Saturday, September 26, 2009

In Memory

Today is Saturday, 26 September 2009.

On this date in 1774, the proto-environmentalist John Chapman was born. Better known as “Johnny Appleseed”, he introduced apple trees to parts of Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio.

On this date in 1888, poet and anti-Semite T. S. Eliot was born. Despite Eliot’s bigotry and pseudo-Anglo airs, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock“ remains a great poem.

On this date in 1932, dissident Russian writer Vladimir Voinovich was born.

On this date in 1945, the great Hungarian composer Bela Bartok died in exile in New York City.

On this date in 1960, the first USA/USE Presidential debate occurred, between John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon.

On this date in 1983, Soviet surveillance satellites reported that 5 American ICBMs had been launched at the USSR. Fortunately, the duty officer at the early warning centre, Lt. Col. Stanislav Petrov, correctly deduced that the report must be a malfunction, since an American first-strike would have involved hundreds of missiles, and had the nerve not to forward the false positive to his superiors.

Had Petrov passively sent word up the chain of command, the Soviet doctrine of launch-on-warning probably would have triggered a massive nuclear response, resulting in massive American retaliation.

And then, among other things, blogs would not have been invented.

On this date, one year ago, Paul Newman died.


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