons, and steel.
21. Choctaw Warriors who marched and fought in the army of U.S. General Wayne during the American Revolution and Northwest Indian War will receive an annuity.
22. Choctaw delegate on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Unratified section

The following paragraph of the treaty was not ratified:

“WHEREAS the General Assembly of the State of Mississippi has extended the laws of said State to persons and property within the chartered limits of the same, and the President of the United States has said that he cannot protect the Choctaw people from the operation of these laws; Now therefore that the Choctaw may live under their own laws in peace with the United States and the State of Mississippi they have determined to sell their lands east of the Mississippi and have accordingly agreed to the following articles of treaty”.[9]

The main signatories included John Eaton, John Coffee, Greenwood Leflore, Musholatubbee, and Nittucachee. Nearly 200 other signatures are on the treaty.
Main article: Choctaw Trail of Tears
John R Coffee

After ceding nearly 11,000,000 acres (45,000 km2), the Choctaw emigrated in three stages: the first in the fall of 1831, the second in 1832 and the last in 1833.[10] The Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek was ratified by the U.S. Senate on February 25, 1831, and the President was anxious to make it a model of removal.[10] The chief George W. Harkins wrote a letter to the American people before the removals began.
“     It is with considerable diffidence that I attempt to address the American people, knowing and feeling sensibly my incompetency; and believing that your highly and well improved minds would not be well entertained by the address of a Choctaw. But having determined to emigrate west of the Mississippi river this fall, I have thought proper in bidding you farewell to make a few remarks expressive of my views, and the feelings that actuate me on the subject of our removal … We as Choctaws rather chose to suffer and be free, than live under the degrading influence of laws, which our voice could not be heard in their formation … Much as the state of Mississippi has wronged us, I cannot find in my heart any other sentiment than an ardent wish for her prosperity and happiness.     ”
— -George W. Harkins, George W. Harkins to the American People


Around 15,000 Choctaws left the old Choctaw Nation for the Indian Territory – much of the state of Oklahoma today.[1] The Choctaw word Oklahoma means “red people”.

Late twentieth-century estimates are that between 5,000–6,000 Choctaws remained in Mississippi in 1831 after the first removal.[1][8] For the next ten years they were objects of increasing legal conflict, harassment, and intimidation. The Choctaw describe their situation in 1849,

we have had our habitations torn down and burned, our fences destroyed, cattle turned into our fields and we ourselves have been scourged, manacled, fettered and otherwise personally abused, until by such treatment some of our best men have died.[1]

Joseph B. Cobb, a settler who moved to Mississippi from Georgia, described the Choctaw as having

no nobility or virtue at all, and in some respect he found blacks, especially native Africans, more interesting and admirable, the red man’s superior in every way. The Choctaw and Chickasaw, the tribes he knew best, were beneath contempt, that is, even worse than black slaves.[12]

The removals continued well into the early 20th century. In 1903, three hundred Mississippi Choctaws were persuaded to move to the Nation in Oklahoma. The Choctaw did not gain a delegate on the floor of the U.S. House of Representative. Greenwood LeFlore, a Choctaw leader, stayed in Mississippi, where he was elected to the Mississippi House of Representatives and Senate.

The Choctaw Nation continued to thrive until Oklahoma was created as a state. Their government was dismantled under the Curtis Act, along with those of other Native American nations in the former Indian Territory, in order to permit the admission of Oklahoma as a state. Their communal lands were divided and allotted to individual households under the Dawes Act to increase assimilation as American-style farmers. The US declared communal land remaining after allotment to be surplus and sold it to American settlers. In the twentieth century, the Choctaw reorganized and were recognized by the government as the Choctaw Nation.

The descendants of the Choctaw who stayed in Mississippi reorganized themselves as the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians in 1945 and gained federal recognition.



Born on this day:

1709 – Jacques de Vaucanson, French engineer (d. 1782)
Jacques de Vaucanson (February 24, 1709 – November 21, 1782) was a French inventor and artist who was responsible for the creation of impressive and innovative automata and machines such as the first completely automated loom.

He was born in Grenoble, France in 1709 as Jacques Vaucanson (the particle “de” was later added to his name by the Académie des Sciences[1]). The tenth child, son of a glove-maker, he grew up poor, and in his youth he reportedly aspired to become a clockmaker. [2] He studied under the Jesuits and later joined the Order of the Minims in Lyon. It was his intention at the time to follow a course of religious studies, but he regained his interest in mechanical devices after meeting the surgeon Le Cat, from whom he would learn the details of anatomy. This new knowledge allowed him to develop his first mechanical devices that mimicked biological vital functions such as circulation, respiration, and digestion. [3]

Automaton inventor
At just 18 years of age, Vaucanson was given his own workshop in Lyon, and a grant from a nobleman to construct a set of machines. In that same year of 1727, there was a visit from one of the governing heads of Les Minimes. Vaucanson decided to make some androids. The automata would serve dinner and clear the tables for the visiting politicians. However one government official declared that he thought Vaucanson’s tendencies “profane”, and ordered that his workshop be destroyed.[4]

In 1737, Vaucanson built The Flute Player, a life-size figure of a shepherd that played the tabor and the pipe and had a repertoire of twelve songs. The figure’s fingers were not pliable enough to play the flute correctly, so Vaucanson had to glove the creation in skin. The following year, in early 1738, he presented his creation to the Académie des Sciences.[5] At the time, mechanical creatures were somewhat a fad in Europe, but most could be classified as toys, and de Vaucanson’s creations were recognized as being revolutionary in their mechanical lifelike sophistication.

Later that year, he created two additional automata, The Tambourine Player and The Digesting Duck, which is considered his masterpiece. The duck had over 400 moving parts in each wing alone, and could flap its wings, drink water, digest grain, and defecate.[6] Although Vaucanson’s duck supposedly demonstrated digestion accurately, his duck actually contained a hidden compartment of “digested food”, so that what the duck defecated was not the same as what it ate; the duck would eat a mixture of water and seed and excrete a mixture of bread crumbs and green dye that appeared to the onlooker indistinguishable from real excrement. Although such “frauds” were sometimes controversial, they were common enough because such scientific demonstrations needed to entertain the wealthy and powerful to attract their patronage. Vaucanson is credited as having invented the world’s first flexible rubber tube while in the process of building the duck’s intestines. Despite the revolutionary nature of his automata, he is said to have tired quickly of his creations and sold them in 1743.

His inventions brought him to the attention of Frederick II of Prussia, who sought to bring him to his court. Vaucanson refused, however, wishing to serve his own country.[7]

Government service
In 1741 he was appointed by Cardinal Fleury, chief minister of Louis XV, as inspector of the manufacture of silk in France. He was charged with undertaking reforms of the silk manufacturing process. At the time, the French weaving industry had fallen behind that of England and Scotland. Vaucanson promoted wide-ranging changes for automation of the weaving process. In 1745, he created the world’s first completely automated loom,[8] drawing on the work of Basile Bouchon and Jean Falcon. Vaucanson was trying to automate the French textile industry with punch cards- a technology that, as refined by Joseph-Marie Jacquard more than a half century later, would revolutionize weaving and, in the twentieth century, would be used to input data into computers and store information in binary form. His proposals were not well received by weavers, however, who pelted him with stones in the street[9] and many of his revolutionary ideas were largely ignored.

He invented several machine tools, such as the first fully documented, all metal slide rest lathe, around 1751 (Though Derry & Williams[10] place this invention around 1768). It was described in the Encyclopédie.

In 1746, he was made a member of the Académie des Sciences.[11]

Jacques de Vaucanson died in Paris in 1782. Vaucanson left a collection of his work as a bequest to Louis XVI. The collection would become the foundation of the Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers in Paris. His original automata have all been lost. The flute player and the tambourine player were reportedly destroyed in the Revolution. His proposals for the automation of the weaving process, although ignored during his lifetime, were later perfected and implemented by Joseph Marie Jacquard, the creator of the Jacquard loom.

Lycee Vaucanson in Grenoble is named in his honor, and trains students for careers in engineering and technical fields.


1827 – Lydia Becker, English-French activist (d. 1890)
Lydia Ernestine Becker (24 February 1827 – 18 July 1890) was a leader in the early British suffrage movement, as well as an amateur scientist with interests in biology and astronomy. She is best remembered for founding and publishing the Women’s Suffrage Journal between 1870 and 1890.

Born in Cooper Street, Manchester, the oldest daughter of Hannibal Becker, whose father, Ernst Becker had emigrated from Ohrdruf in Thuringia. Becker was educated at home, like many girls at the time. Intellectually curious, she studied botany and astronomy, winning a gold medal for an 1862 scholarly paper on horticulture.[1] Five years later, she founded the Ladies’ Literary Society in Manchester. She began a correspondence with Charles Darwin and soon afterwards convinced him to send a paper to the society.[2][3][4] In the course of their correspondence, Becker sent a number of plant samples to Darwin from the fields surrounding Manchester.[5] She also forwarded Darwin a copy of her “little book”, Botany for Novices (1864).[6] Becker is one of a number of 19th-century women who contributed, often routinely, to Darwin’s scientific work.[7] Her correspondence and work alike suggest that Becker had a particular interest in bisexual and hermaphroditic plants which, perhaps, offered her powerful ‘natural’ evidence of radical, alternative sexual and social order.[8]

In autumn 1866 Becker attended the annual meeting of the National Association for the Advancement of Social Science, where she was excited by a paper from Barbara Bodichon entitled “Reasons for the Enfranchisement of Women”. She dedicated herself to organising around the issue, and in January 1867 convened the first meeting of the Manchester Women’s Suffrage Committee, the first organisation of its kind in England.[9]

Several months later, a widowed shop owner, Lilly Maxwell, mistakenly appeared on the register of voters in Manchester. She was not the first but she was a good opportunity for publicity.[10] Becker visited Maxwell and escorted her to the polling station. The returning officer found Maxwell’s name on the list and allowed her to vote. Becker immediately began encouraging other women heads of households in the region to petition for their names to appear on the rolls. Their claims were presented in court by Sir John Coleridge and Richard Pankhurst in Chorlton v. Lings, but the case was dismissed.[11]

On 14 April 1868, the first public meeting of the National Society for Women’s Suffrage in the Free Trade Hall in Manchester. The three main speakers were Agnes Pochin, Anne Robinson and Becker.[12] Becker moved the resolution that women should be granted voting rights on the same terms as men.

