Archive for the ‘Contributions to the World’ Category

John L. Burns

Monday, 1 March 2021

“On the afternoon of July 1, 1863, as the tide of gray soldiers pushed forward towards town, a 69 year old defender confidently strode towards the expanding struggle. A veteran of the War of 1812, John Burns could not simply stand idly by as his home became a hotly contested battle ground. Moving in with the somewhat incredulous men of the Iron Brigade, the near 70 year old Burns fought along side men 50 years his junior. With them he would remain until wounded. Although the Southerners would capture the ground of the McPherson farm that he helped to defend, with assistance from his Union Army comrades, Burns found his way home where he recovered from several wounds received that day. A few months later, John Burns would have the honor of meeting and walking with President Abraham Lincoln when, in November of that year, Lincoln offered his few appropriate remarks to the dedication of the soldiers national cemetery.

Union Lieutenant Frank Haskell, also present for the battle, wrote of his brief contact with Burns. “I saw “John Burns,” the only citizen of Gettysburg who fought in the battle, and I asked him what troops he fought with. He said: “O, I pitched in with them Wisconsin fellers.” I asked what sort of men they were, and he answered: “They fit terribly. The Rebs couldn’t make anything of them fellers.”

And so the brave compliment the brave. This man was touched by three bullets from the enemy, but not seriously wounded.”


According to Burns’s biography in Appleton’s Cyclopedia, during the last two years of his life his mind failed, and his friends were unable to prevent his wandering about the country. He was found in New York City on a cold winter’s night in December 1871, in a state of destitution, and was cared for and sent home, but died of pneumonia in 1872.


[More about John L. Burns here. Colorized image found here, story here. Not sure why the farmhouse photo is distorted.]

This is how to internet: RADIO GARDEN

Tuesday, 23 February 2021

Click on the image, but be forewarned: You’re going to be busy for a while.

Each green dot represents at least one live-streaming radio station to listen to. Features allow roaming by type, location, station saving, and it’s downloadable as an app for Android mobile devices, PC or Mac, or just bookmark it on your browser. I’ve had no trouble listening on Firefox.

Studio Puckey is an Amsterdam based interactive design studio founded in 2016 by Jonathan Puckey. We love the internet.”

Head (bread, kneaded)

Tuesday, 14 January 2020

[From Hans Prinzhorn’s Artistry of the Mentally Ill (1922).]

Klaus-Günter Jacobi’s Contribution To The World

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

If socialism is such a great economic system, why have so many people died trying to escape it?

Risking imprisonment, torture and death, Klaus-Günter Jacobi modified a BMW Isetta to help his friend escape the oppression of East Germany in 1963. Nine others were able to escape using the same method.

[Escaping East Berlin in a 1961 BMW Isetta [via]. Short vid here.]

Armistice Day: The 11th Hour of the 11th Day of the 11th Month, 1918

Monday, 11 November 2019

Veterans Day gives Americans the opportunity to celebrate the bravery and sacrifice of all U.S. veterans. However, many Americans confuse this holiday with Memorial Day.

A Brief History of Veterans Day

Veterans Day, formerly known as Armistice Day, was originally set as a U.S. legal holiday to honor the end of World War I, which officially took place on November 11, 1918. In legislation that was passed in 1938, November 11 was “dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be hereafter celebrated and known as ‘Armistice Day.'” As such, this new legal holiday honored World War I veterans.

In 1954, after having been through both World War II and the Korean War, the 83rd U.S. Congress — at the urging of the veterans service organizations — amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word “Armistice” and inserting the word “Veterans.” With the approval of this legislation on June 1, 1954, Nov. 11 became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.

In 1968, the Uniform Holiday Act ensured three-day weekends for federal employees by celebrating four national holidays on Mondays: Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Columbus Day. Under this bill, Veterans Day was moved to the fourth Monday of October. Many states did not agree with this decision and continued to celebrate the holiday on its original date. The first Veterans Day under the new law was observed with much confusion on Oct. 25, 1971.

Finally on September 20, 1975, President Gerald R. Ford signed a law which returned the annual observance of Veterans Day to its original date of Nov. 11, beginning in 1978. Since then, the Veterans Day holiday has been observed on Nov. 11.

[Source, more at the link. Related posts here.]

John Harrison’s Contribution To The World

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

Self-taught John Harrison spent 43 years overcoming engineering challenges to develop the first marine chronometer. Harrison won a British competition to resolve deep sea navigation problems, but it took him several years to win the full prize.

