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Fact of the Day - MUSIC OF JAMICA

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Bob Marley and the Wailers, 1980

 

Did you know... that the music of Jamaica includes Jamaican folk music and many popular genres, such as mento, ska, rocksteady, reggae, dub music, dancehall, reggae fusion and related styles. Reggae is especially popular through the international fame of Bob Marley. Jamaican music's influence on music styles in other countries includes the practice of toasting, which was brought to New York City and evolved into rapping. British genres such as Lovers rock, jungle music and grime are also influenced by Jamaican music. (Wikipedia)

 

Reggae Music

BY Carolyn J. Cooper

 

Reggae, style of popular music that originated in Jamaica in the late 1960s and quickly emerged as the country’s dominant music. By the 1970s it had become an international style that was particularly popular in Britain, the United States, and Africa. It was widely perceived as a voice of the oppressed.

 

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Bob Marley, 1978

 

 

According to an early definition in The Dictionary of Jamaican English (1980), reggae is based on ska, an earlier form of Jamaican popular music, and employs a heavy four-beat rhythm driven by drums, bass guitar, electric guitar, and the “scraper,” a corrugated stick that is rubbed by a plain stick. (The drum and bass became the foundation of a new instrumental music, dub.) The dictionary further states that the chunking sound of the rhythm guitar that comes at the end of measures acts as an “accompaniment to emotional songs often expressing rejection of established ‘white-man’ culture.” Another term for this distinctive guitar-playing effect, skengay, is identified with the sound of gunshots ricocheting in the streets of Kingston’s ghettos; tellingly, skeng is defined as “gun” or “ratchet knife.” Thus reggae expressed the sounds and pressures of ghetto life. It was the music of the emergent “rude boy” (would-be gangster) culture.

 

In the mid-1960s, under the direction of producers such as Duke Reid and Coxsone Dodd, Jamaican musicians dramatically slowed the tempo of ska, whose energetic rhythms reflected the optimism that had heralded Jamaica’s independence from Britain in 1962. The musical style that resulted, rock steady, was short-lived but brought fame to such performers as The Heptones and Alton Ellis.

 

 

 

Reggae evolved from these roots and bore the weight of increasingly politicized lyrics that addressed social and economic injustice. Among those who pioneered the new reggae sound, with its faster beat driven by the bass, were Toots and the Maytals, who had their first major hit with “54-46 (That’s My Number)” (1968), and the Wailers—Bunny Wailer, Peter Tosh, and reggae’s biggest star, Bob Marley—who recorded hits at Dodd’s Studio One and later worked with producer Lee (“Scratch”) Perry. Another reggae superstar, Jimmy Cliff, gained international fame as the star of the movie The Harder They Come (1972). A major cultural force in the worldwide spread of reggae, this Jamaican-made film documented how the music became a voice for the poor and dispossessed. Its soundtrack was a celebration of the defiant human spirit that refuses to be suppressed.

 

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During this period of reggae’s development, a connection grew between the music and the Rastafarian movement, which encourages the relocation of the African diaspora to Africa, deifies the Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie I (whose precoronation name was Ras [Prince] Tafari), and endorses the sacramental use of ganja (marijuana). Rastafari (Rastafarianism) advocates equal rights and justice and draws on the mystical consciousness of kumina, an earlier Jamaican religious tradition that ritualized communication with ancestors. Besides Marley and the Wailers, groups who popularized the fusion of Rastafari and reggae were Big Youth, Black Uhuru, Burning Spear (principally Winston Rodney), and Culture. “Lovers rock,” a style of reggae that celebrated erotic love, became popular through the works of artists such as Dennis Brown, Gregory Issacs, and Britain’s Maxi Priest.

 

In the 1970s reggae, like ska before it, spread to the United Kingdom, where a mixture of Jamaican immigrants and native-born Britons forged a reggae movement that produced artists such as Aswad, Steel Pulse, UB40, and performance poet Linton Kwesi Johnson. Reggae was embraced in the United States largely through the work of Marley—both directly and indirectly (the latter as a result of Eric Clapton’s popular cover version of Marley’s “I Shot the Sheriff” in 1974). Marley’s career illustrates the way reggae was repackaged to suit a rock market whose patrons had used marijuana and were curious about the music that sanctified it. Fusion with other genres was an inevitable consequence of the music’s globalization and incorporation into the multinational entertainment industry.

 

The dancehall deejays of the 1980s and ’90s who refined the practice of “toasting” (rapping over instrumental tracks) were heirs to reggae’s politicization of music. These deejays influenced the emergence of hip-hop music in the United States and extended the market for reggae into the African American community. At the beginning of the 21st century, reggae remained one of the weapons of choice for the urban poor, whose “lyrical gun,” in the words of performer Shabba Ranks, earned them a measure of respectability.

 

 

Source: Wikipedia - Music of Jamaica  |  Britannica - Reggae Music

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Fact of the Day - CROONER

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Frank Sinatra (1947)

 

Did you know.... that crooner is an American slang term used to describe primarily male singers who performed using a smooth style made possible by better microphones which picked up quieter sounds and a wider range of frequencies, allowing the singer to utilize more dynamic range and perform in a more intimate manner. This suggestion of intimacy was supposedly wildly attractive to women, especially younger ones such as teenage girls, known at the time as "bobby soxers". The crooning style developed out of singers who performed with big bands, and reached its height in the 1940s and 1950s. Crooning is epitomized by Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra, although Sinatra once said that he did not consider himself or Crosby to be "crooners". Other performers, such as Russ Columbo, also rejected the term.  (Wikipedia)

 

Swooning for Crooners: The Appeal of Early Pop Stars
by alumnisocialmedia  |  in DePaul Professors  |  May 26, 2016

 

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Before Justin Timberlake or Frank Sinatra, a generation of male singers in the 1920s pioneered crooning on the radio. Associate Professor Allison McCracken, an expert in American popular culture, media and gender, explores the topic in her book “Real Men Don’t Sing: Crooning in American Culture.”

 

What’s the definition of a crooner?

 

"La Vie En Rose" Dean Martin

 

There have been various meanings of crooning, from its first development in the United States, derived from Scottish and Irish usage, as a term to describe a soft, low, intimate kind of singing. It became most associated with the mammy figure of 19th century minstrelsy, singing softly to her white charges or her own children. Generally, it was associated with maternal figures and mother and child relationships until the turn of the century, when it was culturally detached from mothering and minstrelsy and instead used as a term for romantic courtship behavior between men and women. With broadcasting, this intimate sound of courtship began to be communicated from one singer to millions of people, and thus the crooner was born.

 

Why were crooners so important to pop music and American culture in the 1920s and 1930s?

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Crooning singing is the beginning of pop music. Before the advent of crooners, pop was considered any type of performance that was cheaply priced, commercial and low culture. When crooning singing became immensely popular, the term “pop” narrowed to describe the particular kind of singing they did: commercial, generic, lowbrow in its mass address and appealing to women.

 

Rudy Vallée was America’s first pop idol because his stardom established the structures and behavior we associate with pop idols, including the swooning crowds and policing we associate with Sinatra, Elvis and The Beatles. The backlash against his popularity in the early 1930s set the blueprint for every pop idol to follow. His commercial success and influence had to be contained through his artistic devaluation, the ridicule of his “hysterical” female audiences and his perceived emasculation. This has been the dominant framework for evaluating male pop idols ever since, from Vallée through One Direction.

 

How did these singers’ voices and attitudes blur gender lines?
They did have many qualities perceived as feminine in the 1920s, although these were not considered effeminate at that time. For example, they dressed fashionably, were clean-cut, often wore makeup, and ironed, curled or pomaded their hair. They loved women and sang intimate love songs primarily for and directly to them.

 

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Bing Crosby

 

Vocally, most were tenors who sang using their head voices rather than chest voices. Their soft, smooth, breathy, conversational style, their sensitivity and vulnerability, and the fact that they frequently positioned themselves lyrically as passively longing for their dream girl was read as feminine-coded to varying degrees. It’s important, however, that these qualities were not yet widely perceived as emasculating in the 1920s. Crooners didn’t necessarily blur gender lines in the 1920s so much as the fact that gender lines narrowed around them in the early 1930s in a way that newly marked them as insufficiently masculine.

 

The crooners who were stigmatized were specifically white male stars. In part, this is because men of color were segregated out of star positions in national broadcasting and recording (they could not be pop stars). The emasculation of white men was seen as a major problem because they were meant to represent the nation. It was much more acceptable for men of color to sing in high pitches and to show sensitivity and strong emotion, and their sexuality as popular entertainers remained largely unimportant to white authorities.

 

Who are some famous crooners, and who are others that we might not have heard of?
Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra are the most famous crooners. Rudy Vallée was the first crooning idol, although he is less well-known today. Since then, many singers known as pop or rock or country have employed crooning styles of singing, which is basically called “pop” now, although on singing competitions, the word “crooner” comes up when young men dress in classical 1940s-50s styles (jackets) and sing love songs, so it is still used specifically in that way.

 

Barry Manilow, Michael Bublé and Harry Connick Jr. are frequently referred to as crooners in this particular style, whereas boy band members are not, although what they’re doing is crooning and they certainly are stigmatized in the way crooners were.

 

Why was female fandom important to crooning?

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One of the book’s major arguments is that both men and women initially loved crooning sounds, and, indeed, the crooning style of singing in the 1920s was popular across lines of class, race, ethnicity and gender. Vallée’s original fan letters, when he first became popular over New York stations in 1928, show that he was popular with both sexes. Men felt no discomfort in enjoying his music, particularly lower-class men who came from ethnic backgrounds (Irish, Italian and Jewish) in which young male singers were highly valued. However, women were always more publicly demonstrative in their appreciation of Vallée as he began making more public appearances. Powerful New York radio columnists continually asserted that men hated Vallée and that he was causing strife between husbands and wives. When Vallée and others began to be increasingly stigmatized as emasculated, this homewrecker narrative took root culturally as gospel. Men who liked crooners, therefore, were either culturally erased or stigmatized.

 

Although the backlash against crooners stigmatized crooning forever, female fans continued to ensure its survival because it was very profitable. Thus, crooners—pop idols—have persisted despite their cultural devaluation and those of their audiences. Without female fans, the pop idol would never have been born and would not have persisted.

 

Who are the greatest crooners of all time? This list of crooners includes many of the greatest male singers ever, in any genre, and there are some modern day, popular crooners included as well. Put simply, a crooner is a singer, typically male, who sings softly, slowly, and, often, sentimentally. Some of the best crooners of all time were masters of jazz standards. Crooning certainly emphasizes strong vocals.

 

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Picture a huge, smoky ballroom full of people swaying to the music, as crooner singers stand on the stage, serenading them with the standards – many with themes of lost love, found love and other heartfelt sentiments. Romantic? You bet. “Croon” does rhyme with “swoon,” after all.  If you’re a fan, you’ll likely find your favorite crooners listed here – but you may also find some new favorites to check out.

 

Back in the day - and by “day” this means the 1930s, '40s, and '50s, good crooners were a staple of popular music. By the mid-1960s, crooning had lost a bit of its luster. It is by no means dead, however. While many of the top crooners are no longer with us (Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Dean Martin), some still are: Tony Bennett still tours, as does Johnny Mathis. And there are plenty of new modern-era crooners available for you to discover. Harry Connick, Jr., Michael Bublé, and Michael Feinstein are all contemporary crooners, putting their own, unique spin on the classics.

 

Are these the greatest crooners ever? Click the following link to see the Best Crooners of All Time.

 

Source: Wikipedia - Crooner  |  DePaul Magazine

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Fact of the Day - PHOTOGRAPHY

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Did you know.... that photography is the art, application, and practice of creating durable images by recording light, either electronically by means of an image sensor, or chemically by means of a light-sensitive material such as photographic film. It is employed in many fields of science, manufacturing (e.g., photolithography), and business, as well as its more direct uses for art, film and video production, recreational purposes, hobby, and mass communication. (Wikipedia)

 

A Brief History of Photography and the Camera
Explore the Major Advances in the History of Photography
Written by Liz Masoner  |  Updated 01/03/19

 

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Photography has come a long way in its relatively short history. In almost 200 years, the camera developed from a plain box that took blurry photos to the high-tech mini computers found in today's DSLRs and smartphones. The story of photography is fascinating and it's possible to go into great detail. However, let's take a brief look at the highlights and major developments of this scientific art form.

 

The First Cameras

The basic concept of photography has been around since about the 5th century B.C.E. It wasn't until an Iraqi scientist developed something called the camera obscura in the 11th century that the art was born. Even then, the camera did not actually record images, it simply projected them onto another surface. The images were also upside down, though they could be traced to create accurate drawings of real objects such as buildings. The first camera obscura used a pinhole in a tent to project an image from outside the tent into the darkened area. It was not until the 17th century that the camera obscura became small enough to be portable. Basic lenses to focus the light were also introduced around this time.

 

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Principle of a box camera obscura with mirror.

