Mail Delivery By Rockets…..

The history of the postal system is inextricably tied to the history of transport. Advances in transportation technology have not only allowed people to travel farther and explore more territory, it also allowed the postal system to expand their influence over a larger area. As new inventions and discoveries shortened the time of travel, messages and letters began to reach distant recipients in lesser time, and the postal system became more efficient. By the time the first trans-pacific airmail was delivered, the postal service had tried every mode of transport available to man, including rockets.

The cover of a rocket mail delivered in the state of Sikkim, India, on 28 September, 1935. Photo 











The earliest type of missile mail was one which you’ve probably seen in historical movies where a parchment is wrapped around the shaft of an arrow and shot through the air into a castle or enemy territory. A more modern version of the idea was presented to an astonished audience by a German poet and dramatist, Heinrich von Kleist, through a newspaper article in 1810. At that time rocketry was still in its infancy. Rockets of that age were gunpowder powered and were primarily used as artillery in battlefields. Kleist amused himself by calculating that a rocket could deliver a letter from Berlin to Breslau, a distance of 180 miles, in half a day or one-tenth of the time required by a horse mounted carrier.

Kleist’s theory was put into practice on the small Polynesian island of Tonga, halfway around the world, by a British inventor, Sir William Congreve, using rockets he designed. But the rockets were so unreliable that the idea of using them in mail delivery was summarily dismissed, and no further thought was put into it until nearly a century later, when Hermann Julius Oberth, a German physicist and engineer and one of the founding fathers of rocketry, revisited the topic in 1927.











Hermann Oberth (center, in profile) demonstrates his tiny liquid-fuel rocket engine in Berlin in 1930. Photo credit: National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution

In June 1928, Professor Oberth delivered a convincing lecture on the occasion of the annual meeting of the Scientific Society of Aeronautics in Danzig, where he proposed the development of small rockets with automatic guidance that could carry urgent mail over distances of 600 to 1,200 miles. Professor Oberth’s lecture generated a great deal of interest throughout the world, and even the American ambassador to Germany took note. But it was a young Austrian engineer that became a pioneer in this field.

Living in the Austrian Alps, the young engineer Friedrich Schmiedl was well aware of the fact that mail delivery was extremely painful between mountain villages. What could be an eight hour walk between two villages could be only two miles apart as the rocket flies. Friedrich Schmiedl was already experimenting with solid-fuel rockets, and in 1928 undertook experiments with stratospheric balloons. After several unsuccessful attempts, Schmiedl launched the first rocket mail in 1931 and delivered 102 letters to a place five kilometers away. The rocket was remotely controlled and landed using a parachute. His second rocket delivered 333 letters.

Schmiedl’s rocket mails inspired several other countries such as Germany, England, the Netherlands, USA, India and Australia to conduct similar experiments with varying degree of success. In 1934, in an attempt to demonstrate to the British the viability of his rocket delivery system, a German businessman named Gerhard Zucker loaded a rocket with 4,800 pieces of mail and launched it from an island in Scotland. Government officials watched as the rocket soared into the sky and exploded, scattering scorched letters all over the beach like confetti. After his failed demonstration, Zucker was deported back to Germany where he was immediately arrested on suspicion of espionage or collaboration with Britain.

Experiments on rocket mail were largely successful in India, where a pioneering aerospace engineer named Stephen Smith perfected the techniques of delivering mail by rocket. Between 1934 and 1944, Smith made 270 launches, at least 80 of which contained mail. Smith created history when he delivered by rocket the first food package containing rice, grains, spices and locally-made cigarettes to the earthquake wracked region of Quetta, now in Pakistan, across a river. Later, Smith tied a cock and a hen together to one of his rockets and launched the frightened birds across another river. Both birds survived the trip and were donated to a private zoo in Calcutta after their ordeal. His next parcel contained a snake and an apple.

Despite his quirky nature and questionable choice of payload, Stephen Smith was wholeheartedly supported by the Maharaja of Sikkim, a British Protectorate in the eastern Himalayas, where he carried most of his rocket experiments.









A 1934 Indian Rocket Mail. Photo credit:








Another Indian Rocket Mail from 1934. Photo credit:

Things didn’t really took off in the US until 1959, when the Post Office Department fired a Regulus cruise missile with its nuclear warhead replaced by two mail containers, towards a Naval Station in Mayport, Florida. The 13,000-pound missile lifted off with 3,000 letters and twenty-two minutes later struck the target at Mayport, 700 miles away. The letters were retrieved, stamped and circulated as usual.

