SciHi Blog

America’s First Movie Studio – the Black Maria

America’s First Movie Studio – the Black Maria

On February 1, 1893, America’s First Movie Studio, Thomas Edison’s Black Maria was opened. The Black Maria movie production studio was located in West Orange, New Jersey. But, Black Maria did not produce for the big screen. It was still the times of the so-called kinetoscope, a one person viewing machine, where only one person was able to watch the movie through a peephole viewer window at the top of the device.[1] The…
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The National Geographic Society

The National Geographic Society

On January 27, 1888, the National Geographic Society, one of the largest non-profit scientific and educational institutions in the world, is founded in the Cosmos Club, a private club then located on Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C. You might not be aware of it, but several of our past articles already are related to the National Geographic Society, as the society always has supported and funded research projects as well as prominent…
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Ètienne Lenoir and the Internal Combustion Engine

Ètienne Lenoir and the Internal Combustion Engine

On January 24, 1860, Belgian engineer Étienne Lenoir was granted a patent on his newly developed internal combustion engine. Lenoir’s engine design was the first commercially successful internal combustion engine. Étienne Lenoir – Early Years Étienne Lenoir was born the third of eight children in the 800-strong community of Mussy-la-Ville near Virton. He seems to have chosen a technical profession at an early age, but his family could not afford a corresponding education.…
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Frederick II – The “Wonder of the World”

Frederick II – The “Wonder of the World”

Frederick II (1194 – 1250) On December 26, 1194, Frederick II, one of the most powerful Holy Roman Emperors of the Middle Ages and head of the House of Hohenstaufen was born. Speaking six languages (Latin, Sicilian, German, French, Greek and Arabic), Frederick was an avid patron of science and the art, called by a contemporary chronicler stupor mundi (the wonder of the world). In 1196, the only two year old Frederick…
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The World’s Fastest Aircraft – Lockheed SR-71

The World’s Fastest Aircraft – Lockheed SR-71

On December 22, 1964, the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird Mach 3+ strategic reconnaissance aircraft started for her maidenflight. Since 1976, it holds the world record for the fastest air-breathing manned aircraft. Predecessors The SR-71’s predecessor was the reconnaissance aircraft Lockheed U-2. But it was known to be very slow and was mostly used by CIA. Shortly after the introduction of the U-2, the CIA began to have serious doubts about its ability to fly over…
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Antonio Stradivari and his famous Strings

Antonio Stradivari and his famous Strings

Illustration of Antonio Stradivari On December 18, 1737, famous Italian violin maker Antonio Stradivari passed away. Besides violins Stradivari also crafted cellos, guitars, violas, and harps. He is generally considered the most significant and greatest artisan in this field. There is only little known of Stradivari’s early life, but his oldest surviving violin was presumably from 1666. It is assumed that he began apprenticeship with Nicolo Amati at the age of about 12 years. Amati…
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Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? – Philip K. Dick

Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? – Philip K. Dick

On December 16, 1928, American novelist Philip K. Dick was born. He explored sociological, political and metaphysical themes in novels dominated by monopolistic corporations, authoritarian governments, and altered states. Blade Runner, Total Recall, A Scanner Darkly, Minority Report, Paycheck…does that ring a bell? Although maybe you don’t know Philip K. Dick, for sure you have seen one of the movies based on his short stories or novels. Philip K. Dick has influenced our…
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My Hovercraft is full of Eels’

My Hovercraft is full of Eels’

Royal Marine LCAC(LR) Hovercraft Image: UK Ministry of Defence On December 12, 1955, English engineer Christopher Cockerell filed the patent for his new invention, the hovercraft, a craft capable of traveling over land, water, mud or ice and other surfaces both at speed and when stationary. “My hovercraft is full of eels”…”Ahh matches!”. Many of you may know these famous sentences by Monty Python’s Flying Circus in ‘the Hungarian Phrase Book’. However,…
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The Clifton Suspension Bridge – Iconic Landmark of the Industrial Age

The Clifton Suspension Bridge – Iconic Landmark of the Industrial Age

On December 8, 1864, the Clifton Suspension Bridge spanning the Avon Gorge and the River Avon, designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel,[3] was openend for the public. Although Brunel was not able to see the bridge in operation anymore during his lifetime, the Clifton Suspension bridge was the first major commision of the famous engineer of the Great Western Railroad and the then largest steamships in the world. Bridges Across the Avon In…
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From Ambition to Obsession – Jane Franklin and the Lost Franklin Expedition

From Ambition to Obsession – Jane Franklin and the Lost Franklin Expedition

On December 4, 1791, Lady Jane Franklin, Tasmanian pioneer, traveler and second wife of the explorer Sir John Franklin, was born. She was the first woman to climb Mount Wellington and to travel overland from Melbourne to Sydney. Above all Lady Franklin is remembered for the search she organized from 1850 to 1857 for Sir John Franklin’s lost Arctic expedition. Early Years Jane Franklin was born as Jane Griffin, the second daughter…
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