Category: FYI


FYI March 08 & 09, 2019

On This Day

1782 – Gnadenhutten massacre: Ninety-six Native Americans in Gnadenhutten, Ohio, who had converted to Christianity, are killed by Pennsylvania militiamen in retaliation for raids carried out by other Indian tribes.

The Gnadenhutten massacre, also known as the Moravian massacre, was the killing of 96 Christian Delaware by colonial White American militia from Pennsylvania on March 8, 1782 at the Moravian missionary village of Gnadenhutten, Ohio during the American Revolutionary War.[2] More than a century later, President Theodore Roosevelt would call the massacre “a stain on the frontier character that time cannot wash away”.[3]

The site of the village has been preserved. A reconstructed mission house and cooper’s house were built there, and a monument to the dead was erected and dedicated a century later.[4] The burial mound is marked and has been maintained on the site. The village site has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


1910 – French aviator Raymonde de Laroche becomes the first woman to receive a pilot’s license.
Raymonde de Laroche (22 August 1882 – 18 July 1919), born Elise Raymonde Deroche, was a French pilot and the first woman in the world to receive an aeroplane pilot’s licence.
Early life

Born on 22 August 1882 in Paris, Raymonde Deroche was the daughter of a plumber. She had a fondness for sports as a child, as well as for motorcycles and automobiles when she was older. As a young woman she became an actress and used the stage name “Raymonde de Laroche”. Inspired by Wilbur Wright’s 1908 demonstrations of powered flight in Paris and being personally acquainted with several aviators, including artist-turned-aviator Léon Delagrange, who was reputed to be the father of her son André, de Laroche determined to take up flying for herself.[1]:9–10

1917 – International Women’s Day
International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated on March 8 every year.[3] It is a focal point in the movement for women’s rights.

After the Socialist Party of America organized a Women’s Day on February 28, 1909, in New York, the 1910 International Socialist Woman’s Conference suggested a Women’s Day be held annually. After women gained suffrage in Soviet Russia in 1917, March 8 became a national holiday there. The day was then predominantly celebrated by the socialist movement and communist countries until it was adopted in 1975 by the United Nations.

Today, International Women’s Day is a public holiday in some countries and largely ignored elsewhere.[4] In some places, it is a day of protest; in others, it is a day that celebrates womanhood.

1776 – The Wealth of Nations by Scottish economist and philosopher Adam Smith is published.
An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, generally referred to by its shortened title The Wealth of Nations, is the magnum opus of the Scottish economist and moral philosopher Adam Smith. First published in 1776, the book offers one of the world’s first collected descriptions of what builds nations’ wealth, and is today a fundamental work in classical economics. By reflecting upon the economics at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, the book touches upon such broad topics as the division of labour, productivity, and free markets.[1]



Born On This Day

1900 – Howard H. Aiken, American physicist and computer scientist, created the Harvard Mark I (d. 1973)
Howard Hathaway Aiken (March 8, 1900 – March 14, 1973) was an American physicist and a pioneer in computing, being the original conceptual designer behind IBM’s Harvard Mark I computer.[2]

Aiken studied at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and later obtained his Ph.D. in physics at Harvard University in 1939.[3][4] During this time, he encountered differential equations that he could only solve numerically. Inspired by Charles Babbage’s difference engine, he envisioned an electro-mechanical computing device that could do much of the tedious work for him. This computer was originally called the ASCC (Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator) and later renamed Harvard Mark I. With engineering, construction, and funding from IBM, the machine was completed and installed at Harvard in February, 1944.[5] Richard Milton Bloch, Robert Campbell and Grace Hopper joined the project later as programmers.[6] In 1947, Aiken completed his work on the Harvard Mark II computer. He continued his work on the Mark III and the Harvard Mark IV. The Mark III used some electronic components and the Mark IV was all-electronic. The Mark III and Mark IV used magnetic drum memory and the Mark IV also had magnetic core memory.

Aiken accumulated honorary degrees at the University of Wisconsin, Wayne State[which?] and Technische Hochschule, Darmstadt. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1947.[7] He received the University of Wisconsin–Madison College of Engineering Engineers Day Award in 1958, the Harry H. Goode Memorial Award in 1964, the John Price Wetherill Medal in 1964, and the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) Edison Medal in 1970 “For a meritorious career of pioneering contributions to the development and application of large-scale digital computers and important contributions to education in the digital computer field.”

In addition to his work on the Mark series, another important contribution of Aiken’s was the introduction of a master’s program for computer science at Harvard in 1947,[8] nearly a decade before the programs began to appear in other universities. This became a starting ground to future computer scientists, many of whom did doctoral dissertations under Aiken.

Personal life

Howard Aiken was married three times: to Louise Mancill, later to Agnes Montgomery, and lastly to Mary McFarland. He had two children; Rachel Ann by his first wife, Elizabeth (Betsy) by his second.

Howard Aiken was also a Commander in the United States Navy Reserve.[5]

After he retired at age 60 to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Aiken continued his contributions to technology. He founded Howard Aiken Industries Incorporated, which was a consulting firm that helped failing businesses recover. During his years in Florida, he joined the University of Miami as a Distinguished Professor of Information. In addition, Aiken became a consultant for companies such as Lockheed Martin and Monsanto. On March 14, 1973, Aiken died during a consulting trip to St. Louis, Missouri .[9] His widow, Mary, died in 2013.

Harvard Mark I
The IBM Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator (ASCC), called Mark I by Harvard University’s staff,[1] was a general purpose electromechanical computer that was used in the war effort during the last part of World War II.

One of the first programs to run on the Mark I was initiated on 29 March 1944[2] by John von Neumann. At that time, von Neumann was working on the Manhattan project, and needed to determine whether implosion was a viable choice to detonate the atomic bomb that would be used a year later. The Mark I also computed and printed mathematical tables, which had been the initial goal of British inventor Charles Babbage for his “analytical engine”.

The Mark I was disassembled in 1959, but portions of it are displayed in the Science Center as part of the Harvard Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments. Other sections of the original machine were transferred to IBM and the Smithsonian Institution.

1892 – Vita Sackville-West, English author, poet, and gardener (d. 1962)
Victoria Mary Sackville-West, Lady Nicolson, CH (9 March 1892 – 2 June 1962), usually known as Vita Sackville-West, was an English poet, novelist, and garden designer.

She was a successful novelist, poet, and journalist, as well as a prolific letter writer and diarist. She published more than a dozen collections of poetry during her lifetime and 13 novels. She was twice awarded the Hawthornden Prize for Imaginative Literature: in 1927 for her pastoral epic, The Land, and in 1933 for her Collected Poems. She was the inspiration for the androgynous protagonist of Orlando: A Biography, by her famous friend and lover, Virginia Woolf.

She had a longstanding column in The Observer (1946-1961) and is remembered for the celebrated garden at Sissinghurst created with her husband, Sir Harold Nicolson.




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FYI March 07, 2019

On This Day

1850 – Senator Daniel Webster gives his “Seventh of March” speech endorsing the Compromise of 1850 in order to prevent a possible civil war.
The Compromise of 1850 was a package of five separate bills passed by the United States Congress in September 1850, which defused a four-year political confrontation between slave and free states on the status of territories acquired during the Mexican–American War (1846–1848). The compromise, drafted by Whig Senator Henry Clay of Kentucky and brokered by Clay and Democratic Senator Stephen Douglas of Illinois, reduced sectional conflict, although controversy eventually arose over the Fugitive Slave provision. Although the compromise was greeted with relief, each side disapproved of some of its specific provisions:

Texas surrendered its claim to New Mexico as well as its claims north of 36°30′. It retained the Texas Panhandle, and the federal government took over the state’s public debt.
California was admitted as a free state, with its current boundaries.
The South prevented the adoption of the Wilmot Proviso, which would have outlawed slavery in the new territories.[1] The new Utah Territory and New Mexico Territory were allowed, under popular sovereignty, to decide whether to allow slavery within their borders. In practice, these lands were generally unsuited to plantation agriculture, and their settlers were uninterested in slavery.
The slave trade, but not the institution of slavery, was banned in the District of Columbia.
A more stringent Fugitive Slave Law was enacted, requiring law enforcement in free states to support the capture and return of fugitive slaves, and increasing penalties against people who tried to evade the law.

