Nov 18, 2017

Uncle Sam – I want you

uncle sam world war poster
     Uncle Sam (initials U.S., the same of United States) is a common national personification of the American government or of the United States themselves.
     According to legend, he came into use during the War of 1812 and was supposedly named for Samuel Wilson. The actual origin is obscure. Since the early 19th century, Uncle Sam has been a popular symbol of the US government in American culture and a manifestation of patriotic emotion. While the figure of Uncle Sam represents specifically the government, the goddess Columbia represents the United States as a nation.
     The first reference to Uncle Sam in formal literature was in the 1816 allegorical book The Adventures of Uncle Sam in Search After His Lost Honor by Frederick Augustus Fidfaddy.
     Other possible references date to the American Revolutionary War: an Uncle Sam is mentioned as early as 1775, in the original lyrics of "Yankee Doodle", though it is not clear whether this reference is to Uncle Sam as a metaphor for the United States, or to an actual person named Sam. The lyrics as a whole celebrate the military efforts of the young nation in besieging the British at Boston. The 13th stanza is:
Uncle Sam Poster I want you

Old Uncle Sam come there to change
Some pancakes and some onions,
For 'lasses cakes, to carry home
To give his wife and young ones.

     The precise origin of the Uncle Sam character is unclear, but a popular legend is that the name "Uncle Sam" was derived from Samuel Wilson, a meatpacker from Troy, New York who supplied rations for American soldiers during the War of 1812. 
First World War poster Lord Kitchener     There was a requirement at the time for contractors to stamp their name and where the rations came from onto the food they were sending. Wilson's packages were labeled "E.A – US." When someone asked what that stood for, a co-worker jokingly said, "Elbert Anderson [the contractor] and Uncle Sam," referring to Wilson, though the "US" actually stood for United States.
     The well-known "recruitment" image of Uncle Sam was first created by James Montgomery Flagg during World War I. 
     The image was inspired by a British recruitment poster showing Lord Kitchener in a similar pose. It is this image more than any other that has influenced the modern appearance of Uncle Sam: an elderly white man with white hair and a goatee, wearing a white top hat with white stars on a blue band, a blue tail coat, and red-and-white-striped trousers.
     Flagg's depiction of Uncle Sam was shown publicly for the first time, according to some, on the cover of the magazine Leslie's Weekly on July 6, 1916, with the caption "What Are You Doing for Preparedness?” More than four million copies of this image were printed between 1917 and 1918. Flagg's image was also used extensively during World War II. 

Nov 11, 2017

Steve Jobs’s speech - June 12, 2005 - Stanford University

Steve Jobs’s speech - June 12, 2005 - Stanford University
Steve Jobs’s speech - June 12, 2005 - Stanford University
     “You’ve got to find what you love”
     This is a prepared text of the Commencement address delivered by Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, on June 12, 2005.

     I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I’ve ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That’s it. No big deal. Just three stories.
     The first story is about connecting the dots.
     I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?
     It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: “We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?” They said: “Of course.” My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.
     And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents’ savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn’t see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn’t interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.
     It wasn’t all romantic. I didn’t have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends’ rooms, I returned Coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:
Steve Jobs’s speech - June 12, 2005 - Stanford University
     Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn’t have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and sans serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can’t capture, and I found it fascinating.
     None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But 10 years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, it’s likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backward 10 years later.
     Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.
     My second story is about love and loss.
     I was lucky — I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents’ garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4,000 employees. We had just released our finest creation — the Macintosh — a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.
Steve Jobs’s speech - June 12, 2005 - Stanford University
     I really didn’t know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down — that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me — I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.
     I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.
     During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the world’s first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I returned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple’s current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.
     I’m pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn’t been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.
     My third story is about death.
     When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
     Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.
Steve Jobs’s speech - June 12, 2005 - Stanford University
     About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn’t even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor’s code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you’d have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.
     I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I’m fine now.
     This was the closest I’ve been to facing death, and I hope it’s the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:
     No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.
     Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960s, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors and Polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: It was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.
     Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.
     Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.
     Thank you all very much.
     Steve Jobs

