Wednesday, April 30, 2008


The first machine patented in the United States that showed animated pictures or movies was a device called the "wheel of life" or "zoopraxiscope". Patented in 1867 by William Lincoln, moving drawings or photographs were watched through a slit in the zoopraxiscope. However, this was a far cry from motion pictures as we know them today. Modern motion picture making began with the invention of the motion picture camera.
The Frenchman Louis Lumiere is often credited as inventing the first motion picture camera in 1895. But in truth, several others had made similar inventions around the same time as Lumiere. What Lumiere invented was a portable motion-picture camera, film processing unit and projector called the Cinematographe, three functions covered in one invention.
The Cinematographe made motion pictures very popular, and it could be better be said that Lumiere's invention began the motion picture era. In 1895, Lumiere and his brother were the first to present projected, moving, photographic, pictures to a paying audience of more that one person.
The Lumiere brothers were not the first to project film. In 1891, the Edison company successfully demonstrated the Kinetoscope, which enabled one person at a time to view moving pictures. Later in 1896, Edison showed his improved Vitascope projector and it was the first commercially, successful, projector in the U.S..
"The cinema is an invention without a future" - Louis Lumière
General History of Cinema - Motion Pictures - The Inventors in Cinema General essay on cinema inventors. Also see Early Cinema - History of Cinematography from 500 BC! From 1800 to 1850 covers early photography and from 1850 to 1900 early attempts at "moving photography" - Film History by Decade Chronology of film's history, both the technology and the artistry. - Animated Gif: Shadow the Magnificent This film estimated to be from 1896 or 1897 is one of the earliest projected films. - History of Motion Picture Sound 1910-1929 - Motion Picture Loudspeakers
Motion Picture Innovators
Eadweard MuybridgeSan Francisco photographer, Eadweard Muybridge conducted motion-sequence still photographic experiments and is called the "Father of the motion picture" even though he did not make films in the manner we know them as today.
Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison's interest in motion pictures began before 1888, however, the visit of Eadweard Muybridge to the inventor's laboratory in West Orange in February of that year certainly stimulated Edison's resolve to invent a motion picture camera. - History of Edison Motion PicturesOrigins of motion pictures, the Kinetoscope, and Edison Motion Pictures.
Lumiere Brothers - The Lumiere Brothers Inventors of the cinematographic process.
History of Film Stock - One Hundred Years of Film Sizes Whereas film equipment has undergone drastic changes in the course, 35 mm has remained the universally accepted film size. We owe the format to a great extent to Edison (see photo) - in fact 35 mm was once called the Edison size. - Chronology of Eastman Kodak Motion Picture Film In 1889, the first commercial transparent roll film, perfected by Eastman and his research chemist, was put on the market. The availability of this flexible film made possible the development of Thomas Edison's motion picture camera in 1891. - Ancient photo & film In 1904, the brothers Auguste and Louis Lumiere patented the fist commercially successful color photography process - simple good essay, nicely illustrated. - History of sub-35 mm Film Formats Edison and Lumiere brothers discussed, lots of illustrations, easy to understand essay.
History of the Motion Picture CamerasColorization - Film Colorization Invented by Canadians Wilson Markle and Brian Hunt in 1983.
Animation Mickey Mouse's official birthday is November 18, 1928 when he made his first film debut in Steamboat Willie. This was the first Mickey Mouse cartoon released. However, the first Mickey Mouse Cartoon ever made was Plane Crazy in 1928, it was the third cartoon released. Walt Disney invented Mickey Mouse and the multi-plane camera.
Theaters - The Drive-In (ventor) Richard M. Hollingshead patented and opened the first drive-in theater. - The IMax Movie System The IMAX system has its roots in EXPO '67 in Montreal, Canada, where multi-screen films were the hit of the fair. A small group of Canadian filmmakers/entrepreneurs (Graeme Ferguson, Roman Kroitor and Robert Kerr), who had made some of those popular films, decided to design a new system using a single, powerful projector, rather than the cumbersome multiple projectors used at that time.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


The First Eyeglasses
An Italian physicist named Salvino degli Armati probably invented eyeglasses in around 1285. He shared the design of his new device with an Italian monk, Allesandro della Spina, who made public the invention and is often given credit for inventing eyeglasses.

In the 14th century, Venetian craftsmen known for their work in glass were making "disks for the eyes." The finely ground glass disks were given the name lenses by the Italians because of their similarity in shape to lentil beans. For hundreds of years thereafter, lenses were called glass lentils. The earliest lenses were convex (they bulged outward in the middle and aided people who were far-sighted). Wearing spectacles become common. By the fifteenth century, eye-glasses had found their way to China.

In 1451 Nicholas of Cusa (1401-1464) in Germany invented eyeglasses to correct near-sightedness using concave lenses. Rather than bulging in the middle like convex lenses, concave lenses are thinner at the center and thicker at the ends.

Eyeglass frames
Early eyeglasses had glass lenses mounted on heavy frames of wood, lead or copper. Natural materials of leather, bone and horn were later used. In the early seventeenth century, lighter frames of steel were developed. Tortoise shell frames came into use in the eighteenth century. In 1746 a French optician named Thomin invented actual eyeglass frames that could be placed over the ears and nose.

In the United States, Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) designed the first bifocals in 1760. The top lens could be used to see distant objects and the bottom lens could be used for close work. The two lenses were joined in a metal frame. With this design it was no longer necessary to have two pair of glasses to be able to see clearly.
In England in 1827 Sir George Biddle Airy (1801-1892), an English astronomer and mathematician, made the first glasses to correct astigmatism. To correct this, the exact area of the irregularity of the cornea must first be located. A corresponding area on the eyeglass lens is ground to bring light rays passing through that area into proper focus.
Today eyeglasses come in a wide array of styles and designs. Frames are generally made of metal or plastic, and lenses are made of glass or plastic. In 1955 the first unbreakable lenses were made and in 1971 a new lens came out which combined the properties of plastic with glass. During the 1950s the Varilux was invented. This is a corrective lens of variable strength that can be used in place of bifocals.

Monday, April 28, 2008

SOS. HELP BRUNO. Blog Solidarity

The boy in these photos is Bruno Alberto Gentiletti. He disappeared on March 2, 1997 in Rosario's resort called La Florida when he was 9 years old (see first photo).
Bruno has green greyish eyes, chestnut-colored hair, white skin and a scar located in the right scapula. He was born on June 18, 1988 in Las Rosas, Santa Fe, Argentina.

Today Bruno is 19 years old. His family did a study of progression of age at the International Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Bruno would look like the second photo now.

We believe that you can help us find him. So I ask you to send an email with the information and/or the address of this blog to all your friends and acquaintances, in this country and around the world, so that in turn, they can do the same.

Like Bruno, there are thousands of children who have been denied the right to grow up with their families and they all deserve that an effort be made to find them.
Thank you for YOUR HELP!!!

Marisa Olguín ( Bruno’s Mother)Juan de Garay 867 - Las Rosas - Santa Fe - Argentina
Tel.: 03471-454212

Sunday, April 27, 2008


Pizza History
By Cliff Lowe
Pizza, like so many other foods, did not originate in the country for which it is now famous. Unless you have researched the subject, you, like so many people, probably always thought Pizza was strictly an Italian creation.
The foundations for Pizza were originally laid by the early Greeks who first baked large, round and flat breads which they "annointed with oil, herbs, spices and Dates."
Tomatoes were not discovered at that time or, very likely, they would have used them as we do today.
Eventually the idea of flat bread found its way to Italy where, in the 18th century, the flat breads called "Pizzas", were sold on the streets and in the markets. They were not topped with anything but were enjoyed au naturel. Since they were relatively cheap to make, were tasty and filling, they were sold to the poor all over Naples by street vendors.The acceptance of the tomato by the Neapolitans and the visit of a queen contributed to the Pizza as we know and enjoy it today.
In about 1889, Queen Margherita, accompanied by her husband, Umberto I, took an inspection tour of her Italian Kingdom. During her travels around Italy she saw many people, especially the peasants, eating this large, flat bread. Curious, the queen ordered her guards to bring her one of these Pizza breads. The Queen loved the bread and would eat it every time she was out amongst the people, which caused some consternation in Court circles. It was not seemly for a Queen to dine on peasant's food.
Never the less, the queen loved the bread and decided to take matters into her own hands. Summoning Chef Rafaelle Esposito from his pizzeria to the royal palace, the queen ordered him to bake a selection of pizzas for her pleasure.
To honor the queen who was so beloved by her subjects, Rafaelle decided to make a very special pizza just for her. He baked a Pizza topped with tomatoes, Mozarella Cheese, and fresh Basil (to represent the colors of the Italian flag: Red, white, and green).
This became Queen Margherita's favorite pizza and when word got out that this was one of the queen's favorite foods, she became even more popular with the Italian people. She also started a culinary tradition, the Pizza Margherita, which lasts to this very day in Naples and has now spread throughout the world.
History has not made it clear whether Rafaelle began to sell this creation from his own pizzeria but it is known that the Pizza, in much the same form as we now know it, was thereafter enjoyed by all the Italian people. Variations began to be made in different parts of the country. In Bologna, for example, meat began to be added into the topping mix. Neapolitan Pizza became quite popular and it brought garlic and crumbly Neapolitan cheeses into the mixture as well as herbs, fresh vegetables, and other spices and flavorings.
About this time the idea of baking in special brick ovens came into existence and the bread, as it is today, was a rather simple combination of flour, oil, salt and yeast.
Pizza spread to America, France, England and Spain, where it was little known until after World War II. While occupying Italian territories, many American and European soldiers tasted Pizza for the first time. It was love at first taste! Italian immigrants had been selling Pizzas in their American stores for some time, but it was the returning soldiers with a lust for the saucy delight that drew the Pizzas out of the quiet Italian neighborhoods into the main stream of city life all over the continent. In fact, the square "Sicilian Pizza" which is so popular and was the forerunner of the now well-promoted "Party Pizza" is an American invention. Real Sicilian Pizza has no cheese or anchovies.
Today we celebrate Pizza. February 9 is International Pizza Day and the Guinness Book of Records states that the largest Pizza ever made and eaten was created in Havana, Florida and was 100 feet and 1 inch across!
American and Canadian citizens will eat an average 23 pounds of Pizza, per person, per year. Pepperoni and Cheese is the favorite combination, especially with the younger set, and is second only to the hamburger as this continent's favorite food.
Pizzas can be made either healthy or fatty, depending upon what you use for the toppings. They come in many forms such as Calzones (half the dough is topped then the other half folded over to form a large half-moon shaped Pizza Pocket, which is then baked). It also comes in various forms such as breads, rolls, pan pizza, stuffed crust pizza, thin crust Pizza and thick crust pizza, wholewheat crust, and bagel crust.
The concept has also taken many forms such as Mexican Pizza (a pizza dough topped with chili or taco filling, shredded Cheddar, chopped onions, tomatoes and Jalapeno peppers), Ice Cream Pizza, Candy Pizza and even Pizza cake as well as Pizza flavored items such as Potato Chips and Tortilla Snacks!
So, next time you eat a Pizza, stop and think of Queen Margherita and Chef Rafaelle and be grateful that a Queen would dare stoop to eat peasant bread.
About the name: The word "pie" does not refer to the crust, nor even to the shape or position of the crust. The Oxford English, the Webster's unabridged,and lexicographer Charles Earl Funk, all agree that the elemental word "pie" relates to the Magpie, a bird with feathers splotched in two colors, a bird called "Pica" by the Romans, whence the English "Pie" and the alteration of "Pica" to "Pizza". The name relates to the bird's double color and its habit of gathering odds and ends as does a Pizza, or Pie, gather, and consist of, varied ingredients.