Becker subsequently commenced a lecture tour of northern cities on behalf of the society. In June 1869, Becker and fellow campaigners were successful in securing the vote for women in municipal elections.[13] Having campaigned for the inclusion of women on school boards, in 1870 she was one of four women elected to the Manchester School Board on which she served until her death.[14] In the same year Becker and her friend Jessie Boucherett founded the Women’s Suffrage Journal and soon afterward began organising speaking tours of women – a rarity in Britain at the time.[15] At an 1874 speaking event in Manchester organised by Becker, fifteen-year-old Emmeline Pankhurst experienced her first public gathering in the name of women’s suffrage.[16]

The Journal was the most popular publication relating to women’s suffrage in 19th-century Britain. Roger Fulford, in his study of the movement Votes for Women: The Story of a Struggle, writes: “The history of the decades from 1860 to 1890 – so far as women’s suffrage is concerned – is the history of Miss Becker.”[17] The Journal published speeches from around the country, both within and outside of Parliament. Becker published her correspondence with her supporters and her opponents, notably in 1870, when she chastised the MP for Caernarvonshire after he voted against a proposal offering women the vote.[18]

In 1880, Becker and co-workers campaigned in the Isle of Man for the right of women to vote in the House of Keys elections. Unexpectedly, they were successful and they secured for women voting rights in the Isle of Man for the first time in the elections of March 1881.[19]

Becker differed from many early feminists in her disputation of essentialised femininity. Arguing there was no natural difference between the intellect of men and women, Becker was a vocal advocate of a non-gendered education system in Britain.[20] She also differed with many suffrage activists in arguing more strenuously for the voting rights of unmarried women. Women connected to husbands and stable sources of income, Becker believed, were less desperately in need of the vote than widows and single women. This attitude made her the target of frequent ridicule in newspaper commentary and editorial cartoons.[21]

In 1890 Becker visited the spa town of Aix-les-Bains, where she fell ill and died of diphtheria, aged 63.[20] Rather than continue publishing in her absence, the staff of the Women’s Suffrage Journal decided to cease production.





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FYI Military Medal Of Honor Recipients February 24, 2017



Eugene Ashley, Jr. (October 12, 1930 or 1931[1] – February 7, 1968) was a United States Army Special Forces soldier and a recipient of America’s highest military decoration—the Medal of Honor—for his actions in the Vietnam War.

Eugene Ashley , Jr.

The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pride in presenting the Medal of Honor (Posthumously) to Sergeant First Class Eugene Ashley, Jr. (ASN: 12392673), United States Army, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving with Detachment A-101, Company C, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), 1st Special Forces, in action against enemy aggressor forces at Lang Vei, Republic of Vietnam, on 6 and 7 February 1968. Sergeant First Class Ashley was the senior special forces Advisor of a hastily organized assault force whose mission was to rescue entrapped U.S. special forces advisors at Camp Lang Vei. During the initial attack on the special forces camp by North Vietnamese army forces, Sergeant First Class Ashley supported the camp with high explosive and illumination mortar rounds. When communications were lost with the main camp, he assumed the additional responsibility of directing air strikes and artillery support. Sergeant First Class Ashley organized and equipped a small assault force composed of local friendly personnel. During the ensuing battle, Sergeant First Class Ashley led a total of five vigorous assaults against the enemy, continuously exposing himself to a voluminous hail of enemy grenades, machinegun and automatic weapons fire. Throughout these assaults, he was plagued by numerous booby-trapped satchel charges in all bunkers on his avenue of approach. During his fifth and final assault, he adjusted air strikes nearly on top of his assault element, forcing the enemy to withdraw and resulting in friendly control of the summit of the hill. While exposing himself to intense enemy fire, he was seriously wounded by machinegun fire but continued his mission without regard for his personal safety. After the fifth assault he lost consciousness and was carried from the summit by his comrades only to suffer a fatal wound when an enemy artillery round landed in the area. Sergeant First Class Ashley displayed extraordinary heroism in risking his life in an attempt to save the lives of his entrapped comrades and commanding officer. His total disregard for his personal safety while exposed to enemy observation and automatic weapons fire was an inspiration to all men committed to the assault. The resolute valor with which he led five gallant charges placed critical diversionary pressure on the attacking enemy and his valiant efforts carved a channel in the overpowering enemy forces and weapons positions through which the survivors of Camp Lang Vei eventually escaped to freedom. Sergeant First Class Ashley’s bravery at the cost of his life was in the highest traditions of the military service, and reflects great credit upon himself, his unit, and the United States




Oscar Palmer Austin (January 15, 1949 – February 23, 1969) was a United States Marine who posthumously received his nation’s highest military honor — the Medal of Honor — for heroism and sacrifice of his own life in Vietnam in February 1969.


PFC Oscar Palmer Austin


Oscar Palmer Austin
Private First Class, U.S. Marine Corps
Company E, 2d Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division, (Rein), FMF. Place and Date: West of Da Nang, Republic of Vietnam, 23 February 1969.
Entered Service at: Phoenix, Ariz.
Born :15 January 1948, Nacogdoches, Tex.

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as an assistant machine gunner with Company E, in connection with operations against enemy forces. During the early morning hours Pfc. Austin’s observation post was subjected to a fierce ground attack by a large North Vietnamese Army force supported by a heavy volume of hand grenades, satchel charges, and small arms fire. Observing that 1 of his wounded companions had fallen unconscious in a position dangerously exposed to the hostile fire, Pfc. Austin unhesitatingly left the relative security of his fighting hole and, with complete disregard for his safety, raced across the fire-swept terrain to assist the marine to a covered location. As he neared the casualty, he observed an enemy grenade land nearby and, reacting instantly, leaped between the injured marine and the lethal object, absorbing the effects of its detonation. As he ignored his painful injuries and turned to examine the wounded man, he saw a North Vietnamese Army soldier aiming a weapon at his unconscious companion. With full knowledge of the probable consequences and thinking only to protect the marine, Pfc. Austin resolutely threw himself between the casualty and the hostile soldier, and, in doing, was mortally wounded. Pfc. Austin’s indomitable courage, inspiring initiative and selfless devotion to duty upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

“Honor and Sacrifice”



FYI February 23, 21017

February 23rd is National Banana Bread Day


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On this day:

1455 – Traditional date for the publication of the Gutenberg Bible, the first Western book printed with movable type.
Movable type (US English; moveable type in British English) is the system and technology of printing and typography that uses movable components to reproduce the elements of a document (usually individual letters or punctuation) usually on the medium of paper.

The world’s first movable type printing press technology for printing paper books was made of ceramic porcelain china materials and invented in ancient China around AD 1040 by the Han Chinese innovator Bi Sheng (990–1051) during the Northern Song Dynasty (960–1127).[1] In 1377, currently the oldest extant movable metal print book, Jikji, was printed using Chinese characters in the Goryeo dynasty of Korea. The diffusion of both movable-type systems was, however, limited.[2] They were expensive, and required a high amount of labor involved in manipulating the thousands of ceramic tablets or metal tablets, required for scripts based on the ancient Chinese writing script, which has thousands of characters.[3] Around 1450 Johannes Gutenberg made another version of a metal movable-type printing press in Europe, along with innovations in casting the type based on a matrix and hand mould. The more limited number of characters needed for European languages was an important factor.[4] Gutenberg was the first to create his type pieces from an alloy of lead, tin, and antimony—and these materials remained standard for 550 years.[5]

For alphabetic scripts, movable-type page setting was quicker than woodblock printing. The metal type pieces were more durable and the lettering was more uniform, leading to typography and fonts. The high quality and relatively low price of the Gutenberg Bible (1455) established the superiority of movable type in Europe and the use of printing presses spread rapidly. The printing press may be regarded as one of the key factors fostering the Renaissance[6] and due to its effectiveness, its use spread around the globe.

The 19th-century invention of hot metal typesetting and its successors caused movable type to decline in the 20th century.


1903 – Cuba leases Guantánamo Bay to the United States “in perpetuity”.


Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, also known as Naval Station Guantanamo Bay or NSGB, (also called GTMO because of the airfield designation code or Gitmo because of the common pronunciation of this code by the U.S. military[1]) is a United States military base located on 45 square miles (120 km2) of land and water at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, which the US leased for use as a coaling and naval station in 1903 (for $2,000 per year until 1934, when it was increased to $4,085 per year). The base is on the shore of Guantánamo Bay at the southeastern end of Cuba. It is the oldest overseas U.S. Naval Base.[2] Since the Cuban Revolution of 1959, the Cuban government has consistently protested against the U.S. presence on Cuban soil and called it illegal under international law, alleging that the base was imposed on Cuba by force. At the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2013, Cuba’s Foreign Minister demanded the U.S. return the base and the “usurped territory”, which the Cuban government considers to be occupied since the U.S. invasion of Cuba during the Spanish–American War in 1898.[3][4][5][6][7]

Since 2002, the naval base has contained a military prison, the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, for unlawful combatants captured in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other places during the War on Terror.[8] Cases of torture of prisoners,[9] and their alleged denial of protection under the Geneva Conventions, have been condemned internationally.[10][11]


Born on this day:

1583 – Jean-Baptiste Morin, French mathematician, astrologer, and astronomer (d. 1656)
For the 18th-century French composer, see Jean-Baptiste Morin (composer). For the Canadian politician, see Jean-Baptiste Morin (politician).

Jean-Baptiste Morin (February 23, 1583 – November 6, 1656), also known by the Latinized name as Morinus, was a French mathematician, astrologer, and astronomer.
Life and work

Born in Villefranche-sur-Saône, in the Beaujolais, he began studying philosophy at Aix-en-Provence at the age of 16. He studied medicine at Avignon in 1611 and received his medical degree two years later. He was employed by the Bishop of Boulogne from 1613 to 1621 and was sent to Germany and Hungary during this time. He served the bishop as an astrologer and also visited mines and studied metals. He subsequently worked for the Duke of Luxembourg until 1629. Morin published a defense of Aristotle in 1624. He also worked in the field of optics, and continued to study in astrology. He worked with Pierre Gassendi on observational astronomy.

In 1630, Morin was appointed professor of mathematics at the Collège Royal, a post he held until his death.

A firm believer of the idea that the Earth remained fixed in space, Morin is best known for being an opponent of Galileo and the latter’s ideas. He continued his attacks after the Trial of Galileo. Morin seems to have been a rather contentious figure, as he also attacked Descartes’ ideas after meeting the philosopher in 1638. These disputes isolated Morin from the scientific community at large.

Morin believed that improved methods of solving spherical triangles had to be found and that better lunar tables were needed.
Morin and longitude

Morin attempted to solve the longitude problem. In 1634, he proposed his solution, based on measuring absolute time by the position of the Moon relative to the stars. His method was a variation of the lunar distance method first put forward by Johann Werner in 1514. Morin added some improvements to this method, such as better scientific instruments and taking lunar parallax into account. Morin did not believe that Gemma Frisius’ transporting clock method for calculating out longitude would work. Morin, unfailingly irascible, remarked, “I do not know if the Devil will succeed in making a longitude timekeeper but it is folly for man to try.”[1]

A prize was to be awarded, so a committee was set up by Richelieu to evaluate Morin’s proposal. Serving on this committee were Étienne Pascal, Claude Mydorge, and Pierre Hérigone. The committee remained in dispute with Morin for the five years after he made his proposal. Morin refused to listen to objections to his proposal, which was considered impractical. In his attempts to convince the committee members, Morin proposed that an observatory be set up in order to provide accurate lunar data. He wrangled with the committee for five years.

In 1645, Cardinal Mazarin, Richelieu’s successor, awarded Morin a pension of 2,000 livres for his work on the longitude problem.
Morin and astrology

Perhaps most famous for his work as an astrologer, towards the end of his life Morin completed Astrologia Gallica (“French Astrology”), a treatise which he did not live to see in print. The 26 books of intricate, complex, Latin text were published at the Hague in 1661 as one thick folio 850 pages long. The work covers natal, judicial, mundane, electional and meteorological astrology, and parts that are most concerned with astrological techniques (as compared to theological discussion on which they are based) have been translated or paraphrased into French, Spanish, German, and English.

