Category: FYI


FYI June 27, 2017

1895 – The inaugural run of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad’s Royal Blue from Washington, D.C., to New York City, the first U.S. passenger train to use electric locomotives.
The Royal Blue was the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (B&O)’s flagship passenger train between New York City and Washington, D.C., in the United States, beginning in 1890. The Baltimore-based B&O also used the name between 1890 and 1917 for its improved passenger service between New York and Washington launched in the 1890s, collectively dubbed the Royal Blue Line. Using variants such as the Royal Limited and Royal Special for individual Royal Blue trains, the B&O operated the service in partnership with the Reading Railroad and the Central Railroad of New Jersey. Principal intermediate cities served were Philadelphia, Wilmington, and Baltimore. Later, as Europe reeled from the carnage of World War I and connotations of European royalty fell into disfavor, the B&O discreetly omitted the sobriquet Royal Blue Line from its New York passenger service and the Royal Blue disappeared from B&O timetables. Beginning in 1917, former Royal Blue Line trains were renamed: the Royal Limited (inaugurated on May 15, 1898), for example, became the National Limited, continuing west from Washington to St. Louis via Cincinnati. During the Depression, the B&O hearkened back to the halcyon pre-World War I era when it launched a re-christened Royal Blue train between New York and Washington in 1935. The B&O finally discontinued passenger service north of Baltimore on April 26, 1958, and the Royal Blue faded into history.

Railroad historian Herbert Harwood said, in his seminal history of the service, “First conceived in late Victorian times to promote a new railroad line … it was indeed one of the most memorable images in the transportation business, an inspired blend of majesty and mystique … Royal Blue Line … Royal Blue Trains … the Royal Blue all meant different things at different times. But essentially they all symbolized one thing: the B&O’s regal route.”[1][2] Between the 1890s and World War I, the B&O’s six daily Royal Blue trains providing service between New York and Washington were noted for their luxury, elegant appearance, and speed. The car interiors were paneled in mahogany, had fully enclosed vestibules (instead of open platforms, still widely in use at the time on U.S. railroads), then-modern heating and lighting, and leaded glass windows. The car exteriors were painted a deep “Royal Saxony blue” color with gold leaf trim.[3]

The B&O’s use of electrification instead of steam power in a Baltimore tunnel on the Royal Blue Line, beginning in 1895, marked the first use of electric locomotives by an American railroad and presaged the dawn of practical alternatives to steam power in the 20th century.[4] Spurred by intense competition from the formidable Pennsylvania Railroad, the dominant railroad in the lucrative New York–Washington market since the 1880s, the Royal Blue in its mid-1930s reincarnation was noted for a number of technological innovations, including streamlining and the first non-articulated diesel locomotive on a passenger train in the U.S., a harbinger of the steam locomotive’s eventual demise.[5]

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1869 – Kate Carew, American illustrator and journalist (d. 1961)
Mary Williams (June 27, 1869 – February 11, 1961), who wrote pseudonymously as Kate Carew, was a caricaturist self-styled as “The Only Woman Caricaturist”. She worked at the New York World , providing illustrated celebrity interviews.

Mary Williams was born in Oakland, California, and began her art training at San Francisco’s School of Design under the esteemed Arthur Mathews and received the school’s “Special Medal for Excellence in Painting” at the local Art Association’s 1891 Winter Annual.[1] From 1891 to 1895 her art received awards at the California State Fair. She exhibited at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. After the premature death of her first husband, Seymour Chapin Davison, in 1897 she became, under the sponsorship of Ambrose Bierce, a staff illustrator of portrait sketches at the San Francisco Examiner.[2]

In 1899 Mary Williams Davison moved to New York City and established a studio-residence on West Twenty-Fourth Street. She was hired by Joseph Pulitzer to publish her caricature drawings and interviews of celebrities under the pseudonym “Kate Carew” for his Sunday World and Evening World, divisions of the New York World. In 1901 she married the Australian journalist and playwright Henry Kellett Chambers. In September 1910 she gave birth to a son, Colin Chambers, and the following year divorced her husband for his infidelities with the Mexican writer, Maria Cristina Mena.[2]

In 1911 she was sent to Europe by the Sunday World to publish the series “Kate Carew Abroad.” She traveled to London and Paris, where she interviewed Pablo Picasso and Rostand, John Galsworthy, George Moore, Émile Zola, Bret Hart (who happened to be in England), Lady Sackville-West, and many others. She wrote about 500 pieces for New York City newspapers and later for the Tatler (London), The Patrician, and Eve.[2]

She was among those who visited `Abdu’l-Bahá, then head of the Bahá’í Faith, during his visit to the States and travelled with him for a number of days. On April 16, 1912 with Mary Williams still travelling with him, `Abdu’l-Bahá visited the Bowery.[3] Mary Williams noted that she was impressed with `Abdu’l-Bahá’s generosity of spirit in bringing people of social standing to the Bowery as well as that he then gave money to the poor rather than accepting it.[3][4][5]

She became severely ill in December 1913 and returned to the States after surgery. While conducting interviews in Hollywood for the London Strand she met and married the British-born John A. Reed in November 1916.[6] The following spring they moved to Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. She became an exhibiting member of the Carmel Arts & Crafts Club and staged a solo exhibit at Monterey’s Hotel Del Monte with over two dozen caricatures, including Woodrow Wilson, Mark Twain, and Ethel Barrymore, to rave reviews.[7] [8] Beginning in the early 1920s, when a severe wrist injury temporarily limited her career, the Reeds resided primarily at Guernsey in the Channel Islands or in France. She exhibited at the Salon des Artistes of Paris in 1924 and 1928; on the latter date she displayed Farm at Hyeres.[9] In June 1938 they returned to the Monterey Peninsula. John Reed died in June 1941 at a sanatorium in St. Helena. Mary Williams returned to Monterey in the spring of 1943, purchased the former home of the painter Lucy Valentine Pierce, and devoted herself to seascapes and landscapes.[10] She died at the age of 91 in a Pacific Grove rest home and is buried in Oakland.[2]




How do you feel when monuments (natural or man made) are defaced or destroyed? Does the punishment ever compensate for the crime?
Rae Paoletta: Some Dick Destroyed Norway’s Beloved Troll Penis Rock
Class act!
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Just a Car Guy: Hooooo, if this was real, it would break my brain to behold it
B 36 taking off… one hell of a view, even if it is a Hollywood movie
James Maitland “Jimmy” Stewart (May 20, 1908 – July 2, 1997) was an American actor and military officer who is among the most honored and popular stars in film history.
He also had a noted military career and was a World War II and Vietnam War veteran and pilot, who rose to the rank of Brigadier General in the United States Air Force Reserve, becoming the highest-ranking actor in military history.[5]
Twice in a Lifetime: Gray Flash and Purple Prose
Positively Present – Wireless Wonderland: Managing Phone Use to Stay Present




