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Australia: Penal Colony Turned Sovereign Nation

Australia

Fun Facts About the Founding of Australia

 

Captain Arthur Phillip

Captain Arthur Phillip

On January 26, 1788, Captain Arthur Phillip guides a fleet of 11 British ships carrying convicts to the colony of New South Wales, effectively founding Australia. After overcoming a period of hardship, the fledgling colony began to celebrate the anniversary of this date with great fanfare.

Australia, once known as New South Wales, was originally planned as a penal colony. In October 1786, the British government appointed Arthur Phillip captain of the HMS Sirius, and commissioned him to establish an agricultural work camp there for British convicts. With little idea of what he could expect from the mysterious and distant land, Phillip had great difficulty assembling the fleet that was to make the journey. His requests for more experienced farmers to assist the penal colony were repeatedly denied, and he was both poorly funded and outfitted. Nonetheless, accompanied by a small contingent of Marines and other officers, Phillip led his 1,000-strong party, of whom more than 700 were convicts, around Africa to the eastern side of Australia. In all, the voyage lasted eight months, claiming the deaths of some 30 men.

HMS Sirius

HMS Sirius

The first years of settlement were nearly disastrous. Cursed with poor soil, an unfamiliar climate and workers who were ignorant of farming, Phillip had great difficulty keeping the men alive. The colony was on the verge of outright starvation for several years, and the marines sent to keep order were not up to the task. Phillip, who proved to be a tough but fair-minded leader, persevered by appointing convicts to positions of responsibility and oversight. Floggings and hangings were commonplace, but so was egalitarianism. As Phillip said before leaving England: “In a new country there will be no slavery and hence no slaves.”

Though Phillip returned to England in 1792, the colony became prosperous by the turn of the 19th century. Feeling a new sense of patriotism, the men began to rally around January 26 as their founding day. Historian Manning Clarke noted that in 1808 the men observed the “anniversary of the foundation of the colony” with “drinking and merriment.”

Finally, in 1818, January 26 became an official holiday, marking the 30th anniversary of British settlement in Australia. And, as Australia became a sovereign nation, it became the national holiday known as Australia Day. Today, Australia Day serves both as a day of celebration for the founding of the white British settlement, and as a day of mourning for the Aborigines who were slowly dispossessed of their land as white colonization spread across the continent.

Special thanks to History.com 

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Ice Hockey and The Stanley Cup: Canada’s Official Sport and the Game’s Ultimate Prize

Modern-day Ice Hockey

Modern-day Ice Hockey

Fun Facts About Ice Hockey and The Stanley Cup

The Origin of Hockey

Ancient hockeyHockey has been played in some form or other for 100s of years. It is thought to be 1 of the earliest sports in the world, and was played by the ancient Greeks, Egyptians, Persians, Romans, and Arabs.

Hurling, a sport very similar to hockey, is known to have been played during the first millennium BC in Ireland, and other similar types of sports were adopted by other Europeans in the Middle Ages (5th century to 15th century). In pre-Columbian times (before the 16th century) Native South Americans also played a game much the same as hockey. The name hockey, thought to have been adapted by the English from the French word hoquet (shepherd’s crook), was 1st given to the sport in the eighteenth century but was not in common usage until the nineteenth century.

Ice Hockey

The modern game of ice hockey was invented in the mid-1850´s by British soldiers based in Canada. Rules were set by students at McGill University in Montréal, Canada, in 1879, and many amateur clubs and leagues were organized in Canada by the late 1880´s. The game is believed to have been 1st played in the USA in 1893. By the beginning of the twentieth century the sport had spread to England and other parts of Europe. The modern game developed in Canada, and nowadays is very popular in North America and East Europe.

The NHL is the most important league in the world; this National Hockey League comprises teams from the United States and Canada, but for many years almost all NHL players Canadians. The winning team of this competition is awarded the Stanley Cup trophy. Ice Hockey became an Olympic sport in 1920 and is 1 of the most popular events at the Winter Olympics.

The Stanley Cup

“I have for some time been thinking that it would be a good thing if there were a challenge cup, which would be held from year to year by the leading hockey club in Canada. There does not appear to be any outward sign of a championship at present, and considering the interest that hockey matches now elicit, I am willing to give a cup which shall be held annually by the winning club.”

So mused Lord Stanley of Preston in 1892, at a sports banquet in Ottawa. The following year Canada’s governor-general was true to his word, purchasing a silver bowl for $50 and naming it the Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup. Hockey folks went with a less formal designation, the Stanley Cup.

The first winner was a Montreal team that finished atop the Amateur Hockey Association of Canada, considered the best league going at the time. But in its early years, the prize was not exclusive to one hockey league, nor was it meant to be. It was a challenge cup, changing hands in much the same way as a boxing title. Contenders issued challenges, and the champions held the Cup for as long as they could fend off all comers. Independent trustees ensured that legitimate challenges were met on a regular basis.

In later years, as professionalism swept the game, it was accepted that the Stanley Cup could not remain exclusive to amateur teams. The Stanley Cup officially turned pro in 1910, when the National Hockey Association took possession of it. But it was not until 1926 that the National Hockey League emerged indisputably as the top league in North America, effectively taking control of the Cup. That control was formalized in an agreement signed with the Cup trustees in 1947.

Special thanks to CollegeSportsScholarships.com and About.com

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Bob Dylan: Visionary musician and lyricist; voice of a generation

Bob Dylan, born Robert Allen Zimmerman

Bob Dylan, born Robert Allen Zimmerman, 1941

Fun Facts About Bob Dylan

  • Young Bob DylanMost reference books list Robert Allen Zimmerman’s birth date as May 24, 1941. But a passport issued to Robert Dylan in 1974 says his birth date is May 11, 1941.
  • Robert Allen Zimmerman received a D-plus in a music-appreciation class at the University of Minnesota.
  • Bob didn’t care to speak to other musicians, other than talking about stuff related to music and what they were recording or playing at the time. He would speak to people he knew, but wasn’t really interested in becoming “friends” with the musicians he met…apart from a few guys that became close to him like George Harrison.
  • In 1970 Dylan received an honorary doctorate of music from Princeton University.
  • Dylan’s reputation has long been larger than his record sales. His best-selling album is “Greatest Hits” (1967), which has been certified double-platinum, meaning it has sold between 2 million and 3 million copies. Runner-up is “Greatest Hits – Vol. II” (1971), a million-seller; Columbia Records doesn’t release sales figures, but a representative said “Vol. II” is nearing double-platinum. The next bestsellers are “Desire” (’76) and “Blood on the Tracks” (’75), both of which have achieved platinum status.
  • Bob had a rule that he only ever recorded music at night, he would show up to the studio around 9pm and work until the early hours of morning…always. Occasionally his band would record music pieces during the day and try to get Bob to listen to it, Bob would say “I don’t even wanna hear it if it was recorded during the day”
  • None of Dylan’s singles has ever reached No. 1 on Billboard’s pop chart. “Like a Rolling Stone” (1965) peaked at No. 2, as did “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35” (’66).
  • Bob DylanThe Byrds flew to No. 1 in ’65 with a version of Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine Man.”
  • “Blowin’ in the Wind” is the only Dylan tune to hit the Top 10 twice – in 1963 by Peter, Paul & Mary, when it carried to No. 2, and in ’66, when Stevie Wonder took it to No. 9.
  • Under his senior photo in the Hibbing High School yearbook, Zimmerman said he wanted “to join Little Richard.”
  • In the summer of 1959 Zimmerman played piano in Bobby Vee’s band – for two gigs.
  • Dylan’s harmonica is heard on records by Harry Belafonte, George Harrison, Steve Goodman, Roger McGuinn, Booker T. and Priscilla Jones, Doug Sahm, Carolyn Hester, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott and Sly & Robbie.
  • Among the pseudonyms Dylan has used when appearing on others’ records have been Blind Boy Grunt, Tedham Porterhouse, Robert Milkwood Thomas, Roosevelt Gook and Bob Landy.
  • The Minnesota Historical Society lists 97 Dylan items in its reference library. Included are a 1987 Ph.D. thesis by a Purdue University student, five fanzines, 17 books and articles published in Germany, one children’s book, and Dylan’s original, hand-written lyric sheet for “Temporary Like Achilles,” a 1966 song on “Blonde on Blonde.” The Historical Society bought it from a collector in 1988. The most interesting title in the society’s collection is “Mysteriously Saved: An Astrological Investigation into Bob Dylan’s Conversion to American Fundamentalism” by John Ledbury. Bob Spitz’s 1989 tome, “Dylan,” is the biggest item, at 639 pages.
  • Little Sandy Review, a mimeographed Twin Cities rag about folk music published in the late ’50s and early ’60s, was the first source to reveal that Zimmerman had invented Dylan. Little Sandy editor Paul Nelson later became a key editor at Rolling Stone.
  • Bob Dylan

