Tag: FYI

FYI April 08, 2019

On This Day

1232 – Mongol–Jin War: The Mongols begin their siege on Kaifeng, the capital of the Jin dynasty.
The Mongol conquest of the Jin dynasty, also known as the Mongol–Jin War, was fought between the Mongol Empire and the Jurchen-led Jin dynasty in Manchuria and north China. The war, which started in 1211, lasted over 23 years and ended with the complete conquest of the Jin dynasty by the Mongols in 1234.



Born On This Day

1541 – Michele Mercati, Italian physician and archaeologist (d. 1593)
Michele Mercati (8 April 1541 – 25 June 1593) was a physician who was superintendent of the Vatican Botanical Garden under Popes Pius V, Gregory XIII, Sixtus V, and Clement VIII. He was one of the first scholars to recognise prehistoric stone tools as human-made rather than natural or mythologically created thunderstones.

Mercati was born in San Miniato, Tuscany, the son of Pietro Mercati, physician to Popes Pius V and Gregory XIII. He was educated at the University of Pisa, where he took degrees in medicine and philosophy. He was interested in natural history, mineralogy, palaeontology, medicine, and botany, and produced a book on these subjects entitled the Metallotheca, which was not published until 1717.

Mercati collected curious objects – fossils, minerals and so on – as well as ‘ceraunia’ or ‘thunderstones’. Mercati was particularly interested in Ceraunia cuneata, “wedge-shaped thunderstones,” which seemed to him to be most like axes and arrowheads, which he now called ceraunia vulgaris, “folk thunderstones,” distinguishing his view from the popular one.[1] Mercati examined the surfaces of the ceraunia and noted that the stones were of flint and that they had been chipped all over by another stone. By their shapes, Mercati deduced that the stones were intended to be hafted. He then showed the similarities between the ‘ceraunia’ and artifacts from the New World that explorers had identified as implements or weapons.[2]

Mercati posited that these stone tools must have been used when metal was unknown and cited Biblical passages to prove that in Biblical times stone was the first material used. He also revived the Three-age system of Lucretius, which described a succession of periods based on the use of stone (and wood), bronze and iron respectively.

Due to lateness of publication, Mercati’s ideas were already being developed independently by other antiquarians, however, his writing served as a further stimulus. He was lauded shortly after publication by Antoine de Jussieu [3] and his importance continues to be recognised. David Clarke described Mercati as “the archaeological counterpart of Cardano in mathematics, Vesalius in anatomy, Galileo in the physical sciences and Copernicus in astronomy.”[4]

External links
Michele Mercati
Wunderkammer His cabinet of curiosities (museum)




By Jennifer Couzin-Frankel: Sydney Brenner, pioneer of molecular biology, dies at 92

Sydney Brenner CH FRS FMedSci MAE (13 January 1927 – 5 April 2019[14]) was a South African biologist and a 2002 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine laureate, shared with Bob Horvitz and John Sulston. Brenner made significant contributions to work on the genetic code, and other areas of molecular biology while working in the Medical Research Council (MRC) Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, England. He established the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans as a model organism for the investigation of developmental biology,[1] and founded the Molecular Sciences Institute in Berkeley, California, United States.[15][16][17][18][19][20][21][22]


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FYI April 07, 2019

On This Day


529 – First draft of the Corpus Juris Civilis (a fundamental work in jurisprudence) is issued by Eastern Roman Emperor Justinian I.
The Corpus Juris (or Iuris) Civilis (“Body of Civil Law”) is the modern name[1] for a collection of fundamental works in jurisprudence, issued from 529 to 534 by order of Justinian I, Eastern Roman Emperor. It is also sometimes referred to as the Code of Justinian, although this name belongs more properly to the part titled Codex Justinianus.

The work as planned had three parts: the Code (Codex) is a compilation, by selection and extraction, of imperial enactments to date; the Digest or Pandects (the Latin title contains both Digesta and Pandectae) is an encyclopedia composed of mostly brief extracts from the writings of Roman jurists; and the Institutes (Institutiones) is a student textbook, mainly introducing the Code, although it has important conceptual elements that are less developed in the Code or the Digest. All three parts, even the textbook, were given force of law. They were intended to be, together, the sole source of law; reference to any other source, including the original texts from which the Code and the Digest had been taken, was forbidden. Nonetheless, Justinian found himself having to enact further laws and today these are counted as a fourth part of the Corpus, the Novellae Constitutiones (Novels, literally New Laws).

The work was directed by Tribonian, an official in Justinian’s court in Constantinople. His team was authorized to edit what they included. How far they made amendments is not recorded and, in the main, cannot be known because most of the originals have not survived. The text was composed and distributed almost entirely in Latin, which was still the official language of the government of the Byzantine Empire in 529–534, whereas the prevalent language of merchants, farmers, seamen, and other citizens was Greek. By the early 7th century, the official government language had become Greek during the lengthy reign of Heraclius (610–641).

The Corpus Juris Civilis was revised into Greek, when that became the predominant language of the Eastern Roman Empire, and continued to form the basis of the empire’s laws, the Basilika (Greek: τὰ βασιλικά, ‘imperial laws’), through the 15th century. The Basilika in turn served as the basis for local legal codes in the Balkans during the following Ottoman period and later formed the basis of the legal code of Modern Greece. In Western Europe the Corpus Juris Civilis was revived in the Middle Ages and was “received” or imitated as private law. Its public law content was quarried for arguments by both secular and ecclesiastical authorities. This revived Roman law, in turn, became the foundation of law in all civil law jurisdictions. The provisions of the Corpus Juris Civilis also influenced the canon law of the Catholic Church: it was said that ecclesia vivit lege romana – the church lives by Roman law.[2] Its influence on common law legal systems has been much smaller, although some basic concepts from the Corpus have survived through Norman law – such as the contrast, especially in the Institutes, between “law” (statute) and custom. The Corpus continues to have a major influence on public international law. Its four parts thus constitute the foundation documents of the Western legal tradition.



