Osmium

January 20th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

Uranium

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Carbon

January 19th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

Lead

January 19th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

Silicon

January 18th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

Magnesium

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Hydrogen

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Plutonium

January 18th, 2017 § 0 comments § permalink

The Diomede Islands, Nuclear Waste & the Holy Unmercenaries

April 22nd, 2016 § 0 comments § permalink

The_Diomede_Islands_in_the_BeringSea_(picture_from_space)

I am currently working on ceramics based on various landscapes. One of the sites I have been looking at are the ‘Diomede Islands‘, in the Bering Strait. The two islands, one ‘Big’ and the other ‘Little Diomede’ are known in Russia as the Gvozdev Islands. The are literally the closest point between the USA and Russia – the larger island being Russian, the smaller American, and a distance of 2.4 miles lies between them, but 21 hours in international time. In 1987 Lynne Cox travelled through space, time and political waters by swimming between the two islands.

Lynne Cox swimming from Little Diomede to Big Diomede 1987

The islands are/were also known by their indigenous names ‘Imaqliq’ and ‘Ignaluk’ – the indigenous people were moved off the islands, ‘relocated’ in Russia, never to return, while Little Diomede has a small Inupiat Inuit population. Big Diomede now seems to have only Russian military units of some sort. On Google Earth, altitude information normally shows up wherever you go, but over Big Diomede, there is no information, just an inexplicable straight edged ridge running along the eastern side of the island (this doesn’t correspond to photos of the islands). I have managed to find out contour information elsewhere though. The islands were ‘rediscovered’ (?) by a Danish navigator, in Russian service on the 16th August 1728, ‘St Diomede’s’ Day in Orthdox Russian Christianity. St. Diomedes is a ‘Holy Unmercenary‘ saint – amongst others are Damien and Cosmas who I posted last month about.

The Unholy Mercenaries

He was a physician, who when he was beheaded, caused those around his body to go blind. Only when the head was restored to the body was their sight in turn restored. The Holy Unmercanaries were saints who did not accept payment for good deeds, though I would have thought all saints should have been like that.

Around 9 miles south-east of the islands, lies a small islet called ‘Fairway Rock‘ a lump of granite providing nesting ground for various birds.

In 1966, the US Navy put a strontium powered RTG (Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator) on the island to power an oceanographic station which monitored detectors on the ocean floor looking for submarine traffic heading north. The RTG’s were seen as a useful way of using nuclear waste, and another two were added to the island. In 1995, all three were removed and taken to Hanford Nuclear Reservation for disposal.

Multi-Mission-Radioisotope-Thermoelectric-Generator-MMRTG

RTG’s (if I’ve understood correctly…) convert heat released by the decay of radioactive material into electricity. Strontium, plutonium, polonium, americium… there are apparently thousands of RTG’s rotting away all over Russia.

“…discussing the issue of safe and secure use of isotope products in the “global”
sense, we must admit the obvious: this is an issue of urgency due to a number of reasons.One of them is the threat posed by different terrorist organizations in the world, disintegration
of the former Soviet territory, that led to the loss of control over sources, and in some cases to the loss
of sources as such. For example, unsanctioned opening of RITEGs by local populace in Kazakhstan
and Georgia to obtain non-ferrous metals. For some, the dose that they have been exposed to turned
out to be too high.” (Report by Minister of the Russian Federation for Atomic Energy Mr. A. Yu. Rumyantsev at the IAEA Conference on the Security of Radioactive Sources Vienna, Austria, March 11 2003)

Radioisotope_thermoelectric_generator_plutonium_pellet

Plutonium pellet

ALSEP_Apollo_14_RTG

RTG on the Moon

Interestingly, there are 5 plutonium powered RTG’s on the moon, having been left their to power experimental equipment. There are also a number of ‘lost’ RTG’s including one which Apollo 13 was carrying when it reentered Earths atmosphere – it was lost somewhere near Fiji in the ‘Tonga Trench‘.

