Skeleton Road – Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge

Many people have probably enjoyed wildlife drive of the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. Yesterday I discovered a desolate part of the refuge that will forever be imprinted on my mind as “Skeleton Road.”

While wildlife drive is the main visitor area, the refuge actually covers a much larger expanse, much of which is rarely visited. Rather than turn onto Key Wallace Drive off the road from Cambridge, Maryland, we chose to continue driving south along Rte 335 in an effort to reach the southern borders of the refuge. A few twists and turns and then suddenly an unmarked road beckons a bit of daring. In retrospect, perhaps we should have turned around when we saw the skeletons.

Skeleton Road near Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge

A half dozen or so vultures gathered on the road ahead, hesitatingly flying off at the last second as our car approached. Soon we were in the midst of a slew of skeletons and fur, splayed on both sides of the road as if a sirocco (or a blender) had been turned on a passing herd. Most of the bones had been picked clean, though several rib cages and lower limbs stood nearly intact. Most of the remains were clearly deer, but there were other animal parts as well. Why here? I never did figure out an answer.

Skeleton Road near Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge

Traveling further along it became evident that the houses, for lack of a better word, were also largely skeletal. Abandoned, or in need of being abandoned, the houses likely were the home of squatters – some human, some animal. Some were clearly inhabited, though one wonders how the crumbling infrastructures and naturally skylighted roofs held up to the occasional thunderstorm. Banjo riffs from Deliverance involuntarily sprang to mind. Eventually the paved road became a dirt road, deeply potholed and muddy from many long cold winters, and then, abruptly, and perhaps appropriately, dead ended.

Surprisingly the vultures hadn’t returned to the scene of destruction by the time we returned; perhaps they knew we would be back, retracing our path back to the land of the living.

Luckily, when we did eventually get back to the main visitor area of the refuge, we were able to marvel at the majesty of several bald eagles soaring overhead and resting on hillocks in the shallow edges of the central body of the apt-named Blackwater. Along the drive we saw this Great Blue Heron, hunkering down in protection from the icy wind.

Hunkering Great Blue Heron

The trip also took us to the old National Marine Fisheries Service laboratory (now a cooperative unit with the state of Maryland) in Oxford, and a wine-tasting on St. Michaels. A wonderful day experiencing nature – and Skeleton Road.

David J. Kent has been a scientist for over thirty years, is an avid science traveler, and an independent Abraham Lincoln historian. He is the author of Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity and the e-book Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time. He is currently writing a book on Thomas Edison.

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Rounding Up the Writing Life

Finally getting a chance to write on Science Traveler for the first time since Monday’s update on the Scandinavia trip plans. That trip is for the end of May, but before that a lot is happening. Much of it is writing. And the rest of it is doing interesting things worth writing about.

Current warsCurrent writing projects are headlined by my forthcoming book on Thomas Edison. The publishers of Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity asked that do a similar treatment of Tesla’s biggest rival. I’m working on the early chapters and finding that Edison, like Tesla, was an interesting personality, though in a few ways almost the opposite of each other. Surprisingly, Edison wasn’t as great a businessman as most people think. The irony is that while others often got credit for the contributions of Tesla, Edison often got credit for the contributions of others. Publication is scheduled for 2016 but I’ll post more on this here as the writing progresses.

My concurrent e-book writing project is called Lincoln and Tesla: Connected by Fate. There are a surprising number of connections between Nikola Tesla and our 16th President, and this book takes a look at all of them. Stay tuned for more info and expected publication on Amazon this summer. Here’s a preview.

Other writing includes a forthcoming piece called And the War Ends I wrote for the Smithsonian Civil War Studies website. This will be the third article for them and covers the end of the war and Lincoln’s assassination. This week has also seen a “microfiction” experiment called Executing One Final Joke on Hot White Snow and How the Media Enable Climate Denial and Misinform the Public on The Dake Page. Oh, and there is the Lincoln and Science book proposal.

I also have tons of events on my calendar that will keep me busy for a while (as if writing two books and a proposal for a third wasn’t enough to do).

  • March 21: Lincoln Institute full day symposium in Ford’s Theatre
  • March 22: Wine-tasting and bald eagle viewing on the eastern shore
  • April 9: Tesla Spirit Awards in Philadelphia
  • April 11: Lincoln Group book discussion
  • April 14-15: Ford’s Theatre events related to Lincoln assassination
  • April 21: Lincoln Group dinner meeting
  • April 24: CPRC-SETAC Annual Spring meeting
  • May 16: Lincoln Group Legacy of Lincoln full day symposium

And that’s just for starters.

