Little Bits of History

A Sign

Posted in History by patriciahysell on July 21, 2015
Crete uplift map*

Crete uplift map*

July 21, 365 AD: Alexandria and the Southern and Eastern portion of the Mediterranean Sea are destroyed by a tsunami. Around sunrise on this day, there was an underwater earthquake which is estimated to have been around 8.5 on the Richter scale by modern geologists. The epicenter was near Crete, Greece. There was widespread destruction close to the epicenter, but also in distant lands as Libya, Alexandria, and the Nile Delta were all affected by the ensuing tsunami as were Cyprus, Sicily, and even as far away as Spain. On the island of Crete, almost all towns were destroyed. Ships were raised and brought inland on the wave, depositing almost two miles from the shore.

Many things at the time were interpreted as signs from God. Many of the literary references have been somewhat questionable as they may have combined the effects of several earthquakes between 350 and 450 AD in order to make a point about God’s great displeasure with events. The antagonism between paganism and Christianity was part of the Roman Empire’s history with this time in particular possible for God’s notice since Emperor Julian had just died after an unsuccessful attempt to return paganism to the Empire.

But there is geological evidence which is not subject to the religion wars of the period. There was a major clustering of seismic activity in the Eastern Mediterranean between the fourth and sixth centuries. This earthquake is thought to have caused an uplift of 29.5 feet of the entire island of Crete. Researchers have noted by carbon dating that coral reefs off the coast of the island were lifted about 33 feet and were actually thrust out of the water in one massive push. This indicates the tsunami from this date was generated by a quake in the Hellenic Trench near Crete. Archeology also lends its science to the devastating effects of the quake and tsunami. Not only were thousands of people killed, but cities were lost along with historical documents as well as libraries, especially in Alexandria.

Tsunamis are named from the Japanese term for the waves experienced there after earthquakes. The term is not scientifically accurate, but we have come to understand the scientific reasons behind the monster waves. There is evidence of tsunamis from even pre-historic times with the earliest being between 6225 and 6160 BC in the Norwegian Sea when the Storegga Slide took place. Crete was also affected by a tsunami around 1600 BC during the Minoan eruption. The Malian Gulf, Greece tsunami, the Helike, Greece earthquake, the Gulf of Naples, Italy tsunami, and the Caesarea, Israel event all predate this day’s catastrophe. Recovery efforts were not helped at all by the Romans. Emperor Valentinian only sent representatives to the region to find out why taxes were not being properly collected.

Slightly after daybreak, and heralded by a thick succession of fiercely shaken thunderbolts, the solidity of the whole earth was made to shake and shudder, and the sea was driven away, its waves were rolled back, and it disappeared, so that the abyss of the depths was uncovered and many-shaped varieties of sea-creatures were seen stuck in the slime; the great wastes of those valleys and mountains, which the very creation had dismissed beneath the vast whirlpools, at that moment, as it was given to be believed, looked up at the sun’s rays.

Many ships, then, were stranded as if on dry land, and people wandered at will about the paltry remains of the waters to collect fish and the like in their hands; then the roaring sea as if insulted by its repulse rises back in turn, and through the teeming shoals dashed itself violently on islands and extensive tracts of the mainland, and flattened innumerable buildings in towns or wherever they were found.

Thus in the raging conflict of the elements, the face of the earth was changed to reveal wondrous sights. For the mass of waters returning when least expected killed many thousands by drowning, and with the tides whipped up to a height as they rushed back, some ships, after the anger of the watery element had grown old, were seen to have sunk, and the bodies of people killed in shipwrecks lay there, faces up or down.

Other huge ships, thrust out by the mad blasts, perched on the roofs of houses, as happened at Alexandria, and others were hurled nearly two miles from the shore, like the Laconian vessel near the town of Methone which I saw when I passed by, yawning apart from long decay. – all from Ammianus Marcellinus (Roman historian)

Also on this day: Brrrrrrr – In 1983, the coldest recorded temperature was captured at Vostok Station.
Destruction – In 356 BC, the Temple of Artemis was destroyed.
Wild Bill Hickok – In 1865, the first shoot out in the wild west took place.
Constitutional – In 1997, the USS Constitution went back out to sea.
James Gang – In 1873, the first successful train robbery was committed by the James Gang.

