A Tourist's Guide to Southern Vermont

1. Introduction:

Easily accessible from lower New England, Southern Vermont is a rolling carpet of Green Mountain foothills and valleys that offer an extensive array of seasonal sports, yet maintain all of the state's characteristics, including picture postcard villages, covered bridges, maple farms, and cheese producers .

2. Orientation:

Brattleboro, gateway to the area, is "home to an eclectic mix of native Vermonters and transplants from all over the country," according to the "Greater Brattleboro" guide published by the Brattleboro Area Chamber of Commerce. "This cosmopolitan town is eastern Vermont's undisputed economic, recreational, and cultural center."

Accessed by Interstate 91, it is both the first major Vermont city north of the Massachusetts state line and the only one served by three exits-in this case, Exit 1 leads to Canal street, Exit 2 to Main Street and the historic downtown area, and Exit 3 to Route 5 / Putney Road, which offers a commercial concentration of hotels and restaurants. The Comfort and Hampton Inns and the Holiday Inn Express, for example, are located here, while the art deco Latchis Hotel, complete with its own movie theater, is located downtown.

3. Brattleboro:

Situated at the confluence of the Connecticut and West rivers, Brattleboro was originally occupied by the Abenaki tribes, but protection against them took form as Fort Drummer, constructed by and named after, Governor William Drummer of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, in 1724.

Siding with the French in the French and Indian War, they migrated to Quebec the following year, at which time the structure was converted into a trading post for the friendly few who remained behind. Neverheless, peace, often fleeting during this period, dissected between 1744 and 1748, prompting its troop re-occupation.

Becoming a New Hampshire grant, the area surrounding it, designed Brattleborough after Colonel William Brattle, Jr. of Boston, was chartered as Vermont's first town the day after Christmas in 1753.

From the fort sprouted a settlement, giving rise to the area's first store in 1771, first post office in 1784, and first Connecticut-spanning bridge in 1804. Becoming increasingly industrialized for the period due to the power provided by the Whetstone Brook's waterfalls, it soon boosted paper, flour, and woolen textile mills, paper making machinery and carriage manufacturers, two machine shops, and four printers. It has been home to the Estey Organ Company for more than a century. The Massachusetts and Vermont Valley railroads subcontrequently facilitated commerce, trade, and travel with and to the rest of New England.

The current "Brattleboro" spelling was adopted in 1888.

Today, more than anything, the city is synonymous with art. Aside from its numerous avenues, it exclusively features its Gallery Walk program, in which exhibits are displayed at some 50 locations throughout town on the first Friday of every month, some accompanied by live music and others by the artists themselves. Numbered, each display corresponds to the description, location, and route of the guide published monthly.

Maintaining the town's raison d'être is the more permanent Brattleboro Museum and Art Center, located downtown, across from the Marlboro College Graduate School in the former Union Station and offering views of the river paralleling tracks outside and retaining the original ticket windows inside, behind which is the appropriately titled "Ticket Gallery."

"Founded in 1972," according to its own description, "the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center presents rotating exhibits of contemporary art and a wide array of cultural events, including lectures, workshops, performances, film screenings, (and) family activities."

"Close to Home: New Pastels by Ray Ruseckas," one recent exhibit, offered, as its title suggests, an artistic perspective of the area.

"The hillsides, forests, and glades of the Connecticut River Valley," said Mara Williams, museum curator, "are Ray Ruseckas' stomping grounds and inspiration. as the rhythms and proportions of place … through refined tonal shifts or contrast between light and dark, (he) produces an effect of psychological apprehension, a fission between what is seen and what is implied or felt. "

"Threaded Dances," by Debra Birmingham, another recent exhibit, equally featured surreal effects.

"(Her) paintings are elusive and mysterious as a landscape enveloped in mist," Williams wrote. "Images emerge slowly, sensibly from delicately layered surfaces. Veils of blue-gray to pearl-white shroud empty or barely populated space. are unmoored from time and space. "

Other recent exhibits including "People, Places, and Things" by Jim Dine, "Art + Computer / Time" from the Anne and Michael Spater Digital Art Collection, and the three-dimensional, inflated sculpture "Expanded Forms" by Rodrigo Nava.

