Little Bits of History

October 30

Posted in History by patriciahysell on October 30, 2017

1965: Jean Shrimpton appears at Derby Day at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne, Australia. She was born in rural England in 1942 and was what is considered to be the world’s first supermodel. She began her modeling career at the age of 17 and was brought to prominence with photographer David Bailey’s help. As she appeared on more magazine covers, her popularity grew. In 1962, the Victoria Racing Club in Australia was seeing waning interest in racing event and added a new twist to their four day Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival event. They began to offer Fashions on the Field competitions in order to attract more women to the racetrack.

In 1965, DuPont de Nemours International hired Shrimpton to go to the Carnival and judge the Fashions on the Field event. She would be traveling for two weeks and as the highest paid model in the world, demanded a £2000 fee. In comparison, The Beatles had been paid £1500 to tour Australia just the year before. The four days of the event included this day as well as Melbourne Cup Day, Oaks Day, and Stakes Day. Shrimpton was paid to promote DuPont’s new acrylic fabric, Orlon. DuPont sent material to Colin Rolfe in order that he might create a suitable wardrobe for the 5 foot 10 inch model.

Styles of the time demanded one be encased in an appropriate dress, a fantastic hat, beautiful accessories including gloves and stockings. Melbourne’s elite horse racing fans were quite demanding in the attire requirements. DuPont did not send quite enough material to Rolfe and he was faced with a challenge. On this day, Shrimpton wore a simple white shift dress without hat, gloves, or stockings. And even more shocking, the dress was a scandalous four inches above her knees. The minidress cause a bit of an uproar and it said to be one of the pivotal moments in women’s fashions.

Shrimpton was given many different names over her modeling career and it was claimed she was the most beautiful woman in the world at the time. She was part of the trend away from voluptuous figures and towards the gamine look. She was part of the Swinging London scene in the 1960s. She was named, in 2009 as one of the 26 best models of all time and in 2012 as one of the 100 most influential fashion icons. Today, she is married to Michael Cox and together they own Abbey Hotel in Penzance, Cornwall, England. It is managed by their son, Thaddeus.

The difference between style and fashion is quality. – Giorgio Armani

Fashion fades, only style remains the same. – Coco Chanel

Fashion is about dressing according to what’s fashionable. Style is more about being yourself. – Oscar de la Renta

Fashion is about dreaming and making other people dream. – Donatella Versace



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Tsar Bomba

Posted in History by patriciahysell on October 30, 2015
Tsar Bomba

Tsar Bomba*

October 30, 1961: The most powerful nuclear weapon to detonate is set off. AN602 was a 60,000 pound thermonuclear bomb which was 26 feet in length and 6.9 feet in diameter. It had a 50 megaton TNT blast yield. This yield is approximately 1,350 times the combined power of the bombs dropped over Hiroshima and Nagasaki and ten times the combined power of all the conventional explosives used during World War II. The energy released is about one quarter of the force of the 1883 eruption of Krakatoa and is responsible for 10% of all the combined yield of nuclear tests to date. It was a three-stage H-bomb and used a fission bomb primary to compress a thermonuclear secondary – usual for H-bomb design. It then added energy from that explosion to compress a much larger additional thermonuclear stage.

AN602 has another name, Tsar Bomba, meaning the Tsar of bombs. It was also sometimes called the Kuz’kina Mat or Kuzma’s mother which referred to Nikita Khrushchev’s vow that the USSR would show the US it’s power during the 1960 UN General Assembly. It was designed by Yulii Borisovich Khariton and his crew. Only one bomb was ever built and it was detonated in the Novaya Zemlya archipelago at Sukhoy Nos near the Barents Sea and close to the Arctic Ocean. Extra casings were made and they are now located in several different Russian museums.

There is some speculation that Tsar Bomba had several third stages rather than one single large one. The initial plans called for an even larger bomb with a 100 megaton yield but it was realized that the nuclear fallout would be too great and that the blast would be so enormous that the plane delivering the bomb would not have enough time to escape the blast range. Even with this size bomb, the nuclear fallout was limited by installing a lead tamper instead of a uranium-238 fusion tamper. This design meant that about 97% of the total energy resulted from fusion alone and so it was one of the “cleanest” nuclear bombs ever created and had a very low fallout level relative to the size of the blast.

