SciHi Blog

The Mechanical Telegraph – a French Invention

The Mechanical Telegraph – a French Invention

On May 23, 1813, the first (modern) optical telegraph line following the mechanical telegraphy system of the French inventor Claude Chappe between Metz and Mainz was established. No, this wasn‘t the first of its kind, but it was the first to connect the former already in France established telegraphy system with a (now) German city. Long before the Days of Morse Code Early telecommunications included smoke signals and drums. Talking drums were…
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Thomas Moore – Ireland’s National Bard

Thomas Moore – Ireland’s National Bard

On May 28, 1779, Irish poet, singer, songwriter Thomas Moore was born. He is best remembered for the lyrics of “The Minstrel Boy” and “The Last Rose of Summer“. Moreover, he was responsible, with John Murray, for burning Lord Byron’s memoirs after his death.[3] Thomas Moore – From Laws to Poetry Thomas Moore’s father came from a Catholic Irish-speaking family in a Gaeltacht region of County Kerry, his mother was from Wexford; her…
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Dashiell Hammett, the Dean of the Hard-boiled School of Detective Fiction

Dashiell Hammett, the Dean of the Hard-boiled School of Detective Fiction

On May 27, 1894, American author Samuel Dashiell Hammett was born. He also published under the pseudonym Peter Collinson. Hammett is considered the founder of the American hardboiled detective novel even before Raymond Chandler.[2] He was also a screenwriter and political activist. Among the enduring characters he created are Sam Spade (The Maltese Falcon), Nick and Nora Charles (The Thin Man), and the Continental Op (Red Harvest and The Dain Curse). “Samuel…
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August von Parseval and his Dirigible Airships

August von Parseval and his Dirigible Airships

On May 26, 1906, German airship designer August von Parseval succeeded launching his new airship at Berlin Tegel military field. In contrast to his rival Zepellin, Parseval’s airships – also in honor of their inventor called Parsevals – were non-rigid or semi-rigid airships, with little or no stiffening structure inside the fabric envelope. Parseval Background Parseval was the first son of the Bavarian Councillor Joseph von Parseval (1825-1887) and his wife Marie Amélie, née…
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Ralph Waldo Emerson and the Transcendentalism Movement

Ralph Waldo Emerson and the Transcendentalism Movement

On May 25, 1803, American essayist, lecturer, and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson was born, who led the Transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century. He was seen as a champion of individualism and a prescient critic of the countervailing pressures of society. He disseminated his philosophical thoughts through dozens of published essays and more than 1,500 public lectures. “He who is in love is wise and is becoming wiser, sees newly every time…
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Aviatrix Amy Johnson and the Flight to Australia

Aviatrix Amy Johnson and the Flight to Australia

On May 24, 1930, pioneering English aviatrix Ami Johnson safely landed in Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia after a 18.000km flight, becoming the first woman pilot to fly solo from England to Australia. Amy Johnson – Early Years Amy Johnson was an enthusiastic sportswoman who played hockey and cricket. At the age of 14 she lost several front teeth to a cricket ball. Since she came from a not incapable family – her father was a…
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Carl Linnaeus – ‘Princeps Botanicorum’, the Prince of Botany

Carl Linnaeus – ‘Princeps Botanicorum’, the Prince of Botany

On May 23, 1707, Swedish botanist, physician, and zoologist Carl Linnaeus – or after his ennoblement Carl von Linné or more fashionable in Latin Carolus Linnaeus – was born. Linnaeus formalised the modern system of naming organisms called binomial nomenclature. He is known by the epithet “father of modern taxonomy“. “Every genus is natural, created as such in the beginning, hence not to be rashly split up or stuck together by whim or according to anyone’s…
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Richard Wagner – Genius and Megalomania

Richard Wagner – Genius and Megalomania

On May 22, 1813, German composer, theatre director, polemicist, and conductor Richard Wagner was born. His compositions, particularly those of his later period, are notable for their complex textures, rich harmonies and orchestration. His music is characterized by elaborate use of leitmotifs, i.e. musical phrases associated with individual characters, places, ideas or plot elements. His advances in musical language greatly influenced the development of classical music and made way to modern music. And…
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Marcel Breuer – Master of Modernism

Marcel Breuer – Master of Modernism

On May 21, 1905, Hungarian-born modernist, architect and furniture designer of Jewish descent Marcel Breuer was born. Being one of the masters of Modernism, Breuer extended the sculptural vocabulary he had developed in the carpentry shop at the Bauhaus into a personal architecture that made him one of the world’s most popular architects at the peak of 20th-Century design. “I am as much interested in the smallest detail as in the whole…
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Honoré de Balzac and the Comédie Humaine

Honoré de Balzac and the Comédie Humaine

On May 20, 1799, French novelist and playwright Honoré de Balzac was born. He is best known for his his keen observation of detail and unfiltered representation of society, which is reflected in his opus magnum, the Comédie Humaine, sequence of short stories and novels, which presents a panorama of French life in the years after the 1815 fall of Napoleon Bonaparte, the period of the Restoration and the July Monarchy (1815–1848).…
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