Thursday, 31 October 2013

One in Seven Billion

The Day of Seven Billion, October 31, 2011, is the day that has been officially designated by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) as the approximate day on which the total world population reached a population of seven billion people.

According to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Population Division, October 31, 2011 was a symbolic date chosen based on data interpolated from its 5-year-period estimates. The estimates were based on data sources such as censuses, surveys, vital and population registers, and published every other year as part of its World Population Prospects.

The actual date that the world population reached 7 billion has an error margin of around 12 months owing to inaccuracies in demographic statistics, particularly in some developing countries (even the world's best censuses have 1–2% error). Assuming a 1% global error margin, the 7 billion world population had been reached as early as March 20, 2011 or as late as April 12, 2012.

The International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis estimated a date between February 2012 and July 2014.

United Nations Population Fund spokesman Omar Gharzeddine said, "There's no way that the U.N. or anyone could know where or at what minute on the 31st the 7 billionth baby will be born," and the United Nations is not giving official status to this and similar publicity efforts. Nevertheless several newborns were selected by various groups to represent the seven billionth person:

On the Day of Seven Billion, the group Plan International symbolically marked the birth of the 7 billionth human with a ceremony in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh where a birth certificate was presented to a newly born baby girl, Nargis Kumar, in order to protest sex-selective abortion in the state. The Indian girl to boy ratio for 0–6-year-olds is at 914 girls per 1000 boys nationwide, with Uttar Pradesh's one of the lowest at 889 girls for every thousand boys.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

" If your light cavalry thus takes fortified towns, I must disband the engineers and melt down my heavy artillery."

In the Capitulation of Stettin on 29–30 October 1806, Lieutenant General Friedrich Gisbert Wilhelm von Romberg surrendered the garrison and fortress to a French light cavalry brigade led by General of Brigade Antoine Lasalle. This event was one of a number of surrenders by demoralized Prussian soldiers to equal or inferior French forces after their disastrous defeat at the Battle of Jena-Auerstedt on 14 October. Stettin, Prussia, is a port city on the Oder River near the Baltic Sea lying 120 kilometers north-northeast of Berlin.

Lasalle, serving under Murat, marched to Stettin where he demanded its surrender in the early afternoon of 29 October. Lieutenant General Friedrich Gisbert Wilhelm von Romberg refused at first. At 4:00 PM, Lasalle sent another summons to Romberg, this time with a threat of harsh treatment to the city. The French general claimed the Lannes' entire corps of 30,000 men was present. In fact, the V Corps advance guard got no nearer than Löcknitz that day. The elderly Prussian general entered negotiations and capitulated during the night of the 29th and 30th.

Romberg surrendered the Stettin fortress, 5,300 troops, and 281 guns. One hundred officers were released on their word of honor not to fight against France while the common soldiers became prisoners of war. Lasalle's entire force consisted of 800 horsemen of the 5th and 7th Hussar Regiments plus two cannons.

Historian Francis Loraine Petre concluded that Stettin's surrender was "shameful". Its adequate garrison and supplies would have allowed it to sustain a siege. Even if the fortress was indefensible, there was nothing preventing the troops from crossing to the east bank of the Oder, joining their Russian allies, and continuing the war. Lannes wrote to Napoleon, "The Prussian army is in such a state of panic that the mere appearance of a Frenchman is enough to make it lay down its arms."

Napoleon congratulated Murat,
"My compliments on the capture of Stettin; if your light cavalry thus takes fortified towns, I must disband the engineers and melt down my heavy artillery."

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Hammer against the Witches

Initially, the Christian Church had not considered witchcraft to be heresy, but this changed in 1320, when Pope John XXII authorised the Inquisition, an organisation designed to root out heresy, to persecute witchcraft as well.

This marked the beginning of a period of witch-hunts which lasted about several hundred years, and in some countries, particularly in North-Western Europe, thousands of people were accused of witchcraft and sentenced to death.

In every part of Europe the tribunals of the Inquisition now became busy with witches. Between 1320 and 1350 the tribunal at Carcassonne tried more than four hundred cases of magic, and of these one-half were executed. At Toulouse six hundred were charged, and two-thirds of them were handed over to "the secular arm" for execution;

On October 29, 1390, the first witch trial held in secular courts occurred in Paris, leading to the conviction and execution of three women. In one case, Jehan de Ruilly accused Jehenne de Brigue of witchcraft because she had cured him of red eye by suckling two toads. Under torture, de Brigue named another woman, Macette – de Ruilly’s wife – as an accomplice in her magic working. De Ruilly testified that his servant had recently discovered two dead toads on their property; both women were subsequently hanged, along with a third person from a separate accusation.

The manuals of the Roman Catholic Inquisition remained highly sceptical of the witch craze and of witch accusations, although there was sometimes an overlap between accusations of heresy and of witchcraft, particularly when, in the 13th century, the newly-formed Inquisition was commissioned to deal with the Manichaean Cathars of Southern France.

Although it has been proposed that the witch-hunt developed in Europe from the early 14th century, after the Cathars and the Templar Knights were suppressed, this hypothesis has been rejected independently by two historians (Cohn 1975; Kieckhefer 1976).

They showed that the early witch-hunts originated among common people in Switzerland and Croatia, who pressed the civil courts to support them.

Nevertheless, the real witch-hunting craze was yet to come and arrived with the Protestant Reformation when Salem-style witch trials began to proliferate in the "Reformed" areas of Europe, the Reformers sometimes borrowing from books like "the Malleus Maleficarum" precisely because it had been condemned by the Catholic Church. It was the Reformation witch-hunts which are the stuff of drama and legend today because they were so manifestly devoid of justice, due process, reason and sanity.

Some authors claim that millions of witches were killed in Europe, while modern scholarly estimates place the total number of executions for witchcraft in the 300-year period of European witch-hunts far lower. William Monter estimates 35,000 deaths, historian Malcolm Gaskill 40,000–50,000. About 75 to 80 percent of those were women.

Monday, 28 October 2013

"It should be cast aside and forgotten!"


The Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Op. 74, Pathétique is Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's final completed symphony, written between February and the end of August 1893. The composer led the first performance in Saint Petersburg on 28 October [O.S. 16 October] of that year, nine days before his death.

