Aloha to USA’s 50th Star State – Hawaii

On Jan. 17, 1893, the ruler of then independent Hawaii, Queen Lili`uokalani was overthrown by U.S. Marines who arrested her at gunpoint.
Why do we have President William McKinley in this post? Because ultimately, on June 16 1897, he signed and forwarded the Treaty of Annexation of Hawaii to the United States, to the U.S. Senate for ratification.
It would take another year until President William McKinley signed it into law in July 1898 as it required a joint resolution of Congress authorizing the annexation.
The few voices that objected the morality of the annexation were drowned by the drums of conquest. At that time, our nation was caught in the fever of the war with Spain. The three months war put United States in control of Guam, Puerto Rico, Wake Island, Philippines and Cuba. So Hawaii just went with the flow.

[Read more…]


Dan Cooper’s Thanksgiving flight of fancy

On November 24, 1971, Dan Cooper a.k.a. D. B. Cooper purchased a one way ticket from Portland, Oregon to Seattle. This name was actually just a cover as part of this enterprising gentleman’s plan for an unusually memorable Thanksgiving for himself.

1972 F.B.I. composite drawing of D. B. Cooper

1972 F.B.I. composite drawing of D. B. Cooper

No strict security screenings existed at the airports 41 years ago. Passengers and their carry-on baggage screening only began in 1973. Thus, Cooper had no difficulty in bringing on board a bag containing a contraption with wires and cylinders that looked like or could have been an explosive device. [Read more…]


Brutal and bloody Battle of Verdun remembered

Battle of Verdun 1916 French Regiment

Verdun 1916 French 87th Regiment Cote 34

On the 18th December 1916, one of the most deadly battles of World War I ended without a clear victor. The carnage was mind numbing with casualties estimated at more than 700,000 to just under one million. The battle pitted the French against the Germans and it was one of the many attempts to break the grueling trench warfare.

The city of Verdun was destined to be the scene of many clashes. [Read more…]


Mason-Dixon line drawn 245 years ago

On this day, 245 years ago, the famous Mason-Dixon Line was drawn. Two English surveyors, Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon completed a land survey meant to end the border dispute between Pennsylvania and Maryland.

Mason Dixon Line crown stone

A “crownstone” boundary monument on the Mason-Dixon Line. These markers were originally placed at every 5th mile along the line, oriented with family coats of arms facing the state that they represented. The coat of arms of Maryland’s founding Calvert family is shown. On the other side are the arms of William Penn.(Wikipedia photo and detail)

Initially destined to settle a local dispute, the line grew into a more ominous demarcation between the pro-slavery and the ‘free’ states. The line follows the northern latitude of 39 degrees and 43 minutes and today separates four U.S. states: Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia and Delaware.

Mason and Dixon marked every mile of the chart with stones shipped from England. Every five miles the line was marked with a ‘Crown-stone.’ It consisted of the two coats of arms belonging to the adjacent colonies. Many markers survived and they can still be admired. [Read more…]


Sputnik 1 arrives first in space 55 years ago

Sputnik 1 remembered On Military Success Network

Sputnik 1 Photo via http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov

It was 55 years ago today, October 4, 1957, that the last frontier for humanity was breached. Sputnik 1, the first man-made object in space, was launched in a surprise move by the Soviet Union, much to the shock of America, held at that time to be more advanced in the space race.

Five days earlier, the Soviet Union experienced a radiation contamination accident (from a nuclear fuel plant) known as Kyshtym disaster. The Russians had to evacuate thousands of people, but they kept the reason for that action a secret for 20 years.

Sputnik on the other hand was truly a remarkable achievement. Although the USA launched its own satellite, Explorer 1, less than 4 months later, the cherished first spot was lost forever.
[Read more…]


Women activists secured inclusive democracy

Since the time of primitive tribal societies – where everybody’s voice was more or less equal (determined in part, I suppose by seniority or the size of one’s club) – to modern and all inclusive democracies, man has struggled to find the ideal form of government.

The ancient Athenians made early inroads with a system that recognized the right to vote. It applied to all male citizens, 20 years of age or older. Women, immigrants and slaves didn’t count. [Read more…]


A Republic State of Mind in San Marino


San Marino Coat of Arms with the single word motto: Freedom

As proud as we are of our ‘republican’ constitution in the United States of America, there is a nation out there that has been a republic well before us and has an older constitution. Abraham Lincoln was its honorary citizen. It might be hard to find it on the map even if you know where to look. But it is there. And it’s been there for the last 17 centuries. [Read more…]


“Nothing Great Is Easy”

Have you ever wondered when the first swim across the English Channel was?

Captain Matthew Webb swam the English Channel on August 25, 1875

On August 25, 1875 an Englishman did it. It took Matthew Webb, an officer in the British merchant marine, 22 hours to swim from Dover to Calais.

Webb’s feat of courage and endurance has since been repeated by many hundreds. Nonetheless, today’s swimmers wear high tech neoprene suits that allow them to withstand the cold waters of the channel.

[Read more…]


Alaska settled on this day

On August 14, 1784, a group of hardy pioneers founded Three Saints Bay, Alaska’s first settlement, on Kodiak Island. The settlers did not come across the Atlantic, but across the Bering Strait. They were Russian fur traders led by Grigory Shelikhov.

Alaska's first settlement on Kodiak Island

Shelikhov’s settlement on Kodiak Island

The settlement had a short life. It was destroyed by an earthquake and its attendant tsunami in 1792. There was no turning back, however, as more fur traders and even orthodox monks sought to arrive at the new land.

Russians moved along the entire Pacific coast all the way to California, but British and American pressure limited the territory controlled by the tsars to what we know today as Alaska. [Read more…]


Hiroshima Remembered and Technology of Killing Noted

The electric chair was first tested on August 6

The electric chair

August the 6th, despite its unassuming sounding stop on the calendar at the height of the lazy days of summer, belies great turning points in killing, scientifically.

Humanity transformed the world when it aspired to move from humble inhabitants to masters of their universe through the discovery of its physical laws.

People were sent to the moon and unmanned space probes were sent beyond the limits of our solar system. Man, however, did not change. [Read more…]