The World Almanac E-Newsletter

Volume 05, Number 09 — September 2005

What's in this issue?

September Events
September Holidays — National and International
This Day In History — September
September Birthdays
Travel: Cork, Ireland
Obituaries - August 2005
Special Feature: The New Age of Dinosaurs
Chronology - Events of August 2005
Science in the News: Science in the News — Death by Chocolate? Maybe Not
Offbeat News Stories
From The World Almanac — Origins of the Names of U.S. States
Links of the Month
Quote of the Month
How to reach us

September Events

Library Card Sign-Up Month, National Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15-Oct. 15)

September 1-4 - Chicago Jazz Festival (IL)
September 2-5 - Telluride Film Festival (CO)
September 5 - Great Bathtub Race (Nome, AK)
September 6-11 - Potato Bowl USA (Grand Forks, ND)
September 8-10 - Marion Popcorn Festival (OH)
September 8-11 - Toronto International Film Festival (Ontario, Canada)
September 9-11 - Bald is Beautiful Convention (Morehead City, NC)
September 10-11 - Mushroom Festival (Kennett Square, PA)
September 12-October 2 - Prague Autumn International Music Festival (Czech Republic)
September 14-18 - Kentucky Bourbon Festival (Bardstown, KY)
September 15-18 - National Championship Air Races (Reno, NV)
September 16-18 - Wizard of Oz Festival (Chesterton, IN)
September 16-October 2 - The Big E fair (West Springfield, MA)
September 17-21 - Cape May Food & Wine Festival (NJ)
September 17 - Trail of Tears Commemoration and Motorcycle Ride (Waterloo, AL)
September 20 - UN General Assembly Opening Day
September 22 - Autumn begins
September 22-25 - World Beef Expo (Milwaukee, WI); Galway International Oyster Festival (Ireland)
September 23-October 2 - Mid-South Fair (Memphis, TN)
September 23-October 9 - New York Film Festival
September 29-October 2 - Preston County Buckwheat Festival (Kingwood, WV)
September 30-October 2 - Bayfest (Corpus Christi, TX)
September 30-October 2 - Neptune Festival Boardwalk Weekend (Virginia Beach, VA)

September Holidays — National and International

September 5 - Labor Day
September 7 - Independence Day (Brazil)
September 8 - United Nations’ International Literacy Day
September 11 - Patriot Day; Grandparents’ Day
September 15 - Independence Day (Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala)
September 16 - National POW/MIA Recognition Day; Independence Day (Mexico)
September 17 - San Gennaro (Italy)
September 27 - World Tourism Day
September 28 - Confucius’s Birthday/Teachers’ Day (Taiwan)


One tablespoon of honey has about 65 calories, whereas one tablespoon of sugar has about 45 calories.

This Day In History — September

Day Year Event
Day Year Event
01 1905 Saskatchewan and Alberta enter the Canadian Confederation as the eighth and ninth provinces.
02 1666 The Great Fire of London begins in a baker's wooden house; by the time it ends on Sept. 5, 13,000 houses and most of the city are destroyed.
03 1783 The Treaty of Paris, ending the Revolutionary War, is signed by the United States and Britain.
04 1886 Apache leader Geronimo surrenders in his long fight against settlers in the Southwest.
05 1905 The peace treaty ending the Russo-Japanese War is signed in Portsmouth, N.H.
06 1972 Nine Israelis taken hostage from the Olympic Village at the Munich Olympics, and 5 Arab terrorists, die in a shootout with police at the Munich airport.
07 1822 In Săo Paolo, the independence of Brazil from Portugal is proclaimed.
08 1565 St. Augustine, Florida--which becomes the oldest continuing settlement in the United States--is founded by Pedro Menéndez de Aviles.
09 1976 Chinese leader Mao Zedong dies in Beijing.
10 1846 Elias Howe receives a patent for his first sewing machine.
11 2001 Islamic terrorists hijack four U.S. passenger airliners and fly two into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, bringing both towers crashing down within 100 minutes of the first impact; a third hijacked jetliner crashes into the Pentagon outside Washington, D.C., and a fourth is apparently brought down by heroic passengers over rural Pennsylvania. Barely an hour after the first plane hits, the FAA grounds all commercial passenger and cargo flights nationwide. More than 3,000 people perish in the attacks; the World Trade Center attack alone claims more than 2,800 lives. Speaking in the evening, President George W. Bush calls the attacks "evil, despicable acts of terror."
12 1974 Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie is overthrown by the military.
13 1970 The first New York City Marathon is held, in Central Park; fewer than half of the 127 runners who start complete the race.
14 1975 Elizabeth Ann Seton becomes the first native-born American to be canonized.
15 1916 Tanks are used for the first time in the Battle of the Somme near Courcelette, France, with disappointing results.
16 1955 In Argentina, a rebellion by parts of the armed forces leads to three days of civil war and the resignation and flight of President Juan Perón.
17 1911 C. P. Rodgers makes the first transcontinental airplane flight (with numerous stops), from New York to Pasadena, CA, Sept. 17-Nov. 5; time in the air: 82 hours, 4 minutes.
18 1830 The Tom Thumb, the first U.S.-built locomotive, loses a celebrated race with a horse when its boiler springs a leak.
19 1881 Pres. James A. Garfield, shot in Washington, DC, by Charles Guiteau on July 2, dies in Elberon, NJ; Chester Alan Arthur becomes president.
20 1991 Armenia's voters approved a declaration of independence from the USSR.
21 1957 Arkansas Gov. Orval Faubus complies with a federal court order to remove National Guardsmen from a Little Rock high school, where they have prevented black students from entering, but the students are ordered to withdraw by local authorities.
22 1975 Pres. Gerald Ford is unharmed after an assassination attempt by radical Sara Jane Moore, who fires a revolver at him.
23 1846 The planet Neptune is discovered.
24 1998 Iran drops its 1989 call for the death of British author Salman Rushdie.
25 1956 The first transatlantic telephone cable is activated.
26 1513 The Spanish explorer Vasco Núńez de Balboa crosses the Isthmus of Panama and becomes the first European to see the Pacific Ocean from the Americas.
27 2000 200,000 opponents of Yugoslavian Pres. Slobodan Milosevic demonstrate in Belgrade to force the dictator's ouster after a first round of voting on Sept. 24 appears to give victory to his opponent, Vojislav Kostunica.
28 1924 Two planes land in Seattle, Washington, after completing the first flight around the world.
29 1982 The first of 7 people die after taking Tylenol capsules that were contaminated with cyanide.
30 1630 One of the first pilgrims to land in America, John Billington, is hanged for murder--the first criminal execution carried out in the colonies.