At least among English-speaking astrologers, Morin is known as having been particularly concerned with prediction through methodical extrapolation of what is promised in the natal chart. His techniques were directions, solar and lunar return, and he regarded transits a subsidiary technique though one key to accurate timing of events nonetheless.

Morin challenged much of classical astrological theory, including the astrology of Ptolemy, in an attempt to present a solid set of tools while rendering reasons for and against particular techniques, some of which may be considered crucial to many astrologers before and during Morin’s lifetime. At the same time, Morin vested himself heavily in promoting in mundo directions, a technique largely based on the work of Regiomontanus that became available thanks to then-recent advancement in mathematics. In his work, Morin provides examples of successful delineation of events that otherwise could not be delineated with the same relative degree of certainty.

Morin’s life has been that of trial and tribulation by his own testament. He died in Paris of natural causes at 73 years of age.
1868 – W. E. B. Du Bois, American sociologist, historian, and activist (d. 1963)
William Edward Burghardt “W. E. B.” Du Bois (pronounced /duːˈbɔɪz/ doo-BOYZ; February 23, 1868 – August 27, 1963) was an American sociologist, historian, civil rights activist, Pan-Africanist, author, and editor. Born in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, Du Bois grew up in a relatively tolerant and integrated community. After completing graduate work at the University of Berlin and Harvard, where he was the first African American to earn a doctorate, he became a professor of history, sociology and economics at Atlanta University. Du Bois was one of the co-founders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in 1909.
Du Bois rose to national prominence as the leader of the Niagara Movement, a group of African-American activists who wanted equal rights for blacks. Du Bois and his supporters opposed the Atlanta compromise, an agreement crafted by Booker T. Washington which provided that Southern blacks would work and submit to white political rule, while Southern whites guaranteed that blacks would receive basic educational and economic opportunities. Instead, Du Bois insisted on full civil rights and increased political representation, which he believed would be brought about by the African-American intellectual elite. He referred to this group as the Talented Tenth and believed that African Americans needed the chances for advanced education to develop its leadership.

Racism was the main target of Du Bois’s polemics, and he strongly protested against lynching, Jim Crow laws, and discrimination in education and employment. His cause included people of color everywhere, particularly Africans and Asians in colonies. He was a proponent of Pan-Africanism and helped organize several Pan-African Congresses to fight for independence of African colonies from European powers. Du Bois made several trips to Europe, Africa and Asia. After World War I, he surveyed the experiences of American black soldiers in France and documented widespread bigotry in the United States military.

Du Bois was a prolific author. His collection of essays, The Souls of Black Folk, was a seminal work in African-American literature; and his 1935 magnum opus Black Reconstruction in America challenged the prevailing orthodoxy that blacks were responsible for the failures of the Reconstruction Era. He wrote one of the first scientific treatises in the field of American sociology, and he published three autobiographies, each of which contains insightful essays on sociology, politics and history. In his role as editor of the NAACP’s journal The Crisis, he published many influential pieces. Du Bois believed that capitalism was a primary cause of racism, and he was generally sympathetic to socialist causes throughout his life. He was an ardent peace activist and advocated nuclear disarmament. The United States’ Civil Rights Act, embodying many of the reforms for which Du Bois had campaigned his entire life, was enacted a year after his death.



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FYI February 22, 2017

February 22nd is National Margarita Day



On this day:

1632 – Galileo’s Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems is published.
The Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems (Dialogo sopra i due massimi sistemi del mondo) is a 1632 Italian-language book by Galileo Galilei comparing the Copernican system with the traditional Ptolemaic system. It was translated into Latin as Systema cosmicum[1] (English: Cosmic System) in 1635 by Matthias Bernegger.[2] The book was dedicated to Galileo’s patron, Ferdinando II de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, who received the first printed copy on February 22, 1632.[3]

In the Copernican system, the Earth and other planets orbit the Sun, while in the Ptolemaic system, everything in the Universe circles around the Earth. The Dialogue was published in Florence under a formal license from the Inquisition. In 1633, Galileo was found to be “vehemently suspect of heresy” based on the book, which was then placed on the Index of Forbidden Books, from which it was not removed until 1835 (after the theories it discussed had been permitted in print in 1822).[4] 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 in Catholic countries.[5]


While writing the book, Galileo referred to it as his Dialogue on the Tides, and when the manuscript went to the Inquisition for approval, the title was Dialogue on the Ebb and Flow of the Sea. He was ordered to remove all mention of tides from the title and to change the preface because granting approval to such a title would look like approval of his theory of the tides using the motion of the Earth as proof. As a result, the formal title on the title page is Dialogue, which is followed by Galileo’s name, academic posts, and followed by a long subtitle. The name by which the work is now known was extracted by the printer from the description on the title page when permission was given to reprint it with an approved preface by a Catholic theologian in 1744.[6] This must be kept in mind when discussing Galileo’s motives for writing the book. Although the book is presented formally as a consideration of both systems (as it needed to be in order to be published at all), there is no question that the Copernican side gets the better of the argument.[7]

The book is presented as a series of discussions, over a span of four days, among two philosophers and a layman:

Salviati argues for the Copernican position and presents some of Galileo’s views directly, calling him the “Academician” in honor of Galileo’s membership in the Accademia dei Lincei. He is named after Galileo’s friend Filippo Salviati (1582–1614).
Sagredo is an intelligent layman who is initially neutral. He is named after Galileo’s friend Giovanni Francesco Sagredo (1571–1620).
Simplicio, a dedicated follower of Ptolemy and Aristotle, presents the traditional views and the arguments against the Copernican position. He is supposedly named after Simplicius of Cilicia, a sixth-century commentator on Aristotle, but it was suspected the name was a double entendre, as the Italian for “simple” (as in “simple minded”) is “semplice”.[8] Simplicio is modeled on two contemporary conservative philosophers, Lodovico delle Colombe (Italian) (1565–1616?), Galileo’s fiercest detractor, and Cesare Cremonini (1550–1631), a Paduan colleague who had refused to look through the telescope.[9] Colombe was the leader of a group of Florentine opponents of Galileo’s, which some of the latter’s friends referred to as “the pigeon league”.[10]


The discussion is not narrowly limited to astronomical topics, but ranges over much of contemporary science. Some of this is to show what Galileo considered good science, such as the discussion of William Gilbert’s work on magnetism. Other parts are important to the debate, answering erroneous arguments against the Earth’s motion.

A classic argument against earth motion is the lack of speed sensations of the earth surface, though it moves, by the earth’s rotation, at about 1700 km/h at the equator. In this category there is a thought experiment in which a man is below decks on a ship and cannot tell whether the ship is docked or is moving smoothly through the water: he observes water dripping from a bottle, fish swimming in a tank, butterflies flying, and so on; and their behavior is just the same whether the ship is moving or not. This is a classic exposition of the Inertial frame of reference and refutes the objection that if we were moving hundreds of kilometres an hour as the Earth rotated, anything that one dropped would rapidly fall behind and drift to the west.

The bulk of Galileo’s arguments may be divided into three classes:

Rebuttals to the objections raised by traditional philosophers; for example, the thought experiment on the ship.
Observations that are incompatible with the Ptolemaic model: the phases of Venus, for instance, which simply couldn’t happen, or the apparent motions of sunspots, which could only be explained in the Ptolemaic or Tychonic systems as resulting from an implausibly complicated precession of the Sun’s axis of rotation.[11]
Arguments showing that the elegant unified theory of the Heavens that the philosophers held, which was believed to prove that the Earth was stationary, was incorrect; for instance, the mountains of the Moon, the moons of Jupiter, and the very existence of sunspots, none of which was part of the old astronomy.

Generally, these arguments have held up well in terms of the knowledge of the next four centuries. Just how convincing they ought to have been to an impartial reader in 1632 remains a contentious issue.

Galileo attempted a fourth class of argument:

Direct physical argument for the Earth’s motion, by means of an explanation of tides.

As an account of the causation of tides or a proof of the Earth’s motion, it is a failure. The fundamental argument is internally inconsistent and actually leads to the conclusion that tides do not exist. But, Galileo was fond of the argument and devoted the “Fourth Day” of the discussion to it.

The degree of its failure is—like nearly anything having to do with Galileo—a matter of controversy. On the one hand, the whole thing has recently been described in print as “cockamamie.”[12] On the other hand, Einstein used a rather different description:

It was Galileo’s longing for a mechanical proof of the motion of the earth which misled him into formulating a wrong theory of the tides. The fascinating arguments in the last conversation would hardly have been accepted as proof by Galileo, had his temperament not got the better of him. [Emphasis added][13][14]



Born on this day:

1796 – Adolphe Quetelet, Belgian mathematician, astronomer, and sociologist (d. 1874)
Lambert Adolphe Jacques Quetelet (French: [kətlɛ]; 22 February 1796 – 17 February 1874) ForMemRS[2] was a Belgian astronomer, mathematician, statistician and sociologist. He founded and directed the Brussels Observatory and was influential in introducing statistical methods to the social sciences. His name is sometimes spelled with an accent as Quételet.[3][4] He developed the body mass index scale.

Adolphe was born in Ghent (which, at the time was a part of the new French Republic), the son of François-Augustin-Jacques-Henri Quetelet, a Frenchman and Anne Françoise Vandervelde, a Flemish woman. His father, François, was born at Ham, Picardy, and being of a somewhat adventurous spirit, he crossed the English Channel and became both a British citizen and the secretary of a Scottish nobleman. In that capacity, he traveled with his employer on the Continent, particularly spending time in Italy. At about 31, he settled in Ghent and was employed by the city, where Adolphe was born the fifth of nine children, several of whom died in childhood.

Francois died when Adolphe was only seven years old. Adolphe studied at the Ghent lycée, where he started teaching mathematics in 1815 at the age of 19. In 1819 he moved to the Athenaeum in Brussels and in the same year he completed his dissertation (De quibusdam locis geometricis, necnon de curva focal – Of some new properties of the focal distance and some other curves).

Quetelet received a doctorate in mathematics in 1819 from the University of Ghent. Shortly thereafter, the young man set out to convince government officials and private donors to build an astronomical observatory in Brussels; he succeeded in 1828. He became a member of the Royal Academy in 1820. He lectured at the museum for sciences and letters and at the Belgian Military School. In 1825 he became correspondent of the Royal Institute of the Netherlands, in 1827 he became member. From 1841 to 1851 he was supernumerair’ associate in the Institute, and when it became Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences he became foreign member.[5] In 1850, he was elected a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

Quetelet also founded several statistical journals and societies, and was especially interested in creating international cooperation among statisticians. He encouraged the creation of a statistical section of the British Association for the Advancement of Science (BA), which later became the Royal Statistical Society, of which he became the first overseas member.

In 1855 Quetelet suffered from apoplexy, which diminished but did not end his scientific activity. He died in Brussels on 17 February 1874, and is buried in the Brussels Cemetery.