 

The First Permanent Images

Photography, as we know it today, began in the late 1830s in France. Joseph Nicéphore Niépce used a portable camera obscura to expose a pewter plate coated with bitumen to light. This is the first recorded image that did not fade quickly. Niépce's success led to a number of other experiments and photography progressed very rapidly. Daguerreotypes, emulsion plates, and wet plates were developed almost simultaneously in the mid- to late-1800s. With each type of emulsion, photographers experimented with different chemicals and techniques. The following are the three that were instrumental in the development of modern photography.

 

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Niépce's iconic View from the Window atLe Gras (1826 or 1827), the earliest surviving

photograph of a real-world scene, made using

a camera obscura. Original plate (left) & colorized

reoriented enhancement (right).

 

Daguerreotype

Niépce's experiment led to a collaboration with Louis Daguerre. The result was the creation of the daguerreotype, a forerunner of modern film.

  • A copper plate was coated with silver and exposed to iodine vapor before it was exposed to light.
  • To create the image on the plate, the early daguerreotypes had to be exposed to light for up to 15 minutes.
  • The daguerreotype was very popular until it was replaced in the late 1850s by emulsion plates.

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Daguerreotype camera built by La Maison

Susse Frères in 1839, with a lens by

Charles Chevalier

 

Emulsion Plates

Emulsion plates, or wet plates, were less expensive than daguerreotypes and required only two or three seconds of exposure time. This made them much more suited to portrait photographs, which was the most common use of photography at the time. Many photographs from the Civil War were produced on wet plates. These wet plates used an emulsion process called the Collodion process, rather than a simple coating on the image plate. It was during this time that bellows were added to cameras to help with focusing. Two common types of emulsion plates were the ambrotype and the tintype. Ambrotypes used a glass plate instead of the copper plate of the daguerreotypes. Tintypes used a tin plate. While these plates were much more sensitive to light, they had to be developed quickly. Photographers needed to have chemistry on hand and many traveled in wagons that doubled as a darkroom.

 

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Photographer Uses Wet Plate Collodion for Civil War Re-enactments

 

Dry Plates

In the 1870s, photography took another huge leap forward. Richard Maddox improved on a previous invention to make dry gelatin plates that were nearly equal to wet plates in speed and quality. These dry plates could be stored rather than made as needed. This allowed photographers much more freedom in taking photographs. The process also allowed for smaller cameras that could be hand-held. As exposure times decreased, the first camera with a mechanical shutter was developed.

 

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Cameras for Everyone

Photography was only for professionals and the very rich until George Eastman started a company called Kodak in the 1880s. Eastman created a flexible roll film that did not require constantly changing the solid plates. This allowed him to develop a self-contained box camera that held 100 film exposures. The camera had a small single lens with no focusing adjustment. The consumer would take pictures and send the camera back to the factory for the film to be developed and prints made, much like modern disposable cameras. This was the first camera inexpensive enough for the average person to afford. The film was still large in comparison to today's 35mm film. It was not until the late 1940s that 35mm film became cheap enough for the majority of consumers to use.

 

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The Horrors of War
Around 1930, Henri-Cartier Bresson and other photographers began to use small 35mm cameras to capture images of life as it occurred rather than staged portraits. When World War II started in 1939, many photojournalists adopted this style. The posed portraits of World War I soldiers gave way to graphic images of war and its aftermath. Images such as Joel Rosenthal's photograph, Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima brought the reality of war home and helped galvanize the American people like never before. This style of capturing decisive moments shaped the face of photography forever.

 

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Raising the Flag

 

The Wonder of Instant Images
At the same time that 35mm cameras were becoming popular, Polaroid introduced the Model 95. Model 95 used a secret chemical process to develop film inside the camera in less than a minute. This new camera was fairly expensive but the novelty of instant images caught the public's attention. By the mid-1960s, Polaroid had many models on the market and the price had dropped so that even more people could afford it. In 2008, Polaroid stopped making their famous instant film and took their secrets with them. Many groups such as The Impossible Project and Lomography have tried to revive instant film with limited success. As of 2018, it remains difficult to replicate the quality that was found in a Polaroid.

 

 

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Advanced Image Control
While the French introduced the permanent image, the Japanese brought easier image control to the photographer. In the 1950s, Asahi (which later became Pentax) introduced the Asahiflex and Nikon introduced its Nikon F camera. These were both SLR-type cameras and the Nikon F allowed for interchangeable lenses and other accessories. For the next 30 years, SLR-style cameras remained the camera of choice. Many improvements were introduced to both the cameras and the film itself.

 

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Introducing Smart Cameras
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, compact cameras that were capable of making image control decisions on their own were introduced. These "point and shoot" cameras calculated shutter speed, aperture, and focus, leaving photographers free to concentrate on composition. The automatic cameras became immensely popular with casual photographers. Professionals and serious amateurs continued to prefer to make their own adjustments and enjoyed the image control available with SLR cameras.

 

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The Digital Age

In the 1980s and 1990s, numerous manufacturers worked on cameras that stored images electronically. The first of these were point-and-shoot cameras that used digital media instead of film. By 1991, Kodak had produced the first digital camera that was advanced enough to be used successfully by professionals. Other manufacturers quickly followed and today Canon, Nikon, Pentax, and other manufacturers offer advanced digital SLR (DSLR) cameras. Even the most basic point-and-shoot camera now takes higher quality images than Niépce’s pewter plate, and smartphones can easily pull off a high-quality printed photograph.

 

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Source: Wikipedia - Photography  |  History of Photography

Edited by DarkRavie
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Fact of the Day - HEALING CRYSTALS

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Did you know.... that crystal healing is a pseudoscientific alternative-medicine technique that uses semiprecious stones and crystals such as quartz, amethyst or opals. Adherents of the technique claim that these have healing powers - there is no scientific basis for this claim. Practitioners of crystal healing believe they can boost low energy, prevent bad energy, release blocked energy, and transform a body's aura. (Wikipedia)

 

Crystal Healing: Stone-Cold Facts About Gemstone Treatments
By Elizabeth Palermo - Staff Writer  |   June 23, 2017

 

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Crystal healing therapy involves

placing gemstones on the body to

draw out negative energy.

 

Crystal healing is an alternative medical technique in which crystals and other stones are used to cure ailments and protect against disease. Proponents of this technique believe that crystals act as conduits for healing — allowing positive, healing energy to flow into the body as negative, disease-causing energy flows out. 

 

But despite the fact that crystal healing has seen an upsurge in popularity in recent years, this alternative treatment is not popular with most medical doctors and scientists, many of whom refer to crystal healing as a pseudoscience. Scientifically speaking, there is no evidence that crystal healing can be used to cure diseases, because diseases have never been found to be the result of a so-called energy flow in the body. Furthermore, no scientific studies have shown that crystals and gems can be differentiated by chemical composition or color to treat a particular ailment. 

 

Nevertheless, healing crystals remain popular at health spas and at New Age health clinics, sometimes incorporated into related practices of massage and Reiki. The use of crystals in such environments may help induce relaxation, although this effect is also not backed by scientific evidence.  

 

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How it's supposed to work
Crystal healing proponents believe that crystals and gemstones have properties that facilitate healing. Many sites promoting crystal healing allege that the history of this practice is ancient, dating back at least 6,000 years to the time of the ancient Sumerians of Mesopotamia. Ancient Egyptians are also referenced on such sites as being among the first people to have adorned themselves with crystals — including lapis lazuli, carnelian and turquoise — to ward off illness and negative energy. 

 

But the philosophy of modern crystal healing is based on traditional concepts borrowed from Asian cultures, most notably the Chinese concept of life-energy (chi or qi) and the Hindu or Buddhist concept of chakras, which are vortices of this life-energy, said to connect the physical and supernatural elements of the body. 

 

In crystal healing, stones are assigned various properties, though healers have different ideas about which stones possess which properties. Amethyst, for example, is believed by some to be beneficial for the intestines; green aventurine helps the heart; yellow topaz provides mental clarity. Colors red through violet are associated with seven chakra points on the body.

 

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During a treatment session, a crystal healer may place various stones or crystals on your body aligned with these chakra points, roughly in the regions above the head, on the forehead, on the throat, on the chest, on the stomach, on the gut, and on the genital area. The stones used and their positioning may be chosen for the symptoms reported by the patient. This is all influenced by the healer's knowledge of, and belief in, the chakra philosophy of disease and energy imbalances — a philosophy that is largely dismissed by practitioners of Western medicine.

 

Crystal healing also involves the use of crystals and stones worn on the body or placed under pillows to ward off sickness, shed negative energy or absorb positive energy, according to Crystal Vaults, a company that sells such crystals, which it refers to as "talismans" or "amulets."

 

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How it actually works
While there are no scientific studies on the efficacy of crystal healing, there is a study that suggests that crystal healing may induce a placebo effect in a patient who receives this type of treatment. Placebo effects are effects that accompany a treatment that are not directly due to the treatment itself acting on the disease of the patient, according to Christopher French, head of the anomalistic psychology research unit at the University of London. 

 

In other words, a person may feel better after undergoing crystal healing treatment, but there is no scientific proof that this result has anything to do with the crystals being used during the treatment. In 2001, French and his colleagues at Goldsmiths College at the University of London presented a paper at the British Psychological Society Centenary Annual Conference in Glasgow, in which they outlined their study of the efficacy of crystal healing.

 

For the study, 80 participants were asked to meditate for five minutes while holding either a real quartz crystal or a fake crystal that they believed was real. Before meditating, half of the participants were primed to notice any effects that the crystals might have on them, like tingling in the body or warmth in the hand holding the crystal. 

 

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After meditating, participants answered questions about whether they felt any effects from the crystal healing session. The researchers found that the effects reported by those who held fake crystals while meditating were no different than the effects reported by those who held real crystals during the study. 

 

Many participants in both groups reported feeling a warm sensation in the hand holding the crystal or fake crystal, as well as an increased feeling of overall well being. Those who had been primed to feel these effects reported stronger effects than those who had not been primed. However, the strength of these effects did not correlate with whether the person in question was holding a real crystal or a fake one. Those who believed in the power of crystals (as measured by a questionnaire) were twice as likely as non-believers to report feeling effects from the crystal.

 

"There is no evidence that crystal healing works over and above a placebo effect," French told Live Science. "That is the appropriate standard to judge any form of treatment. But whether or not you judge crystal healing, or any other form of [complementary and alternative medicine], to be totally worthless depends upon your attitude to placebo effects."

 

As French pointed out, there are many forms of treatment that are known to have no therapeutic effect other than a placebo effect. However, while these treatments might make you feel better temporarily, there is no proof that they can actually cure diseases or treat health conditions. If you're suffering from a serious medical issue, you should seek treatment from a licensed physician, not an alternative healer, French said. 

 

Is crystal healing safe? 
Crystal healers become healers by passing a certification course, often offered over the Internet from "natural medicine" universities or clinics, many of which are not accredited by any central organization. Currently, there are no state or federal laws that regulate or standardize the practice of crystal healing or the licensing of crystal healers specifically. In some states, this type of alternative treatment may fall under the category of massage or bodywork therapy. In those states, crystal healers may be required to obtain a license in order to practice their trade. 

 

Non-profit organizations such as the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork (NCBTMB) also administer voluntary board certification exams for massage therapists and alternative healers. NCTMB endorses schools and businesses that offer certification to alternative healers, but only if they fulfill certain criteria established by the organization.

 

Some medical doctors tolerate crystal healing to a limited degree, seeing it as a therapy that can induce relaxation, which ultimately is therapeutic for stress management. Those seeking a crystal healer, however, should be careful not to forgo legitimate treatment for life-threatening disease.

 

Many parents also use Baltic amber necklaces for teething infants and toddlers, believing that the amber itself will help to take the teething pain away, similarly to the use of other gemstones to cure other ailments. According to Healthy Children, there is no scientific evidence that the amber works to subside teething pain. There are two theories that explain how the amber supposedly works: one is that a pain-relieving substance (succinic acid) is released from the amber by the heat of the baby's skin and is absorbed through the skin into the blood stream, and two, the amber stimulates the thyroid gland to increase drooling and reduce inflammation in the ears, throat, stomach and respiratory system.

 

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John Snyder, a pediatrician who wrote an article about amber necklaces on the website Science-Based Medicine, listed several claims that are made about amber necklaces and how they may help lessen pain. The only claims that Snyder said were the slightest bit plausible were that it is known that Baltic amber does contain succinic acid, that some molecules are absorbed through the skin, and that succinic acid is naturally found in the human body. The amount of succinic acid in the amber, however, exists in minuscule amounts and body heat does not release it from the amber. There is also little to no evidence that that succinic acid produces a therapeutic effect.

 

A 2016 letter to the editor published in the Journal of Pediatrics and Child Health by Alexandra Hudson, Kim Blake and Robyn McLaughlin discusses how the dangers of amber necklaces outweigh the very slim potential of benefit. The primary concerns with the necklaces are strangulation and choking, and several documented cases exist. The authors point out that both the Canadian Pediatric Society and American Academy of Pediatrics recommend against using the amber necklaces and recommend that parents are properly educated about teething and the use of amber healing.