September Birthdays

Day Year  
Day Year  
01 1935 Seiji Ozawa, conductor (Shenyang, China)
02 1952 Jimmy Connors, tennis champion (East St. Louis, IL)
03 1915 Kitty Carlisle Hart, actress/TV personality (New Orleans, LA)
04 1968 Mike Piazza, baseball player (Norristown, PA)
05 1960 Cathy Guisewite, cartoonist and creator of Cathy (Dayton, OH)
06 1939 Tonegawa Susumu, biologist and Nobel laureate (Nagoya, Japan)
07 1908 Michael DeBakey, heart surgeon (Lake Charles, LA)
08 1970 Latrell Sprewell, basketball player (Milwaukee, WI)
09 1925 Cliff Robertson, actor (La Jolla, CA)
10 1938 Karl Lagerfeld, fashion designer (Hamburg, Germany)
11 1965 Bashir al-Asad, Syrian president (Damascus, Syria)
12 1943 Maria Muldaur, singer (New York, NY)
13 1977 Fiona Apple, singer (New York, NY)
14 1934 Kate Millett, feminist writer (St. Paul, MN)
15 1984 Prince Harry, prince of England (London, England)
16 1924 B. B. King, blues singer/musician (Itta Bena, MS)
17 1916 Mary Stewart, novelist (Sunderland, England)
18 1971 Lance Armstrong, world-champion cyclist (Plano, TX)
19 1948 Jeremy Irons, actor (Cowes, England)
20 1951 Guy LaFleur, hockey player (Thurso, Quebec, Canada)
21 1947 Stephen King, horror novelist (Portland, ME)
22 1951 Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr., newspaper publisher (Mount Kisco, NY)
23 1949 Bruce Springsteen, singer/songwriter/musician (Freehold, NJ)
24 1973 Eddie George, football player (Philadelphia, PA)
25 1969 Catherine Zeta-Jones, actress (Swansea, Wales)
26 1949 Jane Smiley, novelist (Los Angeles, CA)
27 1917 Louis Auchincloss, writer (Lawrence, NY)
28 1977 Se Ri Pak, golfer (South Korea)
29 1943 Lech Walesa, Polish labor leader and founder of Solidarity (Popowo, Poland)
30 1980 Martina Hingis, tennis champion (Kosice, Slovakia)

Travel: Cork, Ireland

Corkonians like to call their town Ireland's "real capital." It is an ancient city, originating in the middle of the first millennium AD, and through the centuries it has been the hub of important political, social, and economic developments. It has played at various times such roles as stronghold of monastic learning, center of resistance to authority (hence the oft-heard sobriquet "Rebel Cork"), and major port - its official motto, Statio Bene Fida Carinis ("A Safe Harbor for Ships"), reflects the presence of one of the world's best deepwater harbors. Today, with a population on the order of 150,000, Cork is substantially smaller than the Irish Republic's actual capital, Dublin. But it is a splendid destination for tourists. It has a more relaxed character than Dublin. Its compact layout - the old town, lying on an island in the River Lee, essentially retains its medieval street map - makes walking an inviting prospect, and the somewhat hilly topography keeps rambles stimulating. Cork enjoys a pleasantly mild climate thanks to its location on the Emerald Isle's Gulf Stream-washed south coast, where palm trees are not unknown. In 2005, visitors could take advantage of a multitude of extra attractions, owing to the fact that the city was the European Union's official designee as the year's European Capital of Culture.

Cultural capital

The European Union began the annual practice of picking a "European City of Culture" in 1985. (Dublin was the 1991 honoree.) The program was eventually supplanted by a similar one called the European Capital of Culture, and Cork was selected to kick off the new series. Cork's 2005 accolade motivated the scheduling of hundreds of special exhibits, concerts, theatrical presentations, and other events involving some aspect of culture in the broadest sense, including the traditional Irish sport of hurling. Examples included a midyear showing of celebrated Brazilian photographer's Sebastiăo Salgado's exhibition "Exodus"; an international tattoo festival; the Knitting Map, an effort to set a world knitting record using satellite images of Cork as a pattern; and the Music Migrations concert series, involving more than 100 artists from over a dozen countries. The cultural capital program also embraced Cork's usual annual festivities, such as the Cork Film Festival (scheduled for October 9-16 in 2005) and the Guinness Jazz Festival (October 28-31), featuring a thousand musicians from 25 countries.


Cork has taken on an increasingly cosmopolitan character in recent years and has some fine restaurants, although for fish and seafood lovers an excursion to the village of Kinsale, about 18 mi (25 km) away, is in order. Cork also offers an abundance of the exuberant pub life for which Ireland is famous. It is by the way, the hometown of both Beamish and Murphy's stout, and Jameson whiskey has long been made in the area - the Jameson Heritage Center in nearby Midleton is a must-see for devotees.

The English Market at Grand Parade and St. Patrick's Street, an ornately Victorian structure reputed to be the biggest covered market in Europe, is the place to go not only for produce, fish, and meat but for more exotic items, such as the local delicacy known as drisheen (a dark sausage made from sheep's blood).

Major sights

The bell tower of the church of St. Anne's Shandon, on a hill overlooking the north channel of the Lee, is probably Cork’s most famous landmark. Its sounds gave rise to the famous Irish song The Bells of Shandon. The tower, dating from 1750, rewards those who ascend it with superb views of Cork as well as an opportunity to ring the bells. More impressive architecturally is St. Fin Barre’s Cathedral, an ornate three-spired structure in early French Gothic style that overlooks the river's south channel. Finished in 1880, it stands on the site where St. Fin Barre is said to have established a monastery in the seventh century.

A quite different aspect of Cork's past can be explored at the Butter Museum, located not far from the Shandon Bells. Butter emerged as a major Irish export by the 18th century, and much of it passed through Cork, which boasted the world's largest butter exchange. The museum tells the story of the butter industry and how it fed Cork's prosperity.


Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, Reproduction #LC-DIG-ppmsc-009861

Blarney Castle, Cork, Ireland

Art aficionados will want to visit the Crawford Municipal Art Gallery, next to the Opera House in the center of the city. Its wide-ranging holdings are especially rich in Irish art of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Cork's other essential art venue is the stunning new Lewis Glucksman Gallery, which focuses on contemporary art; it is located at University College, just south of the Lee's south channel.


Cork's deepwater port, Cobh (sounds like "cove"), was the departure point for hundreds of thousands of emigrants in the 19th century. This history is memorialized in an emigration museum housed in an old railroad station. A statue of Annie Moore, the first immigrant to pass through the U.S. processing facility at Ellis Island, N.Y., in 1892, stands on the Cobh quay. There also are memorials to the ill-fated Titanic, which made its last landfall here, and to the liner Lusitania, torpedoed nearby by a German submarine during World War I.

The medieval Blarney Castle, just outside Cork, is the site of the region's most famous attraction: the famous Blarney Stone. According to tradition, those who kiss the stone acquire the skill of flattery. Kissing the stone requires lying on one's back and executing a rather extraordinary neck contortion, so some visitors to the castle pass up the chance to obtain the gift of gab.

Visitors Guide to Cork Ireland
Cork Ireland Tourism
Cork Jazz Festival
Blarney Castle


In 1930, Ellen Church became the first flight attendant.