His scientific research encompassed a wide range of different scientific disciplines: meteorology, astronomy, mathematics, statistics, demography, sociology, criminology and history of science. He made significant contributions to scientific development, but he also wrote several monographs directed to the general public. He founded the Royal Observatory of Belgium, founded or co-founded several national and international statistical societies and scientific journals, and presided over the first series of the International Statistical Congresses. Quetelet was a liberal and an anticlerical, but not an atheist or materialist nor a socialist.
Social physics

The new science of probability and statistics was mainly used in astronomy at the time, where it was essential to account for measurement errors around means. This was done using the method of least squares. Quetelet was among the first to apply statistics to social science, planning what he called “social physics”. He was keenly aware of the overwhelming complexity of social phenomena, and the many variables that needed measurement. His goal was to understand the statistical laws underlying such phenomena as crime rates, marriage rates or suicide rates. He wanted to explain the values of these variables by other social factors. These ideas were rather controversial among other scientists at the time who held that it contradicted the concept of freedom of choice.

His most influential book was Sur l’homme et le développement de ses facultés, ou Essai de physique sociale, published in 1835 (In English translation, it is titled Treatise on Man, but a literal translation would be “On Man and the Development of his Faculties, or Essays on Social Physics”). In it, he outlines the project of a social physics and describes his concept of the “average man” (l’homme moyen) who is characterized by the mean values of measured variables that follow a normal distribution. He collected data about many such variables.

When Auguste Comte discovered that Quetelet had appropriated the term ‘social physics’, which Comte had originally introduced, Comte found it necessary to invent the term ‘sociologie’ (sociology) because he disagreed with Quetelet’s collection of statistics.

Quetelet was an influential figure in criminology. Along with Andre-Michel Guerry, he helped to establish the cartographic school and positivist schools of criminology which made extensive use of statistical techniques. Through statistical analysis, Quetelet gained insight into the relationships between crime and other social factors. Among his findings were strong relationships between age and crime, as well as gender and crime. Other influential factors he found included climate, poverty, education, and alcohol consumption, with his research findings published in Of the Development of the Propensity to Crime.[6]

In his 1835 text on social physics, in which he presented his theory of human variance around the average, with human traits being distributed according to a normal curve, he proposed that normal variation provided a basis for the idea that populations produce sufficient variation for artificial or natural selection to operate.[7]

In terms of influence over later public health agendas, one of Quetelet’s lasting legacies was the establishment of a simple measure for classifying people’s weight relative to an ideal for their height. His proposal, the body mass index (or Quetelet index), has endured with minor variations to the present day.[8] Anthropometric data is used in modern applications and referenced in the development of every consumer-based product.




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FYI February 21, 2017

February 21st is National Sticky Buns Day!

Easy Vegan Sticky Buns

Easy Caramel Sticky Buns


On this day:

1245 – Thomas, the first known Bishop of Finland, is granted resignation after confessing to torture and forgery.
Thomas (Finnish: Tuomas) is the first known Bishop of Finland. Only a few facts are known about his life. He resigned in 1245 and died in Visby three years later.
The only reference to Bishop Thomas during his episcopate in Finland is a letter signed by him in Nousiainen in 1234, which granted certain lands around the parish to his chaplain Wilhelm.[1] The lands may be related to the papal permission from Pope Gregory IX in early 1229 that authorized the church to take over all non-Christian places of worship in Finland.[2] The letter is the oldest surviving letter written in Finland.

No further information on the bishop’s activities has survived before he was granted resignation by Pope Innocent IV on 21 February 1245.[3] According to the Pope, Thomas had admitted committing several felonies, such as torturing a man to death, and forging a papal letter.[4] Church representatives to oversee the resignation were the Archbishop of Uppsala and the Dominican prior of the Dacian province.[5] Thomas donated his books to the newly established Dominican convent in Sigtuna[6] and went on to live his last years in the Dominican convent in Visby, Gotland. He died there in 1248,[7] shortly before the Second Swedish Crusade, which cemented Swedish rule in Finland for more than 550 years.

During Thomas’ episcopate, Finland is listed among the lands under the papal legate in the Baltic region, originally the Bishop of Zemgale, Baldwin, and then William of Modena, first on 28 January 1232 and last on 15 July 1244.[8] This was a radical realignment of the bishopric’s position, since the Pope had earlier used Swedish bishops to assist the Finnish church, as evident from papal letters from 1171 (or 1172), 1221 and 1229. On 24 November 1232, the Pope even asked the Livonian Brothers of the Sword to provide forces for the unnamed Bishop of Finland to defend the country against the Novgorodian attacks.[9]

After Thomas had resigned in 1245, there was no immediate successor to him. The diocese was overseen by William at least until 5 June 1248.[10] Finland is not listed among the Swedish dioceses in surviving documents from 1241 and 1248, but appears among them in 1253.[11]

Even though Thomas is the first known Bishop of Finland, it is certain that he was not the first bishop overall. An unnamed Bishop of Finland is mentioned dead in a letter by Pope Innocent III already in 1209.[12] A 15th-century chronicle names bishops Henry, Rodulff and Folquinus before him, but no indisputable records survive of them.



1828 – Initial issue of the Cherokee Phoenix is the first periodical to use the Cherokee syllabary invented by Sequoyah.
The Cherokee Phoenix (Cherokee: ᏣᎳᎩ ᏧᎴᎯᏌᏅᎯ, translit. Tsalagi Tsulehisanəhi) was the first newspaper published by Native Americans in the United States and the first published in a Native American language.[1][2] The first issue was published in English and Cherokee on February 21, 1828, in New Echota, capital of the Cherokee Nation (present-day Georgia). The paper continued until 1834. The Cherokee Phoenix was revived in the 20th century, and today it publishes both print and Internet versions.

In the mid-1820s the Cherokee tribe was being pressured by the government, and by Georgia in particular, to remove to new lands west of the Mississippi River, or to end their tribal government and surrender control of their traditional territory to the United States (US) government. The General Council of the Cherokee Nation established a newspaper, in collaboration with Samuel Worcester, a missionary, who cast the type for the Cherokee syllabary. The Council selected Elias Boudinot as the first editor.[3]

Named Galagina Oowatie (ᎦᎴᎩᎾ ᎤᏩᏘ) in the Cherokee language, Elias Boudinot was born in 1804 at Oothcaloga, Cherokee Nation, near present-day Chatsworth, Georgia.[3] He chose the name of Elias Boudinot after meeting the statesman, while on his way to the Foreign Mission School in Cornwall, Connecticut, where he graduated. There Boudinot married Harriet Ruggles Gold, daughter of a prominent Congregational family. They returned to live at New Echota. Boudinot edited the newspaper for its first four and a half years.[citation needed]

Boudinot named the Cherokee Phoenix as a symbol of renewal, for the mythical bird that rose to new life from ashes of fire. The Nation founded the paper to gather support and to help keep members of the Cherokee Nation united and informed. The newspaper was printed in English and Cherokee, using the Cherokee syllabary developed in 1821 by Sequoyah. According to Langguth, those who could only read Cherokee received the paper free, while those who could read English paid according to a sliding scale:$2.50 a year if they paid in advance and $3.50 a year if they waited a year.[4] It served as the primary vehicle of communication among the many Cherokee townships that constituted the Cherokee Nation. The Nation occupied parts of what are now Virginia, North Carolina, Alabama and Georgia.[citation needed]

The first issue appeared February 21, 1828. It contained five columns on each of its four pages. The editor announced that, because translation between English and Cherokee was slow, initially the paper would print only three columns each week in the Cherokee language. The first issue covered a variety of subjects. Samuel Worcester wrote an article praising Sequoyah’s invention of the syllabary, and Boudinot’s first editorial criticized white settlers wanting Cherokee land. As the issue of removal attracted attention in the United States (US), the newspaper arranged a fund-raising and publicity tour, which attracted new subscribers from almost all areas of the US and Europe. Boudinot gradually published mostly in English, trying to reach that larger audience.[3]

In 1829, Boudinot renamed the Cherokee Phoenix as the Cherokee Phoenix and Indians’ Advocate, reflecting his intention to influence an audience beyond the Cherokee. He addressed issues which Indians across the United States and its territories faced related to assimilation and removal from their traditional homelands. The paper no longer related solely the Cherokee tribe. The paper also offered stories about debates over Indian removal and U.S. Supreme Court cases that affected Indian life.[5]

Boudinot believed removal was inevitable and that the Cherokee should protect their rights by treaty. He was allied with Major Ridge in this view. His views were opposed by the majority of the Cherokee, including Principal Chief John Ross, elected by the constitutional republic in 1828. The Council forced Boudinot to resign in 1832.[citation needed]

Elijah Hicks, an anti-removal Cherokee, replaced Boudinot as editor. When the federal government failed to pay the annuity to the Cherokee in 1834, the paper ceased publication. In August 1835 a contingent of the Georgia Guard took the printing press to prevent any further publication. The real objective was to prevent the newspaper from falling under the influence of John Ross.[6] The state militia was organized to police the Cherokee territory which the state had claimed.[3]
Recent developments

The Cherokee Phoenix published intermittently after Cherokee removal to Indian Territory. Since the late 20th century, it has been revived and is now published by the Cherokee Nation as a monthly broadsheet in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. The newspaper has modernized. It publishes on the Internet and is available on the iPhone, and there is a print version.[7]

A digitized, searchable version of the paper is available through the University of Georgia libraries and the Digital Library of Georgia.[8] Transcriptions of the English-language portions of the 19th-century newspaper can be found at Western Carolina University’s Hunter Library’s Web site.[9]

Artists Jeff Marley and Frank Brannon completed a collaborative project on October 19, 2013, in which they printed using Cherokee syllabary type in the print shop at New Echota. This was the first time syllabary printing type was used at New Echota since 1835.[10]

Born on this day:

1556 – Sethus Calvisius, German astronomer, composer, and theorist (d. 1615)
Sethus Calvisius or Setho Calvisio, originally Seth Kalwitz (21 February 1556 – 24 November 1615), was a German music theorist, composer, chronologer, astronomer, and teacher of the late Renaissance.
He was born into a peasant family at Gorsleben in present-day Thuringia. By the exercise of his musical talents he earned money enough for the start, at Helmstedt, of a university career, which the aid of a wealthy patron enabled him to continue at Leipzig. He became director of the music-school at Pforta in 1572. In 1594 he was transferred to Leipzig in the same post, including directing the Thomanerchor at the Thomaskirche.[1] He retained this post until his death in Leipzig, despite the offers successively made to him of mathematical professorships at Frankfurt and Wittenberg.

Calvisius was also a significant astronomer: in his Opus Chronologicum (Leipzig, 1605, 7th ed. 1685) he expounded a system based on the records of nearly 300 eclipses. An ingenious, though ineffective, proposal for the reform of the calendar was put forward in his Elenchus Calendarii Gregoriani (Frankfurt, 1612); and he published a book on music, Melodiae condendae ratio (Erfurt, 1592). He composed choral pieces including Unser Leben währet siebzig Jahr.[1]




1788 – Francis Ronalds, British scientist, inventor and engineer (d. 1873)
Sir Francis Ronalds FRS (21 February 1788 – 8 August 1873) was an English scientist and inventor, and arguably the first electrical engineer.[1] He was knighted for creating the first working electric telegraph.
Upbringing and family
Born to merchants Francis Ronalds and Jane née Field at their cheesemonger business in Upper Thames Street, London, he attended Unitarian minister Eliezer Cogan’s school before being apprenticed to his father at the age of 14. He ran the large business for some years. The family later resided in Highbury Terrace Islington, at Kelmscott House in Hammersmith, Queen Square in Bloomsbury, at Croydon, and on Chiswick Lane.[2]

Several of Ronalds’ eleven brothers and sisters also led noteworthy lives. His youngest brother Alfred authored the classic book The Fly-fisher’s Entomology (1836) before migrating to Australia and their brother Hugh was one of the founders of the city of Albion in the American Midwest. Their sisters married Samuel Carter[3] – a railway solicitor and MP – and sugar-refiner Peter Martineau of the famous Martineau family. Another sister Emily epitomised the family’s interest in social reform through her collaborations with early socialists Robert Owen and Fanny Wright.

