1733 JosePh Priestley was born.
1781 Uranus was discovered.
1852 The first Uncle Sam cartoon was published.
1877 Ear mufflers were patented.
1881 Czar Alexander III was assassinated.
1884 World standard time was established.
1935 Tennessee outlawed the teaching of evolution. (See May 5th entry.)
1972 Clifford and Edith Irving pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges. (See January 9th entry.)
1974 The Arab nations agreed to end their five-month oil embargo. (See October 17 entry.)
1988 I - King Jordan became president of Gallaudet University in Washington, D. C.
1992 The House of Representatives unanimously voted to publicly identify 355 current Capitol Hill check bouncers.
Though time may seem to pass more slowly in some places than in others, clocks all over the world are synchronized. It isn’t the same time everywhere, but we can look at our watches and calculate the time in Singapore or Moscow or Timbuktu. We’ve only been able to do that since 1884. That’s when an international conference which was held on this date in Washington, D. C. established an international time standard. Using Greenwich, England (00°00’ longitude) as the commencement point from which all time is measured as plus or minus Greenwich Mean Time, all the time in the world was adjusted at thirty minute and one hour intervals. For example, Maritime Standard Time is thirty minutes earlier than Eastern Standard Time; and Mountain Standard Time is one hour later than Central Standard Time.
Uncle Sam is America’s most popular relative. He’s been around a long time and today’s his birthday. In 1802, the lanky Yankee in the star-spangled suit was born in the issue of The New York Lantern, a weekly newspaper. Frank Bellew drew the original character that replaced the nation’s previous cartoon symbol—Brother Jonathan.
Nature played a key role in a couple of events that occurred on this date. In 1733, Joseph Priestley was born in Leeds, England. This Yorkshire chemist’s discovery—oxygen— swept the world like a breath of fresh air. And in 1781, British astronomer Sir William Herschel discovered a huge planet residing just past the planet Saturn in our solar system. Uranus was the first of three planets to be sighted during the next two hundred years.
Isn’t it ironic that on the same day the planet Uranus and oxygen were discovered, we would also mark the anniversary of our return to ignorance? In 1935, the state of Tennessee officially outlawed the teaching of evolution in schools. The fundamentalist fervor that triggered this action also fueled the famous John Scopes “monkey trial.” Attorney Clarence Darrow bravely defended the young teacher who was accused and and eventually convicted of teaching a religious heresy.
The straggle to be heard hit a high watermark on this day in 1988, when I. King Jordan became president of Gallaudet University in Washington, D. C. Students of this liberal arts college for the hearing impaired demanded to be heard: They protested the school’s tradition of hiring hearing-persons as presidents. Jordan became the school’s first hear - ing-impaired president, succeeding Elisabeth Ann Zinser who was a hearing person.
Hasty actions can be the undoing of well-meaning schemes. On this day in 1881, Czar Alexander III was assassinated by radical terrorists who demanded a constitutional government in Russia. Ironically, the czar had just signed a bill to establish exactly what they wanted. When he died, so did the enactment of the agreement. In their haste to obtain certain freedoms, the conspirators destroyed their own dreams by not waiting for an official response.
Building public trust and confidence, including and beyond financial credit, is only the tip of the iceberg; maintaining that trust takes a lifetime of unfailing and honest work. When the U. S. House of Representatives unanimously voted, on this day in 1992, to publicly identify 355 current and former members who had overdrawn their accounts at the House bank, public confidence was dampened by an atmosphere of mistrust in elected officials.
Chester Greenwood of Farmington, Maine, was granted a patent on this day in 1877, for an invention that anyone who has been spared from cold ears on a frosty day can applaud. Inspired, no doubt, by a chilly New England winter, Mr. Greenwood invented a pair of ear mufflers.
Dependence on a single resource is a weakness that can enslave and destroy even the mighty. The United States learned that lesson on this day in 1974. The group of oil-pro - ducing Arab nations who had imposed a five-month embargo on sales to the U. S. ended their sanction. American dependence on outside oil resources crippled both industry and the economy. They tried to solve the problem by tapping into oil sources closer to home.