Daily Bread for 4.11.16

Good morning, Whitewater.

Monday in town will partly cloudy with a high of forty-six.  Sunrise is 6:17 AM and sunset 7:33 PM, for 13h 16m 26s of daytime.  The moon is a waxing crescent with 21.5% of its visible disk illuminated.

Whitewater’s Planning Commission meets tonight at 6:30 PM, and there is a Zoning Code Update Meeting at 8 PM.

On this day in 1814, Napoleon is exiled to Elba, the first of two places of exile for the French autocrat:

Napoleon Bonaparte, emperor of France and one of the greatest military leaders in history, abdicates the throne, and, in the Treaty of Fontainebleau, is banished to the Mediterranean island of Elba….

In 1812, thinking that Russia was plotting an alliance with England, Napoleon launched an invasion against the Russians that eventually ended with his troops retreating from Moscow and much of Europe uniting against him. In 1814, Napoleon’s broken forces gave up and Napoleon offered to step down in favor of his son. When this offer was rejected, he abdicated and was sent to Elba.

In March 1815, he escaped his island exile and returned to Paris, where he regained supporters and reclaimed his emperor title, Napoleon I, in a period known as the Hundred Days. However, in June 1815, he was defeated at the bloody Battle of Waterloo. Napoleon’s defeat ultimately signaled the end of France’s domination of Europe. He abdicated for a second time and was exiled to the remote island of Saint Helena, in the southern Atlantic Ocean, where he lived out the rest of his days. He died at age 52 on May 5, 1821, possibly from stomach cancer, although some theories contend he was poisoned.

On 4.11.1965, Palm Sunday, devastating tornadoes:

1965 – Palm Sunday Tornadoes Ravage Midwest

On this date six tornadoes, part of the “Palm Sunday” outbreak, ripped across Southern Wisconsin, causing 3 deaths and 65 injuries. The outbreak of 51 tornadoes was responsible for 260 deaths and over $200 million in damages throughout the states of Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio. [Source: National Weather Service Weather Forecast Office]

A Google a Day asks a question about language:

What is the largest surviving Latin American language reaching from Columbia to Chile?

Daily Bread for 4.10.16

Good morning, Whitewater.

Sunday in town will be rainy with a high of fifty-one. Sunrise is 6:18 AM and sunset 7:32 PM, for 13h 13m 37s of daytime. The moon is a waxing crescent with 13.1% of its visible disk illuminated.

Friday’s FW poll asked whether a video of an object in the Thames was of a sea monster, an ordinary animal, or a man-made object. Respondents were divided between a man-made object (36.73%), a sea monster (34.69%), and an ordinary animal (28.57%).

Today is the anniversary of the ASPCA‘s founding:

…the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) is founded in New York City by philanthropist and diplomat Henry Bergh, 54.

In 1863, Bergh had been appointed by President Abraham Lincoln to a diplomatic post at the Russian court of Czar Alexander II. It was there that he was horrified to witness work horses beaten by their peasant drivers. En route back to America, a June 1865 visit to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in London awakened his determination to secure a charter not only to incorporate the ASPCA but to exercise the power to arrest and prosecute violators of the law.

Back in New York, Bergh pleaded on behalf of “these mute servants of mankind” at a February 8, 1866, meeting at Clinton Hall. He argued that protecting animals was an issue that crossed party lines and class boundaries. “This is a matter purely of conscience; it has no perplexing side issues,” he said. “It is a moral question in all its aspects.” The speech prompted a number of dignitaries to sign his “Declaration of the Rights of Animals.”
Bergh’s impassioned accounts of the horrors inflicted on animals convinced the New York State legislature to pass the charter incorporating the ASPCA on April 10, 1866. Nine days later, the first effective anti-cruelty law in the United States was passed, allowing the ASPCA to investigate complaints of animal cruelty and to make arrests….

Daily Bread for 4.9.16

Good morning, Whitewater.

Saturday in town will be mostly sunny with a high of thirty-nine. Sunrise is 6:20 AM and sunset 7:31 PM, for 13h 10m 48s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 6.1% of its visible disk illuminated.

Elon Musk’s SpaceX successfully accomplished for the first time the landing of a rocket on a barge at sea, in an effort to make space travel cheaper by reusing expensive rockets:

For more on this accomplishment, see SpaceX just successfully landed its rocket on a barge in the ocean.

On this day in 1865, Robert E. Lee surrenders his army to Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House.

