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Corona Virus (COVID-19): Did You Know?

Updates for Library use during the Corona Pandemic

A Daily Dose

A daily dose of tidbits of knowledge, just because we can.

The Tidbits


May 28. 1897 - Jell-o was introduced.

May 27. 1937 - The Golden Gate Bridge, connecting San Francisco with Marin County, California opened. Today was "Pedestrian Day" - cars were allowed the following day.

May 26 If a statue in the park of a person on a horse has one or both front legs in the air, the person died as a result of wounds received in battle; if the horse has all four legs on the ground, the person died of natural causes.

May 25. Memorial day was first celebrated on May 30, 1868. It was observed by placing flowers on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers during the first national celebration. Gen. James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery, after which around 5,000 participants helped to decorate the graves of the more than 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers who were buried there.

May 24. 1775 - John Hancock was elected president of the Second Continental Congress.

May 23. 1900 First Actions by an African-American to Earn the Medal of Honor.  Sergeant William Harvey Carney is awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions in 1863 during the Civil War. During the assault on Fort Wagner in Charleston, South Carolina, Carney, although seriously wounded, struggled across the battlefield carrying the Union flag. His citation reads, "When the color sergeant was shot down, this soldier grasped the flag, led the way to the parapet, and planted the colors thereon. When the troops fell back he brought off the flag, under a fierce fire in which he was twice severely wounded."  Although his were the first actions for which a Medal of Honor was awarded to an African American, he wasn't awarded his medal until 1900, during which time other African Americans had received their award for actions which occurred later.  It is believed he escaped slavery via the Underground Railroad.  This battle is portrayed in the film Glory (1989).

May 22. 1849 Future U.S. President Abraham Lincoln is issued U.S. Patent #6469 for an "Improvement for Buoying Vessels Over Shoals." He is the only U.S. President to have held a patent. His device consisted of large bellows attached to the sides of a boat that expanded via air chambers to help lift a stuck boat over shoals. The device was never put into actual use.

May 21. 1980 - The Coyote finally caught the Road Runner. link  Also - - Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back was released in theaters. At the time, we just called it The Empire Strikes Back.

May 20. 1932 First Solo Transatlantic Flight by a Woman Amelia Earhart departs from Newfoundland, arriving in Ireland.

May 19. 2124 (fiction) Jake Sully landed on Pandora, Avatar, Film

May 18. 1980 (Volcano Eruption) Mount St. Helens in Washington erupted with a 5.1 magnitude, causing a massive avalanche and killed 57 people. David Johnson was a volcanologist studying Mt. St. Helens from 6 miles away when it erupted. He made a transmission stating: "Vancouver! Vancouver! This is it!" as the volcano erupted. The transmission went dead at this point, and his body was never recovered.

May 17. 1954 - The US Supreme Court handed down an unanimous decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, ruling that racial segregation in public educational facilities was unconstitutional.

May 16. 1975 First Woman to Summit Mt. Everest. Junko Tabei of Japan summits Mt. Everest. In 1992, she also became the first woman to ascend all Seven Summits by climbing the highest peak on every continent.

May 15.1501 - Ottaviano Petrucci opened the first modern-style music publishing house, by producing the first book of music made from movable type, in Venice.

May 14. 1973 The U.S. space station Skylab is launched. About a minute after take-off a protective shield and a solar panel broke off, damaging the other solar panel in the process. The crew was sent up on the 25th and made repairs.

May 13. International Hummus Day!  What's your favorite flavor of Hummus?

May 12. 1551 - The National University of San Marcos, the oldest university in the Americas, was founded in Lima, Peru.

May 11. 868 - The first known dated printed book was the Diamond Sutra, a Buddhist scripture. A citation included : "printed on 11 May 868, by Wang Chieh, for free general distribution".

May 10. Happy Mother's Day - Anna Jarvis was a woman that may have been behind our traditional Mother’s Day celebration on the second Sunday of May. Anna never had any children, but wanted to carry out her own mother’s wishes of having a day just for moms. Anna tirelessly campaigned and on May 8th, 1914 President Woodrow Wilson signed a Joint Resolution designating the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.

May 9. 1960 - The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the world's first commercially produced birth-control bill-Enovid-10.

May 8. 2010 - Betty White hosted Saturday Night Live, thanks to a push by fans on Facebook. She won an Emmy for her appearance.

May 7. 1963 - NASA launched the Telstar 2 communications satellite on behalf of AT&T.

