on this day

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ON THIS DAY:

The Spice Girls’ debut film, Spiceworld: The Movie, was released nationwide in the UK, 19 years ago today, on Boxing Day December 26th, 1997! 

The film was a #1 smash hit, grossing more than £6 million pounds during its opening weekend in the UK alone and over $100 million dollars worldwide.

GIRL POWER

On this day in 1968, Yuri Gagarin, the first human in space, died never having gotten to see man touch the surface of another world.

In 1961, cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first ambassador of our planet to enter the vastness of space. Vostok 1 was the first manned spaceflight of the early space race, and Gagarin completed one orbit of Earth before landing safely 108 minutes later.

While flying weightless above Earth’s surface, Yuri Gagarin witnessed a spectacular view of home — forests, deserts, and great plains were surrounded by expansive oceans. Upon viewing the thin blue line of the atmosphere, Gagarin became the first of our inquisitive species to see our planet as it truly is — a vibrant, geologically active world circling a star. Unfortunately, Yuri died seven years later during a jet crash in 1968, never having gotten to see man touch the surface of another world.

We at Penny4NASA urge you to honor the memory of this brave man, as his Vostok 1 mission was the catalyst for every manned spaceflight to date.

William Morris

English artist, textile designer, poet and socialist activist William Morris was born on this day in 1834. Morris was one of the principal figures of the British arts and crafts movement. 

This is an ink, pen and watercolour drawing of a Woman Playing Cymbals, a design which was used for one of the many Morris & Co stained glass windows at Wightwick Manor.

Happy Birthday, Charles Darwin

Born February 12, 1809, Charles Darwin revolutionized science and the culture around it.  On 24 November 1859 Charles Darwin published his monumental work On The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, changing the face of biology. Although he only used the word once at the very end of the book, the word evolve (and evolution) is synonymous with Darwin. The word evolve had been used in a scientific sense specifically in biology for over a hundred years before Darwin wrote Origin of Species-which is one reason why he avoided it. By the mid 1850s, the word had connotations of perfectibility-something Darwin wanted to avoid. It was the last sentence of his book:

There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.

The word evolution arrived in English in 1620 and comes from the Latin word evolutionem(nomnative form evolutio) meaning the unrolling of a book or revealing that which was rolled up. The word evolve arrived a bit later in the 1640s from the Latin word evolvere meaning to unroll and could also pertain to other ‘hidden’ things (see also for example the etymology of vulva), but mostly meant books, when a ‘volume’ was a rolled up manuscript made from vellum. The modern meaning that scientists such ad Darwin meant for it began around 1832 and reached its first full expression in Darwin’s work.

Happy Birthday to Charles Darwin, born on this day, 1809.  

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On this day, 24th March 1834, William Morris was born.

William Morris was the leading member of the Arts and Crafts movement and founded the Kelmscott Press in 1890.

The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer published by the Kelmscott Press in 1896, was considered by many the most beautiful book of he nineteenth century and is an outstanding example of nineteenth-century book production.

The paper was hand made to replicate the quality of Bolognese paper made in 1473 and a special ink was imported from Hanover. The volume contains 87      woodcut illustrations designed by Sir Edward Burne-Jones and 26 large woodcut initials and numerous borders designed by William Morris. It was luxury item which only the wealthy could afford - only 425 standard copies were produced, plus 13 volumes on vellum which sold for 120 pounds.

The State Library of New South Wales holds a Rare book copy of the Kelmscott Chaucer which was purchased by the Mitchell Library in 1921.