U.S. Sec. of War Stanton sent the following message to Gen. Grant that evening:

War Department, Washington, D. C., April 9, 1865- 9:30 P.M.
Lieut.-Gen. Grant:

Thanks be to almighty God for the great victory with which he has this day crowned you and the gallant armies under your command.
The thanks of this Department and of the Government, and of the People of the United States- their reverence and honor have been deserved- will be rendered to you and the brave and gallant officers and soldiers of your army for all time.

Edwin M. Stanton, Secretary of War.

On 4.9.1898, a famous Wisconsin athlete and team founder is born:

1898 – Curly Lambeau Born
On this date Earl “Curly” Lambeau, founder, player, coach, and vice president of the Green Bay Packers, was born in Green Bay. He founded the Packers in 1919 and served as the team’s only coach through the 1949 season. Lambeau led the Packers to six world championships and is one of only five coaches to record more than 200 coaching victories in the NFL (others are Don Shula, George Halas, Tom Landry and Chuck Noll). Curly Lambeau died on June 1, 1965, at the age of 67. [Source: Packers history pages]

Daily Bread for 4.8.16

Good morning, Whitewater.

Friday will see light snow in Whitewater, with a high of thirty-eight.  Sunrise is 6:22 AM and sunset 7:30 PM, for 13h 07m 59s of daytime.  The moon is a waxing crescent with 1.5% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1974, a new home run record —

…Hank Aaron of the Atlanta Braves hits his 715th career home run, breaking Babe Ruth’s legendary record of 714 homers. A crowd of 53,775 people, the largest in the history of Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, was with Aaron that night to cheer when he hit a 4th inning pitch off the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Al Downing….

On April 8, 1905, Wisconsin does what no one else in America had done previously:

1905 – First High School Basketball Tournament
On this date Fond du Lac won the Lawrence College Invitational, the first high school basketball tournament held not only in Wisconsin, but in the United States. [Source: Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association]

A Google a Day asks a question about space:

In the 219th meeting of the American Astronomical Society, what planet’s borders were said to be recognizable from space?

Daily Bread for 4.7.16

Good morning, Whitewater.

Thursday brings a probability of light snow showers to Whitewater, with a high of forty-five later in the day. Sunrise is 6:24 AM and sunset 7:29 PM, for 13h 05m 08s of daytime. We’ve a new moon today.

Common Council meets tonight at 6:30 PM.

On 4.7.1776, an American naval victory over England:

…Navy Captain John Barry, commander of the American warship Lexington, makes the first American naval capture of a British vessel when he takes command of the British warship HMS Edward off the coast of Virginia. The capture of the Edward and its cargo turned Captain Barry into a national hero and boosted the morale of the Continental forces….

Barry’s outstanding career has been memorialized on both sides of the Atlantic. A bridge bearing his name crosses the Delaware River, and Brooklyn, New York, is home to a park named for him. In addition, four U.S. Navy ships and a building at Villanova University carry his name, and statues in his honor stand in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia and his birthplace, Wexford, Ireland. On September 13, 1981, President Ronald Reagan declared Commodore John Barry Day to honor a man he called one of the earliest and greatest American patriots, a man of great insight who perceived very early the need for American power on the sea.

4.7.1970 marks a first:

1970 – The Milwaukee Brewers’ First Game
On this date the Milwaukee Brewers, one of the many organized sports teams in Wisconsin, played their first game against the California Angels in front of 37,237 enthusiastic fans at County Stadium. [Source: Brewers’ History page]

A Google a Day asks a sports question:

The youngest recipient of the NBA MVP award joined which one of his “Bulls” teammates in receiving this honor?

Daily Bread for 4.6.16

Good morning, Whitewater.

Wednesday in town will be rainy with a high of fifty. Sunrise is 6:25 AM and sunset 7:27 PM, for 13h 02m 17s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 1.5% of its visible disk illuminated.

Whitewater’s Community Development Authority meets this evening at 6 PM.

On this day in 1896, the first modern Olympic Games began in Athens, lasting from April 6 to April 15th.

On this day in 1909, explorers Robert Peary and Matthew Henson became the first men to reach the North Pole. The claim was later confirmed by the Navigation Foundation in 1989.

