Blog Posts

History of the California Gold Rush: How It Created the State

August 18, 2023 /
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On August 19, 1848, the New York Herald reported the news along the American East Coast of the California Gold Rush. It was not new news to those further West, as the gold rush had started in January and was publicized in San Francisco in March.

However, the New York Herald was the most profitable and popular newspaper in the US. By the dawn of the American Civil War, the newspaper claimed a circulation of 84,000 copies and called itself “the most largely circulated journal in the world.” The news of the gold rush spread to a much larger audience than previously and circulated the gold fever much wider than before.


History of Woodstock: Over 50 Years Ago

August 15, 2023 /
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August 15 marks the anniversary of the “3 Days of Peace & Music” held in 1969 at Max Yasgur’s 600-acre dairy farm in the rural town of Bethel, New York, southwest of the village of Woodstock. This outdoor music event, despite thundershowers, gave voice to the counterculture youth generation of its time. A documentary film followed it in 1970 and a top-selling soundtrack album.

I want to share with you what it was like to be at the Woodstock Rock Festival — the music, the crowds “half a million strong,” the rain, the muddy roads, the traffic jams, the counterculture vibe, the media coverage, the movie film crew, the atmosphere, the awareness of its own importance, the sense of history in the making:


History of the IBM PC: 42 Years Ago – Why It Was So Important

August 11, 2023 /
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Forty-two years ago, the IBM PC was released.

On August 12, 1981, IBM announced its first “personal computer,” though it had previously been famous for its IBM System/370 mainframe computer. I operated one of these mainframes in a raised-floor data center in the early ’80s.


History of Infinity Day: Why is it on August 8

August 8, 2023 /
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life infinity pictogramHISTORY OF INFINITY DAY: AUGUST 8

Infinity Day is also known as Universal & International Infinity Day. It is a commemoration held on the 8th day of the 8th month of each year to celebrate and promote Philosophy and Philosophizing for the ordinary person.


Why 8 is significant, apart from Infinity Day

  • 8 planets in the Solar System — since Pluto got demoted.
  • 8 is the atomic number of Oxygen.
  • 8 is the maximum number of electrons that can occupy a valence shell in atomic physics.
  • 8 people were saved in the Flood at the time of Noah.
  • 8th day, Jesus was circumcised, as the brit mila is held for Jewish boys.
  • 8 is the number of legs a spider or octopus has.
  • 8 is 2 cubed.
  • 8 follows 7 but stops before 9 making it the only non-zero perfect power that is one less than another perfect power.
  • 8 is the basis of the octal system, each digit representing 3 bits. A byte is 8 bits.


  • 8 displayed horizontally is the symbol of infinity


History of a Sturgeon Supermoon: Once in a Blue Moon?

August 3, 2023 /
supermoon comparison

Supermoon comparison

History of a Sturgeon Supermoon

You may have noticed we’re presently experiencing a full moon. But it is not your typical, ordinary, usual full moon.

It’s a supermoon, or more precisely, a Sturgeon Supermoon.


What makes a supermoon?

Supermoons are bigger and brighter than your typical run-of-the-mill full moon. The one we see this week is 8% bigger and 16% brighter.


History of August: Who Is It Named After?

August 1, 2023 /
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What’s in a name?

The name of this month wasn’t always August; previously, the Romans called it  Sextilis. This was back in 753 B.C., in the days of the founding of Rome by its first king Romulus in 753 BC, when there were originally ten months (… Sept, Oct, Nov, Dec.) In 8 B.C., the Roman Senate decided to honor their first Emperor, Augustus Caesar, by changing the month’s name to Augustus.


History of Reek Sunday: The Legend of St Patrick Driving the Snakes from Ireland

July 28, 2023 /
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Reek Sunday

Croagh Patrick

HISTORY OF REEK SUNDAY: The Legend of St Patrick Driving the Snakes from Ireland

Several years ago, at this time of the Summer, on one of my teaching trips to Ireland, I found myself on the west coast, where they have a saying,

Ahh… west o’ here, the next parish over is Boston.