Friday, April 25, 2008


The first calculators were abaci, and were often constructed as a wooden frame with beads sliding on wires. Abacuses were used centuries before the adoption of the written Arabic numerals system and are still used by some merchants, fishermen and clerks in China and elsewhere.
William Oughtred invented the slide rule in 1622

In 1822 Charles Babbage proposed a mechanical calculator, called a difference engine.

HOWEVER, French Blaise Pascal invented the calculator. He did this to help his dad who was a tax adjuster. Then Gottfried Leibnitz improved on Pascal idea with a machine that would add, subtract, multiply, and divide.

John Napierin invented the movable multiplication table engraved on a series of square section metal rods, called Napiers Bones.

We tend to take a cheap hand held calculator for granted. They're easy to use and it's hard to imagine life with out them. But not very long ago a hand held calculator was very expensive and very different from the ones we use today.

Thursday, April 24, 2008



Man, because of always rushing, creates the occurences that affect the life they lead. (Brenda A. Ysaguirre)


WE invent accidents. We do so when we are in a rush, are angry, or when we decide that we will do as we please against a set rule or regulation.

Sadly, but true, it is because of this that we are faced with many of the hardships that life throws at us. Two nights ago Andy Manzanilla, a stuent of CCC ACE suffered an accident just off the school grounds. It has served to help the student body understand that there are reasons why we set rules and regulations. They are made for the safety of all.

We pray for Andy's speedy recovery and send him our love.

Yours sinceely,
Brenda A. Ysaguirre
ACE Director/Teacher/Friend

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Aspirin or acetylsalicylic acid, is a derivative of salicylic acid that is a mild, nonnarcotic analgesic useful in the relief of headache and muscle and joint aches. The drug works by inhibiting the production of prostaglandins, body chemicals that are necessary for blood clotting and which also sensitize nerve endings to pain.
The father of modern medicine was Hippocrates, who lived sometime between 460 B.C and 377 B.C. Hippocrates was left historical records of pain relief treatments, including the use of powder made from the bark and leaves of the willow tree to help heal headaches, pains and fevers.
By 1829, scientists discovered that it was the compound called salicin in willow plants which gave you the pain relief.
According to "From A Miracle Drug" written by Sophie Jourdier for the Royal Society of Chemistry: "It was not long before the active ingredient in willow bark was isolated; in 1828, Johann Buchner, professor of pharmacy at the University of Munich, isolated a tiny amount of bitter tasting yellow, needle-like crystals, which he called salicin. Two Italians, Brugnatelli and Fontana, had in fact already obtained salicin in 1826, but in a highly impure form. By 1829, [French chemist] Henri Leroux had improved the extraction procedure to obtain about 30g from 1.5kg of bark. In 1838, Raffaele Piria [an Italian chemist] then working at the Sorbonne in Paris, split salicin into a sugar and an aromatic component (salicylaldehyde) and converted the latter, by hydrolysis and oxidation, to an acid of crystallised colourless needles, which he named salicylic acid."
Henri Leroux had extracted salicin, in crystalline form for the first time, and Raffaele Piria succeeded in obtaining the salicylic acid in its pure state.
The problem was that salicylic acid was tough on stomachs and a means of 'buffering' the compound was searched for. The first person to do so was a French chemist named Charles Frederic Gerhardt. In 1853, Gerhardt neutralized salicylic acid by buffering it with sodium (sodium salicylate) and acetyl chloride, creating acetylsalicylic acid. Gerhardt's product worked but he had no desire to market it and abandoned his discovery.
In 1899, a German chemist named Felix Hoffmann, who worked for a German company called Bayer, rediscovered Gerhardt's formula. Felix Hoffmann made some of the formula and gave it to his father who was suffering from the pain of arthritis. With good results, Felix Hoffmann then convinced Bayer to market the new wonder drug. Aspirin was patented on February 27, 1900.
The folks at Bayer came up with the name Aspirin, it comes from the 'A" in acetyl chloride, the "spir" in spiraea ulmaria (the plant they derived the salicylic acid from) and the 'in' was a then familiar name ending for medicines.
Aspirin was first sold as a powder. In 1915, the first Aspirin tablets were made. Interestingly, Aspirin ® and Heroin ® were once trademarks belonging to Bayer. After Germany lost World War I, Bayer was forced to give up both trademarks as part of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919.

Sunday, April 20, 2008


The piano first known as the pianoforte developed from the harpsichord around 1720, by Bartolomeo Cristofori of Padua, Italy. The instrument was already over a hundred years old by the time Beethoven was writing his last sonatas, around the time when it ousted the harpsichord as the standard keyboard instrument. The piano has had a central place in music since the middle of the eighteenth century. Around 1780, the upright piano was created by Johann Schmidt of Salzburg, Austria and later improved in 1802 by Thomas Loud of London whose upright piano had strings that ran diagonally.

Written by Mary Bellis

Saturday, April 19, 2008


The laptop was invented by Adam Osborne in 1981. It was called 'Osborne 1' and cost $1,795. It came bundled with $1,500 worth of programmes. It had a tiny computer screen built into it. It was invented by Osborne Computers. The first portable computer was a success, with sales reaching 10,000 units a month. IBM launched the IBM 5155 Portable Personal Computer in 1984. In 1988, Compaq Computer launched the first laptop PC with VGA graphics, Compaq SLT/286. In 1989, NEC released UltraLite, which was the first 'laptop' computer. Weighting under 5 lbs, it was the precursor of today's models. Pradeep Jain, Agra

Friday, April 18, 2008


The development of modern chocolate was a long process and many people and cultures contributed. Since no one person can be given all of the credit, the following is a brief timeline of the development of chocolate...

1500 BC-400 BC - The Olmec Indians are believed to be the first to grow cocoa beans as a domestic crop.250 to 900 CE - The consumption of cocoa beans was restricted to the Mayan society's elite, in the form of an unsweetened cocoa drink made from the ground beans.AD 600 - Mayans migrate into northern regions of South America establishing earliest known cocoa plantations in the Yucatan.

14th Century - The drink became popular among the Aztec upper classes who upsurped the cocoa beverage from the Mayans and were the first to tax the beans. The Aztecs called it "xocalatl" meaning warm or bitter liquid.

1502 - Columbus encountered a great Mayan trading canoe in Guanaja carrying cocoa beans as cargo.

1519 - Spanish explorer Hernando Cortez recorded the cocoa usage in the court of Emperor Montezuma.

1544 - Dominican friars took a delegation of Kekchi Mayan nobels to visit Prince Philip of Spain. The Mayans brought gift jars of beaten cocoa , mixed and ready to drink. Spain and Portugal did not export the beloved drink to the rest of Eurpoe for nearly a century.

16th Century Europe - The Spanish began to add cane sugar and flavorings such as vanilla to their sweet cocoa beverages.

1570 - Cocoa gained popularity as a medicine and aphrodisiac.

1585 - First official shipments of cocoa beans began arriving in Seville from Vera Cruz, Mexico.

1657 - The first chocolate house was opened in London by a Frenchman. The shop was called the The Coffee Mill and Tobacco Roll. Costing 10 to 15 shillings per pound, chocolate was considered a beverage for the elite class.

1674 - Eating solid chocolate was introduced in the form of chocolate rolls and cakes, served in chocolate emporiums.

1730 - Cocoa beans had dropped in price from $3 per lb. to being within the financial reach of those other than the very wealthy.