After completing his 5th Symphony in 1888, Tchaikovsky did not start thinking about his next symphony until April 1891, on his way to the United States. The first drafts of a new symphony were started in the spring of 1891. However, some or all of the symphony was not pleasing to Tchaikovsky, who tore up the manuscript "in one of his frequent moods of depression and doubt over his alleged inability to create."

 In 1892, Tchaikovsky wrote the following to his nephew:
 The symphony is only a work written by dint of sheer will on the part of the composer; it contains nothing that is interesting or sympathetic. It should be cast aside and forgotten. This determination on my part is admirable and irrevocable.

The symphony was written in a small house in Klin and completed by August 1893. Tchaikovsky left Klin on October 19 for the first performance in St. Petersburg, arriving "in excellent spirits."However, the composer began to feel apprehension over his symphony, when, at rehearsals, the orchestra players did not exhibit any great admiration for the new work. Nevertheless, the premiere was met with great appreciation. 

The Russian title of the symphony means "passionate" or "emotional", not "arousing pity", but it is a word reflective of a touch of concurrent suffering.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

"2nd best city to live."

Amsterdam, 1544
Amsterdam's name derives from Amstelredamme, indicative of the city's origin: a dam in the river Amstel. 

Originating as a small fishing village in the late 12th century, Amsterdam became one of the most important ports in the world during the Dutch Golden Age, a result of its innovative developments in trade. During that time, the city was the leading center for finance and diamonds. 

In the 19th and 20th centuries, the city expanded, and many new neighborhoods and suburbs were planned and built. The 17th-century canals of Amsterdam and the 19–20th century Defence Line of Amsterdam are on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The earliest recorded use of the name "Amsterdam" is from a certificate dated 27 October 1275, when the inhabitants, who had built a bridge with a dam across the Amstel, were exempted from paying a bridge toll by Count Floris V. The certificate describes the inhabitants as homines manentes apud Amestelledamme (people living near Amestelledamme). By 1327, the name had developed into Aemsterdam.

Amsterdam's founding is relatively recent compared with much older Dutch cities such as Nijmegen, Rotterdam, and Utrecht. In October 2008, historical geographer Chris de Bont suggested that the land around Amsterdam was being reclaimed as early as the late 10th century. This does not necessarily mean that there was already a settlement then since reclamation of land may not have been for farming—it may have been for peat, used as fuel.

Amsterdam was granted city rights in either 1300 or 1306. From the 14th century on, Amsterdam flourished, largely because of trade with the Hanseatic League. In 1345, an alleged Eucharistic miracle in the Kalverstraat rendered the city an important place of pilgrimage until the adoption of the Protestant faith. The Stille Omgang—a silent procession in civil attire—is today a remnant of the rich pilgrimage history.

 In 2012, Amsterdam was ranked 2nd best city to live by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)  and 12th globally on quality of living by Mercer. The city was previously ranked 3rd in innovation by 2thinknow in the Innovation Cities Index 2009.


The Amsterdam Stock Exchange, the oldest stock exchange in the world, is located in the city center. Amsterdam's main attractions, including its historic canals, the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, Stedelijk Museum, Hermitage Amsterdam, Anne Frank House, Amsterdam Museum, its red-light district, and its many cannabis coffee shops draw more than 3.66 million international visitors annually.

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Saturday, 26 October 2013

" If I were in a dogfight, I'd prefer to be flying the Spitfire. The problem was I wouldn't like to be in a dogfight near Berlin, because I could never get home to Britain in a Spitfire!"

The North American Aviation P-51 Mustang was an American long-range, single-seat fighter and fighter-bomber used during World War II, the Korean War and other conflicts. The Mustang was conceived, designed and built by North American Aviation (NAA) in response to a specification issued directly to NAA by the British Purchasing Commission. The prototype NA-73X airframe was rolled out on 9 September 1940, 102 days after the contract was signed and, with an engine installed, first flew on 26 October.

The Mustang was originally designed to use the Allison V-1710 engine, which had limited high-altitude performance. It was first flown operationally by the Royal Air Force (RAF) as a tactical-reconnaissance aircraft and fighter-bomber (Mustang Mk I). The addition of the Rolls-Royce Merlin to the P-51B/C model transformed the Mustang's performance at altitudes above 15,000 ft, giving it a performance that matched or bettered the majority of the Luftwaffe's fighters at altitude. The definitive version, the P-51D, was powered by the Packard V-1650-7, a license-built version of the Rolls-Royce Merlin 60 series two-stage two-speed supercharged engine, and armed with six .50 caliber (12.7 mm) M2 Browning machine guns.

From late 1943, P-51Bs (supplemented by P-51Ds from mid-1944) were used by the USAAF's Eighth Air Force to escort bombers in raids over Germany, while the RAF's 2 TAF and the USAAF's Ninth Air Force used the Merlin-powered Mustangs as fighter-bombers, roles in which the Mustang helped ensure Allied air superiority in 1944. The P-51 was also in service with Allied air forces in the North African, Mediterranean and Italian theatres, and saw limited service against the Japanese in the Pacific War. During World War II, Mustang pilots claimed 4,950 enemy aircraft shot down.

At the start of the Korean War, the Mustang was the main fighter of the United Nations until jet fighters such as the F-86 took over this role; the Mustang then became a specialized fighter-bomber. Despite the advent of jet fighters, the Mustang remained in service with some air forces until the early 1980s. After World War II and the Korean War, many Mustangs were converted for civilian use, especially air racing, and increasingly, preserved and flown as historic warbird aircraft at airshows.

Chief Naval Test Pilot and C.O. Captured Enemy Aircraft Flight Capt. Eric Brown, CBE, DSC, AFC, RN, tested the Mustang at RAE Farnborough in March 1944, and noted, "The Mustang was a good fighter and the best escort due to its incredible range, make no mistake about it. It was also the best American dogfighter. But the laminar flow wing fitted to the Mustang could be a little tricky. It could not by no means out-turn a Spitfire [sic]. No way. It had a good rate-of-roll, better than the Spitfire, so I would say the plusses to the Spitfire and the Mustang just about equate. If I were in a dogfight, I'd prefer to be flying the Spitfire. The problem was I wouldn't like to be in a dogfight near Berlin, because I could never get home to Britain in a Spitfire!"


Kurt Bühligen, the third-highest scoring German fighter pilot of the Second World War on the Western Front (with 112 confirmed victories, three against Mustangs), later stated, "We would out-turn the P-51 and the other American fighters, with the [Bf] '109' or the [FW] '190'. Their turn rate was about the same. The P-51 was faster than us but our munitions and cannon were better."

