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Old 01-01-2009, 09:36 PM  
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This Day in History

Today...
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Old 03-17-2009, 01:40 PM   #241
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March 17.

1776. British forces leave Boston after the Continental Army places cannons on Dorchester Heights. To this day, Boston celebrates "Evacuation Day" as a city holiday. The fact that it falls on St. Patrick's Day and that the city has been run by Irishment for 150 years or so is merely coincidental....

1845. The rubber band is patented.
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Old 03-18-2009, 09:07 AM   #242
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March 18.

1241. In the Battle of Chmielnik, Mongol forces invading Poland rout the armies of the Polish provinces of Krakow and Sandomierz. At the battle, the Mongols use a very typical tactic of theirs -- after engaging in an initial, up front assault, and seeing that the Polish forces would not be immediately overwhelmed, the Mongols feign retreat. While pursuing, the fleeing Mongols turn and fight while hidden reinforcements assault the Polish flanks. Strung out as a result of their having chased the Mongols, surprised by the sudden appearance of reinforements, and hit on multiple flanks, the Polish army is annihilated. Within a week, locals abandon Krakow, one of the largest and wealthiest cities in Poland, which is sacked by the Mongols.

1314. Jacques de Molay, the 23rd and last Grand Master of the Knights Templar, is burned at the stake for supposed heresy. The fact that the supposed heresy of the Knights Templars were obtained by torture at the behest of the King of France, who was deeply indebted to the order, is no doubt merely coincidental. The annihilation of the Knights Templar effectively relieves the King of France of his debts.

1893. Former Governor General Lord Stanley promises to donate a silver cup to the best amateur hockey team in Canada.

1968. The Congress removes the requirement for gold to back US currency.

1974. Most OPEC nations end a 5 month oil embargo against the US, Europe and Japan.

1990. In the largest art theft in US history, 12 priceless paintings (but estimated at a value of $300 million) are stolen from the Isabella Stewart GArdner Museum in Boston. Worse, it turns out that the museum, lacking funds, did not insure against theft. To this date, the case remains unsolved.

2005. Terry Schiavo's feeding tube is removed at her husband's request.
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Old 03-18-2009, 09:12 AM   #243
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1845. The rubber band is patented.

March 18, 1845. Margaret Lynn Pennymeyer becomes the first person ever hit with a flying rubber band.
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Old 03-18-2009, 09:19 AM   #244
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amnorix View Post
March 18.

1241. In the Battle of Chmielnik, Mongol forces invading Poland rout the armies of the Polish provinces of Krakow and Sandomierz. At the battle, the Mongols use a very typical tactic of theirs -- after engaging in an initial, up front assault, and seeing that the Polish forces would not be immediately overwhelmed, the Mongols feign retreat. While pursuing, the fleeing Mongols turn and fight while hidden reinforcements assault the Polish flanks. Strung out as a result of their having chased the Mongols, surprised by the sudden appearance of reinforements, and hit on multiple flanks, the Polish army is annihilated. Within a week, locals abandon Krakow, one of the largest and wealthiest cities in Poland, which is sacked by the Mongols.

1314. Jacques de Molay, the 23rd and last Grand Master of the Knights Templar, is burned at the stake for supposed heresy. The fact that the supposed heresy of the Knights Templars were obtained by torture at the behest of the King of France, who was deeply indebted to the order, is no doubt merely coincidental. The annihilation of the Knights Templar effectively relieves the King of France of his debts.

1893. Former Governor General Lord Stanley promises to donate a silver cup to the best amateur hockey team in Canada.

1968. The Congress removes the requirement for gold to back US currency.

1974. Most OPEC nations end a 5 month oil embargo against the US, Europe and Japan.

1990. In the largest art theft in US history, 12 priceless paintings (but estimated at a value of $300 million) are stolen from the Isabella Stewart GArdner Museum in Boston. Worse, it turns out that the museum, lacking funds, did not insure against theft. To this date, the case remains unsolved.

2005. Terry Schiavo's feeding tube is removed at her husband's request.
Something's missing.
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Old 03-18-2009, 09:31 AM   #245
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Something's missing.
Shut it.
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Old 03-18-2009, 09:42 AM   #246
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Shut it.
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Old 03-18-2009, 09:47 AM   #247
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Old 03-18-2009, 10:12 AM   #248
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Something's missing.
You mean something besides the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum paintings?
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Old 03-18-2009, 10:22 AM   #249
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You mean something besides the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum paintings?


It's really very sad. The Gardner Museum is a local treasure. Some of the paintings they lost are magnificant.

