On This Day
1202 – Georgian–Seljuk wars: At the Battle of Basian the Kingdom of Georgia defeats the Sultanate of Rum.
Georgian–Seljuk wars (Georgian: ქართულ-სელჩუკური ომები, romanized: kartul-selchuk’uri omebi), also known as Georgian Crusade, is a long series of battles and military clashes that took place from c. 1048 until 1213, between the Kingdom of Georgia and the different Seljuqid states that occupied most of Transcaucasia. The conflict is preceded by deadly raids in the Caucasus by the Turks in the 11th century, known in Georgian historiography as the Great Turkish Invasion.
1854 – USS Constellation (1854), the last all-sail warship built by the United States Navy and now a museum ship in Baltimore Harbor, is commissioned.
USS Constellation is a sloop-of-war, the last sail-only warship designed and built by the United States Navy. She was built at the Gosport Shipyard between 1853 and 1855 and was named for the earlier frigate of the same name that had been broken up in 1853. The sloop’s primary armament was 8-inch (203 mm) shell-firing guns and four 32-pounder long guns, though she carried other guns as well, including two Parrott rifle chase guns. Constellation’s career as a front-line unit was relatively short; after entering service in 1855, she served with the Mediterranean Squadron until 1858, and in 1859, she was assigned as the flagship of the Africa Squadron, where she served with the African Slave Trade Patrol. During the American Civil War (1861–1865), the ship returned to the Mediterranean to patrol for Confederate vessels. In late 1864, she returned to the United States to be decommissioned, as most of her crews’ enlistments had expired. She spent the rest of the war out of service.
Constellation was recommissioned in 1871 for use as a training ship, being used for shooting practice and training cruises for midshipmen. She filled this role for twenty-two years, and during this period, she saw a number of other activities, including transporting exhibits for the 1878 Exposition Universelle in Paris and carrying food to Ireland during the 1879 Irish famine. She was reduced to a stationary training hulk in late 1893, being moored in Newport for the next twenty years. During this period, the mistaken belief that the two Constellations were one and the same arose, and she was presented as such in 1914 during the centennial of the writing of “The Star-Spangled Banner”, the national anthem of the United States. Briefly renamed Old Constellation in 1917 to free the name for a new battlecruiser of the Lexington class, she reverted to her original name when the battlecruiser was scrapped in 1925. Constellation was recommissioned in 1940 as part of the build-up in anticipation of the United States’ entry into World War II, during which she served as the port flagship of the commander of the Atlantic Fleet.
Proposals to restore the vessel as a museum ship had been submitted already in the 1930s, but work began in earnest after World War II. Shortages of funds prevented her transfer to the city of Baltimore, Maryland until 1955. Operating under the mistaken belief that she was the original Constellation, the organization responsible for the ship modified her to match the earlier vessel’s appearance during a refit in the late 1950s and early 1960s. During this period, a controversy arose over the vessel’s identity that lasted into the 1990s, when new research definitively proved that the Constellation launched in 1797 and the 1854-launched vessel were distinct ships. Periodic repairs have been carried out since the mid-1990s to repair rotted wood. Constellation remains open to the public as part of the Historic Ships in Baltimore in the city’s Inner Harbor, having been designated a National Historic Landmark.
Born On This Day
774 – Kūkai, Japanese Buddhist monk, founder of Esoteric (Shingon) Buddhism (d. 835)
Kūkai (空海; 27 July 774 – 22 April 835), born Saeki no Mao (佐伯 眞魚), posthumously called Kōbō Daishi (弘法大師, “The Grand Master who Propagated the Dharma”), was a Japanese Buddhist monk, calligrapher, and poet who founded the esoteric Shingon school of Buddhism. He travelled to China, where he studied Tangmi (Chinese Vajrayana Buddhism) under the monk Huiguo. Upon returning to Japan, he founded Shingon—the Japanese branch of Vajrayana Buddhism. With the blessing of several Emperors, Kūkai was able to preach Shingon teachings and found Shingon temples. Like other influential monks, Kūkai oversaw public works and constructions. Mount Kōya was chosen by him as a holy site, and he spent his later years there until his death in 835 C.E.
