Roger Taylor (Duran Duran)

Roger Taylor, musician with the Band Duran Duran was born 26 April 1960. Duran Duran formed in Birmingham in 1978 And became one of the most successful bands of the 1980s and a leading band in the MTV-driven “Second British Invasion” of the United States. Since the 1980s, they have placed 14 singles in the Top 10 of the UK Singles Chart and 21 in the Billboard Hot 100.

Duran Duran began their rise to fame at a Birmingham club named the “Rummrunner”. The club was owned by their managers and mentors, brothers Paul & Michael Berrow. It was centred on the music and ostentatious fashion of the era, particularly dance & disco music, which had fused with punk and electronic to create the sound and look adopted by various “New Romantic” acts of the time. The band was heavily influenced by the 12 inch cuts of the day. Taylor says… “Anybody who is familiar with early DD (Duran Duran) will be aware of the Night Versions concept… the underlying influence of the 12″ mix – Edwards & Rodgers – Giorgio Moroder … It was all part of the matrix – we tested our first hits on the dance-floor before going anywhere near the radio – it was the way you defined your style and who you were, through the club you were associated with – where you hung-out … I’m a rock fan, but the girls hung-out at the disco – I recommend a large portion of both.”

DURAN DURAN LIVE IN CONCERT http://youtu.be/oei6-wnLWJA

The band signed to EMI Records in December 1980 only seven months after completing the line-up. Their debut single “Planet Earth” was released shortly after that, with their self-titled debut album, Duran Duran, released in June 1981. By 1983, the band was a global success story, and went on to have many other hits including Union of the Snake, Girls on Film, Rio, Wild Boys, The Reflex, Hungry like a Wolf and New Moon on Monday, and produce many great albums including Duran Duran, Rio, Seven and the ragged Tiger, Notorious, Big Thing, Decade: Greatest Hits, Liberty, Thank You, Medazzaland, Astronaut, Red Carpet Massacre, all You Need is Now and as of March 2014 they also currently have a new album in the works.

While they were generally considered part of the New Romantic scene along with bands such as Spandau Ballet when they first emerged, they later shed this image. The band worked with fashion designers to build a sharp and elegant image that earned them the nickname “the prettiest boys in rock.” The band’s controversial videos, which included partial nudity and suggestions of sexuality, became popular in the early 1980s on the then-new music video channel MTV. Duran Duran were among the first bands to have their videos shot by professional directors with 35 mm film movie cameras, which gave their videos a much more polished look.

The band were also early innovators with video technology in their live stadium shows. The group was formed by Nick Rhodes, John Taylor and Stephen Duffy, with the later addition of Roger Taylor and, after numerous personnel changes, Andy Taylor and Simon Le Bon. (None of the Taylors are related, and Roger Taylor is not to be confused with the Queen drummer of the same name.) The group has never disbanded, but the line-up has changed to include guitarist Warren Cuccurullo from 1989 to 2001 and drummer Sterling Campbell from 1989 to 1991. The reunion of the original five members in the early 2000s created a stir among the band’s fans and music media. Andy Taylor left the band in mid-2006, and London guitarist Dom Brown has since been working with the band as a session player and touring member.

Ludwig Wittgenstein

The Austrian-born philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, was born 26th April 1889. He worked primarily in logic, the philosophy of mathematics, the philosophy of mind, and the philosophy of language, and was professor in philosophy at the University of Cambridge from 1939 until 1947. During his lifetime he published just one book review, one article, a children’s dictionary, and the 75-page Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. In 1999 his posthumously published Philosophical Investigations was ranked as the most important book of 20th-century philosophy, standing out as “…the one crossover masterpiece in twentieth-century philosophy, appealing across diverse specializations and philosophical orientations”. He was Born in Vienna into one of Europe’s wealthiest families, he gave away his entire inheritance. Three of his brothers committed suicide, with Ludwig contemplating it too.