Art, at least in literary form, may be interpretable through architecture-in this case, of Rudyard Kipling's Naulakha home-Hindi for "jewel beyond price" -in nearby Dummerston. One of Vermont's 17 National Historic Landmarks, it served as his home in 1892, because his grandson was native to the area, and he wrote his famous "Captain's Courageous" and "Jungle Book" novels here.

As a living house that can be rented for varying places from the UK's Landmark Trust, it features its original furniture, while the carriage house, which had once been Kipling's barn, sports a living room fireplace and accommodates four.

Although it is not open for museum visits, one recent patron who had partaken of its "hotel" status, found that a determined advantage, writing in Naulakha's guest book, "It is fascinating to visit the house of writers and artists, but all you usually get is an hour's tour with an absolute prohibition 'not to touch.' How wonderful then to sit at his desk and soak up Mr. Kipling's bath. "

Aside from art, Southern Vermont is often equated with its covered bridges and Brattleboro is no exception. Constructed in 1879 and located on Guilford Street off of Route 9, the 80-foot-long by 19-foot-wide Creamery Covered Bridge, for instance, spans The Whetstone Brook. Made of spruce lumber, with timber lattice trusses and either-end stone slab supporting abutments, it features a 5.5-foot wide, evenly covered sidewalk that was added in the 1920s. It is the only such structure visible from Route 9 and the only one of Brattleboro's symbolic structures to survive.

4. Grafton:

As a preserved village, Grafton, located north of Brattleboro, could serve as the quintessential image of Vermont and grace any postcard, with its church, crafts shops, galleries, museums, and historic inns lining Main Street (Route 121) and maple syrup taping and cheese making venues located just up the road.

With four general stores and a half dozen mills and schools during the mid-1800s, it was a hub for farmers, tradesmen, and travelers, producing shoes, sleighs, and butter churns. Retaining, a century and a half later, its blacksmith and cabinet making shops, it offers the visitor an opportunity to step back in time and sample true New England ambiance.

"Grafton's uniqueness," according to its own description, "comes from being a real town, not a museum-like recreation, with its citizens being its most valuable resource. wonderfully diverse population of 600 people. "

Surrounded by a kaleidoscope of color in the fall and covered with a blanket of white in the winter, it offers numerous recreational opportunities, but the latter season, particularly, "is a magic time in Vermont, making you believe that you are living in a holiday card. Cross-country ski, snowshoe, (or) stroll through the village.

Cornerstone of the town is the Grafton Inn. Tracing its origins to the two-floor private home of Enos Lowell, who converted it to an inn to serve travelers seeking good food and lodging in 1801, it grew in size and prosperity with that of the village and counted several owners-from Hyman Burgess to the Phelps Brothers, who added a third floor after purchasing the property for $ 1,700 in 1865. That overall appearance remains to the present day.

Although it fulfilled its originally intent purpose of serving commercial travelers, several notable people have stayed there over the years, including Rudyard Kipling, Daniel Webster, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and Ralph Waldo Emerson.

After Depression era stagnation, disrepair, and competition from emerging modernized motels, it was admitted by the Windham Foundation in 1965 and elevated to more expected standards with plumbing, heating, hot-and-cold running water, and private bathrooms. Yet its 45 guest rooms retain their country character.

Its dining venues include the Old Tavern Restaurant and the Phelps Barn Pub.

Aside from the inn, there are several attractions in Grafton, including the Native Museum, the Grafton History Museum, and the Vermont Museum of Mining and Minerals.

Behind the inn is the Grafton Village Retail Store, which offers a wide selection of cheese, maple products, wine, and Vermont indicative souvenirs, but cheese is handmade a half mile up the road at the Grafton Village Cheese Company.

Established in 1892 as the Grafton Cooperative Cheese Company, it continues to produce handcrafted aged cheddar, a process visible through a glass window, although its production plant and a significantly sized retail store is located in Brattleboro. Behind the Grafton facility is a short covered bridge.

Another Vermont associated experience can be enjoyed at Plummer's Sugar House. Owned by third generation syrup producers, it sports 4,000 maple trees, which are snapped between February and April. Informal tours are conducted and syrup can be purchased in its barn-like gift shop.

