Saturday, November 28, 2015

Some Elevator History...!

So many times we don't stop and think of the many so-called " modern" inventions we use on a regular basis. Turns out not all of them are modern at all!

From the folks over at, here is a little history that may just surprise you.

Who invented the elevator?
By Laura Schumm

Although elevators may seem like a modern invention, devices used to transport people or goods vertically have been around for thousands of years. According to the writings of Vitruvius, the Greek mathematician Archimedes created a primitive elevator in 236 B.C. that was operated by hoisting ropes wound around a drum and rotated by manpower applied to a capstan. In ancient Rome, a subterranean complex of rooms, animal pens and tunnels stood beneath the Colosseum. At various intervals, elevators powered by hundreds of men using winches and counterweights brought gladiators and large animals up through vertical shafts into the arena for battle.

In 1743, Louis XV had what was referred to as a “flying chair” built to allow one of his mistresses to access her quarters on the third floor of the Palace of Versailles. Similarly, a “flying table” in his retreat ch√Ęteau de Choisy allowed the king and his private guests to dine without intrusion from the servants. At the sound of a bell, a table would rise from the kitchen below into the dining room with an elaborate meal, including all of the necessary accoutrements.

By the mid-19th century, elevators powered by steam or water were available for sale, but the ropes they relied upon could be worn out or destroyed and were not, therefore, generally trusted for passenger travel. However, in 1852, Elisha Graves Otis invented a safety break that revolutionized the vertical transport industry. In the event that an elevator’s hoisting rope broke, a spring would operate pawls on the car, forcing them into position with racks at the sides of the shaft and suspending the car in place. Installed in a five-story department store in New York City in 1857, Otis’ first commercial passenger elevator soon changed the world’s skyline, making skyscrapers a practical reality and turning the most valuable real estate on its head—from the first floor to the penthouse.

Kinda makes you wonder what other inventions are not as modern as we think, doesn't it?

Coffee out on the patio before the cooler weather sets in.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Project Thor For Freaky Friday...!

Nothing is as freaky as a government program that almost was! Luckily this one never made it into practice, as far as we know!

How someone can come up with so many ways to kill is far beyond me. I do hope that we don't have something like this floating around out there right now, ya know?

Project Thor (aka Rods From God)

Project Thor was never put into practice, but if it had been, the results might have been absolutely terrifying. In the 1950s, scientist (and future sci-fi writer) Jerry Pournelle was looking at the idea of kinetic bombardment, which means launching missiles from space with no explosives and simply letting the power of speed and gravity do the work. If you’ve played Call of Duty: Ghosts, the idea might sound familiar. It’s the opening scene, and it was almost very real.

Project Thor (or Rods from God) never made it off the drawing board, thanks in no small part to the Outer Space Treaty of 1967, which made space-based weapons off-limits. Until then, the military was looking at ways to make satellites into incredibly deadly weapons. We may eventually see such ideas make the jump from science fiction to reality, though, especially with advancing technology and a shift in the position of whether or not space is a staging ground.

The basics of the idea involve two satellites working together. One is armed with 6-meter-long (20 ft) tungsten rods, no more than 0.3 meters (1 ft) in diameter. The second satellite does all of the communication and targeting. After a rod is dropped, it’s estimated that it would be traveling at 11,000 meters per second (36,000 ft/s) when it finally hits the ground.

We don’t know much else about the plan, except that the government’s not saying what the project’s current status is. Attaching the rods to intercontinental ballistic missiles was also suggested, which would be cheaper than using satellites. We might still see Rods from God dropping from US satellites some day.

I'm sure we'll all sleep better knowing that something like one of these rods could come crashing through the roof at any time, right? Why would such a plan ever even be designed, I wonder? Freaky stuff, that's for sure! Thanks to the folks at Listverse for giving me something else to worry about.

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Better bring your hard hat!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone...!

I'm sure that all of us can find something to be thankful for today. With that being said, I wanted to share this little reminder with you.

Have a very good Thanksgiving, everyone.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Annie Oakley Again For Western Wednesday...!

Very few women have inspired the imagination of the early west like Annie Oakley. Seems as though her popularity is still alive and well in some circles.

A recent auction of some of Annie's artifacts brought in a pretty hefty sum just because they once belonged to her. Not bad for a woman that died in 1926, wouldn't you say?

Annie Oakley’s Gun Sells at Auction
JUNE 11, 2012 By Jennie Cohen

A rare 12-gauge shotgun that Annie Oakley once used to dazzle Queen Victoria fetched the hefty sum of $143,400 at auction yesterday. Made by Parker Brothers, the weapon is thought to have accompanied the sharpshooting celebrity when she traveled to England with Buffalo Bill Cody’s famed Wild West show in 1887. During that tour, Oakley performed for European royalty attending the queen’s Golden Jubilee.

According to Heritage Auctions, which handled the sale for Oakley’s descendants, Oakley became disenchanted with the Parker Brothers shotgun midway through her overseas stay, later presenting it as a gift to her husband’s brother.

Born Phoebe Ann Moses in an Ohio cabin in 1860, Oakley demonstrated an extraordinary gift for marksmanship at an early age. At 15 she won a shooting match against a traveling exhibition sharpshooter named Frank Butler, whom she soon married. The pair began performing together and eventually joined Buffalo Bill’s touring company. Oakley continued to set records well into her 60s; she also campaigned for women’s rights to work, participate in sports and bear arms. She died in 1926 at age 66.