The Wisconsin Historical Society records today as a day in 1831 when Wisconsin lost some of her original residents:

1831 – Sauk Indians Leave Illinois & Wisconsin

On this date, in the spring of 1831, the Sauk Indians led by Chief Keokuk left their ancestral home near the mouth of the Rock River and moved across the Mississippi River to Iowa to fulfill the terms of a treaty signed in 1804. Many of the tribe, however, believed the treaty to be invalid and the following spring, when the U.S. government failed to provide them with promised supplies, this dissatisfied faction led by Black Hawk returned to their homeland on the Rock River, precipitating the Black Hawk War. [Source: History Just Ahead: A Guide to Wisconsin’s Historical Markers, edited by Sarah Davis McBride]

A Google a Day asks a geography question:

What’s the southernmost province of the country that occupies approximately one sixth of the Iberian Peninsula?

Daily Bread for 4.5.16

Good morning, Whitewater.

Election Day brings afternoon showers with a high of forty-five to Whitewater. Sunrise is 6:27 AM and sunset 7:26 PM, for 12h 59m 25s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 5.8% of its visible disk illuminated.

Just a quick update that the next education post will be next Tuesday, April 12th.

On this day in 1792 — the first presidential veto of legislation:

George Washington exercises the first presidential veto of a Congressional bill on this day in 1792. The bill introduced a new plan for dividing seats in the House of Representatives that would have increased the amount of seats for northern states. After consulting with his politically divided and contentious cabinet, Washington, who came from the southern state of Virginia, ultimately decided that the plan was unconstitutional because, in providing for additional representatives for some states, it would have introduced a number of representatives higher than that proscribed by the Constitution.

After a discussion with the president, Jefferson wrote in a letter that votes for or against the bill were divided along perfectly geographical lines between the North and South. Jefferson observed that Washington feared that a veto would incorrectly portray him as biased toward the South. In the end, Jefferson was able to convince the president to veto the bill on the grounds that it was unconstitutional and introduced principles that were liable to be abused in the future. Jefferson suggested apportionment instead be derived from arithmetical operation, about which no two men can ever possibly differ.” Washington’s veto sent the bill back to Congress. Though representatives could have attempted to overrule the veto with a two-thirds vote, Congress instead threw out the original bill and instituted a new one that apportioned representatives at “the ratio of one for every thirty-three thousand persons in the respective States.”

Washington exercised his veto power only one other time during his two terms in office. In February 1797, the former commanding general of the Continental Army vetoed an act that would have reduced the number of cavalry units in the army.

The Wisconsin Historical Society recalls that on this day in 1860,

Wisconsin Congressman Challenged to Duel

On this date, with the threat of civil war hanging in the air, John F. Potter, a Wisconsin representative in Congress, was challenged to a duel by Virgina representative Roger Pryor. Potter, a Northern Republican, had become a target of Southerners during heated debates over slavery. After one exchange, Pryor challenged Potter to a duel and Potter, as the one challenged, specified that bowie knives be used at a distance of four feet. Pryor refused and Potter became famous in the anti-slavery movement. Two years later, when Republicans convened in Chicago, Potter was given a seven foot blade as a tribute; the knife hung with pride during all the sessions of the convention.  Before his death, Potter remembered the duel and proclaimed, “I felt it was a national matter – not any private quarrel – and I was willing to make sacrifices.” [Source: Badger Saints and Sinners, by Fred L. Holmes]

It makes our politics look almost tame.

A Google a Day asks a sports question:

With 8 Olympic gold medals, what Norwegian cross-country skier retired to become a TV host in his native country?

Daily Bread for 4.4.16

Good morning, Whitewater.

Our week begins with much cooler temperatures, with an expected high of thirty-eight and cloudy skies.  Sunrise is 6:29 AM and sunset 7:25 PM, for 12h 56m 34s of daytime.  The moon is a waning crescent with 12.9% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1968, Dr. King was assassinated in Memphis. He was thirty-nine.

On this day in 1865, Union soldiers continued their pursuit across Virginia of Gen. Lee’s retreating army:

1865 – (Civil War) Confederate leaders reach Amelia Court House, Virginia
The 5th, 6th, 7th, 19th, 36th, 37th and 38th Wisconsin Infantry regiments were among the troops pursuing Confederate General Robert E. Lee across Virginia after the fall of Richmond. On this day the two sides reached the town of Amelia Court House, but the Confederates withdrew before a battle began.

A Google a Day asks a pop culture question:

What musical made its world premiere in October 1986, at 57 Haymarket, London SW1Y 4QL?

Daily Bread for 4.3.16

Good morning, Whitewater.

