Saturday Scenes

Wed 30 March 2011

I Spy with My Little Eye

Filed under: #satscene —— Sylvia @ 20:55

On the 26th of March 1941, Aldrich Hazen Ames was born in River Falls, Wisconsin. At the time of his arrest, Ames had compromised more CIA assets than any other Soviet mole in American history.

He began working at the CIA at 16 as a records analyst and ended up in the Career Trainee Program, remaining an employee of the agency for a total of 31 years until his arrest for espionage. He was first asked to investigate and recruit Soviet intelligence officers in Turkey at the beginning of his career. By the mid-1980s, his marriage was ending and his excessive drinking was “noted upon” in his files. In 1985, he offered information to the Soviets in return for $50,000 to allow him to pay his debts and divorce settlement. He continued to trade the names of high level CIA agents in return for cash. 10 agents were assassinated but the CIA initially investigated for espionage techniques from outside, unwilling to believe in a leak within the agency. Although Ames was heavily involved in counter-intelligence and failed at least one lie detector test, he did not appear to come under serious suspicion for years.

Aldrich Ames

While working in Soviet counterintelligence for the CIA, Ames provided over 100 names of agents working undercover in the Soviet Union. For this he was paid $2.5 million, allowing him to live a lifestyle that should have aroused suspicion of the CIA, but somehow did not. Even though he wore a Rolex, drove a new Jaguar, and recently moved into a $540,000 mansion (which he paid for in cash).

The CIA finally put Ames under surveillance in 1993 and arrested him less than 6 months later.

Moral of the story: if you want to keep your finances a secret, don’t wear a Rolex.

71 years later, on the 26th of March 2011, these entirely uncontroversial and definitely not confidential photographs were submitted as Saturday Scenes:

And these are the brilliant agents of beauty who brought you these photographs:

Why don’t you join in?

We’d love to see your photos! Just take a picture on a Saturday and send it to SatScenes with a location.

See you next week!

Thu 24 March 2011

Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft

Filed under: #satscene —— Sylvia @ 17:39

On the 19th of March in 1915, Wikipedia says that “Pluto is photographed for the first time but is not recognized as a planet.”

This statement is 100% true although somewhat confusing based on tiny detail that Pluto still isn’t recognised as a planet. Or should I say, any longer?

Astronomers were searching for a Planet X beyond Neptune from 1906. In 1915 two photographic plates were taken which included faint images of Pluto but no one noticed them in the night sky. It wasn’t until 15 years later that Pluto was spotted on a plate by a young astronomer.

As from 1930, Pluto held the happy status of planet until astronomers began to understand that it was a part of the Kuiper belt. The Kuiper belt is a collection of icy objects, similar to the asteroid belt but much larger, located at the outer edges of our solar system.

Ceres lost its planet status in 1802 when it was discovered that it was one of many objects in what we now know as the asteroid belt. Ceres instead was designated the first asteroid.

When a further large object was discovered beyond the Kuiper belt, Eris, things came to a head. It was heralded by many as the tenth planet and others argued that neither Eris nor Pluto deserved the title. The need for a clear definition of “planet” became a priority.

In 2006, the International Astronomical Union agreed upon the following definition:
IAU 2006 General Assembly: Result of the IAU Resolution votes

The IAU members gathered at the 2006 General Assembly agreed that a “planet” is defined as a celestial body that
(a) is in orbit around the Sun,
(b) has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body forces so that it assumes a hydrostatic equilibrium (nearly round) shape, and
(c) has cleared the neighbourhood around its orbit.

As a result, it was clear that Ceres, Eris and Pluto were not planets, because they did not qualify on point c. All three, however, were given the consolation prize of being the first members of the “dwarf planet” category and allowed to keep their names.

Meanwhile, on the 19th of March in 2011, many photographers looked to the skies for a less controversial reason: to see the super moon which was glowing beautifully in the sky that night. And some of those photographs are included on this fantastic set of Saturday Scenes from around the world:

These shining images were brought to you by the following super stars:

It’s easy to take part!

1) Take a photo on a Saturday and upload it to a site like Flickr or Fotonomy
2) Twitter the url for your photograph to @SatScenes
3) Watch for the next post on Saturday Scenes to see a fun set of all the photographs together.

I’m looking forward to seeing your scenes next Saturday!

Thu 17 March 2011

Household Management for Dummies, 1861 edition

Filed under: #satscene —— Sylvia @ 20:18

On the 12th of March 1836, Isabella Mary Mayson was born at 24 Milk Street, Cheapside, London. At the age of 21, she wrote Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management a guide with 2,751 entries to help middle-class women run their household. It included detailed advice for cooking, entertaining, cleaning, servants and children. Mrs Beeton’s book influenced future references for household management: it was the first to offer recipes with the ingredients listed first, a format still used today.

The guide is available online and many of the recipes are still easy to follow. Some of the other advice is less pertinent but charming nevertheless.
Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management – Chapter 41 – Domestic Servants

2202. Receptions and Evening Parties.—The drawing-rooms being prepared, the card-tables laid out with cards and counters, and such other arrangements as are necessary made for the reception of the company, the rooms should be lighted up as the hour appointed approaches. Attendants in the drawing-room, even more than in the dining-room, should move about actively but noiselessly; no creaking of shoes, which is an abomination; watching the lights from time to time, so as to keep up their brilliancy. But even if the attendant likes a game of cribbage or whist himself, he must not interfere in his master or mistress’s game, nor even seem to take an interest in it. We once knew a lady who had a footman, and both were fond of a game of cribbage,—John in the kitchen, the lady in her drawing-room. The lady was a giver of evening parties, where she frequently enjoyed her favourite amusement. While handing about the tea and toast, John could not always suppress his disgust at her mistakes. “There is more in that hand, ma’am,” he has been known to say; or, “Ma’am, you forgot to count his nob;” in fact, he identified himself with his mistress’s game, and would have lost twenty places rather than witness a miscount. It is not necessary to adopt his example on this point, although John had many qualities a good servant might copy with advantage.

Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management is a treasure because of the insight it offers us into Victorian England, simply because Isabella decided to explain and document the little things that made up her day.

175 years later, we’re doing the same with Saturday Scenes!

On the 12th of March 2011, these photographs were taken and submitted from all over the world:

That’s a record number of photographs for a single Saturday: 35! And aren’t they all wonderful? These are the people who submitted. Go say hello:

Saturday Scenes is a great way to see the world from someone else’s point of view! Taking part is easy:

1. Take a photograph on a Saturday
2. Send it to @SatScenes on Twitter
3. Wait for the webpage to get updated
4. Oooh and aah over all the great submissions from all over the world!

So take a photograph this weekend and send it to @SatScenes!

Wed 9 March 2011

She’s a Spitfire

Filed under: #satscene —— Sylvia @ 22:41

On the 5th of March 1936, the Spitfire was taken for its first test flight at Eastleigh Aerodrome. The Spitfire, an iconic RAF aircraft, was initially manufactured at the Supermarine works in Southampton. When that was bombed by the Luftwaffe, Supermarine decentralised production, using a number of smaller workshops to manufacture parts. The parts were collected from dozens of sites around Southampton, including a furniture factory and a bus depot. These were put together for delivery to Eastleigh Aerodrome, now Southampton Airport, so the Spitfire could play its instrumental role in the RAF’s strategy against the Luftwaffe.

As a part of the 75-year anniversary of the plane, the BBC interviewed RAF Spitfire pilot Hank Costain, who first flew a Spitfire in 1942 when he was 19.

BBC News – Spitfire memories for ex-pilot from Dorset

He said: “When you first got into the seat and opened the throttle it felt as if someone had given you a good kick up the bottom and away you went.

“It would do everything you asked of it. Compared to other aircraft it was light on the controls, you could do all the aerobatics and you would come up to speed very quickly.

“If you treated a Spitfire properly, it treated you properly. Treat it roughly or be careless with it and you were in trouble, in that it would do all sorts of things such as ground looping. It also had a very fragile undercarriage and could collapse.”

Ten years later, on the 5th of March 1946, my mother was born. That’s not actually related to the story, I just wanted to take the chance to wish her a happy birthday.

Happy Birthday, Mom!

AND ALSO on the 5th of March 2011, these great photographers were flying high with Saturday Scenes from all around the world:

Make sure to find out more about all of our stunning submitters by checking out their Twitter feed:

Would you like to see your photograph here? It’s easy to take part!

1) Take a photo on a Saturday and upload it to a site like Flickr or Twitpic

2) Twitter the url for your photograph to @SatScenes
3) Watch for the next post on Twitter Blog to see a great set of all the photographs together.

I’m looking forward to seeing your scenes!

Thu 3 March 2011

And It All Started With Kinemacolor

Filed under: #satscene —— Sylvia @ 21:37

Kinemacolor was the first successful motion picture process.

Excerpt from How to Make and Operate Moving Pictures, published by Funk & Wagnalls in 1917:

…only two colour filters are used in taking the negatives and only two in projecting the positives. The camera resembles the ordinary cinematographic camera except that it runs at twice the speed, taking thirty-two images per second instead of sixteen, and it is fitted with a rotating colour filter in addition to the ordinary shutter. This filter is an aluminium skeleton wheel (Fig. 133) having four segments, two open ones, G and H; one filled in with red-dyed gelatine, E F; and the fourth containing green-dyed gelatine, A B. The camera is so geared that exposures are made alternately through the red gelatine and the green gelatine. Panchromatic film is used, and the negative is printed from in the ordinary way, and it will be understood that there is no colour in the film itself.

On the 26 February in 1909, the first Kinemacolor programme was shown to the general public at the Palace Theater in London.

The Palace Theatre opened as the “Royal English Opera House” in January 1891 and was at the time known as the Palace Theatre of Varieties.

Palace Theatre, London – Wikipedia

Denied permission by the London County Council to construct the promenade, which was such a popular feature of adult entertainment at the Empire and Alhambra theatres, the Palace compensated by featuring apparently nude women in tableaux vivants, though the concerned LCC hastened to reassure patrons that the girls who featured in these displays were actually wearing flesh toned body stockings and were not naked.

The Palace Theatre of Varieties began screening films in 1897. In 1904 the new manager employed dancers and the theatre became famous for its orchestra and the beautiful Palace Girls. Although they continue to screen films to this day, the Palace Theatre is now much more focused on musicals – somewhat of a circle back to its roots as an opera house. The West End production of Priscilla Queen of the Desert has been running at the Palace Theatre since March 2009.

And here in Twitterville, we’re in all colour, all the time. The following photographs were taken on the 26th of February in 2011, 102 years after the Kinemacolor launch:

And here are the colourful folks who submitted:

Would you like to add your photo? It’s simple to join in:

  1. Take a photograph on a Saturday
  2. Upload the photograph
  3. Send a tweet to @SatScenes with the location

I’m looking forward to seeing your SatScene in the next edition!

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