August 8th, 2013
02:19 AM ET

Racial slurs on Jackie Robinson statue

Vandals defaced a statue of Jackie Robinson outside the Brooklyn Cyclones baseball stadium, marking racial slurs and symbols on it, park and police officials said Wednesday.

A swastika, "anti-Semitic comments" and the N-word were written in black marker on the statue and its base sometime between the end of the Cyclones game Tuesday night and 7 a.m. Wednesday, according to a spokesman for the New York City Police Department.

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Filed under: Baseball • Crime • Hate crime • History • New York • Race • Sports • U.S. • World Update
Cannibalism evidence in historic Jamestown
May 1st, 2013
07:51 PM ET

Researchers: Cannibalism at Jamestown

The winter of 1609 to 1610 was treacherous for early American settlers. Some 240 of the 300 colonists at Jamestown, in Virginia, died during this period, called the "Starving Time," when they were under siege and had no way to get food.

Desperate times led to desperate measures. New evidence suggests that includes eating the flesh of fellow colonists who had already died.

Archaeologists revealed Wednesday their analysis of 17th century skeletal remains suggesting that settlers practiced cannibalism to survive.

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Filed under: History • Virginia
February 18th, 2013
02:26 AM ET

JFK's bomber jacket fetches $629,000 at auction

Half a century after the heyday of Camelot, a treasure trove of John F. Kennedy personal items now belongs to a bevy of JFK fanatics.

At the center of the cache: Kennedy's Air Force One bomber jacket, which sold at auction Sunday for $629,000.

The stash also includes a May 29, 1963, birthday card for Kennedy signed by his toddler son, John Jr., as well as a marked-up itinerary for his final presidential trip, a visit to Dallas in November 1963.

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Filed under: History • Politics • U.S.
Sailors from Civil War ironclad to get Arlington burial
Using facial reconstruction, the Navy showed last year what the two USS Monitor sailors may have looked like.
February 12th, 2013
01:49 PM ET

Sailors from Civil War ironclad to get Arlington burial

The remains of two U.S. Navy sailors, recovered in 2002 from the wreck of the service's first ironclad warship, the USS Monitor, will be interred in Arlington National Cemetery outside Washington, the Navy said Tuesday.

"These may very well be the last Navy personnel from the Civil War to be buried at Arlington," Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said in a statement. "It's important we honor these brave men and all they represent as we reflect upon the significant role Monitor and her crew had in setting the course for our modern Navy."

The Monitor sank during a storm on New Year's Eve 1862 off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, with a loss of 16 sailors.

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Filed under: Civil War • History • Military • U.S. Navy
Philadelphia police arrest man over Liberty Bell threat
January 26th, 2013
06:20 PM ET

Philadelphia police arrest man over Liberty Bell threat

Police arrested a man Saturday for threatening to blow up Philadelphia's iconic Liberty Bell, according to police.

The unidentified man apparently left two black backpacks in front of the Liberty Wheels wheelchair and scooter rental shop in downtown Philadelphia.

Police said a bomb squad was called in and secured the scene but found that the bags did not contain explosives.

"I have no idea why" the man did this, police spokeswoman Christine O'Brien said.

The bell is considered an iconic monument to American independence.

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Filed under: History • Pennsylvania
150 years since America's bloodiest day
Confederate infantry re-enactors re-create the Battle of Bloody Lane on Saturday in Sharpsburg, Maryland.
September 17th, 2012
08:34 AM ET

150 years since America's bloodiest day

Monday marks 150 years since the bloodiest day in U.S. history, the Civil War Battle of Antietam in Maryland, which left almost 23,000 Union and Confederate soldiers dead, wounded, missing or captured.

While Union forces suffered a heavier casualty toll 12, 400 Union to 10, 300 Confederate casualties and military historians consider the battle a draw, President Abraham Lincoln called it a Union victory and said it showed that the Union army could enforce orders coming out of Washington. Five days later, Lincoln issued the Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. When it went into effect on January 1, 1863, it freed slaves in the rebellious Confederate states and made the abolition of slavery an official U.S. policy.  Read the original Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation from the National Archives here.

"Antietam enabled Lincoln to identify the nation's cause with the cause of liberty for men and women everywhere and at all times, and had it not occurred, it is quite possible that America never would have become the beacon of freedom the world now recognizes," The Baltimore Sun writes in an editorial Monday.

