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Alexandria, Congress, and Wikipedia – A thought for today’s anniversary

Here’s an interesting thought for the mind to wander around in today.  On this very day, January 15th, all the way back in 2001 a little website by the name of Wikipedia was launched. Fourteen short years go by and it is now one of the most consulted sites on the web. This internationally used website brings up a very curious train of thoughts. One would not be considered crazy to say that Wikipedia is a collection of knowledge and information. Sure, there are some accuracy issues for sure, but all in all if you look up ducks, Wiki’s going to totally help you get your quack on. This massive collection of knowledge that is available for the whole world certainly bares a lot of resemblance to a free for all digital library. Incidentally, before the internet’s massive expansion, libraries were the original places to gather knowledge. Of course they still continue to do so, but no one can deny the awesome force that the internet has had in making knowledge accessible to the masses.

Wikipedia

So, if we were to consider this website (on its very special day) to be a great collection of knowledge, then how does it stack up with some of the previous recipients of such high praise? How does Wikipedia stack up to some of the greatest libraries that humanity has produced? To ponder this question it helps to temporarily exchange the Clarks and the hoodie for some sandals and the stuff that Michael Jackson wore in the “Remember The Time” video. That’s right, we’re heading back to ancient Egypt. One of the largest tragedies in human history took place here and the victim was a library, knowledge more specifically. In Alexandria, Egypt around the start of the 3rd century BC construction began on what would become the world’s first great library. The Royal Library of Alexandria was a massive collection of knowledge, science, births, town records, astronomy documentation, poetry, recipes, stories, surveys of land, and various other bits of knowledge from wherever they could get it! Keep in mind this was the era of scrolls, not books, and there were a lot of scrolls here. This library had so many scrolls…(how many scrolls did it have?)…it had so many scrolls that historians estimate that around half a million of them resided in the library in its heyday. At the height of the city there were about 300,000 people living there. Meaning there were 1.7 scrolls for every person that lived in the area. Considering the time and technology that is a remarkable achievement. Eat, drink, love, learn, wonder, and be merry. Those were the objectives from the various thoughts located in this giant hall of knowledge. Sadly, as all good things must come to an end, as did the Royal Library of Alexandria. You know how it takes years for a tree to grow, but just a few moments to knock it over? Well, the same case applies here. Replace the tree with the library and the axe with Julius Caesar. After centuries of growth the mighty library was set to flames and reduced to ruins in a few short battles. The knowledge of the cosmos, the organization of numbers, the history of one of the earliest civilizations of humans ever, destroyed. A little under 1% of the library’s collection survived the battles. And so goes the story of one of the greatest collections of knowledge humanity ever had. No, its not wikipedia, but its a remarkable thought.

Alexandria

Let’s trade the sandals and Egyptian garb for some tight white leggings and a triangular hat. That’s right people, the next stop on this Wikipedia roller coaster takes us to Washington, DC in the year 1800. First of all, not many stories start at such an epic year. It’s very rare that a big historical event starts with a year you can totally remember. That would have made third grade way easier (and of course if bullies didn’t pick on kids with glasses). Regardless, in the year 1800, another great institution of knowledge was established. The Library of Congress opened its doors to the nation with a pretty impressive and ever growing collection. This library also doubles as the copyright registry for the nation so they’re adding to the collection all the time. Don’t roll your eyes and think that most of it is just your brother’s band’s first album or your ex-lover’s shitty novel that never amounted to anything. No, this place has some very exciting stuff. For example, the Gutenberg Bible, the rough draft of the Declaration Of Independence, 61 million manuscripts, the largest rare book collection on Earth, and millions upon millions of scores, recordings, etchings, prints and photographs in addition to the usual books about planets, farts, and jazz. This place has it all folks, 155 million items and growing. There are so many books here…(how many books are there?)….there are so many books here that if you laid them next to one another they would stretch 838 miles! That’s enough to go from Richmond, VA to some bar that Nelly‘s at in St. Louis, folks! That’s a big row of books. So, how does it compare to the Great Library of Alexandria? Sure it has more contents, but its got technology on its side, right? Don’t forget, The library in Alexandria could provide 1.7 books for every person who could access the library. Currently there are about 316 million Americans that technically have access to the library’s giant collection. If we do the numbers it does not work out too favorable for the mighty Library of Congress. 155 million items shared by 316 million people means that each person would basically end up with a little less than half of one item. That’s okay though, the country has many great libraries and thus this one does not need to be the only big one like Alexandria’s was. Washington DC’s Library of Congress is actually currently the world’s largest library. So, even though the collection is percentage wise smaller than that of Alexandria’s, it’s still a force to contend with. It’s no Wikipedia, but it is definitely worth a visit many times in one’s life.

