Today in History (March 11th):
1824: The U.S. War Department created the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
1845: John Chapman, better known as Johnny Appleseed, died in Allen County, Ind.
1851: Rigoletto by Giuseppe Verdi preformed for the first time.
1861: The constitution of the Confederate States of America was adopted in Montgomery, Alabama. Delegates from South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas adopted the Permanent Constitution of the Confederate States of America.
1888: More than 200 people died as a four-day snowstorm crippled New York City.
1898: Birthdays: Silent movie star Dorothy Gish.
1903: Birthdays: Bandleader Lawrence Welk.
1916: Birthdays: Former British Prime Minister Harold Wilson.
1918: The first cases of Spanish influenza were reported in the United States. By 1920, the virus had killed as many as 22 million people worldwide, 500,000 in the United States.
1926: Birthdays: Civil rights leader Ralph Abernathy.
1930: William Howard Taft became the first former U.S. president to be buried in the national cemetery at Arlington, Va.
1931: Birthdays: Media mogul Rupert Murdoch.
1934: Birthdays: Television newsman Sam Donaldson.
1936: Birthdays: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.
1941: The Lend Lease Bill to help Britain survive attacks by Germany was passed by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
1942: After struggling against great odds to save the Philippines from Japanese conquest, U.S. Army Gen. Douglas MacArthur abandoned the island fortress of Corregidor under orders from U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, leaving behind 90,000 U.S. and Filipino troops.
1950: Birthdays: Musician Bobby McFerrin; Filmmaker Jerry Zucker (Airplane!, the Naked Gun movies).
1952: Birthdays: Author Douglas Adams (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy).
1963: Birthdays: Actor Alex Kingston.
1968: Birthdays: Singer Lisa Loeb.
1982: Birthdays: Actor Thora Birch.
1985: Mikhail Gorbachev, 54, succeeded Konstantin Chernenko as leader of the Soviet Union.
1990: The Lithuanian Parliament declared the Baltic republic free of the Soviet Union and called for negotiations to make secession a reality. Gen. Augusto Pinochet stepped down as president of Chile, making way for an elected civilian leader for first time since a 1973 coup.
1993: Janet Reno won unanimous U.S. Senate approval to become the first female U.S. attorney general.
2001: One of the worst weeks in Wall Street history began with a 436.37-point — 4.1 percent — decline in the Dow Jones industrial average. By week’s end, all major indexes were down 6 percent.
2004: 10 bombs exploded almost simultaneously on four commuter trains in Madrid, Spain, killing 191 people and injuring 1,400.
2006: Slobodan Milosevic, former president of Yugoslavia on trial for war crimes, was found dead in his cell at The Hague, an apparent heart attack victim. Proposed labor reform legislation sparked student riots across France.
2007: French President Jacques Chirac announced his retirement after more than 40 years in politics.
2008: The Federal Reserve outlined a $200 billion program that lets the biggest U.S. banks borrow Treasury securities at discount rates in an effort to avert a financial crisis.
2009: French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced that France, a founding member of NATO, would rejoin the alliance’s military command structure after half a century.
2010: Around 10,000 rescue and cleanup workers at New York’s Ground Zero after the 2001 terrorist attacks reached a health claim settlement with the city worth approximately $657.5 million.
2011: Japan was hit by a magnitude-9 temblor that struck about 230 miles northeast of Tokyo. The quake triggered a tsunami that swept away homes, vehicles, ships and people in the nation’s north. The official death toll reached 15,800 with almost 4,000 missing. Bahrain’s Ministry of Interior said tear gas was used to disperse demonstrators, denying reports that authorities used live ammunition against the protesters. In Yemen, soldiers fired on Sanaa demonstrators, killing one.
2012: At least 45 women and children were reported killed in Homs, Syria, opposition activists said, hours after the U.N. special envoy met with Syrian President Bashar Assad to discuss a diplomatic solution to end the violence.