    Dylan adapted “Blowin’ in the Wind” from a spiritual, “No More Auction Block,” which is also known as “Many Thousands Gone.”

  • Dylan was scheduled to appear on “The Ed Sullivan Show” on May 12, 1963, with Irving Berlin, Al Hirt, Rip Taylor, Teresa Brewer, Myron Cohen and Topo Gigio, the Italian mouse. Dylan was going to sing “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “Talkin’ John Birch Paranoid Blues.” During the dress rehearsal, he was told that “John Birch” was deemed too controversial by network censors, and program producer Bob Precht, whose idea it was to invite Dylan on the show, asked him to sing another song. Dylan declined and did not appear.
  • “Talkin’ John Birch Paranoid Blues” was scheduled to be included on Dylan ‘s second album, “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan.” Columbia Records got paranoid, recalled the album and removed the song.
  • On June 7, 1969, Dylan sang “I Threw It All Away” and “Living the Blues” on Johnny Cash’s TV program. They sang a duet on “Girl from the North Country.”
  • Bob asked his music engineer to get him a 1966 Harley Davidson Shovelhead. Bobs engineer Mark Howard got him the bike and watched Bob ride away on it, but heard him stall the bike just around the corner and went to see if he needed any help. He found Dylan sitting on the bike staring straight ahead with 3 people hanging around the front of the bike asking for his autograph…Dylan just sat there like he did not even see them, he then proceeded to start the bike again and ride off without acknowledging the 3 fans. Bob liked to ride his bike with no helmet and told Howard that “The police are really friendly around here…they are all waving at me” Howard told him that they were waving at him because he had no helmet on and wanted him to stop!!
  • Dylan’s first major U.S. TV appearance was on “The Steve Allen Show” in early ’64.
  • In August 1969 Dylan made his first paid public performance since July 26, 1966, when he broke his neck in the crash of his Triumph 500 motorcycle. Backed by the Band, he performed in front of 200,000 people at England’s Isle of Wight festival. He was paid $75,000 for a 70-minute performance.
  • Dylan flew his parents, Abe and Beatty Zimmerman, to New York to see him perform at Carnegie Hall on Oct. 12, 1963.
  • Dylan married Sara Lownds in an impromptu private ceremony Nov. 22, 1965, in a judge’s chamber in Mineola, N.Y. Two days later the singer told an interviewer from the Chicago Daily News, “I don’t hope to be like anybody. Getting married, having a bunch of kids, I have no hopes for it.” Dylan’s marriage was not announced until February 1966.
  • Bob DylanSara Dylan received custody of the couple’s four children in their 1977 divorce. A fifth child, Sara’s daughter Maria Dylan, is married to singer-songwriter Peter Himmelman, formerly of St. Louis Park.
  • When Dylan accepted his Grammy for “Lifetime Achievement” in February, he said, “Well, my daddy didn’t leave me too much . . . he was a very simple man.” He shifted anxiously. “But he did say, `Son . . . it’s possible to be so defiled in this world that your own mother and father will abandon you. And if this happens, God will always believe in your own ability to mend your ways.'”
  • Since around 1975 Bob has only ever included 10 or less songs on his albums (not including “best of” or “compilation” albums) regardless of whether or not he had more than 10 songs in the pipeline at the time. On his album “Oh Mercy” the producers tried to get Dylan to include an eleventh song “Series Of Dreams” Bob replied with “Y’know what..I only put 10 songs on my albums” the producers tried again, saying that the song was so great it simply had to go onto the album…Bob replied again “nah nah, I’m only puttin 10 songs on there”…end of story!!
  • Dylan won his first Grammy in 1980 for best rock vocal performance for the religious-oriented “Gotta Serve Somebody.” “Slow Train Coming,” the album on which the song appeared, was named best inspirational album at the Dove Awards, which recognize gospel recordings.
  • While attending the University of Minnesota in 1959 and ’60 Zimmerman lived at the Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity house on University Av. and later above Gray’s Campus Drug in Dinkytown. He performed at the Ten O’Clock Scholar coffeehouse, where the Dinkytown Burger King now stands.
  • Whenever Bob was out and about he almost always wore a hoody, whether for anonymity or not, who knows. One day a drummer that was brought in to play with Bob’s band asked one of the engineers “Where the F**k is Bob Dylan” the engineer proceeded to say “he’s sitting right next to you” Bob just looked up in his hoodie, raised his eyebrows and continued writing lyrics!!
  • Dylan’s quasi-autobiographical 1977 movie, “Renaldo & Clara,” was three hours and 57 minutes long. He portrayed Renaldo, while musician Ronnie Hawkins played a character named Bob Dylan. The film included 47 songs.
  • After taking a shellacking from critics, the movie was edited to about 90 minutes.
  • Bob DylanDylan’s first two movies were documentaries – “Don’t Look Back,” a look at his 1965 British tour, was released in ’67, but did not receive widespread distribution until ’75; “Eat This Document,” which was shot in ’66 for an ABC-TV special, was screened as a movie in ’71.
  • Dylan is the author of two books. “Tarantula,” which was rejected by Macmillan and Co. in 1965, was bootlegged in ’70 and officially published in ’71. “Writing and Drawings by Bob Dylan” was published in ’73; it features 187 song lyrics, 17 drawings, 26 poems and five pages of manuscript.
  • Dylan phoned critic Robert Shelton of the New York Times to invite Shelton to review his performance Sept. 26, 1961, at Gerde’s Folk City, opening for the Greenbriar Boys. It was considered audacious for an artist to ask a critic for a review – especially one from the Times. Dylan hoodwinked Shelton during an interview; among other things, Dylan said that when he was 13, he ran away and joined the circus and that he had recorded with Gene Vincent in Nashville, Tenn. Shelton’s rave review launched Dylan’s career.
  • In 1961, after rave reviews on the New York coffeehouse circuit, Dylan signed a three-year deal with Witmark & Sons to publish his songs. In three years Dylan wrote 237 songs for Witmark, including “Blowin’ in the Wind,” “A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall,” “Masters of War,” “With God on Our Side,” “It Ain’t Me Babe,” “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right,” “Only a Pawn in Their Game” and “Mr. Tambourine Man.”
  • Dylan was a contributing editor to “Broadside,” the folk-music magazine.
  • Judson Manning, the Time magazine correspondent belittled in “Ballad of a Thin Man” (“Because something is happening here/But you don’t know what it is/ Do you, Mr. Jones?”), interviewed not only Dylan, but also Adolf Hitler.
