Almanac – July 23

1690 – Death of Richard Gibson, aged 75. He had been court-dwarf to Charles I and a miniature-painter [in every sense of the term].

His wife, Ann Shepherd, who died 19 years later, aged 89, was court-dwarf to Queen Henrietta Maria. They had 9 children, 5 of whom survived to maturity and were of ordinary stature.

1888 – Raymond Chandler born, American novelist.

1892 – Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia born. Revered as the returned messiah of the Bible, God incarnate, among the Rastafari movement  which perceives Haile Selassie as a messianic figure who will lead a future golden age of eternal peace, righteousness, and prosperity.  Haile Selassie himself was  was an Ethiopian Orthodox Christian throughout his life.



1929 – The Fascist government in Italy banned the use of foreign words.

1942 – Treblinka  Nazi extermination camp in German-occupied Poland  opened.. Approximately 870,000 died there.

1962 –  The  Telstar-1   communications satellite relayed the first publicly transmitted, live trans-Atlantic television program, featuring Walter Cronkite.


Telstar -1  became a victim of  Cold War technology. The day before it was launched, the USA had tested a high-altitude nuclear bomb (called Starfish Prime) which energized the Earth’s Van Allen Belt where Telstar-1 went into orbit. This vast increase in radiation, combined with subsequent high-altitude blasts, including a Soviet test in October, overwhelmed Telstar’s fragile transistors; and  it went out of service in November 1962, after handling over 400 telephone, telegraph, facsimile and television transmissions. It was restarted by a workaround in early January 1963. but the additional radiation associated with its return to full sunlight once again caused a transistor failure, this time irreparably, and Telstar-1 went out of service on February 21, 1963.

Although no longer functioning, Telstar-1 is still apparently in orbit at time of writing (July 2012).


Mr. Frankenstein






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