Did I forget Friday?

St Katharine Docks took their name from the former hospital of St Katharine's by the Tower, built in the 12th century, which stood on the site. An intensely built-up 23 acre (9.5 hectares) site was earmarked for redevelopment by an Act of Parliament in 1825, with construction commencing in May 1827. Some 1250 houses were demolished, together with the medieval hospital of St. Katharine. Around 11,300 inhabitants, mostly port workers crammed into insanitary slums, lost their homes; only property owners received compensation. The scheme was designed by engineer Thomas Telford and was his only major project in London. To create as much quayside as possible, the docks were designed in the form of two linked basins (East and West), both accessed via an entrance lock from the Thames. Steam engines designed by James Watt and Matthew Boulton kept the water level in the basins about four feet above that of the tidal river.

Telford aimed to minimise the amount of quayside activity and specified that the docks' warehouses (designed by the architect Philip Hardwick) be built right on the quayside so that goods could be unloaded directly into them.

The docks were officially opened on 25 October 1828. Although well used, they were not a great commercial success and were unable to accommodate large ships. They were amalgamated in 1864 with the neighbouring London Docks. In 1909, the Port of London Authority took over the management of almost all of the Thames docks, including the St Katharine.

The St Katharine Docks were badly damaged by German bombing during the Second World War and never fully recovered thereafter. Because of their very restricted capacity and inability to cope with large modern ships, they were among the first to be closed in 1968, and were sold to the Greater London Council. Most of the original warehouses were demolished and replaced by modern commercial buildings in the early 1970s, with the docks themselves becoming a marina. The development has often been cited as a model example of successful urban redevelopment.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

No Escape

Harry Houdini died of peritonitis, secondary to a ruptured appendix. Eyewitnesses to an incident at Houdini's dressing room in the Princess Theater in Montreal gave rise to speculation that Houdini's death was caused by a McGill University student, J. Gordon Whitehead, who delivered a surprise attack of multiple blows to Houdini's abdomen.

The eyewitnesses, students named Jacques Price and Sam Smilovitz (sometimes called Jack Price and Sam Smiley), proffered accounts of the incident that generally corroborated one another. Price describes Whitehead asking Houdini "whether it was true that punches in the stomach did not hurt him", and after securing Houdini's permission to strike him, delivering "some very hammer-like blows below the belt". Houdini was reclining on a couch at the time, having broken his ankle while performing several days earlier. Price states that Houdini winced at each blow and stopped Whitehead suddenly in the midst of a punch, gesturing that he had had enough, and adding that he had had no opportunity to prepare himself against the blows, as he did not expect Whitehead to strike him so suddenly and forcefully. Had his ankle not been broken, he would have risen from the couch into a better position to brace himself.

Throughout the evening, Houdini performed in great pain. He was unable to sleep and remained in constant pain for the next two days, though he did not seek medical help. When he finally saw a doctor, Harry was found to have a fever of 102 °F (38.9 °C) and acute appendicitis, and advised to have immediate surgery. He ignored the advice and decided to go on with the show. When Houdini arrived at the Garrick Theater in Detroit, Michigan on October 24, 1926, for what would be his last performance, he had a fever of 104 °F (40 °C). Despite the diagnosis, Houdini took the stage. He was reported to have passed out during the show, but was revived and continued. Afterwards, he was hospitalized at Detroit's Grace Hospital.

Houdini died of peritonitis from a ruptured appendix at 1:26 p.m. in Room 401 on October 31, aged 52. In his final days, he optimistically held to a strong belief that he would recover, but his last words before dying were reportedly, "I'm tired of fighting."

After taking statements from Price and Smilovitz, Houdini's insurance company concluded that the death was due to the dressing-room incident and paid double indemnity

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Blue Movie Stars; with added salt.

The Smurfs (French: Les Schtroumpfs) is a Belgian comic and television franchise centred on a group of Smurfs: small blue fictional creatures that live in mushrooms. The Smurfs were first created and introduced as a series of comic characters by the Belgian comics artist Peyo (pen name of Pierre Culliford) in 1958. 

The word “Smurf” is the original Dutch translation of the French "Schtroumpf", which, according to Peyo, is a word invented during a meal with fellow cartoonist André Franquin, when he could not remember the word salt. There are more than one hundred Smurfs, whose names are based on adjectives that emphasize their characteristics, e.g. "Jokey Smurf", who likes to play practical jokes on his fellow smurfs, "Clumsy Smurf", who has a habit of creating havoc unintentionally, and "Smurfette"—the first female Smurf to be introduced in the series. The Smurfs wear Phrygian caps, which represented freedom in Roman times.

At the time he came up with the creative idea for the Smurfs, Peyo was the creator, artist, and writer of the Franco-Belgian comics series titled Johan et Pirlouit (translated to English as Johan and Peewit), set in Europe during the Middle Ages and including elements of sword-and-sorcery. Johan serves as a brave young page to the king, and Pirlouit (pronounced Peer-loo-ee) functions as his faithful, if boastful and cheating, midget sidekick.

In 1958, Spirou magazine started to publish the Johan et Pirlouit story La Flûte à six trous ("The Flute with Six Holes"). The adventure involved them recovering a magic flute, which required some sorcery by the wizard Homnibus. In this manner, they met a tiny, blue-skinned humanoid creature in white clothing called a "Schtroumpf", followed by his numerous peers who looked just like him, with an elderly leader who wore red clothing and had a white beard. Their first full appearance was published in Spirou on October 23, 1958. The characters proved to be a huge success, and the first independent Smurf stories appeared in Spirou in 1959, together with the first merchandising. The Smurfs shared more adventures with Johan and Pirlouit, got their own series and all subsequent publications of the original story were retitled La Flûte à six Schtroumpfs (also the title of the movie version of the story).

Schtroumpf is pronounced like the German word "Strumpf" meaning "sock". However, according to Peyo, original author of the original Smurfs comic strip, the original term and the accompanying language of the Smurfs came during a meal he was having with his colleague and friend André Franquin at the Belgian Coast. Having momentarily forgotten the word "salt", Peyo asked him (in French) to pass the schtroumpf. Franquin jokingly replied: "Here's the Schtroumpf—when you are done schtroumpfing, schtroumpf it back..." and the two spent the rest of that weekend speaking in "schtroumpf language". The name was later translated into Dutch as Smurf, which was adopted in English.