Sunday in town will be warm and sunny, with a high of sixty-six. Sunrise is 6:30 AM and sunset 7:24 PM, for 12h 53m 41s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 21.1% of its visible disk illuminated.

Friday’s FW poll asked whether readers thought that waking up in the middle of the night with a kinkajou in one’s bed, as a Floridian recently did, would be an unpleasant event or a great story to tell. Most thought that it would be an unpleasant event.

On this day in 1860, it’s the debut of the Pony Express:

…the first Pony Express mail, traveling by horse and rider relay teams, simultaneously leaves St. Joseph, Missouri, and Sacramento, California. Ten days later, on April 13, the westbound rider and mail packet completed the approximately 1,800-mile journey and arrived in Sacramento, beating the eastbound packet’s arrival in St. Joseph by two days and setting a new standard for speedy mail delivery. Although ultimately short-lived and unprofitable, the Pony Express captivated America’s imagination and helped win federal aid for a more economical overland postal system. It also contributed to the economy of the towns on its route and served the mail-service needs of the American West in the days before the telegraph or an efficient transcontinental railroad.

On 4.3.1865, Wisconsin soldiers helped capture Richmond:

When Petersburg, Virginia, fell on the night of April 2, 1865, Confederate leaders hastily abandoned Richmond. The 5th, 6th, 7th, 19th, 36th, 37th and 38th Wisconsin Infantry participated in the occupation of Petersburg and Richmond. The brigade containing the 19th Wisconsin Infantry was the first to enter Richmond on the morning of April 3rd. Their regimental flag became the first to fly over the captured capital of the Confederacy when Colonel Samuel Vaughn planted it on Richmond City Hall.

Daily Bread for 4.2.16

Good morning, Whitewater.

We’ll have light snow in Whitewater today with a high of thirty-one. Sunrise is 6:32 AM and sunset 7:23 PM, for 12h 50m 49s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 30.2% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1917, Pres. Wilson asks Congress for a declaration of war against Germany:

Washington, April 2 — At 8:35 o’clock tonight the United States virtually made its entrance into the war. At that hour President Wilson appeared before a joint session of the Senate and House and invited it to consider the fact that Germany had been making war upon us and to take action in recognition of that fact in accordance with his recommendations, which included universal military service, the raising of an army of 500,000 men, and co-operation with the Allies in all ways that will help most effectively to defeat Germany.

Resolutions recognizing and declaring the state of war were immediately introduced in the House and Senate by Representative Flood and Senator Martin, both of the President’s birth-state, Virginia, and they are the strongest declarations of war that the United States has ever made in any war in which it has been engaged since it became a nation. They are the administration resolutions drawn up after conference with the President, and in language approved and probably dictated by him, and they will come before the two Foreign Affairs Committees at meetings which will be held tomorrow morning and will be reported at the earliest practical moment….

Before an audience that cheered him as he has never been cheered in the Capitol in his life, the President cast in the lot of American unreservedly with the Allies and declared for a war that must not end until the issue between autocracy and democracy has been fought out. He recited our injuries at Germany’s hands, but he did not rest our cause on those; he went on from that point to range us with the Allies as a factor in an irrepressible conflict between the autocrat and the people. He showed that peace was impossible for the democracies of the world while this power remained on earth. “The world,” he said, “must be made safe for democracy.”

Daily Bread for 4.1.16

Good morning, Whitewater.

The first day of the new month will be rainy with a high of forty-seven. Sunrise is 6:34 and sunset 7:22, for 12h 47m 56s of daytime. The moon is a waning crescent with 41.6% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1945, Americans landed on Okinawa, the beginning of an intense fight to take that island from Japan. The New York Times reported on the landing the next day:

Guam, Monday, April 2 — The United States Tenth Army landed yesterday morning on Okinawa, main island of the Ryukyus, 362 miles from the Japanese home islands. This morning found the invaders three miles inland and holding two airfields, with the defenders retreating all along the eight-mile landing line.

The veteran doughboys and marines met amazingly light resistance from the minute they landed yesterday at 8:30 A.M. They pushed up the steep slopes from the landing beaches with ease, although the shore was dominated by enemy guns on high ground.

Marines took the Yontan airfield at the northern end of the beachhead while Army troops captured the Katena airdrome in the southern area.

In his second communique on the operation Admiral Chester W. Nimitz at 9:30 A.M. today reported:

“United States forces on Okinawa advanced inland rapidly throughout the first day of the assault and by 18:00 (6 P.M.) on April 1 (East Longitude date), forward elements of the Twenty-fourth Army Corps and Marine Third Amphibious Corps had expanded in the beachhead to a three mile depth at several points. Enemy resistance continued to be light.

