May 6th, 2005


This Day in History, 1835: New York Herald

On May 6, 1835, the first issue of the New York Herald newspaper was published by James Gordon Bennett, Sr. (1795-1872). Under his son, James Gordon Bennett, Jr. (1841–1918), the paper financed Henry Morton Stanley's expedition into Africa to find David Livingstone.

On October 4, 1887, Bennett Jr. launched The New York Herald's European edition in Paris, France. Following Gordon Bennett's death, the New York Herald was merged with its bitter rival, the New York Tribune, in 1922. In 1959, the New York Herald Tribune and its European edition were sold to John Hay Whitney, the then U.S. ambassador to Britain. In 1966 the New York paper ceased publication, and the Washington Post and the New York Times acquired joint control of the Paris paper, renaming it the International Herald Tribune. Now owned 100% by the New York Times, the paper remains an important and influential English language paper, printed at 26 sites around the world and for sale in more than 180 countries.

On a personal note, my Dad was a long-time newspaperman, and my brothers and I all received James Gordon Bennett Scholarships when we were in college.

And on an amusing note, Bennet, Jr., was somewhat flamboyant and erratic. He scandalized New York society by arriving late and drunk at a party being given by his fiance's parents and then urinating into their living room fireplace, in full view of the hosts. Which is probably why his father sent him to Paris.

For more information:

Yom Ha'Shoah

Today is Yom Ha'Shoah, or Holocaust Remembrance Day. Something doeeyedbunny said reminded me of one of the most important quotes about the Holocaust and remembrance, from the book Denying the Holocaust by Deborah Lipstadt (1994):

The deniers' window of opportunity will be enhanced in years to come. The public, particularly the uneducated public, will be increasingly susceptible to Holocaust denial as survivors die....Future generations will not hear the story from people who can say "this is what happened to me. This is my story." For them it will be part of the distant past and, consequently, more susceptible to revision and denial.

Zachor. Remember.

Harlan Ellison's Thoughts on the Internet

affinity8 pointed me towards an interview with Harlan Ellison from the May 2004 Writer's Digest. I'm amused by some of his comments on the Internet:

WD: If you could go back in time and stop the Internet from being invented, would you do it?

HE: I would certainly do it if I were selfish, and I'm about as selfish as anybody is. But no, I wouldn't do it, because the good things that it does are things that are necessary. Doctors, for instance, have access to life-saving information that they wouldn't have otherwise. Locating lost kids is easier. Scientists can exchange information across the planet in moments, not years. It's the "chat-net" and all its endlessly babbling, trivial adjuncts that are idiocy-promoting.

So, no, I wouldn't kill off the Internet; I'd just like to maim the crap out of it...


Tomorrow in History, 1992: Endeavour's First Mission

Since I won't be on the Internet tomorrow morning --

On May 7, 1992, thirteen years ago, Space Shuttle Endeavour launched on its first mission, STS-49. Endeavour was commissioned to replace the Challenger, which exploded shortly after launch on January 28, 1986. The crew of STS-49 were Commander Daniel C. Brandenstein, Pilot Kevin P. Chilton, and Mission Specialists Pierre J. Thuot, Kathryn C. Thornton, Richard J. Hieb, Thomas D. Akers, and Bruce E. Melnick. They spent almost nine full days in orbit, and set a bunch of records, including the first and second longest EVAs to date.