  • Bob DylanThree Dylan songs begin with nearly the same line, “Early in the mornin’. . . .” The songs are “Obviously Five Believers,” “Pledging My Time” and “Tangled Up in Blue” (which actually starts “Early one mornin’ . . . “).
  • Although they never received credit on the liner notes (which had already been printed), a handful of Minnesota musicians appeared on a few tunes on “Blood on the Tracks” that were rerecorded at Sound 80 in Minneapolis in December 1974. The players included drummer Bill Berg, bassist Billy Peterson, fiddler-mandolinist Peter Ostroushko, keyboardist Gregg Inhofer and guitarists Kevin Odegard and Chris Weber.
  • Dylan introduced the Beatles to marijuana in August 1964 at the Delmonico Hotel in New York.
  • Columbia Records hired Bob Johnston to produce Dylan’s “Highway 61 Revisited” sessions in Nashville as a reward for having returned Patti Page, a Columbia stalwart, to the charts with “Hush Hush, Sweet Charlotte.”
  • Louis Kemp, Dylan’s childhood friend, was hired as a staff member on Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue in 1975. He now runs Louis Kemp Seafood Co.
  • In 1967, while recuperating from his motorcycle accident in Woodstock, N.Y., Dylan signed with MGM Records, home of the Righteous Brothers, the Lovin’ Spoonful, Connie Francis and the late Hank Williams. MGM withdrew the contract on a technicality, and Dylan signed with Columbia.
  • When Dylan was wooed to Asylum Records in 1973, Columbia put out “Dylan ” to spite him. The album of outtakes includes versions of Joni Mitchell’s “Big Yellow Taxi” and Jerry Jeff Walker’s “Mr. Bojangles.”
  • Bob DylanAfter seeing Tiny Tim perform Dylan’s “Positively Fourth Street” in California, Dylan summoned the fey singer to Woodstock in 1967. For Dylan, Tiny Tim did an impression of Rudy Vallee singing “Like a Rolling Stone” and an impression of Dylan singing Vallee’s “There’s No Time Like Your Time.”
  • Bob always carried around a rolled-up bundle of paper with lyrics that he was working on, it was always written in pencil, and he was totally fanatical about his words. Bob would even be writing down new lyrics during recording sessions…adding, deleting and taking out words. He would have a piece of paper with thousands of lyrics written down, most of which was mainly illegible to other readers, words going upside down, sideways and all over the page. His crew hardly ever seen him eat, but he was always drinking coffee, smoking cigarettes and hacking away at his lyrics. Dylan told his pianist he had been working on some of his songs for five or six years, trying to get them the way he wanted them…perfect!!
  • Among the duets Dylan has recorded for other artists’ albums are “Buckets of Rain” with Bette Midler, “Sign Language” with Eric Clapton and “Don’t Go Home with Your Hard-on” with Leonard Cohen.
  • The first time Dylan plugged in and played electric guitar at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965, he was accompanied by members of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. Later that summer, at Forest Hills Stadium, Dylan rocked with, among others, two members of the Band, Robbie Robertson and Levon Helm.
  • The Zimmerman family home at 2524 7th Av. E. in Hibbing was sold in August 1990 for $50,000. It had been on the market for about nine months. Its previous owner, who reportedly bought it from the Zimmerman family, sold many items to a Dylan collector.
  • Imprisoned boxer Ruben (Hurricane) Carter wasn’t the only prizefighter about whom Dylan sang. In 1963 Davey Moore was knocked out by Sugar Ramos and died two days later; 18 days later Dylan began singing “Who Killed Davey Moore?” The tune never appeared on record until this year’s “Bootleg Series.” Meanwhile, “Hurricane,” about the boxer who was jailed on murder charges and later exonerated, was a modest hit in ’76.
  • Bob DylanHundreds of singers have recorded Dylan tunes. Otis Redding recorded “Just Like a Woman,” but decided not to release his version because he couldn’t get past the line, “with her fog, her amphetamine and her pearls.”
  • Dylan and John Lennon once wrote and recorded a song together while Dylan was on tour in England. “I don’t remember what it was, though,” Dylan said. “We played some stuff into a tape recorder, but I don’t know what happened to it. I don’t remember anything about the song.”
  • Bob never ever played the same song exactly the same. Whether he was just jamming, or recording, he would play the song in a different key, using different phrasing, or a different tempo…..this would often totally confuse other musicians in his band. Bob Dylan hated to repeat himself…ever!!
  • Since moving from Minneapolis to New York in 1960, Dylan has performed only five times in the Twin Cities – 1965 (at the Minneapolis Auditorium), ’78 (St. Paul Civic Center), ’86 (Metrodome), ’89 (RiverFest at Harriet Island) and ’90 (Minnesota State Fair).
  • “Bob Dylan,” his first album, was recorded in a few hours at a cost of $402. Initially it sold 5,000 copies. Since then more than 35 million Dylan records have been sold.
  • Dylan was the first big-name rock figure from the ’60s to turn 50 as of May, 1991.
  • There has never been an official video made by Bob Dylan for “Like a Rolling Stone”, although there is currently a contest on YouTube for fans to make one. 

VIDEO:  Bob Dylan – Blowin’ in the Wind

 

VIDEO:  Bob Dylan – Subterranean Homesick Blues

VIDEO:  Bob Dylan – Like a Rolling  Stone

 

Special thanks to www.startribune.com and bite-dose.com

 

 

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Pluto: The former planet still fascinates and intrigues

Pluto with moons:  Charon, Nix and Hydra

Pluto with moons: Charon, Nix and Hydra

Fun Facts About Pluto

 

1. Pluto has an atmosphere

Even though Pluto’s average temperature averages a mere 44 degrees above absolute zero, the dwarf planet has an atmosphere. Not an atmosphere as we know it, but an atmosphere, none the less.

It was first discovered back in 1985, when astronomers watched as Pluto passed in front of a star. They were able to calculate a slight dimming as its atmosphere passed in front of the star, before Pluto itself blocked the star entirely. From those observations, they were able to calculate that it has a thin envelope of nitrogen, methane and carbon dioxide.

As Pluto moves away from the Sun, this atmosphere gets so cold that it freezes onto the surface. And then as the dwarf planet warms again, the atmosphere evaporates again, forming a gas around it.

2. Pluto has 3 moons

You might have heard that Pluto has a large moon called Charon, but did you know that it actually has 3 moons in total. Charon is the large one, with a mass of roughly half that of Pluto’s.

