Tag: FYI

FYI May 22, 2018



On This Day

1856 – Congressman Preston Brooks of South Carolina severely beats Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts with a cane in the hall of the United States Senate for a speech Sumner had made regarding Southerners and slavery.
Charles Sumner (January 6, 1811 – March 11, 1874) was an American politician and United States Senator from Massachusetts. As an academic lawyer and a powerful orator, Sumner was the leader of the anti-slavery forces in Massachusetts and a leader of the Radical Republicans in the U.S. Senate during the American Civil War. He worked hard to destroy the Confederacy, free all the slaves, and keep on good terms with Europe. During Reconstruction, he fought to minimize the power of the ex-Confederates and guarantee equal rights to the freedmen. He fell into a dispute with fellow Republican President Ulysses Grant on the question of taking control of Santo Domingo. Grant’s allies stripped Sumner of his power in the Senate in 1871, and he joined the Liberal Republican movement in an effort to defeat Grant’s reelection in 1872.

Sumner changed his political party several times as anti-slavery coalitions rose and fell in the 1830s and 1840s before coalescing in the 1850s as the Republican Party, the affiliation with which he became best known. He devoted his enormous energies to the destruction of what Republicans called the Slave Power, the influence over the federal government of Southern slave owners who sought the continuation and expansion of slavery.[1] In 1856, a South Carolina Congressman, Democrat Preston Brooks, nearly killed Sumner on the Senate floor two days after Sumner delivered an intensely anti-slavery speech called “The Crime Against Kansas.”[2] In the speech, Sumner characterized the attacker’s cousin,[3][4] South Carolina Senator Andrew Butler, a Democrat, as a pimp for slavery.[5] The episode played a major role in the coming of the Civil War. During the war, Sumner was a leader of the Radical Republican faction that criticized President Abraham Lincoln for being too moderate on the South. One of the most learned statesmen of the era, he specialized in foreign affairs, and worked closely with Abraham Lincoln to keep the British and the French from intervening on the side of the Confederacy during the Civil War. Sumner’s expertise and energy made him a powerful chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

As the chief Radical leader in the Senate during Reconstruction, Sumner fought hard to provide equal civil and voting rights for the freedmen on the grounds that “consent of the governed” was a basic principle of American republicanism, and to block ex-Confederates from power so they would not reverse the gains made from the Union’s victory in the Civil War. Sumner, teaming with House leader Thaddeus Stevens, battled Andrew Johnson’s reconstruction plans and sought to impose a Radical program on the South. Although Sumner forcefully advocated the annexation of Alaska in the Senate, he was against the annexation of the Dominican Republic, then known by the name of its capital, Santo Domingo. After leading Senators to defeat President Ulysses S. Grant’s Santo Domingo Treaty in 1870, Sumner broke with Grant, and denounced him in such terms that reconciliation was impossible. In 1871, President Grant and his Secretary of State Hamilton Fish retaliated; through Grant’s supporters in the Senate, Sumner was deposed as head of the Foreign Relations Committee. Sumner had become convinced that Grant was a corrupt despot and that the success of Reconstruction policies called for new national leadership. Sumner bitterly opposed Grant’s reelection by supporting the Liberal Republican candidate Horace Greeley in 1872 and lost his power inside the Republican Party. Less than two years later, he died in office.


Born On This Day

1909 – Margaret Mee, English illustrator and educator (d. 1988)
Margaret Ursula Mee, MBE (22 May 1909 – 30 November 1988)[1] was a British botanical artist who specialised in plants from the Brazilian Amazon Rainforest. She was also one of the first environmentalists to draw attention to the impact of large-scale mining and deforestation on the Amazon Basin.

Early life
Margaret Ursula Brown was born in Whitehill, Chesham in 1909. She attended Dr Challoner’s Grammar School, Amersham, followed by The School of Art, Science and Commerce, Watford. After a short period of teaching in Liverpool she decided to travel abroad.

While in Berlin in 1933, Brown witnessed the burning of the Reichstag and subsequent Jewish boycott, which confirmed her left-wing views. During the Second World War she worked in Hatfield as a draughtswoman at the de Havilland aircraft factory.[2]

Personal life
Mee married Reginald Bruce Bartlett in January 1936.[3] Like her husband, she became a committed trade union activist for the Union of Sign, Glass and Ticket Writers and joined the Communist Party.[4] Mee addressed the TUC in 1937, proposing the raising of the school-leaving age and was subsequently offered, but declined, a job with Ernest Bevin. The marriage to Bartlett was not happy and, after a long separation, ended in divorce in 1943.[5] She later married Greville Mee, who was also attending Saint Martin’s School of Art, in the late 1940s.

Career as artist
After the war Mee studied art at Saint Martin’s School of Art in London. In 1950 she attended the Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts, where she learnt her style of illustration, and received a national diploma in painting and design in 1950. She moved to Brazil with Greville Mee in 1952 to teach art in the British school of São Paulo. Her first expedition was in 1956 to Belém in the Amazon Basin. She then became a botanical artist for São Paulo’s Instituto de Botanica in 1958, exploring the rainforest and more specifically Amazonas state from 1964, painting the plants she saw, some new to science, as well as collecting some for later illustration. She created 400 folios of gouache illustrations, 40 sketchbooks, and 15 diaries.[citation needed]

Mee travelled to Washington D. C., USA in 1964 and briefly to England in 1968 for the exhibition and publication of her book, Flowers of the Brazilian Forests. She returned to Brazil and joined protests to draw international attention to the deforestation of the Amazon region.[2]

Mee died following a car crash in Seagrave, Leicestershire on 30 November 1988. She was 79. In January 1989 a memorial to her life, botanical work and environmental campaigning took place in Kew Gardens.[2]

Recognition and honours

In 1976 Mee was awarded the MBE for services to Brazilian botany and a fellowship of the Linnean Society in 1986. She also received recognition in Brazil including an honorary citizenship of Rio in 1975, the Brazilian order of Cruzeiro do Sul in 1979, In her honour, after her death the Margaret Mee Amazon Trust was founded to further education and research in Amazonian plant life and conservation, by providing scholarships for Brazilian botanical students and plant illustrators who wish to study in the United Kingdom or conduct field research in Brazil.[2]

In 1990 Mee was recognised for her environmental achievements by The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and added to its Global 500 Roll of Honour.[citation needed]

The Diaries of Margaret Mee, written between 1956 and 1988, were published posthumously in 2004 and included an illustrated account of Mee’s expeditions to the Amazonian rainforest.[6] Most of her illustrations are now part of the Kew Gardens collection.[7]



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FYI May 21, 2018



On This Day

1934 – Oskaloosa, Iowa, becomes the first municipality in the United States to fingerprint all of its citizens.