Born On This Day

1803 – Flora Tristan, French author and activist (d. 1844)
lora Tristan (7 April 1803 – 14 November 1844) was a French-Peruvian socialist writer and activist. She made important contributions to early feminist theory, and argued that the progress of women’s rights was directly related with the progress of the working class.[1] She wrote several works, the best known of which are Peregrinations of a Pariah (1838), Promenades in London (1840), and The Workers’ Union (1843).

Tristan was the grandmother of the painter Paul Gauguin.




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FYI April 06, 2019

On This Day

1580 – One of the largest earthquakes recorded in the history of England, Flanders, or Northern France, takes place.
Though severe earthquakes in the north of France and Britain are rare,[2] the 1580 Dover Straits earthquake appears to have been one of the largest in the recorded history of England, Flanders or northern France. Its effects started to be felt in London at around six o’clock in the evening of 6 April 1580, being Wednesday in the Easter week.[3]

Location and magnitude
A study undertaken during the design of the Channel Tunnel estimated the magnitude of the 1580 quake at 5.3–5.9 ML and its focal depth at 20–30 km, in the lower crust.[4] Being relatively deep, the quake was felt over a large area and it is not certain where the epicentre was located. The Channel Tunnel study proposed three possible locations, two south of Calais and one offshore. The barycentre of the isoseismals with intensities IV to VII lies in the Boulonnais, 10 km east of Desvres, the barycentre of the VII isoseismal lies about 1 km northeast of Ardres, and the barycentre of the only pleistoseismal zone lies in the English Channel.[4]

The British Geological Survey estimates the magnitude to be 5.7–5.8 ML.

The earthquake is well recorded in contemporary documents,[5] including the “earthquake letter” from Gabriel Harvey to Edmund Spenser mocking popular and academic methods of accounting for the tremors. It fell during Easter week, an omen-filled connection that was not lost on the servant-poet James Yates, who wrote ten stanzas on the topic:

Oh sudden motion, and shaking of the earth,
No blustering blastes, the weather calme and milde:
Good Lord the sudden rarenesse of the thing

A sudden feare did bring, to man and childe,

They verely thought, as well in field as Towne,
The earth should sinke, and the houses all fall downe.

Well let vs print this present in our heartes,

And call to God, for neuer neede we more:

Crauing of him mercy for our misdeedes,

Our sinfull liues from heart for to deplore,

For let vs thinke this token doth portend,
If scourge nere hand, if we do still offend.

Yates’ poem was printed in 1582 in The Castell of Courtesy.[6]

English writer Thomas Churchyard, then aged 60, was in London when the quake struck and he drafted an immediate account which was published two days later. In his 2007 biography of Richard Hakluyt, historian Peter C. Mancall provides extensive extracts from Churchyard’s 8 April 1580 pamphlet, A Warning to the Wyse, a Feare to the Fond, a Bridle to the Lewde, and a Glasse to the Good; written of the late Earthquake chanced in London and other places, the 6th of April, 1580, for the Glory of God and benefit of men, that warely can walk, and wisely judge. Set forth in verse and prose, by Thomas Churchyard, gentleman.[7][8] Mancall notes that Churchyard’s pamphlet provides a sense of immediacy so often lacking in retrospective writing. According to Churchyard, the quake could be felt across the city and well into the suburbs, as “a wonderful motion and trembling of the earth” shook London and “Churches, Pallaces, houses, and other buildings did so quiver and shake, that such as were then present in the same were toosed too and fro as they stoode, and others, as they sate on seates, driven off their places.”

The English public was so eager to read about the quake that a few months later, Abraham Fleming was able to publish a collection of reports of the Easter Earthquake, including those written by Thomas Churchyard, Richard Tarlton (described as the writing clown of Shakespeare’s day), Francis Schackleton, Arthur Golding, Thomas Twine, John Philippes, Robert Gittins, and John Grafton, as well as Fleming’s own account. Published by Henry Denham on 27 June 1580, Fleming’s pamphlet was titled: A Bright Burning Beacon, forewarning all wise Virgins to trim their lampes against the coming of the Bridegroome. Conteining A generall doctrine of sundrie signes and wonders, specially Earthquakes both particular and generall: A discourse of the end of this world: A commemoration of our late Earthquake, the 6 of April, about 6 of the clocke in the evening 1580. And a praier for the appeasing of Gods wrath and indignation. Newly translated and collected by Abraham Fleming.[9]



Born On This Day

1787 – Celestina Cordero, Puerto Rican educator (d. 1862)
Celestina Cordero (April 6, 1787 – January 18, 1862), was an educator who in 1820 founded the first school for girls in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Early years
Cordero (birth name: Celestina Cordero y Molina [note 1]) was second of three children born in San Juan, Puerto Rico to Lucas Cordero and Rita Molina. Her older sister was named Gregoria and her younger brother was Rafael Cordero. Cordero’s father, a former slave, was a “Freeman.” In 1789, the Spanish Crown issued the “Royal Decree of Graces of 1789,” also known as El Código Negro (The Black Code). In accordance with El Código Negro a slave could buy their freedom and thus a former slave would become known as “freeman” or “freewoman.”[1][2]

Cordero’s family moved to the town of San German. Her father was an experienced artisan who also worked in the tobacco fields. During his free time he taught his children and those in the neighborhood his artisan skills, while Cordero’s mother taught her children the importance of obtaining an education.

