Friday, October 16, 2015

Today -100: October 16, 1915: A man is only one man, after all

Britain declares war on Bulgaria. So does Serbia.

First report of the execution of Nurse Edith Cavell.

Thomas Edison says the US should prepare for a war which will be fought by machines. “A man is only one man, after all. A machine can be easily as good as twenty men. Then one man, using it, is as good as twenty men. He should be at least that good if he is American.” Properly preparing for such a war – stockpiling the materials for shells and such – would mean there would be no need for a large standing army in peacetime. Just robots or whatever the hell he’s talking about (probably not robots, but it’s hard to be sure because the word hadn’t been coined yet).

Sarah Lund of Chicago sues Dudley Field Malone, collector of the Port of New York, and Captain William Turner of the Lusitania for conspiring to allow explosives to be loaded illegally onto the ship. Lund survived the sinking, obviously, but her husband of less than a year and her father did not. Her mother also died in a maritime accident, that of the RMS Empress of Ireland in May 1914. In fact, the family was sailing for England to investigate the possibility that some random woman in an English asylum with amnesia and a fear of water was actually her. Which she wasn’t. A photograph would have cleared that up without the need for a dangerous ocean voyage. Anyway, Lund is suing for $40,000. I assume the case was dismissed, but eventually (1925) she’ll be awarded $5,629.75, covering her personal injuries and the loss of her husband and their luggage. She remarried in 1916 (a man employed in investigating Lusitania claims) and died in 1978 at the age of 92.

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