The Compromise became possible after the sudden death of President Zachary Taylor. Although a slave owner, he had wanted to exclude slavery from the Southwest. Whig leader Henry Clay designed a compromise, which failed to pass in early 1850 because of opposition by both pro-slavery southern Democrats, led by John C. Calhoun, and anti-slavery northern Whigs. Upon Clay’s instruction, Stephen Douglas divided Clay’s bill into several smaller pieces and narrowly won their passage, over the opposition of radicals on both sides.



Born On This Day

1788 – Antoine César Becquerel, French physicist and biochemist (d. 1878)
Antoine César Becquerel (7 March 1788 – 18 January 1878) was a French scientist and a pioneer in the study of electric and luminescent phenomena.


He was born at Châtillon-sur-Loing (today Châtillon-Coligny). After passing through the École polytechnique he became engineer-officer in 1808, and saw active service with the imperial troops in Spain from 1810 to 1812, and again in France in 1814. He then resigned from the army and devoted the rest of his life to scientific investigation.[1]

In 1820, following the work of René Just Haüy, he found that pressure can induce electricity in every material, attributing the effect to surface interactions (this is not piezoelectricity). In 1825 he invented a differential galvanometer for the accurate measurement of electrical resistance. In 1829 he invented a constant-current electrochemical cell, the forerunner of the Daniell cell. In 1839, working with his son A. E. Becquerel, he discovered the photovoltaic effect on an electrode immersed in a conductive liquid.[citation needed]

His earliest work was mineralogical in character, but he soon turned his attention to the study of electricity and especially of electrochemistry. In 1837 he became a Fellow of the Royal Society, and received its Copley Medal for his various memoirs on electricity, and particularly for those on the production of metallic sulphurets and sulphur by electrolysis. He was the first to prepare metallic elements from their ores by this method. It was hoped that this would lead to increased knowledge of the recomposition of crystallized bodies, and the processes which may have been employed by nature in the production of such bodies in the mineral kingdom.[1]

In biochemistry he worked at the problems of animal heat and at the phenomena accompanying the growth of plants, and he also devoted much time to meteorological questions and observations. He was a prolific writer, his books including Traité de l’électricité et du magnétisme (1834–1840), Traité de physique dans ses rapports avec la chimie (1842), Elements de électro-chimie (1843), Traité complet du magnétisme (1845), Elements de physique terrestre et de meteorologié (1847), and Des climats et de l’influence qu’exercent les sols boisés et non boisés (1853). He died in Paris, where from 1837 he had been professor of physics at the Museum d’Histoire Naturelle.[1]

He became a correspondent of the Royal Institute in 1836, when that became the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1851, he became a foreign member.[2]

He was the father of the physicist A. E. Becquerel and grandfather of the physicist Henri Becquerel. His name is one of the 72 names inscribed on the Eiffel Tower.



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FYI March 06, 2019

On This Day

1665 – The first joint Secretary of the Royal Society, Henry Oldenburg, publishes the first issue of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, the world’s longest-running scientific journal.
Philosophical Transactions, titled Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society (often abbreviated as Phil. Trans.) from 1776, is a scientific journal published by the Royal Society. In its earliest days, it was a private venture of the Royal Society’s secretary.[1][2] It became an official society publication in 1752.[3] It was established in 1665,[4] making it the first journal in the world exclusively devoted to science,[2] and therefore also the world’s longest-running scientific journal.[2] The use of the word philosophical in the title refers to natural philosophy, which was the equivalent of what would now be generally called science.
Current publication
In 1887 the journal expanded and divided into two separate publications, one serving the physical sciences (Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences) and the other focusing on the life sciences (Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences). Both journals now publish themed issues and issues resulting from papers presented at the Discussion Meetings of the Royal Society. Primary research articles are published in the sister journals Proceedings of the Royal Society, Biology Letters, Journal of the Royal Society Interface, and Interface Focus.



Born On This Day

1780 – Lucy Barnes, American writer (d. 1809)[2]
Lucy Barnes (March 6, 1780 – August 29, 1809) was an 18th-century American writer. Her book The Female Christian may have been the first written by a woman in defense of Universalism.

Early years and education
Lucy Barnes, eldest daughter of Rev. Thomas Barnes, was born in Jaffrey, New Hampshire, March 6, 1780.[1] Her father was the first Universalist minister in Maine.[2]

When a child she was sweet in disposition, gentle in deportment, but very undemonstrative, unless an opportunity presented itself by which she could serve some one, or reconcile contending parties; “and then,” says the “Christian Intelligencer” of 1825, “she would wear a smile of complacency and satisfaction that was beautiful and heavenly.” Her opportunities for an education were very limited, but she was an omnivorous reader, and could repeat what she read as easily as most could repeat the chit-chat of an afternoon.[1]

When she was 19 years old, Barnes made a profession of religious creed. At about that time, her father removed to Poland, Maine, at which place a frantic “reformation” was going on. She attended the meetings, and gave all the arguments and all the warnings a most careful and respectful consideration; “for,” she said, “if their explanations are correct, and this singular work is sanctioned by divine authority, I am perfectly willing and ready to embrace Methodism.” She was always interested in religious discussions, and read the Bible with great interest, but at this time, she read verse by verse, and conscientiously considered the import of every word. The more she read, the more clearly she saw the fallacy of the popular explanations, and the more truthful seemed the doctrine that she ever after lived by, and at last died believing.[1]

As soon as it was known that Barnes had openly proclaimed that she could not put bounds to the love of God, and announced her belief in Universalist doctrine, crowds visited her for the purpose of either driving or persuading her from that belief. Barnes had a peculiar aptitude for logical reasoning, and presented her points so persuasively, and in so amiable and loving a manner, that the most intelligent became convinced that her “weapons were not carnal but mighty,” and were generous enough to say she was a “real Christian,” even if she had embraced the awful doctrine of universal salvation. She was constantly trying to impress upon the young the principles of morality, and their duty to live Christian lives.[1]

Soon after her death some of her letters, dissertations and poems were collected and printed in a pamphlet of 71 pages, entitled The Female Christian. In the “Gospel Banner,” of 1858, there was a review of the pamphlet by Rev. John Wesley Hanson, then editor. This may have been the first book written by a woman in defense of Universalism. He said,—”The passages from the letters, verse and prose of the fair, frail hand that has for fifty years been cold can not fail to be read with interest.”[3]

The “Christian Intelligencer,” of 1825, of Portland, Maine, publisher of her father’s memoir state,—”Miss Barnes from infancy had in warm weather been sorely afflicted with asthma, but for several years before her death the complaint became more severe and alarming. Though the distress and pressure at the lungs were frequently so great that she seemed to be in the agonies of death, the first language she uttered would be intended to console and comfort her parents. Her individual hope in Christ, and her faith in the universal salvation, remained firm and unwavering to the last, and even in the dread struggles of expiring nature the smile of heavenly serenity was visible on her countenance, evincing a willingness to sleep in death, that she might rest in God.”[4]

With regard to her health, Barnes stated,—”It is very low indeed. I am not able to walk out of my room, nor to sit up but a few moments at a time, so that I have been many days in writing these lines; but although they are penned by a feeble hand, yet, through the grace of God, they proceed from a heart strong in faith, though on the verge of eternity.”[5]