All 3,000 letters were copies of the same written by the Postmaster General. Each crew member of the submarine that launched the missile received a copy of the letter, so did President Eisenhower and other US leaders as well as postmasters from around the world.

“The great progress being made in guided missilery will be utilized in every practical way in the delivery of the United States mail,” the letter read. “You can be certain that the Post Office Department will continue to cooperate with the Defense Department to achieve this objective.”

The successful delivery of the mails prompted Postmaster Summerfield to enthusiastically declare that “before man reaches the moon, mail will be delivered within hours from New York to California, to Britain, to India or Australia by guided missiles.”

But it was not to be. The cost of rocket mail was too high—that little experiment with the Regulus cruise missile cost the US government $1 million, but generated only $240 in revenue by sale of postage stamps. Neither the Post Office nor the Department of Defense could justify the cost of using missile mail, especially when airplanes were already making mail deliveries across the world in a single night at the fraction of a cost.

And that was the end of the program. No further attempts to deliver mail by rockets have been made since then.

Source….. Kaushik in http://www.amusing




காஞ்சி வரதராஜப் பெருமாள் கோயிலின் ஆதி மூர்த்தம் எங்கே இருக்கிறார் தெரியுமா? – அத்தி வரதரின் திருக்கதை!

காஞ்சிபுரம் வரதராஜப் பெருமாள் கோயில் திருக்குளத்தில் வாசம் செய்யும் அத்தி வரதரைப் பற்றி ஒரு தகவல் வாட்ஸ்ஆப்பில் பரவி வருகிறது. அடுத்த வருடம் ஜூலை மாதம் 15-ம் தேதி திருக்குளத்தில் வாசம் செய்யும் அத்தி வரதர், வெளியே எழுந்தருளி பக்தர்களுக்குத் திருக்காட்சி தரவிருக்கிறார் என்பதுதான் அந்தத் தகவல். காஞ்சிபுரம் வரதராஜப் பெருமாளின் ஆதி மூர்த்தம்தான் அத்தி வரதர். தற்போது நாம் கருவறையில் தரிசிப்பது வரதராஜப் பெருமாள் என்று சொல்லப்பட்டாலும், உண்மையில் அவர் பழைய சீவரம் பகுதியிலிருந்து கொண்டுவரப்பட்ட தேவராஜப் பெருமாள்தான். இந்தக் கோயிலின் ஆதி மூர்த்தியான அத்தி வரதர் பிரம்ம தேவரால் உருவாக்கப்பட்டவர். அவர்தான் திருக்குளத்தில் வாசம் செய்வதுடன், 40 வருடங்களுக்கு ஒருமுறை வெளியில் எழுந்தருளி பக்தர்களுக்குக் காட்சி தருகிறார். அத்தி வரதரின் புராண வரலாற்றை இங்கே தெரிந்துகொள்ளலாமே…

திருவரங்கம், திருப்பதிக்கு எல்லாம் முந்தைய புராணச் சிறப்பு கொண்டது காஞ்சி வரதராஜப் பெருமாள் கோயில் தலவரலாறு. ஆதியில் சிருஷ்டியை மேற்கொண்ட பிரம்மதேவர், தனது காரியம் செவ்வனே நடைபெற காஞ்சியில் ஒரு யாகம் செய்தார். தன்னை அழைக்காமல் யாகம் செய்த பிரம்மதேவரிடம் கோபம் கொண்ட சரஸ்வதி தேவி, யாகத்துக்கு வரவில்லை. சரஸ்வதி தேவி இல்லாமல் பிரம்மதேவரால் யாகத்தைப் பூர்த்தி செய்ய முடியாது. எனவே, பிரம்ம தேவர் சரஸ்வதி தேவிக்குப் பதிலாக காயத்ரி, சாவித்திரி ஆகியோரின் துணையுடன் யாகத்தைத் தொடங்கினார். சினம் கொண்ட சரஸ்வதி தேவி, பிரம்மதேவரின் யாகசாலையை அழிக்க வேகவதி ஆறாக மாறி வெள்ளப்பெருக்கெடுத்து வந்தாள். பிரம்மதேவரின் யாகத்தைக் காக்கத் திருவுள்ளம் கொண்ட திருமால், நதிக்கு நடுவில் சயனக் கோலம் கொண்டார். வெட்கிய சரஸ்வதி தேவி தன் பாதையை மாற்றிக்கொண்டாள். பிரம்மதேவரின் யாகமும் நிறைவு பெற்றது. தனக்காக வந்து யாகத்தைக் காத்த பெருமாளின் கருணையை எண்ணி நெகிழ்ந்த பிரம்மதேவர், பெருமாளைப் பணிந்து தொழுதார். தேவர்களும் பெருமாளை வணங்கி வரங்களைக் கேட்டனர். அவர்கள் விரும்பிய எல்லா வரங்களையும் கொடுத்ததால், பெருமாள், `வரதர்’ என்ற திருப்பெயர் கொண்டார்.

