Tribute to Carroll Shelby

1966 Shelby AC Cobra

Best known for creating the awesome AC Cobra and the Shelby Mustang, the American race car driver, automobile designer and businessman Carroll Shelby was born on the 11th January 1923 in Leesburg, Texas . Shelby honed his driving skills with his Willys automobile while attending Woodrow Wilson High School (Dallas, Texas). He graduated from Wilson in 1940. He was enrolled at The Georgia School of Technology in the Aeronautical Engineering program. However, because of the war Shelby did not go to school and enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps, serving in World War II as a flight instructor and test pilot. He graduated with the rank of staff sergeant pilot.

Starting out as an amateur, he initially raced a friend’s MG TC. He soon became a driver for the Cad-Allard, Aston Martin, and Maserati teams during the 1950s. Driving for Donald Healey, in a streamlined and supercharged, specially-modified, Austin-Healey 100S, he set 16 U.S. and international speed records. Teamed with Roy Salvadori, and driving for Aston Martin, he won the 1959 24 Hours of Le Mans. He drove in the Mount Washington Hillclimb Auto Race in a specially prepared Ferrari roadster, to a record run of 10:21.8 seconds on his way to victory in 1956.He was Sports Illustrated’s driver of the year in 1956 and 1957 and competed in Formula One from 1958 to 1959, participating in a total of eight World Championship races and several non-championship races.The highlight of his race driving career came in 1959, when he co-drove an Aston-Martin DBR1 (with Englishman Roy Salvadori) to victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. During this race he noted the performance of an English GT car built by AC Cars, known as the Bristol. Three years later, the AC Bristol would become the basis for the AC Cobra.

After retiring from driving in October 1959 for health reasons, he opened a high-performance driving school and the Shelby-American company.He obtained a license to import the AC Cobra (often known in the USA as the Shelby Cobra,) a successful British Sports racing car manufactured by AC Motors of England, which AC had designed at Shelby’s request by fitting a Ford V8 to their popular AC Ace sports car in place of its standard Ford Zephyr engine. Shelby continued on to be influential with Ford manufactured cars, including the Daytona Coupe, GT40, the Mustang-based Shelby GT350 and Shelby GT500. After parting with Ford, Shelby moved on to help develop performance cars with divisions of the two other Big 3 American companies, Dodge, and Oldsmobile. The most memorable of these cars was the Dodge Viper.Ford provided financial support for AC’s Cobras from 1962 through 1965 and provided financial support for the Ford GTs, first with John Wyer’s Ford Advanced Vehicles in 1963 and then with Shelby American from 1964 through 1967.In the intervening years, Shelby had a series of ventures start and stop relating to production of “completion” Cobras — cars that were allegedly built using “left over” parts and frames. In the 1960s, the FIA required entrants (Shelby, Ford, Ferrari, etc.) to produce at least 100 cars for homologated classes of racing. Shelby simply ordered an insufficient number of cars and skipped a large block of Vehicle Identification Numbers, to create the illusion the company had imported large numbers of cars. Decades later in the 1990s, Carroll alleged that he had found the “left over” frames, and began selling cars which were supposedly finally “completed”. After it was discovered the cars were built from scratch in collaboration with McCluskey, Ltd., they were re-termed “continuation” Cobras. The cars are still built to this day, known as the current CSX4000 series of Cobras.He was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1991, and the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in 1992. He will be inducted into the SCCA Hall of Fame on March 2, 2013.

