Monthly Archives: July 2014

Today in History….July 31

1498 – Christopher Columbus, on his third voyage to the Western Hemisphere, arrived at the island of Trinidad.

1790 – The first U.S. patent was issued to Samuel Hopkins for his process for making potash and pearl ashes. The substance was used in fertilizer.

1792 – The cornerstone of the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia, PA, was laid. It was the first building to be used only as a U.S. government building.

1919 – Germany’s Weimar Constitution was adopted.

1928 – MGM’s Leo the lion roared for the first time. He introduced MGM’s first talking picture, “White Shadows on the South Seas.”

1932 – Enzo Ferrari retired from racing. In 1950 he launched a series of cars under his name.

1945 – Pierre Laval of France surrendered to Americans in Austria.

1948 – U.S. President Truman helped dedicate New York International Airport (later John F. Kennedy International Airport) at Idlewild Field.

1955 – Marilyn Bell of Toronto, Canada, at age 17, became the youngest person to swim the English Channel.

1959 – The Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA) was founded. The group is known for being an armed Basque nationalist and separatist organization.

1961 – The first tie in All-Star Game major league baseball history was recorded when it was stopped in the 9th inning due to rain at Boston’s Fenway Park.

1964 – The American space probe Ranger 7 transmitted pictures of the moon’s surface.

1971 – Men rode in a vehicle on the moon for the first time in a lunar rover vehicle (LRV).

1981 – The seven-week baseball players’ strike came to an end when the players and owners agreed on the issue of free agent compensation.

1982 – Yugoslavia imposed a six-month freeze on prices.

1989 – A pro-Iranian group in Lebanon released a videotape reportedly showing the hanged body of American hostage William R. Higgins.

1991 – U.S. President George H.W. Bush and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev signed the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.

1995 – The Walt Disney Company agreed to acquire Capital Cities/ABC in a $19 billion deal.
Disney movies, music and books

1999 – The spacecraft Lunar Prospect crashed into the moon. It was a mission to detect frozen water on the moon’s surface. The craft had been launched on January 6, 1998.

2007 – The iTunes Music Store reached 2 million feature length films sold.


Today in History….July 30

1502 – Christopher Columbus landed at Guanaja in the Bay Islands off the coast of Honduras during his fourth voyage.

1619 – The first representative assembly in America convened in Jamestown, VA. (House of Burgesses)

1729 – The city of Baltimore was founded in Maryland.

1898 – “Scientific America” carried the first magazine automobile ad. The ad was for the Winton Motor Car Company of Cleveland, OH.

1932 – Walt Disney’s “Flowers and Trees” premiered. It was the first Academy Award winning cartoon and first cartoon short to use Technicolor.
Disney movies, music and books

1937 – The American Federation of Radio Artists (AFRA) was organized as a part of the American Federation of Labor.

1942 – The WAVES were created by legislation signed by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The members of the Women’s Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service were a part of the U.S. Navy.

1945 – The USS Indianapolis was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine. The ship had just delivered key components of the Hiroshima atomic bomb to the Pacific island of Tinian. Only 316 out of 1,196 men aboard survived the attack.

1956 – The phrase “In God We Trust” was adopted as the U.S. national motto.

1965 – U.S. President Johnson signed into law Social Security Act that established Medicare and Medicaid. It went into effect the following year.

1968 – Ron Hansen (Washington Senators) made the first unassisted triple play in the major leagues in 41 years.

1974 – The U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee voted to impeach President Nixon for blocking the Watergate investigation and for abuse of power.

1987 – Indian troops arrived in Jaffna, Sri Lanka, to disarm the Tamil Tigers and enforce a peace pact.

1990 – In Spring Hill, TN, the first Saturn automobile rolled off the assembly line.

1998 – A group of Ohio machine-shop workers (who call themselves the Lucky 13) won the $295.7 million Powerball jackpot. It was the largest-ever American lottery.

2000 – Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt were married.

2001 – Lance Armstrong became the first American to win three consecutive Tours de France.

2003 – In Mexico, the last ‘old style’ Volkswagon Beetle rolled off an assembly line.


Today in History….July 28

1821 – Peru declared its independence from Spain.

1865 – The American Dental Association proposed its first code of ethics.

