Saturday Scenes

Thu 31 May 2012

Kaspar the Wolf Child

Filed under: #satscene —— Sylvia @ 22:01

On the 26th of May in 1828, a 16-year-old boy arrived in Nuremburg with two letters: one from his caretaker stating that the boy had been locked away all his life and had never left the house, a second letter in Latin characters from his mother to the caretaker, saying that his name was Kaspar and that his father was dead. Both letters were written by the same hand. He claimed he’d lived his life in a room, never stepping out into the world until he was sent to Nuremberg with his letter, and had been taught only 9 key phrases with which to communicate, including “I want to be a cavalryman, as my father was”. The boy was taken in and widely cited as an example of a “wolf child” – children who were believed to have grown up feral without adult care – although he’d lived in a home and not in the wild. But there were many inconsistencies with his story.

Historical Mysteries by Andrew Lang: The Mystery of Kaspar Hauser

He could only eat bread and water: meat made him shudder, and Lord Stanhope says that this peculiarity did occur in the cases of some peasant soldiers. He had no sense of hearing, which means, perhaps, that he did not think of pretending to be amazed by the sound of church bells till he had been in prison for some days. Till then he had been deaf to their noise. This is Feuerbach’s story, but we shall see that it is contradicted by Kaspar himself, in writing. Thus the alleged facts may be explained without recourse even to a theory of intermittent deafness. Kaspar was no more deaf than blind. He ‘was all there,’ and though, ten days after his arrival, he denied that he had ever seen Weichmann, in ten days more his memory for faces was deemed extraordinary, and he minutely described all that, on May 26 and later, he had observed. Kaspar was taught to write by the gaoler’s little boy, though he could write when he came–in the same hand as the author of his mysterious letter. Though he had but half a dozen words on May 26, according to Feuerbach, by July 7 he had furnished Binder with his history–pretty quick work! Later in 1828 he was able to write that history himself. In 1829 he completed a work of autobiography.

The following year, when Kaspar was accused of lying, he was supposedly attacked, cut on the forehead. His movements were erratic and it is likely that he cut himself. Six months, again directly after an accusation, he was found with a gunshot wound on the side of his head: he said he’d knocked a pistol from the wall and it fired. Finally, in December of 1833, a week after a serious argument with his schoolmaster, Hauser came home bleeding from a stab wound in his chest. He died three days later. Many believed that this wound (and all the others) was self-inflicted in order to gain public sympathy, but on the final attempt the pressure required to stab through his thick coat led him to stab much more deeply than he intended.

Meanwhile, on Saturday the 26th of May in 2012, these feral photographs suddenly appeared in Twitter:

And here are the caretakers who brought them to us:

Would you like to see your photograph featured here?

Simply take a photo on a Saturday and tweet it to @SatScenes! Every week I retweet the Saturday Scenes and then collect them all for a special post here. We’d love to see yours.

Fri 25 May 2012

The Dark Day

Filed under: #satscene —— Sylvia @ 14:22

On the 19th of May in 1780, unexpected darkness extended from Portland, Maine in the north to northern New Jersey in the south. The first report came from Rupert, New York as a red sun rose in a yellow sky. By noon, the New England was enveloped in darkness and candles were required.

The Weather Doctor Almanac 2004

At Harvard College, student Nathan Read recorded frequent observations of the darkness. His first remark that something was extraordinary came at 10:30 AM: “An uncommon degree of darkness comminied [commenced?] while increased pretty rapidly.” At 11 AM, he noted: “Mr Wigglesworth not able to read in a large bible by a window.” At 12:21 PM, he added: “Mr W. not able to read the running title of a large Bible. – Candles are in common use…”

There appears to have been a large forest fire in the Adirondacks at that time. So now we believe that the smoke from the fire combined with fog or low cloud cover was believed to have caused the darkness. At the time, however, many believed it was the end of the world. That night, the moon shone red in a pitch black sky. The stars appeared after midnight and the “Dark Day” was finished.

Ten Notable Apocalypses That (Obviously) Didn’t Happen | History & Archaeology | Smithsonian Magazine

But lingering concerns about a pending apocalypse prompted some people to seek out an obscure Christian sect–the Shakers–who had recently settled near Albany, New York. A splinter of the Quaker movement, the Shakers preached complete celibacy as the true path to redemption. The Shakers knew an opportunity when they saw one and embarked on a 26-month mission throughout New England, which brought them hundreds of converts.

Meanwhile, on the 19th of May in 2012, these movers and shakers were sharing their Saturday scenes with the world:

And here’s where you can find out more about them:

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!