He left academia several times: serving as an officer on the frontline during World War I, where he was decorated a number of times for his courage; teaching in schools in remote Austrian villages, where he encountered controversy for hitting children when they made mistakes in mathematics; and working during World War II as a hospital porter in London, where he told patients not to take the drugs they were prescribed, and where no-one knew he was one of the world’s most famous philosophers. He described philosophy, however, as “the only work that gives me real satisfaction.” His philosophy is often divided between his early period, exemplified by the Tractatus, and later period, articulated in the Philosophical Investigations. The early Wittgenstein was concerned with the logical relationship between propositions and the world, and believed that by providing an account of the logic underlying this relationship he had solved all philosophical problems. The later Wittgenstein rejected many of the conclusions of the Tractatus, arguing that the meaning of words is constituted by the function they perform within any given language-game.

Wittgenstein’s influence has been felt in nearly every field of the humanities and social sciences, yet there are widely diverging interpretations of his thought. In the words of his friend and colleague Georg Henrik von Wright: “He was of the opinion… that his ideas were generally misunderstood and distorted even by those who professed to be his disciples. He doubted he would be better understood in the future. He once said he felt as though he were writing for people who would think in a different way, breathe a different air of life, from that of present-day men.” Wittgenstein sadly passed away on April 29th in 1951 of Prostate Cancer and is buried at the Ascension Parish Burial Ground in Cambridge. However his legacy lives on and In 1999 the Investigations was ranked as the most important book of 20th-century philosophy, standing out as “…the one crossover masterpiece in twentieth-century philosophy, appealing across diverse specializations and philosophical orientations”.

John James Audubon

imageFrench American Ornithologist, naturalist, hunter and Painter John James Audubon (Jean-Jacques Audubon) was born April 26, 1785 in Les Cayes in the French colony of Saint-Domingue (now Haiti). He is famous for having painted, catalogued, and described the birds of North America in a manner far superior to any before him. From his earliest days, Audubon had an affinity for birds. His father encouraged this interest in nature. Once in America Audubon went to a boarding house run by Quaker women. They taught him English, and He traveled with the family’s Quaker lawyer to the Audubon family farm Mill Grove, near Philadelphia. Audubon lived with the tenants in what he considered a paradise. “Hunting, fishing, drawing, and music occupied my every moment, Studying his surroundings, Audubon quickly learned the ornithologist’s rule, which he wrote, “The nature of the place—whether high or low, moist or dry, whether sloping north or south, or bearing tall trees or low shrubs—generally gives hint as to its inhabitants.”

His father hoped that the lead mines on the property could be commercially developed, as lead was an essential component of bullets. This could provide his son with a profitable occupation. Audubon met his neighbor William Bakewell, the owner of the nearby estate, whose daughter Lucy he married five years later. The two young people shared many common interests, and early on began to spend time together, exploring the natural world around them. Audubon then set about studying American birds with the goal of illustrating his findings in a more realistic manner than most artists did then. He began conducting the first known bird-banding on the continent: he tied yarn to the legs of Eastern Phoebes and determined that they returned to the same nesting spots year after year. He also began drawing and painting birds, and recording their behavior. Audubon continued his bird studies and created his own nature museum, perhaps inspired by the great museum of natural history created by Charles Willson Peale in Philadelphia. Peale’s bird exhibits were considered scientifically advanced. Audubon’s room was brimming with birds’ eggs, stuffed raccoons and opossums, fish, snakes, and other creatures. He had become proficient at specimen preparation and taxidermy. With his father’s approval, Audubon sold part of his farm, including the house and mine, as they deemed the mining venture too risky. He retained some land for investment, then went to New York to learn the import-export trade, hoping to find a business to support his marriage to Lucy. The protective Mr. Bakewell wanted to see the young Frenchman established in a solid career before releasing his daughter to him.