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William Szathmary (October 5, 1924 – June 15, 2017)

By: Staff and wire reports: WWII vet Bill Dana, comedian behind Jose Jimenez character, dies at 92
During World War II he served in the United States Army with the 263rd Infantry Regiment, 66th Infantry Division as a 60mm mortarman and machine gunner, as well as an unofficial interpreter.[4]
William Szathmary (October 5, 1924 – June 15, 2017), known professionally by his stage name Bill Dana, was an American comedian, actor, and screenwriter.[1] He often appeared on television shows such as The Ed Sullivan Show, frequently in the guise of a heavily accented Bolivian character named José Jiménez. Dana often portrayed the Jiménez character as an astronaut.
Bill Dana – Official Website

FYI June 26, 2017

1579 – Livonian campaign of Stephen Báthory begins.
The Livonian campaign of Stephen Báthory (referred to as the Russo-Polish War among Polish historians[1]) took place in the final stage of the Livonian War, between 1577 and 1582. Polish-Lithuanian forces led by Stephen Báthory (Batory), king of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania, successfully fought against the army of Ivan IV “the Terrible”, tsar of Russia, over the Duchy of Livonia and Polotsk. Russian forces were expelled from Livonia before the campaign was concluded by the Truce of Jam Zapolski.

Main article: Livonian War

In the second half of the 16th century several powers, including Poland, Lithuania and Russia were engaged in the struggle over the control of the ports in the southern Baltic Sea (Dominium Maris Baltici). The Russo-Lithuanian War of 1558–1570, in which Poland aided Lithuania (and in 1568 united with it forming the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth), ended inconclusively with a three-year-long truce. The death of Polish king Sigismund II Augustus created a brief period in which tsar Ivan IV of Russia contemplated taking part in the Polish royal election (see Polish-Lithuanian-Muscovite Commonwealth), but eventually the Commonwealth elected Stephen Báthory of Poland to its throne, and the hostilities between Russia and the Commonwealth resumed.[2]

In 1575 Ivan ordered another attack on Poland, and succeeded in taking parts of Livonia (notably, Salacgrīva and Pärnu). In 1577 Russian forces besieged Reval (Revel, Tallinn) and a strong army was concentrating near Pskov. At the same time Polish forces were tied on the western side of the Baltic Sea, dealing with the Danzig rebellion. In July the main Muscovite army of about 30,000 advanced from Pskov, taking Viļaka, Rēzekne, Daugavpils, Koknese, Gulbene and surrounding areas.[3] A Polish counter-offensive—known as the First Campaign of Bathory—begun in the fall, and succeeded in taking back some of the territories.[3]

Negotiations took part in that year, and a three-year truce was signed, although it was rejected by king Bathory who was preparing for a larger counteroffensive. At the same time, Polish and Swedish forces managed to stop further progress of the Muscovite forces in the Battles of Wenden (1577–1578).[3]

Bathory gathered a large army of over 55,000 (Polish, Hungarian, Wallachian, Bohemian and German soldiers, and the Szekler brigade under Mózes Székely.[4] His main army (over 40,000 strong) in what is known as the Second Campaign of Bathory advanced on Polotsk. The siege began 11 August, and the city surrendered on the 29th of that month.[5] The Polish army also captured all 8 Russian castles in Polotsk – Rossony region (Sokol, Nescherda, Susha, Krasnae, Turovlia, Sitna, Kaz’jany, Usviaty) . Lithuanian-Polish forces resumed their offensive the following year with the Third Campaign of Bathory, besieging Velikiye Luki on 29 August and taking it on 5 September. A cavalry battle took place on 20 September near Toropets (battle of Toropets) and ended in another Polish victory. Polish forces also captured Velizh and Nevel.[3]

The last phase of the war centered around the siege of Pskov by the Polish forces. The Poles did not succeed in taking the town, but the Russians facing growing threat from Sweden (who took Narva in 1581 – see battle of Narva (1581)) decided to sign a truce treaty favorable to Poland.[3][6]

Truce of Jam Zapolski
Main article: Truce of Jam Zapolski
The truce, signed in 1582 for 10 years, was favorable to Poland, which regained Duchy of Livonia, kept Velizh and Polotsk. Russia regained Velikiye Luki.[3][7] Notably, Russia failed in her bid to regain access to the Baltic Sea.[6]

The next stage of the Polish-Russian wars begun in the early 1600s, when the Poles invaded Russia in 1605.


1699 – Marie Thérèse Rodet Geoffrin, French businesswoman (d. 1777)
Marie Thérèse Rodet Geoffrin (26 June 1699 – 6 October 1777) was a French salon holder who has been referred to as one of the leading female figures in the French Enlightenment. From 1750–1777, Madame Geoffrin played host to many of the most influential Philosophes and Encyclopédistes of her time. Her association with several prominent dignitaries and public figures from across Europe has earned Madame Geoffrin international recognition. Her patronage and dedication to both the philosophical Men of Letters and talented artists that frequented her house is emblematic of her role as guide and protector. In her salon on the rue Saint-Honoré, Madame Geoffrin demonstrated qualities of politeness and civility that helped stimulate and regulate intellectual discussion. Her actions as a Parisian salonnière exemplify many of the most important characteristics of Enlightenment sociability.

Early life
Born in 1699 , Madame Geoffrin was the first child of a bourgeois named Pierre Rodet, a valet de chambre for the Duchess of Burgundy, and Angelique Thérèse Chemineau, the daughter of a Parisian Banker.[1] Marie Thérèse’s mother died a year later in giving birth to her son Louis. At age seven, Marie Thérèse and her brother were taken to live with their grandmother Madame Chemineau on the rue Saint-Honoré. At thirteen, she was engaged to be married to the widower Francois Geoffrin, a lieutenant-colonel of the National Guard and a prosperous general cashier of the Saint-Gobain Venetian mirror manufactory. Despite the fact that he was in his fortcy-ninth year, and Marie Thérèse had barely passed her fourteenth birthday, Monsieur Geoffrin had inherited a substantial fortune from his first wife, and the chance for “an excellent settlement” was thought to be quite suitable by Madame Chemineau.[2] The marriage took place on 19 July 1713. Nearly two years after the wedding, she gave birth to her first child, a daughter, and the future Marquise de la Ferté Imbault. Her second child, a son, (who was to die later in childhood) was born two years later.[3] It was not until Madame Geoffrin was over her thirtieth year that her connection to the salons would become established. Her husband, Pierre François Geofrin died December 20, 1749, a fact that was hardly noticed by Mme Geoffrin’s visitors–indeed, Mme Geoffrey hardly seemed to notice herself.[4]

