Annibale de Gasparis was an Italian astronomer who had entirely too much time on his hands. On the 29th in 1851, he discovered the asteroid 15 Eunomia. By the time he died in 1892, he had discovered nine asteroids.
Before J. K. Rowling tossed Harry Potter into a waiting world, there was another Potter of note. Beatrix Potter was born on the 28th in 1866. Rowling’s success as a writer has been phenomenal and it is unlikely that any other writer will match, let alone exceed, Rowling’s accomplishments. Nonetheless, Beatrix Potter’s literary career wasn’t exactly shabby; she spun simple tales about a rabbit named Peter who was bent on larceny into a very successful series of books. Upon Beatrix Potter’s death, England’s National Trust was bequeathed virtually all of her estate, which included over 4000 acres in that country’s Lake District. In 1896, Potter had noted in her diary "I remember I used to half believe and wholly play with fairies when I was a child. What heaven can be more real than to retain the spirit-world of childhood, tempered and balanced by knowledge and common-sense..."
July in 1974 was a very busy month for the Republicans in the White House and for those in the neighborhood as well. On the 27th, the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee voted 27 to 11 to recommend the first article of Impeachment against Richard Nixon: Obstruction of justice. On the 29th they voted to recommend the second: Abuse of Power and on the 30th the third and final article: contempt of Congress. Whoever said it was going to be a long, hot summer gets credit for being a master of understatement. While the summer of 1964 is generally considered the first of the Long Hot Summers, the summer of 1974 wasn’t exactly chilly.
Aldous Huxley was born on the 26th in 1894. He was a writer who, on occasion, toyed a bit with pharmacology and mysticism, long before those two fields of endeavor hit their stride in the 1960s. His book, The Doors of Perception, sprang from his use of psychedelics and the band The Doors appropriated a portion of its title. Famously, on his deathbed he gave written instructions to his wife to give him a dose of LSD. His wife dutifully complied and injected him with the requested dose. He did derive great insight from his unconventional research techniques however, noting as he did, "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad."
Women for far longer than is decent or honorable lagged behind men in notable achievements. Thankfully, much has changed, and while they still face obstacles that they must overcome, outer space is now open to them. On the 25th in 1984, cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya, a crewmember assigned to the Salyut 7 space station became the first woman to walk in space.
The echo in this next item is just too loud for me to allow them to pass without my making a comment about them. Substitute Bush for Nixon and Iraq for Watergate and I think you will see what I mean. On the 24th in 1974, The United States Supreme Court unanimously ruled that President Nixon did not have the authority to withhold subpoenaed White House tapes and he was ordered to surrender them to the Watergate special prosecutor. With the lack of judicial oversight on searches and the recording of telephone calls without court orders and all sorts of other stuff like those going on, I am patiently waiting for Bush to deliver his ‘I am not a crook’ speech.
In the United States, on July 23, 1829, William Austin Burt patented the first typewriter. Upon the issuance of the patent, Bill Gates sued Burt, asserting a proprietary interest in all of the vowels, two or three of the consonants and most of the words in the English language beginning with the letters A through R.