A short quotation from the last written exhortation of Barnes, finished only the day before she died read,—”Let us, therefore, be humble, and endeavor to pursue the paths of peace, and to walk in the straight and narrow way. And whenever we discover any going on in vice and wickedness, and walking in the broad road in search of happiness, let us pity their weakness and folly, and mistaken ideas of bliss, and endeavor, if possible, to restore them in the spirit of meekness, “considering ourselves lest we also be tempted. For if we had their temptations, rue might perhaps do equally as bad or even worse than they. May every blessing attend you which can contribute in the least both to your temporal and spiritual welfare. May the God of peace be with you always; may you be patient in tribulation, remembering that whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth. and that these afflictions which are sent for our profit are but short, but the joys which will soon dawn upon us are of a duration.”[5]

It was said that though her style was not ornamented with the tinsel of rhetoric, it was enriched with the unstudied fervor, gravity, and resignation which would be requisite to a chapter of an inspired volume. She died August 29, 1809, at the age of 29. [5]



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FYI March 05, 2019

On This Day

1046 – Nasir Khusraw begins the seven-year Middle Eastern journey which he will later describe in his book Safarnama.
Abu Mo’in Hamid ad-Din Nasir ibn Khusraw al-Qubadiani or Nāsir Khusraw Qubādiyānī Balkhi also spelled as Nasir Khusrow and Naser Khosrow (1004 – 1088 CE) (Persian: ناصر خسرو قبادیانی‎) was a Persian poet,[2] philosopher, Isma’ili scholar,[3][4] traveler and one of the greatest writers in Persian literature. He was born in Qabodiyon, (Qabādiyān), a village in Bactria in the ancient Greater Iranian province of Khorasan,[5][6] now in modern Tajikistan[7] and died in Yamagan, now Afghanistan.

He is considered one of the great poets and writers in Persian literature. The Safarnama, an account of his travels, is his most famous work and remains required reading in Iran even today.[8]



Born On This Day

1512 – Gerardus Mercator, Flemish mathematician, cartographer, and philosopher (d. 1594)
Gerardus Mercator (/dʒɪˈrɑːrdəs mɜːrˈkeɪtər/;[1][2][3] 5 March 1512 – 2 December 1594)[4] was a 16th-century Southern Dutch (current day Belgium) cartographer, geographer and cosmographer. He was renowned for creating the 1569 world map based on a new projection which represented sailing courses of constant bearing (rhumb lines) as straight lines—an innovation that is still employed in nautical charts.

Mercator was one of the founders of the Netherlandish school of cartography and is widely considered as the most notable figure of the school in its golden age (approximately 1570s–1670s). In his own day he was the world’s most famous geographer but, in addition, he had interests in theology, philosophy, history, mathematics and geomagnetism as well as being an accomplished engraver, calligrapher and maker of globes and scientific instruments.

Unlike other great scholars of the age he travelled little and his knowledge of geography came from his library of over one thousand books and maps, from his visitors and from his vast correspondence (in six languages) with other scholars, statesmen, travellers, merchants and seamen. Mercator’s early maps were in large formats suitable for wall mounting but in the second half of his life he produced over 100 new regional maps in a smaller format suitable for binding into his Atlas of 1595. This was the first appearance of the word Atlas in a geographical context but Mercator used it as a neologism for a treatise (Cosmologia) on the creation, history and description of the universe, not simply a collection of maps. He chose the word as a commemoration of the Titan Atlas, “King of Mauretania”, whom he considered to be the first great geographer.

A large part of Mercator’s income came from the sales of his terrestrial and celestial globes. For sixty years they were considered to be the finest in the world, and they were sold in such great numbers that there are many surviving examples. This was a substantial enterprise involving making the spheres, printing the gores, building substantial stands, packing and distributing all over Europe. He was also renowned for his scientific instruments, particularly his astrolabes and astronomical rings used to study the geometry of astronomy and astrology.

Mercator wrote on geography, philosophy, chronology and theology. All of the wall maps were engraved with copious text on the region concerned. As an example the famous world map of 1569 is inscribed with over 5000 words in fifteen legends. The 1595 Atlas has about 120 pages of maps and illustrated title pages but a greater number of pages are devoted to his account of the creation of the universe and descriptions of all the countries portrayed. His table of chronology ran to some 400 pages fixing the dates (from the time of creation) of earthly dynasties, major political and military events, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and eclipses. He also wrote on the gospels and the old testament.

Mercator was a devout Christian born into a Catholic family at a time when Martin Luther’s Protestantism was gaining ground. He never declared himself as a Lutheran but he was clearly sympathetic and he was accused of heresy (Lutheranye). He spent six months in prison but he emerged unscathed. This period of persecution is probably the major factor in his move from Catholic Leuven (Louvain) to a more tolerant Duisburg where he lived for the last thirty years of his life. Walter Ghim, Mercator’s friend and first biographer, describes him as sober in his behaviour, yet cheerful and witty in company, and never more happy than in debate with other scholars, but above all he was pious and studious until his dying days.[5]




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Today’s email was written by Meghan McDonough, and edited and produced by Whet Moser. Quartz Obsession Mate: A caffeinated icon of connection







FYI March 04, 2019

On This Day

1790 – France is divided into 83 départements, cutting across the former provinces in an attempt to dislodge regional loyalties based on ownership of land by the nobility.
n the administrative divisions of France, the department (French: département, pronounced [depaʁt(ə)mɑ̃]) is one of the three levels of government below the national level (“territorial collectivities”), between the administrative regions and the commune. Ninety-six departments are in metropolitan France, and five are overseas departments, which are also classified as regions. Departments are further subdivided into 334 arrondissements, themselves divided into cantons; the last two have no autonomy, and are used for the organisation of police, fire departments, and sometimes, elections.

Each department is administered by an elected body called a departmental council (conseil départemental (sing.), conseils départementaux (plur.)). From 1800 to April 2015, these were called general councils (conseil général (sing.), conseils généraux (plur.)).[1] Each council has a president. Their main areas of responsibility include the management of a number of social and welfare allowances, of junior high school (collège) buildings and technical staff, and local roads and school and rural buses, and a contribution to municipal infrastructures. Local services of the state administration are traditionally organised at departmental level, where the prefect represents the government; however, regions have gained importance in this regard since the 2000s, with some department-level services merged into region-level services.

The departments were created in 1790 as a rational replacement of Ancien Régime provinces with a view to strengthen national unity; the title “department” is used to mean a part of a larger whole. Almost all of them were named after physical geographical features (rivers, mountains, or coasts), rather than after historical or cultural territories which could have their own loyalties. The division of France into departments was a project particularly identified with the French revolutionary leader the Abbé Sieyès, although it had already been frequently discussed and written about by many politicians and thinkers. The earliest known suggestion of it is from 1764 in the writings of d’Argenson. They have inspired similar divisions in many countries, some of them former French colonies.

Most French departments are assigned a two-digit number, the “Official Geographical Code”, allocated by the Institut national de la statistique et des études économiques. Overseas departments have a three-digit number. The number is used, for example, in the postal code, and was until recently used for all vehicle registration plates. While residents commonly use the numbers to refer to their own department or a neighbouring one, more distant departments are generally referred to by their names, as few people know the numbers of all the departments. For example, inhabitants of Loiret might refer to their department as “the 45”.

In 2014, President François Hollande proposed to abolish departmental councils by 2020, which would have maintained the departments as administrative divisions, and to transfer their powers to other levels of governance. This reform project has since been abandoned.



