Friday 28th May - The first ships of the Spanish Armada set sail from Lisbon, 1588. William Pitt the Younger, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, born, 1759. Musician Leopold Mozart, father of Wolfgang Amadeus, died, 1787. The Paris Commune was supressed, 1871. Singer-songwriter and actress Kylie Minogue born, 1968. Writer Maya Angelou died, 2014. Saturday 29th May - The Byzantine Empire ended with the Fall of Constantinople, 1453. Joséphine de Beauharnais, first wife of Napoléon Bonaparte, died, 1814. Writer G.K. Chesterton born, 1874. A riot broke out at the premiere of Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring in Paris, 1913. Weather presenter Carol Kirkwood born, 1962. Actor and filmmaker Dennis Hopper died, 2010. World Digestive Health Day. Sunday 30th May - Joan of Arc was executed, 1431. Barbara of Brandenburg, former nominal queen of Bohemia, died, 1464. The marriage of King Henry VIII of England to Jane Seymour, 1536. Voice actor Mel Blanc born, 1908. Businessman Milton Bradley, credited as founding the board game industry, died, 1911. The First Balkan War ended and Albania became an independent country with the signing of the Treaty of London, 1913. Monday 31st May - Japanese shōgun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu died, 1408. Artist Alessandro Allori born, 1535. Samuel Pepys made the final entry in his diary, citing declining eyesight, 1669. Suffragette Rosa May Billinghurst born, 1875. Vanity Fair revealed that Mark Felt was the Watergate informant "Deep Throat", 2005. TV screenwriter Carla Lane died, 2016. World No Tobacco Day. Tuesday 1st June - The earliest-known record of Scotch whisky was made in the Exchequer Rolls of Scotland, 1494. Writer Honoré d'Urfé died, 1625. Astronomer Geminiano Montanari born, 1633. The US Census Bureau started using Herman Hollerith's tabulating machine to process census returns, 1890. Actress Marilyn Monroe born, 1926. Accused murderess Lizzie Borden died, 1927. World Milk Day. Wednesday 2nd June - Vandals sacked Rome, 455. The formal Salem witch trials began with the trial of Bridget Bishop, 1692. Philosopher and writer Marquis de Sade born, 1740. Italian military leader and politician Giuseppe Garibaldi died, 1882. Astronomer Heather Couper born, 1949. Tennis player Helen Jacobs died, 1997. Thursday 3rd June - Artist Pietro Paolini born, 1603. The Dutch West India Company was granted a charter for New Netherland (present-day east coast USA), 1621. Composer Georges Bizet died, 1875. Entertainer and French Resistance operative Josephine Baker born, 1906. Astronaut Ed White became the first American to perform a spacewalk, on the Gemini 4 mission, 1965. Actress Anna Neagle died, 1986. World Bicycle Day.
^ THE WISDOM OF...
This week, Marilyn Monroe:Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world.
^ FILM QUIZ
A selection of quotations from films released in the same year. Answers next issue or from the regular address.
Last issue's quotations were from films released in 1958:
- No Stairway. Denied!
- A progressive convent? Sounds awful. I liked my convent in Vancouver. Out in the woods. It wasn't all modern like some of these new-fangled convents. We didn't have electricity. Bare feet, cold water. They were nuns.
- Did you ever do drugs with Mr. Boz?
- I can't believe I'm doing this. I can't believe I'm in a graveyard with a strange man hunting for vampires on a school night.
- - We were always heckling you.
- It's good to be heckling again.
- It's good to be doing anything again.
- It has been quite an experience. All against the desert. The greater enemy. I've learnt a lot about the English. So different from all I've been taught. Auf wiedersehen.
-- Ice Cold in Alex
- I think you should send us the biggest transport plane you have, and take this thing to the Arctic or somewhere and drop it where it will never thaw.
-- The Blob
- It's Mrs. Archer. She's on a rampage. We've got to warn the town.
-- Attack of the 50 Foot Woman
- One doesn't often get a second chance. I want to stop being haunted. You're my second chance, Judy. You're my second chance.
- - Mister Guggenheim... Your lifebelt...
- It was uncomfortable. We have dressed now in our best, and are prepared to go down like gentlemen.
-- A Night to Remember
^ WEIRD WORLD NEWS
Strange stories from around the world, some of which might be true...