1866 – The metric system was legalized by the U.S. Congress for the standardization of weights and measures throughout the United States.

1868 – The Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was declared in effect. The amendment guaranteed due process of law.

1896 – The city of Miami, FL, was incorporated.

1914 – World War I officially began when Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia.

1932 – Federal troops forcibly dispersed the “Bonus Army” of World War I veterans who had gathered in Washington, DC. They were demanding money they were not scheduled to receive until 1945.

1941 – Plans for the Pentagon were approved by the U.S. House of Representatives.

1942 – L.A. Thatcher received a patent for a coin-operated mailbox. The device stamped envelopes when money was inserted.

1945 – A U.S. Army bomber crashed into the 79th floor of New York City’s Empire State Building. 14 people were killed and 26 were injured.

1951 – The Walt Disney film “Alice in Wonderland” was released.

1965 – U.S. President Johnson announced he was increasing the number of American troops in South Vietnam from 75,000 to 125,000.

1973 – Lee Majors and Farrah Fawcett were married.

1982 – San Francisco, CA, became the first city in the U.S. to ban handguns.

1991 – Dennis Martinez (Montreal Expos) pitched the 13th perfect game in major league baseball history.

1994 – Kenny Rogers (Texas Rangers) pitched the 14th perfect game in major league baseball history.

1998 – Bell Atlantic and GTE announced $52 billion deal that created the second-largest phone company.

1998 – Serbian military forces seized the Kosovo town of Malisevo.

1998 – Monica Lewinsky received blanket immunity from prosecution to testify before a grand jury about her relationship with U.S. President Clinton.

2000 – Kathie Lee Gifford made her final appearance as co-host of the ABC talk show “Live with Regis and Kathie Lee.”

2006 – Researchers announced that two ancient reptiles had been found off Australia. The Umoonasaurus and Opallionectes were the first of their kind to be found in the period soon after the Jurassic era.


Today in History….July 27

1214 – At the Battle of Bouvines in France, Philip Augustus of France defeated John of England.

1245 – Frederick II was deposed by a council at Lyons after they found him guilty of sacrilege.

1663 – The British Parliament passed a second Navigation Act, which required all goods bound for the colonies be sent in British ships from British ports.

1689 – Government forces defeated the Scottish Jacobites at the Battle of Killiecrankie.

1694 – The Bank of England received a royal charter as a commercial institution.

1775 – Benjamin Rush began his service as the first Surgeon General of the Continental Army.

1784 – “Courier De L’Amerique” became the first French newspaper to be published in the United States. It was printed in Philadelphia, PA.

1777 – The marquis of Lafayette arrived in New England to help the rebellious American colonists fight the British.

1778 – The British and French fleets fought to a standoff in the first Battle of Ushant.

1789 – The Department of Foreign Affairs was established by the U.S. Congress. The agency was later known as the Department of State.

1804 – The 12th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified. With the amendment Electors were directed to vote for a President and for a Vice-President rather than for two choices for President.

1866 – Cyrus Field successfully completed the Atlantic Cable. It was an underwater telegraph from North America to Europe.

1909 – Orville Wright set a record for the longest airplane flight. He was testing the first Army airplane and kept it in the air for 1 hour 12 minutes and 40 seconds.

1914 – British troops invaded the streets of Dublin, Ireland, and began to disarm Irish rebels.

1918 – The Socony 200 was launched. It was the first concrete barge and was used to carry oil.

1921 – Canadian biochemist Frederick Banting and associates announced the discovery of the hormone insulin.

1940 – Bugs Bunny made his official debut in the Warner Bros. animated cartoon “A Wild Hare.”

1944 – U.S. troops completed the liberation of Guam.

1947 – The World Water Ski Organization was founded in Geneva, Switzerland.

1953 – The armistice agreement that ended the Korean War was signed at Panmunjon, Korea.

1955 – The Allied occupation of Austria ended.

1964 – U.S. President Lyndon Johnson sent an additional 5,000 advisers to South Vietnam.

1965 – In the U.S., the Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act was signed into law. The law required health warnings on all cigarette packages.

1967 – U.S. President Johnson appointed the Kerner Commission to assess the causes of the violence in the wake of urban rioting.