On October 12, 1820, Audubon went to Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida in search of ornithological specimens. He traveled with George Lehman, a professional Swiss landscape artist. The following summer, he moved upriver to the Oakley Plantation in the Felicianas, where he taught drawing to Eliza Pirrie, the young daughter of the owners. After a short stay in Cincinnati to work as a naturalist and taxidermist at a museum, Audubon traveled south on the Mississippi. By this time He was committed to find and paint all the birds of North America for eventual publication. His goal was to surpass the earlier ornithological work of poet-naturalist Alexander Wilson, whose work he used to guide him whenever he had access to a copy. Audubon called his future work “Birds of America”. He attempted to paint one page each day. Painting with newly discovered technique, he decided his earlier works were inferior and re-did them. He hired hunters to gather specimens for him. Audubon realized the ambitious project would take him away from his family for months at a time. In 1824 Audubon returned to Philadelphia to seek a publisher for his bird drawings. He was rebuffed by many publishers, although he did met Thomas Sully, one of the most famous portrait painters of the time and a valuable ally, and had earned the enmity of some of the city’s leading scientists at the Academy of Natural Sciences. He took oil painting lessons from Sully and met Charles Bonaparte, who admired his work and recommended he go to Europe to have his bird drawings engraved.

So in 1826 Audubon took his growing collection of work to England, taking a portfolio of over 300 drawings. With letters of introduction to prominent Englishmen, Audubon gained their quick attention.The British could not get enough of his images of backwoods America and its natural attractions. He met with great acceptance as he toured around England and Scotland, and was lionized as “the American woodsman.” He raised enough money to begin publishing his Birds of America. This monumental work consists of 435 hand-colored, life-size prints of 497 bird species, made from engraved copper plates of various sizes depending on the size of the image. They were printed on sheets measuring about 39 by 26 inches (660 mm). The work contains just over 700 North American bird species. The pages were organized for artistic effect and contrasting interest, as if the reader were taking a visual tour. The first and perhaps most famous plate was the Wild Turkey, which had been Benjamin Franklin’s candidate for the national bird. It lost to the Bald Eagle. Audubon also sold oil-painted copies of the drawings to make extra money and publicize the book.

Audubon soon had many fans including King George IV was also a subscriber to his book. London’s Royal Society recognized his achievement by electing Audubon a fellow. He followed Benjamin Franklin, who was the first American fellow. While in Edinburgh to seek subscriptions for the book, Audubon gave a demonstration of his method of propping up birds with wire at professor Robert Jameson’s Wernerian Natural History Association. Student Charles Darwin was in the audience. Audubon also visited the dissecting theatre of the anatomist Robert Knox. Audubon was a hit in France as well, gaining the King and several of the nobility as subscribers. Audubon returned to America in 1829 to complete more drawings for his magnum opus. He also hunted animals and shipped the valued skins to British friends. He was reunited with his family. After settling business affairs, Lucy accompanied him back to England.

He followed Birds of America with a sequel Ornithological Biographies. This was a collection of life histories of each species written with Scottish ornithologist William MacGillivray. The two books were printed separately to avoid a British law requiring copies of all publications with text to be deposited in Crown libraries, a huge financial burden for the self-published Audubon. Both books were published between 1827 and 1839. During the 1830s, Audubon continued making expeditions in North America. During a trip to Key West, a companion wrote in a newspaper article, “Mr. Audubon is the most enthusiastic and indefatigable man I ever knew…Mr. Audubon was neither dispirited by heat, fatigue, or bad luck”. he would draw during the day before returning to the field in the evening, a routine he kept up for weeks and months. In 1833, Audubon set forth from Maine accompanied by his son John, and five other young colleagues to explore the ornithology of Labrador. On the return voyage, the Ripley made a stop at St.George’s, Newfoundland and Audubon and his assistants documented 36 species of birds. In 1839 having finished the Ornithological Biography, Audubon returned to the United States with his family. He bought an estate on the Hudson River (now Audubon Park). In 1842, he published an octavo edition of Birds of America, with 65 additional plates. It earned $36,000 and was purchased by 1100 subscribers. Audubon spent much time on “subscription gathering trips”, drumming up sales of the octavo edition, as he hoped to leave his family a sizable income.