* “Crete 365 uplift” by Mikenorton – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons –

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Operation Valkyrie

Posted in History by patriciahysell on July 20, 2015
Aftermath of the bomb detonation*

Aftermath of the bomb detonation*

July 20, 1944: Claus Philipp Maria Schenk Graf (Count) von Stauffenberg is unsuccessful. Stauffenberg was born in the Kingdom of Bavaria in the German Empire in 1907. The aristocratic family lived in the family castle with the patriarch being the last Oberhofmarschall of the Kingdom of Wutemberg. They were one of the most distinguished as well as the oldest Catholic aristocracies in southern Germany. On November 11, 1919, the new constitutional law as part of the Weimar Republic, abolished nobility privileges. Stauffenberg agreed with some of the Nazi Party’s nationalistic views, he was dismayed by their treatment of Jews and disrespect of religious freedom. He was also impressed by Hitler’s military acumen. He vacillated between these two positions even prior to the outbreak of war.

He was a loyal officer when the war began and saw much combat throughout the European theater. He was severely wounded on April 7, 1943 when his vehicle was strafed by fighter bombers. He lost his left eye, right hand, and two fingers on his left hand. He was sent home to one of the family castles to recuperate. He was approached (again) by the resistance to help them overthrow the Nazi Party and institute a coup d’état. The assassination of Hitler was part of the plan, the resulting coup was known as Operation Valkyrie. In August 1943, Colonel Henning von Tresckow met with Lieutenant Colonel Stauffenberg. The younger man, sure that Germany was being led to disaster, agreed that the solution was found in the removal of Hitler.

The two men plotted and organized at least four attempts to assassinate the Fuhrer. No one was able to get close enough to Hitler for long enough to complete the job with hand grenades, bombs, or guns. The war situation was worsening. The Gestapo was closing in and the feeling of “now or never” consumed the group. They were able to bring Erwin Rommel, the most popular General in Germany,  into their fold. There was hope to carry out the plan but it was rumored that time was of the essence as impending arrests were on the horizon. Stauffenberg was invited to another Hitler conference on this day and flew in at 10 AM. He arrived with a bomb in his briefcase (again). The conference took place in the main room of the Wolf’s Lair rather than an underground bunker because of heat.

Around 12.30, the conference began. Stauffenberg used a rest room and while hidden away, crushed the pencil detonator inserted into a 2 pound block of plastic explosive wrapped inside paper. It would take about ten minutes before detonation. The set up was hampered by Stauffenberg’s war injuries and because he was interrupted before being able to set a second bomb. A planned phone call came in for Stauffenberg who left the room. Unfortunately, another attendee moved the briefcase with his foot and the bomb was deflected away and did not kill Hitler. The coup failed and over 7,000 arrests were made for the attempt. Stauffenberg was among those arrested. He died the next day at the age of 36. He was executed by firing squad.

Long live our sacred Germany! – Claus von Stauffenberg’s last words

Stauffenberg was motivated by the impulsive passions of the disillusioned military man whose eyes had been opened by the defeat of German arms. – Hans Bernd Gisevius

Had Stauffenberg’s bomb succeeded in killing Hitler, it is unlikely that the military coup planned to follow it would have moved the leading conspirators smoothly into power. – Richard Evans

Stauffenberg had a strong moral imperative – whether this stemmed from an aristocratic code of honour, Catholic doctrine or Romantic poetry – then this also underpinned his initial affinity for National Socialism which Stauffenberg misinterpreted as ‘spiritual renewal.’ – Karl Heinz Bohrer

Also on this day: One Small Step – In 1969, Neil Armstrong stepped out of the Eagle and walked on the moon.
Dethroned – In 1984, Vanessa Williams was asked to step down as Miss America.
Women’s Army Corps – In 1942, the Women’s Army Corps began training.
Special – In 1968, the first Special Olympics were held.
Alexander the Great – In 356 BC, the conqueror was born.

* “Bundesarchiv Bild 146-1972-025-12, Zerstörte Lagerbaracke nach dem 20. Juli 1944” by Bundesarchiv, Bild 146-1972-025-12 / CC-BY-SA. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 de via Wikimedia Commons –,_Zerst%C3%B6rte_Lagerbaracke_nach_dem_20._Juli_1944.jpg#/media/File:Bundesarchiv_Bild_146-1972-025-12,_Zerst%C3%B6rte_Lagerbaracke_nach_dem_20._Juli_1944.jpg

Rome Burns

Posted in History by patriciahysell on July 19, 2015
The Torches of Nero by Henryk Siemiradski