Cordero’s parents taught her and her siblings how to read and write. Inspired by her mother’s teachings, Cordero developed the love of teaching others. It was in San German where Cordero and her brother began their careers as educators.[2][3]

During the Spanish colonization of the island, Puerto Rico, which depended on an agricultural economy, had an illiteracy rate of over 80% at the beginning of the 19th century. Most women were home educated. The first library in Puerto Rico was established in 1642 in the Convent of San Francisco, and access to its books was limited to those who belonged to the religious order.[4] The only women who had access to the libraries and who could afford books, were the wives and daughters of Spanish government officials or wealthy landowners. Those who were poor had to resort to oral story-telling in what are traditionally known in Puerto Rico as Coplas and Decimas.[2][4]

Cordero and her brother moved back to San Juan. Despite the fact that she was subject to racial discrimination because she was a black free woman, she continued to pursue her goal of teaching others regardless of their race and or social standing. In 1820, Cordero founded the first school for girls in San Juan, the first of its kind in Puerto Rico. Cordero also presented herself as a public speaker in favor of women’s public education. After several years of struggle, the Spanish government officially gave her the title of teacher and accredited her school as an official educational institution.[2][3]

Cordero never married and died penniless in her home in San Juan on January 18, 1862. Puerto Rico recognized her brother Rafael as “The Father of Public Education” in Puerto Rico. However, her contributions to the educational system of the island are seldom mentioned.[2][3] It should also be noted that on December 9, 2013, Pope Francis advanced the sainthood of her brother when he declared that he lived the Christian virtues in a heroic way and is venerable.[5]

In 2012, the library of the Dr.José Celso Barbosa Jr. High School dedicated its “Women Day” to Celestina Cordero.[6][7]

Further reading
Remedios: Stories of Earth and Iron from the History of Puertorriquenas; by Aurora Levins Morales; pub. South End Press; ISBN 978-0896086449



By Meg Kinnard: Ex-US Sen Ernest ‘Fritz’ Hollings of South Carolina dead

Ernest Frederick “Fritz” Hollings (January 1, 1922 – April 6, 2019) was an American politician who served as a United States Senator from South Carolina from 1966 to 2005. A Democrat, he was also the Governor of South Carolina and the 77th Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina. He served alongside Republican Senator Strom Thurmond for 36 years, making them the longest-serving Senate duo in history. At the time of his death, he was the oldest living former U.S. Senator.

Born in Charleston, South Carolina, Hollings graduated from The Citadel in 1942 and joined a law practice in Charleston after attending the University of South Carolina School of Law. During World War II, he served as an artillery officer in campaigns in North Africa and Europe. After the war, Hollings successively won election to the South Carolina House of Representatives, as Lieutenant Governor, and as Governor. He sought election to the Senate in 1962 but was defeated by incumbent Olin D. Johnston.

Johnston died in 1965, and the following year Hollings won a special election to serve the remainder of Johnston’s term. Though the Republican Party became increasingly dominant in South Carolina after 1966, Hollings remained popular and continually won re-election, becoming one of the longest-serving Senators in U.S. history. Hollings sought the Democratic nomination in the 1984 presidential election but dropped out of the race after the New Hampshire primary. He declined to seek re-election in 2004 and was succeeded by Republican Jim DeMint.


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FYI April 05, 2019

On This Day

1566 – Two-hundred Dutch noblemen, led by Hendrick van Brederode, force themselves into the presence of Margaret of Parma and present the Petition of Compromise, denouncing the Spanish Inquisition in the Seventeen Provinces.
The Compromise[1] of Nobles (Dutch: Eedverbond der Edelen; French: Compromis des Nobles) was a covenant of members of the lesser nobility in the Habsburg Netherlands who came together to submit a petition to the Regent Margaret of Parma on 5 April 1566, with the objective of obtaining a moderation of the placards against heresy in the Netherlands. This petition played a crucial role in the events leading up to the Dutch Revolt and the Eighty Years’ War.

The ruler of the Habsburg Netherlands, a conglomerate of duchies and counties and lesser fiefs, was Philip II of Spain. He had appointed his half-sister Margaret of Parma as his Regent. She ruled with the assistance of a Council of State which included a number of the high nobility of the country, like the Prince of Orange, Egmont, Horne, Aerschot and Noircarmes. From time to time (whenever she needed money)[citation needed] she convened the States-General of the Netherlands in which the several estates of the provinces were represented, such as the lesser nobility and the cities, but most of the time the States-General was not in session and the Regent ruled alone, together with her Council.

Like his father Charles V, Philip was very much opposed to the Protestant teachings of Martin Luther, John Calvin and the Anabaptists, which had gained many adherents in the Netherlands by the early 1560s. To suppress Protestantism he had promulgated extraordinary ordinances, called placards, that outlawed them and made them capital offenses. Because of their severity these placards caused growing opposition among the population, both Catholic and Protestant. Opposition, even among Catholics, was generated because the placards were seen as breaches of the constitutional privileges of the local authorities and the civil liberties of the people, like the Jus de non evocando, as enshrined in the “Joyous Entry”, the constitution of the Duchy of Brabant, to mention a prominent example. For that reason local authorities regularly protested against the placards and the way they were implemented in 1564 and later years. That these protests were systematically ignored and the placards stringently enforced only helped intensify the opposition.[2]



Born On This Day

1656 – Nikita Demidov, Russian industrialist (d. 1725)
Nikita Demidov (full name Nikita Demidovich Antufiev; 5 April 1656 – 28 November 1725) was a Russian industrialist who founded the Demidov industrial dynasty.

Peter I of Russia charged the enterprising blacksmith Nikita with casting cannon for his many military expeditions and he was ennobled with name Demidov for having strongly supported the tsar’s activities. In 1699 he set up Nevyansk’s first iron foundry and in 1725 discovered mines at Kolivan (Kolyban), whose exploitation enriched him. A museum is devoted to him in Tula.