Rembrandt's "Christ in a Storm in the Sea of Galilee"

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Old 03-18-2009, 10:25 AM   #250
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It's really very sad. The Gardner Museum is a local treasure. Some of the paintings they lost are magnificant.

Rembrandt's "Christ in a Storm in the Sea of Galilee"



Ohmigod. I just raised my bid for that to $12 on propertyroom.com.
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Old 03-19-2009, 07:21 PM   #251
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March 19

1279. A complete rout of numerically superior Song Dynasty forces by the Mongolian forces of Kublai Khan in the naval Battle of Yamen results in the end of the dynasty, and the consolidation of power by the Mongols under the new Yuan Dynasty, which would rule China for the next hundred years.

1918. Congress establishes time zones and daylight savings time.

1945. Adolf Hitler issues a decree that nearly everything of military or economic value in Germany be destroyed by retreating German troops. Reichminster of Armaments Albert Speer undertakes, successfully, to thwart the plan.

1966. An all-black starting 5 for Texas Western (later renamed UTEP) beats notorious racist Adolph Rupp's all-white starting 5 Kentucky team to win the NCAA men's college basketball championship. It is the first time an all black team wins the championship.
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Old 03-20-2009, 07:11 AM   #252
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March 20.

1602. The Dutch East India Company is established. It was the first true corporation in the world -- the first to issue stock, and the first to be a multinational corporation. It was also arguably the world's first megacorporation, establishing colonies, coining money and entering into treaties. It was also immensely profitable for its owners, and paid an 18% dividend for nearly 200 years.

1616. Sir Walter Raleigh, having been imprisoned almost immediately after the death of Queen Elizabeth I on charges of treason, is released from prison after 13 years.

1848. The revolutions of 1848 in GErmany gain steam with the abdication of King Ludwig I of Bavaria.

1852. Harriet Beecher Stowe publishes Uncle Tom's Cabin or Life Among the Lowly. An abolitionist, the book is an instant sensation, selling over 300,000 copies in the first year. It becomes the best-selling novel, and second best-selling book (after the Bible of course) of the entire 1800s. The book depicts the story of a slave, and profoundly affected attitudes regarding slavery in the United States and abroad, and increases sectional tensions. When he met her years later, President Lincoln is famously reported as having said "so this is the little lady that started this big war."

In one of those inexplicable perversities of history, the hero of the book is later transmogrified by popular culture, especially African-Americans, into some kind of boot licking, fawning slave, which was not the case, as exemplified by the fact that Tom is killed by his sadistic owner, Simon Legree, for refusing to help him recapture some escaped slaves.

The impact of the book was immediate. The South vilified Stowe, sending her threatening letters (including a package with a slave's ear enclosed). Comically and predictably, Southern writers began writing novels in response -- "Anti-Tom's Cabin Novels". In response to these criticisms, Stowe wrote "A Key to Uncle Tom's Cabin", which was an even more direct assault upon slavery, and also an instant best seller.

The impact of the book in England was also profound, and credit must be given to Stowe for helping to keep England out of the Civil War. The book has been translated into pretty much every language known to man.

1916. Albert Einstein publishes his general theory of relativity.

1942. General MacArthur, in Terowie, South Australia, makes a famous speech about his retreat, stating "I came out of Bataan, and I shall return." A request from the Department of Defense to change his statement to "we shall return" goes ignored.

2003. In the early hours of the morning, the forces of the United States and three allied countries enter Iraq and begin the 2003 invasion of htat country.
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Old 03-21-2009, 04:02 PM   #253
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March 21

1800. Pius VII is crowned Pope in Venice. Due to an odd dispute with France and Napoleon I, which effectively controlled Italy at that point in time, he is crowned with a papier mache tiara.

1871. Otto von Bismarck is appointed Chancellor of the German Empire. Having overseen the unification of Germany, Bismarck goes on to a highly successful career as the "Iron Chancellor".

1963. Alcatraz prison closes.

1970. Vinko Bogataj, a Slovenian ski jumper, wipes out in a big way while participating in a ski jump in Germany. ABC's Wide World of Sports features the tremendous wipeout -- which only resulted in a minor concussion -- for many years when the opening announce teh "the agony of defeat." Although ABC changes what is shown during the "thrill of victory" part of the credits -- usually showing a recent championship moment -- Bogataj's wipeout is the consistent image for the "agony of defeat". Having retired to a quiet backwater, Bogataj is amazed to learn that he has become soemthing of a legend in America when he is invited to join a 30th anniversary Wide World of Sports reunion.
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Old 03-21-2009, 06:59 PM   #254
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March 20.