The Torches of Nero by Henryk Siemiradski

July 19, 64 AD: Rome begins to burn. There are no primary accounts surviving so we need to refer to secondary sources. Cassius Dio, Seutonius, and Tacitus refer to previous histories but they all admit that the primary accounts which may have been written by Fabius Rusticus, Cluvius Rufus, and Pliny the Elder were not in agreement as to the events. There were at least five different stories circulating about Nero and his behavior during the fire. Nero was Emperor of Rome from 54 to 68 AD, a period of 13 years. His early rule was a time of diplomacy, increased trade, and improvement of cultural life throughout the Empire. He conducted successful wars with the help of his general, Corbulo. The end of his reign wasn’t as wonderful and as he was denounced as a public enemy and in danger of execution, he committed suicide to end his reign in 68 AD.

At this point in time, he was already not well liked. He either sent men out to start the fires, was insane and started the fires himself, sang and played the lyre while the city burned, blamed the new sect – Christians, or was not even in Rome and was in Antium and the fire was an accident. Tacitus claimed the fires started in an area where flammable goods were stored near the Circus and Palatine hills of Rome. The night was windy and the fire easily spread through the crowded city. The narrow twisting streets worked as wind tunnels and carried the fires to rickety apartment houses crowded together. Without large spaces for things like temples or open areas, the blaze spread quickly.

People ran for their lives but as in desperate situations even today, looters stayed behind to see what they could amass. They may have helped to spread the fire in their hope of gaining more time to loot. Tacitus was one of the authors who claimed Nero was out of town. He was said to have returned and helped to bring food to the masses congregating outside the city walls. He opened gardens and public buildings not ablaze so the displaced people could be sheltered. It took six days to bring the blaze at least partially under control. There were 14 districts in Rome at the time. Three were completely destroyed and only four were completely unharmed.

Modern scholars do not believe that Nero was responsible for the fire. Speculators thought he might have wanted to clear land for his own building projects but it should be noted that his own palace was partially destroyed. If he was hoping to build a new palace he would not have worked so hard to save the one on fire. He saved much of the decorative aspects and when constructing the Domus Aurea, built it to similar specifications and opulence to the palace which was damaged in the fires. It is also unlikely that arsonists would have started the fires as it was just two days after a full moon. With the night sky so bright, they would have risked detection and capture. That is the same if they were arsonists in the employ of the Emperor or Christians trying to burn down Rome for unknown reasons.

The people love Nero. He inspires in them both affection and respect. There is a reason for this which Tacitus omits. One can discern the reason for this popular feeling: Nero oppressed the great and never burdened the ordinary people. – Napoleon Bonaparte

The absolute ruler may be a Nero, but he is sometimes Titus or Marcus Aurelius; the people is often Nero, and never Marcus Aurelius. – Antoine de Rivarol

I wish I could not write. – Nero

What an artist dies in me! – Nero

Also on this day: Tennis, Anyone? – In 1877, Wimbledon championships were first held.
SS Great Britain – In 1843, the largest sailing vessel in the world was launched.
First Teacher – In 1985, Christa McAuliffe was selected to be the first teacher in space.
Raining Rocks – In 1912, Holbrook, AZ was pelted with the fall out of an exploded meteorite.
Three All Alone – In 1909, the first triple play was made by Neal Ball.

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257 Shots

Posted in History by patriciahysell on July 18, 2015
James Huberty*

James Huberty*

July 18, 1984: The San Ysidro McDonald’s mass shooting takes place. James Huberty, 41 years old, mentioned to his wife (who had been abused throughout their marriage) that he believed he had mental health problems. On July 17, he called a mental health clinic and spoke with a receptionist. He was calm and was told someone would call him back in a few hours. He waited by the phone for hours. No one called him back. He eventually left the house, came back an hour later, and the family had dinner. The next day, unemployed Huberty too his wife and daughters to the San Diego Zoo. He told his wife while there that his life was over. The family had lunch at Clairemont McDonald’s and returned home. He left the house later in the afternoon and said goodbye to his family and carried a wrapped bundle out to his car.

At 3.56 PM, he entered the San Ysidro McDonald’s parking lot, about three blocks from the family’s apartment. He entered the restaurant in possession of a 9 mm Browning semi-automatic pistol, a 9 mm Uzi, a Winchester 12 gauge pump-action shotgun, and a bag containing hundreds of rounds of ammunition for each gun. He walked up to the counter and pointed his shotgun at John Arnold (16) who worked behind the counter. He fired, but the gun did not discharge. The manager, Neva Caine (22) walked past the gunman and Huberty fired the gun again, shooting the young woman in the back of the head. She died just minutes later. He then ordered everyone onto the ground.