Somewhere within this time frame I should be receiving my first advance payment for the Edison book and my spring royalties for the Tesla book. The Tesla Wizard book is back in Barnes and Noble stores and selling fast while the Tesla and Renewable Energy e-book is available on Amazon. On top of that, yesterday I shipped a second case of 24 books to the Tesla Science Foundation for them to give as gifts to teachers who have worked so hard to get Nikola Tesla incorporated into school curricula.

It’s a good life.

David J. Kent has been a scientist for over thirty years, is an avid science traveler, and an independent Abraham Lincoln historian. He is the author of Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity and the e-book Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time.

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Scandal in Scandinavia

Next stop on the Science Traveler tour is Scandinavia with its Mermaids, Vikings, and Erotica Museums. Okay, apparently the last one is now closed so I guess we’ll have to find something else to see in Copenhagen.

Scandinavia map

And Copenhagen is indeed the first stop. Some of the details remain to be arranged, but the plan is to fly into Copenhagen and out of Oslo, with stops in Stockholm and Bergen and day trips as we can squeeze them in. The trip is still a couple of months off so plenty of time to twiddle with the particulars. One thing for certain, we’ll be traveling within the three countries by train with a Scandinavia pass, good for all trains between the major and minor cities.

Little Mermaid Copenhagen

“Copenhagen – the little mermaid statue – 2013″ by Avda-berlin – Own work

 

Copenhagen (Denmark), of course, is known for its waterfront and the Little Mermaid statue based on Hans Christian Andersen’s classic fairy tale. From what I’ve heard, the Little Mermaid is about as impressive as the Manneken-Pis in Brussels, which is to say, not. Luckily there are other features of Copenhagen like the Stroget pedestrian street, the “alternative lifestyle” area of Christiania, the Amalienborg Palace, Tivoli, and museums.

Stockholm

Stockholm panorama

 

 

After a day side trip to Roskilde, home of Viking ships, the plan is to train to Stockholm (Sweden) and the first of two possible aquariums for the trip. Here there are more museums, the Drottningholm Palace, Gamla Stan (the old town), canals, and various other local attractions on the fourteen islands that make up the city. So what do you think – should we book a tour of the ABBA museum or not?

Oslo Opera House

Oslo Opera House

Oslo (Norway) is the next stop, again by taking the train from Stockholm across Sweden to the Norwegian capital. Oslo gives us the usual royal palace and Viking ship museum, but also the fabulous artwork in the Vigeland Sculpture Park and the ancient Akershus Fortress. There is even a Kon Tiki Museum so I can check out the famous raft by Thor Heyerdahl I read about during my marine biology days. For the writer in me I’ll check out the haunts of Norwegian crime author Jo Nesbo.

Norwegian Fjord

The highlight of highlights on the trip is likely to be Norway in a Nutshell, which is the cute tour name for a convoluted excursion from Oslo to Bergen and back. Starting out by train, we stop halfway and change to the Flam railway that climbs into the mountains of central Norway before dropping us off at the end of the massive Sognefjord, where a ferry scoots through the narrow waterways. Eventually we board a bus to climb the steep roadway back to catch the train again, then on to Bergen on the western coast. A night in the small town and an aquarium before heading back to Oslo for the flights back home.

More still to be done before the trip, plus a few shorter jaunts before then (and another one soon after), so tons of planning to do in the next few weeks. Oh, and somewhere in there I need to write the Edison book I’ve been contracted to write.

David J. Kent has been a scientist for over thirty years, is an avid science traveler, and an independent Abraham Lincoln historian. He is the author of Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity and the e-book Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time.

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Climate Collusion, Lincoln Language, Selma Sadness, Edison Elation – Catching Up On the Blogs

Write! Write! Write! That’s the mantra, and the last couple of weeks have certainly demonstrated how to do it. Well, except for the writing most important at the moment – Thomas Edison. Otherwise there was big news on collusion by climate deniers, Abraham Lincoln’s commencement address (of sorts), sadness over the Selma 50th anniversary, and much more.

Abraham LincolnHere on Science Traveler the focus was on Abraham Lincoln, with several events commemorating his 2nd Inauguration and one of the finest speeches ever delivered. A Busy Week for Abraham Lincoln sums up the biggest events, and His Greatest Speech looks specifically at the “With malice toward none; with charity for all” elocution that is one of his best. Additional background on the events can be read here.

