Thursday, May 12, 2016

History: The Year is 1785

I've uploaded year 1785 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

'Oh, the Humanity!' Death from the Skies! -- The first air disaster, and the Hindenburg.

George Washington is Busted -- Having a statue made is part of establishing one's fame.

And in Other News -- The Continental Navy is disbanded, and other stuff.

'Oh, the Humanity!' Death from the Skies!

It had to happen. Lighter-than-air flight (that is, hot-air and hydrogen balloon flight) is an exciting new field of science with many unanswered questions. For example, they have no clear idea WHAT makes these balloons float. (FYI, they float because the lighter gases trapped within the balloon's envelope rise above the denser atmosphere taking the entire contraption with them.) It's science! And it's flashy, so one can win the admiration of one's fellows and the girls love it. In January, a hydrogen balloon crosses the English Channel carrying John Jeffries, an American taking barometric and temperature measurements. With so many flights, a few balloons were bound to crash with ugly results. Dr. Bleakly launches from the Tullamore barracks yard in Ireland. He hits a chimney, dragging sparks and flame across the rooftops of the town. Most buildings have slate roofs, but along Barracks street the roofs are thatch. 100 homes and shops are lost. This is the first air flight disaster. The first air flight deaths occur later this year when a hybrid hydrogen/hot-air balloon plummets 1,500 feet, killing two. Thankfully the balloon did NOT burst into flame. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
On May 6th, 1937 the German passenger zeppelin, Hindenburg, was docking at Lakehurst, New Jersey when it suddenly burst into flames. The nose of the ship tilted up, causing the flames to climb through its interior like a chimney. "Oh, the humanity!" shouted the radio announcer. Within 30 seconds, nothing was left but ash and a broken metal frame. Amazingly, out of the 97 people on board, 62 survived. 1 person on the ground crew was killed. Theories abound as to what caused the sudden and rapid destruction. It might have been a lighting strike, a gas leak, or the combustible paint used on the exterior of the zeppelin. The TV show Mythbusters tested the "combustible paint" theory with some spectacular results. (Don't ever invite the Mythbusters to your home unless your insurance is paid up.) Hydrogen burns, so why weren't they using helium instead? At the time, helium was a scarce commodity, available only in the USA which was maintaining an export ban on helium. The Germans switched to hydrogen which they could produce themselves. [7] [8] [9]

George Washington is Busted

Apparently the key to fame is to have a proper sculpture made. Thomas Jefferson recommends a famous French sculptor to George Washington. George Washington (now retired to his plantation at Mount Vernon) has the artist make clay impressions and molds of his head so that a bust can be sculpted of his likeness. The same impressions will be used to create other sculptures and statues of Washington's likeness. It is said that the most lasting statements are written in stone. [10]
"Men of real talents in Arms have commonly approved themselves patrons of the liberal arts [...] In some instances by acting reciprocally, heroes have made poets, and poets heroes." -- George Washington in a letter to LaFayette, 1788. [11]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Washington was seeking fame but not reality star fame, nor viral video fame. Washington, Adams and Jefferson were seeking fame that lasted centuries. Washington organized his life to fit the model of the ancient Greeks and Romans. After the war, he retired to his plantation "to sit in the shade of my vine and my fig tree." The Roman statesman Cincinnatus (sin-sin-NAT-tus) was appointed dictator in order to defeat the enemies of the state, but once the task was complete, he returned to his farm. Of course, that whole model was shattered when Washington became President of the United States, but he managed to release control after that too. It was an amazing feat for the time, and not a bad feat even today. [12] [13]

And in Other News

  • The Continental Navy is disbanded. The Congress is out of money. The Continental Navy Ship Alliance is auctioned off for $26,0000. What have we done? [14]
  • Digitalis is discovered. The foxgloves plant helps with congestive heart failure. (I am not a physician. Just so you know.) [15] [16]
  • The Times of London newspaper is established. It is called something else now, but in 1788 it will change its name to The Times. [17]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1785, Wikipedia.

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