FYI August 16, 2017


1 BC – Wang Mang consolidates his power and is declared marshal of state. Emperor Ai of Han, who had died the previous day, had no heirs.
Wang Mang (Chinese: 王莽, c. 45 BC – 6 October 23 AD), courtesy name Jujun (巨君), was a Han Dynasty official who seized the throne from the Liu family and founded the Xin (or Hsin, meaning “renewed”[1]) Dynasty (新朝), ruling 9–23 AD. The Han dynasty was restored after his overthrow, and his rule marks the separation between the Western Han Dynasty (before Xin) and Eastern Han Dynasty (after Xin). Some historians have traditionally viewed Wang as a usurper, while others have portrayed him as a visionary and selfless social reformer. Though a learned Confucian scholar who sought to implement the harmonious society he saw in the classics, his efforts ended in chaos.

In October 23 AD, the capital Chang’an was attacked and the imperial palace ransacked. Wang Mang died in the battle.

The Han dynasty was reestablished in 25 AD when Liu Xiu (Emperor Guangwu) took the throne.

Early life and career
Wang Mang was the son of Wang Man (王曼), the younger brother of Empress Wang Zhengjun, and his wife Qu (渠, family name unknown), born in 45 BC. Wang Man died early, while Wang Mang was young, before Emperor Cheng took the throne and his mother Empress Wang became empress dowager. Unlike most of his brothers, Wang Man did not have the opportunity to become a marquess. Empress Wang took pity on his family, and after she herself was widowed, had Qu moved to the imperial palace to live with her.

While Wang Mang was obviously well-connected to the imperial family, he did not have nearly the luxuries that his cousins enjoyed. Indeed, unlike his relatives who lived expensively and competed with each other on how they could spend more, Wang Mang was praised for his humility, thriftiness, and desire to study. He wore not the clothes of young nobles but those of a young Confucian scholar. He was also praised on how filial he was to his mother and how caring he was to his deceased brother Wang Yong (王永)’s wife and son Wang Guang (王光). Wang Mang befriended many capable people and served his uncles carefully.

When Wang Mang’s powerful uncle Wang Feng (王鳳, commander of the armed forces 33 BC-22 BC) grew ill, Wang Mang cared for him near his sick bed day and night, and attended to his medical and personal needs. Wang Feng was greatly touched, and before his death, he asked Empress Dowager Wang and Emperor Cheng to take good care of Wang Mang. Wang Mang was therefore given the post of imperial attendant (黃門郎) and later promoted to be one of the subcommanders of the imperial guards (射聲校尉).

In 16 BC, another of Wang Mang’s uncles, Wang Shang (王商) the Marquess of Chengdu, submitted a petition to divide part of his march and to create Wang Mang a marquess. Several well-regarded officials concurred in this request, and Emperor Cheng was impressed with Wang Mang’s reputation. He therefore created Wang Mang the Marquess of Xindu and promoted him to the Chamberlain for Attendants (光祿大夫). It was described by historians that the greater the posts that Wang was promoted to, the more humble he grew. He did not accumulate wealth, but used the money to support scholars and to give gifts to colleagues, so he gained more and more praise.

Another thing that Wang Mang made himself known for was that he had only a single wife, Lady Wang, and no concubines. (Note that she had the same family name as Wang Mang—strong evidence that at this point the taboo against endogamy based on the same family name was not firmly in place in Chinese culture.) However, as later events would show, Wang was not completely faithful to his wife, even at this time.

Emperor Cheng appointed his uncles, one after another, to be commander of the armed forces (the most powerful court official) (see here for more information), and speculation grew as to who would succeed Wang Mang’s youngest surviving uncle, Wang Gen (王根, commander 12 BC-8 BC). Wang Mang was considered one of the possibilities, while another was his cousin Chunyu Zhang (the son of Empress Dowager Wang’s sister), who had a much closer personal relationship to Emperor Cheng than Wang Mang did. Chunyu also had friendly relations with both Emperor Cheng’s wife Empress Zhao Feiyan and his deposed former wife Empress Xu.

To overcome Chunyu’s presumptive hold on succeeding Wang Gen, Wang Mang took action. He collected evidence that Chunyu, a frivolous man in his words and deeds, had secretly received bribes from the deposed Empress Xu and had promised to help her become “left empress”, and that he had promised his associates great posts once he succeeded Wang Gen. In 8 BC, he informed Wang Gen and Empress Dowager Wang of the evidence, and both Wang Gen and Empress Dowager Wang were greatly displeased. They exiled Chunyu back to his march. Chunyu, before he left the capital, gave his horses and luxurious carriages to his cousin Wang Rong (王融) – the son of his uncle Wang Li (王立), with whom he had a running feud. Wang Li, happy with Chunyu’s gift, submitted a petition requesting that Chunyu be allowed to remain at the capital—which drew Emperor Cheng’s suspicion, because he knew of the feud between Wang Li and Chunyu. He ordered Wang Rong to be arrested, and Wang Li, in his panic, ordered his son to commit suicide—which in turn caused Emperor Cheng to become even more suspicious. He therefore had Chunyu arrested and interrogated. Chunyu admitted to deceiving Empress Xu and receiving bribes from her, and he was executed.

Also in 8 BC, Wang Gen, by then seriously ill, submitted his resignation and requested that Wang Mang succeed him. In winter 8 BC, Emperor Cheng made Wang Mang the commander of the armed forces (大司馬), at the age of 37.

First tenure as the commander of the armed forces
After Wang Mang was promoted to this position—effectively the highest in the imperial government—he became even better known for his self-discipline and promotion of capable individuals than before. As a result, the people’s perception of the Wang clan as arrogant, wasteful, and petty, began to be reversed.

In 7 BCE, Wang’s cousin Emperor Cheng died suddenly, apparently from a stroke (although historians also report the possibility of an overdosage of aphrodisiacs given to him by his favorite, Consort Zhao Hede). Emperor Cheng’s nephew Crown Prince Liu Xin (劉欣) (the son of his brother Prince Kang of Dingtao (劉康)) became emperor (as Emperor Ai). For the time being, Wang remained in his post and continued to be powerful, as his aunt became grand empress dowager and was influential.

However, that would soon change. Emperor Ai’s grandmother, Princess Dowager Fu of Dingtao (concubine of Grand Empress Dowager Wang’s husband Emperor Yuan) was a domineering woman who ruled her grandson. She greatly wanted the title of empress dowager as well. Initially, Grand Empress Dowager Wang decreed that Princess Dowager Fu and Emperor Ai’s mother Consort Ding see him periodically, every 10 days. However, Princess Dowager Fu quickly began to visit her grandson every day, and she insisted that two things be done: that she receive an empress dowager title, and that her relatives be granted titles, like the Wangs. Grand Empress Dowager Wang, sympathetic of the bind that Emperor Ai was in, first granted Prince Kang the unusual title of “Emperor Gong of Dingtao” (定陶共皇) and then, under the rationale of that title, granted Princess Dowager Fu the title “Empress Dowager Gong of Dingtao” (定陶共皇太后) and Consort Ding the title “Empress Gong of Dingtao” (定陶共皇后). Several members of the Fu and Ding clans were created marquesses. Grand Empress Dowager Wang also ordered Wang Mang to resign and transfer power to the Fu and Ding relatives. Emperor Ai declined and begged Wang Mang to stay in his administration.

Several months later, however, Wang Mang came into direct confrontation with now-Empress Dowager Fu. At a major imperial banquet, the official in charge of seating placed Empress Dowager Fu’s seat next to Grand Empress Dowager Wang’s. When Wang Mang saw this, he rebuked the official and ordered that Empress Dowager Fu’s seat be moved to the side, which drew great ire from Empress Dowager Fu, who then refused to attend the banquet. To soothe her anger, Wang Mang resigned, and Emperor Ai approved his resignation. After this event, the Wangs gradually and inexorably began to lose their power.

Retirement during Emperor Ai’s reign
After Wang Mang’s resignation, he was initially requested by Emperor Ai to remain at the capital Chang’an and periodically meet him to give advice. However, in 5 BC, after Empress Dowager Fu was more successful in her quest for titles—Emperor Ai removed the qualification “of Dingtao” from his father’s posthumous title (thus making him simply “Emperor Gong”), and then gave his grandmother a variation of the grand empress dowager title (ditaitaihou (帝太太后), compared to Grand Empress Dowager Wang’s title taihuangtaihou (太皇太后)) and his mother a variation of the empress dowager title (ditaihou (帝太后), compared to Empress Dowager Zhao’s title huangtaihou (皇太后)) – the prime minister Zhu Bo (朱博) and vice prime minister Zhao Xuan (趙玄), at her behest, submitted a petition to have Wang demoted to commoner status for having opposed Grand Empress Fu previously. Emperor Ai did not do so, but sent Wang back to his march Xindu (in modern Nanyang, Henan).

While in Xindu, Wang was careful not to associate with many people (to prevent false accusations that he was planning a rebellion). In 5 BC, when his son Wang Huo killed a household servant, Wang Mang ordered him to commit suicide. By 2 BC, there had been several hundred petitions by commoners and officials to request Wang Mang’s return to the capital. Emperor Ai, who also respected Wang Mang, summoned him and his cousin Wang Ren (王仁), the son of Wang Gen, back to the capital to assist Grand Empress Dowager Wang. However, Wang Mang would have no official posts and would exert little influence on politics for the time being.

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1865 – Mary Gilmore, Australian socialist, poet and journalist (d. 1962)
Dame Mary Jean Gilmore DBE (née Cameron; 16 August 1865 – 3 December 1962) was an Australian writer and journalist known for her prolific contributions to Australian literature and the broader national discourse. She wrote both prose and poetry.

Gilmore was born in rural New South Wales, and spent her childhood in and around the Riverina, living both in small bush settlements and in larger country towns like Wagga Wagga. Gilmore qualified as a schoolteacher at the age of 16, and after a period in the country was posted to Sydney. She involved herself with the burgeoning labour movement, and also became a devotee of the utopian socialism views of William Lane. In 1893, Gilmore and 200 others followed Lane to Paraguay, where they formed the New Australia Colony. She started a family there, but the colony did not live up to expectations and they returned to Australia in 1902.

Drawing on her connections in Sydney, Gilmore found work with The Australian Worker as the editor of its women’s section, a position she held from 1908 to 1931. She also wrote for a variety of other publications, including The Bulletin and The Sydney Morning Herald, becoming known as a campaigner for the welfare of the disadvantaged. Gilmore’s first volume of poetry was brought out in 1910; she published prolifically for the rest of her life, mainly poetry but also memoirs and collections of essays. She wrote on a variety of themes, although the public imagination was particularly captured by her evocative views of country life. Her best known work is “No Foe Shall Gather Our Harvest”, which served as a morale booster during World War II.

Gilmore’s greatest recognition came in later life. She was the doyenne of the Sydney literary world, and became something of a national icon, making frequent appearances in the new media of radio and television. Gilmore maintained her prodigious output into old age, publishing her last book of verse in 1954, aged 89. Two years earlier she had begun writing a new column for the Tribune (the official newspaper of the Communist Party), which she continued for almost a decade. Gilmore died at the age of 97 and was accorded a state funeral, a rare honour for a writer. She has featured on the reverse of the Australian ten-dollar note since 1993.