Research needed ->

Born On This Day

1799 – Mary Anning, English paleontologist (d. 1847)

Mary Anning (21 May 1799 – 9 March 1847[2]) was an English fossil collector, dealer, and paleontologist who became known around the world for important finds she made in Jurassic marine fossil beds in the cliffs along the English Channel at Lyme Regis in the county of Dorset in Southwest England.[3] Her findings contributed to important changes in scientific thinking about prehistoric life and the history of the Earth.

Anning searched for fossils in the area’s Blue Lias cliffs, particularly during the winter months when landslides exposed new fossils that had to be collected quickly before they were lost to the sea. She nearly died in 1833 during a landslide that killed her dog, Tray. Her discoveries included the first ichthyosaur skeleton correctly identified; the first two more complete plesiosaur skeletons found; the first pterosaur skeleton located outside Germany; and important fish fossils. Her observations played a key role in the discovery that coprolites, known as bezoar stones at the time, were fossilised faeces. She also discovered that belemnite fossils contained fossilised ink sacs like those of modern cephalopods. When geologist Henry De la Beche painted Duria Antiquior, the first widely circulated pictorial representation of a scene from prehistoric life derived from fossil reconstructions, he based it largely on fossils Anning had found, and sold prints of it for her benefit.

Anning did not fully participate in the scientific community of 19th-century Britain, who were mostly Anglican gentlemen. She struggled financially for much of her life. Her family was poor, and her father, a cabinetmaker, died when she was eleven.

She became well known in geological circles in Britain, Europe, and America, and was consulted on issues of anatomy as well as about collecting fossils. Nonetheless, as a woman, she was not eligible to join the Geological Society of London and she did not always receive full credit for her scientific contributions. Indeed, she wrote in a letter: “The world has used me so unkindly, I fear it has made me suspicious of everyone.”[4] The only scientific writing of hers published in her lifetime appeared in the Magazine of Natural History in 1839, an extract from a letter that Anning had written to the magazine’s editor questioning one of its claims.[5]

After her death in 1847, her unusual life story attracted increasing interest. An uncredited author in All the Year Round, edited by Charles Dickens, wrote of her in 1865 that “[t]he carpenter’s daughter has won a name for herself, and has deserved to win it.”[4] It has often been claimed that her story was the inspiration for the 1908 tongue-twister “She sells seashells on the seashore” by Terry Sullivan.[6][7] In 2010, one hundred and sixty-three years after her death, the Royal Society included Anning in a list of the ten British women who have most influenced the history of science.[8]

Read more->



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FYI May 20, 2018



On This Day

1631 – The city of Magdeburg in Germany is seized by forces of the Holy Roman Empire and most of its inhabitants massacred, in one of the bloodiest incidents of the Thirty Years’ War.

Magdeburg (German pronunciation: [ˈmakdəbʊɐ̯k] (About this sound listen); Low Saxon: Meideborg, [ˈmaˑɪdebɔɐ̯x]) is the capital city and the second largest city of the state of Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. Magdeburg is situated on the Elbe River.

Otto I, the first Holy Roman Emperor and founder of the archbishopric of Magdeburg, was buried in the town’s cathedral after his death. Magdeburg’s version of German town law, known as Magdeburg rights, spread throughout Central and Eastern Europe. The city is also well known for the Sack of Magdeburg, which sparked outrage across the Protestant world and became the worst massacre of the Thirty Years’ War. Prior to it, Magdeburg was one of the largest and most prosperous German cities, and a notable member of the Hanseatic League. Magdeburg was destroyed twice in its history. Though aerial bombing by the Allies destroyed much of the city in 1945, it suffered a much greater damage at the hands of Catholics in 1631.

Magdeburg is the site of two universities, the Otto-von-Guericke University and the Magdeburg-Stendal University of Applied Sciences.[2]

Nowadays Magdeburg is a traffic junction as well as an industrial and trading centre. The production of chemical products, steel, paper and textiles are of particular economic significance, along with mechanical engineering and plant engineering, ecotechnology and life-cycle management, health management and logistics.

In 2005 Magdeburg celebrated its 1200th anniversary. In June 2013 Magdeburg was hit by record breaking flooding.[3]


Born On This Day

1882 – Sigrid Undset, Danish-Norwegian novelist, essayist, and translator, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1949)

Sigrid Undset (20 May 1882 – 10 June 1949) was a Norwegian novelist who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1928.[2]

Undset was born in Kalundborg, Denmark, but her family moved to Norway when she was two years old. In 1924, she converted to Catholicism. She fled Norway for the United States in 1940 because of her opposition to Nazi Germany and the German invasion and occupation of Norway, but returned after World War II ended in 1945.

Her best-known work is Kristin Lavransdatter, a trilogy about life in Scandinavia in the Middle Ages, portrayed through the experiences of a woman from birth until death. Its three volumes were published between 1920 and 1922.




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FYI May 19, 2018



On This Day

1743 – Jean-Pierre Christin developed the centigrade temperature scale.

The Celsius scale, previously known as the centigrade scale,[1][2] is a temperature scale used by the International System of Units (SI). As an SI derived unit, it is used by all countries in the world, except the United States, Myanmar, and Liberia. It is named after the Swedish astronomer Anders Celsius (1701–1744), who developed a similar temperature scale. The degree Celsius (symbol: °C) can refer to a specific temperature on the Celsius scale as well as a unit to indicate a temperature interval, a difference between two temperatures or an uncertainty. Before being renamed to honor Anders Celsius in 1948, the unit was called centigrade, from the Latin centum, which means 100, and gradus, which means steps.