Chemistry professor Edmund Ronalds and artist Hugh Carter[4] are two of Ronalds’ nephews and his nurseryman uncle Hugh Ronalds published the revered book Pyrus Malus Brentfordiensis: or, a Concise Description of Selected Apples (1831).[5]
Early electrical science and engineering
Ronalds was conducting electrical experiments by 1810: those on atmospheric electricity were outlined in George Singer’s text Elements of Electricity and Electro-Chemistry (1814).[6] He published his first papers in the Philosophical Magazine in 1814 on the properties of the dry pile, a form of battery that his mentor Jean-André Deluc helped to develop. The next year he described the first electric clock.[7]

Other inventions in this early period included an electrograph to record variations in atmospheric electricity through the day; an influence machine that generated electricity with minimal manual intervention; and new forms of electrical insulation, one of which was announced by Singer.[1][2] He was also already creating what would become the renowned Ronalds Library[8] of electrical books and managing his collection with perhaps the first practical card catalogue.[9]

His theoretical contributions included an early delineation of the parameters now known as electromotive force and current; an appreciation of the mechanism by which dry piles generated electricity; and the first description of the effects of induction in retarding electric signal transmission in insulated cables.[1][2][10]
Electric Telegraph
Elements of the subterranean electric telegraph built by Francis Ronalds in 1816

Ronalds’ most remembered work today is the electric telegraph he created at the age of 28. Foreshadowing both a future electrical age and mass communication, he wrote:

electricity, may actually be employed for a more practically useful purpose than the gratification of the philosopher’s inquisitive research… it may be compelled to travel… many hundred miles beneath our feet… and… be productive of… much public and private benefit…

why… add to the torments of absence those dilatory tormentors, pens, ink, paper, and posts? Let us have electrical conversazione offices, communicating with each other all over the kingdom…
give me materiel enough, and I will electrify the world.[11]

He complemented his vision with a working telegraph system built in and under the family’s garden at Hammersmith.[12] It was infamously rejected on 5 August 1816 by Sir John Barrow, Secretary at the Admiralty, as being “wholly unnecessary”. Commercialisation of the telegraph only began two decades later in the UK, led by William Fothergill Cooke and Charles Wheatstone, who both had links to Ronalds’ earlier work.[12][13]

Grand Tour
The period 1818–20 was Ronalds’ “Grand Tour” to Europe and the Near East. Embarking on his trip alone, he met up with numerous people along the way, including his friend Sir Frederick Henniker,[14] archaeologist Giovanni Battista Belzoni, artist Giovanni Battista Lusieri, merchant Walter Stevenson Davidson,[15] Revd George Waddington, Italian numismatist it:Giulio Cordero di San Quintino and Spanish geologist es:Carlos de Gimbernat. Ronalds’ travel journal and sketches have been published on the web.[16] On his return, he published his atmospheric electricity observations made in Palermo, Sicily, and near the erupting crater of Vesuvius.[11]
Mechanical design and manufacture
Ronalds next focussed on mechanical and civil engineering and design. Two surveying tools he designed and used to aid the production of survey plans were a modified surveyor’s wheel that recorded distances travelled in graphical form and a double-reflecting sector to draw the angular separation of distant objects. He also invented a forerunner to the fire finder patented in 1915 to pinpoint the location of a fire and various accessories for the lathe. Some of these devices were manufactured for sale by toolmaker Holtzapffel.[2]
Perspective machines and tripod stand

In 1825, he patented two drawing instruments for producing perspective sketches.[17] The first produced a perspective view of an object directly from drawings of the plan and elevations. The second machine enabled a scene or person to be traced from life onto paper with considerable precision; he and Dr Alexander Blair used it to document the important Neolithic monuments at Carnac, France, with “almost photographic accuracy”.[18][19] He also created the ubiquitous portable tripod stand with three pairs of hinged legs to support his drawing board in the field. He manufactured these instruments himself and several hundred of them were sold.[2] One of his first customers was mining engineer John Taylor.

Kew Observatory
In 1842, Ronalds set up the Kew Observatory for the British Association for the Advancement of Science and he remained Honorary Director of the facility until late 1853. It was through the quality of his achievements there that Kew survived its early years and it went to become one of the most important meteorological and geomagnetic observatories in the world. This was despite ongoing efforts by George Airy, Director of the Greenwich Observatory, to undermine the work at Kew.[20]
Continuously recording camera
Ronalds’ most noteworthy innovation at Kew, in 1845, was the first successful camera to make continuous recordings of an instrument 24 hours per day.[21] The British Prime Minister Lord John Russell gave him a financial award in recognition of the importance of the invention for observational science.[22]

He applied his technique in electrographs to observe atmospheric electricity, barographs and thermo-hygrographs to monitor the weather, and magnetographs to record the three components of geomagnetic force. The magnetographs were utilised by Edward Sabine in his global geomagnetic survey while the barograph and thermo-hygrograph were employed by the new Met Office to assist its first weather forecasts. Ronalds also supervised the manufacture of his instruments for other observatories around the world (the Radcliffe Observatory under Manuel John Johnson and the Colaba Observatory in India are two examples) and some continued in use until late in the 20th century.[2]
Meteorological instruments and observations
Further instruments created at Kew included an improved version of Regnault’s aspirated hygrometer that was employed for many years; an early meteorological kite; and the storm clock used to monitor rapid changes in meteorological parameters during extreme events.[20]

To observe atmospheric electricity, Ronalds created a sophisticated collecting apparatus with a suite of electrometers; the equipment was later manufactured and sold by London instrument-makers. A dataset of five years’ duration was analysed and published by his observatory colleague William Radcliffe Birt.[23]

The phenomenon now known as geomagnetically induced current was observed on telegraph lines in 1848 during the first sunspot peak after the network began to take shape. Ronalds endeavoured to employ his atmospheric electricity equipment and magnetographs in a detailed study to understand the cause of the anomalies but had insufficient resources to complete his work.[2]
Last years
Ronalds’ final foreign sojourn in 1853-62 was to northern Italy, Switzerland and France, where he assisted other observatories in building and installing his meteorological instruments and continued collecting books for his library. Some of his ideas documented in this period concerned electric lighting and a combined rudder and propeller for ships that was honed in the 20th century.

He died at Battle, near Hastings, aged 85, and is buried in the cemetery there. The Ronalds Library was bequeathed to the newly formed Society of Telegraph Engineers (soon to become the Institution of Electrical Engineers and now the Institution of Engineering and Technology) and its accompanying bibliography was reprinted by Cambridge University Press in 2013.[24]

Ronalds had a very modest and retiring nature and did little to publicise his work through his life.[25] During his last years, however, his key accomplishments became well known and revered in the scientific community, aided in particular by his friends Josiah Latimer Clark and Edward Sabine and his brother-in-law Samuel Carter. He was knighted at the age of 82. Colleagues at the Society of Telegraph Engineers regarded him as “the father of electric telegraphy”,[26] while his continuously recording camera was noted to be “of extreme importance to meteorologists and physicists, and… employed in all first-rate observatories”.[27] His portrait was painted by Hugh Carter.[28] Commemorative plaques have been installed on two of his former homes[29] and a road was named after him in Highbury.




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FYI February 20, 2017

February 20th is National Muffin Day




On this day:

1935 – Caroline Mikkelsen becomes the first woman to set foot in Antarctica.
Caroline Mikkelsen (1906 – late 1990s) was born in Denmark and in 1935 was the first woman to set foot on Antarctica,[1] although whether this was on the mainland or an island is a matter of dispute.
Antarctic exploration

In the winter of 1934-1935, Mikkelsen accompanied her Norwegian husband, Captain Klarius Mikkelsen, on an Antarctic expedition sponsored by Lars Christensen, on the resupply vessel Thorshavn, with instructions to look for Antarctic lands that could be annexed for Norway.[2][3] Mount Caroline Mikkelsen is named for her.[4]

On 20 February 1935, the expedition made landfall somewhere on the Antarctic continental shelf.[5] Mikkelsen left the ship and participated in raising the Norwegian flag and in building a memorial cairn.[6] Mikkelsen never made any recorded claims to have landed on the mainland, but was initially thought to have landed on the Vestfold Hills not far from the present Davis Station.[1] She did not publicly speak about her Antarctic voyage until sixty years after her landing in 1995 when she spoke about her journey to the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten having been contacted by Davis Station Leader Diane Patterson.[7]

In 1998 and 2002, Australian researchers published historical articles in the Polar Record concluding that the landing party from the Thorshavn—and thus Mikkelsen—landed on the Tryne Islands where a marker at Mikkelsen’s Cairn can still be seen today).[8][9][10][11] The landing site is a approximately five kilometres from the Antarctic mainland. No alternative mainland landing site for the Mikkelsen party has been discovered, in spite of years of searching by Davis Station workers.[12][13] Consequently, Mikkelsen is regarded as the first woman to set foot on an Antarctic island, and Ingrid Christensen, the first to stand on the Antarctic mainland.



1943 – American movie studio executives agree to allow the Office of War Information to censor movies.
The United States Office of War Information (OWI) was a United States government agency created during World War II to consolidate existing government information services and deliver propaganda both at home and abroad. OWI operated from June 1942 until September 1945. Through radio broadcasts, newspapers, posters, photographs, films and other forms of media, the OWI was the connection between the battlefront and civilian communities. The office also established several overseas branches, which launched a large-scale information and propaganda campaign abroad.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt promulgated the OWI on June 13, 1942 by Executive Order 9182[1] to consolidate the functions of the Office of Facts and Figures (OWI’s direct predecessor), the Office of Government Reports, and the Division of Information of the Office for Emergency Management. The Foreign Information Service, a division of the Office of the Coordinator of Information, became the core of the Overseas Branch of the OWI.

At the onset of World War II, the American public was in the dark regarding wartime information. One American observer noted: “It all seemed to boil down to three bitter complaints…first, that there was too much information; second, that there wasn’t enough of it; and third, that in any event it was confusing and inconsistent”.[2] Further, the American public confessed a lack of understanding as to why the world was at war, and held great resentment against other Allied Nations.[3] President Roosevelt established the OWI to both meet the demands for news and less confusion, as well as resolve American apathy towards the war.

The OWI’s creation was not without controversy. The American public, and the United States Congress in particular, were wary of propaganda for several reasons. First, the press feared a centralized agency as the sole distributor of wartime information.[4] Second, Congress feared an American propaganda machine that could resemble Joseph Goebbels’ operation in Nazi Germany.[5] Third, previous attempts at propaganda under the Committee on Public Information/Creel Committee during WWI were viewed as a failure.[6] And fourth, America was experiencing endemic isolationism and was hesitant to become involved in a global propaganda campaign and subsequently a global war.