 

 

Source: Wikipedia - Crystal Healing  |  Live Science - Crystal Healing

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Fact of the Day - LUPERCALIA

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Wolf head, 1-100 CE, bronze,

Roman, Cleveland Museum of Art

 

Did you know.... that Lupercalia was an ancient, possibly pre-Roman pastoral annual festival, observed in the city of Rome from the 13th to the 15th of February to avert evil spirits and purify the city, releasing health and fertility. Lupercalia was also called dies Februatus, after the instruments of purification called februa, which gave February (Februarius) its name. (Wikipedia)

 

Facts About Lupercalia—the Ancient Festival Full of Whippings and Ritual Sacrifice
BY AUSTIN THOMPSON  |  JANUARY 30, 2019 (UPDATED: FEBRUARY 10, 2021)

 

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Andrea Camassei

 

Sex, violence, and drunkenness: For centuries, Lupercalia was a major Roman party, surviving well into the rise of Christianity. And pretty soon, someone on your Facebook feed is probably going to claim that this holiday gave rise to our modern Valentine’s Day. So what’s the true story behind the ancient Roman festival and its relation to candy hearts?

 

1. LUPERCALIA FEATURED ODD SACRIFICES.
Every year on February 15, the festival began by going to the Lupercal (the legendary site where Romulus and Remus were suckled) and sacrificing a dog and a goat. According to scholar Keith Hopkins, this was unusual in and of itself, because pigs, sheep, and bulls were most commonly used as sacrificial animals. The Oxford Classical Dictionary explains that next, the blood of these animals "was smeared with a knife on the foreheads of two youths (who were obliged to laugh), and wiped with wool dipped in milk."

 

2. WHIPPINGS WERE ALSO ON THE LUPERCALIA MENU.

lupercalia.jpg
After the blood/wool excitement, Lupercalia's main attraction was the runners. The sacrificed goat’s skin was cut into thongs and (possibly—see below) girdles to be worn by the athletes. Then two sets of runners (a third set would be added later) would make their way through the streets of the city, whipping whomever they met on their way. According to some accounts, women would volunteer to be whipped because it was believed to bring fertility and make the birthing process easier for them. But as the years passed, things changed; by the 3rd century, the voluntary nature of this ritual seemed to be less voluntary. Hopkins claims that a mosaic featuring a Lupercalia celebration features “two men forcibly holding a naked woman face upwards, while a third man, half naked, whips her thighs ... The men’s drunken hilarity is matched by the beaten woman’s obvious pain."

 

3. PEOPLE MAY HAVE BEEN NAKED—OR MAYBE NOT.
One long-standing debate about Lupercalia is the degree of nudity. There are definite references to nudus, but that doesn’t necessarily mean naked. It could just meanhaving one’s main garment removed,” possibly in reference to the runners wearing goat skin loincloths. But other writers were explicit in mentioning nudity as part of the festivities. It remains an open question whether the festival was PG-, R-, or X-rated.

 

4. IT’S NOT QUITE CLEAR WHO OR WHAT LUPERCALIA WAS CELEBRATING.

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According to the 1st century BCE scholar Marcus Terentius Varro, "the Luperci [are so called] because at the Lupercalia they sacrifice at the Lupercal … the Lupercalia are so called because [that is when] the Luperci sacrifice at the Lupercal." This incredibly unhelpful circular definition has led to centuries of debate about who, or what, the festival was actually celebrating.

 

Ovid suggested that it was for Faunus (a Roman pastoral god); Livy said it was Inuus (the god of fertility); and Varro said it was a wolf goddess named Luperca. Traditionally, the two sets of runners are related to the mythological founders of Rome—Romulus and Remus—who were suckled by a wolf. But confusingly, Livy says that the twins were ambushed by bandits while celebrating the Lupercalia, leading some scholars to suggest the festival predates Romulus and Remus.

 

As South African scholar P.M.W. Tennant observed while discussing Romulus and Remus and the Lupercalia, “most of the ideas put forward here are obviously highly conjectural—as all theories concerning the Lupercalia are bound to be."

 

5. LUPERCALIA IS WHEN JULIUS CAESAR WAS OFFERED THE CROWN.
Today, Lupercalia is probably most famous for what happened on February 15, 44 BCE. That day a “ naked, perfumed, drunkMark Antony was one of the runners while Julius Caesar watched the proceedings from a throne. Antony went up to Julius Caesar with a diadem (a type of crown or headband) and—in what later historians have said was almost certainly scripted—attempted to give it to Caesar and proclaim him king.

 

The crowd's initial response to this action was tepid, but when Caesar refused the crown they cheered. Antony tried again, Caesar refused again, and the crowd exploded. Caesar ordered the crown taken to the Temple of Jupiter because Jupiter was Rome’s one king. The purpose of this exercise has been debated. Some propose Antony did it on his own to either flatter Caesar or embarrass him, while at the time it was thought that Caesar orchestrated the stunt as a way to test the waters for whether the people would accept a king. Either way, it didn't really work out for Caesar; he was assassinated one month later.

 

6. A POPE CRITICIZED THE LUPERCALIA FESTIVAL.
One of Lupercalia's most remarkable features is how long it survived. We know this because circa 494 CE, Pope Gelasius wrote a letter criticizing Christian participation in it. He commented on how in the olden days nobles would run as Lupercali and strike naked matrons, and modern participants should be willing to similarly run naked. By Gelasius’s time this had become heavily altered, leading him to proclaimyour own bashfulness ought itself to teach you that the Lupercalia is a public crime, not salvation and the cult of the Divinity, regarding which no wise man would blush. Rather the Lupercalia is an instrument of depravity, which your mind, bearing testimony against itself, blushes to fulfill.”

 

The letter is interesting to historians for many reasons. First, because Gelasius flat-out describes many of the less seemly rites, and it also allows historians to analyze how Lupercalia changed with time and changed with the perception of the author. For instance, Gelasius indicated that by the 5th century lower classes were the runners, whereas important figures like Mark Antony participated in earlier events.

 

7. DESPITE WHAT YOU'VE HEARD, LUPERCALIA PROBABLY HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH VALENTINE’S DAY.
Many pop culture websites and books declare that Pope Gelasius replaced Lupercalia with a festival dedicated to St. Valentine of Rome (or possibly of Terni—the figure is mysterious) who had his feast day on February 14. But as British author Mark Forsyth once observed, "It is vitally important when writing about traditions to remember that there are only 365 days in the year ... Overlap is not significance."

 

Most medieval historians agree there’s no evidence that Pope Gelasius replaced Lupercalia with any festival whatsoever (a similar claim that Candlemas replaced Lupercalia is also without merit) with scholar Jack Oruch proclaiming “at no point does Gelasius speak of compromise or of adapting any pagan customs” and another professor telling History.com: "It just drives me crazy that the Roman story keeps circulating and circulating." Meanwhile, popular legends that Lupercalia featured girls writing their names on paper that would be drawn from a box by boys are likely an 18th-century invention.

 

Most mainstream historians instead propose that Valentine’s Day and romance became associated with each other only in the late 14th century, and specifically because of a Geoffrey Chaucer poem called "Parliament of Fowls" (or "Parlement of Foules").

 

8. VALENTINE’S DAY MIGHT NOT EVEN BE ON FEBRUARY 14.

lupercalia-heart.jpg?w=620


In Chaucer’s poem, he proclaimed (in modern spelling) “For this was on Saint Valentine’s day / When every bird came there to choose his mate.” But some historians have noted that February 14 is still very cold in England and is unlikely to be a good bird mating season. In the 1980s some historians, led by Andy Kelly of UCLA, began proposing that the "Valentine" Chaucer was referring to was St. Valentine of Genoa, whose feast day occurred on May 2 or May 3 (sources differ), instead of Valentine of Rome. This is especially relevant because King Richard II and Anne of Bohemia concluded their marriage treaty on May 2, meaning Chaucer may have chosen Valentine by just picking out a random saint whose day fell on the correct day in May. Over the years, the association with May weakened and the day migrated to the more famous Valentine of Rome.

 

Other scholars objected, pointing out that there are many references to fertility rites and festivals in February—such as Lupercalia—and that Chaucer may have been discussing the more famous Valentine of Rome and February 14.

 

"In medieval studies there is neither consensus nor continuing debate on the question which St. Valentine Chaucer had in mind," Professor Steven Justice of the University of California, Berkeley, tells Mental Floss. "The evidence just hasn't supported any conclusive arguments one way or the other, and unless one is (a) convinced that the feast, whichever it is, identifies the historical occasion of the poem, if it had one, and (b) interested in that historical occasion, the question does not seem very consequential. One would like an answer just because one doesn't like unanswered questions, but it's not clear that much hangs on it."

 

One thing is clear: Today, whether you celebrate Lupercalia or St. Valentine of Rome’s day in February or St. Valentine of Genoa in May, it's best leave out the goat sacrifices and running naked through the streets.

 

This story has been updated for 2021.

 

Source: Wikipedia - Lupercalia  |  Lupercalia - Ancient Roman Festival Facts

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Fact of the Day - BUSTLE

359px-Bustle_c._1885.jpg

Bustle, lady's undergarment, England, c. 1885.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art 

 

Did you know... that A bustle is a padded undergarment used to add fullness, or support the drapery, at the back of women's dresses in the mid-to-late 19th century. Bustles were worn under the skirt in the back, just below the waist, to keep the skirt from dragging. Heavy fabric tended to pull the back of a skirt down and flatten it. As a result a woman's petticoated skirt would lose its shape during everyday wear (from merely sitting down or moving about). (Wikipedia)

 

The Rise and Fall of the Bustle

Janice Formichella  |  January 2020

 

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A lot of interest has recently been given by clothing historians to the subject of women’s underclothes through time. It is, after all, something that we can all relate to, right? Maybe not. When one looks at the bustle, crinoline, and even whalebone corsets, for instance, we are truly looking at cultural artifacts from the past that have yet to penetrate contemporary fashion (current corsets have a definite comfort factor to their design). 

 

The bustle is a part of women’s fashion history that has always spiked my curiosity. It interests me that the idea of creating a silhouette so specific, and so audaciously unlike the human form was such a priority in much of mainstream white American society. It fascinates me to consider our silhouette standards today, which are so polar opposite in the sense it promotes the idea of a less-visible female form than the bustle did. The crossover of fashion and the women’s rights movement is a topic for another post, however. 

 

I’ve done some reading on the rise and fall of the bustle this winter and today I am sharing a brief outline with you. Please let our team know if you’d like help creating a bustled look of your own

 

First of All, Why the Bustle? 

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Crinoline Cage

 

Some of our readers will be well aware of the momentary popularity of crinoline; the large, hoop-shaped stand wear worn underneath women’s dresses during the mid-1800s. Technically a type of petticoat, the crinoline was made of stiff material, often a combination of steel and horsehair. The desired look was the widest skirts the human race has ever seen with some reaching to six feet in diameter. Think Scarlett O’Hara’s gowns in the opening scenes of Gone With the Wind

 

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While popular, the crinoline was also dangerous, uncomfortable, and horribly impractical. Recent dress historians estimate that thousands of women lost their lives to various crinoline mishaps, mostly fire-related. The trend quickly moved toward a look that was less bell-shaped and circling the body to one that was flattened in the front and sides and raised in the back. 

 

The First Phase: Getting the Shape Right

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Examples of low-hanging bustles

 

Though the bustle was first patented in 1857, the popularity of crinoline prevented it from taking off until the 1860s, as the caged petticoat evolved and then disappeared to more appropriately accommodate the realities of women’s lives. The first versions were worn low, made to encourage a flowing train (see images to the right). They were typically constructed of steel and cotton and worn by tying or buckling around the front of the waist. The focus of the dress was largely on the train, ruffles on the bottom of the dress, and the bodice.

 

The Second Phase: Embellish that Bump! 

bustle_phases.jpg

Focus on the train of the dress.

 

The late 1860s saw the home sewing machine becoming commonplace and the focus shifted toward the decoration of a gown rather than its wingspan. While the emphasis remained on the back of the dress, the 1870s saw attention given to embellishments of the train, and while elaborate, many were found in the area of the skirt beneath the knees. The bustle thus ceased to be standard pieces of a woman’s wardrobe for a time. The image to the right is one example of this shift. 

 

By the 1880s the embellishments had begun to move upward once again, as designers looked for more space to adorn and get creative. The bustle came back, and it came back with a vengeance. 

 

Late-Bustle-1883-lamode-300x234.jpg

“Severely tailored figure”

 

This second phase of the bustle took place during what Victoriana calls the “severely tailored figure” of the late 19th century. The bustle was worn on top of a tightly bound corset and designed to support the weight of as many waves of cloth as could be managed and embellishments to go along with it. We’re talking pleats, ruffles, bows, and all manner of fabric explosion. The bustles of this era were what I call industrial-strength made to support the weight of the rear and it’s flounced appearance. The bodices would have come in a variety to suit the figure and style of the wearer, but almost always worn with a high neck. 

 

274px-Tournure1873.png

Industrial-strength bustle

 

The Third Phase: The Corset Reigns 
If you haven’t been convinced of the extreme nature of women’s fashion at the end of the 19th century consider this: an entire organization was formed in 1881 to spread awareness of the dangers of such clothing. Organized as the Rational Dress Society, the group’s mission was to protest “against the introduction of any fashion in dress that either deforms the figure, impedes the movements of the body, or in any way tends to injure the health.” Tight-fitting corsets and “heavily-weighted” skirts were primary targets.