With the commercial success of the Smurfs came the merchandising empire of Smurf miniatures, models, games, and toys. Entire collecting clubs have devoted themselves to collecting PVC Smurfs, and Smurf merchandise.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

A Visit to the Love Goddess

Venera 9 (Russian: Венера -9 meaning Venus 9),was a USSR unmanned space mission to Venus. It consisted of an orbiter and a lander. It was launched on June 8, 1975. The orbiter was the first spacecraft to orbit Venus, while the lander was the first to return images from the surface of another planet.

The orbiter consisted of a cylinder with two solar panel wings and a high gain parabolic antenna attached to the curved surface. A bell-shaped unit holding propulsion systems was attached to the bottom of the cylinder, and mounted on top was a 2.4 meter sphere which held the lander.

The orbiter entered Venus orbit on October 20, 1975. Its mission was to act as a communications relay for the lander and to explore cloud layers and atmospheric parameters with several instruments and experiments. It performed 17 survey missions from October 26, 1975 to December 25, 1975.

On October 20, 1975, the lander spacecraft was separated from the orbiter, and landing was made on October 22. Venera 9 landed on a steep  slope covered with boulders.

It was the first spacecraft to return an image from the surface of another planet. The Soviet space program had far more success with Venus landers than Mars landers, possibly because the mechanics of landing on Venus involve fewer steps than Mars due to the much thicker atmosphere.

Venera 9 measured clouds that were 30–40 km thick with bases at 30–35 km altitude. It also measured atmospheric chemicals including hydrochloric acid, hydrofluoric acid, bromine, and iodine. Other measurements included surface pressure of about 90 atmospheres, temperature of 485 °C, and surface light levels comparable to those at Earth mid-latitudes on a cloudy summer day. Venera 9 was the first probe to send back black and white television pictures from the Venusian surface showing shadows, no apparent dust in the air, and a variety of 30 to 40 cm rocks which were not eroded. Planned 360-degree panoramic pictures could not be taken because one of two camera lens covers failed to come off, limiting pictures to 180 degrees.


Monday, 21 October 2013

England Expects

The Battle of Trafalgar (21 October 1805) was a naval engagement fought by the Royal Navy against the combined fleets of the French and Spanish Navies, during the War of the Third Coalition (August–December 1805) of the Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815).

The battle was the most decisive naval victory of the war. Twenty-seven British ships of the line led by Admiral Lord Nelson aboard HMS Victory defeated thirty-three French and Spanish ships of the line under French Admiral Pierre-Charles Villeneuve off the southwest coast of Spain, just west of Cape Trafalgar. The Franco-Spanish fleet lost twenty-two ships, without a single British vessel being lost.

The British victory spectacularly confirmed the naval supremacy that Britain had established during the previous century and was achieved in part through Nelson's departure from the prevailing naval tactical orthodoxy, which involved engaging an enemy fleet in a single line of battle parallel to the enemy to facilitate signalling in battle and disengagement, and to maximise fields of fire and target areas. Nelson instead divided his smaller force into two columns directed perpendicularly against the larger enemy fleet, with decisive results.

Nelson was mortally wounded during the battle, becoming one of Britain's greatest war heroes. The commander of the joint French and Spanish forces, Admiral Villeneuve, was captured along with his ship Bucentaure. Spanish Admiral Federico Gravina escaped with the remnant of the fleet and succumbed months later to wounds sustained during the battle.

The battle is noted for  the famous flag signal, hoisted by the signal officer John Pasco,"England expects that every man will do his duty".

His Lordship came to me on the poop, and after ordering certain signals to be made, about a quarter to noon, he said, "Mr. Pasco, I wish to say to the fleet, ENGLAND CONFIDES THAT EVERY MAN WILL DO HIS DUTY" and he added "You must be quick, for I have one more to make which is for close action." I replied, "If your Lordship will permit me to substitute 'expects' for 'confides' the signal will soon be completed, because the word 'expects' is in the vocabulary, and 'confides' must be spelt," His Lordship replied, in haste, and with seeming satisfaction, "That will do, Pasco, make it directly."

The term 'England' was widely used at the time to refer to the United Kingdom; the British fleet included significant contingents from Ireland, Scotland and Wales. 

England expects that every man will do his duty.” The phrase inspired generations of Englishmen. Yet it was not received with unanimous joy in the fleet. Some ships cheered it, but in some of them the cheer itself had a dutiful ring about it. Collingwood, seeing the flags, said, “I wish Nelson would stop signaling. We know well enough what to do”—but when the whole signal was read to him, he approved it cordially enough. In the Euryalus, nobody bothered to repeat it to the crew; and in the Ajax, the officer who was sent to read it out on the gun decks heard sailors muttering, “Do my duty? I’ve always done my duty; haven’t you, Jack?”

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Hanged and gibbeted

John Rackham (27 December 1682 – 18 November 1720), commonly known as Calico Jack, was a Cuban-English pirate captain operating in the Bahamas and in Cuba during the early 18th century (Rackham is often spelled as Rackam or Rackum in historical documentation, and he is also often referred to as Jack Rackham). His nickname derived from the calico clothing he wore, while Jack is a diminutive of "John".

Active towards the end (1718–20) of the "golden age of piracy" (1690–1730) Rackham is most remembered for two things: the design of his Jolly Roger flag, a skull with crossed swords, which contributed to the popularization of the design, and for having two female crew members (Mary Read and Rackham's lover Anne Bonny).

After deposing Charles Vane from his captaincy, Rackham cruised the Leeward Islands, Jamaica Channel and Windward Passage. He accepted a pardon some time in 1719 and moved to New Providence where he met Anne Bonny, who was married to James Bonny.

In October 1720, Rackham cruised near Jamaica, capturing numerous small fishing vessels, and terrorizing fishermen and women along the northern coastline. In September 1720, Bahamas Governor Rogers had issued a warrant/proclamation declaring Rackham and his crew as pirates, but it was not published until October. About the same time, pirate hunter Jonathan Barnet was in pursuit of Rackham in Jamaica. Barnet captured Rackham and his crew while they were at anchor (and drunk) at Bry Harbour Bay in Jamaica, on 20 October 1720. They were tried and convicted in Spanish Town, Jamaica, in November 1720. Rackam was hanged in Port Royal on November 18, 1720. Rackam's body was then gibbeted on display on a very small islet at a main entrance to Port Royal now known as Rackham's Cay.