He began ranting and raving and began a shooting spree as people cowered under tables. His wild spraying of gunfire left many with multiple injuries. Jackie Reyes (18) protected her niece, Aurora Pena. Reyes, who was pregnant, also attempted to shield her 8-month-old son. Reyes was shot 48 times. Pena and the baby survived, but when the baby later cried, Huberty shot him and the baby died of a single gunshot to the back. People came into the parking lot and were shot at. People hiding inside the restaurant were discovered and shot. Anyone nearby seemed to be a target. Emergency calls had gone out, but police were initially sent to the wrong McDonald’s; they arrived within ten minutes.

Eventually 175 officers were brought to the location and were later joined by specially trained SWAT teams. They were told to use any force to stop the shooter. At 5.17 PM, a SWAT sniper on the roof of the nearby post office had a clear line of fire and brought Huberty down with a single shot. During the 78 minutes of terror, Huberty fired 257 rounds of ammunition. He killed 20 people (with another person dying the next day) from age 8 months to 74 years and injured 19 more (ages 4 months to 36 years). McDonald’s donated $1 million to a survivor’s fund and donated the land on which the restaurant sat to the town. Mrs. Huberty has received funds from the survivor’s fund set up by McDonald’s and she unsuccessfully sued both McDonald’s and her husband’s former employer, blaming them for the day’s event.

Goodbye. I won’t be back. – James Huberty, as he left the house

Cruelty and fear shake hands together. – Honore de Balzac

Insanity is relative. It depends on who has who locked in what cage. – Ray Bradbury

Murder is not perpetrated in a vacuum. It is a product of greed, avarice, hate, revenge, or perhaps fear. As a splashing stone sends ripples to the farthest edges of the pond, murder affects the lives of many people. – Erle Stanley Gardner

Also on this day: Perfect – In 1976, Nadia Comaneci received the first perfect score at the Olympics.
Manifesto – In 1925, Hitler’s Mein Kampf was published.
Nero Fiddles? – In 64 AD, Rome burned.
Dent Blanche – In 1862, the mountain was first scaled.
Mary Jo Kopechne – In 1969, Mary Jo did not survive Ted Kennedy’s drive into the water.

* “James Oliver Huberty” by Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia –

Water Music

Posted in History by patriciahysell on July 17, 2015
Water Music with George Frideric Handel  and King George 1

Water Music with George Handel and King George I

July 17, 1717: Water Music by George Frideric Handel has its premiere performance. The work is made of a collection of orchestral movements which are often published as three suites. The first suite, written in F major, opens with a French overture and has eleven sections. The second suite was written in D major and the third in G major. Each of the latter suites contain five sections. There is no set order for the music to be played within the suite and variations are common. Handel, born in the Holy Roman Empire in 1685 was a favorite of British King George I who was also born in the Holy Roman Empire. Future king and composer met while they both were living on the continent and Handel worked for then Elector of Hanover and future King of England. Handel moved to London during the reign of Queen Anne.

George was made king after the death of Queen Anne on August 1, 1714. Bad weather kept him from making his way to England until September 18 and when he was crowned on October 20, there was rioting in more than twenty English towns. George spent much of his reign traveling back and forth to Hanover. George’s son and heir to the throne, also named George, was worried that his own reign might be cut short since his father was living into his old age. The younger George was often in the spotlight, famous for his lavish parties. The King, in order to remind London he was still around and still able to outdo his son, threw a unique premiere for Handel’s concert. It was held on the River Thames.

On a Wednesday evening, the King and several aristocratic and distinguished guests came aboard the royal barge at Whitehall Palace. Since the Thames is a tidal river, the tide coming in allowed for the barge to sail upriver towards Chelsea without rowing. A second barge was provided by the City of London and on this barge, about fifty musicians were placed so they might give this premiere performance of Water Music while actually sailing on the water. The river was full of other boat traffic as Londoners sailed along and were given a free concert, a gift from the King. While in Chelsea, the King left the barge and went ashore for some time and returned to his boat around 11 PM.

King George I was said to have been so pleased with the music that he ordered it to be repeated at least three times. The music accompanied him on his return trip to Whitehall Palace and the musicians’ only break came when the royal personage was off his barge in Chelsea. They finally arrived back at the palace well after midnight. The 1717 London crowd was not the only appreciative audience. Parts of the music have been used in popular culture. The work has been used for background music or in advertising, notably in commercials for the privatization of UK water companies. Walt Disney also used it as background music for the Electrical Water Pageant, a parade of sea creature at the Magic Kingdom. The music was also played in some scenes of Dead Poets Society.