Two additional moons, Nix and Hydra, were discovered by astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope on May 15, 2005. They were originally called S/2005 P1 and S/2005 P2, and then given their final names on June 21, 2006.

They took a long time to discover because they’re so tiny. Nix is only 46 km across, while Hydra is 61 km across.

3. Pluto hasn’t cleared out its orbit

Although Pluto orbits the Sun and it’s round, it’s not a planet. And that’s because Pluto hasn’t cleared out its orbit of material. This was the reason that the International Astronomical Union chose to demote it from planet to dwarf planet in 2006.

Just to give you an idea, if you added up the mass of all the other objects in Pluto’s orbit, Pluto’s mass would only be a tiny fraction of that total. In fact, it would only be 0.07 times as massive as everything else. For comparison, if you did the same thing with all the other material in the Earth’s orbit, our planet would be 1.5 million times as massive.

And that’s why Pluto’s not a planet.

4. Pluto is actually a binary system


You’d think that Charon orbits Pluto, but actually, Pluto and Charon orbit a common point in space. In the case of the Earth and the Moon, we actually orbit a common point, but that spot exists inside the Earth. In the case of Pluto and Charon, however, that common point is above the surface of Pluto.

Before Pluto was downgraded to a dwarf planet, astronomers were thinking of classifying it as a binary planet system. And then as a binary dwarf planet system. Perhaps that will help it recover some of its lost glory.

5. Pluto is named after a god, not a dog

If you think Pluto is named after a Disney character, you’re wrong. It’s actually named after the Roman god of the underworld. And Charon is the ferryman who carries souls across the river Styx.

When it was first discovered, Pluto was just given the name Planet X, but then the discoverers needed to come up with something better and more permanent. The name Pluto was suggested by Venetia Burney, an 11-year old school girl in Oxford, England. She thought it was a good name for such a cold, dark world. It was passed along to the discoverers and they liked it enough to make it official.

6. Pluto can be closer than Neptune

For most of its orbit, Pluto is more distant than Neptune, reaching out as far as 49 astronomical units (49 times the distance from the Earth to the Sun). But it has such an eccentric, elliptical orbit that it gets much closer, reaching a mere 29 AU. And during that time, it’s actually orbiting within the orbit of Neptune. The last time Pluto and Neptune made this switch was between February 7, 1979 and February 11, 1999. And give it another couple of hundred years and it’ll happen again.

7. Pluto is smaller than any planet, and even 7 moons

Pluto is small. How small? Astronomers recently calculated that its mass is 1.31 x 1022 kg (less than 0.24% the mass of Earth). And its diameter is only 2,390 km across.

At this point, it’s smaller than Mercury, and seven other moons including: Ganymede, Titan, Callisto, Io, Earth’s Moon, Europa, and Triton.

And now astronomers know that it’s even smaller than the recently discovered dwarf planet Eris. Here’s more information about how big Pluto is.

8. If it were closer to the Sun, Pluto would be a comet

Although this isn’t officially a reason for losing its planet status, Pluto wouldn’t last long if it got much closer to the Sun. It’s comprised of about half rock and half ice. This is a similar ratio to many rocky comets in the Solar System.

If you could somehow bring Pluto closer to the Sun, it would sprout a tail, becoming a spectacular comet. And over millions of years, the solar wind would blast away its icy structure, causing it to lose mass.

It’s lucky Pluto lives in such a cold, dark part of the Solar System.

9. Charon might have geysers

In the last few years, astronomers have discovered that several objects in the Solar System have ice geysers, including Saturn’s moon Enceladus, and maybe several others as well. But Pluto’s moon Charon could have this happening too.

Astronomers using the Gemini Observatory in Mauna Kea in Hawaii recently turned up evidence that geysers on Charon are spreading ammonia hydrates and water crystals across the surface of the moon.

Is this really happening? We’ll know soon, because… here’s the last Pluto fact.

10. There’s a spacecraft going to Pluto right now

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft is making its way to Pluto right now. The spacecraft launched in 2005, and its expected to reach the dwarf planet in 2015. It will pass right through the system, imaging the surface of Pluto and its moons, and finally answering questions that have puzzled astronomers for nearly a hundred years.

 

Special thanks to www.universetoday.com

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Stonehenge: Ancient Monument, Astronomical Observatory or Something Else?

The Rock Pillars of Stonehenge

The Rock Pillars of Stonehenge

 

Fun Facts About Stonehenge

 

  • Stonehenge is located on the Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, England – about 137 kilometers Southwest of London.
  • The origins of the name Stonehenge is taken from the combination of ‘stone’ and ‘henge’, a tribute to the biggest henge in Britain.
  • Though there is no specific evidence about who built the Stonehenge. It is believed that Druids, Greeks, or Atlanteans might have built the Stonehenge.
  • Stonehenge was constructed somewhere between 3100 – 1100 BCE.
  • On September 21st, 1915, C.H. Chubb purchased Stonehenge for 6,600 pounds
  • Stonehenge and its surroundings were added to the UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites in 1986 and is also legally protected by the Scheduled Ancient Monument.
  • Stonehenge is owned by the Crown and managed by English Heritage while the surrounding land is owned by the National Trust.
  • The circle was aligned with the midsummer sunrise, the midwinter sunset, and the most southerly rising and northerly setting of the moon.
  • The builders of Stonehenge have featured it in a way that it encompasses sophisticated mathematical and geometrical understandings of the framework and the structural engineering of the construction.
  • Stonehenge has a henge, or a ditch and bank, which surround the large stone circle.
  • The stones of Stonehenge were placed in such a way that they increase in size towards the centre and alternate in shape between tall, thin pillar-like stones and stones of a tapering obelisk shape.
  • Two types of stone were used for the construction of Stonehenge- the ‘bluestones’ which weighed almost four tons and were brought from 240 miles away. The other type of stone used was the ‘Sarsen’ stones which had a height of about eighteen feet and weighed twenty-five tons.
  • It is anticipated that more than thirty million hours of labor was required for the construction of Stonehenge.
  • Stonehenge is the most well known among the nine hundred stone rings which exists in the British Isles.
  • Most archaeologists believed that Stonehenge’s use had been limited to the ritual activities of different Neolithic chiefdoms before 1950. However, its use as an astronomical observatory was an equally important function of the Stonehenge.
Special thanks to www.iloveindia.com

 

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Brian Jones: The Founder, the Talent, the Eclectic and the Tragedy of The Rolling Stones

Because Clare asked for it…

Brian Jones, February 28, 1942 - July 03, 1969

Brian Jones, February 28, 1942 - July 03, 1969

Facts About Brian Jones of The Rolling Stones

The Early Years

Brian Jones (birthname: Lewis Brian Hopkins Jones) was born on February 28th, 1942 to Lewis and Louisa Jones in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, some 120 miles out of London

Jones was a rebel who embodied the more flamboyant aspects of the Rolling Stones’ lifestyle even before the Rolling Stones formed.

Lewis Jones, Brian’s father said this about Brian growing up: “Up to a certain point, Brian was a perfectly normal, conventional boy who was well behaved and well liked. He did his studies. He was quite a model school boy. Then came this peculiar change in his early teens. He began to have some resentment of authority. He seemed to have first a mild rebellion which unfortunately became stronger as he grew older.”