Obituaries in August 2005

Bel Geddes, Barbara, 82, actress who played Miss Ellie Ewing, matriarch of the Ewings, the powerful Texas clan whose tumultuous lives were chronicled in the long-running nighttime TV soap opera "Dallas"; earlier in her career she was a Broadway star, originating the role of Maggie, the sexually frustrated wife in Tennessee Williams’s Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1955); Northeast Harbor, ME, Aug. 8, 2005.

Cook, Robin, 59, British foreign secretary, 1997-2001, and leader of the House of Commons from 2001 until March 2003, when his opposition to Britain’s decision to join the U.S. in invading Iraq led him to resign from Prime Minister Tony Blair’s cabinet; near Inverness, Scotland, Aug. 6, 2005.

Fahd, King, 82?, Saudi Arabia’s monarch since 1982, but largely a figurehead since early 1996, when, after suffering the first of a series of strokes, he turned over responsibility for daily governance to his brother Crown Prince Abdullah; Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Aug. 1, 2005.

Ferrer, Ibrahim, 78, Cuban singer who became world-famous late in life thanks to the album (1997) and film (1999) Buena Vista Social Club; Havana, Cuba, Aug. 6, 2005.

Hirschfeld, Abe, 85, eccentric New York City real estate developer who ran unsuccessfully for a number of public offices, briefly owned the New York Post tabloid and spent two years in jail after being convicted of hiring a hit man to bump off a business partner; New York, NY, Aug. 9, 2005.

Jennings, Peter, 67, Canadian-born TV newsman who had been sole anchor of "ABC World News Tonight" since 1983, until lung cancer forced him off the air in early April 2005; New York, NY, Aug. 7, 2005.

Johnson, John H., 87, builder of a U.S. publishing empire whose cornerstones were the black-oriented magazines Ebony and Jet; Chicago, IL, Aug. 8, 2005.

Lange, David, 63, prime minister of New Zealand, 1983-89, who banned all nuclear-armed and nuclear-powered ships from his country’s territorial waters, a policy still in place; Auckland, New Zealand, Aug. 13, 2005.

Mauch, Gene, 79, manager of four different Major League Baseball teams over 26 years; he failed to lead any of his teams to a pennant, the longest such stretch of any MLB manager; Rancho Mirage, CA, Aug. 8, 2005.

Moog, Robert, 71, inventor (1964) of the Moog synthesizer, the first commercially successful electronic music device; Asheville, NC, Aug. 21, 2005.

Peters, Brock, 78, actor perhaps best known for his role as a black janitor wrongfully accused of raping a white woman in the film To Kill a Mockingbird (1962); Los Angeles, CA, Aug. 23, 2005.

Roger, Brother (Roger Schutz-Marsauche), 90, Swiss Protestant monk who in 1940 founded an ecumenical religious commune in Taizé, France that became world-famous; Taizé, France, Aug. 16, 2005; he was stabbed to death by an apparently deranged woman.

Rossner, Judith, 70, author of the well-known novel Looking for Mr. Goodbar (1975), based on the true story of a schoolteacher murdered by a man picked up by her in a singles bar; it was made into a 1977 film starring Diane Keaton; New York, NY, Aug. 9, 2005.

Special Feature: The New Age of Dinosaurs

Joe Gustaitis

Ten years ago - on September 21, 1995 - Argentine scientists reported in the journal Nature that they had unearthed the fossil remains of a carnivorous dinosaur that appeared to be even larger than Tyrannosaurus rex, which was then the largest known carnivorous dinosaur. The creature, named Giganotosaurus carolinii because of its size and its discoverer, probably looked like T. rex and measured between 41 and 43 feet (12.5 to 13 meters). Not only did the discovery force scientists to rethink many of their theories about how dinosaurs evolved, but it also marked a major event in what has emerged as the modern age of dinosaur studies--a remarkably fruitful period that has expanded, overturned, and altered much of what we know about these fascinating beasts. Did they have feathers? Are birds descended from dinosaurs? Were dinosaurs warm-blooded? And, the biggest question of all, what caused them to become extinct?

Although dinosaurs have been fascinating people (and especially kids) ever since they became the objects of scientific investigation in the 19th century, enthusiasm for this and similar discoveries was certainly augmented by the release, just two years before, of the blockbuster movie Jurassic Park, director Steven Spielberg's thriller about cloned dinosaurs run amok.

The Dinosaur-Bird Connection

One of the most perplexing questions about dinosaurs is their relationship to birds. The hypothesis that birds arose from dinosaurs was proposed by the British scientist and early Darwin supporter Thomas Henry Huxley as long ago as 1861, but although scientists found many similarities between the bones of birds and dinosaurs, the connection remained resistant to proof.

However, in 1993 a team of scientists led by Claudia Barreto of the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine published the results of their assessment of the 72-million-year-old fossilized leg bones of a young duck-billed dinosaur called Maiasaura. They scrutinized the surfaces of the growth plates, areas of bone that contain special cells responsible for producing bone growth, and determined that they were wavy, as they are in modern birds (mammals and reptiles have smooth, straight growth plates).

The situation looked promising for the dinosaur-bird link for a couple of years, until 1995 when Chinese scientists declared that they had unearthed fossils of a new species. It was the earliest known bird with a toothless beak, and it had lived tens of millions of years before scientists thought beaked, toothless birds had emerged. The Chinese scientists believed that these fossils helped to support the theory that birds evolved from early reptiles, not dinosaurs. Other scientists doubted that this find disproved the relationship between birds and dinosaurs, and the researchers acknowledged that it was difficult to precisely date the type of sediments in which the fossils were buried.

In fact, just two months after the Chinese study was released, a U.S.-Mongolian research team reported that two years previously they had discovered fossils of an 80-million-year-old nesting dinosaur in Mongolia's Gobi Desert that yielded the first direct evidence that some dinosaurs cared for their offspring. This nesting behavior boosted the theory that birds and dinosaurs shared an evolutionary link.

Subsequent reports did not resolve the controversy, and studies published in 1997 supported both sides. One study showed that dinosaur fossils found in Asia and South America had a strong resemblance to birds (the dinosaur fossil contained a wishbone, which are common to all birds), but another study determined that a comparison of the limbs of modern birds to those of dinosaurs refuted the possibility that birds arose from dinosaurs. In that study, Ann C. Burke and Alan Feduccia of the University of North Carolina compared the wings and feet of birds to the claws of dinosaurs, and found that they were not as alike as they might first appear. In fact, differences between the structures, they concluded, ruled out the possibility that birds evolved from dinosaurs.

Then, in 2001, Mark Norell of the American Museum of Natural History announced the discovery of a fossil that he called "the specimen we've been waiting for." The fossil was of a dinosaur covered in feathers over the entire length of its body. The creature measured almost three feet and was discovered in the Liaoning province of China. It could not fly, and the paleontologists who studied it believed the feathers provided insulation against the cold, which, if true, means the creature might have been warm-blooded, as modern birds are.