Born On This Day

1781 – Rebecca Gratz, American educator and philanthropist (d. 1869)
Rebecca Gratz (March 4, 1781 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania – August 27, 1869 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) was a preeminent Jewish American educator and philanthropist in 19th-century America.

Gratz was the seventh of twelve children born to Miriam Simon and Michael Gratz. Her mother was the daughter of Joseph Simon, a preeminent Jewish merchant of Lancaster, while her father immigrated to America in 1752 from Langendorf, in German-speaking Silesia.[1] Michael, who was descended from a long line of respected rabbis, and Miriam, were observant Jews and active members of Philadelphia’s first synagogue, Mikveh Israel.

In 1801, at the age of 20, Rebecca Gratz helped establish the Female Association for the Relief of Women and Children in Reduced Circumstances, which helped women whose families were suffering after the American Revolutionary War.[2] In 1815, after seeing the need for an institution for orphans in Philadelphia, she was among those instrumental in founding the Philadelphia Orphan Asylum.[1] Four years later, she was elected secretary of its Board. She continued to hold this office for forty years. Under Gratz’ auspices, a Hebrew Sunday School, the first of its kind in America, was started in 1838. Gratz became both its superintendent and president and assisted in developing its curriculum,[2] resigning in 1864.

Gratz was also one of the founding members of the Female Hebrew Benevolent Society, around November 1819. In 1850, she advocated in The Occident, over the signature A Daughter of Israel, the foundation of a Jewish foster home. Her advocacy was largely instrumental in the establishment of such a home in 1855.[2] Other organizations that came about due to her efforts were the Fuel Society and the Sewing Society.

Gratz is said to have been the model of Rebecca, the daughter of the Jewish merchant Isaac of York, who is the heroine in the novel Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott.[1] Scott’s attention had been drawn to Gratz’s character by Washington Irving, who was a close friend of the Gratz family.[3][4] The claim has been disputed, but it has also been well sustained in an article entitled “The Original of Rebecca in Ivanhoe”, which appeared in The Century Magazine, 1882, pp. 679–682.

Gratz never married. Among the marriage offers she received was one from a Gentile whom she loved but ultimately chose not to marry on account of her faith.

Her portrait was painted twice by the noted American artist Thomas Sully. One of those portraits (both are owned by the Rosenbach Museum) is on display at the National Museum of American Jewish History.[5]

Shortly after Rebecca Gratz died in 1869, her brother, Hyman, founded and financed Gratz College, a teachers’ college in Philadelphia, in her memory.

Gratz is buried at Mikveh Israel Cemetery in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.




By Jason Torchinsky: This Is What It Looks Like When an Avalanche Lands on Your Car
By Dell Cameron: House Democrats Will Introduce ‘Save the Internet Act’ to Restore Net Neutrality This Week
gizmodo Science: Opioid Maker Purdue Is Reportedly Considering Bankruptcy; ‘Elixir of Immortality’ Uncovered in 2,000-Year-Old Chinese Tomb and more ->
By Savannah Tanbusch Blog Profiles: Dog Agility Blogs
By Nerd Much Stuff: 50 Best Cool Websites Nerds Will Love (2019)
By Elizabeth Llorente: Vatican to open archives on WWII-era Pope accused of staying silent during Holocaust
By Natasha Case Founder & CEO, Coolhaus: How my passion for ice cream became “More Than A Business”
Peter Schottenfels Tech Newbie: Ask a Techspert: What is quantum computing?
By Greg Norman: Judge strikes down request to expedite case of ISIS bride Hoda Muthana
Rep. Gary Palmer, R-Ala., also has spoken out against Muthana being allowed to return to America. She is reported to have left Alabama in 2015 to join ISIS.

“Those who betray the country and fight for ISIS have to suffer the consequences for their actions,” Palmer said in a statement to “Secretary Pompeo has expressed that she has no legal basis to return to the U.S. and I agree with him. She forfeited the privileges of citizenship when she provided aid to radical extremists seeking to kill Americans.”
Today’s email was written by Adam Pasick with Jason Karaian and edited and produced by Jessanne Collins. Quartz Obsession Pallets: How to move the world with wood and nails
The Rural Blog: News media need to keep explaining how they work; many people don’t understand the 3 types of information media; Rural nursing homes closing, creating hardship, heartbreak; Tune in for March 6 webinar on USDA farm income forecast and more ->

By Dan Peleschuk: How an American Weightlifter Tore Down the Iron Curtain
Why you should care
Paul Anderson, at age 22, made Soviet audiences gasp as he smashed records before their eyes.

Paul Edward Anderson (October 17, 1932 – August 15, 1994) was an American weightlifter, strongman and powerlifter. He was an Olympic gold medalist and a World Champion and two-time National Champion in Olympic weightlifting. Anderson played a big part in the manifestation of powerlifting as a competitive sport.


Open Culture: Watch Lin-Manuel Miranda Perform the Earliest Version of Hamilton at the White House, Six Years Before the Play Hit the Broadway Stage (2009); An Animated Introduction to the Chaotic Brilliance of Jean-Michel Basquiat: From Homeless Graffiti Artist to Internationally Renowned Painter and more ->
GlacierHub – Newsletter 03/04/2019: Inspiring Girls Expeditions and more->
MessyNessy 13 Things I Found on the Internet Today (Vol. CCCXLIII): A Great White Shark preserved in formaldehyde in an abandoned wildlife park; Athens’ Bizarre Underground Phenomenon; The Costumes in 1935’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream; What Makes Art Valuable and more ->







Kelly-n-Tony Hometalk Helper: Dye Your Easter Eggs Then SPRING CLEAN the House!







FYI March 03, 2019

On This Day

1873 – Censorship in the United States: The U.S. Congress enacts the Comstock Law, making it illegal to send any “obscene, lewd, or lascivious” books through the mail.
The Comstock Laws were a set of federal acts passed by the United States Congress under the Grant administration along with related state laws.[1] The “parent” act (Sect. 211) was passed on March 3, 1873, as the Act for the “Suppression of Trade in, and Circulation of, Obscene Literature and Articles of Immoral Use”. This Act criminalized usage of the U.S. Postal Service to send any of the following items:[2]

sex toys
personal letters with any sexual content or information
or any information regarding the above items.

A similar federal act (Sect. 245) of 1909 [3] applied to delivery by interstate “express” or any other common carrier (such as railroad, instead of delivery by the U.S. Postal Service).

In Washington, D.C., where the federal government had direct jurisdiction, another Comstock act (Sect. 312) also made it illegal (punishable by up to 5 years at hard labor), to sell, lend, or give away any “obscene” publication, or article used for contraception or abortion.[4] Section 305 of the Tariff Act of 1922 forbade the importation of any contraceptive information or means.[5]

In addition to these federal laws, about half of the states enacted laws related to the federal Comstock laws. These state laws are considered by Dennett [1] to also be “Comstock laws”.

The laws were named after their chief proponent, Anthony Comstock. Comstock received a commission from the Postmaster General to serve as a special agent for the U.S. Postal Service.[4]

Numerous failed attempts were made to repeal or modify these laws and eventually, many of them (or portions of them) were declared unconstitutional. In 1919 in a law journal, a judge, after reviewing the various laws (especially state laws) called the set of them “haphazard and capricious” and lacking “any clear, broad, well-defined principle or purpose”.[6]



Born On This Day

1678 – Madeleine de Verchères, Canadian rebel leader (d. 1747)
Marie-Madeleine Jarret, known as Madeleine de Verchères ((French pronunciation: ​[madəlɛn də vɛʁʃɛʁ]); 3 March 1678 – 8 August 1747) was a woman of New France (modern Quebec) credited with repelling a raid on Fort Verchères when she was 14 years old.