Early life
Mary Jean Cameron was born on 16 August 1865 at the small settlement of Cotta Walla (modern-day Roslyn), just outside Crookwell, New South Wales. When she was one year old her parents, Donald Cameron, a farmer from Scotland and Mary Ann Beattie, decided to move to Wagga Wagga to join her maternal grandparents, the Beatties, who had moved there from Penrith, New South Wales in 1866.[1]

Her father obtained a job as a station manager at a property at Cowabbie, 100 km north of Wagga. A year later, he left that job to become a carpenter, building homesteads on properties in Wagga, Coolamon, Junee, Temora and West Wyalong for the next 10 years. This itinerant existence allowed Mary only a spasmodic formal education; however, she did receive some on their frequent returns to Wagga, either staying with the Beatties or in rented houses.[1]

Her father purchased land and built his own house at Brucedale on the Junee Road, where they had a permanent home. She was then to attend, albeit briefly, Colin Pentland’s private Academy at North Wagga Wagga and, when the school closed, transferred to Wagga Wagga Public School for two and a half years. At 14, in preparation to become a teacher, she worked as an assistant at her uncle’s school at Yerong Creek. Another uncle, Charles White (1845–1922), was a journalist and author of books on bushrangers.[1]

After completing her teaching exams in 1882, she accepted a position as a teacher at Wagga Wagga Public School, where she worked until December 1885. After a short teaching spell at Illabo she took up a teaching position at Silverton near the mining town of Broken Hill. There Gilmore developed her socialist views and began writing poetry.[1]

Literary career
In 1890, she moved to Sydney, where she became part of the “Bulletin school” of radical writers. Although the greatest influence on her work was Henry Lawson it was Alfred “A. G.” Stephens, literary editor of The Bulletin, who published her verse and established her reputation as a fiery radical poet, champion of the workers and the oppressed.

She had a relationship with Henry Lawson that probably began in 1890.[1] She writes of an unofficial engagement and Lawson’s wish to marry her, but it was broken by his frequent absences from Sydney. The story of the relationship is told in the play “All My Love”, written by Anne Brooksbank.[2]

She followed William Lane and other socialist idealists to Paraguay in 1896, where they had established a communal settlement called New Australia two years earlier. At Lane’s breakaway settlement Cosme she married William Gilmore in 1897. By 1900 the socialist experiment had clearly failed. Will left to work as a shearer in Argentina and Mary and her two-year-old son Billy soon followed, living separately in Buenos Aires for about six months, and then the family moved to Patagonia until they saved enough for a return passage, via England, in 1902 to Australia, where they took up farming near Casterton, Victoria.[1]

Gilmore’s first volume of poetry was published in 1910, and for the ensuing half-century she was regarded as one of Australia’s most popular and widely read poets.[citation needed] In 1908 she became women’s editor of The Worker, the newspaper of then Australia’s largest and most powerful trade union, the Australian Workers’ Union (AWU). She was the union’s first woman member. The Worker gave her a platform for her journalism, in which she campaigned for the preservation of the White Australia Policy[3], better working conditions for working women, for children’s welfare and for a better deal for the indigenous Australians.[1]

Later life
By 1931 Gilmore’s views had become too radical for the AWU, but she soon found other outlets for her writing. She later wrote a regular column for the Communist Party’s newspaper Tribune, although she was never a party member herself. In spite of her somewhat controversial politics, Gilmore accepted appointment as a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1937, becoming Dame Mary Gilmore.[4] She was the first person to be granted this award for services to literature. During World War II she wrote stirring patriotic verse such as No Foe Shall Gather Our Harvest.

In her later years, Gilmore, separated from her husband, moved to Sydney, and enjoyed her growing status as a national literary icon. Before 1940 she published six volumes of verse and three editions of prose. After the war, Gilmore published volumes of memoirs and reminiscences of colonial Australia and the literary giants of 1890s Sydney, thus contributing much material to the mythologising of that period. Dame Mary Gilmore died in 1962, aged 97, and was accorded the first state funeral accorded to a writer since the death of Henry Lawson in 1922.

Honours
Gilmore’s image appears on the current fourth series Australian $10 note, along with an illustration inspired by No Foe Shall Gather Our Harvest and, as part of the copy-protection microprint, the text of the poem itself. The background of the illustration features a portrait of Gilmore by the well-known Australian artist Sir William Dobell.

In 1973 she was honoured on a postage stamp bearing her issued by Australia Post.[5]

The Canberra suburb of Gilmore and a federal electorate, the Division of Gilmore, are named in her honour.

Bibliography
Poetry

Two Songs (1905)
Marri’d and Other Verses (1910)
The Tale inks (1916)
Six Songs from the South (1916)
The Passionate Heart (1918)
The Hound of the Road (1922)
The Tilted Cart : A Book of Recitations (1925)
The Wild Swan : Poems (1930)
The Rue Tree : Poems (1931)
Under the Wilgas (1932)
Battlefields (1939)
Pro Patria and Other Poems (1944)
Selected Verse (1948)
Fourteen Men : Verses (1954)
Men of Eureka and Other Australian Songs (1954)
Verse for Children (1955)
Poems (1957)
Mary Gilmore edited by Robert D. FitzGerald (1963)
Poems to Read to Young Australians (1968)
The Singing Tree : A Selection of Mary Gilmore’s Poetry for Young Readers (1971)
The Collected Verse of Mary Gilmore edited by Jennifer Strauss (2004–07)

Individual poems
“No Foe Shall Gather Our Harvest” (1940)

Prose
Old Days : Old Ways : A Book of Recollections (1934)
More Recollections (1935)
Letters of Mary Gilmore edited by W. H. Wilde and T. Inglis Moore (1980)

 
 
 
 

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FYI August 15, 2017

1248 – The foundation stone of Cologne Cathedral, built to house the relics of the Three Wise Men, is laid. (Construction is eventually completed in 1880.)
Cologne Cathedral (German: Kölner Dom, officially Hohe Domkirche Sankt Petrus, Latin: Ecclesia Cathedralis Sanctorum Petri, English: Cathedral Church of Saint Peter) is a Roman Catholic cathedral in Cologne, Germany. It is the seat of the Archbishop of Cologne and of the administration of the Archdiocese of Cologne. It is a renowned monument of German Catholicism and Gothic architecture and was declared a World Heritage Site[4] in 1996.[5] It is Germany’s most visited landmark, attracting an average of 20,000 people a day[6] and currently the tallest twin-spired church at 157 m (515 ft) tall.

Construction of Cologne Cathedral commenced in 1248 and was halted in 1473, leaving it unfinished. Work restarted in the 19th century and was completed, to the original plan, in 1880.[7] The cathedral is the largest Gothic church in Northern Europe and has the second-tallest spires. The towers for its two huge spires give the cathedral the largest façade of any church in the world. The choir has the largest height to width ratio, 3.6:1, of any medieval church.[8]

Cologne’s medieval builders had planned a grand structure to house the reliquary of the Three Kings and fit its role as a place of worship for the Holy Roman Emperor. Despite having been left incomplete during the medieval period, Cologne Cathedral eventually became unified as “a masterpiece of exceptional intrinsic value” and “a powerful testimony to the strength and persistence of Christian belief in medieval and modern Europe”.[4]

History
Ancient site

When construction began on the present Cologne Cathedral in 1248, the site had already been occupied by several previous structures. The earliest may have been for grain storage, and possibly was succeeded by a Roman temple built by Mercurius Augustus. From the 4th century on, however, the site was occupied by Christian buildings, including a square edifice known as the “oldest cathedral” that was commissioned by Maternus, the first bishop of Cologne. A free-standing baptistery dating back to the 7th century was located at the east end of the present cathedral, but was demolished in the 9th century to build the second cathedral. Only ruins of the baptistery and the octagonal baptismal font remain today.[9] The second church, called the “Old Cathedral”, was completed in 818. It was destroyed by fire on 30 April 1248, during demolition work to prepare for a new cathedral.

Medieval beginning
In 1164, the Archbishop of Cologne, Rainald of Dassel, acquired the relics of the Three Kings which the Holy Roman Emperor, Frederick Barbarossa, had taken from the Basilica of Sant’Eustorgio, Milan, Italy. (Parts of the relics have since been returned to Milan.) The relics have great religious significance and drew pilgrims from all over Christendom. It was important to church officials that they be properly housed, and thus began a building program in the new style of Gothic architecture, based in particular on the French cathedral of Amiens.

The foundation stone was laid on 15 August 1248, by Archbishop Konrad von Hochstaden. The eastern arm was completed under the direction of Master Gerhard, was consecrated in 1322 and sealed off by a temporary wall so it could be in use as the work proceeded. Eighty four misericords in the choir date from this building phase. In the mid 14th century work on the west front commenced under Master Michael. This work halted in 1473, leaving the south tower complete up to the belfry level and crowned with a huge crane that remained in place as a landmark of the Cologne skyline for 400 years.[10]

Some work proceeded intermittently on the structure of the nave between the west front and the eastern arm, but during the 16th century this ceased.[11]

19th century completion
With the 19th century romantic enthusiasm for the Middle Ages, and spurred on by the discovery of the original plan for the façade, it was decided, with the commitment of the Protestant Prussian Court, to complete the cathedral. It was achieved by civic effort; the Central-Dombauverein, founded in 1842, raised two-thirds of the enormous costs, while the Prussian state supplied the remaining third.[citation needed] The state saw this as a way to improve its relations with the large number of Catholic subjects it had gained in 1815.

Work resumed in 1842 to the original design of the surviving medieval plans and drawings, but utilizing more modern construction techniques, including iron roof girders. The nave was completed and the towers were added. The bells were installed in the 1870s. The largest bell is St. Petersglocke.

The completion of Germany’s largest cathedral was celebrated as a national event on 14 August 1880, 632 years after construction had begun.[12] The celebration was attended by Emperor Wilhelm I. At 157.38 Meters or 515 feet tall, it was the tallest building in the world for four years until the completion of Washington Monument.

(video) Cologne Cathedral in 2014

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1717 – Blind Jack, English engineer (d. 1810)

John Metcalf (1717–1810), also known as Blind Jack of Knaresborough or Blind Jack Metcalf, was the first professional road builder to emerge during the Industrial Revolution.

Blind from the age of six, John had an eventful life, which was well documented by his own account just before his death. In the period 1765 to 1792 he built about 180 miles (290 km) of turnpike road, mainly in the north of England.

Early life
Metcalf was born into a poor family in Knaresborough in Yorkshire, England on 15 August 1717. His father was a horse breeder. At the age of six John lost his sight after a smallpox infection; he was given fiddle lessons as a way of making provision for him to earn a living later in life. He became an accomplished fiddler and made this his livelihood in his early adult years. In 1732, aged 15, Metcalf succeeded Morrison as fiddler at the Queen’s Head, a tavern in Harrogate. Morrison had played there for 70 years.[citation needed] Metcalf also had an affinity for horses and added to his living with some horse trading. Though blind, he took up swimming and diving, fighting cocks, playing cards, riding and even hunting. He knew his local area so well he was paid to work as a guide to visitors.

In 1739 Jack befriended Dorothy Benson, the daughter of the landlord of the Granby Inn in Harrogate. When aged 21 he made another woman pregnant; Dorothy begged him not to marry the woman and Jack fled. He spent some time living along the North Sea Coast between Newcastle and London, and lodged with his aunt in Whitby. He continued to work as a fiddler. When he heard Dorothy was to be married to a shoemaker, he returned and they eloped. They married and had four children. Dorothy died in 1778.

His fiddle playing gave him social connections and a patron, Colonel Liddell. In one much-repeated[citation needed] story the colonel decided to take him to London, 190 miles (310 km) to the south. John found the colonel’s leisurely progress slow and went ahead on foot. He reached London first and returned to Yorkshire before the colonel. He managed this on foot despite his blindness, demonstrating his determination and resourcefulness.

During the Jacobite rising of 1745 his connections got him the job of assistant to the royal recruiting sergeant in the Knaresborough area. Jack went with the army to Scotland. He did not experience action but was employed moving guns over boggy ground. He was captured but released. He used his Scottish experience to begin importing Aberdeen stockings to England.


Carrier

Before his army service Metcalf worked as a carrier using a four-wheeled chaise and a one-horse chair on local trips. When competition cut into the business he switched to carrying fish from the coast to Leeds and Manchester. After 1745 he bought a stone wagon and worked it between York and Knaresborough. By 1754 his business had grown to a stagecoach line. He drove a coach himself, making two trips a week during the summer and one in the winter months.


Road builder

In 1765 Parliament passed an act authorising the creation of turnpike trusts to build new toll funded roads in the Knaresborough area. There were few people with road-building experience and John seized the opportunity, building on his practical experience as a carrier.