Apollo 13

Figure-17-3D-view-of-the-C-1-approximant-of-the-South-Tonga-Trench-dataset

Tonga Trench

Tests have apparently shown that the plutonium therein has not escaped, and the cask containing the plutonium is expected to last around 870 years. The failed Russian Mars mission of 1996 brought back 2 RTG’s containing 200g of plutonium plummeting to earth, somewhere to the east of Chile.

m96_tnv4n4

What Mars 96 was meant to do

The Hanford Nuclear Reservation, where the Fairway Rock RTG’s were taken for disposal, is part of the ‘Hanford Site‘, an enormous decommissioned nuclear production complex in Washington state (where apparently there is a leak which is getting worse). It was established as part of the Manhattan Project, and plutonium manufactured there was used in the first nuclear bomb, and the bomb which destroyed Nagasaki. Looking at the site on Google Earth is quite unnerving. I will put another post up of some images later.

1280px-Hanford_N_Reactor_adjusted

Hanford_billboard

Billboard at the Hanford Site

3354F93A00000578-3547975-image-a-48_1461081267126

A wee nuclear waste leak

Very close to the Hanford Site, is Hanford Reach National Monument, a 195,000 acre, untouched since 1943, (when the nuclear site was built) kind of reservation park. The site was, unsurprisingly, once a hunting ground for Native Americans. There are a number of rare, threatened or endangered species of animals and plants there, including elk and Chinook Salmon, which spawn in the Columbia River there.

DSC_0396

chinook

The Diomede Islands, separated by a couple of miles, but 21 hours and conflicting ideologies. The Hanford Site and the Hanford Reach National Monument, separated by the Columbia River and conflicting approaches to the management and engagement of the environments we choose to shape. I’d be interested to know if the plant and animal life on one side of the river is able to inhabit the other side, and vice versa – whether there is some kind of microbial version of Lynne Cox.

hanford screen

Hanford Reach National Monument and Hanford Site seperated by the Columbia River – click to enlarge

Wikipedia Random Articles Essay 2 – From ‘Scytale’ to ‘Sempronius, New York’

December 8th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

‘SCYTALE’

In cryptography, a scytale (/ˈskɪtəliː/, rhymes approximately with Italy; also transliterated skytale, Greek σκυτάλη “baton”) is a tool used to perform a transposition cipher, consisting of a cylinder with a strip of parchment wound around it on which is written a message. The ancient Greeks, and the Spartans in particular, are said to have used this cipher to communicate during military campaigns.

The recipient uses a rod of the same diameter on which he wraps the parchment to read the message. It has the advantage of being fast and not prone to mistakes—a necessary property when on the battlefield. It can, however, be easily broken. Since the strip of parchment hints strongly at the method, the ciphertext would have to be transferred to something less suggestive, somewhat reducing the advantage noted.

‘SPARTA’

Sparta (Doric Σπάρτα; Attic Σπάρτη Spartē) or Lacedaemon, was a prominent city-state in ancient Greece, situated on the banks of the River Eurotas in Laconia, in south-eastern Peloponnese. It emerged as a political entity around the 10th century BC, when the invading Dorians subjugated the local, non-Dorian population. From c. 650 BC it rose to become the dominant military land-power in ancient Greece.

Given its military pre-eminence, Sparta was recognized as the overall leader of the combined Greek forces during the Greco-Persian Wars. Between 431 and 404 BC, Sparta was the principal enemy of Athens during the Peloponnesian War, from which it emerged victorious, though at great cost. Sparta’s defeat by Thebes in the Battle of Leuctra in 371 BC ended Sparta’s prominent role in Greece. However, it maintained its political independence until the Roman conquest of Greece in 146 BC.

Sparta was unique in ancient Greece for its social system and constitution, which completely focused on military training and excellence. Its inhabitants were classified as Spartiates (Spartan citizens, who enjoyed full rights), Mothakes (non-Spartan free men raised as Spartans), Perioikoi (freedmen), and Helots (state-owned serfs, enslaved non-Spartan local population). Spartiates underwent the rigorous agoge training and education regimen, and Spartan phalanxes were widely considered to be among the best in battle. Spartan women enjoyed considerably more rights and equality to men than elsewhere in the classical world.

Sparta was the subject of fascination in its own day, as well as in the West following the revival of classical learning. Sparta continues to fascinate Western Culture; an admiration of Sparta is called laconophilia.

Lacedaemon is now the name of a province in the modern Greek prefecture of Laconia.