A Tu-95V plane needed to be modified so it could deliver the bomb to the testing site. It was flown my Major Andrei Durnovtsev and flown from Kola Peninsula and accompanied by a Tu-16 observer plane, also modified. The second plane was also to collect air samples. Both planes were painted with a special reflective white paint in order to limit heat damage. Tsar Bomba detonated at 11.32 AM (Moscow time) on this date. It was dropped from an altitude of 6.5 miles and was designed to detonate 2.5 miles over the land surface using barometric sensors. The mushroom cloud was about 40 miles high and the fireball could be seen from 620 miles away. The heat from the explosion could have caused third degree burns to people 60 miles from ground zero, had there been any. Windows in Norway and Finland were broken by the shock waves.

One has to look out for engineers – they begin with sewing machines and end up with the atomic bomb. – Marcel Pagnol

When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and you argue about what to do about it only after you have had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb. – J. Robert Oppenheimer

The only use for an atomic bomb is to keep somebody else from using one. – George Wald

The 20th century was a test bed for big ideas – fascism, communism, the atomic bomb. – P. J. O’Rourke

Also on this day: “Isn’t there … anyone?”– In 1938, the radio broadcast of The War of the Worlds led to panic in the streets.
Europe and Asia Linked – In 1973, the first Bosphorus Bridge was completed.
Rebuilding – In 2005, the rebuilt Dresden Frauenkirche was reconsecrated.
Transplant – In 1960, the first kidney transplant in the UK was performed.
Banquet of the Chestnuts – In 1501, Cesare Borgia threw a party.

* “Tsar Bomba Revised” by User:Croquant with modifications by User:Hex – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons –

Banquet of the Chestnuts

Posted in History by patriciahysell on October 30, 2014
Cesare Borgia

Cesare Borgia

October 30, 1501: Cesare Borgia throws a party. Cesare was born on September 13, 1475. His parents were Pope Alexander VI and his long time mistress, Vannozza dei Cattanei. His sister, Lucrecia, came to be synonymous with Machiavellian politics and sexual corruption which characterized the Renaissance Papacy. Cesare entered the priesthood and became a cardinal. After his brother’s death, Cesare resigned his cardinalcy and his father set him up as a prince over territory carved from the Papal States. On this day, he hosted a banquet in his apartments in the Palazzo Apostolico or Apostolic Palace, the official residence of the Pope.

Johann Burchard wrote about the event in his diary. The Latin diary, called Liber Notarum, may be inaccurate. According to Burchard’s report, invited to the party were “fifty honest prostitutes” also called courtesans. The lovely ladies danced with the guests after dinner. They began dancing while clothed, but shed their garments and danced naked. The candles were removed from the tables and chestnuts were strewn around. The naked women picked them up while on their hands and knees. The Pope, Casare, and Lucrecia looked on. Finally, prizes of silk tunics, shoes, and other finery were offered for those who could “perform the act” most often with the women.

William Manchester (1922-2004) added some details in his book, A World Lit Only by Fire. According to this much later rendition of the tale, servants kept score of each man’s orgasms. The pope greatly admired virility and machismo and not only the number of pairings, but the ejaculative capacity was calculated. After everyone was exhausted, prizes were given. The party was such a hit it received its own name and is called the Banquet of the Chestnuts of the Ballet of the Chestnuts. Peter de Roo (1839-1926), a Vatican researcher and Catholic priest, does not agree with the account as given in Burchard’s diary. He claims that although the Borgias may have hosted a party, it was not an orgy as described and certainly not attended by the Pope.

He believes the story was made up and inconsistent with facts. First, Alexander VI was a decent but much maligned man. Second, Burchard’s writing of this event is unlike the rest of writing. And lastly, the majority of writers of the time questioned the veracity of the story and rejected it as lies. Writers of the time have Cesare throwing a party but with valets rather than prostitutes and his sister was missing from the event. If there were any “low harlots” involved, they were at the behest of Cesare and not the Pontiff. Other letters of the times say there were prostitutes there, but no Borgias at all.

I believe that if life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade… And try to find somebody whose life has given them vodka, and have a party. – Ron White

You come home, and you party. But after that, you get a hangover. Everything about that is negative. – Mike Tyson

At a formal dinner party, the person nearest death should always be seated closest to the bathroom. – George Carlin

At every party there are two kinds of people – those who want to go home and those who don’t. The trouble is, they are usually married to each other. – Ann Landers

Also on this day: “Isn’t there … anyone?”– In 1938, the radio broadcast of The War of the Worlds led to panic in the streets.
Europe and Asia Linked – In 1973, the first Bosphorus Bridge was completed.
Rebuilding – In 2005, the rebuilt Dresden Frauenkirche was reconsecrated.
Transplant – In 1960, the first kidney transplant in the UK was performed.

