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Archive for June, 2009

12 June
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10 Presidential Firsts

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On June 7, 1892, Benjamin Harrison became the first President of the United States to ever attend a baseball game. In 1910, baseball had become so identified as America’s sport that William Howard Taft threw the first ceremonial pitch of the season. Every President has done it at least once since, save for one – Jimmy Carter. He threw first pitches of games, but never the ceremonial season opener. And Obama hasn’t done it yet, either, but he’s got some time. [mental_floss]

Image credit: brentdanley

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11 June
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Atlantic Graveyard

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Only sealers, shipwrecked sailors and salvagers made their homes on Sable Island, impermanent ones at best. The salvagers must have had some pretty good times — over the last few centuries, more than 350 vessels were shipwrecked on what became known as the “Graveyard of the Atlantic”. Located in shallow, often stormy and foggy waters, the elongated Sable Island (44 km long but never more than 2 km wide) might have been predestined as a catchment area for ships treading these Atlantic latitudes — a self-fulfilling curse for captains igorant or oblivious of this huge, constantly shifting sandbar. [kottke.org]

Image credit: skibler

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10 June
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Space Monkeys

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A squirrel monkey named Baker peers out from a 1950s NASA biocapsule as she’s readied for her first space mission. Baker and a rhesus monkey named Able launched aboard a Jupiter AM-18 rocket on May 28, 1959 — 50 years ago this week. The pair returned to Earth alive after a 15-minute flight, becoming the first primates to survive a trip into space. Miss Baker, as she came to be known, spent the latter part of her life at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. She died of kidney failure in 1984 at the ripe old age of 27.  [Boing Boing]

Image credit: H4NUM4N

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09 June
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The Map Washington Made

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The Christie’s auction that will include the Ethan Allen letter I mentioned yesterday also offers this map of the area around Mount Vernon, apparently drawn up by George Washington himself. Certainly that’s his writing at top, the notes of a trained surveyor. [Boston 1775]

Image credit: justindc

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08 June
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Church Buried in Lava

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In 1943, a volcano began growing out of a cornfield in San Juan Parangaricutiro, Michoacán, Mexico. It erupted for eight years, growing to a height of 336 meters. The lava flow buried the town, but the inhabitants were able to evacuate. Of all the buildings, only the church is now visible, rising half-buried from the new rock. [Neatorama]

Image credit: FerdelaT

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05 June
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October 1780: Storm

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The Newfoundland Hurricane of September 1775, latterly dubbed the “Independence Hurricane,” killed an estimated 4,000 people—but it wasn’t the deadliest Atlantic hurricane during the Revolutionary War. [Boston 1775]

Image credit: Gray Monk

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04 June
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‘Viking ship’ discovered in Sweden’s largest lake

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Marine archaeologists in Sweden have discovered what they believe to be the wreck of a Viking ship at the bottom the country’s largest lake. According to a report in The Local: Sweden’s news in English, a team of 50 divers from the Swedish coastguard happened upon the 20-metre long wreck by chance on May 6th. [Yahoo! News India via Digg]

Image credit: fiomaha

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03 June
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7 Obscure Facts About The Statue Of Liberty

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Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced Friday that beginning July 4, the public will once again be able to clamber up into the crown of the Statue of Liberty. [NPR via Digg]

Image credit: laverrue

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02 June
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Top 10 Incredible Audio Recordings Throughout History

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Sound recordings still available to us go back as far as 1878. In this collection at Listverse, you’ll find historical recordings of Florence Nightingale, Pope Leo XIII, and other audio firsts. [Neatorama]

Image credit: pgoeltz

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01 June
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New World War I Photos

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The Independent newspaper in the UK has released some newly discovered portraits of British soldiers from World War I.  Hidden in a French barn for ninety years, these pictures are a telling record of soldiers in preparation for the Battle of the Somme. [The Independent]

Image credit:  M. Gardin and M. Zanardi

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