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Thread: Notable News!

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    On this day in 1955, Rosa Parks broke the law by refusing to give up her seat to a white man on a city bus in Montgomery, Alabama, resulting in her arrest. At the time, she said that she was just too tired to stand that day, but she later admitted that she'd challenged the law on purpose, because she thought it was wrong. Her protest worked, sparking a year long boycott of the buses by blacks in Montgomery that helped lead to the end of segregation.

    ~

    It was on this day in 1862 that Abraham Lincoln gave the State of the Union address at one of the lowest points of his presidency. An end to the Civil War was nowhere in sight. Just 10 weeks before, Lincoln had issued his Emancipation Proclamation, turning the war into war about slavery rather than just states rights. But in the recent election, anti-Lincoln Democrats had made big gains in the Congress. Many people saw that as a sign that the North didn't want to fight to free the slaves. People wondered if the war could ever be won, if the Union had been lost forever. And if the Union had been lost, perhaps the democratic experiment of the United States had actually been a failure.
    Instead of expressing doubts in his speech, Lincoln argued that freeing the slaves was necessary to ensure that America live up to its own ideals. In his speech, on this day in 1862, Lincoln said, "The fiery trial through which we pass will light us down, in honor or dishonor, to the latest generation. We say we are for the Union. The world will not forget that we say this. We know how to save the Union. ... In giving freedom to the slave, we ensure freedom to the free, honorable alike in what we give, and what we preserve. We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last, best hope of earth."
    ***********************
    We must be willing to get rid of the life weve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.
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    It was on this day in 1942 that scientists working on the Manhattan Project at the University of Chicago conducted the first-ever man-made nuclear reaction. The leader of the experiment was the Italian immigrant Enrico Fermi, who had won a Nobel Prize for discovering fission. He had realized that if you split an atom with a neutron, the split atom would produce more neutrons, which could then split other atoms, and so on, creating a chain reaction. To test the idea, he and his assistants built a makeshift nuclear reactor on an unused squash court near the university's football field, constructing a pile of uranium bricks interspersed with graphite blocks to slow down the neutrons. They used neutron-absorbing cadmium rods to delay the reaction until they were ready. A couple of young physicists stood on a scaffold over the pile with buckets of liquid cadmium as an emergency measure in case there was a meltdown.
    They started the reaction at 9:45 a.m., withdrawing all the cadmium rods so that the uranium neutrons would begin splitting atoms. The only way they could observe what was happening was with their Geiger counters, which measured the number of neutrons in the room. As the rods were removed, the Geiger counters made a clicking sound that grew faster and faster, until they began to make a sound that one of the eyewitnesses described as a roar. Finally, Fermi announced that the reaction had reached critical mass, and they reinserted the rods to shut it down. People applauded, but nobody cheered. They celebrated with paper cups of Chianti, but nobody made a toast. One of the young physicists there that day said, "We had known that we were about to unlock a giant; still, we could not escape an eerie feeling when we knew we had actually done it."
    ***********************
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    It's the birthday of photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt, born in a part of Prussia that is now Tczew, Poland (189. He was just over five feet tall, so people never noticed him, and he was often able to capture surprising moments between real people. It was he who took the famous photograph of a sailor kissing a nurse at the end of World War II.

    ~

    Today is the anniversary of two terrible explosions: the Monongah Mining Disaster and the Halifax Explosion. The Monongah Disaster took place at about 10:00 in the morning on this day in 1907 in Monongah, West Virginia. An explosion in the mine shook the ground as far as eight miles away. Nearby buildings were destroyed, streetcars were knocked over, and people in the local town were thrown to the ground. In all, 362 men and boys died from the explosion and the cave in. It was the worst mining disaster in American history.

    And it was on this day in 1917 that an accidental explosion destroyed a quarter of the city of Halifax, Nova Scotia. It was the height of World War I, and Halifax was serving as an important port city for many of the ships carrying supplies for the battlefront. One of the ships coming into the port that day was a French supply ship called the Mont Blanc, carrying 200 tons of TNT, 2300 tons of other explosives, as well as ten tons of cotton, and thirty-five tons of highly flammable chemicals stored in vats on the ship's upper deck. On its way into port, the Mont Blanc collided with a Norwegian freighter, which started a fire, and the crew of the Mont Blanc piled into lifeboats and then paddled frantically away.
    The fire on the Mont Blanc drew a crowd of onlookers along the shore of the channel. The docks filled with spectators, trams slowed down, people stood at office windows and on factory roofs to see the blaze. Then, a few minutes after the fire had started, the Mont Blanc exploded. It was the single most powerful man-made explosion at that point in human history.
    The blast wave of water hit the shore, sweeping away buildings, bridges, roads, vehicles, and people. City streets split open. Houses, churches, schools, and factories collapsed. Virtually every building in the city had its windows broken. About a quarter of the city, was completely destroyed. More than 2,000 people were killed and more than 9,000 were injured. It was the worst disaster of any kind in Canadian history.
    One of the only people who had known about the cargo of the ship was a dispatcher at the yardmaster's office. As soon as he'd realized what was happening, he began telegraphing warnings around the city, and he kept sending out warnings even though he knew that an explosion could come at any minute. He died at his post.
    ***********************
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    It was on this day in 1941 that Japanese bombers attacked Pearl Harbor. That morning soldiers at Pearl Harbor were learning how to use their new radar technology, and they detected a large number of planes heading toward them. They telephoned an officer to ask him what to do. The officer said they must be American B-17s on their way to the base, and he told the soldiers not to worry about it.
    The Japanese bombers began their attack at 7:48 a.m., with two waves of 360 planes, beginning with slow torpedo bombers and then dive-bombers. Many of the soldiers there that day woke up to the sound of alarms and explosions. Most of the damage occurred in the first 30 minutes. The U.S.S. Oklahoma capsized, and the California, Nevada, and West Virginia sank in shallow water. The U.S.S. Arizona was completely destroyed, killing more than 1,500 soldiers aboard. When nurses arrived for morning duty they found hundreds of injured men all over the base. The nurses ran around, administering morphine, and to prevent overdoses, they wrote the letter M on each treated man's forehead.
    There were ultimately 2,390 Americans killed at Pearl Harbor and 1,178 wounded. FDR used the event as the grounds for entering World War II.
    ***********************
    We must be willing to get rid of the life weve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.
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    There are three kinds of people : Those who can count and those that can't.