It is much too good for them, they don’t know what to do with it. – comment on ‘borrowing‘ others music

I should be sorry if I only entertained them, I wish to make them better.

You have taken far too much trouble over your opera. Here in England that is mere waste of time. What the English like is something that they can beat time to, something that hits them straight on the drum of the ear.

Every Englishman believes that Handel now occupies an important position in heaven. If so, le bon Dieu must feel toward him very much as Louis Treize felt toward Richelieu. – all from George Frideric Handel

Also on this day: Whoops! – In 1939, Douglas Corrigan took off in the wrong direction.
M-I-C-K-E-Y – In 1955, Disneyland opened in Anaheim, California.
Five and Dime – In 1997, Woolworth closed.
Martyrs of Compiegne – In 1794, sixteen women were killed as the Reign of Terror was winding down.
RMS Carpathia – In 1918, the ship sunk.

Whack, Whack …

Posted in History by patriciahysell on July 16, 2015
Joe DiMaggio

Joe DiMaggio

July 16, 1941: Joltin’Joe sets a Major League Baseball record. Joe DiMaggio was born in California in 1914 as Giuseppe Paolo DiMaggio. He was the eighth of nine children in the family. The father was a fisherman and hoped that his five sons would follow in his footsteps but young Joe would do anything to escape the boat. The smell of dead fish nauseated him. His father called him “lazy” and “good for nothing”. Joe began playing semipro baseball with his older brother, Vince, who talked the manager into letting his baby brother fill in as shortstop. Joe made his professional debut on October 1, 1932 at the age of 17. Between May 27 and July 25, 1933, Joe hit safely in 61 consecutive games, a Pacific Coast League record.

In 1934, Joe tore the ligaments in his knee when he misstepped while getting out of a taxi. It could have ended his career in baseball, but scout Bill Essick of the New York Yankees was sure it would heal and brought Joe in for a look. Joe passed the physical in November and the Yankees purchased his contract from the San Francisco Seals for $50,000 and five players. Joe stayed with the Seals for the 1935 season. He made his major league debut on May 3, 1936 batting ahead of Lou Gehrig. Joe played with the Yankees for his entire MLB career – 13 years. He led the team to nine titles during those years. He signed a record breaking contract in 1949 and became the first baseball player to earn over $100,000 for a year.

The record he created on this day has remained unbroken. Beginning on May 15, 1941 (just weeks before Lou Gehrig died of ALS), Joe began his hitting streak when he was up against the Chicago White Sox and pitcher Eddie Smith. The previous record hitting streak in MLB went for 41 games and was held by George Sisler from his 1922 season. At first, Joe was not trying to break Gorgeous George’s record, but as he got closer both he and the press of the day began to speculate about the possibility. On June 29, Joe broke George’s record when he doubled in the first game of a double header against the Washington Senators and then singled in the nightcap game with a record 42 game streak.

There were close to 53,000 Yankee fans to watch Joe tie Wee Willie Keeler’s 1897 44 game streak. July began with this momentous statistic but Joltin’Joe wasn’t finished. He kept getting hits  and finally broke the 50 game level on July 11 against the St. Louis Browns. In his 56th game on this day, he again safely hit while playing against Cleveland. The next day, while once again facing Cleveland, his string was finally broken. He was walked, but did not get a safe hit. He made the next 16 games, as well and so make it to base for 73 games, 72 of 73 with a safe hit. Another record. He retired at age 37, announcing it on December 11, 1951. He lived to age 84, dying from lung cancer in 1999.

DiMaggio’s streak is the most extraordinary thing that ever happened in American sports. – Stephen Jay Gould

When baseball is no longer fun, it’s no longer a game. – Joe DiMaggio

‘m just a ballplayer with one ambition, and that is to give all I’ve got to help my ball club win. I’ve never played any other way. – Joe DiMaggio

We need a hit, so here I go. – Joe DiMaggio

Also on this day: Phony – In 1951, The Catcher in the Rye was published.
Calendars – In 622, the Islamic calendar began.
No Kissing – In 1451, King Henry VI banned kissing.
Lovely Rita – In 1935, the first parking meter was unveiled.
Hijacked – In 1948, a plane was hijacked.

