Friday, September 24, 2010

July 10th in History

- 1832 President Andrew Jackson vetoed legislation to re-charter the Second Bank of the United States.
- 1850 Vice President Millard Fillmore became president following the death of Zachary Taylor.  Fillmore was the last Whig to be elected president (no, we haven't always had Republicans and Democrats) and only the second instance where a Vice President assumed office on the death of a sitting President. (bonus history points to any of you who can name the first VP to do so!  I'll give you a hint - it was another Whig. The rest of you? I hope I made you look it up!) Here is what Millard, on the right, and Zach looked like in their campaign posters --- a bit different than our modern equivalent.  Additional history trivia bonus points if you can name the major political party which directly succeeded the Whigs and at least one minor party, and what political controversy caused the demise of the Whigs.  Double bonus points if you can name what was the cause of the demise of President Taylor, resulting in the rise to the presidency of Vice President Fillmore -- this should be an easy one for our guest author, Dr. Kirsch!

- 1890 Wyoming became the 44th state.
                            from the 20th century:
- 1925 Start of the Scopes "Monkey Trial" over teaching Evolution in Dayton, Tennessee, after a law had been passed making it illegal to teach anything except Divine Creation.  The trial pitted two prominent lawyers against each other, fundamentalist William Jennings Bryan for the prosecution, against Clarence Darrow for the defense.  Darrow lost to Bryan, but made a mockery of the literal interpretation of the Bible.  In 1927, the Tennessee Supreme Court overturned the verdict.

- 1951 Armistice talks aimed at ending the Korean War began at Kaesong.
- 1962 The Telstar communications satellite was launched from Cape Canaveral, Fla.
- 1964 The album "A Hard Day's Night" by the Beatles was released.
This is the US cover, which was different from  the UK cover for the album. 

-1973 The Bahamas became independent after three centuries of British colonial rule.
-1997 Scientists in London said DNA from a Neanderthal skeleton supported a theory that humans descended from an "African Eve" 100,000 to 200,000 years ago.
Bonus science points if you immediately thought of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and the Neanderthal Genome Project, OR Gene Flow OR the Neanderthal Extinction hypothesis OR the Neanderthal admixture hypothesis.  Bonus geography points if you knew that the Neanderthal valley is in Westphalia, Germany, and that it gave it's name to the type of hominid because of bones and artificats found in the region.  To the right is an artist rendering of what we now believe Neanderthals may have looked like, in this case a child.  In part, these reconstructions are based on the discovery of the remains of Neanderthal children, and are very different from the Cave Man stereotypes we see in bad cartoons and ignorant advertising. For those readers not particularly interested in archeology or anthropology, Neanderthals are credited with some of the very earliest art and artifacts, including some believed to have been burial goods, suggesting that this may date the origins of our earliest concepts of an afterlife and religion.
-1999 The U.S. women's soccer team won the World Cup at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.
It was a while ago, but at least we won A World Cup.  Goal!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

this seems to have been an eventful day in the birthdays category:
54 John Calvin, French theologian, 7/10/1509 - 5/27/1564
56 Sir William Blackstone, English jurist and author, 7/10/1723 - 2/14/1780
74 Adolphus Busch,German-born American business leader and brewer, 7/10/1839 - 10/10/1913 founder of Anheuser-Busch Beer (with his father-in-law)
86 Nikoli Tesla, Serbian-American inventor and researcher, 7/10/1856 - 1/7/1943;
(I suppose it would be bad of me to suggest that it was all of those experiments with electrical current that was responsible for that interesting curl in his hair in the photo - but I'm going to do it anyway!)  If you use any AC electricity today, or listen to the radio, or use anything with an electric motor -- just for today, give a passing grateful thought to Nikola Tesla, because he probably contributed directly (electricity pun intended) to your enjoyment of that development today.
51 Marcel Proust, French novelist, 7/10/1871 - 11/18/1922, (bonus obscure literature points, if you can name two of his books)
55 Kurt Alder, German Nobel Prize-winning chemist (1950),7/10/1902 -
6/20/1958  for his work in organic chemistry, the Diels-Alder reaction --- and he has a lunar crater named after him.

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