But in the wake of the attack on Pearl Harbor, the need for coordinated and properly disseminated wartime information from the military/administration to the public outweighed the fears associated with American propaganda. President Roosevelt entrusted the OWI to beloved journalist and CBS newsman Elmer Davis, with the mission to take “an active part in winning the war and in laying the foundations for a better postwar world”.[7]

President Roosevelt ordered Davis to “formulate and carry out, through the use of press, radio, motion picture, and other facilities, information programs designed to facilitate the development of an informed and intelligent understanding, at home and abroad, of the status and progress of the war effort and of the war policies, activities, and aims of the Government”.[8] The OWI’s operations were thus divided between the Domestic and Overseas Branches.

The OWI Domestic Radio Bureau produced series such as This is Our Enemy (spring 1942), which dealt with Germany, Japan, and Italy; Uncle Sam, which dealt with domestic themes; and Hasten the Day (August 1943), which focussed on the Home Front, the NBC Blue Network’s Chaplain Jim. The radio producer Norman Corwin produced several series for OWI, including An American in England, An American in Russia, and Passport for Adams, which starred Robert Young, Ray Collins, Paul Stewart and Harry Davenport.[9]

In 1942 OWI established the Voice of America (VOA), which remains in service as of 2015 as the official government broadcasting service of the United States. The VOA initially borrowed transmitters from the commercial networks. The programs OWI produced included those provided by the Labor Short Wave Bureau, whose material came from the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations.

In conjunction with the War Relocation Authority, the OWI produced a series of documentary films related to the internment of Japanese Americans. Japanese Relocation and several other films were designed[by whom?] to educate the general public on the internment, to counter the tide of anti-Japanese sentiment in the country, and to encourage Japanese-American internees to resettle outside camp or to enter military service. The OWI also worked with camp newspapers to disseminate information to internees.[10]

During 1942 and 1943 the OWI boasted two photographic units whose photographers documented the country’s mobilization during the early years of the war, concentrating on such topics as aircraft factories and women in the workforce. In addition, the OWI produced a series of 267 newsreels in 16 mm film, The United Newsreel which were shown overseas and to US audiences. These newsreels incorporated U.S. military footage. For examples see this Google list.
(404. That’s an error.
The requested URL /videosearch was not found on this server. That’s all we know. )

The OWI Bureau of Motion Pictures (BMP) worked with Hollywood to produce films that advanced American war aims. According to Elmer Davis, “The easiest way to inject a propaganda idea into most people’s minds is to let it go through the medium of an entertainment picture when they do not realize that they are being propagandized.”[11] Successful films depicted the Allied armed forces as valiant “Freedom fighters”, and advocated for civilian participation, such as conserving fuel or donating food to troops.[12]

By July 1942 OWI administrators realized that the best way to reach American audiences was to present war films in conjunction with feature films. OWI’s presence in Hollywood deepened throughout World War II, and by 1943 every Hollywood studio (except for Paramount) allowed OWI to examine all movie scripts.[13] OWI evaluated whether each film would promote the honor of the Allies’ mission.[14]






Born on this day:

1819 – Alfred Escher, Swiss businessman and politician (d. 1882)
Johann Heinrich Alfred Escher vom Glas, known as Alfred Escher (20 February 1819 in Zurich – 6 December 1882 in Zurich/Enge) was a Swiss politician, business leader and railways pioneer. Thanks to his numerous political posts and his significant role in the foundation and management of the Swiss Northeastern Railway, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Credit Suisse, Swiss Life and the Gotthard Railway, Escher had an unmatched influence on Switzerland’s political and economic development in the 19th century

“The rail tracks are approaching Switzerland, moving nearer on all sides. People are coming up with plans to route the railways around Switzerland. There is thus a danger that Switzerland will be entirely circumvented and that, in the future, it will be left with no option but to present to the world the sad face of Europe’s forgotten backwater.”[12] With these words uttered in late 1849 Alfred Escher expressed his concern that modernity risked passing Switzerland by. And he had good cause for such concern, since at the time when the distances covered by railway tracks in Europe were steadily increasing, driving economic development as they did, Switzerland was doing little to join in. The fate of the new Swiss Confederation established in 1848 became inextricably bound up with the advent of the railways. There was basic agreement on the need for railways, but precious little agreement on how or where they should be built. In 1852 Escher helped push through a railway law drafted entirely in line with his own conceptions: railway construction and operation would be left to private companies. This soon led to a veritable railway boom in Switzerland. Within a very short period of time competing railway companies were set up, including in 1852-53 the Swiss Northeastern Railway, with Escher at its helm. In this way the Swiss rapidly closed the gap in rail-related knowledge and technology between themselves and foreign operators.[13]
Federal Polytechnic Institute

The railway boom was accompanied by a call for people with the technical training required in the new economic sector. In Switzerland there were then no educational establishments for engineers and technicians. Escher was in the forefront of the struggle to rise to the technological and manufacturing challenges of the time. After years of political wrangling the Federal Polytechnic Institute (now known as ETH Zurich) was finally founded in 1854/55. From 1854–1882 Escher was vice-chairman of the Federal School Council, the governing body of the Polytechnic Institute. The establishment of this institution for technology and the natural sciences was the key act in laying the foundation for Switzerland’s later pre-eminence in education and research.[14]

The large amounts of capital involved in constructing railways posed new challenges to the rail companies. The capital had to be raised outside Switzerland because there were no institutions within the country able to make money available in the huge quantities required. This dependence on foreign lenders resulted in those lenders seeking to influence the growth and development of the Swiss rail companies. Alfred Escher did not like this state of affairs. In 1856 he succeeded in establishing a new bank, Schweizerische Kreditanstalt (now known as Credit Suisse), primarily for the purpose of securing financing for his own rail company, the Swiss Northeastern Railway. Increasingly, however, Escher’s bank financed other public and private sector endeavours too, thereby developing into an important lender for the Swiss economy and the founding institution of the Zurich’s financial centre.[15]

Despite the expansion of the rail network in the 1850s, there was still a danger that Switzerland would be left out of the wider European scheme of things. Although connections with the main Swiss towns and cities had soon been established, there was still no major north-south route. Alfred Escher initially favoured a trans-Alpine link via the Lukmanier, he changed his mind and became an advocate of the Gotthard project. Escher threw all the economic and political resources at his command behind this ambitious project. He consulted engineers and other experts, and conducted negotiations with the authorities at home and abroad. At the international Gotthard conference held in the autumn of 1869, the final decision was made in favour of the Gotthard line. In 1871 the Gotthardbahn-Gesellschaft (Gotthard Railway Company) was established, with Escher as its chairman. The construction phase was hampered by a variety of problems in realising the project and a – given the scale of the project, rather modest – budget overrun of around 11%. Escher was exposed to increasingly vociferous criticism, prompting him to resign as chairman of the Gotthard Rail Company in 1878. When the builders of the Gotthard tunnel broke through in 1880, he was not invited to attend. In 1882 this landmark project was finally completed and the Gotthard tunnel was ceremoniously opened. This time, Escher was invited but unable to attend the opening celebrations because of his poor health. The Gotthard tunnel played a vital part in putting Switzerland on the international transport map. In the years following its inauguration the volume of goods and passengers passing through soared, turning Switzerland into an important transit country.[16]

1893 – Elizabeth Holloway Marston, American psychologist and author (d. 1993)
Elizabeth “Sadie” Holloway Marston (February 20, 1893 – March 27, 1993) was an American attorney and psychologist. She is credited both for partially inspiring the comic book character Wonder Woman and having been involved in the nature of the character’s creation, with her husband, William Moulton Marston (pen name Charles Moulton)[1][2][3] and his mistress, Olive Byrne.[4][5] She also participated with Marston in the development of the systolic blood-pressure test used to detect deception.[2][6]

Marston was born Elizabeth Holloway in the Isle of Man and raised in Boston, Massachusetts.[3] As noted by Boston University, “In an era when few women earned higher degrees, Elizabeth received three.”[2] She received her BA in psychology from Mount Holyoke College in 1915[2] and would have liked to go on to join her then-fiance, William Marston, at Harvard Law School. However, according to an interview she gave to the New York Times in 1992, “Those dumb bunnies at Harvard wouldn’t take women […] so I went to Boston University.”[3] According to Marston’s granddaughter, Susan Grupposo, when Marston asked her father to support her through law school, “He told her: ‘Absolutely not. As long as I have money to keep you in aprons, you can stay home with your mother.’ Undeterred, Holloway peddled cookbooks to the local ladies’ clubs. She needed $100 for her tuition, and by the end of the summer she had it. She married Marston that September, but still she paid her own way.” Marston received her LLB from the Boston University School of Law in 1918,[7] and was “one of three women to graduate from the School of Law that year. [She later stated] ‘I finished the [Massachusetts Bar] exam in nothing flat and had to go out and sit on the stairs waiting for Bill Marston and another Harvard man . . . to finish.'”[2]
Systolic blood-pressure test

Both William and Elizabeth next joined the psychology department at Harvard. Because Harvard’s doctoral program was restricted to men, Elizabeth was in the master’s program at the neighboring Radcliffe College. Elizabeth worked with William on his dissertation, which concerned the correlation between blood pressure levels and deception. William later developed this into the systolic blood-pressure test used to detect deception that was the predecessor to the polygraph test.

This work led to a PhD for William from Harvard and an MA for Elizabeth from Radcliffe in 1921.[2] Furthermore, according to their son, Elizabeth suggested to William, “When she got mad or excited, her blood pressure seemed to climb.”[2] Although Elizabeth is not listed as William’s collaborator in his early work, a number of writers refer directly and indirectly to Elizabeth’s work on her husband’s deception research. She also appears in a picture taken in his polygraph laboratory in the 1920s, reproduced in a 1938 publication by William.[2][8][9]
Career and family

Marston was a career woman, a position that was controversial for the time in which she lived: “She indexed the documents of the first fourteen Congresses, lectured on law, ethics, and psychology at American and New York Universities, [and] served as an editor for Encyclopædia Britannica and McCall’s magazine.”[2] In 1933, Marston became the assistant to the chief executive at Metropolitan Life Insurance, a position she held until she was 65 years old.[2]

In 1920, Marston gave birth to a stillborn child, Fredericka. She had her second child, Pete, at the age of 35 and continued to work, which was rare for women at the time. Her third child was Olive Ann, named after Olive Byrne, who lived with the couple in an extended relationship. Marston also supported the two children of Olive Byrne. These children, Byrne and Donn, were legally adopted by the Marstons.[2] While Olive stayed home to raise the children, Elizabeth supported the family when William was out of work and after his death in 1947. This included financing the college and graduate education of all four children and supporting Olive until her death in the 1980s.[2]
Wonder Woman

Marston’s involvement in the creation of the DC Comics character Wonder Woman was discussed in detail in a 1992 New York Times article published one year before her death:

Our Towns reveals the true identity of Wonder Woman’s real Mom. She is Elizabeth Holloway Marston. She’s not 1,000; she’s 99 come Thursday […] One dark night as the clouds of war hovered over Europe again, Mr. Marston consulted his wife and collaborator, also a psychologist. He was inventing somebody like that new Superman fellow, only his character would promote a global psychic revolution by forsaking Biff! Bam! and Ka-Runch! for The Power of Love. Well, said Mrs. Marston, who was born liberated, this super-hero had better be a woman […] Wonder Woman was created and written in the Marston’s suburban study as a crusading Boston career woman disguised as Diana Prince […] Meanwhile, in a small Connecticut town, Wonder Woman’s Mom has disguised herself as a retired editor who lives in postwar housing.[3]

Her 1993 obituary stated that she was the inspiration for Wonder Woman. It also quoted her son Pete as stating that Marston had told William (after he was asked to develop a new superhero in the early 1940s), “Come on, let’s have a Superwoman! There’s too many men out there.”[10] A 2001 article in the Boston University Alumni Magazine, which included extensive interviews with her family, further noted that “William Moulton Marston, a psychologist already famous for inventing the polygraph (forerunner to the magic lasso), struck upon an idea for a new kind of superhero, one who would triumph not with fists or firepower, but with love. ‘Fine,’ said Elizabeth. ‘But make her a woman.'”[2]

Lillian S. Robinson, however, has argued that both Olive Byrne and Elizabeth were the models for the character.[11] In addition, Marston contributed some of Wonder Woman’s signature exclamations, such as “Suffering Sappho” and “Great Hera.”[12]

Marston lived to be 100 years old, dying March 27, 1993, just after her hundredth birthday.