5. Molly Stark Trail:

Designated the Molly Stark Trail by the Vermont Legislature in 1936, the 48-mile, officially numbered Route 9 zigzags through the Southern Green Mountains, lowland valleys, lakes, streams, waterfalls, and historic villages from Brattleboro in the east to Bennington in the west . It was named after the wife of Brigadier General John Stark, who led the Colonial militia of Vermont and New Hampshire troops to victory in the 1777 Battle of Bennington, during which he proclaimed, "There they are boys! We beat them today or Molly Stark sleeps a widow tonight. "

In the event, she had no need to, but also never stepped foot on the scenic byway that bears her name and is associated with several others of Vermont fame, such as Ethan Allen, Grandma Moses, and Robert Frost.

It serves as the threshold to the Green Mountain National Forest. Established itself in 1932 to control rampant logging, flooding, and fires, its 399,151-acre New England and Acadian forest ecoregion is located in Bennington, Addison, Rutland, Windham, Windsor, and Washington counties.

Three nationally designed trails-Long Trail, Robert Moses National Recreation Trail, and portions of the Appalachian Trail-along with 900 miles of lesser-known paths afford a wide range of related sports activities, from hiking to bicycling, horseback riding, cross country skiing , and snowmobiling, in three Alpine and seven Nordic ski areas.

Abundant wildlife includes bears, moose, coyotes, white tailed deer, black bears, wild turkeys, and numerous bird species.

The town of Wilmington marks both the Molly Stark Trail's halfway point between Brattleboro and Bennington and the crossroads with northbound Route 100.

Chartered on April 29, 1751 by Benning Wentworth, Colonial Governor of New Hampshire, and named after Spencer Compton, First Earl of Wilmington, the town itself was actually fed by what its surrounding land provided, including grass, oats, corn, vegetables, potatoes , and the spruce, hemlock, birch, beech, and maple trees that were transformed into lumber. Haystack Mountain offered skiing.

Town and population growth were sparked by a series of precipitating events, such as the introduction of river-located sawmills in the 1830s, the establishment of a rail link at the end of that century, and the dedication of the Molly Stark Trail in the 1930s .

Threading through town, Main Street (Route 9 and the trail itself) offers views of another quintessential Vermont village, with quilt, craft, and antique shops, restaurants, and church steeples.

"Wilmington," according to the "Southern Vermont Deerfield Valley Visitors' Guide" published by the Chamber of Commerce in Wilmington itself, "contains superb examples of 18th and 19th century architecture in as many as eight distinct styles." From Late Colonial (1750- 1788) to Colonial Revival (1880-1900), the architecture is so well-preserved, that the major part of the village has been placed on the Vermont Register of Historic Places. "

A right turn at the traffic light (coming from Brattleboro) on to Route 100 leads to the Old Red Mill Inn, "a wayside tavern, inn, and restaurant at the river's edge," as it bills itself.

Rustic in character, the inn, a converted sawmill dating back to 1828, retains much of its original construction and is itself listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Its dining venues include Jerry's Deck Bar and Grill, with outdoor seating overlooking the Deerfield River, and the Old Red Mill Restaurant, which "hearty food and drink are specialties of the house," it proclals.

"Prime steaks and rib roasts, along with fresh New England seafood, are menu favorites, all preceded by crisp garden salads and warm, fresh-baked breads."

6. Route 100:

A short drive on Route 100 leads to West Dover, gateway to the Mount Snow ski resort, as evidenced by the Alpine-themed Austrian Haus Lodge, one of the first buildings encountered.

Settled by Captain Abner Perry, of Holliston, Massachusetts, in 1779, and granted a charter signed by Governor Thomas Chittenden, head of the newly formed Vermont Republic, the following year, West Dover and its easterly Dover counterpart began as the township of Wardsborough. After a successful petition to divide it, however, it evolved into Wardsborough itself and Dover after the passage of an 1810 Legislative Assembly act.

Although the summer initially served as the season of attraction for vacationers drawn to area farms during the early-1900s, its winter opponent took center stage mid-century when Walter Schoenknecht, of East Haddam, Connecticut, acquitted the Ruben Snow farm, transforming it into the present and popular Mount Snow Ski Resort.

Demand soon turned the talented of lodges into the many of today, along with the coincident shops, restaurants, and motels necessary to support the influx of sports enthusiasts.

Literally paving the way to it all, Route 100 replaced the original dirt artery, which was plied by sleighs in its early days. Aside from automobiles, even the small Deerfield Valley Airport brings in winter tourists.

As a base town, West Dover's purpose becomes unexpectedly handsome as you approach the Mount Snow entrance, revealing buildings such as the Inn at Sawmill Farm, the West Dover Inn, the Snow Mountain Market, and the Lodge.