Nov 4, 2017

Nicknames, slogans and mottos of the fifty states of United States of America

Each of the fifty US states has a nickname. It is one of the most folkloric customs of the United States of America for many reasons, from patriotism to remember some of the historical peculiarities that the state has been in the past 240 years. Plants, animals, ideas. It all goes well for being written on placards or official flags and to outline in two words the history of each state.
Below are reported the nicknames of the US states, including (in bold type) those officially used or traditionally assigned to states or districts in the United States.
natural map of Usa
1.      Alabama
Yellowhammer State, Cotton Plantation State, Cotton State, Heart of Dixie, Lizard State, Camellia State
2.      Alaska
The Last Frontier,
Great Land, Land of the Midnight Sun, Land of the Noonday Moon, Seward’s Folly, Seward’s Ice Box, Icebergia, Polaria, Walrussia, and Johnson’s Polar Bear Garden
3.      Arizona
The Grand Canyon State
Apache State, Aztec State, Baby State, Copper State, Italy of America, Sand Hill State, Sunset State, Sweetheart State, Valentine State
4.      Arkansas
The Natural State
Bear State, Bowie State, Hot Spring State, Land of Opportunity, Razorback State, Toothpick State, Wonder State, Diamond State
5.      California
The Golden State
El Dorado State, The Land of Sunshine and Opportunity, Golden West, Grape State, Land of Milk and Honey, Land of Fruits and Nuts, Where Stars are Buried, The Cereal Bowl of the Nation, The Eureka State, The Bear State (or Republic), The Sunshine State (disused)
United States
6.      Colorado
Centennial State
Buffalo Plains State, Colorful Colorado, Columbine State, Highest State, Lead State, Mother of Rivers, Rocky Mountain Empire, Rocky Mountain State (disused), Silver State (disused), Switzerland of America
7.      Connecticut
Constitution State
Nutmeg State, Charter Oak State, Blue Law State, Freestone State, Land of Steady Habits
8.      Delaware
The First State
Chemical Capital, Corporate Capital, Diamone State, Blue Hen State or Blue Hen Chicken State, Home of Tax Free Shopping, New Sweden, Peach State, Small Wonder, Uncle Sam’s Pocket Handkerchief
District of Columbia
The District
A Capital City, The Federal City
9.      Florida 
Sunshine State
Alligator State, Citrus State, Everglade State, Flower State, God’s Waiting Room, Gulf State, Hurricane State, Manatee State, Orange State, Peninsula State or Peninsular State, Tropical State
Silvana Calabrese Usa
10.  Georgia 
Peach State
Cracker State, Empire State of the South,  of the South, Yankee-land of the South, Goober State
11.  Hawaii 
Aloha State
Paradise, The Islands of Aloha, Paradise of the Pacific, Pineapple State, Rainbow State, Youngest State
12.  Idaho  
Gem State
Gem of the Mountanis, Little Ida, Spud State, Potatonia,
13.  Illinois
Land of Lincoln
Prairie State
Corn State, Inland Empire State, Garden of the West
14.  Indiana
Hoosier State
Crossroads of America, Hospitality State, Sunshine State
15.  Iowa  
Hawkeye State
Land of the Rolling Prairie, Tall Corn State
ribbon usa
16.  Kansas  
The Wheat State
Sunflower State
America’s Bread Basket, Wheat State, Home of Beautiful Women, Central State, Jayhawker State
17.  Kentucky 
Bluegrass State
Corn-cracker State, The Dark and Bloody Ground State, Hemp State, Tobacco State
18.  Loiusiana  
The Sportsman’s Paradise
Pelican State
Bayou State, Child of the Mississippi, Creole State, Fisherman’s Paradise, Holland of America, Sugar State
19.  Maine 
Pine Tree State
Lumber State
20.  Maryland
Old Line State
Chesapeake State, America in Miniature, Cockade State, Crab State, Free State, Monumental State, Oyster State, Queen State, Terrapin State,
south dakota mount rushmore
21.  Massachussets 
The Spirit of America
The Bay State
Baked Bean State, Codfish State, The Commonwealth, Old Colony State, Pilgrim State, The People’s Republic of Massachusetts, Taxachusetts
22.  Michigan 
The Greate Lake State
Wolverine State
Mitten State, Winter Water Wonderland, The World’s Motor Capital, America’s High Five
23.  Minnesota 
The North Star State
Butter Country, Gopher State, Land of 10,000 Lakes, Land of Lakes, Land of Sky-Blue Water, New England of the West, State of Hockey, Vikings State, Bread and Butter State
24.  Mississippi
Magnolia State
Hospitality State, The South’s Warmest Welcome, The Birthplace of America’s Music, The Bayou State
25.  Missouri 
Show-Me State
Bullion State, Cave State, Gateway State, Bellwether State, Lead State, The Great Rivers State, Ozark State
Statue of Liberty
26.  Montana 
The Treasure State
Big Sky Country, The Last Best Place
27.  Nebraska 
The Cornhusker State
Beef State, Tree Planter’s State, Blackwater State
28.  Nevada 
Battle Born
Silver State
Battle Born State, Sagebrush State
29.  New Hampshire 
Granite State
The Live Free or Die State, Mother of Rivers, White Mountain State
30.  New Jersey 
Garden State
The Crossroads of the Revolution, The Tomato State
31.  New Mexico 
Land of Enchantment
Cactus State, The Colorful State, Land of Sunshine or Land of Enchantment, New Andalusia, The Outer Space State, The Tex-Mex State, The Spanish State
32.  New York 
The Empire State
Excelsior State
Statue of Liberty
33.  North Carolina 
The Tar Heel State
Old North State, Turpentine State, Variety Vacationland, Rip Van Winkle State, Land of the Sky, First in Flight State
34.  North Dakota 
The Peace Garden State
Flickertail State, Rough Rider State, Sioux State
35.  Ohio 
The Buckeye State
Birthplace of Aviation, Mother of Modern Presidents, The Heart of it All
36.  Oklahoma 
Sooner State
Native America, Land of the Red Man
37.  Oregon 
The Beaver State
Union State, Pacific Wonderland, Sunset State, Webfoot State
38.  Pennsylvania 
The Keystone State
Liberty Bell State, Independence State, Quaker State, Toll Booth State
39.  Rhode Island 
The Ocean State
Little Rhody
San Francisco
40.  South Carolina 
Palmetto State
Sandlapper State, Iodine Products State (disused)
41.  South Dakota 
The Mount Rushmore State (since 1980)
Sunshine State (before 1980), Artesian State, Blizzard State, Coyote State, Land of Infinite Variety
42.  Tennessee 
Volunteer State
Big Bend State, Butternut State, Hog and Hominy State, The Mother of Southwestern Statesmen
43.  Texas 
The Lone Star State
Friendship State, Chili State
44.  Utah 
The Beehive State
Mormon State, Friendly State (in disused), Greatest Snow on Earth
45.  Vermont 
The Green Mountain State
United States
46.  Virginia 
The Dominion State
Mother of Presidents, Mother of States, The Commonwealth
47.  Washington 
The Evergreen State
Apple State
48.  West Virginia 
The Mountain State
Panhandle State
49.  Wisconsin 
America’s Dairyland
Badger State
Cheese State
50.  Wyoming 
Equality State 
Cowboy State, Park State, Like No Place On Earth, Forever West