As recently as 2005, scientists reported the discovery of well-preserved soft tissues inside the fossilized femur (thighbone) of a Tyrannosaurus rex. A team of paleontologists led by Mary H. Schweitzer of North Carolina State University found an unusual tissue inside the femur that looks much like avian medullary bone, a unique bone tissue produced by female birds to provide extra calcium for egg shells. This was the first time that scientists were able to identify the sex of a T. rex fossil, and the discovery yielded still more evidence for the bird-dinosaur link, including remarkable similarities in blood vessel structure and content between the T. rex and ostrich remains.

These and other electrifying discoveries about dinosaurs and birds have even led some paleontologists to conclude that dinosaurs are not extinct after all--but that birds are actually dinosaurs of the saurischian, or lizard-hipped, order.

Warm- or Cold-Blooded?

The question of whether the dinosaurs were warm-blooded, as we are, or cold-blooded, as reptiles are, has also been heavily researched in recent years. The notion that dinosaurs were warm-blooded was first postulated in 1969 by Yale paleontologist John Ostrom, who noticed that some aspects of dinosaurs' skeletons resembled those of modern birds and mammals.

In 1994, paleontologist Reese E. Barrick and geochemist William J. Showers analyzed the bones of a well-preserved Tyrannosaurus rex, and compared them to the bones of a warm-blooded cow and a cold-blooded Komodo dragon. The scientists deduced that the T. rex’s temperature had been stable throughout its body--like the cow, but unlike the Komodo dragon--thus providing important evidence for the warm-bloodedness theory.

A year later, two American physiologists, John A. Ruben and Willem J. Hillenius, reported at a meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology that the appearance of thin, scroll-shaped bones or cartilage in the nasal passages of one fossil indicated that the animal was warm-blooded. Computerized scans of several predator dinosaurs, however, contained no sign of these bones, leading the researchers to conclude that the dinosaurs were cold-blooded.

One of the most exciting finds in the warm-blooded or cold-blooded debate (and in dinosaur studies in general) was reported in 2000. In South Dakota, fossil hunter Michael Hammer found a nearly complete skeleton of a small, plant-eating dinosaur called Thescelosaurus, and the specimen contained a fossilized heart. The structure of the heart usually differs in warm-blooded and cold-blooded animals. Warm-blooded animals have four-chambered hearts, and one major artery from the heart, called the aorta. In cold-blooded animals, the heart has three chambers and two arteries lead from the heart. A computerized tomography (CT) scan of the fossil revealed that the heart had four chambers and an aorta--a structure much more like that of a mammal than that of a reptile. Unfortunately, several anatomical features (including the heart's upper chambers) were absent from the fossil, making a definite conclusion impossible.

Then in 2001 came the discovery in China by Mark Norell and a team of scientists of the feathered dinosaur. This was not the first discovery of a dinosaur fossil with feather-like imprints, but this one was in such excellent condition that feathers could not be denied, which made the warm-bloodedness theory much more valid.

The End of the Dinosaurs

One of the most appealing new areas of research in contemporary dinosaur studies concerns the grandest question of all--what happened to them? Why did they disappear so suddenly? In 1980, University of California geologist Walter Alvarez and his father, Luis Alvarez, put forth a theory that an asteroid or comet crashed into Earth long ago, hurling enough debris into the air to block out sunlight and cool the atmosphere, killing many plants and animals, including the dinosaurs.

Ten years later, scientists discovered a colossal crater buried under the Yucatán peninsula in Mexico. It took one year to date the site, which had been named the Chicxulub crater, but after scientists used a new and very accurate method of radiometric dating called argon-argon dating, they determined that rock in the crater was formed about 64.98 million years ago, which was exactly when the dinosaurs disappeared. The Alvarez theory was now backed by tangible evidence. Not all scientists have accepted the asteroid extinction theory; some believe that gradual climate change, volcanoes or disease killed the dinosaurs. However, those scientists are in the minority and evidence for the asteroid extinction theory is steadily growing.

A Decade of Discover

Conventional views of dinosaurs can be swiftly overturned. As an example, it’s worthwhile to consider the report published in 2001 by paleontologist Lawrence M. Witmer of Ohio University. For decades, scientists had given dinosaurs flattened nostrils on the tops of their snouts, but Witmer studied the skulls of both modern animals and dinosaurs, and found that modern birds, reptiles, and mammals almost always have an up-front (or rostral) nostril. It made sense the dinosaurs did too, a trait that would have given them longer, thicker nasal passages. This would have allowed the dinosaurs to warm and humidify inhaled air and filter it for bacteria and dust, and it might have given them a better sense of taste and smell. Witmer’s conclusion seemed so obvious that paleontologists wondered why no one had thought of it before.

Here are just some of the other exciting discoveries that scientists have made within the last decade: They found samples of dinosaur skin; discovered a specimen with fossilized intestines, liver, muscles, and windpipe; unearthed a vast trove of dinosaur eggs; discovered the second-largest dinosaur species; learned that some dinosaurs suffered from, of all things, gout; and have even extracted DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) from an insect that lived when dinosaurs roamed the earth. This last discovery got reporters in the popular press very excited, as they conjured up Jurassic Park scenarios of cloned dinosaur behemoths being created in biologists' laboratories. However, paleontologists explained that even if scientists could find actual dinosaur DNA (scientists are not even sure they would recognize dinosaur DNA if they found it), putting together all the broken fragments would be practically impossible. The longest piece of DNA found in the fossilized insect was 315 base pairs long. Human DNA contains 3 billion base pairs, and scientists believe that dinosaurs had DNA with anywhere from 1 billion to 10 billion base pairs.

So although dinosaur movies like Jurassic Park and the like are exhilarating, one can argue that the modern scientific study of dinosaurs is just as fascinating--after all, it has the added benefit of being true!


Three of the five longest underwater vehicular tunnels in North America are in New York City: the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, the Holland Tunnel, and the Lincoln Tunnel.

Chronology — Events of August 2005


     Bush Appoints Bolton as UN Ambassador - John Bolton was appointed U.S. ambassador to the UN by Pres. George W. Bush Aug. 1. As a recess appointment, the move did not require Senate confirmation. Democrats had previously blocked the nomination.

     Mother of Dead Soldier Protests Outside Bush Ranch - Pres. Bush began a 33-day working vacation at his ranch in Crawford, TX, Aug. 2. On Aug. 6, Cindy Sheehan, whose son Casey had been killed in Iraq, set up camp outside the Bush ranch and asked for a meeting with the president. Attracting media attention, she became a vehement critic of the war and was joined by about 50 supporters at "Camp Casey," set up along a road to the ranch. Bush, who had previously met with her and other parents of soldiers killed in Iraq, declined to meet with her. At an Aug. 11 news conference he did respond, arguing that pulling out of Iraq now would endanger U.S. security. In a Salt Lake City (UT) speech Aug. 22, Bush argued that the nation owed it to the Americans killed in Iraq and Afghanistan to continue the fight. On Aug. 27, a contingent of military families and others who supported the war held a counter-rally in Crawford attended by 1,500.