 

Perhaps they were on to something. Such fashions proved unsustainable, especially with women increasingly bursting into public life as the 20th century approached. While the bustle had a good run, the 1890s found women desiring greater mobility and dresses became more tailored with each passing year. The bodice evolved at a much slower pace while the skirt deflated. Any need for shaping was left to the responsibility of the corset, which still maintains a presence in women’s Western fashion today. 

 

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1890 Fashion

 

For further learning check out our multi-part history of the Victorian skirt.

 

You can view bustle-era inspired styles by Recollections here.

 

 

Source: Wikipedia - Bustle  |  Brief Bustle History
 

Edited by DarkRavie
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Fact of the Day - NOBEL PRIZE

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Did you know.... that  the Nobel Prize is not a single prize, but five separate prizes that, according to Alfred Nobel's 1895 will, are awarded "to those who, during the preceding year, have conferred the greatest benefit to humankind”. (Wikipedia)

 

Facts you didn't know about the Nobel Prize

By Lawrence Goodman  |  Dec. 6, 2017

 

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The late, great Alfred Nobel.

 

 

A Blast from the Past

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"Nobels extradynamit" manufactured by

Nobel's old company, Nitroglycerin Aktiebolaget


The prizes were created by Alfred Nobel, a Swedish businessman whose contributions to society included inventing dynamite and manufacturing armaments. In 1888, his brother Ludvig died, but a French newspaper mistakenly ran an obit for Alfred titled, "The merchant of death is dead."
 
Apparently, this caused Alfred to suffer such a crisis of conscience, he created a series of awards to honor those who confer the "greatest benefit on mankind" in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature and peace. The Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences was added in 1968 in memory of Alfred Nobel.
 
Worth More Than Its Weight in Gold
The Nobel Prize medal is 18-carat gold, weighs about one-third of a pound and measures 2.6 inches in diameter. A few have been sold over the years, most between $500,000-$1 million. But in 2014, James Watson auctioned his off for $4.7 million, though the Russian billionaire who bought it returned it to him a little while later.

 

Youth isn't always wasted on the young

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Pakistani activist for female

education Malala Yousafzai.


When Pakistani human rights advocate Malala Yousafzai won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 at the age of 17, she became the youngest winner by a wide margin.  The second youngest winner to date is Sir William Lawrence Bragg who won the physics prize in 1915 at age 25 for work with the X-ray. The oldest winner? Economist Leonid Hurwicz, who won in 2007 at 90.

 

50 years of secrecy
Nobel nominees are expected to remain a secret leading up to each year's awards announcement and for a half-century after the fact. The Nobel Prize Committee waits until 50 years after each prize year to update information about nominees in its database.
 
Here today, gone tomorrow
The Nobel comes with $1 million in prize money. University of Chicago professor Robert Lucas seemed about to become a millionaire in 1995 when he won the prize for economics. But it turned out his wife had six years earlier put a clause in their divorce agreement saying she'd get half the Nobel award prize money should her husband win it. If the Nobel committee's announcement had come a few weeks later, the clause would have expired.
 
All in the Family

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The Curie Family.


The Curie family outdoes every other clan for most Nobels. Everyone knows about Marie, who won for physics in 1903 with her husband Pierre, and for chemistry in 1911, but there are others: Marie's daughter Irène Joliot-Curie and husband Frédéric Joliot-Curie won the physics prize in 1935; and Marie's son-in-law Henry Richardson Labouisse accepted the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of UNICEF in 1965.

 

Oops!
Danish physician Johannes Fibiger won the 1926 Nobel in Physiology or Medicine for demonstrating that the roundworm caused cancer in rats and mice. Only problem was, it doesn't. This was shown a few years later, but by that time Fibiger was dead (due to cancer). Most likely, Fibiger's specimens died because they were fed a diet without any vitamin A. The Nobel was never rescinded, but in 2010, an official with the Karolinska Institute, which awards the physiology or medicine prize, admitted it "one of the biggest blunders" the Institute ever made.
 
Snubbed

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Lise Meitner and Otto Hahn in 1912.


Austrian-Swedish physicist Lise Meitner discovered nuclear fission of uranium. But in 1945, the Nobel Prize committee awarded the prize in chemistry only to her longtime collaborator Otto Hahn. This, even though Meitner had had to flee the Nazis for Sweden and endure rampant sexism in the sciences. In 1982, the element, Meitnerium (Mt), was named in her honor.
 
The Posthumous Prize Winner
Nobel Prize rules stipulate that the award cannot be given posthumously. The only exception was made in 2011 when Canadian immunologist Ralph Steinman received the Nobel for Physiology or Medicine. The Nobel committee made its announcement on October 3, unaware that Steinman had died a few days earlier. After some deliberation, the committee decided to let Steinman keep it. According to Steinman's daughter, her father had joked about the Nobel shortly before he died. "They don't give it to you if you have passed away," he said. "I got to hold out for that."

 

 

Source: Wikipedia - Nobel Prize  |  Facts About the Nobel Prize

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Fact of the Day - MONTGOMERY BUS BOYCOTT

Rosaparks_bus.jpg

Rosa Parks riding a Montgomery bus

immediately following the decision to

desegregate buses.

 

Did you know..... that the Montgomery Bus Boycott was a political and a social protest campaign against the policy of racial segregation on the public transit system of Montgomery, Alabama. It was a seminal event in the civil rights movement in the United States. The campaign lasted from December 5, 1955—the Monday after Rosa Parks, an African-American woman, was arrested for her refusal to surrender her seat to a white person—to December 20, 1956, when the federal ruling Browder v. Gayle took effect, and led to a United States Supreme Court decision that declared the Alabama and Montgomery laws that segregated buses were unconstitutional. (Wikipedia)

 

65 Years Later: 10 Fascinating Facts About the Montgomery Bus Boycott
BY ASHLEY M. BIGGERS  |  DECEMBER 4, 2020

 

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Rosa Parks being fingerprinted on February 22, 1956,

by Deputy Sheriff D.H. Lackey as one of the people

indicted as leaders of the Montgomery bus boycott.

 

The Montgomery bus boycott is remembered as one of the earliest mass civil rights protests in American history. It's also the event that helped to make both Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. household names when, enraged with the way Black Americans were treated, they helped organize and carry out the boycott, which lasted more than a year.

 

On December 1, 1955, a segregation-weary Parks famously refused to give up her seat on the bus to a white rider, an action that led to her arrest. Her trial began just a few days later, on December 5, 1955, which marked the beginning of the 381-day boycott that led to the desegregation of public transportation in Montgomery, Alabama. On the 65th anniversary of this historic event, read on to learn more about the people behind the headlines and the unsung heroes of this revolutionary event.

 

1. ROSA PARKS WAS A LIFELONG ACTIVIST.
Rosa Parks is sometimes portrayed as someone who first stood up to power on December 1, 1955. Quite the contrary. “She was not a stranger to activism and civil rights,” Madeline Burkhardt, adult education coordinator at The Rosa Parks Museum and Library, tells Mental Floss. Parks and her husband Raymond were active in the local and state chapters of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). She had served as secretary of both branches, during which time she investigated sexual assault cases.

 

She was an assertive Black woman against racism, though in a quiet way,” Dr. Dorothy Autrey, retired chair of the history department at Alabama State University, tells Mental Floss. “It’s a myth that she was physically tired that day [she was arrested on the bus], but she was tired of seeing racism against her people.”

 

After the Montgomery bus boycott, Parks participated in the 1963 March on Washington and went on to serve on the board of Planned Parenthood. She received the Congressional Gold Medal in 1999.

 

2. ROSA PARKS WAS ARRESTED TWICE.
Parks was initially arrested on December 1, 1955, for violating bus segregation laws. However, this wasn’t her most photographed arrest. Her famous mugshot and those pictures of her being fingerprinted (including the one seen above) are from during her second arrest, in February 1956.

 

Local police issued warrants for the arrest of Parks along with 88 other boycott leaders for organizing to cause the bus company financial harm. The protests had a mighty financial impact; according to Burkhardt, the protest led to losses of approximately $3000 a day, which would be the equivalent of $28,000 a day in 2020. The organizers dressed in their Sunday best, took a photo in front of Martin Luther King Jr.’s Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, then turned themselves in.

 

3. ROSA PARKS WASN’T THE FIRST—OR ONLY—PERSON ARRESTED FOR DISRUPTING BUS SEGREGATION.

312px-Claudette_Colvin.jpg

On March 2, 1955, 15-year-old

Claudette Colvin was arrested for

refusing to surrender her seat on the

bus to a white woman in Montgomery,

Alabama.

 

Nine months before Parks made headlines, a 15-year-old named Claudette Colvin was arrested when she refused to give up her seat on the bus to a white woman. Civil rights organizers didn’t initially hold Colvin up as a movement figurehead because the unmarried teen became pregnant shortly after her arrest. However, leaders later revisited her case, and she became one of five plaintiffs in Browder v. Gayle, the federal court case that ultimately overturned segregation laws on Montgomery buses and ended the boycott on December 20, 1956. Parks wasn’t one of the plaintiffs, but several other local women were, including Aurelia S. Browder, Susie McDonald, Mary Louise Smith, and Jeanatta Reese (though Reese later withdrew).

 

4. ROSA PARKS HAD A PREVIOUS RUN-IN WITH BUS DRIVER JAMES F. BLAKE.
In 1943, Parks got onto a bus James F. Blake was driving and paid her fare at the front. As she began walking down the aisle of the bus to make her way to the Black seating section at the back (instead of exiting the bus and re-entering through another door as was required), the driver forced her off the bus and pulled away before she could re-board. Blake was driving the bus Parks boarded on December 1, when she refused to give up her seat.

 

5. ALTHOUGH MINISTERS ARE OFTEN CELEBRATED AS THE BOYCOTT’S ORGANIZERS, WOMEN WERE BEHIND THE INITIAL PROTEST.

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Indoors at the National Civil Rights

Museum stands a recreation of the

bright yellow Montgomery city bus

where Rosa Parks defied the city's

segregated bus transport policy.

 

When Alabama State College professor Jo Ann Robinson caught wind of Parks’ arrest, she and the Women’s Political Council (WPC) jumped into action. A bus driver had verbally assaulted Robinson shortly after she moved to Montgomery to teach, so when she became president of the WPC, a local Black women’s professional organization that fostered civic engagement, she made bus desegregation a priority.

 

They hand-cranked 52,000 mimeographed political flyers in one night to advertise the planned boycott. Robinson initially asked citizens to protest for one day, Dr. Autrey says. “They weren’t sure where the boycott would lead. They had no idea it would last over a year.” However, local ministers and the Montgomery Improvement Association, the organization that formed to oversee the protests, took up the mantle and helped the boycott last.

 

6. THE TURNOUT IN MONTGOMERY WAS MASSIVE.
More than 45,000 people, representing 90 percent of the Black community in Montgomery at the time, participated in the boycott. “Even with social media today, I don’t think we would ever have the level of organization they were able to get from flyers and church sermons,” Burkhardt says.

 

7. INITIALLY, THE PROTESTORS WEREN'T LOOKING FOR MONTGOMERY TO DESEGREGATE ITS PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM.
The boycott organizers' demands didn’t require changing segregation laws—at first. Initially, the group was demanding seemingly simple courtesies, such as hiring Black drivers and having the buses stop on every corner in Black neighborhoods (just as they did in white neighborhoods). They also asked that white passengers fill the bus from the front and Black passengers from the back, so that Black passengers weren’t forced into standing-room only sections while white sections remained sparsely seated. Those goals gradually changed as the boycott continued and Browder v. Gayle moved through the federal and supreme courts.

 

8. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. WAS ONLY 26 WHEN HE JOINED THE MOVEMENT.

dr-martin-luther-king-jr_562_325_c.jpg

 

King was a relative newcomer when he was elected president of the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA), an organization founded on the same Christian principles of nonviolence that guided King throughout his career. His principles were put to an early test when an unknown white supremacist bombed his home on January 30, 1956. (Fortunately, no one was harmed.) King was chosen because he was largely unknown, unlike E.D. Nixon, the local NAACP leader, who was instrumental in organizing the community, but who also had a long history of confrontations with local politicians.

 

9. CARPOOLS AND UNDERGROUND FOOD SALES HELPED FUND THE BOYCOTT.
To help people avoid taking buses, Montgomery churches organized carpools. They purchased several station wagons to help with the operation, dubbing them “rolling churches.” However, local insurance companies wouldn’t provide coverage as they didn't want to support the protests, even indirectly. Instead, King found insurance through Lloyd’s of London, which, ironically, had once insured ships that carried enslaved people during 18th- and 19th-century ocean crossings.

 

Funding to buy these vehicles, insurance, and gas came from across the community, including from Georgia Gilmore, a cook who organized an informal diner called the Club from Nowhere to feed boycotters and raise money.