In 1989, Shelby was inducted into Woodrow Wilson High School’s Hall of Fame when it was created during the celebration of the school’s 60th Anniversary.In 2003, Ford Motor Co. and Carroll Shelby mended ties and he became technical advisor to the Ford GT project. In that same year, he formed Carroll Shelby International, Inc. Shelby began working with Dodge at the request of Chrysler Corporation chairman, Lee Iacocca. Iacocca had previously been responsible for bringing Shelby to the Ford Mustang. After almost a decade of tuning work, Shelby was brought on board as the “Performance Consultant” on the Dodge Viper Technical Policy Committee made up of Chrysler’s executive Bob Lutz, Product Design chief Tom Gale, and Engineering Vice President François Castaing. Shelby was used for his wealth of experience to make the Viper as light and powerful as possible. In 2008 Shelby was awarded the 2008 Automotive Executive of the Year Award, he also established the Carroll Shelby Children’s Foundation to pay the medical bills of children who have heart disease but cannot afford treatment. In 2009, Shelby was Grand Marshal of the Parade for Woodrow’s 80th Anniversary Celebration. Sadly Shelby died on May 10, 2012 at the age of 89, after suffering from a serious heart ailment for decades. Joe Conway, president of Carroll Shelby International, said that “we are all deeply saddened, and feel a tremendous sense of loss for Carroll’s family, ourselves and the entire automotive industry. There has been no one like Carroll Shelby and never will be. However, we promised Carroll we would carry on, and he put the team, the products and the vision in place to do just that.

Tribute to Nicholas Steno

Often considered the father of geology and stratigraphy, Danish Catholic bishop and scientist Blessed Nicolas Steno was born on this day 11 January in 1638 in Copenhagen. His pioneering research in both anatomy and geology has led to a greater understanding in both, and  he was also beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1988.

He was the son of a Lutheran goldsmith who worked regularly for King Christian IV of Denmark, but grew up in isolation during his childhood, because of an unknown disease. In 1644 his father died, after which his mother married another goldsmith. Across the street lived Peder Schumacher (who would later offer Steno a post as professor in Copenhagen). After completing his university education, Steno set out to travel through Europe, In the Netherlands, France, Italy and Germany he came into contact with prominent physicians and scientists. These influences led him to use his own powers of observation to make important scientific discoveries. At a time when scientific questions were mostly answered by appeal to ancient authorities, Steno was bold enough to trust his own eyes, even when his observations differed from traditional doctrines.

He studied anatomy focusing again on the Lymphatic system and discovered a previously undescribed structure, the “ductus stenonianus” (the duct of the parotid salivary gland) in sheep, dog and rabbit heads. Steno’s name is associated with this structure. Within a few months Steno moved to Leiden, where he met the students Jan Swammerdam, Frederik Ruysch, Reinier de Graaf, Franciscus de le Boe Sylvius, a famous professor, and Baruch Spinoza. At the time Descartes was publishing on the working of the brain, and Steno did not think his explanation of the origin of tears was correct. Steno studied the heart, and determined that it was an ordinary muscle.

He later travelled to Saumur and Montpellier, where his work was introduced to the Royal Society. In Pisa, Steno met the Grand Duke of Tuscany, who supported arts and science. Steno was invited to live in the Palazzo Vecchio, he also went to Rome and met Alexander VII and Marcello Malpighi. As an anatomist in the hospital Steno focused on the muscular system and the nature of muscle contraction. He also became a member of Accademia del Cimento in Florence. Like Vincenzio Viviani, Steno used geometry to show that a contracting muscle changes its shape but not its volume.

Steno also dissected a sharks head and  noted that the shark’s teeth bore a striking resemblance to certain stony objects, found embedded within rock formations. at the time these were known as glossopetrae or “tongue stones” by Ancient authorities, such as the Roman author Pliny the Elder,  who had suggested .in his book Naturalis Historia that these stones had fallen from the sky or from the Moon, while Others thought, that fossils grew natuarally in the rocks. Fabio Colonna, however, had already shown in a convincing way that glossopetrae were shark teeth and Steno added to the discussion on the differences in composition between glossopetrae and living sharks’ teeth, arguing that the chemical composition of fossils could be altered without changing their form, using the contemporary corpuscular theory of matter.

This led him to the question of how any solid object could come to be found inside another solid object, such as a rock or a layer of rock. The “solid bodies within solids” that attracted Steno’s interest included not only fossils, as we would define them today, but minerals, crystals, encrustations, veins, and even entire rock layers or strata. He published his geologic studies in De solido intra solidum naturaliter contento dissertationis prodromus, or Preliminary discourse to a dissertation on a solid body naturally contained within a solid in 1669. Steno was not the first to identify fossils as being from living organisms; his contemporaries Robert Hooke and John Ray also argued that fossils were the remains of once-living organisms.