DSC_0099That wasn’t all Science Traveler was about. I also posted a photo retrospective of the Holocaust Memorial in Miami Beach, one of the most haunting, and powerful, memorials I’ve ever seen. To balance the heaviness of that piece, check out the lighter side of things by exploring how two events in my writing world – Tesla and Edison – helped Barnes and Noble stock skyrocket in one day!

selma-dogsOn Hot White Snow I took a look at how we’ve moved Forward to the Past on the 150th anniversary of the 13th Amendment and the 50th anniversary on the fateful march on Selma that led to the Voting Rights Act. How far we’ve regressed on our previous gains is saddening – and should be maddening – to us all. Also on HWS I tried my hand at microfiction, the art of writing a story in 100 words or less, with a piece I called The Case of the Hated Haberdasher.

Climate Skeptic Graphic Paint2The Dake Page posted a series of climate change-related pieces since the last update. Part 4 of the series on peer-review examined how some people have tried to get around peer-review using the internet, with sometimes nefarious results. You can read Parts 1 though 3 by following the links in Part 4. The most recent post takes a look at collusion among climate deniers, where lobbyists, “skeptic” scientists, and media have worked together to intentionally misrepresent the science and misinform the public. The collusion became evident as climate deniers try to block release of the new documentary based on the Oreskes and Conway book, Merchants of Doubt. Here’s the trailer for the movie:

David J. Kent has been a scientist for over thirty years, is an avid science traveler, and an independent Abraham Lincoln historian. He is the author of Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity and the e-book Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time.

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A Busy Week for Abraham Lincoln

Vinnie Reams statue - US CapitolAnd what a week it was. March 4th marked the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s second inauguration and there were several events in Washington DC and elsewhere to commemorate the occasion. And several cool opportunities to hang out with Lincoln scholars, famous actors, and distinguished members of the Supreme Court (not real) and the press (real).

The evening of March 4th brought me to Statuary Hall in the Capitol. Now filled with statues of famous historical figures – two commissioned by each state of the Union – the Hall was actually the House of Representatives during Lincoln’s one and only term as a U.S. Congressman from 1847-1849. Long before anyone in the capital city had heard of him, Lincoln was a back bencher in the House; literally.

Lincoln desk location

Way in the back of the room is a marker on the floor where Lincoln’s desk once stood. Behind it is a room that once was the post office, and where Lincoln used to hang out between votes to tell stories. The room is now part of current Majority Whip Steve Scalice’s office suite, but I was given a private look by Congressman Rodney L. Davis before he took the podium to speak at the event.

Statuary Hall

The event itself included remarks by Davis, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos, Senator Mark Kirk, and former Secretary of Transportation and Congressman Ray LaHood, all Illinois natives. Lincoln experts Harold Holzer and Frank Williams gave historical perspectives, as did Howard University Professor Edna Greene Medford channeling Frederick Douglass. Actor Stephen Lang (Avatar, Gettysburg) gave a wonderful reading of the 2nd Inaugural Address.

Handwritten 2nd Inaugural Address

But that was just the beginning. The Library of Congress, directly across the street from the Capitol, had a once in a life-time display of the entire 2nd Inaugural Address handwritten by Abraham Lincoln (long before there were speechwriters and teleprompters). Normally they only bring out the last page for public viewing, but as you can see in the photo, exposure to light has yellowed the page. So seeing the entire document on display is treat (it was on display for only four days and is now back in the vault). Also shown was the typeset copy he read from on that occasion. Even more of a treat, Library of Congress Lincoln and Civil War expert Michelle Krowl was on hand to explain the background.

Lincoln 2nd Inaugural

Last, but certainly not least, was the Lincoln Group of DC’s very own 2nd Inaugural events, beginning Saturday morning, March 7th, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. On hand were Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd, Dr. Lucas Morel of Washington and Lee University, the aforementioned Dr. Edna Greene Medford of Howard University, musical entertainment by Bobby Horton and the Children of Gospel Choir, Lincoln Group of DC President Karen Needles, Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase (splendidly played by Lincoln Group VP John O’Brien), and of course, Mr. and Mrs. Abraham Lincoln (Michael Krebs and Debra Ann Miller).

Lincoln raising hat

I’ll have more on the 2nd Inaugural events later, but the morning went off perfectly with bright sunshine and tons of civilian guests invited to hear Abraham Lincoln take the oath of office. And here’s something that couldn’t have happened 150 years ago – Abraham Lincoln took selfies with hundreds of people on the steps of the Memorial after the event!