As the notion of female education was quite contentious in eighteenth century France, Geoffrin was unable to receive a formalized education. It has been suggested, most notably by Dena Goodman, that the salon itself acted as a schoolhouse, where Geoffrin and other salonnières could train. Goodman writes, “For Madame Geoffrin, the salon was a socially acceptable substitute for a formal education denied her not just by her grandmother, but more generally by a society that agreed with Madame Chemineau’s (her grandmother’s) position.”[5] She also states, “Her earliest schoolmasters were Fontenelle, the abbe de Saint-Pierre, and Montesquieu. Madame de Tencin played a large role in Madame Geoffrin’s rise in society. Goodman states, “Madame Geoffrin made a daring step for a devout girl when, at the age of eighteen, but already a wife and mother, she began to frequent the afternoon gatherings at the home of Madame de Tencin.” After Madame de Tencin’s death in December 1749, Madame Geoffrin figuratively inherited many of de Tencin’s former guests, thereby solidifying her own salon.[6]
Madame Geoffrin and the salons

Madame Geoffrin’s popularity in the mid-eighteenth century came during a time where the center of social life was beginning to move away from the French court and toward the salons of Paris. Instead of the earlier, seventeenth-century salons of the high nobility, Madame Geoffrin’s salon catered generally to a more philosophical crowd of the Enlightenment period. Goodman, in “Enlightenment Salons,” writes, “In the eighteenth century, under the guidance of Madame Geoffrin, Julie de Lespinasse, and Suzanne Necker, the salon was transformed from a noble, leisure institution into an institution of the Enlightenment.”[7] Goodman writes:

“Geoffrin, who acted as a mentor and model for other salonnières, was responsible for two innovations that set Enlightenment salons apart from their predecessors and from other social and literacy gatherings of the day. She invented the Enlightenment salon. First, she made the one-o’clock dinner rather than the traditional late-night supper the sociable meal of the day, and thus she opened up the whole afternoon for talk. Second, she regulated these dinners, fixing a specific day of the week for them. After Geoffrin launched her weekly dinners, the Parisian salon took on the form that made it the social base of the Enlightenment Republic of Letters: a regular and regulated formal gathering hosted by a woman in her own home which served as a forum and locus of intellectual activity.”[8]

Her dinners were held twice weekly. Mondays were specifically for artists. Wednesdays were generally reserved for Men of Letters.[9]

Goodman writes, “Enlightenment salons were working spaces, unlike other Eighteenth-century social gatherings, which took place as their model.” She continues, “The Enlightenment was not a game, and the salonnières were not simply ladies of leisure killing time. On the contrary, Enlightenment salonnières were precisely those women who fought the general malaise of the period by taking up their métier.”[10]

Salons, French society, and the international community

Madame Geoffrin’s role was central to her identity as a French hostess. The historian, Denise Yim writes, “The most distinguished salonniéres were discerning women who selected their company with care, set the tone, guided the conversation, and could influence the fortunes of those appearing there.”[11] She continues, “The most influential salonnière was perhaps Madame Geoffrin of the rue Saint-Honoré, who managed to attract the largest number of distinguished foreigners to her home.”[12] A lady of great renown, Geoffrin’s salon catered to a wide range of foreign dignitaries and distinguished guests. “An invitation to the Monday and Wednesday dinners of Madame Geoffrin was an honor greatly coveted by foreigners passing through Paris. The hostess herself had gained a European reputation even before her journey to Poland, and to dine with Madame Geoffrin was by some people considered almost as great an honor as being presented at Versailles.”[13]” Yim continues, “Whether it was Madame Geoffrin’s design to attract all the most eminent foreigners to her salon, thereby spreading the reputation of her home throughout Europe, as Marmontel wrote, or whether this was the natural consequence of the presence of so many philosophes and Encyclopédistes, it was a fact that no foreign minister, no man or woman of note who arrived in Paris failed to call on Madame Geoffrin in the hope of being invited to one of her select dinners.”[14]

Salon politeness and gift giving
Madame Geoffrin exemplified the qualities of politeness that were required for the participation in French high society.[15] She was completely devoted to the management and organization of her salon, and of the patrons that frequented it. Madame Geoffrin could be defined in the ordered consistency of all her actions. “Regularity was part of a greater sense of organization that defined all aspects of Madame Geoffrin’s life and every hour of her day, from a 5 a.m. rising, through a morning of domestic duties, letter writing, and errands, to the afternoons she devoted twice a week to her salon.”[16]

Although some historians, such as Dena Goodman, associate Geoffrin and other salonnières with intellectual life, other researchers depict the salons as the realm of anti-intellectual socialites. For example, Amwqth, education, or remarkable mental gifts of a sort that leave permanent traces, she was the best representative of the women of her time who held their place in the world solely through their skill in organizing and conducting a salon. She was in no sense a luminary; and conscious that she could not shine by her own light, she was bent upon shining by that of others.”[17] Denise Yim adds that “these women considered themselves the purveyors, the disseminators, the nurturers, the very guardians of taste in the belles lettres, in the fine arts, and in the music. Their own peculiar art consisted of pleasing.”[18] “Maintaining the tensions between inner satisfaction and outer negation which made Geoffrin the model salonnière was not easy.”[19]

Antoine Lilti also rejects the notion that Geoffrin and other salonnières ‘governed’ an intellectual arena. Lilti focuses, rather, on the salonnières’ practice of politeness and gift giving. In relation to Madame Geoffrin, Lilti writes, “there exists numerous testimonials about the gifts that Madame Geoffrin bestowed upon the writers who regularly attend her salon, from the pieces of the silverware offered to the Suards, the silver pans and 2,000 gold écus presented to Thomas.[20] He continues, “writers were not the only ones to benefit from this generosity. Madame Geoffrin received artists every Monday, securing contracts for them among high society collectors and even commissioned artwork for herself. Madame Geoffrin’s notebooks mention that these artists also received regular gifts.”[21] For Lilti, Geoffrin’s gift giving was nothing more than a reaffirmation of social inequities. He states, “the exchange of gifts, of course, was a common practice in all areas of high society, but it took on a particular social signification in the case of gifts given to men of letters, since the absence of reciprocity rendered the relationship asymmetrical. It was more about simply reinforcing a social bond through gift-giving, as it was for the socialites who exchanged little gifts with each other, but instead made a financial relationship part of urbane sociability––especially when the rapport became more or less permanent in the form of allowances, such as the ones that Madame Geoffrin bestowed upon d’Alembert, Thomas, and the abbé Morellet.”[22]

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Great comments~
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FYI June 25, 2017

1900 – The Taoist monk Wang Yuanlu discovers the Dunhuang manuscripts, a cache of ancient texts that are of great historical and religious significance, in the Mogao Caves of Dunhuang, China.
The Dunhuang manuscripts are a cache of important religious and secular documents discovered in the Mogao Caves of Dunhuang, China, in the early 20th century. Dating from the 5th to early 11th centuries, the manuscripts include works ranging from history and mathematics to folk songs and dance. There are also a large number of religious documents, most of which are Buddhist, but other religions including Daoism, Nestorian Christianity and Manichaeism are also represented. The majority of the manuscripts are in Chinese. Other languages represented are Khotanese, Sanskrit, Sogdian, Tangut, Tibetan, Old Uyghur language, Hebrew and Old Turkic.[1] The manuscripts are a major resource for academic studies in a wide variety of fields including history, religious studies, linguistics, and manuscript studies.

