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Polio Ward Photo This photo from the 1930s shows a hospital's polio ward where children were placed in iron lungs to assist their breathing. Polio epidemics were a frequent occurrence in the first half of the 20th century in industrialized countries. They were actually a strange bi-product of affluence. By the beginning of the 20th century, a significant amount of babies were being born in the antiseptic conditions of hospitals rather than at home. This meant that many infants were not exposed to the polio virus and thus did not build up an immunity to it. Therefore when they were exposed to it later in life, they were vulnerable. Although the disease mostly afflicted children, adults were not necessarily immune. (President Franklin Roosevelt was crippled by polio at age 39.) The polio virus moved from one person to the next via human bodily fluids. Children who sneezed and coughed were the main culprits. The first symptoms varied. Sometime people had runny noses, sore throats, or aches. However, the minor discomforts could quickly change to partial paralysis if it struck one's central nervous system. Whenever a major polio outbreak hit, many public facilities such as swimming pools and parks would shut down. The last major outbreak occurred in 1952. By the mid-1950s the Salk and Saban vaccines had done much to eradicate the virus from North America.
Tags: polio  ward  photo 
Added: 16th June 2015
Views: 1240
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Posted By: Lava1964
Ross Sisters - Contortionist Dancers You have to watch this amazing clip! The Ross Sisters--Aggie, Maggie, and Elmira--were three teenage girls from Texas who combined average singing skills, a bit of dancing, acrobatics, and some startling contortions in their unique act. This is a clip of the Ross Sisters in the 1944 MGM technicolor musical Broadway Rhythm performing Solid Potato Salad. It is their only known performance that was recorded on film. When this movie was made, the girls were 14, 16 and 17. Their memorable appearance in this film earned them a certain degree of acclaim and some stage bookings afterwards--including a United Kingdom tour in 1946 where they gave a command performance for King George VI. By 1950, however, the sisters' showbiz careers had sputtered to an end. All three had gotten married, and there is no record of them performing anywhere after that year.
Tags: Ross  Sisters  contortionist  singers  dancers 
Added: 27th June 2015
Views: 2799
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Posted By: Lava1964
Chuck Davey - Boxings First TV Creation Chuck Davey, a slick left-handed boxer from Detroit who earned two degrees from Michigan State University, was the sport's first "television creation" in the early 1950s. Davey traveled to London as a member of the 1948 U.S. Olympic boxing team as an alternate but never competed in the Games. He turned pro in the late 1940s. At a time when boxing was hugely popular and it was possible to watch live televised pro bouts six nights per week, Chuck Davey fit the bill perfectly. He was good-looking, intelligent, popular enough be be pictured twice on the cover of The Ring magazine, and talented enough to win, but he possessed feather fists so his bouts often went the distance or close to it. (This pleased the networks and their sponsors as all the scheduled commercial breaks would be attained.) Over the years the quality of Davey's opposition has been questioned--and he certainly fought his share of tomato cans--but Davey did beat capable fighters such as Ike Williams, Carmen Basilio, and Rocky Graziano in his ascension up the ladder. After compiling 37 wins and two draws in his first 39 fights, Davey earned a shot at Kid Gavilan's world welterweight crown on February 11, 1953 in Chicago. Gavilan, who entered the ring as a 14-5 betting favorite, realized quickly that Davey had no ability to hurt him, so he just methodically wore Davey down. In the third round a flurry of punches knocked Davey down for the first time in his career. Over the next few rounds Gavilan toyed with Davey, occasionally switching to a southpaw stance just for the fun of it. In the ninth round, Gavilan floored Davey three more times. The fight was stopped by Davey's corner before round 10. Davey was pretty much discredited as a title threat after the bad loss to Gavilan. At one point he lost four out of five fights. He won two bouts in 1955 and then retired with an overall pro record of 42-5-2 with 26 knockouts. In 1998, Davey was paralyzed in a swimming mishap when a large ocean wave violently slammed him onto a beach. Davey died in 2002 at age 77.
