Posts Tagged ‘Newspapers’
From our old friends at Criggo (“Newspapers are going away; that’s too bad”… see here, here, and here), evidence that, as von Clausewitz observed, “Although our intellect always longs for clarity and certainty, our nature often finds uncertainty fascinating…”
As we aspire to comprehend, we might send nosy brithday greetings to soldier, poet, dramatist and duelist Hercule-Savinien de Cyrano de Bergerac; he was born on this date in 1619. The inspiration for Rostand’s 1897 verse drama, Cyrano de Bergerac (and Steve Martin’s Roxanne), Cyrano was possessed of a prodigious proboscis, over which he is said to have fought more than 1,000 duels.
Surely as importantly, his writings, which mixed science and romance, influenced Jonathan Swift, Edgar Alan Poe, Voltaire– and Moliere, who “borrowed freely” from Cyrano’s 1654 comedy Le Pédant joué (The Pedant Tricked).
Via our old friends at Criggo…
As we reconcile ourselves to the homework load, we might recall that it was on this date in 1884 that workers laid the 3,300-pound marble capstone on the Washington Monument and topped it with a nine-inch pyramid of cast aluminum, completing construction of the 555-foot erection honoring the Father of our country. The cornerstone had been laid on Independence Day, 1848.
(Alert readers will note that one of the examples proffered is a report on what became the subject of “the worst poem ever,” “The Tay River Disaster.”)
As we wash the ink from our fingers, we might recall that it was on this date in 1942 that the Atomic Age began, when a team led by Enrico Fermi, working inside an enormous tent on a squash court under the stands of the University of Chicago’s Stagg Field, achieved the first controlled nuclear fission chain reaction… laying the foundation for the atomic bomb and later, nuclear power generation.
“…the Italian Navigator has just landed in the New World…”
- Coded telephone message confirming first self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction, December 2, 1942.
1946 reunion of the 1942 team
Back row, left to right: Norman Hilberry, Samuel Allison, Thomas Brill, Robert G. Nobles, Warren Nyer, and Marvin Wilkening.
Middle row: Harold Agnew, William Sturm, Harold Lichtenberger, Leona W. Marshall, and Leo Szilard.
Front row: Enrico Fermi, Walter H. Zinn, Albert Wattenberg, and Herbert L. Anderson
As Arrested Motion reports:
… they’ve gone into magazine stands, bookstores and pharmacies throughout Hollywood, Manhattan, Williamsburg, LAX and JFK to drop copies of these little artistic interventions for the unsuspecting public.
No details were spared as headlines blasted celebrities and public figures like Lindsey Lohan, Sarah Palin and Donald Trump in hypothetical features of entertaining variants for ever popular gossip magazines such as US, People and OK. What’s more is that each page of the tabloid have an embedded alphanumeric code that leads to a secret website for people that can figure it out. So keep your eyes peeled as you pass by your local newsstands as you may be lucky enough to find that TrustoCorp made a special delivery in your neighborhood.
See the rest of the covers at Arrested Motion.
And visit the TrustoCorp site for an interactive map revealing the locations of the signs that the collective has helpfully distributed around Manhattan, signs like…
As we celebrate semiotic significance, we might recall that it was on this date in 1833 that the first successful “penny newspaper,” the New York Sun, was first published. While it is probably best remembered for its 1897 editorial “Is There a Santa Claus?” (commonly referred to as “Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus”), it also published “The Great Moon Hoax” (featured here recently), and Edgar Allan Poe’s “Balloon Hoax.”
We also have the Sun– more specifically, its managing editor from 1863-1890, John Bogart– to thank for that oft-quoted definition of the journalistic enterprise: “When a dog bites a man, that is not news, because it happens so often. But if a man bites a dog, that is news.”
Arguments rage as to how the U.S. sailed into the economic eddy in which we’re caught, and as to how we should navigate out. (Your correspondent’s thoughts, FWIW, are littered among the postings in his other blog.) But the situation is what it is… a situation that the folks at ProPublica have profiled, current as to data available this month.
- Annual rate at which the GDP grew this year: 1.3 percent between April and June, 0.4 percent between January and March
- Average annual GDP growth from 1998-2007: 3.02 percent
- Total jobs lost since January 2008: 8.7 million
- Total jobs recovered since January 2008: 1.8 million
- Unemployment rate in July 2011: 9.1 percent
- The “natural unemployment rate”: 5 percent
- Months that the unemployment rate has been around 9 percent or more: 28
- Number of unemployed people in July 2011: 13.9 million
- Number of long-term unemployed people in June 2011: 6.3 million, or 44.4 percent of the unemployed
- Number of long-term unemployed people in July 2011: 6.2 million, still about 44.4 percent of the unemployed
- Years it will take to get back to an unemployment rate of 5 percent: four years if we’re adding jobs at 350,000 per month; 11 years if we’re adding jobs at the 2005 rate of 210,000 per month
More at ProPublica… In an economy the fundamental premise of which is consumption, and in which employment gains demand a GDP growth rate of over 2%, it’s a sobering picture.
As we contemplating re-stuffing our mattresses, we might recall that it was on this date in 1835 that the New York Sun began a series of six articles detailing the discovery of civilized life on the moon. Now known as “The Great Moon Hoax,” the articles attributed the “discovery” to Sir John Herschel, the greatest living astronmer of the day. Herschel was initially amused, wryly noting that his own real observations could never be as exciting. But ultimately he tired of having to answer questioners who believed the story. The series was not discovered to be a hoax for several weeks after its publication and, even then, the newspaper did not issue a retraction.
The “ruby amphitheater” on the Moon, per the New York Sun (source)