The documents were discovered in a sealed cave by the Daoist monk Wang Yuanlu on June 25, 1900.[2] From 1907 onwards he began to sell them to Western explorers, notably Aurel Stein and Paul Pelliot. Japanese, Russian and Danish explorers also acquired collections of manuscripts.[3] But largely due to the efforts of the scholar and antiquarian Luo Zhenyu, most of the remaining Chinese manuscripts, perhaps a fifth of the total, were taken to Beijing in 1910 and are now in the National Library of China. Several thousands of folios of Tibetan manuscripts were left in Dunhuang and are now located in several museums and libraries in the region.[4] Those purchased by Western scholars are now kept in institutions all over the world, such as the British Library and the Bibliothèque nationale de France. All of the manuscript collections are being digitized by the International Dunhuang Project, and can be freely accessed online.
Studies of the Dunhuang manuscripts

While most studies use Dunhuang manuscripts to address issues in areas such as history and religious studies, some have addressed questions about the provenance and materiality of the manuscripts themselves. Various reasons have been suggested for the placing of the manuscripts in the library cave and its sealing. Aurel Stein suggested that the manuscripts were “sacred waste”, an explanation that found favour with later scholars including Fujieda Akira.[5] More recently, it has been suggested that the cave functioned as a storeroom for a Buddhist monastic library,[6] though this has been disputed.[7] The reason for the cave’s sealing has also been the subject of speculation. A popular hypothesis, first suggest by Paul Pelliot, is that the cave was sealed to protect the manuscripts at the advent of an invasion by the Xixia army, and later scholars followed with the alternative suggestion that it was sealed in fear of an invasion by Islamic Kharkhanids that never occurred.[6] Even though cave 16 could easily have been enlarged or extended to cave 17, Yoshiro Imaeda has suggested cave 16 was sealed because it ran out of room.[8]

Languages and scripts
The variety of languages and scripts found among the Dunhuang manuscripts is a result of the multicultural nature of the region in the first millennium AD.[9] The largest proportion of the manuscripts are written in Chinese, both Classical and, to a lesser extent, vernacular Chinese. Most manuscripts, including Buddhist texts, are written in Kaishu or ‘regular script’, while others are written in the cursive Xingshu or ‘running script’. An unusual feature of the Dunhuang manuscripts dating from the 9th and 10th centuries is that some appear to have been written with a hard stylus rather than with a brush. According to Akira Fujieda this was due to the lack of materials for constructing brushes in Dunhuang after the Tibetan occupation in the late 8th century.[10]

The Dunhuang manuscripts represent some of the earliest examples of Tibetan writing. Several styles are represented among the manuscripts, forebears of the later Uchen (dbu can) and Ume (dbu med) styles.[11] Both Old Tibetan and Classical Tibetan are represented in the manuscripts, as well as the undeciphered Nam language and a language that some have identified as the Zhang-zhung language.

Other languages represented are Khotanese, Sanskrit, Sogdian, Tangut, Tibetan, Old Uyghur language, and Hebrew,[12] as well as Old Turkic.[citation needed]

Buddhist texts
By far the largest proportion of manuscripts from the Dunhuang cave contain Buddhist texts. These include Buddhist sutras, commentaries and treatises, often copied for the purpose of generating religious merit.[13] Several hundred manuscripts have been identified as notes taken by students,[14] including the popular Buddhist narratives known as bian wen (變文).[15] Much of the scholarship on the Chinese Buddhist manuscripts has been on the Chan (or Zen) texts, which have revolutionized the history of Chan Buddhism.[16] Among the Tibetan Buddhist manuscripts, the texts of early Tibetan tantric Buddhism, including Mahayoga and Atiyoga or Dzogchen have been the subject of many studies.[17]

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1484 – Bartholomeus V. Welser, German banker (d. 1561)
Prince Bartholomeus Welser (25 June 1484 in Memmingen – 28 March 1561 in “Amberg im Unterallgäu”) was a German banker. In 1528 he signed an agreement with Charles V, emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, granting a concession in Venezuela Province, which became Klein-Venedig until the concession was revoked in 1546.

Welser was head of the German banking firm, Welser Brothers, and with his brother claimed descent from the Byzantine general Belisarius. They were very rich, and lent large sums to Charles V, for which Bartholomeus was created a prince of the empire and made privy councillor to the emperor. In 1527, he was granted the newly discovered Province of Venezuela, with the proviso that he conquer the country at his own expense, enlist only Spanish and Flemish troops, fit out two expeditions of four vessels, and build two cities and three forts within two years after taking possession. As Venezuela was reputed to contain gold mines, he later obtained permission to send out 150 German miners.

In virtue of his contract, Welser armed a fleet, which sailed from Sanlúcar de Barrameda early in 1528, under the command of Ambrosius Ehinger, whom he appointed captain general. After Ehinger’s death in 1531, Georg von Speyer became captain general, and fitted out a new expedition, which sailed in 1534. In 1540 his son, Bartholomeus VI. Welser journeyed to Venezuela. Finding Speyer dead on his arrival he joined the expedition of Philipp von Hutten. After his return to El Tocuyo in April 1546 he and von Hutten were taken captive by the Spanish conquistador Juan de Carvajal, and later executed. After that the crown of Spain claimed the right to appoint the governor, and finally, in 1546, Charles V revoked Welser’s charter.

Welser did much to establish trade between the Netherlands, Germany, and South America. His enterprise has been commended by many writers, and is eulogized by Henri Ternaux-Compans in his collection, but it was detrimental to the interests of the banker, whose losses in his colonization schemes were estimated to reach the sum of 3,000,000 florins.

In 1889, Welser’s banking house still existed, as did the old family mansion, which is one of the curiosities of the city of Augsburg.


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FYI June 24, 2017

On this day:

109 – Roman emperor Trajan inaugurates the Aqua Traiana, an aqueduct that channels water from Lake Bracciano, 40 kilometres (25 miles) north-west of Rome.
The Aqua Traiana (later rebuilt and named the Acqua Paola) was a 1st-century Roman aqueduct built by Emperor Trajan and inaugurated on 24 June 109 AD.[1] It channelled water from sources around Lake Bracciano, 40 kilometers (25 mi) north-west of Rome, to Rome in ancient Roman times but had fallen into disuse by the 17th century. It fed a number of water mills on the Janiculum, including a sophisticated mill complex revealed by excavations in the 1990s under the present American Academy in Rome. Some of the Janiculum mills were famously put out of action by the Ostrogoths when they cut the aqueduct in 537 during the first siege of Rome. Belisarius restored the supply of grain by using mills floating in the Tiber. The complex of mills bears parallels with a similar complex at Barbegal in southern Gaul.

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Born on this day:

1788 – Thomas Blanchard, American inventor (d. 1864)
Thomas Blanchard (June 24, 1788 – April 16, 1864) was an American inventor who lived much of his life in Springfield, Massachusetts, where in 1819, he pioneered the assembly line style of mass production in America, and also invented the major technological innovation known as interchangeable parts. Blanchard worked, for much of his career, with the Springfield Armory. In 1825, Blanchard also invented America’s first car, which he called a “horseless carriage,” powered by steam.[1] During Blanchard’s lifetime, he was awarded over twenty-five patents for his creations.[2][3]


He was born in Sutton, Massachusetts. He had a fondness for mechanical employment, and was associated with his brother in the manufacture of tacks by hand. This process was exceedingly slow and tedious,[4] and his first machine, made and patented in 1806, was a mechanical tack-maker, which could fabricate five hundred tacks per minute, each much better than tacks made by hand. He sold the rights to his machine for $5,000.[5]

Machine tools for gun making and pattern copying lathe
Blanchard then turned his attention to gun barrels, and invented a machine tool that streamlined the process of their manufacture. Hired by the Springfield Armory during its construction, Blanchard finished the machine in 1822.[6] The machine turned and finished gun barrels in a single operation; the octagon portion of the barrel was finished by changing the action of the lathe to vibratory motion. This invention was afterward extended to the turning of all kinds of irregular forms.[4]

He also developed a copying lathe that traced a model to turn gun stocks, producing the desired contour automatically (1818).[6] The copying lathe began being used to make shoe lasts (forms) in the 1850s. By being able to accurately reproduce lasts it was possible to make shoes in standard sizes.[7] [8]

Steam transportation
Turning his attention to transportation, Blanchard invented a “steam wagon” before the introduction of railroads in the United States,[9] and in 1831 created a powerful upriver steamboat that was used on the Connecticut River and the West, both of which he invented and patented in Springfield, Massachusetts.[4][10][11] In 1851, he designed and created a machine that could bend dense and strong wood.[10]

Blanchard also constructed machines for cutting and folding envelopes at a single operation, and several mortising machines.[4]

X0002080 Horizontal shearing machine May 4, 1813 (patent destroyed by fire)
X0003010 Machine for tacks and brads October 3, 1817 (patent destroyed by fire)
X0003131 Turning irregular forms (image only, no text) Patented September 6, 1819 [12]
X0003436 Machine for turning gun stocks September 6, 1819 (patent destroyed by fire)
X0004832 Regulating the speed of carriages December 28, 1825 (patent destroyed by fire) [13]
U.S. Patent 3 Machine for turning, &c., wooden sheaves and pins for ships’ tackle-blocks and pulleys, dated August 1, 1836
U.S. Patent 4 Stock shaving or rounding machine for edges, ends, &c., of ships’ tackle-blocks, dated August 10, 1836
U.S. Patent 5 Machine for mortising solid wooden shells of ships’ tackle-blocks, dated August 10, 1836
U.S. Patent 6 Machine for forming end pieces of plank blocks for ships, &c. dated August 10, 1836
U.S. Patent 7 Machine for boring holes and cutting lanyard-scores in deadeyes. dated August 10, 1836
U.S. Patent 8 Machine for cutting scores round ships’ tackle-blocks and dead-eyes. dated August 10, 1836
U.S. Patent 9 Method of riveting plank or made blocks. dated August 10, 1836

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Who will Rescue the Ruins of this French Fairytale Chateau? from Messy Nessy Chic on Vimeo.


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FYI June 23, 2017

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On this day:

229 – Sun Quan proclaims himself emperor of Eastern Wu.
Sun Quan (182–252),[1] courtesy name Zhongmou, formally known as Emperor Da of Wu (literally “Great Emperor of Wu”), was the founder of the state of Eastern Wu during the Three Kingdoms period. He inherited control of the warlord regime established by his elder brother, Sun Ce, in 200. He declared formal independence and ruled from 222 to 229 as the King of Wu and from 229 to 252 as the Emperor of Wu. Unlike his rivals Cao Cao and Liu Bei, Sun Quan governed his state mostly separate of politics and ideology, he is sometimes portrayed as neutral considering he accommodated the wills of both his rivals but only when it benefited Eastern Wu and never fully attempted to conquer his rivals, although most of historians would cite his lack of logistical resources to do so.

Sun Quan was born in Xiapi while his father Sun Jian served there. After Sun Jian’s death in the early 190s, he and his family lived at various cities on the lower Yangtze River, until Sun Ce carved out a warlord regime in the Jiangdong region, based on his own followers and a number of local clan allegiances. When Sun Ce was assassinated by the retainers of Xu Gong in 200, the 18-year-old Sun Quan inherited the lands southeast of the Yangtze River from his brother. His administration proved to be relatively stable in those early years as Sun Jian and Sun Ce’s most senior officers, such as Zhou Yu, Zhang Zhao, Zhang Hong, and Cheng Pu supported the succession. Thus throughout the 200s, Sun Quan, under the tutelage of his able advisers, continued to build up his strength along the Yangtze River. In early 207, his forces finally won complete victory over Huang Zu, a military leader under Liu Biao, who dominated the middle Yangtze.

In winter of that year, the northern warlord Cao Cao led an army of some 830,000 to conquer the south to complete the reunification of China. Two distinct factions emerged at his court on how to handle the situation. One, led by Zhang Zhao, urged surrender whilst the other, led by Zhou Yu and Lu Su, opposed capitulation. Eventually, Sun Quan decided to oppose Cao Cao in the middle Yangtze with his superior riverine forces. Allied with Liu Bei and employing the combined strategies of Zhou Yu and Huang Gai, they defeated Cao Cao decisively at the Battle of Red Cliffs.

