Sunday, March 25, 2007

Apple #233: New York City Facts

After that brief interlude in which I tipped my cap to my indomitable Betta fish, I will now return to the matter at hand, which is responding to your requests to tell you information about your favorite place.

Next up on the list is New York City. Well. My entries have been getting longer and longer, and if Shakespeare is at all correct, that means this blog is getting less and less witty. Therefore, I mean to keep this as brief as possible, yet with the goal of finding pieces of information that might be new to any variety of reader who happens by this way. So I will try to provide a mixture of trivia, including the common and the lesser-known. Hopefully, you will find something here about the United States' largest city that was heretofore unknown to you.

The flag of New York City
(Image from A View on Cities)

  • New York City was originally the capital of the United States until 1790.
  • Broadway, the street known for its theaters, is one of the longest streets in the world, clocking in at 150 miles. It used to be a trade route for the Algonquins in the way-back day, and it was originally called the Wiechquakeck Trail. Its official name today is Highway 9.

Broadway in 1908
(image from Hello New York)

Broadway in 2004
(Photo from

  • The Bronx, named for Swedish settler Jonas Bronck, is the only borough connected to the mainland. The rest of New York City is on islands.
  • Queens was named after Queen Catherine of Braganza, who was married to King Charles II of England at the time. Braganza is in Portugal.
  • Staten Island may be best known for its ferry, which carries some 65,00 people per day. The ferry is not one boat but actually a fleet of 9 boats, which can carry 1,200 to 6,000 passengers each, per trip.
  • The southern tip of Manhattan is almost entirely landfill. The "natural" land comprises about 75% of the whole of Manhattan.
  • Central Park is larger than Monaco.
  • Greenwich Village hosts the world's largest Halloween parade, with giant puppets, roughly 50,000 costumed participants, and an estimated attendance of 2 million people watching in 2006.

This giant skeleton puppet won its designer Eli Worden a commission so he could build it for the Halloween Parade in Greenwich Village.
(Photo from New York's Village Halloween Parade site)

  • Not to be outdone, Booklyn hosts the Coney Island Mermaid Parade, which takes place the first Saturday after the summer solstice. Everybody dresses up -- like mermaids, sea creatures of various kinds, and the occasional lighthouse.
  • The oldest known cattle ranch in the United States was at Montauk, Long Island, and started functioning in 1747.
  • NYC's first public transportation was a 12-seat stagecoach called "Accommodation," and it began service in 1827.

Ticket booth in City Hall station, 1904. Tickets were sold for the subway until 1920, when coin-operated turnstiles were installed.
(Photo from New York City Transit MTA)

  • The first daily Yiddish newspaper was printed in New York City in 1885.
  • The New York Post, established by Alexander Hamilton in 1803, is the oldest circulating newspaper in the US.
  • Toilet paper was invented in NYC by Joseph C. Gayetty, in 1857.
  • The beaded curtain that hangs in the New York State Theater has 8 million gold colored metal balls, one for every NYC citizen at the time the curtain was first hung, in 1964.

Interior of the New York State Theater, which is part of the complex that is the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. The theater seats 2,804 people, and is the home of the New York City Ballet and the New York City Opera.
(Photo from Andreas Praefcke's postcard collection)

  • By the numbers:
    • Total number of tourists in 2005: 42.6 million
    • Amount they spent that year: $22.8 billion, or about $535 per person
    • Hotel rooms: 71,000
    • Places to eat out: 18,696
    • Licensed taxis: 12,778
    • Buses: 4,489
    • People riding the subway on an average weekday: 4.5 million
    • Number of rats: est. 44 million to 96 million
    • Animal bites hotline: 212-566-2068
    • Number of hurricanes that have struck NYC: 2 (1821 and 1938)

The Brooklyn Bridge, designed by John Roebling, who was paid $8,000 annually starting in 1867. In 1869 his foot was crushed by a ferry, requiring that his toes be amputated. He declined anesthesia and survived the operation, but died a few weeks later from lockjaw. His son took his place and oversaw the bridge's completion.
(Photo from Living Cities)

Well, it turned out to be a fairly lengthy entry after all. But the pictures take up a lot of room! And hey, it is New York City, after all.

If you would like to ask the Apple Lady to find facts for you about your favorite place, just ask in the comments field of this entry.

New York City & Company, Visit New York City, Did You Know?, New York Facts and Trivia, NYC Trivia, How Did Queens Get Its Name?
Hypertextbook, The Physics Factbook, Number of Rats in New York City
Robert Roy Britt, "History Reveals Hurricane Threat to New York City," LiveScience, June 1, 2005
New York City Ballet, Fun Facts about New York State Theater
Brooklyn Bridge Facts, History, and Information

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Happy Birthday, FishFish!

I am interrupting my current string of posts on What's Your Favorite Place to bring you this breaking news: my fish is an astonishing one year old today!

Given that fish are sensitive creatures and not well-suited for living in human environments, and that the average lifespan of a Betta fish is two years, the fact that I have had him for one entire year is truly a milestone.

Those die-hard readers of the Daily Apple may recall the day when I first brought home my Betta fish, a day of much wonder and excitement. He has since survived my first encounter with his natural tendency to make a bubble nest, his growing dislike of the vegetable food pellets he came with and my decision to start feeding him bloodworms -- which he absolutely loves and attacks with great relish.

Since then, he developed some unfortunate bacterial infections, which I did not report to you, fair reader, because I was unsuccessful in combating them. He developed pop-eye, an infection which made his eyes bulge rather cartoonishly, and then he developed fin-rot, which meant that his long lovely swishy fins were slowly getting smaller, appearing as though they had been nibbled by something.

Fins looking frayed or slightly chewed is a sign of fin rot
(Photo from Bettatalk's page on Betta diseases)

I read many Betta fish health websites and learned that I ought to buy one or more various kinds of antibacterial pills, dissolve them in water, and add a couple teaspoons' worth to his water each day. When the first round of antibacterials didn't work, I asked at the pet store how my fish could have gotten these infections, and the man in charge of fish shrugged and said pretty much anything can introduce bacteria into a fish bowl however vigilant you may be.

I tried a different course of antibacterials but alas, they did not make FishFish's pop-eye go away. I think the antibacterials did halt the spread of the fin-rot, but his fins are still looking quite ragged. I decided to accept the fact that I could not treat his pop-eye and his eyes are now permanently bulgy, and he has most likely gone blind.

Pop eye is clearly present in the eye on the left. It was hard for me to tell for a while whether my fish had pop eye because his scales are a dark color and also because both of his eyes looked about the same. But finally I concluded this meant that both eyes were affected.
(Photo by Sierraraptor, posted at the Fish Junkies site on Pop Eye)

Some days when he is lethargic, I hold a hand mirror up to his bowl. In the early days (oh, those happy days) when FishFish was still spry, when I held up a hand mirror, he'd see his reflection and think it was another male Betta in his territory, and he would flare all his fins in a most spectacular fashion. But now he doesn't usually respond. When I approach his bowl to feed him, however, he does still try to attack me, in true Siamese Fighting Fish fashion. So all hope is not lost.

Lydia is making her Betta fish flare by holding a mirror in front of him.
(Photo from Daniel Chia's Betta Barracks)

I also think that the frequent water changes were stressing him out. I moved him to a more secluded location in my kitchen, and instead of giving him partial water changes every day, I now only remove the visible nasty bits in his bowl as soon as I see them and give him a full water change about every ten days. That runs contrary to what most experts will tell you, but I do suspect that all the things going in and out of his bowl every day were way stressing him out and may have contributed to his illnesses. He is now a bit more sedate, less frantic, in his new secluded location and without me messing with him every fourteen hours.

He has also survived an inadvertent attempt on his life. One day a few months ago when I was cleaning his bowl, I screwed up and accidentally put him into hot water. Poor FishFish! When I do a complete water change, I fill an empty Cool Whip container with Betta-friendly water and put FishFish into that while I empty his bowl, rinse it out with very hot water and wipe out the insides, then refill it with more Betta-friendly water. I was so focused on getting that hot water ready to wipe out his empty bowl that I wasn't thinking and poured hot Betta-friendly water into his temporary holding bowl.

Another Betta fish-owner uses a plastic cup as her water-change container. This seems a bit small to me. She has a lightweight square of plastic on top to discourage her fish from jumping out.
(Photo from Betta Basics by Liv and Maria)

When I put FishFish into his dish of friendly but near-boiling hot water, he immediately started racing around the dish at absolute top speed, with much splashing as if he were trying to jump out. In horror I realized what I had done and wrung my hands in despair. How could I fix this terrible error? I couldn't just pour cold water from the tap into his holding dish with him because the chlorine in the tap water would kill him. I had no Betta-friendly water ready that was cold. While I dithered and shouted apologies, he had flipped over onto his back and was swimming upside down, his gills completely exposed to the air and gasping for breath.

I finally put his holding dish into the sink and ran cold water into the sink so that it ran around the outside of the dish. I clutched my hands to my chest and watched as my poor FishFish still struggled and gasped while the water cooled -- oh, so slowly! -- while I begged the water to cool off faster. Finally, he righted himself and seemed to be resting. He was still panting, but it appeared that the crisis had passed.

So despite my near-assassination and germ warfare tactics, FishFish has survived. Here's to FishFish! who lives in spite of my ministrations!

Picture this fish with pop eyes and looking generally battle-scarred and you'll have a good idea of what FishFish looks like.
(Photo from

I have hung blue and red crepe paper streamers in my kitchen where he lives, to celebrate the occasion. I plan to include FishFish in the celebrations by giving him a full water change -- without the near-boiling water -- and a few extra bloodworms.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Apple #232: Fallasburg Park and Bridge

This is the second Apple in the What's Your Favorite Place series. Here's the request:

Lowell Michigan Covered Bridge, please. Fallasburg Park. I won't ask you to explain why -- when you climb up inside and spit down -- the spit makes a hard curve just after it reaches the bottom of the bridge. Life needs to have a little mystery in it, after all.

As requested, I will not investigate the physics of falling saliva, but will only focus on Fallasburg Park and its covered bridge.

  • Fallasburg Park is located three miles outside of Lowell, Michigan.
  • Lowell lies 16 miles east of Grand Rapids, Michigan, and has about 4,000 residents.

Lowell is too small to make it on this map, but it is just east of Grand Rapids, in southwest Michigan.
(Map from Charlotte Public Schools)

  • Lowell used to be a lumber and flour mill town, but in more recent years, it has become a bedroom community for people who earn their living in Grand Rapids.
  • Today, Lowell boasts an observatory, a YMCA and a Senior Center, and growing historic and shopping districts.
  • The Lowell high school teams are known as the Red Arrows.

  • Fallasburg Park is located in the bend formed by the Flat River and its little offshoot, Page Creek.
  • Some of the land that belongs to the park was donated in 1955 by Lena Eickhoff, nee Reusser, whose family originated in Switzerland.
  • Amenities include:
    • Horseshoe pit
    • Baseball diamonds
    • Fishing areas
    • Nature trails
    • Enclosed and open shelters (people use these for weddings)
    • Picnic areas
    • Playground
    • Restrooms
  • The Meadowview Polo Club practices and plays polo in Fallasburg Park.
  • You can also go on a biking color tour to view the fall leaves and raise money for MADD in October.


Fallasburg Covered Bridge
(Photo from the Ohio Barns pages on covered bridges around the country)

  • The Fallasburg Covered Bridge is a favorite with photographers, apparently, since many photos and posters are available -- for a price.
  • The bridge was built in 1871, for a cost of $1500. It was repaired in 1905 and again in 1945.
  • The Fallasburg bridge was built to make it easier for horses and carriages to get back and forth between a lumber mill and a flour mill that had been built along the Flat River.
  • The two mills were built by John Wesley Fallass and his brother Silas. They arrived in the area in 1837, the year Michigan became a state.
  • The lumber was sent down the Flat River to the Grand River to furniture makers in Grand Rapids or into Lake Michigan where it could be sent to even bigger businesses.
  • Their lumber and flour mills did a good business and more people moved to the area, which became known as Fallassburgh.
  • After the Civil War, however, rail tracks were laid closer to Lowell and Grand Rapids, and Fallasburgh's growth slowed. It lost its post office in 1905, became Fallasburg, and then turned into a historic district.
  • Today, you can see the Fallass' frame homes in the Fallasburg Historic Village, which is adjacent to the Park.
  • You can also go on a bike trip, for distances ranging from 12 miles to 100 miles, which starts near the Fallasburg Covered Bridge and ends with a homemade meal, for $15.

If you would like to find out more about your favorite place, enter your request in the comment field of this entry.

Access Kent County, Michigan, Fallasburg Park
Descendants of Samuel Reusser
Meadowview Farm Polo Playing Program
Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce
Fallasburg Historic Village
West Michigan Tourist Association, Fallasburg Covered Bridge
Michael Frazier's covered bridges page on Fallasburg Bridge

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Apple #231: Martha's Vineyard

Here it is, the first Apple in answer to the What's Your Favorite Place question. Sorry it's taken me a while to get this up here, Jarred.

For those who haven't checked the Comments on the What's Your Favorite Place entry lately, Jarred asked me to find out about Martha's Vineyard. Here is his question:

Hello Apple Lady!

My favorite place is Martha's Vineyard. When Mark & I go there we usually stay in Edgartown, one of three or four towns on the island. I really think it's the most beautiful place that I've been to....although I haven't been to many places. I think the Vineyard has an interesting history. Something about it being a vacation place for African Americans in the 19th century. Will you consider this for your new blog series? :) I hope all is well!!!


I remember seeing some PBS program about the history of Martha's Vineyard, and that it used to be a vacation spot for African Americans. I will definitely check that out.

It turns out that, for such a small place, Martha's Vineyard has a lot going on. This is an especially long one. I guess that will make up for my time lag, Jarred!

  • Martha's Vineyard is an island located 7 miles off the coast of Massachusetts, underneath the flexed arm (Cape Cod) that sticks out from the Massachusetts mainland.

On this map, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket are both in purple. I don't think that means anything in particular, except that neither of these islands are considered part of Cape Cod.
(Map from Bed & Breakfast Cape Cod)

  • People have been living on Martha's Vineyard for a LONG time. The oldest Native American camps have been dated back to 2270 BC.
  • Some people say that the Vikings landed here -- the first place Vikings ever landed in North America -- in AD 1000 and called the place Vineland.
  • Lots of explorers landed on the island, but the explorer who landed and whose name for it stuck was Bartholomew Gosnold, who arrived in 1602. He called the island Martha's Vineyard -- Martha after his daughter and Vineyard for all the wild grapes that grew there.
  • At about this time, Europeans were buying up parcels of land all over New England, and in the 1640s, miller and businessman Thomas Mayhew bought the island and Cape Cod for 40 pounds.
  • His son, Thomas Mayhew, Jr., led the settlement on the island and founded Edgartown.

Today, Edgartown is located just inland from the icon of the little house in the Great Harbor on this map.
(Map from the Seashell Press)

  • Mayhew Jr was the settlers' teacher and pastor, and he spent a lot of time preaching to the native tribes. Having learned their language, he made friends with them fairly easily and converted many to Christianity.
  • He also decreed that no land should be bought from the native tribes without their consent and without paying a fair price for it. This decree helped keep relations between the tribes and the Europeans amicable, while much blood was shed over land rights in other parts of the country.
  • However, the Europeans brought with them the smallpox, and this wiped out much of the native population on the island. Those that survived were mainly members of the Aquinnah tribe, who lived on the opposite end of the island from the Europeans, and some of the Wampanoags.
  • The Wampanoags taught the Europeans how to catch whales, haul them ashore, and harvest the oil to use as fuel. The Europeans caught onto this like crazy and turned it into an industry, complete with many whaling ships and buildings in Edgartown to support the whaling and shipping trade.

Stereograph of a detailed diorama showing how Martha's Vineyard folks performed the whaling trade.
(Photo from Martha's Vineyard Museum's exhibit on the Photography of Richard Shute)

  • When the American Revolution hit, the British stormed the island and burned many ships and the whaling buildings, and they stole all sorts of sheep and cattle and essentially decimated the economic welfare of the island. It took a while for the islanders to recover, but soon they were whaling away again, although at less of a clip.
  • Then during the Civil War, many of the whaling ships were captured by the Confederate navy or otherwise held up at sea. As a result, lots of the whaling companies went bankrupt. This combined with the discovery of cheaper petroleum in nearby Pennsylvania helped put an end to the whaling trade on Martha's Vineyard.
  • Just before the Civil War, it had become fashionable for people to attend multi-day revival meetings. People were becoming increasingly wealthy, and they feared they were losing touch with their religion. Also at this time, Methodism was becoming popular throughout the early US, and it was primarily the Methodists who were having these revival meetings.

Revival meeting in 1850, held in a sheep pasture in what is now Oak Bluffs
(Photo from Norton's History of Martha's Vineyard)

  • Most of the revivals were held away from the pernicious influence of the towns. They were also held outdoors, to accommodate lots of people, and for this reason, revivals happened mainly in the summer. Especially impassioned Martha's Vineyard residents built new homes in the woods, smaller than their Greek Revival homes in town. It wasn't long before they seemed to forget their original purpose in moving out to the woods and added more and more gingerbread to their homes, trying to out-do other people's cottages.

An especially gingerbread-bedecked cottage in Oak Bluffs, Martha's Vineyard
(Photo by Laura McLean, SouthCoastToday)

  • The meetings were becoming increasingly popular with the mainlanders, and after the Civil War, it had become even easier to get to the island. Enchanted by the beautiful scenery and the beaches, they came back, ostensibly to attend more revival meetings. The residents soon built cottages in the woods specifically to rent to the summer visitors. In 1863, much of the island was still forested, but 10 years later, nearly all the woods had been replaced by cottages. The island's summer resort trade had begun.
  • Today, most of the year-round residents live in one of six major towns: Edgartown, Oak Bluffs, Vineyard Haven (used to be called Tisbury), West Tisbury, Chilmark, and Aquinnah (used to be called Gay Head).

Map of Martha's Vineyard showing the six major towns and the regions associated with them. "Chappy" refers to Chappaquiddick, which is often included with Edgartown.
(Map from Wallace & Co real estate)

  • Martha's Vineyard has a long-standing reputation as being friendly to people of color. Some claim that this is because slavery never existed on the island. This is incorrect; records show that some of the island's early landowners -- and pastors! -- bought and sold people as slaves.
  • However, as was true of every place in Massachusetts, people of color on Martha's Vineyard never lost the right to challenge their status in a court of law, and they never lost the right to own property.
  • After the Civil War and the abolition of slavery, many African Americans came north and to Martha's Vineyard looking for work. They found jobs in the fishing industry and soon began to establish their own businesses.
  • African American visitors discovered that, while it was difficult to find hotels that would rent them rooms on most of the island, they did not have that problem in Oak Bluffs. Soon more African American-owned businesses sprang up throughout Oak Bluffs, so serve the growing African American tourist community.

Screen shot from A Place of Our Own, a documentary about African Americans on Martha's Vineyard

  • One beach in particular was a favorite with African Americans, who called the beach the Inkwell. This beach was the subject of a movie called The Inkwell. Apparently, the movie depicts the area as low-class-friendly, but in fact Oak Bluffs catered to the upper middle-class African American, just as the rest of the island was considered posh and pricey by white tourists and homeowners.
  • Notable past and present African American residents of Martha's Vineyard include:
    • Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
    • Paul Robeson, famous for his role in Show Boat
    • Dorothy West, Harlem renaissance novelist
    • Spike Lee
    • Vernon Jordan, lawyer and advisor to President Clinton
    • Bill Cosby (not a resident but a frequent visitor)
You can read more about Martha's Vineyard from the African American perspective in Finding Martha's Vineyard: African Americans at Home on an Island.

  • Martha's Vineyard is also deaf-friendly. This is because many of the island's early settlers carried the gene for deafness. For a while, as many as one in four children born on the island were born deaf.
  • Residents soon developed a sign language, called Martha's Vineyard Sign Language. This was later merged with additional signs developed on the mainland into a language called American Sign Language.

  • Other 20th century notable events on Martha's Vineyard:
    • Ted Kennedy's mysterious car accident at Chappaquiddick in 1969
    • Jaws was filmed on the island in 1974
    • Jackie Kennedy Onassis purchased land in Chilmark in 1978
    • Princess Diana visited in 1994
    • President Clinton and Hillary were at a party on the Vineyard when they got the news of Princess Diana's death
    • John F. Kennedy, Jr.'s plane crashed off Aquinnah in 1999.

If you would like to ask the Apple Lady more about your favorite place, enter your query as a comment in this earlier entry.

Martha's Vineyard Gazette, Vineyard History
Henry Franklin Norton, History of Martha's Vineyard
Martha's Vineyard Chamber of Commerce
Official Site of the Town of Oak Bluffs, MA
PBS, Independent Lens, A Place of Our Own
The African American Heritage Trail of Martha's Vineyard
The Suburban Sista's Guide to African-American Literature and Culture, Martha's Vineyard - A Place for Us, Deaf History - Martha's Vineyard
Time, Special Report: Princess Diana, 1961-1997

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Apple #230: Daylight Saving Time

I am absolutely thrilled that already, two faithful Daily Apple readers have asked me to tell them more about their favorite places. And I will do so shortly. But for today, I got the idea to write an entry about Daylight Saving Time, and since it goes into effect early tomorrow morning, I have to strike while the clock is ticking!

Plus, maybe two weeks ago, I walked into a conversation in which several people were roundly abusing Daylight Saving Time. It's stupid, they said. It's annoying, and what is the purpose of it anyway? (To this, I replied, it saves a ton of money, but more on that shortly).

They also said, why can't we just split the difference and move our clocks ahead half an hour and keep it that way all year long?

A valid question, thought I. So, I give you Daylight Saving Time (note the use of the singular, "Saving"):

(Photo from Timebooth, an anti-DST site)

  • The amount of daylight varies around the globe. For countries nearer the Equator, day and night are roughly 12 hours each. But for countries closer to the poles, daylight can last a lot longer during the summer, and can be much shorter during the summer.

Because of the Earth's tilt, people who live closer to the Poles have more daylight during the summer.
(Diagram from the George F. Cram Company)

  • Daylight Saving Time was enacted to try to make the most of the natural light that occurs on the longer summer nights. If you are awake and active during the times the sun is shining, you're less likely to turn on a lamp. If you can turn on fewer lamps or light them for less time, you can save electricity.
  • In the United States, Daylight Saving Time cuts electricity usage by 1% each day. A pittance, you say? Here's how the data for electricity consumption in the U.S. breaks down:
    • In 2005, industry, transportation, consumers like you and me -- everybody together used 3.8 billion megawatthours of electricity.
    • That works out to be over 10.4 million megawatthours per day.
    • 1% of that, the amount conserved by implementing Daylight Saving for just one day, is more than 1 million megawatthours.
    • Daylight Saving Time (DST) begins this year on March 11 and ends on November 4. That's 238 days. So that means, by moving our clocks ahead one hour, the United States this year will conserve an estimated 238 million megawatthours of electricity.
    • And this is in terms of electricity only. This doesn't take into account the amount of fuel required to generate that much electricity, nor does it take into account other types of power usage.
    • Back in 1975, the Department of Transportation estimated that Daylight Saving Time saved 10,000 barrels of oil -- per day. (1 barrel = 42 gallons)

In 1999, artists Christo and Jean-Claude made an installation called The Wall of 13,000 barrels of oil atop a gasometer. The oil barrel structure measured 85 feet tall by 223 feet wide. So that's what 13,000 barrels of oil -- just slightly more than what we save per day thanks to Daylight Saving Time -- looks like.
(Photo from A Weekly Dose of Architecture)

  • Electricity savings have been estimated to be even higher in other countries. New Zealand, for example, found that power usage dropped 3.5% during DST.
  • Besides saving power, Daylight Saving Time saves lives. People find it easier to see while driving their cars when it's light out, and they're less likely get into collisions. This is why studies have found that the net number of traffic accidents and fatalities has dropped because of the implementation of DST. (Though some people have argued the opposite, that more people get in accidents because they're still sleepy due to DST.)

  • Some people think that we instituted DST because the farmers like it, but actually they don't. They have to get up with the sun and the animals, no matter what the clock says. DST means that they also have to adjust the times when they buy and sell their goods to non-farmers.
  • Benjamin Franklin was the first person in the US known to have proposed moving our clocks to save energy. He wrote his proposal in 1784.
  • DST was first implemented in the US in the 1880's to keep train schedules accurate. Even so, it wasn't a widespread practice until World War I, when the country very much wanted to conserve fuel. After the War, it fell out of practice again.
  • It was instituted again more formally during the oil embargo in the mid-1970's, though individual states could choose not to participate (Indiana was one of those states).

Anybody else remember this? (cars lining up for gas in 1973, during the oil embargo)
(Photo by Marty Lederhandler, used by The New York Times)

  • Over time, more states have switched to DST, although territories near the Equator such as Puerto Rico and Guam do not move their clocks because they'd see very little benefit from it. California, however, is looking into instituting double-DST in the summer and DST in the winter.

  • Okay, all that's very nice, but let's get to the real question, which is why do we have to move our clocks one hour two times each year? Why can't we split the difference and move our clocks ahead one half hour once, and be done with it?
  • As far as I can figure out, there isn't any reason why we couldn't do this. The reason why we move our clocks specifically one hour as opposed to some other increment of time has nothing to do with the position of the Earth relative to the sun or anything like that.

Standard time zones around the world. As you can see, the time zones get all funky in lots of places, especially around Australia and Indonesia and Hawaii.
(Map from Tyler's Territory)

  • In other countries, their time zones even within the country sometimes differ by half an hour, or some are even forty-five minutes apart. I haven't seen any explanation for the reason we move our clocks an hour and not some other time increment. So it looks like, if we really wanted to make it a half-hour instead, and if we could make a compelling case for it, we could beseige our legislators and make them change it.
  • I have to say, though, you might find it hard to argue against saving an extra 5,000 barrels of oil a day just because you find it annoying to move your clock twice a year. Or at least, you'd have trouble making that argument stick with me.

Web Exhibits, Daylight Saving Time
Department of Energy, Direct Use and Retail Sales of Electricity to Ultimate Customers by Sector, by Provider, October 4, 2006
California Energy Commission, Saving Time, Saving Energy
End Daylight Saving Time
NASA Science Question of the Week, Does anyone really know what time it is?

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

What's Your Favorite Place?

Greetings, Apple readers! I would like to invite you to participate in the Daily Apple, but first, I've added a couple new features to this blog, and I want to point them out to you.

Over in the toolbar on the right, at the top is the tried and true link to the complete subject index to this whole Daily Apple, along with some suggestions for how to find exactly what you're looking for. That's been a part of this Apple for a long time, and it's now at the top of the list.

Below that is my very newest feature, the Most-Viewed Apple section, which is where I let you know which of all the Apples, past and present, got the most hits recently. Sometimes the top Apple changes daily, in which case I'll tell you yesterday's favorite. Sometimes the top Apple doesn't change for a while, and in that case I'll link to the week's favorite. At the end of the month, I'll tell you what Apples were that month's top three hits. Last month, the Loch Ness Monster and the Venus de Milo were duking it out. It was a close fight, but in the end, the Monster won out over the most famous statue in the world, with the Orcas coming in not far behind.

Below the Most-Viewed section is the more familiar Refrigerator, where you can browse through the Daily Apple by date. And finally is the list of all the categories I've used to index the Apple, which you can use to browse by subject.


Now that you're all caught up, I want to invite you to participate, once again, in a request session. I've invited requests a few times in the past, but this time instead of making it open-ended, I thought I'd give you a topic. This time, ask me about a location. It can be your favorite place in the entire world; it can be some place you've never visited but has always made you curious. It can be a country, a state, a city, a river, your old high school, the dining room, your favorite restaurant, etc. It can be a real place, or it can be mythical -- the River Styx, for example.

All I ask is that you choose something I have some chance of being able to investigate. For example, I probably won't be able to tell you much you don't already know about the soles of your tennis shoes. But I could possibly tell you something new about that really busy intersection you have to cross every day on your way to work. Or about Sri Lanka. Or Tallahassee, Florida. You get the idea.

As always, please remember that children and people from all over the world read this website, and keep your requests appropriate for all ages and respectful to everyone.

Post your request in the comment field below this entry (tell your browser to allow pop-ups), and watch this site for news of exotic locations!

Friday, March 2, 2007

Apple #229: Women for President

On the news the other day, they were talking about Hillary Clinton running for President, and they mentioned a woman named Shirley Chisholm who was a politician some thirty years ago or so. They said she was the first woman to run for President.

Is this true? I'd like to know more about her, at least. And surely some other women have run for President besides Chisholm and Clinton. Okay, maybe on a minority party ticket or something. But there has to have been more than two women, ever, who ran for President.

Shirley Chisholm
  • Was the first African-American woman elected to Congress
  • Served in the House of Representatives on behalf of New York City's 12th District from 1968 until 1982.
  • She hired an all-female staff, spoke out in favor of civil rights, voted for education and employment support programs, expansion of day care, and income support for the urban poor. She also spoke in favor of ending the military draft and reduced defense spending.
  • She was a co-founder of the National Organization for Women (NOW).
  • In 1970 she wrote a book called Unbought and Unbossed. This was the catchphrase she used when she campaigned for Congress.
  • The following year, she entered the primaries as a Democratic candidate for President. She did not receive her party's nomination, but she did win 151 delegate's votes from 26 states.
  • Had she won the nomination, she would have run instead of George McGovern against Richard M. Nixon.
  • Chisholm retired from politics when she left the House in 1982.
  • She died two years ago, at the age of 81.

Shirley Chisholm, with Presidential hair and outfit, campaigning in 1972 at a NOW-sponsored rally.
(Photo by Rose Greene, from NOW's page on Shirley Chisholm)

  • Here are some things she said while in public office:
Women in this country must become revolutionaries. We must refuse to accept the old, the traditional roles and stereotypes.
I am deeply disappointed at the clear evidence that the number one priority of the new administration is to buy more and more and more weapons of war . . . The Congress must respond to the mandate that the American people have clearly expressed. They have said, 'End this war. Stop the waste. Stop the killing. Do something for our own people first.'...For this reason, I intend to vote 'no' on every money bill that comes to the floor of this House that provides any funds for the Department of Defense. . . . as I walked out I overheard (probably was meant to overhear) one member say to another, "You know, she's crazy!"

As I suspected, Rep. Chisholm was not the first woman to run for President; many women have run. Many didn't make it past the primaries, and those who did so ran under a minority party.

In addition to the women listed below, several women ran for Vice President (Geraldine Ferraro, India Edwards, Judge Sarah Hughes, etc.). But we're talking President here, the Big Cheese. So let's focus on that.

I should say that this list is incomplete, given ballot inconsistencies from state to state, and given the fact that the farther back in history, the fewer ballots that have survived and the less detailed they were.

That said, let's look at the contenders in reverse chronological order:

Hillary Rodham Clinton, 2007
  • First woman elected to the US Senate from New York (well, she's sort of from New York).
  • Only First Lady ever elected to public office.

Carol Moseley Braun, 2004

  • Raised $627,869 to campaign in the Democratic primaries. She received 103,205 votes from 13 states, but she dropped out after the first primary.

Carol Moseley Braun, also at a NOW-sponsored rally, in August of 2003
(Photo by Lisa Bennett, at NOW's website)

Elizabeth Dole, 2000
  • Raised over $5 million before the Republican primaries while she considered whether or not to run. She decided against running, however, and her name did not appear on any ballots.

Monica Moorehead, 2000

  • Ran for Presient for the the Workers World Party and won 4,795 votes.
  • Also ran for the same party in 1996 and won 29,083 votes.

Marsha Feinland, 1996

  • Ran for President for the Peace & Freedom Party and won 25,332 votes.

Marsha Feinland is the Chair of the Peace & Freedom Party in California, where she has also run for State Senate.
(Photo provided by the candidate, at the League of Women Voters' Smart Voter site)

Isabell Masters, 1996
  • Ran as a Presidential candidate for the Looking Back Party.
  • Also ran for the same party in 1992.
  • She also campaigned in the Republican primaries in 1988, 1992, and 1996.
  • She has had her name on more Presidential ballots, whether for the primaries or the general election, than any other woman.