The Battle of Antietam was brutal and up close for the 131,000 troops engaged, 87,000 on the Union side and 45,000 for the Confederacy. In the part of the battlefield known as the Sunken Road, so much blood was spilled that dirt turned to mud, so much so that the road was later given the name Bloody Lane.

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Filed under: Civil War • History
August 20th, 2012
03:52 PM ET

Amelia Earhart: The evidence we almost lost

Famous aviator Amelia Earhart seemed to vanish from the sky 75 years ago, but she never disappeared from the American psyche.

Now, the man responsible for leading a 24-year charge to solve one of America’s greatest mysteries explains how an  image that might finally crack the case was almost lost forever.

75 years later, the mystery of Amelia Earhart solved?

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Filed under: Aviation • History
August 19th, 2012
11:44 AM ET

75 years later, the mystery of Amelia Earhart solved?

Debris discovered in the depths of the South Pacific may be remnants of vanished aviator Amelia Earhart’s plane.

“A review of high-definition underwater video footage taken during the recently-completed Niku VII expedition has revealed a scattering of man-made objects on the reef slope off the west end of Nikumaroro,” The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery reported on its website.

The question researchers are now asking: Do these new images reveal parts of the same plane captured in a 1937 photo of Nikumaroro.

Discovery News reports that the 1937 photo of the island's western shoreline was taken three months after Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, disappeared. The shot by British Colonial Service officer Eric R. Bevington, “revealed an apparent man-made protruding object on the left side of the frame.” Forensic analysis of the image “found the mysterious object consistent with the shape and dimension of the upside-down landing gear of Earhart's plane.”

"The Bevington photo shows what appears to be four components of the plane: a strut, a wheel, a wom gear and a fender. In the debris field there appears to be the fender, possibly the wheel and possibly some portions of the strut," TIGHAR forensic imaging specialist Jeff Glickman told Discovery News.

TIGHAR launched the expedition last month, working on a theory that Earhart and Noonan became stranded and ultimately met their deaths on Nikumaroro Island after their Lockheed Electra plane was swept out to sea 75 years ago.

The group’s ninth expedition to the island kicked off with a chorus of excitement and criticism around the Internet. Researchers ultimately returned to the U.S. admitting they had found no obvious signs of the plane.

But new analysis of an underwater debris field may prove the researchers found exactly what they were looking for.

"Early media reports rushed to judgment in saying that the expedition didn't find anything," Ric Gillespie, TIGHAR executive director, told Discovery News. "We had, of course, hoped to see large pieces of aircraft wreckage but as soon as we saw the severe underwater environment at Nikumaroro we knew that we would be looking for debris from an airplane that had been torn to pieces 75 years ago."

Glickman told Discovery News the group has reviewed less than 30% of the high-definition underwater video taken on the recent expedition, which launched July 12 and concluded on July 24.

TIGHAR theorizes that Earhart and Noonan landed on Nikumaroro Island then called Gardner’s Island after failing to find a different South Pacific island where they were planning to land. The pair is believed to have landed safely and called for help using the Electra’s radio. And in a twist of fate, the plane was apparently swept out to sea, washing away Earhart and Noonan’s only source of communication. U.S. Navy search planes flew over the island, but not seeing the Electra, passed it by and continued the search elsewhere.

"What makes this the best expedition is the technology we've been able to assemble to search for the wreckage of that airplane," Gillespie told CNN last month. "We have an autonomous vehicle. We have multibeam sonar above the University of Hawaii ship we're on right now. We have a remote-operated vehicle to check out the targets (and a) high-definition camera. We're all set."

Gillespie told Discovery News that if further analysis of the Bevington photo continues to support TIGHAR's theory, the group will seek to recover the objects from the ocean’s depths.

Do clues to Amelia Earhart mystery lurk beneath the sea?

Finding Amelia Earhart: New clues revealed

Will mystery of Amelia Earhart be solved?

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Filed under: Aviation • History
Earhart searches find no obvious signs of her plane
Amelia Earhart with her navigator, Capt. Fred Noonan, before their fateful flight in which they disappeared.
July 24th, 2012
05:53 AM ET

Earhart searches find no obvious signs of her plane

A team of searchers looking for proof that Amelia Earhart crashed on a remote Pacific atoll 75 years ago were on their way back to Hawaii Tuesday without any concrete evidence to prove the aviation pioneer crashed on Nikumaroro.

"Big pieces of airplane wreckage were not immediately apparent," the group behind the search, The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery, said on its website.