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    It's the birthday of the man who made it easier for people to find library books, Melvil Dewey, born in Adams Centre, New York (1851). He started out as a librarian at Amherst College, where, like most libraries, the books were organized by size and color. Librarians just had to memorize where books were located, and it often took hours to find obscure titles. Dewey decided he could come up with a better way. The result was his Dewey Decimal System.
    He divided all human knowledge into 10 main categories and then assigned each category a numerical value: 000-099 would be general works; 100-199 would be philosophy and psychology; 200-299 would be religion, and so on. And then each subject within the major categories could be assigned a numerical value within that range, allowing for infinite subdivisions, so that all books on similar subjects could be shelved near each other. Dewey first published his idea in 1876. His organizational system has since been translated into more than 30 languages, and it is in use in libraries in more than 100 countries around the world.
    ***********************
    We must be willing to get rid of the life weve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.
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    It's the birthday of Frank Sinatra, (music by this artist) born in Hoboken (1915), who got a job with his first singing group only because he had his own car and could drive the group to gigs. They won an amateur singing contest on a radio show with the largest call-in vote in the show's history. Sinatra eventually began working on his own, singing in bars, and the trumpeter Benny Goodman saw one of his performances, and offered to hire him as a vocalist for $75 a week. But he told Sinatra that he had to change his awful name. Sinatra said, "You want the voice, you take the name." And so he got to keep it.
    His first booking as a soloist was an eight-week run at New York's Paramount Theatre, longer than any other solo engagement at the Paramount up to that time. His press agent was so nervous about his debut that he hired a dozen girls to stand at the front of the theater to swoon and scream, but it wasn't necessary. Hundreds of other women showed up and did the same thing.
    Sinatra became famous as a crooner, but his vocal chords ruptured during a performance at the Copacabana. He was photographed in the company of known mobsters, he was constantly in the tabloids, and his record label dropped him. So he went back to singing small joints, theaters, and saloons and slowly built his confidence back up. He approached Capitol Records for a new recording contract, and the result was a new Sinatra. Instead of a crooner, he sounded like an everyman. He could sing all kinds of songs: pop, swing, jazz, show tunes, and ballads, and he went on to become one of the most successful solo singers in history, recording "I Get a Kick Out of You," "Young at Heart," "All of Me," "What Is This Thing Call Love?" and "That's Life."
    ***********************
    We must be willing to get rid of the life weve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.
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    There are three kinds of people : Those who can count and those that can't.




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    It was on this day in 1900 that the physicist Max Planck published his theory of quantum mechanics. He was trying describe the behavior of light in his experiments, but found that the only way he could do it was to assume that light travels in little packets, which didn't make sense to him. He called his theory "an act of desperation." He assumed that some future physicist would figure out what he had done wrong. But it turned out that he wasn't doing anything wrong. Physicists have been exploring and describing the strange behavior of light and subatomic particles ever since.
    The basic idea behind quantum mechanics is that particles of light, as well as other subatomic particles, are by nature unpredictable. If you shoot them across the room, you can never predict exactly where they will end up. The Danish physicist Niels Bohr once said that a person who was not shocked by quantum theory did not understand it, and the physicist Richard Feynman once said that while only a modest number of people truly understand the theory of relativity, no one understands quantum mechanics. Max Planck himself died in 1947, and he never came to fully accept the theory he discovered on this day in 1900. But his discovery led to the development of modern electronics, including the transistor, the laser, and the computer.
    ***********************
    We must be willing to get rid of the life weve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.
    ~Joseph Campbell

    There are three kinds of people : Those who can count and those that can't.




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    kewl find miss holli!

    will be interesting to hear the rest of the story after they catalog all the goodies.

    j
    ***********************
    We must be willing to get rid of the life weve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.
    ~Joseph Campbell

    There are three kinds of people : Those who can count and those that can't.




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