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June 2007 Archives

June 30, 2007

This Day In History: June 30

This Day in History

1906: The Pure Food and Drug Act and the Meat Inspection Act are both passed.
1934: In the "Night of the Long Knives," German dictator Adolf Hitler has Ernst Röhm and other SA dissidents murdered.
1960: The independent Congo (now Zaire) is proclaimed by King Baudouin of Belgium , the former colonial power.
1966: NOW (the National Organization for Women) is founded.
1971: The 26th Amendment, lowering the voting age from 21 to 18, is ratified. The Supreme Court upholds the right of the New York Times and Washington Post to publish the classified Pentagon Papers, on U.S. involvement in Vietnam. Three Soviet cosmonauts aboard Soyuz 10 die when there is a loss of pressurization during reentry.
1977: The Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO), an alliance of nations to provide defense and economic cooperation in Southeast Asia and the South Pacific area, is disbanded.
1982: The proposed Equal Rights Amendment dies when its ratification deadline passes.
1999: The independent counsel statute lapsed, and the power to appoint special counsels reverts to the attorney general.
2004: After nearly 7 years in space, the Cassini spacecraft becomes the first ever to orbit the planet Saturn. For the first time in four years, the Federal Reserve raises interest rates in an attempt to curb inflation.

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June 29, 2007

This Day In History: June 29

This Day in History

1620: The Inquisition of New Spain publishes an order prohibiting the use of peyote, a small spineless psychedelic cactus, for any purpose.
1913: A Bulgarian general, acting without orders from his government, launches an attack on Serbian defensive positions, precipitating the Second Balkan War.
1941: NY Yankee Joe DiMaggio breaks the American League baseball record of hitting safely in 41 straight games.
1956: The interstate highway system is inaugurated by the signing of the Federal-Aid Highway Act.
1966: U.S. planes begin bombing the Hanoi area of North Vietnam.
1972: In the case of Furman v. Georgia, the Supreme Court rules the death penalty is unconstitutional because it is a "cruel and unusual punishment."
1995: The space shuttle Atlantis and the Russian Mir station dock, creating the largest artificial satellite to orbit the Earth.
2001: The UN General Assembly unanimously reelects Kofi Annan for a second term as Secretary-General.

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June 28, 2007

NatWest Island Games

islandgames_logo2.jpgChina has the 2008 Summer Olympics. Rio De Janeiro has the 2007 Pan American Games. But Rhodes has the NatWest Island Games XII. Oh, never heard of them either? Perhaps that’s because participants must come from one of 25 member islands scattered across the Atlantic from the Orkneys to the Falklands.

First held at the Isle of Man in 1985, the Island Games are held every other year. This year’s games will be held from June 30 to July 6 on the tiny Greek island of Rhodes. Their website claims that this year’s event will draw about 3,000 competitors (more than the 2006 Winter Olympics) to compete in 14 sports.

One of the competitors, Andy Cannell from the Isle of Man, has kept a blog while training for the triathlon on July 6.

International Island Games Assoc.
NatWest Island Games XII

This Day In History: June 28

This Day in History

1914: Archduke Francis Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary and his wife are murdered in Sarajevo, touching off a conflict that escalates into World War I.
1919: The Treaty of Versailles is signed, formally ending World War I.
1940: During World War II, the Free French are organized in London for the purpose of carrying on the war against Germany after France surrenders.
1950: Seoul falls to North Korea in the Korean War.
1978: The Supreme Court rules against racial quotas in the case of Bakke v. University of California.
1997: In a heavyweight boxing bout, challenger Mike Tyson bites off a piece of Evander Holyfield's right ear; Tyson is disqualified and Holyfield retains his WBA title.
2000: Six-year old Cuban refugee Elian Gonzalez is returned to his father in Cuba after his Florida relatives lose a 7-month legal battle to keep him in the U.S.
2001: A District of Columbia U.S. appeals court ruling unanimously overturns a previous court order to break up Microsoft Corp.
2004: In an unannounced and tightly secured ceremony, the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq officially transfers power to a new sovereign Iraqi government, two days before the deadline for the changeover. The U.S. Supreme Court rules that persons held as enemy combatants of the U.S. may argue their cases in court.

