On this day in History
Quote of the day :
Intelligence is enormously sexy.
~ Frank Langella
Picture of the day:
Statue and relief outside the St George’s Hall, opposite Lime Street Station in Liverpool. The verdegre coated bronze statue by Charles Bell Birch is of Major-General William Earle.
Youtube video of the day:
As it’s New Year’s Day and many folks are probably hung over, I found the perfect movie for you: ‘Grabbers‘. It’s a comedy horror on a remote spot in Ireland invaded by face-hugging, blood-sucking aliens – whose one weakness is not kryptonite but alcohol. The safe themselves and the world, Irish villagers have to get as drunk as the lords. Sure it’s a terrible thing y’ ask of us, but we’ll do our best.
Born on this day
- Actor, Frank Langella
- Actor, Verne Troyer
- Actor, Dana Andrews
- Actor, Colin Morgan (young Merlin)
- Actress, Sophie Okonedo OBE
- Actress, Carole Landis
- Actress, Sheila McCarthy
- Author, J. D. Salinger
- Playwright, Joe Orton
- Author, E. M. Forster
- Author and anthropologist, Sir James George Frazer
- FBI Director, J. Edgar Hoover
- Computer scientist, Heinz Zemanek
- French chemist Eugene Anatole Demarcay (b.1852)
An expert in spectroscopy, he discovered the element europium (Eu) and helped Marie Curie confirm her discovery of radium (Ra).
- American revolutionary, Paul Revere (b.1735)
- Seamstress, Betty Ross
She designed the first American flag and personally presented it to President George Washington.
Also on this day in history
45 BC: The Julian calendar was used for the first time.
1660: Samuel Pepys started his diary.
1788: First edition of The Times of London (previously The Daily Universal Register).
1801: The first asteroid is discovered by Italian astronomer Giuseppe Piazzi. It should be pointed out that the asteroid in question was the only dwarf planet in our solar system – Ceres
1801: Kingdom of Great Britain and the Kingdom of Ireland became the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
1877: Queen Victoria became Empress of India
1892: The U.S. government opened an immigrant processing station at Ellis Island, New York.
1894: The Manchester Ship Canal, linking Manchester to the River Mersey is officially opened for traffic.
1901: Australian Commonwealth was established with Edmund Barton as their first prime minister.
1912: The Republic of China was established, ending 2,000 years of dynastic rule in Imperial China by the Qing Dynasty.
1913: U.S. Parcel Post service began.
1913: The British Board of Censors was established.
1937: Safety glass in vehicle windscreens became mandatory in the United Kingdom.
Purely as an aside, one of my many jobs was making safety glass, everything from JCBs and massive coach windows to Aston Martin sidelights and Jaguar XJS backlights.
1942: The Declaration by United Nations was signed by the 26 nations.
1947: The Canadian Citizenship Act 1946 comes into effect, converting British subjects (those who were born, naturalized or domiciled in Canada) into Canadian citizens.
If you didn’t already know, I’m Canadian too!
1945: Eckert and Mauchly sign a contract to build the EDVAC, the first general purpose digital computer. It took nearly 7 years to build.
1948: The British railway network is nationalised to form British Railways.
1950: The U.S. Navy commissioned its first woman doctor, Mary Sproul.
1951: The Archers aired for the first time on BBC radio.
1958: The EEC came into being. Joining members of the alliance were France, Italy, West Germany, Holland and Luxenbourg.
1970: Unix time begins at 00:00:00 UTC/GMT.
1971: Cigarette advertisements were banned on American television.
1973: Britain, Ireland and Denmark joined the EEC.
1985: The Internet’s Domain Name System was created
1985: The first British mobile phone call was made by Ernie Wise to Vodafone.
1993: Single market within the European Community introduced.
1994: The North American Free Trade Agreement came into effect.
1995: The World Trade Organization came into effect.
1998: The European Central Bank established.
1999: The Euro was introduced in 11 countries.
Things go pear-shaped from here on in!
2000: The year that the Y2K bug never happened. The question you have to ask yourself is, did it go with a fizzle rather than a cataclysmic bang despite all the fears – or because of them? Big corporations aren’t in a habit of wasting money if they can help it, and they pay big. As the day loomed closer, the going rate for an experienced COBOL programmer was up to or over £1,000 a day, relocation fees, and all expenses. And that’s in the UK – Multiply this all around the world. Any major incidents got ‘managed’, but the funniest I heard of was a sewage plant in the States dumping its tanks onto a public park. Not pleasant for the locals. but it made me chuckle. Most of the articles are gone now, deleted or lost over the years, but I found this one from the L.A Times (June 18, 1999) :
Y2K Test Sends Sewage Flowing Into Park, Street
Raising concerns about the city’s ability to handle the year 2000 computer problem, a test of the emergency system at a sanitation plant went awry Wednesday night, spilling about 4 million gallons of untreated sewage into part of the Sepulveda Dam Recreation Area before officials could stop it.
Officials at the San Fernando Valley plant had been testing a backup electricity system in anticipation of a possible Y2K power outage when they learned from a park ranger shortly after midnight that sewage was gushing from a maintenance hole in the 2,100-acre recreation area.
Trending at this moment:
Rather amusing, I thought – the trends on Yahoo include ‘fitness courses’, ‘quit smoking’ and ‘weight loss plans’.
All good resolutions, of course, but if you need the impetus of ‘New Year’ to make it, it’s bound to fail. You’ve just spent the last fortnight eating, drinking and lounging in front of the television (or computer for us nerds) – not the best time to decide you WILL turn your life around.
Jaded I am, but if you regularly do an activity – like swimming or sports you see the massive influx the first week or so of the New Year, all bright and eager in Spandex and willpower. You can barely move in the local baths. By week three, the drop-off in numbers is almost a relief. By week 5 or 6, it’s back to the same faces you see all year round. You might gain or lose one or two, but the numbers rarely change overall. The best time to make a resolution is now. The second best time is still now. What are you waiting for? As Master Yoda says,
Do or do not, there is no try.
If you smoke and want to give that up, you might like to read my article on 5.5 trillion reasons to quit smoking