1739 – War of Jenkins’ Ear starts: British Prime Minister Robert Walpole, reluctantly declares war on Spain.
The War of Jenkins’ Ear (known as Guerra del Asiento in Spain) was a conflict between Britain and Spain lasting from 1739 to 1748, with major operations largely ended by 1742. Its unusual name, coined by Thomas Carlyle in 1858, refers to an ear severed from Robert Jenkins, a captain of a British merchant ship. Despite stories to that effect, there is no evidence the severed ear was exhibited before the British Parliament.
The seeds of conflict began with the separation of an ear from Jenkins following the boarding of his vessel by Spanish coast guards in 1731, eight years before the war began. Popular response to the incident was tepid until several years later when opposition politicians and the British South Sea Company hoped to spur outrage against Spain, believing that a victorious war would improve Britain’s trading opportunities in the Caribbean. Also ostensibly providing the impetus to war against the Spanish Empire was a desire to pressure the Spanish not to renege on the lucrative asiento contract, which gave British slavers permission to sell slaves in Spanish America.
The war resulted in heavy British casualties in North America. After 1742, the war was subsumed by the wider War of the Austrian Succession, which involved most of the powers of Europe. Peace arrived with the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1748. From the British perspective, the war was notable because it was the first time that a regiment of colonial American troops (Oglethorpe’s Regiment) was raised and placed “on the Establishment” – made a part of the regular British Army – and sent to fight outside North America.
1894 – Emma Vyssotsky, American astronomer and academic (d. 1975)
Emma Vyssotsky (October 23, 1894 – May 12, 1975), born Emma T. R. Williams in Media, Pennsylvania was an American astronomer.
She received a Ph.D. in astronomy from Harvard College in 1930. She spent her career at the McCormick Observatory of the University of Virginia, where her speciality was the motion of stars and the kinematics of the Milky Way.
She married the Russian-born astronomer Alexander N. Vyssotsky in 1929. They had one son, Victor A. Vyssotsky (a mathematician and computer scientist), who was involved in the Multics project and creator of the Darwin computer game.
She was awarded the Annie J. Cannon Award in Astronomy by the American Astronomical Society in 1946.
Ryan F. Mandelbaum: Gizmodo Presents: Dark Matter TONIGHT
We live in a universe filled with weird stuff that we don’t really understand: dark matter. Physicists have observed its spooky effects but have’t seen it directly. Even scarier: There seems to be around six times as much dark matter in the universe as regular matter.
Tonight, we’ll be broadcasting a discussion on this mysterious substance over Facebook live at 7:00 pm ET from the Gizmodo office. Joining me will be three prominent physicists: Elena Aprile, founder of the XENON dark matter experiment from Columbia University, James Beacham, physicist at the Large Hadron Collider, and Priya Natarajan, astrophysicist at Yale University. We’ll begin taking Facebook live questions beginning at 7:45 pm ET. Come back here once the event starts and we’ll drop the link in this post.
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Berenice Abbott’s New York Stores (1930s)
Berenice Abbott (July 17, 1898 – December 9, 1991) was an American photographer renowned for her black-and-white photography of New York City in the 1930s. Her pictures of New York stores, street vendors and bars formed part of Changing New York, her project sponsored by the Federal Art Project (FAP) in the 1930s.
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