The Battle of Okinawa lasted over two months’ time, until the few remaining Japanese soldiers on the island capitulated in mid-June, and was the largest amphibious assault of its kind in the Pacific.

On this day in 1970, Wisconsin’s MLB team is founded:

1970 – Milwaukee Brewers Founded
On this date the Milwaukee Brewers, Inc., an organization formed by Allan H. “Bud” Selig and Edmund Fitzgerald, acquired the Seattle Pilots franchise. The team was renamed the Milwaukee Brewers, a tribute to the city’s long association with brewing industry.

A Google a Day asks a question about sports:

The creator of the first fantasy baseball league draft kept track of the players by hand and pulled statistics from what sports magazine?

Daily Bread for 3.31.16

Good morning, Whitewater.

Thursday in town will be rainy with a high of fifty-six. Sunrise is 6:36 AM and sunset 7:21, for 12h 45m 02s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 51.9% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1889, the Eiffel Tower opens to the public:

The Eiffel Tower (French: La tour Eiffel … is an iron lattice tower located on the Champ de Mars in Paris, France. It was named after the engineer Gustave Eiffel, whose company designed and built the tower. Erected in 1889 as the entrance arch to the 1889 World’s Fair, it was initially criticised by some of France’s leading artists and intellectuals for its design, but has become both a global cultural icon of France and one of the most recognizable structures in the world.[1] The tower is the tallest structure in Paris and the most-visited paid monument in the world; 6.98 million people ascended it in 2011.[2] The tower received its 250 millionth visitor in 2010.[2]

The tower is 324 metres (1,063 ft) tall,[2] about the same height as an 81-storey building. Its base is square, 125 metres (410 ft) on a side. During its construction, the Eiffel Tower surpassed the Washington Monument to assume the title of the tallest man-made structure in the world, a title it held for 41 years, until the Chrysler Building in New York City was built in 1930. Because of the addition of the aerial atop the Eiffel Tower in 1957, it is now taller than the Chrysler Building by 5.2 metres (17 ft). Not including broadcast aerials, it is the second-tallest structure in France, after the Millau Viaduct.

The tower has three levels for visitors, with restaurants on the first and second. The third level observatory’s upper platform is 276 m (906 ft) above the ground,[2] the highest accessible to the public in the European Union. Tickets can be purchased to ascend by stairs or lift (elevator) to the first and second levels. The climb from ground level to the first level is over 300 steps, as is the walk from the first to the second level. Although there are stairs to the third and highest level, these are usually closed to the public and it is generally only accessible by lift.

On this day in 1998, this day in 1998, the Brewers change of leagues –

1998 – Brewers Go National
On this date the Milwaukee Brewers played their first game as a National League Team, losing to the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field. The Brewers’ transfer, the first since the American League was formed at the turn of the century, was necessary to create a 16-team National League and a 14-team American League. [Source: “Brewer’s Timeline” on the team’s official Web site].

A Google a Day asks a question about a poem:

In the poem that includes the lines, “This is the dead land, This is cactus land”, to what work is the first epigraph an allusion?

Daily Bread for 3.30.16

Good morning, Whitewater.

Wednesday in town will see a likelihood of afternoon showers and a high of fifty-six. Sunrise is 6:37 AM and sunset 7:17, for 12h 42m 09s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 61.8% of its visible disk illuminated.

The Tech Park Board meets today and 8 AM, and a landscape committee of the Urban Forestry Commission at 1 PM.

On 3.30.1867, Secretary of State William Seward signs a treaty (later ratified) for a large purchase:

U.S. Secretary of State William H. Seward signs a treaty with Russia for the purchase of Alaska for $7 million. Despite the bargain price of roughly two cents an acre, the Alaskan purchase was ridiculed in Congress and in the press as “Seward’s folly,” “Seward’s icebox,” and President Andrew Johnson’s “polar bear garden.”

The czarist government of Russia, which had established a presence in Alaska in the mid-18th century, first approached the United States about selling the territory during the administration of President James Buchanan, but negotiations were stalled by the outbreak of the Civil War. After 1865, Seward, a supporter of territorial expansion, was eager to acquire the tremendous landmass of Alaska, an area roughly one-fifth the size of the rest of the United States. He had some difficulty, however, making the case for the purchase of Alaska before the Senate, which ratified the treaty by a margin of just one vote on April 9, 1867. Six months later, Alaska was formally handed over from Russia to the United States. Despite a slow start in U.S. settlement, the discovery of gold in 1898 brought a rapid influx of people to the territory, and Alaska, rich in natural resources, has contributed to American prosperity ever since.

