Posts Tagged ‘History

16
Apr
10

Emancipation Day

Emancipation Day is celebrated in many former British colonies in the Caribbean and areas of the United States on various dates in observation of the emancipation of slaves of African origin. It is also observed in other areas in regard to the abolition of serfdom or other forms of servitude.

The municipality of Washington, D.C., celebrates April 16 as Emancipation Day. On that day in 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Compensated Emancipation Act for the release of certain persons held to service or labor in the District of Columbia. The Act freed about 3,100 enslaved persons in the District of Columbia nine months before President Lincoln issued his famous Emancipation Proclamation.

Other geographies celebrate different days as the Emancipation day. For eg.:

  • Carribean – August 1
  • Florida – May 20
  • Texas – June 19
  • British Virgin Islands – First Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of August
14
Apr
10

The sinking of Titanic

We’ve all heard about it, we’ve all seen it (in the movie). And hence I remember Apr 14 as the day when Titanic sank. But then why is it such a big deal? Simply because it was supposed to be an “Unsinkable ship” and it sank in its first journey. . One of the other things that makes the Titanic so fascinating is that she represented the best of technology when she set sail on her ill-fated voyage in 1912, and it took the best of technology in the form of sonar, satellite tracking, and deep-dive technology to locate her grave 73 years later. Here’s the story.

On April 10, 1912, the Titanic, largest ship afloat, left Southampton, England on her maiden voyage to New York City. The White Star Line had spared no expense in assuring her luxury. A legend even before she sailed, her passengers were a mixture of the world’s wealthiest basking in the elegance of first class accommodations and immigrants packed into steerage.


The Washington Post announces the disaster

She was touted as the safest ship ever built, so safe that she carried only 20 lifeboats – enough to provide accommodation for only half her 2,200 passengers and crew. This discrepancy rested on the belief that since the ship’s construction made her “unsinkable,” her lifeboats were necessary only to rescue survivors of other sinking ships. Additionally, lifeboats took up valuable deck space.

Four days into her journey, at 11:40 P.M. on the night of April 14, she struck an iceberg. Her fireman compared the sound of the impact to “the tearing of calico, nothing more.” However, the collision was fatal and the icy water soon poured through the ship.

It became obvious that many would not find safety in a lifeboat. Each passenger was issued a life jacket but life expectancy would be short when exposed to water four degrees below freezing. As the forward portion of the ship sank deeper, passengers scrambled to the stern. John Thayer witnessed the sinking from a lifeboat. “We could see groups of the almost fifteen hundred people still aboard, clinging in clusters or bunches, like swarming bees; only to fall in masses, pairs or singly, as the great after part of the ship, two hundred and fifty feet of it, rose into the sky, till it reached a sixty-five or seventy degree angle.” The great ship slowly slid beneath the waters two hours and forty minutes after the collision

The next morning, the liner Carpathia rescued 705 survivors. One thousand five hundred twenty-two passengers and crew were lost. Subsequent inquiries attributed the high loss of life to an insufficient number of lifeboats and inadequate training in their use.

The remains of the Titanic were found in 1985 by Dr. Robert Ballard, an oceanographer and marine biologist with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. When he located the Titanic, he saw that, as some survivors reported, the ship had broken apart. He believed the weight of the water-filled bow raised the stern out of the water and snapped the ship in two just before it sank. Debris falling out of the ship was strewn over a 1/2 mile across the sea floor. The bow and the stern were found nearly 2000ft. apart.

Keeping her location a secret, Bob Ballard used GPS to find theTitanic again when he returned the next year. He hoped to prevent treasure seekers from finding her and plundering the ship for booty such as coffee cups inscribed with RMS Titanic. On this second expedition, he visited the ship several times by submarine. On his last descent, he left a plaque honoring the 1500 victims and asking that subsequent explorers leave their grave undisturbed.

10
Apr
10

Australopithecus sediba

In what could rewrite the story of human origins, palaeontologists have discovered two ancient skeletons in South Africa, which they claim suggest that true humans may have emerged later than previously believed.

An international team, led by Lee Berger of University of Witwatersrand, has spotted the 1.9 million-year-old fossils of the two skeletons — possibly from a mother and son, having human and ape-like traits — in a South African cave.

It is suggested that this species, called Australopithecus sediba, may be a transitional species between the southern African Australopithecus africanusand either Homo habilis or even the later Homo erectus (Turkana boy, Java man, Peking man). The species has long arms, like an ape, short powerful hands, a very derived, Homo-like pelvis and long legs and was capable of striding and possibly running like a human, although the femur and tibia are fragmentary and the foot is more primitive.

Read the full article here.

03
Apr
10

Antikythera Wreck

The Antikythera wreck is a shipwreck that was discovered by sponge divers off the coast of the Greek island, Antikythera.

In October 1900, a team of sponge divers led by Captain Dimitrios Kondos had decided to wait out a severe storm hampering their sail back from Africa on the island of Antikythera, and they began diving for sponges off the island’s coastline. In 1900, divers usually wore standard diving dresses — canvas suits and copper helmets — which allowed them to dive deeper and to stay submerged longer.

The first to lay eyes on the shipwreck 60 metres down was Elias Stadiatos, who quickly signaled to be pulled to the surface. He described the scene as a heap of rotting corpses and horses lying on the sea bed. Thinking the diver had gone mad from too much carbon dioxide in his helmet, Kondos himself dove into the water, soon returning with a bronze arm of a statue. Until they could safely leave the island, the divers dislodged as many small artifacts as they could carry.