Tags: boxing  Chuck  Davey  TV 
Added: 28th June 2015
Views: 1451
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Posted By: Lava1964
President Truman Threatens Music Critic President Harry S. Truman had one child--daughter Margaret--who was born in 1924. She began singing locally in choirs in Missouri as a youth. By the late 1940s, when her father was president, she got more noteworthy singing gigs on the radio and in occasional concerts. On December 5, 1950 Margaret performed a program of Schumann, Schubert and Mozart pieces at Constitution Hall in Washington. The Washington Post's music critic, Paul Hume, wrote, "Miss Truman is a unique American phenomenon with a pleasant voice of little size and fair quality. She is extremely attractive on stage. Yet Miss Truman cannot sing very well. She is flat a good deal of the time--more so last night than at any time we have heard her in past years." Upon reading Hume's review, father Harry's paternal instincts kicked in and he went berserk. The president quickly penned a blistering missive to Hume that called him a "frustrated old man who wishes he could have been successful." It concluded with the president bluntly stating, "Some day I hope to meet you. When that happens you'll need a new nose, a lot of beefsteak for black eyes, and perhaps a supporter below." Hume was astonished by the letter and showed it to his editor who planned to print it in the next issue of the Post. However, the paper's publisher nixed the idea. Nevertheless, Hume told Milton Berliner, the music critic of the Washington News, about HST's threatening letter. The story ran in the rival newspaper and was later widely circulated well beyond the District of Columbia via the wire services.
Tags: Harry  Margaret  Truman  singer  criticism  threat 
Added: 5th July 2015
Views: 2027
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Posted By: Lava1964
James Scott - Prisoner Boxer One of the most controversial professional athletes in history was James Scott--a light heavyweight boxer who was permitted to pursue a professional ring career from within the confines of a New Jersey state prison. By the time Scott was 28 years old he had spent about half his life in reformatories or prisons. After serving time in Rahway State Prison for robbery, Scott began boxing professionally in Miami under the tutelage of Angelo and Chris Dundee in the mid-1970s. He compiled a record of 11-0-1 before trouble found him again. A car he owned was linked to a robbery and murder. Scott maintained he had merely loaned the car to friends and was utterly unaware of their plans. Law enforcement didn't buy his story and Scott was returned to Rahway prison to serve a 30-year term for parole violation. While there Scott persuaded correctional officials that a prison boxing program would benefit everyone: Prisoners would be able to release their frustrations in an acceptable manner, they could pursue professional careers upon their releases, and the overall camaraderie among all prisoners would be improved. The state thought Scott's idea had merit. Remarkably, they also allowed Scott to resume his pro boxing career--as long as his opponents were willing to fight inside the prison. Scott--whose fitness regimen reputedly included 1,500 push-ups per day--became a force to be reckoned with. He earned a top-10 ranking from the World Boxing Association in an era when the light heavyweight division was very deep. NBC and CBS each aired Scott's bouts. ABC, however, kept its distance from Scott due to his criminal convictions. Scott's biggest win came over Eddie Gregory in 1977. Gregory was the number-one-ranked contender at the time and would eventually win the WBA championship. Whenever a Scott bout was shown on TV there were numerous complaints forwarded to the network from people who did not think an incarcerated person should be allowed to pursue a pro sports career in prison. The rival World Boxing Council agreed and never did rank Scott. Eventually the WBA dropped Scott from its rankings too, largely because he would most likely have to leave Rahway to fight for a championship. With no hope of ever fighting for a title, Scott's career waned. Scott lost two of his last three fights to end his career with a record of 19-2-1. Scott's final bout, a 1981 defeat, came at the hands of Dwight Braxton who would later win world titles in the light heavyweight and cruiserweight divisions. Ironically, Braxton had been a former Rahway inmate himself. Scott was finally released from prison in 2005 when he was in his mid-sixties.