Library Of Congress

So, that phrase keeps coming up, “It’s not Wikipedia, but….”. So, is Wikipedia that great? On it’s birthday its hard to say no, but the numbers will tell the truth, right? How many entries are there on Wikipedia anyway? Keep in mind this is a totally digital platform and just about anyone has the ability to add some content to it from around the world. Our world currently holds 7.2 billion people. Alexandria had 300,000 people and the library’s collection was at 500,000. The United States holds 316 million people and the collection at the Library of Congress is 155 million items. So, how many articles are there on Wikipedia compared to the 7.2 billion people that have access to this digital library? Surprisingly, all of their long entries and small blurbs and quick sentence description pages all add up to about 750,000 entries. This works out to a staggering 0.0001 entry per person on the planet. How can this be? How is it possible that the numbers don’t come anywhere near making sense? Well, how much can you expect out of someone that’s turning 14 years old? Sure they can make good decisions, but they probably can’t tell you much about mortgage refinances because they just have not gotten there yet, the knowledge has not been accumulated yet. Wikipedia is only 14 years old and has 750,000 entries. It took centuries to get The Library of Alexandria up to 500,000 scrolls. The Library of Congress has needed 215 years to build up 155 million items. Wikipedia is hitting 750,000 entries by year 14. Not bad. If that exact rate keeps up then there would be about 1.5 million entries by 2029. The chances of a steady rate of entries is highly unlikely though. The world is waking up to the vast opportunities available once technology is introduced to their lives. There are more humans than ever right now and the same goes for computers. The gap between those with and without technology will only close in as advancing technology makes previous innovations more affordable. In the event that humanity and Wikipedia survives a few more centuries, how many entries would be in there by then? Would we run out of things to even report, document, and collect? Who knows! Anyway, just an interesting few thoughts on the many faces of collected knowledge over the years. Happy birthday Wikipedia, wishing you many happy returns of the day!

Alexandria Washington Wiki

happybdaywiki

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The Caesarean Section – Today’s History Story

Sometimes you run across something so interesting that it makes you appreciate things that you sometimes may take for granted.  During a recent research binge I stumbled upon an interesting story about the first American c-section operation.  Turns out that it was done not far from Richmond, VA.  A quick trip west (about 140 miles) from the state capitol will take you near the rural and forested area of Rockingham County, VA.  About ten minutes from this community is a shack basically on the outskirts of Edom, VA. That shack is the scene of the first caesarean section surgery performed in the United States all the way back in 1794.  Before we go any further just keep in mind that in this time period the latest technology available was being used to build the US Navy’s first six vessels, made of wood and the president at the time was good old George Washington. Okay, that’s just to set the tone, back to the story. On a cold Jan 14th Dr. Jessee Bennett had to make an urgent decision for the sake of his wife and their soon to be born daughter. Dr. Bennett had requested that Dr. Humphrey of Staunton, VA be present for his wife Elizabeth’s delivery. After an unexpectedly long time spent in labor the doctors had reached the conclusion that either a cesarian section would need to happen or they would need to perform a craniotomy on the child inside the mother. This of course leads the mind to wonder, what’s a craniotomy? This process involves temporarily removing a flap of skull to access the brain or impact the skull shape. Needless to say this is not an easy decision. This was such an uneasy decision that Dr. Humphrey’s of Staunton, VA refused to be a part of this any further. He felt as though both the c-section or the craniotomy are incredibly dangerous and he would not want that decision to rest in his hands and apparently just left the house. Upstanding guy. So, what does the good Dr. Bennett do? Using a board resting on two barrels, he lays his wife there and begins taking care of business. He asked his two servants and his sister in law to assist during the operation. He cut into Elizabeth’s abdomen and ushered their daughter Maria into this world. Soon after he removed his wife’s ovaries and stated that she would ‘not be subjected to such an ordeal again.’ Now, in 1794, retail shopping was not the readily available luxury like it is today. Clothing was rare and when you got it, you kept it for a long time. Tears and cuts were fixed using some of the strongest thread they had available at the time, stout linen. Since that’s what was available, Dr. Bennett used it to suture up his wife’s incisions as the final part of this incredible procedure.