Lincoln Selfies

If you couldn’t be with us, you’re in luck – CSPAN broadcast the event live but you can watch the entire ceremony here:

CSPAN Lincoln’s 2nd Inaugural

After the swearing in we retired to the historic Willard Hotel, where Lincoln stayed upon his arrival in Washington prior to moving into the “big White House.” Following a delicious luncheon, Drs. Morel and Medford provided a few additional words and Bobby Horton sung for us some of Lincoln’s favorite tunes (including “Dixie,” which the North had duly won back from the South). The day was capped with an evening concert by Horton at the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church (“Lincoln’s Church”).

Check out the Lincoln Group of DC web page for more information on upcoming events (and there are many)!

David J. Kent is a lifelong Lincolnophile and is currently working on a book about Abraham Lincoln’s interest in science and technology. He is also the author of Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity and an ebook Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time. His next book is about Thomas Edison.

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Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address – His Greatest Speech

Those who memorized the Gettysburg Address or trudged through the logic of the Cooper Union speech may offer some argument, but many scholars consider Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address to have been his greatest speech. He gave it 150 years ago today, March 4, 1865.

Lincoln 2nd inauguration

Much more concise and philosophical than his first inaugural address, this second inaugural came at a critical time in the Civil War. The previous November Lincoln had pulled out a resounding victory in the the presidential elections that only a few months before appeared to be an impossible dream. Sherman’s march to the sea and gift of the city of Savannah to Lincoln for Christmas helped shine light on what would be the end of the war just weeks after Lincoln took his oath of office for the second time.

The speech is somber even as it anticipates the successful ending of the war that had ravaged the land for four years. Then, while all “dreaded” the impending war, and “sought to avert it,” still, “the war came.” Now, the speech’s biblical references delve deep into the morality of the war, of slavery, and of the future.

He used alliteration to plead for the war to end.

“Fondly do we hope–fervently do we pray–that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away.”

It’s final passage is perhaps the greatest call for humanity ever written:

“With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan–to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.

Of course, no one knew that Lincoln had only weeks left to live. Or that his assassin was on the balcony above him as Lincoln delivered his inaugural address.

Much has been written about the speech and its call for re-union of the country. Tonight I’ll be in the famed Statuary Hall of the U.S. Capitol attending a commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the second inaugural. Chaired by historian Harold Holzer and attended by Senators, Congressman, and Lincoln historians, the inaugural address will be read by the well-known actor Stephen Lang.

Then on Saturday, March 7th, the Lincoln Group of DC hosts three amazing events. We start with a reenactment of the address on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, followed by a banquet at the Willard Hotel and an evening concert at the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church. There is still time to join us – see the details here.

March 7 Inauguration Events

David J. Kent is a lifelong Lincolnophile and is currently working on a book about Abraham Lincoln’s interest in science and technology. He is also the author of Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity and an ebook Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time. His next book is about Thomas Edison.

“Like” me on my Facebook author’s page and share the news with your friends using the buttons below. Also check me out on Goodreads.

Holocaust Memorial, Miami Beach

While science traveling in Florida I had the opportunity to visit the Holocaust Memorial in Miami Beach. In vivid contrast to the nearby bikini beach, this memorial brings to life  unfathomable death. The contrast continues as what first appears to be a simple sculpture becomes on closer inspection a spectacularly complex look at the lives destroyed during the interminable years from 1933 to 1945 (which also happens to be the street numbers of Meridian Avenue where the memorial has stood since 1990).

Holocaust Memorial, Miami

A single forearm reaches for the sky, surrounded by a wall, on what appears to be a peaceful island in a pond of water lilies. The initial reaction one gets is a combination of wonder at the four-story high harm and solemn calm at the relatively idyllic setting. And then one begins to focus more closely.

Holocaust Memorial, Miami

Climbing the arm are figures. Agonizing figures. Part of a tattooed number becomes visible, and one starts to become uncomfortable with the realization of what is happening…what had happened.

Holocaust Memorial, Miami

One wall around the back lists names of people who are no more, whose millions of lives were taken as an act of genocide. The list continues inside.

Holocaust Memorial, Miami

Yes, inside; visitors can take a short tunnel deep inside the wall. The tunnel signposts the various concentration camps – Bergen Belsen, Birkenau, Dachau, Buchenwald, Auschwicz and more. Once inside you see what is hidden from the initial view. The figures on the arm continue all the way to the Jerusalem stone foundation floor. The pain in their bodies and faces is almost unbearable, as one’s mind cannot grasp how anyone could survive the anquish, the despair, the unimaginable physical toll…or how anyone could inflict this agony upon others.