Before 1954, the Celsius scale was based on 0 °C for the freezing point of water and 100 °C for the boiling point of water at 1 atm pressure following a change introduced in 1743 by Jean-Pierre Christin to reverse the Celsius thermometer scale (from water boiling at 0 degrees and ice melting at 100 degrees). This scale is widely taught in schools today.

By international agreement, since 1954 the unit “degree Celsius” and the Celsius scale are defined by absolute zero and the triple point of Vienna Standard Mean Ocean Water (VSMOW), a specially purified water. This definition also precisely relates the Celsius scale to the Kelvin scale, which defines the SI base unit of thermodynamic temperature with symbol K. Absolute zero, the lowest temperature possible, is defined as being exactly 0 K and −273.15 °C. The temperature of the triple point of water is defined as exactly 273.16 K (0.01 °C; 32.02 °F).[3] This means that a temperature difference of one degree Celsius and that of one kelvin are exactly the same.[4]


Born On This Day

1932 – Elena Poniatowska, Mexican intellectual and journalist
Hélène Elizabeth Louise Amélie Paula Dolores Poniatowska (born May 19, 1932), known professionally as Elena Poniatowska (About this sound audio (help·info)), is a French-born Mexican journalist and author, specializing in works on social and political issues focused on those considered to be disenfranchised especially women and the poor. She was born in Paris to upper class parents, including her mother whose family fled Mexico during the Mexican Revolution. She left France for Mexico when she was ten to escape the Second World War. When she was eighteen and without a university education, she began writing for the newspaper Excélsior, doing interviews and society columns. Despite the lack of opportunity for women from the 1950s to the 1970s, she evolved to writing about social and political issues in newspapers, books in both fiction and nonfiction form. Her best known work is La noche de Tlatelolco (The night of Tlatelolco, the English translation was entitled “Massacre in Mexico”) about the repression of the 1968 student protests in Mexico City. She is considered to be “Mexico’s grande dame of letters” and is still an active writer.




Good news from tragedy. I read about a funeral home who did not charge for children’s services. No desire to profit from the loss of a child. Be interesting if any of the funeral homes will help the families with free or lower the cost of services.

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FYI May 18, 2018



On This Day

332 – Constantine the Great announced free distributions of food to the citizens in Constantinople.
Constantine the Great (Latin: Flavius Valerius Aurelius Constantinus Augustus;[2] Greek: Κωνσταντῖνος ὁ Μέγας; 27 February c. 272 AD[1] – 22 May 337 AD), also known as Constantine I or Saint Constantine,[3] was a Roman Emperor of Illyrian and Greek origin from 306 to 337 AD. He was the son of Flavius Valerius Constantius, a Roman Army officer, and his consort Helena. His father became Caesar, the deputy emperor in the west, in 293 AD. Constantine was sent east, where he rose through the ranks to become a military tribune under Emperors Diocletian and Galerius. In 305, Constantius raised himself to the rank of Augustus, senior western emperor, and Constantine was recalled west to campaign under his father in Britannia (Britain). Constantine was acclaimed as emperor by the army at Eboracum (modern-day York) after his father’s death in 306 AD, and he emerged victorious in a series of civil wars against Emperors Maxentius and Licinius to become sole ruler of both west and east by 324 AD.

As emperor, Constantine enacted administrative, financial, social, and military reforms to strengthen the empire. He restructured the government, separating civil and military authorities. To combat inflation he introduced the solidus, a new gold coin that became the standard for Byzantine and European currencies for more than a thousand years. The Roman army was reorganised to consist of mobile field units and garrison soldiers capable of countering internal threats and barbarian invasions. Constantine pursued successful campaigns against the tribes on the Roman frontiers—the Franks, the Alamanni, the Goths, and the Sarmatians—even resettling territories abandoned by his predecessors during the Crisis of the Third Century.

Constantine was the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity.[notes 1] Although he lived most of his life as a pagan, he joined the Christian faith on his deathbed, being baptised by Eusebius of Nicomedia. He played an influential role in the proclamation of the Edict of Milan in 313, which declared religious tolerance for Christianity in the Roman empire. He called the First Council of Nicaea in 325 that produced the statement of Christian belief known as the Nicene Creed. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre was built on his orders at the purported site of Jesus’ tomb in Jerusalem and became the holiest place in Christendom. The Papal claim to temporal power in the High Middle Ages was based on the supposed Donation of Constantine (now regarded as a forgery). He is venerated as a saint by the Eastern Orthodox and Catholic Church. He has historically been referred to as the “First Christian Emperor,” and he did heavily promote the Christian Church. Some modern scholars, however, debate his beliefs and even his comprehension of the Christian faith itself.[notes 2]

The age of Constantine marked a distinct epoch in the history of the Roman Empire.[7] He built a new imperial residence at Byzantium and renamed the city Constantinople after himself (the laudatory epithet of “New Rome” came later, and was never an official title). It became the capital of the Empire for more than a thousand years, with the later eastern Roman Empire now being referred to as the Byzantine Empire by historians. His more immediate political legacy was that he replaced Diocletian’s tetrarchy with the principle of dynastic succession by leaving the empire to his sons. His reputation flourished during the lifetime of his children and centuries after his reign. The medieval church upheld him as a paragon of virtue, while secular rulers invoked him as a prototype, a point of reference, and the symbol of imperial legitimacy and identity.[8] Beginning with the Renaissance, there were more critical appraisals of his reign due to the rediscovery of anti-Constantinian sources. Trends in modern and recent scholarship have attempted to balance the extremes of previous scholarship.