 

10. WORKING-CLASS BLACK WOMEN WERE INSTRUMENTAL IN THE BOYCOTT’S SUCCESS.
At the time of the boycott, Rosa Parks worked as a seamstress at the Montgomery Fair department store, and she was hardly the only working-class woman who made the boycott a success. “Were it not for maids, cooks, and nannies, the boycott would not have succeeded,” Dr. Autrey says. “They were the primary riders, and they also received the brunt of the hostile treatment. These women were fed up and were primed to take a role in the boycott.”

 

Many women walked miles to work instead of riding the bus or even carpooling. When a reporter asked one such woman, Mother Pollard, if she was tired, she responded, “My feet is tired, but my soul is rested.”

 

Though the Montgomery bus boycott ended more than 60 years ago, the effects of the movement are still felt—and honored—today. Beginning this month, a new initiative—spearheaded by Steven L. Reed, Montgomery’s first Black mayor—the city will be reserving one seat on every Montgomery bus in Rosa Parks’ honor.

 

Source: Wikipedia - Montgomery Bus Boycott  |  Montgomery Bus Boycott Facts
 

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Fact of the Day - ELECTRICAL TELEGRAPH

320px-Soemmerring_1810_telegraph_overvie

Sömmering's electric telegraph in 1809

 

Did you know... that an electrical telegraph is a point-to-point text messaging system, primarily used from the 1840s until the mid 20th century when it was slowly replaced by other telecommunication systems. It used coded pulses of electric current through dedicated wires to transmit information over long distances. It was the first electrical telecommunications system, the most widely used of a number of early messaging systems called telegraphs, devised to send text messages more rapidly than written messages could be sent. This system allowed for communication to occur without the necessity of physical transportation. Prior to the electric telegraph, semaphore systems were used, including beacons, smoke signals, flag semaphore, and optical telegraphs for visual signals to communicate over distances of land. (Wikipedia)

 

Morse Code & the Telegraph
HISTORY.COM EDITORS  |  UPDATED:JUN 6, 2019  |  ORIGINAL:NOV 9, 2009

 

300px-0545_Telegraph_keys.jpg

 

Developed in the 1830s and 1840s by Samuel Morse (1791-1872) and other inventors, the telegraph revolutionized long-distance communication. It worked by transmitting electrical signals over a wire laid between stations. In addition to helping invent the telegraph, Samuel Morse developed a code (bearing his name) that assigned a set of dots and dashes to each letter of the English alphabet and allowed for the simple transmission of complex messages across telegraph lines. In 1844, Morse sent his first telegraph message, from Washington, D.C., to Baltimore, Maryland; by 1866, a telegraph line had been laid across the Atlantic Ocean from the U.S. to Europe. Although the telegraph had fallen out of widespread use by the start of the 21st century, replaced by the telephone, fax machine and Internet, it laid the groundwork for the communications revolution that led to those later innovations.

 

Early Forms of Long-Distance Communication

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Before the development of the electric telegraph in the 19th century revolutionized how information was transmitted across long distances, ancient civilizations such as those in China, Egypt and Greece used drumbeats or smoke signals to exchange information between far-flung points. However, such methods were limited by the weather and the need for an uninterrupted line of sight between receptor points. These limitations also lessened the effectiveness of the semaphore, a modern precursor to the electric telegraph. Developed in the early 1790s, the semaphore consisted of a series of hilltop stations that each had large movable arms to signal letters and numbers and two telescopes with which to see the other stations. Like ancient smoke signals, the semaphore was susceptible to weather and other factors that hindered visibility. A different method of transmitting information was needed to make regular and reliable long-distance communication workable.

 

Did you know? SOS, the internationally recognized distress signal, does not stand for any particular words. Instead, the letters were chosen because they are easy to transmit in Morse code: "S" is three dots, and "O" is three dashes.

 

The Electric Telegraph

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In the early 19th century, two developments in the field of electricity opened the door to the production of the electric telegraph. First, in 1800, the Italian physicist Alessandro Volta (1745-1827) invented the battery, which reliably stored an electric current and allowed the current to be used in a controlled environment. Second, in 1820, the Danish physicist Hans Christian Oersted (1777-1851) demonstrated the connection between electricity and magnetism by deflecting a magnetic needle with an electric current. While scientists and inventors across the world began experimenting with batteries and the principles of electromagnetism to develop some kind of communication system, the credit for inventing the telegraph generally falls to two sets of researchers: Sir William Cooke (1806-79) and Sir Charles Wheatstone (1802-75) in England, and Samuel Morse, Leonard Gale (1800-83) and Alfred Vail (1807-59) in the U.S.

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Cooke and Wheatstone's five-needle telegraph from 1837

 

In the 1830s, the British team of Cooke and Wheatstone developed a telegraph system with five magnetic needles that could be pointed around a panel of letters and numbers by using an electric current. Their system was soon being used for railroad signaling in Britain. During this time period, the Massachusetts-born, Yale-educated Morse (who began his career as a painter), worked to develop an electric telegraph of his own. He reportedly had become intrigued with the idea after hearing a conversation about electromagnetism while sailing from Europe to America in the early 1830s, and later learned more about the topic from American physicist Joseph Henry (1797-1878). In collaboration with Gale and Vail, Morse eventually produced a single-circuit telegraph that worked by pushing the operator key down to complete the electric circuit of the battery. This action sent the electric signal across a wire to a receiver at the other end. All the system needed was a key, a battery, wire and a line of poles between stations for the wire and a receiver.

 

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Morse key to transmit morse code.

(This key was used by Gotthard railway)

 

Morse Code

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Chart of the Morse code 26 letters and 10 numerals.


To transmit messages across telegraph wires, in the 1830s Morse and Vail created what came to be known as Morse code. The code assigned letters in the alphabet and numbers a set of dots (short marks) and dashes (long marks) based on the frequency of use; letters used often (such as “E”) got a simple code, while those used infrequently (such as “Q”) got a longer and more complex code. Initially, the code, when transmitted over the telegraph system, was rendered as marks on a piece of paper that the telegraph operator would then translate back into English. Rather quickly, however, it became apparent that the operators were able to hear and understand the code just by listening to the clicking of the receiver, so the paper was replaced by a receiver that created more pronounced beeping sounds.

 

Rise and Decline of the Telegraph System
In 1843, Morse and Vail received funding from the U.S. Congress to set up and test their telegraph system between Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, Maryland. On May 24, 1844, Morse sent Vail the historic first message: “What hath God wrought!” The telegraph system subsequently spread across America and the world, aided by further innovations. Among these improvements was the invention of good insulation for telegraph wires. The man behind this innovation was Ezra Cornell (1807-74), one of the founders of the university in New York that bears his name. Another improvement, by the famed inventor Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931) in 1874, was the Quadruplex system, which allowed for four messages to be transmitted simultaneously using the same wire.

 

Use of the telegraph was quickly accepted by people eager for a faster and easier way of sending and receiving information. However, widespread and successful use of the device required a unified system of telegraph stations among which information could be transmitted. The Western Union Telegraphy Company, founded in part by Cornell, was at first only one of many such companies that developed around the new medium during the 1850s. By 1861, however, Western Union had laid the first transcontinental telegraph line, making it the first nationwide telegraph company. Telegraph systems spread across the world, as well. Extensive systems appeared across Europe by the later part of the 19th century, and by 1866 the first permanent telegraph cable had been successfully laid across the Atlantic Ocean; there were 40 such telegraph lines across the Atlantic by 1940.

 

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Map of the 1858 trans-Atlantic cable route

 

The electric telegraph transformed how wars were fought and won and how journalists and newspapers conducted business. Rather than taking weeks to be delivered by horse-and-carriage mail carts, pieces of news could be exchanged between telegraph stations almost instantly. The telegraph also had a profound economic effect, allowing money to be “wired” across great distances.

 

Even by the end of the 19th century, however, new technologies began to emerge, many of them based on the same principles first developed for the telegraph system. In time, these new technologies would overshadow the telegraph, which would fall out of regular widespread usage. Although the telegraph has since been replaced by the even more convenient telephone, fax machine and Internet, its invention stands as a turning point in world history.

 

Samuel Morse died in New York City at the age of 80 on April 2, 1872.

 

This Day In History: 01/06/1838 - Morse Demonstrates Telegraph

 

 

Source: Wikipedia - Electrical Telegraph  |  Morse Code & the Telegraph

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Fact of the Day - BARRED OWL

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Barred Owl (Strix varia) – Whitby, Ontario (Canada)

 

Did you know.... that The barred owl, also known as the northern barred owl, striped owl or, more informally, hoot owl, is a North American large species of owl. A member of the true owl family, Strigidae, they belong to the genus Strix, which is also the origin of the family's name under Linnaean taxonomy. (Wikipedia)

 

Facts About the Barred Owl

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A Barred Owl shakes snow off its feathers.

 

A large owl of the eastern, central, and, increasingly, northwestern United States, the Barred Owl is one of our more common owl species. As with most owls, the Barred is primarily nocturnal, but it is known to call and hunt during the day. Easily identified by its heavily streaked chest, round, tuftless head, and big, black eyes, the Barred Owl can be found in forested areas throughout its range year-round, including in more urban environments. Read on to learn more about this bird, and when you're done, check out these other fun facts about owls

 

1.) If you're out in the woods and hear someone calling who cooks for you, who cooks for you all?, you're actually hearing the distinctive call of the Barred Owl. If you hear what sounds like maniacal laughing afterward, that's usually two Barred Owls performing a courtship duet. Usually.

 

Barred Owl Call

 

2.) Barred Owls prefer nesting in tree hollows, but they will also use nests abandoned by other animals, from squirrels to Red-tailed Hawks, and nest boxes located in forest habitat. 

 

Red-tailed Hawk Call

 

3.) These hefty owls can become incredibly territorial once they establish a nest—and especially when they begin rearing chicks. Barred Owls are known to chase away intruders by aggressively hooting or attacking and striking with their talons. (There's even a theory that a Barred Owl was the culprit in a famous murder case.

 

4.) Barred Owls prefer mature forests that have both an abundance of prey and trees with cavities. Barred Owls hunt from a perch, where they sit and wait, scanning and listening for prey, and then silently swoop down when they pinpoint their meal.

 

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Barred Owl eating a crayfish.

 

5.) Barred Owls mostly eat small mammals like mice and voles, but sometimes they go fishing for crayfish and crabs. If a Barred Owl eats enough crayfish, the feathers under its wings can turn pink—just like a flamingo, which gets its hue from the high volume of shrimp in its diet.

 

6.) Barred Owls are largely sedentary, but in the past century, they have gradually expanded their range. The expansion began west across Canada and then south into the states of the Pacific Northwest, reaching California by the 1980s. This poses a problem for the bird's smaller cousin, the Spotted Owl, which is endangered and also relies on old-growth forests. Barred Owls force Spotted Owls from their territories and can also hybridize with them. 

 

Spotted Owl Call

 

7.) Barred Owls mate for life, and they usually have a single clutch of two or three white eggs each year. During the incubation period, which lasts somewhere between 28 and 33 days, the female sits on the eggs while the male hunts for food. 

 

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A Barred Owl feeds its chick in a tree hollow.

 

8.) After they hatch, young Barred Owls can stick around the nest for up to six months, which is unusual for owls. During this time, the young owls rarely stray far from each other and are often seen sitting side by side.

 

9.) Hatching order often determines chick size: The oldest of a Barred Owl clutch tends to be the largest, with the other chicks being progressively smaller. Adult owls can grow to an impressive 20 inches tall—big enough to terrify an unsuspecting person wandering in the woods. 

 

10.) Chicks leave the nest at four to six weeks old, but they don't go far: Once they leave the nest, these talented climbers clamber about their nest trees (or a nearby tree if they fall to ground), using their bill and talons to grab hold while flapping their wings to keep balance. At 10 to 12 weeks, they begin flying.  

 

Bonus Fact! Historians believe that Harriet Tubman, an avid naturalist, used the Barred Owl’s call as a signal for people seeking to use the Underground Railroad. Depending on the call she used, freedom-seekers would know whether it was okay to come out of hiding.

 

Bonus Fact 2! Many different hoots of the Barred Owl

 

 

Source: Wikipedia - Barred Owl  |  Barred Owl Facts

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Fact of the Day - OLD WIVES' TALE

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Did you know.... that an old wives' tale is a supposed truth which is actually spurious or a superstition. It can be said sometimes to be a type of urban legend, said to be passed down by older women to a younger generation. Such tales are considered superstition, folklore or unverified claims with exaggerated and/or inaccurate details. (Wikipedia)

 

Old Wives Tales That Are Totally Fake

BY LIZZ SCHUMER  |  February 2020

 

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Depending on when you grew up, where you're from, and the kind of tales spun by your parents and the other kids on the playground, you probably know a few old wives' tales. Those stories that we learn when we're too young to really question them and just accept as facts come from a wide array of sources. Some stem from little-understood or outdated science, others from folklore that's passed on like an inter-generational game of telephone. Many old wives' tales, like admonishing kids to spit out their gum instead of swallowing it so it didn't stay in their stomachs, were at least originally intended to keep kids safe from harm. And let's face it, a lot of us still believe these tall tales well into adulthood, even if we can't quite explain their scientific basis. Well, we're here to help you with that.

 

We've dug into a few of the most pervasive old wives tales and figured out which are real, which are bogus, and where the heck they came from in the first place. So go ahead, swallow your gum, pluck out your gray hairs, and hit the pool after lunch with wild abandon. Those – and many others – are perfectly harmless.