"As is usually the case with field work, we’re coming home with more questions than answers. We are, of course, disappointed that we did not make a dramatic and conclusive discovery, but we are undaunted in our commitment to keep searching out and assembling the pieces of the Earhart puzzle," the website said.

The TIGHAR group left Honolulu on July 3 on its ninth effort to search for wreckage of the Lockheed Electra that Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, were flying when they disappeared on an around-the-world flight in 1937.

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Do clues to Amelia Earhart mystery lurk beneath the sea?
Amelia Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan before they famously disappeared in 1937.
July 2nd, 2012
02:04 PM ET

Do clues to Amelia Earhart mystery lurk beneath the sea?

A deep-sea expedition will launch from the shores of Honolulu on Tuesday in an attempt to solve the mystery of vanished aviator Amelia Earhart, according to the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery.

The group will launch its Niku VII expedition 75 years after the first ship set sail in search of Earhart, her navigator Fred Noonan and their Lockheed Electra aircraft.

The initial launch was set for Monday, but was pushed back to Tuesday because of a scarcity of flights to Hawaii, according to the expedition’s daily reports Web page.

“Meanwhile, the technical staff is very glad of the extra day,” a recent blog post from the group said. “There are always glitches, stuff that doesn’t work quite the way it should, tests that need to be run, toothpaste to be bought, and the additional time will allow for these issues to be resolved while still in port where there are stores and cell phones and other markers of modern civilization.”

Once out of the port, the crew will set sail for Nikumaroro Island in the South Pacific, where researchers believe Earhart landed, was stranded and ultimately met her death during her doomed attempt at an around-the-world flight in 1937.

The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery has been investigating the mystery surrounding Earhart’s death for 24 years, has launched eight prior expeditions and has developed a comprehensive theory of her disappearance and last days on earth.

“This is the hi-tech deep water search we’ve long wanted to do but could never afford,” the group said on its website. The expedition is funded by corporate sponsors and charitable donations.

The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery theorizes that Earhart and Noonan landed on Nikumaroro Island - then called Gardner’s Island - after failing to find a different South Pacific island they were set to land on. The pair is believed to have landed safely and called for help using the Electra’s radio. And in a twist of fate, the plane was swept out to sea, washing away Earhart and Noonan’s only source of communication. U.S. Navy search planes flew over the island, but not seeing the Electra, passed it by and continued the search elsewhere.

"What makes this the best expedition is the technology we've been able to assemble to search for the wreckage of that airplane," Rick Gillespie, executive director for The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery, told CNN on Monday. "We have an autonomous vehicle. We have multibeam sonar above the University of Hawaii ship we're on right now. We have a remote-operated vehicle to check out the targets (and a) high-definition camera. We're all set."

At a conference in Washington, D.C., last month, the organization announced its newest study suggesting that dozens of radio signals once dismissed were actually transmissions from Earhart’s plane after she vanished. Discovery News reported that the group has discovered there were 57 “credible” radio transmissions from Earhart after her plane went down.

Earlier this year, the organization also discovered what is believed to be a cosmetics jar once belonging to Earhart on Nikumaroro Island.

"All these things we can't explain unless the woman we think was there, was there," Gillespie said.

More on Amelia Earhart:

Finding Amelia Earhart: New clues revealed

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Filed under: Aviation • History
June 6th, 2012
09:03 AM ET

D-Day: Take a moment to remember

It was 68 years ago today that D-Day, one of the most decisive battles, marked the beginning of the end for World War II. On June 6, 1944, more than 160,000 Allied troops swept up the fortified beaches of Normandy, France, helping to defeat the Nazi regime in Europe.

But it was not without great loss. Nearly 10,000 troops were killed or wounded. It is the largest seaborne invasion in history.

The invasion's code name was Operation Overlord, commanded by Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower. He wanted the troops to land in Normandy because it was west of where the German troops and artillery were gathered.

The invasion was initially planned for June 5, 1944, but rough seas forced a postponement. Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword were used as code names for the landing beaches.

D-Day itself is code, as well: D-Day and H-Hour stand for the secret time/day an operation is scheduled to begin. FULL POST

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Filed under: France • History • Military • U.S. • Veterans
Finding Amelia Earhart: New clues revealed
New discoveries may help answer questions about what happened to Amelia Earhart.
June 3rd, 2012
11:38 AM ET

Finding Amelia Earhart: New clues revealed

A mystery that has enthralled Americans for nearly a century may be on its way to being solved.

New evidence released Friday revealed clues that may solve the mystery of what happened to aviator Amelia Earhart, Discovery News reports.