Early life
François Jarret, of Saint-Chef in the department of Isère in France, joined the company of his uncle Antoine Pécaudy de Contrecœur to battle the Iroquois in New France (see Beaver Wars). They arrived there in August 1665, and on 17 September 1669 Jarret married the twelve-year-old Marie Perrot in Île d’Orléans. He was awarded a land grant on the south shore of the Saint Lawrence River on 29 October 1672 in a seigneury called Verchères, and thereafter continued to increase his land holdings. The couple was to have twelve children, the fourth of whom was Madeleine de vercheres, born in Verchères on 3 March 1678 and baptised that 17 April.[2]

The seigneury underwent periodic Iroquois raids. In 1690 the matron of Verchères took command of a successful defense against an Iroquois assault on the stockade there. By 1692 the Iroquois had killed the Jarrets’ son François-Michel and two successive husbands of their daughter Marie-Jeanne.[2] Before she performed this courageous act, she usually worked in the family field during her spare time.




The Rural Blog By Al Cross: ‘Tis Sweet to be Remembered’: Mac Wiseman, who did just about all of it in music and the music business, gone at 93

Vector’s World: California dreamin’; Secured; Citroen Centipede and more ->
Library Journal Gary Price: Research Tool: American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) State Immunization Information System; Canada: Manitoba Digitizing Centuries-Old Trading Post Records; Associated Press (AP) Roundup of Some “Popular But Completely Untrue Stories and Visuals” From the Past Week and more ->
Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings: Hannah Arendt on love and how to live with the fundamental fear of loss, Hermann Hesse on solitude, courage, and how to find your destiny, and more
The butterfly effect: How Rin Tin Tin rescued an innocent man from jail in 2018


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By Ham-made: Dryer Lint Fire Starter Twigs




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By FOODS by Lyds: In-N-Out Double Double Cheeseburger Copycat



FYI March 02, 2019

On This Day

1791 – Long-distance communication speeds up with the unveiling of a semaphore machine in Paris.
A semaphore telegraph is a system of conveying information by means of visual signals, using towers with pivoting shutters, also known as blades or paddles. Information is encoded by the position of the mechanical elements; it is read when the shutter is in a fixed position. The most widely used system was invented in 1792 in France by Claude Chappe, and was popular in the late eighteenth to early nineteenth centuries.[1][2][3] Lines of relay towers with a semaphore rig at the top were built within line-of-sight of each other, at separations of 5 to 20 miles. Operators at each tower would watch the neighboring tower through a spyglass, and when the semaphore arms began to move spelling out a message, they would pass the message on to the next tower. This system was much faster than post riders for conveying a message over long distances, and also had cheaper long-term operating costs, once constructed. Semaphore lines were a precursor of the electrical telegraph, which would replace them half a century later, and would also be cheaper, faster, and more private. The line-of-sight distance between relay stations was limited by geography and weather, and prevented the optical telegraph from crossing wide expanses of water, unless a convenient island could be used for a relay station. Modern derivatives of the semaphore system include flag semaphore (a flag relay system) and the heliograph (optical telegraphy using mirror-directed sunlight reflections).



Born On This Day

1901 – Grete Hermann, German mathematician and philosopher (d. 1984)
Grete (Henry-)Hermann (March 2, 1901 – April 15, 1984) was a German mathematician and philosopher noted for her work in mathematics, physics, philosophy and education. She is noted for her early philosophical work on the foundations of quantum mechanics, and is now known most of all for an early, but long-ignored critique of a no-hidden-variable theorem by John von Neumann. It has been suggested that, had her critique not remained nearly unknown for decades, the historical development of quantum mechanics might have been very different.

Hermann studied mathematics at Göttingen under Emmy Noether, where she achieved her Ph.D. in 1926. Her doctoral thesis, “Die Frage der endlich vielen Schritte in der Theorie der Polynomideale” (in English “The Question of Finitely Many Steps in Polynomial Ideal Theory”), published in Mathematische Annalen, is the foundational paper for computer algebra. It first established the existence of algorithms (including complexity bounds) for many of the basic problems of abstract algebra, such as ideal membership for polynomial rings. Hermann’s algorithm for primary decomposition is still in contemporary use.[1]

Assistant to Leonard Nelson
From 1925 to 1927, Hermann worked as assistant for Leonard Nelson.[2][3] Together with Minna Specht, she posthumously published Nelson’s work System der philosophischen Ethik und Pädagogik,[4] while continuing her own research.

Quantum mechanics
As a philosopher, Hermann had a particular interest in the foundations of physics. In 1934, she went to Leipzig “for the express purpose of reconciling a neo-Kantian conception of causality with the new quantum mechanics”.[5] In Leipzig, many exchanges of thoughts took place among Hermann, Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker, and Werner Heisenberg.[5] The contents of her work in this time, including a focus on a distinction of predictability and causality, are known from three of her own publications,[6] and from later description of their discussions by von Weizsäcker,[7] and the discussion of Hermann’s work in chapter ten of Heisenberg’s The Part and The Whole. From Denmark, she published her work The foundations of quantum mechanics in the philosophy of nature (German original title: Die naturphilosophischen Grundlagen der Quantenmechanik). This work has been referred to as “one of the earliest and best philosophical treatments of the new quantum mechanics”.[8] In this work, she concludes:

The theory of quantum mechanics forces us […] to drop the assumption of the absolute character of knowledge about nature, and to deal with the principle of causality independently of this assumption. Quantum mechanics has therefore not contradicted the law of causality at all, but has clarified it and has removed from it other principles which are not necessarily connected to it.
— Grete Hermann, The foundations of quantum mechanics in the philosophy of nature[9]

In 1935, Hermann published a critique of John von Neumann’s 1932 proof which was widely claimed to show that a hidden variable theory of quantum mechanics was impossible. Hermann’s work on this subject went unnoticed by the physics community until it was independently discovered and published by John Stewart Bell in 1966, and her earlier discovery was pointed out by Max Jammer in 1974. Some have posited that had her critique not remained nearly unknown for decades, the historical development of quantum mechanics may have been greatly affected; in particular, it has been speculated that a wider awareness of her work would have put in question the unequivocal acceptance of the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics, by providing a credible basis for the further development of nonlocal hidden variable theories.[6] In 2010, Jeffrey Bub published an argument that Bell (and, thus, also Hermann) had misconstrued von Neumann’s proof, claiming that it does not attempt to prove the absolute impossibility of hidden variables, and that it is actually not flawed, after all.[10] The validity of Bub’s argument is, in turn, disputed.[11]

In June 1936, Hermann was awarded the Richard Avenarius prize together with Eduard May and Th. Vogel.[12][13]

Political activism
As Adolf Hitler came to power in Germany, Hermann participated in the underground movement against the Nazis. She was member of the Internationaler Sozialistischer Kampfbund (ISK).[14]

Emigration and later years
By 1936, Hermann left Germany for Denmark and later France and England.[14] In London, in order to avoid standing out on account of her German provenance, she married a man called Edward Henry early in 1938.[15] Her prescience was justified by events: two years later the British government invoked its hitherto obscure Regulation 18B of the Defence (General) Regulations 1939, identifying several thousand refugees who had fled Germany for reasons of politics or race as enemy aliens and placing them in internment camps.[16]

After the war ended in 1945 she was able to combine her interests in physics and mathematics with political philosophy. She rejoined the Social Democratic Party (SPD) on returning in 1946 to what would become, in 1949, the German Federal Republic (West Germany).[17] Starting in 1947 she was one of those contributing behind the scenes to the Bad Godesberg Programme, prepared under the leadership of her longstanding ISK comrade Willi Eichler, and issued in 1959, which provided a detailed modernising platform that carried the party into government in the 1960s.[17]