‘PROVINCES OF GREECE’

The provinces of Greece (Greek: επαρχία, “eparchy”) were sub-divisions of some the country’s prefectures. From 1887, the provinces were abolished as actual administrative units, but were retained for some state services, especially finance services and education, as well as for electoral purposes. Before the Second World War, there were 139 provinces, and after the war, with the addition of the Dodecanese Islands, their number grew to 147. According to the Article 7 of the Code of Prefectural Self-Government (Presidential Decree 30/1996), the provinces constituted a “particular administrative district” within the wider “administrative district” of the prefectures. The provinces were finally abolished after the 2006 local elections, in line with Law 2539/1997, as part of the wide-ranging administrative reform known as the “Kapodistrias Project”, and replaced by enlarged municipalities (demoi).

‘IOANNIS KAPODISTRIAS’

Count Ioannis Antonios Kapodistrias (Greek: Κόμης Ιωάννης Αντώνιος Καποδίστριας Komis Ioannis Antonios Kapodistrias; other English transliterations include John Capodistrias, Johannes Capodistrias and Joannes Capodistria; February 11, 1776 – October 9, 1831) was a Greek diplomat of the Russian Empire and later the first head of state of independent Greece.

Kapodistrias’ mother was Adamantine Gonemis (Αδαμαντία (Διαμαντίνα) Γονέμη), daughter of the noble Christodoulos Gonemis (Χριστόδουλος Γονέμης). The Gonemis were a Greek family originally from the island of Cyprus, they had migrated to Crete when Cyprus fell to the Ottomans in the 16th century. They then migrated to Epirus when Crete fell in the 17th century, finally settling on the Ionian island of Corfu. The Gonemis’ had been listed in the Libro d’Oro Golden Book since 1606. In 1802 Ioannis Kapodistrias founded an important scientific and social progress organisation in Corfu, the “National Medical Association”, of which he was an energetic member. In 1799, when Corfu was briefly occupied by the forces of Russia and Turkey, Kapodistrias was appointed chief medical director of the military hospital.

After two years of revolutionary freedom, triggered by the French Revolution and the ascendancy of Napoleon, in 1799 Russia and the Ottoman Empire drove the French out of the seven Ionian islands and organised them as a free and independent state – the Septinsular Republic – ruled by its nobles. Kapodistrias, substituting for his father, became one of two ministers of the new state. Thus, at the age of 25, Kapodistrias became involved in politics. In Cephallonia he was successful in convincing the populace to remain united and disciplined to avoid foreign intervention and, by his argument and sheer courage, he faced and appeased rebellious opposition without conflict. With the same peaceful determination he established authority in all the seven islands.

‘FRENCH REVOLUTION’

The French Revolution (French: Révolution française; 1789–1799), was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France that had a major impact on France and indeed all of Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years. French society underwent an epic transformation as feudal, aristocratic and religious privileges evaporated under a sustained assault from radical left-wing political groups, masses on the streets, and peasants in the countryside. Old ideas about tradition and hierarchy – of monarchy, aristocracy and religious authority – were abruptly overthrown by new Enlightenment principles of equality, citizenship and inalienable rights.

The French Revolution began in 1789 with the convocation of the Estates-General in May. The first year of the Revolution saw members of the Third Estate proclaiming the Tennis Court Oath in June, the assault on the Bastille in July, the passage of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen in August, and an epic march on Versailles that forced the royal court back to Paris in October. The next few years were dominated by tensions between various liberal assemblies and a right-wing monarchy intent on thwarting major reforms.

A republic was proclaimed in September 1792 and King Louis XVI was executed the next year. External threats also played a dominant role in the development of the Revolution. The French Revolutionary Wars started in 1792 and ultimately featured spectacular French victories that facilitated the conquest of the Italian Peninsula, the Low Countries and most territories west of the Rhine – achievements that had defied previous French governments for centuries.

Internally, popular sentiments radicalized the Revolution significantly, culminating in the rise of Maximilien Robespierre and the Jacobins and virtual dictatorship by the Committee of Public Safety during the Reign of Terror from 1793 until 1794 during which between 16,000 and 40,000 people were killed. After the fall of the Jacobins and the execution of Robespierre, the Directory assumed control of the French state in 1795 and held power until 1799, when it was replaced by the Consulate under Napoleon Bonaparte.