 

Swimming After Eating Will Give You Debilitating Cramps

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No, you won't drown if you don't wait at least 30 minutes before jumping in the pool. The doctors at Duke Health say the science behind this tall tale is all wet. While the body does send extra blood to aid in digestion, it's not enough to keep your arm and leg muscles from functioning. You might get a small cramp, but nothing fatal. Pour one out for all those lost swimming minutes.

 

Chewing Gum Stays in Your Stomach for Seven Years

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While it's true that the human body can't digest chewing gum, it doesn't really get stuck in your body. The Mayo Clinic reassures us that it passes through your system more or less intact and comes out the other end. That still doesn't mean you should swallow it, but accidentally doing so now and then won't hurt.

 

Human Urine Heals Jellyfish Stings

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If you or one of your loved ones gets stung by a jellyfish, don't use this mythical healing technique. Peeing on a jellyfish sting won't make it feel better. Instead, The Mayo Clinic recommends removing the stinger with fine-tipped tweezers and soaking the affected area in hot water, or taking a hot shower, for 20–45 minutes.

 

Coffee Stunts Your Growth

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Not only does coffee not stunt your growth, most people start drinking it after they're finished growing since its bitter taste doesn't usually appeal to kids. Harvard Medical School explains that the misconception comes from the idea that coffee causes osteoporosis. We now know there's no link between the two.

 

Plucking Gray Hairs Will Make Two More Grow In

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Each hair follicle only contains one hair, so plucking them will not cause more to grow, explains UAMS Health's Shaskank S. Kraleti, M.D. If you just can't stand the sight of gray hairs, trim them close to the scalp instead of plucking, to avoid possibly damaging the follicle. That could lead to infection, scarring, or even bald patches.

 

Sitting too Close to the TV Ruins Your Eyes

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This one will come as a relief to anyone who spends all day staring at a screen: Sitting too close to the TV will not hurt your eyesight. The American Academy of Ophthalmology explains that it could cause temporary eyestrain, which occurs when your eyes get tired from overuse. So don't forget to rest your peepers every once in awhile, fellow desk jockeys.

 

Cats Suck Babies' Breath

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Relax, feline fans: Your cat will not suck your baby's breath from their body. According to an investigation by LiveScience, this idea may come from a 300-year-old case in which a child was supposedly strangled to death by a cat. Today, we know the baby more likely passed from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. While you should always monitor pets around babies, your cat likely doesn't bear yours any ill will.

 

Shaving Makes Hair Grow Back Thicker

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Just like plucking, shaving has no impact on the thickness of your hair, The Mayo Clinic reassures us. Because shaving cuts the hair off at a blunt angle, it can feel thicker and look more noticeable as it grows back in.

 

Hair of the Dog Cures a Hangover

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There's nothing wrong with a good brunch Bloody Mary, but don't fool yourself: That morning-after drink just delays the inevitable. The idea that "hair of the dog" cures a hangover first appeared in print in 1546, according to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. But it's never been true. The only cure for a hangover is waiting it out.

 

Cracking Knuckles Can Cause Arthritis

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Your parents may have told you cracking your knuckles will lead to arthritis, but they were probably just sick of the noise. According to Cedars Sinai orthopedic surgeon Robert Klapper, M.D., that cracking sound is just nitrogen bubbles in the fluid that lubricates your joints. If, however, you feel pain or discomfort while cracking, that may be a sign of an issue.

 

Eating Carrots Will Give You Better Eyesight

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While carrots do contain beta-carotene, a vitamin that helps maintain normal vision, eating more of them won't help fix poor eyesight, explains Berkeley Health. This myth actually dates back to the British Royal Air Force during World War II. Pilots used radar to shoot down enemy planes for the first time but spread a rumor that eating more carrots gave them better eyesight to fool the Allied forces. Evidently, their plot worked a little too well.

 

Being Cold Will Give You One

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The bottom line is, you only get sick when exposed to a virus or bacteria. But research shows being cold can have an adverse effect on your immune system. We also spend more time indoors and around other people when the mercury drops, which leads to passing disease around like a hot dish at a potluck.

 

The Five Second Rule

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f you've ever exclaimed, "Five second rule!" while picking up a dropped piece of candy and popping it into your mouth, we have bad news. Scientists from Rutgers University found that bacteria transfers to food starting immediately. How much depends on the type of flooring and food involved, but it's best not to eat anything that hit the ground at all.

 

We Eat Eight Spiders a Year in Our Sleep

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The arachnophobe might sleep a little better tonight knowing this old wives tale isn't true. The National Sleep Foundation says there's no hard data to support it, but that spiders wouldn't be inclined to crawl into a predator's mouth. We also move around enough in our sleep to scare them off, so don't worry about accidentally swallowing the creepy crawlies.

 

Source: Wikipedia - Old Wives' Tale  |  Old Wives' Tales - Real or Fake

Edited by DarkRavie

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Fact of the Day - MOVIE TRIVIA

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Did you know... that these movie facts will surely impress all the film aficionados and classic movie fans at a trivia night. From misplaced props to odd pay gaps and on-set injuries, you will definitely find some amusing surprises on this list. See how many you already know and make sure to brush up on these other trivia questions only geniuses get right.

 

The code in The Matrix comes from sushi recipes

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Those green symbols trailing down in The Matrix aren’t complicated algorithms. A production designer scanned symbols from his wife’s sushi cookbooks, then manipulated them to create the iconic “code.”

 

Director James Cameron drew the sketch in Titanic

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Unlike Jack’s French girls, Kate Winslet wore a bathing suit while Cameron sketched the picture. For more movie trivia, learn the hilarious working titles of Titanic and other famous movies.

 

One famous Pulp Fiction scene was filmed backward

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When Uma Thurman’s character is having an overdose, it looks like John Travolta sticks a needle in her to revive her. Actually, Travolta pulled the needle out, and the film was run backward to reverse the action.

 

The cat in The Godfather was a stray

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Director Francis Ford Coppola found the cat in the studio and handed it to Marlon Brando before the shot. This next movie trivia fact is so cute—the cat loved the actor so much that it stayed in his lap and purred so loudly that the crew was afraid the noise would drown out the dialogue. Trivia lovers–test your knowledge with these Jeopardy questions you can’t refuse.

 

Sean Connery wore a toupee in every James Bond movie

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If you think the dreamy 007 seemed too good to be true, you’re right. Sean Connery started balding at age 17. Make sure you put these 12 greatest spy movies of all time on your streaming list for more ammo for your next movie trivia night.

 

There’s a Starbucks cup in every Fight Club scene

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Director David Fincher thought the Starbucks shops popping up on every block of LA in the late ‘90s was “too much of a good thing,” so he poked fun of the coffee chain in Fight Club. He’s claimed to have sneaked a Starbucks cup into every shot, with the permission of the chain—with one exception. Starbucks didn’t want its shop destroyed on film, so that scene uses the made-up Gratifico Coffee instead. Find out what the most popular movie was the year you were born.

 

Some of the velociraptor noises in Jurassic Park are actually tortoises mating

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At least that’s what the sound designer used when the raptors were communicating. Other scenes of the species used horse breathing and goose hisses. Find out what scientists say T-Rexes actually sounded like. (Hint: It’s not turtle sex—or a roar.)

 

E.T. and Poltergeist started from the same script

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Steven Spielberg was going to produce filmmaker’s John SaylesNight Skies script about a rural family invaded by aliens that could kill with a touch of the finger but decided to go a more family-friendly route with the story by creating E.T. The Extra Terrestrial. Sayles wouldn’t rewrite the script, but Spielberg kept the idea for Poltergeist.

 

Michael Myers’ mask in Halloween is William Shatner’s face

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Or specifically, his Star Trek character, Captain Kirk. There wasn’t money in the 1978 horror film’s budget to create a custom mask, so the art director bought a clown and a Captain Kirk mask. The crew spray-painted it white and adjusted the eyes and hair to create the terrifying mask.

 

Toy Story’s Woody was originally a ventriloquist dummy

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Even in later versions, he was written as a “sarcastic bully” trying to rally the other toys against Buzz. Luckily, the studio decided to transform him into a more lovable character. See if you can answer these 13 cartoon trivia questions about your favorite animated classics.

 

O.J. Simpson was considered for the lead in The Terminator

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Director James Cameron rejected the choice because he didn’t think the “this likable, goofy, kind of innocent guy” could pull off a cyborg assassin.

 

The voice actress of Monster Inc.’s Boo was an actual toddler

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At two and a half, Mary Gibbs had trouble sitting still through the scenes, so the crew would follow her around with a microphone. They’d tickle her or take candy away to make her laugh or cry, so the emotions are as real as they sound.

 

R2-D2 and C-3PO appear in Indiana Jones

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Look closely at the scenery in Raiders of the Lost Ark and you’ll notice hieroglyphics with the robots’ likeness in two scenes. Put your movie trivia knowledge to the test with these Disney movie trivia questions.

 

Click the link below ⬇️ to read more about movie trivia.

 

 

Source: Movie Trivia Facts

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Fact of the Day - BAYEUX TAPESTRY

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A scene from the Bayeux Tapestry depicting

Odo, Bishop of Bayeux, rallying Duke William's

troops during the Battle of Hastings in 1066.

 

Did you know.... that the Bayeux Tapestry is an embroidered cloth nearly 70 metres (230 ft) long and 50 centimetres (20 in) tall[1] that depicts the events leading up to the Norman conquest of England concerning William, Duke of Normandy, and Harold, Earl of Wessex, later King of England, and culminating in the Battle of Hastings. It is thought to date to the 11th century, within a few years after the battle. It tells the story from the point of view of the conquering Normans but is now agreed to have been made in England. (Wikipedia)

 

Facts About The Bayeux Tapestry
LAST UPDATED: JANUARY 11, 2021  |  BY ALISON BROWNE

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So What’s The Story Of The Norman Conquest Of England?
In brief, this is the story depicted in the Bayeux Tapestry, listed on the UNESCO Memory of the World Register.

 

Hold on to your hats, because like every good story there is a voyage or two and a betrayal of trust. Oh… and add in an invasion. King Edward of England knew he was going to die soon and as he had no heir, he asked his brother-in-law Harold Godwinson to go to France and deliver the news to William, Duke of Normandy that he was to become the King of England upon his death.

 

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Harold did as he was told. He had a few adventures along the way but when he met William, Duke of Normandy he delivered the message. He even made an oath (possibly in the Bayeux Cathedral) committing to accepting William as King Edward’s successor. King Edward dies soon after Harold’s return to England, and Harold fashions a coronation making himself King of England. Ouf. Quel betrayal. When William hears of this, he gets ready to head over to England and take what is rightfully his. I just have to say that the scenes in the Bayeux Tapestry when the French are preparing for battle are fascinating. Believe you me, there are many kegs of French wine being transported on those ships. The Battle of Hastings takes place on the 14th of October 1066. William, Duke of Normandy (who was once known as William the Bastard) wins the battle and becomes the King of England.

 

1. The Age Of The Bayeux Tapestry
One of the most astonishing facts about the Bayeux Tapestry is its age. The Tapestry has survived over 950 years. For nine and half centuries it has been in existence. It survived the French Revolution and two World Wars. The tapestry of Bayeux is beyond ancient and still enthralls visitors from all over the world. About half a million people visit the Bayeux Tapestry museum each year.

 

2. The Tapestry Of The Battle Of Hastings
The Bayeux Tapestry really is misnamed because it is not at all about Bayeux nor is it a tapestry (spoiler for #3). Although named the Bayeux Tapestry, the tapestry recounts the Norman Conquest of England by William the Conqueror (Guillaume le Conquérant) in 1066. Possibly it should have been named the Battle of Hastings Tapestry or the Tapestry of the Battle of Hastings. Never mind. At least it has always had its home in Bayeux, France, except for a few brief periods in history such as during WWII when this famed Battle of Hastings Tapestry was stored in Sourches and then sent to the Louvre.

 

3. The Bayeux Tapestry Isn’t A Tapestry At All

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The Bayeux Tapestry, despite its name, is indeed a work of embroidery of woolen yarn. Embroidered on linen, there are four embroidery stitches used to create the Tapestry of the Battle of Hastings. Most surprising when seeing the Tapestry of the Battle of Hastings is the vibrancy of the four muted colours used. Red, yellow (which appears like golden wheat), sage green and blue are the only colours used. The skill and variety of the embroiderers’ stitching create impressive depth perception.

 

 

 

4. This Tapestry Is Longer Than Two Blue Whales
The Battle Of Hastings Tapestry is 68.38 metres (224.34 feet) in length. It is long and skinny. Longer than you can imagine. Enter the darkened room to view the tapestry and sitting behind the protective glass, it stretches along one wall and curves around into the next room! There are 58 scenes depicting Harold’s arrival in France, the betrayal, preparation for the battle and the Battle of Hastings. With the audio guide, it is easy to follow the story. Running above and below the main frame of the story are two decorative borders that portray animals such as dogs, lions and birds and fanciful animals as well. In the battle scenes, dead soldiers and horses are depicted in the lower border. There is a lot to look for when visiting the Bayeux Tapestry!