- When Justin Stone returned to his car in Colchester after a gym session he saw that the back was covered in something dark - and moving. A swarm of bees had settled on the vehicle. Assuming they were just resting he waited 10 minutes before "I just plucked up the courage to run to my car. I didn't want to hurt them, that was the key thing." Once in his car Stone was helped by a passer-by who covered himself up and scooped the bees off the car. ● A street in Stow-on-the-Wold, Gloucestershire, had its power cut off briefly on Saturday so firemen and engineers could rescue a cat. "Gryffyndor" had gone missing earlier in the day when her family realised she had not eaten her food, but it was about ten hours before she was located, sitting on top of a live electricity pole. Western Power Distribution cut the power to around 100 homes for five minutes while firemen brought her back down to the ground because it was deemed to risky to attempt with the electricity still live. Verity Edwards-Flaherty, Gryffyndor's owner said that "Nobody seemed to mind. People have been very kind and we're very, very grateful".
- The 530lb (240kg) Chinese Zhurong rover has rolled off its lander on Mars to start exploring part of the Utopia Planetia basin for the next 90 sols (Martian days), about 93 Earth days. ● GPS (the Global Positioning System) is taken for granted these days, and with plans to return to the Moon, primarily the American Project Artemis, moves are afoot to develop a comparable system for the lunar surface. The European Space Agency (ESA) has asked two consortia to define what such a system, dubbed Pathfinder, would include. One consortium is led by Italy's Telespazio, which includes satellite communication specialists Inmarsat, based in London, the other is led by Satellite Technology Limited, based in Surrey, which assembled the EU's Galileo GPS navigation payloads. As well as providing positioning information the ESA wants to include high-speed data links back to the Earth.
- Archaeologists have discovered a Roman bath complex under sand dunes on a beach near the Spanish village of Canos de Meca in Southern Andalusia. The buildings are spread over around 2.5 acres (10,117m2) and some red, white and black stucco and marble has survived, showing that the baths would have been lavishly decorated. Together with the discovery of Roman era salting pools at nearby Cape Trafalgar the find suggests that the location was an important Roman settlement. ● A handwritten letter from Albert Einstein which includes his E=mc2 equation has been sold at auction for $1.2m (£850,000) in America. There are only three other known examples of the equation in his handwriting. It was originally sent to the Polish-American physicist Ludwik Silberstein in 1946 and was sold to an anonymous document collector. ● In the late 19th Century mill-owning brothers Alfred and William Law amassed a library of books and a collection of documents relating to literature, which was housed at Honresford House near Rochdale. After both brothers died it passed into the hands of Alfred's nephew, also called Alfred, and was lost to obscurity when the younger Alfred died in 1939. The Honresford Library of 500 items, which includes first editions of Jane Austen's Northangar Abbey, Persuasion, Emma and Pride and Prejudice, a copy of Tennyson's poems annotated by the poet, the manuscript for Sir Walter Scott's Rob Roy, letters written to and by Elizabeth Gaskell, publisher George Smith (who championed the Brontë sisters while they were adopting their Bell pseudonyms), works by the Grimm Brothers, Ovid, Mary Wollstonecraft and Dickens, a Brontë family copy of Bewick's History of British Birds annotated by Charlotte Brontë, a first edition of Wuthering Heights and handwritten poems by Emily Brontë will go on display around Britain before being auctioned. ● Novice metal detectorist Charles Cartwright thought he made the find of a lifetime on his first detectoring search when he discovered a hoard of almost 300 Roman and Viking items in a field in Worcestershire, until he discovered that some of them were inside an Aldi plastic shopping bag. He contacted West Mercia Police who confirmed that the items, together worth around £5,000 ($7,079) had been stolen from a collector in Ludlow four years ago. The man, who wanted to remain anonymous, said that he had given up hope of recovering them and was "extremely grateful" to Mr Cartwright, who had declined a reward, but the collector hopes to meet him one day and "buy him a pint or two".
