Isaac Singer Granted Patent for Sewing Machine (1851)

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Before the advent of the sewing machine, sewing was a laborious task. Singer's 1851 sewing machine patent made him a very rich man. Several other people laid claim to having invented the sewing machine, notably Elias Howe, who won a lawsuit against Singer for infringement. Nevertheless, Singer's company was already well established and was able to pool its patents with other claimants to avoid litigation. At times, Singer used alternate names to accomplish what scandalous feat? Discuss

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Ross and Norris McWhirter (1925)

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In 1954, a few years after identical twins Norris and Ross McWhirter founded a London fact-finding agency, they met a director of the Guinness brewing company, Sir Hugh Beaver, who commissioned a compilation of world records that was intended to settle bar-room disputes. The first edition of the McWhirters' Guinness Book of Records was given to bars for free as a marketing gimmick, but the book quickly became a phenomenal success. In 1975, Ross was assassinated. Why? Discuss

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Santa Fe Opera Festival

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The internationally acclaimed Santa Fe Opera Festival began in 1957 and survived the burning of the opera house in 1967. It is now staged in an open-air opera "house" atop a mesa outside Santa Fe, New Mexico. The Gala Opening Celebration includes an Opera Ball to benefit apprentice programs for young artists, and, on opening night, a festive reception, tailgate parties (with tablecloths and caviar and people in formal dress) and, after the performance, waltzing for the entire audience. Discuss

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Posie Rings

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Posie rings—also known as poesy or posy rings—were tokens of love in England made popular in Medieval times. Sometimes worn as wedding rings, they were engraved with short, often rhyming expressions of love, friendship, or fidelity. Thousands of French and English posie-ring sayings have been recorded over the years, including "in thee my choyce I do rejoice," "God above increase our love," and "let this present my good intent." What other sentimental inscriptions are found on surviving rings? Discuss

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August 12, 2020 – NATIONAL MIDDLE CHILD DAY – NATIONAL VINYL RECORD DAY – NATIONAL JULIENNE FRIES DAY – CONGRESSIONAL STARTUP DAY

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Rasa Leela Festival (Mathura, Uttar Pradesh)

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Janmashtami is the birthday of Krishna, the eighth incarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu, which is observed on the new moon day of the month of Bhadrapada. In the city of Mathura in Uttar Pradesh, an important center of Indian art and the birthplace of Krishna, a month-long festival is held during Bhadrapada. The Rasa Leela play cycle, a traditional operatic ballet based on the Krishna legend, is performed throughout the month. The Rasa Leela (or Ras-Lila) Festival takes its name from the ras, or dance, of Krishna, the divine flute-player, and his consort, Radha. Discuss

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Alex Haley (1921)

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A descendent of African slaves, Haley began writing during a 20-year US Coast Guard career. He became a journalist, and earned national attention for The Autobiography of Malcolm X. His biggest success was 1976's Roots, a Pulitzer Prize-winning history of his ancestors beginning with their enslavement. A television adaptation became one of the most-watched programs in America, spurring interest in genealogy. Why then was the work excluded from a prominent anthology of literature? Discuss

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Mayan Long Count Calendar Begins (3114 BCE)

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The Long Count is one of the various ancient Mayan calendars that maintained complicated, cyclical measurements of time. It was intended to provide an accurate record of historical events and counts the days elapsed from a fixed starting point—calculated as August 11, 3114 BCE, the date of creation according to the Maya. Some believe that the calendar predicts the world's end on December 21, 2012, but scholars have widely rejected this claim. What was the significance of that date to the Maya? Discuss

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The Taiga

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Comprising about a third of the world's forest land, the taiga is a vast belt of coniferous forest stretching across northern Eurasia and North America. Bounded by the treeless tundra to the north, it has a short annual growing season and long, harsh winters. Soil in the taiga is poor, and swampy areas form in the spring. Only hardy cereals and roots, such as potatoes and barley, can be cultivated there. Still, it is a major source of lumber. What adaptations help plants and animals live there? Discuss

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“Just because you keep trying to do the right thing, doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed a happy ending.” – Junko Kaname

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“Just because you keep trying to do the right thing, doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed a happy ending.” – Junko Kaname

August 11, 2020 – GLOBAL KINETIC SAND DAY – NATIONAL SON’S AND DAUGHTER’S DAY – NATIONAL RASPBERRY BOMBE DAY – NATIONAL PRESIDENTIAL JOKE DAY

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The Peshitta

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Written in the Syriac language—a form of Aramaic—the Peshitta is the Bible used by Syriac Christians. Its Old Testament is said to be a direct translation from the ancient Hebrew, unlike other modern Bibles, which have been translated from Greek or Latin. Because the New Testament of the Peshitta has remained in Aramaic for so long, Syriac Christians believe it may be more accurate than versions that have undergone more translations and revisions. What does "Peshitta" mean? Discuss

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Magellan Space Probe Reaches Venus (1990)

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The first planetary spacecraft to be launched from a space shuttle, Magellan took 15 months to reach its destination, arriving in orbit around the second planet from the Sun in August 1990. It was then put to work generating high-resolution maps of Venus's surface and measuring the planet's gravity. Four years later, with its mission complete, Magellan plunged into Venus's tremendously dense atmosphere and disintegrated. What do Magellan's images reveal about the planet? Discuss

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Henri Nestlé (1814)

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Born in Germany, Nestlé was the 11th of 14 children—only half of whom survived to adulthood. After apprenticing to a pharmacist in the 1830s, he began to work on an infant food that could serve as a substitute for breast milk for struggling babies. Combining milk, flour, and sugar, he created the first commercial infant formula and founded what is today the largest processed foods company in the world. The Nestlé company logo is derived from the family coat of arms, which includes what image? Discuss

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Perseids Meteor Shower

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A meteor shower occurs when a number of meteors enter the Earth's atmosphere at approximately the same time and place. Since the year 36 CE there have been records of an annual meteor shower known as the Perseids (because it appears to originate in the constellation Perseus) that is most observable during the nights of August 10-12. Observers everywhere except the South Pole can see as many as 60 meteors an hour streak across the sky on what is often referred to as the Night of the Shooting Stars. Discuss

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