Thursday, February 25, 2016

John Harvard's Toes

John Harvard's Toes

John Harvard’s Sculpture – Nicknamed `Statue of Three Lies’

John Harvard a sculpture in bronze was sculpted by Daniel Chester French between 1883 and 1884 in Harvard Yard, Cambridge, Massachusetts in honour of John Harvard. The statue is true to its nickname of the `Statue of Three Lies’. John Harvard had lived from 1607 to 1638 and died at the young age of 30. Initially an English minister, he toured to the New World in 1637 to be a preacher in Charleston. However, due to disease in the colonies, John Harvard died of tuberculosis in the fall of 1938 a few months after his arrival there.
Though he had not attended Harvard, he had donated half of his estate as well as his library of 400 books to the unnamed college then at the time of his death while the other half of his remaining estate remained with his widow. In honour of his generous donation, the school had been named after him as Harvard College. Around two centuries later, to honour the benefactor, a statue was commissioned. The lies regarding the statue were flourishing and the biggest misconception was that the statue was of John Harvard. There were no documents or images or descriptions of John Harvard and no one knew what he looked like.

Statue Enjoyed Strange Fate

Without knowing his subject, French modelled the statue after a descendant of puritans like John Harvard himself after Sherman Hoar of Concord.Moreover, French also were not aware of what Harvard wore and had consulted `Felts Customs of New England’ to know what a 17th century clergyman would wear.The other two lies of the statue is related to the inscription which states that `John Harvard, founder 1638. In fact, John Harvard was not the founder of Harvard University, only the main and original benefactor.

He had not been to school. Harvard was also not founded in 1638 as the statue suggested but was founded two years earlier in 1636 by a vote by the General Court of Massachusetts Bay Colony. Tourist would often rub the toe of the left shoe of John Harvard for luck, with the belief that doing so was the Harvard student tradition.The statue of John Harvard enjoyed a strange fate and from the moment of sunrise, tourist would come by to stand before him like pilgrims gazing on a relic and at sunset people would urinate on the statue.

Combination of Honour/Dishonour – Most Expectant Peculiarities

This combination of honour by day and dishonour at night is one of Harvard College’s most expectant peculiarities. It portrays a surprising difference between the way the world tends to observe Harvard and the way we perceive ourselves and a conceit more exuberant than the sewage soaking John Harvard each Saturday night.

 It is mocking that so many visitor felt compelled to have their picture taken near a glorified outhouse, but the favourite late-night pit stop of Harvard is considered more than just a statue. John Harvard, to the outsiders portrayed the pinnacle of success together with academic achievement.

When the tourist, after smiling, rubs the popular shiny foot, it is like paying homage to the American Dream itself and as a Harvard undergraduate it is tough not to be deceived by the attention. Clicks of the flashbulbs tend to serve as a continuous reminder that they are students at an amazing place with the capability of inspiring deep emotions in several people.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

The Strange Story of Daisy of Pless

Daisy of Pless

The British Princess - Daisy of Pless

Daisy of Pless, the British Princess was one of the most contentious people of her times and was known for her cheerful personality as well as her unconventional manners. The necklace which she had received from her husband became one of the most sought after artifacts after World War II. Daisy was born on 28th June 1873 at Ruthin Castle in Denbighshire, Wales, as Mary Theresa Olivia Conwallis-West and was strongly related to the British royal family. Col. William Cornwallis-West, was her father and Mary Patsy Fitzpatrick her mother.

William Cornwallis-West had been a great grandson of John West, the second Earl De La Warr and Mary had been related to the house of the 2nd Marquess of Headfort. The strong connection between Daisy and Queen Victoria was also very popular. Her early years of childhood were similar to the lives of the other girls from the royal families. However, owing to her charming personality she was known as Daisy and was chosen as the most beautiful British women in 1907. Daisy had married a member of the Hochberg family, Hans, Heinrich XV in 1891 and she together with her husband were the owners of huge estates as well as coal mines in Silesia presently Poland, though during her lifetime, Germany.

Presented with a Pearl Necklace – Became a Sensation

This brought about massive fortune to the Hochbergs and enabled Daisy to follow her extravagant lifestyle together with disastrous events as well as political and family scandals. The Ksiaz Castle in Silesia was the residency of the married couple but Daisy did not like the place and desired another castle which had belonged to them, the Pszczyna.

Her husband knowing her weakness for beautiful jewellery, presented her with a pearl necklace which was 6.7 metres long and one of the most expensive necklaces in the world. According to legend, the pearls had been cursed by the pearl diver who had died while collecting them.

Daisy would wear this extravagant necklace at the time of official meetings and whenever she appeared with this piece of jewellery in London she became a great sensation. Daisy preferred the life of a public person and maintained her connection with English society appearing with her children in Country Life magazine.