- When traffic police on the M65 near Burnley on Tuesday pursued a speeding driver he left the motorway in his Mercedes and ran two red traffic lights before being brought to a controlled stop. Initially lying about his identity, the man stunned the officers when he got out of the car because they saw he had been driving while wearing studded football boots. When his real identity was ascertained they found that he had been disqualified from driving in 2020. The man, who claimed to have been taking the car for a test drive, was charged with speeding, failing to stop at red lights, driving without insurance, driving while disqualified and driving while not in a position to have proper control of a vehicle. ● A county lines drugs gang have been caught after hiring a taxi to transport themselves and their drugs. The taxi had dashboard and rear-facing cameras which recorded them boasting about their crimes as they recruited a teenager to deliver crack cocaine and heroin, in the back of the cab. After police realised that the gang had been using the taxi they arrested the driver and seized several hours of camera footage. ● A man is suing the police in Illinois after they stopped his car for speeding and searched it for drugs. Dartavius Barnes told the officers that he had some marijuana in car - almost 2.8oz (80g), three times the legal limit, was found, but then an officer showed him a finger-sized metal canister from the car and told him it had tested positive for meth or ecstasy. The canister actually contained the ashes of his baby daughter, who had died of neglect and starvation in 2019, for which her mother was sentenced to 20 years in prison, and some had been spilled during the test. The officers eventually declined to retest the contents and returned it, but Barnes is seeking compensatory damages and a trial by jury. Roadside drugs tests used by police in America are notorious for giving false positives. ● A woman in Sonora, Mexico, was arrested after trying to stab her husband because she saw a photograph of him with a younger woman on his phone. The younger woman was, in fact, herself, and the picture was from when they were dating and both were "young and slim" according to her husband, who had had the photograph digitised.
- Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden, have developed a concept model for a rechargeable battery made of cement with embedded metal-coated carbon fibres. Powered by solar panels the brick batteries could monitor the condition of structures including bridges or power mobile phone networks in rural areas. ● Scientists at the Mega Amp Spherical Tokamak (Mast) nuclear fusion experiment in Culham, Oxfordshire, have released their initial results of an experiment that could solve one of the biggest hurdles to commercial fusion power. Unlike current nuclear power stations, which create energy by breaking atoms apart fusion reactors replicate the Sun by merging atoms in a charged gas field, or plasma, contained by magnetic fields. Replicating the sun creates a lot of heat - the Mast system reaches temperatures of 100 million degrees centigrade (180,000,000oF), and without a workable exhaust system fission reactors would need the constant replacing of key parts. The Mast scientists claim to have developed a "game changer" exhaust system which provides a tenfold reduction in the heat their reactor's components are subjected to, which could pave the way for cheaper, safer, power generation.
- Death Valley in California has long been famous for two things - the moving stones and being the hottest place on the surface of the Earth with temperatures reaching 56.7oC (134.1oF). The mystery of the stones was solved some time ago [TFIr passim] and now it is no longer the hottest place on Earth. Satellite data collected over the last 20 years has found that the Lut Desert (Dasht-e Lut) in Iran and the Sonoran Desert near the Mexican border in North America reach higher temperatures, with the Lut Desert narrowly hotter at around 80.8oC (177.4oF).
- Mullet haircuts and skinny jeans are frequently mocked in the West as symbols of outdated fashion, but they have both been banned in North Korea for fear that they could corrupt the younger generation and lead to capitalist urges. Other banned fashions include ripped jeans, slogan t-shirts, piercings and spiked or dyed hair. North Korean men can choose from just fifteen "proper" state-approved haircuts [which reminds us of in-game character customisation -Ed] because "history teaches us a crucial lesson that a country can become vulnerable and eventually collapse like a damp wall regardless of its economic and defense power if we do not hold on to our own lifestyle", according to Rodin Sinum, a state-owned newspaper.
- A 200-tonne fatberg in sewers underneath Liverpool has been cleared using a newly-devised technique. Until now fatbergs, accumulations of grease, fat and "unflushable" items, have had to be broken up and dug out by hand, taking weeks, but the new method, involving feeding a steel rope through the fatberg then cutting it with jets of water halved the time needed. The 820'- (250m)-long Liverpool fatberg, beneath Bankhall Lane, Birchall Street and Foster Street was removed in two weeks, and a new liner was fitted to the sewer.
- A dispute between two counties has been settled in a most English manner. The 90-mile (150km) River Nene rises in Northamptonshire then runs along the Cambridgeshire-Norfolk border before entering Lincolnshire and emptying into sea at The Wash. For hundreds of years the people of Northamptonshire have pronounced its name as the "Nen" while Cambridgeshire residents pronounce it the "Neen". Last Sunday the matter was settled with a croquet match between clubs in Northampton and Peterborough. Northampton won 7-2 so the river's official pronunciation is the "Nen", as least until the rematch in twelve months' time...
- Bartram Trail High School in Florida has been widely criticised and mocked after it emerged that yearbook photos of 80 female students had been (mostly badly) edited to cover bare shoulders and the slightest hint of décolletage. The school defended its actions by saying the changes were made to ensure that the photographs met their dress code which calls for "modesty", but critics pointed out that no photographs of male students which violated the same standards were edited. None of the students were informed of the image editing or consulted over it before publication. An online petition criticising the school's dress code for being "clearly based on the sexualisation of young women" started before the yearbook debacle now has more than 5,000 signatures.
