Snow Day from Chicago to Norway
Get Through Your Week With HumpDay?
Happy HumpDay! After a nice long weekend, going back to work can be tough. Unwind a little with some light reading and some interesting facts. The weekend is almost here and we can make it there!
We are now deep into January and winter has come! An arctic blast hit the Midwest and snow storms and freezing cold temperatures are hitting the Northeast. With the winter weather comes a new set of chores like shoveling snow, cleaning off cars, and spreading ice melt on stairs and walkways. Luckily, we have tools like snow blowers, ice scrapers and handwarmers to help us accomplish our snow duties quickly and comfortably but, what was it like before we had that technology? Lets take a quick look at the history of snow removal in America.
Believe it or not, in the 1700’s heavy snow fall was not considered a problem and instead it was considered an improvement to everyday life. In an era where people traveled by horse drawn carriages, the snow allowed them to replace their carriage wheels with ski-like runners that would transform carriages into sleighs. Horse drawn sleighs were much more stable than horse drawn carriages so there were fewer carriage roll overs and accidents.
In order to create the optimal snow for the horse drawn sleighs, cities would appoint a “snow warden” who was in charge of making sure the snow in the streets were packed down and smooth. In order to ensure the streets were perfectly packed, the snow warden would drive a horse drawn cart with a giant wooden wheel (much like a rolling pin) down the street to level the snow.
By the 1800’s, engineers had created rudimentary snow plows that were pulled behind horses to remove snow from city alleys and public walkways to support people on foot. The horse drawn solutions worked until the blizzard of 1888 where some areas experienced three days of heavy snow totally up to 50 inches. After that, snow blower technology was popularized to help remove heavy snow. The first snow blower was attached to the front of a train to help the train push through the feet of snow without any trouble.
Today, we have a much different relationship with snow fall but at least we have the tools and infrastructure to handle the worst that winter has to offer.
Bluetooth is one of the most impressive technological achievements of the modern era. The technology allows us to wirelessly share information over short distances using short length radio waves. Bluetooth allow us to connect to speakers, quickly send and receive files, and remove nearly all wires from our lives. But, have you ever wondered why we call this amazing (and frankly underrated) technology “Bluetooth”? What does Bluetooth even mean?
In the early 1990’s, there were multiple companies working to create wireless technology for a variety of different devices. Because each company was using their own technology, there was not a standardized wireless system that could connect to multiple devices. For instance, you could connect your phone to your wireless speaker, but you could not connect it to your car stereo because your car wouldn’t be compatible with your phone.
In 1994 a Dutch engineer who worked at Ericsson telecommunications named Jaap Haartsen set out to unite the different companies developing wireless technology and to create a unified wireless system. Haartsen met with engineers from all of the major companies and convinced them to work together and create what we now know as Bluetooth.
When it came time to name their revolutionary invention, the Dutch engineer sought inspiration from an ancient Danish king named Harald “Bluetooth” Gormsson. King “Bluetooth” united the many kingdoms of Scandinavia into one country called Norway. Like King “Bluetooth” Gormsson, Jaap Haartsen united competing companies to create a single platform for wireless technology so, in honor of the king that united Norway, the engineers named their technology “Bluetooth”. In addition to naming their technology after the king of Norway, they also created a logo which resembles the name “Harald Gormsson” in ancient runes.
During the early 19th century (1800’s), the newly founded and now bustling midwestern city of Chicago began facing an epidemic that threatened to destroy the city. Because the city of nearly 30,000 people was so close the banks of Lake Michigan, the ground water level was just below the city streets which created serious issues with the cities sewage systems. Waste from the growing city was not being removed from the city effectively causing an outbreak of bacteria borne diseases such as typhoid, dysentery, and cholera which ravaged the city in the 1840’s and 1850’s.
To address the cities worsening sewage problems, city officials and engineers met to design a solution that will save the city. After much debate, the city of Chicago settled on an ambitious and astonishing solution. They planned to lift the entire city of Chicago off the ground to allow for better water run off and reduce the citizen’s proximity to waste.
Sounds impossible right? Well the crafty midwestern engineers devised a system involving hundreds of jacks and giant screws turned by hundreds of workers to lift the city. Building by building, workers would place screws in the foundations of the city and hundreds of men would crank the screws raising buildings up to 6 feet in the air. In one case, a hotel filled with people was raised off the ground and none of the people inside noticed any movement and didn’t even know it had occurred.
Over a period of 20 years, the entire city of Chicago was raised and the sewage systems were improved. Break outs of bacteria-based diseases plummeted and the ambitious solution to the cities problems worked! Until the entire city burned down in 1871….
HumpDay Healthy Helpings
Calories Per Serving: 329 I Servings: 4 I Cook Time: 1 Hour 5 Minutes
This Week in History
This week in 1957 the first batch of aerodynamic throwing discs known as “Frisbees” were sold to consumers by the Wham-O toy company. The origin of one of Americas most famous toys begins with the Frisbee Pie Company which was owned an operated by William Frisbee in Bridgeport, Connecticut. The company sold its pies in metal tins and local college kids would turn the pie tins upside down and throw them yelling “Frisbee!!”. Inventors William Morrison and Warren Franscioni took part in the pie tin toss and went on to invent a plastic version to replace the pie tin. Their version flew more further and more accurate and was later sold to the Wham-O toy company. Since then, frisbee has turned into a staple of summer days and two widely played sports (Ultimate Frisbee & Disc Golf).
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