Steno, in his Dissertationis prodromus  is credited with three of the defining principles of the science of stratigraphy: the law of superposition, the principle of original horizontality and the principle of cross-cutting discontinuities. These principles were applied and extended in 1772 by Jean-Baptiste L. Romé de l’Isle. Steno’s landmark theory that the fossil record was a chronology of different living creatures in different eras was a sine qua non for Darwin’s theory of natural selection.

Despite Having been brought up in the Lutheran faith, Steno also questioned its teachings, and After making comparative theological studies, and by using his natural observational skills, he decided that Catholicism, rather than Lutheranism, provided more sustenance for his constant inquisitiveness. Steno converted to Catholicism. In 1675 Steno was ordained a priest. Athanasius Kircher expressly asked why Steno had left science and became one of the leading figures in the Counter-Reformation.

In 1684 Steno moved to Hamburg and became involved in the study of the brain and the nerve system with an old friend Dirck Kerckring. Steno was invited to Schwerin,when it became clear he was not accepted in Hamburg. To test his theories Steno dressed like a poor man in an old cloak. He drove in an open carriage in snow and rain. Living four days a week on bread and beer, he became emaciated. When Steno had fulfilled his mission, he wanted to go back to Italy. Sadly though Steno died whilst in Germany on 5th December 1686, His corpse was shipped by Kerckring to Florence and buried in the Basilica of San Lorenzo close to his protectors, the De’ Medici family. In 1953 his grave was discovered, and the corpse was reburied after a procession through the streets of the city.

The Steno Museum in Århus, Denmark, is named after Steno, and holds exhibitions on the history of science and medicine, and also has  a planetarium and a medicinal herb garden. Impact craters on Mars and the Moon have also been named in his honour. In 1950 the “Niels Steensens Gymnasium”, a Catholic preparatory school, was founded on a Jesuit monastery in Copenhagen. The Steno Diabetes Center, a research and teaching hospital dedicated to diabetes in Gentofte, Denmark, was also named after Nicolas Steno and The Istituto Niels Stensen, in Florence, is also dedicated to his memory.

Jack the Giant Slayer

During my time offline I watched Jack the Giant Slayer which is based on the fairy tales, “Jack the Giant Killer” and “Jack and the Beanstalk”, is directed by Bryan Singer and stars Nicholas Hoult, Eleanor Tomlinson, Stanley Tucci, Ian McShane, Bill Nighy and Ewan McGregor with a screenplay written by Darren Lemke, Christopher McQuarrie and Dan Studney.

The film takes place in the Kingdom of Cloister and tells the story of Jack, (Hoult) a young farmhand who is fascinated by the legend of Erik, an ancient king who defeated an army of invading giants from a realm in the sky by controlling them with a magical crown. Princess Isabelle (Eleanor Tomlinson) the daughter of the ruling King Brahmwell  (Ian McShane) also becomes fascinated with the same legend.

Ten years later, while Jack is in town selling his horse to support his uncle’s farm, he defends Princees Iasabelle from a group of thugs. Meanwhile, Lord Roderick (Stanley Tucci) gets robbed by a monk and instead of selling the horse Jack finds himself accepting the magic beans which the monk has stolen from Lord Roderick. Once home Jack’s uncle scolds him for being foolish before throwing the beans on the floor. Meanwhile Isabelle finds herself betrothed to Lord Roderick but she would rather be free and have fun and ends up quarrelling with her father before sneaking out of castle and running off. However it starts raining and she ends up seeking shelter from the rain in Jack’s house. During the rainstorm one of the magic beans germinates and takes root growing into a massive beanstalk at a rather alarming rate carrying the house and Isabelle into the sky. SO Jack, Roderick, and Roderick’s attendant, Wicke (Ewan Bremner) volunteer to join the king’s knights, led by Elmont (Ewan McGregor) and his second in-command, Crawe, and they all set off up the beanstalk to rescue Isabelle.

