I believe that people who have made a significant impact on the lives of individuals and nations not only deserve being honoured by remembrance but need to be brought into the spotlight for each new generation.
Though you may have learned something about Oskar Schindler through the books or film about his deeds, chances are you’ve not heard of Chinune Sugihara, whose conscience would not allow him to look the other way when Jews came under the persecution of the Nazis during World War 2. As vice-consul of the Japanese Consulate in Lithuania, he was in an ideal position to save thousands of lives by issuing travelling visas, but at the risk of his own career by disobeying orders.
His story is worth taking a few minutes to read; please click on the two links below, to get a picture of the man who became the only Japanese Righteous Among the Nations.
Lessons in Manliness: Chiune Sugihara
“Sempo” Chiune Sugihara (Wikipedia)
A zipper is something one rarely thinks about until it breaks. It’s something we use every day, from trousers to jackets to purses to zip-lock bags. Yet the actual modern zipper has only been around 101 years! The idea began forming as a practical design in 1851 in the mind of Elias Howe, who patented an “Automatic Continuous Clothing Closure” (no wonder that name never caught on). He was not a marketing whiz, and the idea petered out. At the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, a device designed by Whitcomb Judson was launched but wasn’t very practical, and again, it failed to take off commercially. In 1906, a Swedish-American electrical engineer by the name of Gideon Sundback was hired by (and married into) the Fastener Manufacturing and Machine Company (Meadville, PA), and became the head designer. By December 1913, he’d improved the fastener into what we would recognize as the modern zipper, and the patent for the “Separable Fastener” was issued in 1917. In March of that year, a Swiss inventor, Mathieu Burri, improved the design with a lock-in system added to the end of the row of teeth, but because of patent conflicts, his version never made it to production.
The name “zipper” was coined by the B.F. Goodrich Company in 1923, when they used Sundback’s fastener on a new type of rubber boot. When they first came into production, zippers were mainly used on boots and tobacco pouches, only making it onto leather jackets in 1925 (produced by Schott NYC), trousers in 1937 (beating out the traditional button method for men’s trousers). The next time you use a zipper, stop and think about what you would have had to use 100 years ago!
And in the meantime, here are a couple idioms that have arisen using “zip” or “zipper” or which refer directly to that imagery:
Zip it (up) – close your mouth
Zip your lip/mouth
Euphemisms about undone zippers are numerous; here are a few of the better ones (IMHO):
Barn/stable door’s open
What do birds/airplanes do?
Flag’s at half-mast
Front/trap door’s open
Your horse/colt’s gonna bolt
Mind the gap
XYZ (PDQ) – “Examine Your Zipper (pretty darn quick)” – Your zipper is open
25 April 2015, by Stephanie Huesler
The celebration of this relatively unknown figure highlights her brilliance in the face of staunch sexism. As a woman, I still feel sexism today, though it’s far more subtle – the glass ceilings still need to be broken through, and the duplicity of definition needs to be redressed (name any male characteristic, and often the negative reverse is applied to women, whether stated or subconscious; e.g. a man may be assertive, but if a woman shows the same spirit, she’s often labelled as aggressive). Though they paved the way for a better path for many women, Amalie and her female contemporaries faced brick ceilings and walls.
Born in 1882 in Erlangen, Germany, Amalie was born into a family of brilliant mathematicians, yet had to beg to be allowed to study at University; when she aced her audited courses, they only reluctantly acknowledged her achievements. She was an unpaid, unsung heroine for years, yet Einstein himself referred to her as “the most significant creative mathematical genius thus far produced.” To read more about her story, and details of her scientific breakthroughs, please click on the image below.
Amalie Noether (Wikimedia Commons)
Originally posted on History Undusted, 23 March 2015, by Stephanie Huesler
“Neither a wise man nor a brave man lies down on the tracks of history to wait for the train of the future to run over him.”
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Have you ever had that feeling that, when you meet someone for the first time, you already know them? Most of us might think of that person as a soulmate – someone we understand and who understands us without using many words or having to explain ourselves.
Well, adronitis might be the antithesis: It means “the frustration with how long it takes to get to know someone”. There are people I’ve known for years and tried to understand better, who are still a mystery to me. I can’t feel how they are doing or know what they are thinking, even with a lot of words. One might say with such people that they’re “on another wavelength” – and unless that person is a relative, they usually end up falling out of our lives fairly quickly.
May we all meet more people who are soulmates than those who give us adronitis!
Numismatics is an interesting field, and in doing research for the Northing Trilogy, I wanted to know just what currencies would have been used at the time (1750s, England), and what the value of the currencies were: How much could be purchased or earned? Would a Stirling pound have made a pauper a land owner or not? That brought me to the current book I’m reading, called “The Splendid Shilling” by James O’Donald Mays. Here are a few bits and bobs:
The Shilling was a form of currency used in Britain up until the 1970s; even after that, the coins continued in circulation as smaller denominations (1 shilling was 5 p, and 2 shilling was 10p) until 1990, when it was demonetized. I remember using them until they were phased out and replaced by the smaller coins of 5p and 10p values, and I kept a few for my coin collection. One shilling coins were called “bobs”, and that led to programs such as “bob-a-job” fund raisers by the boyscouts, starting in 1914. Two shillings were known as Florins, or “two-bob bits”.
The word shilling most likely comes from a Teutonic word, skel, to resound or ring, or from skel (also skil), meaning to divide. The Anglo-Saxon poem “Widsith” tells us …”þær me Gotena cyninggodedohte; se me beag forgeaf, burgwarenafruma, on þam siexhund wæs smætes goldes, gescyred sceatta scillingrime...” “There the king of the Goths granted me treasure: the king of the city gave me a torc made from pure gold coins, worth six hundred pence.” Another translation says that the gold was an armlet, “scored” and reckoned in shilling. The “scoring” may refer to an ancient payment method also known as “hack” – they would literally hack off a chunk of silver or gold jewellery to purchase goods, services and land, and the scoring may have been pre-scored gold to make it easier to break in even increments, or “divisions”. From at least the times of the Saxons, shilling was an accounting term, a “benchmark” value to calculate the values of goods, livestock and property, but did not actually become a coin until the reign of Henry VII in the 1500s, then known as a testoon. The testoon’s name and design were most likely inspired by the Duke of Milan’s testone.
Duke of Milan’s Testone
Henry VII Testoon
March 2015 History Undusted, 15