Friday, July 15, 2005
1085: Robert Guiscard (i.e., "the Resourceful"), the Norman freebooter who expelled the Muslim rulers from Sicily and the Greek rulers from Italy, dies on the island of Kefalonia in the Aegean.
1381: A leader of the Peasants’ Revolt, the renegade Lollard priest John Ball, is hanged, drawn, and quartered. In his sermon exhorting the peasants, he’d said:
From the beginning all men by nature were created alike, and our bondage or servitude came in by the unjust oppression of naughty men. . . . And therefore I exhort you to consider that now the time is come, appointed to us by God, in which ye may (if ye will) cast off the yoke of bondage, and recover liberty.
1799: A French military officer supervising some construction at the port of Rosetta (now Rashid) discovers the Rosetta Stone, the key to deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphics.
1848: Future economist Vilfredo Pareto is born at Paris, France. He’s credited not only with the Pareto Efficiency Principle—so popular in Contracts scholarship—but with the 80/20 hypothesis, which is that for many phenomena 80 percent of the outcome is caused by 20 percent of the cause.
1870: The Hudson’s Bay Company cedes the area known as Rupert’s Land to the Canadian government. The cession amounts to about one-third of modern Canada.
1916: William E. Boeing, the son of a timber merchant who is fascinated by airplanes, founds Pacific Aero Products. A year later the name will be changed to Boeing Airplane Co.
1930: French critic and philosopher Jacques Derrida is born at El Biar, Algeria.
1948: General of the Armies John J. "Black Jack" Pershing (Nebraska Law 1893) dies at Washington, D.C.
1955: The first successful jet passenger plane, the Boeing 707, makes its first flight. It cost $16 million to develop.
1988: Twentieth Century-Fox releases Die Hard, which turns Bruce Willis into a star and rejuvenates the action/thriller genre.
1995: Amazon.com sells its first book: Fluid Concepts & Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought, by Douglas Hofstadter.
2003: Once viewed as Microsoft’s principal rival for control of the Internet, Netscape Communications is disbanded by its owner, AOL Time Warner.