On this day in 1865, Wisconsinites fight in Virginia:

1865 – (Civil War) Battle at Gravelly Run, Virginia
The Battle at Gravelly Run erupted east of Petersburg, Virginia. The 6th, 7th and 36th Wisconsin Infantry regiments participated in this battle, which was one of a series of engagements that ultimately drove Confederate forces out of Petersburg. Wisconsin’s Iron Brigade regiments fought at Gravelly Run, and when ordered to fall back before the enemy, they were the last to leave the field.

A Google a Day asks a question about architecture:

Of what type of architecture is the Paris Cathedral that in 1970 was the site of Charles de Gaulle’s funeral?

Daily Bread for 3.29.16

Good morning, Whitewater.

Tuesday in town will be mostly sunny with a high of fifty-nine. Sunrise is 6:39 AM and sunset 7:18 PM, for 12h 39m 15s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 70.9% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1929, the president gets a desk phone:

…President Herbert Hoover has a phone installed at his desk in the Oval Office of the White House. It took a while to get the line to Hoover’s desk working correctly and the president complained to aides when his son was unable to get through on the Oval Office phone from an outside line. Previously, Hoover had used a phone located in the foyer just outside the office. Telephones and a telephone switchboard had been in use at the White House since 1878, when President Rutherford B. Hayes had the first one installed, but no phone had ever been installed at the president’s desk until Hoover’s administration.

On this day in 1865, Union soldiers, including many from Wisconsin, near the end of a long war:

1865 – (Civil War) Appomattox Campaign Begins in Virginia
When it became clear that the Confederate capital at Richmond, Virginia, was about to fall, Confederate leaders and troops began moving west toward the town of Appomattox Court House. Union troops, including several Wisconsin regiments, followed close on their heels in a series of battles fought March 29 – April 9, 1865, that became known as the Appomattox Campaign.

A Google-a-Day asks a history question:

What tactics did Germany use in France, forcing a desperate British withdrawal at Dunkirk?

Daily Bread for 3.28.16

Good morning, Whitewater.

Monday in town will begin cloudy skies, but give way to afternoon sunshine and a high of fifty-two.  Sunrise is 6:41 AM and sunset 7:17 PM, for 12h 36m 21s of daytime.  The moon is waning gibbous with 79.2% of its visible disk illuminated.

Cockatiels sometimes imitate human speech,  but then there are iPhone tones to mimic, too:

On this day in 1979, a reactor overheats at Three Mile Island:

The most serious nuclear accident in United States history takes place at the Three Mile Island plant near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on this day in 1979, when one of the reactors overheats. Fortunately, a catastrophic meltdown was averted and there were no deaths or direct injuries from the accident.

The Three Mile Island plant had begun operations just months earlier on December 28, 1978. Very shortly after operations began, problems arose. It was 3:58 a.m. on March 28 when a pump that directed steam to the plant’s electric turbines stopped working, causing a water circulation pump to break down. Without the water, the temperature of the reactor rose dramatically and a relief valve opened to stop the pressure from building to dangerous levels. Unfortunately, the valve then would not close.

The plant operators, with no experience in emergencies, made key errors. Another valve was opened to allow water from the nuclear system into a waste tank. But this water ruptured the tank and radioactive water flooded into the reactor. Even worse, an operator shut off the automatic core-cooling system. The result of all these events and mistakes was that radioactive steam poured out of the plant. Additionally, radioactive water had to be released into the Susquehanna River. However, area authorities were not notified of these events until nearly three hours later.

A Google a Day asks a sports question:

In what year did the manager and team depicted in the blockbuster film “Moneyball” finally win their first playoff series?

Daily Bread for 3.27.16

Good morning, Whitewater.

Easter Sunday in town will be mostly cloudy, with a probability of rain, and a high of forty-eight.  Sunrise is 6:43 AM and sunset 7:16 PM for 12h 33m 26s of daytime.  The moon is a waning gibbous with 86.3% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1912, Japanese cherry trees are first planted along the Potomac as a sign of friendship between Japan and America:

In Washington, D.C., Helen Taft, wife of President William Taft, and the Viscountess Chinda, wife of the Japanese ambassador, plant two Yoshina cherry trees on the northern bank of the Potomac River, near the Jefferson Memorial. The event was held in celebration of a gift, by the Japanese government, of 3,020 cherry trees to the U.S. government.

