The Brooklyn Bridge


The Brooklyn Bridge is a hybrid cable-stayed/suspension bridge in New York and is one of the oldest bridges of either type in the U.S. Construction began this date in 1870 and was completed in 1883. It connects the boroughs of Manhattan and  Brooklyn by spanning the East River. It was the first steel-wire suspension bridge constructed. Since opening, it has become an icon of New York City and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1964 and a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark in 1972.

The bridge was built with numerous passageways and compartments in its anchorages. New York City rented out the large vaults under the bridge’s Manhattan anchorage in order to fund the bridge. Opened in 1876, the vaults were used to store wine as they were always at 60° F. This was called the “Blue Grotto” because of a shrine to the Virgin Mary next to an opening at the entrance. There’s no record of how long the vaults were used for this purpose. (from Wikipedia and

Edwin Hubble announces the existence of other galactic systems


Edwin Powell Hubble was an American astronomer who played a crucial role in establishing the field of extragalactic astronomy and is generally regarded as one of the most important observational cosmologists of the 20th century. Hubble is known for showing that the recessional velocity of a galaxy increases with its distance from the earth, implying the universe is expanding.


Edwin Hubble is also known for providing substantial evidence that many objects then classified as “nebulae” were actually galaxies beyond the Milky Way (this day in 1924). Hubble’s name is most widely recognized for the Hubble Space Telescope which was named in his honor.

Hubble’s findings fundamentally changed the scientific view of the universe. Supporters of Hubble’s expanding universe theory state that Hubble’s discovery of nebulae outside of our galaxy helped pave the way for future astronomers. Hubble also devised the most commonly used system for classifying galaxies, grouping them according to their appearance in photographic images. (below: “Pillars of Creation” in the Eagle nebula taken from Hubble telescope)


At the time, the Nobel Prize in Physics did not recognize work done in astronomy. Hubble spent much of the later part of his career attempting to have astronomy considered an area of physics, instead of being its own science. He did this largely so that astronomers—including himself—could be recognized by the Nobel Prize Committee for their valuable contributions to astrophysics. This campaign was unsuccessful in Hubble’s lifetime, but shortly after his death, the Nobel Prize Committee decided that astronomical work would be eligible for the physics prize. However, the prize is not one that can be awarded posthumously.  (from Wikipedia and

Chewing gum patented …


Chewing gum is a soft, cohesive substance designed to be chewed without being swallowed. Humans have used chewing gum in some form for at least 100,000 years. Most chewing gums are considered polymers. Longer polymers can produce larger bubbles due to increased intermolecular forces.

Chewing gum in many forms has existed since the Neolithic period. 6,000-year-old chewing gum made from birch bark tar, with tooth imprints, has been found in Finland. The tar from which the gums were made is believed to have had antiseptic properties and other medicinal benefits. The ancient Aztecs used chicle, a natural tree gum, as a base for making a gum-like substance and to stick objects together in everyday use. Forms of chewing gums were also chewed in Ancient Greece: mastic gum made from the resin of the mastic tree. Many other cultures have chewed gum-like substances made from plants, grasses and resins.

The American Indians chewed resin made from the sap of spruce trees. The New England settlers picked up this practice and, in 1848, John B. Curtis developed the first commercial chewing gum called The State of Maine Pure Spruce Gum. Around 1850, a gum made from paraffin wax was developed and soon exceeded the spruce gum in popularity. William Semple filed an early patent on chewing gum this date in 1869.


The first flavored chewing gum was created in the 1860s by John Colgan, a Louisville, Kentucky pharmacist. Colgan mixed with powdered sugar the aromatic flavoring tolu, a powder obtained from an extract of the balsam tree, creating small sticks of flavored chewing gum. He licensed a patent for automatically cutting chips of chewing gum from larger sticks and a patent for automatically cutting wrappers for sticks of chewing gum.

The Wrigley Company is an American institution founded in 1891. William Wrigley Jr. began packaging chewing gum with each can of baking powder. The chewing gum eventually became more popular than the baking powder, and Wrigley’s reoriented the company to produce the gum. The company currently sells its products in more than 180 countries and districts, maintains operations in over 50 countries, and has 21 production facilities in 14 countries including the United States, Mexico, Spain, the United Kingdom, France, the Czech Republic, Poland, Russia, China, India, Japan, Kenya, Taiwan, and Australia.

Synthetic gums were first introduced to the U.S. after chicle no longer satisfied the needs of making good chewing gum. By the 1960s, US manufacturers had switched to butadiene-based synthetic rubber as it was cheaper to manufacture.

Popping a piece of gum does a whole lot more than freshen your breath. According to a 2013 study published in the British Journal of Psychology, chewing gum can actually help you stay focused for longer—especially in situations where you have to concentrate over a prolonged period of time. So, next time you need to focus, drop the espresso and pick up the peppermint!

(from Wikipedia and 



Radio Music Hall opens ….


