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26 January
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First Television Demonstration

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On January 26, 1926 John Logie Baird, a Scottish inventor,  gave what is widely recognized as being the world’s first demonstration of a working television system, to members of the Royal Institution and a newspaper reporter from The Times, at his laboratory in 22 Frith Street, Soho, London.  Unlike later electronic systems with several hundred lines of resolution, Baird’s vertically scanned image had only 30 lines.

In 1927, Baird transmitted a signal over 438 miles via telephone line between London and Glasgow. In 1928, Baird Television Development Company/Cinema Television broadcast the first transatlantic television signal, between London and New York.  In 1929, he became involved in the first experimental electromechanical television service in Germany. In November of the same year, Baird and Bernard Natan of Pathé established France’s first television company, Télévision-Baird-Natan. In 1931, he made the first outdoor remote broadcast, of the Epsom Derby.   Baird’s electromechanical system reached a peak of 240-lines of resolution on BBC television broadcasts in 1936. On November 2, 1936 the BBC began transmitting the world’s first public television service from the Victorian Alexandra Palace in north.  The intermediate film system was discontinued within three months in favor of a 405-line all-electronic system developed by Marconi-EMI.

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24 January
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Shoichi Yokoi

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The third to last of the Japanese surrenders 28 years after WWII ends.

Shoichi Yokoi Hole

Shoichi Yokoi Hole Flickr

Shoichi Yokoi was a sergeant in the imperial Japanese army during WWII.  He was discovered in Guam on January 24, 1972 by some shrimp fishermen.  He was 57 years old and couldn’t put up much of a fight when he was captured.  When he returned to Japan he said

“It is with much embarrassment, but I have returned”.

He had hide in a cave for 28 years.  While he was hiding he did see leaflets that announced the war was over, but he believed them to be false propaganda and ignored them.

He was the third to last to surrender.  The last was Private Teruo Nakamura, who was arrested in December 1974.  He was featured many times on Japanese television.  And in a US television documentary called Yokoi and His Twenty-Eight Years of Secret Life on Guam.

From the Japanese government he received $300 in back pay.  He married and settled down.  In 1997 he died at the age of 82 from a heart attack.  He has his own museum in Nakagawa-ku, Nagoya.

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23 January
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Frisbee

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Frisbee

Frisbee Flickr

The WHAM-O Slingshot was the product that gave the company, founded in 1948, its distinctive name. When the missile hit its target, it made the sound “WHAM-O”.  The slingshot may have launched the company, but many of us also remember another iconic product from Wham-o.  The Frisbee.  It’s original inventor was a building inspector by the name of Fred Morrison.  He sold the flying disc to Wahm-o in 1955.  Wham-o introduced the new product to consumers in 1957 as the Pluto Platter.  It was renamed the next year to the name we all know, Frisbee.  Morrison was got the patent for the Pluto Platter in 1958 (U.S. Design Patent D183,626).

It wasn’t  until Edward Headrick modified the design of the Frisbee to be more stable during flight that sales really took off.  Unfortunately the privately held company  does not release sales numbers.

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22 January
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Roe v. Wade

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Roe v. Wade was a landmark Supreme Court decision about abortion.  The ruling was that women would have the right to have an abortion.  The case was decided on January 22, 1973.  The vote was 7 to 2 in favor of the right to abortion.  Public opinion on the subject has wavered slightly on both slides.

Roe v. Wade

Roe v. Wade

When looking into this the first question I had was who is Roe?  Jane Roe was an alias for Norma L. McCorvey.  She wanted to have an abortion.  First she tried to lie and say she was raped, but since she didn’t have a police report this failed.  Then, she attempted an illegal abortion, but the place she went to had already been shut down by the police.  Her last stop was the lawyers.

Who was Wade?  That was the Dallas County District Attorney Henry Wade representing the State of Texas.

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21 January
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Thule Air Base B-52 crash

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Thule Air Base B-52 crash

Thule Air Base B-52 crash BBC

In 1968 the US government had been flying over Thule air force base for 8 years.  The base was believed to be the first place Russia would attack and with US planes flying over it continually the US would know immediately if something happened to it.  But it gets worse.  The planes were all equipped with nuclear weapons, so that if Thule was destroyed they could make a beeline to Russia and blow the place up.  This constant flying over Thule was part of a US operation called Chrome Dome.

In January 21, 1968 a B-52 was making its rounds near Thule and some foam cushions, which were brilliantly left on a heater, caught fire.  The fire grew quickly and the crew had to abandon the plane before they could make their emergency landing.  As with most of these broken arrow incidents, the nuclear part of the bomb did not go off, but instead the smaller explosions associated with the bombs did.  This caused a lot of radioactive material to be spread across the snow in Greenland, where Thule base is located.

The contaminated snow was brought back the US.  As were three of the four bombs.  They had trouble locating the fourth.  Seems it when right through the snow and down to the bottom of the ocean.  Even after sending a submarine in to try to locate the bomb, the US was unable to retrieve it.  So, it was abandoned there at the bottom of the ocean.  I hope it is still there.

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18 January
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A. A. Milne

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A. A. Milne

A. A. Milne

A. A. Milne was born 132 years ago today, January 18, 1882.  Alan Alexander was born in Hampstead, London to parents Vince and Sarah.  He is most well known for his children stories of a teddy bear named Winnie-the-Pooh.  One of his teachers growing up was actually H.G. Wells according to the wikipedia entry!  He wrote for the student magazine while enrolled at Trinity College, Cambridge.  He was there studying on a Mathematics scholarship.  After the school magazine he wrote for Punch a British Humor magazine where he would later become a assistant editor.  He joined the military for World War I and served as a officer until a debilitating illness, at which time he was recruited by military intelligence to write propaganda.  He was discahrged from military service on Valentines Day 1919.