May 6. 1937  The Hindenburg Disaster - "Oh, the Humanity!" News reporter Herbert Morrison makes his famous proclamation, "Oh, the Humanity!" as he witnesses the disaster unfolding. The giant airship Hindenburg explodes and burns killing 36 people while preparing to land at Lakehurst, New Jersey. The exact cause of the fire has never been determined, but theories range from a hydrogen leak, sabotage from either crew or passengers, static electricity, and a flammable coating on the skin of the craft. This disaster marked the end of the airship era.

May 5. Taco Tuesday and Cinco de Mayo -

  • On May 5, 1882 Mexico fought France in the Battle of Pueblo.
  • The victory helped unify Mexico. The country was elated their poorly armed troops of 4,500 men were able to defeat France’s invasion of 6,500 to 8,000 well-equipped soldiers.
  • Even though Cinco de Mayo is a national holiday in Mexico, it’s only widely celebrated in Pueblo. In the United States is recognized as a popular holiday to learn about Mexican culture.

May 4. is Star Wars Day. "May the Fourth be with you."  1933 - The discovery of radio waves from the center of the Milky Way galaxy was announced by Karl Jansky.

May 3. 1802 - Washington, District of Columbia. was incorporated as a city.

May 2. 1998 (fiction) The Battle of Hogwarts took place. SPOILER: Neville Longbottom really stepped up. Harry Potter

May 1. 1964 - The BASIC computer program was used for the first time at Dartmouth University by John G. Kemeny and Thomas E. Kurtz. The name is an acronym for 'Beginner's All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code'.

April 30.1945 Hitler Commits Suicide. German Chancellor Adolf Hitler and his newly-wed bride Eva Braun reportedly commit suicide by taking cyanide capsules. Their bodies were taken to the garden outside, doused in petrol, and set on fire. Some accounts say Hitler shot himself as he bit down the cyanide capsule. In 2009, DNA tests were conducted on a skull Soviet officials had long believed to be Hitler's. The tests and examination revealed that the skull was actually that of a woman less than 40 years old. Hitler and his mistress Eva Braun were married the previous day. Germany surrendered a week later, ending the war in Europe.

April 29. 1953 The first U.S. experimental 3D-TV broadcast showed an episode of Space Patrol on Los Angeles ABC affiliate KECA-TV

April 28. 1789 - The HMS Bounty was taken over in a mutiny led by Fletcher Christian, the first mate. Captain William Bligh and 18 of his loyal supporters were set adrift in a small boat.

April 27. In 1810 Ludwig van Beethoven composes his famous piano piece "Für Elise"

April 26.  In 1564 - Playwright William Shakespeare was baptized in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, England. People were traditionally baptized three days after birth, this is how we know his birthday was April 23.

April 25. There's enough Harry Potter trivia to fill a seven book series, but a rarer fact that has changed many lives involves The Tales of Beedle the Bard. J.K. Rowling hand-wrote seven copies of the short stories collection and had them bound with jewel-encrusted covers. Six went to people who helped her with Harry's journey, and the final copy was auctioned for £1.95m ($3.98 million). Proceeds went to a Romanian orphanage.

April 24. Carly Simon's dad is the Simon of Simon and Schuster. He co-founded the company.

April 23. The blob of toothpaste that sits on your toothbrush has a name. It's called a "nurdle," and there was a lawsuit over which toothpaste company had the right to depict it.

April 22. Too much water can kill you. Drinking too much water can be deadly. When guzzling a lot of liquid, you can suffer from water intoxication or hyponatremia, which occurs after an obscene amount of water is consumed, often during endurance events when participants are also losing sodium through their sweat. There have been many notable cases, including the 2002 Boston Marathon competitor Cynthia Lucero, who died from overhydration.

April 21.The “Windy City” name has nothing to do with Chicago weather. Was this one of the random facts you already knew? Chicago’s nickname was coined by 19th-century journalists who were referring to the fact that its residents were “windbags” and “full of hot air.”

April 20. Scotland has 421 words for “snow” Yes—421! That's too many fun facts about snow. Some examples: sneesl (to start raining or snowing); feefle (to swirl); flinkdrinkin (a light snow). Don't miss these other 11 random interesting facts about snow.

April 19.Johnny Appleseed’s fruits weren’t for eating. Yes, there was a real John Chapman who planted thousands of apple trees on U.S. soil. But the apples on those trees were much more bitter than the ones you’d find in the supermarket today. “Johnny Appleseed” didn’t expect his fruits to be eaten whole, but rather made into hard apple cider.

