FYI June 12, 2018


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On This Day

1817 – The earliest form of bicycle, the dandy horse, is driven by Karl von Drais.
The dandy horse is a human-powered vehicle that, being the first means of transport to make use of the two-wheeler principle, is regarded as the forerunner of the bicycle. Powered by the rider’s feet on the ground in lieu of the pedals of later bicycles, the dandy horse was invented by Karl Drais—who called it a Laufmaschine (German: [ˈlaʊfmaˌʃiːnə], “running machine”)—in Mannheim, Germany, and patented in France in February 1818. It is also known as a draisine (German: [dʁaɪˈziːnə] (About this sound listen), a term now used primarily for light auxiliary railcars regardless of their form of propulsion), the French form draisienne (French: [drɛzjɛn], or by the broader designation velocipede.

Born On This Day

1888 – Zygmunt Janiszewski, Polish mathematician and academic (d. 1920)

While Janiszewski best remembered for his many contributions to topological mathematics in the early 20th century, for the founding of Fundamenta Mathematicae, and for his enthusiasm for teaching young minds, his loyalty to his homeland during World War I perhaps gives the greatest insight into his psyche. The orphans’ shelter that he set up during the war doubtlessly saved many lives, and is perhaps his greatest contribution to the world.


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