The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery announced that a new study suggests that dozens of radio signals once dismissed were actually transmissions from Earhart’s plane after she vanished during her attempted around-the-world flight in 1937.

The announcement was made at the start of a three-day conference in Washington dedicated to Earhart and the group’s search for the famous aviator’s remains and the wreckage of her plane.

On the conference website, the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery called Earhart’s unanswered distress calls “The smoking gun that was swept under the rug.”

Discovery News reported that the group has determined 57 “credible” radio transmissions from Earhart after her plane went down.

It has been researching the disappearance of Earhart, her navigator, Fred Noonan, and her Lockheed Electra aircraft for 24 years. Its members have developed a theory that Earhart’s remains lie on Nikumaroro Island in the Western Pacific.

Nikumoro Island, then called Gardner’s Island, had been uninhabited since 1892, the group said. In its version of Earhart’s final days, she and Noonan landed there after failing to find another island. They landed safely and radioed for help, the hypothesis goes. Eventually, the Electra was swept away by the tide, and Earhart and Noonan could no longer use its radio to call for help. U.S. Navy search planes flew over the island, but not seeing the Electra, they passed on and continued the search elsewhere.

The discovery of what is believed to be an old jar of anti-freckle cream may also provide clues to this decades-old mystery. It is suspected that the cosmetic bottle found on Nikumaroro Island once belonged to Earhart.

The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery will launch an expedition to Nikumaroro Island on July 2, the 75th anniversary of Earhart’s disappearance. This is their ninth expedition.

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Filed under: Aviation • History • U.S. • Uncategorized
May 17th, 2012
12:34 PM ET

Shipwreck found on Gulf floor while thousands watched

The joy of discovery was palpable when a nearly 200-year-old wooden shipwreck was found on the bottom of the ocean in the Gulf of Mexico, along with three other wooden ship sites, according to Fred Gorell of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration's Office of Ocean Exploration.

Most of the wood is gone, eaten by ocean organisms, but copper sheathing helped keep the shape of the hull together, scientists said.

The artifact-laden wreck is in a largely unexplored area of the Gulf, and when NOAA went in with their Little Hercules remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV) for 29 dives, satellite and Internet pathways allowed scientists and amateurs alike to follow along live.

But why was this ship the most "exciting" out of the four potential sites?

It was full of evidence that intrigued NOAA marine archeologists. When the ship itself was discovered, 2,000 people were following along live - including scientists in five different states and "citizen researchers" ashore using telepresence technology. FULL POST

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Overheard on CNN.com: Face on milk carton chipped away at our innocence
Etan Patz was 6 years old when he disappeared on May 25, 1979, on his way to a bus stop in New York City.
April 19th, 2012
06:48 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Face on milk carton chipped away at our innocence

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

A 6-year-old boy named Etan Patz disappeared in 1979 on his way to a bus stop in New York City. He became the face on the milk carton, symbolizing growing awareness of missing children. As police and federal investigators once again search for the boy's remains, many of our readers are mourning a certain loss of societal innocence. Several said the ongoing search is worth doing.

Search related to 1979 Etan Patz case under way in New York City

That face haunts this reader to present day.

Michael Burch: "I remember this little boy's face and name on milk cartoons. I was about his age, 5 at the time. Wouldn't you want your child's remains to be finally laid to rest after almost 33 years? I know I would check up every lead possible. Not a waste of time!"

One person was curious why a boy would be on his own.

lm517: "How are more people not weirded out by the fact that a 6-year-old was expected to find his own way home from an NYC bus stop? When they talk about the mom calling the school and all of his friends, it sounds as if they are talking about a missing teenager. I still hate that they went through this, but still, questionable parenting."

This reader talked about leaving the house alone, just as Patz did in 1979. FULL POST

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Filed under: Crime • History • Missing Children • Overheard on CNN.com
Overheard on CNN.com: 1940 census records help readers learn about relatives, history
Census Bureau employees process microfilm records, circa 1940. Online records mean no more traveling to microfilm archives.
April 11th, 2012
03:18 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: 1940 census records help readers learn about relatives, history

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

Many people are taking a peek into the past after the release of 1940 census records. In a CNN.com opinion piece, Michael S. Snow, a historian with the U.S. Census Bureau, offered his thoughts on why that might be the case. Readers shared their enthusiasm in the comments section, providing some fascinating stories about genealogy and discovery.

