Pulse Rate September 2011

Usually it takes a long time for an unofficial holiday to become official, but the official recognition of Labor Day was rushed through the US government to quell dissent by workers in the Labor Movement following the 1894 Pullman Strike, wherein 13 strikers were killed and 57 wounded by government troops.

The National Football League, originally called the American Professional Football Conference, was established at a Hupmobile car dealership in Canton, Ohio in 1920. Two charter members are still in existence today, the Chicago (now Arizona) Cardinals and the Decatur Staleys (now the Chicago Bears).

Believe it or not, according to the late 1970’s US Supreme Court case Ingraham v. Wright, corporal punishment is still lawful in US schools. Though banned in 30 states, most southern states still practice it. Students can be struck on the (clothed) behind with a specially designed wooden paddle.

According to the latest statistics, here are the 10 most dangerous jobs in America, in order of increasing peril: grain farmer, animal farmer, bus driver/public transportation operator, sanitation worker, roofer, logger, police officer, airplane pilot, firefighter, fisherman.

Depending on the language, lines of written or carved text will either go from right-to-left or left-to-right, but there is a class of text format called “boustrophedon,” mostly seen in ancient Arabic and early Hellenistic texts, in which successive lines alternate reading direction and the characters alternate from normal to mirror image.

The earliest surviving sheet music in the world was discovered in Ras Shamra, Syria in the early 1950s. About 3,400 years old, the musical notation and lyrics of a cult hymn are written in cuneiform on clay tablets in the Hurrian language. Analysis determined that the song is in a diatonic major scale and contains harmonies.

You would think that you need some type of scale to measure an object, but scientists have discovered methods to calculate the mass of stars and galaxies. Their standard unit of mass is the same as the sun’s mass—1.98892×1030 kg or around 2,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 kg.

As the name indicates, the writing action of a ballpoint pen depends on a tiny ball at the business end. This ball is between .5 and 1.2 mm and can be made of brass, steel or tungsten carbide.

NYC banker George McCarthy patented the “Checkograph” machine in 1925, a device that heralded the practical use of microfilm, up until then only a novelty. McCarthy’s machine was intended to make copies of cancelled checks possessed by financial institutions.

Although scholars tend to lump all of the historical heads of the Roman Empire into the classification of “Roman Emperor,” that was never used as an official title. For the most part, a person declared emperor had the title of “augustus” and generals declared emperor had the title “imperator.” Beyond that, additional titles varied with the time period.

Apart from leather-bound books, specially-prepared animal skin or vellum is still the standard page material for printed Acts of Parliament for England and Ireland destined for governmental archives as well as handwritten Torah scrolls.

The modern model for the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) degree (graduate study and a dissertation/thesis) originated at Humboldt University of Berlin in the 19th century, was adopted by Yale, and then spread across academia in the Western world.

The practice of usury or charging high interest for loans was roundly condemned by the medieval papacy. In fact, in 1179, that entity came to the consensus that those engaged in usury were ineligible to receive sacraments or a Christian burial—­two incredibly vital religious elements in medieval society.