1732 - French inventor, Monsieur Dubuisson invented a table mill for grinding chocolate.

1753 - Swedish naturalist, Carolus Linnaeus was dissatisfied with the word "cocoa," so renamed it "theobroma," Greek for "food of the gods."

1765 - Chocolate was introduced to the United States when Irish chocolate-maker John Hanan imported cocoa beans from the West Indies into Dorchester, Massachusetts, to refine them with the help of American Dr. James Baker. The pair soon after built America's first chocolate mill and by 1780, the mill was making the famous BAKER'S � chocolate.

1795 - Dr. Joseph Fry of Bristol, England, employed a steam engine for grinding cocoa beans, an invention that led to the manufacture of chocolate on a large factory scale.

1819 - The pioneer of Swiss chocolate-making, Fran�ois Louis Callier, opened the first swiss chocolate factory.

1828 - The invention of the cocoa press, by Conrad Van Houten, helped cut prices and improve the quality of chocolate by squeezing out some of the cocoa butter and giving the beverage a smoother consistency. Conrad Van Houten patented his invention in Amsterdam and his alkalizing process became known as "Dutching".

1847 - Joseph Fry & Son discovered a way to mix some of the cocoa butter back into the "Dutched" chocolate, and added sugar, creating a paste that could be molded. The result was the first modern chocolate bar.

1849 - Joseph Fry & Son and Cadbury Brothers displayed chocolates for eating at an exhibition in Bingley Hall, Birmingham, England.

1851 - Prince Albert's Exposition in London was the first time that Americans were introduced to bonbons, chocolate creams, hand candies (called "boiled sweets"), and caramels.

1861 - Richard Cadbury created the first known heart-shaped candy box for Valentine's Day.

1868 - John Cadbury mass-marketed the first boxes of chocolate candies.

1876 - Daniel Peter of Vevey, Switzerland, experimented for eight years before finally inventing a means of making milk chocolate for eating.

1879 - Daniel Peter and Henri Nestl� joined together to form the Nestl� Company.

1879 - Rodolphe Lindt of Berne, Switzerland, produced a more smooth and creamy chocolate that melted on the tongue. He invented the "conching" machine. To conch meant to heat and roll chocolate in order to refine it. After chocolate had been conched for seventy-two hours and had more cocoa butter added to it, it was possible to create chocolate "fondant" and other creamy forms of chocolate.

1897 - The first known published recipe for chocolate brownies appeared in the Sears and Roebuck Catalogue.1910 - Canadian, Arthur Ganong marketed the first nickel chocolate bar.

1913 - Swiss confiseur Jules Sechaud of Montreux introduced a machine process for manufacturing filled chocolates.

1926 - Belgian chocolatier, Joseph Draps starts the Godiva Company to compete with Hershey's and Nestle's American market.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


Apple Presents iPodUltra-Portable MP3 Music Player Puts 1,000 Songs in Your Pocket
CUPERTINO, California—October 23, 2001—Apple® today introduced iPod™, a breakthrough MP3 music player that packs up to 1,000 CD-quality songs into an ultra-portable, 6.5 ounce design that fits in your pocket. iPod combines a major advance in portable music device design with Apple’s legendary ease of use and Auto-Sync, which automatically downloads all your iTunes™ songs and playlists into your iPod, and keeps them up to date whenever you plug your iPod into your Mac®.
“With iPod, Apple has invented a whole new category of digital music player that lets you put your entire music collection in your pocket and listen to it wherever you go,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “With iPod, listening to music will never be the same again.”
Next Generation Player iPod represents the next generation of portable music players that store music on an internal hard drive, yet are only 20 percent of the volume of today’s hard drive-based players. iPod stores up to 1,000 CD-quality songs on its super-thin 5 GB hard drive, and features up to 20 minutes of shock protection for nonstop playback when running, biking or other activities.
iPod’s built-in FireWire® port lets you download an entire CD into iPod in under 10 seconds and 1,000 songs in less than 10 minutes—30 times faster than USB-based players.
iPod plays up to 10 hours of continuous music, powered by its rechargeable lithium polymer battery, and recharges automatically whenever iPod is connected to a Mac, using power supplied over the FireWire cable. Every iPod comes with a compact, FireWire-based power adapter for traveling. iPod’s high-capacity 5GB hard drive doubles as a portable FireWire hard drive for storing presentations, large documents, graphic images and digital movies.
iPod plays music in the popular MP3, MP3 VBR (variable bit rate), AIFF and WAV formats and can support MP3 bit rates up to 320-Kbps. Its upgradable firmware enables support of future audio formats. For CD-quality sound, iPod is equipped with a high-output 60-mW amplifier that delivers 20 to 20,000 Hz frequency response for deep bass and crystal-clear highs. iPod’s earbud-style headphones are built with neodymium magnets for enhanced frequency response and high-fidelity sound.
iPod also features a 160-by-128-pixel high-resolution display, with a white LED backlight to give clear visibility in daylight as well as low-light conditions.
Legendary Ease of Use Apple has applied its legendary expertise in human interface engineering to make iPod the easiest to use digital device ever. Simply rotate iPod’s unique scroll-wheel with your thumb or finger to quickly access your entire music collection by playlists, artists or songs. The scroll-wheel makes it possible to hold and operate iPod with just one hand and features automatic acceleration when scrolling through long lists so you can find your music in seconds. iPod also features customizable settings such as shuffle, repeat, startup volume, sleep timer and menus in multiple languages including English, French, German and Japanese. iPod can display song data in any of these languages, enabling users to mix and match songs from all over the world.
Auto-Sync iPod’s revolutionary Auto-Sync feature makes it easy to get your entire music collection into iPod and update it whenever you connect iPod to your Mac. Simply plug your new iPod into your Mac with the supplied FireWire cable, and all of your iTunes songs and playlists are automatically downloaded into iPod at blazing FireWire speed. Then just unplug and go. Whenever you plug iPod back into your Mac it will be automatically updated with your latest iTunes songs and playlists, usually in seconds. There has never been a faster and easier way to always have your up-to-the-minute music and playlists with you wherever you go.
Pricing & Availability iPod will be available beginning on Saturday, November 10, for a suggested retail price of $399 (US) from The Apple Store® (, Apple’s retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers. An iTunes 2 CD, earbud-style headphones, FireWire cable, and FireWire-based power adapter are all included. iPod requires iTunes 2.
Apple ignited the personal computer revolution in the 1970s with the Apple II and reinvented the personal computer in the 1980s with the Macintosh. Apple is committed to bringing the best personal computing experience to students, educators, creative professionals and consumers around the world through its innovative hardware, software and Internet offerings.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


The German company Fraunhofer-Gesellshaft developed MP3 technology and now licenses the patent rights to the audio compression technology - United States Patent 5,579,430 for a "digital encoding process". The inventors named on the MP3 patent are Bernhard Grill, Karl-Heinz Brandenburg, Thomas Sporer, Bernd Kurten, and Ernst Eberlein.

In 1987, the prestigious Fraunhofer Institut Integrierte Schaltungen research center (part of Fraunhofer Gesellschaft) began researching high quality, low bit-rate audio coding, a project named EUREKA project EU147, Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB).

Dieter Seitzer and Karlheinz Brandenburg
Two names are mentioned most frequently in connection with the development of MP3. The Fraunhofer Institut was helped with their audio coding by Dieter Seitzer, a professor at the University of Erlangen.

Sponsored Links
Dieter Seitzer had been working on the quality transfer of music over a standard phone line. The Fraunhofer research was led by Karlheinz Brandenburg often called the "father of MP3". Karlheinz Brandenburg was a specialist in mathematics and electronics and had been researching methods of compressing music since 1977. In an interview with Intel, Karlheinz Brandenburg described how MP3 took several years to fully develop and almost failed. Brandenburg stated "In 1991, the project almost died. During modification tests, the encoding simply did not want to work properly. Two days before submission of the first version of the MP3 codec, we found the compiler error."

What is MP3
MP3 stands for MPEG Audio Layer III and it is a standard for audio compression that makes any music file smaller with little or no loss of sound quality. MP3 is part of MPEG, an acronym for Motion Pictures Expert Group, a family of standards for displaying video and audio using lossy compression. Standards set by the Industry Standards Organization or ISO, beginning in 1992 with the MPEG-1 standard. MPEG-1 is a video compression standard with low bandwidth. The high bandwidth audio and video compression standard of MPEG-2 followed and was good enough to use with DVD technology. MPEG Layer III or MP3 involves only audio compression.

Timeline - History of MP3
* 1987 - The Fraunhofer Institut in Germany began research code-named EUREKA project EU147, Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB).
* January 1988 - Moving Picture Experts Group or MPEG was established as a subcommittee of the International Standards Organization/International Electrotechnical Commission or ISO/IEC.
* April 1989 - Fraunhofer received a German patent for MP3.
* 1992 - Fraunhofer's and Dieter Seitzer�s audio coding algorithm was integrated into MPEG-1.
* 1993 - MPEG-1 standard published.
* 1994 - MPEG-2 developed and published a year later.
* November 26, 1996 - United States patent issued for MP3.
* September 1998 - Fraunhofer started to enforce their patent rights. All developers of MP3 encoders or rippers and decoders/players now have to pay a licensing fee to Fraunhofer.
* February 1999 - A record company called SubPop is the first to distribute music tracks in the MP3 format.
* 1999 - Portable MP3 players appear.