ஒரு சித்திரை மாதம் திருவோண நட்சத்திரத்தில் பெருமாள் தேவர்கள் அனைவருக்கும் புண்ணியகோடி விமானத்தில் சங்கு, சக்கரம், கதை தாங்கிய திருக்கோலத்தில் காட்சி தந்தார். எனவே, அதே நாளில் பிரம்ம தேவர், தனக்கு தரிசனம் தந்த பெருமாளின் திருவடிவத்தை அத்தி மரத்தில் வடித்து வழிபட்டார். இப்படித்தான் அத்தி வரதர் மண்ணுலகில் எழுந்தருளினார். பிரம்மதேவரால் உருவான அத்திமர வரதராஜரை தேவலோக யானையான ஐராவதம் தனது முதுகில் சுமந்தது. பின்னர் ஐராவதம் சிறு குன்றாக உருமாறி அத்தி (யானை)கிரி, வேழமலை என்று பெயர் பெற்றது. அத்திகிரியில் எழுந்தருளிய பெருமாள் ஞானியர்களுக்கும் தேவர்களுக்கும் வேண்டும் வரங்களை வேண்டியபடியே அருள்புரிந்து வந்தார்.

பின்னர் ஒருமுறை பிரம்மதேவர் அத்தி வரதரை முன்னிருத்தி ஒரு யாகம் செய்தார். யாகத் தீயின் காரணமாக அத்தி வரதர் பின்னப்பட்டுவிட்டார். பிரம்மதேவர் பதறிப் போனார். வேறு எந்த வடிவத்திலும் பெருமாளை உருவாக்க முடியாத சூழலில், பிரம்மா திருமாலை வேண்டினார். அவருடைய ஆலோசனையின்படி, அத்தி வரதரை, கோயிலிலுள்ள நூற்றுக் கால் மண்டபத்துக்கு வடக்கிலுள்ள இரண்டு திருக்குளங்களில் தென் திசையிலுள்ள நீராழி மண்டபத்துக்குக் கீழே உள்ள மற்றொரு மண்டபத்தில் வெள்ளிப் பேழையில் சயனக் கோலத்தில் வைத்தார். யாகத்தீயில் உஷ்ணமான பெருமான், கலியுகம் முழுக்க இந்த அமிர்தசரஸ் எனும் ஆனந்த புஷ்கரணி திருக்குளத்தில் குளிர்ந்த நிலையில் இருப்பார் என்றும், இதனால் எந்தக் காலத்திலும் இந்தத் திருக்குளம் வற்றாது என்றும் பிரம்மதேவருக்குச் சொல்லப்பட்டது. அத்தி வரதர் திருக்குளத்துக்கு அடியே சென்றதும், பழைய சீவரம் என்ற ஊரில் இருந்த தேவராஜப் பெருமாள் அத்திகிரிக்கு அருள வந்தார்.






ஆதியில் தோன்றிய அத்தி வரதர் நீருக்கடியே அறிதுயிலில் இருக்கிறார். பிரம்மதேவருக்குப் பெருமாள் கட்டளையிட்டபடி, 40 ஆண்டுகளுக்கு ஒருமுறை குளத்து நீரை எல்லாம் இறைத்து விட்டு பெருமாள் மேலே எழுந்தருளுவார். சயன மற்றும் நின்ற கோலமாக 48 நாள்கள் பக்தர்களுக்கு வரதர் சேவை சாதிப்பார். 40 ஆண்டுகளுக்கு ஒருமுறையே இவரைத் தரிசிக்க முடியும் என்பதால் அப்போது பக்தர்கள் கூட்டம் அலைமோதும். வாழ்வில் ஒருமுறையேனும் இவரை தரிசிப்பது மோட்சத்தை அளிக்கும் என்பார்கள். இரண்டாவது முறை யாரேனும் தரிசித்தால் வைகுந்த பதவி பெறுவார்கள் என்பதும் ஐதீகம். மூன்று முறை தரிசித்த மகா பாக்கியவான்களும் சிலருண்டு. 1939 மற்றும் 1979-ம் ஆண்டுகளில் வெளியான அத்தி வரதர் அடுத்த ஆண்டு வெளிப்பட இருக்கிறார்.








