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10 November
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Birth of US Marine Corps

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US Marines

Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/usmcarchives/

A resolution, drafted by future U.S. president John Adams and adopted in Philadelphia, created the Continental Marines.  The resolution stating that “two Battalions of Marines be raised” for service as landing forces for the recently formed Continental Navy.

That resolution was approved on November 10, 1775.  Samuel Nicholas became captain and commanding officer of the newly formed Marines.  He began recruiting by visiting public inns and taverns throughout Philadelphia.  The first Marine landing on a hostile shore occurred when a force of Marines under Captain Samuel Nicholas captured New Province Island in the Bahamas from the British in March 1776.

After American independence was achieved in 1783, the Continental Navy was demobilized and its Marines disbanded.  On July 11, President John Adams signed the bill establishing the U.S. Marine Corps as a permanent military force under the jurisdiction of the Department of Navy.

Sources:

Read more:

The Greatest U.S. Marine Corps Stories Ever Told: Unforgettable Stories of Courage, Honor, and Sacrifice

The Greatest U.S. Marine Corps Stories Ever Told: Unforgettable Stories of Courage, Honor, and Sacrifice

The Greatest U.S. Marine Corps Stories Ever Told: Unforgettable Stories of Courage, Honor, and Sacrifice

Semper Fi: The Definitive Illustrated History of the U.S. Marines

Semper Fi: The Definitive Illustrated History of the U.S. Marines

Semper Fi: The Definitive Illustrated History of the U.S. Marines

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09 November
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The Great Northeast Blackout of 1965

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The evening of November 9th, 1965 was a cold winter evening and it had driven demand for electricity to power heaters to near capacity.  At 5:16pm EST, a small surge of power coming from the Robert Moses generating plant in Lewiston, New York caused the improperly set relay to trip at far below the line’s rated capacity, disabling a main power line heading into Southern Ontario.  Immediately, the power than could no longer travel on that line switched over to others.  Those lines then failed, with no where to go the power than turned to another path, New York.  Once there the power overwhelmed line after line driving the Eastern states into darkness.  Now not only Ontario was dark but so were Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, New York, and New Jersey.  30,000 people and over 80,000 square miles were in complete darkness. Trains were stuck between subway stops. People were trapped in elevators. Failed traffic signals stopped traffic dead. And, at the height of the Cold War, many thought Armageddon had arrived. One pilot flying over a darkened New York City stated,

“I thought, ‘another Pearl Harbor!'”

Only five reports of looting were made in New York City after the 1965 blackout. It was said to be the lowest amount of crime on any night in the city’s history since records were first kept.

Sources:

Read more:

When the Lights Went Out: A History of Blackouts in America

When the Lights Went Out: A History of Blackouts in America

When the Lights Went Out: A History of Blackouts in America

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08 November
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Discovery of X-Rays

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xray

Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tzaddi/

On November 8,1895 Wilhelm Röntgen produced and detected electromagnetic radiation in a wavelength range today known as X-rays or Röntgen rays, an achievement that earned him the first Nobel Prize in Physics in 1901. Röntgen donated the monetary reward from his Nobel Prize to his university. He refused to take out patents related to his discovery, as he wanted mankind as a whole to benefit from practical applications of the same.

In many languages, Röntgen’s name (or a local linguistic derivative) is used to refer to radiology and its products instead of the term “X-ray”, which Röntgen himself coined, for example Japanese “rentogen”, the Swedish röntgen, the Lithuanian “rentgeno”, the Hebrew “rentgen”, the Serbo-Croatian “rentgen”, and Turkish “röntgen”.

From Nobel Prize website:

On the evening of November 8, 1895, he found that, if the discharge tube is enclosed in a sealed, thick black carton to exclude all light, and if he worked in a dark room, a paper plate covered on one side with barium platinocyanide placed in the path of the rays became fluorescent even when it was as far as two metres from the discharge tube. During subsequent experiments he found that objects of different thicknesses interposed in the path of the rays showed variable transparency to them when recorded on a photographic plate. When he immobilised for some moments the hand of his wife in the path of the rays over a photographic plate, he observed after development of the plate an image of his wife’s hand which showed the shadows thrown by the bones of her hand and that of a ring she was wearing, surrounded by the penumbra of the flesh, which was more permeable to the rays and therefore threw a fainter shadow. This was the first “röntgenogram” ever taken.

Sources:

Read more:

Röntgen Rays

Röntgen Rays

Röntgen Rays: Memoirs by Röntgen, Stokes, and J. J. Thomson

Wilhelm Roentgen and the Discovery of X-Rays

Wilhelm Roentgen and the Discovery of X-Rays

Wilhelm Roentgen and the Discovery of X-Rays (Unlocking the Secrets of Science)

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05 November
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First Patent for an Automobile

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George B. Selden Driving Automobile

George B. Selden Driving Automobile

118 years ago today (November 5, 1895), George B. Selden was granted the patent for an automobile. Selden produced a one-cylinder, 400-pound version which featured an enclosed crankshaft with the help of Rochester machinist Frank H. Clement and his assistant William Gomm. He submitted the application for his patent on May 8, 1879. It took 16 years to get the patent because Selden kept making amendments to his original application.

