History

Special Effects Tricks of Early Cinema

Morning Cup of Links: Special Effects Tricks of Early Cinema.
Silent Film GIFs Reveal the Special Effects Tricks of Early Cinema.
The effort was worth it, as audiences were amazed.
* The Simpsons: How “Bart the Genius” Changed the TV Landscape.
It wasn’t supposed to be the series’ first episode, but it was perfect.
* A 29-Year-Old Mayor Shares Insights of Holding Office.
And advice on how you can get into an elected position.
* The Story Behind A Spooky Photo Of Fish Frozen In Wall Of Ice.
We know they’re weird, but some of them are quite delicious.
* U.S. Public Schools Are Suspending Millions of Students, With Little Reward.

Seinfeld’s Theme Song Was Improvised

Theme Song Was Totally Improvised.
It also succeeds in getting stuck in your head for days, if not weeks, at a time, which either makes you want to watch more or never watch the show again, depending on how you feel about the theme.
But love it or hate it the Seinfeld theme song is an iconic part of TV history and a major highlight in composer Jonathan Wolff’s career- which was completely improvised.
This video by Great Big Story discusses the origin of the Seinfeld theme song and the man behind Seinfeld’s iconic sound, Jonathan Wolff.
He’s even got the jacket to prove it!

Learn About The Rise of the Beauty Salon

Morning Cup of Links: The Rise of the Beauty Salon.
Martha Matilda Harper, the Greatest Businesswoman You’ve Never Heard Of.
She invented the beauty salon, the franchise, and the shampoo sink.
* A weird Japanese game show humorously recreates Street Fighter II.
With real guys, sound effects, and all.
* The First Super Bowl.
Even if we can do it someday, who would want to?
* Walt Disney explains his studio’s multiplane camera technology in 1957.
It had been in use for 20 years, but still impressed viewers as the wave of the future.
* Are the Marx Brothers Still Funny?

How Oreo Cookie Came To Be

The Origin of the Oreo Cookie.
In 1901, the National Biscuit Company put their abbreviated company name on a box of wafers for the first time – Nabisco.
The third, the Oreo Biscuit, did.
While it went national in April, it was just a month before that the National Biscuit Company first registered the product with the US Patent and Trademark Office (registration number 0093009).
You see, there was another popular creme-filled sandwich cookie that came before the Oreo, made by Sunshine Biscuits.
Of course, Nabisco denies this is where the idea for the Oreo came from, but the evidence at hand strongly indicates otherwise.
Now, who designed the emboss?
In the home of Bill Turnier, William’s son, perched on a wall is a framed 1952, line drawn blueprint of the modern Oreo design.
Despite this evidence, the Kraft (who now owns Nabisco) Corporate Archives only says that Turnier was a “design engineer” and he received a Suggestion Award in 1972 for an idea “that increased the production of Nilla Wafers on company machinery by 13 percent.” So can Bill shed any light on what his father was thinking when he seems to have drawn the design?
Not really, though he did admit that the design, while beautiful and resembling more mysterious symbols, probably had nothing to do with the Knights Templar.

Vintage Hat Styles We Think Are Due for a Comeback

From squat caps to towering toppers, history has produced a hat for every occasion.
Here are 12 old styles that, with a healthy dose of fashion and confidence, could still look just as fabulous today.
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain The sleek, head-hugging cloche was the perfect companion to the bobbed hairstyle worn by flappers in the 1920s.
The cloche was most popular during the Jazz Age but it’s occasionally incorporated into retro fashion styles today.
iStock The top hat was popular in the 19th century but it wasn’t always the most practical choice for outdoor activities.
The bowler hat was sturdy, compact, and appropriate for most any occasion.
Eva Rinaldi via Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 2.0 Depending on the look you’re going for, a fascinator can be worn as a subtle accent item or a show-stealing statement piece.
Once they fit that criteria, fascinators can take the form of flowers, feathers, fabric, or whatever else the wearer can engineer to stay on their head.
It’s no surprise then that the hat style died out with the powdered wig fad, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t fit for a comeback.
Marion Davies in a peach basket hat.

‘Metropolis’ Turns 90 This Year

Morning Cup of Links: ‘Metropolis’ at 90.
Metropolis at 90: The Enduring Legacy of a Pop Modernist Dystopia.
Fritz Lang’s 1927 science fiction epic is more popular now than it’s ever been.
* ‘Comfort Women’: The Past and Present of Japan’s Forced WWII Prostitutes.
It’s still a sore subject officials would rather not confront.
* La La Land Tops An Unusual Batch of BAFTA Nominees.
The British Academy of Film and Television Arts award winners will be announced February 12.
* Have you ever seen an owl without its feathers?
You’d never recognize it, unlike these hairless animals.
* Astronaut Shares Breathtaking Photo Of The Rocky Mountains From Space.