Saturday, 19 October 2013

The Battle of the Nations

The Battle of Leipzig or Battle of the Nations (German: Völkerschlacht) was fought by the coalition armies of Russia, Prussia, Austria and Sweden against the French army of Napoleon I, Emperor of the French, at Leipzig, Saxony. Napoleon's army also contained Polish and Italian troops as well as Germans from the Confederation of the Rhine. The battle marked the culmination of the autumn campaign of 1813 during the German campaign and involved over 600,000 soldiers, making it the largest battle in Europe prior to World War I.

In terms of numbers of troops engaged and amount of artillery, Leipzig was the biggest battle of the Napoleonic Wars. Separate but coordinated armies of Russians, Prussians, Swedes, and Austrians brought 370,000 troops and 1,384 guns to the battlefield, whereas Napoleon's strength stood at 198,000 men with 717 guns.

The battle developed when Napoleon seized the Leipzig position, intending to divide his opponents and attack them one by one. The French almost had that chance on the first day of fighting, when the Prussian army engaged while the Army of the North, a Russo-Prusso-Swedish force under Bernadotte (a former French marshal), hung back. However, Napoleon became the victim of his own repeated changes of operational focus during this campaign. With allied strength building up on the second day of Leipzig, Napoleon spent most of the day redeploying, while on the final day allied numbers and combat power proved simply too much. Even in withdrawal there was disaster for the French-a premature destruction of the major river bridge at Leipzig trapped the French rear guard. Casualties quoted for the battle are usually 73,000 French and 54,000 allies.

Leipzig was the first occasion on which Napoleon was clearly defeated in the field (the Austrian repulse of Napoleon at Aspern-Essling in May 1809 brought about a stalemate, not a clear victory, and its effects were soon reversed by the Battle of Wagram; French defeat in Russia in 1812 was the product of strategic factors, not an army in the field). The French Grande Armee continued its westward retreat until, in 1814, the victors closed in on Paris and Napoleon abdicated.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Did the earth move for you?

The Basel earthquake of 18 October 1356 is the most significant seismological event to have occurred in Central Europe in recorded history and may have had a Mw magnitude as strong as 7.1.

The earthquake destroyed the town of Basel, Switzerland, sited near the southern end of the Upper Rhine Graben, and caused much destruction in a vast region extending into France and Germany. Though major earthquakes are common at the seismically active edges of tectonic plates in Turkey, Greece and Italy, intraplate earthquakes are rare events in Central Europe: according to the Swiss Seismological Service, of more than 10,000 earthquakes in Switzerland over the past 800 years, only half a dozen of them have registered more than 6.0 on the Richter scale.

The earthquake could be felt as far away as Zürich, Konstanz and even in Île-de-France. After a precursor tremblor between 19:00 and 20:00 local time, the main earthquake struck in the evening at around 22:00, and numerous aftershocks followed during the night between October 18–19. Basel experienced a second, very violent shock in the middle of the night. The town within the ramparts was destroyed by a fire when torches and candles falling to the floor set the wooden houses ablaze. The number of deaths within the town of Basel alone is estimated at 300. All major churches and castles within a 30 km radius of Basel were destroyed.

This earthquake is also known as the 'Séisme de la Saint-Luc', as 18 October is the feast day of Saint Luke the Evangelist.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

An act of God?

Meux's Brewery Co Ltd was a London brewery owned by Sir Henry Meux. Established in 1764 the company was a major supplier of porter in the area.

 In 1807, Sir Henry purchased the Horse Shoe Brewery, located on the junction of Tottenham Court Road and Oxford Street, which had been established in 1764.

By the end of the 18th century, large vats were commonplace in London's porter breweries. A report of 1790 describes how, in 1785, Meux's Brewery on Liquor-pond-street could store about 35,000 barrels of beer; one vat held "four thousand five hundred barrels of wholesome liquor". By 1790 the same business contained a specimen 60 feet in diameter and 23 feet tall, which held about 10,000 barrels. An even larger vat was installed in 1795, 25 feet tall, and with a capacity of about 20,000 barrels.

This trend, of building ever larger vats, came to an end on Monday 17 October 1814. At Henry Meux's Horse Shoe brewery in St Giles in the Fields, corroded hoops on a large vat prompted the sudden release of about 7,600 barrels of porter.The resulting torrent caused severe damage to the brewery's walls and was powerful enough to cause several heavy wooden beams to collapse. The flood's severity was exacerbated by the landscape, which was generally flat. The brewery was located in a densely populated and tightly packed area of squalid housing (known as "the rookery"). Many of these houses had cellars. To save themselves from the rising tide of alcohol, some of the occupants were forced to climb on furniture.Several adjoining houses were severely damaged, and eight people killed.

The accident cost the brewery about £23,000, although it petitioned Parliament for about £7,250 in Excise drawback, saving it from bankruptcy. The brewery was demolished in 1922; the Dominion Theatre now occupies the site. The adjacent brewery tap, built on a grand scale as a combined pub and restaurant, survived in other uses until 2004.

In 2012, a local tavern the 'Holborn Whippet' has started to mark this event with a specially created vat of Porter brewed especially for the day.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

"There's a sucker born every minute"

The Cardiff Giant was one of the most famous hoaxes in United States history. It was a 10-foot (3.0 m) tall purported "petrified man" uncovered on October 16, 1869, by workers digging a well behind the barn of William C. "Stub" Newell in Cardiff, New York. Both it and an unauthorized copy made by P.T. Barnum are still on display.

The giant was the creation of a New York tobacconist named George Hull. Hull, an atheist, decided to create the giant after an argument at a Methodist revival meeting about the passage in Genesis 6:4 stating that there were giants who once lived on Earth.

Hull hired men to carve out a 10-foot-4.5-inch-long (3.2 m) block of gypsum in Fort Dodge, Iowa, telling them it was intended for a monument to Abraham Lincoln in New York. He shipped the block to Chicago, where he hired Edward Burghardt, a German stonecutter, to carve it into the likeness of a man and swore him to secrecy.

Nearly a year later, Newell hired Gideon Emmons and Henry Nichols, ostensibly to dig a well, and on October 16, 1869 they found the giant. One of the men reportedly exclaimed, "I declare, some old Indian has been buried here!"

