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How Many Times Has the U.S. Landed on the Moon?

June 12, 2019 in History

By Dave Roos

The Apollo 11 moon landing was a historic achievement—but so were the other five times when NASA landed men on the moon.

The moment is etched in the collective memory of an entire generation—the blurry black-and-white image of Neil Armstrong descending the stairs of the Apollo 11 lunar module on July 20, 1969 to become the first human being to step foot on the moon. “That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.”

But this first was not the last for NASA. The United States would go on to complete six crewed missions to the moon that landed a total of 12 astronauts (all men) from 1969 to 1972 in a series of Apollo missions numbering up to Apollo 17. The only mission that failed to reach the moon’s surface was Apollo 13, which suffered a critical power and oxygen failure mid-flight, and was forced to make a heroic emergency reentry.

Rod Pyle, author most recently of First on the Moon: The Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Experience, says that the cultural and technological significance of Apollo 11 can’t be overstated, but that the ensuing Apollo missions also deserve more attention.

Neil Armstrong Walks on the Moon (TV-14; 4:18)

After Apollo 11 and Apollo 13, Public Interest Faded

For example, Apollo 12, which reached the moon almost exactly four months after Apollo 11, pulled off the space program’s first pinpoint landing. The Apollo 11 lunar module narrowly avoided being smashed to pieces on moon boulders thanks to Armstrong’s last-minute manual adjustments, but the result was an off-target arrival.

Apollo 12 commander Charles “Pete” Conrad and mission control really wanted to nail the second moon landing, which was programmed right next to the Surveyor 3 module, an unmanned NASA landing craft that had been on the moon since 1967.

“And they did it,” says Pyle. “He came right down next to Surveyor 3. It was an astonishing achievement that we don’t hear much about.”

Crewmen aboard the U.S.S. Iwo Jima, prime recovery ship for the Apollo 13 mission, hoist the Command Module aboard.

The American public’s initial fascination with landing a man on the moon quickly faded, says Pyle. The Apollo 13 disaster grabbed TV ratings, because American astronauts’ lives hung in the balance. But by Apollo 14, less than two years after 600 million people watched the first moon landing, the prevailing attitude was, …read more


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The Archbishop of Canterbury's Wife Kept Falling in Love With Women. He Knew All About It

June 12, 2019 in History

By Ella Morton

In 1859, at 18, Mary Benson married her second cousin Edward, the man who would eventually become Archbishop of Canterbury. Mary wrote many passionate love letters during their 37-year marriage. “Did you possess me, or I you, my Heart’s Beloved,” read one, “as we sat there together on Thursday & Friday, as we held each other close, as we kissed.” Another: “you are in my heart of hearts…I don’t feel big enough to hold you.”

Mary did not write these letters to her husband, whose role as archbishop made him the religious leader of the British Empire. She wrote them to the women she fell passionately in love with, one of whom spent six years living in the Benson family home.

The modern perception of Victorian sexuality emphasizes prudishness and naïveté. But the idea that people of the era kept their sexual desires hidden from others is a misconception. Victorians were “used to talking about their own feelings,” says Professor Simon Goldhill, author of .

Afflicted by postpartum melancholy, Mary took a vacation with Emily. When she got home, Mary and Edward had a frank talk about the relationship between the two women. Edward didn’t forbid Mary from seeing Emily, but he “took me on his knee, and blessed God and prayed,” Mary wrote in her diary. She had been neglecting the household tasks and childcare expected of a wife. “I remember my heart sank within me and became as a stone—for duties stared me in the face.”

Edward’s approach to Mary’s same-sex attraction (discussion, prayer, and empathy) remained remarkably consistent throughout their marriage, even after he became the Archbishop of Canterbury in 1883. “He knew that she desired women, but they still lived together,” says Goldhill. “They had to to talk about that, they had to work their way through that in a way that very few people understand.”