Audubon went West to record Western species he had missed, but his health began to fail, Until In 1848, he manifested signs of senility, his “noble mind in ruins.” He died at his family home on January 27, 1851. Audubon is buried, close to the location of his home, in the graveyard at the Church of the Intercession in the Trinity Church Cemetery and Mausoleum at 155th Street and Broadway in Manhattan. There is an imposing monument in his honor at the cemetery, which is the center of the Heritage Rose District of NYC. Audubon’s final work was on mammals, the Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America, prepared in collaboration with his good friend Rev. John Bachman of Charleston, South Carolina. Bachman supplied much of the scientific text. The work was completed by Audubon’s sons and son-in-law and published posthumously. His son John did most of the drawings. Audubon’s influence on ornithology and natural history was far reaching. Nearly all later ornithological works were inspired by his artistry and high standards. Charles Darwin quoted Audubon three times in On the Origin of Species and also in later works. Audubon’s field notes were a significant contribution to the understanding of bird anatomy and behavior. Birds of America is still considered one of the greatest examples of book art. Audubon discovered 25 new species and 12 new subspecies. He was elected to the Royal Society of Edinburgh, the Linnaean Society, and the Royal Society in recognition of his extraordinary contributions to Natural history.

World Intellectual Property Day

World Intellectual Property Day is observed annually on 26 April.The event was established by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in 2000 to “raise awareness of how patents, copyright, trademarks and designs impact on daily life” and “to celebrate creativity, and the contribution made by creators and innovators to the development of societies across the globe”.April 26th was chosen as the date for World Intellectual Property Day because it coincides with the date on which the Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization entered into force in 1970.

An exhibition showing the intellectual property (IP) behind Steve Jobs’ innovations opened to the public at WIPO on March 30, 2012 and ran through to World Intellectual Property Day on April 26, 2012. The exhibition tied in with 2012’s World Intellectual Property Day theme – ‘Visionary Innovators’. Following a statement made at the Assembly of the Member States of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in September 1998, the Director General of the National Algerian Institute for Industrial Property (INAPI) proposed an international day for intellectual property with the following aims:

  • To set up a framework for broader mobilization and awareness,
  • to open up access to the promotional aspect of innovation and recognise the achievements of promoters of intellectual property throughout the world.
  • To promote the awareness of intellectual property protection,
  • To expand the influence of intellectual property protection across the world.
  • To urge countries to publicize and popularize intellectual property protection laws and regulations.
  • To enhance the public legal awareness of intellectual property right.
  • To encourage invention-innovation activities in various countries.
  • To strengthen international exchange in the intellectual property field.

Remembrance of the Daleks

imageI’ve recently watched Remembrance of the Daleks in which The Doctor (Sylvester McCoy) and his companion Ace (Sophie Aldred) travel back to Shoreditch, London, Earth in 1963 to retrieve the Hand of Omega and keep it from the Daleks. They meet Professor Jensen and Sergeant Mike Smith who have detected odd magnetic fluctuations outside Coal Hill School, and they discover another anomaly at Totter’s Lane Junk Yard where Group Captain Gilmore and his men have been attacked by an unidentified assailant which turns out to be a Renegade Dalek. Meanwhile, Sergeant Smith enlists the cooperation of Mr Ratcliffe, the Headmaster at Coal Hill, who is under the control of the evil imperial Daleks and alerts them to the Doctors Presence. Meanwhile While investigating Coal Hill School The Doctor and Ace have a nasty shock when they discover alien technology and lots of Imperial Daleks roaming the School, then they encounter Mr Ratcliffe who tries to clobber them

Having luckily escaped The Doctor, Sergeant Smith, Jensen, and her assistant Allison detect a large Dalek mothership in orbit above Earth. Meanwhile Ace unwisely decides to return to Coal Hill School even through it is crawling with imperial Daleks and despite taking out many Daleks with a baseball bat, she predictably finds herself in mortal danger, however the Doctor arrives just in the nick-of-time. Ratcliffe meanwhile tries to locate the Hand of Omega for the Daleks and The Dalek Emperor attempts to recover it from the Renegade Daleks. The Doctor then realises that two sets of Daleks are vying for control of the Hand of Omega (the device which enabled the Time-Lords to travel through time).

