Samuel Kirkland

Kirkland, Samuel. Article #34. Vol 6, pg 890.

Samuel Kirkland (1741-1808), was an American minister and missionary to the Iroquois before and during the American Revolutionary War.  He was a friend to the Oneida and Tuscarora nations and, working for General Washington, helped to negotiate an alliance with the Oneida and Tuscarora during the war.

0034-KirklandSamuelThe alliance was a big deal, since the other four nations of the Iroquois people (Mohawk, Onondaga, Cayuga and Seneca) were allies of the British and fought against the American colonists.

After the war, the state of New York made several treaties with the Oneida to buy large tracts of their land, despite pledges made to the Oneida that they would be able to keep their land.  Kirkland made out pretty well, personally receiving about 4,000 acres.  On the land, Kirkland built the Hamilton-Oneida Academy, a seminary admitting both white and Oneida students.

“Kirkland, Samuel.” Encyclopedia Britannica. 15th ed. 2010. Vol 6, pg 890.

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personality. Article #33. Vol 9, pg 312.

Simply put, a person’s personality is a description of the way that the person thinks, acts and feels.

The science of personality, however, goes far beyond a simple description.  We tend to act in a regular fashion, so people have tried for years to come up with various models that categorize people’s personalities, for the purpose of describing or even predicting behavior.

0033-Personality-smHere are some models that people have used over the years:

  • Ancient Greeks: blood, black bile, yellow bile, phlegm  (combination dictates personality)
  • Freud: id, ego, supergo  (forces driving personality)
  • Jung: extroverted, introverted
  • MMPI: 10 scales (e.g. hypochondriasis, depression, hysteria, paranoia, etc)

Personally, it seems to me a little over the top to get so analytical about something as nuanced as human behavior.  But maybe I’m not enough of a Type A person to really understand it.

“personality.” Encyclopedia Britannica. 15th ed. 2010. Vol 9, pg 312.

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espionage. Article #32. Vol 4, pg 561.

You can make anything sound sophisticated just by using a French word for it.  Take the word “espionage”.  When we describe it as “obtaining secret information by means of secret agents or monitoring devices”, it sounds pretty thrilling.  But at its core, espionage is really just “spying on” someone which sounds far less impressive and which we all know to be just plain bad behavior.

0032-EspionageSaid another way, when James Bond does it, it’s espionage.  When your little sister does it, it’s just plain spying.

“espionage.” Encyclopedia Britannica. 15th ed. 2010. Vol 4, pg 561.

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quinine. Article #31. Vol 9, pg 862.

Quinine, used to treat Malaria, has the distinction of being the first chemical compound to be successfully used to treat an infectious disease.  Quinine is made from the bark of the Cinchona tree and was first formulated in the 17th century.

0031-QuinineQuinine works by killing off the malarial parasite that lives in the patient’s red blood cells.  Quinine is very successful in fighting malaria, completely alleviating symptoms for most patients.  It was widely used until the 1940s, when other antimalarial drugs were developed that led to a more permanent cure for malaria.

“quinine.” Encyclopedia Britannica. 15th ed. 2010. Vol 9, pg 862.

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University College

university college. Article #30. Vol 12, pg 186.

0030-UniversityCollegeIn the British educational system, a university college is an institution that teaches college courses but does not itself award degrees to the students.  Instead, another university awards the degrees.

“university college.” Encyclopedia Britannica. 15th ed. 2010. Vol 12, pg 186.

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Zuiderzee. Article #29. Vol 12, pg 940.

With 20% of their country being below sea level, the Dutch have always had to fight to keep the North Sea out. In the 13th century, a large marshy area in the north part of the country flooded, becoming the Zuiderzee (Southern Sea), a 2,000 acre inlet of the North Sea.

In 1932, the Dutch fought back, building a 19 mile wide dam across the opening of the Zuiderzee. This separated the North Sea from the rest of the Zuiderzee, which became the IJselmeer and gradually reverted to fresh water.

0029-ZuiderzeeNot content with just keeping out the North Sea, the Dutch then starting creating polders–areas of land surrounded by dikes so that the water can be pumped out. Since 1932, they’ve used this technique to reclaim over 600 square miles of land from the IJselmeer, creating an entire new province called Flevoland.

Dutch – 1, North Sea – 0.

“Zuiderzee.” Encyclopedia Britannica. 15th ed. 2010. Vol 12, pg 940.

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Local Group

Local Group. Article #28. Vol 7, pg 431.

The term “local” is clearly relative.  In the context of the astronomical term “local group”, the term “local” doesn’t refer to your neighborhood, your city, country, or even your own solar system.  “Local group” refers to a group of about 20 galaxies that hang out together, with the group including our Milky Way galaxy at one end of the neighborhood and the galaxy Andromeda at the other end, a scant 2,000,000 light years from us.

In case you’re curious, that’s 11,756,999,620,000,000,000 statute miles, or just a shade under 12 quintillion miles.  If you left today for Andromeda, driving a 2013 Ford Shelby GT500, which has a top track speed of around 200 mph, it would take you just 6,706,168,408,852 years (6.7 trillion) to get to the neighbors’ place.

0028-LocalGroup-FinalThat’s a hell of a road trip.  You’d really want a good mix tape.

“Local Group.” Encyclopedia Britannica. 15th ed. 2010. Vol 7, pg 431.

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Felix Mottl

Mottl, Felix. Article #27. Vol 8, pg 369.

0027-MottlFelixFelix Mottl (1856-1911) was a Austrian conductor, best known for conducting the operas of Richard Wagner.  He was the conductor at the Karlsruhe Opera from 1882 to 1903.  While there, he was known for conducting all of the operas of both Berlioz and Wagner.  Given the length of Wagner’s operas, this at least indicates that Felix was a man with a lot of stamina.

“Mottl, Felix.” Encyclopedia Britannica. 15th ed. 2010. Vol 8, pg 369.

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Michael VIII Palaeologus (Byzantine Empire)

Michael VIII Palaeologus (Byzantine Empire). Article #26. Vol 8, pg 93.

In the grand map of history, Michael VIII Palaeologus, Byzantine Emperor from 1261-1282 is a bit of a blip. From 324-1453 AD there were 93 Byzantine emperors, so we can be forgiven if we forget a few.

0026-MichaelVIII-ByzantineMichael VIII grew up in Nicaea, home of the Byzantine Empire in exile, after Constantinople had fallen to the army of the 4th Crusade in 1204. Michael dreamed of kicking the Latins out of Constantinople and retaking the city. His big break came in 1258, He was appointed regent for the young emperor, John IV Laskaris. Michael promptly blinded John, took the throne for himself, and then retook Constantinople in 1261.

Michael spent the rest of his reign resisting the attempts of the Latins to retake Constantinople. He even went so far as to unite the Orthodox and Catholic churches, attempting to win the pope as an ally.

“Michael VIII Palaeologus (Byzantine Empire).” Encyclopedia Britannica. 15th ed. 2010. Vol 8, pg 93.

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MuscatArticle #25. Vol. 8, pg 438.

0025-MuscatOman-SMMuscat, with a metropolitan population of over 700,000, is the capital of Oman, at the bottom of the Arabian Peninsula.  Muscat was a Portuguese colony from 1508 to 1650 and there are two 16th-century Portuguese forts overlooking the town.

Muscat reflects a mix of different cultures, based on its history.  The architecture shows Arabian, Portuguese, Persian, Indian and African influences.

“Muscat.” Encyclopedia Britannica. 15th ed. 2010. Vol 8, pg 438.

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