Holocaust Memorial, Miami

Walking among the figures, it’s difficult to hold back ones emotions. The old…

DSC_0099

…the women…

Holocaust Memorial, Miami

…and the young.

Holocaust Memorial, Miami

It’s a powerful monument that saps the energy from you as the magnitude of what it depicts settles into your comprehension. The memorial was anguishing for the community as well. Seen by some as misplaced so near the fun and sun of Miami’s South Beach, detractors called the sculpture “grotesque” and a “brutal intrusion on the cityscape.” And no wonder. Even today the Holocaust remains a difficult topic…a difficult memory that many would prefer not to think about. The sculptor, Kenneth Treister, described the process of creating the memorial:

“Imagine you’re in a concentration camp in Poland surrounded by the Nazis, no communication with the outside world and you’re suffering and you’re a martyr, you’re giving up your life. Each one probably died thinking that no one would ever care, no one would ever know, no one would ever remember.”

And remember we must, says Treister.

“Six million moments of death cannot be understood…

But we must all try.”

David J. Kent has been a scientist for over thirty years, is an avid science traveler, and an independent Abraham Lincoln historian. He is the author of Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity and the e-book Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time.

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Barnes & Noble Stock Skyrockets on Big Tesla and Edison News

Wow. I knew Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison were good for business (in their own ways), but who would have expected that my big Tesla and Edison news would cause Barnes & Noble stock to skyrocket yesterday (February 26, 2015). Here’s the proof:

Barnes & Noble stock rise

Since you might not see the immediate connection, let me explain. As most people know I wrote a book called Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity (plus another Tesla ebook on his interest in renewable energy). The book is published by Fall River Press, an imprint of Sterling Publishing, and Sterling is a wholly-owned subsidiary of none other than Barnes & Noble!

This week the third printing of Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity finally made it back on the shelves at Barnes & Noble stores (and also available online). As the graph above shows, Barnes & Noble stock value instantly shot up. :)

But there was an Edison connection too. Yesterday I signed the contract with Sterling Publishing to write a book on Thomas Edison (tentatively called EDISON!). And before the ink was dry Barnes & Noble stock value had soared to a new 52-week high!

See, a direct correlation between my big Tesla and Edison news and the skyrocketing stock price for Barnes & Noble! It couldn’t be any clearer.

Okay, the sudden rise in stock might have also been influenced by a little announcement that Barnes & Noble is spinning off its college bookstore business and holding tight to its Nook business unit. Yeah, those might have had a teeny influence on the stock price, but I prefer to think that my Tesla and Edison news was the driving factor in the big stock gain.

Hey, let’s just say I see the glass half full. :)

Meanwhile, Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity has been a great success and I’m diligently typing away on my next big book – EDISON! Tesla is in Barnes & Noble now (make sure to get one soon because they sell out quick); Edison will be in Barnes & Noble stores in 2016.

It’s a good life.

David J. Kent is the author of Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity and the e-book Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time.

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Special Abraham Lincoln 2nd Inauguration Event – All Invited

Lincoln MemorialIn partnership with the National Park Service, the Lincoln Group of the District of Columbia invites everyone to a special series of events on Saturday, March 7, 2015 where we’ll celebrate the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s 2nd Inaugural Address. Mr. and Mrs. Abraham Lincoln will take the oath of office on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and recite his famous inaugural address.

The inauguration begins a full day encompassing three separate events. More details here.

Event 1: Inaugural reenactment at the Lincoln Memorial, 9:15 – 11:30 am [Free]

Chuck Todd, the current moderator of Meet the Press and former chief White House Correspondent will deliver the keynote address. Dr. Lucas Morel of Washington and Lee University and Dr. Edna Greene Medford of Howard University will also speak. Mr. Lincoln will take the oath of office from Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase, after which we’ll have wide ranging musical entertainment by the Military District of Washington; multi-instrumentalist, composer, producer, and music historian Bobby Horton; and the Washington Performing Arts Society’s Children of the Gospel Choir.

This event is free and open to the public. Music begins at 9:15 am at the Lincoln Memorial.