1602. The Dutch East India Company is established. It was the first true corporation in the world -- the first to issue stock, and the first to be a multinational corporation. It was also arguably the world's first megacorporation, establishing colonies, coining money and entering into treaties. It was also immensely profitable for its owners, and paid an 18% dividend for nearly 200 years.

If we assume the dividend was paid for 190 years, a person who invested a penny (one cent) in the stock in 1602 and reinvested dividends would have had stock worth $454,550,000,000 by 1792. Apparently my ancestors spent their penny on ale.

But I know what you're thinking. Why would they have continued to reinvest year after year? It's not a good idea to put all your eggs in one basket. Plus, who would be worth $400 billion and not use some of that money for spending?

So let's say that the person started taking half of the gains each year for living expenses, doing so one they were able to take a dividend of one penny. And then once their principal reached one dollar, let's assume that they put half of the money into a conservative money market paying a strong 5 percent, and rebalanced each year.

If they did that, it'd be a huge mistake. Instead of $454 billion, the descendent in 1792 would have had only $88,608 in principal. They would've been living pretty good, though, getting an income of $3,119 in 1792.

Now, let's assume that a nice living was $500 per year and they topped out their benefits at $1,000 per year, increasing it thereafter at 5 percent per year to keep a comfortable standard of living. If they only took out that amount, they'd have a principal of $148,231 in 1792.

Bottom line is, diversification doesn't pay off when you're pulling money out of an 18 percent annual investment.
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Old 03-22-2009, 09:24 PM   #255
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March 22.

Nothing very exciting for today, so I'll go with one I've had planned for some time now.


1206.

On a day lost to history in the spring of the year 1206, the People of the Felt Walls (as they called themselves) gathered for a kurultai -- a political meeting -- at which they would acknowledge the overlordship of a new leader. Approaching nearly 40 years of age, the person to whom the People of the Felt Walls came to pay homage had completely transformed their society during the short years of his life.

For generations uncounted the nomadic peoples had been bound together in loose confederations of tribal organization. The tribes were constantly at each other's throats. They fought over the same things such tribes have always fought across history -- food, land and -- somewhat unusually -- women. In this particular culture, the kidnapping of women was a common occurrence for gaining a wife, and often spawned lengthy, bitter rivalries.

Temujin's ascension, however, had changed absolutely everything. Whereas in the past the tribes had formed, broken and reformed loose alliances and competed with each other, Temujin had risen from almost nowhere to gain control of a tribe, and then gain and KEEP allies in other tribes by treating them fairly, rewarding merit over blood or tribal ties, and repeatedly establishing his tactical and strategic brilliance on the field of battle.

For the field of battle was where the People of the Felt Walls lived from the time they could first ride their shaggy horses. Men were constantly at war, with each other and with their immediate neighbors. The entire society knew nothing but grinding harship and harsh conditions.

Temujin himself was the son of a woman who had been kidnapped. His own wife, Borte, had been kidnapped and later recovered. The timing of the birth of his eldest son, however, would forever leave in doubt his true parentage. As a result, in addition to the many other changes he wrought, one of the most significant was to raise the status of women and forbid their kidnapping among the tribes under his control.

By 1206, Temujin had effectively united the tribes under his control. They gathered to pay him homage and acknowledge his lordship. Until now, none except their immediate neighbors had ever paid any attention to this nomadic group of insignificant and poverty-stricken horsemen. Usually they only paid attention when they were raided, or when they wanted to hire them to raid someone else.

Temujin's ascension, however, would change everything, for instead of being at each other's throats, these men of war would operate under one standard and bring their brand of war, their brilliance, their cunning, their sheer ruthlesness, across known civilization.

And Temujin -- the leader of a people of whom nobody had ever heard before, would bring both his people and himself to the attention of the entire world, and put abject fear into their hearts. Temujin would go down in history and become a legend, though he was not known for his name, but rather his title. King of Kings, Khan of Khans, the Genghis Khan.

And the world would never be the same.

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By the arms of Zingis and his descendants the globe was shaken: the sultans were overthrown, the caliphs fell, and the Caesars trembled on their thrones
It is quite literally impossible to overstate the stunning successes, and their impact on history, of Genghis Khan.