1974 – NBC-TV took “Dinah’s Place” off of its daytime programming roster.

1974 – The U.S. Congress asked for impeachment procedures against President Richard Nixon.

1980 – The deposed shah of Iran, Muhammad Riza Pahlavi, died in a hospital near Cairo, Egypt.

1984 – Pete Rose passed Ty Cobb’s record for most singles in a career when he got his 3,503rd base hit.

1992 – Boston Celtics star Reggie Lewis died after collapsing on a Brandeis University basketball court during practice. He was 27 years old.

1993 – IBM’s new chairman, Louis V. Gerstner, Jr., announced an $8.9 billion plan to cut the company’s costs.

1995 – The Korean War Veterans Memorial was dedicated in Washington, DC, by U.S. President Clinton and South Korean President Kim Young-sam.

1998 – Robert Vaughn received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

1999 – The U.S. space shuttle Discovery completed a five-day mission commanded by Air Force Col. Eileen Collins. It was the first shuttle mission to be commanded by a woman.

2001 – The ribbon cutting ceremony was held for American Airlines Center in Dallas, TX. The event set two new world records, one for the 3 mile long ribbon and one for the 2,000 people that cut it.

2003 – It was reported by the BBC (British Broadcasting Corp.) that there was no monster in Loch Ness. The investigation used 600 separate sonar beams and satellite navigation technology to trawl the loch. Reports of sightings of the “Loch Ness Monster” began in the 6th century.

2006 – Intel Corp introduced its Core 2 Duo microprocessors.


Today in History….July 26

1775 – A postal system was established by the 2nd Continental Congress of the United States. The first Postmaster General was Benjamin Franklin.

1788 – New York became the 11th state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.

1881 – Thomas Edison and Patrick Kenny execute a patent application for a facsimile telegraph (U.S. Pat. 479,184).

1893 – Commercial production of the Addressograph started in Chicago, IL.

1907 – The Chester was launched. It was the first turbine-propelled ship.

1908 – U.S. Attorney General Charles J. Bonaparte issued an order that created an investigative agency that was a forerunner of the FBI.

1945 – Winston Churchill resigned as Britain’s prime minister.

1947 – U.S. President Truman signed The National Security Act. The act created the National Security Council, the Department of Defense, the Central Intelligence Agency and the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

1948 – Babe Ruth was seen by the public for the last time, when he attended the New York City premiere of the motion picture, “The Babe Ruth Story.”

1948 – U.S. President Truman signed executive orders that prohibited discrimination in the U.S. armed forces and federal employment.

1952 – King Farouk I of Egypt abdicated in the wake of a coup led by Gamal Abdel Nasser.

1953 – Fidel Castro began his revolt against Fulgencio Batista with an unsuccessful attack on an army barracks in eastern Cuba. Castro eventually ousted Batista six years later.

1956 – Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalized the Suez Canal.

1971 – Apollo 15 was launched from Cape Kennedy, FL.

1998 – AT&T and British Telecommunications PLC announced they were forming a joint venture to combine international operations and develop a new Internet system.

1999 – 1,500 pieces of Marilyn Monroe’s personal items went on display at Christie’s in New York, NY. The items went on sale later in 1999.


Why Do People Hate Israel?

Israel…is God’s eye twinkling back at us. Israel, a tiny, tiny country wondrously prospering while under constant attack amidst a hornets nest of evil.
<em>Thai-Muslim demonstrators burn an Israeli flag during an anti-Israel protest in front of the Israeli embassy in Bangkok on July 15. Photo by Chaiwat Subprasom/Reuters</em>

Thai-Muslim demonstrators burn an Israeli flag during an anti-Israel protest in front of the Israeli embassy in Bangkok on July 15. Photo by Chaiwat Subprasom/Reuters

Why Do People Hate Israel?… by Dennis Prager

We live in a bad world.

There is nothing new about that. The world has been pretty bad since its inception. That’s why God destroyed it and started all over again (with little to show for the new experiment, one might add).

From a moral perspective, look at the world since 2000.

North Korea remains an entire country that is essentially a large concentration camp.

Tibet, one of mankind’s oldest cultures, continues to be occupied and destroyed by China.

Somalia no longer exists as a country. It is an anarchic state in which the cruelest and strongest (usually one in the same) prevail.