As a teenager he got into trouble by fathering illegitimate children; Brian was first a first-time father at the age of 16. Though the ‘facts’ regarding the true lineage of other children have come into question, at least five (5) children are known to exist or have existed.

Despite his high IQ, he shunned academic studies in favor of his passions for playing jazz and blues.

Jones himself was a natural musician who could pick up a new instrument and make music with it in no time.  Emulating his hero, Muddy Waters, Jones taught himself how to play bottleneck guitar, dragging a glass or metal slide over open-tuned strings, which produced the essential and unmistakable blues sound.  It wasn’t long before he had a reputation for being the best slide guitar player in London.

Founding The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones (from left):  Bill Wyman, Brian Jones, Charlie Watts, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards

The Rolling Stones (from left): Bill Wyman, Brian Jones, Charlie Watts, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards

In May 1962, 20-year-old Brian Jones placed an ad in England’s Jazz News, seeking musicians for a new blues band he was putting together.  The blues were Jones’ passion, and he envisioned a Chicago-style blues band modeled on American blues master Muddy Waters’s classic combo, consisting of rhythm and lead guitars, bass guitar, drums, harmonica, keyboards, and a vocalist.

The first person to respond to his ad was a square-jawed Scotsman named Ian Stewart who played boogie-woogie piano.  Other musicians responded to the ad, but Jones was picky.  Anyone who didn’t see eye-to-eye with his vision for the band was soon ejected.

Jones pursued a young singer named Mick Jagger who was getting a lot of attention for his idiosyncratic vocal style and his gyrating stage moves.  Jagger also played harmonica, which made him all the more appealing to Jones, who recognized Jagger’s sex appeal with teenage girls.  Jones instinctively knew that his band, like Elvis Presley before them, would have to tap into the teenage female market if they were going to make it.  Jones met Jagger in a pub one night and invited him to come to a rehearsal.

That same night Jones also invited a skinny 18-year-old guitarist who happened to be tipping a pint at the pub.  Keith Richards was known for being able to imitate the unique guitar playing of American rock’n’roll legend Chuck Berry.  Jones wasn’t sure Richards would fit it—he was leery of hardcore rock’n’rollers in a blues band, but he was willing to give Richards a try.  To his surprise, Jones found that Richards’ rhythm playing complimented his lead, and eventually they developed a style that has become the hallmark of the band—two interweaving guitars that switch parts freely, each one seamlessly going from rhythm to lead and back again.

Jones found a solid rhythm section in drummer Charlie Watts and bass guitarist Bill Wyman.

When it came to naming the group, Jones looked to his idol and adapted the title of the Muddy Waters song, “Rollin’ Stone.”

In early May 1963, the band’s manager, Andrew Loog Oldham, said Stewart should no longer be onstage, that six members were too many for a popular group and that the burly, square-jawed Stewart didn’t fit the image. He said Stewart could stay as road manager and play piano on recordings. Stewart accepted this demotion, left the formal lineup but stayed close to the band and would record and tour with them up through his death in 1985.

Though jobs of the other Stones were generally centralized to one or two roles, Brian’s role was not so simply defined. He was the band’s utility player on piano, guitar, harmonica (harp), drums, or whatever else was needed. At times, though more so in the earliest period, he had a strong hand in influencing the musical direction of the group.

Brian Jones was the most creative member of the band.  As a musician, he was the envy of his peers, and his ability to pick up a new instrument and make it his own was truly remarkable.  His work with the marimba on “Under My Thumb” and the sitar on “Paint It Black” from the Aftermath album are just two examples of his brilliance.

Jones was also the driving force of the band, at least initially, taking the leadership role in business and creative matters until his drug use forced a changing of the guard.

Finding an Identity During the British Invasion

The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones with Jones standing (or sitting) apart

In the early ’60s, the Rolling Stones were just one of several dozen English bands, such as Herman’s Hermits, Freddie and the Dreamers, the Honeycombs, and Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders, who were struggling to make it big.  But by the mid ‘60s one band, the Beatles, had taken the lead position, leaving the others in the dust.

The Rolling Stones chose to distinguish themselves by going the other way, embracing a darker, more rebellious public posture.  They went out of their way to be seen as the bad boys of rock, the band that parents would despise.

The Beatles wore uniforms when they performed; the Stones wore whatever they wanted.  Jagger and Jones dressed like dandies in ruffled shirts and flowing bell-bottom trousers while Richards cultivated a disheveled, dirty blue jeans, proto-punk look.

The Beatles pumped out a steady stream of catchy tunes that became number one hits.  The Stones proudly showed their down-and-dirty blues roots.

When it came to drug use, the Beatles—at least until the psychedelic period in the late ‘60s—kept their personal habits out of the press.  The Rolling Stones by contrast became synonymous with drug use in England.  But it was one aspect of their bad-boy image that they would have preferred to have kept private because it would eventually claim Jones’ life and nearly destroyed them as a band.

While the Beatles were soaring, playing in sold-out stadiums around the world, the Stones’ progress was hampered by persistent drug busts that dragged Jones, Jagger and Richards into court to the delight of the Fleet Street tabloids.  (Bassist Wyman and drummer Watts, the family men of the band, shied away from drugs.)

Bad publicity affected the Stones’ record sales, and drug charges prevented Jones from going on tour in America with the band.  Jagger and Richards smoked hash and marijuana and experimented with harder drugs, but they were generally able to function and flourish as musicians during this period.  Jones, however, was another story.

Bill Wyman in Stephen Davis’s Old Gods Almost Dead summed up the two sides of Jones’ personality: “He could be the sweetest, softest, and most considerate man in the world and the nastiest piece of work you ever met.”

By all accounts Jones suffered from low self-esteem, deep insecurity and paranoia.  He was always desperate for a woman’s company, but he treated his girlfriends horribly, physically abusing some of them.

He claimed to suffer from asthma and never went anywhere without an inhaler, yet none of his friends could recall ever seeing him have an attack.

Band Friction

Brian Jones in Pinstripe SuitFriction between band members in any rock ‘n’ roll group is almost inevitable, but in many cases personal differences don’t stand in the way of making good music.  The three front men of the Stones existed in a churning swirl of jealousies and shifting alliances.

In 1963 Jones had cut a secret deal with their agent at the time, giving him five pounds more a week than the others because he was the leader of the band.  That same agent had insisted on getting rid of Jagger, saying that he couldn’t sing, and Jones was willing to go along with Jagger’s ouster until their manager, Andrew Loog Oldham, stepped in and pleaded the singer’s case.

Jagger was the voice of the band, but Jones, with his fair-haired, androgynous looks was Jagger’s rival in sex appeal.  Richards had found a guitar soulmate in Jones, but that bond began to dissolve when Richards and Jagger started writing songs together.

Not only did Jagger and Richards’ original material give them the edge in creative control of the band, song royalties put more money in their pockets.  According to singer Marianne Faithfull, who was Jagger’s companion at the time, the building animosity between Jones and Jagger came to a head at a kiss-and-make-up dinner party at Richards’ country house where “Brian pulled a knife on Mick.” As recounted in A.E. Hotchner’s book Blown Away, Jagger got the knife away from Jones, but their scuffle continued.  Jones jumped into the moat that surrounded the house to escape Jagger’s rage and Jagger followed him in.   They tussled and thrashed in the water until they were too exhausted to continue.

