One-hundred, fourteen years ago, today, Devil’s Tower or, Bear Lodge Butte, was established as the first US National Monument by President Theodore Roosevelt. Composed of igneous rock, and possibly laccolithic, it is located in the Bear Lodge Mountains of the Black Hills, near Hulett and Sundance, in Crook County, Wyoming. It is also known as Matȟó Thípila by the Lakota and Daxpitcheeaasáao by the Crow (try to pronounce those). It got it’s religious moniker in 1875 when an interpreter for Colonel Richard Dodge, leading an expedition, misunderstood a native name and thought it meant Bad God’s Tower.
Close Encounters of the Third Kind 1977 (AMC’s Filmsite)
The Dakota Peoples (Google Books)
Satellites in the High Country (Google Books)
Devil’s Tower: First 50 Years (National Park Service PDF)
Proposed Name Change (Rapid City Journal June 22, 2015)
Native American Story & Culture (Wikipedia)
Other Native Names (Wikipedia)
Tower Ladder (Wikipedia)
I posted about Hillsborough’s Old Courthouse this past Tuesday. The first picture was a marker about the Kentucky Expedition, led by Daniel Boone in 1775. The information was fashioned out of metal from the USS Maine, the very ship sunk in Havana Harbor that touched off the Spanish-American War. Spain declared war on the U.S. one-hundred, twenty-two years, ago, today and, the U.S. declared war the following day. Historically, the day of declaration is retroactively moved to April 21 as that was the day Spain severed diplomatic relations and the U.S. Navy began a Cuban blockade (the first of two). At the time of my Town Tuesday post, I didn’t realize that I actually posted it on the same day as the corrected date.
After first landing on an island then called Guanahani, Bahamas (San Salvador), on [October 12], Christopher Columbus commanded his three ships […] to land on Cuba’s northeastern coast on [October 28], 1492. Columbus claimed the island for the new Kingdom of Spain and named it Isla Juana after Juan, Prince of Asturias.
The main issue was Cuban independence. Revolts had been occurring for some years in Cuba against Spanish rule. Hostilities began in the aftermath of the explosion of the USS Maine in Havana Harbor in Cuba, leading to U.S. intervention in the Cuban War of Independence.
The growing popular demand for U.S. intervention became an insistent chorus after the (still) unexplained sinking [of the Battleship Maine], which had been sent to protect U.S. citizens and property after anti-Spanish rioting in Havana. [P]olitical pressures from the Democratic Party pushed [President] McKinley into a war that he had wished to avoid. McKinley signed a joint Congressional resolution demanding Spanish withdrawal and authorizing the President to use military force to help Cuba gain independence […].
The ensuing, ten-week war, fought in both the Caribbean and the Pacific, was pathetically one-sided, since Spain had readied neither its army, nor its navy, for a distant war with the formidable power of the United States.
An army of regular troops, and volunteers, under General William Shafter, with Theodore Roosevelt (then, Assistant Secretary of the Navy) and his 1st Volunteer Cavalry, (The Rough Riders), landed on the coast, east of Santiago and, slowly advanced on the city […]. Madrid sued for peace after two Spanish squadrons were sunk in Santiago de Cuba and Manila Bay and a third, more modern, fleet was recalled home to protect the Spanish coasts.
The result was the 1898 Treaty of Paris. In it, Spain renounced all claim to Cuba, ceded Guam and Puerto Rico to the United States and, transferred sovereignty over the Philippines to the United States for $20 million.
♦ In 1976, Admiral Hyman G. Rickover commissioned a private investigation into the [USS Maine] explosion and, the National Geographic Society did an investigation in 1999, using computer simulations. All investigations agreed that an explosion of the forward magazines caused the destruction of the ship but, different conclusions were reached as to how the magazines could have exploded.
♦ [T]heodore Roosevelt, who eventually became Vice President and, later, President of the United States […] was, posthumously, awarded the Medal of Honor in 2001 for his actions in Cuba and, became the only U.S. President to win the award.
♦ The defeat and loss of the last remnants of the Spanish Empire was a profound shock to Spain’s national psyche […]. [There was a] philosophical and artistic re-evaluation of Spanish society known as the Generation of ’98.
