The Brooklyn Bridge

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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 cute-calendar.com)

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Happy New Year

 

New Year’s Day is first day of the year on the modern Gregorian calendar, as well as the Julian calendar.  In pre-Christian Rome under the Julian calendar, the day was dedicated to Janus, god of gateways and beginnings, for whom January is also named.

New Year’s Day is probably the most celebrated public holiday, often observed with fireworks at the stroke of midnight as the new year starts in each time zone. Other global New Years’ Day traditions include making New Year’s resolutions and calling one’s friends and family.

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Mesopotamia (Iraq) instituted the concept of celebrating the new year in 2000 BC.  The first time the new year was celebrated on January 1 was in Rome in 153 BC (In fact, the month of January did not even exist until around 700 BC, when the second king of Rome added the months of January and February.) The new year was moved from March to January because that was the beginning of the civil year, the month that the two newly elected Roman consuls, the highest officials in the Roman republic, began their one-year tenure. It was then moved back and forth, depending upon who ruled at the time.

In 1582, the Gregorian calendar reform restored January 1 as New Year’s Day. When the new calendar was put in use, the error accumulated in the 13 centuries since the Council of Nicaea was corrected by a deletion of 10 days. The Julian calendar day Thursday, 4 October 1582 was followed by the first day of the Gregorian calendar, Friday, 15 October 1582 (the cycle of weekdays was not affected). Although most Catholic countries adopted the Gregorian calendar almost immediately, it was only gradually adopted among Protestant countries. The British, for example, did not adopt the reformed calendar until 1752. Until then, the British Empire—and their American colonies— still celebrated the new year in March. Most nations of Western Europe officially adopted January 1st as New Year’s Day somewhat before they adopted the Gregorian calendar. (from me, Wikipedia and cute-calendar.com)

Happy New Year’s Eve

New Year’s Eve or Old Year’s Night is the final day of the Gregorian year. New Year’s Eve is a separate observance from that of New Year’s Day. In modern Western practice, New Year’s Eve is celebrated with parties and social gatherings spanning the transition of the year at midnight.

Many cultures use fireworks and other forms of noise making in part of the celebration. New Year’s Eve is observed universally on December 31st according to the year numbering of the Common Era, or A.D. Anno Domini convention, even in non-Christian nations. New Year’s Eve is also the seventh day of Christmas in western Christianity traditional and religious celebrations.

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While many people go to parties to celebrate New Year’s Eve, according to a recent survey, 62% stay at home. Seven percent do not celebrate New Year’s Eve at all, though a proportion of those may well tune into the live TV broadcasts from the comfort of their homes.  A fun fact: The ball in New York first dropped at Times Square in 1908.

Samoa and parts of Kiribati are the first places to welcome the New Year, while Baker’s Island in the United States is among the last. (from: Wikipedia and www.cute-calendar.com

Edwin Hubble announces the existence of other galactic systems

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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.

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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)

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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 cute-calendar.com)

Chewing gum patented …

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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.

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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 chewing gum 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. (from Wikipedia and cute-calendar.com)