He won a contract to build a three-mile (5 km) section of road between Minskip and Ferrensby on a new road from Harrogate to Boroughbridge. He explored the section of countryside alone and worked out the most practical route.

Metcalf built roads in Lancashire, Derbyshire, Cheshire and Yorkshire, including roads between:

Knaresborough and Wetherby
Wakefield, Huddersfield and Saddleworth (via the Standedge pass)
Bury and Blackburn with a branch to Accrington
Skipton, Colne and Burnley

Metcalf believed a good road should have good foundations, be well drained and have a smooth convex surface to allow rainwater to drain quickly into ditches at the side. He understood the importance of good drainage, knowing it was rain that caused most problems on the roads. He worked out a way to build a road across a bog using a series of rafts made from ling (a type of heather) and furze (gorse) tied in bundles as foundations. This established his reputation as a road builder since other engineers had believed it could not be done.

He acquired a mastery of his trade with his own method of calculating costs and materials, which he could never successfully explain to others.

Later life
Competition from canals eventually cut into his profits and he retired in 1792 to live with a daughter and her husband at Spofforth in Yorkshire. Throughout his career he built 180 miles (290 km) of road. At 77 he walked to York, where he related a detailed account of his life to a publisher.

Blind Jack of Knaresborough died aged 92 on 26 April 1810, at his home in Spofforth. He is buried in the churchyard of All Saints’ Church, Spofforth.

Memorials
A statue of John Metcalf has been placed in the market square in Knaresborough, across from Blind Jack’s pub.[1]

Epitaph
His headstone, erected in the churchyard of All Saints Church, Spofforth, at the cost of Lord Dundas, bears this epitaph:

“Here lies John Metcalf, one whose infant sight
Felt the dark pressure of an endless night;
Yet such the fervour of his dauntless mind,
His limbs full strung, his spirits unconfined,
That, long ere yet life’s bolder years began,
The sightless efforts mark’d th’ aspiring man;
Nor mark’d in vain—high deeds his manhood dared,
And commerce, travel, both his ardour shared.
’Twas his a guide’s unerring aid to lend—
O’er trackless wastes to bid new roads extend;
And, when rebellion reared her giant size,
’Twas his to burn with patriot enterprise;
For parting wife and babes, one pang to feel,
Then welcome danger for his country’s weal.
Reader, like him, exert thy utmost talent given!
Reader, like him, adore the bounteous hand of Heaven.”[2]

 
 
 
 

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FYI August 14, 2017


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1893 – France becomes the first country to introduce motor vehicle registration.
A vehicle registration plate, also known as a number plate (British English) or a license plate (American English), is a metal or plastic plate attached to a motor vehicle or trailer for official identification purposes. All countries require registration plates for road vehicles such as cars, trucks, and motorcycles. Whether they are required for other vehicles, such as bicycles, boats, or tractors, may vary by jurisdiction. The registration identifier is a numeric or alphanumeric ID that uniquely identifies the vehicle owner within the issuing region’s vehicle register. In some countries, the identifier is unique within the entire country, while in others it is unique within a state or province. Whether the identifier is associated with a vehicle or a person also varies by issuing agency.

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History

France was the first country to introduce the registration plate with the passage of the Paris Police Ordinance on August 14, 1893,[2] followed by Germany in 1896.[3] The Netherlands was the first country to introduce a nationally registered licence plate, called a “driving permit”, in 1898. Initially these plates were just sequentially numbered, starting at 1, but this was changed in 1906.

In the U.S., where each state issues plates, New York State has required plates since 1903 (black numerals on a white background) after first requiring in 1901 that only the owner’s initials be clearly visible on the back of the vehicle.[4] At first, plates were not government issued in most jurisdictions and motorists were obliged to make their own. In 1903, Massachusetts was the first state to issue plates.

UK plates were first required from 1 January 1904 by the 1903 Motor Car Act.[5]

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1848 – Margaret Lindsay Huggins, Anglo-Irish astronomer and author (d. 1915)
Margaret Lindsay, Lady Huggins (born 14 August 1848, Dublin – died 24 March 1915, London),[1] born Margaret Lindsay Murray, was an Irish-English scientific investigator and astronomer.[2][3][4][5][6][7][8] With her husband William Huggins she was a pioneer in the field of spectroscopy and co-authored the Atlas of Representative Stellar Spectra (1899).[9][10]

When Huggins was young, her mother died and her father remarried, leaving her on her own much of the time. Obituaries written by her friends attribute her interest in astronomy to her grandfather, a wealthy bank officer named Robert Murray. According to these sources, Margaret’s grandfather taught her the constellations, and as a result of this she began studying the heavens with home-made instruments. She constructed a spectroscope after finding inspiration in articles on astronomy in the periodical Good Words.[11]

Huggins’ interest and abilities in spectroscopy led to her introduction by noted astronomical instrument maker Howard Grubb to the astronomer William Huggins, whom she married on 8 September 1875 in the Parish Church at Monkstown, County Dublin.[10] Evidence suggests that Huggins was instrumental in instigating William Huggins’ successful program in photographic research.[11] She was a contributor to the Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition.

The London Times, in the notice of the death of Huggins, mentioned that Richard Proctor referred to her as the “Herschel of the Spectroscope”. In her will she bequeathed to Wellesley College and to Wellesley College Whitin Observatory some of her astronomy collection including cherished astronomical artifacts.[12]

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
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FYI August 13, 2017


1918 – Women enlist in the United States Marine Corps for the first time. Opha May Johnson is the first woman to enlist.
The United States Marine Corps Women’s Reserve (WR) was the World War II women’s branch of the United States Marine Corps Reserve. It was authorized by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on 30 July 1942, yet the Marine Corps delayed the formation of the WR until 13 February 1943. The law provided that members of the WR may be commissioned or enlisted in such ranks and ratings equal to the regular Marine Corps, and effective for the duration of the war plus six months. Its purpose was to release officers and men for combat and to replace them with women in shore stations. Ruth Cheney Streeter was appointed the first director of the WR. She was sworn in with the rank of major and later was promoted to a full colonel. After attending Bryn Mawr College, Streeter was involved in health and welfare work. The WR did not have an official nickname as did the other World War II women’s military services although many unofficial and uncomplimentary nicknames were used to describe the women.

Young women were eager to serve in the military during WW II, and the Marine Corps wanted only the best. The overall qualifications for women who wished to volunteer for the WR were fairly stringent. The age requirement for officer candidates was between 20 and 49, and a candidate had to be a college graduate or have a combination of two years of college and two years of work experience. The age requirement for those who wished to enlist was between 20 and 35, and candidates had to have completed at least two years of high school. The WR did not accept African American or Japanese American women during World War II but did accept Native American women. The officer candidates first trained at the Navy’s Midshipmen School for women officers located at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts. The initial training for enlisted women was held at the Naval Training School at Hunter College in the Bronx, New York City. Soon, the Marine Corps saw the advantage of having its own training schools. Effective 1 July 1943, all WR training was to be held at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Members served at shore and air stations across the continental United States, including New York, Chicago, Paris Island, South Carolina, and El Centro and San Diego, California. The territory of Hawaii was the only overseas duty station where members were assigned. They served in occupations classified as professional, semi-professional, clerical, skilled trades, services, and sales. Although the Marine Corps listed more than 200 available job categories, over half of the WR members labored in the clerical field.

Early in the life of the WR, members were met with some degree of resentment and crude language. They accepted these indignities by demonstrating their competence, self-assurance, and pride and soon won over most of their detractors. For her stewardship of the WR, the Marine Corps presented Ruth Cheney Streeter with the Legion of Merit. On the occasion of the first anniversary of its establishment, the WR received a message from President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in which he observed, “You have quickly and efficiently taken over scores of different kinds of duties that not long ago were considered strictly masculine assignments, and in doing so, you have freed a large number of well trained, battle ready men of the corps for action.” The one tribute that stood out more than any other was the plain words of General Thomas Holcomb, Commandant of the US Marine Corps, who had been so opposed to having women in the Marine Corps in the beginning. He said, “Like most Marines, when the matter first came up I didn’t believe women could serve any useful purpose in the Marine Corps … Since then I’ve changed my mind.”

Background
At the outbreak of World War II, the notion of women serving in the Navy or Marine Corps (both under the jurisdiction of the Department of the Navy) was not widely supported by the Congress or by the branches of the military services. Nevertheless, there were some who believed that women would eventually be needed in the military. The most notable was Edith Nourse Rogers, Representative of Massachusetts, and Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of the president, who helped pave the way for its reality. When President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed what would become Public Law 689 on 30 July 1942, it established a Women’s Reserve as a branch of the Naval Reserve for the Navy and Marine Corps.[1] The idea behind the law was to free up officers and men for combat, with women standing in for them at shore stations on the home front. Women could now serve in the WR as an officer or at an enlisted level, with ranks or ratings consistent with those of men. WR volunteers could only serve for the duration of the war, plus six months.[2] The Corps delayed formation of the WR until 13 February 1943.[3] It was the last service branch to accept women into its ranks, and “there was considerable unhappiness about making the Marine Corps anything but a club for white men”.[4] In fact, General Thomas Holcomb, Commandant of the Marine Corps, was a well-known opponent of women serving in the corps.[5] But he later reversed himself, saying, “there’s hardly any work at our Marine stations that women can’t do as well as men. They do some work far better than men. … What is more, they’re real Marines. They don’t have a nickname, and they don’t need one.”[6] Holcomb rejected all acronyms or monikers for the WR; he did not believe they were compulsory. And there were many of them, including: Femarines, WAMS, BAMS, Dainty Devil-Dogs, Glamarines, Women’s Leatherneck-Aides, MARS, and Sub-Marines. By the summer of 1943, attempts to pressure the WR into a nickname had diminished. WR was as far as Holcomb would move in that direction.[7]

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1958 – Randy Shughart, American sergeant, Medal of Honor recipient (d. 1993)
Randall David “Randy” Shughart (August 13, 1958 – October 3, 1993) was a United States Army soldier of 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (1SFOD-D)/”Delta Force”. Shughart was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for actions in Battle of Mogadishu on October 1993.

