February 5 in history

February 5, 2010

On February 5:

62 AD – Earthquake in Pompeii

1576 Henry of Navarre converted to Roman Catholicism in order to ensure his right to the throne of France.

1597 A group of Japanese Christians were killed by the new government for being seen as a threat to Japanese society.

1649 The claimant King Charles II of England and Scotland was declared King of Scotland.

1725 James Otis, American lawyer and patriot, was born.

1778  South Carolina was the first state to ratify the Articles of Confederation.

1782 Spanish defeat British forces and capture Minorca.

1783 In Calabria, Italy, a sequence of strong earthquakes started.

1788 Robert Peel, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, was born.

1818 Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte ascended to the thrones of Sweden and Norway.

1840 John Boyd Dunlop, Scottish inventor, was born.

1840 Hiram Stevens Maxim, American inventor (Maxim gun), was born.

1859Wallachia and Moldavia were united under Alexander John Cuza as the United Principalities.

Alexander Ioan Cuza.jpg

1878 André Citroën, French automobile pioneer, was born.

 

1885 – King Léopold II of Belgium establishes the Congo as a personal possession.

1867 New Zealand’s third public railway, the 27-kilometre line between Invercargill and the port at Bluff, built by the Southland Provincial Council, opened.

Opening of railway from Invercargill to Bluff

1900 The United States and the United Kingdom sign a treaty for the Panama Canal.

1908 – Daisy and Violet Hilton, British conjoined twins, were born.

1917 The current constitution of Mexico was adopted, establishing a federal republic with powers separated into independent executive, legislative, and judicial branches.

1917 – The Congress of the United States passed the Immigration Act of 1917 over President Woodrow Wilson‘s veto. Also known as the Asiatic Barred Zone Act, it forbade immigration from nearly all of south and southeast Asia.

 The Asiatic Barred Zone as defined by the Immigration Act of 1917.

1918 Stephen W. Thompson shot down a German airplane, the first aerial victory by the U.S. military.

Stephen W. Thompson.jpg

1919 Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, and D.W. Griffith launched United Artists.

1920  Frank Muir, British comedian, was born.

1924 The Royal Greenwich Observatory begins broadcasting the hourly time signals known as the Greenwich Time Signal or the “BBC pips”.

 Graph of the six pips

1942 Cory Wells, American singer (Three Dog Night), was born.

1946 The Chondoist Chongu Party was founded in North Korea.

1958 Gamel Abdel Nasser was nominated to be the first president of the United Arab Republic.

Head and shoulders of a man in his forties smiling. He has dark hair that is pulled back, a long forehead, thick eyebrows and a mustache.  He is wearing a gray jacket and a white shirt with a tie.

1958 – A hydrogen bomb known as the Tybee Bomb was lost by the US Air Force off the coast of Savannah, Georgia, never to be recovered.

1962 President Charles De Gaulle called for Algeria to be granted independence.

1964 Duff McKagan, American musician (Guns N’ Roses), was born.

1972 Bob Douglas became the first African American elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.

1972 Mary, Crown Princess of Denmark, was born.

1994  More than 60 people were killed and some 200 wounded when a mortar shell hit a downtown marketplace in Sarajevo.

1997 – The “Big Three”  banks in Switzerland announced the creation of a $71 million fund to aid Holocaust survivors and their families.

2004 Twenty-three Chinese people drown when a group of 35 cockle-pickers were trapped by rising tides in Morecambe Bay, England. .

2004 – Rebels from the Revolutionary Artibonite Resistance Front captured the city of Gonaïves, starting the 2004 Haiti rebellion.

2008 – A major tornado outbreak across the Southern United States left 57 dead.

2009 The United States Navy guided missile cruiser Port Royal ran aground off Oahu, Hawaii, damaging the ship and a coral reef.

USS Port Royal

Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.


Sunrise, sunset

September 20, 2009

The sun rose here at about 6.30 this morning and it will set at about 6.30 this evening.

If you’re in East Cape sunrise and sunset are about half an hour earlier. If you’re in Bluff they’re about quarter of an hour later.

In the normal course of events next week sunrise in Bluff would be at 6.23am  and sunset at 6.52pm. In East Cape sunrise would be 5.45am and sunset 6.08pm. But wherever you are in New Zealand, next Sunday clocks will have gone forward which will make sunrise and sunset an hour later than it ought to be.

The benefits of daylight saving compensate for the disadvantages in the middle of summer when temperatures are warmer and days are longer anyway. But extending daylight saving so it lasts from the last weekend in September until the first Sunday in April is giving us so much of a good thing it becomes a bad thing.

Putting the clock forward this early makes it darker and colder for longer in the morning without giving enough extra heat and light in the evening to make much difference. People, especially those in primary production, who have to start work early are disadvantaged without there being enough gain for those who want to play in the evenings to compensate.

LINZ has sunrise and sunset times for Auckland, Bluff, Dunedin, East Cape, Gisborne and Lyttelton.

The Royal Astronomical Society has sunrise and sunset times for Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.

Grump warning: this is the first of what may be several annual complaints about the length of the period in which daylight saving time applies.


Cycle network linked over time

April 20, 2009

The original idea of a cycleway the length of New Zealand sounded good but there were lots of questions about if it would be practical and affordable.

Te Araroa , the walkway from Cape Reinga to Bluff,  was suggested as a model but only a relatively few keen and fit trampers are ever going to use much or any of it. A cycleway using parts of the walkway or based on that concept would have had a similarly limited appeal and provided limited opportunities for spin-off businesses.

The current proposal  to be discussed by cabinet today is more practical, less expensive, more accessible for more people, will provide more opportunities for smaller communities to be involved and be based on local initiatives.

Plans for one of these, a cycleway from Queenstown to Bluff , are already well advanced.

Planning consultant Mike Barnett, who researched the Lake Wakatipu-Bluff route on behalf of Venture Southland, said the Ministry of Tourism had found “the practical thing was a network of excellent cycle opportunities in New Zealand which may lead to bigger things later.”

Mr Barnett said the network could be totally inter-linked “in 10 or 20 years’ time”.

Mr Barnett said the Lake Wakatipu-Bluff route could be ready in time for the 2011 Rugby World Cup, as research had been under way for three years.

Building cycelways will provide employement, but the long term jobs which come in its wake will be even more beneficial.

One of the reasons the Central Otago Rail Trail  has been so successful is that it was a local initiative and locals have been able to use the opportunities it provides for business initiatives.

It has been particularly good at opening doors for women who followed husbands or partners on to farms or into small coutnry towns where employment opportunities were limited. Thanks to the rail trail they’ve been able to create or work in businesses providing food, accomodation, retail  and other activities and have found new outlets for art and crafts.

The cycleway the length of the country sounded good, but a network of cycleways is a much better idea.


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