Oct 31, 2017

My first carving. Halloween pumpkin

My first carving was on October 31, 1999.

When I was 12 I made my personal Jack-o’-lantern. 
My first carving was on October 31, 1999.  When I was 12 I made my personal Jack-o’-lantern.

Oct 29, 2017


Nasa, logo 3D
     The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is an independent agency of the executive branch of the United States federal government responsible for the civilian space program, as well as aeronautics and aerospace research.
     President Dwight D. Eisenhower established NASA in 1958 with a distinctly civilian (rather than military) orientation encouraging peaceful applications in space science. The National Aeronautics and Space Act was passed on July 29, 1958, disestablishing NASA's predecessor, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). The new agency became operational on October 1, 1958.
     Since that time, most US space exploration efforts have been led by NASA, including the Apollo Moon landing missions, the Skylabspace station, and later the Space Shuttle. Currently, NASA is supporting the International Space Station and is overseeing the development of the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, the Space Launch System and Commercial Crew vehicles. The agency is also responsible for the Launch Services Program (LSP) which provides oversight of launch operations and countdown management for unmanned NASA launches.
Nasa, the place
     NASA science is focused on better understanding Earth through the Earth Observing System, advancing heliophysics through the efforts of the Science Mission Directorate's Heliophysics Research Program, exploring bodies throughout the Solar System with advanced robotic spacecraft missions such as New Horizons, and researching astrophysics topics, such as the Big Bang, through the Great Observatories and associated programs. NASA shares data with various national and international organizations such as from the Greenhouse Gases Observing Satellite. Since 2011, NASA has been criticized for low cost efficiency, achieving little results in return for high development costs.
     From 1946, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) had been experimenting with rocket planes such as the supersonic Bell X-1. In the early 1950s, there was challenge to launch an artificial satellite for the International Geophysical Year (1957–58). An effort for this was the American Project Vanguard. After the Soviet launch of the world's first artificial satellite (Sputnik 1) on October 4, 1957, the attention of the United States turned toward its own fledgling space efforts. The US Congress, alarmed by the perceived threat to national security and technological leadership (known as the "Sputnik crisis"), urged immediate and swift action; President Dwight D. Eisenhower and his advisers counseled more deliberate measures. On January 12, 1958, NACA organized a "Special Committee on Space Technology", headed by Guyford Stever. On January 14, 1958, NACA Director Hugh Dryden published "A National Research Program for Space Technology" stating:

     It is of great urgency and importance to our country both from consideration of our prestige as a nation as well as military necessity that this challenge [Sputnik] be met by an energetic program of research and development for the conquest of space... It is accordingly proposed that the scientific research be the responsibility of a national civilian agency... NACA is capable, by rapid extension and expansion of its effort, of providing leadership in space technology.
Nasa, logo
     While this new federal agency would conduct all non-military space activity, the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) was created in February 1958 to develop space technology for military application. 
     On July 29, 1958, Eisenhower signed the National Aeronautics and Space Act, establishing NASA. When it began operations on October 1, 1958, NASA absorbed the 43-year-old NACA intact; its 8,000 employees, an annual budget of US$100 million, three major research laboratories (Langley Aeronautical Laboratory, Ames Aeronautical Laboratory, and Lewis Flight Propulsion Laboratory) and two small test facilities. A NASA seal was approved by President Eisenhower in 1959. Elements of the Army Ballistic Missile Agency and the United States Naval Research Laboratory were incorporated into NASA. A significant contributor to NASA's entry into the Space Race with the Soviet Union was the technology from the German rocket program led by Wernher von Braun, who was now working for the Army Ballistic Missile Agency (ABMA), which in turn incorporated the technology of American scientist Robert Goddard's earlier works. Earlier research efforts within the US Air Force and many of ARPA's early space programs were also transferred to NASA. In December 1958, NASA gained control of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a contractor facility operated by the California Institute of Technology.

Oct 28, 2017

The Pentagon

The Pentagon
     The Pentagon is the headquarters of the United States Department of Defense, located in Arlington County, Virginia, across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C. As a symbol of the U.S. military, The Pentagon is often used metonymically to refer to the U.S. Department of Defense.
     The Pentagon was designed by American architect George Bergstrom (1876–1955), and built by general contractor John McShain of Philadelphia. Ground was broken for construction on September 11, 1941, and the building was dedicated on January 15, 1943. General Brehon Somervell provided the major motive power behind the project; Colonel Leslie Groves was responsible for overseeing the project for the U.S. Army.
The Pentagon
     The Pentagon is one of the world's largest office buildings, with about 6,500,000 sq ft (600,000 m2), of which 3,700,000 sq ft (340,000 m2) are used as offices. Approximately 23,000 military and civilian employees and about 3,000 non-defense support personnel work in the Pentagon. It has five sides, five floors above ground, two basement levels, and five ring corridors per floor with a total of 17.5 mi (28.2 km) of corridors. The Pentagon includes a five-acre (20,000 m2) central plaza, which is shaped like a pentagon and informally known as "ground zero," a nickname originating during the Cold War on the presumption that it would be targeted by the Soviet Union at the outbreak of nuclear war. 
     On September 11, 2001, exactly 60 years after the building's construction began, American Airlines Flight 77 was hijacked and flown into the western side of the building, killing 189 people (59 victims and the five perpetrators on board the airliner, as well as 125 victims in the building), according to the official report. It was the first significant foreign attack on Washington's governmental facilities since the city was burned by the British during the War of 1812.