Ratcliffe acquires the Hand of Omega, And presents it to the Renegade Daleks and is taken hostage by the Daleks who prepare to flee. Meanwhile the Doctor encounters more Imperial Daleks at Coal Hill School. Then an Imperial Dalek Shuttle Lands at Coal Hill School and More Imperial Daleks disembark to face the Renegade Daleks. Using a Special Weapons Dalek for extra firepower, they advance towards the Renegade base. Meanwhile The Doctor decides to communicate with the Dalek Mothership, Gilmore Realises that Smith is Ratcliffe’s agent, And detains him but he escapes to the Renegade base to find Ratcliffe a prisoner. The Renegade Daleks are then attacked by the Imperial Daleks and all hell breaks loose. Meanwhile Ratcliffe and Mike flee with the Time Controller, and the Supreme Dalek orders it to be recovered. The Doctor then demands that the Imperial Daleks surrender the Hand of Omega, but The Emperor (who is revealed to be Davros,) announces sinister plans for his Daleks to overthrow the Time Lords by using the Hand of Omega….

Guglielmo Marconi

Often referred to as the father of long distance radio transmission and for his development of Marconi’s law and a radio telegraph system, Italian inventor Guglielmo Marconi was born 25 April in 1874. He is often credited as the inventor of radio, and indeed he shared the 1909 Nobel Prize in Physics with Karl Ferdinand Braun “in recognition of their contributions to the development of wireless telegraphy”. Much of Marconi’s work in radio transmission was built upon previous experimentation and the commercial exploitation of ideas by others such as Hertz, Maxwell, Faraday, Popov, Lodge, Fessenden, Stone, Bose, and Tesla. As an entrepreneur, businessman, and founder of the The Wireless Telegraph & Signal Company in 1897, Marconi succeeded in making a commercial success of radio by innovating and building on the work of previous experimenters and physicists. In 1924, he was ennobled as Marchese Marconi.

imageMarconi’s development of the Radio Telegraph System has also helped save many lives too. One such device was aboard the RMS Titanic, and The two radio operators aboard the Titanic—Jack Phillips and Harold Bride— who were employed by the Marconi International Marine Communication Company, were able to send distress sgnals Following the collision with the ice berg. As a result survivors were rescued by the RMS Carpathia of the Cunard Line. Also employed by the Marconi Company was David Sarnoff, the only person to receive the names of survivors immediately after the disaster via wireless technology. Wireless communications were reportedly maintained for 72 hours between the Carpathia and Sarnoff, but Sarnoff’s involvement has been questioned by some modern historians. When the Carpathia docked in New York, Marconi went aboard with a reporter from The New York Times to talk with Bride, the surviving operator. On 18 June 1912, Marconi gave evidence to the Court of Inquiry into the loss of the Titanic regarding the marine telegraphy’s functions and the procedures for emergencies at sea. Britain’s postmaster-general summed up, referring to the Titanic disaster, “Those who have been saved, have been saved through one man, Mr. Marconi…and his marvelous invention.”

Durng hs lifetme Marconi received many honours and awards for his invention. In 1909, Marconi shared the Nobel Prize in Physics with Karl Braun for his contributions to radio communications. In 1918, he was awarded the Franklin Institute’s Franklin Medal. In 1924, he was made a marquess by King Victor Emmanuel III., thus becoming Marchese Marconi. The Radio Hall of Fame (Museum of Broadcast Communications, Chicago) inducted Marconi soon after the inception of its awards. He was inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame in 2009. The Dutch radio academy bestows the Marconi Awards annually for outstanding radio programmes, presenters and stations; the National Association of Broadcasters (US) bestows the annual NAB Marconi Radio Awards also for outstanding radio programs and stations. Marconi was also inducted into the National Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 1977 and A commemorative British two pound coin was released in 2001 celebrating the 100th anniversary of Marconi’s first wireless communication as well as A commemorative silver 5 EURO coin whch was issued by Italy in 2009 honouring the centennial of Marconi’s Nobel Prize. A funerary monument to the effigy of Marconi can also be seen in the Basilica of Santa Croce, Florence but his remains are in Sasso, near Bologna. Marconi’s early experiments in wireless telegraphy were also the subject of two IEEE Milestones; one in Switzerland in 2003 and most recently in Italy in 2011.