The founder of the Demidov family, he was born at Tula, the son of Demid Antufiev (1624–1664), a free blacksmith from Tula. Nikita began as a blacksmith himself and was put in charge of producing muskets and halberds (of which he was the main supplier) for the Russian Army by Tsar Peter the Great. Conceded many privileges, Nikitia built one of Russia’s first metallurgical factories at Tula between 1694 and 1696. This produced the first Russian iron to rival English- and Swedish-produced iron for quality.

In 1699, Nikita built a new factory at Yekaterinburg. He then opened Siberia’s first iron mine at Kolyban. In 1702 the Tsar granted him permission to change his name to Demidov and put a new foundry in the Urals under his command – it became Russia’s first true armaments factory. Between 1716 and 1725 Nikita built four new metallurgical factories in the Urals. During Russia’s Great Northern War against Sweden (1700–1721), the Demidov factories became the main supplier to the Russian army, supplying cannons, pistols, swords and other munitions, producing them twice as fast and twice as cheaply as the competition and thus making a decisive contribution to the Russian victory. On 21 September he was ennobled by Tsar Peter the Great in reward for his services.

He died in his home town of Tula.

Nikita Demidov had three definitely-attested children (and a possible fourth):
Akinfiy Nikitich Demidov (1678–1745)
Grigory Nikitich Demidov (died 1728)
Nikita Nikitich Demidov (died 1758)



Double tap.

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FYI April 04, 2019

On This Day

1660 – Declaration of Breda by King Charles II of Great Britain promises, among other things, a general pardon to all royalists for crimes committed during the English Civil War and the Interregnum.[1]
The Declaration of Breda (dated 4 April 1660) was a proclamation by Charles II of England in which he promised a general pardon for crimes committed during the English Civil War and the Interregnum for all those who recognised Charles as the lawful king; the retention by the current owners of property purchased during the same period; religious toleration; and the payment of pay arrears to members of the army, and that the army would be recommissioned into service under the crown. The first three pledges were all subject to amendment by acts of parliament.[1]



Born On This Day

1785 – Bettina von Arnim, German author, illustrator, and composer (d. 1859)
Bettina von Arnim (the Countess of Arnim) (4 April 1785 – 20 January 1859),[1] born Elisabeth Catharina Ludovica Magdalena Brentano, was a German writer and novelist.

Bettina (as well: Bettine) Brentano was a writer, publisher, composer, singer, visual artist, an illustrator, patron of young talent, and a social activist. She was the archetype of the Romantic era’s zeitgeist and the crux of many creative relationships of canonical artistic figures. Best known for the company she kept, she numbered among her closest friends Goethe, Beethoven, and Pückler and tried to foster artistic agreement among them. Many leading composers of the time, including Robert Schumann, Franz Liszt, Johanna Kinkel, and Johannes Brahms, admired her spirit and talents. As a composer, von Arnim’s style was unconventional, molding and melding favorite folk melodies and historical themes with innovative harmonies, phrase lengths, and improvisations that became synonymous with the music of the era. She was closely related to the German writers Clemens Brentano and Achim von Arnim: the first was her brother, the second her husband. Her daughter Gisela von Arnim became a prominent writer as well. Her nephews, via her brother Christian, were Franz and Lujo Brentano.





Paint by number – Dan Robbins has died.

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Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings: FROM THE ARCHIVE | Stress and the Social Self: How Relationships Affect Our Immune System

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By Jenn Christensen: Ancient whales walked on four legs and moved like giant otters — seriously







FYI April 03, 2019

On This Day

1559 – The Peace of Cateau-Cambrésis treaty is signed, ending the Italian Wars.
The Italian War of 1551–1559, sometimes known as the Habsburg–Valois War and the Last Italian War, began when Henry II of France, who had succeeded Francis I to the throne, declared war against Holy Roman Emperor Charles V with the intent of recapturing Italy and ensuring French, rather than Habsburg, domination of European affairs. The war was the last of a series of wars between the same parties since 1521. Historians have emphasized the importance of gunpowder technology, new styles of fortification to resist cannon fire, and the increased professionalization of the soldiers.[1]



Born On This Day

1791 – Anne Lister, English diarist, mountaineer, and traveller (d.1840)
Anne Lister (3 April 1791 – 22 September 1840) was an English landowner, diarist, mountaineer and traveller from Yorkshire. Throughout her life she kept diaries which chronicled the details of her daily life, including her lesbian relationships, her financial concerns, her industrial activities and her work improving Shibden Hall.[1] Her diaries contain more than 4 million words and about a sixth of them — those concerning the intimate details of her romantic and sexual relationships — were written in code.[1] The code, derived from a combination of algebra and Ancient Greek, was deciphered in the 1930s.[2][3] Lister is often called “the first modern lesbian” for her clear self-knowledge and openly lesbian lifestyle.[4] Called “Fred” by her lover and “Gentleman Jack” by Halifax residents, she suffered harassment for her sexuality but recognised her similarity to the Ladies of Llangollen, whom she visited.[5]





By Reuters: Israel recovers body of U.S.-born soldier missing since 1982
JERUSALEM — Israel has recovered the body of a U.S.-born Israeli soldier missing since a 1982 tank battle against Syrian forces in a case vexing the nation ever since, the military said on Wednesday.

