Flying Trivia From David McCullough Book

I finished the truly American story of The Wright Brothers by David McCullough and came across a fascinating piece of trivia.   The moods and insights of the brothers, in addition to family members are portrayed alongside the enormity of the achievement which is  being undertaken.  If you think you are aware of the story, think again.  Then pick up this book and find a slice of America to revel in once again–page by page.

The Wright Brothers

On July 20, 1969, when Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon he carried with him, as a tribute to the Wright Brothers, a small swath of muslin from the a wing of their 1903 Flyer.

How awesome was that moment!  How truly amazed and thunderstruck they would have felt.  They marshaled in an achievement for mankind.

This plaque below commemorates two of humankind’s greatest flight achievements – the first powered, controlled flight of the Wright Brothers in December 1903 and the first human lunar landing (Apollo 11) in July 1969. The fabric and wood pieces in the middle of the plaque are from the Wright Brothers airplane, Kitty Hawk. These two pieces were flown on the Apollo 11 mission and were in the lunar module Eagle that landed on the Moon with astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, Jr. The plaque was transferred to the Smithsonian from the Air Force Museum at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in 1972.

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Madison City Workers Shine

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I am fully aware of the attitude many people have towards public employees.  Which is why I take a few minutes to post the following about some of Madison workers who made for a genuine smile over the past few days.

Last Tuesday I called about a tree on a terrace across the street from where I live.  For many years the large tree had been losing branches during summer storms and winter blasts.  Twice since we moved into our home lightening has hit the tree.    Each year it looked weaker and sadder.   This spring only a smattering of leaves popped out on the branches.

Within 18 hours of my calling a city worker assessed the tree, painted a yellow dot on it’s trunk, and told us it would shortly be cut down.  I truly thought it would be a fall cutting.

But today when a large truck with a cherry picker (basket) arrived at the intersection in question I had to look twice.  Once the chainsaws started I had to snap a few photos.   I was truly delighted at the speed with which the city took action on a tree what could have fallen on cars, power lines, or bikers.

It took the team about 90 minutes to cut the tree down, and then a separate crew to swoop in with two trucks and claw lift to cart the whole array of branches and trunk away.

I have long applauded the work done by city employees.  I have, over time, given most of my praise to the snow plow drivers who do their best when the weather is giving us its worst.  Today, however, I just had to post this as a way to blunt some of the criticism that too often is aimed at the ones who do their upmost to make sure the city is at its best.

Thanks to all those who took care of a tree which needed to be cut down for reasons of safety.

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Here We Go Again, Vatican Spits In Face Of Science

Here we go again.  The Vatican and science are at odds – this time over gender.

The Vatican office that lays down the official line for Roman Catholic educational institutions released a new document Monday that dismisses the scientifically accepted idea that gender identity is fluid as “nothing more than a confused concept of freedom in the realm of feelings and wants.”

Calling the current thinking an attempt to “annihilate the concept of ‘nature,’” the Congregation for Catholic Education insisted that biology decides what is “constitutive of human identity” and called for the reaffirming of “the metaphysical roots of sexual difference.” The 31-page document was released as LGBTQ people around the world are celebrating pride month.

The Vatican has not lost its zeal to fly in the face of science.   Let us recall another bruising example of how afar adrift from logic the Catholic Church has been.

The Italian astronomer and physicist Galileo Galilei was trialed and convicted in 1633 for publishing his evidence that supported the Copernican theory that the Earth revolves around the Sun. Oh NO!!

His research was instantly criticized by the Catholic Church for going against the established scripture that places Earth and not the Sun at the center of the universe. Galileo was found “vehemently suspect of heresy” for his heliocentric views and was required to “abjure, curse and detest” his opinions. He was sentenced to house arrest, where he remained for the rest of his life and his offending texts were banned.

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Wisconsin Teacher Fired For Knowing Worldview Matters

Facts of the world matter. To get a solid education one needs to have a worldview based on facts. I am truly saddened to learn of this matter, as it concerns the direction this nation is taking overall with education.

“A longtime educator at a Lutheran high school in Fond du Lac was told to resign or he would be terminated for teaching about the global problem of female circumcision in his freshman geography classroom.

“Daniel Dettmann resigned from his 24-year teaching position at Winnebago Lutheran Academy (which receives state tax money through the state private school voucher program). He said he was asked to do so because of subject matter the school board deemed inappropriate.

“Dettman’s son Corey Dettmann told the Fond du Lac Reporter he’s angry his father was made to feel shame for what he was teaching, and the administration used Bible passages to do so.”

“My dad has a strong faith and he doesn’t have any ill will toward his church and isn’t bitter. He is just trying to figure out his life right now,” he said.