The premier collection of Marconi artifacts was held by The General Electric Company, p.l.c. (GEC) of the United Kingdom which later renamed to Marconi plc and Marconi Corporation plc. In December 2004 the extensive Marconi Collection, held at the former Marconi Research Centre at Great Baddow, Chelmsford, Essex UK was gifted to the Nation by the Company via the University of Oxford. This consisted of the BAFTA award-winning MarconiCalling website, some 250+ physical artifacts and the massive ephemera collection of papers, books, patents and many other items. The artifacts are now held by The Museum of the History of Science and the ephemera Archives by the nearby Bodleian Library. The latest release, following three years work at the Bodleian, is the Online Catalogue to the Marconi Archives, released in November 2008.

Ira Gershwin’s lyrics to “They All Laughed” include the line, “They told Marconi wireless was a phony.” The band Tesla references him in “Edison’s Medicine” lyrics: They’ll sell you on Marconi, familiar, but a phony.” The band Jefferson Starship references him in their song We Built This City. The lyrics say: “Marconi plays the mamba, listen to the radio”. The 1955 play Inherit the Wind by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee includes a reference to Marconi in scene 1. The 1979 play ‘The Man From Mukinupin’ by Dorothy Hewett makes several references to Marconi by the character The Flasher, who imagines he is communicating with Marconi through a box of matches. “Marconi the great one, speak to me!”, “Marconi, Marconi, must I kill?” and “Marconi says I must not frighten the ladies…” The Bermuda rig, developed in the 17th century by Bermudians, became ubiquitous on sailboats around the world in the 20th century. The tall masts and triangular fore-and-aft sails reminded some people of Marconi’s wireless towers, hence the rig became known also as the Marconi rig. There is a sculpture devoted to Marconi in Washington, D.C.

Bjorn Ulvaeus (ABBA)

imageBjörn Ulvaeus, The Swedish singer and songwriter wth the group ABBA was born on 25th April 1945, ABBA were a Swedish pop/rock group formed in Stockholm in 1972,  comprising Agnetha Fältskog, Benny Andersson, Björn Ulvaeus and Anni-Frid Lyngstad. They became one of the most commercially successful acts in the history of pop music, topping the charts worldwide from 1972 to 1982. They are also known for winning the 1974 Eurovision Song Contest whch was held in Brighton and gave Sweden its first victory in the history of the contest and became the most successful group ever to take part in the contest. ABBA has sold over 370 million records worldwide and still sell millions of records a year, which makes them one of the best-selling music artists. ABBA was the first pop group to come from a non-English-speaking country that enjoyed consistent success in the charts of English-speaking countries, including the UK, Ireland, the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the Philippines. The group also enjoyed significant success in Latin American markets, and recorded a collection of their hit songs in Spanish.

During the band’s active years, Fältskog and Ulvaeus were a married couple, as were Lyngstad and Andersson–although both couples later divorced. At the height of their popularity, both relationships were suffering strain which ultimately resulted in the collapse of the Ulvaeus-Fältskog marriage in 1979 and the Andersson-Lyngstad marriage in 1981. As a result, these relationship changes began appearing in the group’s music, and later compositions produced more introspective lyrics.

After ABBA broke up in early 1983, Andersson and Ulvaeus achieved success writing music for the stage while Lyngstad and Fältskog pursued individual solo careers with mixed success. ABBA’s music declined in popularity until several films, notably Muriel’s Wedding and The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, revived interest in the group, spawning several tribute bands. In 1999, ABBA’s music was adapted into the successful musical Mamma Mia! that toured worldwide. A film of the same name starring Meryl Streep, was released in 2008 and became the highest-grossing film in the United Kingdom that year. The group was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on 15 March 2010