Saturday, March 29, 2014

Today -100: March 29, 1914: Of new countries, street cars, hissing, feudists, and the paraphernalia and pretensions of war


Baja California has evidently seceded from Mexico.

Headline of the Day -100: “3-Cent Fare Riots Averted.” A Toledo, Ohio ordinance requiring that street car fares not exceed 3¢ went into effect at midnight. The car company is fighting this and there were worries that the militia would have to be called in to restore order if increased fares provoked riots. Instead, the company is only accepting the old higher fares (which I think were 5¢); if people offer the legally mandated 3¢, they are allowed to ride free (something about not establishing a legal precedent by accepting the 3¢ fare). So no rioting today.

A Dublin magistrate reaffirms that there is a Common Law right to hiss a play.

Orville Wright says current airplanes can’t make trans-Atlantic flights.

The Danish Senate unexpectedly rejects the Danish-American arbitration treaty. It’s not clear why.

Thomas Edison’s film studio in the Bronx burns down. A lot of films, sets, costumes, and cylinders intended to serve as the soundtrack for films, are destroyed.

Obituary of the Day -100: Randall McCoy, or as the NYT terms him, “Randall McCoy, Feudist”. Of Hatfields & McCoys feud fame, patriarch of the McCoys, he dies at 88, so I guess he wins.

H.H. Munro (Saki) has publishedWhen William Came,” a sci-fi book about England under German occupation (this is the US edition; the British one was last year). Bands playing “Germania Rules the Waves,” that sort of thing.

And H.G. Wells has published The World Set Free,” which suggests the coming of something resembling nuclear bombs and warns of the growing destructiveness that technology had brought to the world, and the failure of social and governmental structures to keep pace:
All through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries the amount of energy that men were able to command was continually increasing. Applied to warfare that meant that the power to inflict a blow, the power to destroy, was continually increasing. There was no increase whatever in the ability to escape. Every sort of passive defence, armour, fortifications, and so forth, was being outmastered by this tremendous increase on the destructive side. Destruction was becoming so facile that any little body of malcontents could use it; it was revolutionising the problems of police and internal rule. Before the last war began it was a matter of common knowledge that a man could carry about in a handbag an amount of latent energy sufficient to wreck half a city. These facts were before the minds of everybody; the children in the streets knew them. And yet the world still, as the Americans used to phrase it, ‘fooled around’ with the paraphernalia and pretensions of war.


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