"West Dover (itself)," according to the "Southern Vermont Deerfield Valley Visitors' Guide," "stands as one of Vermont's most splendid examples of a homogenous historic district." Consisting of just 20 buildings dating from 1805 to 1885, the entire district is part of the National Register of Historic Places.

"The village showcases a number of well-preserved buildings. The West Dover Congregational Church, (for instance), was built as a meeting house 'in the modern style' of 1858 with money raised by selling pews at auctions. Office was originally the District # 6 schoolhouse, erected in 1857. Across the street, the Harris House, one of the oldest in the village, is now home to the Dover Historical Society. "

Tantamount to any Vermont village is an historic inn-in this case, it takes West Dover Inn form.

"Nestled within the serene Deerfield Valley of Vermont's Green Mountain National Forest," according to its own description, "and only two miles from the base of Mount Snow, our home continues an important American tradition of friendly hospitality over 150 years ago.

"Originally built in 1846 as a stage coach stop and tavern, the West Dover inn has been lovingly restored and now provides 12 quiet, luxury accommodations, as well as modern and memorable dining in the 1846 Tavern and Restaurant."

Its menu features pub fare and house specialties, such as rib eye steak, salmon, roasted duck, and pasta.

Mount Snow, the area's major attraction, is reached by its Northern and Southern Access roads off of Route 100. Considered the most accessible Green Mountain ski resort and located only nine miles from Wilmington, it encompasses 588 acres subdivided into the four mountain areas of Main Mountain, North Face, Sunbrook, and Carinthia, rising from a 1,900-foot base elevation to a 3,600-foot summit one. Its vertical drop is 1,700 feet.

Twenty lifts provide a 30,370-person hourly capacity.

During the summer and fall, the Bluebird Express offers scenic, six-person bubble lift rides to the summit, where views from the Bullwheel Restaurant encompass Little Equinox, Equinox, Mother Myriak, Dorset, Little Stratton, Stratton, and Glebe mountains, which collectively appear as if they were undulating, green-caraved waves interspersed with icy blue, mirror-resembling lakes. Cloud obstructions stamp the expanse with black patches.

"Mount Snow," according to its self-description, "offers long cruisers, black diamonds, and technical tree terrain. access the varying terrain … Advanced skiers and riders will enjoy the 12 trails and two lifts on the North Face. riding. "

Accommodations include the slopeside Grand Summit Resort Hotel and Snow Lake Lodge, a less expensive alternative on its namesaked lake. Complimentary shuttles take skiers to the mountain in season.

7. Bennington:

Bennington, on the western end of the Molly Stark Trail, is particularly rich in sights.

Awarded a town grant after it was chartered by New Hampshire Governor Benning Wentworth in 1749, it experienced initial growth when soil and hands, of the original 20 settlers, transformed the area from ground to town, by means of hand-hewn logs and hand- ground corn, while mechanization took form as grain mills on the east side of the Walloomsac River and sawmills on the west, facilitating the population swell, to 1,500, only four years after the settlement was established.

Nail cutting forges, foundries, blast furnaces, blacksmiths, and tanneries augmented this expansion.

Today, a drive past the town on Route 9 / Molly Stark Trail leads to several important attractions. The Bennington Museum is the first of them.

Incorporated in 1852 as the Bennington Historical Association, which itself was founded to commemorate the pivotal battle that raged a few miles across the New York state line, it is one of Vermont's few accredited museums, which missions is to "showcase and model the creativity of Vermont in all its forms and through its history, as well as serve as a venue for visual and performing arts that enrich our community and our world. "

Even the building that houses it is of historical importance. Constructed of native stone and originally serving as the first St.. Francis De Salas catholic church between 1855 and 1892, it was admitted by the Bennington Historical Museum in 1928. Subsequent expansions and intermittent name changes resolved in the present Bennington Museum, the largest art and history repository in Southern Vermont with diverse collections from the early- 18th century period to modern times. It features the most extensive public collection of paintings by American folk artist Grandma Moses.

Thirteen continuous and changing exhibitions have included "Gilded Age Vermont Reflects the Industrial Boom," "Bennington Modernism," "Works on Paper," and "Regional Artist Gallery."