She was nominated professor for philosophy and physics at the Pädagogische Hochschule in Bremen and played a relevant role in the Gewerkschaft Erziehung und Wissenschaft. From 1961 to 1978, she presided over the Philosophisch-Politische Akademie, an organisation founded by Nelson in 1922, oriented towards education, social justice, responsible political action and its philosophical basis.[14][18]

Grete Hermann: Die naturphilosophischen Grundlagen der Quantenmechanik, Naturwissenschaften, Volume 23, Number 42, 718-721, doi:10.1007/BF01491142 (preview in German language)
Grete Hermann: Die Frage der endlich vielen Schritte in der Theorie der Polynomideale. Unter Benutzung nachgelassener Sätze von K. Hentzelt, Mathematische Annalen, Volume 95, Number 1, 736-788, doi:10.1007/BF01206635 (abstract in German language) — The question of finitely many steps in polynomial ideal theory (review and English-language translation)




Alternate universe?~~
By Emily Price: Quickly Determine What Country and Time Zone Your Coworkers Are in This Week Using This Tool
By Emily Alford: Baylor University Tour Guides Removed Student Newspapers Reporting Sexual Assault
According to the Lariat, the University of Oklahoma recently experienced a similar incident, wherein 450 newspapers with a headline about campus sexual assault were stolen. Yep, colleges sure will do anything it takes to stop talk about sexual assault except take action to prevent and punish sexual assault.
By Bradley Brownell: Thieves Take Several Bikes From Keith Richards’ Collection
The bikes, including a white 1981 KTM 495, a red 1981 Maico 490, a red 1977 Maico 400, a 2011 Husaberg 390, a 2013 Beta 300 Evo, and a GasGas 300 Enduro, are not exactly run-of-the-mill. It doesn’t seem wise to steal multiple rare bikes from a very wealthy and well known music icon, but hey, I guess I’m not a bike thief.

I have a hard time picturing the 75-year-old guitarist actually riding any of these wild off-road machines, but who am I to judge. He survived all of that other shit, what’s to say he isn’t invincible?

By Andrew Liszewski: Recycling a GoPro Box Into a Working Aquarium Is the Best Reason to Upgrade
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The Passive Voice: Taking Inspiration from the Night Witches; Self-Plagiarism: When Is Re-Purposing Text Ethically Justifiable? And more ->
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FYI March 01, 2019

On This Day

1457 – The Unitas Fratrum is established in the village of Kunvald, on the Bohemian-Moravian borderland. It is to date the second oldest Protestant denomination.
The Moravian Church, formally named the Unitas Fratrum (Latin for “Unity of the Brethren”),[3][4][5] in German known as [Herrnhuter] Brüdergemeine[6] (meaning “Brethren’s Congregation from Herrnhut”, the place of the Church’s renewal in the 18th century), is one of the oldest Protestant denominations in the world, with its heritage dating back to the Bohemian Reformation in the 15th century and the Unity of the Brethren (Czech: Jednota bratrská) established in the Kingdom of Bohemia.

The name by which the denomination is commonly known comes from the original exiles who fled to Saxony in 1722 from Moravia to escape religious persecution, but its heritage began in 1457 in Bohemia and its crown lands (Moravia and Silesia), then forming an autonomous kingdom within the Holy Roman Empire. The modern Unitas Fratrum, with about one million members worldwide,[1] continues to draw on traditions established during the 18th century. The Moravians continue their tradition of missionary work, such as in the Caribbean, as is reflected in their broad global distribution. They place high value on ecumenism, personal piety, missions and music.

The Moravian Church’s emblem is the Lamb of God (Agnus Dei) with the flag of victory, surrounded by the Latin inscription: Vicit agnus noster, eum sequamur (English: “Our Lamb has conquered, let us follow Him”).



Born On This Day

1918 – Gladys Spellman, American educator and politician (d. 1988)
Gladys Noon Spellman (March 1, 1918 – June 19, 1988) was a U.S. Congresswoman who represented the 5th congressional district of Maryland from January 3, 1975, to February 24, 1981. She was a member of the Democratic Party.

Early life
Spellman was born Gladys Blossom Noon in New York City and attended Eastern and Roosevelt high schools in Washington, D.C. She graduated from George Washington University, Washington, D.C., and graduate school with the United States Department of Agriculture. Spellman became a teacher, and taught in Prince George’s County, Maryland, schools. A consummate politician, Spellman was part of the wave of young, new suburban dwellers who moved to Prince George’s County from Washington and elsewhere in the years after World War II, and that group remained her constituency throughout her political career.

Spellman’s years as a teacher and president of the PTA for Happy Acres Elementary School (renamed in 1991 the Gladys Noon Spellman Elementary School), as well as civic association activism as a young mother and housewife in Cheverly during the 1950s led to leadership positions in the reform movement that seized control of the county’s government during the 1960s, ousting the old guard Democratic organization that had managed affairs in Prince George’s for decades. Spellman was active in the fight for a home rule charter form of government for Prince George’s, and in 1962, running on a reform slate, served as a member of the Prince George’s County Board of Commissioners from 1962 to 1970. She served two years as chairman, effectively the head of the county’s government. After the establishment of the County Council, Spellman served as councilwoman at large from 1971 to 1974. She was appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson to the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations in 1967 and was awarded the highest honor that could be bestowed by county officials nationwide when she became the first woman elected president of the National Association of Counties in 1972.

Spellman easily won the Democratic primary nomination in September 1974 for Maryland’s fifth congressional seat, and went on to defeat the Republican, John B. Burcham, Jr., in the general election. While in Congress, she served on the Committee on Banking, Currency and Housing, the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee, and the Committee on Post Office and Civil Service (including serving as chairperson of the Subcommittee on Compensation and Employee Benefits). Almost 40 percent of the work force in her district was employed by the federal government – the highest percentage of any congressional district in the nation.

In 1977, Spellman favored legislation to establish a bank to make loans to cooperatives owned by consumers as well as legislation to extend the federal revenue-sharing program. She also voted for the 1975 proposal authorizing $7 billion to loan guarantees for the financially troubled New York City.[1] Spellman also resisted placing restrictions on hiring or promotion of federal employees and opposed Jimmy Carter’s plan to reform the civil service system in 1978.[1]

Honors, coma and death
In 1979, the Supersisters trading card set was produced and distributed; one of the cards featured Spellman’s name and picture.[2]

On October 31, 1980, Spellman was judging a Halloween costume contest at the Laurel Mall when she collapsed after suffering an incapacitating heart attack.[3] She was re-elected to Congress with 80% of the vote against a little-known Republican opponent on November 4, 1980, but it soon became clear that she would be comatose for the remaining years of her life.

In the first weeks of the 97th Congress, the House passed a resolution providing for Spellman’s pay as if she had been seated, and for her Congressional office to be supported as if a member of Congress had died or resigned;[4] and afterwards passed an act declaring the 5th District seat vacant, and providing that Spellman’s pay and administrative support would be terminated on the election of someone to her seat.[5] It is the only time that medical reasons have resulted in the House of Representatives declaring a seat vacant.[6] Thirty-two candidates from both parties entered the race, including her husband, Reuben. He was defeated for the Democratic nomination by Steny Hoyer, who won the special election on May 19 against the Republican nominee, Bowie mayor Audrey Scott. Hoyer has continued to be re-elected since then, and eventually became House Majority Leader.

In 1985, Spellman was an inductee to the Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame, part of its inaugural class. The Baltimore–Washington Parkway, a scenic north-south highway in Maryland, is dedicated to Spellman, as is Gladys Noon Spellman Elementary School, located in Cheverly, Maryland.