 

FYI: The maximum confirmed length of a blue whale is 29.9 metres (98 feet).

 

5. There Are Indeed Women In The Tapestry

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We know that 950 years ago men were everything. So it is not surprising that the majority of characters in this Battle of Hastings Tapestry are men. There are though, six women that appear in the historic account. There are three women veiled in the main section of the tapestry. There are also three naked women that appear in the borders. The naked women appear just before the battle begins in the main part of the tapestry.

 

6. Halley’s Comet Appears In The Bayeux Tapestry

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Halley’s comet appears in the Tapestry of Bayeux in all its glory with a fiery tail! Worried onlookers point to the sky and this strange phenomenon.

 

7. The Bayeux Tapestry And Its Text

The text that appears on the Tapestry of Bayeux is Latin and offers insight into some of the scenes. Not a Latin expert? No worries. The story is easy to follow without deciphering the Latin phrases. Towards the end of the battle the words “Here the English and the French fell together in combat” make me wish I was able to decipher more Latin.

 

8. Mont-Saint Michel Makes An Appearance
William, Duke of Normandy invited Harold Godwinson (who arrived from England to deliver King Edward’s message) to stay in Normandy. At one point they leave for a military expedition in Brittany. Lo and behold there is Mont-Saint Michel (which although technically is part of Normandy is right by the border of Brittany) the beautiful abbey church perched on the rock.

 

Read More: Mont-Saint Michel is a vision rising from the sea.

 

9. Who Created This Tapestry?

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There have been many theories over the years as to whose idea it was to retell this historical event in embroidery. And, who embroidered this Tapestry of Bayeux and where was it made? At one point it was believed that Queen Matilda, William the Conqueror’s spouse might have produced the Battle of Hastings Tapestry. It was also believed to have been created in England in some of the towns that had embroidery workshops. More recently, it has been agreed that Bishop Odo of Bayeux, William the Conqueror’s half-brother probably had it commissioned. He is featured in the tapestry as he partook in the battle. The Tapestry of Bayeux could also have been produced in France. Historians have tried to uncover where it was created but it is still not known for sure.

 

10. Where Was The Bayeux Tapestry Displayed?
For one week every year (centuries ago), the Bayeux Tapestry was displayed in the nave of the Bayeux Cathedral for all to see. What a brilliant way to share historical events through visual storytelling with a population that was mostly illiterate.

 

11. The Bayeux Tapestry: No Photos Are Allowed

Although this might not rank as a fascinating fact, it is something to be aware of. I was planning to snap away while viewing the tapestry. It is probably not so surprising that there are no photos allowed in the darkened room where the antique tapestry is lit beautifully.

 

Source: Wikipedia - Bayeux Tapestry  |  Bayeux Tapestry Facts

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Fact of the Day -- NIAGARA FALLS

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A view of the American, Bridal Veil and

Horseshoe Falls from the Presidential Suite

of the Sheraton Fallsview Hotel, Niagara Falls,

Ontario, Canada.

 

Did you know.... that Niagara Falls is a group of three waterfalls at the southern end of Niagara Gorge, spanning the border between the province of Ontario in Canada and the state of New York in the United States. (Wikipedia)

 

Niagara Falls Fun Facts

By User  |  February 2020

 

Fun Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About Niagara Falls

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Skylon Tower - Revolving Restaurant in Niagara Falls.


Niagara Falls is known famously for its three thunderous wonders; bustling city life, international award-winning wineries, and extremely friendly people. Each year, the city welcomes millions of visitors from around the world looking to experience, touch, and taste a piece of the famous falls and its surrounding city. Not only do travelers choose to visit Niagara Falls because of the sites to see, or the closeness to international Canadian – U.S. borders, but also to become one with nature. If your interest in travelling is to be around natural elements and experience feelings of tranquility, consider Niagara Falls as your next city to visit! Here are some Niagara Falls fun facts about the world’s most famous waterfalls to help you plan your visit.

 

When Was Niagara Falls Created?
About 12,500 years ago Niagara Falls was created when the Niagara Region became free of ice. As the ice melted, the Great Lakes, including Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, were formed. Water would continue to travel northward through Lake Erie, the Niagara River, and Lake Ontario, then through the St. Lawrence River to the Atlantic Ocean. 

 

When the Niagara River intersected with an old riverbed, one that had been hidden during the last Ice Age, it tore through the Niagara Gorge walls and filled the bottom of the river. As opposed to being a waterfall, the water was rapids. 

 

Does Niagara Falls Freeze?

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Does Niagara Falls ever freeze?’ is the most common question visitors ask. Although Niagara Falls has never been frozen, there have been ‘ice boom’ jams in the past. Before 1964, the ice would float from Lake Erie to the Niagara River impeding with power diversions and build ice along the shorelines. If you visit the Falls in the Winter you will notice the American Falls appear ‘more frozen’ than the Canadian Horseshoe Falls. This is because the American Falls receive only 7% of the Niagara River water flow with the rest diverted over the Canadian Horseshoe Falls. With less water, there is more potential for ice build-up, making the waterfalls appear frozen. 

 

Where Does The Word Niagara come from?
It is believed that the word Niagara originates from the Iroquoian word ‘Onguiaahra’ meaning ‘Strait’. Making reference to the narrow waterways that flow north from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario.  Theories differ as to the origin of the name of the falls. According to Iroquoian scholar Bruce Trigger, Niagara is derived from the name given to a branch of the local native Neutral Confederacy, who are described as the Niagagarega people on several late-17th-century French maps of the area. According to George R. Stewart, it comes from the name of an Iroquois town called Onguiaahra, meaning "point of land cut in two". In 1847, an Iroquois interpreter stated that the name came from Jaonniaka-re, meaning "noisy point or portage."

 

Henry Schoolcraft reports:

Niagara Falls. This name is Mohawk. It means, according to Mrs. Kerr, the neck; the term being first applied to the portage or neck of land, between lakes Erie and Ontario. By referring to Mr. Elliott's vocabulary, (chapter xi) it will be seen that the human neck, that is, according to the concrete vocabulary, his neck, is onyara. Red Jacket pronounced the word Niagara to me, in the spring of 1820, as if written O-ne-au-ga-rah.

 

How Was The Whirlpool Created?

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The Niagara Whirlpool - a natural whirlpool along the Niagara River.

 

The Niagara Whirlpool was created by the sheer force of the water rushing into the Niagara Gorge. The elevation from the Niagara Gorge to the Niagara Rapids drops 15 m (50 ft) and the waters will reach speeds of up to 90 m (30 ft) per second. Once the water travels through the rapids, it meets the Niagara Whirlpool. Here the water has a ‘reverse phenomenon’ and turns counter-clockwise! The Whirlpool is also known as ‘Devils’ Hole’ and is over 91 m (300 ft) deep making it off-limits to boaters or swimmers. 

 

What’s The Future of the Falls?
Geologists continue to monitor the Niagara Gorge and erosion rates of the Falls. Predictions say that the waterfalls will continue to erode 0.3 m (1 foot) every year. Five hundred years ago, the waterfalls eroded at a much faster rate of  1-1.5 m (3-5 ft) per year. Diversion of water to the hydropower generating plants has helped significantly reduce the rate of erosion. 

 

What Is Fossil Water and Foam?
While aboard our boat you may hear mention of ‘Fossil Water.’ Fossil water is a term used when describing the Niagara River because it was formed during the last Ice Age that covered the land 18,000 years ago. Less than 1% of the Great Lakes water is renewable on an annual basis and the rest is a legacy from the last ice age. Particles of sedimentary rock buried deep beneath the river bed form a natural foam that sits on top of the water in the Niagara River. 

 

Tightrope Walkers

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Nik Wallenda tight rope walking

across Niagara Falls. December 28, 2018

  • Since 1859, Niagara Falls has seen nine daredevils successfully make it across the tightrope from Niagara Falls, New York to Niagara Falls, Canada. In 1859, Jean Francois Gravelet, a.k.a. ‘The Great Blondin’, was known for performing wild stunts including walking across a tightrope blindfolded while pushing a wheelbarrow with his hands chained. He even cooked an omelet while standing in the middle of the wire. Another stunt included him carrying his manager on his back while he walked across!
  • In 1860 William Leonard Hunt, a.k.a ‘The Great Farini’, tried to outdo Blondin by carrying a washtub on his back while crossing. He even lowered a bucket to gather water while on the tightrope!
  • In 1867, Niagara Falls saw its first female tightrope walker to successfully make it across. Maria Spelterina walked across a dozen times, each time incorporating new stunts making her look graceful as she made it across.
  • In 1873, English tightrope walker Henry Bellini, known as the ‘Australian Blondin’, was the first to bungee jump from the tightrope. He repeated this stunt again in 1886.
  • In 1887, Niagara Falls Native Stephen Peer walked across more than half of the tightrope, but tragedy struck when Peer slipped and fell to his death in the river below.
  • Two years later, using the same tightrope, Samuel J. Dixon crossed over the Niagara River and again one – year later over the Cantilever Railway Bridge and Railway Suspension Bridge.
  • In 1975, a French tightrope walker Henri Julien Rechatin attempted the ropes twice, once on June 3rd while balancing on two stacked chairs. And the second act on the following day where Henri’s friend Frank drove a motorcycle across the Niagara Whirlpool while Henri balanced on top and Henri’s wife, Janyck, hung from the motorcycle barely touching the waters below. 
  • In 2012, over 150 years after the first successful walk, Nik Wallenda successfully crossed from Goat Island to Table Rock Welcome Centre on a tightrope. His performance was televised live on national TV networks in the US and Canada, as well as viewed in person by hundreds of thousands on both the Canadian and United States Sides of Niagara Falls.

 

 

Source: Wikipedia - Niagara Falls  |  Niagara Falls Fun Facts

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Fact of the Day - GREEK MYTHOLOGY

 

Did you know.... that Greek mythology is the body of myths originally told by the ancient Greeks, and a genre of Ancient Greek folklore. (Wikipedia)

 

Interesting Facts Revolving Around Greek Mythology
By Arun Thakur |  Updated on 19 August, 2019 

 

The Greek civilization was the most influential civilization in the history of the world. All of today’s thoughts and ideas can be traced back to the Greeks. They gave us democracy, mathematics, drama, philosophy, Olympics and a whole bunch of Gods and tomes of mythology that has been adapted by many subsequent cultures. Recent movies such as Clash of the Titans, Wrath of the Titans, Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, etc. have brought Greek mythology back into the limelight once again. Here are top 10 interesting facts revolving around Greek mythology.

 

Hercules gave us the saying “Taking the bull by its horns”

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Hercules capturing the Cretan Bull.
Detail of The Twelve Labours Roman mosaic

from Llíria (Valencia, Spain). (7th Labour)

 

The saying, “Taking the bull by its horns”, comes from Greek mythology. It was one of the 12 labors of Hercules that he had to perform to repent for killing his own wife and children in a fit of madness caused by Hera. He saved the city of Crete from a raging bull by seizing its horns.

 

Athena defeated Poseidon to become the guardian of Athens

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Athena fighting Poseidon.

 

Athena and Poseidon both wanted to become the guardian of a certain city so they decided to give a gift each to please the residents of the city. Poseidon gave them water in the form of a spring but the water was salty and of no use. Athena gave them an olive tree which was much more useful as it gave food, oil and wood and so she won and since then that city has been known as Athens.

 

Hera restored her virginity each year

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Hera and Zeus.

 

Hera was the sister of Zeus who later became his wife as she was very much in love with him. She got a love charm from Aphrodite to make Zeus fall in love with her. But the most interesting thing about her is that she restored her virginity each year by bathing in a sacred spring called Kanathos.

 

Apollo commandeered a ship in his dolphin form

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Delphinius was the dolphin form of Apollo which was worshiped at Delphi. This is strange because Delphi is in the mountains away from the sea but apparently, Apollo in his dolphin form jumped up on the deck of a ship and commandeered it to the coast at Delphi. According to the Greek mythology, the sailors became the first priests there.

 

Athena’s thousands of grey eyes

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Athena is supposed to have a thousand eyes in the form of the leaves of the olive tree. She gifted the olive tree to the city of Athens and became its guardian goddess. The leaves of the olive tree are grey at the back and when the wind blows and lifts the leaves up, it looks like a thousand eyes are watching over the city.

 

Pandora was the first mortal women

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Zeus readies Pandora with Hermes in attendance,

a painting by Josef Abel

 

Pandora was made by Zeus and was the first mortal woman according to Greek mythology. She received a gift from each of the Gods to make her perfect. Zeus gave her to Epimetheus who had been warned by his brother Prometheus to not take any gifts from Zeus but he got enchanted by Pandora’s beauty and accepted. He gave her a box and told her never to open it. But she couldn’t resist and opened it, letting out all evil and mistrust in the world.

 

Atlas was punished to hold the heavens not the Earth

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Lee Lawrie's colossal bronze Atlas,

Rockefeller Center, New York

 

Atlas was a Titan who fought and led a battle of Titans against Zeus but got defeated and was punished by Zeus to hold up heavens on his shoulders for all eternity. For a while he got Hercules to hold it up for him but then later resumed his duties when Hercules cheated him into holding the weight of the heavens again. He is wrongly portrayed to be holding up the earth.

