August 9 - Happy Birthday, Smokey Bear

   Posted on August 9, 2022     

This is an update of my post published on August 9, 2011:

Only YOU can prevent wildfires!”

Many people call him Smokey THE Bear (because of a successful 1952 song of that name), but his proper name is simply Smokey Bear. Many people think he's talking about FOREST fires rather than wildfires (because that's what he said for the first 54 years of his life), but in 2001 the slogan was updated since wildfires are not always in forests.

Smokey Bear was created to educate the public about the dangers of forest fires in 1944. Six years after Smokey-the-fictional-bear was born, a black bear cub was found in a burnt forest. The cub had climbed a tree to escape the fire, but his paws and hind legs had been burned. People nursed him back to health, and someone had the bright idea of naming the bear cub Smokey. Soon the cub's rescue made national news, and Smokey-the-real-injured-bear-cub became a big celebrity.

After he healed, Smokey was flown to the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., where he lived the rest of his life, 26 years. (The average lifespan of a black bear in the wild is ten years, although they can live from 25 to 30 years in the wild.) Smokey received millions of visitors and so much mail that he got his own zip code! (He got up to 13,000 letters per WEEK!) He ate bluefish and trout and even peanut butter sandwiches.

Smokey-the-fictional-bear lives on and celebrates his birthday each August 9th. Learn more about him and his message here.

Also on this date:

Anniversary of Jesse Owens' fourth gold medal

Plan ahead:

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August 8 - Happy Birthday, Ernest Lawrence

   Posted on August 8, 2022     

This is an update of my post published on August 8, 2011:

Ernest Lawrence was born in South Dakota on this day in 1901. But his long career as a physicist occurred at the University of California, Berkeley.

Lawrence invented the cyclotron, a type of particle accelerator and atom smasher, in 1929. 

His first model only cost around $25 in materials, could be held in one hand—and it worked! That small model accelerated protons to a remarkable 1% of the speed of light! (Remember that today's particle accelerators and atom smashers, such as the Large Hadron Collider, cost billions of dollars and are many miles wide! Of course, such huge machines achieve far great speeds and smashing-power than that first model!)

The Large Hadron Collider can accelerate particles
quite close to the speed of light - so fast a particle
could whizz around the Earths equator seven and a
 half times in just one second!

Berkeley's Lawrence Hall of Science is named for Lawrence, as is the chemical element lawrencium. Lawrence won the Nobel Prize in 1939.

Above and below - the Lawrence Hall of Science
has wonderful things to see and do to explore
various fields of science. 

August 7 - A Solar Eclipse Saved Lives?

   Posted on August 7, 2022     

This is an update of my post published on August 7, 2011:

On this day in 1869, George Davidson's knowledge of science may have saved his life.

According to historians, geographer and astronomer George Davidson led a party to Alaska to view a total eclipse of the sun. They had been warned that the native Chilkat people were angry because of earlier incidents with white people - and knowing the general sweep of history in North America - white folks taking over native lands, waging war, inflicting mistreatment - I could go on and on - I imagine the Chilkat's anger was justified.

Davidson met with some Chilkat representatives on August 6. Apparently the meeting was very tense. He told the Chilkat that he was anxious to see the total eclipse of the sun that he had predicted to occur the next day and explained that he and his group meant no harm. 

Although the Chilkat didn't seem to believe him, they left the group alone for the night. The next day, when the sun did indeed disappear as predicted, the Chilkat ended up arranging a potlatch - a ceremonial exchange of gifts. Davidson painted a view of the eclipsed sun's corona on a wooden plank, and he presented it to Kohklux, the Chilkat leader. In return, Kohklux and his wives drew a large and detailed map of their homeland and trading routes.


The Chilkat people are known for their weaving. Check it out!

Also on this date:

(First Sunday of August)

(First Sunday of August)

(First Sunday of August)

(First Sunday of August)

(First Sunday of August)

(First Sunday of August)

Satchmo Days 
(August 6 - 7, 2022)