Spellman died on June 19, 1988, in a nursing home in suburban Maryland. She never regained consciousness after the 1980 heart attack and subsequent coma.[7]




By Mike Barnes: Katherine Helmond, the Man-Crazy Mother on ‘Who’s the Boss?’ Dies at 89

Katherine Marie Helmond (July 5, 1929 – February 23, 2019) was an American film, theater and television actress and director. Over her five decades of television acting, she is known for her starring role as ditzy matriarch Jessica Tate on the ABC prime time soap opera sitcom Soap (1977–1981) and her co-starring role as feisty mother Mona Robinson on Who’s the Boss? (1984–1992). She also played Doris Sherman on Coach and Lois Whelan, the mother of Debra Barone on Everybody Loves Raymond. She has also appeared as a guest on several talk and variety shows.

Helmond had supporting roles in films such as Alfred Hitchcock’s Family Plot (1976) and Terry Gilliam’s Brazil (1985). She also voiced Lizzie in the three Cars films by Disney/Pixar.[1][2][3][better source needed]


By Alanis King: Alex Mills, Who Helped Top Gear Become an International Icon Through the Internet, Dies at Age 34
Presidential Proclamation on Women’s History Month, 2019
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By Brian Kahn: For 30 Days, I’m Going to Eat Like I’m Trying to Save the Earth

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By Mike Snider and Alexander Coolidge, USA TODAY NETWORK: Kroger expands ban on Visa credit cards to Smith’s Food & Drug stores in 7 states
By Christine Schmidt: Here’s the state of African-American media today — and steps it can take going forward
The Rural Blog: Man who died in 2014 left a home filled with Native artifacts and bones, likely grave-robbed; rightful owners still sought; More women using opioids, meth and heroin means more babies are born with congenital syphilis in the U.S.; Latest way to use Asian carp, to expand the market for it and get more anglers after it: Use it to make concrete; Appalachian writers fire back at ‘Hillbilly Elegy’ in anthology and more ->
By Courtney Biggs: This professor suffers from a mystery disease, so she developed an app to track its effects
Open Culture: Jim Morrison Declares That “Fat is Beautiful” …. And Means It; 40,000-Year-Old Symbols Found in Caves Worldwide May Be the Earliest Written Language; The Elaborate Pictogram Ernest Hemingway Received in the Hospital During WWI: Can You Decode Its Meaning? And more ->
Steller Watch: March 1st: ~38
And we’re back with a Sea Lion of the Month for march! Our first for 2019. We’ve missed sharing more about these unique individuals and are happy to be back and sharing their stories with you all. Our featured sea lion is ~38 and he was nominated by a new member of our team!


Lynnette Soltwedel Tutorial Team Spartanburg, SC: Dry Brush Painting Technique




Julia O’Malley How Alaska Eats: Just pudding it out there



FYI February 28, 2019

On This Day

202 BC – Liu Bang is enthroned as the Emperor of China, beginning four centuries of rule by the Han dynasty.
Emperor Gaozu of Han (Chinese: 漢高祖; 256 BCE – 1 June 195 BCE), born Liu Bang (劉邦), was the founder and first emperor of the Han dynasty, reigning from 202 – 195 BCE. He was one of the few dynasty founders in Chinese history who was born in a peasant family.[6]

Before coming to power, Liu Bang initially served as a minor patrol officer for the Qin dynasty in his home town Pei County, within the conquered state of Chu. With the First Emperor’s death and the Qin Empire’s subsequent political chaos, Liu Bang renounced his government position and became an anti-Qin rebel leader. He won the race against fellow rebel leader Xiang Yu to invade the Qin heartland and forced the surrender of the last Qin ruler in 206 BCE.

After the fall of the Qin, Xiang Yu, as the de facto chief of the rebel forces, divided the former Qin Empire into the Eighteen Kingdoms, and Liu Bang was forced to accept the poor and remote Bashu region (parts of present-day Sichuan and Chongqing) with the title “King of Han” (Chinese: 漢王; pinyin: Hàn Wáng). Within the year, Liu Bang broke out with his army and conquered the Three Qins, starting a civil war known as the Chu–Han Contention as various forces battled for supremacy over China.

In 202 BCE, Liu Bang emerged victorious following the Battle of Gaixia, unified most of China under his control, and established the Han dynasty with himself as the founding emperor. During his reign, Liu Bang reduced taxes and corvée, promoted Confucianism, and suppressed revolts by the lords of non-Liu vassal states, among many other actions. He also initiated the policy of heqin to maintain a de jure peace between the Han Empire and the Xiongnu after losing the Battle of Baideng in 200 BCE. He died in 195 BCE and was succeeded by his son, Liu Ying.



Born On This Day

1900 – Wolf Hirth, German pilot and engineer, co-founded Schempp-Hirth (d. 1959)
Wolfram Kurt Erhard Hirth (28 February 1900 – 25 July 1959) was a German gliding pioneer and sailplane designer. He was a co-founder of Schempp-Hirth, still a renowned glider manufacturer.[1]

Hirth was born in Stuttgart, the son of an engineer and tool-maker. He was the younger brother of Hellmuth, who founded the famous Hirth aircraft engine manufacturing company.

Early years

As a young man, Hirth took up gliding and was soon drawn to the Wasserkuppe, then the focus of the German gliding movement, earning his pilot’s licence in 1920. In 1924, Hirth lost a leg after a motorcycle accident. From then on, he would fly while wearing a wooden prosthesis.[2] He had the fibula from his amputated leg fashioned into a cigarette holder[3]

In 1928, he graduated from the Technical University of Stuttgart with a diploma in engineering and began to focus on aircraft construction.[1][2] Over the next decade, he would also tour the world, promoting gliding throughout Europe, the United States, Japan, South America, and South Africa.[2] On 10 March 1931 he gave a demonstration of glider aerobatics over New York City.[1] On one of these publicity trips, he suffered major injuries in a crash in Hungary, requiring a hospital stay of four months. He and Robert Kronfeld were the first pilots to gain the Silver C badge.[1] He was the chief flying instructor at the Grünau Gliding School in the Riesengebirge mountains, then in Germany.[1] In 1933, he became the Head of the new Gliding School in Hornberg.[4]:55

Later in the year, he became the first to correctly identify the phenomenon of wave lift, the highest form of lift source available to soaring pilots.[5]

In Jan. 1934, he joined Professor Georgii’s South America expedition, along with Peter Riedel, Hanna Reitsch, and Heini Dittmar, to study thermal conditions, with his sailplane “Moatzagotl”.[4]:65 While in Argentina, Wolf set a record of seventy-six successive loops.[4]:74

Wolf Hirth also took part in International Championships of Touring Aircraft Challenge 1929, Challenge 1932 (6th place) and Challenge 1934 (13th place). After some time in the USA he returned to Germany in 1934 because of US economic depression.[2]

Glider company
With the assistance of Wolf Hirth, Martin Schempp founded his own company in Göppingen in 1935: “Sportflugzeugbau Göppingen Martin Schempp”. In 1938, Wolf Hirth, mainly responsible for the design work, officially became a partner in the company, which then took on the new name “Sportflugzeugbau Schempp-Hirth”.[2] The company relocated to Kirchheim-Teck the same year.[1] The company first manufactured a small training glider, the Göppingen Gö 1, intended to rival the Grunau Baby. The company’s first real success, however, was the Gö 3 Minimoa, a distinctive aircraft with an elegant gull wing design that was used to break several world records and win championships around the world.

