FYI November 15, 2017

1760 – The secondly-built Castellania in Valletta is officially inaugurated with the blessing of the interior Chapel of Sorrows.
The Castellania (Maltese: Il-Kastellanija; Italian: La Castellania), officially known as the Castellania Palace (Maltese: Il-Palazz Kastellanja; Italian: Palazzo Castellania), is a former courthouse and prison in Valletta, Malta. It was built by the Order of St. John between 1757[a] and 1760, on the site of an earlier courthouse which had been built in 1572.

The building was built in the Baroque style to designs of the architects Francesco Zerafa and Giuseppe Bonici. It is a prominent building in Merchants Street, having an ornate façade with an elaborate marble centrepiece. Features of the interior include former court halls, a chapel, prison cells, a statue of Lady Justice at the main staircase and an ornate fountain in the courtyard.

From the late 18th to the early 19th century, the building was also known by a number of names, including the Palazzo del Tribunale, the Palais de Justice and the Gran Corte della Valletta. By the mid-19th century the building was deemed too small, and the courts were gradually moved to Auberge d’Auvergne between 1840 and 1853. The Castellania was then abandoned, before being briefly converted into an exhibition centre, a tenant house and a school.

In 1895, the building was converted into the head office of the Public Health Department. The department was eventually succeeded by Malta’s health ministry (currently known as the Ministry for Health, the Elderly and Community Care), which is still housed in the Castellania. The building’s ground floor contains a number of shops, while the belongings of Sir Themistocles Zammit’s laboratory are now housed at the second floor and is open to the public by appointment as The Brucellosis Museum.

More on wiki:


1849 – Mary E. Byrd, American astronomer and educator (d. 1934)
Mary Emma Byrd (November 15, 1849 – July 13, 1934) was an American educator and is considered a pioneer astronomy teacher[1] at college level.[2] She was also an astronomer in her own right, determining cometary positions by photography.[3]

Personal life
Mary E. Byrd was born November 15, 1849 in Le Roy, Michigan to the reverend John Huntington Byrd and Elizabeth Adelaide Lowe as the second of six children.[4] The family moved to Kansas in 1855. Her father was strongly opposed to slavery and the slave trade. Her mother was a descendant of John Endecott. Her parents instilled in her a strong Puritan belief, making her a person of high moral principles. Her uncle, David Lowe, a Kansas judge, who served for one term in Congress, refused to seek re-election because he found “politics and ideal honesty incompatible”. She died of cerebral hemorrhage on July 13, 1934 in Lawrence, Kansas and is buried in Oak Hill Cemetery.[5]

In the late 19th century it was very difficult for a young woman to get a decent education.[6] This was no different for Mary Byrd and this is reflected in her education. She was a teacher, on and off, while trying to get an education. Byrd graduated from Leavenworth High School. She attended Oberlin College from 1871-1874, when John Millott Ellis was the college president. She left Oberlin before graduating. She graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.A. in 1878. She studied under Edward Pickering at Harvard College Observatory. She received the degree of Doctor of Philosophy from Carleton College in 1904.

Byrd was one of a group of young women who were the pioneers of coeducation. Most notable in this group was probably Alice Freeman Palmer. She worked briefly at The Coast Star in Manasquan, NJ prior to her death.

Mary Emma Byrd held many teaching posts. The most important:

1883-1887 Teacher of mathematics and astronomy at Carleton College
1887-1906 Director of the observatory at Smith College[7] in Northampton, Massachusetts.

In 1906, Byrd, at the height of her career, resigned from her positions at Smith[8] because the college accepted money from Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller, which she found reprehensible. Upon her resignation, she returned to Lawrence, Kansas. She continued writing, and contributed many articles to Popular Astronomy magazine.

During her life Byrd was a member of:
the Astronomical and Astrophysical Society of America (now the American Astronomical Society or simply AAS),
the Astronomical Society of the Pacific
the British Astronomical Association
the Anti-Imperialist League of Northampton
The American Mathematical Society (Ref. New York Mathematical Society list of members June 1892, page 6.

Mary Emma Bird has written two books:

Laboratory Manual in Astronomy which was published in 1899 and is currently available as a reprint by BiblioLife, ISBN 978-1-110-12258-5
First Observations In Astronomy: A Handbook For Schools And Colleges which was published in 1913 and is currently available as a reprint by Kessinger Publishing, ISBN 0-548-62274-4


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Comments on working in the STEM field?
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While nearly as many women hold undergraduate degrees as men overall, they make up only about 30 percent of all STEM degree holders. Women make up a disproportionately low share of degree holders in all STEM fields, particularly engineering.

Women with STEM degrees are less likely than their male counterparts to work in a STEM occupation; they are more likely to work in education or healthcare.

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Many holloways are now abandoned as roads, too narrow to be traveled on wheels. But they are still used as walking paths by locals in the know. Others, such as the trench-like roads in parts of France, were used as shelters in World War I and II. It’s fascinating to stroll through the ancient paths today and wonder about the comings and goings of the unfathomable number of human footsteps that carved them out of the Earth.
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