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June 27, 2007

This Day In History: June 27

This Day in History

1844: Mormon leader Joseph Smith is killed by a mob in Carthage, IL.
1893: The NY stock market crashes, leading to financial panic and a 4-year depression.
1950: Pres. Harry Truman orders the U.S. Air Force and Navy to Korea to fight the Korean War. The United States sends 35 military advisers to South Vietnam and agrees to provide military and economic aid to the anti-Communist government there.
1969: In an incident that marks the birth of the homosexual rights movement, police clash with the patrons of a gay bar, the Stonewall Inn, in New York City.
2002: The U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, approves school vouchers by upholding a Cleveland, OH program that provided public funds to help parents pay tuition at nonpublic schools.

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June 26, 2007

Image, Reconstruct, Erase Noise, Etc (IRENE)

IRENE%20Rec.jpg A bit like Arthur Lintgen, Berkeley Lab physicists Carl Haber and Vitaliy Fadeyev have developed a computer that “reads” records. IRENE (Image, Reconstruct, Erase, Noise, Etc.) scans thousands of high-resolution digital images of a record’s surface, maps them out, and then replicates the audio by analyzing the grooves—all without using a needle. In the process, they can also visually edit out scratches and dust. Since a needle isn’t needed, the record can be warped, moldy, or even broken. Berkeley Labs is hosting some samples on their site, including “Goodnight Irene” of course. They also have an introductory video (QT .mov, 32,953 KB).

Since August, Haber and Fadeyev have been helping the Library of Congress recover and preserve the sound from rare or delicate recordings. They have also developed a device to scan 3D recordings like wax cylinders.

As they point out, these processes are no way superior to current restoration methods. Yet they’re much safer than using a needle on fragile mediums like acetates, shellac, wax, cellulose, and metal foil. Instantly having unlimited copies of the digitized audio file is a nice bonus, too.

Sound Reproduction R & D Home Page (Lawrence Berkeley Natl. Lab.)
From the new Library of Congress blog.

This Day In History: June 26

This Day in History

1900: The United States announces that its troops will join those of other nations in thwarting the rebels in China's Boxer Rebellion.
1917: The first U.S. troops arrive in Europe to fight World War I.
1945: The UN Charter is signed by 50 nations in San Francisco.
1959: Pres. Dwight D. Eisenhower and Queen Elizabeth II jointly dedicate the St. Lawrence Seaway at ceremonies in St. Lambert, Quebec, Canada.
1963: John F. Kennedy, visiting a divided Berlin, speaks the famous words "Ich bin ein Berliner."
1968: Iwo Jima, held by the U.S. since World War II, is returned to Japan.
1993: In retaliation for an alleged Iraqi plot to kill former Pres. George Bush when he visited Kuwait in March, the United States launches a missile attack on Iraqi intelligence headquarters in Baghdad.
2000: In a major scientific breakthrough, two teams of scientists announce completion of a basic structural map of the human genome.
2003: The U.S. Supreme Court strikes down a Texas sodomy law.

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June 25, 2007

This Day In History: June 25

This Day in History

1788: Virginia enters the Union as the tenth of the original thirteen states.
1876: Col. George Armstrong Custer and 264 soldiers of the 7th Calvalry are killed by the Sioux in the Battle of Little Big Horn, MT.
1938: The national minimum wage is enacted.
1950: North Korean forces cross the 38th parallel into South Korea, beginning the Korean War.
1972: John Dean, former counsel to Pres. Richard Nixon, tells Senate hearings that Nixon, his staff and campaign aides, and the Justice Dept. conspired to cover up facts about Watergate.
1975: Mozambique becomes independent.
1998: The Supreme Court strikes down the line-item veto, which would have let the president veto parts of a spending bill while approving the rest.
2002: Telecommunications giant WorldCom says it hid $3.8 billion in expenses, in the largest write-down in U.S. history.