He denounced the war in his book Peace with Honour then retracted in War with Honour.  In 1913 he married Dorothy “Daphne” de Selincourt and had his son Christopher Robin in 1920.  In 1952 he had a stroke and then brain surgery which left him an invalid.  He died four years later at the age of 74.  His son Christopher had a short stint in the military during World War II, then married and opened two bookstores.  He lived most off the money from the Pooh books.  In 1974, Milne published the first of three autobiographical books:

  1. The Enchanted Places
  2. The Path Through the Trees
  3. Hollow on the Hill 

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17 January
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The Palomares Incident

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Palomares incident Location

Palomares incident Location

Forty-eight years ago today, January 15, 166, a US air force B-52G bomber and its KC-135 re-fueling tanker collided at 31,000 feet over the Mediterranean Sea near Spain.  The tanker’s fuel ignited and all four of its crew members were lost.  The B52G broke apart and only 4 of the 7 crew members lived.  Three parachuting into the ocean and one onto land.  It also lost 4 hydrogen bombs.

B-52

B-52

The B52G was carrying four Mk28 hydrogen bombs.  Three of which were found within 24 hours of the crash near the small fishing village of Palomares.  Two of the non-nuclear explosives on the bombs went off when they hit the ground.  This caused three quarter square miles of contaminated area by plutonium.  The last bomb was discovered in the ocean after a 2.5 month search.  There were 150 divers pulled in to help search for the missing bomb.  On March 17, 1966, the bomb was located by a small submersible, but the bomb was lost again during the recovery.  It was located again on April 2 at a depth of 2,900 feet.

Francisco Simo Orts saw the bomb go into the ocean at the time of the accident.  In maritime law if you identify the location of a ship that is to be salvaged you get an amount of money, usually 1 or 2 percent of the value of that ships cargo.  In this case te bomb was valued at 2 billion.  Thats 20 million for Simo Orts or as he is now known “Bomb Paco” or “Bomb Frankie”.  The Air Force settled out of court with Simo Orts.

KC-135 Stratotanker

KC-135 Stratotanker

The incident was given the movie treatment in the film The Day the Fish Came Out (1967).  Lots more great links to check out on the wikipedia page.

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16 January
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Bill Crosby’s Son Murdered

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Ennis Cosby

Ennis Cosby via BBC

On the evening of January 16, 1997 Ennis William Cosby was shot while changing his tire on the 405 freeway in Los Angeles, California.  His murder was Mikhail Markhasev an 18-year-old Ukrainian immigrant with a history of violence related to race.  In 1995 he had attacked two African American men at knife point.  He said he demanded Cosby’s money and when Ennis didn’t respond quickly enough he shot him in the head.  Markhasev’s knit cap was found five miles from the murder seen.  In it was wrapped the gun he used.  DNA from the cap matched Markhasev’s and the bullet used to kill Cosby was matched to the gun.  In 1998 he was sentenced to life in prison without parole, plus 10 years.  Not sure how life plus 10 works?  The Cosby family asked the prosecutors not to seek the death penalty.  In 2001 Markhasev confessed via a handwritten letter to the Deputy Attorney General.

The Cosby Family established the Hello Friend/Ennis William Cosby Foundation In Ennis’ memory. The foundation stopped its work in 2008. In 2000, Bill Cosby started a scholarship in Ennis Cosby’s name at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania

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15 January
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First Super Bowl

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Official NFL Patch - Super Bowl I

Official NFL Patch – Super Bowl I from censorship america

Sometimes referred to as the “Supergame” or First AFL-NFL World Championship Game Super Bowl I was the very first championship game of the American Football League (AFL) and the National Football League (NFL).  Played on January 15, 1967 between the Kansas City Chiefs (AFL) and the Green Bay Packers (NFL) at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, California.

Led by MVP quarterback Bart Starr the Green Bay Packers scored three touchdowns in the last half of the game to defeat the Kansas City Chiefs 35-10.  Each member of the Packers was awarded $15,000, the largest single-game share in the history of team sports.  The term “super bowl” was officially introduced in 1969 along with the roman numerals.  The term was chosen because postseason college games were known as “bowl” games.

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14 January
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Proclamation No. 2537

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The First Steps Toward Japanese-American Internment

Internment Letter

Internment Letter flickr user dbking

On this day in 1942 President Roosevelt issued Proclamation No. 2537 which required that Americans from Germany, Italy or Japan must register with the Department of Defense.  Additional proclamations were to follow.  They expanded the original requirements to include all persons of Japanese ancestry, even American-born citizens.  They also froze their assets and set up “exclusion zones” that those registered could not enter.  All this despite the fact that a 1941 federal report requested by Roosevelt indicated that more than 90 percent of Japanese Americans were considered loyal citizens.  Proclamation No. 2537 permitted the arrest, detention and internment of enemy aliens who violated restricted areas, such as ports, water treatment plants or even areas prone to brush fires, for the duration of the war.

Just one month later a Roosevelt reluctantly signed Executive Order 9066, which sent many Japanese-American families into internment camps.  On December 29, 1945 Proclamation 2537 was revoked, by Harry Truman, with Proclamation 2678.

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