23 March 1933
On this day in 1933 Adolph Hitler becomes Führer of Germany with the passage of the Enabling Act of 1933 by the Reichstag.
Under the Act, Hitler’s government acquired the authority to pass laws without either parliamentary consent or control. These laws could even deviate from the Constitution.
The Act eliminated the Reichstag as active players in German politics. Together with the Reichstag Fire Decree, which curtailed basic civil liberties and transferred state powers to the Reich government, the Act transformed Hitler’s government into a legal dictatorship.
The Act also effectively removed Presidential oversight, as President Hindenburg’s representative had stated that the aged president was withdrawing from day-to-day affairs of government and that presidential collaboration on the laws decreed as a result of the Enabling Act would not be required.
22 March 1931
On this day in 1931 Canadian Actor/Director/Recording Artist, William Shatner was born.
William Shatner is, of course, most famous for his role a James T. Kirk, Captain of the Starship Enterprise, tasked with its five-year mission, which later became an ongoing mission, to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.
He also played TJ Hooker and more recently Danny Crane in Boston Legal. He has also directed, and performed musically although to call his performances singing is a stretch as we have said before here on Category Zero his musical offerings are more like crimes against humanity.
His influence and the 50 year show business career he has thus far carved out for himself are undeniable testament to his charisma, popularity and talents.
A portmanteau word is a combination of two words that morph into one new word. Typically it combines both sounds and meanings. For example, ‘smog‘ is a portmanteau, it is a combination of smoke and fog.
Portmanteaus became very famous from the story of “Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There.” It was the first time that the word portmanteau was used in the new sense. In the book, Humpty Dumpty explains to Alice how words are melded in the poem “Jabberwocky.“…
You see it’s like a portmanteau — there are two meanings packed up into one word.
…and later in the Introduction to his poem ‘The Hunting of the Snark‘ Lewis Carroll explains…
Humpty Dumpty’s theory, of two meanings packed into one word like a portmanteau, seems to me the right explanation for all. For instance, take the two words “fuming” and “furious”. Make up your mind that you will say both words, but leave it unsettled which you will say first … if you have the rarest of gifts, a perfectly balanced mind, you will say “frumious”.
Interestingly, the word portmanteau itself is a portmanteau. It comes from the French porter + manteau which mean To Carry a Cloak. Before Through the Looking Glass, a portmanteau referred to a suitcase in English and in modern French, a porte-manteau is a clothes valet, a coat-tree, hat stand or similar article of furniture for hanging up jackets, hats, umbrellas and the like.
21 March 1960
On this day in 1960 Ayrton Senna da Silva was born in São Paulo, Brazil.
Ayrton Senna da Silva was a Brazilian racing driver who won the Formula One world championship three times, he is generally regarded as one of the greatest F1 drivers to have raced.
Senna died on lap 7 of the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix after slamming into the wall after his Williams-Renault left the track under braking on the high-speed Tamburello corner.
The race weekend at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari circuit at Imola, Italy had already claimed the life of Austrian rookie driver Roland Ratzenberger who died after crashing in qualifying and Senna’s compatriot, Rubens Barrichello, was seriously injured sufferring a broken nose and arm when his Jordan became airborne at the Variante Bassa chicane violently slamming into the tyres and fence also during the qualifying session.
Within two minutes of crashing, Senna was extracted from his race car. Initial treatment took place by the side of the car, with Senna having a weak heartbeat and significant blood loss. Because of Senna’s poor neurological conditionan on site tracheotomy was performed Senna was airlifted to Bologna’s Maggiore Hospital, where he was declared dead hours later.
It is believed that the right suspension frame of Senna’s Williams-Renault was sent stabbing back into the cockpit, striking Senna on the right side of his helmet, forcing his head back against the headrest and causing fatal skull fractures and brain injury. A piece of the upright attached to the wheel partially penetrated his helmet causing trauma to his forehead. In addition, it appeared that a jagged piece of the upright assembly, most likely a tie rod, penetrated the Bell helmet visor, which was a new, thinner version, above his right eye. Senna also suffered a burst temporal artery.
20 March 1916
On this day in 1916 Einstein published his General Theory of Relativity.
According to general relativity, the observed gravitational attraction between masses results from their warping of space and time. Experiments and observations show that Einstein’s description of gravitation accounts for several effects that are unexplained by Newton’s law, such as minute anomalies in the orbits of Mercury and other planets. General relativity also predicts novel effects of gravity, such as gravitational waves, gravitational lensing and an effect of gravity on time known as gravitational time dilation. Many of these predictions have been confirmed by experiment.
General relativity has developed into an essential tool in modern astrophysics. It provides the foundation for the current understanding of black holes.
General relativity is also part of the framework of the standard Big Bang model of cosmology.
19 March 1932
On this day in 1932 the Sydney Harbour Bridge connecting Millers Point in The Rocks and Milsons Point in the lower North Shore was oficially opened.
The bridge was formally opened on Saturday, 19 March 1932. Amongst those who attended and gave speeches were the state Governor, Sir Philip Game, the Minister for Public Works, and Lawrence Ennis the engineer in charge and main construction site supervisor. The Labor Premier of New South Wales, Jack Lang, was to open the bridge by cutting a ribbon at its southern end.
However, just as Lang was about to cut the ribbon, a man in military uniform rode in on a horse, slashing the ribbon with his sword and opening the Sydney Harbour Bridge in the name of the people of New South Wales before the official ceremony began. He was promptly arrested. The ribbon was hurriedly retied and Lang performed the official opening ceremony. After he did so, there was a 21-gun salute and an RAAF flypast. The intruder was identified as Francis de Groot. He was convicted of offensive behaviour and fined £5 after a psychiatric test proved he was sane. He was a member of a right-wing paramilitary group called the New Guard, opposed to Lang’s leftist policies and resentful of the fact that a member of the Royal Family had not been asked to open the bridge.