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June 22, 2007

Fewer Smokers in the Big Apple

Before New York City’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg quit the Grand Old Party, he quit smoking. After reading today’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, let’s hope that he shows more mercy towards the Republicans than he has towards Joe Camel.

NYCSmokingChart.gif
In the report, the Center for Disease Control states that the number of smokers in New York City has decreased 19% since 2002, or by about 240,000 people. Only 17.5% of New Yorkers currently smoke. The year 2002 is important because Mayor Bloomberg raised cigarette taxes from $1.19 to $3 a pack. In March 2003, he made New York the first major east coast city to ban smoking in all workplaces, including restaurants, bars, and entertainment venues. Last year, he personally paid $125 million for an anti-smoking ad campaign that the average New Yorker saw 110 times, according to the CDC.

I believe the most significant part of the report is that smoking among young adults (18-24 years) has dropped 34.9%. Only 11.2% of young New Yorkers smoke. That’s less than half the national average of 23%.

Decline in Smoking Prevalence --- New York City, 2002--2006 (CDC.gov)

This Day In HIstory: June 22

This Day in History

1897: Queen Victoria of Britain celebrates her Diamond Jubilee
1937: Joe Louis KOs James J. Braddock to become world heavyweight boxing champion.
1940: France is forced to sign an armistice with Nazi Germany.
1941: Germany declares war on and invades the Soviet Union in one of the turning points of World War II .
1944: The GI Bill of Rights is signed, providing benefits to veterans.
1964: Three civil rights workers—James Cheney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner—are reported missing in Mississippi; their bodies are later found.
2004: Former U.S. president Bill Clinton publishes his memoirs, My Life, which becomes an immediate best-seller. In response to the Iraqi prisoner abuse scandal, the Bush administration releases hundreds of previously classified documents relating to the treatment of detainees in U.S. military prisons.

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June 21, 2007

This Day In History: June 21

This Day in History

1768: When British customs officials in Boston seize merchant John Hancock's sloop Liberty, thousands of Bostonians riot, threatening the customs commissioners' lives and forcing them to flee the city.
1788: New Hampshire becomes the 9th state to ratify the Constitution, which thus can go into effect.
1791: French king Louis XVI and queen Marie Antoinette are apprehended at Varennes while attempting to escape from France.
1943: Race riots occur in Detroit, where 34 are killed and 700 injured, and in New York City's Harlem, where 6 are killed.
1945: During World War II, U.S. forces capture Okinawa after more than 2 months of fighting.
1982: John W. Hinckley Jr., who shot Pres. Ronald Reagan and 3 other men in 1981, is found not guilty by reason of insanity.
2004: For the first time, a privately owned craft carries a human being into space.

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June 20, 2007

This Day In History: June 20

This Day in History

1756: According to a contemporary British account, prisoners taken in India by the nawab of Bengal die in the Black Hole of Calcutta, a small airless dungeon. The event arouses great anger among the British and is used as an excuse for harsh retaliation.
1789: In France, representatives of the third estate (commoners) meeting in Versailles defy the king and swear the Tennis Court Oath, stating that they will not dissolve until they have drafted a constitution for France.
1863: West Virginia is admitted to the Union as the 35th state.
1892: Lizzie Borden is found not guilty of the hacking death of her father and stepmother in Fall River, MA.
1900: The Boxer Rebellion begins in China when young rebels attack foreigners in Beijing.
1947: Pres. Harry Truman vetoes the Taft-Hartley Act, which curbed strikes.
1973: Juan Perón returns to Argentina after nearly 18 years in exile.
1991: Berlin becomes the capital of the newly united Germany.
1999: NATO ends its bombing campaign against Yugoslavia, as Serb forces complete their withdrawal from Kosovo.

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June 19, 2007

This Day In History: June 19

This Day in History

1865: With the arrival of federal troops, slaves in Texas are informed of their freedom; the day is celebrated as the holiday "Juneteenth."
1867: The first running of the Belmont Stakes takes place in New York.
1934: The Federal Communications Commission (FCC ) is created.
1944: In World War II, the Battle of the Philippines begins between U.S. and Japanese forces.
1953: Julius and Ethel Rosenberg are executed for committing wartime espionage.
1978: The Garfield comic strip appears for the first time.
1987: The Supreme Court strikes down a Louisiana law that required public schools to devote equal time to teaching evolution and "creation science."