In 220, Cao Pi, Cao Cao’s son and successor, seized the throne and proclaimed himself to be the Emperor of China, ending and succeeding the nominal rule of the Han dynasty. At first Sun Quan nominally served as a Wei vassal with the Wei-created title of King of Wu, but after Cao Pi demanded that he send his son Sun Deng as a hostage to the Wei capital Luoyang and he refused, in 222, he declared himself independent by changing his era name. It was not until the year 229 that he formally declared himself emperor.

Because of his skill in gathering important, honourable men to his cause, Sun Quan was able to delegate authority to capable figures. This primary strength served him well in gaining the support of the common people and surrounding himself with capable generals.

After the death of his original crown prince, Sun Deng, two opposing factions supporting different potential successors slowly emerged. When Sun He succeeded Sun Deng as the new crown prince, he was supported by Lu Xun and Zhuge Ke, while his rival Sun Ba was supported by Quan Cong and Bu Zhi and their clans. Over a prolonged internal power struggle, numerous officials were executed, and Sun Quan harshly settled the conflict between the two factions by exiling Sun He and forcing Sun Ba to commit suicide. Sun Quan died in 252 at the age of 70. He enjoyed the longest reign among all the founders of the Three Kingdoms and was succeeded by his son, Sun Liang.

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Born on this day:

1625 – John Fell, English churchman and influential academic (d. 1686)
John Fell (23 June 1625 – 10 July 1686) was an English churchman and influential academic. He served as Dean of Christ Church, Oxford,[1][2] and later concomitantly as Bishop of Oxford.

Born at Longworth, Berkshire (now Oxfordshire), the eldest son of Samuel Fell, who would himself be installed as Dean of Christ Church in 1638, and his wife Margaret née Wylde, he received his early education at Lord Williams’s School at Thame in Oxfordshire. In 1637 aged only 11 he became a student at Christ Church, and in 1640 because of his “known desert”, he was specially allowed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, William Laud, to proceed to his degree of B.A. when wanting one term’s residence. He obtained his M.A. in 1643 and took Holy Orders (deacon 1647, priest 1649).

English Civil War
During the Civil War he bore arms for King Charles I of England and held a commission as ensign. In 1648 he was deprived of his studentship by the parliamentary visitors, and during the next few years he resided chiefly at Oxford with his brother-in-law, Thomas Willis, at whose house opposite Merton College he and his friends Richard Allestree and John Dolben kept up the service of the Church of England throughout the Commonwealth.

After the Restoration, Fell was made prebendary of Chichester, canon of Christ Church (27 July 1660), dean (30 November), master of St Oswald’s hospital, Worcester, chaplain to the king, and D.D. (see Doctor of Divinity). He filled the office of Vice-Chancellor of the University of Oxford from 1666 to 1669,[3] and was consecrated bishop of Oxford, in 1676, retaining his deanery in commendam. Some years later, he declined the primacy of Ireland.

Fell showed himself a capable administrator. He restored good order in the university by the archbishop, which during the Commonwealth had given place to a general disregard of authority. He ejected the intruders from his college or else “fixed them in loyal principles.” “He was the most zealous man of his time for the Church of England,” says Anthony Wood, “and none that I yet know of did go beyond him in the performance of the rules belonging thereunto.” He attended chapel four times a day, restored to the services, not without some opposition, the organ and surplice, and insisted on the proper academic dress which had fallen into disuse. He was active in recovering church property, and by his directions a children’s catechism was drawn up by Thomas Marshall for use in his diocese. “As he was among the first of our clergy,” says Thomas Burnet, “that apprehended the design of bringing in popery, so he was one of the most zealous against it.”

He made many converts from the Roman Catholics and Nonconformists. On the other hand, he successfully opposed the incorporation of Titus Oates as D.D. in the university in October 1679; and according to the testimony of William Nichols, his secretary, he disapproved of the Exclusion Bill. He excluded the undergraduates, whose presence had been irregularly permitted, from convocation. He obliged students to attend lectures, instituted reforms in the performances of the public exercises in the schools, kept the examiners up to their duties, was present in person at examinations. He encouraged the students to act plays. He entirely suppressed “coursing,” i.e. disputations in which the rival parties “ran down opponents in arguments,” and which commonly ended in blows and disturbances.

He was a disciplinarian, and possessed a talent for the education of young men, many of whom he received into his own family. Tom Brown, author of The Dialogues of the Dead, about to be expelled from Oxford for some offence, was pardoned by Fell on the condition of his translating ex tempore the 32nd epigram of Martial:

“Non amo te, Sabidi, nec possum dicere – quare; Hoc tantum possum dicere, non amo te.”

To which he immediately replied with the well-known lines:

I do not like thee, Doctor Fell,
The reason why I cannot tell;
But this I know, and know full well,
I do not like thee, Dr Fell.

Delinquents were not always treated thus mildly by Fell, and Acton Cremer, for the crime of courting a wife while only a bachelor of arts, was punished by having to translate into English the whole of Scheffer’s history of Lapland. As Vice-Chancellor, Fell personally visited the drinking taverns and ordered out the students. In the university elections he showed great energy in suppressing corruption.

Building operations
Fell’s building operations were ambitious. In his own college he completed in 1665 the north side of Cardinal Thomas Wolsey’s great quadrangle, already begun by his father but abandoned during the Commonwealth; in 1672, he rebuilt the east side of the Chaplain’s quadrangle “with a straight passage under it leading from the cloister into the field,” occupied now by the new Meadow Buildings; the lodgings of the canon of the third stall in the passage uniting the Tom Quad and Peckwater Quadrangle (c.1674); a long building joining the Chaplain’s quadrangle on the east side in 1677–1678; and lastly the great Tom Tower gate, begun in June 1681 on the foundation laid by Wolsey and finished in November 1682, to which the bell “great Tom,” after being recast, was transferred from the cathedral in 1683. In 1670 he planted and laid out the Broad Walk.

He spent large sums of his own on these works, gave £500 for the restoration of Banbury church, erected a church at St Oswald’s, Worcester, and the parsonage house at Woodstock at his own expense, and rebuilt Cuddesdon Palace. Fell disapproved of the use of the University Church of St Mary the Virgin for secular purposes, and promoted the building of the Sheldonian Theatre by Archbishop Gilbert Sheldon. He was treasurer during its construction, presided at the formal opening on 9 July 1669, and was nominated curator, along with Christopher Wren, in July 1670.

Oxford University Press
In the theatre was placed the Oxford University Press, the establishment of which had been a favourite project of Laud and now engaged a large share of Fell’s energy and attention, and which as curator he practically controlled. “Were it not you ken Mr Dean extraordinarily well,” wrote Sir Leoline Jenkins to John Williamson in 1672, “it were impossible to imagine how assiduous and drudging he is about his press.” He sent for type and printers from Holland, declaring that “the foundation of all success must be laid in doing things well, which l am sure will not be done with English letters.”