April 18. Some fungi create zombies, then control their minds. The tropical fungus Ophiocordyceps infects ants’ central nervous systems. By the time the fungi been in the insect bodies for nine days, they have complete control over the host’s movements. They force the ants to climb trees, then convulse and fall into the cool, moist soil below, where fungi thrive. Once there, the fungus waits until exactly solar noon to force the ant to bite a leaf and kill it.

April 17. There really was a Captain Morgan. He was a Welsh pirate who later became the lieutenant governor of Jamaica.

April 16. Stop signs used to be yellow. In 1922, the American Association of State Highway Officials met to determine a standard design for stop signs, and that's where they decided on the color—yellow. Wait, what? Yes, according to Business Insider, stop signs were yellow because they thought that would grab drivers' attention. They'd also considered red, but there was no dye available at the time that wouldn't eventually fade. By 1954, however, sign makers had access to fade-resistant porcelain enamel, and could finally start making stop signs the red color we recognize today.

April 15. To Kill a Mockingbird is Harper Lee's only novel, even though it won a Pulitzer Prize and spent 88 weeks on the bestseller list. Go Set a Watchman was published months before Harper's 2016 death, but while being called a sequel was actually a first draft of To Kill a Mockingbird, thus the one novel.

April 14. Susan Eloise Hinton embraced the idea "to write the book you want to read." She was 15 and frustrated with the lack of relatable pop culture being produced for teens when she wrote The Outsiders. Bonus fact: she used her initials to avoid any gender bias from a woman writing novels.

April 13. In 1939, Hitler's nephew wrote an article called "Why I Hate My Uncle." He came to the U.S., served in the Navy, and settled on Long Island.

April 12. Oscar the Grouch used to be orange. Jim Henson decided to make him green before the second season of Sesame Street. How did Oscar explain the color change? He said he went on vacation to the very damp Swamp Mushy Muddy and turned green overnight.

April 11. Some cats are actually allergic to humans. Though it's uncommon—since humans bathe more than your typical animal, and don't shed as much hair or skin—some animals can still be allergic to humans, according to Popular Science. (However, it's more often because of the perfume or cologne we wear, or the soap we use.)

April 10. Amelia Earhart and Eleanor Roosevelt once went on a joyride. In 1933, Eleanor Roosevelt and Amelia Earhart ditched a fancy dinner in Washington, D.C., and hopped into an Eastern Air Transport Curtis Condor for a quick trip to Baltimore and back, according to The Baltimore Sun. Earhart, who was wearing a white silk gown, piloted the plane for most of the flight.

April 9. According to the National Retail Federation, Americans spend $310 million on pet costumes last Halloween.

April 8. M&M's actually stands for "Mars & Murrie's," the last names of the candy's founders.

April 7. "Jay" used to be slang for "foolish person." So when a pedestrian ignored street signs, he was referred to as a "jaywalker."

April 6. Johnny Cash's "A Boy Named Sue" was penned by beloved children's author Shel Silverstein.

April 5. The Encyclopedia Britannica, which is the Wikipedia of the past, originated in Scotland. It was the idea of an Edinburgh bookseller, Colin Macfarquhar.

April 4.The Library of Alexandria, Greatest Library of the Ancient World. The Ancient Library of Alexandria, located in Alexandria, Egypt, was one of the largest libraries of the ancient world. Any books that came into the Port of Alexandria became library property and the library created a copy for the owner.  The Library of Alexandria is estimated to have housed up to 400,000 scrolls of text, before a fire engulfed the collection.  The destruction of the Library of Alexandria is famed and romanticized as one of the greatest historical cultural losses to mankind. [Wikipedia]

April 3. The Largest Published Book: The largest book ever published in a conventional manner is a Brazilian copy of The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (who also happens to be a pioneer of the aviation world). This extra large edition of The Little Prince measures 3.08 meters wide (opened) and 2.01 meters high. The Biannual Book Fair of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil featured the giant book in their September 2007 fair. [Guinness World Records]

April 2. Green Eggs and Ham started as a bet. The Dr. Seuss classic grew out of a bet with his editor that he could not create a book using fewer than 50 different words. The editor, Random House founder Bennett Cerf, put—you guessed it—$50 on the line, and lost.

April 1. Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon or "Bacon's Law" is a parlour game based on the "six degrees of separation" concept, which posits that any two people on Earth are six or fewer acquaintance links apart. Movie buffs challenge each other to find the shortest path between an arbitrary actor and prolific actor Kevin Bacon. It rests on the assumption that anyone involved in the Hollywood film industry can be linked through their film roles to Bacon within six steps. Use the Oracle of Bacon to to find the Bacon number from your favorite actor to Kevin Bacon.