On This Day
1783 – Laki, a volcano in Iceland, begins an eight-month eruption which kills over 9,000 people and starts a seven-year famine.
Laki or Lakagígar (Craters of Laki) is a volcanic fissure in the western part of Vatnajökull National Park, Iceland, not far from the volcanic fissure of Eldgjá and the small village of Kirkjubæjarklaustur. The fissure is properly referred to as Lakagígar, while Laki is a mountain that the fissure bisects. Lakagígar is part of a volcanic system centered on the volcano Grímsvötn and including the volcano Thordarhyrna. It lies between the glaciers of Mýrdalsjökull and Vatnajökull, in an area of fissures that run in a southwest to northeast direction.
The system erupted violently over an eight-month period between June 1783 and February 1784 from the Laki fissure and the adjoining volcano Grímsvötn, pouring out an estimated 42 billion tons or 14 km3 (3.4 cu mi) of basalt lava and clouds of poisonous hydrofluoric acid and sulfur dioxide compounds that contaminated the soil, leading to the death of over 50% of Iceland’s livestock population, and the destruction of the vast majority of all crops. This led to a famine which then killed approximately 25% of the island’s human population. The lava flows also destroyed 20 villages.
The Laki eruption and its aftermath caused a drop in global temperatures, as 120 million tons of sulfur dioxide was spewed into the Northern Hemisphere. This caused crop failures in Europe and may have caused droughts in North Africa and India.
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411 BC – The Athenian coup succeeds, forming a short-lived oligarchy.
The Athenian coup of 411 BC was the result of a revolution that took place during the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta. The coup overthrew the democratic government of ancient Athens and replaced it with a short-lived oligarchy known as the Four Hundred.
In the wake of the fiscal crisis caused by the failed Sicilian Expedition of the Athenian military in 413 BC, some high-status Athenian men, who had disliked the broad-based democracy of the city-state for a long time, sought to establish an oligarchy of the elite. They believed that they could manage foreign, fiscal, and war policies better than the existing government.
The movement toward oligarchy was led by a number of prominent and wealthy Athenians, who held positions of power in the Athenian army at Samos in coordination with Alcibiades.
Born On This Day
1858 – Charlotte Scott, English mathematician (d. 1931)
Charlotte Angas Scott (8 June 1858, Lincoln, England – 10 November 1931, Cambridge, England) was a British mathematician who made her career in the United States and was influential in the development of American mathematics, including the mathematical education of women. Scott played an important role in Cambridge changing the rules for its famous Mathematical Tripos exam.
1903 – Marcia Davenport, American author and critic (d. 1996)
Marcia Davenport (June 9, 1903 – January 16, 1996) was an American author and music critic. She is best known for her 1932 biography of composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the first American published biography of Mozart. Davenport also is known for her novels The Valley of Decision and East Side, West Side, both of which were adapted to film in 1945 and 1949, respectively.
Marcia Davenport was born Marcia Glick in New York City on June 9, 1903, the daughter of Bernard Glick and the opera singer Alma Gluck. She became the stepdaughter of violinist Efrem Zimbalist when her mother remarried.
Growing up Davenport traveled extensively with her parents and was educated intermittently at the Friends School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and the Shipley School in Bryn Mawr. She began studies at Wellesley College but eloped to Pittsburgh to marry her first husband, Frank Delmas Clarke. Eventually, she earned her B.A. at the University of Grenoble.
After her divorce from Clarke in 1925, Davenport took an advertising copywriting job to support herself and her daughter. In 1928, she joined the editorial staff of The New Yorker, where she worked until 1931. In 1934, she became the music critic of Stage magazine. Through her mother and stepfather, Davenport had close ties to the classical music world, particularly the operatic world of Europe and America. Her first book, Mozart, the first American published biography of composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, was published in 1932. Widely praised, the book, which became Davenport’s best known work, has remained continuously in print since its publication.
Davenport also wrote several popular novels, notably The Valley of Decision, a saga which traces the Scott family, prototypical owners of an iron works in Pittsburgh, from 1873 to the events of World War II. Davenport lived in Pittsburgh shortly after her first marriage, later using that background, along with further research on the steel industry, for the 788-page bestseller. In 1947, East Side, West Side was published, also becoming a best-seller. It was one of the last works edited by Maxwell Perkins of the Charles Scribners’ Sons publishing house.
Excellent, sound on! Might be the best thing these pilots see before returning home safely.
Directing jet pilots with verve ( thanks to Stephan! )
By MessyNessy, 13 Things I Found on the Internet Today (Vol. CDXCXVI): The Fisk University Jubilee Singers; “David Bowie Criticizes MTV for Not Playing Videos by Black Artists”, 1983; Fred Rogers drying Francois Clemmons’ feet (and breaking down race barriers), 1969; Tokyo’s Curious Fruit Sandwich Trend; To calm every bit of chaos within, here’s Cellist, Sheku Kanneh-Mason, playing The Swan: and more ->
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