Tags: boxing  James  Scott  prisoner 
Added: 6th July 2015
Views: 1004
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Posted By: Lava1964
The Monty Hall Problem In a 1990 issue of Parade Magazine, Marilyn vos Savant examined a question that was first posed to mathematicians in a statisticians' publication back in 1975. It was based on a situation that frequently came up on the TV game show Let's Make a Deal--thus it was dubbed the Monty Hall Problem in honor of the show's longtime host. Here's the situation: You are a contestant on Let's Make a Deal. You have to choose one of three doors numbered 1, 2, and 3. Behind one of the doors is a fabulous prize (a new car). Behind the other two doors are worthless prizes (a goat). Let's suppose you choose Door #1. Monty--who knows which door conceals the car--then opens Door #3 to reveal a goat. He asks you, "Do you want to change your choice of door to Door #2 or do you want to stick with Door #1?" One would think that either door is a 50:50 proposition--but that would be wrong. According to mathematicians, you have to consider the initial odds. By choosing Door #1 you had a 1/3 chance of picking the car and a 2/3 chance of picking a goat. Doors #2 and #3 offer a combined 2/3 chance of concealing the car. The fact that Door #3 is revealed does not change the original odds. It seems counterintuitive, but the math experts say you are better to make the switch to Door #2 as it will conceal the car 2/3 of the time.
Tags: logic  stats  mathematics  probability  Monty  Hall  Problem 
Added: 14th July 2015
Views: 1350
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Posted By: Lava1964
Dempsey-Carpentier Bout - First Million-Dollar Gate On Saturday, July 2, 1921, world heavyweight champion Jack Dempsey defended his title versus France's Georges Carpentier. The venue was a specially built stadium at a place called Boyle's Thirty Acres in Jersey City, NJ. More than 92,000 fans filled the wooden bowl paying between $5.50 for a distant perch in the far bleachers and $50 for a ringside seat. All told, the crowd paid nearly $1.8 million for the privilege of watching a prize fight--the first time the million-dollar mark had ever been eclipsed. The huge gate was the result of several factors: Dempsey was an exciting heavyweight with plenty of knockouts on his record. Carpentier was a glamorous and handsome French war hero whose every move was followed in the society pages of New York City's newspapers. Thus women attended the fight in huge numbers. (In contrast, Dempsey was disliked in some quarters for having no service record during the First World War.) The fight was broadcast on the new medium of radio for the first time. With the stadium dangerously swaying due to the weight of the enormous crowd, the main event started about 30 minutes early. Before the fight started, promoter Tex Rickard pleaded with Dempsey not to knock out the much smaller Carpentier in the first round so the fans would get their money's worth. Dempsey agreed, but he was solidly hit with a hard right hand from the Frenchman. This was bad news for the challenger: Carpentier broke his thumb with the blow--and he had angered the fearsome champion. Dempsey wore down Carpentier with hard body shots into the fourth round. In that fourth round Carpentier was knocked down twice. The second time he did not get up. Dempsey received $300,000 for about 11 minutes of work.
Tags: boxing  Jack  Dempsey  Georges  Carpentier. 
