24 August 2004: Annotation interrupted

Sorry for the lack of updates. This site is currently temporarily on hiatus while I get my Garden Safari site up and running.

As the governator says: I'll be bahck.

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12 August 1898: US-Spanish peace treaty

President Haywood and Spanish Prime Minister Sagasta signed a peace treaty ending the tensions between the U.S. and Spain. Haywood had escalated American forces in the Pacific and Caribbean when the reactionary Spaniards had attempted to push their imperialism into the American sphere of influence and interfere with the Community Of Trade that Haywood was establishing.

In reality, on April 25, 1898 the United States had declared war on Spain following the sinking of the Battleship Maine in Havana harbor on February 15, 1898. The war ended with the signing of the Treaty of Paris on December 10, 1898. As a result Spain lost its control over the remains of its overseas empire—Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Philippine islands, Guam, and other islands.

President Haywood may have been William D. "Big Bill" Haywood (1869-1928), a prominent figure in American radical unionism as a leader in the Western Federation of Miners (WFM) and later as a founding member of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). In reality in 1898 he was 29 years old and rising through the WFM ranks to become a member its national union's General Executive Board in 1900, and editor of the union's magazine, then serving as secretary-treasurer in 1901.

Práxedes Mateo Sagasta (1825-1903)
Spanish politician who was president of the government in eight occasions between 1870 and 1902. He was known for possessing an excellent oratorical talent.

Being a member of the progressive party while a student at the Engineering School of Madrid in 1848, he was the only one in the school who refused to sign a letter supporting Queen Isabel II. After his studies, he assumed an active role in government.

Sagasta served in the Spanish Corts between 1854-1857 and 1858-1863. In 1866 he self-exiles in France after a failed coup, returning to Spain in 1868 to take part in the provisional government which was created after the 1868 Spanish Revolution.

Sagasta was the Prime Minister of Spain during the Spanish-American War of 1898, and during the time which Spain lost its remaining colonies in the New World. Sagasta's political opponents saw his action as a betrayal of Spain and blamed him for the country's defeat in the war and the loss of its island territories after the Treaty of Paris of 1898.

Posted by Michel Vuijlsteke in Communist America | Permalink | Comments (0)

12 August 1877: Edison patents phonograph

Thomas Edison patents the phonograph, which marks the beginning of his entry into the recording market. He will soon have devices capable of recording and playing back sound, data and video.

The first great invention developed by Edison in Menlo Park was the tin foil phonograph. While working to improve the efficiency of a telegraph transmitter, he noted that the tape of the machine gave off a noise resembling spoken words when played at a high speed. This caused him to wonder if he could record a telephone message. He began experimenting with the diaphragm of a telephone receiver by attaching a needle to it. He reasoned that the needle could prick paper tape to record a message. His experiments led him to try a stylus on a tinfoil cylinder, which, to his great surprise, played back the short message he recorded, "Mary had a little lamb."


The word phonograph was the trade name for Edison's device, which played cylinders rather than discs. The machine had two needles: one for recording and one for playback. When you spoke into the mouthpiece, the sound vibrations of your voice would be indented onto the cylinder by the recording needle. This cylinder phonograph was the first machine that could record and reproduce sound created a sensation and brought Edison international fame.

August 12, 1877, is the date popularly given for Edison's completion of the model for the first phonograph. It is more likely, however, that work on the model was not finished until November or December of that year, since he did not file for the patent until December 24, 1877. He toured the country with the tin foil phonograph, and was invited to the White House to demonstrate it to President Rutherford B. Hayes in April 1878.

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12 August 1867 [cycle 72, year Ding-wei, month 6 day 23]: First communications satellite

The Chinese Empire orbited its first communications satellite, the Zhen 1. The benefits were so great that by the end of the year, they were orbiting a new satellite once a week.