After the Napoleonic Wars and ensuing rise and fall of Napoleon’s First French Empire, a restoration of absolutist monarchy was followed by two further successful smaller revolutions (1830 and 1848). This meant the 19th century and process of modern France taking shape saw France again successively governed by a similar cycle of constitutional monarchy (1830-48), fragile republic (Second Republic) (1848-1852), and empire (Second Empire) (1852-1870). The modern era has unfolded in the shadow of the French Revolution. The growth of republics and liberal democracies, the spread of secularism, the development of modern ideologies and the invention of total war all mark their birth during the Revolution.

Symbolism in the French Revolution – Liberty Cap

The Liberty cap, also known as the Phrygian cap, or pileus, is a brimless, felt cap that is conical in shape with the tip pulled forward. The cap was originally worn by ancient Romans and Greeks. The cap implies ennobling effects, as seen in its association with Homer’s Ulysses and the mythical twins, Castor and Pollux. The emblem’s popularity during the French Revolution is due in part to its importance in ancient Rome: its use alludes to the Roman ritual of manumission of slaves, in which a freed slave receives the bonnet as a symbol of his newfound liberty. The Roman tribune Lucius Appuleius Saturninus incited the slaves to insurrection by displaying a pileus as if it were a standard. The pileus cap is often red in color. This type of cap was worn by revolutionaries at the fall of the Bastille. According to the Revolutions de Paris, it became “the symbol of the liberation from all servitudes, the sign for unification of all the enemies of despotism.” The pileus competed with the Phrygian cap, a similar cap that covered the ears and the nape of the neck, for popularity. The Phrygian cap eventually supplanted the pileus and usurped its symbolism, becoming synonymous with republican liberty.

‘PHRYGIAN CAP’

The Phrygian cap is a soft conical cap with the top pulled forward, associated in antiquity with the inhabitants of Phrygia, a region of central Anatolia. In the western provinces of the Roman Empire it came to signify freedom and the pursuit of liberty, perhaps through a confusion with the pileus, the felt cap of manumitted (emancipated) slaves of ancient Rome. Accordingly, the Phrygian cap is sometimes called a liberty cap; in artistic representations it signifies freedom and the pursuit of liberty.

The Phrygian cap has been used to symbolize liberty in numerous countries of the Americas. For example, starting in 1793 United States of America coinage frequently showed liberty wearing the cap or, on many 19th Century pieces, holding it on a Liberty Pole. The cap’s last appearance on circulating coinage was the Walking Liberty Half Dollar, which was minted through 1947 (and reused on the current bullion American Silver Eagle). The U.S. Army has, since 1778, utilized a “War Office Seal” in which the motto “This We’ll Defend” is displayed directly over a Phrygian cap on an upturned sword. It also appears on the state flags of West Virginia (as part of its official seal), New Jersey, and New York, as well as the official seal of the United States Senate, the state of Iowa, the state of North Carolina (as well as the arms of its Senate,) and on the reverse side of the Seal of Virginia.

In 1854, when sculptor Thomas Crawford was preparing models for sculpture for the United States Capitol, Secretary of War Jefferson Davis (later to be the President of the Confederate States of America) insisted that a Phrygian cap not be included on a statue of Freedom on the grounds that, “American liberty is original and not the liberty of the freed slave“. The cap was not included in the final bronze version that is now in the building.

‘WALKING LIBERTY HALF DOLLAR’

The Walking Liberty half dollar was a silver 50-cent piece or half dollar coin issued by the United States Mint from 1916 to 1947; it was designed by Adolph A. Weinman.

In 1915, the new Mint Director, Robert W. Woolley, came to believe that the act granting him the authority to replace coin designs that had been in use for 25 years also required their replacement after that period. He therefore began the process of replacing the Barber coinage: dimes, quarters and half dollars, all bearing similar designs by long-time Mint Engraver Charles E. Barber, and first struck in 1892. Woolley had the Commission of Fine Arts conduct a competition, as a result of which Weinman was selected to design the half dollar.