A month later Elizabeth was able to get out of bed and a few short weeks later Dr. Bennett claimed she was completely healed. Maria, Elizabeth, and Jessee Bennett lived happily together for thirty six more years until Elizabeth passed. Maria herself grew up to marry twice and birth six children. No, no one’s sure if there were c-sections or not…

So, how did this story not get all over the late 1700’s media? Well, first of all news traveled a lot slower than we can possibly imagine and Dr. Bennett never reported the story in the first place! Why?  Out of privacy? No. As a request from his wife? No. This story was kept secret because of his pride! Keep in mind that news moves real slow back then, so a story would originate from one location and slowly make its way around long before any follow ups, praise, or revisions could follow the story. Most doctors at the time did not believe that a woman could even survive such an operation and Dr. Bennett thought he would be “damned if he’d give them a chance to call him a liar.” Pride, man. Okay, so how did this story make it from the backwoods of Virginia to the international digital information superhighway?  Though they were separated by a chunk of land, the Knights were the closest neighbors to the Bennetts. A.L.Knight, a childhood friend of Maria, would later grow up to become Dr. A.L.Knight! He recalled hearing the stories of Maria’s birth and eventually decided to investigate. Luckily he was able to track down Dr. Bennett’s sister in law and one of the servants, both present at the time of the delivery, and got their eye witness testimony.  This information rattled the medical world and dethroned Dr. John Lambert of Ohio from the prestigious acclaim of being the first person in the United States to perform the caesarean section operation during child birth. After Dr. Knight’s published article the world knew that the honors belong to Dr. Bennett who had performed this remarkable procedure thirty three years earlier on Jan 14, 1794. What an incredible species we are.

dr. bennett

drbennet

Yes, the cesarean section operation had been performed much earlier by ancient Chinese, Indian, and even Roman people, but this story felt like it was worth sharing.  It’s pretty remarkable to learn about such historic things happening so close to home while also just being amazed by the seemingly never ending amount of incredible stuff there is to know out there.  Make some noise if you’re a c-section baby, its kind of a weird anniversary for all of us.

C Section Represent!

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Mel and Melanie – Cold

For those of you that have not left your warm houses for the past 48 hours we have an important meteorological update for you.  It’s cold out there!

Holy smokes y’all…stay warm, stay safe.  Here’s what Mel and Melanie have to say about today’s chilly weather.

Mel and Melanie

Why is it cold? 

When will it get warm again?

Will I ever be happy?

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LET THERE BE GWAR!

Jackson Ward is one of the coolest spots on planet Earth (duh) and lately it seems like it keeps getting cooler!  A few days ago GWAR Bar opened its doors to the public bringing yet another cool hang to the neighborhood.  A quick drink trip on First Friday took place and the reviews were all big bloody thumbs ups!  GWAR is an awesome band and an established part of Richmond history.  GWAR bar is such a great way to extend their fan base while also bringing another layer to living here. This is a great spot for super fans and people who are ready to become fans too, man.  Great menu, awesome prices, super casual vibe, and some really great visuals of blood, guts, monsters, and so on.  If you have not been then check it out, its super fun!

 

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#GiveThanksRVA 2014

As the fall season continues here in the beautiful state of Virginia we start to look forward to Thanksgiving.  This autumnal holiday has its roots in the 1600′s and not necessarily as positive and loving considering what would soon follow for the natives of the land.  Regardless, as all things do this too has evolved into a celebration of what we are thankful for.  Well, last year the lovely folks over at Overcoast Music and us decided to put our minds together and celebrate the hard work of those involved with making our world a better place, #GiveThanksRVA was born.  Last year was awesome and we look forward to doing it again this year with our latest partner and friends combo.  This year we’re excited to announce that Emilio’s will be helping us give thanks to Classical Revolution RVA.  If you’re not familiar with Classical Revolution RVA then please do take a moment to check out their many accomplishments.  This year they ushered in the first ever Mozart Festival for Richmond, VA and have been playing in bars, parks, museums, and so on to further help support the goal of letting our world be filled with beautiful music, for free.  This is a huge undertaking. The musicians, the planning, the posters, the rep, the instruments, the stands, chairs, marketing, operations, and so on.  Please join us this year and help give a little love to the hard working people of Classical Revolution RVA that have been generous enough to share their gift of music with the rest of us here in the river city.

Come have a beer, glass of wine, cocktail, whatever… Emilio’s has been kind enough to donate proceeds from the event directly to the 501c3 non profit paper work needed to establish Classical Revolution RVA.  Let’s get together and help ensure that the next generation of Richmonders too will be treated to what we get to experience and beyond!  Come on down and help us #GiveThanksRVA!