Born On This Day

1048 – Omar Khayyám, Persian mathematician, astronomer, and poet (d. 1131)

Omar Khayyam (/ˈoʊmɑːr kaɪˈjɑːm/; Persian: عمر خیّام‎‎ [xæjˈjɑːm]; 18 May 1048 – 4 December 1131) was a Persian mathematician, astronomer, and poet.[3][4]:7

As a mathematician, he is most notable for his work on the classification and solution of cubic equations, where he provided geometric solutions by the intersection of conics.[5][6] As an astronomer, he composed a calendar which proved to be a more accurate computation of time than that proposed five centuries later by Pope Gregory XIII.[7]:659[8]

Omar was born in Nishapur, in northeastern Iran. He spent most of his life near the court of the Karakhanid and Seljuq rulers in the period which witnessed the First Crusade. There is a tradition of attributing poetry to Omar Khayyam, written in the form of quatrains (rubāʿiyāt رباعیات‎). This poetry became widely known to the English-reading world due to the translation by Edward FitzGerald (Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, 1859), which enjoyed great success in the Orientalism of the fin de siècle.



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FYI May 17, 2018



On This Day

1983 – The U.S. Department of Energy declassifies documents showing world’s largest mercury pollution event in Oak Ridge, Tennessee (ultimately found to be 4.2 million pounds), in response to the Appalachian Observer’s Freedom of Information Act request.
Oak Ridge is a city in Anderson and Roane counties in the eastern part of the U.S. state of Tennessee, about 25 miles (40 km) west of Knoxville. Oak Ridge’s population was 29,330 at the 2010 census.[5] It is part of the Knoxville Metropolitan Area. Oak Ridge’s nicknames include the Atomic City,[6] the Secret City,[7] the Ridge, and the City Behind the Fence.[8]

Oak Ridge was established in 1942 as a production site for the Manhattan Project—the massive American, British, and Canadian operation that developed the atomic bomb. As it is still the site of Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Y-12 National Security Complex, scientific development still plays a crucial role in the city’s economy and culture in general.



Born On This Day

1860 – Charlotte Barnum, American mathematician and social activist (d. 1934)
Charlotte Cynthia Barnum (May 17, 1860 – March 27, 1934), mathematician and social activist, was the first woman to receive a Ph.D in mathematics from Yale University.[1]

Early life and education
Charlotte Barnum was born in Phillipston, Massachusetts, the third of four children of the Reverend Samuel Weed Barnum (1820–1891) and Charlotte Betts (1823–1899). Education was important in her family: two uncles had received medical degrees from Yale and her father had graduated from there with a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Divinity. Her brothers Samuel and Thomas would both graduate from Yale, and her sister Clara would attend Yale graduate school after graduating from Vassar.[2]

After graduating from Hillhouse High School in New Haven, Connecticut Charlotte attended Vassar College, where she graduated in 1881. From 1881 to 1886 she taught at a boys’ preparatory school, Betts Academy, in Stamford, Connecticut and at Hillhouse High School. She also did computing work for the Yale Observatory 1883–1885 and worked on a revision of James Dwight Dana’s System of Mineralogy. Charlotte was an editorial writer for Webster’s International Dictionary from 1886 to 1890, and then taught astronomy at Smith College for the academic year 1889–90.

In 1890 Charlotte applied for graduate studies at Johns Hopkins University, but was turned down because they did not accept women. She persisted and with the support of Simon Newcomb, professor of mathematics and astronomy at the university, she won approval to attend lectures without enrollment and without charge. Two years later, she moved to New Haven to pursue her graduate studies at Yale. In 1895 she was the first woman to receive a Ph.D. in mathematics from that institution. Her thesis was titled “Functions Having Lines or Surfaces of Discontinuity”. The identity of her adviser is unclear from the record.[2][3]

Later career

After receiving her Ph.D., Charlotte Barnum taught at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota for one year. She then left academia, and did civilian and governmental applied mathematics and editorial work the remainder of her career .

In 1898 she joined the American Academy of Actuaries and until 1901 worked as an actuarial computer for the Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company, Springfield, Massachusetts and the Fidelity Mutual Life Insurance Company in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

In 1901 she moved to Washington D.C. to work as a computer for US Naval Observatory. She subsequently did the same work for the tidal division of the US Coast and Geodetic Survey until 1908 and then was editorial assistant in the biological survey section of the US Department of Agriculture through 1913.

She left government employment and returned to New Haven in 1914 where she did editorial work for Yale Peruvian Expeditions, the Yale University secretary’s office, and the Yale University Press.

Starting in 1917 she worked in various organizations and academic institutions in Connecticut, New York and Massachusetts as an editor, actuary and teacher. All her life she was involved in social and charitable organizations and activities. In 1934 she died in Middletown, Connecticut of meningitis at the age of seventy-three.[2][3][4][5]

One of the first women members of the American Mathematical Society[6]

Fellow, American Academy of Actuaries (AAAS)[2]

Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science[4]

Alumnae Member, Vassar College Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa[4]

Women’s Joint Legislative Commission (for equal rights)[2]

National Conference of Charities (now the National Conference on Social Welfare)[2]

1911: “The Girl Who Lives at Home: Two Suggestions to Trade Union Women,” (Life and Labor, Volume 1, 1911) p. 346.[2]


Recognize anyone?
By Rhett Jones: Here’s the Name of Every Senator Who Voted Against Net Neutrality—and When to Vote Them Out
By Justin T. Westbrook: Here’s How Ford Used One Of The World’s Biggest Planes To Get F-150 Production Back Up Again
Atlas Obscura: The Mysteries of Antarctica’s Dark Winter, OCOTILLO, CALIFORNIA Flying Saucer Repairs and more ->

Vector’s World
Author: Evan Bush, The Seattle Times: ‘Demented social club’: Over 100 charges filed in probe of Northwest wildlife poaching ring

Unlike Washington, where spree killing is a felony, Oregon’s wildlife violations are misdemeanors.

Schwartz said his agency would like to see Oregon’s Legislature look at creating a felony statute for those who kill multiple animals in quick succession.
By Eillie Anzilotti: Can this new privately funded train reshape transit in Florida?