What Can MP3 Do
Fraunhofer Gesellschaft has this to say about MP3:"Without Data reduction, digital audio signals typically consist of 16 bit samples recorded at a sampling rate more than twice the actual audio bandwidth (e.g. 44.1 kHz for Compact Discs). So you end up with more than 1.400 Mbit to represent just one second of stereo music in CD quality. By using MPEG audio coding, you may shrink down the original sound data from a CD by a factor of 12, without losing sound quality."
MP3 Players

In the early 1990s, Frauenhofer developed the first, however, unsuccessful MP3 player. In 1997, developer Tomislav Uzelac of Advanced Multimedia Products invented the AMP MP3 Playback Engine, the first successful MP3 player. Two university students, Justin Frankel and Dmitry Boldyrev ported AMP to Windows and created Winamp. In 1998, Winamp became a free MP3 music player boosting the success of MP3. No licensing fees are required to use an MP3 player.

Sunday, April 13, 2008


The earliest known reference to a toothpaste is in a manuscript from Egypt in the 4th century A.D., which prescribes a mixture of powdered salt, pepper, mint leaves, and iris flowers. Many early toothpaste formulations were based on urine. However, toothpastes or powders did not come into general use until the 19th century.

Saturday, April 12, 2008


That's him pictured above.
His name is Andreas Pavel.

He was born in Germany and at the age of six moved with his family to Brazil, where he grew up.
Now 59, this man turns out to have invented — and patented — what became the Sony Walkman.
Pavel initially called it the "stereobelt."
The first time he tested his portable personal cassette player and headphones was in the woods in St. Moritz, Switzerland, with his girlfriend — in 1972.
Sony started selling the Walkman in 1979 and for the next two decades fought Pavel in court after he accused the company of stealing his invention without properly compensating him.
In 2003 Pavel and Sony settled for a payment said to be "in the low eight figures," which I'd guess to be between ten and twenty million dollars.
The Walkman sold for about $200 ($450 today) when it debuted and Sony's sold zillions of them.
Considering that Sony has probably made hundreds of millions of dollars in profits on the device, I'd say Sony's payment to Pavel amounts to no more than a rounding error in their accounts book.
Larry Rohter brought this fascinating story to light in the December 17 New York Times; it follows.
An Unlikely Trendsetter Made Earphones a Way of Life
In the late 1960's, Andreas Pavel and his friends gathered regularly at his house here to listen to records, from Bach to Janis Joplin, and talk politics and philosophy.
In their flights of fancy, they wondered why it should not be possible to take their music with them wherever they went.
Inspired by those discussions, Mr. Pavel invented the device known today as the Walkman.
But it took more than 25 years of battling the Sony Corporation and others in courts and patent offices around the world before he finally won the right to say it: Andreas Pavel invented the portable personal stereo player.
"I filed my first patent a complete innocent, thinking it would be a simple matter, 12 months or so, to establish my ownership and begin production," he said at the house where he first conceived of the device.
"I never imagined that it would end up consuming so much time and taking me away from my real interests in life."
In person, Mr. Pavel seems an unlikely protagonist in such an epic struggle.
He is an intellectual with a gentle, enthusiastic, earnest demeanor, more interested in ideas and the arts than in commerce, cosmopolitan by nature and upbringing.
Born in Germany, Mr. Pavel came to Brazil at age 6, when his father was recruited to work for the Matarazzo industrial group, at the time the most important one here.
His mother, Ninca Bordano, an artist, had a house built for the family with a studio for her and an open-air salon with high-end audio equipment, meant for literary and musical gatherings.
Except for a period in the mid-1960's when he studied philosophy at a German university, Mr. Pavel, now 59, spent his childhood and early adulthood here in South America's largest city, "to my great advantage," he said.
It was a time of creative and intellectual ferment, culminating in the Tropicalist movement, and he was delighted to be part of it.
When TV Cultura, a Brazilian station, was licensed to go on the air, Mr. Pavel was hired to be its director of educational programming.
After he was forced to leave because of what he says was political pressure, he edited a "Great Thinkers" book series for Brazil's leading publishing house in another effort to "counterbalance the censorship and lack of information" then prevailing.
In the end, what drove Mr. Pavel back to Europe was his discontent with the military dictatorship then in power in Brazil.
By that time, though, he had already invented the device he initially called the stereobelt, which he saw more as a means to "add a soundtrack to real life" than an item to be mass marketed.
"Oh, it was purely aesthetic," he said when asked his motivation in creating a portable personal stereo player.
"It took years to discover that I had made a discovery and that I could file a patent."
Mr. Pavel still remembers when and where he was the first time he tested his invention and which piece of music he chose for his experiment.
It was February 1972, he was in Switzerland with his girlfriend, and the cassette they heard playing on their headphones was "Push Push," a collaboration between the jazz flutist Herbie Mann and the blues-rock guitarist Duane Allman.
"I was in the woods in St. Moritz, in the mountains," he recalled.
"The snow was falling down. I pressed the button, and suddenly we were floating. It was an incredible feeling, to realize that I now had the means to multiply the aesthetic potential of any situation."
Over the next few years, he took his invention to one audio company after another - Grundig, Philips, Yamaha and ITT among them - to see if there was interest in manufacturing his device.
But everywhere he went, he said, he met with rejection or ridicule.
"They all said they didn't think people would be so crazy as to run around with headphones, that this is just a gadget, a useless gadget of a crazy nut," he said.
In New York, where he moved in 1974, and then in Milan, where he relocated in 1976, "people would look at me sometimes on a bus, and you could see they were asking themselves, why is this crazy man running around with headphones?"
Ignoring the doors slammed in his face, Mr. Pavel filed a patent in March 1977 in Milan.
Over the next year and a half, he took the same step in the United States, Germany, England and Japan.
Sony started selling the Walkman in 1979, and in 1980 began negotiating with Mr. Pavel, who was seeking a royalty fee.
The company agreed in 1986 to a limited fee arrangement covering sales only in Germany, and then for only a few models.
So in 1989 he began new proceedings, this time in British courts, that dragged on and on, eating up his limited financial resources.
At one point, Mr. Pavel said, he owed his lawyer hundreds of thousands of dollars and was being followed by private detectives and countersued by Sony.
"They had frozen all my assets, I couldn't use checks or credit cards," and the outlook for him was grim.
In 1996, the case was dismissed, leaving Mr. Pavel with more than $3 million in court costs to pay.
But he persisted, warning Sony that he would file new suits in every country where he had patented his invention, and in 2003, after another round of negotiations, the company agreed to settle out of court.
Mr. Pavel declined to say how much Sony was obliged to pay him, citing a confidentiality clause.
But European press accounts said Mr. Pavel had received a cash settlement for damages in the low eight figures and was now also receiving royalties on some Walkman sales.
These days, Mr. Pavel divides his time between Italy and Brazil, and once again considers himself primarily a philosopher.
But he is also using some of his money to develop an invention he calls a dreamkit, which he describes as a "hand-held, personal, multimedia, sense-extension device," and to indulge his unflagging interest in music.
Recently, he has been promoting the career of Altamiro Carrilho, a flutist whom he regards as the greatest living Brazilian musician.
He is also financing a project that he describes as the complete discography of every record ever released in Brazil.
Some of his friends have suggested he might have a case against the manufacturers of MP3 players, reasoning that those devices are a direct descendant of the Walkman.
Mr. Pavel said that while he saw a kinship, he was not eager to take on another long legal battle.
"I have known other inventors in similar predicaments and most of them become that story, which is the most tragic, sad and melancholic thing that can happen," he said.
"Somebody becomes a lawsuit, he loses all interest in other things and deals only with the lawsuit. Nobody ever said I was obsessed. I kept my other interests alive, in philosophy and music and literature."
"I didn't have time to pursue them, but now I have reconquered my time," he continued.
"So, no, I'm not interested anymore in patents or legal fights or anything like that. I don't want to be reduced to the label of being the inventor of the Walkman."

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


Old Engraving depicting the 1771 crash of Nicolas Joseph Cugnot's steam-powered car into a stone wall.

The History of the Automobile
Early Steam Powered Cars

The automobile as we know it was not invented in a single day by a single inventor. The history of the automobile reflects an evolution that took place worldwide. It is estimated that over 100,000 patents created the modern automobile. However, we can point to the many firsts that occurred along the way. Starting with the first theoretical plans for a motor vehicle that had been drawn up by both Leonardo da Vinci and Isaac Newton.

