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Publication: Trivia Today
The History of Spectacles

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           TRIVIA TODAY - Wednesday, June 18, 2008 
       "Six Items a Day of Enduring Insignificance" 

Greetings Infomaniacs,

It's time for another edition of "on this day in history." 
Here's some events that happened throughout history on June 

In 1767, Samuel Wallis, an English sea captain, sighted 
Tahiti and is considered the first European to reach the 

In 1858, Charles Darwin receives from Alfred Russel Wallace 
a paper that included nearly identical conclusions about 
evolution as Darwin's own. This prompts Darwin to publish 
his theory.

In 1873, Susan B. Anthony is fined $100 for attempting to 
vote in the 1872 presidential election.

In 1923, Checker Cab puts its first taxi on the streets.

In 1928, Aviator Amelia Earhart becomes the first woman to 
fly in an aircraft across the Atlantic Ocean (she was a 
passenger; Wilmer Stutz was pilot and Lou Gordon, mechanic).

In 1953, The Republic of Egypt is declared and the monarchy 
is abolished.

In 1981, AIDS is identified.

In 1983, Space Shuttle program: STS-7, Astronaut Sally Ride 
becomes the first American woman in space.

In 1996, Ted Kaczynski, suspected of being the Unabomber, is 
indicted on ten criminal counts.


Your Trivia Today editor 


P.S. You can discuss this issue or any other topic in 
the new Trivia Today forum. Check it out here...

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                    TODAY'S MYSTERY QUOTE 

QUOTE: “You see things; and you say, 'Why?' But I dream 
things that never were; and I say, 'Why not?'”

HINT: (1856-1950), Irish playwright.


                        RANDOM TIDBITS 

In the Middle Ages wearing spectacles signified knowledge 
and learning. Painters of the time often included spectacles 
when portraying famous persons even when depicting people 
who lived before the known invention of spectacles. On 
numerous paintings the religious teacher Sofronius Eusebius 
Hieronymus (340 - 420 AD) is portrayed with a lion, a skull 
and a pair of reading glasses. He is the patron saint of 
spectacle makers.


It actually is true that eating carrots can help you see 
better. Carrots contain Vitamin A, which feeds the chemicals 
that the eye shafts and cones are made of. The shafts 
capture black and white vision. The cones capture color 


Healthy eyes are so sensitive to light that a candle 
burning in the dark can be detected a mile away. The human 
eye can distinguish about 10 million different colors. 
There currently is no machine that can achieve this 
remarkable feat.



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Roman tragedian Seneca is said to have read "all the books 
in Rome" by peering through a glass globe of water. A 
thousand years later, presbyopic monks used segments of 
glass spheres that could be laid against reading material 
to magnify the letters, basically a magnifying glass, called 
a "reading stone." They based their invention on the 
theories of the Arabic mathematician Alhazen (roughly 1000 
AD). Yet, Greek philosopher Aristophanes (c. 448 BC-380 BC) 
knew that glass could be used as a magnifying glass. 
Nevertheless it was not until roughly 150 AD that Ptolemy 
discovered the basic rules of light diffraction and wrote 
extensively on the subject. 


Venetian glass blowers, who had learned how to produce 
glass for reading stones, later constructed lenses that 
could be held in a frame in front of the eye instead of 
directly on the reading material. It was intended for use 
by one eye; the idea to frame two ground glasses using 
wood or horn, making them into a single unit was born in 
the 13th century.


In 1268 Roger Bacon made the first known scientific 
commentary on lenses for vision correction. Salvino 
D’Armate of Pisa and Alessandro Spina of Florence are often 
credited with the invention of spectacles around 1284 but 
there is no evidence to conclude this. The first mention of 
actual glasses is found in a 1289 manuscript when a member 
of the Popozo family wrote: "I am so debilitated by age 
that without the glasses known as spectacles, I would no 
longer be able to read or write." In 1306, a monk of Pisa
mentioned in a sermon: "It is not yet 20 years since the 
art of making spectacles, one of the most useful arts on 
earth, was discovered." But nobody mentioned the inventor.



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                  *** Weekly Mind-Scrambler *** 

Pronounced as one letter,
And written with three,
Two letters there are,
And two only in me.
I'm double, I'm single,
I'm black, blue, and gray,
I'm read from both ends,
And the same either way.

What am I?

                Submit your answer by visiting: 

Answer will be posted in Friday's Trivia Today. Good Luck! 
If your name appears in Friday's newsletter, 
email me your complete name and address and I will ship 
your prize. 
Be sure to put "Winner" in the subject line.


QUOTE: “You see things; and you say, 'Why?' But I dream 
things that never were; and I say, 'Why not?'”

ANSWER: George Bernard Shaw.

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