Zachary Baumel, who immigrated to Israel with his parents from New York in 1970, was 21 when he fought in Israel’s invasion of Lebanon and was declared missing in action along with two other soldiers in the Battle of Sultan Yacoub.
By Phil LeBeau & Maggie Fitzgerald: FAA creates joint task force with NASA, international aviation regulators to review Boeing 737 Max fix
Disgusting and incredibly disappointing that they’ll walk away in a few months high-fiving each other.
By Madeline Holcombe, CNN: 3 fraternity brothers sentenced to jail in Penn State hazing death
According to the source, Visser was sentenced to two to six months in jail and two years of probation. Kurczewski, who also pleaded guilty to one count of furnishing alcohol to minors, received three to nine months in jail and one year of probation. Bonatucci was sentenced to 30 to 60 days in jail and a year of probation. Sala received three to six months of house arrest and two years of probation. The men must also pay fines and perform community service, according to the source.

This the first time jail sentences have been handed out in the case, though there is a possibility a judge may amend the sentences to house arrest, the source said.
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Why you should care
Because bio-inspired design might make technology much more efficient.
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Why you should care
Because the former state assemblywoman has overcome much worse than an overly affectionate VP.
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Why you should care
Two powerful American millionaires collided over this American beauty, and she outlasted them both.
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I hope these irresponsible parents will be identified and sued into another country.
Tribune Media Wire: Mom says terminally ill son was exposed to measles at hospital








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FYI April 02, 2019

On This Day

1792 – The Coinage Act is passed establishing the United States Mint.
The Coinage Act or the Mint Act, passed by the United States Congress on April 2, 1792, created the United States dollar as the country’s standard unit of money, established the United States Mint, and regulated the coinage of the United States.[1] The long title of the legislation is An act establishing a mint, and regulating the Coins of the United States. This act established the silver dollar as the unit of money in the United States, declared it to be lawful tender, and created a decimal system for U.S. currency.[2]

By the Act, the Mint was to be situated at the seat of government of the United States. The five original officers of the U.S. Mint were a Director, an Assayer, a Chief Coiner, an Engraver, and a Treasurer (not the same as the United States Secretary of the Treasury). The Act allowed that one person could perform the functions of Chief Coiner and Engraver. The Assayer, Chief Coiner and Treasurer were required to post a $10,000 bond with the Secretary of the Treasury.

The Act pegged the newly created United States dollar to the value of the widely used Spanish silver dollar, saying it was to have “the value of a Spanish milled dollar as the same is now current”.[3]



Born On This Day

1647 – Maria Sibylla Merian, German-Dutch botanist and illustrator (d. 1717)
Maria Sibylla Merian (2 April 1647 – 13 January 1717[1]) was a German-born naturalist and scientific illustrator, a descendant of the Frankfurt branch of the Swiss Merian family. Merian was one of the first naturalists to observe insects directly.

Merian received her artistic training from her stepfather, Jacob Marrel, a student of the still life painter Georg Flegel. Merian published her first book of natural illustrations in 1675. She had started to collect insects as an adolescent and at age thirteen she raised silk worms. In 1679 Merian published the first volume of a two-volume series on caterpillars, the second volume followed in 1683. Each volume contained 50 plates engraved and etched by Merian. Merian documented evidence on the process of metamorphosis and the plant hosts of 186 European insect species. Along with the illustrations Merian included a descriptions of their life cycles.

In 1699 Merian travelled to Dutch Surinam to study and record the tropical insects. In 1705 she published Metamorphosis insectorum Surinamensium. Few colour images of the New World were printed before 1700 and thus Merian’s Metamorphosis has been credited with influencing a range of naturalist illustrators. Because of her careful observations and documentation of the metamorphosis of the butterfly, she is considered by David Attenborough[2] to be among the most significant contributors to the field of entomology. She was a leading entomologist of her time and she discovered many new facts about insect life through her studies.[3]




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FYI April 01, 2019

On This Day

528 – The daughter of Emperor Xiaoming of Northern Wei was made the “Emperor” as a male heir of the late emperor by Empress Dowager Hu. Deposed and replaced by Yuan Zhao the next day, she was the first female monarch in the History of China, but is not widely recognised.
The unnamed daughter of Emperor Xiaoming of Northern Wei (12 February 528 – ?) was briefly the emperor of Northern Wei (386–534), a Xianbei dynasty that ruled Northern China from the late fourth to the early sixth century AD. She bore the surname Yuan (Chinese: 元; pinyin: Yuán), originally Tuoba.[note 2] Yuan was the only child of Emperor Xiaoming (r. 515–528), born to his concubine Consort Pan. Soon after her birth, her grandmother the Empress Dowager Hu, who was also Xiaoming’s regent, falsely declared that she was a boy and ordered a general pardon. Emperor Xiaoming died soon afterwards. On 1 April 528, Empress Dowager Hu installed the infant on the throne for a matter of hours before replacing her with Yuan Zhao the next day. Xiaoming’s daughter was not recognised as an emperor (huangdi) by later generations. No further information about her is available.[3]


Born On This Day

1640 – Georg Mohr, Danish mathematician and academic (d. 1697)
Jørgen Mohr (Latinised Georg(ius) Mohr; 1 April 1640 – 26 January 1697) was a Danish mathematician, known for being the first to prove the Mohr–Mascheroni theorem, which states that any geometric construction which can be done with compass and straightedge can also be done with compasses alone.