40 வருடங்களுக்கு ஒருமுறை வெளியே எழுந்தருளி பக்தர்களுக்குச் சேவை சாதிக்கும் அத்தி வரதர், அடுத்த வருடம் ஜூலை மாதம் 15-ம் தேதி வெளியே வரப்போகிறார்  என்று தற்போது வாட்ஸ் அப்பில் பரவி வரும் தகவல் பற்றி கோயில் நிர்வாகத்திடம் கேட்டோம். “2019-ம் வருடம் வைகாசி மாதம் நடைபெறும் பிரம்மோற்சவத்தின்போதுதான் அத்தி வரதரை வெளியில் எழுந்தருளச் செய்யும் நாள்கள் குறித்து முடிவு செய்யப்படும். மற்றபடி தற்போது வெளிவரும் தகவல்கள் வதந்திதான்” என்று கூறினார்கள்.

நாளும் கிழமையும் எதுவாக இருந்தால் என்ன? அடுத்த வருடம் அத்தி வரதர் நமக்கெல்லாம் அருள்புரிவதற்காக திருக்குளத்திலிருந்து வெளியே எழுந்தருளவேண்டும்; நாம் கண்கள் குளிரக் குளிர அவரை தரிசித்து அருள்பெறவேண்டும் என்பதே பக்தர்கள் அனைவரின் விருப்பமுமாகும்.

Source…. Mu.HariKamaraj  in




The Meteorite That Crashed Into A Car…..


The Peekskill meteorite car sitting at a collector’s garage in Peekskill. Photo credit: Ryan Thompson/Flickr 








On October 9, 1992, a brilliant fireball flashed across the evening sky over eastern United States startling thousands of spectators attending the weekly high school football matches being played across the East Coast. The fireball, that witnesses described as being brighter than the full moon, was travelling almost horizontally and heading northeast. In just forty seconds, the meteorite had crossed four states travelling 700 kilometers through the atmosphere. The intense heat and friction broke the space rock into more than 70 pieces, several of which were large and fast enough to produce their own glowing trails. A considerably weighty chunk of the meteorite, about the size of a bowling ball, eventually touched ground at Peekskill, New York, with a loud boom.

17-year-old high-school student Michelle Knapp was watching television in her parents’ living room when she heard a thunderous crash outside. Knapp ran outside to investigate the noise. There she found, standing on the driveway, her 1980 Chevy Malibu. The Malibu’s trunk was twisted and battered with a hole through it. A sizeable rock over 12 kilograms in weight lay under the car, embedded in the asphalt. It was still smoking and smelled of rotten eggs. The rock had narrowly missed the fuel tank.

Understandably, Michelle was not happy; she had recently bought the car for $400 and now it was totaled. Michelle did what anybody else would have done—she called the cops and reported an act of vandalism. It was a neighbor who reasoned that vandals can’t throw rocks through cars and surmised that the rock was from outer space. The suspicion proved correct when the very next day, a curator from the American Museum of Natural History in New York City confirmed that the object was indeed a meteorite, the same one that streaked across the northeastern sky distracting coaches and parents from their kid,s football games.

Michelle Knapp in the driveway with her Malibu taken only days after the historic impact. Photo credit: John Bortle

It was this impeccable timing of the Peekskill meteorite that made it one of the most witnessed and most recorded meteorite events in history. Dozens of spectators to the high school football games had brought camcorders with them, and when the meteorite flashed over their heads many of these cameras turned skywards, towards the brief but more exciting event. As many as 16 different observers from various locations recorded the event on tape—a record that was not broken until 2013 when a meteor exploded over Russia. The sixteen videos of the fireball taken from multiple perspectives made it possible for scientists to determine the exact trajectory of the meteorite. Indeed, Peekskill is one of the few meteorites whose orbit is precisely known.

As for the car, Michelle spent no time securing a deal with a renowned meteorite collector for an amount that was nearly two orders of magnitude more than what Michelle had paid. Since then, the car has been on display in numerous cities throughout the world, including Paris, Tokyo, Munich and more.