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June 18, 2007

The Perfect Sphere

prototype.jpgTomorrow, June 19, a representative of the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM) will deliver a big cylinder of silicon to a group of Australian scientists. This might not seem like the most thrilling event of the week, but over the next three months those scientists will whittle (so to speak) that cylinder into a perfect sphere. And that perfect sphere will be used to "improve" the definition of the kilogram.

The kilogram is the only standard unit of measure that is still defined by a physical object—the International Prototype (right), a lump of platinum-iridium metal that has been stored in a BIPM vault since 1889. The meter used to be similarly defined by a platinum-iridium bar, but is now defined as the length of the path travelled by light in vacuum during 1/299,792,458 of a second.

Just like the existing International Prototype, the new silicon sphere will be used to calibrate real-world equipment. But it will also serve another purpose: silicon_sphere.jpg

While a physical object will still be necessary for calibrating scales and balances, the silicon atoms in the sphere will always remain the same. It is for this reason that the scientists working on what’s known as the Avogadro Project are collaborating to determine what is effectively the number of atoms in a sphere. Once the number of atoms is known, the definition of the kilogram can be based on it from then on.

More news below, plus some historical background on standard measurements and their real-world reference points.

Links:
Australia Weighs In To Make The Perfect Kilogram (ScienceDaily.com)
Definitions and Historical Context of SI Base Units (National Institute of Standards & Technology)

Photos: BIPM (top), CSIRO Industrial Physics (bottom)

This Day In History: June 18

This Day in History

1778: During the American Revolution, the British evacuate Philadelphia, after the French send a fleet to support the colonists.
1812: Congress declares war on the British, beginning the War of 1812.
1815: Napoleon is defeated at the Battle of Waterloo.
1979: Pres. Jimmy Carter and Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev sign SALT II, limiting offensive nuclear weapons.
1983: Sally Ride, aboard the space shuttle Challenger, becomes the first American woman in space.
2000: Golfer Tiger Woods wins the 100th U.S. Open by 15 strokes, the largest margin ever for a major golf tournament.
2002: In the first of two days of suicide bombings in Jerusalem, an explosion on a bus kills 20 including the bomber.

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June 17, 2007

This Day In History: June 17

This Day in History

1673: French explorers Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet become the first Europeans to travel on the Mississippi.
1775: Colonial troops withdraw from Breed's Hill in Charlestown, MA, after inflicting heavy losses on the British in what becomes known as the Battle of Bunker Hill.
1876: At the Battle of Rosebud Creek in Montana , American Indian chief Crazy Horse repels a detachment of U.S. troops under Gen. George Crook.
1885: The Statue of Liberty arrives in New York harbor.
1928: Amelia Earhart becomes the first woman to fly the Atlantic.
1954: Sen. Joseph McCarthy (R, WI) ends televised hearings into alleged Communist influence in the Army.
1963: The Supreme Court rules, 8-1, that laws requiring the recitation of the Lord's Prayer or Bible verses in public schools are unconstitutional.
1972: Five men are arrested for breaking into the offices of the Democratic National Committee in the Watergate office complex in Washington, DC.
2004: U.S. Defense Sec. Donald Rumsfeld admits leaving an Iraqi detainee's name off a list of those held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

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June 16, 2007

This Day In History: June 16

This Day in History

1884: The first U.S. roller coaster begins operation at Coney Island, New York.
1897: The Hawaiian government and Sec. of State John Sherman sign a treaty starting a process that leads to formal U.S. annexation of Hawaii.
1903: The Ford Motor Company is incorporated.
1933: The "100 Days" special session of Congress ends, after enacting major New Deal social and economic measures.
1963: Soviet Valentina Tereshkova, flying on Vostok 6, becomes the first woman in space.
1992: Pres. George Bush and Russian Pres. Boris Yeltsin agree in principle to reduce stocks of long-range nuclear weapons and eliminated land-based multiple-warhead missiles.