"In 25 years the Mongol army subjugated more lands and more people than the Romans had conquered in 400 years. Genghis Khan, together with his sons and grandsons, conquered the most densely populated civilizations of the thirteenth century. Whether measured by the total number of of people defeated, the sum of the countries annexed or by the total area occupied, Genghis Khan conquered more than twice as much as any other man in history. . . . At its zenith, the Mongol empire covered between 11 and 12 million contiguous square miles, an area about the size of the African continent, and considerably larger than North America, including Canada, the United States, Mexico, Central America and the islands of the Caribbean combined. . . The majority of people today live in countries conquered by teh Mongols; on the modern map, Genghis Khan's conquests include more than 30 countries with well over 3 billion people. The most astonishing aspect of this achievement is that the entire Mongol tribe under him numbered around a million."

The impact of the three generations of Mongol rampage across Asia and into Europe was tremendous. Prior to his conquests, "No one in China had heard of Europe, and no one in Europe had heard of China, and, so far as is known, no person had made the journey from one to the other." By the time of his death, and thereafter, the trade and diplomatic connections fostered by the Mongols in the territories under their control would never be broken.

The Mongols' achievements were both incredible and unspeakable. They destroyed the Hasashins of Islam, who had held tremendous control over Muslims and were feared by all. The modern word "assassin" comes from this fanatical sect. Whereas repeated Crusades by all of Christian Europe struggled to do much more than carve out small islands in the Holy Lands, the Mongols swept through Islam like a flaming scythe through dry wheat, including -- under Genghis Khan's grandson-- capturing and razing to the ground its capital, Baghdad. In doing so, they accomplished in a mere two years what European Crusaders and the Seljuk Turks had failed to do in 200 years of sustained effort.

The tactics by which the Mongols achieved their success was not -- as commonly and mistakenly believed -- by dint of overwhelming numbers. The "Mongol hordes" is by and large a fantasy. Often they were outnumbered. Rather, their troops were tremendously mobile and hardy, and they understood and applied the concepts of what would, seven centures later, be referred to as blitzkrieg warfare. On their sturdy horses, they were fantastically mobile, and employed many strategems to outwit, demoralize and destroy their enemies.

They were also extremely well organized, into groups of 10, 100, 1,000 and armies of 10,000 -- called Tumen. Their troops were never paid except by the bounty and spoils of war, and would subsist on very little food.

Genghis' heirs would carry the war into Europe, nearly 4,000 miles away from their Mongolian steppe homelands. After conquering Russia, the Mongols went on to crush several Polish/Slavish efforts to thwart their advance, and were knocking on teh doors of Vienna, Austria, when fate intervened to save Europe. The then great Khan, an heir to Genghis, had died. The Mongol leaders must return to their homeland for a new Kurultai to elect a new Great Khan. "Had Ogedey [the recently deceased Khan] lived a little longer, the Mongol empire almost certainly would have reached the shores of the Atlantic."

"At a distance of more than seven centuries", wrote historian John Joseph Saunders, "the historian is still struck with wonder at this extraordinary campaign. Whether one considers the geographical scope of teh fighting, which embraced the greater part of eastern Europe, the planning and coordination of movement of so many army corps, the clockwork precision whereby the enemy was surrounded, defeated and pursued, the brilliant manner in which problems of supply were solved, or the skill with which the Asian armies were handled in unfamiliar European terrain, one cannot fail to admit that the Mongol leaders were masters of the art of war such as the world scarely saw before or have seen since."

And yet, the Mongols were more than just nomadic archers. They brilliantly incorporated Chinese engineers and other skills artisans to assist in their military campaigns, adn became masters of siege warfare.

Last, but not least, their sheer brutality cannot go unmentioned. While numbers across the great span of history are often exaggerated and unreliable, and while in this case it was teh losers, and not the victors, who wrote the history books, there is absolutely no doubt that the Mongols were vicious and unforgiving. Cities that submitted were often spared and indeed, treated very leniently. Cities that did not were, however, put to the sword. Artisans set to one side and the rest of the population killed, and the city often razed. To war with the Mongols was to suffer the worst of all possible fates.

And yet, for those subjugated subsequent to the conquest, Mongol administration had a light touch. Perhaps first in the world, Genghis commanded by law freedom of religion throughout his domain and granted diplomatic immunity to all, even enemies, who sought to negotiate. The elimination of petty territories and barriers to trade helped spawn a new era of increased global trade. The lands of the Mongols were also extremely safe. Whereas before highwaymen and bandits were rampant, the Mongols severely suppressed these activities, and travel in Mongol territory was considered to be quite safe.

And all of this came about as the result of the anointment of a new man to lead them one day in the spring of 1206 on the grassy, windswept rolling steppes of Mongolia. A man who started the Mongols on a path of nothing but victory and success for three generations. Genghis Khan.

Last edited by Amnorix; 03-23-2009 at 07:05 AM..
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