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Archive for March, 2009

09 March
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History of Mathematics

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A great resource for Math Historians was mentioned on Metafilter recently.  For example, did you know that today is the birthday of Howard Aiken?

Howard Aiken studied at the University of Wisconsin, Madison obtaining a doctorate from Harvard in 1939. While he was a graduate student and an instructor in the Department of Physics at Harvard Aiken began to make plans to build a large computer. These plans were made for a very specific purpose, for Aiken’s research had led to a system of differential equations which had no exact solution and which could only be solved using numerical techniques. However, the amount of hand calculation involved would have been almost prohibitive, so Aiken’s idea was to use an adaptation of the punched card machines which had been developed by Hollerith.

The MacTutor History of Mathematics archive

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08 March
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Want to Podcast?

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Start your own podcast.  Here are some books to get you started:

  

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1590599055?ie=UTF8&tag=historyonair-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=1590599055

I have not read Podcasting Bible or Podcasting Solutions, but I started my podcast with only the information in Podcasting DIY, and later History Podcast was written up in Podcasting for Dummies.  Don’t let the title of that last one throw you.  One of the best books I have read on hockey was a Hockey for Dummies book!

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07 March
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Neutron Discovered; A-Bomb on the Way

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Tony Long wrote a great history of the A-Bomb for Wired on Feb 27 of this year.  You should check it out.

English physicist James Chadwick publishes a letter on the existence of the neutron. His discovery helps clear the way for splitting the nuclei of even the heaviest atomic elements, making possible the development of the atomic bomb.

Image from flickr user giginger.

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06 March
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First Footprints Found?

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As published today in the journal Science, a dig near Ileret, Kenya, has uncovered early human footprints in a streambed — quite possibly, evidence of the first hominids who walked on two legs as a matter of course. In the Philadelphia Inquirer‘s well-reported story, “Footprints offer clue on path to modern man,” TED2009 speaker Nina Jablonski offers her opinion on the fossil impressions:

… There is no doubt that the new prints are a rare find, and that the creatures who made them were spending not most, but all of their time on two feet, said Nina Jablonski, head of the anthropology department at Pennsylvania State University.

Found on TED | TED Blog.  Read also the BBC news article.  Image from flickr user Joshua Davis (jdavis.info).

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05 March
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History of the Electric Chair

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I could not pass up posting this great article from World History Journal written by Ramiro.

Execution by electrocution (usually referred to, after its method of implementation, as the electric chair) is an execution method originating in the United States in which the person being put to death is strapped to a specially built wooden chair and electrocuted through electrodes placed on the body. This execution method has been used only in the United States and, for a period of several decades,[1] in the Philippines (its first use there in 1924, last in 1976). The electric chair has become a symbol of the death penalty; however, its use is in decline.

Flickr image by publicinsomniac.

Here is a book for more information, because this subject is just so interesting!

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04 March
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Wikipedia the Book (kinda)

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Did you know that you can assemble your own wiki pages fromWikipedia and print them out in book form? You can, for a while now, thanks to a partnership between Wikimedia Foundation and a German startup called PediaPress. Last week, the wiki-to-print feature was activated for six more languages besides German but as of yesterday the functionality is also being tested on the regular English Wikipedia (restricted to logged-on users only for now).

Found on TechCrunch.

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03 March
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Lincoln Back from the Dead and he’s Going to Disneyland

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Famed robot statesman Mr. Lincoln will be pulled out of mothballs and put back on stage at the Main Street Opera House in Disneyland sometime later this year.  The attraction will reopen in celebration of the 200th anniversary year of Abraham Lincoln’s birth – he was born on Feb. 12, 1809.

Found on the OC Register.  Flickr image from user MaxVelascoKnott.

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02 March
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Mono-Histories

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A Mono-History is “the history of a single invention, food, natural resource or other singular item,”  as Shelf Talk puts it.  These all look like very interesting stories and I know some of them will end up on ym GoodReads list..  Click through to Shelf Talk for a list of “mono-histories” and also check out this list from The Rumpus.

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01 March
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Book Review: The Pirate Queen: The Story of Grace O’Malley, Irish Pirate

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The first thing I should mention about The Pirate Queen: The Story of Grace O’Malley, Irish Pirate by Alan Gold, is that it is a fictional piece.  For any listeners that enjoyed History Podcast episode 72: Grace O’Malley and would like to read an interesting, but fictional story about the pirate, I would recommend this novel.  However, please be aware that the books language is not for the fainted hearted.  The strong language was a major turn off for me.  The other warning I will give, is the book sometimes reads more like a romance novel than anything else.  All in all, I would say that you should read this book, if you are at all interested in female pirates.  I did enjoy the novel, despite the strong language and minor love scenes.

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