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Friday, April 20, 2018

Friday links

Here's what happens when you crack your knuckles, including the researcher who cracked the knuckles in one hand only for over 60 years to see if he'd get arthritis. Related: The Science of Knuckle Cracking.

How a Guy From a Montana Trailer Park Overturned 150 Years of Biology

The legend of Blackbeard’s silver-plated skull. Kind of related: The Swashbuckling History of Women Pirates.

April 22 is Earth Day: here's the story of the co-founder who killed then composted his girlfriend.

Inside the FBI’s Colossal Pre-Computer Fingerprint Factory.

Artificial Heart Update: A simple artificial heart could permanently replace a failing human one.

ICYMI, Wednesday's links are here, and include the anniversary of the 1906 earthquake and fire that destroyed 80% of San Francisco, that time Kansas locked up more than 5,000 women and girls for having STDs, why it's almost impossible to throw a 110 mph fastball, and "T'was the eighteenth of April in seventy-five": the midnight ride of William Dawes and Samuel Prescott (and Paul Revere).

Thursday, April 19, 2018

April 22 is Earth Day: here's the story of the co-founder who killed, then composted, his girlfriend

Nicknamed the Unicorn Killer because his last name means "one horn" in German, Ira Einhorn (wiki) jumped bail and evaded arrest for 23 years, but eventually the "she went to the neighborhood co-op to buy some tofu and sprouts and never returned" story fell apart.

Ira Einhorn was on stage hosting the first Earth Day event at the Fairmount Park in Philadelphia on April 22, 1970. Seven years later, police raided his closet and found the "composted" body of his ex-girlfriend inside a trunk.

When his girlfriend of five years, Helen "Holly" Maddux, moved to New York and broke up with him, Einhorn threatened that he would throw her left-behind personal belongings onto the street if she didn't come back to pick them up.

And so on Sept. 9, 1977, Maddux went back to the apartment that she and Einhorn had shared in Philadelphia to collect her things, and was never seen again. When Philadelphia police questioned Einhorn about her mysterious disappearance several weeks later, he claimed that she had gone out to the neighborhood co-op to buy some tofu and sprouts and never returned.

At the time of his arrest, Einhorn had a kind of
crazed Colonel Sanders thing going......
It wasn't until 18 months later that investigators searched Einhorn's apartment after one of his neighbors complained that a reddish-brown, foul-smelling liquid was leaking from the ceiling directly below Einhorn's bedroom closet. Inside the closet, police found Maddux's beaten and partially mummified body stuffed into a trunk that had also been packed with Styrofoam, air fresheners and newspapers.

After his arrest, Einhorn jumped bail and spent decades evading authorities by hiding out in Ireland, Sweden, the United Kingdom and France. After 23 years, he was finally extradited to the United States from France and put on trial. Taking the stand in his own defense, Einhorn claimed that his ex-girlfriend had been killed by CIA agents who framed him for the crime because he knew too much about the agency's paranormal military research. He was convicted of murdering Maddux and is currently serving a life sentence.

Understandably, Earth Day's organizers have distanced themselves from his name, citing Gaylord Nelson, an environmental activist and former Wisconsin governor and U.S. senator who died in 2005, as Earth Day's official founder and organizer. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Sen. Gaylord Nelson created Earth Day in the spring of 1970 as a way to bring national awareness to the fact that, at the time, there were no legal or regulatory mechanisms in place to protect the environment. About 20 million participants at various Earth Day events across the U.S. made Earth Day a success, and in December of 1970, Congress authorized the creation of a new federal agency to tackle environmental issues — the EPA.

More at NBC and Reason.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Wednesday links

T'was the eighteenth of April in seventy-five: The midnight ride of William Dawes and Samuel Prescott (and Paul Revere).

The Forgotten Nazi History of ‘One-Pot Meals’.

Dorothy’s ‘Wizard Of Oz’ Ruby Slippers On Sale For A Whopping $6 Million.

On April 18, 1906, an earthquake and fire destroyed 80% of San Francisco: here's a documentary, Library of Congress footage of the destruction, and side by side film of Market Street four days before the earthquake compared to afterward.