Treason and Heresy

Posted in History by patriciahysell on July 15, 2015
John Ball's execution

John Ball’s execution

July 15, 1381: John Ball is executed. He was born around 1338 and was an English Lollard priest. This was a religious reform movement led by John Wycliffe, a prominent theologian who was dismissed from the University of Oxford due to his unorthodox preaching. The demands of Western Christianity were supported by many without academic backgrounds, such as John Ball. The Peasants’ Revolt of 1381, also called Wat Tyler’s Rebellion or the Great Uprising, spread across much of England. The rebels were led by Tyler, Ball, John Wrawe, and William Grindecobbe. The Black Death and years of war had led to a decreased workforce and high taxes on the overworked commoner. Ball preached to these poor commoners.

The “hedge priest” (meaning he wandered from village to village and preached without benefit of having his own parish) spread Wycliffe’s message of social equality. He moved about the country and gained a reputation as an engaging speaker with a message dear to the commoners’ hearts. His radical preaching had already brought him into conflict with the Archbishop of Canterbury who had excommunicated him years before. From 1366 on, it was forbidden for him to preach and for others to listen to him. All Ball did was take his preaching outside established churches and preach, in the commoners’ native English rather than church Latin, in the yards outside the buildings. Ball was imprisoned in Maidstone, Kent when the revolt began.

Shortly after the Revolt began, peasants came and helped Ball escape from his prison. He went to an open field at Blackheath, an area southeast of London, and gave a welcome sermon. (See excerpt in quotes below.) After he was done speaking and the rebels dispersed, he was once again taken into custody. He was brought to trial at Coventry and unlike previous times, he was permitted to speak at his trial. He was still found guilty of treason and heresy. He was sentenced to death at the age of 42 or 43.

On this day, with King Richard II in attendance, Ball was hanged, drawn, and quartered. The execution took place at St. Albans. The brutal and excruciating method of execution was saved for those guilty of high treason against the King. After his death, Ball’s head was stuck on a pike and displayed at London Bridge. His quartered corpse was displayed in four different towns, but the names have been lost. Ball gave a voice to the disenfranchised and unheard lower classes at a time when the aristocracy was completely out of touch with the masses. The many poor people were hoping to bring an end to lords’ rights to use them as unpaid labor.

When Adam delved and Eve span (Delved meaning dug the fields, and span meaning spun fabric), Who was then the gentleman?

From the beginning all men by nature were created alike, and our bondage or servitude came in by the unjust oppression of naughty men.

For if God would have had any bondmen from the beginning, he would have appointed who should be bond, and who free.

And therefore I exhort you to consider that now the time is come, appointed to us by God, in which ye may (if ye will) cast off the yoke of bondage, and recover liberty. – all from John Ball’s sermon at Blackheath

Also on this day: What Does it Say? – In 1799, the Rosetta Stone was discovered.
Vast Wasteland – In 1976, the term “couch potato” was first used.
Pacific Aero Products – In 1916, the company that would become Boeing was incorporated.
Mozilla – In 2003, the Mozilla Foundation was established.
Forgotten – In 1910, Alzheimer’s disease was first described.

Out of This World Photography

Posted in History by patriciahysell on July 14, 2015
First TV image of Mars, hand colored

First TV image of Mars, hand colored

July 14, 1965: Out of this world close up pictures are seen on Earth for the first time. Mariner 4 was the fourth in a series of spacecraft intended for planetary exploration via flyby mode and launched by NASA and the United States. The spacecraft was launched on November 28, 1964 via an Atlas Las Vegas-3 Agena-D rocket. The launch took place from Cape Canaveral. Mariner’s octagonal frame measured 50 inches across and was 18 inches high. There were four solar panels attached at the top of the frame and these extended out for a total of 22.57 feet. In the center was mounted a high-gain antenna measuring 46 inches and next to it, on a 88 inch mast was a second low-gain antenna. The entire height of the apparatus was 9.5 feet. The launch mass of Mariner 4 was 575 pounds.

Several scientific instruments were included as part of the payload. These included a helium magnetometer, an ionization chamber and Geiger counter, a trapped radiation detector, a cosmic ray telescope, a solar plasma probe, a cosmic dust detector, and a television camera. The entire setup was powered by the 28,224 solar cells contained in the four solar panels which provided 310 watts as the spacecraft reached its destination: Mars. The telecommunications equipment aboard the ship were dual S-band transmitters and a single radio receiver and with these, data could be sent back or received from Earth. Data could also be stored on a magnetic tape recorder with a capacity of 5.24 million bits for later transmission. There are 8 million bits in a MB and 8 billion in a GB, the storage measurements for today’s smart phones. An old fashioned floppy disk had 1.44 MB of storage capacity.

