Friday, October 29, 2010

Yellow fever

Yellow fever virus under microscope

Yellow fever probably originated in Africa. The first major outbreak in the Americas was in 1648 in Yucatan,  Mexico. The virus was brought to south and central America by ships in the 1500s. The virus is transmitted though female mosquitoes found in tropical and sub tropical climates. In the 1790s there were over 5 major outbreaks in New york, Boston, and Philadelphia that killed over 200,000 people. Many wealthier people evacuated the cities and fled to the country side leaving the poor and the sick behind.
    Yellow fever is a Flavivirus, like ALL other Flaviviruses there is no cure for yellow fever once you get it, although there is an affective vacination you can get. Yellow fever has causes 30,000 deaths a year, mostly in Africa, and South America. The WHO (the world health organization run by the U.N) has called yellow fever a re-emerging disease (since the 1980s the number of cases has been increasing)

Friday, October 22, 2010

My adventures in Butte, Montana

Butte nightlife in the 1930s

Yesterday, as a fun homeschool field trip (I'm homeschooled part time, but i had the day off because of teacher conferences) we went to Butte, Montana, known as the richest hill on earth.
By the 1900s Butte was the largest producer of copper in the world. There was a huge demand for copper during this time, because electricity was new and copper was needed for electric wire. Most buildings got electricity at some point, so if you think of every building in America needing electricity, you will have some idea of how in demand copper was. The three men who where in control of the mining companies were William a. Clark,  Marcus Daly, and F. Augustus Heinze (these men were known as the "Copper Kings"). These men fought over control of the copper for many years. Eventually, William A. Clark created the Anaconda mining company, and "won" the Copper king war. Clark was making around 17 million a month. His mansion, (The copper king Mansion) cost him $250,000, about a half a days wages for him.
  People from all over the world came to Butte to mine in the copper mines. Many people came for better working conditions, higher wages, and a better life for their families. Back when Butte was a boom town it was the biggest north west city in the United States (bigger than Denver, Seattle, and Portland), but today it's population in  only about 33,000 and it feels like the biggest ghost town in the world.
uptown Butte today

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Explore Highgate Cemetery (West), London, England

Every day up until Halloween I will post a picture, and some facts about some of the creepiest cemeteries in the world.
Today's Cemetery is Highgate cemetery in London England. Some famous inhabitants include: George Eliot (Mary Ann Cross), Adam Worth, Douglas Adams, Karl Marx, the Rossetti Family and Lucy Clifford (more here)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Graveyard Book By Neil Gamen

The first chapter of The Graveyard Book starts out with a murder. The first words are, "There was a hand in the darkness, a hand with a knife". The man with the knife murder's almost a whole family. A mother, a father, and a little girl. He goes up to the final child's room to find that the little boy is gone. The man is furious because he had to kill the whole family, and the job isn't done until he does. The in the night the little  boy escaped his crib, and walked to the graveyard on the hill above his house. Meanwhile, the ghosts of the graveyard find the boy. The boy's mother appears in the graveyard as a ghost and begs the graveyard ghosts to protect her son. A family in the graveyard named the Owens take the little boy in and give him the freedom of the graveyard (which means he can walk though walls, see in the dark etc) and name him Nobody Owens (Bod for short).
  In the rest of this book, Bod has many adventures, like going to school with living people, going into an ancient grave with a scary snake-like creature with his friend Scarlett, and at the end of the book, he faces the man that killed his family. I really liked the atmosphere of this book and the art.
four out of five stars ****

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Thursday's unexpected word origin

Named After: John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich
Although the act of eating bread with other foods dates back to prehistoric times, the modern sandwich was named after John Montagu. The exact circumstances for the naming is still a matter of debate, with 2 main hypothesizes being argued. The most popular one is that he asked his servants to bring him pieces of meat between slices of bread during long card games so the cards would not get damaged by the grease. The other is that, due to Montagu’s commitments as a statesmen, he needed a quick and easy meal which could be eaten at his desk, a concept that’s common today.
Whichever story is correct, I am sure that he had no idea that what is now one of the most popular, versatile and enduring meals would bear his name. Over 1.69 billion sandwiches were bought in the UK last year. There is even a British Sandwich Association. As well as the eponymous sandwich, Montagu was a very important British statesman, who held many positions of high office in the armed forces and the government. He was an astute politician and an excellent diplomat. He served as First Lord of the Admiralty 3 times, and was also Secretary of State for the North of England. He was a big supporter of exploration, and helped to fund Captain James Cook’s voyages. This led to the Sandwich Islands (now Hawaii), the South Sandwich Islands and Montagu Island, in Alaska, bearing his name.
The 4th Earl of  Sandwitch