Tuesday Nov 18 – Emilio’s (Broad and Meadow) – 5pm-8pm – happy hour fundraiser

GiveThanksRVA

Classical Revolution RVA

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Sexy Not Sexy Halloween Costumes!

Every year around Oct 31 we start to see tons and tons of sexy nurses, witches, and various other expected revealing costumes.  Look, its your body, respect it, love it, treasure it, and use your mind to present in the best way possible…but if the idea is to get attention then maybe consider taking it to the next level by taking some chances.  With that said, we’re excited to present this year’s cast of sexy-not-sexy halloween costumes!

Grecian Column: Big, thick, and sturdy! This Grecian column is no supporting character at your halloween party, its the main attraction!
Sexy Grecian Column
Sexy Sugar Shack Donut: This tasty treat can take any place and turn it into a sugar shack, perfect for all RVA donut fans.
Sexy Donut
Sexy Giraffle Ticket: That’s right folks…part Giraffe, part raffle ticket….all sexy!
Sexy Giraffle Ticket
Sexy Glasses: Umm…excuse me, my eyes are up here!  This costume’s sure to make a spectacle.  Gosh, her glasses rule!
Sexy Glasses
Sexy Stadium Protestor: What’s sexier than voicing your opinion?! Any developer that meets this protestor will soon be developing something other than just plans… Seriously though, no stadium in Shockoe please!
Sexy Stadium Protestor
Sexy Lunar Landing: That’s one hot step for man, one sexy leap forward for man kind… This costume’s sure to get your rockets all fired up!
Sexy Lunar Landing
Sexy Snapchat: While a real snapchat pic is temporary this one lasts all….night……long!
sexy snapchat
Sexy Ottoman: Look, there’s nothing wrong with having a foot fetish, but make sure you use the right flirting tactics to get the feet of your dreams to be a part of your sexy halloween night. #cushionforthepushin
Sexy Ottoman
Need more? Check out last year’s designs!
Have an awesome and safe Halloween folks!
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Oct 14 is EPIC

Good gosh on a hot plate y’all.  We have a doozy of a day on our hands.  Some say it’s a day that is destined to be remembered as a reoccurring moment of dizzying achievements in humanity. In the words of one of humanity’s most brilliant poets, “Today is gonna be the day…

Oct 14, 1066: William of Normandy defeats King Harold in Battle of Hastings.  This awesome tapestry was made to document the many things happening in the battle including an appearance by what would later be known as Halley’s comet! More on the Bayeaux Tapestry here.

bayeaux tapestry

 

 

Oct 14, 1890: Long before he was president he was just a new born, on this day specifically. Dwight Eisenhower is born.

Dwight

 

Oct 14, 1912: President Teddy Roosevelt is shot during an assassination attempt while giving a public talk.  He is wounded, but insisted on finishing the speech. Badass!

Teddy Talks

 

 

Oct 14, 1939: Ralph Lifshitz is born! He’d later change his name for Ralph Lauren and hang out with a bunch of reeeally hot people.

Ralph Lauren

 

 

 

Oct 14, 1947: Chuck Yeager breaks the sound barrier!  Moving faster than the speed of sound, crazy man…crazy…

Chuck Yeager

 

 

Oct 14, 1964: Martin Luther King Jr wins the Nobel Peace Prize!

MLK Nobel Peace Prize

 

 

Oct 14, 1968: The first telecast from Apollo 7 happens. Humanity communicates from the heavens in moving picture! Bonus points for showing the human spirit off from the cosmos with a smile, love wins again.

apollo telecast

 

 

Oct 14, 1978: Usher is born. Theater attendants musta all had a bounce in their step on this day…

Usher

 

 

Oct 14, 2012: Felix Baumgartner jumps from space and lands safely back on Earth.  You can relive the experience on youtube and you can also watch the Tom Petty “Free Falling” video too!

Space Free Fall Jump Crazy

 

Clearly an important and impressive day, use it wisely.

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Oct 1 is EPIC

Oh my gosh everyone.  This massive beast of a day is upon us.  Who knows what amazing things will happen today that could one day join all the other insanely impressive things that have happened on this very day?  Now, keep in mind these are totally random coincidental events that have all been strung together on this day like a beautiful popcorn necklace of time.  That’s right, from technology to culture to two grown men beating the ever loving crap out of each other, this day has it all.  Only one song can possible sum up the experience and emotional weight this day has.  Mama Said.