 

Prometheus kept stealing from the Gods

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The Torture of Prometheus, painting by Salvator Rosa (1646–1648).

 

Prometheus was another interesting Titan in the Greek mythology. He was the wisest among the Titans and could apparently see the future. He knew Zeus would win and fought from his side when he fought Cronus. He is notorious for thinking himself to be smarter than the Gods and kept stealing from them. When he stole fire from the Gods and gave it to the mortals he was caught and was punished by Zeus.

 

Hades was technically an Olympian but not counted as one

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Hades, the Greek God of the Underworld

 

Hades was as powerful as any of the other twelve Olympians which technically made him the thirteenth Olympian but since he resided in the underworld and not on Mount Olympus he was not known as an Olympian. Hades was also the one who helped Zeus defeat their father Cronus and helped them to become Gods.

 

Zeus was an opportunist

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Zeus


Zeus was the all powerful God, the king of Gods, the controller of rain and thunder, the father of many children and the vanquisher of the Titans. But he couldn’t have done it alone. Greek mythology tells us that Hades was the one to surprise Cronus by wearing his invisibility helmet and Poseidon was the one who immobilized his body. Zeus seized this opportunity and killed his father by striking him with a thunderbolt and became the king of Gods.

 

 

Source: Wikipedia - Greek Mythology  |  Facts About Greek Mythology

Edited by DarkRavie
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Fact of the Day - TYRANNOSAURUS

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Tyrannosaurus rex holotype specimen at

the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Pittsburgh.

 

Did you know.... that Tyrannosaurus is a genus of coelurosaurian theropod dinosaur. The species Tyrannosaurus rex, often called T. rex or colloquially T-Rex, is one of the most well-represented of the large theropods. Tyrannosaurus lived throughout what is now western North America, on what was then an island continent known as Laramidia. (Wikipedia)

 

Facts About Tyrannosaurus Rex

How Much Do You Know About This King of the Dinosaurs?

By Bob Strauss  |  Updated October 22, 2019

 

Tyrannosaurus rex is by far the most popular dinosaur, having spawned a huge number of books, movies, TV shows, and video games. What's truly amazing, though, is how much what was once assumed as fact about this carnivore has later been called into question and how much is still being discovered. Here are 10 facts known to be true.

 

Not the Biggest Meat-Eating Dinosaur

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Most people assume that the North American Tyrannosaurus rex—at 40 feet from head to tail and seven to nine tons—was the biggest carnivorous dinosaur that ever lived. T. rex, however, was equaled or outclassed by not one but two dinosaurs: the South American Giganotosaurus, which weighed about nine tons, and the northern African Spinosaurus, which tipped the scales at 10 tons. These three theropods never had the chance to square off in combat, since they lived in different times and places, separated by millions of years and thousands of miles.

 

Arms Not as Tiny as Once Thought

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One feature of Tyrannosaurus rex that everyone makes fun of is its arms, which seem disproportionately tiny compared to the rest of its massive body. T. rex's arms were over three feet long, however, and may have been capable of bench pressing 400 pounds each. In any event, T. rex didn't have the smallest arm-to-body ratio among carnivorous dinosaurs; that was the Carnotaurus, whose arms looked like tiny nubs. 

 

Very Bad Breath

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The dinosaurs of the Mesozoic Era obviously didn't brush their teeth or floss. Some experts think shards of rotten, bacteria-infested meat constantly lodged in its closely packed teeth gave Tyrannosaurus rex a "septic bite," which infected and eventually killed its wounded prey. This process likely would have taken days or weeks, by which time some other meat-eating dinosaur would have reaped the rewards.

 

Females Bigger Than Males

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There's a good reason to believe, based on fossils and the shapes of the hips, that the female T. rex outweighed the male by a few thousand pounds. The likely reason for this trait, known as sexual dimorphism, is that females had to lay clutches of T. rex-size eggs and were blessed by evolution with bigger hips. Or maybe females were more accomplished hunters than males, as is the case with modern female lions.

 

Lived About 30 Years

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It's difficult to infer a dinosaur's life span from its fossils, but based on analysis of existing specimens, paleontologists speculate that Tyrannosaurus rex may have lived as long as 30 years. Because this dinosaur was atop the food chain, it would most likely have died from old age, disease, or hunger rather than attacks by fellow theropods, except when it was young and vulnerable. Some of the 50-ton titanosaurs that lived alongside T. rex might have had life spans of more than 100 years.

 

Both Hunters and Scavengers

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For years, paleontologists argued about whether T. rex was a savage killer or an opportunistic scavenger—that is, did it hunt its food or tuck into the carcasses of dinosaurs already felled by old age or disease? Current thinking is that there's no reason Tyrannosaurus rex couldn't have done both, as would any carnivore that wanted to avoid starvation.

 

Hatchlings Possibly Covered in Feathers

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It's accepted as fact that dinosaurs evolved into birds and that some carnivorous dinosaurs (especially raptors) were covered in feathers. Some paleontologists believe that all tyrannosaurs, including T. rex, were covered in feathers at some point during their lives, most likely when they hatched, a conclusion supported by the discovery of feathered Asian tyrannosaurs such as Dilong and the almost T. rex-size Yutyrannus.

 

Preyed on Triceratops

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Imagine the matchup: a hungry, eight-ton Tyrannosaurus rex taking on a five-ton Triceratops, a not-inconceivable proposition since both dinosaurs lived in late Cretaceous North America. Granted, the average T. rex would have preferred to tackle a sick, juvenile, or newly hatched Triceratops, but if it was hungry enough, all bets were off.

 

Incredibly Powerful Bite

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In 1996, a team of Stanford University scientists examining a T. rex skull determined that it chomped on its prey with a force of 1,500 to 3,000 pounds per square inch, comparable to that of a modern alligator. More recent studies put that figure in the 5,000-pound range. (The average adult human can bite with a force of about 175 pounds.) T. rex's powerful jaws may have been capable of shearing off a ceratopsian's horns.

 

Tyrant Lizard King

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Henry Fairfield Osborn, a paleontologist and president of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, selected the immortal name Tyrannosaurus rex in 1905. Tyrannosaurus is Greek for "tyrant lizard." Rex is Latin for "king," so T. rex became the "tyrant lizard king" or "king of the tyrant lizards."

 

 

Source: Wikipedia - Tyrannosaurus  |  Tyrannosaurus Facts

Edited by DarkRavie
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Fact of the Day - FLASH MOB

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Did you know.... that a flash mob is a group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, perform for a brief time, then quickly disperse, often for the purposes of entertainment, satire, and artistic expression. Flash mobs may be organized via telecommunications, social media, or viral emails. (Wikipedia)

 

What is a Flash Mob? History and Meaning Behind the Movement

 by Ieva Cicirkaite  |  May 13, 2020

 

Historically speaking, the word “mob” has been associated with acts of violence, or at the very least, social upheaval. You’ve probably heard of an “angry mob” before, in reference to a group of angry people toting pitchforks and torches, usually motivated to march based on some socio-political injustice or another, perceived or real.

 

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A “flash mob” is essentially a reclamation of the term “mob” by putting a much more positive spin on it in the form of performance art.

 

Generally speaking, a “flash mob” is a gathering of a certain number of people that takes place in a public space that happens seemingly mysteriously and lasts for ten minutes or perhaps less, with the intention of surprising, delighting, and sometimes confusing onlookers. These gatherings came to be popular as the age of social media and smart technology grew, allowing for people to more easily connect, and more easily organize such a spontaneous and exciting event as a flash mob by way of Facebook group, or a flurry of texts.

 

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During flash mobs, people dance, sing or just freeze in place, not moving for a couple of minutes.  As such, flash mobs do have some connection to the idea of musical theatre, in their exuberance and choreography. This gives the general impression to anyone watching that these flash-mobbers showed up out of nowhere, almost like magic, and then disappear without any trace.

 

Flash mobs can be for artistic sake, for fun, or they can be for the purpose of advertising some event or product. They can even be political. Generally, however, flash mobs capture the spirit of fun in any populated location and change the whole atmosphere of that place, which may otherwise be mundane, into something exciting and unifying.

 

Here is an example of a flash mob in action.

 

 

History
Officially, the first known flash mob happened in 2003, when a senior editor of Harper’s MagazineBill Wasik – anonymously organized one in Manhattan, New York.

 

Here is Bill speaking on his idea of what flash mobs are all about.

 

That first Manhattan flash mob turned out to be a well-executed event, that attracted participants to come before any action occurred to a few different bars, located near the place where the flash mob occurred, where they got more information about what to do just before the start of an event. Around 130 people spread through the Macy’s store by looking for a “love rug” for their suburban commune.

 

According to Wasik, he just wanted to create a type of social experiment that lampooned the next “hot new thing”, in a very American way of always looking for the next big event or cultural change. As a result, flash mobs became a rather powerful for people in the US because the tradition of public space in the country was seeming to be lost, and, if nothing else, flash mobs expressed a way to reclaim public space, if only for a short time.  In some ways, this could be seen as a “fight the power”, “stick it to the man”, anti-corporate move.

 

Here is a popular flash mob production that has made the rounds on Youtube – maybe you’ve seen this.

 

While this flash mob happened outside, and has been inspiring people since it was performed and uploaded, many flash mobs occur indoors. As you know if you are from an urban area, cities are known for their many shopping malls, where modern consumer people spend their leisure time.  To some, this is fine, and acceptable, while others take some issue with the concept of malls in one way or another, with one major reason being that a mall is a “public space” that is not actually public, and very limited in terms of how one might express themselves there.  It is typically not a place to be “free”. For example if you were to try to express yourself in that public space, you would realize very quickly how non-public that space actually is. In fact, it is completely corporate and under strict control.

 

inside-a-shopping-center.jpg

 

Yet, at the same time as a mall is a very controlled place, it in and of itself has the perfect characteristics to become a stage for performers to perform in.  The only problem is that malls typically do not allow for performances of dancing and music to just suddenly appear.  This is where flash mobs come into play.

 

Back in 2003, Bill Wasik was interested in what you can and can not do in regular public spaces in this day and age. He organized eight flash mobs that summer and was astonished to find that by the end of that summer, the idea of flash mobs spread not only through the whole country, but abroad too! Bill Wasik’s initiative evolved into something that he couldn’t control anymore – the cat was out of the bag, so to speak! – and so then transformed him into an observer of subsequent flash mobs.

 

Flash Mobs in Advertising
After that fateful summer of 2003, the idea of flash mobs via the internet has spread throughout the whole world, becoming a true viral sensation. What began partly as a bit of a prank and partly as a social experiment in New York City had now become part of popular culture, and the idea was being related via the internet and word of mouth, becoming a “thing”, as it were.

 

From school performances to political protests to advertising and promotional events – flash mobs as a creative way to express people’s ideas have become popular all around the globe.

 

flashmob-advertising-768x398.jpg

 

One of the main reasons why flash mobs become popular around the world is that they are unexpected and catchy. It affects the viewer in a positive way – he becomes not only an observer but also a participant too. Because of the flash mobs' tendency to be quite memorable due to their surprising nature, they are a great way to promote something in advertising.

 

T-Mobile, a German communications company supported a flash mob that took place in Liverpool Street Station in 2009. Suddenly people from the crowd started to dance to popular music hits by involving more and more people. It brought joy for people and was a unique way to promote a company’s brand.

 

 

Train stations are also very suitable places for flash mobs because they are spacious and always have an audience. Another huge flash mob was created the same year, 2009, this time in Antwerp, Belgium central station when 200 people danced according to legendary musical “The Sound of Music” song “Do Re Mi”. This performance succeeded and became very popular on the internet.

 

In 2013 April in a shopping mall of Breda, Netherlands the famous painting of Rembrandt The Night Watch was recreated of a theatrical action of people dressed in 17th-century clothes. The main idea was to announce that Rijksmuseum, a Dutch national museum in Amsterdam is reopening after 10 years of renovation.

 

 

 

What started as a social experiment later become an important tool to express social, political, and cultural ideas, and gave an opportunity to everyone who is interested to participate in this vital global movement.

 

Flash mob as a political act
Since flash mobs had spread through different countries, various initiatives took the idea and used it for their purposes.

 

In 2013 Members of the European Parliament together with an activist Eve Ensler initiated a flash mob, which was dedicated to ending violence against women. This particular flash mob encouraged others to organize flash mobs not only in Brussels but in other places too.

 

 

Another famous flash mob also appeared in 2015 in Kyiv, when a crowd of Ukrainian people together at the same moment fall down and lay on the ground for one minute. (I couldn't find this one.)

 

The idea was to show how many people suffer and died during the Ukraine-Russia conflict. Both countries are still participating in the military actions against each other, so peaceful reflection of those events could send a very powerful message to the world.

 

In 2019, during the protests in Hong Kong, demonstrators used a flash mob technique – they popped in different locations in small groups because that allowed them to disappear quickly when police came to act against the protesters. They also made flash mobs during which they sang symbolic resistance songs.

 

Source: Wikipedia - Flash Mob  |  History and Meaning of Flash Mobs

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