(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘U.S. Constitution

Quod Erat Demonstrandum…

Barlow’s Wheel
St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth, Ireland
Today we remember Peter Barlow (1776-1862) for his mathematical tables, the Barlow Lens, and Barlow’s Wheel (1822). Electric current passes through the wheel from the axle to a mercury contact on the rim. The interaction of the current with the magnetic field of a U-magnet laid flat on the baseplate causes the wheel to rotate. Note that the presence of serrations on the wheel is unnecessary.

Thomas Greenslade, a professor emeritus at Kenyon, has a passion for the devices that have been used over the years to teach the principles of physics.  Happy for us, he is willing to share: there are hundreds of fascinating exhibits like the one above at “Instruments for Natural Philosophy.”

As we sit back under our apple trees, we might recall that it was on this date in 1790 that the first U.S. patent statute was signed into law by President Washington. Although a number of inventors had been clamoring for patents and copyrights (which were, of course, anticipated in Article I, Section 8, Clause 8 of the Constitution), the first session of the First Congress in 1789 acted on none of the petitions. On January 8, 1790, President Washington recommended in his State of the Union address that Congress give attention to the encouragement of new and useful inventions; and within the month, the House appointed a committee to draft a patent statute. Even then the process worked slowly: the first patent issued under this statute was signed by George Washington– on July 31, 1790, for Samuel Hopkins’ process to make potash and pearl ash.

It’s some measure of the power of IP to create value that, on this date in 1849, Walter Hunt of New York City was issued Patent No. 6,281– the first U.S. patent for a safety pin.  Strapped for cash, Hunt spent three hours on his invention, filed, then immediately sold the rights for the $400 that he needed.

The first U.S. patent, issued to Hopkins

Bad Santa…

For more merriment, see Sketchy Santas.  (And for another real treat see the masterful Terry Zwigoff film memorialized in the title of this missive.)

As we make a list and check it twice, we might celebrate Virginia’s (the state’s, not the doubting young girl’s) ratification of the Bill of Rights. As the tenth consenting state (of 14 at the time), Virginia pushed the first ten amendments to the Constitution past the two-thirds necessary to take effect; and on this date in 1791, they became law.

(Congress had actually passed 12 amendments in 1789, and sent them to the states for ratification.  As to the two amendments not adopted, the first concerned the mechanics of the population system of representation, while the second prohibited laws varying the payment of congressional members from taking effect until an election intervened. The first was never ratified, while the second was finally ratified more than 200 years later, in 1992.)

The Bill of Rights (source: National Archives)

Written by LW

December 15, 2009 at 1:01 am

Excuses, excuses, excuses…

Why wrack your brain for a credible explanation, when you simply visit Corrupted-Files.com?

Step 1: After purchasing a file, rename the file e.g. Mike_Final-Paper.

Step 2: Email the file to your professor [or boss] along with your “here’s my assignment” email.

Step 3: It will take your professor [ or boss] several hours if not days to notice your file is “unfortunately” corrupted. Use the time this website just bought you wisely and finish that paper!!!

…only $3.95.

Psst– keep this site a secret!

As we hit the snooze button, we might recall that on this date in 1790, The Philadelphia Spelling Book was copyrighted– the first book to be protected under copyright laws passed by Congress  “to promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries” (Article I, Section 8, Clause 8 of the Constitution).

Since 1790, copyright (and for that matter, patent) law in the U.S. has strayed beyond that Constitutional purpose  (see, e.g., “Patently Absurd” or “Caution! Pile Up Ahead!“).  Wander over to Creative Commons for a look at an alternative that works– and works in the spirit of the Framers…

source:  Library of Congress

%d bloggers like this: