NASA Forced Out Its First Black Astronaut Trainee, So He Became A Famous Artist Instead

Noted sculptor Ed Dwight was a test pilot for the US Air Force while getting a degree in Aeronautical Engineering. In 1961, the Kennedy administration selected Dwight to be the first African-American to train as an astronaut. His selection drew international media coverage. After Kennedy was assassinated, NASA forced Dwight out of the program by assigning him to a German test pilot school that did not exist, making Dwight resign in 1966.

After NASA, Dwight worked as an engineer in real estate and at IBM, before learning how to operate a metal casting foundry in the mid-1970s, and getting a Masters of Fine Arts. His career in sculpture took off from there. He is noted for his pioneering use of negative space, and has created over 100 public sculptures, all involving blacks and civil rights activists. Today he owns and runs a studio in Denver, Colorado.

"Life isn't fair. It's just fairer than death, that's all."

William Goldman (1931 - 2018). He was an American novelist, playwright, and screenwriter. Goldman first came to prominence in the 1950s as a novelist, before turning to screenwriting. He won two Academy Awards for his screenplays, first for the western Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) and again for All the President's Men (1976). He also wrote, among other things, a thriller novel Marathon Man (1974) and comedy-fantasy novel The Princess Bride (1973), both of which Goldman adapted for film.

The Prime Minister and the Geisha

Sasuke Uno was the prime minister of Japan for just over two months -- from early June 1989 to early August 1989. He resigned after it came out that he had kept a geisha as a mistress for a period of five months before becoming prime minister.

The problem was less his extramarital affair, and more how callous and stingy he was with the lady. He offered her money the first night he met her, claimed to have "saved" her with his money, and generally treated her "disdainfully." It was the first time that a Japanese politician's private life was publicized in the media in such a way.

The Discovery of Metals

There were seven known metals until the 1200s CE: gold, silver, copper, tin, lead, iron, and mercury. These were the metals that built humanity's first civilizations. (For those who point out the Bronze Age from about 3300 BCE to 1200 BCE, bronze is a mix of copper and tin.) Arsenic was discovered in the 1200s, antimony in the 1400s, and things just took off from there. Today there are 86 known metals.

The Mystery of Belle Gunness

Belle Gunness was a Norwegian-American serial killer who vanished from her farm in Indiana on April 28, 1908, after having killed as many as 40 people. Belle had a simple pattern: she would start pen-pal relationships with men, who responded to her personal advertisements for investors looking for possible relationships. She corresponded with her victims for a number of months, and would then convince them to visit, bringing with them their life savings in cash while telling no one where they were going. A number of men, most of them homesick for their native Norway, would turn up at her door with a $1,000 or more wrapped in paper parcels, after which they would never be seen in one piece again.

Belle was believed at one time to have died in a fire at her home, where the remains of three charred bodies, thought to be her children, and an equally burned female torso were found. Belle’s sometime boyfriend, Ray Lamphere, was arrested and questioned and charged with arson. However, when police began to excavate the farmhouse, they found a number of bodies, and body parts, that clearly had nothing to do with him. It was later believed that the headless torso was not that of Gunness at all but rather her housekeeper. Who had just happened to disappear around the time of the fire. Another piece of evidence that she was not dead: Gunness had withdrawn large amounts of money from the bank immediately prior to the fire. Lamphere is said to have confessed before his death that he helped Gunness to set the fire, and drove her to the train station to make good her escape. There were many sightings over the years, but Gunness' whereabouts -- alive or dead -- have never been determined.

From the Ica-Chincha people of the central coast of Peru, this grave marker would have been placed next to or inside a tomb. It may even have helped support the tomb's roof. Crowned with a two-pronged headdress the post was treated just like real human remains. Ica-Chincha painted their dead with a red cinnabar pigment, and you can just see traces of red on this grave marker's face too. Circa 1000 to 1470 CE, during the Ica-Chincha's Late Intermediate period.

Recent Historical Analyses Reveal More About Blackbeard's Early Life

Some tidbits that interested me:

  1. Blackbeard was born Edward Thache, son of a moneyed Englishman who brought his family to the Caribbean when Edward was 4 or 5 years old, to become a plantation owner. They owned slaves.
  2. Edward's mother Elizabeth died in 1699, and sometime around then, Edward had a daughter he named Elizabeth.
  3. By 1699, Edward Thache was working as a mariner, and he joined the British navy in April 1706.
  4. In late 1706, his father passed away, and Edward signed over his inherited estates to his stepmother, choosing life at sea over life as a planter
  5. Thache almost certainly fought in Queen Anne's War (1701 - 1714) and probably enjoyed the fighting, because when the war was over, he turned pirate

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    By Lillian Audette

    This blog is a collection of the interesting, the weird, and sometimes the need-to-know about history, culled from around the internet. It has pictures, it has quotes, it occasionally has my own opinions on things. If you want to know more about anything posted, follow the link at the "source" on the bottom of each post. And if you really like my work, buy me a coffee or become a patron!

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