The town, in many ways, was defined by the brief Bennington Battle that can be interpreted at the next attraction, the Bennington Battlefield State Historic Site, only a short drive away on Route 9.

Numerous, diverse reasons and circumstances have lit the spark of war through history. Supplies, or at least the pressing need for them, precipitated this one.

By the end of July 1777, the British invasion of New York, intended for the purpose of regaining control and led by General John Burgyne, had reached Fort Edward, east of Glens Falls. But the flow of necessary staples from Canada that would ensure the movement's advance through the Mohawk Valley and down to New York City, including draft animals, wagons, and beef, had been reduced to a trickle.

Because intelligence advised Lieutenant Colonel Friedrich Baum that Bennington-located stores were ill-protected, he indicated to redirect his garrison to Vermont and New Hampshire instead. But Vermont's Council of Safety, receiving word of his pending onslaught, solicited aid from Vermont troops under Seth Warner and some 1,500 New Hampshire men under John Stark.

Threshold to the confrontation was a hill overlooking the Walloomsac River, five miles from Bennington and not in Vermont, to which Stark sent defensive forces on August 16, 1777, two days after the British had reached it.

Although initial musket fire prompted the immediate surrender of Indians, Canadians, and Tories, the British themheld their ground and a two-hour clash with the Americans, which Stark later described as "one continuous clap of thunder," resolved in the capture of the hill and the death of Baum. When the last puff of gun power dissipated, 200 British had perished and 700 had been captured, as opposed to the 40 Americans killed and the 30 wounded.

The Bennington Battle monument, located at the supply storage site and the state's tallest structure, had its origins in 1873, when the Vermont General Assembly established the Bennington Battle Monument Association, itself an extension of the Bennington Historical Society, with $ 112,000 for land and the actual structure raised by private citizens, the three states of Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts, and Congress.

Designed by Boston architect John Phillipp Rinn and dedicated in 1891, the resulting monolith, constructed of blue-gray magnesian limestone questioned from Hudson Falls, New York, rises 306 feet, 4.5 inches from a 37-square-foot base and is elevator accessible to an observation level, which 20 11-foot slotted openings afford views of three states. Guided tours up the 421 steps are also periodically offered.

Tickets are purchasable from the gift shop, which occupations the precise site of the original storehouse, goal and catalyst of the battle, while a smaller monument honors Seth Warner, commander of the Green Mountain Boys who helped defeat the British during the second engagement.

Another important Bennington sight is the nearby Old First Church.

Influenced by the "great awakening" in Connecticut and Western Massachusetts, local separatists first gathered on its site on December 3, 1762 in a rudimentary pine structure on what is today the green in front of the church and the village's center.

Constructed in 1805 by architect Lavius ​​Filmore, cousin of the nation's 13th president, the church itself, of colonial architecture, features full pine tree trunks hand-planned into columns, wooden block exterior corner decorations that resemble the stone ones used by their European counterparts, and both lower and upper pews, the latter for visitors and young parishioners.

After a 1937 renovation, which restored the box pews and the high pulp, poet Robert Frost read "The Black Cottage" during the rededication ceremony, although a second, more extensive project, undertaken between 1994 and 1999, added the exterior of present white and gray coat of paint. The interior was also replastered and attention was given to the marble steps, the basement beams, the roof, and the bell tower.

Although Frost was not himself a member, he purchased two family burial plots in the adjacent cemetery, where he is separated, along with 75 Revolutionary War patriots.

Art can be appreciated in Bennington in the Bennington Center for the Arts, located a short distance from the Old First Church and built by local philanthropist Bruce Laumeister and his wife, Elizabeth Small, in 1994, initially to display pieces from their own collection. Since, it otherwise achieves its goal of bringing world-class art to residents and visitors of New England.

Paintings and bronzes of and by Native Americans, along with Navajo rugs, pots, and kachina dolls, have yielded, from its earliest days, to an increasing number of noticeable exhibits in the expanding, multiple-gallery venue, including those from the Society of Animal Artists, the Plein Air Painters of America, the American Watercolor Society, the New England Watercolor Society, the Allied Artists of America, the American Academy of Women Artists, the Pastel Society of America, and Arts for the Parks. It is the only East Coast museum to have hosted the California Art Club.

Connected to the center is the bright red painted Covered Bridges Museum, which was completed in 2003 and is the world's first such venue dedicated to their preservation, understanding, and interpretation. They are, in essence, Vermont itself.

