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Eureka! – California and the 1848 Gold Rush

Eureka! – California and the 1848 Gold Rush

On August 19, 1848, the the New York Herald, a major newspaper of the American East Coast printed the exciting news that gold has been found on the West Coast, which caused thousands of immigrants from all over the world to travel to California hoping to to find wealth and glory. The story began some months earlier, in January 1848. James Marshall constructed a saw mill for the pioneer John Sutter at…
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Mies van der Rohe – the expression of constructive logic and spatial freedom in a classical form

Mies van der Rohe – the expression of constructive logic and spatial freedom in a classical form

On August 17, 1969, German-American architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe passed away. Along with Le Corbusier, Walter Gropius and Frank Lloyd Wright, he is regarded as one of the pioneers of modernist architecture. “God is in the details.” — Mies can der Rohe, “On restraint in Design” in The New York Herald Tribune (28 June 1959) Maria Ludwig Michael was born on March 27, 1886, the youngest son of the Aachen,…
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Herman Melville’s Iconic Nightmare and Masterpiece

Herman Melville’s Iconic Nightmare and Masterpiece

Most people know American author Herman Melville only by his most famous novel, the story of Captain Ahab and his paranoid and nightmarish  hunt for the gigantic white whale Moby Dick. Of course, it is Melville‘s singular and also very best story. But, if you are trying to get to know the author Herman Melville better, you should also consider the rest of his oevre, especially some of his other short stories or…
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Raymond Chandler and the Invention of the Hardboiled Detective Novel

Raymond Chandler and the Invention of the Hardboiled Detective Novel

On July 23, 1888, American-British novelist and screenwriter Raymond Chandler was born. Chandler is considered one of the pioneers of American hardboiled novels. He invented the character of the melancholic and ultimately moral private detective Philip Marlowe for his crime novels. In addition to his crime novels, he wrote a series of short stories and screenplays. Along with Dashiell Hammett, he is one of the great authors of the black series in…
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“I shall be heard!” – The Case of the La Amistad

“I shall be heard!” – The Case of the La Amistad

On July 2, 1839, Sengbe Pieh (later known as Joseph Cinqué) led 53 fellow Africans being transported as captives aboard the Spanish schooner ‘La Amistad‘ from Havana in a revolt against their captors. The captives had been taken in Africa by a Portuguese slaving ship and then smuggled into Havana under cover of nightfall, because this was a violation of an already existing treaty between Britain and Spain, which forbade trading in…
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Nothing Really Mattered to Ambrose ‘Bitter’ Bierce

Nothing Really Mattered to Ambrose ‘Bitter’ Bierce

Author, journalist, satirist, and critic Ambrose Gwinnett Bierce was born on June 24, 1842. He had a great influence in the literature of the 20th century through his works, most of them dealing with the American Civil War. A prolific and versatile writer, Bierce was regarded as one of the most influential journalists in the United States. “Happiness, n. An agreeable sensation arising from contemplating the misery of another.” — The Devil’s Dictionary,…
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Ted Nelson and the Xanadu Hypertext System

Ted Nelson and the Xanadu Hypertext System

On June 17, 1937, American pioneer of information technology, philosopher, and sociologist Theodore Holm “Ted” Nelson was born. Nelson coined the terms hypertext and hypermedia in 1963 and published them in 1965. Nelson founded Project Xanadu in 1960, with the goal of creating a computer network with a simple user interface, a predecessor of modern World Wide Web. “HTML is precisely what we were trying to PREVENT— ever-breaking links, links going outward only,…
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The Short but Influential Life of Stephen Crane

The Short but Influential Life of Stephen Crane

On June 5, 1900, famous American writer Stephen Crane died at age 28. Despite of his youth, he already had become one of the icons of American literature. Most famous is his American civil war novel ‘The Red Badge of Courage‘, which has been read by almost every American high school kid. Crane was one of America’s foremost realistic writers, and his works have been credited with marking the beginning of modern…
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Hernando de Soto’s American Expedition

Hernando de Soto’s American Expedition

On June 3, 1539, Spanish conquistador and explorer Hernando de Soto, with all the dignitaries and necessary paraphernalia, took formal possession of La Florida, where he landed nine ships with more than 620 men and 220 horses. De Soto‘s expedition was the first European expedition leading deep into the territory of the modern-day United States, searching for gold, silver and also a passage to China. Moreover, he also was the first European…
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Dit dit dit da dit – The first Morse Telegram

Dit dit dit da dit – The first Morse Telegram

On May 24th 1844 the first Morse telegram went over the line. Samuel Morse and his colleague Alfred Vail knew that the very first phrase to be sent with the new telecommunication medium was to be remembered. So what should they transmit? Morse came up with a quote from the bible, certainly well chosen for an historic occasion like this: “What God had wrought” sent by Morse in Washington to Alfred Vail at…
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