December 26 in history


On December 26:

1620 Pilgrim Fathers landed at what became New Plymouth in Massachusetts.

1716  Thomas Gray, English writer, was born.

1780  Mary Fairfax Somerville, British mathematician, was born.

1791 Charles Babbage, English mathematician and inventor, was born.

1860  The first ever inter-club football match took place between Hallam F.C. and Sheffield F.C. at the Sandygate Road ground in Sheffield.

1862 Four nuns serving as volunteer nurses on board USS Red Rover were the first female nurses on a U.S. Navy hospital ship.

USS Red Rover.jpg

1870 The 12.8-km long Fréjus Rail Tunnel through the Alps was completed.

  • 1871Gilbert and Sullivan collaborated for the first time, on their lost opera, Thespis.
  •  A contemporary illustration of Thespis from The Illustrated London News

    1879 In Christchurch, 30 Catholic Irishmen attacked an Orange (Protestant) procession with pick-handles, while in Timaru 150 men from Thomas O’Driscoll’s Hibernian Hotel surrounded Orangemen and prevented their procession taking place.

    1891 Henry Miller, American writer, was born.

    1893 Mao Zedong, Chinese military leader and politician, was born.

    1898 Marie and Pierre Curie announced the isolation of radium.


    1919   Babe Ruth of the Boston Red Sox was sold to the New York Yankees by owner Harry Frazee.

    1933 FM radio was patented.

    1935 Abdul “Duke” Fakir, American singer (The Four Tops), was born.

    1940  Phil Spector, American music producer, was born.

    1942  Marco Vinicio Cerezo Arévalo, Guatemalan president, was born.

    1949 José Ramos-Horta, President of East Timor, Nobel laureate, was born.

    1953 Leonel Fernández, Dominican politician and current President of the Dominican Republic.

    1953 Toomas Hendrik Ilves, President of Estonia, was born.

    1980 Aeroflot put the Ilyushin Il-86 into service.

    1982 Time Magazine’s Man of the Year was for the first time a non-human, the personal computer.
    1986 World Population reaches 5 billion according to world population tracker.
    1991  The Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union meets and formally dissolves the USSR.
    2003 A magnitude 6.6 earthquake devastated southeast Iranian city of Bam, killing tens of thousands and destroying the citadel of Arg-é Bam.

     Arg-é Bam, before the 2003 earthquake.

    2004 A 9.0 magnitude earthquake created a tsunami causing devastation in Sri Lanka, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, the Maldives and many other areas around the rim of the Indian Ocean, killing 230,000 people.

    2006 The 2006 Hengchun earthquake with 7.1 magnitude hit Taiwan.

    Sourced from NZ History Online & Wikipedia.

    Let the punishment fit the crime


    Champaign County Municipal Judge gave a defendent a tune up and offered him the chance to reduce his fine by facing the music.

    But the defendent, who was charged with playing rap music too loudly on his car stereo, chose to pay the $US150 fine rather than accepting a reduction to $US35 if he spent 20 minutes listening to classical music.

    Vactor, 24, lasted only about 15 minutes, a probation officer said.

    It wasn’t the music, Vactor said, he just needed to be at practice with the rest of the Urbana University basketball team.

    “I didn’t have the time to deal with that,” he said. “I just decided to pay the fine.”

    Champaign County Municipal Court Judge Susan Fornof-Lippencott says the idea was to force Vactor to listen to something he might not prefer, just as other people had no choice but to listen to his loud rap music.

    “I think a lot of people don’t like to be forced to listen to music,” she said.

    She’s also taped TV shows for defendants in other cases to watch on topics such as financial responsibility. As she sees it, they get the chance to have their fine reduced “and at the same time broaden their horizons”.

    I don’t know how effective these sentences are, but I like the way she tries to link the consequences to the actions which brought the defendents to court in the first place.

    Or As Gilbert and Sullivan put it more poetically in The Mikado:

    My object all sublime
    I shall achieve in time —
    To let the punishment fit the crime —
    The punishment fit the crime;
    And make each prisoner pent
    Unwillingly represent
    A source of innocent merriment!
    Of innocent merriment!

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