The planting of Japanese cherry trees along the Potomac was first proposed by socialite Eliza Scidmore, who raised money for the endeavor. Helen Taft had lived in Japan while her husband was president of the Philippine Commission, and knowing the beauty of cherry blossoms she embraced Scidmore’s idea. After learning of the first lady’s interest, the Japanese consul in New York suggested making a gift of the trees to the U.S. government from the city of Tokyo.

In January 1910, 2,000 Japanese cherry trees arrived in Washington from Japan but had fallen prey to disease during the journey. In response, a private Japanese citizen donated the funds to transport a new batch of trees, and 3,020 specimens were taken from the famous collection on the bank of the Arakawa River in Adachi Ward, a suburb of Tokyo. In March 1912, the trees arrived in Washington, and on March 27 the first two trees were planted along the Potomac River’s Tidal Basin in a formal ceremony. The rest of the trees were then planted along the basin, in East Potomac Park, and on the White House grounds.

The blossoming trees proved immediately popular with visitors to Washington’s Mall area, and in 1934 city commissioners sponsored a three-day celebration of the late March blossoming of the trees, which grew into the annual Cherry Blossom Festival….

On 3.27.1920 Wisconsin, a national first:

On this date Janesville was chosen as home base for the National Guard’s first tank company in the United States, the 32nd. When activated for duty during WWII, the unit was called Company A, 192nd Tank Battalion. This company fought in the Philippines during World War II. Many of the ninty-nine Janesville men who became prisoners of war and were tortured during the infamous Bataan Death March, were affiliated with this tank company. Its story is told in a compelling collection of documents and interviews created by high school students in nearby Maywood, Illinois. [Source: Janesville Gazette.]

Daily Bread for 3.26.16

Good morning, Whitewater.

Saturday in town will be mostly sunny with a high of fifty-four.  Sunrise is 6:44 AM and sunset 7:15 PM for 12h 30m 32s of daytime.  The moon is a waning gibbous with 91.8% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1953, a medical accomplishment becomes public:

On March 26, 1953, American medical researcher Dr. Jonas Salk announces on a national radio show that he has successfully tested a vaccine against poliomyelitis, the virus that causes the crippling disease of polio. In 1952–an epidemic year for polio–there were 58,000 new cases reported in the United States, and more than 3,000 died from the disease. For promising eventually to eradicate the disease, which is known as “infant paralysis” because it mainly affects children, Dr. Salk was celebrated as the great doctor-benefactor of his time.

In Wisconsin history on this day in 1881, a famous mascot dies in an accident:

1881 – Old Abe Dies
On this date Old Abe, famous Civil War mascot, died from injuries sustained during a fire at the State Capitol. Old Abe was the mascot for Company C, an Eau Claire infantry unit that was part of the Wisconsin 8th Regiment. During the Capitol fire of 1881, smoke engulfed Old Abe’s cage. One of his feathers survived and is in the Wisconsin Historical Museum. [Source: Wisconsin Lore and Legends, pg. 51]

Daily Bread for 3.25.16

Good morning, Whitewater.

Good Friday in Whitewater will see a high of forty-eight and gradually clearer skies. Sunrise is 6:46 AM and sunset 7:14 PM, for 12h 27m 37s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 96.5% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1911, America experiences an industrial tragedy:

In one of the darkest moments of America’s industrial history, the Triangle Shirtwaist Company factory in New York City burns down, killing 145 workers, on this day in 1911….

The Triangle factory, owned by Max Blanck and Isaac Harris, was located in the top three floors of the 10-story Asch Building was a sweatshop in every sense of the word: a cramped space lined with work stations and packed with poor immigrant workers, mostly teenaged women who did not speak English. At the time of the fire, there were four elevators with access to the factory floors, but only one was fully operational and it could hold only 12 people at a time. There were two stairways down to the street, but one was locked from the outside to prevent theft by the workers and the other opened inward only. The fire escape, as all would come to see, was shoddily constructed, and could not support the weight of more than a few women at a time….