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The Funkzone Podcast’s 10 Links For Friday #070

Source: The Funkzone Podcast’s 10 Links For Friday #070

FYI June 22, 2017

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On this day:

1813 – War of 1812: After learning of American plans for a surprise attack on Beaver Dams in Ontario, Laura Secord sets out on a 30 kilometer journey on foot to warn Lieutenant James FitzGibbon.
Laura Secord (née Ingersoll; 13 September 1775 – 17 October 1868) was a Canadian heroine of the War of 1812. She is known for having walked 20 miles (32 km) out of American-occupied territory in 1813 to warn British forces of an impending American attack. Her contribution to the war was little known during her lifetime, but since her death she has been frequently honoured in Canada. Though Secord had no relation to it, most Canadians associate her with the Laura Secord Chocolates company, named after her on the centennial of her walk.

Laura Secord’s father, Thomas Ingersoll, lived in Massachusetts and fought on the side of the Patriots during the Revolutionary War (1775–1783). In 1795 he moved his family to the Niagara region of Upper Canada after he had applied for and received a land grant. Shortly after, Laura married Loyalist James Secord, who was later seriously wounded at the Battle of Queenston Heights early in the War of 1812. While he was still recovering in 1813, the Americans invaded the Niagara Peninsula, including Queenston. During the occupation, Secord acquired information about a planned American attack, and stole away on the morning of 22 June to inform Lieutenant James FitzGibbon in the territory still controlled by the British. The information helped the British and their Mohawk warrior allies repel the invading Americans at the Battle of Beaver Dams. Her effort was forgotten until 1860, when Edward, Prince of Wales awarded the impoverished widow £100 for her service on his visit to Canada.

The story of Laura Secord has taken on mythological overtones in Canada. Her tale has been the subject of books, plays, and poetry, often with many embellishments. Since her death, Canada has bestowed honours on her, including schools named after her, monuments, a museum, a memorial stamp and coin, and a statue at the Valiants Memorial in the Canadian capital.

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1839 – Cherokee leaders Major Ridge, John Ridge, and Elias Boudinot are assassinated for signing the Treaty of New Echota, which had resulted in the Trail of Tears.
The Treaty of New Echota (7 Stat. 488) was a treaty signed on December 29, 1835, in New Echota, Georgia by officials of the United States government and representatives of a minority Cherokee political faction, the Treaty Party.[1]

The treaty established terms under which the entire Cherokee Nation ceded its territory in the southeast and agreed to move west to the Indian Territory. Although the treaty was not approved by the Cherokee National Council nor signed by Principal Chief John Ross, it was amended and ratified by the U.S. Senate in March 1836, and became the legal basis for the forcible removal known as the Trail of Tears.

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Born on this day:

1427 – Lucrezia Tornabuoni, Italian writer and wife of Piero di Cosimo de’ Medici (d. 1482)
Lucrezia Tornabuoni (22 June 1427[1] – 25 March 1482[2]) was a writer and influential political adviser.[3] Connected by birth to two of the most powerful families in 15th-century Italy,[3] she later married Piero di Cosimo de’ Medici, connecting herself to another of the most powerful families in Italy and extending her own power and influence.[3] She had significant political influence during the rule of her husband and then of her son, Lorenzo. She worked to support the needs of the poor and religion in the region, supporting several institutions. She was a patron of the arts, and also wrote poems and plays herself.

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Political importance

Since she, in contrast to her husband, was of a noble line, she helped creating bridges between her husband’s family and the nobility.[19] Her advice was sought by many and she received both high and low-born people.[19] Her father-in-law admired her skills in deciding issues.[20] In 1450 she and her husband visited Rome for an audience with Pope Nicholas V, who gave them permission to build an altar in their family chapel.[21]

When Piero took over the government in 1464, his health kept him confined to bed.[22] This transformed their bedroom into something resembling a noble court.[23] His confinement meant that as Lucrezia was more free to move about, that she was often asked by others to bear their requests to him.[24] This included appeals to end the exile or imprisonment of petitioners, and to stop attacks by soldiers.[25] She was also called on to mediate disputes among others in the area, once ending a feud between two families that had gone on for twenty years.[26] In spring 1467, she again visited Rome and the Pope, while also looking for a wife for Lorenzo.[27][28] For a woman to travel without her husband and meet with the Pope and other influential officials like this was unusual, and commented upon by contemporaries.[28] In October 1467, as part of a rivalry between Piero and Luca Pitti, there was an assassination attempt against Lucrezia and her son Giuliano.[29]

Lucrezia’s husband, Piero, died in 1469.[30] After his death, she gained additional political influence as an advisor to her son.[30] Lorenzo freely admitted at her death that she had been one of his most important advisors.[30] She also gained more freedom to conduct business and own property.[31] She bought houses, shops, and farms in and around Pisa and Florence.[31] She would lease the shops out to different businesses, and thereby extended her patronage network.[32] In 1477, she took a lease on a public bath facility near Volterra, which she renovated into a profitable venture.[13][33] Her investments in communities around Florence helped spread the family influence and support network.[33]

She became well known for supporting religious convents, and working with them to help widows and orphans.[34] Often this assistance was provided by helping a family member to get a good position in the church or government.[35] She would also use her own income to provide dowries for women from poor families so that they could marry.[36]

Lucrezia died on 25 March 1482 after suffering an illness.[2] By the time of her death, she had many grandchildren.[9]

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FYI June 21, 2017

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On this day:

533 – A Byzantine expeditionary fleet under Belisarius sails from Constantinople to attack the Vandals in Africa, via Greece and Sicily.

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Against the Vandals
Main article: Vandalic War

For his efforts, Belisarius was rewarded by Justinian with the command of a land and sea expedition against the Vandal Kingdom, mounted in 533–534. The Romans had political, religious and strategic reasons for such a campaign. The pro-Roman Vandal king Hilderic had been deposed and murdered by the usurper Gelimer, giving Justinian a legal pretext. The Arian Vandals had periodically persecuted the Nicene Christians within their kingdom, many of whom made their way to Constantinople seeking redress. The Vandals had launched many pirate raids on Roman trade interests, hurting commerce in the western areas of the Empire. Justinian also wanted control of the Vandal territory in north Africa, which was one of the wealthiest provinces and the breadbasket of the Western Roman Empire and was now vital for guaranteeing Roman access to the western Mediterranean.