By the late ‘60s Jones was unhappy with the Rolling Stones.  The band he had founded was drifting away from his original concept: to interpret American blues and R&B for a white teenage audience. More and more the Jagger-Richards songs were setting the tone for the band, and it wasn’t always to his liking.

When the band had put together the songs for their psychedelic album, Their Satanic Majesties Request, Jones expressed his distaste for the work and predicted that it would bomb because the public would see it for what it was, a pale imitation of the Beatles’ landmark album Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Further Decay on the Road to Morocco

Brian Jones, Anita Pallenberg and Keith Richards in Tangiers, Morocco, 1967

Brian Jones, Anita Pallenberg and Keith Richards in Tangiers, Morocco, 1967

Feeling isolated from the band that he had created, Jones turned to drugs for solace. Jones’ drug use soon became a major liability for the Stones.  Not only was he bringing them bad press, he was useless in the studio, frequently lying down on the floor and passing out with his guitar still strapped to him.

They all agreed that they needed a break to reassess their situation.  Jones and Richards decided to take a vacation in Morocco.   Jones asked his girlfriend at the time, Anita Pallenberg, to go with them.  But what they’d hoped would be a much-needed period of rest and relaxation turned into a holiday in hell.

On the advice of their handlers, the Stones decided to disappear for a while in the hopes of getting off the front pages.  In late February, Mick Jagger flew to Tangier.  Richards, Jones and Jones’ girlfriend, Anita Pallenberg, decided to drive to Morocco in Richards’ Bentley, which was nicknamed the Blue Lena.

Jones, who was reputed to be monumentally self-centered even when sober, was apparently oblivious to the sexual tension building in the Blue Lena between Pallenberg and Keith Richards.

On the second day of the trip, Jones became ill with a respiratory infection and had to be hospitalized in Toulouse, France.  The French doctors insisted that he stay for a few days, so he told his friends to go on and that he would meet them in Tangier as soon as he was well enough to travel.  He spent his birthday alone in the hospital as the Blue Lena continued on.  With Jones gone, Richards and Pallenberg couldn’t contain their feelings for one another.

A few days later a demanding telegram from Jones found its way to Pallenberg.  He wanted her to return to Toulouse and help him get back to London where he could complete his recovery.  Torn between Richards and Jones, Pallenberg sadly boarded a plane in Mirabella, Spain, to attend to her boyfriend.

Less than a week later, Pallenberg, Jones and Marianne Faithfull flew from London to Madrid, intent on meeting up with Jagger and Richards in Tangier.  But Jones’ good mood had vanished, and his paranoia had kicked into high gear, having picked up on Pallenberg’s feelings for Richards.

As the trio made their way toward Gilbraltar, Pallenberg took Faithfull aside whenever Jones was out of earshot to ask what she thought of Jones in comparison to Richards.

They stopped at the Rock of Gibraltar to see the famous monkey colony.  Jones, who was on LSD at the time, played his tape recorder for the monkeys who shrieked and fled in fear.  Jones was so upset by their reaction he started to cry.  Faithfull had a bad feeling about what would happen next.

Back in Morocco at the Hotel Marrakech, in the shadow of the city’s fabled red walls, Jones suffered a meltdown.  In his hotel room, he confronted Pallenberg with her infidelity, shouting that he could see that something was going on between her and Richards.  Fed up with Jones and his turbulent mood swings, Pallenberg admitted to her affair with Richards, throwing it in Jones’ face.  Blinded by hurt and rage, Jones beat her more severely than he had ever beaten her.  She fled from their room outside to the pool where she did nothing to hide her bruised face.

That night, Pallenberg went back to the room and took sleeping pills, hoping to get some rest while Jones was out.  Later that night he burst into the room and woke her from a sound sleep.  He was high on acid and had two Berber prostitutes with him.  He wanted Pallenberg to join them in a foursome.  Pallenberg refused, and Jones had a tantrum, trashing the room.  Pallenberg grabbed her belongings and spent the night with Richards.

For Pallenberg and Richards this was the last straw.  Jones was such a destructive presence they simply had to get away from him.  They decided to go back to London and abandon Jones in Morocco while he was out touring with a friend.

Upon Jones’ arrival back to the hotel that night, he found that everyone had left for London, including Richards and Pallenberg.  Alone and paranoid, Jones got on the phone and tried to get some answers, but no one would tell him where his friends had gone.   But even though he was high, Jones could see the reality of the situation.   Jagger and Richards had taken his band away from him, and now Richards had taken his girlfriend.  Jones broke down into uncontrollable tears and needed a sedative to sleep that night.

On the Outs

Brian JonesWhen Brian Jones had finally made his way back to London, he was an emotional wreck, and it didn’t help to find his apartment half empty.  Anita Pallenberg had moved all her belongings out and taken up residence with Keith Richards.  Jones begged her to come back, but she refused.

The other Rolling Stones were fed up with Jones and wouldn’t speak to him.  They seriously considered firing him, but Mick Jagger objected.  Always the pragmatist, Jagger felt that they still needed Jones, at least for the time being.

The Stones were scheduled to do a European tour, and Jagger felt that their popularity might be jeopardized if Jones, who was still a favorite with the teenage girls, was missing.

Jones didn’t want to go on tour with them.  He was fed up with them as well.  He also claimed to have forgotten how to play the guitar as a result of the psychic damage he’d suffered.  But Pallenberg lured him back, holding out the slight possibility that they could get back together if he took care of himself and got back into shape.  Jones agreed to do the tour and started taking guitar lessons.

He managed to survive the tour, even though none of his bandmates would speak to him.  All along he had hoped for a reconciliation with Pallenberg, but she stayed with Richards.  Caught in a swirl of drugs, alcohol and paranoia, Jones went into a tailspin.  His mood swings became more pronounced, and the band could not count on him to show up for rehearsals or recording sessions.  And when he did show up, he was useless to them, frequently falling asleep on the floor, seldom contributing anything substantial to the music.

By the spring of 1969, the band had to make a decision.  If they were going to survive as a band, they needed to tour, and to tour they needed a reliable lead guitarist.  Mick Jagger took the initiative and offered the position to a young blues virtuoso named Mick Taylor, who would end up staying with the Stones for the next five and a half years.  There was just one little matter to take care of—firing Brian Jones.

On June 9, Jagger and Richards drove to Cotchford Farm, Jones’ home in Sussex (and once owned by A.A. Milne, the author of Winnie the Pooh), to hand him his pink slip.  Mick and Keith weren’t happy being the hatchet men, but they knew it had to be done.  Jones, for his part, had expected something like this, and he took the news placidly, agreeing to let them handle questions from the press whichever way they thought best.  In recognition of his past contributions to the band, Jagger offered Jones 100,000 pounds upon his departure and 20,000 a year for as long as the band stayed together.  After Jagger and Richards left Cotchford Farm, Jones went out into the garden and stood before a statue of Christopher Robin, weeping.

Death

Last known photo of Brian Jones (taken at Cotchford Farm)

Last known photo of Brian Jones (taken at Cotchford Farm)

After being ousted from the band he created, Jones apparently had ambitions to form a band of his own, but on July 3, he drowned in his own swimming pool.

On the night of his death, Jones had been drinking wine and taking downers.  Some suggested that he might have taken his own life, but those closest to him said he had no reason to commit suicide.  Even though he had been officially ejected from the Stones several months earlier, Jones was reportedly getting over it and was planning new musical projects on his own.