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June 15, 2007

This Day In History: June 15

This Day in History

1215: England's King John seals the Magna Carta, guaranteeing the privileges of nobles and the church against the monarchy and assuring jury trials.
1752: Benjamin Franklin, flying a kite in a thunderstorm, proves that lightning is electricity.
1775: The Continental Congress names George Washington commander in chief.
1836: Arkansas is admitted to the Union as the 25th state.
1864: Arlington National Cemetery is established.
1924: Congress approves a law making all Native Americans citizens.
2001: The LA Lakers basketball team win their second consecutive NBA title, beating the Philadelphia 76ers 108-96 and taking the series 4-1.
2002: Accounting firm Arthur Andersen LLP is convicted of obstruction of justice for its role in the investigation of its former client, energy giant Enron Corp.

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June 14, 2007

Good as New or Pile of Rust?

plymouth.jpg In 1957, during Oklahoma’s Semi-Centennial, a brand new Plymouth Belvedere Sport Coupe was buried in a nuke-proof concrete vault. Tomorrow (June 15) Tulsa will unveil it as part of Oklahoma's Centennial.

But what will remain?

When workers lifted the vault’s lid yesterday, there was 2 feet of water. There were also signs that water had at one point filled the entire container. It gets worse. An AP report from earlier this month quoted an expert on Plymouths: “despite the car's eye appeal, the 1957 Plymouths ‘leaked dust and rain water like a sieve, paint faded and flaked off in chunks and upholstery materials disintegrated in the sunlight.’”

But the car has one last defense: a good ol’ metalam sack. Metalam is supposedly a grandfather of the shrink-wrap on lettuce but made from vinyl film, aluminum foil, polyethylene, and cotton. KOTV.com plans to offer a live webstream of the unveiling tomorrow at 7:00 pm (CDT). Witness the joy or horror as the car is unveiled in Tulsa’s Maxwell Convention Center.

The vehicle (or what remains) will be given as a prize to the person who, back in 1957, had most nearly guessed the city’s 2007 population (382,457). Guesses were recorded on microfilm and buried with the car. The winner will also get the proceeds from a $100 savings account. If the winning guesser is dead, the car will be awarded to an heir.

Official Tulsarama Site
Special Site from Tulsa World News
KOTV.com (contains embedded video)

This Day In History: June 14

This Day in History

1775: A resolution of the Continental Congress establishes the U.S. Army.
1777: John Adams introduces a resolution in the Continental Congress describing the future flag of the United States.
1807: Napoleon defeats Russia in the Battle of Friedland, near Koenigsberg, Prussia (now Kaliningrad, Russia), and soon signs a peace treaty with Czar Alexander I.
1919: Capt. John Allcock and Lt. Arthur W. Brown leave St. Johns, Newfoundland, for County Galway, Ireland, in a Vickers Vimy bomber, making the first nonstop transatlantic flight.
1982: Argentine troops surrender as British forces storm Stanley, the last Argentine stronghold on the Falkland Islands, ending the war that began in April.
1985: A TWA jet is seized by terrorists shortly after taking off from Athens; the terrorists will hold the 153 passengers and crew for 17 days.
2002: A terrorist car bombing outside the U.S. Consulate in Karachi, Pakistan, kills 12.

Continue reading "This Day In History: June 14" »

June 13, 2007

This Day In History: June 13

This Day in History

1381: In Tyler's Rebellion, English laborers storm London and, after much looting and killing, force King Richard II to make concessions.
1966: In the case of Miranda v. Arizona,the Supreme Court rules that before being questioned, suspects in custody must be informed that they have the right to remain silent and to have counsel.
1967: Thurgood Marshall is appointed to the Supreme Court, becoming the first black justice.
1971: The New York Times begins to publish the classified Pentagon Papers on U.S. involvement in Vietnam.
1983: The unmanned space probe Pioneer 10, launched in 1972, crosses the orbit of Neptune and exits the planetary system.
2000: The leaders of North and South Korea meet for the first time ever, beginning a 3-day summit meant to foster an eventual rapprochement.
2002: Months after a U.S.-led war topples the ruling Taliban, Hamid Karzai is reappointed to head the interim government of Afghanistan by a loya jirga, or grand council.