“A man may be very industrious, and yet not spend his time well. There is no more fatal blunderer than he who consumes the greater part of life getting his living.” – Henry David Thoreau, naturalist and author (1817-1862)
“The constitutional purpose of a budget is to make government responsive to public opinion and responsible for its acts.” – William Howard Taft, U.S. President
“Pedantry and mastery are opposite attitudes toward rules. To apply a rule to the letter, rigidly, unquestioningly, in cases where it fits and in cases where it does not fit, is pedantry… To apply a rule with natural ease, with judgment, noticing the cases where it fits, and without ever letting the words of the rule obscure the purpose of the action or the opportunities of the situation, is mastery.” – George Polya, professor of mathematics (1887-1985)
“I want to realize brotherhood or identity not merely with the beings called human, but I want to realize identity with all life, even with such things as crawl upon earth.” – Mohandas K. Gandhi (1869-1948)
Vannevar Bush (1890-1974) American electrical engineer and physicist:
“A belief may be larger than a fact. A faith that is overdefined is the very faith most likely to prove inadequate to the great moments of life.”
“Fear cannot be banished, but it can be calm and without panic; it can be mitigated by reason and evaluation.”
“If scientific reasoning were limited to the logical processes of arithmetic, we should not get very far in our understanding of the physical world. One might as well attempt to grasp the game of poker entirely by the use of the mathematics of probability.”
“Science has a simple faith, which transcends utility. It is the faith that it is the privilege of man to learn to understand, and that this is his mission.”
“The world has arrived at an age of cheap complex devices of great reliability, and something is bound to come of it.”
1. Easy to speak to; receiving others kindly and conversing with them in a free and friendly manner.
2. Gracious; benign.
ETYMOLOGY: Affable is from Latin affabilis, from affari, “to speak to,” from ad-, “to” + fari, “to speak.”
USAGE: “An affable, gregarious sort, Jason was everyone’s best friend, even while he plotted to betray them to their worst enemies.”
MEANING: (noun), An advocate of extending the right to vote, especially to women.
ETYMOLOGY: Via French from Latin suffragium (voting tablet, right to vote). Ultimately from the Indo-European root bhreg- (to break) that also gave us break, breach, fraction, fragile, fractal, infringe, irrefragable, and fractious. Suffrage? Remember, a broken piece of tile was used as a ballot in the past. Earliest documented use: 1822.
NOTES: While we have come a long way in treating people equally regarding the right to vote, there are still places where a woman is not considered fit to vote or to run for an office, for example Saudi Arabia and the Vatican.
USAGE: “Women had not won the right to vote; one suffragist slapped Song Jiaoren in the face for not taking up their cause.” – The Song of Song; The Economist (London, UK); Dec 22, 2012.
Explore “suffragist” in the Visual Thesaurus.
MEANING: (adjective), Fourth from the last.
ETYMOLOGY: From Latin pre- (before) + ante- (before) + pen- (almost) + ultimus (last). Earliest documented use: 1746.
“Alert! You have just made it through the preantepenultimate paragraph.” – A Purist’s Erstwhile Latitudinarianism; The News-Sentinel (Fort Wayne, Indiana); Jun 29, 2002.
“The female in question … was the preantepenultimate ex-wife of ol’ Josh P.” – Esther Friesner; Just Another Cowboy; Fantasy & Science Fiction (Cornwall, Connecticut); Apr 2002.
MEANING: (noun), A compulsion to pull out one’s hair.
ETYMOLOGY: From Greek tricho- (hair) + tillein (to pluck, pull out) + -mania (excessive enthusiasm or craze). A related word is trichology (the word for the study and treatment of hair and its disorders).
USAGE: “Like many with trichotillomania, Neomie said she got some sense of relief and satisfaction from pulling out her hair.” – Michelle Roberts; Women Who Tear Their Hair Out; BBC News (London, UK); Jul 6, 2009.
Explore “trichotillomania” in the Visual Thesaurus.
MEANING: (noun), A minor or incompetent mathematician.
ETYMOLOGY: From Latin mathematicus, from Greek mathematikos, from mathanein (to learn) + -aster (a pejorative suffix).
USAGE: “I hope [the theorem] will discover more of these empty mathematicasters.” – Noel Malcolm and Jacqueline Stedall; John Pell and His Correspondence with Sir Charles Cavendish; Oxford University Press; 2005.