Weinman’s design of a Liberty striding towards the Sun proved difficult to perfect, and Treasury Secretary William G. McAdoo, whose department included the Mint, considered having Barber create his own design. Mint officials were successful in getting Weinman’s design into production, although it never struck very well, which may have been a factor in its replacement by the Franklin half dollar beginning in 1948. Nevertheless, art historian Cornelius Vermeule considered the piece to be among the most beautiful US coins. Since 1986, Weinman’s obverse design has been used for the American Silver Eagle.

‘WILLIAM GIBBS McADOO’

William Gibbs McAdoo, Jr. (October 31, 1863 – February 1, 1941) was an American lawyer and political leader who served as a U.S. Senator, United States Secretary of the Treasury and director of the United States Railroad Administration (USRA). By virtue of his position as Secretary of the Treasury, in August 1914, he served as an “ex-officio member” on the first Federal Reserve Board in Washington, DC.

He was admitted to the bar in Tennessee in 1885 and set up a practice in Chattanooga, Tennessee. In the early 1890s, he lost most of his money trying to electrify the Knoxville Street Railroad system. In 1892 he moved to New York City, where he met Francis R. Pemberton, son of the Confederate General John C. Pemberton. They formed a firm, Pemberton and McAdoo, to sell investment securities.

‘NEW YORK CITY’

New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and entertainment. The home of the United Nations Headquarters, New York is an important center for international affairs and is widely deemed the cultural capital of the world. The city is also referred to as New York City or the City of New York to distinguish it from the state of New York, of which it is a part.

‘STATE OF NEW YORK’

New York (/njuː ˈjɔrk/; locally IPA: [nɪu ˈjɔək] or [nuː ˈjɔrk]) is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation’s third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east. The state has a maritime border with Rhode Island east of Long Island, as well as an international border with the Canadian provinces of Ontario to the north and west, and Quebec to the north. The state of New York is often referred to as New York State to distinguish it from the city of New York.

‘LIST OF COUNTIES IN NEW YORK’

There are 62 counties in the State of New York. The first twelve counties in New York were created immediately after the British takeover of the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam, although two of these counties have since been abolished. The most recent county formation in New York was in 1914, when Bronx County was created from the portions of New York City that had been annexed from Westchester County in the late 19th century and added to New York County. New York’s counties are named for a variety of Native American words, British provinces, counties, cities, and royalty, early American statesmen and military, and New York State politicians.

Cayuga County 011 Auburn 1799 Onondaga County The Cayuga tribe of Native Americans 80,026 864 sq mi
(2,238 km2)

‘CAYUGA COUNTY, NEW YORK’

Cayuga County is a county located in the U.S. state of New York. It was named for one of the tribes of Indians in the Iroquois Confederation. Its county seat is Auburn.

When counties were established in the Province of New York in 1683, the present Cayuga County was part of Albany County. This was an enormous county, including the northern part of the present state of New York and all of the present state of Vermont and, in theory, extending westward to the Pacific Ocean. This county was reduced in size on July 3, 1766 by the creation of Cumberland County, and further on March 16, 1770, by the creation of Gloucester County, both containing territory now in Vermont.

On March 12, 1772, what was left of Albany County was split into three parts, one remaining under the name Albany County. One of the other pieces, Tryon County, contained the western portion (and thus, since no western boundary was specified, theoretically still extended west to the Pacific). The eastern boundary of Tryon County was approximately five miles west of the present city of Schenectady, and the county included the western part of the Adirondack Mountains and the area west of the West Branch of the Delaware River. The area then designated as Tryon County now includes 37 counties of New York State. The county was named for William Tryon, colonial governor of New York. In the years prior to 1776, most of the Loyalists in Tryon County fled to Canada. In 1784, following the peace treaty that ended the American Revolutionary War, the name of Tryon County was changed to Montgomery County in honor of the general, Richard Montgomery, who had captured several places in Canada and died attempting to capture the city of Quebec, replacing the name of the hated British governor.

‘RICHARD MONTGOMERY’

Richard Montgomery (December 2, 1738 – December 31, 1775) was an Irish-born soldier who first served in the British Army. He later became a brigadier-general in the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War and he is most famous for leading the failed 1775 invasion of Canada.

