History Schmistory: July 29. The Final Frontier…

1958: President Dwight D. Eisenhower eagerly signs a federal statute that creates the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

To infinity and beyond!   By Bill Ingalls [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

To infinity and beyond!
By Bill Ingalls [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sadly, they were never able to get him back to his home planet.

History Schmistory, July 17: Starry Eyed Harvard!

1850 - The Harvard Observatory took the 1st photograph of a star (Vega). Vega is argued to be the next most important star in the sky after the Sun. Needless to say, it is a “bright spot” in history for astronomers!

What happens on Vega, didn't stay on vega!

What happens on Vega, didn’t stay on vega!

History Schmistory, July 11: Pons Comet Pun.

1801 - French astronomer Jean-Louis Pons discovered his 1st comet. He then went on to discover 36 more. Jeez louise!

Hey guys, I think I might see one...!

I see one…two….three…four….

History Schmistory, June 28: The Tomato Playing Ketch-up!

1820 - The tomato was proven to be non-poisonous. Thank goodness for that…our most important foods (pizza, spaghetti, burgers) would never have been the same!

Way to go tomatoes!  "Jumping tomato" by Gabi Greve /CC BY

Way to go tomatoes!
“Jumping tomato” by Gabi Greve /CC BY

History Schmistory: January 19. Under the Neon Lights!

1915: The Neon Tube sign is patented by Georges Claude, and later exploited by Las Vegas.
-So, you might already know that neon is one of the “noble” gases of the periodic table, which glows an orangey-red color when electrons run through it. But what about all the other colors on a typical “neon” sign? Well, sorry to say, those aren’t neon. To get shades of blue, typically argon is used with a dash of mercury. Helium can be used for a nice pink glow; xenon radiates a cool purple, while krypton yields- what? Green, you say? Nope, sorry Superman, it has more of an off-white tinge. From there, certain gases can mingle to produce colors like green and yellow, or sometimes the tubes are coated with fluorescent powders to tweak the shading. But neon typically doesn’t play nicely with others, so it’s only used to produce that one color.
(Check out Vegas Vic’s scarf. There’s your neon.)

There is another noble gas that wasn’t invited to the party: Radon. That stuff is radioactive, yo.

Modern_vegas_vic_souvenirs

Vegas Vic,By  Joe Gauder [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

History Schmistory: January 4. An Elephant Never Forgets…

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Edison.jpg#/media/File:Edison.jpg, [public domain]

1903: Topsy, an old circus elephant, is electrocuted by Thomas Edison in an effort to shed light on the “dangers” of AC current, during the much publicized War of Currents campaign. More proof that Thomas Edison had no soul. Just look at the guy…

History Schmistory: December 7. “We’ve been expecting you”

1995: The Galileo spacecraft arrives at Jupiter more than six years after it was launched by Space Shuttle Atlantis. Jupiter bakes a cake.

By NASA [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

History Schmistory: December 2. Hubble Trouble.

1993: NASA launches the Space Shuttle Endeavor on a mission to repair the damaged Hubble Space Telescope, and, of course, terminate the culprits…

By NASA/Kim Shiflett [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By NASA/Kim Shiflett [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

History Schmistory: November 21. News from the Prince of Patents.

1877: Thomas Edison announces his latest invention, the phonograph, the first instrument able to reproduce a recorded sound, and one of the few inventions Edison might actually deserve a little credit for.

By Levin C. Handy (per http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cwpbh.04326) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By Levin C. Handy (per http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/cwpbh.04326) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

History Schmistory: November 17. Not your ordinary cat toy…

1970: Douglas Engelbart successfully patents the computer mouse. His patent for computer cheese is still pending.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f0/SRI_Douglas_Engelbart_2008.jpg

By SRI International (SRI International) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia CommonsBy SRI International (SRI International) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

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