Oct 27, 2017

Hollywood Sign

     The Hollywood Sign (formerly the Hollywoodland Sign) is a landmark and American cultural icon located in Los Angeles, California. It is situated on Mount Lee, in the Hollywood Hills area of the Santa Monica Mountains. The sign overlooks Hollywood, Los Angeles.
stars hollywood sign
     "HOLLYWOOD" is spelled out in 44 foot (13.4 m) tall white capital letters and is 352 feet (107.3 m) long. The sign was originally created in 1923 as an advertisement for a local real estate development, but due to increasing recognition and symbolism, the sign was left up. The sign has been a frequent target of pranks and vandalism across the decades, but it has since undergone restoration, including the installation of a security system to deter vandalism. The sign is protected and promoted by The Trust For Public Land, a non-profit organization, while its site and the surrounding land are part of Griffith Park.
     From the ground, the contours of the hills give the sign a wavy appearance. When observed at a comparable altitude, the letters appear nearly level.
Behind the Hollywood sign
     The sign makes frequent appearances in popular culture, particularly in establishing shots for films and television programs set in or around Hollywood. Signs of similar style, but spelling different words, are frequently seen as parodies.
     The sign was erected in 1923 and originally read "HOLLYWOODLAND." Its purpose was to advertise the name of a new segregated housing development in the hills above the Hollywood district of Los Angeles. H.J. Whitley had already used a sign to advertise his development Whitley Heights, which was located between Highland Avenue and Vine Street. He suggested to his friend Harry Chandler, the owner of the Los Angeles Times newspaper, that the land syndicate in which he was involved make a similar sign to advertise their land. Real estate developers Woodruff and Shoults called their development "Hollywoodland" and advertised it as a "superb environment without excessive cost on the Hollywood side of the hills."
hollywood sign  L.A.
     They contracted the Crescent Sign Company to erect 13 letters on the hillside, each facing south. The sign company owner, Thomas Fisk Goff (1890–1984), designed the sign. Each letter was 30 feet (9.1 m) wide and 50 feet (15.2 m) high, and the whole sign was studded with some 4,000 light bulbs. The sign would flash in segments: "HOLLY," "WOOD", and "LAND" would first light up individually, then the whole sign would light up. Below the Hollywoodland sign was a searchlight to attract more attention. The poles that supported the sign were hauled to the site by mules. Cost of the project was $21,000, equivalent to $295,189 in 2016.  
     The sign was officially dedicated in 1923. It was intended only to last a year and a half, but after the rise of American cinema in Los Angeles during the Golden Age of Hollywood, the sign became an internationally recognized symbol and was left there.

Oct 26, 2017

Washington, D.C. (District of Columbia)

District of Columbia
     Washington, D.C., District of Columbia is the capital of the United States.
Washington, D.C. location     The signing of the Residence Act on July 16, 1790, approved the creation of a capital district located along the Potomac River on the country's East Coast. The U.S. Constitution provided for a federal district under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Congress and the District is therefore not a part of any state (Article 1, section 8.17 of the U.S. Constitution set forth that a district of no more than 10 miles square should house the new seat of government. So no one state could claim the President’s House). 
     The states of Maryland and Virginia each donated land to form the federal district, which included the pre-existing settlements of Georgetown and Alexandria. Named in honor of President George Washington, the City of Washington was founded in 1791 to serve as the new national capital. In 1846, Congress returned the land originally ceded by Virginia; in 1871, it created a single municipal government for the remaining portion of the District.
washington dc capitol hill map
     Washington had an estimated population of 681,170 as of July 2016. Commuters from the surrounding Maryland and Virginia suburbs raise the city's population to more than one million during the workweek. The Washington metropolitan area, of which the District is the principal city, has a population of over 6 million, the sixth-largest metropolitan statistical area in the country.
     The centers of all three branches of the federal government of the United States are in the District, including the Congress, President, and Supreme Court. Washington is home to many national monuments and museums, which are primarily situated on or around the National Mall. The city hosts 176 foreign embassies as well as the headquarters of many international organizations, trade unions, non-profit organizations, lobbying groups, and professional associations. 
     A locally elected mayor and a 13‑member council have governed the District since 1973. However, the Congress maintains supreme authority over the city and may overturn local laws. D.C. residents elect a non-voting, at-large congressional delegate to the House of Representatives, but the District has no representation in the Senate. The District receives three electoral votes in presidential elections as permitted by the Twenty-third Amendment to the United States Constitution, ratified in 1961.
Clockwise from top right United States Capitol, Washington Monument, the White House, Smithsonian Institution Building, Lincoln Memorial and Washington National Cathedral
Clockwise from top right United States Capitol, Washington Monument, the White House, Smithsonian Institution Building, Lincoln Memorial and Washington National Cathedral