Newell set up a tent over the giant and charged 25 cents for people who wanted to see it. Two days later he increased the price to 50 cents. People came by the wagon load. Archaeological scholars pronounced the giant a fake, and some geologists even noticed that there was no good reason to try to dig a well in the exact spot the giant had been found. Yale palaeontologist Othniel C. Marsh called it "a most decided humbug". Some Christian fundamentalists and preachers, however, defended its authenticity.

Eventually, Hull sold his part-interest for $23,000 (equivalent to $425,000 in 2013) to a syndicate of five men headed by David Hannum. They moved it to Syracuse, New York, for exhibition. The giant drew such crowds that showman P. T. Barnum offered $50,000 for the giant. When the syndicate turned him down, he hired a man to model the giant's shape covertly in wax and create a plaster replica. He put his giant on display in New York, claiming that his was the real giant, and the Cardiff Giant was a fake.

As the newspapers reported Barnum's version of the story, David Hannum was quoted as saying, "There's a sucker born every minute" in reference to spectators paying to see Barnum's giant. Over time, the quotation has been misattributed to Barnum himself.

An Iowa publisher bought it later to adorn his basement rumpus room as a coffee table and conversation piece. In 1947 he sold it to the Farmers' Museum in Cooperstown, New York, where it is still on display.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

A Black Mist formed.

Operation Totem was a pair of British atmospheric nuclear tests which took place at Emu Field, South Australia on 15 October 1953. They followed the Operation Hurricane test of the first British atomic bomb, which had taken place at the Montebello Islands a year previously.

The main purpose of the Totem trial was to determine the acceptable limit on the amount of plutonium-240 which could be present in a bomb. The plutonium used in the original Hurricane device was produced in a nuclear reactor at Windscale. 

Efforts were made to prevent nomadic Aboriginal People from entering the area around the test site, but there were thought to be no (or at most very few) people in such a dry and inhospitable environment.  The precautions consisted of warnings sent to pastoral stations in August 1953, warning notices around the perimeter of the test site, and aerial and ground searches, usually within 20 miles of the site, which were made with increasing frequency as the test firings approached. The 1985 Royal Commission into British nuclear tests in Australia determined that the area was still being occasionally used and the efforts have been criticised as inadequate. 

The fallout cloud from the Totem 1 shot rose to 15,000 feet, drifting east and crossing the coast 50 hours later near Townsville.Following the Totem 1 test, a black mist rolled across the landscape at the Wallatina and Welbourn Hill stations in the Granite Downs 175 km from the test site and led to unacceptably high levels of radioactive contamination of these locations. There is controversy surrounding injuries received by Aboriginal People from fallout, and in particular from this mist. Approximately 45 Yankunytjatjara people were reported to have been caught in the mist at Wallatina and fallen ill, and over half may have died.

The 1985 Royal Commission concluded that "Aboriginal people experienced radioactive fallout from Totem 1 in the form of a black mist or cloud at or near Wallatina. This may have made some people temporarily ill. The Royal Commission does not have sufficient evidence to say whether or not it caused other illnesses or injuries".

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Rocket!

The Rainhill Trials were an important competition in the early days of steam locomotive railways, run in October 1829 in Rainhill, Lancashire (now Merseyside) for the nearly completed Liverpool and Manchester Railway.

When the Liverpool and Manchester Railway was approaching completion, the directors of the railway ran a competition to decide whether stationary steam engines or locomotives would be used to pull the trains. The Rainhill Trials were arranged as an open contest that would let them see all the locomotive candidates in action, with the choice to follow. Regardless of whether or not locomotives were settled upon, a prize of £500 was offered to the winner of the trials. Three notable figures from the early days of engineering were selected as judges: John Urpeth Rastrick, a locomotive engineer of Stourbridge, Nicholas Wood, a mining engineer from Killingworth with considerable locomotive design experience and John Kennedy, a Manchester cotton spinner and a major proponent of the railway.

Ten locomotives were entered, but on the day the competition began — 6 October 1829 — only five locomotives actually began the tests:
Cycloped, built by Thomas Shaw Brandreth.
Novelty, built by John Ericsson and John Braithwaite.
Perseverance, built by Timothy Burstall.
Rocket, designed by George and Robert Stephenson; built by Robert Stephenson and Company.
Sans Pareil, built by Timothy Hackworth.

The Rocket was the only locomotive to complete the trials. It averaged 12 miles per hour (19 km/h) (achieving a top speed of 30 miles per hour (48 km/h)) hauling 13 tons, and was declared the winner of the £500 prize. The Stephensons were accordingly given the contract to produce locomotives for the Liverpool & Manchester Railway.

He is in the tomb forever asleep

The Capture of the Kent
Robert Surcouf (12 December 1773 – 8 July 1827) was a French privateer and slave trader who operated in the Indian Ocean between 1789 and 1801, and again from 1807 to 1808, capturing over 40 prizes, while amassing a large fortune as a ship-owner, both from privateering and from commerce.

In May 1800, Surcouf took command of Confiance, a fast 18-gun brig from Bordeaux, with a 150-man complement. The sailor and painter Ambroise Louis Garneray, future biographer of Surcouf, enlisted at this time.

On 7 October 1800, off Sand Heads, near Calcutta, Confiance met the 26-gun East Indiaman Kent, of 824 tons burthen, under Captain Robert Rivington. Kent had rescued the crew of another ship, the Queen, destroyed by fire, and therefore had an exceptionally large complement of 437 men, including her passengers; 300 of them were soldiers and sailors; Surcouf managed to board his larger opponent and, after over an hour and a half of battle across the decks of the ship, seize control of the Kent.

Surcouf put his first officer, Drieux, aboard Kent, together with a 60-man prize crew. Surcouf released the passengers on a merchantman that he stopped a few days later. Confiance and Kent arrived at the Rade des Pavillons in Port Louis, Mauritius, in November. The capture of Kent became a sensation, and the British Admiralty promised a reward for the capture of Surcouf.

Surcouf died on 8 July 1827, and was buried in Saint-Malo graveyard with military honours. His tomb features a globe showing the Indian Ocean and an anchor, with the epitaph:
A famous sailor has finished his career
He is in the tomb forever asleep
Seamen are deprived of their father
The unfortunates have lost a friend


Sunday, 6 October 2013

"Them Cubs, they ain't gonna win no more,"

The Curse of the Billy Goat was supposedly placed on the Chicago Cubs baseball team in 1945 when Billy Goat Tavern owner Billy Sianis was asked to leave a World Series game against the Detroit Tigers at the Cubs' home ground of Wrigley Field because his pet goat's odor was bothering other fans. He was outraged and declared, "Them Cubs, they ain't gonna win no more," which has been interpreted to mean that there would never be another World Series game won at Wrigley Field. The Cubs have not won a National League pennant since this incident and as of 2013 have not won a World Series in 105 years.