Early life and education
Shughart was born August 13, 1958, in Lincoln, Nebraska, into a U.S. Air Force family. After his father, Herbert Shughart, left the Air Force, the Shugharts moved to Newville, Pennsylvania, to live and work on a dairy farm.[1]

Career
Shughart joined the Army while attending Big Spring High School in Newville, entering upon graduation in 1976. After completing basic training, he successfully completed AIT (advanced individual training), Airborne School, and in 1978 was assigned to the 2nd Ranger Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, at Fort Lewis, Washington.[2] Several months later he completed a pre-ranger course (currently known as SURT, Small Unit Ranger Tactics), was granted a slot to attend Ranger School, graduated, and earned the Ranger Tab. Shughart left active duty and went into the Army Reserve in June 1980. In December 1983, Shughart returned to active duty and the following year attended Special Forces training. Shughart was assigned to “Delta Force” and was transferred to Fort Bragg, North Carolina in June 1986. As a Delta Force operator, he advanced to Assistant Team Sergeant.[3][4]

Shughart was deployed to Mogadishu, Somalia, in 1993 as part of Task Force Ranger. On October 3, 1993, during Operation Gothic Serpent, an assault mission to apprehend advisers to Mohamed Farrah Aidid, the Black Hawk helicopter with the call sign Super Six-One was shot down in the city. A Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) team came to secure it. Then, a second Black Hawk helicopter, call sign Super Six-Four, was shot down.[4]

Shughart, Gary Gordon, and Sergeant First Class Brad Hallings had been providing sniper cover from the air from Black Hawk Super Six-Two. Gordon wanted to be inserted to secure the crash site as hostile Somalis were converging on the area.[4]

Mission commanders denied Gordon’s request twice,[1] saying that the situation was too dangerous for the Delta snipers to protect the crew from the ground.[5] Command’s position was that the snipers could be of more assistance by providing air cover. Gordon, however, repeated his request until he got permission. Hallings stayed behind to man a machine gun as one of the helicopter’s gunners had been wounded.[5]

Shughart and Gordon were inserted approximately 100m from the crash site, armed with their sniper rifles and sidearms, and made their way to the downed Blackhawk. Chief Warrant Officer Mike Durant was already defending the aircraft with an MP5 but was unable to move from his chair due to a crushed vertebra in his back and a compound fracture of his left femur. When they reached Super Six-Four, they extracted Durant and the crew members from the crash and defended the aircraft.[4] It is believed that Gordon was first to be shot by the mob, which had surrounded the crash site. Shughart retrieved Gordon’s CAR-15 rifle and gave it to Durant to use. Shortly after, Shughart was killed, the site was overrun and Durant was taken hostage.[1] According to Michael Durant’s book In the Company of Heroes, the Somalis counted 25 of their militia dead after the firefight.[6]

There was some confusion in the aftermath of the action as to who had been killed first. The official citation states that it was Shughart, but author Mark Bowden, author of Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War, relates an account by Sergeant Paul Howe who heard Shughart call for help on the radio and that the weapon handed to Durant was not the distinctive M14 rifle used by Shughart. Furthermore, Howe said that Gordon would not have given his weapon to someone while he could still fight. Durant later admitted that he initially misidentified which man was killed first, but did not wish to change the official record.[5] Shughart’s body was eventually recovered and is buried in Westminster Cemetery, Carlisle, Pennsylvania.[7]

In popular culture
In the 2001 film Black Hawk Down, Shughart was portrayed by actor Johnny Strong.[8]

Medal of Honor
On May 23, 1994, Shughart and Gordon were posthumously decorated with the Medals of Honor for protecting the crew of Super Six Four. They were the first Medal of Honor recipients since the Vietnam War.[9]

Herbert Shughart, Randall Shughart’s father, attended the Medal of Honor presentation ceremony at the White House, where he refused to shake hands with U.S. President Bill Clinton.[10] He then proceeded to openly criticize the president, saying, “You are not fit to be president of the United States. The blame for my son’s death rests with the White House and with you. You are not fit to command.”[11]

Medal of Honor citation

Citation:
Sergeant First Class Shughart, United States Army, distinguished himself by actions above and beyond the call of duty on 3 October 1993, while serving as a Sniper Team Member, United States Army Special Operations Command with Task Force Ranger in Mogadishu, Somalia. Sergeant First Class Shughart provided precision sniper fires from the lead helicopter during an assault on a building and at two helicopter crash sites, while subjected to intense automatic weapons and rocket propelled grenade fires. While providing critical suppressive fires at the second crash site, Sergeant First Class Shughart and his team leader learned that ground forces were not immediately available to secure the site. Sergeant First Class Shughart and his team leader unhesitatingly volunteered to be inserted to protect the four critically wounded personnel, despite being well aware of the growing number of enemy personnel closing in on the site. After their third request to be inserted, Sergeant First Class Shughart and his team leader received permission to perform this volunteer mission. When debris and enemy ground fires at the site caused them to abort the first attempt, Sergeant First Class Shughart and his team leader were inserted one hundred meters south of the crash site. Equipped with only his sniper rifle and a pistol, Sergeant First Class Shughart and his team leader, while under intense fire from the enemy, fought their way through a dense maze of shanties and shacks to reach the critically injured crew members. Sergeant First Class Shughart pulled the pilot and the other crew members from the aircraft, establishing a perimeter which placed him and his fellow sniper in the most vulnerable position. Sergeant First Class Shughart used his long range rifle and side arm to kill an undetermined number of attackers while traveling the perimeter, protecting the downed crew. Sergeant First Class Shughart continued his protective fire until he depleted his ammunition and was fatally wounded. His actions saved the pilot’s life. Sergeant First Class Shughart’s extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest standards of military service and reflect great credit upon him-self, his unit and the United States Army.

USNS Shughart
In 1997 the United States Navy named a roll-on/roll-off ship USNS Shughart in a ceremony at the National Steel and Shipbuilding Company, San Diego, California. The ceremony was attended by a number of Naval officers and politicians including John W. Douglass, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development and Acquisition; Senator Bob Kerrey (D); as well as his Commanding officer at the time of his death, and others. The ship was the first “Large Medium Speed Roll On/Roll Off (LMSR) ship” to undergo conversion from a commercial container vessel to a sealift cargo ship.[12]

 
 
 
 

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The Million Dollar Space Pen Myth is just that, a myth. The pens never cost a lot of money and were not developed by wasteful bureaucrats or overactive NASA engineers. The real story of the Space Pen is less interesting than the myth, but in many ways more inspiring. It is not a story of NASA bureaucrats versus simplistic Russians, but a story of a clever capitalist who built a superior product and conducted some innovative marketing. That story, however, is a little harder to sell to a public that believes what it wants to believe.
 
 
 
 
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You Won’t Believe How Many Different Animals Pass this Single Beech Tree in Italy
A hidden camera installed near a beech tree in Italy’s Abruzzo National Park captures the incredible amount of diverse wildlife that calls this forest home.

The remote camera was installed by the ‘ForestBeat‘ team of Bruno D’Amicis and Umberto Esposito. The video above is just a short compilation of the myriad animals seen over the course of a year and changing seasons.
 
 
 
 
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FYI August 12, 2017


1990 – Sue, the largest and most complete Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton found to date, is discovered by Sue Hendrickson in South Dakota.
“Sue” is the nickname given to FMNH PR 2081, which is the largest, most extensive and best preserved Tyrannosaurus rex specimen ever found at over 90% recovered by bulk.[2] It was discovered in August 1990, by Sue Hendrickson, a paleontologist, and was named after her. After ownership disputes were settled, the fossil was auctioned in October 1997, for US $7.6 million,[3][4] the highest amount ever paid for a dinosaur fossil,[5] and is now a permanent feature at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, Illinois.[6]

Discovery

During the summer of 1990, a group of workers from the Black Hills Institute, located in Hill City, searched for fossils at the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation in western South Dakota near the city of Faith. By the end of the summer, the group had discovered Edmontosaurus bones and was ready to leave. However, a flat tire was discovered on their truck before the group could depart on August 12.[7] While the rest of the group went into town to repair the truck, Sue Hendrickson decided to explore the nearby cliffs that the group had not checked. As she was walking along the base of a cliff, she discovered some small pieces of bone. She looked above her to see where the bones had originated, and observed larger bones protruding from the wall of the cliff. She returned to camp with two small pieces of the bones and reported the discovery to the president of the Black Hills Institute, Peter Larson.[8] He determined that the bones were from a T. rex by their distinctive contour and texture. Later, closer examination of the site showed many visible bones above the ground and some articulated vertebrae.[9] The crew ordered extra plaster and, although some of the crew had to depart, Hendrickson and a few other workers began to uncover the bones. The group was excited, as it was evident that much of the dinosaur had been preserved. Previously discovered T. rex skeletons were usually missing over half of their bones.[9] It was later ascertained that Sue was a record 90 percent complete by bulk.[10] Scientists believe that this specimen was covered by water and mud soon after its death which prevented other animals from carrying away the bones.[11] Additionally, the rushing water mixed the skeleton together. When the fossil was found the hip bones were above the skull and the leg bones were intertwined with the ribs. The large size and the excellent condition of the bones were also surprising. The skull was nearly five feet long (1394 millimeters), and most of the teeth were still intact. After the group completed excavating the bones, each vertebra was covered in burlap and coated in plaster, followed by a transfer to the offices of The Black Hills Institute where they began to clean the bones.

Dispute and auction
Soon after the fossils were found, a dispute arose over their legal ownership. The Black Hills Institute had obtained permission from the owner of the land, Maurice Williams, to excavate and remove the skeleton, and had paid Williams US$5,000 for the remains.[12] Williams claimed, almost 2 years after depositing the check, that the $5000 payment had not been for the sale of the fossil, and he had only allowed Larson to remove and clean the fossil for a later sale. [9] Williams never credited or compensated Larson or The Black Hills Institute, and video rerecordings, eye witness accounts, and the cancelled check memo show Williams changed his story. Williams was a member of the Sioux tribe, and the tribe claimed the bones belonged to them. However, the property that the fossil had been found within was held in trust by the United States Department of the Interior. Thus, the land technically belonged to the government. In 1992, the FBI and the South Dakota National Guard raided the site where The Black Hills Institute had been cleaning the bones and seized the fossil.[13] The government transferred the remains to the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, where it was stored until the legal dispute was settled. After a lengthy trial, the court decreed that Maurice Williams retained ownership, because as a beneficiary he was protected by the law against an impulsive selling of real property, and the remains were returned in 1995. Williams then decided to sell the remains, and contracted with Sotheby’s to auction the property. Many were then worried that the fossil would end up in a private collection where people would not be able to observe it.[14][15] The Field Museum in Chicago was also concerned about this possibility, and decided to attempt to purchase Sue. However, the organization realized that they might have had difficulty securing funding and requested that companies and private citizens provide financial support. The California State University system, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, McDonald’s, Ronald McDonald House Charities, and individual donors agreed to assist in purchasing Sue for The Field Museum. On October 4, 1997, the auction began at US$500,000; less than ten minutes later, The Field Museum had purchased the remains with the highest bid of US$7.6 million. The final cost after Sotheby’s commission was US$8,362,500.[5][16] Williams received the $7.6 million tax free due to being a sale of Trust Land.

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1889 – Zerna Sharp, American author and educator (d. 1981)
Zerna Addis Sharp (August 12, 1889 – June 17, 1981) was a US author, writer and teacher. She became known for creating the Dick and Jane beginning readers, and many other readers for children. Sharp noted the reduced reading ability of children during her travels and urged a new reading format for primers. She suggested that primers introduce a word at a time to new readers, and the Dick and Jane primers adhered to this format. The names “Dick” and “Jane” were chosen because they were easy to sound. The primers were sold from 1927 to 1973.

Sharp was born in Hillisburg, Clinton County, Indiana. She died in Frankfort, Indiana at the age of 91.

More information on Zerna Addis Sharp

 
 
 
 

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1942 – Actress Hedy Lamarr and composer George Antheil receive a patent for a Frequency-hopping spread spectrum communication system that later became the basis for modern technologies in wireless telephones and Wi-Fi.

Frequency-hopping spread spectrum (FHSS) is a method of transmitting radio signals by rapidly switching a carrier among many frequency channels, using a pseudorandom sequence known to both transmitter and receiver. It is used as a multiple access method in the code division multiple access (CDMA) scheme frequency-hopping code division multiple access (FH-CDMA) .

FHSS is a wireless technology that spreads its signal over rapidly changing frequencies. Each available frequency band is divided into sub-frequencies. Signals rapidly change (“hop”) among these in a pre-determined order. Interference at a specific frequency will only affect the signal during that short interval. FHSS can, however, cause interference with adjacent direct-sequence spread spectrum (DSSS) systems. A sub-type of FHSS used in Bluetooth wireless data transfer is adaptive frequency hopping spread spectrum (AFH).

Spread-spectrum
Main article: Spread-spectrum

A spread-spectrum transmission offers three main advantages over a fixed-frequency transmission:

Spread-spectrum signals are highly resistant to narrowband interference. The process of re-collecting a spread signal spreads out the interfering signal, causing it to recede into the background.
Spread-spectrum signals are difficult to intercept. A spread-spectrum signal may simply appear as an increase in the background noise to a narrowband receiver. An eavesdropper may have difficulty intercepting a transmission in real time if the pseudorandom sequence is not known.
Spread-spectrum transmissions can share a frequency band with many types of conventional transmissions with minimal interference. The spread-spectrum signals add minimal noise to the narrow-frequency communications, and vice versa. As a result, bandwidth can be used more efficiently.

