Posts Tagged ‘history’

The Presidency: The Hardest Job in the World – The Atlantic

Sunday, February 10th, 2019

Good quotes:
Hoover noted, “When we are sick, we want an uncommon doctor; when we have a construction job to do, we want an uncommon engineer; and when we are at war, we want an uncommon general. It is only when we get into politics that we are satisfied with the common man.”

There’s just too much to do. Instead, presidents should follow Calvin Coolidge’s model. “Perhaps one of the most important accomplishments of my administration has been minding my own business,” he said. …
Can one person handle all this? In 1955, former President Herbert Hoover completed a review—his second—of executive-branch efficiency and suggested the addition of an administrative vice president to help the overloaded president. (The existing vice president was apparently already too busy.) Hoover’s report was issued a few months before President Eisenhower had his first heart attack. It was the fifth heart attack or stroke to hit a current or former president since the Wilson administration ended, in 1921. This caused the columnist Walter Lippmann to wonder whether the job was too much for one man to bear. Addressing the “intolerable strain” on the president, Lippmann wrote, “The load has become so enormously greater … because of the wars of this century, because of the huge growth of the American population, of the American economy, and of American responsibilities.”

Tales of African-American History Found in DNA – The New York Times

Sunday, October 23rd, 2016

Tales of African-American History Found in DNA, by @carlzimmer #Histories of molecules in addition to that of people

The Gene: An Intimate History: Siddhartha Mukherjee, Dennis Boutsikaris: 9781508211389: Books

Sunday, May 22nd, 2016

Russia and the Curse of Geography

Tuesday, November 17th, 2015

#Russia & the Curse of Geography Issues always faced: “the ports still freeze & the European Plain is still flat”

“Russia has not finished with Ukraine yet, nor Syria. From the Grand Principality of Moscow, through Peter the Great, Stalin, and now Putin, each Russian leader has been confronted by the same problems. It doesn’t matter if the ideology of those in control is czarist, communist, or crony capitalist—the ports still freeze, and the European Plain is still flat.”

The Long Road to Maxwell’s Equations – IEEE Spectrum

Sunday, February 1st, 2015

The Long Road to #Maxwell’s Equations Heaviside simplified the original 20 eqns. to the current 4 w. vector fields

Also, Hertz’s 2 “loop” experiments were key!

A great grave to visit.


Should you wish to pay homage to the great physicist James Clerk Maxwell, you wouldn’t lack for locales in which to do it. There’s a memorial marker in London’s Westminster Abbey, not far from Isaac Newton’s grave. A magnificent statue was recently installed in Edinburgh, near his birthplace. Or you can pay your respects at his final resting place near Castle Douglas, in southwestern Scotland, a short distance from his beloved ancestral estate.

You could start the clock in 1800, when physicist Alessandro Volta reported the invention of a battery, which allowed experimenters to begin working with continuous direct current. Some 20 years later,Hans Christian Ørsted obtained the first evidence of a link between electricity and magnetism, by demonstrating that the needle of a compass would move when brought close to a current-carrying wire. Soon after, André-Marie Ampère showed that two parallel current-carrying wires could be made to exhibit a mutual attraction or repulsion depending on the relative direction of the currents. And by the early 1830s, Michael Faraday had shown that just as electricity could influence the behavior of a magnet, a magnet could affect electricity, when he showed that drawing a magnet through a loop of wire could generate current.

A major seed was planted by Faraday, who envisioned a mysterious, invisible “electrotonic state” surrounding the magnet—what we would today call a field. He posited that changes in this electrotonic state are what cause electromagnetic phenomena.

The net result of all of this complexity is that when Maxwell’s theory made its debut, almost nobody was paying attention.

But a few people were. And one of them was Oliver Heaviside. Once described by a friend as a “first rate oddity,” Heaviside, who was raised in extreme poverty and was partially deaf, never attended university.

Heaviside ended up reproducing a result that had already been published by another British physicist, John Henry Poynting. But he kept pushing further, and in the process of working through the complicated vector calculus, he happened upon a way to reformulate Maxwell’s score of equations into the four we use today.

Now confident that he was generating and detecting electromagnetic waves, Lodge planned to report his astounding results at a meeting of the British Association, right after he returned from a vacation in the Alps. But while reading a journal on the train out of Liverpool, he discovered he’d been scooped. In the July 1888 issue of Annalen der Physik, he found an article entitled “Über elektrodynamische Wellen im Luftraum und deren Reflexion” (“On electrodynamic waves in air and their reflection”) written by a little-known German researcher, Heinrich Hertz.

Hertz’s … noticed that something curious happened when he discharged a capacitor through a loop of wire. An identical loop a short distance away developed arcs across its unconnected terminals. Hertz recognized that the sparks in the unconnected loop were caused by the reception of electromagnetic waves that had been generated by the loop with the discharging capacitor.

Inspired, Hertz used sparks in such loops to detect unseen
radio-frequency waves. He went on to conduct experiments to verify that electromagnetic waves exhibit lightlike behaviors of reflection, refraction, diffraction, and polarization.

They also served

Sunday, January 11th, 2015

#Statisticians in World War II: They also served Developed quality controls & sequential methods HT @stodden

WWII Nazi Bunkers Stand the Tests of Time, Vandalism and Livestock | Raw File | WIRED

Saturday, June 14th, 2014

#Photos of crumbling remains of the 3rd Reich: #WWII Nazi Bunkers Stand… + Hitler’s Airport

Adam Gopnik: 2014 and 1914 : The New Yorker

Saturday, January 18th, 2014

.@carstenknoch 3 parallels v 2?: #Titanic ’12 iceberg; Britannic ’16 mine; Olympic, reliable to ’35. 2014 & 1914

JANUARY 6, 2014

Then the ship sets off from Southampton, sure of itself, unsinkable, until it comes to the ice fields of the North Atlantic, off the coast of Newfoundland—and speeds right on through them to its anchorage, here in New York. Because this ship isn’t the Titanic but its nearly identical twin sister, the Olympic, made at the same time, by the same people, to do the same job in the same way. (A single memorable image exists of the two ships in dock together.) The Olympic not only successfully completed its maiden voyage but became known as Old Reliable, serving as a troop carrier in the First World War, and sailing on for twenty years more. (A third, late-released liner in the same class, the Britannic, hit a mine in the Aegean, in 1916, while serving as a hospital ship, and sank, a true casualty of war.) “}}

100 Years of Atomic Theory

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

100 Years of #Atomic Theory: explains why deriving the #Rydberg const. from more fundamental ones was so important

Walking in the Steps of an Ancestor in Pickett’s Charge – Liza Mundy – The Atlantic

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

Walking in the Steps of an Ancestor in Pickett’s Charge: Detailed, personalized retelling of #Gettysberg #history