Plan for 2019
Chas’ Crazy Creations: Tea Cup & Mug Exchange Reveal – Spring
By NadjasDiversDiversions: Techniques to Embed Flowers in Resin
By Tye Rannosaurus: Ultra Violet Lilac and Wild Rose Jelly
By javaman35: Carving Sticks Into Wooden Flowers
By Ryan110: A Sociable Bicycle







By slBarr: Slow Cooker Rosemary Garlic Beef Stew



FYI May 16, 2018



On This Day

1888 – Nikola Tesla delivers a lecture describing the equipment which will allow efficient generation and use of alternating currents to transmit electric power over long distances.
Nikola Tesla (/ˈtɛslə/;[2] Serbian Cyrillic: Никола Тесла Serbo-Croatian pronunciation: [nikoːla tesla]; 10 July 1856 – 7 January 1943) was a Serbian-American[3][4][5] inventor, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer, physicist, and futurist who is best known for his contributions to the design of the modern alternating current (AC) electricity supply system.[6]

Born and raised in the Austrian Empire, Tesla received an advanced education in engineering and physics in the 1870s and gained practical experience in the early 1880s working in telephony and at Continental Edison in the new electric power industry. He emigrated to the United States in 1884, where he would become a naturalized citizen. He worked for a short time at the Edison Machine Works in New York City before he struck out on his own. With the help of partners to finance and market his ideas, Tesla set up laboratories and companies in New York to develop a range of electrical and mechanical devices. His alternating current (AC) induction motor and related polyphase AC patents, licensed by Westinghouse Electric in 1888, earned him a considerable amount of money and became the cornerstone of the polyphase system which that company would eventually market.

Attempting to develop inventions he could patent and market, Tesla conducted a range of experiments with mechanical oscillators/generators, electrical discharge tubes, and early X-ray imaging. He also built a wireless-controlled boat, one of the first ever exhibited. Tesla became well known as an inventor and would demonstrate his achievements to celebrities and wealthy patrons at his lab, and was noted for his showmanship at public lectures.

Throughout the 1890s, Tesla pursued his ideas for wireless lighting and worldwide wireless electric power distribution in his high-voltage, high-frequency power experiments in New York and Colorado Springs. In 1893, he made pronouncements on the possibility of wireless communication with his devices. Tesla tried to put these ideas to practical use in his unfinished Wardenclyffe Tower project, an intercontinental wireless communication and power transmitter, but ran out of funding before he could complete it.[7]

After Wardenclyffe, Tesla went on to try to develop a series of inventions in the 1910s and 1920s with varying degrees of success. Having spent most of his money, he lived in a series of New York hotels, leaving behind unpaid bills. Tesla died in New York City in January 1943.[8] His work fell into relative obscurity following his death, but in 1960, the General Conference on Weights and Measures named the SI unit of magnetic flux density the tesla in his honor.[9] There has been a resurgence in popular interest in Tesla since the 1990s.[10] His intellectual achievements and originality have made him named by many a genius.[11][12][13][14][15]



Born On This Day

1925 – Nancy Roman, American astronomer
Nancy Grace Roman (born May 16, 1925) is an American astronomer who was one of the first female executives at NASA. She is known to many as the “Mother of Hubble” for her role in planning the Hubble Space Telescope. Throughout her career, Roman has also been an active public speaker and educator, and an advocate for women in the sciences.

Personal life
Nancy G. Roman was born in Nashville, Tennessee, to music teacher Georgia Smith Roman and geophysicist Irwin Roman. Because of her father’s work, the family relocated to Oklahoma soon after Roman’s birth. Roman and her parents moved to Houston, New Jersey, and to Michigan and Nevada later on. After 1955, she lived in Washington, DC.[1] Roman considered her parents to be major influences in her interest in science.[2] Outside of her work Roman enjoyed going to lectures and concerts and was active in the American Association of University Women.[1]

When Roman was eleven years old, she showed interest in astronomy by forming an astronomy club among her classmates in Nevada. She and her classmates got together and learned about constellations from books once a week. Although discouraged by those around her, Roman knew by the time she was in high school that she wanted to pursue her passion for astronomy.[3] She attended Western High School in Baltimore where she participated in an accelerated program and graduated in three years.[2]

Roman attended Swarthmore College in 1946 where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Astronomy. While she studied there, she worked at the Sproul Observatory. After this she went on to receive her PhD in the same field at the University of Chicago in 1949. She stayed at the university for six more years working at the Yerkes Observatory, sometimes traveling to the McDonald Observatory in Texas to work as a research associate with W.W. Morgan.[4] The research position was not permanent, so Roman became an instructor and later an assistant professor.[2] Roman eventually left her job at the university because of the paucity of tenured research positions available to women at the time.[3] Roman continued to be involved with her alma maters, however; she served on Swarthmore’s Board of Observers from 1980 to 1988.[5]

Professional work
Whilst working at Yerkes Observatory of the University of Chicago, Roman observed the star AG Draconis and serendipitously discovered that its emission spectrum had completely changed since earlier observations.[6] She later credited the publication of that discovery as a stroke of luck that substantially raised her profile within the astronomical community, contributing to her career progression.[7]

After leaving the University of Chicago, Roman went to the Naval Research Laboratory and entered the radio astronomy program.[8] Roman’s work at the NRL included using nonthermal radio source spectra and doing geodetic work.[2] In the program she became the head of the microwave spectroscopy section.[3]

At a lecture by Harold Urey, Roman was approached by Jack Clark who asked whether she knew someone interested in creating a program for space astronomy at NASA. She interpreted that as an invitation to apply,[7] and was the one who accepted the position.[2] Roman was the first Chief of Astronomy in NASA’s Office of Space Science, setting up the initial program; she was the first woman to hold an executive position at the space agency.[8] Part of her job was traveling the country and speaking at astronomy departments, where she discussed the fact that the program was in development. Roman also was looking to find out what other astronomers wanted and educate them on the advantages of observing from space.[2][4][7] She was chief of astronomy and solar physics at NASA from 1961 to 1963. She held various other positions in NASA, including Chief of Astronomy and Relativity.[5]

During her employment at NASA, Roman developed and budgeted various programs and organized their scientific participation. She was involved in launching three Orbiting Solar Observatories and three Small Astronomical Satellites. These satellites used ultraviolet and x-ray technology for observing the sun, space and sky. She also oversaw the launches of other Orbiting Astronomical Observatories that used optical and ultraviolet Orbiting Astronomical Observatory, working with Dixon Ashworth. Others included four Geodetic satellites. She planned for other smaller programs such as the Astronomy Rocket Program, High Energy Astronomy Observatories, the Scout Probe to measure the relativistic gravity redshift and other experiments on Spacelab, Gemini, Apollo and Skylab.[9] Roman worked with Jack Holtz, too, on the Small Astronomy Satellite and Don Burrowbridge on Space Telescope.[2]