Military use
Spread-spectrum signals are highly resistant to deliberate jamming, unless the adversary has knowledge of the spreading characteristics. Military radios use cryptographic techniques to generate the channel sequence under the control of a secret Transmission Security Key (TRANSEC) that the sender and receiver share in advance.

By itself, frequency hopping provides only limited protection against eavesdropping and jamming. Most modern military frequency hopping radios also employ separate encryption devices such as the KY-57 Speech Security Equipment. U.S. military radios that use frequency hopping include the JTIDS/MIDS family, the HAVE QUICK Aeronautical Mobile (OR) communications system, and the SINCGARS Combat Net Radio.

Civilian use
In the US, since the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) amended rules to allow frequency hopping spread spectrum systems in the unregulated 2.4 GHz band, many consumer devices in that band have employed various spread-spectrum modes.

Some walkie-talkies that employ frequency-hopping spread spectrum technology have been developed for unlicensed use on the 900 MHz band. Several such radios were marketed under the name eXtreme Radio Service (eXRS). Despite the name’s similarity to the FRS allocation, the system is a proprietary design, rather than an official FCC allocated service.

Motorola has deployed a business-banded, license-free digital radio that uses FHSS technology: the DTR series, models 410, 550 and 650.

Technical considerations
The overall bandwidth required for frequency hopping is much wider than that required to transmit the same information using only one carrier frequency. However, because transmission occurs only on a small portion of this bandwidth at any given time, the effective interference bandwidth is really the same. While providing no extra protection against wideband thermal noise, the frequency-hopping approach does reduce the degradation caused by narrowband interference sources.

One of the challenges of frequency-hopping systems is to synchronize the transmitter and receiver. One approach is to have a guarantee that the transmitter will use all the channels in a fixed period of time. The receiver can then find the transmitter by picking a random channel and listening for valid data on that channel. The transmitter’s data is identified by a special sequence of data that is unlikely to occur over the segment of data for this channel, and the segment can also have a checksum for integrity checking and further identification. The transmitter and receiver can use fixed tables of channel sequences, so that once synchronized they can maintain communication by following the table. On each channel segment, the transmitter can send its current location in the table.

In the US, FCC part 15 on unlicensed spread spectrum systems in the 902–928 MHz and 2.4 GHz bands permits more power than is allowed for non-spread-spectrum systems. Both frequency hopping and direct sequence systems can transmit at 1 Watt, a thousand-fold increase from the 1 milliwatt limit on non-spread-spectrum systems. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) also prescribes a minimum number of channels and a maximum dwell time for each channel.

In a real multipoint spread spectrum radio system, space allows multiple transmissions on the same frequency to be possible using multiple radios in a geographic area. This creates the possibility of system data rates that are higher than the Shannon limit for a single channel. Spread spectrum systems do not violate the Shannon limit. Spread spectrum systems rely on excess signal to noise ratios for sharing of spectrum. This property is also seen in MIMO and DSSS systems. Beam steering and directional antennas also facilitate increased system performance by providing isolation between remote radios.

Multiple inventors
Perhaps the earliest mention of frequency hopping in the open literature is in radio pioneer Jonathan Zenneck’s book Wireless Telegraphy (German, 1908, English translation McGraw Hill, 1915), although Zenneck himself states that Telefunken had already tried it.

The German military made limited use of frequency hopping for communication between fixed command points in World War I to prevent eavesdropping by British forces, who did not have the technology to follow the sequence.[1]

A Polish engineer and inventor, Leonard Danilewicz, came up with the idea in 1929.[2] Several other patents were taken out in the 1930s, including one by Willem Broertjes (U.S. Patent 1,869,659, issued Aug. 2, 1932).

During World War II, the US Army Signal Corps was inventing a communication system called SIGSALY, which incorporated spread spectrum in a single frequency context. However, SIGSALY was a top-secret communications system, so its existence did not become known until the 1980s.

The most celebrated use of frequency hopping was a patent awarded to actress Hedy Lamarr and composer George Antheil, who in 1942 received U.S. Patent 2,292,387 for their “Secret Communications System”. This intended early version of frequency hopping was supposed to use a piano-roll to change among 88 frequencies, and was intended to make radio-guided torpedoes harder for enemies to detect or to jam, but there is no record of a working device ever being produced. The patent was rediscovered in the 1950s during patent searches when private companies independently developed Code Division Multiple Access, a non-frequency-hopping form of spread-spectrum, and has been cited numerous times since.

A practical application of frequency hopping was developed by Ray Zinn, co-founder of Micrel Corporation. Zinn developed a method allowing radio devices to operate without the need to synchronize a receiver with a transmitter. Using frequency hopping and sweep modes, Zinn’s method is primarily applied in low data rate wireless applications such as utility metering, machine and equipment monitoring and metering, and remote control. In 2006 Zinn received U.S. Patent 6,996,399 for his “Wireless device and method using frequency hopping and sweep modes.”

Variations of FHSS
Adaptive Frequency-hopping spread spectrum (AFH) (as used in Bluetooth) improves resistance to radio frequency interference by avoiding crowded frequencies in the hopping sequence. This sort of adaptive transmission is easier to implement with FHSS than with DSSS.

The key idea behind AFH is to use only the “good” frequencies, by avoiding the “bad” frequency channels—perhaps those “bad” frequency channels are experiencing frequency selective fading, or perhaps some third party is trying to communicate on those bands, or perhaps those bands are being actively jammed. Therefore, AFH should be complemented by a mechanism for detecting good/bad channels.

However, if the radio frequency interference is itself dynamic, then the strategy of “bad channel removal”, applied in AFH might not work well. For example, if there are several colocated frequency-hopping networks (as Bluetooth Piconet), then they are mutually interfering and the strategy of AFH fails to avoid this interference.

The problem of dynamic interference, gradual reduction of available hopping channels and backward compatibility with legacy bluetooth devices was resolved in version 1.2 of the Bluetooth Standard (2003). Other Strategies for dynamic adaptation of the frequency hopping pattern have been reported in the literature.[3] Such a situation can often happen in the scenarios that use unlicensed spectrum.

In addition, dynamic radio frequency interference is expected to occur in the scenarios related to cognitive radio, where the networks and the devices should exhibit frequency-agile operation.

Chirp modulation can be seen as a form of frequency-hopping that simply scans through the available frequencies in consecutive order to communicate.

 
 
 
 


1932 – Izzy Asper, Canadian lawyer, businessman, and politician, founded Canwest (d. 2003)
Israel Harold “Izzy” Asper, OC OM QC (August 11, 1932 – October 7, 2003) was a Canadian tax lawyer and media magnate. He was the founder of the now defunct CanWest Global Communications Corp[1] and father to its former CEO and President Leonard Asper, former director and corporate secretary Gail Asper, as well as former Executive Vice President David Asper.[2] He was also the leader of the Manitoba Liberal Party from 1970 to 1975 [1] and is credited with the idea and vision to establish the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

Life and career
Israel Asper was born to a Jewish family in Minnedosa, Manitoba, the son of musicians[3] Leon Asper and Cecilia Swet,[4] who had emigrated from Ukraine.[5] Asper attended the University of Manitoba. In 1957 he received his law degree from the University of Manitoba, and was called to the bar shortly thereafter. He founded the firm of Asper, Freedman & Co. in 1959,[1] and was also a partner and co-founder of the firm Buchwald, Asper, Henteleff (now Pitblado LLP)along with Harold Buchwald and Yude Henteleff. In 1970 he wrote The Benson Iceberg: A critical analysis of the White Paper on Tax Reform in Canada.[2]

He married Ruth Miriam “Babs” Asper on May 27, 1956[6] at Shaarey Zedek Synagogue (Winnipeg).[7]

Also in 1970, Asper was elected leader of the Manitoba Liberal Party (defeating university professor John Nesbitt). Asper represented a right-libertarian strain within the party. In the Manitoba election of 1973, he promoted a laissez-faire economy, and advocated the elimination of the welfare state. He also advocated the public financing of election campaigns, to ensure that politics would not be dominated entirely by monied interests. His Liberals won only five seats, and Asper was elected in Wolseley by only four votes. He resigned as party leader and MLA in 1975, though he continued to support the Manitoba Liberal Party in later years.[1]

His media empire started with the Winnipeg television station CKND-TV in 1975. CanWest grew to encompass the Global Television Network, the daily newspaper National Post and over 60 other Canadian newspapers.[1]

Asper was noted for his fierce loyalty to Manitoba, refusing enticements to move east to Toronto. The faculty of management at the University of Manitoba renamed itself the Asper School of Business in 2000. He was also a noted philanthropist, making major donations to the arts and education; in 2001 he donated $5 million CAD to the St. Boniface Hospital & Research Foundation in Winnipeg. Asper became an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1995.[8] Also in 1995, he was inducted into the Canadian Broadcast Hall of Fame.[1]

He was a prominent member of Canada’s Jewish community, and a vocal supporter for Israel.[5]

Asper was also a close friend of many of Canada’s prominent political and business elite, including Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin.

Controversially, Asper’s newspaper chain fired journalist Russell Mills when he wrote an article which was critical of Jean Chretien and demanded he resign.[9]

In 1956, he married Ruth Miriam Bernstein known as “Babs.”[10] Asper died in St. Boniface Hospital at the age of 71[3] after suffering a heart attack.[11]

 
 
 
 


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FYI August 10, 2017


1949 – U.S. President Harry S. Truman signs the National Security Act Amendment, streamlining the defense agencies of the United States government, and replacing the Department of War with the United States Department of Defense.
The National Security Act of 1947 was a major restructuring of the United States government’s military and intelligence agencies following World War II. The majority of the provisions of the Act took effect on September 18, 1947, the day after the Senate confirmed James Forrestal as the first Secretary of Defense.[1]

The Act merged the Department of War (renamed as the Department of the Army) and the Department of the Navy into the National Military Establishment (NME), headed by the Secretary of Defense. It also created the Department of the Air Force and the United States Air Force, which separated the Army Air Forces into its own service. It also protected the Marine Corps as an independent service, under the Department of the Navy.

Aside from the military reorganization, the act established the National Security Council and the Central Intelligence Agency, the U.S.’s first peacetime non-military intelligence agency.

History
The National Security Act of 1947 was a major restructuring of the United States government’s military and intelligence agencies following World War II. The act and its changes, along with the Truman Doctrine and the Marshall Plan, were major components of the Truman administration’s Cold War strategy. The bill signing took place aboard Truman’s VC-54C presidential aircraft Sacred Cow, the first aircraft used for the role of Air Force One.[2]

The majority of the provisions of the Act took effect on September 18, 1947, the day after the Senate confirmed James Forrestal as the first Secretary of Defense.[1] His power was initially limited and it was difficult for him to exercise the authority to make his office effective. This was later changed in the amendment to the act in 1949, creating what was to be the Department of Defense.[3]

Actions
Military

The Act merged the Department of War (renamed as the Department of the Army) and the Department of the Navy into the National Military Establishment (NME), headed by the Secretary of Defense. It also created the Department of the Air Force, which separated the Army Air Forces into its own service. It also protected the Marine Corps as an independent service, under the Department of the Navy. Initially, each of the three service secretaries maintained quasi-cabinet status, but the act was amended on August 10, 1949, to ensure their subordination to the Secretary of Defense. At the same time, the NME was renamed as the Department of Defense. The purpose was to unify the Army, Navy, and Air Force into a federated structure.[4] The Joint Chiefs of Staff was officially established under Title II, Section 211 of the original National Security Act of 1947 before Sections 209–214 of Title II were repealed by the law enacting Title 10[5] and Title 32,[6] United States Code (Act of August 10, 1956, 70A Stat. 676) to replace them.

Intelligence
Aside from the military reorganization, the act established the National Security Council, a central place of coordination for national security policy in the executive branch, and the Central Intelligence Agency, the U.S.’s first peacetime intelligence agency. The council’s function was to advise the president on domestic, foreign, and military policies, and to ensure cooperation between the various military and intelligence agencies.[4]

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1856 – William Willett, English inventor, founded British Summer Time (d. 1915)
William Willett (10 August 1856 – 4 March 1915) was a British builder and a tireless promoter of British Summer Time.

