John’s Believe It Or Not… May 11th

John Fioravanti Stands at the front of his classroom in 2006

It’s Therapeutic Thursday! Did you know…

*1984 – Parliament passes a bill creating the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS). (The Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) is Canada’s primary national intelligence service. It is responsible for collecting, analyzing, reporting and disseminating intelligence on threats to Canada’s national security, and conducting operations, covert and overt, within Canada and abroad. It also reports to and advises the government of Canada on national security issues and situations that threaten the security of the nation. Its headquarters is located in Ottawa, Ontario, in a purpose-built facility completed in 1995. CSIS is responsible to Parliament through the Minister of Public Safety but is also overseen by the Federal Court and the Security Intelligence Review Committee.)

Canadian Security Intelligence Service logo
Courtesy of Warrior Publications – WordPress.com

* 1960 1st contraceptive pill is made available for sale (But 55 years ago today, June 23, 1960, marks the day when the birth control pill was first available for purchase in the U.S. for contraceptive purposes. Previously, the Food and Drug Administration had approved hormone pills to treat menstrual disorders, such as irregular periods or PMS. But in May of 1960, the FDA had cleared Enovid, the trade name of an oral contraceptive by G.D. Searle and Company, and by June 23, “the Pill” — as oral contraceptives would soon be commonly known — was on the market. And it was exactly what women had been waiting for. Because of the country’s squeamishness over birth control — anti-obscenity laws had prohibited even doctors from discussing contraceptives in the early 20th century — women had long been resorting to other, often unreliable and sometimes dangerous, methods to prevent pregnancy. Access to a dependable, safe form of birth control offered women a freedom that was previously unknown. In spite of the initial cost of the Pill, 400,000 women saw their doctors about getting a prescription that first year — even though $10 in 1960 was the equivalent, with inflation, of nearly $80 today. By 1963, after the price had dropped, the number of women had risen to 2.3 million.)

Woman Holding Birth Control Pills
Courtesy of Make a Little Difference – WordPress.com

* 1947 B.F. Goodrich Co. announces the development of tubeless tire. (On this day in 1947, the B.F. Goodrich Company of Akron, Ohio, announces it has developed a tubeless tire, a technological innovation that would make automobiles safer and more efficient. Pneumatic tires–or tires filled with pressurized air–were used on motor vehicles beginning in the late 1800s, when the French rubber manufacturer Michelin & Cie became the first company to develop them. For the first 60 years of their use, pneumatic tires generally relied on an inner tube containing the compressed air and an outer casing that protected the tube and provided traction. The disadvantage of this design was that if the inner tube failed–which was always a risk due to excess heat generated by friction between the tube and the tire wall–the tire would blow out immediately, causing the driver to lose control of the vehicle. The culmination of more than three years of engineering, Goodrich’s tubeless tire effectively eliminated the inner tube, trapping the pressurized air within the tire walls themselves. By reinforcing those walls, the company claimed, they were able to combine the puncture-sealing features of inner tubes with an improved ease of riding, high resistance to bruising and superior retention of air pressure. While Goodrich awaited approval from the U.S. Patent Office, the tubeless tires underwent high-speed road testing, were put in service on a fleet of taxis and were used by Ohio state police cars and a number of privately owned passenger cars.)

B.F. Goodrich logo
Courtesy of History Things

* 1812 British Prime Minister Perceval assassinated. (In London, Spencer Perceval, prime minister of Britain since 1809, is shot to death by demented businessman John Bellingham in the lobby of the House of Commons. Bellingham, who was inflamed by his failure to obtain government compensation for war debts incurred in Russia, gave himself up immediately. Spencer Perceval had a profitable law practice before entering the House of Commons as a Tory in 1796. Industrious and organized, he successively held the senior cabinet posts of solicitor general and attorney general beginning in 1801. In 1807, he became chancellor of the exchequer, a post he continued to hold after becoming prime minister in 1809. As prime minister, Perceval faced a financial crisis in Britain brought on by the country’s extended involvement in the costly Napoleonic Wars. He also made political enemies through his opposition to the regency of the Prince of Wales, who later became King George IV. Nevertheless, the general situation was improving when he was assassinated on May 11, 1812. His assassin, though deemed insane, was executed one week later.)

Print of the shooting of Prime Minister Perceval
Courtesy of The Telegram

* 1997 Deep Blue defeats Garry Kasparov in a chess match. (On May 11, 1997, chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov resigns after 19 moves in a game against Deep Blue, a chess-playing computer developed by scientists at IBM. This was the sixth and final game of their match, which Kasparov lost two games to one, with three draws. Kasparov, a chess prodigy from Azerbaijan, was a skillful chess player from childhood. At 21, Kasparov played Anatoly Karpov for the world title, but the 49-game match ended indecisively. The next year, Kasparov beat Karpov to become the youngest world champion in history. With a FIDE (Federation International des Echecs) score of 2800 and a streak of 12 world chess titles in a row, Kasparov was considered the greatest chess player in history going into his match with Deep Blue. In 1985, Carnegie Mellon doctoral student Feng-Hsing Hsu developed a chess-playing computer named “Chiptest” that was designed to play chess at a higher level than its predecessors. Hsu and a classmate went to work for IBM, and in 1989 they were part of a team led by developer C.J. Tan that was charged with creating a computer capable of competing against the best chess players in the world. The resulting supercomputer, dubbed Deep Blue, could calculate many as 100 billion to 200 billion moves in the three minutes traditionally allotted to a player per move in standard chess. Kasparov first played Deep Blue in 1996. The grandmaster was known for his unpredictable play, and he was able to defeat the computer by switching strategies mid-game. In 1997, Kasparov abandoned his swashbuckling style, taking more of a wait-and-see approach; this played in the computer’s favor and is commonly pointed to as the reason for his defeat. The last game of the 1997 Kasparov v. Deep Blue match lasted only an hour. Deep Blue traded its bishop and rook for Kasparov’s queen, after sacrificing a knight to gain position on the board. The position left Kasparov defensive, but not helpless, and though he still had a playable position, Kasparov resigned–the first time in his career that he had conceded defeat. Grandmaster John Fedorowicz later gave voice to the chess community’s shock at Kasparov’s loss: “Everybody was surprised that he resigned because it didn’t seem lost. We’ve all played this position before. It’s a known position.” Kasparov said of his decision, “I lost my fighting spirit.”

1997 Deep Blue defeats Garry Kasparov in chess match
Courtesy of stanford.edu

Acknowledged Sources:

* Canadian History Timeline – Canada’s Historical Chronology http://canadachannel.ca/todayincanadianhistory/index.php

* On This Day – History, Film, Music and Sport        http://www.onthisday.com/

* This Day In History – What Happened Today    http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/

* Time: History                                             http://time.com/3929971/enovid-the-pill/

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Author: John Fioravanti

I'm a retired History teacher (35 years), husband, father of three, grandfather of three. My wife, Anne, and I became business partners in December, 2013, and launched our own publishing company, Fiora Books (http://fiorabooks.com), to publish my books. We have been married since 1973 and hope our joint business venture will be as successful as our marriage.

5 thoughts on “John’s Believe It Or Not… May 11th”

  1. My goodness, when I read your daily jaunts into the past, I’m always stunned by how little I know. I think I need to go back to school and enroll in a history class. Do you offer an online course? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. How sweet of you to ask, Gwen! Even though I taught a lot of different History courses over my 35-year career, I’m learning new things every day, too. Each day my sources offer a plethora of events to choose from and I select five. Some days it is challenging to get a good, interesting mix of stories. Thanks for sharing your thoughts today, Gwen!

      Liked by 1 person

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