IN BRIEF: The British Police has been revealed still to be using a 1974 mainframe computer for background checks on suspects' characters. ● A driver of a Japanese bullet train is facing punishment after leaving the cockpit in the charge of a conductor unlicensed to drive the train as it travelled at 93mph (150km/h), while he went to the toilet. ● A new iceberg, dubbed "A-76" has calved off the Ronne Ice Shelf in Antarctica. At 109 miles (175km) in length and 16 miles (25km) width - larger in area than the island of Majorca, it is the largest iceberg recorded, surpassing the "A-86" iceberg which calved off the Larsen C ice shelf in 2017. ● The body of a 39-year-old man has been recovered from inside a large papier-mache dinosaur sculpture in a town near Barcelona; police think he had climbed in head-first to retrieve his phone and became stuck in a leg. ● The Mount Nyiragongo volcano in the Democratic Republic of Congo has erupted for the first time since 2002, prompting the evacuation of thousands of people. Lava reportedly headed to one side of the city of Goma and stopped short of the airport. ● The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in America has advised people to stop hugging or kissing ducks and chickens after an outbreak of salmonella across 43 states. ● A Japanese drill ship has set a record for the depth at which a core sample has been drilled after retrieving a 121'- (37m)-long sample from the Japan Trench at a depth of more than 5 miles (8km) below sea level.
CORONAVIRUS ROUND-UP: The Indian government has ordered social media companies to remove all content that refers to the COVID-19 B.1.617 variant by its common name, the "Indian variant"; the more transmissable variant was first detected in India last year, where there are more than 26 million people infected with COVID-19. ● The Medical Detection Dogs charity is training sniffer dogs to detect COVID-19 in people, using more than 3,500 items of clothing provided by members of the public and the NHS. The dogs, two of whom are rescue animals, have an accuracy level of up to 94.3% and show that trained detector dogs could be deployed at airports for fast scanning of passengers.
UPDATES: Astronomers have traced the sources of eight "fast radio bursts" (FRBs), intense but brief radio signals first discovered in 2007. Five of them came from the outer arms of spiral galaxies suggesting that they might be linked to star formation. ● Following the relocation of a number of Tasmanian devils into an Australian sanctuary north of Sydney last year the first of the endangered marsupials to be born on the Australian mainland since they died out there thousands of years ago have been delivered.
Radio presenter Lisa Shaw (BBC Radio Newcastle, Heart, Metro Radio, 44), manga creator Kentaro Miura (Berserk, Legend of the King of Wolves, Giganto Maxia, 54), hip hop photographer Chi Modu (Ice Cube, Notorious B.I.G., Tupac Shakur, 54), actor Mark York (The Office [US], 8 Simple Rules, CSI: New York, 55), actress Desiree Gold (Arthur, Caesar and Otto Meet Dracula's Lawyer, Sleepaway Camp, 76), actor, stand-up comedian and gag writer Paul Mooney (Chappelle's Show, The Buddy Holly Story, Richard Pryor, 79), privacy campaigner Max Mosley (FIA President [1993-2009], sued the New of the World and Google over a story about his attending a Nazi-themed orgy, 81), Bill Shakespeare (first man and second person in the world to receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID vaccine outside of clinical trials, 81), marathon runner Ron Hill (first Briton to win the Boston Marathon, second man to run a marathon in under 2:10, ran at least a mile every day from 1964-2017, 82), cricket historian and journalist David Foot (Viv Richards, 40 Years On: The Story of the Lord's Taverners, Cricket's Unholy Trinity, 96).
^ DUMBLEDORE BEAR'S LOTTERY PREDICTOR!
Dumbledore Bear, our in-house psychic predicts that the following numbers will be lucky:4, 22, 31, 33, 41, 55[UK National Lottery, number range 1-59]
You can get your very own prediction at http://www.simonlamont.co.uk/tfir/dumbledore.htm.
^ AND FINALLY...
Little Jennifer had been taken to the dentist with toothache. When she came back into the waiting room after seeing the dentist her concerned mother asked her "Has your tooth stopped hurting?"
Little Jennifer looked puzzled, then pouted as only she could. "I don't know, Mummy. The dentist kept it."
^ ...end of line