Sam Sianis, nephew of Billy Sianis, has been brought out onto Wrigley Field with a goat multiple times in attempts to break the curse: on Opening Day in 1984 and 1989 (in both years, the Cubs went on to win their division), in 1994 to stop a home losing streak, and in 1998 for the wild card play-in game (which the Cubs won).

In 2003 (incidentally, the Chinese zodiac's Year of the Goat), a group of Cubs fans headed to Houston with a billy goat named "Virgil Homer" and attempted to gain entrance to Minute Maid Park, home of their division rivals the Astros. After they were denied entrance, they unfurled a scroll, read a verse and proclaimed they were "reversing the curse." The Cubs won the division that year and then came within five outs of playing in the World Series.

According to three interviews with Sam Sianis, William Sianis' nephew-in-law, the Curse of the Billy Goat can be dispelled only by the Chicago Cubs organization's showing a sincere fondness for goats; allowing them into Wrigley Field because they genuinely want to and not simply for publicity reasons. (According to an account in the Chicago Sun of October 7, 1945, the goat was turned away at the gate, and Sianis left the goat tied to a stake in a parking lot and went into the game alone. There was mention of a lawsuit that day, but no mention of a curse.)

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Dr. No is a 1962 British spy film, starring Sean Connery; it is the first James Bond film. Based on the 1958 novel of the same name by Ian Fleming, it was adapted by Richard Maibaum, Johanna Harwood, and Berkely Mather and was directed by Terence Young. The film was produced by Harry Saltzman and Albert R. Broccoli, a partnership that would continue until 1975.

In the film, James Bond is sent to Jamaica to investigate the disappearance of a fellow British agent. The trail leads him to the underground base of Dr. Julius No, who is plotting to disrupt an early American manned space launch with a radio beam weapon. Although the first of the Bond books to be made into a film, Dr. No was not the first of Fleming's novels, Casino Royale being the debut for the character; however, the film makes a few references to threads from earlier books.

Dr. No was produced with a low budget, and was a financial success. While critical reaction at release was mixed, over time the film received a reputation as one of the series' best instalments. The film was the first of a successful series of 23 Bond films. Dr. No also launched a genre of "secret agent" films that flourished in the 1960s. The film also spawned a spin-off comic book and soundtrack album as part of its promotion and marketing.

Many of the iconic aspects of a typical James Bond film were established in Dr. No: the film begins with an introduction to the character through the view of a gun barrel and a highly stylised main title sequence, both created by Maurice Binder. Production designer Ken Adam established an elaborate visual style that is one of the hallmarks of the Bond film series.

Friday, 4 October 2013

SpaceShipOne is an experimental air-launched rocket-powered aircraft with suborbital flight capability that uses a hybrid rocket motor. The design features a unique "feathering" atmospheric reentry system where the rear half of the wing and the twin tail booms folded upward along a hinge running the length of the wing; this increased drag while remaining stable. The achievements of SpaceShipOne are more comparable to the X-15 than orbiting spacecraft like the Space Shuttle. Accelerating a spacecraft to orbital speed requires more than 60 times as much energy as accelerating it to Mach 3. It would also require an elaborate heat shield to safely dissipate that energy during re-entry.

SpaceShipOne is registered with the FAA as N328KF. N is the prefix for US-registered aircraft; 328KF was chosen by Scaled Composites to stand for 328 kilofeet (about 100 kilometers), the officially designated edge of space. The original choice of registry number, N100KM, was already taken. N328KF is registered as a glider, reflecting the fact that most of its independent flight is unpowered.

SpaceShipOne's first flight, 01C, was an unmanned captive flight test on May 20, 2003. Glide tests followed, starting with flight 03G on August 7, 2003. Its first powered flight, flight 11P, was made on December 17, 2003, the 100th anniversary of the first powered flight.

On April 1, 2004, Scaled Composites received the first license for sub-orbital rocket flights to be issued by the US Office of Commercial Space Transportation. This license permitted the company to conduct powered test flights over the course of one year. On June 17, 2004, Mojave Airport reclassified itself (part-time) as the Mojave Spaceport.

Flight 15P on June 21, 2004, was SpaceShipOne's first spaceflight, and the first privately funded human spaceflight. There were a few control issues,but these were resolved prior to the Ansari X PRIZE flights that followed, with flight 17P on October 4, 2004, winning the prize.

The SpaceShipOne Team was awarded the Space Achievement Award by the Space Foundation in 2005.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Gaul united, Forming a single nation Animated by a common spirit, Can defy the Universe.

Vercingetorix (c. 82 BC – 46 BC) was a chieftain of the Arverni tribe; he united the Gauls in a revolt against Roman forces during the last phase of Julius Caesar's Gallic Wars.

Vercingetorix came to power in 52 BC: he raised an army and was proclaimed king at Gergovia. He immediately established an alliance with other Gaulish tribes, took control of their combined armies, and led them in Gaul's most significant revolt against Roman power. He won the Battle of Gergovia, in which 46 centurions and 700 legionaries died and more than 6,000 people were injured, whereupon Caesar's Roman legions withdrew.

However, a few months later, in the Battle of Alesia, the Romans besieged his forces. Caesar built a fortification around Alesia to besiege it. However, Caesar's army was surrounded by the rest of Gaul, and Vercingetorix had summoned his allies to attack the besieging Romans, so Caesar built another outer fortification against the expected relief armies (resulting in a doughnut-shaped fortification). The relief came in insufficient numbers: estimates range from 80,000 to 250,000 soldiers. Vercingetorix, the tactical leader, was cut off from them on the inside, and without his guidance the attacks were initially unsuccessful. However, the attacks did reveal a weak point in the fortifications and the combined forces on the inside and the outside almost made a breakthrough. Only when Caesar personally led the last reserves into battle did he finally manage to prevail. This was a decisive battle in the creation of the Roman Empire.