We'd like to hear from you about what you've found. If you've learned something interesting about the history of your house after digging through the archives, please share your story at CNN iReport.

Why the huge interest in the 1940s census?

One reader said she hoped to learn about relatives she never got to meet.

Buffalogal013: "I have been waiting for the 1940 census for the longest time. I was very excited to see its release, though disappointed that it wasn't searchable in the state that I needed. Still I was able to 'meet' my Dad's parents and a couple of his siblings who both died before I could remember them and find my Mom's parents and grandparents. (I had not met her father's parents.) It was interesting to see how my Mom's father's mother who had emigrated from Italy in 1913 had Americanized her name between the 1930 and 1940 census and became a naturalized citizen. It was a neat moment."

With some detailed research, another commenter discovered a family member.

Guest: "I have been trying to find the identity of my grandfather for years. The 1940 census was pretty much my last hope. I had a last name and an idea of his first ... and I found him! I couldn't care less that it wasn't searchable. I just went through line by line in the area my grandmother lived in and bingo! Further research confirms that my father was named after him, just without the last name.

For others, the thrill was in learning a bit more about the details of how people lived. FULL POST

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Filed under: Census • History • Overheard on CNN.com • U.S.
Overheard on CNN.com: Yes, the ship sinks, but we can't get enough of Titanic story
The Titanic starts off on her first and last voyage, leaving Queenstown, now Cobh, Ireland, on April 10, 1912.
April 6th, 2012
08:05 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Yes, the ship sinks, but we can't get enough of Titanic story

Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community. The entry includes 1,912 words.

Nearly 100 years ago, the Titanic set sail on its ill-fated maiden voyage. Readers discussed why this story resonates through history.

Why the Titanic fascinates more than other disasters

iReporter Doug Simonton of Tulsa, Oklahoma, shared photos of the cemetery these commenters mentioned:

Otasawian: "I am a resident of Halifax, Nova Scotia. The place where 150 of the victims are buried and the location of a museum dedicated to the tragedy. The Titanic disaster is an important part of Halifax and Nova Scotia folklore. I believe that the fascination of the Titanic disaster has to do with the fact that it has become a metaphor for instances when people mistakenly believe they have become invincible. Too often, individuals, corporations, political parties, sports teams and nations, etc., who have become powerful in their own right begin to believe that they are so strong they cannot suffer defeat. They begin to believe that they are 'too big to fail' and once this happens reality deals them a crippling blow. The sinking of the Titanic and the folklore/legend surrounding the Titanic disaster provide a reminder that no one or anything is invincible. All powerful individuals and groups are subject to fail due to the human characteristics of hubris and complacency that tend to creep into our minds when we believe that things are going well."

Quincy Brown: "Speaking of Halifax, I have been to that cemetery, that is shaped like a ship with the headstones. I found it interesting that the cemetery ship is pointing exactly in the same direction as the sunken Titanic. I find it interesting just how many parallels before the sailing, the sinking, and the aftermath has in life lessons. It's even more ironic that the word Titanic can even be used as a verb now. I have heard sailors talk about the Titanic. Naming your boat after Neptune's mortal enemy, the Titans, proudly exclaiming that God could not sink this boat, and have enough arrogance to try to stand before life and say nothing can stop you. There was no way this ship could have made it, yet so many who do the same sort of things even today, like running from the police, hurting people, doing bad things, think they are somehow above the law, above the people, and yet they all suffer a bad fate eventually. Life lessons time and time again in Titanic proportions."

Hubris again. FULL POST

Investigators say they've found key clue to fate of Amelia Earhart
March 20th, 2012
10:50 AM ET

Investigators say they've found key clue to fate of Amelia Earhart

Investigators think they've uncovered a key clue that will lead them to solve the mystery of what happened to legendary aviator Amelia Earhart, who disappeared on a trans-Pacific flight 75 years ago.

Ric Gillespie, executive director of The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR), said a new enhanced analysis of a photo taken on the Pacific atoll of Nikumaroro, formerly Gardner Island, three months after Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan disappeared, may show the landing gear of her Lockheed Electra protruding from a reef.

“We found some really fascinating and compelling evidence," Gillespie said at a news conference in Washington on Tuesday.

“Finding the airplane would be the thing that would make it conclusive,” he said.

Gillespie said the photo was taken by a British survey team in October 1937 and had been seen by Earhart researchers many times. But investigators took a new look at it in 2010 and, when their suspicions were triggered, had the photo checked by U.S. State Department experts. In a blind review, they determined the component in the picture is the landing gear of a Lockheed Electra.