March 7 lineup

Event 2: Lincoln Inaugural Banquet at the Willard Hotel, 1:00 – 4:00 pm [Tickets]

After the inauguration, join us at a special inaugural banquet at the historic Willard Hotel. In addition to a fantastic meal, Lucas Morel and Edna Greene Medford will discuss the impact of Lincoln’s 2nd Inaugural to the past, present, and future…as well as the 50th anniversary of Selma’s “Bloody Sunday,” the topic of a recent Oscar-nominated movie co-produced by Oprah Winfrey. Bobby Horton will provide the musical entertainment!

Tickets are necessary. If you would like to hear the Bobby Horton concert but not the banquet, you can do that too! Check out the details here (scroll down for all three events).

nypres

Event 3: Bobby Horton Concert, New York Ave. Presbyterian Church, 7:30 pm [Tickets]

Bobby HortonCap off the day with an amazing concert at the church Abraham Lincoln called home, the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church. Bobby Horton will regale us with a full concert in this historic building beginning at 7:30 pm. For those who don’t know him, you’re in for a treat, as in his most entertaining style he will lead us in songs of the Civil War soldier, both norther and southern. More about him:

A seasoned performer, Horton is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, producer, and music historian. He has performed with the musical- comedy trio Three On a String, throughout the United States and Canada for 40 plus years. He has also produced and performed music scores for sixteen PBS films by Ken Burns – including “The Civil War”, and “Baseball,” two films for The A&E network, and twenty-one films for The National Park Service. His series of recordings of authentic period music has been acclaimed by historical organization and publications through America and Europe.

You can join us for one, two, or all three events. A shuttle bus is available for transport between the Lincoln Memorial and the Willard hotel (see links for details and tickets).

March 7 Inauguration Events

This is an incredible opportunity to take part in history at three of the city’s most historic landmarks – Lincoln Memorial, Williard hotel, and Lincoln’s Church. Please join us Saturday, March 7th for one or all of these great events.

More information and tickets can be found here.

See you on March 7th!

David J. Kent is a lifelong Lincolnophile and is currently working on a book about Abraham Lincoln’s interest in science and technology. He is also the author of Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity and an ebook Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time. His next book is about Thomas Edison.

“Like” me on my Facebook author’s page and share the news with your friends using the buttons below. Also check me out on Goodreads.

 

Little Tommy Edison and All the Rest

Young Thomas EdisonTwo weeks have passed since my last recap, and it’s been a busy fortnight. Tops on the list is finding out all about little Tommy Edison. Yes, Thomas Alva Edison. And he wasn’t really called Tommy; in fact he was called Al (not to be confused with the Paul Simon song, “You Can Call Me Al”).

It turns out Little Al was a precocious child. After dismissed as “addled” by a teacher, Edison was home-schooled, ran off to be a news butch, then telegraph operator, and at 22-years-old quit work to become a full-time independent inventor. No wonder he got more than a thousand patents in a life filled with both excitement and disappointment, where his inventions flourished after they were made better by others, and where his loss of hearing left him biting the local piano to enjoy the music.

Intrigued? Good. As my new book develops I’m confident that you’ll discover the many sides of Thomas Edison that most people don’t know…and much of which people do know may actually not be true. Stayed tuned for more updates.

Lincoln Quote BustAlso seen lately here on Science Traveler was a review of a book on Lincoln’s sometimes rocky relationship with the press, and a birthday tribute to the the man himself.

The AwakeningOn Hot White Snow I relived The Trauma of First Grade. Having missed any opportunities for pre-school or kindergarten, there is nothing like having to stand in the hallway half of the first day of first grade to stigmatize a child’s vision of the educational system.

Peer reviewThe Dake Page continued its series on how peer-review of scientific papers works…and sometimes doesn’t work. Part 2 looked at what happens when peer-review goes wrong, while Part 3 looked at the rare, but important, cases of intentional abuse of the peer-review system.

Meanwhile, plans continue for a late May trip to the lands of Vikings (not the Minnesota ones), Fjords (not the Detroit ones), and blondes (yes, those ones). Unfortunately, I won’t be able to take advantage of an invite to see two great friends from Brussels get married in Bulgaria as it falls on the same week I already have travel plans. I actually already visited Sofia (the capital) and Plovdiv as part of a rapid response trip several years ago, but it would have been great to see them again. Next trip!

More science travel posts soon (I promise).

David J. Kent is the author of Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity and the e-book Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time. He is currently working on a book about Thomas Edison for Fall River Press, due out in 2016.

“Like” me on my Facebook author’s page and share the news with your friends using the buttons below. Also check me out on Goodreads.