Because of his importance in Japanese Buddhism, Kūkai is associated with many stories and legends. One such legend attribute the invention of the kana syllabary to Kūkai, with which the Japanese language is written to this day (in combination with kanji), as well as the Iroha poem, which helped to standardise and popularise kana.
Shingon followers usually refer to Kūkai by the honorific title of Odaishi-sama (お大師様, “The Grand Master”), and the religious name of Henjō Kongō (遍照金剛, “Vajra Shining in All Directions”).
1458 – Jacopo Sannazaro, Italian poet, humanist and epigrammist (d.1530)
Jacopo Sannazaro (Italian pronunciation: [ˈjaːkopo sannadˈdzaːro]; 28 July 1458 – 6 August 1530) was an Italian poet, humanist and epigrammist from Naples.
He wrote easily in Latin, in Italian and in Neapolitan, but is best remembered for his humanist classic Arcadia, a masterwork that illustrated the possibilities of poetical prose in Italian, and instituted the theme of Arcadia, representing an idyllic land, in European literature. Sannazaro’s elegant style was the inspiration for much courtly literature of the 16th century, including Sir Philip Sidney’s Arcadia.
By Jon Dolan & Julyssa Lopez & Michaelangelo Matos & Claire Shaffer, Rolling Stone: 200 Greatest Dance Songs of All Time From Chic to Skrillex, from Chicago house classics to festival rave anthems, from songs that filled the floor at the Loft and the Warehouse to ones that blew up on TikTok.
By Evan Ackerman, IEEE Spectrum: Necrobotics: Dead Spiders Reincarnated as Robot Grippers That microhydraulic gripper you’ve always wanted, thanks to an ex-spider
Quite the honor!
AP News: ‘Earliest animal predator’ named after David Attenborough
On The Sprite Track
The soft drink “Sprite” was originally developed in West Germany in 1959. The soda started life as part of the Fanta line with the name Clear Lemon Fanta. The Coca-Cola company purchased the rights to the brand name in 1960, and introduced the drink to the U.S. market in 1961. Sprite’s packaging and marketing have always heavily focused on the color green, and like Coca-Cola’s iconic bottle shape, Sprite has consistently featured its own particular bottle detail: dimples, which represent the bubbles in the carbonated drink.
While that green plastic bottle with the dimples has been around a really long time, most of us had no idea it contains green polyethylene terephthalate (PET), an additive that can’t be recycled into new bottles. So as part of the Coca-Cola Company’s broader efforts to become more environmentally responsible, it’s retiring the green plastic. From now on, Sprite will come in clear plastic bottles. The CEO of a plastic group helping Coca-Cola improve its recycling says, “Taking colors out of bottles improves the quality of the recycled material. When recycled, clear PET Sprite bottles can be remade into bottles, helping drive a circular economy for plastic.” The well-known green hue will still be used on Sprite labels.
We’re going to miss that green bottle, but at the same time, we have to give kudos to the Coca-Cola Company for its “World Without Waste”‘ initiative. In 2020, it was named the world’s No. 1 plastic polluter by the environmental firm Break Free From Plastic. The company’s logos and branding were found on 13,834 pieces of discarded plastic in 51 countries, often in public spaces like parks and beaches. So it was really past time for a change. (Rock Hill Coke, CNN)
By Katie Hammel, BBC Travel: The Unexpected Philosophy Icelanders Live By If Iceland were to have a national slogan, it would be ‘þetta reddast’, which roughly translates to the idea that everything will work out all right in the end.
By Agostino Petroni, AFAR: The Quest to Save the Pink Apples of Italy
By Ian Lecklitner, MEL Magazine: How to Protect Your Home From Burglars, According to Burglars And then fact-checked by a security expert, because we don’t trust nobody.
Team Never Quit: JAY DOBYNS: Federal Agent of 27 Years, New York Times Best-Selling Author
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