Oct 25, 2017

Blair House or President’s Guest House

Blair House or President’s Guest House
     The President’s Guest House, commonly known as Blair House, is a complex of four formerly separate buildings—Blair House, Lee House, Peter Parker House, and 704 Jackson Place—located in Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States. A major interior renovation of these 19th century residences between the 1950s and 1980s resulted in their reconstitution as a single facility.
     The President's Guest House is one of several residences owned by the United States government for use by the President and Vice President of the United States; other such residences include the White House, Camp David, One Observatory Circle, the Presidential Townhouse, and Trowbridge House. The President's Guest House has been called "the world's most exclusive hotel" because it is primarily used to host visiting dignitaries and other guests of the president. It is larger than the White House and closed to the public.
     Blair House was constructed in 1824; it is the oldest of the four structures that comprise the President's Guest House. The original brick house was built as a private home for Joseph Lovell, eighth Surgeon General of the United States Army. It was acquired in 1836 by Francis Preston Blair, a newspaper publisher and influential advisor to President Andrew Jackson, and remained in his family for the following century.
     Francis Blair's son Montgomery Blair, who served as Postmaster General in Abraham Lincoln's administration, succeeded his father as resident of Blair House.
     In 1939, a commemorative marker was placed at Blair House by the United States Department of the Interior, becoming the first building to acquire a federally recognized landmark designation; prior landmarks had been monuments and historic sites other than buildings. It would be formally designated a National Historic Landmark in 1973.
     Beginning in 1942, the Blair family began leasing the property to the U.S. government for use by visiting dignitaries; the government purchased the property outright the following December. The move was prompted in part by a request from Eleanor Roosevelt, who found the casual familiarity Winston Churchill displayed during his visits to the White House off-putting. On one occasion, Churchill tried to enter Franklin Roosevelt's private apartments at 3:00 a.m. to wake the president for a conversation. 
     During much of the presidency of Harry Truman, Blair House served as the temporary residence of President Truman while the interior of the White House was being renovated. On November 1, 1950, Puerto Rican nationalists Griselio Torresola and Oscar Collazo attempted to assassinate President Truman in Blair House. The assassination was foiled, in part by White House policeman Leslie Coffelt, who killed Torresola but was mortally wounded by him.

Oct 24, 2017

Number One Observatory Circle

Number One Observatory Circle VP residence
     Is the official residence of the Vice President of the United States.
     Located on the northeast grounds of the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C., the house was built in 1893 for its superintendent. The Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) liked the house so much that in 1923 he took over the house for himself. It remained the residence of the CNO until 1974, when Congress authorized its transformation to an official residence for the Vice President, though a temporary one. In fact, by law, it is still the "official temporary residence of the Vice President of the United States." The 1974 congressional authorization covered the cost of refurbishment and furnishing the house.
Number One Observatory Circle VP residence Christmas     Although Number One Observatory Circle was made available to the Vice President in 1974, three years passed before a Vice President lived full-time in the house. Vice President Gerald Ford became President before he could use the house. His Vice President, Nelson Rockefeller, primarily used the home for entertaining as he already had a well-secured residence in Washington, D.C., though the Rockefellers donated millions of dollars of furnishings to the house. Vice President Walter Mondale was the first Vice President to move into the house. Every Vice President since has lived there.
Number One Observatory Circle VP residence
     The house at One Observatory Circle was designed by architect Leon E. Dessez and built in 1893 for $20,000 for the use of the superintendent of the Naval Observatory who was the original resident. It is built in the Queen Anne style popular in the last quarter of the nineteenth century.
     It was built on 13 acres of land that had originally been part of a 73-acre farm called Northview, which the Navy purchased in 1880. The home was originally dark red brick. Then in 1960, it was painted "feather" gray and, in 1963, white with black shutters. Now it is cream colored.
     In 1966, in response to the John F. Kennedy assassination, Congress passed a law creating "an official residence for the Vice President of the United States in the District of Columbia" and designating "approximately ten acres at the United States Naval Observatory" for such use. The exact location was to be determined by GAO and the Navy later, and construction was to commence on the residence when funding was available once the Vietnam War was over. In the interim, the Secret Service paid for expensive upgrades to the private homes of Vice-Presidents Hubert Humphrey, Spiro Agnew and Gerald R. Ford. Agnew only lived in his house for three months before resigning, and shortly thereafter sold it at a large profit, in part because of the upgrades (additional quarters for the Secret Service, fences and a new driveway for example) paid for by the government. 
Number One Observatory Circle VP residence
     This resulted in a minor scandal and a subsequent investigation showed that it would be cheaper to set up the new Vice-Presidential residence immediately, rather than continue to secure private homes. In July 1974 Congress passed a new law to make Admiral's House the "official temporary residence of the Vice-President of the United States" effective upon the termination of service of the incumbent Chief of Naval Operations. Work began on preparing Admiral's House to be temporary Vice-President's residence later that fall, after Nixon's resignation and the CNO was moved to Quarters A at the Navy Yard. 
     The house formally opened as the vice presidential residence in September 1975. However, Nelson Rockefeller, the vice president at the time, chose to live in his larger private home instead and only used Admiral's House for entertaining. In January 1977, Walter Mondale became the first vice president to live in the house, and it has served as the home of every vice president since.