Mohr was born in Copenhagen, the son of a tradesman named David Mohrendal.[1] Beginning in 1662 he traveled to the Netherlands, to study mathematics with Christiaan Huygens.[1][2] In 1672 he published his first book, Euclides Danicus, simultaneously in Copenhagen and Amsterdam, in Danish and Dutch respectively. This book, proving the Mohr–Mascheroni theorem 125 years earlier than Lorenzo Mascheroni, would languish in obscurity until its rediscovery in 1928.[3] Mohr served in Franco-Dutch War in 1672–1673, and was taken prisoner by the French.[1][2] By 1673, he had published his second book, Compendium Euclidis Curiosi.[2] A third book was later mentioned by Mohr’s son; for many years this was believed to be the Gegenübung auf Compendium Euclidis Curiosi but Andersen & Meyer (1985) argue that it must be a different book, and that the Gegenübung has a different author.[1][4] As well as his work on geometry, Mohr contributed to the theory of nested radicals, with the aim of simplifying Cardano’s formula for the roots of a cubic polynomial.[4]

While in the Netherlands, Mohr became a friend of Ehrenfried Walther von Tschirnhaus. The two visited Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz in France and John Collins in England together. Mohr returned to Denmark in 1681; he had dedicated Euclides Danicus to Christian V and hoped for a position in exchange, but was offered only a position as a shipyard supervisor, which he declined. He married Elizabeth von der Linde of Copenhagen on July 19, 1687, and soon after returned to Holland; their son, Peter Georg Mohrenthal, eventually settled in Dresden as a bookseller and publisher.[2][5] In 1695 he took a job with Tschirnhaus,[2] and spent his last few years as a guest in Tschirnhaus’s house. He died in Kieslingswalde near Görlitz, Germany.

The Danish Mathematics competition is named in honour of Mohr.[6]




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GlacierHub Weekly Newsletter 04-01-19: A new study on Antarctica’s Blood Falls reveals the origins of its unique, bright-red discharge and what it could mean for finding life elsewhere in our solar system. More ->
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By Lucia Binding, news reporter: China clones ‘the Sherlock Holmes’ of police dogs Scientists in southwest China’s Yunnan province produced the puppy after taking a DNA sample from a seven-year-old police dog.
By Maja Burry, Rural Reporter: Barking drones used on farms instead of sheep dogs
US Supreme Court rules inmate has ‘no right to painless death’
Bucklew was sentenced to death in 1996 for rape, murder and kidnapping in an attack against his ex-girlfriend and her new partner and six-year-old son.
By Alan Boyle: Sweet! Scientists narrow down source of mysterious burst of methane on Mars
Led Zeppelin To Reunite As Replacement For The Rolling Stones At Jazz Fest
By Nicole Lee: Gmail continues to define email 15 years on The service celebrates its 15th birthday a day before it kills off Inbox.
By Kris Holt: LA County is using an algorithm to clear 50,000 pot convictions faster
By Elisha Fieldstadt: Georgia girl, 9, survives after car plows into her in front yard, police search for driver”I do not understand how she survived,” the family’s attorney said. She suffered a fractured skull, a cut on her scalp and shoulder, and her pelvic bone is broken in three places.
By James Shotwell: The Maine, 8123, And Value Of Community Marketing
By Stephaie Donovan: Blog Profiles: Marketing Blogs







FYI March 31, 2019

On This Day

1146 – Bernard of Clairvaux preaches his famous sermon in a field at Vézelay, urging the necessity of a Second Crusade. Louis VII is present, and joins the Crusade.
Second Crusade (1146–49)
News came at this time from the Holy Land that alarmed Christendom. Christians had been defeated at the Siege of Edessa and most of the county had fallen into the hands of the Seljuk Turks.[15] The Kingdom of Jerusalem and the other Crusader states were threatened with similar disaster. Deputations of the bishops of Armenia solicited aid from the pope, and the King of France also sent ambassadors. In 1144 Eugene III commissioned Bernard to preach the Second Crusade[4] and granted the same indulgences for it which Pope Urban II had accorded to the First Crusade.[16]

There was at first virtually no popular enthusiasm for the crusade as there had been in 1095. Bernard found it expedient to dwell upon taking the cross as a potent means of gaining absolution for sin and attaining grace. On 31 March, with King Louis VII of France present, he preached to an enormous crowd in a field at Vézelay, making “the speech of his life”.[17] The full text has not survived, but a contemporary account says that “his voice rang out across the meadow like a celestial organ”[17]

James Meeker Ludlow describes the scene romantically in his book The Age of the Crusades:

A large platform was erected on a hill outside the city. King and monk stood together, representing the combined will of earth and heaven. The enthusiasm of the assembly of Clermont in 1095, when Peter the Hermit and Urban II launched the first crusade, was matched by the holy fervor inspired by Bernard as he cried, “O ye who listen to me! Hasten to appease the anger of heaven, but no longer implore its goodness by vain complaints. Clothe yourselves in sackcloth, but also cover yourselves with your impenetrable bucklers. The din of arms, the danger, the labors, the fatigues of war, are the penances that God now imposes upon you. Hasten then to expiate your sins by victories over the Infidels, and let the deliverance of the holy places be the reward of your repentance.” As in the olden scene, the cry “Deus vult! Deus vult! ” rolled over the fields, and was echoed by the voice of the orator: “Cursed be he who does not stain his sword with blood.”[18]

When Bernard was finished the crowd enlisted en masse; they supposedly ran out of cloth to make crosses. Bernard is said to have flung off his own robe and began tearing it into strips to make more.[16][17] Others followed his example and he and his helpers were supposedly still producing crosses as night fell.[17]

Unlike the First Crusade, the new venture attracted royalty, such as Eleanor of Aquitaine, Queen of France; Thierry of Alsace, Count of Flanders; Henry, the future Count of Champagne; Louis’s brother Robert I of Dreux; Alphonse I of Toulouse; William II of Nevers; William de Warenne, 3rd Earl of Surrey; Hugh VII of Lusignan, Yves II, Count of Soissons; and numerous other nobles and bishops. But an even greater show of support came from the common people. Bernard wrote to the pope a few days afterwards, “Cities and castles are now empty. There is not left one man to seven women, and everywhere there are widows to still-living husbands.”[16]