This Sunday, like the last one in July every year, is Reek Sunday or Garland Sunday in Ireland. During this event, 25,000 to 40,000 people will walk the 3.5-hour round trip 764 meters up Reek Mountain, or Croagh Patrick, in County Mayo, Ireland. Over 100,000 people visit Croagh Patrick throughout the year.

It’s the sacred mountain of St. Patrick and a popular pilgrimage in honor of the patron saint of Ireland, commemorating his driving the snakes from Ireland.

Or did he?


History of William Wilberforce: Champion of British Slavery Abolition

July 26, 2023 /
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One hundred ninety years ago today, on July 26, 1833, the Slavery Abolition Act passed its third reading in the House of Commons, ensuring the end of slavery in the British Empire. William Wilberforce authored it.


August 24 marks the birthday of British statesman and England’s greatest abolitionist, William Wilberforce. He was a man well-known to the Founding Fathers of the American Revolution. He became not just a politician, philanthropist, and abolitionist but also a writer of such popularity (in his own day) as C.S. Lewis was in the 20th century.

As I mentioned in my previous article on the History of Amazing Grace, Wilberforce’s mentor was the song’s author John Newton. The popular film “Amazing Grace” tells, in brief, the life of Wilberforce.

William Wilberforce was born in 1759 to privilege and wealth in 18th century England and, though physically challenged, worked for nearly 20 years to push through Parliament bills for both the abolition of the slave trade as well as the emancipation of enslaved people in the British Empire, almost 200 years ago.


History of St James Day: and the Camino de Santiago

July 25, 2023 /
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St James Rembrandt

St James, Rembrandt


July 25 is the Feast Day of St James, and Roman Catholics, Lutherans, Anglicans, and some Protestants accordingly celebrate St James Day. For Orthodox churches that follow the Julian calendar, it’s on April 30.

Each summer, pilgrims walk the Camino de Santiago or the Way of St James that finds its way to the traditional grave of Saint James in Spain.

Who was St James, and what is his relation to this pilgrimage?


History of the 1st Moon Landing – Apollo 11: 54 Years Ago

July 20, 2023 /
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Apollo 11


Fifty-four years ago today, at 3:17 Eastern Time, July 20, 1969, the first human stepped out of the Apollo 11 lunar module onto the moon. With the immortal words of the 38-year-old Neil Armstrong:

“That’s one small step for (a) man,
one giant leap for mankind.”

…the first man in history began an excursion on the moon that lasted over two and a half hours.

Five hundred million people watched it on television. Everyone I knew watched it.


Jerusalem in a Day, part 3

July 19, 2023 /
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jerusalem 2013(2) aerial temple mount (south exposure)

Temple Mount, looking north. Image: Wikipedia


In Part 1, I discussed some of the Christian sites in the city of Jerusalem. In Part 2, I discussed the Jewish tradition. In this final article, I’ll examine the third most important Muslim site in the world, after Mecca and Medina.

Urusalim (Jerusalem) gets its name from the Canaanites, the earlier inhabitants of Palestine, after their local god Shalem. The city was first conquered by Muslims in 632 AD.

In 1995, the largest quarter of the city was the Muslim Quarter, inhabited by 20,000 Palestinians. Today, with Jerusalem’s expansion outside the Old City, the Muslim population is over 350,000. A journey through the Arab Market in this quarter is like navigating a labyrinth.


Jerusalem in a Day, part 2

July 18, 2023 /
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Street Market in the Old City of Jerusalem. Image by Ester Inbar: Wikipedia


In Part 1, I discussed some of the Christian sites in the city of Jerusalem. Here, we discuss the Jewish tradition.

In 1995 Jerusalem celebrated 3,000 years of the City of David, commemorating when King David entered the city and made it his capital, rather than Hebron. It was a fortress city that David took from the local Jebusites (II Samuel 5:9) and further built up the area. It is located southeast of the current Old City as a jetty of land between the Kidron and Tyropoeon Valleys and above the juncture of the Hinnom Valley.