The rocket launched, the payload separated 30 minutes later. Mariner 4 began cruise operations and successfully open the solar panels. The craft needed one midcourse maneuver which took place on December 5, 1964, a day later than scheduled due to communication issues. The change was completed and the ship was on her way to Mars. Her closest approach was on July 14-15, 1965. The planetary science mode was turned on and the camera sequence began at 7.18 PM, EST. A total of 21 pictures were taken using red and green filters alternately. Another picture was attempted but only 21 lines of the image were captured. The pictures covered a discontinuous line of Mars and represented about 1% of the planet’s surface.

The ship passed behind Mars from Earth’s perspective and the radio signal ceased. About an hour later, contact was once again possible as the ship reappeared and transmission of the taped images could be sent back to Earth. The transmission of the pictures continued until August 3. All pictures were sent back twice to ensure no data was lost. Mariner 4 continued to perform programmed activities and return data until October 1, 1965 when communication once again failed. Data transmission resumed late in 1967 when the cosmic dust detector began recording strikes. On December 21, 1967, communications with the ship were terminated although she continues her heliocentric orbit.

NASA is an engine of innovation and inspiration as well as the world’s premier space exploration agency, and we are well served by politicians working to keep it that way, instead of turning it into a mere jobs program, or worse, cutting its budget. – Bill Nye

By refocusing our space program on Mars for America’s future, we can restore the sense of wonder and adventure in space exploration that we knew in the summer of 1969. We won the moon race; now it’s time for us to live and work on Mars, first on its moons and then on its surface. – Buzz Aldrin

Space exploration is a force of nature unto itself that no other force in society can rival. – Neil deGrasse Tyson

We’d never have got a chance to go outside and look at the earth if it hadn’t been for space exploration and NASA. – James Lovelock

Also on this day: That’s Cool – In 1850, Dr. John Gorrie demonstrated the first air conditioner.
Darien Scheme – In 1698, Scotland tried colonizing in the Americas.
Richard Speck – In 1966, Speck went on a killing spree.
Alta, California – In 1771, a new mission was established.
Big Money – In 1969, large denomination bills were removed from circulation.

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Avoiding the Draft

Posted in History by patriciahysell on July 13, 2015
New York City draft riots

New York City draft riots

July 13, 1863: The New York City draft riots begin. Congress had passed a law to draft men for participation in the Union’s fight in the US Civil War. Unlike later draft laws, this one had a clause which permitted a commutation fee in which someone with $300 ($5,750 today) could hire a substitute to fight for them and thus avoid the draft. Working class men, mostly Irish, were resentful and met to express anger at the draft. The meeting became violent and turned into a race riot. White rioters, again mostly Irish but not limited to them, attacked blacks wherever they found them. The death toll was at least 120 and the numbers given for injuries were about 2,000. Others numbers have been put forth but there is no substantiating data.

New York City’s economy was tied to the South with nearly half of their exports being cotton shipments. Textile mills located in the North also depended on cotton grown in the South. In 1861, New York City Mayor Fernando Wood called for a declaration of separation from both Albany and Washington, D.C. and threw the city’s support to the South. German-born people made up ¼ of the population of the city and many of them did not speak English. Foreign language papers pointed out the scarcity of jobs and the fight over who would get them – blacks or whites. Irish immigrants were wooed by Democratic Party Tammany Hall and encouraged to enroll as citizens so they could vote but this also put them in line for the draft. Black men were excluded from the draft because they were not considered to be citizens.

The first draft numbers had been completed on July 11, 1863 and the second was on Monday, July 13 – ten days after the Union victory at Gettysburg. At 10 AM, a crowd of about 500 attacked the Ninth District provost marshal’s office where the draft was taking place. They began to riot and set the building on fire. When the fire department responded, they attacked their vehicles. Horses pulling streetcars were killed and the cars destroyed. Rioter cut the telegraph lines so calls for help could not get through. The New York State Militia was busy fighting the War and so only the New York City Police Department was available for crowd control. They tried, but were overpowered by the crowd. Led by Superintendent, John A Kennedy, they were able to keep the crowds out of Lower Manhattan. On Tuesday, Kennedy was attacked by the mob and stabbed at least 70 times. He lived, but never fully recovered.