Biography
Willett was born in Farnham, Surrey, in the United Kingdom, and educated at the Philological School. After some commercial experience, he entered his father’s building business, Willett Building Services. Between them they created a reputation for “Willett built” quality houses in choice parts of London and the south, including Chelsea[1] and Hove, including Derwent House. He lived most of his life in Chislehurst, Kent, where, it is said, after riding his horse in Petts Wood near his home early one summer morning and noticing how many blinds were still down, the idea for daylight saving time first occurred to him.

This was not the first time that the idea of adapting to daylight hours had been mooted, however. It was common practice in the ancient world,[2] and Benjamin Franklin’s light-hearted 1784 satire resulted in resurrecting the idea.[3] Although Franklin’s facetious suggestion was simply that people should get up earlier in summer, he is often erroneously attributed as the inventor of DST while Willett is often ignored. Modern DST was first proposed by New Zealand entomologist George Vernon Hudson, although many publications incorrectly credit Willett.[4]

Using his own financial resources, in 1907 William published a pamphlet “The Waste of Daylight”.[5] In it he proposed that the clocks should be advanced by 80 minutes in four incremental steps during April and reversed the same way during September.[6] The evenings would then remain light for longer, increasing daylight recreation time and also saving £2.5 million in lighting costs. He suggested that the clocks should be advanced by 20 minutes at a time at 2 am on successive Sundays in April and be retarded in September.

Through vigorous campaigning, by 1908 Willett had managed to gain the support of a member of parliament (MP), Robert Pearce, who made several unsuccessful attempts to get it passed into law. A young Winston Churchill promoted it for a time,[7] and the idea was examined again by a parliamentary select committee in 1909 but again nothing was done. The outbreak of the First World War made the issue more important primarily because of the need to save coal. Germany had already introduced the scheme when the bill was finally passed in Britain on 17 May 1916 and the clocks were advanced by an hour on the following Sunday, 21 May, enacted as a wartime production-boosting device under the Defence of the Realm Act. It was subsequently adopted in many other countries.

William Willett did not live to see daylight saving become law, as he died of influenza in 1915 at the age of 58. He is commemorated in Petts Wood by a memorial sundial, set permanently to daylight saving time. The Daylight Inn in Petts Wood is named in his honour and the road Willett Way. His house in Bromley is marked with a blue plaque. He is buried in St Nicholas’ Churchyard, Chislehurst, although a memorial to his family stands in the churchyard at St Wulfran’s Church, Ovingdean, in Brighton and Hove.[8]

Family
William Willett married twice:

Firstly in 1879 Sussex to Maria Mills (1858–1905), with issue:

Gertrude Maria Willett (1881–)
Constance Muriel Willett (1882–1937), married Rev Charles Inchbald Radford (1871–1944)
Herbert William M. Willett (1884–1917)
Cicely Gwendoline Willett (1887–)
Dorothy Ermyntrude Willett (1890–)
Gladys Evelyn Willett (1892–)
Basil Rupert Willett (1896–1966)

Secondly in 1910 Christchurch to Florence Mary A. Strickland (born Florence Rose Stickland [sic], Fishbourne, Isle of Wight 1883–), with issue:

Joan I. Willett (1911–)

Willett is a great-great-grandfather of Coldplay singer Chris Martin.[9]

 

The most beautiful theory of all
A century ago Albert Einstein changed the way humans saw the universe. His work is still offering new insights today

“ALFRED, it’s spinning.” Roy Kerr, a New Zealand-born physicist in his late 20s, had, for half an hour, been chain-smoking his way through some fiendish mathematics. Alfred Schild, his boss at the newly built Centre for Relativity at the University of Texas, had sat and watched. Now, having broken the silence, Kerr put down his pencil. He had been searching for a new solution to Albert Einstein’s equations of general relativity, and at last he could see in his numbers and symbols a precise description of how space-time — the four-dimensional universal fabric those equations describe — could be wrapped into a spinning ball. He had found what he was looking for.
 
 
 
 
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College students, here’s the average starting salary for your major
 
 
 
 
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By Jason Cipriani iOS 11: All the new features, tips and guides
Read this first

Don’t install it on your main device. Right now, the update is still in development, but Apple has released it as a public beta for those who love living on the cutting edge. As tempting as it may be, take our advice and don’t install it on your primary phone. No, really. It can cause all sorts of problems. Here’s more info — our attempt at persuasion — should you still feel the need to install iOS 11 on your daily device.
 
 
 
 

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FYI August 09, 2017


378 – Gothic War: Battle of Adrianople: A large Roman army led by Emperor Valens is defeated by the Visigoths. Valens is killed along with over half of his army.
The Gothic War is the name given to a Gothic uprising in the Eastern Roman Empire in the Balkans between about 376 and 382. The war and in particular the Battle of Adrianople, is commonly seen as a watershed in the history of the Roman Empire, the first of a series of events over the next century that would see the collapse of the Western Roman Empire, although its ultimate importance to the Empire’s eventual fall is still debated.[1][2]

Background
In the summer of 376, a massive number of Goths arrived on the Danube River, the border of the Roman Empire, requesting asylum from the Huns.[3] There were two groups: the Thervings led by Fritigern and Alavivus and the Greuthungi led by Alatheus and Saphrax.[4] Eunapius states their number as 200,000 including civilians but Peter Heather estimates that the Thervings may have had only 10,000 warriors and 50,000 people in total, with the Greuthungi about the same size.[5] The Cambridge Ancient History places modern estimates at around 90,000 people.[6]

The Goths sent ambassadors to Valens, the Eastern Roman Emperor, requesting permission to settle their people inside the Empire.[7] It took them some time to arrive, for the Emperor was in Antioch preparing for a campaign against the Sasanian Empire over control of Armenia and Iberia. The bulk of his forces were stationed in the East, far away from the Danube.[8] Ancient sources are unanimous that Valens was pleased at the appearance of the Goths, as it offered the opportunity of new soldiers at low cost.[9] With Valens committed to action on the Eastern frontier, the appearance of a large number of barbarians meant his skeleton force in the Balkans were outnumbered.[10] Valens must have appreciated the danger when he gave the Thervings permission to enter the empire and the terms he gave them were highly favorable. This was not the first time barbarian tribes had been settled and the usual course was that some would be recruited into the army and the rest would be broken up into small groups and resettled across the empire at the Emperor’s discretion. This would keep them from posing a unified threat and assimilate into the greater Roman population. The agreement differed with the Thervings by allowing them to choose the place of their settlement, Thrace and allowed them to remain united. During the negotiations, the Thervings also expressed a willingness to convert to Christianity. As for the Greuthungi, Roman army and naval forces blocked the river and denied them entry.[11]

The Thervings were probably allowed to cross at or near the fortress of Durostorum.[12] They were ferried by the Romans in boats, rafts and in hollowed tree-trunks and “diligent care was taken that no future destroyer of the Roman state should be left behind, even if he were smitten by a fatal disease,” according to Ammianus Marcellinus. Even so, the river swelled with rain and many drowned.[13] The Goths were to have their weapons confiscated but the Romans in charge accepted bribes to allow the Goths to retain their weapons or perhaps due to there being so many Goths and so few Roman soldiers, not all of them could be adequately checked.[14][15][a] The Romans placed the Thervings along southern bank of the Danube in Lower Mœsia as they waited for the land allocations to begin.[17] In the interim, the Roman state was to provide them food.[18]

Breakout
So many people in so small an area caused a food shortage and eventually the Thervings began to starve.[19] Roman logistics could not cope with the vast numbers and officials under the command of Lupicinus, simply sold off much of the food before it reached the hands of the Goths. Desperate, Gothic families sold many of their children into slavery to Romans for dog meat at the price of one child per one dog.[20][21]

This treatment caused the Therving Goths to grow rebellious and Lupicinus decided to move them south to Marcianople, his regional headquarters.[22] To guard the march south, Lupicinus was forced to pull out the Roman troops guarding the Danube, which allowed the Greuthungi promptly to cross into Roman territory. The Thervings then deliberately slowed their march to allow the Greuthungi to catch up.[23] As the Thervings neared Marcianople, Lupicinus invited Fritigern, Alavivus and a small group of their attendants to dine with him inside the city. The bulk of the Goths were encamped some distance outside, with Roman troops between them and the city. Due to the persistent refusal of the Roman soldiers to allow the Goths to buy supplies in the town’s market, fighting broke out and several Roman soldiers were killed and robbed. Lupicinus, having received the news as he sat at the banquet with the Gothic leaders, responded by ordering the executions of Fritgern’s and Alavivus’ attendants and holding the leaders hostage. This was done in secret but news of the killings came to the Goths outside and they prepared to assault Marcianople. Fritigern advised Lupicinus that the best way to calm the situation was to allow Fritigern to rejoin his people and show them that he was still alive. Lupicinus, indecisive, agreed and set him free. Alavivus is not mentioned again in the sources and his fate is unknown.[24][25]

Having survived the chaos of the night and the earlier humiliations, Fritigern and the Thervings decided it was time to break the treaty and rebel against the Romans and the Greuthungi immediately joined them. Fritigern led the Goths away from Marcianopole towards Scythia. Lupicinus and his army pursued them 14 km (8.7 mi) from the city, fought the Battle of Marcianople and was annihilated. All the junior officers were killed, the military standards were lost and the bodies of dead Romans provided the Goths with new weapons and armor. Lupicinus survived and escaped back to Marcianopole. The Thervings then raided and pillaged throughout the region.[26][27]

At Adrianople a small Gothic force employed by the Romans, was garrisoned under the command of Sueridus and Colias. The two Goths had received news of the events but had preferred to remain in place “considering their own welfare the most important thing of all.”[28] The Emperor, afraid of having a Roman garrison under Gothic control so close to a Gothic rebellion, ordered Sueridus and Colias to march east to Hellespontus. The two commanders asked for food and money for the journey, as well as a postponement of two days to prepare. The local Roman magistrate, angry at this garrison for having earlier pillaged his suburban villa, armed people from the city and stirred them against the garrison. The mob demanded that the Goths follow orders and leave immediately. The men under Sueridus and Colias initially stood still but when they were pelted with curses and missiles from the mob, attacked and killed many. The garrison left the city and joined Fritigern and the Goths besieged Adrianople. But lacking the equipment and the experience to conduct a siege and losing many men to missiles, they abandoned the city. Fritigern declared he now “kept peace with walls”. The Goths once again dispersed to loot the rich and undefended countryside. Using prisoners and Roman traitors, the Goths were led to hidden hoards, rich villages and such places.[29]
“ For without distinction of age or sex all places were ablaze with slaughter and great fires, sucklings were torn from the very breasts of their mothers and slain, matrons and widows whose husbands had been killed before their eyes were carried off, boys of tender or adult age were dragged away over the dead bodies of their parents. Finally many aged men, crying that they had lived long enough after losing their possessions and their beautiful women, were led into exile with their arms pinioned behind their backs and weeping over the glowing ashes of their ancestral homes.[30] ”


377: Containing the Goths

Many Goths inside Roman territory joined Fritigern, as did assorted slaves, miners and prisoners.[31] Roman garrisons in fortified towns held out but those outside of them were easy prey. The Goths created a vast wagon train to hold all the loot and supplies pillaged from the Roman countryside and they had much rage against the Roman population for what they had endured. Those who had started as starving refugees had transformed into a powerful army.[32][33]

Valens, now recognizing the seriousness of the situation from his base in Antioch, sent general Victor to negotiate an immediate peace with the Sassanids. He also began to transfer the Eastern Roman army to Thrace. While the main army mobilized, he sent ahead an advance force under Traian and Profuturus. Valens also reached out to the Western Roman Emperor Gratian, his co-emperor and nephew, for aid. Gratian responded by sending the comes domesticorum Richomeres and the comes rei militaris Frigeridus, to guard the western passes through the Haemus mountains, to contain the Goths from spreading westward and for eventual linkup with the Eastern army. These huge movements of troops and the cooperation of the West, spoke to the grave threat the Goths posed.[34][35]