In 1769, the very first self-propelled road vehicle was a military tractor invented by French engineer and mechanic, Nicolas Joseph Cugnot (1725 - 1804). Cugnot used a steam engine to power his vehicle, built under his instructions at the Paris Arsenal by mechanic Brezin. It was used by the French Army to haul artillery at a whopping speed of 2 1/2 mph on only three wheels. The vehicle had to stop every ten to fifteen minutes to build up steam power. The steam engine and boiler were separate from the rest of the vehicle and placed in the front (see engraving above). The following year (1770), Cugnot built a steam-powered tricycle that carried four passengers.
In 1771, Cugnot drove one of his road vehicles into a stone wall, making Cugnot the first person to get into a motor vehicle accident. This was the beginning of bad luck for the inventor. After one of Cugnot's patrons died and the other was exiled, the money for Cugnot's road vehicle experiments ended.
Steam engines powered cars by burning fuel that heated water in a boiler, creating steam that expanded and pushed pistons that turned the crankshaft, which then turned the wheels. During the early history of self-propelled vehicles - both road and railroad vehicles were being developed with steam engines. (Cugnot also designed two steam locomotives with engines that never worked well.) Steam engines added so much weight to a vehicle that they proved a poor design for road vehicles; however, steam engines were very successfully used in locomotives. Historians, who accept that early steam-powered road vehicles were automobiles, feel that Nicolas Cugnot was the inventor of the first automobile.
After Cugnot Several Other Inventors Designed Steam-Powered Road Vehicles
Cugnot’s vehicle was improved by Frenchman, Onesiphore Pecqueur, who also invented the first differential gear.
In 1789, the first U.S. patent for a steam-powered land vehicle was granted to Oliver Evans.
In 1801, Richard Trevithick built a road carriage powered by steam - the first in Great Britain.
In Britain, from 1820 to 1840, steam-powered stagecoaches were in regular service. These were later banned from public roads and Britain's railroad system developed as a result.
Steam-driven road tractors (built by Charles Deitz) pulled passenger carriages around Paris and Bordeaux up to 1850.
In the United States, numerous steam coaches were built from 1860 to 1880. Inventors included: Harrison Dyer, Joseph Dixon, Rufus Porter, and William T. James.
Amedee Bollee Sr. built advanced steam cars from 1873 to 1883. The "La Mancelle" built in 1878, had a front-mounted engine, shaft drive to the differential, chain drive to the rear wheels, steering wheel on a vertical shaft and driver's seat behind the engine. The boiler was carried behind the passenger compartment.
In 1871, Dr. J. W. Carhart, professor of physics at Wisconsin State University, and the J. I. Case Company built a working steam car that won a 200-mile race. Early Electric Cars
Steam engines were not the only engines used in early automobiles. Vehicles with electrical engines were also invented. Between 1832 and 1839 (the exact year is uncertain), Robert Anderson of Scotland invented the first electric carriage. Electric cars used rechargeable batteries that powered a small electric motor. The vehicles were heavy, slow, expensive, and needed to stop for recharging frequently. Both steam and electric road vehicles were abandoned in favor of gas-powered vehicles. Electricity found greater success in tramways and streetcars, where a constant supply of electricity was possible.

Learn more about the history of electrical vehicles from 1890 to the present.
However, around 1900, electric land vehicles in America outsold all other types of cars. Then in the several years following 1900, sales of electric vehicles took a nosedive as a new type of vehicle came to dominate the consumer market.

Monday, April 7, 2008


Seriously, it appears that China is the winner of your answer! If you go by the definition of paper, which is a pulpy mixture ofgrasses, wood, rags, fibers, and pulp, with water, then Chinadefinitely wins. Chine wins especially if you don’t count papyrus, apredecessor to paper made by separating layers of papyrus plant, aspaper.Should you consider papyrus to be paper, then Egypt wins the honor ofbeing the first place paper was used. But papyrus is NOT paper, andwas used just as bark, leaves, and stone tablets were – they carriedthe message, but they were not paper.Should you consider paper an invention, as your question indicates,then China is the winner again, as the papyrus plant was not defines paper as:“A material made of cellulose pulp, derived mainly from wood, rags,and certain grasses, processed into flexible sheets or rolls bydeposit from an aqueous suspension, and used chiefly for writing,printing, drawing, wrapping, and covering walls.” Webster says:“A felted sheet of usually vegetable fibers laid down on a fine screenfrom a water suspension”“The need for paper began when man first started to record traditions,religion, and legal documents. Before papermaking, materials such asclay nails, papyrus, pounded bark, silk and parchment were used torecord information, but none of these materials were either portableor cost-effective enough to mass-produce. Paper began in China asearly as 200 BC, where the oldest known paper was used for a prayerfound embedded in an adobe brick that was used to bless a home. Thepaper was made from recycled fishing nets, bamboo and hemp.” to PaperOnline, it appears that China was the first place touse tapa paper. At least it is the earliest FOUND paper so far:“Of all the writing and drawing materials that people have employeddown the ages, paper is the most widely used around the world. Itsname derives from papyrus the material used by the ancient Egyptians,Greeks and Romans. Papyrus, however, is only one of the predecessorsof paper that together are known by the generic term ‘tapa’ and aremostly made from the inner bark of paper mulberry, fig and daphne.”“Tapa has been found extensively in nearly all cultures along theEquatorial belt and is made by what is possibly the oldest papermakingtechnique – one still practised in some parts of the Himalayas andSouth East Asia. Indeed, recent archaeological excavations in Chinahave revealed some of the oldest ‘tapa’ paper ever found which showsthat paper was being produced in China before western records began.” to Inventors.About, China is the first place paper was used.“A courtier named Ts'ai-Lun, from Lei-yang in China, was the inventorof paper (not papyrus) circa 105 A.D. However, the word paper isderived from the name of the reedy plant papyrus, which growsabundantly along the Nile River in Egypt. Paper is made of pulpedcellulose fibers like wood, cotton or flax. Papyrus is made from thesliced sections of the flower stem of the papyrus plant, pressedtogether and dried.”, the Technical Association of worldwide pulp, paper, andconverting industry gives credit to the Chinese:“The Chinese government official and scholar is grinding up plants -mulberry bark, linen and hemp. He makes a big wet mush of separatefibers, then spreads it all out in a mat made of coarse cloth and abamboo frame.It looks like he's got a mess on his hands, and chances are hisfamily, friends and neighbors are making fun of him. But when he'sdone, and the sun has dried the matted material, he's made somethingreally remarkable.Ts'ai Lun, 2,000 years ago, has made paper, and it will become one ofthe most important inventions ever.Even though archaeological evidence shows that paper may have beenmade even a little earlier, Ts'ai Lun was the first to have hisefforts recorded. Like many inventors through the centuries, he builtupon the work of others.Okay, people had written even before paper was invented. Theyscratched on cave walls, painted too, and drew characters on wet clay.They even wrote on papyrus made from thinly-sliced papyrus reed whichthey glued together to make a sheet.”“The word "paper" is derived from the word "papyrus," which was aplant found in Egypt along the lower Nile River. About 5,000 yearsago, Egyptians created "sheets" of papyrus by harvesting, peeling andslicing the plant into strips. The strips were then layered, poundedtogether and smoothed to make a flat, uniform sheet.No major changes in writing materials were to come for about 3,000years. The person credited with inventing paper is a Chinese man namedTs'ai Lun. He took the inner bark of a mulberry tree and bamboofibers, mixed them with water, and pounded them with a wooden tool. Hethen poured this mixture onto a flat piece of coarsely woven cloth andlet the water drain through, leaving only the fibers on the cloth.Once dry, Ts'ai Lun discovered that he had created a quality writingsurface that was relatively easy to make and lightweight. Thisknowledge of papermaking was used in China before word was passedalong to Korea, Samarkand, Baghdad, and Damascus.” “The first historical mention of paper is 104 A.D. in China. TheEmpress of China at that time loved books and wanted to have a lot ofthem made. At the time everything was written on silk scrolls whichwere extremely expensive and time consuming to make. She wantedsomething cheaper and easier to use and so she asked one of herservants, a gentleman by the name of Tsi Lun to come up with analternative. He worked for over nine years experimenting withdifferent things and finally came up with hemp, mulberry tree bark,silk and old fishing nets all ground up into a mushy pulp. I wonderhow he ever thought of it; the history books don't say. The Empresswas very pleased and Tsi Lun was elevated to a high rank in the court.Unfortunately for him, the Empress then asked Tsi Lun to spreadmalicious gossip about some of her enemies at court. When the Empressfell out of power, those people were extremely angry with Tsi Lun andhe was either put to death or forced to commit suicide.Strange, isn't it, how things go in the world? And, of course, all of this that I am sharing with you is just one version of history. Others will perhaps be able to give a different rendering. I haveread many. I like the story of Tsi Lun. Most people agree on thatone. But, as for the spread of papermaking as an art, well, there aredifferent stories told. To gather such accounts and compare them fallswithin the discipline of "Historiography", the history of the writingof history. (If you ever want to scamble your brains and loose allconcept of the solidity of reality, just study the hisotry writing ofhistory.) The following, I believe, is most likely closest to thetruth.Papermaking remained a secret Chinese art until around the year 700A.D. when, during a war with China the Arab nations captured an entiretown of papermakers and took them back to the middle east as prisonerswhere they were forced into labor making paper. The craft was learneda couple hundred years later by Western Europeans during the Crusades.Curiously, the Church in Western Europe initially banned the use ofpaper calling it a 'pagan art' believing that animal parchment was theonly thing 'holy' enough to carry the Sacred Word. That strange prejudice lasted for more than 100 years, but they got over it.” (This may not be a highly reliable source, but it was interesting!)

Sunday, April 6, 2008


For ages people had been fascinated by the thought of aerial flight. Leonardo da Vinci designed a flying machine in the 15th century, and by the 19th century men were airborne in hot-air balloons, gliders, and huge kites. But they still had not built a craft that could fly independent of the forces of nature; flight still depended on the whimsy of the wind. Steam and gasoline engines, however, made it theoretically possible to construct a heavier-than-air craft that could be lifted off the ground and sustained in flight by its own power source. And so, at the end of the 19th century, enthusiasts around the world joined in the race to invent the first flying machine.

CLEMENT ADER (1841-1925)
Clement Ader was intrigued by aerial navigation even as a boy growing up in the south of France. His interest led him to build and design countless kites, and while he was still young he succeeded in producing a kite capable of carrying a man aloft. Ader worked in the Dept. of Public Works for 15 years but quit his job to tinker with his inventions. He designed the first telephone system in Paris, a public-address device, and a microphone, but he never lost his interest in aeronautics. In the early 1870s he created an ornithopter, an engine to which was attached flapping wings, but it failed to fly. Then Ader went to Algeria to study the flight of vultures and discovered that once airborne they rarely flapped their wings. He promptly scrapped the design of the ornithopter as impractical. In order to fly, he decided, a machine must have fixed wings and an engine capable of lifting it off the ground. Back in France, he built his first airplane, the Eole (named for Aeolus, the Greek god of the winds).
The Eole had bat-shaped wings and was driven by a steam engine attached to a four-blade propeller. Ader tested his airplane near Gretz-Armainvilliers on Oct. 9, 1890, and claimed that he accomplished a takeoff and a powered flight of approximately 165 ft. There were a few witnesses to his feat but they were not familiar with aeronautics, and consequently none of them reported what he saw. Ader asserted that he had tested the Eole a second time at the army base at Satory near Versailles in September of 1891 and flew roughly 330 ft. at an altitude of 8 in. above the ground before crashing. There supposedly was only one witness; he did not make a statement to authorities about what he saw. Ader himself did not publicly report this flight until 1906.

Samuel Langley, born in Roxbury, Mass., had a wealthy father who encouraged him to study and to pursue educational hobbies. Langley's childhood love was astronomy, but he eventually chose civil engineering as his occupation. After several years at jobs as a qualified engineer and architect, he changed directions and went back to his study of astronomy and science. He taught mathematics at the U.S. Naval Academy, became director of the Allegheny Observatory, and taught physics and astronomy at the University of Pittsburgh though he had never earned a college degree. In the late 1880s his studies on the effects of the sun on the weather and wind currents led him to aviation.
Langley was soon experimenting with models, the first of which were powered by rubber bands. When he became the secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, he drew on the expertise and knowledge of the technicians and scientists there. The result was the completion of a series of test planes. On May 6, 1896, with his friend Alexander Graham Bell as an observer, Langley sent his Aerodrome Number 5 into the air, launched from a catapult on top of a houseboat in the middle of the Potomac River. This 30-lb. craft with a steam engine flew for 1 min. 20 sec. at an altitude of 70 to 100 ft. for a distance of 3,000 ft. It was the first successful flight of an unmanned heavier-than-air flying machine. Langley's Aerodrome Number 6 had mechanical problems that day, but it flew 4,200 ft. in November of 1896.
In 1898, at President William McKinley's instigation, the U.S. Army awarded Langley $50,000 to develop a plane that would carry a man aloft. In December, 1903, nine days before the Wrights' test at Kitty Hawk, Langley tried out his new gasoline-powered experimental model. A mishap with the catapult caused the airplane to plunge to the bottom of the Potomac, and Langley gave up his experiments after being criticized by the press for the great expense to the taxpayers.

Jules Verne's fictional accounts of flying machines inspired young Alberto Santos-Dumont, son of a wealthy Brazilian coffee plantation owner, to fantasies about flight. At age 18, when his father's death made him a millionaire, Santos-Dumont sailed for France, where he became engrossed in internal-combustion engines and automobiles. In 1897 he flew in a balloon for the first time and thereafter became one of the foremost balloonists in France.
In 1905 he built an airplane consisting of three box kites connected to each other by bamboo poles, powered by a steam engine. Strapping his machine to the undercarriage of a balloon, Santos-Dumont went aloft, started the airplane's engine, climbed into the cockpit, and cut the plane loose from the balloon. He plummeted to the ground. However, he persevered and built a new model, which he tested outside Paris on Oct. 23, 1906. With the same kite-shaped wings but a lighter gasoline engine, this airplane successfully took off and flew 722 ft. before landing. Qualified witnesses verified and documented the takeoff and flight. The French government recognized this as the first time a human being had flown in a heavier-than-air machine.
For the next four years Santos-Dumont continued his aeronautical experiments, but in 1910 he contracted disseminating sclerosis and never flew again. He returned to Brazil in 1928, became increasingly depressed over the fact that world powers were using airplanes in warfare, and committed suicide four years later.
Orville and Wilbur Wright, the sons of a midwestern minister, displayed a high mechanical aptitude even in their youth. This, coupled with investigative natures, made Orville (1871-1948) and Wilbur (1867-1912) ideal inventors. By their early twenties they had built a printing press and designed a new bicycle, which they also manufactured. They became interested in flight by reading about the glider experiments of German aerialist Otto Lilienthal.
For three years Orville and Wilbur built and tested gliders on the tree-barren sand dunes of Kitty Hawk, N.C. During the winters at their bicycle plant in Dayton, O., they experimented with new wing shapes and control systems in a wind tunnel that they also invented. By December of 1903, the brothers were back at Kitty Hawk with their first powered airplane, a double-winged, box kite-shaped contraption with an undercarriage attached to a stationary monorail track. On Dec. 17 Orville stretched out in the middle of the lower wing and took off on a 12-sec., 120-ft. flight. That same day, Wilbur flew for 59 sec., covering 852 ft. The tests were observed by five witnesses. The brothers continued to perfect their machine, and in 1906 they were granted a U.S. patent for their invention. However, they did not publicly demonstrate their airplane until 1908, after which they were awarded U.S. Army and French commercial contracts to manufacture them.

Controversy still rages over who really invented the first airplane because it's not just a matter of who devised a craft that got off the ground. It depends on how one defines flight. Which of these inventions, if any, took off from the ground and stayed in the air under its own mechanical power rather than depending on forces such as momentum or wind? In order to be considered true flight, did it have to be sustained and well controlled? Does 10 sec. in the air count as much as 10 min.? If the machine lost power and crashed, does that count as much as a three-point landing? Finally, based on modern-day knowledge, were any of these machines compatible with proven theories of aeronautical design?
Ader's claims are often attacked because of his lack of qualified witnesses, but the Wright brothers in 1903 had only five witnesses, none of whom was a qualified aeronautical engineer. In fact, one of the Wrights' witnesses, A. W. Drinkwater, stated in an interview in the early 1950s that the Wrights had not achieved powered flight but only a powered glide in 1903. They had launched their plane into a strong headwind, down a sand dune, using their monorail undercarriage system; all the engine did was power the plane as a glider once it was airborne. Compared to this, Ader had the testimony of General Mensier of the French Army General Staff, who at one point in time stated that at Satory in 1897 Avion III took off by itself from the ground.
Another argument against Ader is that he did not achieve sustained or controlled flight. Ader's supporters counter that any number of qualifications can be added to the definition of flight and that although Ader's machines lacked sophisticated controls and never flew great distances, they still satisfied the basic requirement of taking off under their own power.
Later investigation showed that Ader's steam engine was a highly efficient mechanism, powerful but amazingly light. Some experts, including certain of Ader's detractors, contend that his engine was far more suitable for flight than the engine used by the Wright brothers.
Ader's proponents maintain that, although his flights were largely uncontrolled and brief, he successfully flew at least six years before the Wright brothers.

Langley's supporters have had to refute two major arguments concerning his claim. First, that his 1896 airplane was unmanned and therefore only a model, while his man-carrying plane was a failure. But his adherents assert that his machines met all requirements for controlled, lengthy flight. The manned airplane failed, not because of any inherent mechanical difficulties, but simply because of the faulty catapult. Second, some argue that Langley's airplanes did not, and could not, use their own motive power for takeoff. Langley partisans claim that he could have ascended from the ground but was concerned with the damage that might occur on landing. It is also asserted that the engine of Langley's flying machine was efficient enough to power a takeoff.
Even Wilbur Wright once admitted that Langley had a stronger claim than any other contender, saying Langley had provided "the first practical demonstration of the possibility of mechanical flight," and that he and his brother were influenced in their work by Langley's skills. The Langley claim is in agreement with the Wrights' claim that Ader's aircraft never flew, but it points out that Langley's machines had achieved flight some seven years before the Wright brothers and ten years before Santos-Dumont.
A number of aviation historians assert that none of these contenders--not Langley or the Wright brothers--was the first to invent a viable heavier-than-air machine. These authorities argue that the Wrights' supporters are correct in their evaluations of Ader. They also claim that Langley's unmanned, unguided, catapult-launched airplane cannot be seriously considered, and that the Wrights achieved only a powered glide in 1903. They contend that Alberto Santos-Dumont on Oct. 23, 1906, became the first man to fly. They point out that the French government, in spite of its later patent award to the Wright brothers, officially recognized this 1906 event as the first witnessed powered flight. Unlike the case with the other claimants, no aeronautics experts dispute the fact that Santos-Dumont's flight met all the necessary definitions and criteria. That would make him the father of the airplane.

Supporters of Orville and Wilbur Wright deny that Ader flew in 1890, in 1891, or in 1897. They underscore the fact that Ader did not press his claims until 1906, when the Wrights were already acknowledged as the inventors of the airplane. Only after Ader could not officially prove that he flew in 1897, since his witnesses disagreed as to whether Avion III actually became airborne or simply made short hops off the ground when it was buffeted by crosswinds, did he assert that he had also flown in 1890 and 1891. He named dates and places but could not produce witnesses.
Pro-Wright authorities also contend that Ader's craft lacked the proper aerial design for controlled and sustained flight. Even if his engine could launch the craft, that did not constitute flying, for a sky-rocket powered by gunpowder could do the same. It was not until the Wrights took off in an aeronautically feasible craft, with its well-designed stabilizers and wings, that man flew for the first time, they assert. And in spite of the fact that there were no public or formal demonstrations, Orville and Wilbur had so well mastered aviation that by the fall of 1905 they could claim flights lasting half an hour covering distances of up to 24 mi.
As further proof there are the patents awarded by a French patent court in 1911 and an American patent court in 1914, which named the brothers as the inventors of the airplane. Charles Dollfus, honorary curator of the Paris Air Museum, who was assigned by the French government to examine Ader's papers after his death, stated categorically: "Ader did not fly for a single instant at Satory in the course of the tests of ... 1897." And, finally, the Wrights went on to prove their claims by perfecting the airplane and producing it commercially.

© 1975 - 1981 by David Wallechinsky & Irving WallaceReproduced with permission from "The People's Almanac" series of books.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


John Pemberton was the inventor of Coca Cola
In May, 1886, Coca Cola was invented by Doctor John Pemberton a pharmacist from Atlanta, Georgia. John Pemberton concocted the Coca Cola formula in a three legged brass kettle in his backyard. The name was a suggestion given by John Pemberton's bookkeeper Frank Robinson.
Birth of Coca ColaBeing a bookkeeper, Frank Robinson also had excellent penmanship. It was he who first scripted "Coca Cola" into the flowing letters which has become the famous logo of today.
The soft drink was first sold to the public at the soda fountain in Jacob's Pharmacy in Atlanta on May 8, 1886.
About nine servings of the soft drink were sold each day. Sales for that first year added up to a total of about $50. The funny thing was that it cost John Pemberton over $70 in expanses, so the first year of sales were a loss.
Until 1905, the soft drink, marketed as a tonic, contained extracts of cocaine as well as the caffeine-rich kola nut.
Asa CandlerIn 1887, another Atlanta pharmacist and businessman, Asa Candler bought the formula for Coca Cola from inventor John Pemberton for $2,300.
By the late 1890s, Coca Cola was one of America's most popular fountain drinks, largely due to Candler's aggressive marketing of the product. With Asa Candler, now at the helm, the Coca Cola Company increased syrup sales by over 4000% between 1890 and 1900.
Advertising was an important factor in John Pemberton and Asa Candler's success and by the turn of the century, the drink was sold across the United States and Canada. Around the same time, the company began selling syrup to independent bottling companies licensed to sell the drink. Even today, the US soft drink industry is organized on this principle.
Death of the Soda Fountain - Rise of the Bottling IndustryUntil the 1960s, both small town and big city dwellers enjoyed carbonated beverages at the local soda fountain or ice cream saloon. Often housed in the drug store, the soda fountain counter served as a meeting place for people of all ages. Often combined with lunch counters, the soda fountain declined in popularity as commercial ice cream, bottled soft drinks, and fast food restaurants became popular.
New Coke
On April 23, 1985, the trade secret "New Coke" formula was released. Today, products of the Coca Cola Company are consumed at the rate of more than one billion drinks per day.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