Montgomery was born and raised in Ireland. In 1754, he enrolled at Trinity College, Dublin, and two years later joined the British army to fight in the French and Indian War. He steadily rose through the ranks, serving in North America and then the Caribbean. After the war he was stationed at Fort Detroit during Pontiac’s War, following which he returned to Britain for health reasons. In 1773, Montgomery returned to the Thirteen Colonies, married Janet Livingston, and began farming.

When the American Revolutionary War broke out, Montgomery took up the Patriot cause, and was elected to the New York Provincial Congress in May 1775. In June 1775, he was commissioned as a Brigadier General in the Continental Army. After Phillip Schuyler became too ill to lead the invasion of Canada, Montgomery took over. He captured Fort St. Johns and then Montreal in November 1775, and then advanced to Quebec City where he joined another force under the command of Benedict Arnold. On December 31, he led an attack on the city, but was killed during the battle. The British found his body and gave it an honorable burial. It was moved to New York City in 1818.

‘AMERICAN REVOLUTIONARY WAR’

The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), the American War of Independence, or simply the Revolutionary War, began as a war between the Kingdom of Great Britain and thirteen British colonies in North America, and ended in a global war between several European great powers.

Main article: Financial costs of the American Revolutionary War

The British spent about £80 million and ended with a national debt of £250 million, which it easily financed at about £9.5 million a year in interest. The French spent 1.3 billion livres (about £56 million). Their total national debt was £187 million, which they could not easily finance; over half the French national revenue went to debt service in the 1780s. The debt crisis became a major enabling factor of the French Revolution as the government could not raise taxes without public approval. The United States spent $37 million at the national level plus $114 million by the states. This was mostly covered by loans from France and the Netherlands, loans from Americans, and issuance of an increasing amount of paper money (which became “not worth a continental.”) The U.S. finally solved its debt and currency problems in the 1790s when Alexander Hamilton spearheaded the establishment of the First Bank of the United States.

‘ALEXANDER HAMILTON’

Alexander Hamilton (January 11, 1755 or 1757  – July 12, 1804) was a Founding Father, soldier, economist, political philosopher, one of America’s first constitutional lawyers and the first United States Secretary of the Treasury. As Secretary of the Treasury, Hamilton was the primary author of the economic policies of the George Washington Administration, especially the funding of the state debts by the Federal government, the establishment of a national bank, a system of tariffs, and friendly trade relations with Britain. He became the leader of the Federalist Party, created largely in support of his views, and was opposed by the Democratic-Republican Party, led by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.

Hamilton served in the American Revolutionary War. At the start of the war, he organized an artillery company and was chosen as its captain. He later became the senior aide-de-camp and confidant to General George Washington, the American commander-in-chief. He served again under Washington in the army raised to defeat the Whiskey Rebellion, a tax revolt of western farmers in 1794. In 1798, Hamilton called for mobilization against France after the XYZ Affair, and secured an appointment as commander of a new army, which he trained for a war. However, the Quasi-War, although hard-fought at sea, was never officially declared. In the end, President John Adams found a diplomatic solution that avoided war.

Born and raised in the West Indies, Hamilton came to North America for his education, sponsored by people from his community. He attended King’s College (now Columbia University). After the American Revolutionary War, Hamilton was elected to the Continental Congress from New York. He resigned to practice law, and founded the Bank of New York. He was among those dissatisfied with the first national governance document, the Articles of Confederation. While serving in the New York Legislature, Hamilton was sent as a delegate to the Annapolis Convention in 1786 to revise the Articles, but it resulted in a call for a new constitution instead. He was one of New York’s delegates at the Philadelphia Convention that drafted the new constitution in 1787, and was the only New Yorker who signed it. In support of the new Constitution, Hamilton wrote many of the Federalist Papers, still an important source for Constitutional interpretation. In the new government under President George Washington, he was appointed the Secretary of the Treasury. An admirer of British political systems, Hamilton was a nationalist who emphasized strong central government, and successfully argued that the implied powers of the Constitution could be used to fund the national debt, assume state debts, and create the government-owned Bank of the United States. These programs were funded primarily by a tariff on imports and later also by a highly controversial excise tax on whiskey.