Traian and Profuturus arrived leading troops of Armenians but Frigeridus, leading the Pannonian and the transalpine auxiliaries, fell ill from gout. Richomeres, having led a force cut from Gratian’s palatine army, by the mutual consent of the other leaders took command of the combined forces, probably at Marcianople.[36][37][38] The Goths withdrew north of the Haemus mountains and the Romans moved to engage.[39] At a place called Ad Salices[b] (“The Willows”), they fought the Battle of the Willows. The Romans were outnumbered and during the battle their left wing began to collapse. Only with hasty reinforcements and Roman discipline was the situation retrieved. The battle lasted until dusk when the opposing armies broke off, the Goths withdrawing into their wall of wagons, leaving the battle a bloody draw. Both sides counted heavy losses, including Profuturus who was slain on the battlefield.[41][42]

After the battle the Romans retreated to Marcianople and the Goths of Fritigern spent seven days within their wagon fort before moving out. Frigeridus destroyed and enslaved a band of marauding Goths under Farnobius and sent the survivors to Italy. In the fall, Richomeres returned to Gaul to collect more troops for the next year’s campaign. Valens meanwhile sent magister equitum Saturninus to Thrace to linkup with Traian. Saturninus and Traian erected a line of forts in the Haemus passes to block the Goths. The Romans hoped to weaken the enemy with the rigors of winter and starvation and then lure Fritigern into open battle on the plains between the Haemus mountains and the Danube to finish him off. The Goths, once again hungry and desperate, tried to break through the passes but were repulsed each time. Fritigern then enlisted the aid of mercenary Huns and Alans, who boosted his strength. Saturninus, realizing he could no longer hold the passes against them, abandoned the blockade and retreated. The Goths were thus free to raid anew, reaching as far as the Rhodope Mountains and the Hellespont.[43][44]
“ Then there were to be seen and to lament acts most frightful to see and to describe: women driven along by cracking whips and stupefied with fear, still heavy with their unborn children, which before coming into the world endured many horrors; little children too clinging to their mothers. Then could be heard the laments of high-born boys and maidens, whose hands were fettered in cruel captivity. Behind these were led last of all grown-up girls and chaste wives, weeping and with downcast faces, longing even by a death of torment to forestall the imminent violation of their modesty. Among these was a freeborn man, not long ago rich and independent, dragged along like some wild beast and railing at thee, Fortune, as merciless and blind, since thou hadst in a brief moment deprived him of his possessions and of the sweet society of his dear ones; had driven him from his home, which he saw fallen to ashes and ruins and sacrificed him to a bloody victor, either to be torn from limb to limb or amid blows and tortures to serve as a slave.[45] ”

Archaeological finds in this region and dated to this period reveal Roman villas with signs of abandonment and deliberate destruction.[46] The devastation forced Valens to officially reduce taxes on the populations of Mœsia and Scythia.[47]

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1940 – Linda Keen, American mathematician and academic
Linda Jo Goldway Keen (born 9 August 1940 in New York City, New York) is a mathematician and a fellow of the American Mathematical Society. Since 1965, she has been a Professor in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science at Lehman College of The City University of New York and a Professor of Mathematics at The Graduate Center of The City University of New York.[1]

Professional career
As a high school student she attended the Bronx High School of Science. She received her Bachelor of Science degree from the City College of New York, then studied at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, earning her Doctor of Philosophy in mathematics in 1964. She wrote her thesis on Riemann surfaces under the direction of Lipman Bers at NYU.[2]

Keen has worked at the Institute for Advanced Study, Hunter College, University of California at Berkeley, Columbia University, Boston University, Princeton University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as well as at various mathematical institutes in Europe and South America. After her initial appointment in 1965, in 1974 Keen was promoted to Full Professor at Lehman College and the CUNY Graduate Center. She is currently Executive Officer of the Mathematics Program at the Graduate Center.

Keen served as president of the Association for Women in Mathematics during 1985-1986 and as vice-president of the American Mathematical Society during 1992-1995. She served on the Board of Trustees of the American Mathematical Society from 1999-2009 and as Associate Treasurer from 2009-2011. In 1975, she presented an AMS invited address and in 1989 she presented an MAA joint invited address. In 1993 she was selected as a Noether Lecturer.[3]

Keen worked with the mathematicians Paul Blanchard, Robert L. Devaney, Jane Gilman, Lisa Goldberg, Nikola Lakic and Caroline Series among many others.

Contributions
In addition to studying Riemann surfaces, Keen has worked in hyperbolic geometry, Kleinian groups and Fuchsian groups, complex analysis, and hyperbolic dynamics. In the field of hyperbolic geometry, she is known for the Collar lemma.

Personal
She is married to Jonathan Brezin and resides in New York.

Awards and honors
She has been honored with: AAUW Postdoctoral Fellowship Award, 1964–65 National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow, 1964–65 Edwin S. Webster-Abby Rockefeller Mauze Award, M.I.T. 1990 Finish Mathematical Society Invited Foreign Speaker, JAN 1991 AWM Emmy Noether Lecturer, 1993 Joint Irish and London Mathematical Societies Invited Speaker, 1998 Lehman College Foundation Faculty Award, 1998 MAA Invited hour Address, Boulder CO, 1989 Swedish Royal Academy of Sciences Kovalevsky Days Programme Main Speaker, 2006

In 2012 she became a fellow of the American Mathematical Society.[4]

Books
Complex Dynamics with Robert L. Devaney
Hyperbolic Geometry from a Local Viewpoint with Nikola Lakic
The Legacy of Sonya Kovalevskaya}; Proceedings of a Symposium held at Radcliffe College and 3 AMS special sessions. Ed. L. Keen, Contemp. Math. 64, AMS 1987.
Lipa’s Legacy, Proceedings of the Bers Colloquium}, Ed. J. Dodziuk, L. Keen, Contemp. Math. 211, AMS 1997
Complex Dynamics: 25 years after the appearance of the Mandelbrot set, Eds. R. Devaney, L. Keen, Contemp. Math., 396, Amer. Math. Soc., Providence, RI, 2006.
Lipman Bers, a Life in Mathematics, Eds. I. Kra, R. Rodriguez, L. Keen, Amer. Math. Soc., Providence, RI, 2015.

 

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FYI August 08, 2017


1794 – Joseph Whidbey leads an expedition to search for the Northwest Passage near Juneau, Alaska.
The Northwest Passage is a sea route connecting the northern Atlantic and Pacific Oceans through the Arctic Ocean, along the northern coast of North America via waterways through the Canadian Arctic Archipelago.[1][2][3][4] The various islands of the archipelago are separated from one another and from the Canadian mainland by a series of Arctic waterways collectively known as the Northwest Passages or Northwestern Passages.[5]

For centuries, European explorers sought a navigable passage as a possible trade route to Asia. An ice-bound northern route was discovered in 1850 by the Irish explorer Robert McClure; however, it was through a more southerly opening in an area explored by the Scotsman John Rae in 1854 that Norwegian Roald Amundsen made the first complete passage in 1903–1906. Until 2009, the Arctic pack ice prevented regular marine shipping throughout most of the year. Arctic sea ice decline has rendered the waterways more navigable for Ice navigation.[6][7][8][9]

The contested sovereignty claims over the waters may complicate future shipping through the region: the Canadian government considers the Northwestern Passages part of Canadian Internal Waters,[10] but the United States and various European countries maintain they are an international strait and transit passage, allowing free and unencumbered passage.[11][12] If, as has been claimed, parts of the eastern end of the Passage are barely 15 metres (49 ft) deep,[13] the route’s viability as a Euro-Asian shipping route is reduced. However, a Chinese shipping line is planning regular voyages of cargo ships using the passage to the eastern United States and Europe, after a successful passage by Nordic Orion of 73,500 tonnes deadweight tonnage in September 2013. Fully loaded, Nordic Orion was too large to sail through the Panama Canal.[14]

Overview
Before the Little Ice Age, Norwegian Vikings sailed as far north and west as Ellesmere Island, Skraeling Island and Ruin Island for hunting expeditions and trading with the Inuit and people of the Dorset culture who already inhabited the region.[15] Between the end of the 15th century and the 20th century, colonial powers from Europe dispatched explorers in an attempt to discover a commercial sea route north and west around North America. The Northwest Passage represented a new route to the established trading nations of Asia.

England called the hypothetical northern route the “Northwest Passage”. The desire to establish such a route motivated much of the European exploration of both coasts of North America. When it became apparent that there was no route through the heart of the continent, attention turned to the possibility of a passage through northern waters. There was a lack of scientific knowledge about conditions; for instance, some people believed that seawater was incapable of freezing. (As late as the mid-18th century, Captain James Cook had reported that Antarctic icebergs had yielded fresh water, seemingly confirming the hypothesis.) Explorers thought that an open water route close to the North Pole must exist.[16] The belief that a route lay to the far north persisted for several centuries and led to numerous expeditions into the Arctic. Many ended in disaster, including that by Sir John Franklin in 1845. While searching for him the McClure Arctic Expedition discovered the Northwest Passage in 1850.

In 1906, the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen first successfully completed a passage from Greenland to Alaska in the sloop Gjøa.[17] Since that date, several fortified ships have made the journey.

From east to west, the direction of most early exploration attempts, expeditions entered the passage from the Atlantic Ocean via the Davis Strait and through Baffin Bay. Five to seven routes have been taken through the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, via the McClure Strait, Dease Strait, and the Prince of Wales Strait, but not all of them are suitable for larger ships.[11][18] From there ships passed through waterways through the Beaufort Sea, Chukchi Sea, and Bering Strait (separating Russia and Alaska), into the Pacific Ocean.

In the 21st century, major changes to the ice pack due to climate change have stirred speculation that the passage may become clear enough of ice to permit safe commercial shipping for at least part of the year. On August 21, 2007, the Northwest Passage became open to ships without the need of an icebreaker. According to Nalan Koc of the Norwegian Polar Institute, this was the first time the Passage has been clear since they began keeping records in 1972.[6][19] The Northwest Passage opened again on August 25, 2008.[20] However, drifting chunks of ice, especially in springtime, remain problematic as they can clog straits or severely damage a ship’s hull. Cargo’s routes may therefore be slower and uncertain, depending on conditions. Because most of the containerized traffic operates in a just-in-time mode, which does not tolerate delays well, and the relative isolation of the passage (which impedes shipping companies from optimizing their operations by grouping multiple stopovers on a same itinerary), the NWP and other Arctic routes are not usually seen as promising shipping lanes.[21]

Thawing ocean or melting ice simultaneously opened up the Northwest Passage and the Northeast Passage (and within it, the Northern Sea Route), making it possible to sail around the Arctic ice cap.[22] Awaited by shipping companies, this ‘historic event’ will cut thousands of miles off their routes. Warning, however, that the NASA satellite images indicated the Arctic may have entered a “death spiral” caused by climate change, Professor Mark Serreze, a sea ice specialist at the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) said: “The passages are open. It’s a historic event. We are going to see this more and more as the years go by.”[23][24]

Due to Arctic shrinkage, the Beluga group of Bremen, Germany, sent the first Western commercial vessels through the Northern Sea Route (Northeast Passage) in 2009.[25] However, Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that “ships entering the North-West passage should first report to his government.”[26]

The first commercial cargo ship to have sailed through the Northwest Passage was the SS Manhattan in August 1969.[27][28]

The largest ship to navigate the Northwest Passage was the cruise liner Crystal Serenity of gross tonnage 69,000. Starting on 10 August 2016, the ship sailed from Vancouver to New York City with 1,500 passengers and crew, taking 28 days.[29]

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1896 – Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, American author and academic (d. 1953)
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (August 8, 1896 – December 14, 1953)[1] was an American author who lived in rural Florida and wrote novels with rural themes and settings. Her best known work, The Yearling, about a boy who adopts an orphaned fawn, won a Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1939[2] and was later made into a movie of the same name. The book was written long before the concept of young adult fiction, but is now commonly included in teen-reading lists.