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June 12, 2007

This Day In History: June 12

This Day in History

1630: With some 1800 Puritan settlers, John Winthrop lands at Salem, MA.
1898: The Philippines declares independence from Spain.
1935: Senator Huey Long makes the longest speech on Senate record, talking for over 15 hours and speaking some 150,000 words.
1939: The National Baseball Hall of Fame is dedicated in Cooperstown, NY.
1948: Citation becomes the 8th thoroughbred to win racing's Triple Crown; Eddie Arcaro becomes the only jockey to have won the Triple Crown twice.
1963: Civil rights leader Medgar Evers is assassinated by Byron De La Beckwith in Jackson, MS.
1978: David Berkowitz, the New York City "Son of Sam" killer, is sentenced to 365 years in prison.
1981: Major league baseball players go on strike over the issue of free agency.
2002: The LA Lakers basketball team win their third consecutive NBA title with a 113-107 victory, sweeping the New Jersey Nets in four straight games.

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June 11, 2007

New Tools: Swivel Geography

swivel_map.jpg New from our friends at Swivel: the ability to overlay data on maps of the world. The implementation is still a little wonky at times (Swivel's "brain" didn't seem to recognize the abbreviation for the state of Louisiana) but overall, a step in the right direction. Click on the image at right to explore some state population data from the 2000 Census, or check out the Swivel Geography announcement for more details and examples.

This Day In History: June 11

This Day in History

1488: King James III of Scotland is murdered; he is succeeded by his son, James IV.
1770: Captain James Cook discovers the Great Barrier Reef off Australia.
1864: During the Civil War, the Confederate raider Alabama, responsible for capturing or sinking many Union ships, is sunk near Cherbourg, France by the U.S. warship Kearsarge.
1942: The United States and the USSR sign a lend-lease agreement to aid the Soviets in World War II.
1963: Confronted by federally deployed National Guard troops, Alabama Gov. George Wallace steps aside and allows the University of Alabama to be desegregated.
1994: Russian troops depart from Berlin, Germany, where they have been for 49 years.
1996: Robert Dole (R, KS) resigns his Senate seat to focus on his ultimately unsuccessful presidential campaign.
2001: Timothy McVeigh, who had been convicted of building and delivering the bomb that killed 168 people in Oklahoma City in 1995, is executed at the Federal Penitentiary in Terre Haute, IN.
2003: A Palestinian suicide bomber kills himself and 17 Israeli civilians on a Jerusalem bus.
2004: A state funeral is held in Washington, DC, for Ronald Reagan, the first since Lyndon Johnson’s in 1973.

Continue reading "This Day In History: June 11" »

June 9, 2007

This Day In History: June 9

This Day in History

1732: James Oglethorpe receives a royal charter to form the colony of Georgia.
1898: A 99-year lease is signed under which Hong Kong will be administered as a British Crown Colony, with sovereignty to revert to China in 199.
1934: Donald Duck first appears in a cartoon, "The Wise Little Hen."
1954: Army counsel Joseph Welch confronts Senator Joseph McCarthy during the Army-McCarthy hearings.
1973: Secretariat takes the Belmont Stakes and becomes the first horse since 1948 to win the Triple Crown.
1986: The presidential commission looking into the Challenger disaster criticizes NASA for serious management failures.
1993: In Japan, Crown Prince Naruhito marries Masako Owada, a commoner and former diplomat.
1999: Yugoslavia signs an agreement pledging that Serbian forces will complete a withdrawal from Kosovo in 11 days, at which time NATO will end its attacks.
2004: Tens of thousands gather in Washington, DC, to view Ronald Reagan’s coffin lying in state at the U.S. Capitol.