Another artifact that came out from the Antikythera Wreck is the Antikythera mechanism which is an ancient mathematical calculator to determine astronomical situations.It was recovered in 1900–01 from the Antikythera wreck, but its complexity and significance were not understood until decades later. It is now thought to have been built about 150–100 BC. Technological artifacts of similar complexity did not reappear until the 14th century, when mechanical astronomical clocks appeared in Europe.

The device is remarkable for the level of miniaturization and for the complexity of its parts, which is comparable to that of 18th century clocks. It has over 30 gears, although some other believe there were as many as 72 gears, with teeth formed through equilateral triangles. When a date was entered via a crank (now lost), the mechanism calculated the position of the Sun, Moon, or other astronomical information such as the location of other planets. Since the purpose was to position astronomical bodies with respect to the celestial sphere, with reference to the observer’s position on the surface of the Earth, the device was based on the geocentric model.

You can see how the device works on youtube.

03
Mar
10

Gregorian Calendar vs. Julian Calendar

The Julian calendar, a reform of the Roman calendar, was introduced by Julius Caesar in 46 BC, and came into force in 45 BC. It has a regular year of 365 days divided into 12 months, and a leap day is added to February every four years. Hence the Julian year is on average 365.25 days long.

The Gregorian calendar is the internationally accepted civil calendar. It was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII, after whom the calendar was named, by a decree signed on 24 February 1582. The reformed calendar was adopted later that year by a handful of countries, with other countries adopting it over the following centuries.

The Gregorian calendar reform contained two parts, a reform of the Julian calendar as used up to Pope Gregory’s time, together with a reform of the lunar cycle used by the Church along with the Julian calendar for calculating dates of Easter. It reduced the number of leap years from 100 to 97 every 400 years, by making 3 out of 4 centurial years common instead of leap years.

The Gregorian calendar modifies the Julian calendar’s regular cycle of leap years, years exactly divisible by four, including all centurial years, as follows:

“Every year that is exactly divisible by four is a leap year, except for years that are exactly divisible by 100; the centurial years that are exactly divisible by 400 are still leap years. For example, the year 1900 is not a leap year; the year 2000 is a leap year.”

The introduction of the Gregorian calendar allowed for realignment with the equinox; however, a number of days had to be dropped when the change was made. For example, Poland, Portugal and Spain adopted the calendar in 1582, by dropping 10 days in October that year, whereas Sweden and Poland had a 30-day February in 1712.

Click here to read more.

14
Feb
10

Waitangi Day

Waitangi Day commemorates a significant day in the history of New Zealand. It is a public holiday held each year on 6 February to celebrate the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, New Zealand’s founding document, on that date in 1840.

The Treaty of Waitangi was signed on 6 February 1840, in a marquee erected in the grounds of James Busby’s house (now known as the Treaty house) at Waitangi in the Bay of Islands. The Treaty made New Zealand a part of the British Empire, guaranteed Māori rights to their land and gave Māori the rights of British subjects. There are significant differences between the Māori and English language versions of the Treaty, and virtually since 1840 this has led to debate over exactly what was agreed to at Waitangi. Māori have generally seen the Treaty as a sacred pact, while for many years Pākehā (the Māori word for New Zealanders of predominantly European ancestry) ignored it. By the early twentieth century, however, some Pākehā were beginning to see the Treaty as their nation’s founding document and a symbol of British humanitarianism. Unlike Māori, Pākehā have generally not seen the Treaty as a document with binding power over the country and its inhabitants. In 1877 Chief Justice James Prendergast declared it to be a ‘legal nullity’, and it still has limited standing in New Zealand law.

17
Nov
09

Bombay Stock Exchange

Have been dealing in stocks for more than a year now. Thought I might as well look up the history of the exchange I so frequently trade in. The Bombay Stock Exchange. Staying in Mumbai, I pass by BSE every other day. This tall BSE structure had very humble beginnings.

Bombay Stock Exchange is the oldest stock exchange in Asia with a rich heritage, now spanning three centuries in its 133 years of existence. What is now popularly known as BSE was established as “The Native Share & Stock Brokers’ Association” in 1875.

It also has the greatest number of listed companies in the world, with 4700 listed as of August 2007 (Not many companies have been added post it, people dreaded releasing IPOs in recession you see).

Some landmarks in its 133 year old history were

1830’s Business on corporate stocks and shares in Bank and Cotton presses started in Bombay.

1860-1865 Cotton price bubble as a result of the American Civil War

1870 – 90’s Sharp increase in share prices of jute industries followed by a boom in tea stocks and coal

1978-79 Base year of Sensex, defined to be 100.

1986 Sensex first compiled using a market Capitalization-Weighted methodology for 30 component stocks representing well-established companies across key sectors.

The BSE traces its history to the 1850s, when stockbrokers would gather under banyan trees in front of Mumbai’s Town Hall. The location of these meetings changed many times, as the number of brokers constantly increased. The group eventually moved to Dalal Street in 1874 and in 1875 became an official organization known as ‘The Native Share & Stock Brokers Association’. In 1956, the BSE became the first stock exchange to be recognized by the Indian Government under the Securities Contracts Regulation Act. The Bombay Stock Exchange developed the BSE Sensex in 1986, giving the BSE a means to measure overall performance of the exchange.

Bombay Stock Exchange is the oldest stock exchange in Asia with a rich heritage, now spanning three centuries in its 133 years of existence. What is now popularly known as BSE was established as “The Native Share & Stock Brokers’ Association” in 1875.



So what’s this blog about?

Another attempt? Well yes. Attempting to figure out another sustainable model (there are some other attempts going on parallel-ly). Well, we have a lot of questions in mind. we read up stuff, we do some research to find answers to these questions. This is an attempt to publish that little 15-20 minute research.
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