On March 25, a Saturday afternoon, there were 600 workers at the factory when a fire broke out in a rag bin on the eighth floor. The manager turned the fire hose on it, but the hose was rotted and its valve was rusted shut. Panic ensued as the workers fled to every exit. The elevator broke down after only four trips, and women began jumping down the shaft to their deaths. Those who fled down the wrong set of stairs were trapped inside and burned alive. Other women trapped on the eighth floor began jumping out the windows, which created a problem for the firefighters whose hoses were crushed by falling bodies. Also, the firefighters’ ladders stretched only as high as the seventh floor, and their safety nets were not strong enough to catch the women, who were jumping three at a time.

On this day in 1865, the 36th and 38th engage Confederates in Virginia:

1865 – (Civil War) Battle of Fort Stedman, Virginia
The 36th and 38th Wisconsin Infantry regiments participated in the Battle of Fort Stedman, Virginia, during the Siege of Petersburg. Confederate troops temporarily broke through the Union lines and captured the fort but soon lost it to superior numbers.

Daily Bread for 3.24.16

Good morning, Whitewater.

We’ll have a wintry mix, with high winds, in Whitewater today, with a high of thirty-four.  Sunrise is 6:48 AM and sunset 7:13 PM, for 12h 24m 42s of daytime.

Whitewater’s CDA is scheduled to meet today at 5 PM.

On this day in 1989, Alaska suffers a tanker spill:

The worst oil spill in U.S. territory begins when the supertanker Exxon Valdez, owned and operated by the Exxon Corporation, runs aground on a reef in Prince William Sound in southern Alaska. An estimated 11 million gallons of oil eventually spilled into the water. Attempts to contain the massive spill were unsuccessful, and wind and currents spread the oil more than 100 miles from its source, eventually polluting more than 700 miles of coastline. Hundreds of thousands of birds and animals were adversely affected by the environmental disaster.

It was later revealed that Joseph Hazelwood, the captain of the Valdez, was drinking at the time of the accident and allowed an uncertified officer to steer the massive vessel. In March 1990, Hazelwood was convicted of misdemeanor negligence, fined $50,000, and ordered to perform 1,000 hours of community service. In July 1992, an Alaska court overturned Hazelwood’s conviction, citing a federal statute that grants freedom from prosecution to those who report an oil spill….

In Wisconsin history, it’s the birthday of a magician connected to Appleton:

Harry Houdini Born
On this date magician Harry Houdini was born in Budapest, though he later claimed to have been born on April 6, 1874, in Appleton, Wisconsin. At the age of 13 he left Appleton, where his family had emigrated, for New York City, and began his career as an escape artist and magician. [Source: History Museum at the Castle]

Daily Bread for 3.23.16

Good morning, Whitewater.

Midweek in town will be rainy with a high of thirty-six.  Sunrise is 6:50 AM and sunset 7:11 PM for 12h 21m 47s of daytime.  We’ve a full moon today.

On this day in 1839, O.K. makes its way into a major newspaper, advancing in our vernacular:

On this day in 1839, the initials “O.K.” are first published in The Boston Morning Post. Meant as an abbreviation for “oll correct,” a popular slang misspelling of “all correct” at the time, OK steadily made its way into the everyday speech of Americans.

During the late 1830s, it was a favorite practice among younger, educated circles to misspell words intentionally, then abbreviate them and use them as slang when talking to one another. Just as teenagers today have their own slang based on distortions of common words, such as “kewl” for “cool” or “DZ” for “these,” the “in crowd” of the 1830s had a whole host of slang terms they abbreviated. Popular abbreviations included “KY” for “No use” (“know yuse”), “KG” for “No go” (“Know go”), and “OW” for all right (“oll wright”).

Of all the abbreviations used during that time, OK was propelled into the limelight when it was printed in the Boston Morning Post as part of a joke. Its popularity exploded when it was picked up by contemporary politicians. When the incumbent president Martin Van Buren was up for reelection, his Democratic supporters organized a band of thugs to influence voters. This group was formally called the “O.K. Club,” which referred both to Van Buren’s nickname “Old Kinderhook” (based on his hometown of Kinderhook, New York), and to the term recently made popular in the papers….

On this day in 1865, Union soldiers from Wisconsin conclude successfully the North Carolin campaign:

1865 – Wis. Troops End Hostilities in N.C.
On this date, the 21st Wisconsin Infantry, made up mostly of soldiers from the Oshkosh area, finished fighting their way through the South during Sherman’s March to the Sea and reached Goldsboro, N.C., where the campaign in the Carolinas ended. Its veterans reunited 40 years later in Manitowoc. [Source: 21st Wisconsin Infantry homepage]