A Brief History On November 14, 1967, physicist Theodore Maiman, an American working for Hughes Research Laboratories, was finally granted a patent for the “optical maser” (maser: microwave amplification by stimulated emission of radiation) device he called the Laser (laser: light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation), once the stuff of science fiction and now an everyday common electronic device. Digging Deeper Using a synthetic ruby to focus light pumped from a high energy source (the scientific details hurt my liberal arts head), the laser was featured in the James Bond film, Goldfinger (1964) demonstrating the powerful light’s ability to…

A Brief History On November 13, 1974, the real story of The Amityville Horror began when Ronald DeFeo, Jr. savagely murdered his entire family in the house featured in the popular horror story. Digging Deeper The house at 112 Ocean Avenue had been occupied by the DeFeo family since 1965, 2 parents, 2 daughters and 3 sons.  Ronald Jr. was the eldest at age 23 when he used a Marlin Model 336C lever action rifle in .35 Remington caliber to shoot each parent and all 4 siblings, killing them all. Ronald, or “Butch” as he was called, ran to a…

A Brief History On November 12, 1970, the people along the Pacific Coast of Oregon found out the answer to the question, “How many State highway Department employees does it take to blow up a whale?”  Unfortunately, no rational people had actually asked that particular question in the first place! Digging Deeper On that memorable November day, a 45 foot long, 8 ton Sperm Whale washed up dead on an Oregon beach.  Stinky and unsightly, locals not surprisingly wanted it gone.  In Oregon, for some reason beaches are considered highways, so the nasty task of removing the whale carcass fell…

A Brief History On November 11, 1673, General Jan Sobieski of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth  successfully used military rockets designed by Kazimierz Siemienowicz in the Second Battle of Khotyn in the Ukraine, helping to defeat Ottoman forces.  Siemienowicz was the greatest artillery officer of his day, perhaps in history, and yet much about him is unknown. Digging Deeper Historians argue over whether Siemienowicz was of Lithuanian, Polish, or Belarusian ethnicity, as the borders and identities of countries and alliances in those days was murky and changing all the time.  Ambiguity in the personal accounts of Siemienowicz does not clarify the issue,…

A Brief History On November 10, 1775, the finest fighting force in the history of the world was born when the United States Marine Corps was established in a Philadelphia tavern by Samuel Nicholas. Digging Deeper Even back in 1775 Tun Tavern was already an old established meeting place, having been built way back in 1686, making it almost 90 years old.  Located near the Philadelphia waterfront, Tun Tavern was a meeting place for the St. George Society, the first Masonic lodge in America (St. Johns Masonic Lodge #1), the St. Andrews Society,  served as a recruiting place for the…

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