Friday, April 25, 2008

What Else Today Is Also

Richard Lobinske, a.k.a. The Bug Guy, puts on his real-life hat to remind us that today is also World Malaria Day. Contribute your thoughts about the effort here. Stamp that sucker out.

Today is also Red Hat Society Day, but I am darned if I can find a picture anywhere in my Daria files of someone wearing a red hat. I would have thought Helen would have one to match her usual business outfit. What else, hmmm. Hubble was deployed in 1990 . . . oh.

Five hundred and one years ago today, a German cartographer named Martin Waldseemüller was publishing a thousand copies of a new world map and had to pick a name for the recently discovered lands of the Western Hemisphere. He chose to name those lands for an Italian navigator and explorer, Amerigo Vespucci. To say that the naming of the Americas was controversial is an understatement, as the argument over whether Amerigo deserved the honor continues to this day. In The Oxford History of the American People, American admiral and historian Samuel Eliot Morison wrote: "America was discovered accidentally by a great seaman who was looking for something else; when discovered it was not wanted; and most of the exploration for the next fifty years was done in the hope of getting through or around it. America was named after a man who discovered no part of the New World. History is like that, very chancy." The whole situation is one that Daria and Jane would surely appreciate.

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