At 2 a.m. word of Jones’ death reached the Rolling Stones at Olympic Studios in London where they were recording a Stevie Wonder song, “I Don’t Know Why.”  The band fell into stunned silence, sitting on the floor, some of them lighting up joints.  Drummer Charlie Watts quietly cried.

The Rolling Stones, with Mick Taylor as Jones’ replacement, went ahead with their planned free concert in London’s Hyde Park on July 5, 1969, staging it as a tribute to Jones.

The cloudy circumstances of his death have been the subjects of various theories over the years; some feel that he was murdered, other evidence indicates that it was an accident that might have been brought on by unwise combinations of substances and medications.

According to the coroner’s report, Jones was the victim of “death by misadventure,” an accidental drowning precipitated by drug and alcohol abuse.

Some time after his funeral, rumors gained momentum that Jones had been murdered.  Inconsistencies in the accounts of that evening were gradually uncovered.  A deathbed confession by the alleged killer was squelched by a loyal Stones’ retainer.  More than 30 years later, suspicions persist.

Legacy

Jimi Hendrix of the Experience and Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones at the Monterey Pop Festival in June of 1967

Jimi Hendrix and Brian Jones at the Monterey Pop Festival in June of 1967

Brian had a close relationship with his fans and, to this day, many have fond memories of him beyond admiration of his musical talent.

Though he may have tried, he failed to overcome his addictions until after he was forced to leave the Rolling Stones in 1969. His last full tour as a member was in 1966, after which he would only make few sporadic appearances, the final being the Rock and Roll Circus in December of 1968. As described by fellow Stones’ members, he had become a ball and chain by 1967. After two years, it was obvious that the band could not afford to drag him around to shows and recording sessions just so he could be too drunk or high to function. His final musical output with the band was released on the 1969 Let it Bleed album.

He gained the respect of many fellow musicians throughout his short career, such as the Beatles whom asked that he play a part in the recording sessions for Sgt. Pepper in 1967. Though “You Know My Name (look up the number)” was not included on Sgt. Pepper, it can be found on the Beatles’ Past Masters Volume Two, and more recently (in complete form) on Anthology 2.

Brian Jones never released a solo music album or single. He did however begin a project (completed posthumously in 1971) bearing his name, though it was not of his own work. Brian Jones Presents the Pipes of Pan at Joujouka was little noticed, but the inclusion of his name in the title did help to have the obscure Moroccan musical form recognized at a broader level. He played no part in the recordings, other than as a co-producer. Many incarnations of these recordings can be found on CD. It has been told that Moroccan artists to this day pay tribute to Brian in song.

Special thanks to www.beatzenith.com, www.trutv.com and www.starpulse.com

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The Beatles’ “Love Me Do”: The Single That Announced The Fab Four to the World

Early Beatles circa 1962

Early Beatles circa 1962

Fun Facts About the Beatles’ “Love Me Do”

Beatles Love Me DoWritten by: Paul McCartney (credited as Lennon-McCartney)

Recorded: September 4th and 11th, 1962 (Studio 2, Abbey Road Studios, London, England)

Length: 2:17

Takes: 33

Musicians: Paul McCartney: lead vocal, bass guitar (1961 Hofner 500/1)
John Lennon: harmonica, rhythm guitar, backing vocals (Gibson J160E)
George Harrison: acoustic guitar, backing vocals
Ringo Starr: drums (version 1), tambourine (version 2)
Alan White: drums (version 2)

First released: October 5th, 1962 (UK: Parlophone 45-R 4949) version 1; April 27th, 1964 (US: Tollie 9008) version 2

Available on: Past Masters, Volume 1, (Parlophone CDP 90043-2)version 1 Please Please Me, (UK: Parlophone CDP7 46435-2; US: Capitol CLJ 46435) version 2

Highest chart position: 17 (UK: December 27, 1962), 1 (1 week) (US: May 30, 1964)

Live versions: February 20, 1963, for BBC radio’s Parade Of The Pops.

BBC versions: Eight (for the BBC radio programs Here We GoTalent SpotSaturday ClubSide By SidePop Go The Beatles, and Easy Beat. 

Beatles Love Me DoHistory: 

  • An attempt at a straight blues that dates all the way back to the Quarrymen days of 1958.
  • Originally, the song was sung as a Everly Brothers-style duet, with John taking the solo “Love Me Do” at the end of each verse. However, John decided to add harmonica to the song at some point, having been directly inspired by Bruce Channel’s recent hit “Hey Baby.” Since he couldn’t play the harmonica riff and sing the last line of verse at the time, producer George Martin ordered Paul to do it instead, on the spot. You can hear the nervousness in his shaky spotlight.
  • There are two versions of this song. Version 1 features Ringo on drums and was recorded first. When the Beatles reconvened to cut the song again on September 11, 1962, however, producer George Martin, still unsure of the new kid Ringo’s ability, substituted session drummer Alan White. This “version 2,” on which Ringo merely plays a tambourine, remains the best-known (and, frankly, better quality) version: it was released as a single in the US, as opposed to the original single in the UK, which was taken from version 1 (although subsequent UK pressings used version 2). Version 2 was also kept off the Please Please Me album in favor of 1, although Martin claims this was probably not done on purpose.
  • Although this was never a favorite among most Beatles fans, John and Paul have both stood by the song in interviews.

Beatles Love Me DoTrivia:

  • This song was actually recorded first on June 6, 1962 during the group’s first audition with EMI. At that time, Pete Best was still the drummer. This version, thought lost for years, turned up in George Martin’s home and can no be found on the CDAnthology 1 (Apple 34445).
  • George Martin originally wanted the band’s first single to be an outside composition called “How Do You Do It,” but although the band recorded it, they eventually won the right to release this instead. Gerry and the Pacemakers later had a hit with a cover of “How Do You Do It” modeled very closely after the Beatles’ version.
  • Rumor has been spread for years that this, the Beatles’ first UK single, only made it onto the charts because manager Brian Epstein personally purchased 10,000 copies of it. No evidence of this has ever been found, however, and John Lennon, for one, has publicly branded the rumor as false.
  • This song was reissued as a single in the UK in 1984, and this time climbed to #4.
Special thanks to www.about.com

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Elizabeth Blackwell: America’s First Female Medical Doctor

Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell

Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell

Fun Facts About Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell

  • Elizabeth Blackwell 1821-1910, American physician, b. England; sister of Henry Brown Blackwell .
  • She emigrated to New York City when she was eleven years old. During Elizabeth’s childhood she took all the subjects the boys did at school. It was said that she wouldn’t leave until all of her writing was perfect.
  • When Elizabeth was ready to start college she applied to many colleges. Before applying to college she had gone to many teachers’ houses and trained with them. After many tries, she finally was the first women accepted to Geneva Medical College (then part of Geneva College, early name of Hobart). Even though she was accepted, the school did not seem to take her seriously. Nonetheless, her perseverance led her to a medical degree, which she received in 1849.
  • After she finished college she went to France to get more training. Elizabeth tried to enter La Maternite as a student apprentice. Even though the hospital did not recognize her degree, they let her be a nurse. While she was working there she got to help some doctors. One time she was called to take care of a baby whose eyes were infected. When she bent over the baby, some of the liquid squirted into her own eye. It got infected and resulted in her losing sight in that eye.
  • After she recovered she came home to the US. Shortly after, she tried to start her own hospital. A big problem was that no one wanted to see a female doctor. After she treated each patient they would spread the word about how good she was, and soon lots of people were coming to her.
  • With her sister, Emily Blackwell (1826-1910) who was also a doctor, and Marie Zackrzewska (an assistant), she founded (1857) the New York Infirmary for Women and Children, which was expanded in 1868 to include a Women’s College for the training of doctors, the first of its kind.
  • In 1869, Dr. Blackwell settled in England, where she became (1875) professor of gynecology at the London School of Medicine for Women, which she had helped to establish.
  • She wrote Pioneer Work in Opening the Medical Profession to Women (1895) and many other books and papers on health and education. 