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Dress Lily

FYI February 19, 2017

February 19 is National Chocolate Mint Day



On this day:

356 – Emperor Constantius II issues a decree closing all pagan temples in the Roman Empire.

Anti-paganism policy of Constantius II
The anti-paganism policy of Constantius II lasted from 337 till 361. It was marked by laws and edicts that punished pagan practices.[1][2] Laws dating from the 350s prescribed the death penalty for those who performed or attended pagan sacrifices, and for the worshipping of idols;[1][3][4] temples were shut down,[2][5] and the Altar of Victory was removed from the Senate meeting house.[6] There were also frequent episodes of ordinary Christians destroying, pillaging, desecrating, vandalizing many of the ancient pagan temples, tombs and monuments.[7][8][9][10] Paganism was still popular among the population at the time. The emperor’s policies were passively resisted of many governors and magistrates.[5][11][12][13] Herbermann contends that the anti-paganism legislation had an unfavourable influence on the Middle Ages and become the basis of the Inquisition.[14]



1859 – Daniel E. Sickles, a New York Congressman, is acquitted of murder on grounds of temporary insanity. This is the first time this defense is successfully used in the United States.

Sickles shoots Key in 1859

Sickles was censured by the New York State Assembly for escorting a known prostitute, Fanny White, into its chambers. He also reportedly took her to England, while leaving his pregnant wife at home. He presented White to Queen Victoria, using as her alias the surname of a New York political opponent.[4]

In 1859, in Lafayette Square, across the street from the White House, Sickles shot and killed Philip Barton Key II, the district attorney of the District of Columbia;[7] he was the son of Francis Scott Key. Sickles had discovered that Philip Key was having an affair with his young wife.[2][8]

Sickles surrendered at Attorney General Jeremiah Black’s house, a few blocks away on Franklin Square, and confessed to the murder. After a visit to his home, accompanied by a constable, Sickles was taken to jail. He was able to receive visitors, and so many came that he was granted the use of the head jailer’s apartment to receive them.[10] He received numerous perquisites, including being allowed to retain his personal weapon, and receive numerous visitors. They included many congressmen, senators, and other leading members of Washington society. President James Buchanan sent Sickles a personal note.[citation needed]
The trial of Sickles. Engraving from Harper’s.

Harper’s Magazine reported that the visits of his wife’s mother and her clergyman were painful for Sickles. Both told him that Teresa was distracted with grief, shame, and sorrow, and that the loss of her wedding ring (which Sickles had taken on visiting his home) was more than Teresa could bear.[citation needed]

Sickles was charged with murder. He secured several leading politicians as defense attorneys, among them Edwin M. Stanton, later to become Secretary of War, and Chief Counsel James T. Brady, like Sickles associated with Tammany Hall. Sickles pleaded temporary insanity—the first use of this defense in the United States.[11] Before the jury, Stanton argued that Sickles had been driven insane by his wife’s infidelity, and thus was out of his mind when he shot Key. The papers soon trumpeted that Sickles was a hero for “saving all the ladies of Washington from this rogue named Key”.[12]

Sickles had obtained a graphic confession from Teresa; it was ruled inadmissible in court, but, was leaked by him to the press and printed in the newspapers in full. The defense strategy ensured that the trial was the main topic of conversations in Washington for weeks, and the extensive coverage of national papers was sympathetic to Sickles.[13] In the courtroom, the strategy brought drama, controversy, and, ultimately, an acquittal for Sickles.[citation needed]

Sickles publicly forgave Teresa, and “withdrew” briefly from public life, although he did not resign from Congress. The public was apparently more outraged by Sickles’s forgiveness and reconciliation with his wife, than by the murder and his unorthodox acquittal.[14]


Born on this day:

1859 – Svante Arrhenius, Swedish physicist and chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1927)
Svante August Arrhenius (19 February 1859 – 2 October 1927) was a Nobel-Prize winning Swedish scientist, originally a physicist, but often referred to as a chemist, and one of the founders of the science of physical chemistry. He received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1903, becoming the first Swedish Nobel laureate, and in 1905 became director of the Nobel Institute where he remained until his death.[1] His lasting contributions to science are exemplified and memorialized by the Arrhenius equation, Arrhenius definition of an acid, lunar crater Arrhenius, the mountain of Arrheniusfjellet and the Arrhenius Labs at Stockholm University, all named after him. He was the first to use basic principles of physical chemistry to calculate estimates of the extent to which increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide increase Earth’s surface temperature through the greenhouse effect, leading him to conclude that human-caused carbon dioxide emissions are large enough to cause global warming.[2]



1941 – David Gross, American physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate
David Jonathan Gross (/ɡroʊs/; born February 19, 1941) is an American theoretical physicist and string theorist. Along with Frank Wilczek and David Politzer, he was awarded the 2004 Nobel Prize in Physics for their discovery of asymptotic freedom. He is the former director and current holder of the Frederick W. Gluck Chair in Theoretical Physics at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics of the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is also a faculty member in the UC Santa Barbara Physics Department and is currently affiliated with the Institute for Quantum Studies at Chapman University in California. He is the Foreign Member of Chinese Academy of Sciences.[2]



1942 – Will Provine, American biologist, historian, and academic (d. 2015)
William Ball “Will” Provine (February 19, 1942 – September 1, 2015) was an American historian of science and of evolutionary biology and population genetics. He was the Andrew H. and James S. Tisch Distinguished University Professor at Cornell University and was a professor in the Departments of History, Science and Technology Studies, and Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.
Provine was born in Tennessee. He held a B.S. in Mathematics (1962), and an M.A. (1965) and Ph.D (1970) in History of Science from the University of Chicago.[1] He joined the Cornell faculty in 1969. He suffered seizures in 1995 due to a brain tumour.[2] Provine died on September 1, 2015, due to complications from the tumor.[3]
History of theoretical population genetics

Provine’s Ph.D. thesis, later published as a book,[4] documented the early origins of theoretical population genetics in the conflicts between the biostatistics and Mendelian schools of thought. He documented later developments in theoretical population genetics in his biography of Sewall Wright,[5] who was still alive and available for interviews. In this book, Provine criticizes Wright for confounding three different concepts of adaptive landscape: genotype to fitness landscapes, allele frequency to fitness landscapes, and phenotype to fitness landscapes. Provine later grew critical of Wright’s views on genetic drift, instead attributing observed effects to the consequences of inbreeding and consequent selection at linked sites. John H. Gillespie credits Provine with stimulating his interest in the topic of hitchhiking or “genetic draft” as an alternative to genetic drift.[6] Provine later published his critique of genetic drift in a book.[7] Provine defended the importance of mathematics’ contribution to the modern evolutionary synthesis.[8]
Education reform

In 1970, Provine was instrumental in the founding of Cornell’s Risley Residential College. He was the first faculty member in residence.

Provine was a philosopher, atheist, and critic of intelligent design. He engaged in prominent debates with theist philosophers and scientists about the existence of God and the viability of intelligent design. He debated the founder of the intelligent design movement, Phillip E. Johnson, and the two had a friendly relationship. Provine said that his course on evolutionary biology began by having his students read Johnson’s book, Darwin on Trial.[9]

Provine was a determinist in biology, but not a determinist in physics or chemistry; he rejected the idea that humans exercise free will.[2][10] Provine believed that there is no evidence for the existence of God, is no life after death, no absolute foundation for moral right and wrong, and no ultimate meaning or purpose for life.[11]
In popular culture
Professor Provine appeared in Ben Stein’s movie Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. Provine supervised the thesis written by Bad Religion member Greg Graffin. Graffin was a student of paleobiology at Cornell. Provine also supervised the sociology thesis of Steve Leveen in 1982.




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FYI February 18, 2017

February 18th is National Drink Wine Day!




On this day:

1791 – Congress passes a law admitting the state of Vermont to the Union, effective 4 March 1791, after that state had existed for 14 years as a de facto independent largely unrecognized state. Admission to the Union
Admission to the Union

Vermont continued to govern itself as a sovereign entity based in the eastern town of Windsor for 14 years. The independent state of Vermont issued its own coinage from 1785 to 1788[66] and operated a statewide postal service. Thomas Chittenden was the Governor in 1778–89 and in 1790–91.

Because the state of New York continued to assert a disputed claim that Vermont was a part of New York, Vermont could not be admitted to the Union under Article IV, Section 3 of the Constitution until the legislature of New York consented. On March 6, 1790, the legislature made its consent contingent upon a negotiated agreement on the precise boundary between the two states. When commissioners from New York and Vermont met to decide on the boundary, Vermont’s negotiators insisted on also settling the property ownership disputes with New Yorkers, rather than leaving that to be decided later in a federal court.[67] The negotiations were successfully concluded in October 1790 with an agreement that Vermont would pay $30,000 to New York to be distributed among New Yorkers who claimed land in Vermont under New York land patents.[68] In January 1791, a convention in Vermont voted 105–4[69] to petition Congress to become a state in the federal union. Congress acted on February 18, 1791 to admit Vermont to the Union as the 14th state as of March 4, 1791.[70] Vermont became the first to enter the Union after the original 13 states.