Oct 1, 1721 – Animal News: On this day people anxiously waited on the docks of Boston, MA waiting for the arrival of the first imported African Camel to the United States.  The boat and precious cargo would arrive in the early hours of the following morning.  Wonder if people waited for it back then like we’re about to do for the new Star Wars movie?  Anyway, a lot of people waited on a camel today, that’s something…right? Talk about a hump day distraction…

African Camel

 

 

Oct 1, 1880 – Technology News: Famous inventor and all around bragger Thomas Edison had a very bright idea, he opened his first lamp factory.

Light Bulb

 

Oct 1, 1890 – Conservation News: Yosemite National Park is established today in California.  It’s still there and its still beautiful, thank you Abe Lincoln and John Muir for the much needed push here.

Yosemite_National_Park

 

Oct 1, 1908 – Car News: The Model T hits the market.  About 10 seconds later road rage was born and the American dream started to get in gear, literally.

model t

 

Oct 1, 1950 – Birthday News: Randy Quaid is born! A little while later buncha aliens got destroyed.

Randy Quaid Bday

 

Oct 1, 1964 – Transportation News / Total Embarrassment of American Urban Planning Culture News: That’s right, in 1964 Japan unveiled its first Bullet Train. Meanwhile half a century later most Americans still get around in a car…50 years y’all. Get motivated and involved.

1964 Japans bullet train

 

Oct 1, 1971 – Disney News: Disney World in Flordia opened. This is also the first day in the history of Florida where the news did not involve a drunk ex breaking into someone else’s house and trying to mate with an animal of some sort…or something. The point is, Florida news is usually weird. Anyway, yay for Mickey.

Disney Opening

 

Oct 1, 1975 – Boxing News: Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier beat the ever loving stuffings out of each other in the Thrilla In Manila.

Thrilla

 

Oct 1, 1982 – Music News: Sony releases their first compact disc player, that’s what they used to use before the internet got involved and stole all of Lars’ money, back in the day.

SONY cd player

 

Clearly not a day to waste, please use it wisely.

 

 

 

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SEPT 23 IS EPIC!

In the words of the great American poet Thomas Petty:

 “Some days are diamonds, some days are rocks.”

Ah, yes, well put.  Today happens to be one that is a diamond.  Ever since we started recording history we’ve kept track of the important stuff and have passed it on through the years.  Well, in the thousands of years that we’ve been recording things, some days have won the lion’s share of cool occasions.  Today feels like one of those days.

Sept 23 Fun Fact:

The Hearing Aid was invented….I SAID THE HEARING AID WAS INVENTED!!!! 1879

hearing aid

Sept 23 in Space News:

Johanna Galle discovers Neptune! Further putting us in our cosmic place. 1846

Neptune

Sept 23 in History:

Lewis and Clark’s Corps of Discovery arrives back to St.Louis after trekking the unknown on foot and canoes and limited transportation, staff. and equipment for 22 months. They were the first to discover many species of plants, birds, and animals while also mapping the United States. Badass. The trip ended on this day in 1806.

Lewis and Clark

Sept 23 in Toga-fest news:

On this day, all the way back in the year 63 (not 1963, but 0063), Augustus Caesar is born. He would one day usher in the Pax Romana, the era of peace.

Augustus Birthday

Sept 23 in Rock and Roll:

Imagine this super band of birthday boys! John Coltrane, Ray Charles, and Bruce Springsteen were all…booooorn in the USA on this date, different years though.

Birthday Boys

 

And its also the first day of fall, welcome to this season. Pretty epic day, please use it wisely.

 

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Space Taxi vs Normal Taxi

NASA is getting SpaceX and Boeing to run the next phase of US space flight by giving them the contracts to develop and launch space taxis that will allow us to get into space without the use of Russian spacecraft.  Well, for anyone wondering exactly how awesome and different these will be check out the following!  Instead of comparing these taxis to space shuttles (yawn) perhaps its worth considering how the…fare…against normal taxis.  After all taxi evolution is nothing to be ashamed of, even out most cutting edge space transport vehicles will one day seem stupidly archaic and embryonic. With that said, here are a few points of interest between space taxis and normal taxis.  Hope you enjoy…be nice to one another, it’s better than being mean.

Space Taxi vs Normal Taxi

Space Taxi vs Normal Taxi

Space Taxi vs Normal Taxi

Space Taxi vs Normal Taxi

 

SpaceX Dragon v2:

Dragon v2

Boeing’s CST 100

Boeing

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