Pearls a Symbol of the Best Period of Her Life

It is said that the pearls was a symbol of the best period of her life, however after her death, several people were of the belief that they were the cause of most of the troubles in her life.All through her marriage, Daisy became a social reformer and had worked for peace between her friends William II, the German Emperor and King Edward VII of the United Kingdom.

She had developed a strong bond with Emperor William which became a source of gossip in the European courts and in newspapers. Moreover she fuelled gossips by publishing a series of memoirs which were read widely in the United Kingdom, in continental Europe and the United States and became a big scandal which brought about several problems. Daisy preferred to travel, ride horses and motorbikes and as a princess grew up in a castle.

Besides this, she also like spending time in the countryside and indulge in play with her children. The golden age of her life seemed to end with the beginning of World War I during which she served as a nurse, touching several hearts of the Europeans by offering to help the soldiers on both side of the conflict.

Active in Charities during the World War II

She also enjoyed the experience since it provided her with an adventurous life together with the opportunity of meeting interesting people. At the end of the war, most of the nobles began to support Adolf Hitler, but Daisy supported the opposition of the fuhrer. She was also active in charities during the World War II that supported the prisoners of the concentration camp Gross Rosen.

Being considered as an enemy of the German Reich, she had been removed from Ksiaz when the same fell under the ownership of the Germans. Daisy of Pless died in a villa in the city of Wallbrzych and passed away as destitute and lonely women on June 29, 1943. As per local legend, she had been buried dressed in her pearls in the cemetery nearer to her last house. However, a stableman’s daughter had claimed that she had been buried in a family mausoleum in a park of the Ksiaz castle but after the soldiers of the Red Army had plundered her grave, she had been reburied in a safer place in a park.

Unfortunately, the new grave had drawn the attention of the Russian and hence Daisy was reburied once more in a protestant cemetery in Szczawienek. In 1980s the cemetery had been destroyed by the local authority of Silesia; however her body had been sent back to Hochberg’s castle. Many expeditions were attempted to locate the legendary treasure of Daisy and the pearl necklace became a kind of a `holy grail’ of the region. Luckily none of them found the grave of the British princess of Ksiaz Castle.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Joan of Arc

Joan of Arc

Joan of Arc – Maid of Orleans

Joan of Arc known as `The Maid of Orleans’, was a peasant girl and lived in medieval France. She is considered to be a heroine of France for her role during the Lancastrian phase of the Hundred Years’ War. Joan of Arc was born to Jacques d’Arc and Isabelle, a peasant family at Domremy in north-east France.

 It is said that she had received visions of the Archangel Michael, Saint Margaret and Saint Catherine instructing her to support Charles VII in order to recover France the English domination late in the Hundred Years’ War. She was of the belief that God has chosen her to lead France to victory in its long running war with England.

Having no military training, Joan had convinced the crown prince Charles of Valois to permit her to lead a French army to the besieged city of Orleans. King Charles VII, the uncrowned king has send Joan to the siege of Orleans as part of a relief mission where she gained reputation after the siege had been lifted nine days thereafter. She achieved momentous victory over the English and their French allies, the Burgundians.

One of the Greatest Saints of History

There were many more swift victories which led to the coronation of Charles VII at Reims and this long anticipated event enhanced the morale of France paving the way for the final French victory. After her father had tried to arrange a marriage for her, Joan at the age of 16had successfully convinced a local court that she should not be compelled to accept the match.

The Maid of Orleans had been considered as one of the greatest saints in history as well as a lasting symbol of French unity and nationalism. Coming from a peasant family, she was not taught to read or write but had been instilled with deep love for the Catholic Church and its teachings by her pious mother.

At the age of 13, Joan began to hear voices which she was sure had been sent by God to give her a mission of great importance, that to save France by banishing its enemies and to place Charles as its rightful king. She took a vow of chastity as part of this divine mission.

Set Off for Orleans – Dressed in White Armour/Riding a White Horse

Joan had promised Charles that she would see him crowned king at Reims, which was the traditional site of French royal investiture and had requested for an army to lead to Orleans, which was under siege from the English.

Against the advice of several of his counsellors as well as generals, Charles had granted her request and Joan had set off for Orleans in March 1429, dressed in white armour and riding a white horse. After sending a rebellious letter to the enemy, Joan led most of the French assaults against them driving the Anglo-Burgundian from their bastion and forcing their retreat across the Loire River.

After a miraculous victory, the reputation of Joan spread far and wide among French force and she with her followers escorted Charles across the enemy territory to Reims. They took towns which resisted, by force thus enabling the coronations of King Charles VII in July 1429. Joan claimed that the French should press their gain in an attempt to retake Paris. However Charles hesitatedeven though his favourite at court, Georges de La Tremoille, warned him that Joan was getting too powerful.

