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Posts Tagged ‘Continental Congress

Top of the Pops…

 

It was 80 years ago (more specifically, 80 years ago last month) that the BBC conducted its first experimental broadcast.  In grateful commemoration, Paste has created a list of its favorite BBC TV series.  Like any “best of” list it begs for bickering (e.g., while Jools Holland’s wonderful series is included, the honoree of this post’s title is not); but then, that’s the fun– and there’s not a ringer in the bunch.

Check them out– and then add your own– at “The 16 Best BBC TV Shows.”

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As we acknowledge our Anglophilia, we might recall that this was not a banner date for British-American relations in 1774: in response to Parliament’s enactment of the Coercive Acts in the American colonies, the first session of the Continental Congress convened at Carpenter’s Hall in Philadelphia.

Colonists had gathered before to protest the Stamp Act (1765) and the Tea Act (1773); indeed, the “Tea Party” (and related acts of violent protest)– “Intolerable Acts” as they were called by Parliament– precipitated the Coercive Acts, which closed Boston to merchant shipping, established formal British military rule in Massachusetts, made British officials immune to criminal prosecution in America, and required colonists to quarter British troops.  The Continental Congress was called to consider a united American resistance to the British… and so it did.

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Written by LW

September 5, 2012 at 1:01 am

A conversion experience…

1 average human stomach holds as much as 0.9203413389691 of a beer keg (photo source)

Who hasn’t wondered…

How many NASCAR Winston Cup Tires in an African Elephant?
How many kegs of beer in an Airbus A380?
How many Shaquille O’Neals in the Great Wall of China?
How many giraffe’s necks in the Weinermobile?
How many bathtubs in an average human stomach?
How many dump trucks in an Olympic Swimming pool?

One can derive excellent equivalencies to one’s heart’s content at “WeirdConverter.”

As we refrain from putting our thumbs onto the scales, we might recall that it was on this date in 1776 that Richard Bache became the second Postmaster General of (what was becoming) the United States; he took over from his father-in-law, Benjamin Franklin, who’d left for Paris to represent the interests of the Continental Congress.

Richard Bache (source: Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary)

 

“Thou hast set all the borders of the earth…” but then humans marked them…

Fifty states, fifty welcome signs.

(“Thou hast set all the borders of the earth…”  Psalms 74:17)

As we gas up and hit the road to collect ’em all, we might recall that it was on this date in 1777 that the Marine Committee of the Second Continental Congress passed the Flag Resolution– and the Stars and Stripes was adopted as the flag of the United States of America for maritime purposes.  While Congress reserved the right to adopt a different design for the nation’s ensign, it never did; rather it just added stars to the original thirteen for each new state in the Union.

The resolution specified “that the flag of the United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation”– but it did not specify the layout of the stars.  Consequently there were several early versions, for instance:

The “Betsy Ross” flag

The Bennington flag

In 1795, the number of stars and stripes was increased to 15 (reflecting the entry of Kentucky and Vermont).  It was about this flag the Francis Scott Key wrote “The Star-Spangled Banner”– and the dye was cast.

The “Anthem” flag

Happy Flag Day!

Imperial dreams…

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

– “Ozymandias”  Percy Bysshe Shelly (1818)

The Roman Empire encircled the Mediterranean:

source

The Mongol Empire once stretched from the Pacific to the Danube:

source

More recently, the Ottoman Empire was almost as large:

source

While the British Empire was the most widely dispersed:

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As we remark with Shelley that empires come and empires go, we might recall that it was on this date in 1781 that the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union were finally ratified, and the Second Continental Congress became the Congress of the Confederation of the United States of America.

The Articles of Confederation

The eyes have it…

From 10,000 Words (“where journalism and technology meet”), a look at “10 News photos that took retouching too far“:

Many news photographs are Photoshopped here and there to increase clarity or to optimize for print or online display. But there have been several instances where retouching has been pushed too far, changing the original intent or accuracy of the photo.

Among the before-and-after examples:

From USA Today

and this, from the Toledo Blade:

Read the back-stories, and check out the other eight, here.

In many newsrooms it is unethical to pass off a retouched photo as reality. Ideally, retouching of a news photograph should be limited to basic exposure and color correction, cropping, resizing, or conversion to grayscale. Any Photoshopping that alters the meaning of the original photo should be labeled as a “news illustration” in the caption so the viewer understands the photo has been altered.

Retouching may seem innocent, but can have a profound effect on the way we remember an event, according to a 2007 study published in Applied Cognitive Psychology.

“Any media that employ digitally doctored photographs will have a stronger effect than merely influencing our opinion – by tampering with our malleable memory, they may ultimately change the way we recall history,” said researcher Dario Sacchi.

For more on the ethics of news photography, check out the National Press Photographers Association’s code of ethics.

As we reconsider the evidence of our own eyes, we might recall that on this date in 1775, via a resolution submitted to the Continental Congress by Richard Henry Lee, the “United Colonies” of America (which had it’s own currency; c.f. the $2 note below) changed it’s name to the “United States” — a masterstroke of re-branding.

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