Quote of the day :
Obviously, because of my disability, I need assistance. But I have always tried to overcome the limitations of my condition and lead as full a life as possible. I have traveled the world, from the Antarctic to zero gravity.
~ Stephen Hawking, born this day, putting things into perspective.
Picture of the day :
Today’s photograph is a lioness taking a nap.
Youtube video of the day :
Plenty of tracks to choose from for David Bowie, whose birthday it is today. I’ve always liked this ‘Within you’ from the excellent fantasy film Labyrinth, starring Bowie, Jennifer Connelly and a bunch of muppets.
Born on this day…
Born today :
- Rock ‘n’ Roll legend, Elvis Presley
- Singer and actor, David Bowie
- Singer and guitarist, Terry Sylvester
- Singer, Shirley Bassey
- Comedian and actor, Graham Chapman
Best known for Monty Python
- Actor, Roy Kinnear
- Actor, William Hartnell
The first Dr Who
- Actor, Kerwin Mathews
- Actor, Ron Moody
- Actress and writer, Amber Benson
Perhaps best remembered as Tara in ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’
- Actress, Rachel Nichols
- Actress, Michelle Forbes
- Painter and illustrator, Boris Vallejo
- Fantasy author, Terry Brooks
Shannara and Landover series.
(He is of my top five favourite recommended writers, the others including Terry Pratchet, Raymond E. Feist and Anne McCaffrey. The fifth, if you are curious is, of course, whatever I am reading at the moment. I can however go on to name another 50 I like, ranging from Asimov to Harper Lee and Lee Child through to Zelazny. I’m not actually sure how many books I’ve read, but it’s over 10,000…)
- Author, Dennis Wheatley
- Author, Jack Womack
- Author, William Collins (b.1824)
Wrote one of the first detective novels – ‘The Moonstone’
- Publisher, Frank Nelson Doubleday (b.1862)
- Physicist, Stephen Hawking
- Princess, Caroline of Monaco (b.1957)
- Economist professor and pacifist, Emily Greene Balch
Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1946.
It’s incredibly telling that despite being awarded the Peace Prize for her lifelong work for peace and disarmament, her own government blanked her. As it says in her entry in the offical Nobel prize web site, ‘The official US had long regarded her as a dangerous radical’ and, along with 1931 Peace Prize Laureate Jane Addams, she was stamped as a ‘dangerous dissent’. If they had listened and acted WWII could have been avoided – but there’s so much money to be made in war, hmmm.
Also on this day in history
1675 : First American commercial corporation chartered (NY Fishing Company)
1800 : Opening of soup kitchens for the poor in London
1835 : The United States national debt is zero for the only time.
It’s also interesting to note a Whitehouse infographic on the US National Debt that states:
At the end of the Clinton Administration in 2001 the United States was on track to pay off its debt and accumulate +$2.3 trillion is savings by 2011
Instead – by the Whitehouse’s own admission – in the past decade the Bush and Obama policies have run up more than a trillion dollars in debt a year – every year.
A global debt clock on The Economist calculates the current world public debt at $52,513,000,000,000 and rising every second. It does break it down by country so while places like Russia and China are doing fine, Europe and America are obviously in trouble. Nation Debt Clocks gives easy to digest figures, though they differ from the Economists. However you look at it, regardless of size, any country – like the US – whose debts are more than the country earns is bankrupt!
(Bankrupt, adjective, (of a person or organization) declared in law as unable to pay their debts.).
China: The public debt is 16.5% of GDP, $1,158 per person
UK: 95.2% of GDP, $38,500 per person
Ireland: 125.8% of GDP, $57,000 per person
Or take Greece: 154% of GDP, $30,300 per person
(There’s two definitions for a trillion, the one used 1,000 billion, or a million million, so 1,000,000,000,000 or 1012 rather than the old British cardinal number which is a tri-million – million million million or 1018)
1856 : Gail Borden received a United States and a British patent for condensed milk.
1889 : Dr Herman Hoperith of New York patented the first punch card computer. (US patent #395,791 for the ‘Art of Applying Statistics’) His Tabulating Machine Company that later merged which 3 others and became IBM.
1935 : The spectrophotometer patented was AC Hardy.
1937: Noting the unusually bad weather in the states at present (2014), I found this: record cold hit Nevada, dropping to -50° F at San Jacinto.
1943 : Casablanca, starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, was released in theaters across the U.S.
1954 : Elvis Presley payed $4 to a Memphis studio and recorded his first two songs, "Casual Love" & "I’ll Never Stand in Your Way"
1958 : Bobby Fisher won the US Chess Championship – aged just 14
1959 : Charles de Gaulle was proclaimed the first president of the fifth Republic of France
1966 : Stevie Wonder appeared at The Cavern Club, Liverpool, England.
1973 : Soviet space mission Luna 21 was launched. Luna 21 landed on the moon and deployed the second Soviet lunar rover, Lunokhod 2.
1987 : The Dow Jones industrial average closed above 2,000 for the first time, ending the day at 2,002.25
1994 : Russian cosmonaut Valeri Polyakov on Soyuz TM-18 left for the Mir space station, staying there until March 22, 1995, a record 437 days in space.
1996 : Again, noting the bad weather currently affecting North America (2014), in 1996 a blizzard buried eastern US causing at least 50 deaths, you can add the ice storms of 1998 to that too.
2004 : The largest passenger ship in history, the RMS Queen Mary 2, was christened by Queen Elizabeth II (Queen Mary’s granddaughter).