In Congo, between 1998 and 2003, about 5.5 million people were killed — nearly the same as the number of Jews murdered in the Holocaust.

In Syria, about 150,000 people have been killed in the last three years, and millions have been rendered homeless.

In Iraq, there is a mass murder from terror bombings almost every week.

In Mexico, since 2006, approximately 120,000 people have been killed in the country’s drug wars.

Iran, a genocide-advocating theocratic dictatorship, is very near having the capacity to make nuclear weapons.

Christian communities in the Middle East are wiped out; Christians in Nigeria are routinely massacred.

Of course, the 20th century was even bloodier, but we are only in the 15th year of the 21st century. Nevertheless, showing how awful the world is for so many of its inhabitants is not my point. My point is that, despite all this evil and suffering, the world has concentrated its attention overwhelmingly on the alleged evils of one country: Israel.

What makes this so worthy of note is that Israel is among the most humane and free countries on the planet. Moreover, it is the only country in the world that is threatened with annihilation.

This is the only time in history when people in free countries have sided with a police state against a free state. One cannot name any time in modern history — the only time in history when there have been free societies — when, in a war between a free state and a police state, the free state was deemed the aggressor. That’s because it never happened before Israel and its enemies.

The question, of course, is why?

Why, during a time when a Kenyan mall is blown up, Islamic terrorists massacre Christians in Nigeria and thousands more die in Syria, is the world preoccupied with 600-some Palestinians killed as a direct result of their firing thousands of missiles in order to kill as many Israelis as possible?

Why has obsession with Israel been the case since its inception, and especially since 1967?

It can’t be occupation. China occupies Tibet, and it merits virtually no attention from the world. And Pakistan’s creation, coming at the same time as Israel’s, led to millions of Muslim (and Hindu) refugees. Yet, that country, too, merits no attention.

There are only two explanations for this moral anomaly.

One is the nearly worldwide embrace of leftist thought and values. According to this way of thinking, Westerners are almost always wrong when they fight Third World countries or groups; and the weaker party, especially if non-Western, is almost always deemed the victim when fighting a stronger, especially Western, group or country. Leftism has replaced “good and evil” with “rich and poor,” “strong and weak,” and “Western (or white) and non-Western (or non-white).” Israel is rich, strong and Western; the Palestinians are poor, weak and non-Western.

The only other possible explanation is that Israel is Jewish.

There is no other rational explanation because the fixation with, and the hatred of, Israel are not rational. Israel is a particularly decent country. It is tiny — about the size of New Jersey and smaller than El Salvador; and while there are more than 50 Muslim countries, there is only one Jewish one. She should be admired and supported, not hated to the extent that there are dozens of countries whose populations would like to see Israel annihilated — again, a unique phenomenon. No other country in the world is targeted for extermination.

As hard as it is for modern, rational and irreligious people to accept, Israel’s Jewishness is a primary reason for the hatred of it.

Ironically, this fact — just as with the fixation on the Jew before Israel’s existence — confirms for this observer the divine role the Jew plays in history. Few Jews are aware of their role, and even fewer want it. But, other than the influence of the left, there is no other explanation for all the animosity toward Israel.


Five Fatal Flaws of Sola Energy

By Viv Forbes

The sun is the most important energy source on Earth.  Solar energy powers the growth of all trees, grasses, herbs, crops and algae; it creates the clouds and powers the storms; it is the source of all hydro, photo-voltaic (PV), solar-thermal, bio-mass, and wind energy.  Over geological time, it also creates coal.

PV solar panels are useful in remote locations and for some portable applications.  With enough panels and batteries, standalone solar can even power homes.

But solar energy has five fatal flaws for supplying 24/7 grid power.

Firstly, sunshine at any spot is always intermittent and often unreliable.  Solar panels can deliver significant energy only from 9am to 3pm – a maximum of 25% of each day.  Solar can often help supply the hot afternoon demand for air conditioning, but demand for electricity generally peaks at about 6:30pm, when production from solar is usually zero.