Early life
Marjorie Kinnan was born in 1896 in Washington, D.C., the daughter of Ida May (née Traphagen) and Arthur Frank Kinnan, an attorney for the US Patent Office.[1][3] She grew up in the Brookland neighborhood and was interested in writing as early as age six, and submitted stories to the children’s sections of newspapers until she was 16. At age 15, she entered into a contest a story titled “The Reincarnation of Miss Hetty”, for which she won a prize.[4]

She attended the University of Wisconsin–Madison where she joined Kappa Alpha Theta[5] sorority and received a degree in English in 1918. She was selected as a member of the local senior women’s honor society on campus, which in 1920 became a chapter of the national senior women’s society, Mortar Board. She met Charles Rawlings while working for the school literary magazine. Kinnan briefly worked for the YWCA editorial board in New York City, and married Charles in 1919.[1] The couple moved to Louisville, Kentucky, writing for the Louisville Courier-Journal and then Rochester, New York both writing for the Rochester Journal,[6] and Marjorie writing a syndicated column called “Songs of the Housewife”.[3]

In 1928, with a small inheritance from her mother, the Rawlings purchased a 72-acre (290,000 m²) orange grove near Hawthorne, Florida, in a hamlet named Cross Creek for its location between Orange Lake and Lochloosa Lake. She brought the place to international fame through her writing. She was fascinated with the remote wilderness and the lives of Cross Creek residents, her “Florida cracker” neighbors, and felt a profound and transforming connection to the region and the land.[7][8] Wary at first, the local residents soon warmed to her and opened up their lives and experiences to her. Marjorie filled several notebooks with descriptions of the animals, plants, Southern dialect, and recipes and used these descriptions in her writings.[9]

Writing career
Rawlings’ early efforts focused on the romance genre. Encouraged by her editor at Scribner’s, Maxwell Perkins, who was impressed by the letters she wrote him about her life in Cross Creek, she began writing stories set in the Florida scrub country. In 1930, Scribner’s accepted two of her stories, “Cracker Chidlings” and “Jacob’s Ladder”, both about the poor, backcountry Florida residents who were quite similar to her neighbors at Cross Creek. Local reception to her stories was mixed between puzzlement concerning whom she was writing about, and rage, since one mother apparently recognized her son as a subject in a story and threatened to whip Rawlings until she was dead.[10]

Her first novel, South Moon Under, was published in 1933. The book captured the richness of Cross Creek and its environs in telling the story of a young man, Lant, who must support himself and his mother by making and selling moonshine, and what he must do when a traitorous cousin threatens to turn him in. Moonshiners were the subject of several of her stories, and Rawlings lived with a moonshiner for several weeks near Ocala to prepare for writing the book.[8] South Moon Under was included in the Book-of-the-Month Club and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

That same year, she and her husband Charles were divorced; living in rural Florida did not appeal to him.[3][8]

One of her least well-received books, Golden Apples, came out in 1935. It tells the stories of several people who suffer from unrequited love from people unsuited for them. Rawlings herself was disappointed in it, and in a 1935 letter to her publisher Max Perkins, she called it “interesting trash instead of literature.”[4]

But she found immense success in 1938 with The Yearling, a story about a Florida boy and his pet deer and his relationship with his father, which she originally intended as a story for young readers. It was selected for the Book-of-the-Month Club, and it won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1939. MGM purchased the rights to the film version, which was released in 1946, and it made her famous. In 1942, Rawlings published Cross Creek, an autobiographical account of her relationships with her neighbors and her beloved Florida hammocks. Again it was chosen by the Book-of-the-Month Club, and it was even released in a special armed forces edition, sent to servicemen during World War II.[11]

Rawlings’ final novel, The Sojourner, published in 1953 and set in a northern setting, was about the life of a man and his relationship to his family: a difficult mother who favors her other, first-born son and his relationship to this absent older brother. To absorb the natural setting so vital to her writing, she bought an old farmhouse in Van Hornesville, New York and spent part of each year there until her death. The novel was less well received critically than her Florida writings, and did little to enhance her literary reputation. She published 33 short stories from 1912–49. As many of Rawling’s works were centered in the North and Central Florida area, she was often considered a regional writer. Rawlings herself rejected this label saying, “I don’t hold any brief for regionalism, and I don’t hold with the regional novel as such … don’t make a novel about them unless they have a larger meaning than just quaintness.”[12]

Invasion of privacy case
In 1943, Rawlings faced a libel suit for Cross Creek, filed by her neighbor Zelma Cason, whom Rawlings had met the first day she moved to Florida. Cason had helped to soothe the mother made upset by her son’s depiction in “Jacob’s Ladder”.[11] Cason claimed Rawlings made her out to be a “hussy”. Rawlings had assumed their friendship was intact and spoke with her immediately.[11] Cason went ahead with the lawsuit seeking $100,000 US for invasion of privacy (as the courts found libel too ambiguous). It was a cause of action that had never been argued in a Florida court.[10]

Rawlings used Cason’s forename in the book, but described her in this passage:

Zelma is an ageless spinster resembling an angry and efficient canary. She manages her orange grove and as much of the village and county as needs management or will submit to it. I cannot decide whether she should have been a man or a mother. She combines the more violent characteristics of both and those who ask for or accept her ministrations think nothing at being cursed loudly at the very instant of being tenderly fed, clothed, nursed, or guided through their troubles.[13]

Cason was represented by one of the first female lawyers in Florida, Kate Walton. Cason was reportedly profane indeed (one of her neighbors reported her swearing could be heard for a quarter of a mile), wore pants, had a fascination with guns, and was just as extraordinarily independent as Rawlings herself.[14]

Rawlings won the case and enjoyed a brief vindication, but the verdict was overturned in appellate court and Rawlings was ordered to pay damages in the amount of $1 US.[10] The toll the case took on Rawlings was great, in both time and emotion. Reportedly, Rawlings had been shocked to learn of Cason’s reaction to the book, and felt betrayed. After the case was over, she spent less time in Cross Creek and never wrote another book about Florida, though she had been considering doing a sequel to Cross Creek.

Personal life
With money she made from The Yearling, Rawlings bought a beach cottage at Crescent Beach, ten miles south of St. Augustine. In 1941 Rawlings married Ocala hotelier Norton Baskin (1901–1997), and he remodeled an old mansion into the Castle Warden Hotel in St. Augustine (currently the Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museum). After World War II, he sold the hotel and managed the Dolphin Restaurant at Marineland, which was then Florida’s number one tourist attraction. Rawlings and Baskin made their primary home at Crescent Beach, and Rawlings and Baskin both continued their respective occupations independently. When a visitor to the Castle Warden Hotel suggested she saw the influence of Rawlings in the decor, Baskin protested, saying, “You do not see Mrs. Rawlings’ fine hand in this place. Nor will you see my big foot in her next book. That’s our agreement. She writes. I run a hotel.”[15] After purchasing her land in New York, Rawlings spent half the year there and half the year with Baskin in St. Augustine.

Her singular admitted vanity was cooking. She said, “I get as much satisfaction from preparing a perfect dinner for a few good friends as from turning out a perfect paragraph in my writing.”[16] Rawlings befriended and corresponded with Mary McLeod Bethune[17] and Zora Neale Hurston.[18] Zora Neale Hurston visited her at Cross Creek. But in keeping with race relations of the time, she was made to sleep with Idella, the black maid, in the “tenant house”, not in Marjorie’s house.[19]

Rawlings’ views on race relations were much different than her neighbors, castigating white Southerners for infantilizing African Americans and labeling their economic differences with whites “a scandal”, but simultaneously considered whites superior.[8][13] She described her African-American employee Idella as “the perfect maid”. Their relationship is described in the book Idella: Marjorie Rawlings’ “Perfect Maid”, by Idella Parker and Mary Keating.[20]

Biographers have noted her longing for a male child through her writings, as far back as her first story as a teenage girl in “The Reincarnation of Miss Hetty”, and repeated throughout several works, letters, and characters, most notably in The Yearling.[4][8] In fact, she stated that as a child she had a gift for telling stories, but that she demanded all her audiences be boys.[21]

Her hatred of cities was intense: she wrote a sonnet titled, “Having Left Cities Behind Me” published in Scribner’s in 1938 to illustrate it (excerpt):

“Now, having left cities behind me, turned
Away forever from the strange, gregarious
Huddling of men by stones, I find those various
Great towns I knew fused into one, burned
Together in the fire of my despising…”

She was criticized throughout her career for being uneven with her talent in writing, something she recognized in herself, and that reflected periods of depression and artistic frustration. She has been described as having unique sensibilities; she wrote of feeling “vibrations” from the land, and often preferred long periods of solitude at Cross Creek. She was known for being remarkably strong-willed, but after her death, Norton Baskin wrote of her, “Marjorie was the shyest person I have ever known. This was always strange to me as she could stand up to anybody in any department of endeavor but time after time when she was asked to go some place or to do something she would accept -‘if I would go with her.'”[8]

GeeChee
In her autobiography Cross Creek first published in 1942, Rawlings described how she owned many acres of land and also hired many people to help her with day-to-day chores and activities. An entire chapter of the book is dedicated to one woman she hired, whose name was Beatrice, but whom she was affectionately known as “GeeChee”, because the woman was ethnically part of the GeeChee people. In the book Rawlings said GeeChee’s mother lived in nearby Hawthorne, Florida and GeeChee was blind in one eye from a fight she was involved in. GeeChee was employed by Rawlings on and off for nearly two years in which GeeChee dutifully made life easier for Rawlings. GeeChee revealed to Rawlings that her boyfriend named Leroy was serving time in prison for manslaughter, and asked Rawlings for help in gaining his release. She arranged for Leroy to be paroled to her and come work for her estate, and had a wedding on the grounds for Beatrice and Leroy. After a few weeks, Leroy aggressively demanded for more earnings from Rawlings and threatened her. She decided he had to leave, which caused her distress because she did not want GeeChee to go with him, and was sure she would. GeeChee eventually decided to stay with Rawlings, but GeeChee began to drink heavily and abandoned her. Weeks later, Rawlings went out searching for GeeChee and drove her back to her estate, describing GeeChee as a “Black Florence Nightingale”. GeeChee was unable to stop herself from drinking, which led a heartbroken Rawlings to dismiss her. Rawlings stated in her autobiography “No maid of perfection–and now I have one–can fill the strange emptiness she left in a remote corner of my heart. I think of her often, and I know she does of me, for she comes once a year to see me”.[22]

When Cross Creek was turned into a 1983 film, actress Alfre Woodard was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance as GeeChee.

Death
Rawlings died in 1953 in St. Augustine of a cerebral hemorrhage. She bequeathed most of her property to the University of Florida, Gainesville, where she taught creative writing in Anderson Hall. In return, her name was given to a new dormitory dedicated in 1958 as Rawlings Hall[23] which occupies prime real estate in the heart of the campus.

Her land at Cross Creek is now the Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Historic State Park. Norton Baskin survived her by 44 years, passing away in 1997. They are buried side-by-side at Antioch Cemetery near Island Grove, Florida. Her tombstone, with Baskin’s inscription, reads “Through her writing she endeared herself to the people of the world.” Rawlings’ reputation has managed to outlive those of many of her contemporaries. A posthumously-published children’s book, The Secret River, won a Newbery Honor in 1956, and movies were made, long after her death, of her story “Gal Young ‘Un”, and her semi-fictionalized memoir Cross Creek (Norton Baskin, then in his eighties, made a cameo appearance in the latter movie as a man sitting in a rocking chair).[24] In 2008, the United States Postal Service unveiled a stamp bearing Rawlings’ image, in her honor.[25] She was named a Great Floridian in 2009 by the state of Florida. The program honors persons who made “major contributions to the progress and welfare” of Florida.[26]

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