Embarrassed when an extra-marital affair with Maria Reynolds became public, Hamilton resigned from office in 1795 and returned to the practice of law in New York. However, he kept his hand in politics and was a powerful influence on the cabinet of President Adams (1797–1801). Hamilton’s opposition to John Adams helped cause Adams’ defeat in the 1800 elections. When Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr tied in the electoral college, Hamilton helped defeat his bitter personal enemy Burr and elect Jefferson as president. After opposing Adams, the candidate of his own party, Hamilton was left with few political friends. In 1804, as the next presidential election approached, Hamilton again opposed the candidacy of Burr. Taking offense at some of Hamilton’s comments, Burr challenged him to a duel and mortally wounded Hamilton, who died within days.

In 1787, Hamilton served as assemblyman from New York County in the New York State Legislature and was the first delegate chosen to the Constitutional Convention. Even though Hamilton had been a leader in calling for a new Constitutional Convention, his direct influence at the Convention itself was quite limited. Governor George Clinton’s faction in the New York legislature had chosen New York’s other two delegates, John Lansing and Robert Yates, and both of them opposed Hamilton’s goal of a strong national government. Thus, whenever the other two members of the New York delegation were present, they decided New York’s vote; and when they left the convention in protest, Hamilton remained but with no vote, since two representatives were required for any state to cast a vote.

‘NEW YORK STATE LEGISLATURE’

The New York State Legislature is the term often used to refer to the two houses that act as the state legislature of the U.S. state of New York. The New York Constitution does not designate an official term for the two houses together. It says only that “legislative power is vested in the senate and assembly.” The legislature is seated at the New York State Capitol in Albany.

‘NEW YORK CONSTITUTION’

The Constitution of the State of New York establishes the structure of the government of the State of New York, and enumerates the basic rights of the citizens of New York. Like most state constitutions in the United States, New York’s constitution’s provisions tend to be more detailed, and amended more often than its federal counterpart. Because the history of the state constitution differs from the federal constitution, the New York Court of Appeals has seen fit to interpret analogous provisions differently from United States Supreme Court’s interpretation of federal provisions.

New York State has had five constitutions, adopted in 1777, 1821, 1846, 1894, and 1938. In the 20th century alone it held three constitutional conventions, the efforts of two of which (1915 and 1967) were rejected by the electorate. The constitution produced by the 1938 convention (itself substantially a modification of the 1894 constitution), as modified by subsequent amendments, the latest of 2002, now forms the fundamental law of the State.

Currently, the New York State Constitution has 56,326 words, including the title.

‘STATE OF NEW YORK’

New York has one of the most extensive and one of the oldest transportation infrastructures in the country. Engineering difficulties because of the terrain of the state and the unique issues of the city brought on by urban crowding have had to be overcome since the state was young. Population expansion of the state generally followed the path of the early waterways, first the Hudson River and then the Erie Canal. Today, railroad lines and the New York State Thruway follow the same general route. The New York State Department of Transportation is often criticized for how they maintain the roads of the state in certain areas and for the fact that the tolls collected along the roadway have long passed their original purpose. Until 2006, tolls were collected on the Thruway within The City of Buffalo. They were dropped late in 2006 during the campaign for Governor (both candidates called for their removal).

‘NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION’

The New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) is responsible for the development and operation of highways, railroads, mass transit systems, ports, waterways and aviation facilities in the U.S. state of New York. This transportation network includes:

  • A state and local highway system, encompassing over 110,000 miles (177,000 km) of highway and 17,000 bridges.
  • A 5,000 mile (8,000 km) rail network, carrying over 42 million short tons (38 million metric tons) of equipment, raw materials, manufactured goods and produce each year.
  • Over 130 public transit operators, serving over 5.2 million passengers each day.
  • Twelve major public and private ports, handling more than 110 million short tons (100 million metric tons) of freight annually.
  • 456 public and private aviation facilities, through which more than 31 million people travel each year. It owns two airports, Stewart International Airport near Newburgh, and Republic Airport on Long Island. Stewart is currently leased to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

The history of the New York State Department of Transportation and its predecessors spans over two centuries:

  • In 1781, the Office of Surveyor General was reorganized from its colonial Dutch and English beginnings to survey lands that had been vested in the state during and following the Revolutionary war.
  • In 1810, the Erie Canal Commission was established to build the Erie Canal, and afterwards the canal commissioners oversaw maintenance and enlargement of the canals
  • In 1848, the Office of State Engineer and Surveyor succeeded the Surveyor General’s Office.
  • In 1878, the Superintendent of Public Works took over the competences of the canal commissioners.
  • In 1907, the Public Service Commission assumed responsibility for the economic and safety regulation of privately operated transportation; railroad and bus safety inspection; and, approval for the installation of protection for or elimination of at-grade rail highway crossings.
  • In 1909, the New York State Department of Highways was established by the Highway Act.
  • In 1927, the Department of Public Works took over the competences of the State Engineer and Surveyor, unifying responsibility for highways, canals and public buildings,
  • In 1967, the New York State Department of Transportation was formed to deal with the state’s complex transportation system, and absorbed among others the Department of Public Works.

‘NEW YORK STATE ENGINEER & SURVEYOR’

The New York State Engineer and Surveyor was a state cabinet officer in the State of New York between 1848 and 1926. During the re-organization of the state government under Governor Al Smith, the office was abolished and its responsibilities transferred to the Department of Public Works which was absorbed in 1967 by the New York State Department of Transportation.

The office was established as Surveyor General in 1781.

Until 1822, the Surveyor General was appointed by the Council of Appointment for an indefinite term. The second holder of the office, Simeon De Witt, was considered the most qualified person for the office, and was re-appointed without regard to party politics. Even the Bucktails did not oust him when they were struggling with his first cousin DeWitt Clinton. The office was at first mostly occupied with surveying the uncharted area of the State and issuing official maps. In 1817, the Surveyor General became a member of the Erie Canal Commission.

‘SIMEON DE WITT’

Simeon De Witt (December 25, 1756 Wawarsing, Ulster County, New York – December 3, 1834 Ithaca, Tompkins County, New York) was Geographer and Surveyor General of the Continental Army during the American Revolution and Surveyor General of the State of New York for the fifty years from 1784 until his death.

De Witt held four slaves at his residence in Albany, New York but by 1810 he had freed them, a common practice of the area. They continued to work in his household. He owned a considerable amount of land in the Finger Lakes area and is considered one of the founders of Ithaca, New York. He was often given credit for giving Classical antiquity Greek and Roman names to the twenty-eight central New York Military Tract townships that his office mapped after the war (to be given to veterans in payment for their military service). More recently, credit has been given to his clerk Robert Harpur, apparently a reader of classical literature (Lemak 2008:245).

‘CENTRAL NEW YORK MILITARY TRACT’

The Military Tract of Central New York, also called the New Military Tract, consisted of nearly two million acres (8,000 km²) of bounty land set aside to compensate New York’s soldiers after their participation in the Revolutionary War.

The United States Congress had already guaranteed each soldier at least 100 acres (0.4 km²) at the end of the war (depending on rank), but by 1781, New York had enlisted only about half of the quota set by the U.S. congress and needed a stronger incentive. The state legislature authorized an additional 500 acres (2 km²) per soldier, using land from 25 Military Tract Townships to be established in central New York State. Each of the townships was to comprise 100 lots of 600 acres (2.4 km²) each. Three more such townships were later added to accommodate additional claims at the end of the war.

The townships were at first numbered (1 through 28), but were later given (mostly) classical Greek and Roman names, along with a few honoring English authors:

1. Lysander
2. Hannibal
3. Cato
4. Brutus
5. Camillus
6. Cicero
7. Manlius
  8. Aurelius
9. Marcellus
10. Pompey
11. Romulus
12. Scipio
13. Sempronius
14. Tully
15. Fabius
16. Ovid
17. Milton
18. Locke
19. Homer
20. Solon
21. Hector
22. Ulysses
23. Dryden
24. Virgil
25. Cincinnatus
26. Junius
27. Galen
28. Sterling

‘SEMPRONIUS, NEW YORK’

Sempronius is a town in Cayuga County, New York, USA. The population was 895 at the 2010 census. The town was named after a Roman military and political leader by a clerk interested in the classics.

The Town of Sempronius is in the southeast border of the county, southeast of Auburn, New York.

 

 

 

 

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