Cuba: Population, History and Resources 1907 (Google Books)
Destruction of the Maine (PDF Library of Congress)
Spain Declares War Against The United States (On This Day Website)
Spanish-American War (The History Channel)
What Destroyed The USS Maine (The Spanish-American War Centennial Site)
Cuba: A New History (Web Archive)
Battle of San Juan Hill (Wikipedia)
Cuban War of Independence (Wikipedia)
Generation of ’89 (Wikipedia)
Spanish-American War (Wikipedia)
Treaty of Paris (1898) (Wikipedia)
The Story of the USS Maine
Smithsonian Channel Explosion of the USS Maine
History Channel Spanish-American War Documentary
Launched on September 5, 1843, the very first USS Princeton was a steam-driven propeller warship of the U.S. Navy, commanded by Captain Robert Stockton. It was the first screw-sloop in the fleet. During a cruise down the Potomac River with President John Tyler, federal officials, politicians, attorneys, a former First Lady and several hundred guests, there was a terrible long gun explosion, due, possibly to old forging technology.
President Tyler hosted a public reception for Stockton in the White House on February 27, 1844. On February 28, [the] USS Princeton departed Alexandria, Virginia, on a demonstration cruise down the Potomac with Tyler, members of his cabinet, former First Lady Dolley Madison, Senator Thomas Hart Benton of Missouri and about 400 guests. Captain Stockton decided to fire the larger of her two long guns, Peacemaker, to impress his guests. Peacemaker was fired three times on the trip downriver and was loaded to fire a salute to George Washington as the ship passed Mount Vernon on the return trip. The guests aboard viewed the first set of firings, [then] retired below decks for lunch and refreshments.
Secretary [of the Navy] [Thomas Walker] Gilmer urged those aboard to view a final shot with the Peacemaker. When Captain Stockton pulled the firing lanyard, the gun burst. Its left side had failed, spraying hot metal across the deck and shrapnel into the crowd. Instantly killed were Gilmer, Secretary of State [Abel P.] Upshur, Captain Beverley Kennon, who was Chief of the Bureau of Construction [Equipment] and Repairs, Virgil Maxcy (a Maryland attorney with decades of experience as a state and federal officeholder), David Gardiner (a New York lawyer and politician) and the President’s valet, a black slave named Armistead. Another 16 to 20 people were injured, including several members of the ship’s crew, Senator Benton and Captain Stockton. The president was below decks and not injured.
The disaster on board the Princeton killed more top U.S. government officials in a single day than any other tragedy in American history.
Additional Reading & Sources
Fatal Cruise of the Princeton (Naval History/military.com/Wayback Machine)
USS Princeton (ibiblio.org)
Princeton I (Naval History and Heritage Command site)
Accident on a Steam Ship (Google Books)
Tyler Narrowly Escapes Death (The History Channel site)
How the USS Princeton explosion changed U.S. history.
They really wanted Galileo to shut up. Four hundred, four years, today, the Catholic Church was nearly successful with an injunction. Referred to as the Galileo Affair, it started in 1610 and ended in 1633 with the Roman Inquistion.
Galileo got into trouble for supporting Copernican Heliocentrism, the mathematical model put forth by Nicolaus Copernicus (see Copernican Revolution), that suggested the Earth, and other planets, revolve around the sun at the center of the Solar System, opposing Geocentrism, backed by the Catholic Church.
In 1610, Galileo published his Sidereus Nuncius (Starry Messenger), describing the surprising observations that he had made with [a] new telescope, among them, the Galilean Moons of Jupiter. With these observations, and additional observations that followed, such as the phases of Venus, he promoted the heliocentric theory of Nicolaus Copernicus published in De revolutionibus orbium coelestium in 1543. Galileo’s discoveries were met with opposition within the Catholic Church and, in 1616, the Inquisition declared heliocentrism to be “formally heretical.” Heliocentric books were banned and Galileo was ordered to abstain from holding, teaching or defending heliocentric ideas.
On February 19, 1616, the Inquisition asked a commission of theologians, known as qualifiers, about the propositions of the heliocentric view of the universe. [It was] confirmed that Galileo had advocated the Copernican doctrines of a stationary Sun, and a mobile Earth, and as a consequence, the Tribunal of the Inquisition would have eventually needed to determine the theological status of those doctrines.
On February 24, the Qualifiers delivered their unanimous report:
“[The] proposition that the Sun is stationary at the centre of the universe is foolish and absurd in philosophy and, formally, heretical since it explicitly contradicts, in many places, the sense of Holy Scripture. [The] proposition that the Earth moves and is not at the centre of the universe receives the same judgement in philosophy and … in regard to theological truth, it is at least erroneous in faith.”
