Today is the 150th birthday of Elizabeth Jane Seaman, née Cochran -- best known by her pen name Nellie Bly
. She is perhaps most famous for her re-creation of Jules Verne's epic Around the World in 80 Days
, but this real-life Phileas Fogg did it in a record-breaking 72 days, 6 hours, and 11 minutes, and wrote a book
about her adventure. She was a pioneering investigative journalist, brave enough to get herself committed to an insane asylum to expose its practices, which resulted in the book Ten Days in a Mad-House
. As she wrote, "I was too impatient to work at the usual duties assigned women on newspapers." [more inside]
posted by Celsius1414
on May 5, 2014 -
Pioneering Dutch electronic/tape composer Dick Raaijmakers has died.
Raaijmakers was an early adopter of electronic technology for music production, and his work in the field expanded far beyond the laboratory to include film, theater, installations and visual art, and literature. He wrote for orchestras, percussion ensembles, educational and industrial films, Satie-inspired ambient and background environments, and unorthodox "musical" objects such as tractors and bicycles. He was also a noted essayist and author on new concepts and applications related to sound. [more inside]
posted by mykescipark
on Sep 6, 2013 -
Dawn Clark Netsch dies at 86. Dawn Clark Netsch
was a woman of many firsts: she integrated the dorms of Northwestern University in 1949, graduated first in her class from Northwestern's School of Law (as the only female graduate), joined the Law School faculty in 1965 as the first woman law professor in the United States, elected Comptroller as the first woman to a state-wide office in Illinois in 1972, and was the first woman to run for governor in Illinois. [more inside]
posted by zooropa
on Mar 5, 2013 -
In 1971, "decades before any state had seriously considered legalizing gay marriage, long before anyone had thought of creating—never mind repealing—a policy called “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” before Reagan, before AIDS, before the American Psychiatric Association determined that homosexuality was not a mental illness, and before half the people currently living in America were even born, a man named John Singer stepped into the King County marriage license office in Seattle." Meet Faygele ben Miriam, the radical activist who pioneered the fight for same-sex marriage in Washington State, 41 years ago. Via.
posted by zarq
on Jun 7, 2012 -
Before the Second World War, Rose Robertson
did secretarial work. During the war, as part of her work for the Special Operations Executive (SOE) in the UK, Robertson parachuted into occupied France to spy on German troop deployments and act as a courier. Her acquaintance there with a gay couple in the French Resistance, and, after the war, friendship with gay lodgers, led her to found Parents Enquiry
, Britain's first helpline to support parents and their lesbian, gay and bisexual children, an organization which she operated for many years. [more inside]
posted by Morrigan
on Nov 7, 2011 -
In the 1940s, he fought Nazis. In the 1950s, he fought the U.S. Civil Service. He's battled the Pentagon, the FBI, the medical establishment, the police, and so on. Generally, he wins. And when he's won, so has the entire gay community.... He coined the phrase ''Gay is Good'' in 1968, when the distance between homosexuality and shame was a very short trip.
He co-founded the Mattachine Society of Washington in 1961, one of the nation’s earliest gay rights groups, picketed the White House, and became the first openly gay Congressional candidate when he ran for DC’s House seat in 1971.
Kameny finally got an apology from the government that fired him for being gay.
But he didn't get his pension back. And now, "while his mind is sharp, he has difficulty managing his finances. To be brief, one of our greatest heroes needs help."
So maybe you'd like to Buy Frank A Drink.
posted by orthogonality
on May 11, 2011 -
"You are browsing a resource which is devoted first of all to the history and culture of the Soviet Union, the country which the West for a long time usually named as "The Empire of Evil", the country to which some people in the West perceive as "something big and snowy".
I offer you to try to look outside the frames of usual stereotypes, to try to understand life of a unique country, with its interesting history, beautiful culture and miraculous relations between people.
The music submitted on this site - is an evident sample of a totally new culture, which completely differs from all that, with what Hollywood and MTV supply us so much. This culture, being free from the cult of money, platitude, violence and sex, was urged to not indulge low bents of a human soul but to help the person to become culturally enriched and to grow above himself." [more inside]
posted by tellurian
on Sep 23, 2008 -
Mixed With Love: The Musical World Of Walter Gibbons
: "This tale begins with a skinny white DJ mixing between the breaks of obscure Motown records with the ambidextrous intensity of an octopus on speed. It closes with the same man, sick with Aids and all but blind, fumbling for gospel records as he spins up eternal hope in a fading dusk. In between, Walter Gibbons transformed the art of DJing and marked out the future co-ordinates of remixology." [more inside]
posted by Len
on Feb 7, 2008 -
Basil Kirchin, 1927-2005
Who he? Kirchin began, aged 14, as a drummer in his father Ivor's jazz band. By the mid-1950s, he and his father were co-leading the most acclaimed jazz band in Britain. They backed Ruby Murray
(whose name lives on as cockney rhyming slang for curry), and the great Sarah Vaughan wouldn't tour the UK without them
; neither would Billy Eckstine. After disbanding the Kirchin band at the height of their fame, Basil set off around the world, a trip which ended disastrously, when Kirchin's tapes of his band's best moments (obsessively recorded, thanks to the fact that the Kirchin band was one of the first to travel with their own PA system) were accidentally dropped into Sydney Harbour. [more inside]
posted by Len
on Jul 1, 2005 -
The Pioneer Anomaly.
Something's up in deep space: the Pioneer spacecraft
, now out of contact, have shown an unexplained Doppler drift, indicating sunward acceleration, effectively decelerating the probes cumulatively. The effect may be be nongravitational, and could be explained by any number of factors: an undiscovered twist in Newtonian physics, localized cosmological contraction issues, or just venting gas. Other deep space probes may have experienced the anomaly as well, and a new mission could explore the puzzle
; but for now, all we have is past Pioneer data, and that's stored on old 9 track tape
which can only be read by antique readers. What's to be done? (Also see Pioneer Odyssey
for a nostalgic romp through those early days of deep space exploration. And NASA, bring back the original Pioneer home page
posted by brownpau
on Jun 13, 2005 -