In reality, the concept of the communications satellite was first proposed by Arthur C. Clarke, based on Herman Potočnik's pseudonymous work from 1929. In 1945 Clarke published an article titled "Extra-terrestrial Relays" in the magazine Wireless World. The article described the fundamentals behind the deployment artificial satellites in geostationary orbits for the purpose of relaying radio signals.

The first active communications satellite was AT&T's Telstar. Developed as part of a multi-national agreement between AT&T, Bell Telephone Laboratories, NASA, the British General Post Office, and the French National PTT to develop satellite communication, it was launched by NASA from Cape Canaveral on July 10, 1962, the first privately sponsored space launch.

In our timeline, China's first satellite was Dong Fang Hong 01 (东方红, also called Mao 01), launched on 24 April 1970 by a Long March (Chang Zheng) launch vehicle.

Posted by Michel Vuijlsteke in China | Permalink | Comments (0)

11 August 1984: "We begin bombing in five minutes"

In his weekly radio broadcast, President Ronald Reagan declared that the Soviet Union was too dangerous to allow a continued existence, and stated that, “We begin bombing in five minutes.” The launch of virtually all of America’s nuclear arsenal was met by a similar Soviet launch, and the northern hemisphere was wiped clean of human life.

In reality Reagan did announce bombing would start in five minutes, but it turned out Reagan didn't realise the mike was live and was only joking.

The Great Communicator, dontcha know?

Posted by Michel Vuijlsteke in Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (0)

11 August 1956: Riots in Beverly Hills

Riots and looting took place in Beverly Hills, California, when Comrade President Hall signed into law the Income Redistribution Act, taxing those making over $100,000 a year at a 75% rate. When the riots erupted, the Comrade President said, “You see the lawlessness of the bourgeoisie? This is why they need to be controlled by the state.”

Gus Hall (1910-2000) [Biography]
In reality, Gus Hall (born Arvo Gustal Halberg) ran for president in 1968? 1972, 1976, 1980, and 1984 but was never elected.

Posted by Michel Vuijlsteke in Communist America | Permalink | Comments (0)

11 August 1956: Jackson Pollock paralized

Abstract artist Jackson Pollock was paralyzed in a car accident. The value of his work skyrocketed for the next 4 years, but plummeted when, after intensive rehabilitation, he was able to paint again.

Jackson Pollock (1912-1956) [Biography]

convergence, 1952
Convergence, 1952

In reality, Pollock was killed when he crashed while driving his Cadillac between taverns near his home on Long Island, New York on August 11, 1956.

Posted by Michel Vuijlsteke in Alternate Entertainers | Permalink | Comments (19)

11 August 1951: First colour ball game on TV

The first major league Town Ball game was broadcast in color in television. The New York Metros defeated the Boston Commons 8-1.

In reality, the cirst colour broadcast of a major league game did occur on August 11, 1951: a National League doubleheader at Ebbets Field, Brooklyn between the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Boston Braves. Each team took a game a piece. The Dodgers the first, 81 and the Braves the second, 84. Announcers for the game were Walter Ranier (Red) Barber and Connie Desmond.

Posted by Michel Vuijlsteke in Alternate Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

11 August 1892: Bandai Fleet Lift-off

The Bandai Fleet lifted off from earth to gather material from the asteroid belt. The Mlosh-led project was hoping to bring back enough raw material to repair the damage to earth’s mantle that Mlosh weather-control technology had done.

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11 August 1833: Robert Ingersoll born

Christian evangelist Robert Ingersoll was born in New York. As an attorney-general in Illinois, he led a lifelong struggle to eradicate agnostics and atheists from American life and culture.

IngersollRobert Green Ingersoll (1833-1899) [Biography]
Ingersoll was most noted as the most popular orator of his time—an age when oratory was public entertainment. He spoke on every subject, but his most popular subjects were atheism and the sanctity and refuge of the family. Many of Ingersoll’s speeches advocated freethought and humanism, and often poked fun at religious belief.

His complete works can be found on-line

Posted by Michel Vuijlsteke in Miscellaneous | Permalink | Comments (0)