The last program in which she set up the committee and with which she was highly involved was the Hubble Telescope. Roman was very involved with the early planning and specifically the setting up of the program’s structure. Because of her contribution, she is often called the “Mother of Hubble.”[9] NASA’s current chief astronomer, who worked with Roman at the agency, calls her “the mother of the Hubble Space Telescope.” “Which is often forgotten by our younger generation of astronomers who make their careers by using Hubble Space Telescope,” says Ed Weiler. “Regretfully, history has forgotten a lot in today’s Internet age, but it was Nancy in the old days before the Internet and before Google and e-mail and all that stuff, who really helped to sell the Hubble Space Telescope, organize the astronomers, who eventually convinced Congress to fund it.” [4]

After working for NASA for twenty-one years, she continued, until 1997, her work for contractors who supported the Goddard Space Flight Center.[10] Roman was also a consultant for ORI, Inc. from 1980 to 1988.[5]

As a woman in science

Like most other women, Roman faced the problems of being a woman in the sciences in the mid-twentieth century. She was discouraged from going into astronomy by people around her[7] and was one of very few women in NASA at the time, being the only female with an executive position.[4] She attended courses called “Women in Management” in Michigan and at Penn State to learn about issues regarding being a woman in a management position. However, Roman stated in an interview in 1980 that the courses were dissatisfying and addressed women’s interests rather than women’s problems.[2]

Research and publications
One of Nancy Roman’s earliest publications was in 1955, after her work in the Yerkes and McDonald Observatories, in the Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series and was a catalog of high velocity stars. She documented new “spectral types photoelectric magnitudes and colors and spectroscopic parallaxes for about 600 high-velocity stars.”[11] Then in 1959, Roman wrote a paper on the detection of extraterrestrial planets.[2] Roman discovered that stars made of hydrogen and helium move faster than stars composed of other heavier elements. One of her other discoveries was finding that not all stars that were common were the same age. This was proven by comparing hydrogen lines of the low dispersion spectra in the stars. Roman noticed that the stars with the stronger lines moved closer to the center of the Milky Way and the others moved in more elliptical patterns off of the plane of the galaxy.[1] She also did research and published on the subjects of locating constellations from its 1875.0 position, explaining how she found this[12] and a paper on the Ursa Major Group for her thesis.[13]

Federal Woman’s Award-1962[5]
One of 100 Most Important Young People, Life magazine – 1962[9]
Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal NASA-1969
William Randolph Lovelace II, American Astronaut Association-1980[5]
Honorary Doctorates from Russell Sage College, Hood College, Bates College and Swarthmore College
The asteroid 2516 Roman is named in her honor
The fellowship, The Nancy Grace Roman Technology Fellowship in Astrophysics, of NASA has been named for her.[8]
In 2017, a “Women of NASA” LEGO set went on sale featuring (among other things) mini-figurines of Roman, Margaret Hamilton, Mae Jemison, and Sally Ride.[14]



Cockatoo Can’t Contain His Excitement When He Sees His Dad Coming Home From Work
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By George Dvorsky: Scientists Match Pollution in Greenland’s Ice Sheet to Events from Ancient Greece and Rome


Dwane Casey to Toronto: Thank you
By Daniela Galarza: Molly Yeh’s Food Network Show ‘Girl Meets Farm’ Premieres June 24
By Jaya Saxena: Henry Winkler Is Just Happy to Be Here
By Ainsley Harris: How to design a fascinator fit for a royal wedding


By Adele Peters: This algorithm is quickly clearing old marijuana convictions in San Francisco
By Gary Price: Strengthening Libraries as Entrepreneurial Hubs (New Leadership Brief from the Urban Libraries Council)
By Gary Price: California: Take a Look at the Oakland Public Library’s New Mobile Outreach Vehicle (MOVe)
By Gary Price: Research Tools: The New “City Health Dashboard” Provides Access to Key Neighborhood-Level Health Data For the 500 Largest U.S. Cities
Chas’ Crazy Creations: To Grandma’s House we go! (Wednesday Link Party #87)
Chas’ Crazy Creations: Garden Sprays







FYI May 15, 2018



On This Day

495 BC – A newly constructed temple in honour of the god Mercury was dedicated in ancient Rome on the Circus Maximus, between the Aventine and Palatine hills. To spite the senate and the consuls, the people awarded the dedication to a senior military officer, Marcus Laetorius.

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Mercury’s temple in Rome was situated in the Circus Maximus, between the Aventine and Palatine hills, and was built in 495 BC.[12]

That year saw disturbances at Rome between the patrician senators and the plebeians, which led to a secession of the plebs in the following year. At the completion of its construction, a dispute emerged between the consuls Appius Claudius Sabinus Regillensis and Publius Servilius Priscus Structus as to which of them should have the honour of dedicating the temple. The senate referred the decision to the popular assembly, and also decreed that whichever was chosen should also exercise additional duties, including presiding over the markets, establish a merchants’ guild, and exercising the functions of the pontifex maximus. The people, because of the ongoing public discord, and in order to spite the senate and the consuls, instead awarded the honour of dedicating the temple to the senior military officer of one of the legions named Marcus Laetorius. The senate and the consuls, in particular the conservative Appius, were outraged at this decision, and it inflamed the ongoing situation.[13]

The dedication occurred on 15 May, 495 BC.[14]

The temple was regarded as a fitting place to worship a swift god of trade and travel, since it was a major center of commerce as well as a racetrack. Since it stood between the plebeian stronghold on the Aventine and the patrician center on the Palatine, it also emphasized the role of Mercury as a mediator.[citation needed]

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Born On This Day

1689 – Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, English author and playwright (d. 1762)
Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (baptised 26 May 1689 – 21 August 1762) (née Pierrepont) was an English aristocrat, letter writer and poet. Lady Mary is today chiefly remembered for her letters, particularly her letters from travels to the Ottoman Empire, as wife to the British ambassador to Turkey, which have been described by Billie Melman as “the very first example of a secular work by a woman about the Muslim Orient”.[1] Aside from her writing, Lady Mary is also known for introducing and advocating for smallpox inoculation to Britain after her return from Turkey. Her writings address and challenge the hindering contemporary social attitudes towards women and their intellectual and social growth.




