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Thursday, December 17, 2015

Happy Wright Brothers' Day, 2015

Wright Brothers' First Flight, December 17, 1903

On this day in 1903, the Wright brothers became the first people to achieve a dream of humanity for thousands and thousands of years - flying. Yes, their legend is a little overhyped in some circles. There were aviation pioneers who had preceded them, and contemporaries working on the problem at the same time who would have figured it out eventually, but the Wrights were the first. Moreover, with their systematic approach and especially with their focus on control, they were years ahead of everyone else. When they gave their first public demonstrations in France in 1908 (they'd spent that intervening time improving their flying machines), crowds were awestruck.

To quote myself from a previous entry, "Flying has become so common place today that we take it for granted. People complain about the cramped seats, the long lines to get through security, the bad food (if you even get any) on flights. But just remember how long people have dreamt of flight, for how long people looked to the skies wanting to emulate the birds. Flying used to be the stuff of myth and legends, reserved for the gods. Now, we can all get in an airplane, and soar above the clouds. It really is something special."

So as you go about your business today, take a moment to look up and find an airplane, and marvel a little at the achievement.

For more aviation-themed information on this site, you could browse the Aviation Archive on the blog, or check out the Aviation Section of my static pages. Or you could jump to some of the highlighted pages I've listed below.

Related Entries/Pages:

Previous Wright Brothers Day Entries:

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Merry Secular Christmas - Buy White Wine in the Sun, Support Autism Society, 2015

As has become my tradition to celebrate Christmas on this blog, and as I've said nearly verbatim for a few years now, every year around this time I post Tim Minchin's song, White Wine in the Sun. As described on Minchin's site, "This is a captivating song and a beautiful and intelligent exploration of why Christmas can still be meaningful even without religious beliefs. There's just the right amount of sentiment and some very gentle humour illustrating Tim's feelings about Christmas and the importance of family and home. It is a heart-warming song and may make you a little bright eyed."

Tim Minchin has his own tradition - donating all the proceeds from the sale of the song from around Christmas time to the National Autistic Society, a tradition that he's keeping again this year, including all sales from November, December, and January. So if you don't already own your own copy of the song, go buy it and help support a good cause.

As something new this year, here's a link to the lyrics, even though they're mostly easy enough to understand just listening to the song.

And now finally, here it is (but don't let the fact that you can listen to it from YouTube stop you from buying your own copy).

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