FYI January 26, 2017




On this day:

1915 – The Rocky Mountain National Park is established by an act of the U.S. Congress.
Rocky Mountain National Park is a United States national park located approximately 76 mi (122 km) northwest of Denver International Airport[4] in north-central Colorado, within the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. The park is situated between the towns of Estes Park to the east and Grand Lake to the west. The eastern and westerns slopes of the Continental Divide run directly through the center of the park with the headwaters of the Colorado River located in the park’s northwestern region.[5] The main features of the park include mountains, alpine lakes and a wide variety of wildlife within various climates and environments, from wooded forests to mountain tundra.

The Rocky Mountain National Park Act was signed by then–President Woodrow Wilson on January 26, 1915, establishing the park boundaries and protecting the area for future generations.[2] The Civilian Conservation Corps built the main automobile route, named Trail Ridge Road, in the 1930s.[2] In 1976, UNESCO designated the park as one of the first World Biosphere Reserves.[6] In 2015, more than four million recreational visitors entered the park, which is an increase of twenty one percent from the prior year.[7]

The park has a total of five visitor centers[8] with park headquarters located at the Beaver Meadows Visitor Center—a National Historic Landmark designed by the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture at Taliesin West.[9] National Forest lands surround the park including Roosevelt National Forest to the north and east, Routt National Forest to the north and west, and Arapaho National Forest to the west and south, with the Indian Peaks Wilderness area located directly south of the park.[5]



1926 – The first demonstration of the television by John Logie Baird.
John Logie Baird FRSE (/ˈloʊɡi bɛrd/;[1] 14 August 1888 – 14 June 1946) was a Scottish engineer, innovator, one of the inventors of the mechanical television, demonstrating the first working television system on 26 January 1926, and inventor of both the first publicly demonstrated colour television system, and the first purely electronic colour television picture tube.[2][3][4][5]

In 1928 the Baird Television Development Company achieved the first transatlantic television transmission.[4] Baird’s early technological successes and his role in the practical introduction of broadcast television for home entertainment have earned him a prominent place in television’s history.

Baird was ranked number 44 in the BBC’s list of the 100 Greatest Britons following a UK-wide vote in 2002.[6] In 2006, Baird was named as one of the 10 greatest Scottish scientists in history, having been listed in the National Library of Scotland’s ‘Scottish Science Hall of Fame’.[7] In 2015 he was inducted into the Scottish Engineering Hall of Fame.[8]

First public demonstrations
Blue plaque commemorating Baird’s first demonstration of the television at 22 Frith Street, Westminster, W1, London

On 26 January 1926, Baird repeated the transmission for members of the Royal Institution and a reporter from The Times in his laboratory at 22 Frith Street in the Soho district of London, where Bar Italia is now located.[4][23] By this time, he had improved the scan rate to 12.5 pictures per second. It was the first demonstration of a television system that could broadcast live moving images with tone graduation.[2]

He demonstrated the world’s first colour transmission on 3 July 1928, using scanning discs at the transmitting and receiving ends with three spirals of apertures, each spiral with a filter of a different primary colour; and three light sources at the receiving end, with a commutator to alternate their illumination.[24] That same year he also demonstrated stereoscopic television.[25]

In 1932, Baird was the first person in the United Kingdom to demonstrate ultra-short wave transmissions. Contrary to some reports, these transmissions were far from the first VHF telecasts. In 1931, the US Federal Radio Commission allocated VHF television bands. From 1931 to 1933, station W9XD in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, transmitted some of the first VHF television signals. The station’s 45-line, triply interlaced pictures used the U. A. Sanabria television technology.[26]





Born on this day:

1832 – George Shiras, Jr., American lawyer and jurist (d. 1924)
George Shiras Jr. (January 26, 1832 – August 2, 1924) was an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States who was nominated to the Court by Republican President Benjamin Harrison. At that time, he had 37 years of private legal practice, but had never judged a case. Shiras’s only public service before he became a justice was as a federal elector in 1888, almost four years before his nomination in 1892.

