Friday, February 17, 2017

History: The Year is 1955

I've uploaded year 1955 to the TSP Wiki...

As always, Alex Shrugged's opinions are his own. Other people's work are their own. I include them here for the sake of completeness and to provide a second method of access to the material for the TSP history segment.

* Einstein's Brain is Missing, but Make No Assumptions -- Contributed by Alex Shrugged

* Refusing to Move to the Back of the Bus -- Contributed by Alex Shrugged

* Blowing Up Commercial Airlines: Now Illegal! -- Contributed by Southpaw Ben

* Notable Births -- See below.

* This Year in Film -- See below.

* This Year in Music -- See below.

* In Other News -- See below.


Einstein's Brain is Missing, but Make No Assumptions

Contributed by Alex Shrugged
"I have finished my task here."
-- Albert Einstein, on his deathbed as he reviews his final calculations. [1]
The great physicist, Albert Einstein, is dead. His friend, Dr. Zimmerman, can't get away, so he calls on his colleague to perform the autopsy. Dr. Harvey walks into the morgue. It looks like a broom closet. In the refrigerator is the body of Albert Einstein. He is a famous man so the autopsy must be done with care. There are flies buzzing around the room as Dr. Harvey begins his incision. The cause of death is a burst blood vessel. At this point the autopsy should be over, but Dr. Harvey continues. It is difficult to know what inspires him to remove Einstein's brain. Perhaps it is professional curiosity or some lesser motivation, but when he leaves the morgue, Einstein's brain is missing. Then in a press conference, Dr. Harvey declares that he is keeping the brain for scientific study. Einstein's son is shocked, so Dr. Harvey calls him to apologize, and ask permission to study his father's brain. It's all for science, you see, and a scientific paper will be written. The son grants permission, but as the years pass, no paper is forthcoming, and there are no legal precedents for recovering a missing brain. [2] [3] [4] [5]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
It is now 1997. A young woman is writing a book, leaving her husband, Michael, at loose ends. He writes magazine articles, and when he meets Dr. Harvey, now 84 years old, he asks about the brain. Dr. Harvey says that he would like to return it to Einstein's granddaughter, Evelyn, before he is too old. In an inspired moment, Michael says, "I could drive you." And thus begins one of the strangest road trips of all time with Einstein's brain bobbing along in a Tupperware® container. The book is called "Driving Mr. Albert" and it is a hoot. I often use the book as an example of how an author will make assumptions about what a reader already knows. On a road trip, the author might mention a stop at a gas station or maybe not. He assumes that everyone knows that cars need gas, but how long will that assumption hold as electric, self-driving cars come online? Writing is permanent, but the meaning of words change. As we modernize, something is always lost in translation.... not just words and context, but skills... like driving. A few of us choose to remember and pass it on, so that when that knowledge is needed, it will still exist. [6] [7]

Refusing to Move to the Back of the Bus

Contributed by Alex Shrugged
It is March 2nd. As the bus driver approaches the next stop he sees several white people waiting. The white and Negro sections of his bus are full. The center section is a spillover area where several black women are seated. He tells them to move, but two of them stare off into the distance, unhearing. The bus driver hails a policeman. A black man gives up his seat to one of the girls, but everyone else remain seated. High school student Claudette Colvin is madder than a wet hen as the police drag her off to jail. This could be a test case... a way to take segregation back to the Supreme Court. Clifford Durr is good-old-boy insider and a lawyer. He quit his position as FCC Commissioner to fight Truman's loyalty oath hearings. (By Executive Order, federal employees were required to take a loyalty oath.) He talks Fred Gray, a negro lawyer, into taking Colvin's case. He loses and Colvin is convicted. Perfect. But in appeals the judge dismisses the charge of violation of the segregation laws, and gives Colvin a small fine. Momentum is lost. They will have to try again, and they won't have long to wait. Mary Louise Smith is next. [8] [9] [10] [11]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Wait a second! What happened to Rosa Parks? That was in December. Rosa Parks' defiance of the segregation orders sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott. She deserves that credit, but she was not the first. She wasn't even the third, but she was the secretary of the local chapter of the NAACP... the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. She was also the one who typed out the acceptance letter when Dr. Martin Luther King applied for membership, and she was the seamstress for the Durr family, the lawyer looking for a test case to take to the Supreme Court. She knew everyone. She was good-looking, mild in manner and they charged her with violating the segregation laws and nothing else. Although her case eventually got bogged down in court, she became the rallying point for Bus Boycott. The question is... was it all MADE to happen? Maybe. She got on the bus driven by a man she had said she would never ride with again, but it was still real. [12] [13] [14] [15]

Blowing Up Commercial Airlines: Now Illegal!