Source……Kaushik in http://www.amusing planet .com




The valley Of Names….

For over seventy years, people have been driving out in their RVs to a remote desert area near the city of Yuma, in the US state of Arizona, to write their names and leave messages on the desert floor. Unlike regular graffiti that is hurtful to the environment, at Valley of Names messages are spelled out by carefully arranging rocks and small boulders in the hard-packed white sand.

The practice probably began during the Second World War when U.S. Army General George Patton brought his soldiers to this flat rocky area to train. This training camp, known as the Desert Training Center, was the largest military training ground in the history of military maneuvers. The camp grounds stretched from the outskirts of Pomona, California to within 50 miles of Phoenix, Arizona, and from the suburbs of Yuma to the southern tip of Nevada.








Photo credit: Bob Bales/Flickr

The earliest messages were probably made by the soldiers and the area took the name of Graffiti Mesa. After the war, the area was rediscovered and by the 1960’s the tradition had become a rite of passage for local off-roaders. In the 1970s, what was a four-acre area with a few hundred names swelled to thousands of names spread over 1,200 acres of the desert floor.

Every few years a team of volunteers would go out to clear away debris from the desert winds and replace rocks that might have been washed away in a storm. These messages are precious; some of them are over fifty years old.

Earlier there was plenty of lava rock on the east side of the hill to work with. Now they are all used up and visitors have to haul their own rocks to create the graffiti. There are some who have been coming back to this site for more than 20 years.




Transnistria, The Country That Doesn’t Exist….

After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1990, a thin sliver of land on Moldova’s eastern border with Ukraine broke apart from its parent country and declared independence from Moldova. A four-month war followed and some 700 casualties later, a ceasefire was signed. Since then, Moldova has stayed out of Transnistria’s business but still refuses to recognize it as an independent state. In fact, no other nation does.

Yet, Transnistria acts as an independent country, with its own government, military and police force, postal system, currency, constitution, flag, and coat of arms. Its flag still uses the communist symbol of a hammer and a sickle—the only country to do so.                         

A statue of Lenin stands in front of Transnistria parliament building in Tiraspol. Photo credit: Marco Fieber/Flickr

At the core of the conflict is the fact that Transnistria has been a primarily a Russian-speaking territory since the Ottoman Empire ceded the region to the Russian Empire in the late 18th century. The people of Transnistria have naturally felt more Russian than Moldovan. Even today, Russian-speaking people make up the largest ethnic group in Transnistria.

As per the ceasefire signed at the end of the Transnistria-Moldova conflict, Russia maintains a peacekeeping force in Transnistria, and provides constant financial, military and political support without which Transnistria could not exist. Russian subsidy, both direct and indirect, accounts for nearly half of Transnistria’s budget. Inevitably, there is a huge Russian influence on public life. Transnistria’s people watch Russian TV, kids in schools learn from Russian textbooks, and many pensioners receive Russian pension.

The lack of officially recognition does not bode well for Transnistria, especially the future of its younger generation. While the older generation is still hoping for Transnistria to be recognized and to become a part of Russia, the younger Transnistrians are struggling with lack of jobs and the tough economic situation. Most youngsters are eager to emigrate abroad, to Moscow mostly. Since the birth of the country, the Transnistrian population has decreased by more than a third.

When Justin Barton, a British photographer visited Transnistria in 2015 and asked a 23-year old girl to think about her homeland, she reportedly burst into tears. The girl, Anastasia Spatar, had never traveled beyond Transnistria.

German photographer Julia Autz, who travelled to Transnistria to capture portraits of the state’s youth, found the community closed and hard to penetrate.

“They can become kind of paranoid when they see a foreigner from the western world with a camera. Many people don’t relate with western values. Instead, they admire Putin and hope that Transnistria will become a part of Russia,” said Autz.

Like Justin Barton, Julia Autz too was struck by the permeated sadness in their expressions.

Despite the hopelessness of their situation, Autz found the teenagers and young people very receptive. “The young generation was very interested in me and they were curious about what I was doing in the country,” she recalled. “There are not many foreigners in Transnistria and most people have never been to western Europe, so they were really excited and wanted to spend time with me.”

Russia’s continuing presence in the region and its constant involvement in the affairs has soured relationship with Moldova. The Russian presence in Transnistria, so close to the Ukrainian border, is also perceived as a threat to Ukraine. Recently, a Ukrainian MP, accused Russia of using the conflicted region to influence the pro-European states of the post-Soviet space against joining the European Union.