Europe and Asia Linked

Posted in History by patriciahysell on October 30, 2013
Bosphorus Bridge

Bosphorus Bridge

October 30, 1973: The Bosphorus Bridge is completed. The bridge spans the Bosphorus Strait which connects the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara. The Sea of Marmara links via the Dardanelles to the Aegean Sea and from there it is connected to the Mediterranean Sea. The strait is the narrowest used for international navigation. The Bosphorus Strait is ≈ 19 miles long and at its widest measures 12,139 feet across. The minimum width is between Kandilli and Aşiyan where it is only 2,297 feet across. It separates European Turkey from Asian Turkey.

The Bosphorus Bridge was the first bridge linking Asia and Europe. The suspension bridge has a main span of 3,524 feet between the towers. Its overall length is 4,954 feet and it rises 210 feet above sea level. It was the fourth longest suspension bridge span in 1973 with the top three being in the US. The decision to build the bridge was reached in 1957. A British engineering firm designed it and construction began in February 1970.

Suspension bridges have the deck hung below suspension cables held on vertical suspenders. Towers rise up for the cables and the load bearing platform between them is the main span. Modern versions of the suspension bridges date from the 19th century. There are both advantages (the main one is the length of the main span) and disadvantages (deck stiffness chief among them) for these types of bridges.

A bridge in Wheeling, West Virginia was the first “longest span” holder with 1,010 feet between the towers. The bridge held the record from 1848 to 1867 when Cincinnati took the record. By the 20th century, the 1,600 foot bridge in Brooklyn took over. In 1931 the Manhattan George Washington Bridge opened with a span of 3,500 feet. Next on the list was the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge in 1937 with a span of 4,200 feet. New York City again took the longest span with the Verrazano Bridge in 1964 with the span measuring 4,260 feet. Today, the longest span is in Japan with 6,530 feet spanning the Akashi Strait. There are now two bridges linking Asia and Europe as a second Bosphorus Bridge opened in 1988. Traffic between the continents continues to rise and a third bridge is planned.

“Sometimes, if you aren’t sure about something, you just have to jump off the bridge and grow your wings on the way down.” – Danielle Steel

“I would rather be the man who bought the Brooklyn Bridge than the man who sold it.” – Will Rogers

“It is not good to cross the bridge before you get to it.” – Judi Dench

“Narcissism and self-deception are survival mechanisms without which many of us might just jump off a bridge.” – Todd Solondz

This article first appeared at in 2009. Editor’s update: A bridge is a structure built to cross an obstacle which can be water, a valley, or another road. The earliest bridges were natural in construction such as a fallen tree strategically placed for crossing a river or stones that appeared in order to cross with minimal wetness. Earliest manmade bridges were replications of this and consisted of planks spanning the area. Eventually support and crossbeam arrangements were devised. There are bridges that survive from ancient Greece and dating from the Bronze Age. However, the Romans were far more aggressive in their building plans and road systems creating a series of roads and the necessary bridges that spanned the known world. They built elegant arch bridges as well as aqueducts in which they used cement as a building material. As the Roman Empire declined and collapsed and the formula for cement was lost, brick and mortar bridges were built once again.

Also on this day: “Isn’t there … anyone?”– In 1938, the radio broadcast of The War of the Worlds led to panic in the streets.
Rebuilding – In 2005, the rebuilt Dresden Frauenkirche was reconsecrated.
Transplant – In 1960, the first kidney transplant in the UK was performed.


Posted in History by patriciahysell on October 30, 2012

Michael Woodruff

October 30, 1960: Dr. Michael Woodruff performs the first kidney transplant in the UK. Organ transplantation is the moving of an organ from one person to another or from one place in the body to another in the same person for the purpose of replacing the recipients damaged or missing organ. The biggest stumbling block was the rejection of the tissue when supplied by a non-genetically identical donor. The first reliable mention of transplantation was a skin allograft (from one person to another) that took place in India in the second century BC. The first successful corneal allograft was done in 1837 but it was done on a gazelle. The first successful human corneal transplant took place in 1905. During World War I, skin grafting was greatly improved.

The first kidney transplant took place in 1950 when 44-year-old Ruth Tucker received a cadaver kidney. Her body eventually rejected the implanted kidney, but by that time, her other kidney had recovered functionality and she was able to live another five years. The first successful kidney transplant took place in 1954 between identical twins. Rejection was an issue not yet solved and the identical DNA of the twins subverted the problem. On this day, Dr. Woodruff also used identical twins for the first kidney transplant in Edinburgh. By 1964, drugs were available to prevent and treat acute rejection making more transplants possible. However, it was still imperative that tissue matches be as close as possible. The relative ease of the procedure and the fact that living donors can be used has made the procedure more common today.