Added: 19th July 2015
Views: 1107
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Posted By: Lava1964
Exhumation of President Taylor - 1991 President Zachary Taylor became the second American chief executive to die in office when he succumbed to gastro-intestinal problems on July 9, 1850 at age 65. Known for generally having robust health, Taylor had been ill for five days with severe stomach cramps and diarrhea. The cause may have been Taylor's overindulging in cherries covered in iced milk following a Fourth of July ceremony on the site where the Washington Monument was going to be erected. Doctors tried to cure the president with blood-letting and laxatives, but to no avail. The cause of Taylor's death was officially listed as "cholera morbus"--which apparently was an all-purpose answer whenever someone died suddenly from digestive problems in the middle of the 19th century. There was no autopsy. The dead president's body was preserved in ice for five days but never embalmed. More than 140 years later a historian named Clara Rising claimed Taylor had actually been poisoned by arsenic, perhaps by political enemies. (Taylor, despite being a slaveholder, was an outspoken pro-Union man. He had threatened to use the army to quash any secessionist movements.) Rising's compelling arguments--plus her willingness to pay $1200 in fees--persuaded officials in Kentucky to exhume Taylor's body from his crypt and perform modern scientific tests on it. The exhumation was carried out on June 18, 1991 with about 200 curious onlookers watching silently from a respectful distance. Modern forensic examination of Taylor's fingernails, sideburns, and even pubic hair showed no signs of arsenic poison whatsoever. Taylor was re-interred alongside his wife at Zachary Taylor National Cemetery in Louisville, KY. Today the medical community believes that the purgatives that Taylor was given by his physician to cleanse his system may have contained mercury which may have hastened the president's demise.
Tags: exhumation  Zachary  Taylor 
Added: 19th July 2015
Views: 3335
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Posted By: Lava1964
Verdun Ossuary - 1964 Most Americans are barely aware of it, but one of the most terrible battles in history occurred near the northern French city of Verdun from February through November 1916. The Germans launched a massive attack on February 21 with both numerical superiority and the element of surprise. Verdun was supposed to be a quiet French sector on the Western Front and was held largely by lightly regarded territorial troops. The Germans hoped to bleed the French army to at least force an armistice on the Western Front. The embattled French considered the defense of Verdun to be symbolic of resistance. "They shall not pass!" became the rallying cry of the defenders. At some point during the battle virtually every able-bodied French soldier served at the Verdun front. The carnage was atrocious as positions sometimes changed hands several times each day. Eventually the German High Command called off the attack. In those nine months of ceaseless fighting casualties approached one million, with at least 500,000 killed. In 1964 Life magazine published a pictorial feature about what Verdun looked like 48 years after the battle. Perhaps the most shocking photo was the one shown here: An ossuary containing the bones of about 130,000 unknown soldiers from both sides. Interestingly, Life's photographer was Alfred Eisenstaedt--a German veteran of the war.
Tags: Verdun  battle  ossuary  First  World  War 
Added: 22nd July 2015
Views: 1351
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Posted By: Lava1964
Patterson-Rademacher fight 1957 The 1950s are often described as the golden age of boxing--when depth and talent were supposedly at their finest in the sweet science. People tend to forget that the heavyweight division was rather weak for much of the decade. Contenders for the world heavyweight title were so scarce that Pete Rademacher, the 1956 Olympic gold medalist, got a coveted shot at world heavyweight champion Floyd Patterson's title in his pro debut! Having won the heavyweight laurels in Melbourne in 1956 by scoring three knockouts in his only three bouts, Rademacher, a Washingtonian, somehow persuaded the powers that be that it would be a great idea if he could fight Patterson in Seattle' Sick Stadium in a unique amateur-versus-pro matchup. Patterson agreed if the promoters could guarantee him $250,000. They did--so the fight was set for August 22, 1957. Surprisingly, Rademacher did well in the first two rounds, pressing the action and even scoring a knockdown with a hard right hand. By the fourth round, however, Patterson's class began to show. He scored one of what would be seven knockdowns of the game challenger. Eventually Rademacher was knocked out in the fifth round. The promotion barely generated financial enough interest to meet Patterson's guaranteed payday. Depending on which source you believe, Rademacher got either absolutely nothing or a laughable $1.75 for his losing effort. Undaunted, Rademacher fought hard-hitting Zora Folley in his next bout--and was knocked out again. Rademacher ended his pro boxing career with a 15-7-1 record. All seven of his defeats came at the hands of world-class fighters. As of August 2015, Pete was still alive and kicking at age 86.
Tags: Pete  Rademacher  boxing  amateur  Floyd  Patterson 
Added: 17th August 2015
Views: 1357
Rating:
Posted By: Lava1964

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