Initial prospects looked good for Selden, he started making some money on his patent in 1899, but when Ford came along in 1903 things changed. Ford fought to make his cars without paying Selden for the patent. At first Selden won, but Ford appealed and eventually won the verdict saying he didn’t use the engine type in Selden’s patent but model his engines off the Otto engine, created in 1876 by Nikolaus August Otto. Otto’s engines were created for stationary purposes and were later modified to be used in transportation by Daimler and others.

After the shocking decision Selden worked on his own car and truck company called Selden Truck Sales Corporation. In 1930 the company was sold to Bethlehem Truck Company.  In 1921 Selden had a stroke and died soon after at age 75 on January 21, 1922.

Sources:

Read more:

The Automobile Age

The Automobile Age

The Automobile Age

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04 November
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Abraham Lincoln marries Mary Todd

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Abe Lincoln & Mary Todd

Image credit. http://www.flickr.com/photos/9483559@N07/

On November 4, 1842, 171 years ago today, Mary Todd married Abraham Lincoln. They were married at her sisters house in Springfield, Illinois.  Mary Todd, whose nickname was Molly, was the child of wealthy parents and received her education in prestigious all-girls schools where she excelled in cultural studies and the arts.  Before she married Abraham Lincoln, Mary was courted by his long-time political opponent Stephen A. Douglas.  Their home of about fifteen years still stands in Springfield.

Mary Todd Lincoln House, Lexington Kentucky

Image credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Mary_Todd_Lincoln_House,_Lexington_Kentucky_3.jpg

From Wikipedia:

On April 14, 1865, as she sat with her husband to watch the comic play Our American Cousin at Ford’s Theatre, President Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth. Mrs. Lincoln accompanied her mortally wounded husband across the street to the Petersen House, where Lincoln’s Cabinet was summoned. Their son Robert sat with Lincoln throughout the night until he died the following morning. Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton ordered Mary from the room as she was so unhinged with grief.

The death of her son Thomas (Tad) in July 1871, following the death of two of her other sons and her husband, led to Mary Lincoln’s suffering an overpowering grief and depression.  After she nearly jumped out of a window to escape a non-existent fire, her son determined that she should be institutionalized.  On May 20, 1875, he committed her to a private asylum in Batavia, Illinois.  She was released in 1876 to her sisters care, but she was not well.  She went to the hotel pharmacist and ordered enough laudanum to kill herself, but he realized her intent and gave her a placebo.  She died on July 16, 1882, aged sixty-three.

Sources:

Read about it:

Mary Todd Lincoln: A Biography

Mary Todd Lincoln: A Biography

Mary Todd Lincoln: A Biography

Mary: Mrs. A. Lincoln

Mary: Mrs. A. Lincoln

Mary: Mrs. A. Lincoln

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03 November
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Laika, the Russian Space Dog

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Laika, The Russian Space Dog

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Posta_Romana_-_1959_-_Laika_120_B.jpg

56 years ago today, November 3,1957, the Russian space program launched a dog into space. Laika was one of three dogs tested to see which would go into space. All passed the test, but Laika was the lucky one to win a one way trip to space. Laika rode into space on Sputnik II where she would stay for eternity as there were no plans for Sputnik II’s reentry.

Laika means “barker” in Russian. She was a three-year old mutt that weighted 13 pounds. Before launch she was hooked up to machines to record what happened to her body during launch and also once in space. In addition to being the first animal in space she is probably the fastest traveling animal as well, she circled the earth every hour and forty-two minutes, traveling approximately 18,000 miles per hour.

While there was much debate as to how long Laika lived after the launch, According to a 2002 BBC article “After five to seven hours into the flight, no life signs were being received from Laika. By the fourth orbit it was apparent that Laika had died from overheating and stress. “ We also know that on the sixth day the life support in the module failed and on April 14, 1958 Sputnik II reentered the atmosphere and burned up. Her death sparked much debate over animal rights. In Russian, she is seen as a hero.

This part of the show tells the story of Oleg Gazenko, the Soviet scientist who selected and trained space-dog Laika, the first living creature in orbit. http://web.archive.org/web/20060614193101/http://spacedog.biz/gscfiles/gscgazscript.htm

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Laika: The 1st Dog in Space

Laika: The 1st Dog in Space

Laika: The 1st Dog in Space (Famous Firsts: Animals Making History (Graphic Planet))

Space Race

Space Race

Space Race: The Epic Battle Between America and the Soviet Union for Dominion of Space

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02 November
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History of the Spruce Goose

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Spruce Goose

Spruce Goose

66 years ago today (November 2, 1947), the world’s largest airplane flew its one and only flight. In fact, it is nearly 6 times bigger than any other airplane. It was designed to fly trans-Atlantic to avoid the World War II German submarines that were sinking Allied ships. It took Howard Hughes and his staff 5 years to build it and 25 million (253.5 million in today’s dollars), 7 million of that was Hughes’ own money and the rest was federal funding. Because of a government mandate not to use materials critical to the war effort, the airplane is made of wood. In its single flight, the wooden boat went only a little over a mile at an altitude of 70 feet for approximately one minute.