Contributed by Southpaw Ben
On November 1st 1955, a flight was going from Denver Colorado to Portland Oregon. Around 7:03 pm United Airlines Flight 629 exploded over Longmont, Colorado,[16]killing the 39 passengers and 5 crew members on board. Later investigation revealed that Jack Gilbert Grahamwas responsible for the bombing. His motive was to kill his mother to get revenge for his childhood, and to get a large payout from her life insurance policy. He had also blown up one of his mother's restaurants and collected on the property insurance from it. Bomb making materials identical to those found in the wreckage were found in Graham's possession. As the title suggests, at this time there were no laws on the book making the bombing of a commercial airline illegal. As a result, Graham was only charged with the premeditated murder of his mother, despite the 43 other deaths. He was found guilty and was executed on January 11, 1957.
My Take by Southpaw Ben
In response to this bombing, on July 14th, 1956 President Dwight Eisenhower signed a bill that made the intentional bombing of a commercial airline illegal. [17]As much as this law makes sense at first glance, I would argue it's not, and is part of the reason why we have so many laws on the books. If we only had a few broad laws, they would be much easier to enforce and harder for one to get away on a technicality. Instead of saying it's illegal to blow up an airline, simply having it be illegal to kill someone and it's illegal to destroy property that you lack permission to destroy would be enough. And it was in this case, as justice was served with simply having it be illegal to murder someone.

Notable Births

  • John Roberts: 17th Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court. [18]
  • Mike Huckabee: Gov. of Arkansas, Fox News talk show host and presidential candidate. [18]
  • Bill Gates: Co-founder of Microsoft and one of the wealthiest people in the world. [18]
  • Eric Schmidt: CEO of Novell, CEO of Google and Exec. Chairman of Alphabet Inc, a conglomerate that holds various Google companies. [18]
  • Steve Jobs (died 2011 , age 56): Co-founder and CEO of Apple, and CEO of Pixar. [18]
  • And in Entertainment...
  • -- In Music: Eddie Val Halen, Billy Idol, and Reba McEntire. [18]
  • -- Kate Mulgrew: Captain Janeway of the Star Trek: Voyager series. [18]
  • -- Penn Jillette: From the magical team of Penn & Teller. (If you must have a favorite atheist, he is your man.--alexshrugged) [18]
  • -- Bruce Willis: TV's Moonlighting, Die Hard, The Fifth Element, Armageddon, The Sixth Sense and more. [18]
  • -- Whoopi Goldberg: Actress in The Color Purple, Ghost, Sister Act, comedian and co-host of The View. [18]

This Year in Film

  • Mister Roberts: Starring Henry Fonda as an XO who protects his crew from a vain and petty captain. (Still worth watching--alexshrugged). [19]
  • Guys and Dolls: A musical starring Marlon Brando and Frank Sinatra. (Still worth watching--alexshrugged) [19]
  • The Seven Year Itch: Marilyn Monroe stands on a subway grate as her dress lifts up. (No drooling, gentlemen.--alexshrugged) [19]

This Year in Music

  • Sixteen Tons: Tennessee Ernie Ford. "You load 16 tons, whadda ya get? Another day older and deeper in debt." [20] [21]
  • Cry Me a River: Julie London. "I cried a river over you" [20] [22]
  • Maybellene (Why Can't You Be True?): Chuck Barry. [20] [23]

In Other News

  • Electric power is produced from atomic energy: Arco, Idaho is where it starts. It is also the site of the first fatal reactor accident. (and the only one for the USA) [24] [25]
  • The Hovercraft is invented using a vacuum cleaner and two tin cans. It is then classified as a government secret, killing further development. [26]
  • The Disneyland theme park and Disneyland Hotel open for business: Also the Mickey Mouse Club makes its debut. [27]
  • And events even more important than the above: (They cannot all get a mention, so something has to give.--alexshrugged)

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1955, Wikipedia.

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