Dr. Woodruff was born in London in 1911. His father was a veterinarian and moved the family to Australia. Michael studied engineering and mathematics in college, but because of the Great Depression, decided there would be limited job opportunities with that degree. Therefore, he opted to go on to study medicine. He was one of four students from Melbourne who was able to pass the exam for Royal College of Surgeons and finished his degree in 1937. He enlisted in the Medical Corps during World War II. He was eventually captured and made a prisoner of war by the Japanese and remained captive for three and a half years.

In 1957 he was appointed Chair of Surgical Science at the University of Edinburgh. He split his time between practicing medicine and teaching. His group’s principal investigation centered around immunological tolerance, the basis for tissue rejection, and immune responses to cancers in a variety of animals. He is best remembered for this kidney transplant between identical twin 49 year olds. Both twins survived the procedure and his patient lived for an additional six years before dying of an unrelated disease.

Dedicated researchers seek better treatments and cures for diabetes, kidney disease, Alzheimer’s and every form of cancer. But these scientists face an array of disincentives. We can do better. – Michael Milken

I had been living with dialysis for three years or so, and the new kidney felt like a reprieve, a new gift of life. I felt alive again and I guess that has had an effect on my use of colour. – Peter Wright

Individuals with kidney disease who are able to obtain treatment early experience a higher quality of life and are able to maintain more of their day-to-day activities, including keeping their jobs. – Xavier Becerra

I think we can allow the therapeutic uses of nuclear transplant technology, which we call cloning, without running the danger of actually having live human beings born. – David Baltimore

Also on this day:

“Isn’t there … anyone?”– In 1938, the radio broadcast of The War of the Worlds led to panic in the streets.
Europe and Asia Linked – In 1973, the first Bosphorus Bridge was completed.
Rebuilding – In 2005, the rebuilt Dresden Frauenkirche was reconsecrated.


Posted in History by patriciahysell on October 30, 2011

The many faces of Frauenkirche

October 30, 2005: The rebuilt Dresden Frauenkirche is reconsecrated. Frauenkirche is a Lutheran church in Dresden, Germany which was destroyed in the fire-bombing of Germany during World War II. The church was originally built in the 11th century outside the city walls of Dresden. It was the seat of the Diocese Meissen until the Reformation when it became a Protestant church. The first church was torn down in 1727 and rebuilt to accommodate a larger congregation. The citizens paid for the new construction.

This Baroque church was built between 1726 and 1743 and was designed by Dresden’s city architect, George Bahr. He did not live to see the church finished. A three-manual, 43-stop organ was built for the new church and dedicated by Johann Sebastian Bach. The church was crowned by a 315-foot high dome called die Steineme Glock or “Stone Bell.” The stability of the sandstone dome resting on eight supports was proven when it was stuck by more than 100 cannonballs during the Seven Year’s War.

Although able to stand the Prussian assault, on February 13, 1945 the Allied Forces proved to be too much for the church. They began their bombing of Dresden on that day and did not immediately destroy the church. However, after days of dropping over 650,000 incendiary bombs on the city, the church was felled by the intense heat. The dome collapsed on February 15 at 10 AM with the pillars glowing red from the 1000 degree heat.

Reconstruction was delayed after the war due to political issues. When finally underway, the original plans of George Bahr were used. Reconstruction finally began in January 1993 under engineer Eberhard Burger’s direction. There were millions of stones used in the rebuilding and of those about 3,800 were salvaged from the wreckage of the older church. The new dome was forged in London using as many of the 18th century techniques as possible. Once a month, an Anglican Evensong in English is held at the church with clergy sent from Berlin. The Church of Our Lady is a testament to the reconciliation between two warring enemies.

“Germany’s fate is decided first and foremost in Europe. Reconciliation and cooperation in Europe have brought us freedom, peace and prosperity. Who would have dared to believe so much 50 years ago?” – Horst Koehler

“In history, the moments during which reason and reconciliation prevail are short and fleeting.” – Stefan Zweig

“Reconciliation requires changes of heart and spirit, as well as social and economic change. It requires symbolic as well as practical action.” – Malcolm Fraser

“The practice of peace and reconciliation is one of the most vital and artistic of human actions.” – Nhat Hanh

Also on this day:
“Isn’t there … anyone?”– In 1938, the radio broadcast of The War of the Worlds led to panic in the streets.
Europe and Asia Linked – In 1973, the first Bosphorus Bridge was completed.

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