Roughly 100 items that once belonged to Oakley, including the Parker Brothers shotgun, were sold in Dallas, Texas, by Heritage Auctions on Sunday. Featuring rifles, letters and photographs, among other things, the collection was put up for sale by the famous sharpshooter’s great-grandnieces. They had inherited the artifacts from their mother, Billie Butler Serene, whose grandfather was Frank Butler’s brother.

“We had decades worth of treasures in steamer trunks,” said Terrye Holcomb, one of the descendants. “My mother cherished her family, and when the family passed, this is what she clung to.”

Along with the Parker Brothers gun, other big-ticket items included a Marlin .22 caliber rifle that went for $83,650 and Oakley’s iconic Stetson hat, which brought in $17,925. The entire collection sold for $518,875.

“The intense interest and great prices this auction brought show the ongoing fascination people have with Annie Oakley and highlight the value of 125 years of careful stewardship by her loved ones,” said Tom Slater, director of historical auctions for Heritage Auctions.

Always find it amazing that some of the older legends of the Old West had a factual person at the core. This lady made a huge impression on a lot of people, all over the world.

Coffee out on the patio this morning.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Tea Or Coffee...?

It seems as though there is a little known competition being waged about which drink is preferred by the Brits and the Americans. The answer may surprise you!

I never thought about it much until I found this article over at Listverse. As far as I know, most of the folks in my world prefer coffee as a hot drink and tea as a cold one. That thought may be wrong according to this article.

Brits Are Tea Drinkers, Americans Are Obsessed With Coffee

Nothing highlights British and American differences quite like their respective national drinks. Go-getting Americans swill more coffee than any other nation on Earth while refined Brits relax over an afternoon tea.

At least, that used to be the case. But new research shows that many Americans are falling out of love with the fabled bean. In its place, they’re turning to drinking copious amounts of tea.

In 2014, the US imported more tons of tea than Britain for the first time in modern history. (Yes, the US has a lot more people, but the point is they’re catching up.) Among young people, tea is fast becoming the drink of choice. A recent YouGov survey found that tea and coffee are equally popular among 18- to 29-year-olds, with 42 percent choosing coffee as their drink of choice and 42 percent preferring tea. By contrast, 70 percent of those over 65 would rather have a cup of joe.

Admittedly, the US still has a long way to go to catch up with the UK. In terms of per capita consumption, only Turkey and Ireland drink more tea than the British. But things are changing, especially among the young. Another YouGov survey found that only 39 percent of 18- to 24-year-old Brits put tea as their drink of choice. That’s lower than among similarly aged Americans.

Now don't get me wrong. I've tried to drink a cup of tea in the morning, but in my case nothing gets the ol' motor going like a good hot cup of coffee. Guess I'm a lost cause.

Coffee out on the patio this morning. Of course, I'll find some tea for ya, if that's your thing.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Missing Gold For Monday Mystery...!

Nothing is as exciting as a good treasure story to many folks. I'm one of them.

We al know that during war, many fortunes and artifacts were looted and hidden. Most have never been found and are still being looked for today. This article from Listverse is about one of the most persistent legends from the war!

Where Is Rommel’s Gold?

German troops fleeing North Africa after defeat by Allied forces were known to have gotten away with about 200 kilograms (400 lb) of gold, referred to as “Rommel’s gold” after German field marshal Erwin Rommel. It was stolen from Jews in Tunisia and kept in six hardened steel boxes. There are three major theories as to what happened to the gold: It was either hidden somewhere in the vast deserts of North Africa, sent to Germany (although it never got there), or deliberately sunk somewhere off the coast of Corsica, a French island in the Mediterranean Sea. The most probable theory is that it was deliberately sunk off Corsica with plans to retrieve it later.

Several attempts (spanning decades) to retrieve the gold have so far been futile, although one man who has been going after it for 15 years claimed that he had an idea of its location. Anyone who finds the gold would be required to share it with the French government, which would try to look for relatives of the owners.

This would be one heck of a find for someone. Maybe it isn't the biggest treasure ever gone after, but the historical value alone would make the finder famous, not to mention rich. Yes would be quite the find!

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. It's chilly outside on the patio!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

No Cartoons, But An Explanation...!

I wanted to tell you why I was missing in action yesterday. We had a slight emergency at Mom's.

It started in the afternoon or in the early evening, actually. Mom wanted to get out of her lounger and use the walker. Trouble is, her legs wouldn't support her. That is a recipe for a fall. After trying several times to get her up, I had to call the next door neighbor to come and help me.

A walker is only good if you can use your legs to move around, and at this point...Mom couldn't. She also started talking in a less than normal way, leading me to think maybe she had suffered a mini-stroke. I was very concerned at this point and called the folks at 911 to come and take Mom to the hospital for an exam. Luckily we don't live too far away.

After sitting at the emergency room exam room from about 10 p.m. Friday until around 4 a.m. Saturday morning waiting for all the test to be done and evaluated, I came back home to get some rest. They were keeping her in the hospital, so there wasn't much I could do there. Baby Sis went back up to the hospital Saturday afternoon for a visit and Mom was a whole lot better. We still don't understand why tings suddenly went south so fast. Maybe I'll find out more this afternoon.

Anyway, I wanted to just let you know why I didn't show up or post something yesterday, but I sorta had my hands full. I do apologize for concern this may have caused, but sometimes life gets in the way and takes center stage, ya know? Mom has just turned 90 and at this point in time, all things like this have to be taken serious.

Anyway, thanks for your understanding and I'll try and find some way to keep you updated from now on. Thanks for letting me ramble on about this today. You guys are the best!