The rioting went on for days and left the city in shambles. Lincoln had to pull troops away from follow up efforts after their momentous win in order to bring order to the city. Eleven black men were lynched and many blacks fled for their lives and the demographics of the city changed. At least 50 buildings were burned, including two churches and the Colored Orphan Asylum (home to 233 children). Property damage was between $1 and 5 million or $19.2 to 95.8 million today. By the end of the war, nearly a half million men had enlisted in the various branches of the military. New York was the most populous state in the Union at the time. About ten percent of those who fought in the war died, more from disease than from injury.

Martial law ought to be proclaimed, but I have not a sufficient force to enforce it. Major General John Wool

The scoundrels cannot afford to miss this golden opportunity of indulging their brutal natures, and at the same time serving their colleagues the Copperheads and secesh [secessionist] sympathizers. – The New York Times editorial

A riot is at bottom the language of the unheard. – Martin Luther King, Jr.

You can’t just lecture the poor that they shouldn’t riot or go to extremes. You have to make the means of legal redress available. – Harold H. Greene

Also on this day: You’re Out – In 1978, Lee Iacocca was fired from Ford.
Hollywood – In 1923, the HOLLYWOOD sign was dedicated.
Pop Goes the Weasel – In 1812, New York City passed its first pawnbroker ordinance.
Cubed – In 1944, Erno Rubik was born.
When the Lights Went Out – In 1977, New York City lost power.

Big History

Posted in History by patriciahysell on July 12, 2015
Book of Chronicles)

Book of Chronicles

July 12, 1493: Liber Chronicarum (Book of Chronicles) is published in Latin. The book is also known by its German name, Die Schedelsche Weltchronik (Schedel’s World History) to honor its author. We know it in English as the Nuremberg Chronicles, honoring the city where it was published. It was written my Hartmann Schedel and illustrated by Michael Wolgemut and Wilhelm Pleydenwurff. It is one of the best documented incunabulum ever written. An incunable is a printed book, pamphlet, or broadside which came out in Europe before 1501. The arbitrary date for the inclusion was decided upon for no particular reason as books published after 1501 are physically the same. There are around 30,000 books today which fall into the category of incunabulum.

Two merchants in Nuremberg commissioned the Latin version of the Chronicles. They also commissioned George Alt to translate the work into German and that work was completed soon after the Latin version appeared. Both books were printed by Anton Koberger. There were a number of contracts issued between the patrons and the various people involved in creating the books and they have been collected and bound together into their own book which is stored in the Nuremberg City Archives. The first contract was entered into in December 1491 and it was with the illustrators who were in charge of design layout, production of the woodcuts used for printing, and even this long ago – guard against piracy. The next contract was with the printers and the patrons were contracted to advance 1,000 gulden to buy supplies for printing and cover early distribution costs.

Schedel was a doctor, humanist, and avid book collector. His personal library contained 370 manuscripts and 670 printed books. He used passages from classical and medieval works from his own library when writing Chronicle. The book itself is an illustrated history which studied the tale of humanity as it was described in the Bible. It also includes histories of some important Western cities. About 90% of the text is pieced together from works by other authors in the humanities, sciences, philosophy, and theology. Only about 10% of the work is Schedel’s original work. He borrowed most from Supplementum Chronicarum, a book written by Jacob Philip Foresti from Bergamo. The Augustinian monk’s work was first printed in 1483 as a supplement to the universal chronicle and it was several volumes long.

There were about 1,400 to 1,500 editions printed in Latin and about 700 to 1,000 versions printed in German. In 1509, a document showed that 539 Latin versions and 60 German version were not sold. About 400 Latin and 300 German version have survived intact into our time. Some of the books have been colored with varying degrees of success. Some of the coloring was added much later and some copies of the books were broken up and sold for individual page sales as prints or hand colored watercolors.

The magic is only in what books say, how they stitched the patches of the universe together into one garment for us. – Ray Bradbury

It is much simpler to buy books than to read them and easier to read them than to absorb their contents. – William Osler

All the historical books which contain no lies are extremely tedious. – Anatole France

What we find in books is like the fire in our hearths. We fetch it from our neighbors, we kindle it at home, we communicate it to others, and it becomes the property of all. – Voltaire

Also on this day: Magic Screen – In 1960, Etch-A-Sketch arrived in stores.
Miners – In 1917, the Bisbee Deportation took place.
Money Issues – In 1933, the US passed her first minimum wage law.
Whoops – In 1979, Disco Demolition Night was a fiasco.
Moors Murders – In 1963, Pauline Reade was killed.