     Energy and Transportation Bills Signed as Oil Prices Soar - Pres. Bush signed a major energy bill Aug. 8 at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, NM as the price of oil climbed toward $70 a barrel, and gas rose to near $3 a gallon, both all-time highs. The bipartisan bill sought to stimulate domestic production of both traditional and alternative energy sources by granting $14.6 bil in tax breaks for producers of energy and providing subsidies for deep-water drilling research. The bill also mandated greater use of gasoline additives, including ethanol, and extended daylight saving time by a month to encourage conservation.
     On Aug. 10, in a plant in Montgomery, IL, Bush signed the $286.4 bil surface transportation bill, which will fund construction of highways, bridges, and other public works. It was loaded with $24 bil in "pork barrel" projects.

     Republicans Retain Ohio House Seat by Close Margin - In a special election Aug. 2 to fill a U.S. House vacancy, the Republicans narrowly held onto a traditionally Republican seat. The winner, with 52%, was Jean Schmidt, a former state legislator and abortion opponent. She defeated Paul Hackett (D), a Marine Corps reserve major who was the first veteran of the Iraq war to run for Congress and a critic of Pres. Bush’s Iraq policies.


DoD photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class NyxoLyno Cangemi, U.S. Coast Guard.

Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Shawn Beaty looks for survivors in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, La., on Aug. 30, 2005. Beaty, 29, of Long Island, N.Y., is a member of a Coast Guard HH-60 Jayhawk helicopter rescue crew sent from Clearwater, Fla., to assist in search and rescue efforts.

     More Ex-WorldCom Officials Sentenced - Between Aug. 5 and 11, 4 former WorldCom executives were given prison sentences in the $11 bil accounting fraud case that had wrecked that telecommunications company. A 5th received probation. Former CFO Scott Sullivan was sentenced, Aug. 11, to the longest term, 5 years. In July, former WorldCom CEO Bernard Ebbers had been sentenced to 25 years.

     Katrina Strikes New Orleans and Gulf Coast - After striking the Atlantic coast of Florida Aug. 26, causing flooding that claimed 11 lives, Hurricane Katrina moved into the Gulf of Mexico, where it picked up strength, reaching Category 5 for a time. Heeding government advice, thousands of Gulf Coast residents fled, in one of the largest evacuations in U.S. history. Katrina finally struck the coast early on Aug. 29, causing devastation, particularly in Gulfport and Biloxi, MS, and Mobile, AL. New Orleans, which is heavily vulnerable because of being below sea level, initially escaped the brunt, but a major breech in a levee on Lake Pontchartrain the next day brought flooding to severe levels. With more than 10,000 refugees crowded into the Superdome and the city as a whole uninhabitable, Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco ordered a total evacuation Aug. 31, as the Army Corps of Engineers sought to stem the flooding. There was no reliable estimate of the total damages and death toll as of Aug. 31. At least 1 mil people were left without power from Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle. The Bush administration Aug. 31 announced the release of oil from the strategic petroleum reserve to compensate for a crippling of Gulf oil production, and the price of crude began to fall from an Aug. 30 high of $71 a barrel. The same day, Pres. Bush announced formation of a cabinet-level task force, headed by Homeland Security Sec. Michael Chertoff, to coordinate federal relief efforts.


     U.S. Troop Deaths Rise as Iraqis Debate Constitution - As Iraqis debated a new constitution, a sharp increase in American casualties added to a growing sense of unrest. Between July 31 and Aug. 4, 30 U.S. service members were killed. U.S. and Iraqi troops looking to secure the international border, launched a new offensive Aug. 5. Defense Sec. Donald Rumsfeld said Aug. 9 that insurgents were using explosives brought in from Iran. Car-bomb attacks killed 43 in Baghdad Aug. 17. A roadside bomb killed 4 U.S. soldiers in Samarra Aug. 18. In neighboring Jordan, 3 rockets were fired at 2 U.S. Navy ships in port at Aqaba; they missed, but one Jordanian soldier was killed.
     After negotiators failed to meet an Aug. 15 deadline for a draft constitution, the National Assembly granted a one-week extension. Kurdish and Shiite leaders were pushing for a loose regional federation; Sunnis opposed this, partly because they feared being shut out of oil proceeds. Kurds in particular wanted the right to be able to secede from the country. Secularists, especially supporters of equal rights for women, fought to prevent language establishing Islamic law as supreme. The drafting body presented the text of a constitution to the National Assembly Aug. 22, while they continued to negotiate over disputed issues. Those talks ended Aug. 26 when the Shiite and Kurd representatives gave up trying to find compromise language acceptable to the Sunni delegates. The draft text was formally presented to the assembly Aug. 28. Sunni leaders urged that the constitution be rejected in the October referendum.

     King Fahd Dies - King Fahd, who had ruled Saudi Arabia since 1982, died in Riyadh Aug. 1 after a long period of ill health. He was succeeded by his half-brother, Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, who had been the country’s de facto leader for a decade.

     Violence Returns to Sudan After Vice President Dies - The government of Sudan confirmed Aug. 1 that Vice Pres. John Garang, along with 13 others onboard, had been killed the night of July 30-31 when their helicopter crashed into the mountains in bad weather. Garang had become vice president 3 weeks earlier in a power-sharing agreement aimed at ending devastating civil war and famine. On learning of Garang’s death, his followers rioted in the capital and elsewhere for several days; 130 persons were killed. Salva Kiir Mayardit, who with Garang had co-founded a rebel army, was sworn in as vice president Aug. 11.

     Bush Signs Central America Trade Agreement - Pres. Bush Aug. 2 signed the Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), which the U.S. had negotiated with 6 other countries. The agreement would allow greater access for U.S. products in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, and Nicaragua. The last 3 countries had not yet approved it. About half of U.S. farm products and 80% of U.S. manufactures would become tariff-free immediately; other tariffs would be dropped over time. The agreement, opposed by labor and environmental grounds, narrowly made it through the House (217-215) and the Senate (55-45) on July 28.

     Blair Gets Tough With Extremists - Responding to the July bombings and attempted bombings in London, Prime Min. Tony Blair Aug. 5 proposed steps to make it easier to deport those inciting terrorism and advocated shutting down extremist organizations, mosques, bookstores, and Internet sites. On Aug. 1, Italian prosecutors charged an Ethiopian man with international terrorism; he had been seized in Rome in late July and reportedly admitted being part of the July 21 plot. In the following days in London, 4 other suspects were charged with conspiracy to commit murder or attempted murder. By Aug. 8, 5 others had been charged in Britain with assisting the would-be bombers.