Continue reading "This Day In History: June 9" »

June 8, 2007

Edward's Untimely Death Series: Entry #7

Patsy-Height.jpgVirginia Patterson Hensley was born on Sept. 8, 1932 in Gore, Virginia, and received her earliest vocal trainer as a singer in church choirs. By her mid-teens she was performing country music part-time with local bands and had a regular spot on a Winchester radio station. While growing up she was known as Ginny Hensley, but she was billed as Patsy Cline when she made her first appearance in 1955 on the Grand Ole Opry, a radio show broadcast nationwide from Nashville, Tenn.; the first name reflected the popularity of the "Yodeling Cowgirl" Patsy Montana,, and the surname came from a short-lived marriage in the mid-1950s. Her biggest break came in early 1957 when she sang "Walkin' After Midnight" on the nationally televised "Talent Scouts" program hosted by Arthur Godfrey.

Continue reading "Edward's Untimely Death Series: Entry #7" »

This Day In History: June 8

This Day in History

632: Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, dies in Medina (now in Saudi Arabia).
1789: James Madison proposes adding the Bill of Rights to the Constitution.
1967: In an apparent accident, Israel torpedoes the USS Liberty, an intelligence ship, in the Mediterranean, killing 34.
1986: Kurt Waldheim is elected president of Austria.
1995: Air Force Capt. Scott O'Grady is rescued by U.S. Marines 6 days after his F-16 fighter jet was shot down over Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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June 7, 2007

Monumental Threats

nypavillion.jpg Yesterday, the World Monuments Fund released their 2008 list of endangered monuments around the world. The 100 sites on the list were chosen because of the threats posed by political conflict, tourism, rampant development, and—for the first time—climate change. From the local, like Route 66 and the historic neighborhoods of New Orleans, to the global, such as the Church of the Holy Nativity in Bethlehem and Machu Picchu, Peru, the list spotlights architectural treasures whose continued existence depends on the trends threatening them to be halted, reversed, or repaired.

The WMF site has an excellent interactive world map with photos and information about each site's history and relevant threats. Or view the whole list (PDF) here.

World Monuments Fund Unveils 2008 Watch List [Architectural Record]

Photo of one of the WMF's endangered sites, the New York State Pavilion observation towers from the 1964 World's Fair in Queens, NY, from vidiot's flickr page.

This Day In History: June 7

This Day in History

1576: English navigator Sir Martin Frobisher sets sail from England with three small ships to search for the Northwest Passage to Asia. He eventually reaches Baffin Island in Canada.
1776: Speaking to the Continental Congress, Richard Henry Lee of Virginia moves "that these united colonies are and of right ought to be free and independent states."
1975: Sony introduces the VCR, selling the Betamax for $995.
1988: Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis wins primaries in California and New Jersey, clinching the Democratic presidential nomination.
2000: U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson orders Microsoft Corp. split into two separate companies.

Continue reading "This Day In History: June 7" »

June 6, 2007

Federal Minimum Wage Rates Over Time

Fed_min_wage.jpg

Congress recently approved raising the federal minimum wage over the next two years. From the current rate of $5.15 per hour, the federal minimum wage will rise to $5.85 per hour on July 24. It will again rise, to $6.55 an hour, on July 24, 2008, and to $7.25 an hour on July 24, 2009. The last increase came in 1997, when the federal minimum wage was at $4.75 an hour.

I compiled a graph a while ago comparing the historic value of the federal minimum wage in current and constant dollars. The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 established minimum wage coverage, but the graph only shows data from 1950 onward for simplicity. In constant dollars, the federal minimum wage peaked in 1968; the rate then of $1.60 per hour would be $9.45 per hour in today's dollars.

Links:
"Congress Approves Minimum Wage Hike" (Washington Post)
U.S. Dept. of Labor Wage and Hour Division
Minimum Wage Laws in the States (U.S. Dept. of Labor)--Interesting graphic showing how each state's minimum wage rate compares to the federal wage rate.
What Is a Dollar Worth? (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis)

Note: Graph labels corrected September 13, 2007.