Get To Know History’s Greatest Robots

Here are seven of history’s greatest self-operating machines.
But years earlier, around 1478, the polymath envisioned a self-propelled cart that many experts now consider to be history’s first programmable automaton.
(Experts demonstrated a one-third scale replica of the cart, fearing a full-size replica of the powerful vehicle would crash and harm someone.)
Naysayers suspected the machine didn’t operate independently, and they were right.
Von Kempelen (and later, an engineer named Johann Maelzel, who purchased the Turk from Von Kempelen) recruited talented chess players who hid inside the Mechanical Turk’s cabinet and operated the Turk’s arm with levers.
From 1966 through 1972, researchers at a top West Coast research institution developed the world’s first mobile robot with reasoning capabilities.
History’s first industrial robot was a 4000-pound mechanized factory arm, designed to reduce injuries among employees.
Sojourner took pictures of Mars, took chemical and atmospheric measurements, collected samples, and explored nearly 2700 square feet of the planet’s soil.
Today, the tiny machine is remembered as the first rover to explore outside the Earth-Moon system.
Robots have been making history for thousands of years.

A Look at the 10 Most Important Maps in U.S. History

Courtesy of the Beinecke Rare Books and Manuscript Library, Yale University When Christopher Columbus set sail for the New World in 1492, he did it with a map in hand—this one, or one very much like it.
So confident was Columbus in his map that he died believing he’d found Asia—when really he’d found a new continent entirely.
Even though Columbus got there first, Christopher never claimed to have discovered a new continent.
Captain John Smith // “New England.” London, 1616.
When British and American diplomats met at the end of the Revolutionary War to draw the definitive boundary between the United States and Canada during the 1783 Treaty of Paris, they relied upon Mitchell’s map to set the borders of the new nation, creating for the first time the concept of an independent United States of America.
His resulting map, first produced in 1796, was not only then the most accurate map of the existing United States, but also faithfully sketched the unexplored territory west of the Mississippi that the new country was soon to acquire.
Arrowsmith constantly updated his map for years after the original release, and the 1802 edition shows the borders of the U.S. just before President Thomas Jefferson completed the Louisiana Purchase.
A year later, they attacked across the river, and the United States declared war.
Most of the most important maps in United States history date from the 18th and 19th centuries, when the country was young and the boundaries were being set.
The British government office responsible for weather forecasts made the map on June 6, 1944, the day of the largest military invasion in history: when the Allied Forces in World War II landed in Normandy during D-Day.

Harriet Tubman National Historic Park May Soon Become a Reality

National Historic Park Honoring Harriet Tubman May Soon Become a Reality.
According to New York state senator Charles Schumer, the Department of the Interior has finalized a land transfer agreement that allows for the National Park Service to create the park.
Now, all the Harriet Tubman National Historic Park needs to become a reality is approval from the secretary of the interior.
(Congress approved legislation to create the park in December 2014, along with a similar park near Tubman’s birthplace on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.)
The Harriet Tubman National Historical Park will include several properties, Syracuse.com reports.
The land transfer deal approved by the Department of the Interior allows for the Harriet Tubman Home, Inc. and AME Zion Church to sell its ownership of the church and the Home for the Aged Rectory to the federal government.
Meanwhile, Tubman’s former home, the Home for the Aged, and a historic barn will be jointly run by the National Park Service and Harriet Tubman Home, Inc. through a preservation easement. “As a New Yorker and an American, I’m deeply proud to see Tubman Park finally become a reality,” Schumer said in a statement quoted by Syracuse.com. “The Tubman Historic Park in Auburn will be a magnet for visitors that will tell the amazing story of Harriet Tubman’s life, an extraordinary American, and her story deserves to be shared with our children and grandchildren.
This park will serve that solemn purpose and preserve her legacy for countless generations to come.”

Remembering the time the Italian Military Experimented with Parasheep

That Time the Italian Military Experimented with Parasheep.
Whether it’s flying tanks , literal bat bombs, surprisingly effective pigeon guided missiles, chicken heated nuclear weapons, or dogs that are trained to gruesomely take down tanks, humans have been using animals in war in a variety of bizarre ways.
The actual innovation these parachuting sheep represented was the “flying supply column”, a revolutionary idea that involved supporting a ground-based force with planes laden with things like ammo, food and water that would be dropped using parachutes.
However, the idea was explored by other nations prior to WW2, with one of the first to implement it being Italy during the Second Italo-Ethiopian War.
Taking place between 1934 and 1936, the Second Italo-Ethiopian War, occurring in the Horn of Africa, ended in the creation of the relatively short-lived Italian colony of Italian East Africa.
Largely considered one of the most unforgiving landscapes on Earth, the Danakil desert, or at least the 120 or so miles of it the Italian army were scheduled to cross, represented an impractical barrier using classic supply line methods.
Realising that every additional pound of equipment each man had to carry would increase the odds of dehydration or heat stroke under the glare of the harsh, oppressive sun, the decision was made for none of the soldiers in the Italian advance to carry a significant amount of food or water at all.
Exactly why the decision was made to drop live sheep, instead of packaged and pre-prepared meat rations, isn’t entirely clear, with some opining that fickle Italian ground troops refused to eat the standard-issue rations they were given, prompting the military to instead send them live animals to slaughter and eat fresh.
In total it’s reported that by the time the Italian advance had cleared the perilous desert some 72 sheep and 2 live bulls were airdropped for the hungry troops waiting on the ground.
While the animals were intended for slaughter, footage of the airdrops (yes, there’s footage) shows that the sheep, or at least the ones shown, survived their fall with no apparent injuries and were quickly herded together by the soldiers.

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