however Lord Roderick and Wicke have their own devious agenda concerning the crown and to make matters worse when they reach the top, and discover the giants’ realm they soon find themselves in great peril when they get trapped by a giant, who takes everyone prisoner apart from Jack, they then encounter two other giants. So Jack tries to rescue them and learns that the Giants led by the two headed giant Fallon (voiced by Bill Nighy) intend to descend the beanstalk and attack Cloister. so Jack decends the beanstalk, to warn the people of Cloister and despite the fact that his daughter is in the giants realm, Brahmwell(Ian McShane) reluctantly orders the beanstalk cut down to avoid an invasion by the giants. However the giants are massing, hoping to use magic beans from their realm to create beanstalks to descend down to Earth and attack Cloister and the castle And take over the world below

tony Kaye (Yes)

Yes_Wonderous+StoriesTony Kaye, British piano and organ player with Progressive Rock Band was born 11th January 1946. Yes achieved worldwide success with their progressive music, mystical lyrics, elaborate album art, live stage sets and symphonic style of rock music. They are regarded as one of the pioneers of the progressive genre. They were Formed in 1968 by Jon Anderson and Bill Bruford and released two albums together but began to enjoy success after the release of The Yes Album and Fragile,which featured new arrivals Steve Howe and Rick Wakeman. They achieved further success with the albums  Close to the Edge and Tales from Topographic Oceans.

Wakeman was replaced by Patrick Moraz, who played on Relayer (1974). Wakeman returned on Going for the One (1977) and Tormato (1978). Anderson and Wakeman left the group due to musical differences amongst the band in 1980, and both went on to pursue solo careers. Their replacements, Trevor Horn and Steve Downes, featured on Drama (1980) and its supporting tour before disbanding in 1981. Howe and Downes went to form Asia.

Yes reformed in 1982 after Squire and White were joined by the returning Jon Anderson and T0ny Kaye, with the addition of guitarist Trevor Rabin. They adopted a pop rock sound and released the number one single “Owner of a Lonely Heart” and 90125 (1983), their best-selling album to date, followed by Big Generator (1987). Anderson left and co-formed the side project Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe with the named members in 1989. Following a legal battle amongst both Yes groups, they formed an eight-man band to perform on Union (1991) and its supporting tour. Rabin and Kaye featured on Talk (1994) before leaving, while Wakeman and Howe returned with Keys to Ascension (1996) and Keys to Ascension 2 (1997). Wakeman wasthen  replaced by Igor Khoroshev, who was featured on Open Your Eyes (1997) and The Ladder (1999) along with guitarist Billy Sherwood. The release of Magnification (2001) marked the first album since 1970 to feature an orchestra.

In 2002, Wakeman returned for the band’s 35th anniversary tour. The band ceased to tour in 2004, partly due to health concerns regarding Anderson and Wakeman. Following a hiatus, Yes restarted in 2008 with keyboardist Oliver Wakeman and singer Benoît David. After the release of Fly from Here (2011), which saw Downes returning on keyboards, David was replaced by Jon Davison, lead singer of progressive rock band Glass Hammer, on vocals. The band’s current line-up consists of singer Jon Davison, bassist Chris Squire,guitarist Steve Howe, drummer Alan White, and keyboardist Geoff Downes, and they continue to perform to this day, more than 40 years since their formation.

Terry Williams (Dire Straits)

Terry Williams, the second drummer with Rock group Dire Straits was born 11 January 1948. Formed in 1977 by Brothers Mark (lead vocals and lead guitar)and David Knopfler (rhythm guitar and backing vocals), and friends John Illsley (bass guitar and backing vocals, and Pick Withers (drums and percussion), they recorded a five-song demo tape which included their future hit single, “Sultans of Swing”, as well as “Water of Love”, “Down to the Waterline”, “Wild West End” and David Knopfler’s “Sacred Loving”.