Joan Captured/Tried & Burned at the Stake

The king had ordered Joan to oppose a Burgundian assault on Compiegne in the spring of 1430 and in an attempt to defend the town together with its inhabitants; Joan was thrown from her horse and left outside the gates of the town as they closed. Joan was captured by Anglo-Burgundian forces and tried for witchcraft and profanation and for dressing like a man.

The Anglo-Burgundians were attempting to get rid of the young leader and also discredit Charles who had owned his coronation to Joan.In an effort of isolating himself from an accused heretic and witch, the king made no attempts in negotiating her release.After a year of captivity, in May 1431 and under threat of death, Joan conceded and signed a confession denying that she had received any divine guidance and many days later, she defied orders by donning men’s clothes again and the authorities pronounced her a death sentence.

At the age of 19, on the morning of May 30, Joan had been taken to the old market place of Rouen and was burned at the stake. Her fame seemed to increase further after her death and 20 years thereafter, a new trial ordered by Charles VII cleared her name. Prior to Pope Benedict XVcanonizingher as a Roman Catholic saint in 1920, Joan of Arc had gained mythic stature inspiring various works of art as well as literature all over the centuries and became the patron saint of France.

History of Forensic Science

Forensic Science

History of Forensic Science – Fingerprints Foremost Means of Application 

History of Forensic science dates thousands of years ago where fingerprinting had been one of the foremost means of applications. Fingerprints had been utilised by the ancient Chinese in identifying business documents. Good research writing services on history of forensic science can be availed from .

Forensic Science means any science that is utilised as proof in a court of law and is also meant as scientific analysis as well as a comparison utilised in identifying and investigating a crime. Forensic has been derived from the Latin word forensis which means `of or before the forum’. Though there are some examples of forensics that were employed in ancient times, the notion of utilising science in the combat against crime was not popular till late Middle Age owing to the occurrence of human poisoning all over Europe. Poisoning seemed to be difficult in detecting since the symptoms were identical to several of the not curable infections during that time. Towards the beginning of the 19th century, the initial steps were to demonstrate the use of poison by examining the body for toxic elements.

Different Fingerprints/Different Blood Groups Helped in Crime Detection 

The fact that everyone seemed to have different fingerprints did make an immense difference on the detection of crime together with the discovery that people tend to have different blood groups as well. Hence the blood stains left at the scene or found on an injured party could help in connecting to a suspect. The field of forensic science has come through a long way since the Chinese used the fingerprints in creating the identity of documents as well as clay sculptures.

This field is one of those few areas of law enforcement wherein science, technology as well as crime tend to meet and this combination lends support in the Theory of Transfer. It is `when two objects meet, some evidence of that meeting can later be found and verified’. One of the first recorded autopsy which was in the 15th century was of Julius Caesar in 44BC and the first forensics textbook had been produced. In the textbook, one of the first uses of science in identifying a murder weapon was mentioned. A murder had been committed wherein the trial judge had ordered that all the sickles in the village should be confiscated. Flies that were drawn towards a single sickle lead the judge to conclude that it was owing to the scent of the blood that they were drawn and confirmed that it was the murder weapon.

Forensic Science Has Broad Range of Application 

From the days of Sherlock Holmes to the TV shows, the world is enthralled by forensic science and the use of science in hooking criminals is not only charismatic but also extremely imposing. Forensic science also seems to be a very large arena having a long history of application wherein in recent times amazing development in sensitive and specific analysis systems have enabled analysis of the smallest traces of evidences to take place.

Forensic science tends to utilise exceedingly developed technologies in revealing scientific evidence in various fields. It is science that is used in public, or in a court or in the justice system and any science utilised for the sake of the law is said to be forensic science. In present times, forensic science has a broad range of applications and is used in civil cases like forgeries, fraud or negligence. It tends to aid law enforcement officials in determining if any laws or regulation are violated in the manufacture of medicines or in the use of pesticides on crops or in the marketing of foods and drinks. It is used in observing the agreement of numerous countries with international agreements like the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Chemical Weapons Convention.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Hedy Lamarr

Hedy Lamarr

Hedy Lamarr – Pioneer in Field of Wireless Communication

Hedy Lamarr, one of Hollywood’s original film stars, was more than a beautiful face for the silver screen. Though she was better known for the silver screen, Hedy Lamarr also became a pioneer in the field of wireless communication after her emigration to the United States. Her interest in applied science led to the development of technologies which brought about the groundwork for Wi-Fi, CDMA as well as Bluetooth.

The international beauty icon together with co-inventor George Anthiel created a `Secret Communication System’ in helping to fight the Nazis in World War II. By deploying radio frequencies at irregular intervals between transmission and reception, the invention took shape into an unbreakable code in preventing classified messages from being intercepted by the enemy personnel.