Lenora Fulani, 1992
  • Ran as a candidate for the New Alliance Party, with her name appearing on the ballot in 48 jurisdictions. She won 73,708 votes, which put her in sixth place.
  • She also ran for the same party in 1988, and her name appeared on the ballot in 51 jurisdictions.
  • No other woman candidate has had her name appear on the ballot in as many jurisdictions.

Patricia Schroeder, 1992

  • Won 8 delegate's votes at the Democratic Convention
  • Raised $872,462 expecting to run in the 1988 campaign. This was more than any other potential female Democratic candidate had raised. She dropped out after only three months, however, and her name did not appear on any of the ballots used in the primaries.

Pat Schroeder, in March 1980, when she was serving in the House
(Photo from University of Minnesota Alumni Association)

Mary Jane Rachner, 1992
  • Campaigned in the Democratic primaries
  • Also campaigned in the primaries in 1988, but as a Republican candidate.

Tennie Rogers, 1992

  • Campaigned in the Republican Party primaries, with her name appearing on 9 state ballots.

Martha Kirkland, 1984
  • Won 1 delegate's vote at the Democratic Convention

Koryne Horbal, 1980

  • Won 5 delegate's votes at the Democratic Convention

Ellen McCormack, 1976
  • Campaigned in the Democratic primaries and won 27 delegate votes from 5 states.

This photo of Ellen McCormack is from a 1976 campaign button
(Photo from a website in Russian about women who have campaigned for President in several countries)

Margaret Wright, 1976
  • Ran for President as the People's Party candidate.

Barbara Jordan, 1976
  • Won 1 delegate's vote in the Democratic Convention

Patsy Mink, 1972

  • First Asian-American woman to serve in the House of Representatives (1965)
  • First Asian-American woman whose name appeared on a Democratic primary ballot

Patsy Mink, Representative for the State of Hawaii from 1965 to 1977, and then again in 1990 until 2002
(Photo from the National Women's History Museum)

Charlene Mitchell, 1968
  • First woman to have her name appear on the general election ballot in November.
  • She was also the first African-American, male or female, to run for President. She ran on the Communist Party ticket. She won 1,075 votes from four states.

Margaret Chase Smith, 1964
  • Was the first woman to serve in both houses of Congress.
  • In 1950, she delivered a speech to the Senate called a Declaration of Conscience, in which she spoke out against McCarthyism.
  • Sought the Republican nomination to be a Presidential candidate. At the convention, she won 22 delegate's votes from 4 states.

Margaret Chase's Smith official Senate photo
(Photo from the Senate Historical Office)

1920 - 19th Amendment ratified, granting women the right to vote. So keep in mind that any women who ran before this date were not allowed to vote themselves.

Belva Lockwood, 1888
  • First woman allowed to practice law before the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • First woman to graduate from a national law school.
  • Ran for President on the Equal Rights Party ticket in 1888.
  • She also ran on the same ticket previously in 1884 and won 4,149 votes from people -- men -- in 6 states.

Belva Lockwood, lobbyist and lawyer, was not only the first woman to argue a case before the Supreme Court, but she was also the first person to ride a tricycle as a means of transportation through the streets of Washington, DC.
(Free photo from WPClipart)

Victoria Woodhull, 1872
  • First woman to trade on the stock market.
  • Petitioned Congress in 1871 to grant women the right to vote, under the 14th Amendment.
  • Her celestial talents as mystic and fortune teller were sought by Cornelius Vanderbilt, who then hired her to be his personal stockbroker.
  • Ran for President on the Equal Rights Party ticket, backed by Vanderbilt.
  • Generally considered to be the first woman who ran for President. Although, ballots were a little more fungible back then, so it's possible that another woman or women won some votes to be President of the United States.

Stockbroker, mystic, publisher, and Presidential candidate, Victoria Woodhull was quite an individual. You can read more about her in The Woman Who Ran For President: The Many Lives of Victoria Woodhull.

Quite a spectrum of women who've run for President. Kind of makes me want to give it a shot. What do you think? The Apple Lady for President?

National Women's Hall of Fame, Shirley Chisholm
Essortment, History, Shirley Chisholm biography
Excerpts from Shirley Chisholm's book Unbought and Unbossed, available at PBS's synopsis of a POV biography on Chisholm
Political Graveyard, 1972 Democratic National Convention
History Central, United States Presidential Elections, 1972
Jo Freeman, The Women Who Ran for President
Our Campaigns, US President National Vote, Race Details, 2000, Race Details, 1996, Race Details, 1992
Rutgers, Center for American Women and Politics, Firsts for Women in U.S. Politics
Phil Dirkx, "A pioneering woman who ran for President,"
San Luis Obispo Tribune, February 15, 2007
Frances A. Cook, "Belva Ann Lockwood: For Peace, Justice, and President," Stanford, May 13, 1997