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Old 2014-05-28, 22:09   #1
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Default Official "This Day In History" thread

Just like the title says - post links/thoughts/retrospectives about significant historical events here. No "current events" or really recent (say, < 20 years) stuff, please.

====================

May 29: The 95th Anniversary of Relativity’s Confirmation: How the Solar Eclipse of 1919 changed our understanding of the Universe forever

Nice piece, though it makes it sound like "gravity warping space" is the key difference between the Newtonian and Einsteinian theories - in fact one can view the Newtonian gravitational theory in a similar way, thus Newton also predicts bending of light by gravity, black holes, etc. The article thus omits what is arguably the co-equal difference, namely that Newton assumes gravitational effects propagate infinitely fast, whereas GR - in accord with the "cosmic speed limit" which is at the heart of its 1905 "special" predecessor - proceeds from the postulate that gravity obeys the same speed limit (that Wikipage has some very interesting history re. the speed of gravity and theories based on it - there are some real subtleties, e.g. Laplace's work on observable effects due to finite speed seems eminently sensible but ultimately gives wrong answers, and to say that Laplace was no fool is a massive understatement). In other words when speaking of the differences between Newton and GR one should never make the mistake, especially when discussing the latter theory, of speaking of space and time as though they are separable.

Last fiddled with by ewmayer on 2014-05-31 at 01:27 Reason: 1-day-belated addition of "the stars moved" link
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Old 2014-06-04, 21:45   #2
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Default 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre

Some interesting never-before-told backstory on the post-massacre effort to smuggle the protest leaders out of the country:

Escape From Tiananmen: How Secret Plan Freed Protesters
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Old 2014-06-06, 04:33   #3
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Default D-Day, 6 June 1944

More Tiananmen:

Tiananmen Vigil Draws H.K. Crowds 25 Years After Crackdown - Bloomberg

Isn't that lovely? 'Massacre' has been bowdlerized to a much more mild-mannered 'crackdown' in the Bloomberg piece. In another 25 years it'll be the "50th anniversary of the Tiananmen unfortunate misunderstanding".

(I saw news stories on this in 3 other places, and all of them used some polite euphemism in place of "massacre", so 'twas not just Bloomberg kissing up to the ChiComs.)

===============

70th anniversary of D-Day. There is sometimes debate as to whether the Normandy landings were more about defeating the Nazis or preventing the Russian army from overrunning western Europe, but in point of fact Soviet leader Stalin had been pressing the western allies to open a second front in western Europe since the fateful decision by Hitler - who apparently thought he could out-Napoleon the late Mr. Bonaparte in this regard - to open his own second European front and invade Russia in 1941.
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Old 2014-12-22, 08:10   #4
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Default November 16, 1864: Sherman's March to the Sea

[OK, so I missed the centennial of the outbreak of WW1 - sue me.]

One of my favorite writers at Pando is Gary Brecher, a.k.a. the War Nerd. I'm only now catching up on some back reading there, and here is his fine column commemorating the 150th anniversary of Sherman's (in)famous March to the Sea:

The War Nerd: Why Sherman was right to burn Atlanta | Pando Daily

Re. the quotes from Sherman, mote the - especially by contemporary dumb-glish standards - astonishing eloquence of the man, especially in the context of distinctly non-flowery, spare prose.
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Old 2014-12-25, 04:51   #5
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25-Dec. I've heard rumours that this day is important in some way. Maybe I am wrong about that? Anyhow there was supposed to be something of importance that happened on this day sometime in the past. Is this true, or have some historians got a different view of the timing of events related to 25-Dec?
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Old 2014-12-25, 05:31   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by retina View Post
25-Dec
Yeah, same as 31 Oct (or 19 Hex, we can't remember exactly which...)
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Old 2014-12-25, 22:47   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by retina View Post
25-Dec. I've heard rumours that this day is important in some way. Maybe I am wrong about that? Anyhow there was supposed to be something of importance that happened on this day sometime in the past. Is this true, or have some historians got a different view of the timing of events related to 25-Dec?
Ah, you must be referring to the birth (1899) of Humphrey Bogart.
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Old 2014-12-26, 00:04   #8
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It's the Saturnalia.
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Old 2014-12-26, 10:38   #9
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Actually, if ye didn't know, the Christmas is the celebration of birthday of Sir Isaac Newton...
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Old 2014-12-26, 10:44   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LaurV View Post
Actually, if ye didn't know, the Christmas is the celebration of birthday of Sir Isaac Newton...
Aha, the birth of SIN, somehow that seems like it is on the right track.
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Old 2014-12-26, 16:57   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rogue View Post
It's the Saturnalia.
Fascinating! Thanks!
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