This week in history, a wreck was found, a city was wrecked and music, depending on your sensibilities, was wrecked or salvaged.
The unsinkable ship was found on the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean on this day in 1985. Marine geologist Richard Ballard and his team of French and American scientists discovered the “Titanic” 12,500 feet below the surface. It was about 350 miles north of Newfoundland. Since the discovery, more than 5,500 artifacts—plates, jewelry, suitcases—have been recovered from the wreck.
Great Fire of London
One of the greatest fires in the history of the world, the Great Fire of London happened today in 1666. The flames destroyed large portions of the city, including 13,000 homes; most affected was the medieval section of the city inside the Roman Walls. It is believed that the flames started in a baker’s house on Pudding Lane. The Great Fire is commonly attributed as the impetus for the creation fire insurance.
Penny Press Begins
On this day in 1833, the “New York Sun” went on sale for literally a penny. Benjamin Day’s paper was successful in the penny market where other ventures in Philadelphia and Boston had failed due in part to the paper’s coverage of human-interest stories. It is best known for its Great Moon Hoax of 1835, which claimed that a well-respected astronomer said there was life and a thriving civilization on the moon. The paper folded in 1950.
Little Rock Nine
The Little Rock Nine were nine black students who faced intense discrimination attempting to attend Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. Gov. Orval Faubus ordered the National Guard to turn the students away on this day in 1957. Mobs of white segregationists intimidated the students. President Dwight D. Eisenhower called on the 101st Airborne Division to enforce the federal statute allowing integration of schools. The students entered Central High on September 25.
John Cage Birthday
American composer and music advocate John Cage was born on this date in 1912. The avant-garde musician is known for his nontraditional use of instruments and other objects to create music. He influenced composition and music theory with his thoughts on indeterminacy and chance in music. His most famous composition is ‘4’33”,’ in which the musician does not play any music, but lets the sounds around the audience constitute the piece. Cage died in 1992.
One Arm Dove Hunt
What started as a joke between friends has turned into an annual tradition and one of Texas’ most unusual events. In 1972, Jack Northrup and Jack Bishop, both amputees with only one arm each, joked about hunting doves with shotguns and rifles—weapons nearly impossible to operate with only one arm. That year, six residents—all arm amputees—of Olney, Texas, attended the first One Arm Dove Hunt. In the years since, the event has grown and now includes a golf tournament, skeet shooting and musical performances. Amputees are welcome to attend this interesting event for fellowship and fun.
The world’s most popular search engine and one of its most powerful companies was formed on this day in 1998. Google, founded by Sergey Brin and Larry Page, beat out other search engines—getting 10,000 search queries while still in beta. By 1999, the search engine was processing 3 million requests per day. Google has since expanded beyond search into mobile computing, social networking and cloud storage.