Radio City Music Hall is an entertainment venue located in Rockefeller Center in New York City. Its nickname is the Showplace of the Nation, and for a time it was the leading tourist destination in the city. Its interior was declared a city landmark in 1978.

The 12-acre complex in Midtown Manhattan known as Rockefeller Center was developed between 1929 and 1940 by John D. Rockefeller on land leased from Columbia University. The Radio City Music Hall was designed in the Art Deco style.

The name comes from one of the complex’s first tenants, The Radio Corporation of America. The Music Hall opened to the public this day in 1932 with a lavish stage show. The opening was meant to be a return to high-class variety entertainment; the new format was not a success. The program was very long, and individual acts were lost in the cavernous hall. On January 11, 1933, the Music Hall converted to the then-familiar format of a feature film theater and music hall. The first film shown on the giant screen was Frank Capra’s The Bitter Tea of General Yen starring Barbara Stanwyck, and the Music Hall became the premiere showcase for films from RKO-Radio Studio. The film-plus-stage-spectacle format continued at the Music Hall until 1979, with four complete performances presented every day.


By the 1970s, changes in film distribution made it difficult for Radio City to secure exclusive bookings of many films; furthermore, the theater preferred to show only G-rated movies, which further limited their film choices as the decade wore on. Regular film showings at Radio City ended in 1979. Plans were made to convert the theater into office space, but a combination of preservation and commercial interests resulted in the preservation of Radio City and in 1980, after a renovation, it reopened to the public.

Radio City Music Hall is currently leased to and managed by The Madison Square Garden Company. Movie premieres and feature runs have occasionally taken place there, such as the Harry Potter film series, but the focus of the theater throughout the year is now on concerts and live stage shows. The Radio City Christmas Spectacular continues to be an important annual event. The Music Hall has presented most of the leading pop and rock performers of the last 30 years, as well as televised events including the Grammy Awards, the Tony Awards, the MTV Video Music Awards and the NFL Draft. Starting in 2013, however, the Tony Awards was the only major televised awards ceremony at Radio City, as the other award shows had relocated. (from Wikipedia and

William the Conqueror


A segment of the Bayeux Tapestry depicting Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, rally Duke William’s troops during the Battle of Hastings.

William, usually known as William the Conqueror, was the first Norman King of England, reigning from 1066 until his death in 1087. A descendant of Rollo, he was Duke of Normandy from 1035 onward. After his hold on Normandy was secure, William launched the Norman conquest of England six years later.

In the 1050s and early 1060s William became a contender for the throne of England, then held by the childless Edward the Confessor, his first cousin once removed. There other potential claimants, including the powerful English earl Harold Godwinson. William built a large fleet and invaded England in September 1066, decisively defeating and killing Harold at the Battle of Hastings on October 1066. After further military efforts, William was crowned king on Christmas Day, in London.


His reign in England was marked by the construction of castles and churches, the settling of a new Norman nobility on the land, and change in the composition of the English clergy. He did not try to integrate his various domains into one empire, but instead continued to administer each part separately. William’s lands were divided after his death: Normandy went to his eldest son, Robert, and his second surviving son, William, received England. (from Wikipedia and

(Obviously this should have run yesterday, but I didn’t want it to interfere with Christmas Day; William was crowned on Christmas Day, 1066.)

Silent Night ….


Silent Night (German Stille Nacht) is a popular Christmas carol composed by Franz Xaver Gruber to lyrics by Joseph Mohr in a small town in Austria. It was declared an intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO in 2011. The song was first performed on Christmas Eve in 1818 at St. Nicholas parish church in Oberndorf, a village in the Austrian Empire in present day Austria. A young priest, Father Joseph Mohr, had come to Oberndorf the year before. He had already written the lyrics of the song Stille Nacht in 1816. The melody was composed by Gruber, schoolmaster and organist in a nearby village. Before Christmas Eve, Mohr brought the words to Gruber and asked him to compose a melody and guitar accompaniment for the church service. Both performed the carol during mass on the night of December 24th.

In 1859, an Episcopal priest, John Freeman Young, published the English translation that is most frequently sung today. The song has been translated into about 140 languages. The song was sung simultaneously in English and German by troops during the Christmas truce of 1914 during World War I as it was one carol that soldiers on both sides of the front line knew. The song has been recorded by singers from every music genre, and the version sung by Bing Crosby is the third best-selling single of all time. (from Wikipedia and

The transistor was invented…


A point-contact transistor was the first type of solid-state electronic transistor ever constructed, using germanium (a semiconductor) and gold for point-contacts. It was developed by research scientists at Bell Laboratories this date in 1947. The group had been working together on experiments and theories of electric field effects in solid-state materials, with the aim of replacing vacuum tubes with a smaller, less power-consuming device.

The point-contact transistor was commercialized and sold by Western Electric and others, but was soon superseded by the bipolar junction transistor, which was easier to manufacture and more rugged. Germanium was employed extensively for two decades in the manufacture of transistors, but was then almost totally replaced by silicon and other alloyed materials for circuit boards. (from Wikipedia)