According to Plutarch, Vercingetorix surrendered in dramatic fashion, riding his beautifully adorned horse out of Alesia and around Caesar's camp before dismounting in front of Caesar, stripping himself of his armor and sitting down at his opponent's feet, where he remained motionless until he was taken away. Caesar provides a first-hand contradiction of this account, describing Vercingetorix's surrender much more modestly. He was imprisoned in the Tullianum in Rome for five years, before being publicly displayed in Caesar's triumph in 46 BC. He was executed after the triumph, probably by strangulation in his prison, as ancient custom would have it.

Napoleon III erected a seven-meter-tall statue of Vercingétorix in 1865, created by the sculptor Aimé Millet, on the supposed site of Alesia. The architect for the memorial was Eugène Viollet-le-Duc. The impressive statue still stands. The inscription on the base, written by Viollet-le-Duc, copied by the famous statement of Julius Caesar, reads (in French):

La Gaule unie
Formant une seule nation
Animée d'un même esprit,
Peut défier l'Univers.

Gaul united,
Forming a single nation
Animated by a common spirit,

Can defy the Universe.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

There is a fifth dimension, beyond that which is known to man.

The Twilight Zone is an American science-fiction/fantasy anthology television series created by Rod Serling, which ran for five seasons on CBS from 1959 to 1964. The series consists of unrelated stories depicting paranormal, futuristic, kafkaesque, or otherwise disturbing or unusual events; each story typically features some sort of plot twist and a moral.

The Twilight Zone premiered the night of October 2, 1959 to rave reviews. "...Twilight Zone is about the only show on the air that I actually look forward to seeing. It's the one series that I will let interfere with other plans", said Terry Turner for the Chicago Daily News. Others agreed. Daily Variety ranked it with "the best that has ever been accomplished in half-hour filmed television" and the New York Herald Tribune found the show to be "certainly the best and most original anthology series of the year."

The series is notable for featuring both established stars (Joan Blondell, Ann Blyth, Buster Keaton, Burgess Meredith, Ed Wynn) and younger actors who would become more famous later on (Veronica Cartwright, Bill Bixby, William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Robert Duvall, Mariette Hartley, Burt Reynolds, Dennis Hopper, Robert Redford). Rod Serling served as executive producer and head writer; he wrote or co-wrote 92 of the show's 156 episodes. He was also the show's host and narrator, delivering monologues at the beginning and end of each episode. Serling's opening and closing narrations usually summarize the episode's events encapsulating how and why the main character(s) had entered the Twilight Zone. The Twilight Zone itself is not presented as being a tangible plane, but a metaphor for the strange circumstances befalling the protagonists.

In 1997, the episodes "To Serve Man" and "It's a Good Life" were respectively ranked at 11 and 31 on TV Guide's 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time; Serling himself stated that his favorite episodes of the series were "The Invaders" and "Time Enough at Last". In 2002, The Twilight Zone was ranked No. 26 on TV Guide's 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time. In 2013, the Writers Guild of America ranked it as the third best written TV series ever.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Beating design icons such as the Mini, mini skirt, Jaguar E-type, Tube map and the Supermarine Spitfire.

In the late 1950s, France, the United Kingdom, United States, and the Soviet Union were considering developing supersonic transport. The British Bristol Aeroplane Company and the French Sud Aviation were both working on designs, called the Type 223 and Super-Caravelle, respectively. Both were largely funded by their respective governments. The British design was for a thin-winged delta shape (which owed much to work by Dietrich Küchemann, then at the Royal Aircraft Establishment) for a transatlantic-ranged aircraft for about 100 people, while the French were intending to build a medium-range aircraft.

The designs were both ready to start prototype construction in the early 1960s, but the cost was so great that the British government made it a requirement that British Aircraft Corporation (which had been formed in 1960 as a consolidation of British aircraft companies, including the Bristol Aeroplane Company) look for international co-operation. Approaches were made to a number of countries, but only France showed real interest. The development project was negotiated as an international treaty between the two countries rather than a commercial agreement between companies and included a clause, originally asked for by the UK, imposing heavy penalties for cancellation. A draft treaty was signed on 29 November 1962. By this time, both companies had been merged into new ones; thus, the Concorde project was between the British Aircraft Corporation and Aérospatiale.

Reflecting the treaty between the British and French governments which led to Concorde's construction, the name Concorde is from the French word concorde, which has an English equivalent, concord. Both words mean agreement, harmony or union.

The aircraft was initially referred to in the UK as Concorde, with the French spelling, but was officially changed to Concord by Harold Macmillan in response to a perceived slight by Charles de Gaulle. In 1967, at the French roll-out in Toulouse the British Government Minister for Technology, Tony Benn, announced that he would change the spelling back to Concorde. This created a nationalist uproar that died down when Benn stated that the suffixed 'e' represented "Excellence, England, Europe and Entente (Cordiale)." In his memoirs, he recounts a tale of a letter from an irate Scotsman claiming: "[Y]ou talk about 'E' for England, but part of it is made in Scotland." Given Scotland’s contribution of providing the nose cone for the aircraft, Benn replied, "[I]t was also 'E' for 'Écosse' (the French name for Scotland)  — and I might have added 'e' for extravagance and 'e' for escalation as well!"

Concorde also acquired an unusual nomenclature for an aircraft. In common usage in the United Kingdom, the type is known as Concorde without an article, rather than the Concorde or a Concorde.

Construction of two prototypes began in February 1965: 001, built by Aerospatiale at Toulouse, and 002, by BAC at Filton, Bristol. Concorde 001 made its first test flight from Toulouse on 2 March 1969, piloted by André Turcat, and first went supersonic on 1 October. The first UK-built Concorde flew from Filton to RAF Fairford on 9 April 1969, piloted by Brian Trubshaw. Both prototypes were presented to the public for the first time on 7–8 June 1969 at the Paris Airshow. As the flight programme progressed, 001 embarked on a sales and demonstration tour on 4 September 1971, which was also the first transatlantic crossing of Concorde.

On 10 April 2003, Air France and British Airways simultaneously announced that they would retire Concorde later that year. They cited low passenger numbers following the 25 July 2000 crash, the slump in air travel following 11 September 2001, and rising maintenance costs.

In 2006, 37 years after her first test flight, Concorde was announced the winner of the Great British Design Quest organised by the BBC and the Design Museum. A total of 212,000 votes were cast with Concorde beating design icons such as the Mini, mini skirt, Jaguar E-type, Tube map and the Supermarine Spitfire.