Thu 17 May 2012

I can’t do that, Dave

Filed under: #satscene —— Sylvia @ 18:48

On the 12th of May in 1941, Konrad Zuse presented the Z3 machine in Berlin. His Z1 machine was a mechanical computer without using gears; the program was stored on punched tape. It was able to do basic arithmetic and was probably the first floating-point machine in the world but only worked for a few minutes at a time. The Z2 was a desktop concept for the Z3. The Z3 was an electromechanical relay machine, similar to the Z1 but using different technology. It was the world’s first programmable, fully automatic computing machine.

Computer Resurrection Issue 37: The Zuse Computers

It was about 2 meters by 2 meters, and was built inside the apartment of Zuse’s parents. After it was built nobody could get it out. That’s why it stayed in that apartment until 1943 or so when the machine was destroyed in the bombing. In a street in that part of Berlin there’s a plaque identifying where the machine was built.

But the Z3 was not reliable. Zuse could build a machine with relays to show some operations working, but the machine would never work for long: the mechanics would get stuck.

Zuse considered non-mechanical options and proposed a machine built using vacuum tubes; however he estimated he would need around 1,200 tubes which was dismissed as impossible. A few years later, the first general-purpose electronic computer was designed in the United States. ENIAC contained 17,468 vacuum tubes and around 5 million hand-soldered joints.

On the 12th of May in 2012, we had more Saturday Scenes than ever before! A total of 46 scenes of Saturdays around the world were submitted! And they are truly wonderful! See for yourself:

These are the spectacular people who took the photographs:

We’d love to see MORE photographs of more places! Simply tweet the location of your photograph (taken on a Saturday) to @SatScenes to be included.

Follow SatScenes for more details and you’ll never miss another edition.

Fri 11 May 2012

You Can Leave Your Hat On

Filed under: #satscene —— Sylvia @ 10:54

On the 5th of May in 1830, John Batterson Stetson was born in New Jersey. He contracted tuberculosis as a young man and left his father’s hat-making business in order to explore the American West as he was not expected to live for long. Although it was common for men to wear hats in 1860s, the cowboys wore whatever they had: commonly old hats from previous work, including sea captain hats, straw hats, wood derbies or “flea-infested coonskin caps”. John Stetson designed a hat for himself, inspired by the Mexican sombrero, out of waterproof felt which he fashioned from the fur of beavers, rabbits and wild hares. He decided to market a hat specifically for those settling in the west.

It cost $100 for tools and fur in order to set up a hatmaking business in Philadelphia, where he launched his new design, called Boss of the Plains. The hat had a four-inch crown and a broad rim with a plain strap used for the band. The Boss of the Plains sold for $5 and quickly became a symbol of the American West. It has since been recognised as the first cowboy hat.

John Batterson Stetson – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

“It kept the sun out of your eyes and off your neck. It was an umbrella. It gave you a bucket (the crown) to water your horse and a cup (the brim) to water yourself. It made a hell of a fan, which you need sometimes for a fire but more often to shunt cows this direction or that.”
Dictionary of the American West by Winfred Blevins

The Boss of the Plains and his later design, the Carlsbad, became known as Stetsons, because John B. Stetson Company was embossed on the hatband.

The John B. Stetson Company became one of the largest hat firms in the world. In 1915, the company produced 3.3 million hats. That’s a lot of cowboys.

And on the 5th of May in 2012 there was a bit of a shoot-up but don’t worry! No guns: we were just quick on the draw with our cameras! Take a look:

And say a big howdy to these people who rustled up a scene on Saturday:

If you’d like to see all of the people who took part in Saturday Scenes this year, take a look at our Saturday Scenes 2012 list on Twitter.

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

ONE: Take a photograph on a Saturday
TWO: Upload the photograph
THREE: Send a tweet to @SatScenes with the location

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

Thu 3 May 2012

Treaty of San Francisco

Filed under: #satscene —— Sylvia @ 22:54

On the 28th of April in 1952, the Treaty of San Francisco came into effect. The treaty offered recognition by the Allied Powers of the Japanese people’s full sovereignity over Japan. Japan renounced claims on various territories including Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Antarctica.

The treaty also stated that Japan would indemnify members of the armed forces who suffered undue hardships while prisoners of war. Japan paid £4,500,000 to the Red Cross.

This document is considered to have officially ended World War II. But not everyone was a fan.

The Treaty of San Francisco

After the signing statement was read by President Truman hailing the reborn nation as a valiant ally in the struggle against “communist imperialism and aggression in the Pacific,” the Soviet Union immediately denounced the two treaties as “treaties for the preparation of a new war in the Far East” and an “illegal separate peace treaty with Japan.”

The treaty was signed by 48 nations, quite a few of which have been represented on Saturday Scenes!

And on the 28th of April in 2012, the following photographs were taken all over the world:

If you are looking for interesting people to follow, take advantage of this list of people who submitted photographs on Saturday:

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!

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