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Krakatoa is No More

Krakatoa is a volcanic island located in the strait between Sumatra and Java. The three volcanoes on the island have been inactive for over 200 years. They must be extinct. Right? As dawn approaches, the lighthouse keeper on the Java side of the strait feels a rumble under his feet. Fishermen on Krakatoa swim out to their boats and barely escape with their lives as ash and smoke billow into the sky. The forest bursts into flames. One of the three volcanoes has erupted. Weeks later a British freighter passes within 10 miles when the world is plunged into darkness. At 11 PM a ladder of light rises to the heavens. By the next morning the freighter is 30 miles away when the hammer drops. 8 cubic miles of rock that was once Krakatoa Island suddenly vaporizes. Ash and rock are thrown 17 miles straight up. 4 explosions are heard. The 3rd is the loudest sound ever recorded. 500 miles away, in Singapore, the noise is so loud that people cannot hear each other speak. 3,000 miles away the explosion is mistaken for distant cannon fire. People on Java, sheltering on a hill 155 feet high, are swept away in the tsunami. Thousands upon thousands are dead or drowning. This is not the largest volcanic explosion that ever was, but it is well documented. Instruments are recording the shaking and the barometric pressure fluctuates several times as the atmospheric pressure wave bounces back and forth. World-wide temperatures drop 1.2 degrees and will not return to normal until 1888. [1] [2]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
FYI, they had virtually no warning before the initial eruption in May and 100 days later the explosion occurred. Various comparisons have been made to thousands of atomic bombs going off all at once, but frankly atomic bombs could not have done that much damage in so short a time. One of the Krakatoa volcanoes is still active and the island of Anak Krakatoa (Child of Krakatoa) is rising from its ashes. Visiting the new island is considered extremely dangerous. Visiting the nearby islands is rated an 8.4 on the Idiot Scale. Can it happen again? Scientists say, yes, but not any time soon. I'd say Iceland is the more likely site for the next such disaster, but really, who can say? There has been many a scientist who has climbed a volcano and suddenly realized he had guessed wrong and paid for it with his life. [3] [4]

Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor, Your Huddled Masses

The Statue of Liberty is not yet assembled but the head and arm have been on display since 1876. It is a gift from France, but they expect the United States to supply the site and build the pedestal upon which the completed statue will rest. The site chosen is Bedloe's Island in New York Harbor where a granite base already exists for a defensive gun battery. They rename the site Liberty Island, but fundraising for the pedestal has been slow-going. The famous poet, Emma Lazarus, is well known in elite circles as one of the good Jews. (God help me that is exactly how they thought about it.) Her Judaism did not loom large in her life until Tsar Alexander the 2nd was assassinated recently. The assassins were socialist nihilists, but riots ensued and the Jews were blamed. Lazarus took it personally. She sees America as a refuge for the Jews, so she submits a sonnet to honor the Statue of Liberty, and to draw attention to the plight of the persecuted. It is entitled "The New Colossus" in opposition to the Colossus of Rhodes. The Colossus is usually depicted with legs astride the harbor guarding its entrance from foes. The Statue of Liberty shall lean forward, breaking her chains and holding high the light of freedom. "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!" Emma Lazarus will not live to see her poem mounted on the pedestal in 1903. [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] [17]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
FYI, the Colossus of Rhodes existed but it was not astride any harbor. Bronze is not strong enough to hold up such a structure. Regarding US Immigration policy, there was an obvious disconnect between the poem and actual policy. Emma Lazarus knew that the Chinese had been locked out, so she must have been reminding people that the United States was built upon the uncouth, the unwanted, and the unforgiven... like Australia. But even as the plaque was being mounted, the attitude toward immigrants was worsening. By the 1930s the eugenics movement was on parade and Hitler was getting in front to lead it. (He did NOT create it.) For a sense of the race attitudes of the time I suggest reading the science fiction novel, When Worlds Collide originally published in 1932. The movie is good but they took out all the eugenics stuff. The book makes it clear that white people are noble and deserve to be saved whereas everyone else is just part of a bad breeding program. The book is still in print. [18] [19]

Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show

Bill Cody was a little too young to participate in the War Between the States but he did work as a teamster for the 7th Kansas Cavalry, and was later contracted to provide buffalo meat for the Kansas Pacific Railroad. Thus he got his nickname... Buffalo Bill. Later he met a dime-novelist named Ned Buntline, who wrote the book Buffalo Bill, King of the Bordermen and 100 sequels which were almost total BS. The public was entranced by the American West so Ned accompanied his novels with a Wild West show including "Buffalo Bill" Cody and "Wild Bill" Hickok. This year Bill Cody organizes Buffalo Bill's Wild West. (There is no "show" in the title.) He parades out Indians and recreates famous battles of the west including Custer's Last Stand. Buffalo Bill's Wild West will become a real sensation in Europe and even perform for Queen Victoria. The Indian Sitting Bull will join the show for 4 months. He will ride his horse, and give a speech on the importance of education. He will be paid $50 a week but make a lot more posing for photos. Sitting Bull had led the fight against Custer. I guess there were no hard feelings. Annie Oakley will join the show and be billed as "Little Miss Sure Shot". Buffalo Bill will die a reasonably well-off man in 1917, leaving his wife $100,000 (about $10 million in 2015 dollars). [20] [21] [22] [23]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
Ned Buntine was not a particularly nice man. He was a self-promoter, a heavy drinker and he would give lecturers on the evils of drinking... being quite familiar with those evils. Ned Buntine's name is also associated with the Colt Buntine revolver with a 16 inch barrel. The revolver became quite a popular after Wyatt Earp's biography was published. The biography was mostly BS including the description of the gun he used. Wyatt Earp probably carried a Smith and Wesson Model 3 with an 8 inch barrel. Nevertheless, Ned had special Colt revolvers made up to hand out to lawmen to keep the yarn alive. With a 16 inch barrel in his holster, I'm not sure how quick on the draw a lawman could be. Wyatt Earp's biographer said he had to make up all that stuff because Wyatt would only give clipped answers to his questions. It's not like today when an author would never dream of appearing on the Oprah Winfrey Show and TOTALLY MAKE STUFF UP! [24] [25] [26]

In Other News

  • 20-Mule-Team Borax is born. The Harmony Borax Company builds a borax mill in Death Valley. The company will sponsor the TV show "Death Valley Days," hosted by the future President Ronald Reagan, who will also star in several episodes. [27] [28] [29] [30]
  • The cash register is patented. This is an anti-theft device to track employees with sticky fingers. [31]
  • The verdict of "Not guilty due to insanity" is changed to "Guilty, but insane." Queen Victoria is sick of assassins being called "not guilty". They certainly were trying to kill her. They simply were not responsible for their actions. This policy will remain in effect until 1964. [32]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1883, Wikipedia.