     Six Nations Discuss North Korea’s Nuclear Plans - Six-nation talks focused on N. Korea’s nuclear ambitions recessed in Beijing Aug. 7 with no agreement. The 5 other participants - China, Japan, Russia, S. Korea, and the U.S. - all sought unsuccessfully to persuade N. Korea to abandon its nuclear-weapons program.

     Third Report Issued on UN Oil-for-Food Scandal - New evidence and allegations relating to the oil-for-food scandal came to light Aug. 8 with the 3rd report by the UN Independent Inquiry Committee. The report said that Efraim Nadler, a friend of Benon Sevan, former director of the oil-for-food program, had used a front company in Switzerland to hide almost $600,000 in profits from oil allocations to the Middle East Petroleum Co. Paul Volcker, head of the committee, said that Alexander Yakovlev, a UN procurement officer, had gotten $1 mil in improper payments from contractors. In a case resulting from a separate investigation into improper payments from contractors, Yakovlev pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in New York Aug. 8 to conspiracy, wire fraud, and money laundering. Sevan Aug. 7 denied wrongdoing. A Danish company, Grundfos, admitted Aug. 19 that it had paid kickbacks to Iraqi authorities to win 2 orders.

     Israeli Evacuation of Gaza Settlements Completed - Prime Min. Ariel Sharon accomplished his goal of evacuating Israeli settlers from the Gaza Strip Aug. 23, after the army used force to remove many occupants and their supporters. In addition to 21 Gaza settlements, 4 West Bank settlements were part of the evacuation plan, which included 8,500 people altogether. Sharon saw the evacuation as a necessary step to show Israel’s commitment to ongoing negotiations with the Palestinians. Former Prime Min. Benjamin Netanyahu had dissented, resigning from the cabinet Aug. 7.




STS-114 Mission Specialist Stephen K. Robinson is attached to a foot restraint on the International Space Station’s Canadarm2.

     More than 300 Die in Plane Crashes - Commercial plane crashes claimed 317 lives in Aug. During a storm Aug. 2, an Air France airbus landing in Toronto slid 600 ft beyond the runway and into a ravine and began to burn. All 309 on board escaped, but dozens were injured. A turboprop operated by a Tunisian airline, Tuninter, crash-landed in the Mediterranean Sea Aug. 6, killing 13; others were rescued. A Helios Airways jet from Cyprus crashed 15 miles north of Athens, Greece, Aug. 14, killing all 121 aboard. Authorities believed that the pilot and copilot might have been incapacitated by a shortage of oxygen. A West Caribbean Airlines charter flight, transporting vacationers from Panama to Martinique, crashed in Venezuela Aug. 16, killing all 152 aboard. On Aug. 23, A Peruvian airliner crashed during a storm in Peru, killing at least 31, while 57 escaped.

     First Cloning of a Dog Reported by Korean Scientists - South Korean scientists reported Aug. 3 the first successful cloning of a dog. Dogs had presented difficulties for cloning. The research team had implanted 1,095 cloned eggs in female dogs, achieving only 3 pregnancies. One was a miscarriage, and one pup survived only 22 days. The 3rd, a male named "Snuppy" for "Seoul National University Puppy," was born Apr. 24 and thrived. The genetic donor was a male Afghan hound and the mother a Labrador retriever.

     Shuttle Lands Safely After In-Space Repairs - The space shuttle Discovery, diverted by bad weather from its scheduled landing site in Florida, landed safely Aug. 9 at Edwards Air Force Base, CA. Discovery had orbited earth 219 times in 14 days. In the first-ever in-flight repair of a shuttle, Aug. 3, Stephen Robinson, joined in a spacewalk by Soichi Noguchi, removed 2 strips of ceramic-coated cloth from the shuttle’s nose that could have overheated on the shuttle’s return to the Earth’s atmosphere.

     Hundreds Killed in Baghdad Stampede - A suicide-bomb scare during a Shiite religious procession attended by thousands Aug. 31, led to a stampede on a bridge spanning the Tigris River in Baghdad, leaving close to 1,000 dead, according to preliminary estimates. Most of those killed drowned in the river or were trampled to death. In the end there was no evidence of suicide bomber.

Science in the News — Death by Chocolate? Maybe Not

Chocolate has long been considered the ultimate sinful treat - decadent, delicious and definitely not good for you. But a new study published in the American Heart Association’s journal Hypertension suggests that eating a reasonable amount of dark chocolate every day may actually lower blood pressure. The research, which was conducted at the University of L’Aquila in Italy, reinforces what several other studies have shown: in moderation, dark chocolate may in fact be beneficial.

Dark chocolate gets its wholesome properties from flavonoids, a group of polyphenolic compounds also found in foods such as red wine, tea, onions and parsley. (Polyphenols are substances with phenolic rings - rings of carbon atoms with attached hydrogen and oxygen - in their chemical structure.) A single 40-gram (approximately 1.5 ounce) bar of dark chocolate contains more than 600 milligrams of polyphenols - twice as many as are found in a typical daily combination of servings of fruits and vegetables. Researchers have found that Epicatechin, the particular flavonoid found in dark chocolate, helps the body in a number of important ways.

First, Epicatechin acts as an antioxidant. Antioxidants are chemicals that mop up free radicals - highly reactive molecules that can damage the body’s cells. Dark chocolate is twice as rich in antioxidants as red wine, the championed "sin-free" splurge of several years ago. The role of antioxidants within the body is highly complex and not fully understood; however, there is little doubt that they are an integral part of maintaining good health.

It had been previously established that eating dark chocolate can directly affect your physical well-being in several other ways. The moderate consumption of dark chocolate seems to lower the amount of bad cholesterol (also known as LDL, or low-density lipoproteins) in the blood. Dark chocolate also seems to thin the blood and stop platelets from clumping together, thus helping to prevent atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and the formation of potentially dangerous blood clots. One study has shown that dark chocolate may also increase insulin sensitivity, or the body’s ability to obtain energy by breaking down sugar.

The study at the University of L’Aquila, which was led by Claudio Ferri, confirmed yet another benefit of chocolate consumption. Ferri and his colleagues studied 20 men and women with untreated high blood pressure. After a week of avoiding chocolate, half his subjects received a three-and-a-half-ounce bar of dark chocolate a day, while the other half received an equal amount of white chocolate (which contains no flavonoids). Ferri had his groups follow this dietary protocol for two weeks. The groups then had another "chocolate-free" week, followed by a swap - the 10 who had been eating dark chocolate switched to white chocolate, and vice versa.

Jeffrey B. Blumberg, (another author of the study) noted that "white chocolate, which has no flavonoids, was the perfect control food because it contains all the other ingredients and calories found in dark chocolate." The group who ate dark chocolate showed a "clinically meaningful decline" in their blood pressure after the two-week dark chocolate diet, Blumberg said; the white chocolate eaters showed no such reduction.