Emily was hardly the only woman to capture Mary’s heart. In 1871, after the birth of her sixth child, Hugh, Mary was diagnosed with a nervous condition, and traveled to the German spa town of Wiesbaden to recuperate. There, she met Ellen Hall. In her diary, Mary wrote that “fascination possessed me.” The pair had trouble restraining themselves. “I will not even write it—but, O God, forgive—how near we were to that!” What was originally going to be a short stay in Germany turned into six months away.

Mary Benson’s sons: (L-R) Arthur …read more


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The Supreme Court Rulings That Have Shaped Gay Rights in America

June 12, 2019 in History

By Joseph Bennington-Castro

The Court ruled in favor of gay rights as early as 1958. But its decisions haven’t always sided with the LGBT community.

The , the landmark 1967 decision that struck down laws banning interracial marriage.

Jim Obergefell holds a photo of him and his late husband John Arthur in his condo in Cincinnati. They were finally married on a medical jet in Maryland shortly before Arthur died of ALS. Obergefell filed suit so he could be listed as the surviving spouse on the death certificate, which went to the Supreme Court.

Obergefell v. Hodges set up an inevitable clash between civil and religious liberties, with some businesses arguing they don’t have to provide for gay marriages because doing so goes against their religious beliefs.

In Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission (2018), SCOTUS sided with the Masterpiece Cakeshop—which refused to make a wedding cake for a gay wedding—on the grounds that the commission didn’t employ religious neutrality when it evaluated the discrimination case against the bakery.

But the court didn’t rule on the deeper issue of whether businesses can refuse service to gays and lesbians based on First Amendment rights.

Next: Workplace Discrimination

In 2019, SCOTUS took on three new casesAltitude Express Inc. v. Zarda, Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, and R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission—on which gay rights proponents are keeping close watch.

These cases continue the debate started two decades earlier about whether gay and transgender workers are protected from workplace discrimination.

…read more


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What if Vouchers Came with More Freedom for Public School Leaders? Our Research Shows They Still Wouldn’t Go Along

June 12, 2019 in Economics

By Corey A. DeAngelis, Lindsey Burke

Corey A. DeAngelis and Lindsey Burke

In 2005, NBC premiered a show called Deal or No Deal. Contestants could win big money — up to $1 million — if they selected the one briefcase out of 22 (which ranged in value from 1 cent to $1 million) that contained the big bucks. Along the way, different monetary amounts would be revealed one by one in the briefcases, providing the contestant with more information about the amount of money that might be inside.

Enter the banker. With additional information came additional temptation. The banker would offer to buy the briefcase for some amount of money. When the contestant would refuse to be bought out (in hopes the suitcase contained a higher amount), host Howie Mandel would enthusiastically exclaim: No Deal!

Traditional public school employees tend to shout No Deal! and oppose private school voucher programs. This could be explained by risk aversion, concerns over equity and inclinations to stifle competition. Whatever the reason, opposition to school vouchers is explained by expected costs exceeding expected benefits in the minds of public school employees.

But is it possible that private school choice would have a better chance of passing if enacted alongside additional benefits for public school leaders? And would school choice advocates and opponents actually be able to strike such a deal?

Our just-released study suggests that deal would be unlikely.

In theory, giving public school leaders more autonomy alongside enactment of private school choice programs might make them more inclined to support the change. After all, deregulation of public schools would allow them to more effectively compete with nearby private schools. As the superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District recently said, “[If] it’s the flexibility of charter schools that’s allowing them to excel, let’s bring that flexibility into the traditional school classroom.”

We conducted a survey experiment to examine the effects of public school deregulation on actual public school leaders’ support for a hypothetical private school voucher program in California. We randomly assigned one of four types of deregulation to leaders of 7,127 traditional public schools in California in early 2019 and then asked whether they would support a hypothetical voucher program in their state.

The survey asked, “Would you support a new private school voucher program in California (available to all students in the state) next year?” The control group received a note saying state requirements of their public schools would not change. The experimental …read more

Source: OP-EDS