Secondly, to be a standalone energy supplier, PV solar needs batteries to cover those times when solar is not producing – about 75% of the time under ideal cloudless skies.  To charge the batteries for continuous power, while also supplying usable power, a solar plant can deliver a theoretical maximum of only 25% of its daytime capacity.  The chance of cloudy days will greatly increase the battery storage needed and the generating capacity absorbed in charging the batteries.  Currently, only pumped hydro storage could possibly supply the storage capacity needed, and then only at massive cost, in a few suitable locations.

Thirdly, solar energy is very dilute, so huge areas of land are needed to collect industrial quantities of energy.

If it were possible to anchor a solar collector one meter square at the top of the atmosphere, aligned continuously to face the sun, and never shadowed by the earth or the moon, it would receive solar energy at the rate of 1,366 Watts per square meter (W/m2).  That would power 13 light bulbs each using 100 watts.

If that panel were located on the surface, at the equator, under clear skies, aligned continuously to face the sun, and never shaded by the earth or the moon, solar energy dissipated by the atmosphere would reduce energy received to 1,000 watts.

In the real rotating world, where sunshine reaches usable intensity for only about 25% of the time, the best-located panel would have a capacity factor of about 17%.  It would receive 170 watts of energy – not quite 2 light bulbs.

PV solar panels convert solar energy to electrical energy at an efficiency factor of about 15%.  Thus, our panel, at the equator, year-round, should deliver 25.5 watts of electrical energy – one very dim light bulb.

Away from the equator, solar energy hits the Earth’s surface at an angle, thus delivering less energy per panel.  This useful site shows how solar intensity varies with latitude in Australia.

Shift that panel to Melbourne; add clouds, shading, urban air pollution, and dirt on the panels; and fix it to a sloping roof often aligned poorly to collect sunshine, and it is time to start the diesel generator in the car port.

It is sensible to use unused space like roofs for solar collectors, but such fragmented facilities will never match a compact, well-designed solar plant in construction, maintenance, and cleaning costs, or get close to achieving the correct panel orientation.

People underestimate the land needed for significant solar collectors.  In a learned paper published in 2013, Graham Palmer has produced a credible calculation that it would take a square with 31-km sides, completely filled with PV panels, to collect energy equivalent to Australia’s annual electricity requirements.

To also charge batteries to maintain steady supply from a standalone solar facility would require at least four times this area – imagine 3,844 square kilometers of collectors, even if suitable battery technology were available.

In addition, PV panels start to degrade in rain, hail, and sunshine from the day they are installed, with some panels losing significant capacity in as little as three years.  And unless washed regularly, dust and bird poop degrade their performance even quicker.  All those sparkies checking panel performance and all those cleaning ladies with mops need access roads, which greatly increases the area needed for industrial solar installations.

The fourth fatal flaw of solar energy is the pernicious effect of the dramatic fluctuations in supply on the reliable and essential parts of the grid.  When solar electricity floods the network around mid-day, the backup stations have to throttle back, all the stations needed for stability and backup have their profits reduced, and some may be forced to close, making the network even more fragile and prone to blackouts.  Then, if a cloud floats across the sky, the backups have to restart swiftly.

Fifthly, large-scale solar power will create environmental damage over large areas of land.  Solar collectors may manage to convert only about 10% of the sun’s energy into electricity, the rest being reflected or turned into heat.  But the whole solar spectrum is blocked, thus robbing 100% of the life-giving sunshine from the ground underneath, creating a man-made solar desert.  For solar thermal, where mirrors focus intense solar heat to generate steam, birds that fly through the heat beams get fried.  Why would true environmentalists support industrial-scale solar energy collection?

All consumers should be free to use solar energy in their own way at their own cost.  But these five fatal flaws mean that collecting solar energy will never play more than a minor and very expensive role in supplying grid power.

Desertec, the utopian U.S. $560-billion project designed to cover 16,800 square kilometers of the Sahara Desert with solar panels, and then export electricity 1,600 km to Europe, has collapsed.

A similar fate awaits other attempts to extract 24/7 grid power from intermittent, unpredictable, and dilute solar power.

The latest “Desertec Idea” is “solar roads,” where highways are paved with solar panels.  Imagine the construction and maintenance costs, the length of transmission lines, the problems of shading and abrasion by traffic, and the hazards of cleaning and the random non-ideal orientation of the panels.

Not with my money, thanks.

Five Fatal Flaws of Solar Energy … by Viv Forbes