Mother”s Day…. on This Day , You Should Know the story of Anna Jarvi ….

Anna Jarvis’ Big Mistake

Most moms are pretty great, so great in fact that in the early 20th century a woman called Anna Jarvis campaigned tirelessly to recognise them on a national scale- a decision Jarvis would later come to regret culminating in her more or less dedicating her life and life’s savings to destroy the Frankenstein’s monster of a holiday the greeting card industry molded her creation into.

First celebrated on May 10, 1908, the first official Mother’s Day was a somewhat sombre affair marked by a touching speech given by the aforementioned Anna Jarvis in memory of her late mother, social activist Ann Maria Reeves Jarvis, who’d passed away some 3 years earlier. The approximately 70 minute speech, which was delivered in the auditorium of the Wanamaker’s department store in Philadelphia to a reported crowd of about 5,000 people, was by all accounts profoundly moving and resonated deeply with the audience in attendance.

Around the same time, Jarvis paid to have 500 white carnations sent to the Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church in Grafton, West Virginia, where she once taught Sunday School, with attendees encouraged to wear these as a small token of their gratitude for all their own mothers had done for them.

While this was by no means the first attempt Jarvis had made to celebrate mothers as a concept, it was the first that had a big ol’ stack of cash behind it, with noted Philadelphia businessman and former U.S. Postmaster General John Wanamaker (who owned the store Jarvis gave the aforementioned speech at) backing Jarvis financially and politically.

Spurred by the success of the event, Jarvis began a letter writing campaign to have Mother’s Day officially recognised as a national holiday. After six years, she got here wish, with Mother’s Day being acknowledged by no less of an authority than the President of the United States himself, Woodrow Wilson. On May 9, 1914, he issued a presidential proclamation that read that this is the day we “[publicly express] our love and reverence for the mothers of our country.”

The thing is, as soon as Mother’s Day became officially recognised as a national holiday, the greeting card and floral industry began circling it like hungry sharks that had smelled the unmistakable whiff of a seal basting itself in BBQ sauce.

Jarvis responded by denouncing any commercialization of Mother’s Day, thinking any attempt to make money off of Mother’s Day – even if it was for a good cause – was wrong and not in the spirit of the thing. After all, something like a hand written note expressing your personal feelings is far superior, in her opinion, than some store bought card. As she said,

“A printed card means nothing except that you are too lazy to write to the woman who has done more for you than anyone in the world. And candy! You take a box to Mother—and then eat most of it yourself. A pretty sentiment.”

She went on in a 1924 interview with the Miami Daily News,

“The white carnation is the emblem of Mother’s Day because it typifies the beauty, truth and fidelity of mother-love. This emblem is used on the Mother’s Day association printed matter and official buttons. But it does not mean that people should wear a white carnation. This false idea has led to florists flagrantly boosting the price of white carnations for the Mother’s Day trade.

The red carnation has no connection with Mother’s Day. Yet florists have spread the idea that it should be worn for mother who has passed away. This has boosted the sale of red carnations.

Confectioners put a white ribbon on a box of candy and advance the price just because it’s Mother’s Day. There is no connection between candy and this day. It is pure commercialization.”

Thus, offended by the amorphous blob of empty saccharine sentiments her creation had been morphed into, Jarvis spent the rest of her life trying to destroy Mother’s Day, among other things filing countless lawsuits against various entities related to the holiday, including one against a non-profit Mother’s Day organization headed up by none other than First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.

Although, it should be noted that while Jarvis hated the commercialization of Mother’s Day, in fact, it is very possible that had it not been commercialized it would have been largely relegated to a minor holiday, or disappeared altogether, as has happened to numerous other such holidays over the centuries. As you look at the history of holidays, the ones that survive and become extremely popular are nearly always the ones that get commercialized in some way. If there’s money to be made on a certain holiday, businesses will literally advertise the holiday, making sure that it is as popular as it can be and that it sticks around.

Of course, this would have been little consolation to Jarvis, who would rather have seen Mother’s Day die completely than see the commercialized version survive, with Jarvis lamenting “that she was sorry she had ever started Mother’s Day.”

