Monthly Archives: March 2017

UNIVAC Computer Delivered to the US Census Bureau (1951)

By 1870, the US population was so large that hand-counting the census was no longer feasible. Despite the invention of a counting machine, by the time the 1880 census was tabulated, it was almost 1890. Dealing with so much data remained a problem until the late 1940s, when the Census Bureau commissioned the first civilian computer. In 1951, it was used to count part of the 1950 census and was so successful that the bureau bought another. What presidential election did UNIVAC correctly predict? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

First Monday Trade Days

The First Monday Trade Days are a trading bazaar that each month brings 100-300,000 people to the small town of Canton, Texas. This legendary affair in northern Texas has its origins in the 1850s when the circuit court judge came to Canton on the first Monday of the month to conduct court proceedings. Farmers from the area would gather to sell or trade horses, conduct other business in town, and watch the occasional hanging. Now the flea market starts on Thursday and runs through the weekend before the first Monday, offering merchandise and food at more than 3,000 exhibition stalls. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Jack Johnson (1878)

The son of two ex-slaves, Johnson was the world’s first African-American heavyweight champion. At the height of his career, Johnson was excoriated by the press for having twice married white women, and he offended white supremacists by defeating former champion James J. Jeffries, the “Great White Hope.” In 1912, Johnson was convicted under the Mann Act for transporting his wife-to-be across state lines. Sentenced to a year in prison, he fled the country. What happened when he returned? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Masamune Okazaki

Widely recognized as Japan’s greatest swordsmith, Masamune is thought to have forged most of his swords in the 14th c, but because no exact dates are known for his birth or death, he has attained an almost legendary status. With a reputation for superior beauty and quality—remarkable at a time when the steel used in sword making was often impure—his swords are often referred to by the name of their maker, much like famous works of art. What is the best known Masamune, and where is it today? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs Signed (1961)

In 1961, representatives from 73 nations met at United Nations headquarters to draft an international treaty to fight the production, trade, and use of illegal drugs. Their comprehensive convention replaced a prior patchwork of treaties and was entered into force in 1964. It was amended in 1972 and now has more than 180 signatories. Despite its sweeping breadth, the document contains a significant ambiguity that has been interpreted differently by various nations. What is it? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Ganguar

Gangaur is one of the highlights of the festival year in the state of Rajasthan, India. It is observed in celebration of Gauri, another name for Parvati, Shiva’s wife. This is largely a girls’ and women’s festival, but boys and men get to enjoy the elaborate processions that take place in cities around the state, such as Jaipur. The festival continues for 18 days, during which women fast, dress in their best clothes, adorn themselves with intricate henna designs, and pray. The festival culminates with feasting and processions of the goddess’s image that celebrate the union of Gauri and Shiva. Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary

Eric Patrick Clapton (1945)

Considered to be one of the greatest guitar players of all time, Clapton took up the instrument as a teen and went on to play in a succession of critically acclaimed blues and rock bands, such as the Yardbirds, the Bluesbreakers, and Cream. He is the recipient of 17 Grammy awards and is a three-time inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In the early 70s, he spent several years in seclusion battling a heroin addiction. What famous rock guitarist helped launch Clapton’s comeback? Discuss

Source: The Free Dictionary