Bernard then passed into Germany, and the reported miracles which multiplied almost at his every step undoubtedly contributed to the success of his mission. Conrad III of Germany and his nephew Frederick Barbarossa, received the cross from the hand of Bernard.[15] Pope Eugenius came in person to France to encourage the enterprise. As in the First Crusade, the preaching led to attacks on Jews; a fanatical French monk named Radulphe was apparently inspiring massacres of Jews in the Rhineland, Cologne, Mainz, Worms, and Speyer, with Radulphe claiming Jews were not contributing financially to the rescue of the Holy Land. The archbishop of Cologne and the archbishop of Mainz were vehemently opposed to these attacks and asked Bernard to denounce them. This he did, but when the campaign continued, Bernard traveled from Flanders to Germany to deal with the problems in person. He then found Radulphe in Mainz and was able to silence him, returning him to his monastery.[19]

The last years of Bernard’s life were saddened by the failure of the Second Crusade he had preached, the entire responsibility for which was thrown upon him.[11] Bernard considered it his duty to send an apology to the Pope and it is inserted in the second part of his “Book of Considerations.” There he explains how the sins of the crusaders were the cause of their misfortune and failures.

Moved by his burning words, many Christians embarked for the Holy Land, but the crusade ended in miserable failure.[4]



Born On This Day

1833 – Mary Abigail Dodge, American writer and essayist (d. 1896)
Mary Abigail Dodge (March 31, 1833 – August 17, 1896) was an American writer and essayist, who wrote under the pseudonym Gail Hamilton. Her writing is noted for its wit and promotion of equality of education and occupation for women.

Mary Abigail Dodge was born March 31, 1833, in Hamilton, Massachusetts. She was born on a farm, the seventh child of Hannah and James Dodge. A childhood accident left her blind in one eye.[1] At 12, she was sent to a boarding school in Cambridge, Massachusetts, before enrolling at the Ipswich Female Seminary.[2] She graduated in 1850, and proceeded to teach there for four years, until she got a position at Hartford Female Seminary. She disliked the job, however, and decided to write poetry.

Editor Gamaliel Bailey read her work in 1856 and, by 1858, she had moved to Washington, D. C. to serve as a governess for his children.[3] From there, she sent in her publications to anti-slavery newspapers. She disliked attention, however, and chose the pen name Gail Hamilton, combining the last part of her middle name with her place of birth. Among her writings were political commentaries, making her one of the first female political correspondents in Washington.[4] Her essays were best known for their harshness towards men.

In 1860, after Bailey’s death, Dodge returned to her native town and contributed to The Atlantic Monthly. Her father died in 1864 and she helped support her mother until she died in 1868. By 1871, she returned to Washington to live with the family of James G. Blaine, who was married to her first cousin, but returned to Hamilton in summers.[4]

Dodge became known for her personality as much as her writing. When asked for a description for a compilation about eminent women of the day, she responded with a variation of Edgar Allan Poe’s poem “The Bells” that she was “Neither man nor woman / I am neither brute nor human / I am a ghoul!”[1] One of her admirers later wrote, “She is incisive, even combative, by nature, and thoroughly enjoys a good, hot old-fashioned controversies.”[4]

Dodge was also interested in publishing matters and criticized the assumption that women writers were “an eternal child” when it came to understanding the business side of authorship.[5] In 1868, after reading an article in The Congregationalist titled “Pay of Authors”, she realized her royalty payment of 15 cents per book sold was less than the average author pay of 10%. She wrote to her publisher James Thomas Fields, who initially ignored her, eventually claimed that he spent more money on publishing and advertising her books than average.[6] She learned, too, that Sophia Hawthorne, widow of the author Nathaniel Hawthorne, was also having similar trouble with Field’s publishing house Ticknor and Fields.[7] She abruptly ended her friendship with Ticknor’s wife Annie Adams Fields in February 1868, and Mrs. Fields eventually destroyed all the letters from her former friend. In her journal a month later, she wrote of her distress, “We do not forget to feel still the savagery… of Gail Hamilton… I really thought she cared for me! And now to find it was a pretense or a stepping-stone merely is something to shudder over. And all for a little of this world’s poor money!”[8] After months of back and forth, during which Dodge came to distrust Ticknor and Fields and wrote to other authors including Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Harriet Beecher Stowe to discredit them, she anonymously published A Battle of the Books in 1870 chronicling her negative experiences.[9]

While working on a biography of James Blaine, she had a stroke, leaving her in a coma that lasted for several weeks. She then returned to Hamilton, before dying of a cerebral hemorrhage on August 17, 1896.
Selected writings
Country Living and Country Thinking (1864)
Woman’s Wrongs: A Counter-irritant (1868)
A Battle of the Books (1870)
Gala-Days (1871)
Woman’s Worth and Worthlessness (1872)


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FYI March 29 & 30, 2019

On This Day

845 – Paris is sacked by Viking raiders, probably under Ragnar Lodbrok, who collects a huge ransom in exchange for leaving.
The Siege of Paris and the Sack of Paris of 845 was the culmination of a Viking invasion of France. The Viking forces were led by a Norse chieftain named “Reginherus”, or Ragnar, who traditionally has been identified with the legendary saga character Ragnar Lodbrok (Old Norse: “Ragnarr Loþbrók”, contemporary Icelandic: “Ragnar Loðbrók”). Ragnar’s fleet of 120 Viking ships, carrying thousands of men, entered the Seine in March and proceeded to sail up the river.

The Frankish king Charles the Bald assembled a smaller army in response, but as the Vikings defeated one division, comprising half of the army, the remaining forces retreated. The Vikings reached Paris at the end of the month, during Easter. After plundering and occupying the city, the Vikings withdrew when they had been paid a ransom of 7,000 French livres (2,570 kilograms (83,000 ozt)) of silver and gold from Charles the Bald.