In 1941, Lamarr and Anthiel had received a patent though the huge significance of their invention had not been realised till decades later. At first, it was implemented on naval ships at the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis and later appeared in various military applications.

 But most considerably the technology which Lamarr supported in inventing would stimulate the digital communication boom establishing the technical backbone which made the possibility of cellular phones, fax machines together with other wireless operations.

Honoured With Electronic Frontier foundation – EFF Pioneer Award

The original idea was meant to solve the problem of enemies preventing signals from radio-controlled missile at the time of World War II which involved changing radio frequencies while at the same time stop the enemies from identifying the messages.

Though the technology during that time barred the possibility of the idea initially, the arrival of the transistorand later its downsizing had made the idea of Hedy very important both to the military as well as the cell phone industry. If the U.S, Navy had accepted her work earlier, the possibility of the World War II could have ended much earlier.

Lamarr, just like the several famous women inventors had received little recognition of her inventive talent during her time, though recently she has been admired for her ground-breaking invention. She along with George Anthiel had been honoured with the Electronic Frontier foundation – EFF Pioneer Award, in 1997. Thereafter in the same year, Lamarr became the first female beneficiary of the BULBIE Gnass Spirit of Achievement Award, which is a prestigious lifetime accomplishment prize for inventor which is known as `The Oscar of Inventing’.

A True Visionary with Technological Intelligence

To prove that she was more than just a pretty face, she shattered stereotypes, making a place for herself among the most important women inventors of the 20th century and was a true visionary with technological intelligence which was much ahead of its time. Born to Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler on November 9, 1914 in Vienna, Austria, she starred in her first film at 17, a German project known as Geld auf der Strase. She continued her film career by working on German as well as Czechoslovakian productions.

The German film Exstase, in 1932, drew the attention of Hollywood producers and she signed a contract with MGM. She entered Hollywood and changed her name to Hedy Lamarr starring in her first Hollywood film, Algiers opposite Charles Boyer in 1938.Her achievement on the impressive technology together with her acting talent and star quality, made her the most beautiful and interesting woman in the film industry.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Tower of Babel

Archaeological evidences are available at the dig site of Babylon which tends to support that Nebudchadnezzar II had commissioned the Tower of Babel. Carving of the Tower of Babel has been found which dates back over 2,500 years on a stone tablet. The Tower of Babel is an etiological legend in the Book of Genesis of the Tanakh which is referred to as the Hebrew Bible or the Old Testament. It is meant to explain the origin of various languages.

After the biblical Flood of Genesis 7-8, Noah together with his family had come out of the Ark in the mountains of Ararat to begin new lives in a strange world. They settled in a plain in Shinar as per the Jewish historian, Josephus.This was the first place where the growing group of people stayed after leaving the mountains. Everyone on the earth spoke in the same language and as the people migrated from the east, they settled in Shinar. The story of the city of Babel has been recorded in Genesis 11:1-9.The 1st century Jewish interpretation found in Flavius Josephus clarifies the construction of the tower as a hubristicact of defiance of the people against God which was ordered by the arrogant Nimrod.

Rebelled Against God & Build City/Tower

They rebelled against God and began to build a city and tower to make a name for themselves to avoid being scattered all over the world. God came down and looked at the city and the tower and observed that as one people with one language, nothing they would seek would be out of their reach. God then confused their speech in order to complicate them and they could not understand each other and were scattered over the face of the earth.

Eventually they stopped building the city. Thus the city was known as Babel as it appears in the King James Version of the Bible. The story of the Tower of Babel gives details of the confusion of tongues and the variation of human language.According to the scripture, the people built the Tower in Babel on the plain of Shinar which is in Mesopotamia but the precise location of the Tower of Babel is not known.

Shinar – Land of Two Rivers - Hebrew

Shinar means the `land of two rivers’ in Hebrew and is similar in meaning to the Greek word Mesopotamia for the space of the Tigris-Euphrates river system. Traditional view is that Shinar is considered to be the Chaldean region of southern Babylonia in current day Iraq and identifies Babel with Babylon that tends to lie about 50 miles south of present day Baghdad.

The Tower of Babel has been related to known structures as per some modern scholars, especially the Etemenanki, a ziggurat which has been dedicated to the Mesopotamian god Marduk by the king of Babylonia, Nabopolassar. The Great Ziggurat of Babylon is said to have a height of 91 metres. It was said that Alexander the Great had commanded to demolish circa 331 BCE in order to reconstruct though he died prior to it.

A Sumerian story with similar elements is narrated in Enmerkar and the Lord of Aratta. Subsequently, several people made attempts to rebuild it in their own images, each time tearing down what had earlier been rebuilt, to start afresh. In the end, no one could ever complete it and it seemed that this place eventually ended up representing humankind’s incapability of working together.