The plane has gone by many names. Originally the HK-1, named for the first plane that Hughes and Henry Kaiser made together. Kaiser dropped out of the project in 1944. Other names include “Hercules,” which was awarded after a company contest, and the “Flying Lumberyard,” a somewhat derogatory term. A 1946 issue of Flying Magazine settled on the less critical nickname, “Wooden Wonder.” But the press settle on Spruce Goose and it stuck. While most of the plane is made of birch wood, there is some spruce wood in it.

After its flight it was stored in a special hanger for 33 years. Kept in flight ready condition by Hughes at a rumored $1 million a year. After Hughes’ death in 1976, the Flying Boat was to be disassembled. The giant plane was saved by entrepreneur Jack Wrather, who moved it into a massive domed hangar next to the famous ocean liner, the Queen Mary, in Long Beach, Calif. In 1983, the plane was put on public display. It was sold and is now on display at the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum in McMinnville, Oregon.

Sources:

Read about it:

The Golden Spruce: A True Story of Myth, Madness, and Greed

The Golden Spruce: A True Story of Myth, Madness, and Greed

The Golden Spruce: A True Story of Myth, Madness, and Greed

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01 November
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The Attempted Assassination of President Harry S. Truman

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White House Policeman Leslie W. Coffelt

White House Policeman Leslie W. Coffelt

On November 1, 1950, a pair of Puerto Rican nationalists made an attempt on President Truman’s life at Blair House, his temporary residence. The two men, Oscar Collazo and Griselio Torresola, sought to bring attention to the Puerto Rican independence movement.

The men attempted to shoot their way into the house from the front door of Blair House. A gun battle ensued on and around the front steps with White House police officers and Secret Service agents. President Truman was awakened in an upstairs bedroom by the sound of gunfire. He rushed to the window, but a guard shouted at him to take cover.

When the dust cleared, three White House policemen were injured, Torresola was killed, and Collazo was wounded. Private Leslie Coffelt, who fired the bullet that killed Torresola, died later that day from his wounds. His badge is displayed in his honor in the Blair House security office.

Collazo’s wife Rosa was arrested by the FBI for conspiracy charges and spent 8 months in jail.  Upon her release she helped gather 100,000 signatures in an effort to save her husband from the electric chair.  In 1952, Collazo was sentenced to death, but President Truman commuted his sentence to life imprisonment to be carried out at Leavenworth.  On September 6, 1979, after spending 29 years in jail, President Jimmy Carter commuted his sentence.  Upon their return to Puerto Rico, they were received as heroes by the different independence groups.  Oscar and Rosa Collazo eventually were divorced.  Rosa Collazo died in May 1988. On February 21, 1994, Oscar Collazo died of a stroke, having passed his 80th birthday by just over a month. The guns used by Collazo and Torresola in the assassination attempt are on display at the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum in Independence, Missouri.

Sources:

Read about it:

Truman

Truman

Truman

American Gunfight: The Plot to Kill President Truman--and the Shoot-out That Stopped It

American Gunfight: The Plot to Kill President Truman–and the Shoot-out That Stopped It

American Gunfight: The Plot to Kill President Truman–and the Shoot-out That Stopped It

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01 November
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Codename: Ivy Mike – The First U.S. Atomic Bomb Test

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Ivy Mike was the codename given to the first test of a thermonuclear device, in which part of the explosive yield comes from nuclear fusion. It was detonated on November 1, 1952 by the United States on Enewetak, an atoll in the Pacific Ocean.  It was the first successful test of the hydrogen bomb. The yield of the device was 10.4 megatons.  The 62-ton “Mike” device was essentially a building that resembled a factory rather than a weapon.

The entire Mike device (including cryogenic equipment) weighed 82 short tons (73.8 metric tonnes), and was housed in a large corrugated-aluminium building called a “shot cab” which was set up on the Pacific island of Elugelab, part of the Enewetak atoll.  In total, 9,350 military and 2,300 civilian personnel were involved in the Mike shot.

Sources:

Read about it:

Dark Sun: The Making of the Hydrogen Bomb

Dark Sun: The Making of the Hydrogen Bomb

Dark Sun: The Making of the Hydrogen Bomb

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23 August
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How to Subscribe to History Podcast

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I created a youtube video describing step-by-step how to subscribe to History Podcast using iTunes.  Now, I understand that not everyone uses iTunes and I intend to address other ways of subscribing/listening to the podcast in future posts, but since most people 90% listen via iTunes we are going to cover this way first.  Please let me know how you listen to the podcast in the comments below.

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