The History of 'le' Champagne

The beginningThis might surprise you, but the English rather than the French were the ones who invented Champagne in the 17th century. And with the word "invented" I mean making sparkling wine deliberately, and through a reproducible process. The first French documents that refer to Champagne date from 1718. These papers report that the first time this happened was around 20 years earlier (bringing the date to circa 1698). In England however, Sir George Etheredge made mention of sparkling wine as early as 1676. We now know that a sparkling wine actually becomes sparkling by way of a second fermentation. The trick in bringing about this second fermentation lies in the addition of sugar. Well then, in 1662 a mister Christopher Merret, tells us, in an article called: "Some observations concerning the ordering of wines" by the Royal Society, how sugar was added on purpose in order to achieve a sparkling wine.The French version of the history is that Dom Perignon, a merry French monk from Hautvillers (1638-1715) was the one who invented Champagne. The cheerful chap however did not start messing about with bottles of the bubbly stuff in Hautvillers until 1668. Although Dom Pérignon fiddled with wine for god knows how long, there are some who assume that he did not quite understand why the stuff turned sparkling. Reproducible wasn’t a term which could very well be applied to his experiments.Another French version of the true origin of Champagne is that the monks of St. Hilaire in the south of France had begun making sparkling wine as early as 1531. The substance was made following the rural method ("excusez mon French"). The second fermentation using this method is done in the vat. In actual fact it is not so much a second fermentation as a prolonging of the first. The stuff that these days is still made in this fashion is called Blanquette de Limoux.Bureaucracy is of all times so as early as in 1600 in France all kinds of rules and regulations were issued, making things rather uncomfortable. One of them was the prohibition of transporting bottles of wine. This now was a bit of a nuisance because of the simple fact that Champagne is made in bottles and therefore cannot be transported in a vat. In 1728, 38 years after the birth of Champagne, this rather absurd ban was sent to kingdom come and as a result Champagne houses start to shoot up left right and centre.Ruinart was the first Champagne house (1729), followed by Chanoine (1730), Taittinger (1734), Moët (1743), Abelé (1757, Clicquot (1772) and Heidsieck (1785. The house of Gosset claims to be the oldest because it was already established in 1584. This is entirely true but till far in the 18th century it delivered still wines only.
The early yearsThe fact that many a person believes Dom Pierre Pérignon to have invented the bubbly stuff is more of a smart PR gimmick than anything else. Yes indeed, even monks "do" PR. In this specific case our jolly fellow was helped by the folks from the house of Moët et Chandon. M&C bought the rights for the name of Dom Pérignon from Mercier. Ever since that day the myth that Dom P. invented Champagne is cleverly exploited by not quite stupid M&C marketing boys (and/or girls). Having said that, it should be remembered that Dom P. did make a mega contribution to the development of Champagne. He has devoted many a decade of his life trying to manage the bubbly stuff. For which, by the way, I would hereby like to thank him from the bottom of my heart. Our dear Dom had a rather jolly career, to get back to the subject. He once started with the production of quality wine and got extremely frustrated by the fact that his wine kept on containing CO2 (carbon dioxide). He never got a lucky streak in his efforts to diminish the CO2. Quite the opposite, every effort he made only led to bigger quantities of CO2 in his wines. Heedful of the motto: "if you can’t beat them, join them" he went on to pursue his experiments, but now on wine containing CO2. The dear soul has come up with quite a few clever inventions. The harvesting of the grapes was done in the first day of summer. Dom P. came up with the idea that harvesting at a later time would lead to fresher and more elegant wine. This is how it came to be that even to this date harvesting is done in September. These days every year, a date is fixed at which the harvest may begin at its earliest. A number of houses begin that very day. Several other houses, like for instance M&C deliberately wait a few more days before starting to collect the grapes. Dom P. has invented the horizontal Champagne press. He had decided that the grapes should be pressed as close to the vineyards as possible. Before then the grapes were first transported to a central place. The greater part of the grapes however turned out to be so badly crushed by the time they got there, that making quality wine from what was left was out of the question. Another thing that DP found out was that the grapes should be pressed very gently to achieve the best quality. The pressure in a wine press should be no more than that which can be applied between a persons thumb and forefinger. To this date the grapes are pressed immediately next to the vineyards with the exactly the pressure that can be exerted between thumb and forefinger.As you may know, the grapes were pressed in three stages. Dom P. was probably the first to press the grapes three times. Today the third pressing is banned. Last but not least our jolly monk found out that in order to make real quality Champagne, different types of grapes should be mixed. To this very day most of the Champagnes are made of a combination of Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay grapes. He also had to tackle the problem of exploding bottles. D.P. eventually came to the conclusion that English made bottles were needed, the so called "verre anglais". The first bottles of Champagne “as we know them" were produced by D.P. in 1690.Now Dom Oudard was another merry monk who was fiddling with the bubblies. He arrived at more or less the same conclusions as Dom Pérignon but had the disantvantage of having to work with mainly Chardonnay grapes that at that time were not as highly appreciated as the Pinot Noir grapes that were our friend Pérignon’s favourite hobby material.During the first years of Champagne making there was another problem to be dealt with. The quantities of yeast and sugar that had to be added to the bottle to make the fermentation process take a proper course were not exactly known. Overdoses of yeast were regularly administered, which had the funny side effect of startling sounds of explosions emerging from the cellars. As for my personal experiences with yeast. Let’s say I am not too keen on the stuff. I used to drink a bottle "Duvel" (Belgian beer) every now and then, but the blasted yeast at the bottom of the bottle brings on splitting headache and easily gets you plastered. (The first being even worse than the latter). Anyhow, Mr. Clicquot’s widow, the famous Veuve Barbe Qlicquot had taken over the business from her late husband, and for want of better ways to spend her time, tinkered with bottles and made the brilliant discovery that if a bottle was put upside down and twisted a little, the yeast and other clutter sank to the neck of the bottle.However cleverly this was noticed, it was a little too much to sit around all day with a bottle upside down in one’s hand (especially when not permitted to open it). So, Madame Clicquot came up with a solution by having holes drilled in her splendid oak table, and subsequently putting the bottles in them with the cork facing down. All you needed to do now was to shake the bottles every now and then in order to loosen the yeast from the inside of the bottle. The result was a bottle with the sediment nicely settled the neck, which still had to be taken out before clear Champagne was obtained. Remuage is the term for the technique of shaking the bottles. Although Mme. Clicquot started it, the other producers wasted no time imitating the trick.M. Francois is the inventor of the "densimetre" (or "sucre oenometre"). This device is capable of measuring exactly how much residual sugar is left in the wine after the first fermentation. Having done that it was easy to determine how much yeast and sugar had to be added for the second fermentation in the bottle. The invention of this tool finally gave the Champagne makers more grip on the quality of the final product and helped circumvent the problem of bottles exploding due to a slightly over-enthusiastic fermentation process. Napoleon was another interesting chap, who put away a bottle or two in his time. One cannot help to wonder if his daily intake had something to do with the queer way he wore his hat. Historians and scientists alike have not decided on the matter, but what is known for a fact is that on his way to work our belligerent fellow often dropped by at Epernay to restock his supplies before he got cracking. He and the mayor of Epernay at the time, Jean Remy Moët were close pals. As you can see Moet was into PR even at that time. It must be said that it wasn’t exactly a smart move to go against the wishes of the Emperor, so why not merrily join him in drinking a glass or two. And since Napoleon had his own unique style of travelling, several bottles were exported inadvertently. According to legend, Napoleon only fought one battle without replenishing his Champagne supplies. Does the battle of Waterloo ring a bell? Well now, here is as good a reason as any for me to always fit in a quick stop at Reims on my way to my favourite ski-resorts. One never knows…. Apart from being a Champagne producer, Eugene Mercier was an extremely shrewd businessman. He understood even then, that marketing a product is at least as important as the quality of the product. Judging from their conservative and arrogant approach of the market and its customers, this is a fact to which many a modern producer in the region still has trouble to adhere to.During the period of the Belle Époque (around 1890) Eugene thought up a couple of good stunts. For the occasion of the World Exhibition, his buddy Gustav Eiffel had built a cute little tower in Paris. In order to celebrate this marvel Eugene had a wooden barrel built, which could contain 200.000 bottles of Champagne. He then had the barrel with the contents, hauled from Epernay to Paris by 24 white oxen. In trying to do so, he found a slight obstacle on his way; or rather he found there was no such thing as a way. The Champagne riots had broken out only just before, and a few apparently rather upset winegrowers had seen fit to do a little wrecking of roads and towns in the region. Bearing in mind the motto: "you win some, you lose some" Eugene had the roads rebuilt, demolished a few extra houses that were in the way, and went on his way with his little barrel and his 24 oxen, so that three weeks later he could enjoy a glass or two under that tower of his buddy. Good stunt: the biggest tower with the biggest barrel, big fun and lots of exposure.To this day the locals go up the Eiffel tower with a bottle in hand to celebrate birthdays or whatever other satisfactory excuse for a celebration. I myself have done it too, and I can recommend anyone with an ounce of romance in his or her body to give it a go too.Eugene also realised that the Multimedia phenomenon might very well suit his purposes. It is obvious that this marketing visionary was well ahead of his time. The impressive way in which Eugene conducted business still reflects on the Mercier firm today. This is most obvious when you visit the cellars of Mercier. The Mercier fellows made a wonderful multimedia spectacle of an in itself boring phenomenon: the caves at the Avenue de Champagne at Epernay. Customer friendliness is still held in high esteem at Mercier’s. Cellars are open 7 days a week the year round. The house conducts multi-lingual tours, great tasting sessions and has a liberal supply of gadgets on offer in the shop. Chapeau Gentlemen! Regrettably Mercier does not rank amongst the quality Champagnes. It nonetheless is the best sold Champagne in France. Another clever marketing trick dreamt up by later generations is the Demi-Sec Rosé Champagne by Mercier. It is the only Rosé which comes in the Demi-sec type. It is something you have to like though.Maurice Pol-Roger was mayor of Epernay during the Second World War. He was also the owner of the well known brand Pol Roger. Maurice was a big fan of his own Champagne and could always be found carrying with him one of his own bottles whenever he went on his way (another one of those life-lessons for me). One way or another the French There was certainly no love lost between the German occupiers and the French. Herr Hitler was of opinion that Champagne production should be continued so that bottles of bubbles could be sent to the frontline. Being a true patriot Maurice decided to sabotage the production. The quality of Champagne was deliberately brought down (why on earth pamper the occupying forces) and with a lot of glee transports were sent the wrong way. The Law and order loving Germans were not amused by this demonstration Gallic humour. Many a time, particularly towards the end of the war, they threatened to burn Epernay, its prestigious cathedral, the cellars and the vineyards to cinders. Not that Herr Hitler and his buddy Himmler were prone to pyromania. More important was the fact that the Germans had the promotion of their own Sekt in mind. The latter is of course a lot easier when competition is eliminated. This seems like rather drastic marketing techniques which I don’t think were ever applied anymore. The resourceful French however had hidden a substantial stock of Champagne in their cellars behind blind walls. Yet Germans were not entirely debilitated and succeeded in finding a number of cellars and while at it smashed them to smithereens.Winston Churchill however, was a man who thought the world of Maurice Pol-Roger’s sense of humour. It is known that as a result he consumed a bottle of Pol-Roger on a daily basis. As a matter of fact Churchill cherished the thought that drinking the stuff was always appropriate in defeat as well as in Victory. The dapper man was also a lover of a good cigar and decided that Champagne and quality cigars was a "marriage made in heaven". So here is another lesson that I learnt. According to some of his bolder statements concerning Rhodesia, Churchill’s son in law Christopher Soames took over some habits of his father in law. In analogy with Napoleon’s time honoured strategy he armed himself with 30 bottles of Pol-Roger and decided that within 30 days he had to bring the war in Rhodesia to a settlement.Robert Jean de Vogue is another man who left his imprint on the Champagne. During the Second World War he was boss of Moët et Chandon and made the unsavoury proposition to drastically raise the price of grapes in the Champagne area. Till this very day the price of grapes are not determined conform the market and supply and demand but are centrally fixed. As consumer and (stingy Dutchman) I am against this measure of course but on the other side I must admit it has its merits. Thanks to the artificial high margin on the grapes some more time and money can be invested in obtaining high quality. This of course leads to the superb quality of “LE” Champagne from “LA” Champagne that we enjoy so much, preferably on a daily basis.For his participation of the sabotage of the production and transportation of Champagne to the Wehrmacht, Robert Jean was sentenced to death by the Führer of La Champagne,Kleibisch. Probably a little angel was perched on his shoulder for the sentence was never executed.
Rules and regulationsThe trade-mark of Champagne is surely one of the best protected in the world. The gentlemen of the "Comité Interprofessionel du Vin de Champagne (CIVC)” are doing their utmost to prevent any form of improper use of the name. Within Europe they were quite successful. Within the Common Market their guidelines have now been registered as law. Folks “across the waters” however tend to be less conscientious. Since many years already rules and regulations concerning Champagne are strict but clear.In December 1908 the ruling government decided that Champagne could only be called Champagne if the grapes originated from a neatly defined area in the Marne and Aisne area. This immediately antagonized the winegrowers outside of the area who had never the less for a long time delivered their grapes to the Champagne makers. The farmers from the Aube area for instance were not really happy.In February 1911 guidelines were further accentuated by penalizing manufacturers who used grapes from Aube for their Champagnes. This triggered the infamous Champagne riots. These riots got terribly out of hand. On the 11th of April 5000 angry Champagne farmers from the region of Aube formed a mob and went through the official Champagne region, rampaging and demolishing everything within their reach. Rumour has it that streets were awash with wine and Champagne. 40.000 "peacekeepers" were called in and ruthlessly restored law and order. Both infrastructure and Champagne houses were severely damaged by these raging battles. In 1927 the law was adapted and a second Champagne zone was added to the official Champagne region, which enabled farmers from the Aube and Seine-et-Marne region to once again deliver grapes for Champagne.In June 1036 the Appelation d’Origine Controlée (AOC) for Champagne was established. At that time it was necessary to include that distinction on the label. As of now this acronym has lost its purpose as Champagne may only be called Champagne if produced from grapes originating from an area that has been approved by the AOC
La belle EpoqueWhile the Champagne was busy repairing the damage of the riots Paris was having a ball. The interbellum was a period that is widely known as "the roaring twenties". Champagne was flowing liberally. Clubs like Maxim’s and the four restaurants on the Eiffel tower greedily exploited the apparent prosperity Fine combinations of exquisite food, excellent Champagne saw the day and at extravagant parties the "jet-set” was charlestonning like mad. At that time however, Champagne was limited only to the rich and famous. Now that is something I don’t agree with. Therefore I decided to call my business "Champagne un-limited. I wish I had lived during that period I think I would have fitted in effortlessly. It was not to be alas, for my parents weren’t around at that time.
After the warThe years after the war brought more and more democracy in Europe As a result all of a sudden Champagne was "not done". Even today some Marxist moralists see fit to condemn my rather liberal Champagne consumption. A few economical crises as well as some meagre harvests contributed to a further decline in Champagne consumption.The image of Champagne was suffering. Champagne was associated with houses of ill (if merry) repute. In the eyes of many Dutch Calvinists, people who drank Champagne were often to be found in these despicable places. You had better steer clear of the bubbles and drink other beverages preferably free of alcohol if you did not want to be seen as a lecher.
Champagne todayAt the moment the economy is the main spoilsport. Yet I am not terribly worried about the situation. I observe more and more people enjoying a glass of bubblies during the year. They don’t necessarily wait till 00.02 on the first of January. The image of Champagne is on the rise. Drinking Champagne is no longer "not done". Especially the younger more affluent generation regularly sips a glass of Champagne without embarrassment. Once again Champagne is fun.Of course I hear the weirdest things. I was told that at some House parties combining XTC with Champagne is the latest fad. As a genuine Champagne lover I am not taking part in this nonsense of course, but such behaviour seems to be "cool". Also rumour has in that in Belgium there is a house of pleasant virtue where Viagra Champagne is poured. A bit greenish but with appropriate side-effects (The nature of which I will not describe here). Further developments are the sprouting of dedicated Champagne shops. Also the variety in choice at off-licences increases day by day. Roads to The Champagne stand for pleasant driving and lots of people cross the border to go and have a look, which is something I can highly recommend.

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