This Day In History: June 6

This Day in History

1944: D-Day , World War II : U.S. and Allied forces invade Europe at Normandy on the north coast of France, in the greatest amphibious landing in history.
1968: Sen. Robert F. Kennedy (D, NY), shot the previous night, dies.
1978: Voters in California approve Proposition 13, a state constitutional amendment slashing property taxes.
1982: Israeli forces invade Southern Lebanon, mounting an attack on PLO strongholds.
1984: In India, the army attacks and occupies the Golden Temple in Amritsar, the holiest shrine of the Sikhs and the headquarters of Sikh militants; hundreds are killed.
2002: Pres. George W. Bush proposes the combination of 22 existing federal agencies into a single Department of Homeland Security.

Continue reading "This Day In History: June 6" »

June 5, 2007

Another Record Year For Broadway

Broadway.jpg As the blog NewYorkology pointed out last week, Broadway set another attendance record for the 2006-2007 season (May 29, 2006-May 27, 2007). Attendance rose 2.6% to 12.31 million. That’s nearly double the attendance number that Broadway theaters slumped to during the 1985-1986 season.
At least half of all people in attendance during 2006-2007 were tourists. Most people (10.8 million tickets) attended musicals. Only 1.5 million tickets were sold for plays. The average ticket price rose to $76.23 and theaters grossed $938.5 million.
You can find Broadway season statistics from 1959 through 2006 on page 240 in the 2007 World Almanac.

2006-2007 Broadway Theatre Season Results (League of American Theatres and Producers)

Broadway has record year (Variety)

Times Sq. & tkts from Rosemanios' Flickr stream

This Day In History: June 5

This Day in History

1594: Dutch navigator Willem Barents sails from the Netherlands in search of a northeast passage to Asia.
1900: In the Boer War , the British capture Pretoria.
1933: Congress ratifies the dropping of the gold standard.
1947: Sec. of State George Marshall makes the proposals that come to be known as the Marshall Plan, to extend U.S. aid to war-torn European countries.
1967: Israel, Egypt, Syria, and Jordan begin fighting the so-called Six-Day War.
1968: Sen. Robert F. Kennedy (D, NY), celebrating presidential primary victories, is fatally shot in a Los Angeles hotel by Sirhan Bishara Sirhan.
1993: 24 Pakistani UN peacekeepers are killed by Somali rebels.
2004: Ronald Reagan, the 40th President of the United States, dies at 93.

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June 4, 2007

This Day In History: June 4

This Day in History

1794: Maximillien Robespierre is declared president of France's National Convention, during the Reign of Terror of the French Revolution.
1878: Great Britain and Turkey sign an agreement under which Britain receives complete control of Cyprus for a rental of about $500,000 yearly, and Turkey retains nominal title.
1944: Rome is liberated by the U.S. 5th Army under Gen. Mark Clark.
1951: Puerto Rican voters approve in a referendum a U.S. law that grants them the right to draft their own constitution, which leads the next year to the commonwealth status.
1972: Black activist Angela Davis is acquitted of murder, kidnapping, and conspiracy in the 1970 murder of a judge.
1989: Chinese troops crush pro-democracy student demonstrations in Beijing's Tiananmen Square, killing hundreds.
2003: Media and home furnishings mogul Martha Stewart is indicted in a New York City U.S. district court for securities fraud and several other charges.

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June 1, 2007

This Day In History: June 1

This Day in History

1638: An earthquake rocks Plymouth Plantation in Massachusetts, the first such event to be recorded and described in writing in the United States.
1792: Kentucky is admitted to the Union as the 15th state.
1796: Tennessee is admitted to the Union as the 16th state.
1973: The military junta ruling Greece abolishes the monarchy, proclaims Greece a republic, and names Col. Georgios Papadopoulos to the presidency.
1980: CNN, the Cable News Network, goes on the air.
1988: The INF (Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces) Treaty goes into effect, after ratification agreements are signed and exchanged by Pres. George Bush and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.
2001: A Palestinian suicide bomber kills himself and 21 others at a Tel Aviv nightclub. Nepal's Crown Prince Dipendra kills 9 members of the royal family, including his parents, the king and queen, over an apparent dispute about marital arrangements.
2004: Interim government leaders are appointed in Iraq .

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About June 2007

This page contains all entries posted to The World Almanac in June 2007. They are listed from newest to oldest.

May 2007 is the previous archive.

July 2007 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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