October 24, 2011

The first day of the rest of everything

Filed under: Uncategorized — jchatoff @ 12:21 am
Tags: , , , , ,

Sorry, missed the anniversary of the birth of creation yesterday and laugh if you will, but until relatively recently, many people took Bishop James Ussher’s word for it: the world was created on the eve of October 23 in 4004 BC.

Bishop James Ussher by Peter Lely.

Ussher published his chronology of creation in 1654, basing his calculations on the genealogy from Adam on down and the reigns of kings, although he differed with other scholars who were sure it started in the spring.  Ussher decided the fall start of the Jewish calendar was an important clue and that the Sunday nearest the autumnal equinox was the likeliest date.

His calculations weren’t far off those of people like Kepler and Newton, btw, and Stephen Jay Gould has said, “I shall be defending Ussher’s chronology as an honourable effort for its time and arguing that our usual ridicule only records a lamentable small-mindedness based on mistaken use of present criteria to judge a distant and different past…”

Excellent point, that, about the “mistaken use of present criteria to judge a distant and different past…”

* * *

There’s no controversy about the New York City subway – everyone knows it started with the opening of the first IRT line this week in 1904  All the details are at the Wik and don’t miss the explanation of token sucking.  From the library of Congress come two great photos – the first shows the city hall stop in 1904 and the second is how things looked sometime between 1908 and 1920, when the line was expanded.

Subway construction, photo by Henry Steffen.


1 Comment »

  1. Strange how subways have become and perhaps always were, artful.


    Comment by Carol — October 26, 2011 @ 5:35 pm | Reply

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