It may be a while before doctors prescribe candy to combat high blood pressure; as Blumberg was quick to warn the New York Times, the study is "not saying that chocolate is now a health food." Chocolate is still high in sugar and saturated fat, too much of which can lead to weight gain and an overall decrease in health. Furthermore, previous studies have shown that when milk is added to chocolate (to create milk chocolate), the potential health benefits of dark chocolate are significantly reduced.

Nevertheless, the study provides some delicious news - and perhaps, a little less guilt - for chocoholics everywhere.


At a whopping 5 feet by 7 feet and weighing 130 pounds, the 112-page Bhutan--A Visual Odyssey Across the Last Himalayan Kingdom, created by Michael Hawley of the MIT Media Lab, is the heavyweight champion of the book world.

Offbeat News Stories

‘Til Arrest Do Us Part
Eight people boarding limousines in Atlantic City on Aug. 21, 2005, thought that they were being taken to a wedding aboard a yacht; instead, they ended up in holding cells. Unbeknownst to their wedding guests, the supposed bride and groom (both undercover FBI agents) had infiltrated an international smuggling operation, in which many of the guests were implicated, several years earlier. Invitations were sent - naturally to all of the couple’s ‘business associates’ - and RSVPs came in from all over the world. Completely flummoxed by the turn of events, one handcuffed guest asked whether the wedding was still on, and expressed concern for the couple when told that it was not. In total, Operation Royal Charm (named for the yacht) led to the indictment of 87 people on smuggling charges, as authorities seized $4.4 million in counterfeit money, $42 million in counterfeit cigarettes, and thousands of dollars in other counterfeit goods from 11 cities nationwide. Now for the honeymoon....

Jerk-O-Meter is Watching Do you ever doze off, or nearly doze off, during those long conversations with________? (You can fill it in.) Soon you may not be able to get away with it. A device in development at MIT, the "Jerk-O-Meter," can attach to your cell phone and use mathematical algorithms to analyze a speaker’s tone of voice and speaking style and determine the degree of attentiveness and empathy shown. At first it will only monitor the user’s voice, issuing messages displayed on screen, such as "Don’t be a jerk!" or "Be a little nicer now." But developers also plan to program the Jerk-O-Meter to monitor the person on the other end and clue in the user with messages like "This person is acting like a jerk. Do you want to hang up?" Project leader Anmol Madan believes the device can improve the way people talk on phones, suggesting that Jerk-O-Meter users will be more thoughtful conversationalists. After all, a sympathetic style doesn’t go unrewarded on the Jerk-O-Meter - a high score prompts the message, "Wow, you’re a smooth talker."

From The World Almanac — Origins of the Names of U.S. States

(Source: State officials, Smithsonian Institution, and Topographic Division, U.S. Geological Survey, Dept. of the Interior)

Alabama--Indian for tribal town, later a tribe (Alabamas or Alibamons) of the Creek confederacy.
Alaska--Russian version of Aleutian (Eskimo) word, alakshak, for "peninsula," "great lands," or "land that is not an island."
Arizona--Spanish version of Pima Indian word for "little spring place," or Aztec arizuma, meaning "silver-bearing."
Arkansas--Algonquin name for the Quapaw Indians, meaning "south wind."
California--Bestowed by the Spanish conquistadors (possibly by Cortez). It was the name of an imaginary island, an earthly paradise, in Las Serges de Esplandian, a Spanish romance written by Montalvo in 1510. Baja California (Lower California, in Mexico) was first visited by Spanish in 1533. The present U.S. state was called Alta (Upper) California.
Colorado--From Spanish for "red," first applied to Colorado River.
Connecticut--From Mohican and other Algonquin words meaning "long river place."
Delaware--Named for Lord De La Warr, early governor of Virginia; first applied to river, then to Indian tribe (Lenni-Lenape), and the state.
District of Columbia--For Christopher Columbus, 1791.
Florida--Named by Ponce de Leon Pascua Florida, "Flowery Easter," on Easter Sunday, 1513.
Georgia--For King George II of England, by James Oglethorpe, colonial administrator, 1732.
Hawaii--Possibly derived from native word for homeland, Hawaiki or Owhyhee.
Idaho--Said to be a coined name with an invented meaning: "gem of the mountains"; originally suggested for the Pikes Peak mining territory (Colorado), then applied to the new mining territory of the Pacific Northwest. Another theory suggests Idaho may be a Kiowa Apache term for the Comanche.
Illinois--French for Illini or "land of Illini," Algonquin word meaning "men" or "warriors."
Indiana--Means "land of the Indians."
Iowa-- Indian word variously translated as "here I rest" or "beautiful land." Named for the Iowa R., which was named for the Iowa Indians.
Kansas--Sioux word for "south wind people."
Kentucky--Indian word that is variously translated as "dark and bloody ground," "meadowland," and "land of tomorrow."
Louisiana--Part of territory called Louisiana by Sieur de La Salle for French King Louis XIV.
Maine--From Maine, ancient French province. Also: descriptive, referring to the mainland as distinct from the many coastal islands.
Maryland--For Queen Henrietta Maria, wife of Charles I of England.
Massachusetts--From Indian tribe named after "large hill place" identified by Capt. John Smith as being near Milton, MA.
Michigan--From Chippewa words, mici gama, meaning "great water," after the lake of the same name.
Minnesota--From Dakota Sioux word meaning "cloudy water" or "sky-tinted water" of the Minnesota River.
Mississippi--Probably Chippewa; mici zibi, "great river" or "gathering-in of all the waters." Also: Algonquin word, messipi.
Missouri--An Algonquin Indian term meaning "river of the big canoes."
Montana--Latin or Spanish for "mountainous."
Nebraska--From Omaha or Otos Indian word meaning "broad water" or "flat river," describing the Platte River.
Nevada--Spanish, meaning "snow-clad."
New Hampshire--Named, 1629, by Capt. John Mason of Plymouth Council for his home county in England.
New Jersey--The Duke of York, 1664, gave a patent to John Berkeley and Sir George Carteret to be called Nova Caesaria, or New Jersey, after England's Isle of Jersey.
New Mexico--Spaniards in Mexico applied term to land north and west of Rio Grande in the 16th century.
New York--For Duke of York and Albany, who received patent to New Netherland from his brother Charles II and sent an expedition to capture it, 1664.
North Carolina--In 1619 Charles I gave a large patent to Sir Robert Heath to be called Province of Carolana, from Carolus, Latin name for Charles. A new patent was granted by Charles II to Earl of Clarendon and others. Divided into North and South Carolina, 1710.
North Dakota--Dakota is Sioux for "friend" or "ally."
Ohio--Iroquois word for "fine or good river."
Oklahoma--Choctaw word meaning "red man," proposed by Rev. Allen Wright, Choctaw-speaking Indian.
Oregon--Origin unknown. One theory holds that the name may have been derived from that of the Wisconsin River, shown on a 1715 French map as "Ouaricon-sint."
Pennsylvania--William Penn, the Quaker who was made full proprietor of this area by King Charles II in 1681, suggested "Sylvania," or "woodland," for his tract. The king's government owed Penn's father, Admiral William Penn, 16,000 pounds, and the land was granted as partial settlement. Charles II added the "Penn" to Sylvania, against the desires of the modest proprietor, in honor of the admiral.
Puerto Rico--Spanish for "rich port."
Rhode Island--Exact origin is unknown. One theory notes that Giovanni de Verrazano recorded an island about the size of Rhodes in the Mediterranean in 1524, but others believe the state was named Roode Eylandt by Adriaen Block, Dutch explorer, because of its red clay. South Carolina--See North Carolina.
South Dakota--See North Dakota.
Tennessee--Tanasi was the name of Cherokee villages on the Little Tennessee River. From 1784 to 1788 this was the State of Franklin, or Frankland.
Texas--Variant of word used by Caddo and other Indians meaning "friends" or "allies," and applied to them by the Spanish in eastern Texas. Also written Texias, Tejas, Teysas.
Utah--From a Navajo word meaning "upper," or "higher up," as applied to a Shoshone tribe called Ute. Spanish form is Yutta. The English is Uta or Utah. Proposed name Deseret, "land of honeybees," from Book of Mormon, was rejected by Congress.
Vermont--From French words vert (green) and mont (mountain). The Green Mountains were said to have been named by Samuel de Champlain. When the state was formed, 1777, Dr. Thomas Young suggested combining vert and mont into Vermont.
Virginia--Named by Sir Walter Raleigh, who fitted out the expedition of 1584, in honor of Queen Elizabeth, the Virgin Queen of England.
Washington--Named after George Washington. When the bill creating the Territory of Columbia was introduced in the 32d Congress, the name was changed to Washington because of the existence of the District of Columbia.
West Virginia--So named when western counties of Virginia refused to secede from the U.S. in 1863.
Wisconsin--An Indian name, spelled Ouisconsin and Mesconsing by early chroniclers. Believed to mean "grassy place" in Chippewa. Congress made it Wisconsin.
Wyoming--From the Algonquin words for "large prairie place," "at the big plains," or "on the great plain."