Why It's Almost Impossible to Throw a 110 MPH Fastball


ICYMI, Monday's links are here, and include Spring cleaning, 19th century style, a 1940's booklet to “assist male bosses in supervising their new female employees" entitled "Women are teachable", and predictions for 2018 from various times in the 20th century.

Monday, April 16, 2018

April 18, 1906 - the earthquake and fire that destroyed 80% of San Francisco: documentary and footage

San Fran City Hall
The 1906 San Francisco earthquake (wiki) struck the coast of Northern California at 5:12 a.m. on April 18 with an estimated"moment magnitude" of 7.8 and a maximum "Mercalli intensity" of "XI" ("Extreme"). Severe shaking was felt from Eureka on the North Coast to the Salinas Valley, an agricultural region to the south of the San Francisco Bay Area. 

Devastating fires soon broke out in the city and lasted for several days. As a result, about 3,000 people died and over 80% of the city of San Francisco was destroyed. The events are remembered as one of the worst and deadliest natural disasters in the history of the United States. The death toll remains the greatest loss of life from a natural disaster in California's history and high in the lists of American urban disasters.

Below is a side by side comparison of trolley car trips down Market Street taken 1. on April 14, 1906, four days before quake and fire, and 2. shortly after. Check out the lack of traffic regulation - the trolley car is on a track, but there's no rhyme or reason to anything else - no traffic lights, no lanes, and no rules: 


Library of Congress (silent) footage of  the quake itself:



And, lastly, a recent documentary on the disaster:



Want more? Check out Google images of the earthquake.

Monday links

How To Dress For Success And To Get A Man: A 1967 Guide. Related, "Women are teachable": 1940's booklet to “assist male bosses in supervising their new female employees"

Spring cleaning, 19th century style.

FBI recovers stolen Chagall 30 years after theft.


Predictions for the Year 2018 From the 20th Century

Shoplifter uses Play-Doh to cover up security camera lens, leaves perfectly pressed fingerprint behind.

ICYMI, Friday's links are here, and include tax-related stuff (history, cartoons, links, Dave Barry, Sci Fi tax revolts, the tax implications of the zombie apocalypse, and the 1967 cartoon version of The Beatles "Taxman"), and the anniversaries of Lincoln's assassination and the sinking of the Titanic (with eyewitness accounts of each).

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Looking good naked

Snake Oil Willie Band:

"Women are teachable": 1940's booklet to “assist male bosses in supervising their new female employees"

The subject has always interested me, because my mom was one of them - the women who went to work during World War II while the men were off fighting, then gave up their jobs and paychecks once those men came back.

You've come a long way, baby. From the National Archives:
By 1944, over half of American adult women were employed outside the home, making invaluable contributions to the war effort. As women went about their duties, supervisors often worried about effectively assimilating them into the workforce. This publication from the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) awkwardly attempted to assist supervisors with managing their new female employees.

Text:
When you supervise a woman…
Make clear her part in the process or product on which she works.
Allow for her lack of familiarity with machine processes.
See that her working set-up is comfortable, safe and convenient.
Start her right by kindly and careful supervision.
Avoid horseplay or “kidding”; she may resent it.
Suggest rather than reprimand.
When she does a good job, tell her so.
Listen to and aid her in her work problems. 
Text:
When you put a woman to work…
Have a job breakdown for her job.
Consider her education, work experience and temperament in assigning her to that job.
Have the necessary equipment, tools and supplies ready for her.
Try out her capacity for and familiarity with the work.
Assign her to a shift in accordance with health, home obligations and transportation arrangements.
Place her in a group of workers with similar backgrounds and interests.
Inform her fully on health and safety rules, company policies, company objectives.
Be sure she knows the location of rest-rooms, lunch facilities, dispensaries.
Don’t change her shift too often and never without notice.

Text:
Whenever you employ a woman...
Limit her hours to 8 a day, and 48 a week, if possible.
Arrange brief rest periods in the middle of each shift. 
Try to make nourishing foods available during lunch periods.
Try to provide a clean place to eat lunch, away from her workplace.
Make cool and pure drinking water accessible.
See that the toilet and restrooms are clean and adequate.
Watch work hazards - moving machinery; dust and fumes; improper lifting; careless housekeeping.
Provide properly adjusted work seats; good ventilation and lighting.
Recommend proper clothing for each job; safe, comfortable shoes; try to provide lockers and a place to change work clothes.
Relieve a monotonous job with rest periods. If possible, use music during fatigue periods.