 

Special thanks to www.encyclopedia.com and  library.thinkquest.org

 

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St. Lucia: Jewel of the Caribbean

St. Lucia

St. Lucia

Fun Facts About St. Lucia

 

  • St Lucia is the second largest of the Windward Islands located in the eastern Caribbean Sea.
  • On February 22, 1979, St Lucia gained independence from Great Britain
  • The island was created because of volcanic activity and is 43 km (27 miles) long and 23 km (14 miles) wide.
  • In recent years, St. Lucia has mainly been engaged in the export of bananas, clothing, vegetables, cacao and coconuts. In the past, St. Lucia’s biggest cultivation was of sugarcane, which was replaced by the cultivation of banana during the mid 1960s.
  • St. Lucia is situated in the Caribbean Sea, as part of the Lesser Antilles, with its total area covering 616sq km.
  • The closest islands neighboring St Lucia are St Vincent to the south, and Martinique, to the north.

  • The year-round temperature in St Lucia remains in the average range of about 27ºC (80ºF).
  • Castries, the capital city of St Lucia, is actually located in a flood gut region. Interestingly, Castries has been built on a reclaimed land mass.
  • St. Lucia, divided into 11 quarters, is estimated to have a population of almost 170,000.
  • The East Caribbean dollar (EC$) is the national currency of St. Lucia.
  • The recorded literacy rate of St Lucia shows about 67 percent of the population to be literate.
  • The average life expectancy of the people of St. Lucia is around 72 years.

  • Jacquot, or the St. Lucia Parrot, is a bird native only to these islands. It is the national bird of St. Lucia, and its scientific name is Amazona Versicolor.
  • St. Lucia was known as the Island of the Iguanas by the Amerindian Arawak and Carib people who are known to have been among the earliest settlers here.
  • At 950 m (3,117ft), Mount Gimie is the highest point on this island nation of St. Lucia.
  • Both France and England continuously struggled to establish sole control over St Lucia throughout the 17th and early 18th centuries. In the bargain, this island nation changed hands nearly 14 times.
  • Around the year 1600, the Dutch were the first to built Vieux Fort (or the old fort).
  • In 1746, the town of Soufriere was built, under French administration.
  • In 1814, St Lucia was surrendered to the United Kingdom, and came under British rule.
  • On 1st March, 1967, the island nation of St Lucia became self-governing in internal affairs.
  • “The Land, The People, The Light” was coined as the national motto of St. Lucia when it obtained total independence from England on 22nd February, 1979.

  • “Sons and Daughters of Saint Lucia” is the national anthem of St Lucia. Penned by Charles Jesse, it has been set to music by Leton Felix Thomas.
  • St Lucia continues to be a current member of the Commonwealth of Nations.
  • The Honourable Stephenson King, born in Castries, is the current Prime Minister of Saint Lucia.
  • Sir Arthur Lewis, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Economic Sciences in 1979, was born in St Lucia in 1915.
  • Derek Walcott, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1992, was born in Castries in 1930.

  • The Pitons – Gros Piton and Petit Piton – are twin volcanic peaks that rise from the sea. These marvelous volcanic monuments have contributed in a big way to making St Lucia very famous.
  • In 2004, the Pitons Management Area containing much of a collapsed stratovolcano known as the Soufriere Volcanic Centre, became a World Heritage Site.
  • Sadly, hurricane Lenny left a lot of damage in its wake when it hit St Lucia in November 1999. The loss was estimated at around seventeen thousand East Caribbean dollars.
  • The rules for driving in St Lucia officially state that roads should be approached from the left hand side.
  • The Voice, The Star, The St Lucia Mirror, The Crusader and One Caribbean are some of the main newspapers of St Lucia. 

 

Special thanks to www.iloveindia.com

 

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Sherlock Holmes: Arthur Conan Doyle’s Famous Sleuth

Holmes Silhouette with Signature Deer-stalker Hat and Pipe

Holmes Silhouette with Signature Deerstalker Cap and Pipe

Fun Facts About Arthur Conan Doyle’s “Sherlock Holmes”

  • Sherlock means blond, but two of the actors most associated with the role, Basil Rathbone and Jeremy Brett, both had dark hair.
  • The famous deerstalker cap of Holmes was not ascribed to him by Doyle, , but by the illustrator of the stories, Sidney Paget.
  • The most famous phrase that was never used in Doyle’s original works was “Elementary, my dear Watson.” This was used in the first sound film to feature the character.
  • Doyle did write Holmes saying, “when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?” This may be the most famous actual quote of the character.
  • Holmes’ best friend and biographer is Dr. Watson. Watson has a bullet wound that was first described as being in the shoulder, but in another story the wound had moved to the leg.
  • Holmes’ most famous nemesis was Professor Moriarty; however he only appeared in two stories, The Final Problem and The Valley of Fear. But, Holmes’ description of him as the “Napoleon of Crime” as well as the apparent belief that Holmes died fighting him (at least until Holmes returned due to popular demand), his fame is justified.
  • Canonically, the only woman to leave a lasting impression on Holmes was Irene Adler. She was also the only person to have beaten Holmes. It is believed by some fans that the two were romantically involved and had a child together. Laurie R King, British author of a series of Sherlock Holmes pastiches, mentioned a son he had with Adler. She is not the first writer to do so.
  • Sherlock Holmes is famous for his cold logic, but Doyle believed in spiritualism.
  • Doyle became so tired of Holmes that he wrote The Final Problem in order to kill him off. The public’s demands for more stories lead Doyle to resurrect Holmes in The Adventure of the Empty House.
  • Nicholas Meyer wrote a book where he gives an explanation for Holmes’ absence during the time between The Final Problem and The Adventure of the Empty House. It is called The Seven Per Cent Solution, and instead of hiding out from dangerous enemies, Holmes is actually in Vienna, getting treatment for his cocaine addiction. His use of cocaine is part of Doyle’s canon.
  • Basil of Baker Street, a mouse in a children’s book series, as well as a Disney movie called The Great Mouse Detective was inspired by Holmes. Other characters based on the detective include Dr. House of television’s House, and Shirley Holmes, a teenager in the Canadian series The Adventures of Shirley Holmes. The character of Shirley was Sherlock Holmes’ great grand niece. Doyle set his stories in Victorian England, but other people have put Holmes in many settings, including the 1940’s, battling Nazis and the 22nd century.
Special thanks to www.associatedcontent.com

Arthur Conan Doyle

Arthur Conan Doyle

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