Links of the Month — Edward A. Thomas, Editor in Chief

In light of the catastrophic hurricane that hit the Gulf Coast and Florida on August 26th, I thought about ways that World Almanac E-Newsletter readers could help those less fortunate. Below is a list of organizations accepting donations to assist those who have suffered during this crisis:
     American Red Cross
     America's Second Harvest
     Feed The Children
     United Way of Miami-Dade

This month my friend Jim has a birthday, so we're going to feature famous Jim's. A failed door-to-door monkey salesman, Jim Jones (1931-1978), founded his own church in 1953, which he later renamed The People's Temple Full Gospel Church. In 1977, Jones led 1,000 of his followers to Guyana, and set up a settlement named Jonestown. In 1978, U.S. Congressman Jim Ryan visited the compound after relatives complained of human rights abuses. Ryan, and four others, were killed as they attempted to leave Guyana with 20 defecting members, and later that day Jones and 913 of his followers died in a mass suicide. To learn more about Jonestown visit Pčre Lachaise, in Paris, is a cemetery that holds the remains of many famous people including Frčderic Chopin, Oscar Wilde, Edith Piaf, Gertrude Stein, and Jim Morrison (1943-1971), a singer and songwriter for The Doors, a popular 1960s rock group. Well known for living a life of "sex, drugs, and rock and roll," he died of a drug overdose in 1971. To learn more about The Doors visit their official website at Jim Henson (1936-1990), creator of The Muppets, introduced the world to an assortment of loveable puppets, like Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, and Cookie Monster. Beginning with an appearance of Kermit in the late 1950s, Henson creations have appeared on television and films ever since, to the delight of children and adults around the world. To learn more about the Jim Henson Company visit Jim Thorpe (1887-1953) was a rare athlete -- he excelled in many sports, playing baseball, football, and in track and field. The son of a Potawatomi Indian and descendent of the last great Sauk and Fox chief Black Hawk, Thorpe competed at in pentathlon and the decathlon at the 1912 Olympic games and set records that were held for years. Learn more about Thorpe at

As the fourth anniversary of the September 11th attacks approaches, a grassroots non-profit organization in the United States is pushing to establish the day as a national day of voluntary service. Visit One Day's Pay at and find out a way that you can give back to the community on this significant day. This would be a great idea for people around the world including the people of Spain for March 11th, or the United Kingdom for July 7th, or any day that has been marked by an event of terrorism.


Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, Reproduction #LC-USZC4-2439

Daguerreotype of Abraham Lincoln, 1840s

The daguerreotype was invented by Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre in 1839, in France. The first commercially successful type of photography, daguerreotypes were made on silver-plated copper which were polished to a mirror-like brilliance. The plate was then sensitized over iodine vapor, exposed in a camera, and developed with mercury vapor. To learn more about this early form of photography and see examples visit and

One of our E-Newsletter readers lives in Romania. Romania, a country that has been controlled at various times by the The Romans, and the Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian, and Russian empires, has struggled economically since ridding itself of Communist domination after the failure of the Ceausescu regime. Now a member of NATO, the nation will join the European Union in 2007. Many tourists are now visiting Romania and discovering a country with majestic castles and medieval towns. To learn more about what you can see and do in Romania, visit

The Internet contains more than you can imagine. For instance, did you know that there was a virtual Toilet Paper Museum? At you'll be able to see toilet paper rolls back to the 19th century, read different points of views on whether the toilet paper should come from under or over, and link to such sites as the Neville Public Museum of Brown County, Wisconsin's exhibit dedicated to the bathroom.

My co-worker Richard is well known for wearing hats. I myself don't think I have a hat head, but a group of us were out the other night and we have lots of pictures of people wearing one of Richard's hats. Hats have been around for a very long time, and sculptures from ancient Egypt and Rome show people wearing head coverings. Hats can protect you, portray authority, be ceremonial, or just be a fashion statement. To learn a little more about the history of hats, and to learn the difference between a fedora and a homborg, visit

How do you choose your next book to read? Do you judge a book by its cover? Do you rely on the recommendations of friends? Do you follow what's on the bestseller lists? At you can pick elements of a book that you desire - such as happy, unpredictable, short, and funny - and a list of possible book choices is presented. P.S. If you live in the UK there is a "borrow" button to let you know where you can check the book out of a library.

Unusual website of the month: What is a putdeksel? It's a manhole cover in Danish. Check out

Quote of the Month

"Indifference, to me, is the epitome of evil."

- Elie Wiesel, 1928-, Romanian-born American writer, human rights activist, and Nobel laureate.

© World Almanac Education Group

World Almanac E-Newsletter
Edward A. Thomas, Editor in Chief

Newsletter Contributors:
Louise Bloomfield, Jane Hogan, Sarah Janssen, Walter Kronenberg, and Vincent Spadafora.

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