1282 – The people of Sicily rebel against the Angevin king Charles I, in what becomes known as the Sicilian Vespers.
The Sicilian Vespers (Italian: Vespri siciliani; Sicilian: Vespiri siciliani) was a successful rebellion on the island of Sicily that broke out at Easter 1282 against the rule of the French-born king Charles I, who had ruled the Kingdom of Sicily since 1266. Within six weeks, approximately 13,000 French men and women were slain by the rebels, and the government of King Charles lost control of the island. It was the beginning of the War of the Sicilian Vespers.


Born On This Day

1888 – Enea Bossi, Sr., Italian-American engineer, designed the Budd BB-1 Pioneer and Bossi-Bonomi Pedaliante (d. 1963)
Enea Bossi Sr. (29 March 1888 – 9 January 1963) was an Italian-American aerospace engineer and aviation pioneer. He is best known for designing the Budd BB-1 Pioneer, the first stainless steel aircraft; and also the Pedaliante airplane, disputably credited with the first fully human-powered flight.

Personal life
Enea Bossi was born in Milan, Italy.[1] He emigrated to the United States on the RMS Oceanic from Cherbourg, France, on 20 July 1914, subsequently residing at 264 Riverside Drive in Great Neck, New York. Bossi declared his intention to become a citizen of the United States on 30 July 1914 and petitioned for naturalization on 9 December 1925. He became a naturalized United States citizen on 16 March 1926, though his two sons retained their inherited Italian citizenship, jus sanguines, as well their American citizenship, jus soli.[2] He spoke fluent Italian, French, and English.

Bossi married Flora Kehrer, a Swiss German from Lausanne who had been sent away by a new stepmother to the United States immediately prior to the outbreak of World War I and was living with her aunt and uncle in Connecticut. The two met through Enea Bossi’s professional relationship with her uncle, George Boldt, and Flora and Enea eloped against the wishes of Flora’s guardians. The couple had two children, Charles Bossi (b. 1922, New York City; d. 1989, Ohio) and Enea Wilbur Bossi. (b. 1924, Montclair, New Jersey; d. 1999, Lansdale, Pennsylvania). They ultimately resided on Upper Mountain Avenue in Montclair, at its intersection with Watchung Avenue, and maintained a country house on North Wales Road in Lansdale, Pennsylvania. The Montclair house still exists, but the Lansdale residence has since been replaced by subdivided residential homes, located opposite the Montgomery Mall.

1888 – J. R. Williams, Canadian-born cartoonist (d. 1957)
James Robert Williams (March 30, 1888, Nova Scotia, Canada – June 17, 1957)[1] was a cartoonist who signed his work J. R. Williams. He was best known for his long-run daily syndicated panel, Out Our Way. As noted by Coulton Waugh in his 1947 book, The Comics, anecdotal evidence indicated that more Williams’ cartoons were clipped and saved than were other newspaper comics. A newspaper promotion of 1930 compared him to poets Eugene Field and James Whitcomb Riley.[2]

When he was young, Williams’ family moved to Detroit, and he was 15 when he dropped out of school to work as an apprentice machinist in Ohio, soon relocating to Arkansas and Oklahoma, where he drifted about, sometimes working on ranches during a six-year period. He spent three years in the U.S. Cavalry.[3][4]

Returning to Ohio, he married Lida Keith and settled into a steady job with a crane manufacturing firm where he drew covers for the company’s catalog. During his spare time, he created cartoons depicting ranch life and machine shop workers. He started submitting his work to newspaper syndicates, eventually receiving an offer from Newspaper Enterprise Association.[4]

Out Our Way begins

Out Our Way first appeared in newspapers on March 20, 1922. The single-panel series introduced a variety of characters, including the cowboy Curly and ranch bookkeeper Wes, and soon led to a Sunday strip, Out Our Way with the Willits. His assistants on the strip were George Scarbo and Neg Cochran.[3]

Williams used Out Our Way as an umbrella title for several alternating series. These had recurring characters, such as Bull of the Woods about the boss of a machine shop and the small town family life in Why Mothers Get Gray. Don Markstein, in describing Williams’ settings and themes, lists the other series subtitles:

Frequently-used settings reflected Williams’s experiences before he became a cartoonist, and included factory floors, mechanic shops, and cattle ranches — in fact, cowboys and other ranch denizens appeared so frequently, it could almost have edged Little Joe out as comics’ first successful western, if other settings hadn’t been prominent as well. Family life and the adventures of small town boys were also common themes. Williams often used multiple large word balloons when the situation called for it, but if the picture stood on its own, didn’t mind getting the words out of the way and using only a single short caption. He often re-used the same captions, such as Born Thirty Years Too Soon, Heroes Are Made, Not Born, Bull of the Woods and Why Mothers Get Gray. The Worry Wart was frequently used as a caption for panels starring a boy of about eight. Wart was one of several recurring characters, but the daily didn’t have a regular star.[5]

With 40 million readers by 1930, Williams was so successful that he bought his own ranch in Prescott, Arizona, where he rode about on his horse Lizard. He later moved to Pasadena, California. His cartoons and strips continued through the next two decades, appearing in more than 700 newspapers at their peak. They were collected in several books, and some were reprinted in Popular Comics. In 1956, the Worry Wart starred in a single issue of his own comic book, a Dell Four-Color titled, Out Our Way with the Worry Wart. The following year, Williams died at age 69.[3][5]

Out Our Way was continued by Neg Cochran, Paul Gringle, Ed Sullivan and others until 1977.[5]

Publisher Leonard G. Lee of Canada’s Algrove Publishing has reprinted Williams’ work in more than a dozen volumes of their Classic Reprint Series. In addition to Out Our Way Sampler: 20s, 30s & 40s (2005), their catalog includes U.S. Cavalry Cartoons, The Bull of the Woods (six volumes) and Classic Cowboy Cartoons (four volumes).[6]



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