"This is where the airplane went into the drink," Gillespie said.

FULL POST

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March 7th, 2012
09:21 AM ET

Researchers: Rare astronomical alignment may have doomed Titanic

Did the moon and sun conspire to sink the Titanic?

In a way, yes, researchers at Texas State University say.

Donald Olson and Russell Doescher, members of the physics faculty at the university in San Marcos, teamed up with Roger Sinnott, senior contributing editor at Sky & Telescope magazine, to determine how the iceberg the liner struck late on April 14, 1912, came to be in the North Atlantic shipping lanes. More than 1,500 people died when the liner sank less than three hours after hitting the berg.

The researchers theorize that the berg that sank the ship originated in Greenland and was stuck on the coast on Labrador or Newfoundland in early January 1912. Icebergs that become stuck there usually experienced significant melting before regaining enough buoyancy to float away from the coast.

But on January 4, the moon was near full and at its closest distance to the Earth in 1,400 years. A day earlier, Earth was at perihelion, its closest distance to the sun all year. The alignment of Earth, sun and moon created an exceptionally strong "spring tide" which could have refloated icebergs grounded on the northwestern Atlantic coast, the researchers said.

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Emperor and pope gave us leap year
Leap day is the perfect time to get airborne.
February 29th, 2012
12:38 PM ET

Emperor and pope gave us leap year

It's leap day, a once-every-four-years bonus you can thank Julius Caesar and Pope Gregory XIII for.

We add a day at the end of February every four years because it takes the Earth about 365.242 days to make a full orbit around the sun. So we take those .242 days, round 'em up slightly and present the world with February 29, an extra day of, well, work for me, campaigning for the GOP presidential hopefuls or, if you fancy yourself a CNN iReporter, leaping!

Open Story: Leap day around the world

We thank the Roman emperor Caesar and the 16th century pontiff for putting the day into place.

In 46 B.C., Caesar decreed that under the Julian calendar, a day would be added in any year evenly divisible by four. However, accounting for the rounding up, that got the Romans a little ahead of themselves as far as time goes,  according to no less of an authority on things involving watches and calendars than timeanddate.com.

That little discrepancy, which amounted to 11 minutes every year, had added up to 10 whole days by 1582, when Pope Gregory said he had no time for inaccuracies and created the Gregorian calendar, under which we mark our days to this day. Gregory also designated February 29 as the official leap day and set up some rules so that we'd never end up 10 days ahead of ourselves again.

Here's how that works: Leap year occurs in every year that is evenly divisible by four and every century year that is divisible by 400. Hence, while 1200 and 2000 were leap years, 1700 and 1900 were not.

This also means that in the United States, leap years are presidential election years, which means we can always look forward to that extra day of campaigning.

Four million people born on leap day

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JFK tapes show he worried about re-election, Vietnam
President John F. Kennedy plays with his children in the Oval Office in 1962.
January 24th, 2012
10:42 AM ET

JFK tapes show he worried about re-election, Vietnam

Shortly before his death in 1963, President John F. Kennedy was worried about how he would come across to young voters at the 1964 Democratic Convention.

"What is it that we can [do to] make them decide that they want to vote for us, Democrats and Kennedy – the Democrats not strong in appeal obviously as it was 20 years ago. The younger people, party label – what is it that’s going to make them go for us. What is it we have to sell them? We hope we have to sell them prosperity but for the average guy, the prosperity is nil. He’s not unprosperous but he’s not very prosperous; he’s not going make out well off. And the people who really are well off, hate our guts," Kennedy says in a recording released Tuesday by his presidential library and museum in Boston.

The library on Tuesday released the final 45 hours of more than 248 hours of meeting conversations the president had recorded during his time in the White House. The latest tapes cover some the final discussions Kennedy had before his November 1963 trip to Dallas, where he was killed by an assassin's bullet on November 22.

Recordings of some of the last political discussions of President John F. Kennedy were released Tuesday by the JFK Presidential Library and Museum in Boston.

Besides the message Kennedy planned to relate at the '64 convention, he was worried about how it would be presented, wondering if films that would be shown could be in color, according to the tape made on November 12, 1963.

“Should they be made in color?” he asks on the tape. “They’d come over the television in black and white. I don’t know if maybe they’d come over the NBC one in color. Probably a million watching it in color and it would have an effect. I don’t know how much more expensive it is. Be quite an effect on the convention. The color is so damn good. If you do it right.”

FULL POST

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