Shiras was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania January 26, 1832. He attended Ohio University and graduated from Yale College, Phi Beta Kappa, in 1853.[1] He began law school at Yale Law School, but left before earning a law degree[2] He finished his training by reading law at a law office, then practiced law in Dubuque, Iowa from 1855 to 1858, and in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania from 1858 to 1892. In Pittsburgh, he became a prominent corporate attorney, and he was noted for his honesty and pragmatism while representing some of the nation’s industrial giants[3]

On July 19, 1892, Shiras was nominated by President Harrison to a Supreme Court seat vacated by Joseph P. Bradley. He was recommended for the post by his cousin, Secretary of State James G. Blaine. Shiras was confirmed by the United States Senate on July 26, 1892, and received his commission the same day.

Although Shiras sat on the Court for more than 10 years authoring 253 majority decisions and 14 dissents, he is noted for his votes on just two landmark cases, Pollock v. Farmers’ Loan & Trust Co. (1895), and Plessy v. Ferguson (1896).[2] He sided with the majority in the 5-4 decision in Pollock to strike down the Income Tax Act of 1894 as unconstitutional. Some historians believe Shiras was the pivotal Justice who switched his vote, while other historians suspect that it was either Justice Horace Gray or Justice David Brewer.[2] Regardless, the ruling in Pollock led to the need for a constitutional amendment to impose a federal income tax, and in 1913, the Sixteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified. Shiras also voted with the 7-1 majority in the case Plessy v. Ferguson, a case which upheld the constitutionality of racial segregation under the doctrine of separate but equal, and which was overruled in 1954.

Shiras retired from the bench on February 23, 1903, and remained in retirement until his death, in Pittsburgh, in 1924. His son, George Shiras III, served as a member of the United States House of Representatives for Pennsylvania.




1891 – Wilder Penfield, American-Canadian neurosurgeon and academic (d. 1976)
Wilder Graves Penfield OM CC CMG FRS[1] (January 26, 1891 – April 5, 1976) was a pioneering neurosurgeon once dubbed “the greatest living Canadian”.[2] He expanded brain surgery’s methods and techniques, including mapping the functions of various regions of the brain such as the cortical homunculus. His scientific contributions on neural stimulation expand across a variety of topics including hallucinations, illusions, and deja vu. Penfield devoted a lot of his thinking to mental processes, including contemplation of whether there was any scientific basis for the existence of the human soul.[2]

After taking a surgical apprenticeship under Harvey Cushing, he obtained a position at the Neurological Institute of New York, where he carried out his first solo operations to treat epilepsy. While in New York, he met David Rockefeller, who wished to endow an institute where Penfield could further study the surgical treatment of epilepsy. Academic politics amongst the New York neurologists, however, prevented its establishment in New York, so, in 1928, Penfield accepted an invitation from Sir Vincent Meredith to move to Montreal. There, Penfield taught at McGill University and the Royal Victoria Hospital, becoming the city’s first neurosurgeon.

In 1934, Penfield founded and became the first director of the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital[4] at McGill University, established with the Rockefeller funding. That year, he also became a Canadian citizen.[4][clarification needed]

Penfield was elected a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1950[7] and retired ten years later in 1960. He was appointed to the Order of Merit in the 1953 New Year Honours list. He turned his attention to writing, producing a novel as well as his autobiography No Man Alone.[Notes 2]

In 1960, the year he retired, Penfield was awarded the Lister Medal for his contributions to surgical science.[8] He delivered the corresponding Lister Oration, “Activation of the Record of Human Experience”, at the Royal College of Surgeons of England on April 27, 1961.[9] In 1967, he was made a Companion of the Order of Canada and, in 1994, was posthumously inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame. Much of his archival material is housed in the Osler Library at McGill University.




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