Hirth continued to direct the firm throughout World War II. In 1940 the company began manufacturing assembly parts for Messerschmitt Me 323 and Me 109 and other aircraft.[2] From 1945 the company made furniture and other wooden components for industry until glider production could begin again in 1951. He was elected President of the German Aero-Club in 1956.[1]

He had a heart attack while flying his Vogt Lo-100 aerobatic glider in 1959 and died in the subsequent crash. Handbuch des Segelfliegens was published posthumously in 1963.[6]

In many municipalities of Baden-Württemberg roads were named after Wolf Hirth. In Bartholomä, Bettringen, Böblingen, Ditzingen, Leinzell, Leonberg, Kirchheim/Teck and Schramberg there is a Wolf-Hirth-Straße, outside of Baden-Württembergs in Gersfeld (Rhön). In Kiel-Holtenau is a Hirthstraße.[7]

Jörg Baldenhofer (Hrsg.): Schwäbische Tüftler und Erfinder. DRW-Verlag, Stuttgart 1986, ISBN 3-87181-232-3.
Gert Behrsing (1972), “Hirth, Wolf”, Neue Deutsche Biographie (NDB) (in German), 9, Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, pp. 237–238; (full text online)
Stefan Blumenthal: Grüße aus der Luft. 100 Jahre Luftfahrt auf alten Postkarten. Motorbuch-Verlag, Stuttgart 1991, ISBN 3-613-01336-3.
Stefan Blumenthal: Albert Hirth und seine Söhne Hellmuth und Wolf: eine schwäbische Erfinderfamilie. In: Jörg Baldenhofer (Hrsg.): Schwäbische Tüftler und Erfinder. DRW-Verlag, Stuttgart 1986, ISBN 3-87181-232-3, S. 112-121.
Lisa Heiss: Erfinder, Rennfahrer, Flieger. Hirth. Vater. Hellmuth Wolf. Verlag Reinhold A. Müller, Stuttgart 1949.

See also
Hanna Reitsch




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FYI February 27, 2019

On This Day

380 – Edict of Thessalonica: Emperor Theodosius I and his co-emperors Gratian and Valentinian II, declare their wish that all Roman citizens convert to trinitarian Christianity.
The Edict of Thessalonica (also known as Cunctos populos), issued on 27 February AD 380 by three reigning Roman Emperors, made Nicene Christianity the state religion of the Roman Empire.[1]

In 313 the emperor Constantine I, together with his eastern counterpart Licinius, issued the Edict of Milan, which granted religious toleration and freedom for persecuted Christians. By 325 Arianism, a school of christology which contended that Christ did not possess the divine essence of the Father but was rather a primordial creation and an entity subordinate to God, had become sufficiently widespread and controversial in Early Christianity that Constantine called the Council of Nicaea in an attempt to end the controversy by establishing an empire-wide, i.e., “ecumenical” orthodoxy. The council produced the original text of the Nicene Creed, which rejected the Arian confession and upheld that Christ is “true God” and “of one essence with the Father.”[2]

However, the strife within the Church did not end with Nicaea, and the Nicene creedal formulation remained contentious even among anti-Arian churchmen. Constantine, while urging tolerance, began to think that he had come down on the wrong side, and that the Nicenes — with their fervid, reciprocal persecution of Arians — were actually perpetuating strife within the Church. Constantine was not baptized until he was near death (337), choosing a bishop moderately sympathetic to Arius, Eusebius of Nicomedia, to perform the baptism.[2]

Constantine’s son and successor in the eastern empire, Constantius II was partial to the Arian party, and even exiled pro-Nicene bishops. Constantius’ successor Julian (later called “The Apostate”) was the only emperor after the conversion of Constantine to reject Christianity, attempting to fragment the Church and erode its influence by encouraging a revival of religious diversity, calling himself a “Hellene” and supporting forms of Hellenistic religion. He championed the traditional religious cultus of Rome as well as Judaism, and furthermore declared toleration for all the various unorthodox Christian sects and schismatic movements. Julian’s successor Jovian, a Christian, reigned for only eight months and never entered the city of Constantinople. He was succeeded in the east by Valens, an Arian.[2]

By 379, when Valens was succeeded by Theodosius I, Arianism was widespread in the eastern half of the Empire, while the west had remained steadfastly Nicene. Theodosius, who had been born in Hispania, was himself a Nicene Christian and very devout. In August, his western counterpart Gratian promoted persecution of heretics in the west.[2]



Born On This Day

1667 – Ludwika Karolina Radziwiłł, Prussian-Lithuanian wife of Charles III Philip, Elector Palatine (d. 1695)
Princess Ludwika Karolina Radziwiłł (Lithuanian: Liudvika Karolina Radvilaitė) (27 February 1667 – 25 March 1695) was a magnate Princess of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and an active reformer.





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David Sherry Creative Caffeine: Breaking the Spell
There is a pattern that keeps playing out in my life. And I’ve tried to break it at least 1,000 times before. And as I’m becoming more aware now, I’m understanding the nuance.

The pattern is this:

I’m getting into the flow of my work. Over the course of a few days, I’m increasingly attracting more results to me and my output feels effortless.

I’m taking action without thought, and the results are that each task I do is effective.

In these two or three precious days work comes naturally, as does what to do next.

And then I falter. Somewhere I give in to a passing thought or desire or curiosity.

It used to be I would break this spell by going out on the weekends. I’d be feeling so great from how deeply engaged I was in life, that I’d think I was on top of the world, and thus could party, go out, and let loose a bit.

This would derail me off track.

Later, after I have changed my lifestyle so that it’s not partying that I do, instead, I am feeling so great, that I continue to force work into the weekend, and take it too far.

I would work so much, that I attempt to put in more than I have in me.

This equally puts me off track.

What I’m seeking is full engagement, 24/7.

To work without effort, to take action without trying, and to keep a flow in my life such that doesn’t get broken.

But there are so many places and ways for it to break.

So many areas for distraction. So many places where my energy can leak.

I attempt to let loose, and I overdo it and lose it.

I attempt to continue my work through the weekend, and I force it and lose my hold.

I attempt to keep a balance and I get distracted.

I attempt to give myself downtime, which wanders either through boredom or forced attempts to continue to build my skills, which come from a reactive need to NOT be how am I being, and again I lose it.

This quality I’m after is what people would call “presence.” But it’s not really about my focus, rather my attitude, and, you could almost say it’s a keeping a sort of “distance” from my focus. I’m not sure if you know what I mean? But it’s something like being so fully invested in what I’m doing, that I am equally distant and separate from it. This is something that I’ve found to be not only pleasurable but also effective.

It is the opposite of drudging through life.

And finding this sweet spot is the only area in which I am constantly vigilant.

And, now, I understand that you might say that this drudgery is a part of life.

That events happen outside of our control and you cannot keep whatever space it is you’re speaking about. Or that this is what “life is.”

But I believe that is untrue.

As the nature of everything I do which puts me back into the frame of my work and breaks my pattern does so because it changes something inside of me. It changes the subtle flavor of how I approach my work. A slight bit of fear, or reactiveness, or shyness, or feeling like a fraud, or feeling like I am unequipped to handle today’s task, or like I’m somehow not in charge, and all of these things change the subtle

And what I’ve found is that it never has to do with the outside circumstances.

It only appears that way. And that certain circumstances spark these changes, but the proportion and reaction depend on my own beliefs because many of the outside circumstances that throw me off track are blown out of proportion.

Many of the outside circumstances cause a change in me but then go back to normal a day after having a freakout. And if that’s true, why react at all?

And slowly I’m finding my way out of the pattern.

I suppose this is what mastery and craftsmanship is like. A steadying of the hand.

Experience, which allows you to find yourself back into a flow despite changes to the terrain. Jumping into the flow and using the unknown and the change in circumstances as a way to deepen your practice, rather than break from it.

What used to be minutes of focus, became hours became days.

What is becoming clear to me now, is a question that by understanding, shows me the way out.

The question is:

“When does life become work?”

And the answer is…

“When I am disengaged.”

xx David

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