In the end, Jarvis was unable to stop Mother’s Day from becoming something she didn’t want. She subsequently went into reclusion in the final years of her life. In debt, angry and in failing health, she lived for a time in a giant brick mansion in Philadelphia with her blind sister, Lillian. Outside the mansion was a sign alerting visitors “Warning — Stay Away.”

Eventually her health declined to the point where she herself went blind and she needed outside care, at which point she was put into the Marshall Square Sanitarium in Pennsylvania. As she didn’t have any money to pay for the care she was receiving there, ironically, the bill was reportedly largely paid for by a group of businessmen in the floral industry that so benefited from her great idea. Naturally so as to avoid upsetting the elderly Jarvis, it appears she was never told of their part in paying for her care.

Jarvis ultimately lived to the ripe old age of 84, dying penniless and, as she never married nor had children, more or less alone in the sanitarium…

Happy Mother’s Day, everyone!

Source……….. i found out .com


The Pigeons who took Photos ….

At the turn of the last century, when aviation was still in its infancy, a German named Julius Neubronner submitted a patent for a new invention—a miniature camera that could be strapped to the breast of a pigeon so that the bird could take flight and snap pictures from the air.

Julius Neubronner was an apothecary who employed pigeons to deliver medications to a sanatorium located near his hometown Kronberg, near Frankfurt. An apothecary is one who makes medicines. A pharmacist is a more modern word, but in many German speaking countries, such as Germany, Austria and Switzerland, pharmacies are still called apothecaries.                                                                                                                                   









Apothecary was Julius Neubronner’s family profession. His father was an apothecary, and so was his grandfather. In those days, homing pigeons were used extensively to carry messages and small supplies. It was Julius’s father’s idea to use pigeons to receive prescriptions from the sanatorium and send out medicinal supplies in a hurry—a practice that continued for more than half a century until the sanatorium closed.

One day, Neubronner let out a pigeon on an urgent errand but it didn’t return. When several days passed and there was still no sign of the bird, Neubronner assumed the pigeon was lost, or it got caught and killed by predators. A month later, the lost messenger showed up unexpectedly at Neubronner’s place. The bird appeared well fed, which got Neubronner into thinking. Where had he gone? Who had fed him?

Neubronner decided that he would start tracking his pigeons’ future travels.


Julius Neubronner with one of his pigeons.

Being a passionate do-it-yourself amateur photographer, it didn’t take long for Neubronner to fashion a miniature wooden camera which he fitted to the pigeon’s breast by means of a harness and an aluminum cuirass. A pneumatic system in the camera opened the shutter at predetermined intervals and the roll of film, which moved along with the shutter, took as many as thirty exposures in a single flight. The entire rig weighed no more than 75 grams—the maximum load the pigeons were trained to carry.

The pictures turned out so good that Neubronner started making different models. One system, for instance, was fitted with two lenses pointing in opposite directions. Another one took stereoscopic images. Eventually, Neubronner applied for a patent, but the patent office threw out his application citing that such a device was impossible as they believed a pigeon could not carry the weight of a camera. But when Neubronner presented photographs taken by his pigeons, the patent was granted in 1908.






Aerial photograph of Frankfurt.

Neubronner exhibited his photographs in several international photographic exhibition gaining him accolades. In one such exhibition in Dresden, spectators watched as the camera-equipped carrier pigeons arrived at the venue, and the photos were immediately developed and turned into postcards which they could purchase.

The technology was soon adapted for use during the First World War, despite the availability of surveillance aircraft then. Pigeons drew less attention, could photograph enemy locations from a lower height, and were visibly indifferent to explosions on a battlefield.

Neubronner’s avian technology saw use in the Second World War too. The German army developed a pigeon camera capable of taking 200 exposures per flight. The French too claimed they had cameras for pigeons and a method to deploy them behind enemy lines by trained dogs. Around this time, Swiss clockmaker Christian Adrian Michel perfected a panoramic camera and an improved mechanism to control the shutter. Pigeon photography was in use as late as the 1970s, when the CIA developed a battery-powered pigeon camera, though the details of the camera’s use are still classified.

Today, aerial photography has been replaced by aircrafts, satellites, and more recently, by affordable drones. But the legacy of Julius Neubronner’s pigeon photography lives on in these images which are among the very early photos taken of Earth from above.

Bonus fact: So what happened to Neubronner’s pigeon who stayed away from the owner for a month and returned fattened up? It had flown away to Wiesbaden, some twenty kilometers away, and was taken care of by a restaurant chef.









Source…..Kaushik in http://www.amusingplanet .com