Text:
Finally–call on a trained woman counselor in your personnel department…
To find out what women workers think and want.
To discover personal causes of poor work, absenteeism, turnover.
To assist women workers in solving personal difficulties.
To interpret women’s attitudes and actions.
To assist in adjusting women to their jobs.
The same group of documents in the Archives also has a booklet called ""Womanpower" Campaign". See the whole thing there:

Friday, April 13, 2018

Friday links

Tax day quotes, cartoons, and links, Dave Barry, and the 1967 cartoon version of The Beatles "Taxman"



ICYMI, Monday's links are here, and include the science of dog farts, a history of the joke "Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?", the physics behind a baseball bat’s sweet spot, and a useful infographic: The Flowchart of Medieval Penitent Sexual Decision-Making.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Tax day quotes, cartoons, and links, Dave Barry, how to file an extension online, and the 1967 cartoon version of The Beatles "Taxman"

A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.

~ George Bernard Shaw

There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him.


I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents.

~ James Madison

The point to remember is that what the government gives it must first take away.

~ John S. Coleman

Here's the 1967 cartoon version of The Beatles "Taxman" - (actual song starts at ~2:38). Lyrics below video. George Harrison (who wrote the song) explains why (more here):
“I had discovered I was paying a huge amount of money to the taxman,” he once explained in interview.  “You are so happy that you’ve finally started earning money – and then you find out about tax.  In those days we paid nineteen shillings and sixpence out of every pound (there were twenty shillings in the pound), and with supertax and surtax and tax-tax it was ridiculous – a heavy penalty to pay for making money…It was, and still is, typical.  Why should this be so?  Are we being punished for something we have forgotten to do?...That was the big turn-off for Britain.  Anybody who ever made any money moved to America or somewhere else.”

Let me tell you how it will be:
There's one for you, nineteen for me,
'Cause I'm the taxman, yeah, I'm the taxman.

Should five percent appear too small,
Be thankful I don't take it all
'Cause I'm the taxman, yeah, I'm the taxman.

If you drive a car, I'll tax the street,
If you try to sit, I'll tax your seat.
If you get too cold, I'll tax the heat,
If you take a walk, I'll tax your feet.

Don't ask me what I want it for,
If you don't want to pay some more,
'Cause I'm the taxman, yeah, I'm the taxman.

Now my advice for you who die:
Declare the pennies on your eyes,
'Cause I'm the taxman, yeah, I'm the taxman,
And you're working for no one but me.

The Beatles (George Harrison) ("The Taxman") 

Congress can raise taxes because it can persuade a sizable fraction of the populace that somebody else will pay.


To force a man to pay for the violation of his own liberty is indeed an addition of insult to injury.

~ Benjamin Tucker

The difference between death and taxes is death doesn't get worse every time Congress meets.

We contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.

~ Winston Churchill

Collecting more taxes than is absolutely necessary is legalized robbery.

~ Calvin Coolidge

It would be a hard government that should tax its people one-tenth part of their income.

~ Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanac

What at first was plunder assumed the softer name of revenue.

~ Thomas Paine

What is the difference between a taxidermist and a tax collector? The taxidermist takes only your skin. 

To tax and to please, no more than to love and to be wise, is not given to men. 

~ Edmund Burke 

Civil servants and priests, soldiers and ballet dancers, schoolmasters and police constables, Greek museums and Gothic steeples, civil list and services list - the common seed within which all these fabulous beings slumber in embryo is taxation. 

~ Karl Marx 

Dave Barry's classic column on preparing your own taxes: Pray For an Asteroid.

How to Pay No Taxes - advice from Business Week from 2011: Eleven shelters, dodges, and rolls—all perfectly legal—used by America's wealthiest people.

Tax implications of the zombie apocalypse.