1911 – The first official flight with airmail takes place from Allahabad, United Provinces, British India (now India), when Henri Pequet, a 23-year-old pilot, delivers 6,500 letters to Naini, about 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) away.
Starting in 1903 the introduction of the airplane generated immediate interest in using them for mail transport. An unofficial airmail flight was conducted by Fred Wiseman, who carried three letters between Petaluma and Santa Rosa, California, on February 17, 1911.[5]
Allahabad cover flown on the world’s first aerial post in 1911

The world’s first official airmail flight came the next day, at a large exhibition in the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh, British India. The organizer of the aviation display, Sir Walter Windham, was able to secure permission from the postmaster general in India to operate an airmail service in order to generate publicity for the exhibition and to raise money for charity.[6] Mail from people across the region was gathered in at Holy Trinity Church and the first airmail flight was piloted by Henri Pequet, who flew 6,500 letters a distance of 13 km (8.1 mi) from Allahabad to Naini – the nearest station on the Bombay-Calcutta line to the exhibition.[7][8] The letters bore an official frank “First Aerial Post, U.P. Exhibition, Allahabad. 1911”.[9] The aircraft used was a Humber-Sommer biplane, and it made the journey in thirteen minutes.[10][11][12]

The first official American airmail delivery was made on September 23, 1911 by pilot Earle Ovington under the authority of the United States Post Office Department.[13] The first official air mail in Australia was carried by French pilot Maurice Guillaux. On July 16–18, 1914, he flew his Blériot XI aircraft from Melbourne to Sydney, a distance of 584 miles (940 km), carrying 1785 specially printed postcards, some Lipton’s Tea and some O.T. Lemon juice. At the time, this was the longest such flight in the world.[14]


Henri Pequet
Henri Pequet (1 February 1888 – 13 March 1974) was a pilot in the first official airmail flight on February 18, 1911.[1][2][3] The 23-year-old Frenchman, in India for an airshow, delivered about 6,500 letters when he flew from Allahabad Airport to Naini, about 10 kilometers away. He flew a Humber-Sommer biplane with about fifty horsepower (37 kW), and made the journey in thirteen minutes.[4]

The letters were marked “First Aerial Post, U.P. Exhibition Allahabad 1911.”[5][6]


1972 – The California Supreme Court in the case of People v. Anderson, (6 Cal.3d 628) invalidates the state’s death penalty and commutes the sentences of all death row inmates to life imprisonment.
The People of the State of California v. Robert Page Anderson, 493 P.2d 880, 6 Cal. 3d 628 (Cal. 1972), was a landmark case in the state of California that outlawed the use of capital punishment. It was subsequently overruled by a state constitutional amendment, called Proposition 17.

The case was an automatic appeal to the court under California Penal Code § 1239b, which provides that in the case of a death sentence, the case is automatically appealed to the State Supreme Court.

Robert Page Anderson was convicted of first degree murder, attempted murder of three men, and first degree robbery. The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the lower court in People v. Anderson 64 Cal.2d 633 [51 Cal.Rptr. 238, 414 P.2d 366] (1966), but reversed its decision with respect to the sentence of the death penalty In re Anderson, 69 Cal.2d 613 (1968) following the landmark case, Witherspoon v. Illinois (1968), which decided that it is illegal to remove as challenges for cause a juror who simply disagrees with the death penalty, unless the juror adamantly would not follow the law under any circumstances. The case was retried on the issue of the defendant’s penalty, and the jury again returned a verdict of death.

Anderson’s sentence was later commuted, and, in 1976, he was paroled and moved to Seattle.


People v. Anderson (1968)
People v. Anderson, 70 Cal.2d 15, 447 P.2d 942 (1968), is a California criminal case involving evidentiary criteria for the element of premeditation in a first degree murder prosecution, to be sufficient to go to the jury.[1] The case sets forth three categories of evidentiary factors necessary for evidence to be sufficient to support a jury verdict of first degree murder.[1]

The underlying case involved a man drinking, stripping the clothes off of the 10-year-old daughter of his live-in girlfriend, then stabbing the child 60 times, including after she was already dead.[1] A question on appeal was as to whether there was sufficient evidence for a reasonable jury to find the element of premeditation.

The court wrote:

The type of evidence which this court has found sufficient to sustain a finding of premeditation and deliberation falls into three categories: (1) facts about how and what defendant did prior to the actual killing which show that the defendant was engaged in activity directed toward, and explicable as intended to result in, the killing – what may be considered as ‘planning’ activity; (2) facts about the defendant’s prior relationship and/or conduct with the victim from which the jury could reasonably infer a ‘motive’ to kill the victim, which inference of motive, together with facts of type (1) or (3), would in turn support an inference that the killing was the result of a ‘pre-existing reflection’ and ‘careful thought and weighing of considerations’ rather than ‘mere unconsidered rash impulse hastily executed’ (People v. Thomas, 25 Cal. 2d 880), (3) facts about the nature of killing from which the jury could infer that the manner of killing was so particular and exacting that the defendant must have intentionally killed according to a ‘preconceived design’ to take his victim’s life in a particular way for a ‘reason’ which the jury can reasonably infer from facts of type (1) or (2).
Analysis of the cases will show that this court sustains verdicts of first degree murder typically when there is evidence of all three types and otherwise requires at least extremely strong evidence of (1) or evidence of (2) in conjunction with either (1) or (3). [70 Cal. 3d at 27].”


Born on this day:

1745 – Alessandro Volta, Italian physicist, invented the battery (d. 1827)
Alessandro Giuseppe Antonio Anastasio Volta (Italian pronunciation: [alesˈsandro ˈvɔlta]; 18 February 1745 – 5 March 1827) was an Italian physicist, chemist, and a pioneer of electricity and power,[2][3][4] who is credited as the inventor of the electrical battery and the discoverer of methane. He invented the Voltaic pile in 1799, and reported the results of his experiments in 1800 in a two-part letter to the President of the Royal Society.[5][6] With this invention Volta proved that electricity could be generated chemically and debunked the prevalent theory that electricity was generated solely by living beings. Volta’s invention sparked a great amount of scientific excitement and led others to conduct similar experiments which eventually led to the development of the field of electrochemistry.[6]

Alessandro Volta also drew admiration from Napoleon Bonaparte for his invention, and was invited to the Institute of France to demonstrate his invention to the members of the Institute. Volta enjoyed a certain amount of closeness with the Emperor throughout his life and he was conferred numerous honours by him.[1] Alessandro Volta held the chair of experimental physics at the University of Pavia for nearly 40 years and was widely idolised by his students.[1]

Despite his professional success, Volta tended to be a person inclined towards domestic life and this was more apparent in his later years. At this time he tended to live secluded from public life and more for the sake of his family until his eventual death in 1827 from a series of illnesses which began in 1823.[1] The SI unit of electric potential is named in his honour as the volt.




1838 – Ernst Mach, Austrian physicist and philosopher (d. 1916)
Ernst Waldfried Josef Wenzel Mach (/ˈmɑːx/; German: [ˈɛɐ̯nst maχ]; 18 February 1838 – 19 February 1916) was an Austrian[7] physicist and philosopher, noted for his contributions to physics such as study of shock waves. The ratio of one’s speed to that of sound is named the Mach number in his honor. As a philosopher of science, he was a major influence on logical positivism, American pragmatism[8] and through his criticism of Newton’s theories of space and time, foreshadowing Einstein’s theory of relativity.

In 1898 Mach suffered from cardiac arrest and in 1901 retired from the University of Vienna and was appointed to the upper chamber of the Austrian parliament. On leaving Vienna in 1913 he moved to his son’s home in Vaterstetten, near Munich, where he continued writing and corresponding until his death in 1916, only one day after his 78th birthday. His current living descendant is Marilyn vos Savant ((her father was Joseph Mach).
Ernst Mach’s historic 1887 photograph (shadowgraph) of a bow shockwave around a supersonic bullet[14]

Most of Mach’s initial studies in the field of experimental physics concentrated on the interference, diffraction, polarization and refraction of light in different media under external influences. From there followed important explorations in the field of supersonic fluid mechanics. Mach and physicist-photographer Peter Salcher presented their paper on this subject [15] in 1887; it correctly describes the sound effects observed during the supersonic motion of a projectile. They deduced and experimentally confirmed the existence of a shock wave which of conical shape, with the projectile at the apex.[16] The ratio of the speed of a fluid to the local speed of sound vp/vs is now called the Mach number. It is a critical parameter in the description of high-speed fluid movement in aerodynamics and hydrodynamics. Mach also contributed to cosmology the hypothesis known as Mach’s principle.

Marilyn vos Savant (/ˌvɒs səˈvɑːnt/; born August 11, 1946) is an American who is known for having the highest recorded IQ according to the Guinness Book of Records, a competitive category the publication has since retired. Savant is a magazine columnist, author, lecturer, and playwright.[1] Since 1986, she has written “Ask Marilyn”, a Parade magazine Sunday column where she solves puzzles and answers questions on various subjects, the most famous of them was the Monty Hall problem which she answered correctly in 1990.



1871 – Harry Brearley, English inventor (d. 1948)
Harry Brearley (18 February 1871 – 14 July 1948) was an English metallurgist, usually credited with the invention of “rustless steel” (later to be called “stainless steel” in the anglophone world).

In the troubled years immediately before World War I, arms manufacturing increased significantly in the UK, but practical problems were encountered due to erosion (excessive wear) of the internal surfaces of gun barrels. Brearley began to research new steels which could better resist the erosion caused by high temperatures (rather than corrosion, as is often mentioned in this regard). He began to examine the addition of chromium to steel, which was known to raise the material’s melting point, as compared to the standard carbon steels.

The research concentrated on quantifying the effects of varying the levels of carbon (C, at concentrations around 0.2 weight %) and chromium (Cr, in the range of 6 to 15 weight %).
The accidental discovery
Announcement of Brearley’s stainless steel discovery as it appeared in the 1915 New York Times.[5]

In order to undertake metallography to study the microstructure of the experimental alloys (the main factor responsible for a steel’s mechanical properties) it was necessary to polish and etch the metallic samples produced. For a carbon steel, a dilute solution of nitric acid in alcohol is sufficient to produce the required etching, but Brearley found that the new chromium steels were very resistant to chemical attack.

It was probably Harry Brearley’s upbringing in Sheffield, a city famous for the manufacture of cutlery since the 16th century, which led him to appreciate the potential of these new steels for applications not only in high-temperature service, as originally envisioned, but also in the mass-production of food-related applications such as cutlery, saucepans and processing equipment etc. Up to that time carbon-steel knives were prone to unhygienic rusting if they were not frequently polished and only expensive sterling silver or EPNS cutlery was generally available to avoid such problems. With this in mind Brearley extended his examinations to include tests with food acids such as vinegar and lemon juice, with very promising results.

Brearley initially called the new alloy “rustless steel”; the more euphonic “stainless steel” was suggested by Ernest Stuart of R.F. Mosley’s, a local cutlery manufacturer at Portland Works, and eventually prevailed although Mosley’s used the “Rusnorstain” trademark for many years. It is reported[6] that the first true stainless steel, a 0.24wt% C, 12.8wt% Cr ferrous alloy, was produced by Brearley in an electric furnace on 13 August 1913. He was subsequently awarded the Iron and Steel Institute’s Bessemer Gold Medal in 1920.[2] The American Society for Metals gives the date for Brearley’s creation of casting number 1008 (12.8% chromium, 0.44% manganese, 0.2% silicon, 0.24% carbon and 85.32% iron) as 20 August 1913.[7]

Virtually all research projects into the further development of stainless steels were interrupted by the 1914–18 War, but efforts were renewed in the 1920s. Brearley had left the Brown Firth Laboratories in 1915, following disagreements regarding patent rights, but the research continued under the direction of his successor, Dr. W. H. Hatfield. It is Hatfield who is credited with the development, in 1924, of a stainless steel which even today is probably the widest-used alloy of this type, the so-called “18/8”, which in addition to chromium, includes nickel (Ni) in its composition (18wt% Cr, 8wt% Ni).








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