See Also


  1. Krakatoa - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 30 September 2016. “At least 36,417 people died, and many more thousands were injured, mostly from the tsunamis that followed the explosion. The eruption destroyed two-thirds of the island of Krakatoa.”
  2. Withington, John. Disaster! A History of Earthquakes, Floods, Plagues, and Other Catastrophes. Skyhorse Publishing, 17-21. ISBN 9781602397491. 
  3. Krakatoa - the most dangerous volcano on earth, Rate My Science. youtube.com (2016). Retrieved on 1 October 2016. “Krakatoa (Indonesian: Krakatau) was a volcanic island made of lava in the Sunda Strait between the islands of Java and Sumatra in Indonesia. The name is used for the island group, the main island (also called Rakata), and the volcano as a whole. The volcano exploded in 1883, killing 36,417 people. The explosion is considered to be the loudest sound ever heard in modern history, with reports of it being heard nearly 3,000 miles (4,800 km) from its point of origin. The shock wave from the explosion was recorded on barographs around the globe. With a Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI) of 6, the eruption was equivalent to 200 megatons of TNT (840 PJ) -- about 13,000 times the nuclear yield of the Little Boy bomb (13 to 16 kt) that devastated Hiroshima, Japan, during World War II, and four times the yield of Tsar Bomba (50 Mt), the largest nuclear device ever detonated. The cataclysmic explosion was faintly heard as far away as Perth in Western Australia, about 1,930 miles (3,110 km) away, and the island of Rodrigues near Mauritius, about 3,000 miles (5,000 km) away.”
  4. Describe the 1883 eruption of Krakatau. Oregon State University (2016). Retrieved on 1 October 2016. “The volcanic dust veil that created such spectacular atmospheric effects also acted as a solar radiation filter, lowering global temperatures as much as 1.2 degree C in the year after the eruption. Temperatures did not return to normal until 1888.”
  5. Statue of Liberty - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 2 October 2016. “The torch-bearing arm was displayed at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia in 1876, and in Madison Square Park in Manhattan from 1876 to 1882. Fundraising proved difficult, especially for the Americans, and by 1885 work on the pedestal was threatened due to lack of funds. Publisher Joseph Pulitzer of the New York World started a drive for donations to complete the project that attracted more than 120,000 contributors, most of whom gave less than a dollar. The statue was constructed in France, shipped overseas in crates, and assembled on the completed pedestal on what was then called Bedloe's Island.”
  6. Pogrom - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 2 October 2016. “Following the assassination of Alexander II in 1881 by Narodnaya Volya – blamed on the Jews by the Russian government, anti-Jewish events turned into a wave of over 200 pogroms by their modern definition, which lasted for several years.”
  7. May Laws - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 2 October 2016. “They read as follows:[1] 'As a temporary measure, and until a general revision is made of their legal status, it is decreed that the Jews be forbidden to settle anew outside of towns and boroughs, exceptions being admitted only in the case of existing Jewish agricultural colonies.' 'Temporarily forbidden are the issuing of mortgages and other deeds to Jews, as well as the registration of Jews as lessees of real property situated outside of towns and boroughs; and also the issuing to Jews of powers of attorney to manage and dispose of such real property.' 'Jews are forbidden to transact business on Sundays and on the principal Christian holy days; the existing regulations concerning the closing of places of business belonging to Christians on such days to apply to Jews also.' 'The measures laid down in paragraphs 1, 2, and 3 shall apply only to the governments within the Pale of Jewish Settlement.'”
  8. Pale of Settlement - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 2 October 2016. “The Pale of Settlement was a western region of Imperial Russia with varying borders that existed from 1791 to 1917, in which permanent residency by Jews was allowed and beyond which Jewish permanent residency was generally prohibited.”
  9. The New Colossus - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 26 September 2016. “The title of the poem and the first two lines refer to the Colossus of Rhodes, which was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The poem talks about the millions of immigrants who came to the United States (many of them through Ellis Island at the port of New York).”
  10. Emma Lazarus - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 26 September 2016.
  11. Guide to the Emma Lazarus, papers, undated, 1876-1877, 1880-1882, 1884, 1887-1888, 1904-1905, 1934, 1987, P-2. digifindingaids.cjh.org (August 1995). Retrieved on 26 September 2016. “With the onset of pogroms in Russia entering public awareness, Lazarus became highly involved in her work and personal life in combating anti-Semitic persecution. In 1880, she wrote two dramatic representations of Rashi’s life entitled 'Raschi in Prague' and 'Death of Raschi.' She began visiting Eastern European immigrants on Ward’s island in 1881 and became involved in efforts to create the Hebrew Technical Institute and agricultural communities for Jewish immigrants. Between 1882 and 1884, Lazarus published twenty-two essays and two editorials concerning Zionism, religious life and anti-Semitism in America. Songs of a Semite, a collection of poems and translations focusing on the above themes and previously printed in the American Hebrew and Jewish Messenger was published in 1882. A series of fourteen essays printed in 1882-1883 in The American Hebrew entitled 'Epistles to the Hebrews' was posthumously published in 1900 as a book by the Federation of American Zionists. The essays outlined her Zionist ideas and plans that entailed Jewish centers in both the United States and Palestine.”
  12. The New Colossus : Emma Lazarus (Streaming audio). Internet Archive (June 24, 2012). Retrieved on 26 September 2016. “LibriVox volunteers bring you 26 recordings of The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus. This was the Fortnightly Poetry project for June 24, 2012.”
  13. Glenn Beck Colossus of Rhodes Part1. YouTube.com (2016). Retrieved on 26 September 2016. “Colossus of Rhodes Part1”
  14. Glenn Beck Colossus of Rhodes Part2. YouTube.com (2016). Retrieved on 26 September 2016.
  15. Women of Valor: Emma Lazarus. Jewish Women's Archive (2016). Retrieved on 26 September 2016. “Although Emma's friends were almost all Christian, she was usually referred to and seen as a 'Jewess.' As Emma knew, prejudice often lurked beneath the polite surface of wealthy society. Despite her father's efforts and her elite Sephardic background, her outsider status was never entirely erased. As she wrote in one letter, 'I am perfectly conscious that this contempt and hatred underlies the general tone of the community towards us...'”
  16. Emma Lazarus. Jewish Virtual Library (2016). Retrieved on 26 September 2016. “Lazarus wrote 'The New Colossus' in 1883 'for the occasion' of an auction to raise money for the Statue of Liberty's pedestal. The poem was singled out and printed in the Catalogue of the Pedestal Fund Art Loan Exhibition at the National Academy of Design because event organizers hoped it would 'awaken to new enthusiasm' those working on behalf of the pedestal.”
  17. Emma Lazarus, Poet of the Huddled Masses. NPR.org (2011). Retrieved on 26 September 2016. “
    The New Colossus
    Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
    With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
    Here at our sea-washed, sunset fates shall stand
    A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
    Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
    Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
    Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
    The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

    'Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!' cries she
    With silent lips. 'Give me your tired, your poor,
    Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
    The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
    Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
    I lift my lamp beside the golden door!'”
  18. When Worlds Collide. University of Nebraska Press. ISBN 0803298145. 
  19. List of United States immigration laws - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 2 October 2016.
  20. Grun, Bernard. The Timetables of History: A Horizontal Linkage of People and Events. Simon and Schuster, 440-441. 
  21. (2002) American Sensations: Class, Empire, and the Production of Popular Culture. Retrieved on 2 October 2016. “This novel, Buffalo Bill, the King of Border Men, was hugely successful, so much so that it generated more than a hundred sequels by Buntline, Prentiss Ingraham, and many others from the 1870s through the early part of the twentieth century. Buntline's novel also helped to inspire the traveling Wild West show that Richard Slotkin has called 'the most important commercial vehicle for the fabrication and transmission of the Myth of the Frontier' in the late nineteenth century.” 
  22. William 'Buffalo Bill' Cody - World Digital Library. wdl.org (1907). Retrieved on 2 October 2016. “In 1883, he started the Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show in Omaha, Nebraska, using cowboys and Native Americans to portray scenes from the West. The show recreated daring rescues, heroic battles, and Native American dances, fascinating audiences around the world. The show went to Europe and was wildly successful. It was the main American contribution to Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee celebration in 1887,”
  23. Dime novel - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 2 October 2016. “The dime novel is a form of late 19th-century and early 20th-century U.S. popular fiction issued in series of inexpensive paperbound editions.”
  24. Smith & Wesson Model 3 - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 2 October 2016. “The Smith & Wesson Model 3 was a single-action, cartridge-firing, top-break revolver produced by Smith & Wesson from circa 1870 to 1915, and recently as a reproduction by Smith & Wesson, and Uberti.”
  25. Colt Buntline - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 2 October 2016. “The Colt Buntline Special is a long-barreled variant of the Colt Single Action Army revolver, which Stuart N. Lake described in his best-selling but largely fictionalized 1931 biography, Wyatt Earp: Frontier Marshal. According to Lake, the dime novelist Ned Buntline commissioned the production of five Buntline Specials. Lake described them as extra-long Colt Single Action Army revolvers, with a 12 inches (300 mm)-long barrel, and stated that Buntline presented them to five lawmen in thanks for their help in contributing local color to his western yarns.”
  26. Fake memoirs - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 2 October 2016. “wo authors of recent fake memoirs, James Frey (A Million Little Pieces), and Herman Rosenblat (who was featured prior to writing Angel at the Fence), as well as an imposter assuming the name Anthony Godby Johnson (A Rock and a Hard Place), appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show. All eventually had their mendacity made public, and the scheduled publication of Rosenblat's book was cancelled. Frey, accompanied by his editor Nan Talese, was confronted by Oprah during a follow-up episode. The controversy over falsified memoirs inspired Andrea Troy to pen her satiric novel, Daddy – An Absolutely Authentic Fake Memoir (2008).”
  27. Borax and the 20-Mule Team in Death Valley. desertusa.com (2016). Retrieved on 24 August 2016. “In early 1883, Coleman built a borax mill on the edge of the marsh where Aaron Winters had found borax crystals. Coleman then organized the Harmony Borax Company.”
  28. 20 Mule Team Borax - Death Valley Days Classic TV Commercial -. YouTube (2016). Retrieved on 2 October 2016. “Actress Rosemary DeCamp demonstrates the laundry boosting power of 20 Mule Team Borax in the Death Valley Days television program. The popular western was on air from 1952 to 1975 and ran over 450 episodes.”
  29. Ronald Reagan: Tribute to the Dog (Death Vally Days). YouTube.com (1964). Retrieved on 2 October 2016. “In this 1964 episode of Death Valley Days, Ronald Reagan portrays Senator George Graham Vest (1869) in his tribute to the dog.”
  30. Death Valley Days - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 2 October 2016. “Each of the 452 television episodes was introduced by a host. The longest-running was 'The Old Ranger', a character played by veteran actor Stanley Andrews from 1952 to 1963. Following the departure of Andrews, all subsequent hosts appeared under their own names. The first was film actor Ronald Reagan, former host of General Electric Theater and future President of the United States. Reagan also acted in 21 episodes of 'Death Valley Days', including the 1965 episode 'A City Is Born'.”
  31. Cash register - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 28 September 2016. “An early mechanical cash register was invented by James Ritty and John Birch following the American Civil War. James was the owner of a saloon in Dayton, Ohio, USA, and wanted to stop employees from pilfering his profits. The Ritty Model I was invented in 1879 after seeing a tool that counted the revolutions of the propeller on a steamship.[2] With the help of James' brother John Ritty, they patented it in 1883. It was called Ritty's Incorruptible Cashier and it was invented for the purpose to stop cashiers of pilfering and eliminating employee theft or embezzlement.”
  32. Trial of Lunatics Act 1883 - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 30 September 2016. “This Act was passed at the request of Queen Victoria, who, the target of frequent attacks by mentally ill individuals, demanded that the verdict be changed from 'not guilty' so as to act as a deterrent to other lunatics; the phrasing of 'guilty of the act or omission charged, but insane so as not to be responsible, according to law, for his actions.' remained in use until the Criminal Procedure (Insanity) Act 1964.”

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