Posts Tagged ‘National Geographic’
Evopropinquitous– “things I learned as a Field Biologist”
More hard-earned education at Evopropinquitous.
* “Adapt or perish, now as ever, is Nature’s inexorable imperative” – H.G. Wells
As we recheck our rucksacks, we might send adventurous birthday greetings to Gilbert Hovey Grosvenor; he was born on this date in 1875. Grosvenor was recruited in 1899 to a small scholarly journal published by the National Geographic Society. (His benefactor was a friend of his father’s, Alexander Graham Bell, then the president of the Society (and soon, Grosvenor’s father-in-law.) Grosvenor became the journal’s first full-time editor, and began to build it, developing its extraordinary photographic service and map department. Revenue from growing circulation supported expeditions– which supplied more remarkable photos and maps… Membership grew from 900 in 1899 to more than 2 million at the time of his retirement (by then, as President of the Society) in 1955.
From National Geographic:
A new view of the United States based on the distribution of common last names shows centuries of history and echoes some of America’s great immigration sagas. To compile this data, geographers at University College London used phone directories to find the predominant surnames in each state. Software then identified the probable provenances of the 181 names that emerged.
Many of these names came from Great Britain, reflecting the long head start the British had over many other settlers. The low diversity of names in parts of the British Isles also had an impact. Williams, for example, was a common name among Welsh immigrants—and is still among the top names in many American states.
But that’s not the only factor. Slaves often took their owners’ names, so about one in five Americans now named Smith are African American. In addition, many newcomers’ names were anglicized to ease assimilation. The map’s scale matters too. “If we did a map of New York like this,” says project member James Cheshire, “the diversity would be phenomenal”—a testament to that city’s role as a once-and-present gateway to America.
As we ruminate on roots, we might recall that it was on this date in 1654 that the Portuguese issued the Capitulation Protocol, giving Jewish and Dutch settlers three months to leave Brazil. Approximately 150 Jewish families of Portuguese descent fled the Brazilian city of Recife, in the state of Pernambuco. By September, twenty-three of these refugees had established the first community of Jews in New Amsterdam (now, of course, New York City).
These “Sephardim” (Jews of Spanish-Portuguese extraction) had followed a tortured path. In December 1496, following Ferdinand and Isabella’s Spanish example, King Manuel I of Portugal had expelled all Jews from Portugal, driving many to flee to more tolerant Holland. From there, some migrated to Pernambuco, a colony of the Dutch West India Company in modern-day Brazil. That community flourished until the Dutch eventually surrendered Pernambuco to the Portuguese– and the Sephardim were again forced to flee.
After being driven ashore in Jamaica by Spanish ships, twenty-three members of the community, along with a group of Dutch Calvinists, made their way to New Netherland (New York)– another colony run by the Dutch West India Company. Even then, the trials were not past: Peter Stuyvesant governor of New Netherland, feared that the indigent newcomers would burden the colony; but when he motioned to eject the Jewish newcomers, the Company (many of the shareholders of which were Jewish) refused his petition… and the wanderers found a home.
Accuratissima Brasiliæ tabula
[Inset of Pernambuco.]
by Hendrik Hondius, 1630
(source: Library of Congress)
From National Geographic, an elegant plea for global balance…
As we reframe our sense of our place in the world, we might wish an expansive Happy Birthday to Walter E. Diemer; he was born on this date in 1904. Diemer was working as an accountant for the Fleer Chewing Gum Co., when in 1928 he accidentally invented bubble gum while experimenting in his spare time with recipes for a chewing gum base. Fleer sold a test batch in a Philadelphia grocery store, which sold out in one afternoon. Diemer (who later became senior vice president of of the company) then taught Fleer salesmen how to blow bubbles, so they could demonstrate the product as they traveled from store to store selling the penny-a-piece gum. Almost 3/4 of a century later, Diemer still could not believe that “all the bubble gum in the world came from my five-pound batch…” The pink color of Diemer’s first batch is still standard.
Diemer and his Dubble Bubble (image source)
From Smashing Magazine, culled from over 2,500 entries in 51 categories, the results of their “World Of Signage Photo Contest.”
As we give in to the guides, we might recall that it was on this date in 1888 that the first issue of National Geographic Magazine was published, nine months after its parent, The National Geographic Society, was founded.
Captured by high-resolution cameras aboard a robotic submersible, mineral-rich water spews from hydrothermal vents in this June 30 picture of Kawio Barat, a massive undersea volcano off Indonesia.
During the past few weeks, the submerged volcano– one of the world’s largest– was mapped and explored in detail for the first time by a joint Indonesian-U.S. expedition north of the island of Sulawesi (map).
Read the whole story, and see fascinating video, at National Geographic.
As we batten down the hatches, we might recall that it was on this date in 64 CE that the Great Fire of Rome began, ultimately destroying much of the Imperial City. The fire began in the slums of a district south of the Palatine Hill. The area’s homes burned very quickly and the fire spread north, fueled by high winds; it raged out of control for three days. Three of Rome’s 14 districts were completely razed; only four were untouched by the conflagration. Hundreds of people died in the fire and many thousands were left homeless.
Legend has it that the Emperor Nero fiddled while the city burned. Aside from the facts that the fiddle did not even exist at the time (Nero was an adept of the lyre) and that he was actually 35 miles away in Antium when the fire broke out, there could be something to it.