At a meeting of the cardinals of the Inquisition on the following day, Pope Paul V instructed [Cardinal] Bellarmine to deliver this result to Galileo and to order him to abandon the Copernican opinions. [Should] Galileo resist the decree, stronger action would be taken. On February 26, Galileo was called to Bellarmine’s residence and ordered:
“[To] abstain completely from teaching or defending this doctrine and opinion or, from discussing it… to abandon completely… the opinion that the [Sun] stands still at the center of the world and the [Earth] moves and, henceforth, not to hold, teach or defend it in any way whatever, either orally or in writing.”
Galileo accepted the order. He didn’t have much choice as his reputation was at stake. Shortly afterwards, all books regarding the Copernican system were banned and Galileo’s works regarding Copernicanism were banned as well. His sentence prevented him from teaching or speaking of the matter further. He remained silent only for so long.
Very interesting take on what actually happened…
[A] cat, a flask of poison and a radioactive source are placed in a sealed box. If an internal monitor (e.g. Geiger counter) detects radioactivity (i.e. a single atom decaying), the flask is shattered, releasing the poison, which kills the cat. The Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics implies that, after a while, the cat is simultaneously alive and dead. Yet, when one looks in the box, one sees the cat either alive or dead, not both alive and dead. This poses the question of when, exactly, quantum superposition ends and reality collapses into one possibility or the other.
[Schrödinger] intended the example [above] to illustrate the absurdity of the existing view of quantum mechanics:
One can even set up quite ridiculous cases. A cat is penned up in a steel chamber, along with the following device (which must be secured against direct interference by the cat): in a Geiger counter, there is a tiny bit of radioactive substance, so small, that perhaps in the course of the hour one of the atoms decays, but also, with equal probability, perhaps none. [If] it happens, the counter tube discharges and, through a relay, releases a hammer that shatters a small flask of hydrocyanic acid. If one has left this entire system to itself for an hour, one would say that the cat still lives if, meanwhile, no atom has decayed. The first atomic decay would have poisoned it. The psi-function of the entire system would express this by having in it the living and dead cat (pardon the expression) mixed or smeared out in equal parts.
It is typical of these cases that an indeterminacy originally restricted to the atomic domain becomes transformed into macroscopic indeterminacy, which can then be resolved by direct observation. That prevents us from so naively accepting as valid a “blurred model” for representing reality. In itself, it would not embody anything unclear or contradictory. There is a difference between a shaky or out-of-focus photograph and a snapshot of clouds and fog banks.
Schrödinger’s famous thought experiment poses the question, “when does a quantum system stop existing as a superposition of states and become one or the other?”
The EPR Paradox was a thought experiment proposed by physicists Albert Einstein, Boris Podolsky and Nathan Rosen (EPR) that they interpreted as indicating that the explanation of physical reality provided by quantum mechanics was incomplete (PDF).
Forty years ago, today, the #1 song on the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart was Love Is The Answer by England Dan & John Ford Coley. Released on March 4, the song was written by Todd Rundgren for his band Utopia. It is the last track on the 1977 album Oops! Wrong Planet. Rundgren’s version didn’t chart but, this cover version reached #10 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart.
From John Ford Coley:
Of all the songs we released as singles, that was my favorite. The song, first of all, had a classical base and the middle had a gospel section, which I loved.
From Todd Rundgren (on what the song meant to him):
We were doing an album at the time and, usually, we try and be collaborative when we write the songs because, we had made an agreement that we would share the publishing on all of our songs so that specific writers don’t get the credit. But, that was a song that I came up with. We put it on a bummer album like Oops! Wrong Planet thinking, maybe, we need to put something a little hopeful on it.
The song still has meaning to me. I perform it every night with Ringo. Ringo has his “three hit rule” and I’m taking advantage of a technicality in that Love Is The Answer was a hit but, it wasn’t a hit for me or Utopia. It was a hit for England Dan & John Ford Coley.
Originally, Ringo wanted me to do Hello It’s Me and I just felt that the song, in the context of what the rest of the band was playing, didn’t represent the message I wanted to convey because, “Hello It’s Me” is a kind of a selfish song. It’s me, me, me…it’s all about me. I’m in charge and, all this other stuff. I thought a better song, especially for Mr. Peace & Love, Ringo himself, would be “Love Is The Answer” and, people would know the song because it was a hit. […] they, maybe even, would just gloss over the fact that it wasn’t a hit for me and think, ‘Oh Yeah! Now, I remember him singing this song.’ So, for me, it’s a high point of the evening and, hopefully, the audience is getting the message.
Glen Campbell recorded the song in 2004 on his Love Is The Answer: 24 Songs of Faith, Hope and Love album. It remains a favorite of Christian artists.