In the late summer of 533, Belisarius sailed to Africa and landed near Caput Vada (near Chebba on the coast of Tunisia). He ordered his fleet not to lose sight of the army, then marched along the coastal highway toward the Vandal capital of Carthage. He did this to prevent supplies from being cut off and to avoid a great defeat such as occurred during the attempt by Basiliscus to retake northern Africa 65 years before, which had ended in the Roman disaster at the Battle of Cap Bon in 468.

Ten miles from Carthage, the forces of Gelimer (who had just executed Hilderic) and Belisarius met at the Battle of Ad Decimum on September 13, 533. It nearly turned into a defeat for the Romans; Gelimer had chosen his position well and had some success along the main road. The Romans seemed dominant on both sides of the main road to Carthage. At the height of the battle, Gelimer became distraught upon learning of the death of his brother in battle. This gave Belisarius a chance to regroup and he went on to win the battle and capture Carthage. A second victory at the Battle of Tricamarum on December 15, resulted in Gelimer’s surrender early in 534 at Mount Papua, restoring the lost Roman provinces of north Africa to the empire. For this achievement, Belisarius was granted a Roman triumph (the last ever given) when he returned to Constantinople. According to Procopius in the procession were paraded the spoils of the Temple of Jerusalem (the Vandal treasure, including many objects looted from Rome 80 years earlier, the imperial regalia and the menorah of the Second Temple among them) which had been recovered from the Vandal capital along with Gelimer himself before he was sent into peaceful exile. Medals were stamped in his honor with the inscription Gloria Romanorum, though none seem to have survived to modern times. Belisarius was also made sole Consul in 535, being one of the last persons to hold this office, which originated in the ancient Roman Republic. The recovery of Africa was incomplete; army mutinies and revolts by the native Berbers plagued the new praetorian prefecture of Africa for almost 15 years.

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The Vandals were an East Germanic tribe, or group of tribes, who were first heard of in southern Poland, but later moved around Europe establishing kingdoms in Spain and later North Africa in the 5th century.[1]

The Vandals are believed to have migrated from southern Scandinavia to the area between the lower Oder and Vistula rivers during the 2nd century BC and to have settled in Silesia from around 120 BC.[2][3][4] They are associated with the Przeworsk culture and were possibly the same people as the Lugii. Expanding into Dacia during the Marcomannic Wars and to Pannonia during the Crisis of the Third Century, the Vandals were confined to Pannonia by the Goths around 330 AD, where they received permission to settle by Constantine the Great. Around 400, raids by the Huns forced many of the Germanic tribes like the Goths to migrate to the Roman Empire, and fearing that they might be targeted next, the Vandals were pushed westwards crossing the Rhine into Gaul along with other tribes in 406.[5] In 409, the Vandals crossed the Pyrenees into the Iberian Peninsula, where their main groups, the Hasdingi and the Silingi, settled in Gallaecia (northwest) and Baetica (south central) respectively.[6]

After the Visigoths invaded Iberia, the Iranian Alans and Silingi Vandals voluntarily subjected to the rule of Hasdingian leader Gunderic, who was pushed from Gallaecia to Baetica by a Roman-Suebi coalition in 419. In 429, under king Genseric, the Vandals entered North Africa. By 439 they established a kingdom which included the Roman province of Africa as well as Sicily, Corsica, Sardinia, Malta and the Balearic Islands. They fended off several Roman attempts to recapture the African province, and sacked the city of Rome in 455. Their kingdom collapsed in the Vandalic War of 533–4, in which Justinian I managed to reconquer the province for the Eastern Roman Empire.

Renaissance and Early Modern writers characterized the Vandals as barbarians, “sacking and looting” Rome. This led to the use of the term “vandalism” to describe any senseless destruction, particularly the “barbarian” defacing of artwork. However, modern historians tend to regard the Vandals during the transitional period from Late Antiquity to the Early Middle Ages as perpetuators, not destroyers, of Roman culture.[7]

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Born on this day:

1706 – John Dollond, English optician and astronomer (d. 1761)
John Dollond FRS (10 June O.S. (21 June N.S.) 1706 – 30 November 1761) was an English optician, known for his successful optics business and his patenting and commercialization of achromatic doublets.

Dollond was the son of a Huguenot refugee, a silk-weaver at Spitalfields, London, where he was born. He followed his father’s trade, but found time to acquire a knowledge of Latin, Greek, mathematics, physics, anatomy and other subjects. In 1752 he abandoned silk-weaving and joined his eldest son, Peter Dollond (1730–1820), who in 1750 had started in business as a maker of optical instruments; this business is now Dollond & Aitchison. His reputation grew rapidly, and in 1761 he was appointed optician to the king.

In 1758 he published an “Account of some experiments concerning the different refrangibility of light” (Phil. Trans., 1758), describing the experiments that led him to the achievement with which his name is specially associated, the discovery of a means of constructing achromatic lenses by the combination of crown and flint glasses, which reduces chromatic aberration (color defects). Leonhard Euler in 1747 had suggested that achromatism might be obtained by the combination of glass and water lenses. Relying on statements made by Sir Isaac Newton, Dollond disputed this possibility (Phil. Trans., 1753), but subsequently, after the Swedish physicist, Samuel Klingenstierna (1698–1765), had pointed out that Newton’s law of dispersion did not harmonize with certain observed facts, he began experiments to settle the question.

Early in 1757 he succeeded in producing refraction without colour by the aid of glass and water lenses, and a few months later he made a successful attempt to get the same result by a combination of glasses of different qualities (see History of telescopes). For this achievement the Royal Society awarded him the Copley Medal in 1758, and three years later elected him one of its fellows. Dollond also published two papers on apparatus for measuring small angles (Phil. Trans., 1753, 1754).[2]

Priority of invention
See also: Achromatic lens: History
John Dollond was the first person to patent the achromatic doublet.[3][when?] However, it is well known that he was not the first to make achromatic lenses. Optician George Bass, following the instructions of Chester Moore Hall, made and sold such lenses as early as 1733.[4] In the late 1750s, Bass told Dollond about Hall’s design; Dollond saw the potential and was able to reproduce them.[3]

Dollond appears to have known of the prior work and refrained from enforcing his patent.[4] After his death, his son, Peter, did take action to enforce the patent. A number of his competitors, including Bass, Benjamin Martin, Robert Rew and Jesse Ramsden, took action. Dollond’s patent was upheld, as the court found that the patent was valid due to Dollond’s exploitation of the invention while prior inventors did not. Several of the opticians were ruined by the expense of the legal proceedings and closed their shops as a result. The patent remained valid until it expired in 1772.[4] Following the expiry of the patent, the price of achromatic doublets in England dropped by half.[5] More details on this invention are in History of the telescope.

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NSF Director’s Notes June 2017

National Science Foundation

NSF Director’s Notes June 2017