Thomas Kennerly Wolfe Jr. (March 2, 1930 – May 14, 2018)[1] was an American author and journalist, best known for his association with and influence in stimulating the New Journalism, in which literary techniques are used extensively.

He began his career as a regional newspaper reporter in the 1950s, but achieved national prominence in the 1960s following the publication of such best-selling books as The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (a highly experimental account of Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters), and two collections of articles and essays, Radical Chic & Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers and The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby. In 1979, he published the influential book The Right Stuff about the Mercury Seven astronauts, which was made into a 1983 film of the same name directed by Philip Kaufman.

His first fiction novel, The Bonfire of the Vanities, published in 1987, was met with critical acclaim, and also became a commercial success. It was adapted as a major motion picture of the same name, directed by Brian De Palma.


By Erik Shilling: Tom Wolfe’s New Journalism Started With A Story About Cars
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Click here for a handy guide for journalists on how to cover rising meth use, from Journalist’s Resource at Harvard University.
By Katie Lemons: 18 Work at Home Jobs for Moms (Well-Paid, Flexible and Fun)
By David Murphy: How to ‘AirDrop’ Between Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android Devices
By Katie Rife: Queen will, Queen will rock you in the Bohemian Rhapsody trailer
By Patrick Allen: Dig Up Dinosaurs at These Family-Friendly Paleontology Sites
Misleading headline?
By Larry Robertson: Jeff Bezos to workers everywhere: You’ll all work for Amazon soon
By Glenn Fleishman: Building the next great coffee company from the grounds up
Atlas Obscura: ACHARNES, GREECE Royal Ruins This abandoned 10,000-acre estate was the summer palace of the now defunct Greek monarchy. Mothers Lie Best We asked readers to send us the most outlandish white lies their mothers ever told them. Turns out moms are telling a lot of the same outrageous fibs. Swimming Suffragists In the 1910s, women swimmers in America and England began creating leagues of their own that pushed for new freedom for women’s bodies. More ->
Open Culture DC: Get the History of the World in 46 Lectures, Courtesy of Columbia University







By A. E. Dwyer: How to make perfect fried rice (and I mean perfect)
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FYI May 14, 2018



On This Day

1939 – Lina Medina becomes the youngest confirmed mother in medical history at the age of five.
Lina Marcela Medina de Jurado (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈlina meˈðina]; born on 23 September 1933[1]) is a Peruvian woman who became the youngest confirmed mother in medical history, giving birth at the age of five years, seven months, and 21 days.[1][2] She lives in Lima, the capital of Peru.[citation needed]

Early life and development
Born in Ticrapo, Castrovirreyna Province, Peru,[2] to silversmith Tiburelo Medina and Victoria Losea,[3] she was brought to a hospital by her parents at the age of five years due to increasing abdominal size. She was originally thought to have a tumor, but doctors determined she was in her seventh month of pregnancy. Dr Gerardo Lozada took Medina to Lima to have other specialists confirm that she was pregnant.[1]

Contemporary newspaper accounts indicate that interest in the case developed on many fronts. The San Antonio Light newspaper reported in its 16 July, 1939, edition—in anticipation of the girl’s expected visit to U.S. university scientific facilities—that a national Peruvian obstetrician/midwife association had demanded that the girl be transported to a national maternity hospital; the paper quoted 18 April reports in the Peruvian paper La Crónica stating that a North American film making concern had sent a representative “with authority to offer the sum of $5,000 to benefit the minor [in exchange for filming rights] … we know that the offer was rejected.”[4]

The same article, reprinted from a Chicago paper, noted that Lozada had made films of Medina for scientific documentation and had shown them around 21 April while addressing Peru’s National Academy of Medicine; on a subsequent visit to Lina’s remote hometown, some of the baggage carrying the films had fallen into the river while crossing “a very primitive bridge … Enough of his pictorial record remained, however, to intrigue the learned savants.”[4]

A month and a half after the original diagnosis, Medina gave birth by caesarean section to a boy. She was 5 years, 7 months, and 21 days,[1] the youngest known person in history to give birth. The caesarean birth was necessitated by her small pelvis. The surgery was performed by Lozada and Dr Busalleu, with Dr Colareta providing anaesthesia. When doctors performed the caesarean to deliver her baby, they found she already had fully mature sexual organs from precocious puberty.[2] Her case was reported in detail by Dr. Edmundo Escomel in the medical journal La Presse Médicale, including the additional details that her menarche had occurred at eight months of age, in contrast to a past report stating that she had been having regular periods since she was three years old[1][5][6] (or 2½ according to a different article).[2] The report also detailed that she had prominent breast development by the age of four. By age five, her figure displayed pelvic widening and advanced bone maturation.[citation needed]

Medina’s son weighed 2.7 kg (6.0 lb; 0.43 st) at birth and was named Gerardo after her doctor. Gerardo was raised believing that Medina was his sister, but found out at the age of 10 that she was, in fact, his mother.[1]

Identity of the father and later life

Medina has never revealed the father of the child nor the circumstances of her impregnation. Escomel suggested she might not actually know herself by writing that Medina “couldn’t give precise responses”.[1] Although Lina’s father was arrested on suspicion of child sexual abuse, he was later released due to lack of evidence, and the biological father was never identified.[1][7] Her son grew up healthy. He died in 1979 at the age of 40.[1]

In young adulthood, Medina worked as a secretary in the Lima clinic of Lozada, who gave her an education and helped put her son through high school.[8] Medina later married Raúl Jurado, who fathered her second son in 1972. As of 2002, they lived in a poor district of Lima known as “Chicago Chico”.[9] She refused an interview with Reuters that year,[2] just as she had turned away many reporters in years past.[8]

Although it was speculated that the case was a hoax, a number of doctors over the years have verified it based on biopsies, X rays of the fetal skeleton in utero, and photographs taken by the doctors caring for her.[1][10][11]