The first modern income tax was levied in Britain between 1799 and 1816 to fund the Napoleonic wars, but it did not become permanent until 1874. Similarly the United States adopted a like measure during the Civil War, but it was not institutionalized until the ratification of the 16th amendment to the Constitution in 1913.

Abraham Lincoln was assassinated on April 14, 1865

From Harper's Weekly of April 29, 1965. this illustration is by Thomas Nast, and represents Nast's Tribute to the fallen president. The illustration shows Columbia, or Lady Liberty, kneeling and weeping over Abraham Lincoln's Coffin. The picture also shows a grieving Union Soldier, contemplating the loss of his commander and chief. Also pictured is a Union Navy man, likewise mourning Abraham Lincoln's death.
O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done,
The ship has weather'd every rack, the prize we sought is won. 
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people are exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;

But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead. 

~Walt Whitman (1819-1892) (wiki) ("O Captain! My Captain!," 1st stanza)*

Last known photograph of Abraham Lincoln,
taken by Henry F. Warren on 6 March 1865
Our children will behold his fame,
The kindly-earnest, brave, foreseeing man,
Sagacious, patient, dreading praise, not blame,
New birth of our new soil, the first American. 
~James Russell Lowell (1819-1891) (of President Lincoln, Commemoration Ode, 21 July 1865)

Assassination has never changed the history of the world.**

~Benjamin Disraeli (1804-1881) (in the House of Commons, 1 May 1865, on Lincoln's assassination) 

With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have born the battle and for his widow and for his orphan, to do all that may achieve a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations. 

~President Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) (wiki) (Second inaugural address, 4 March 1865)

Lincoln Assassination - Harper's Weekly Illustration
Although he actually died at 7:30 the following morning, today is the anniversary of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) on 14 April 1865, only five days after Lee's surrender at Appomattox. Lincoln was very fond of the theater, and that evening, he and Mrs. Lincoln - likely in a celebratory mood because of the end of the Civil War - attended a performance of the comedy, Our American Cousin, by English playwright Tom Taylor at Ford's Theater on 10th Street NW in Washington. There, following the intermission, actor and Southern sympathizer John Wilkes Booth managed to gain access to the Presidential box through a series of security lapses, and shot Lincoln in the back of head with a small pistol. He then jumped down onto the stage, shouted "Sic semper tynannis!" ("Thus always to tyrants!"), and although breaking his leg in the process, made his escape. Booth was ultimately tracked down and killed on 26 April, and four other conspirators were hanged on 7 July 1865.*** 

The Assassination of President Lincoln at Ford's Theatre
After the Act, wood engraving from Harper's Weekly, April 29, 1865.
At least in the North, the President's death unleashed a paroxysm of grief. Before funeral services in Washington, he lay in state in both the White House and the Capitol, and the train that slowly bore his body to Illinois for burial stopped in 11 cities for additional viewings by the public. He was laid to rest in Springfield, Illinois on 4 May 1865. Perhaps my favorite Lincoln quotation:
"As I would not be a slave, so I would not be a master. This expresses my idea of democracy. Whatever differs from this, to the extent of the difference, is no democracy."
* N.B. Written by Whitman in 1871 in memory of the assassination of President Lincoln.

** Except that this one probably did, at least in the United States... It led to the many excesses of Reconstruction and lasting bitterness between the North and South.

*** Lincoln's assassination was only part of a larger conspiracy which also targeted Vice President Andrew Johnson and Secretary of State William Seward. Johnson's intended attacker lost his nerve, but Seward was seriously wounded in a stabbing attack that same night. 

Here's a brief (5 minute) video on the assassination:


Funeral March for Abraham Lincoln written by Major General John Gross Barnard was performed by the United States Marine Band during the funeral procession from the Executive Mansion to the Capitol on April 19, 1865. This youtube version is played with with period illustrations of the obsequies: 


In 1956, an eyewitness (Samuel Seymour) to the Lincoln assassination appeared on "I've Got a Secret": 



Lincoln's 1858 speech on the meaning of Independence Day: "Let us stick to it then. Let us stand firmly by it then."

Gorgeous remastered and colorized images from the Civil War era, including Lincoln and Mark Twain

Much more at History.com. The rest of the illustrations from the Harper's Weekly issue referenced above are available here.