DIRE STRAITS DISCOGRAPHY HERE  :D

The group’s first album, was intitled Dire Straits the album had little promotion when initially released in the United Kingdom However, the album came to the attention of A&R representative Karin Berg, working at Warner Bros. Records in New York City. She felt that it was the kind of music audiences were hungry for, That same year, Dire Straits began a tour as opening band for the Talking Heads after the re-released “Sultans of Swing” which scaled the charts to number four in the United States and number eight in the United Kingdom. The song was one of Dire Straits’ biggest hits and became a fixture in the band’s live performances. “ Recording sessions for the group’s second album, Communiqué, took place in December 1978, Released in June 1979 Communiqué Featured the single “Lady Writer”, the second album continued in a similar vein as the first and displayed the expanding scope of Knopfler’s lyricism on the opening track, “Once Upon a Time in the West”. In 1980, Dire Straits were nominated for two Grammy Awards for Best New Artist and Best Rock Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group for “Sultans Of Swing.

In July 1980 the band started recording tracks for their third album. Making Movies which featured longer songs with more complex arrangements, a style which would continue for the rest of the band’s career. The album featured many of Mark Knopfler’s most personal compositions. The most successful chart single was “Romeo and Juliet” and was released in October 1980. Dire Straits’ fourth studio album Love Over Gold, an album of songs filled with lengthy, experimental passages, was well received when it was released in September 1982, going gold in America and spending four weeks at number one in the United Kingdom, its main chart hit, “Private Investigations”, gave Dire Straits their first top 5 hit single in the United Kingdom, where it reached the number 2 position despite its almost seven-minute length, and became another of the band’s most popular live songs. along with “Industrial Disease”, a song that looks at the decline of the British manufacturing industry in the early 1980s. In 1983, a four-song EP titled ExtendedancEPlay was released while Love Over Gold was still in the album charts. It featured the hit single “Twisting By the Pool”. Dire Straits also embarked on a world tour. wgich resulted in The double album Alchemy Live, a recording of two live concerts of the group at London’s Hammersmith Odeon in July 1983, was released in March 1984.

Dire Straits returned to the recording studios at the end of 1984 to record their biggest selling album to date, Brothers in Arms, which has so far sold over 30 million copies and contains the songs “Money for Nothing”, “Walk of Life”, “So Far Away”, “Your Latest Trick” and “Brothers in Arms”. Released in May 1985, Brothers In Arms entered the UK Albums Chart at number 1 and spent a total of 228 weeks in the charts, It went on to become the best-selling album of 1985 in the UK, “Money for Nothing” was also the first video ever to be played on MTV in Britain and featured guest vocals by Sting, who is credited with co-writing the song with Mark Knopfler, although in fact, it was just the inclusion of the melody line from “Don’t Stand So Close To Me”.Brothers in Arms was among the first albums recorded on digital equipment due to Knopfler pushing for improved sound quality The album’s title track is reported to be the world’s first CD single. The album is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the first compact disc to sell a million copies, and has been credited with helping to popularise the CD forma

Their sound drew from a variety of musical influences, including jazz, folk, blues, and came closest to beat music within the context of rock and roll. Despite the prominence of punk rock during the band’s early years, the band’s stripped-down sound contrasted with punk, demonstrating a more “rootsy” influence that emerged out of pub rock. Many of Dire Straits’ compositions were melancholic and they have gone on to became one of the world’s most commercially successful bands, with worldwide album sales of over 120 million. making them One of the world’s best selling music artists, and their fifth album, Brothers in Arms, has won many accolades. In November 2009, Dire Straits were honoured by the new PRS for Music Heritage Award. A special blue plaque was erected at Farrer House, Church Street, Deptford in south London, where the original group, Mark Knopfler, David Knopfler, John Illsley and Pick Withers once shared a council flat and performed their first ever gig in 1977. PRS for Music has set up the Heritage Award to recognise the unusual “performance birthplaces” of famous bands and artists. Dire Straits have also won numerous music awards during their career, including four Grammy Awards, three Brit Awards—winning Best British Group twice, and two MTV Video Music Awards. The band’ most popular songs include “Sultans of Swing”, “Romeo and Juliet”, “Tunnel of Love”, “Private Investigations” .Dire Straits’ career spanned 18 years. There were several changes in personnel over that period, leaving Mark Knopfler and John Illsley as the only two original bandmates who had remained throughout the band’s career. Dire Straits disbanded in 1995 when Mark Knopfler launched his career full time as a solo artist.