There are two published photographs documenting the case. The first was taken around the beginning of April 1939, when Medina was seven-and-a-half months into pregnancy. Taken from Medina’s left side, it shows her standing naked in front of a neutral backdrop. This is the only published photograph of Lina taken during her pregnancy.[12] The other photograph is of far greater clarity and was taken a year later in Lima when Gerardo was eleven months old.[citation needed]

In 1955, except for the effects of precocious puberty,[2] there was no explanation of how a five-year-old girl could conceive a child.[8] Extreme precocious pregnancy in children aged five or under has only been documented with Medina.[2][6]


Born On This Day

1794 – Fanny Imlay, daughter of British feminist Mary Wollstonecraft (d. 1816)
Frances “Fanny” Imlay (14 May 1794 – 9 October 1816), also known as Fanny Godwin and Frances Wollstonecraft, was the daughter, born out of wedlock, of the British feminist Mary Wollstonecraft and the American commercial speculator and diplomat Gilbert Imlay. Wollstonecraft wrote about her frequently in her later works. Fanny grew up in the household of anarchist political philosopher William Godwin, the widower of her mother, with his second wife and their combined family of five children. Fanny’s half-sister Mary grew up to write Frankenstein and married Percy Bysshe Shelley, a leading Romantic poet, who composed a poem on Fanny’s death.

Although Gilbert Imlay and Mary Wollstonecraft lived together happily for brief periods before and after the birth of Fanny, he left Wollstonecraft in France in the midst of the Revolution. In an attempt to revive their relationship, Wollstonecraft travelled to Scandinavia on business for him, taking the one-year-old Fanny with her, but the affair never rekindled. After falling in love with and marrying Godwin, Wollstonecraft died soon after giving birth in 1797, leaving the three-year-old Fanny in the hands of Godwin, along with their newborn daughter Mary.

Four years later, Godwin remarried and his new wife, Mary Jane Clairmont, brought two children of her own into the marriage, most significantly—from Fanny Imlay and Mary Godwin’s perspective—Claire Clairmont. Wollstonecraft’s daughters resented the new Mrs Godwin and the attention she paid to her own daughter. The Godwin household became an increasingly uncomfortable place to live as tensions rose and debts mounted. The teenage Mary and Claire escaped by running off to the Continent with Shelley in 1814. Fanny, left behind, bore the brunt of her stepfather’s anger. She became increasingly isolated from her family and committed suicide in 1816.

Read more ->>


By Katie Rife: R.I.P. Margot Kidder

Margaret Ruth Kidder (October 17, 1948 – May 13, 2018) professionally known as Margot Kidder, was a Canadian American actress and activist. She rose to fame in 1978 for her role as Lois Lane in the Superman film series, opposite Christopher Reeve. Kidder began her career in the 1960s appearing in low-budget Canadian films and television series, before landing a lead role in Quackser Fortune Has a Cousin in the Bronx (1970).

The only problem with #InfinityWar is that at no point do either Benedict Cumberbatch or Robert Downey Jr. say “No shit, Sherlock” to each other.
— confused (@baghadbilla01) May 6, 2018
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FYI May 13, 2018



On This Day

1373 – Julian of Norwich has visions which are later transcribed in her Revelations of Divine Love.
Julian of Norwich (c. 8 November 1342 – c. 1416) was an English anchoress and an important Christian mystic and theologian. Her Revelations of Divine Love, written around 1395, is the first book in the English language known to have been written by a woman. Julian was also known as a spiritual authority within her community, where she also served as a counsellor and advisor.[1] She is venerated in the Anglican and Lutheran churches. The Roman Catholic Church has not declared her to be a saint or given her the title Blessed. Accordingly, she does not appear in the Roman Martyrology, nor is she included in the calendar of the Catholic Church in England and Wales.[2][3]



Born On This Day

1883 – Georgios Papanikolaou, Greek-American pathologist, invented the pap smear (d. 1962)
Georgios Nikolaou Papanikolaou (or George Papanicolaou /ˌpæpəˈnɪkəlaʊ/; Greek: Γεώργιος Ν. Παπανικολάου [papanikoˈlau]; 13 May 1883 – 19 February 1962) was a Greek pioneer in cytopathology and early cancer detection, and inventor of the “Pap smear”.

Born in Kymi, Greece, Papanikolaou studied at the University of Athens, where he received his medical degree in 1904. Six years later he received his PhD from the University of Munich, Germany, after he had also spent time at the universities of Jena and Freiburg.[1] In 1910, Papanikolaou returned to Athens and got married to Andromahi Mavrogeni and then departed for Monaco where he worked for the Oceanographic Institute of Monaco, participating in the Oceanographic Exploration Team of the Prince of Monaco (1911).[2]

In 1913 he emigrated to the U.S. in order to work in the department of Pathology of New York Hospital and the Department of Anatomy at the Cornell Medical College Cornell University.

He first reported that uterine cancer could be diagnosed by means of a vaginal smear in 1928, but the importance of his work was not recognized until the publication, together with Herbert Frederick Traut (1894–1963), of Diagnosis of Uterine Cancer by the Vaginal Smear in 1943. The book discusses the preparation of vaginal and cervical smears, physiologic cytologic changes during the menstrual cycle, the effects of various pathological conditions, and the changes seen in the presence of cancer of the cervix and of the endometrium of the uterus. He thus became known for his invention of the Papanicolaou test, commonly known as the Pap smear or Pap test, which is used worldwide for the detection and prevention of cervical cancer and other cytologic diseases of the female reproductive system.

In 1961 he moved to Miami, Florida, to develop the Papanicolaou Cancer Research Institute at the University of Miami, but died there on 19 February 1962[3][4] prior to its opening.

Papanicolaou was the recipient of the Albert Lasker Award for Clinical Medical Research in 1950.[5]

Papanikolaou’s portrait appeared on the obverse of the Greek 10,000-drachma banknote of 1995–2001,[6] prior to its replacement by the euro.

In 1978 his work was honored by the U.S. Postal Service with a 13-cent stamp for early cancer detection.



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