In 1714, the British government offered a longitude prize for a method of determining longitude at sea, with the awards ranging from £10,000 to £20,000 (£2 million to £4 million in 2019 terms) depending on accuracy. John Harrison, a Yorkshire carpenter, submitted a project in 1730, and in 1735 completed a clock based on a pair of counter-oscillating weighted beams connected by springs whose motion was not influenced by gravity or the motion of a ship. His first two sea timepieces H1 and H2 (completed in 1741) used this system, but he realized that they had a fundamental sensitivity to centrifugal force, which meant that they could never be accurate enough at sea. Construction of his third machine, designated H3, in 1759 included novel circular balances and the invention of the bi-metallic strip and caged roller bearings, inventions which are still widely used. However, H3’s circular balances still proved too inaccurate and he eventually abandoned the large machines.

Harrison solved the precision problems with his much smaller H4 chronometer design in 1761. H4 looked much like a large five-inch (12 cm) diameter pocket watch. In 1761, Harrison submitted H4 for the £20,000 longitude prize. His design used a fast-beating balance wheel controlled by a temperature-compensated spiral spring. These features remained in use until stable electronic oscillators allowed very accurate portable timepieces to be made at affordable cost.

£20,000 in 1714 = ±£3,837,000 in 2018 = ±$4,733,000 USD.

$110k/year is not a bad payoff for a 45 year-long side project. Harrison began as a 21 year-old, and was 66 when he resolved the problem and received the full amount of the prize. He died 17 years later in 1776.

[Image and story here & here.]

Henri Lanos 1888 – Les Travaux de la Tour Eiffel – La Grande Echelle

Monday, 8 July 2019

Henri Lanos (1859-1929) was a French illustrator and painter whose work appeared in French magazines like La Caricature, L’Illustration and Je Sais Tout. He was member of the Société des Artistes Français (French Artists Society).

3-point perspective (1 point + zenith + right) is awesome. He even detailed rivets, and showed Paris’ 1855 Palais de l’Industrie in the distance.

[Found here, via here.]

R.I.P. Tim Conway (1933-2019)

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

The guy was naturally funny, especially when ad-libbing, and he did it all without profanity. Tim Conway was a real class act. We’ll miss him.

[Update:

A cartoonist named Randy Bish posted that tribute (via here).]

 

Robert H. Keaton’s Contribution To The World: The Music Typing Machine

Monday, 6 May 2019

It’s an interesting arrangement that gives the Keaton Music Typewriter its distinctive look. In terms of engineering, thanks to a curved meter on the left that Keaton called the Scale Shift Handle and Scale Shift Indicator, it’s easy to control exactly where the notes and characters fall on the page. By moving the handle up or down a notch, the typewriter adjusts to print 1/24 inch in either direction. Moving one notch up or down will cause the character to fall one musical step either way.

It appears that the typed sheet music in the museum display (the 2nd image) is turned 90 degrees from the way the machine types, or perhaps it’s a different model.

[Images and text found here; Original Patent here; Video here.]

Benjamin J.S. Cahill’s Contributions To The World

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

From the map inset:

“THE NEW STYLE WORLD MAP IS MADE BY CUTTING CROSSES AT 6 EQUIDISTANT POINTS ON THE COVERING OF A SPHERE WHICH IS THEN LAID OUT FLAT.

THE BUTTERFLY MAP

SHOWS THE WORLD JUST ABOUT AS ONE SEES IT ON A GLOBE WITHOUT EXAGGERATION OR DISTORTION OR ERRORS OF DISTANCE, AREA, OR DIRECTION. LONG DISTANCE FLIGHTS ALL OVER THE WORLD CAN BE ACCURATELY COMPARED ON THIS MAP AS ON NO OTHER.”


Bernard Joseph Stanislaus Cahill (1866–1944), cartographer and Architect, was the inventor of the octahedral “Butterfly Map” (published 1909; patented 1913).


At the start of his professional career in 1896, Cahill participated in the Phoebe Hearst competition for the design of the U. C. Berkeley campus. He was elected an Associate Member of the A.I.A. in 1899. He wrote articles for the “California Architect and Building News” and later for “The Architect and Engineer.” An early advocate of city planning, Cahill helped to define the concept of a “civic center” with his 1904 design of the San Francisco Civic Center, which he felt was the basis for the plan adopted by the city in 1912. He continued to be involved in the plan for the city, and wrote letters to the editor and articles expressing his ideas on the proper plan.

A specialist in mausoleum design and mortuary architecture, Cahill designed the catacombs and columbarium for the Cypress Lawn Cemetery, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (San Francisco), Evergreen Memorial Cemetery Memorial Building (Oakland), the St. Mary’s Cemetery mausoleum (Sacramento), and the Diamond Head Memorial Park in Honolulu [more here].


[Map found here.]


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