Exhibits focus on their design, engineering, construction, and history, and are augmented by films, computer work stations that enable the visitor to explore their building techniques, and a working model railroad layout depicting area covered bridges.

Connecting riverbanks and offering suspended passage for pedestrians, bicycles, horses, carriages, and motorized vehicles, they provide, according to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, a "brief darkness leading from the light to light."

The real thing, as everywhere in Vermont, is not far from the museum. A northerly drive on Route 7, followed by left turns on to Northside Drive (which itself becomes 67A West) and Silk Road, leads to the 88-foot-long Silk Bridge, which spans the Walloomsac River.

After another left turn on to Murphy Road and a two-mile drive, the Paper Mill Village Bridge appears, a town lattice truss design, although it is a 2000 replacement for the original built by Charles F. Sears in 1889.

Finally, the Henry Bridge, located 1.3 miles further ahead of the intersection of Murphy and River roads, is another reconstruction, built in 1989 to replace the original hailing from 1840.

8. Shraftsbury:

A glimpse into a poet's life can be experienced in the Robert Frost Stone House Museum, built in 1769 of stone and timer and located on a seven-acre parcel of land in South Shraftsbury (Route 7's Exit 2).

A literary landmark, it was the home Frost lived in from 1920 to 1929 and in which he penned poems for his first Pulitzer Prize winning book, "New Hampshire," including "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening," ironically written at his dining room table on a hot June 1922 morning after he had been wake all night, working on a different project. An entire room is devoted to this effort.

"The 'Stopping by Woods' room," according to the museum's guide, "is (entirely) devoted to this poem-the story of how it was written, a facsimile of the handwritten manuscript, a controversial comma, presentation of meter and rhyme , what the critics said about the poem, and what Frost said about it. An example of extreme poetic craftsmanship, this beloved poem is one of the central poetic achievements of American literature. "

Because the surroundings remain essentially unchartered since Frost lived there-from the birch and apple trees, fields, woods, stone walls, and the timbered barn to the red pine trees he himself planted-the visitor can absorb his inspiration.

Source by Robert Waldvogel

Roof Ice Dams – The Permanent Solution

Most everyone here in New England knows why the ice dam leak occurs, so I will not go into great detail on the anatomy of an ice dam leak. However, let me give you, the reader, a quick summary to refresh your memory. Snow accumulates on the roof. The exterior wall of the house at the eaves loses heat, usually due to poor insulation. The heat travels up through the roof and begins to melt the snow. The outside temperature freezes the melt and it climbs up the roof under the shingles.This cycle lasts day after day and then it happens … the warm day, the thaw. The water is now under the shingles and makes its way into the house usually along the interior wall at the eave intersection of the roof.

You call your contractor or roofer and they will tell you that the roof was not properly installed. Some will tell you that the Insulation needs to be addressed or that the ventilation is not working properly. Can it be fixed? Yes. Anything can be fixed. In some cases, you will want to reconcile your roof to include proper overhangs and adequate sofit vents with the correct ratio to the ridge vent or gable vents to create convection of air up the roof to keep it cold. Someone might even tell you to build a cold roof. There's always the heating wires you can lay out on the roof, or maybe you could spring for a metal skirt. That 'sa 2 foot metal edge around the perimeter of the roof in hopes that the ice and snow will slide off instead of damaging. What typically happens with these solution is the ice dam forms further up the roof just above the recently installed "solution" which can further compound the problem

Some of these solutions could have helped in correcting the problem. But over time, with an asphalt roof, one will end up with more ice dams even if the ventilation has been corrected.

Source by Mike Gonet

The Universe's First-Born Stars Had A Cold Nursery

Just after Our Universe was born 13.8 billion years ago in the Big Bang, there was a mysterious era when it was black, and there were no stars around to cast their streaming, sparkling light into this swath of darkness. Today, when we stare up at our sky at night, we see a vast dark background lit by the star-fire emitted by its billions upon billions of brilliant stellar inhabitants. However, the way that our Universe's first-born stars came into existence remains one of the most tantalizing mysteries haunting the dreams of astronomers. Where did the first stars come from, and when did they appear on this ancient swath of blackness – lighting up what was originally featureless and dark? In February 2018, astronomers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts and Arizona State University in Tempe, reported that a table-sized radio antenna in a remote region of western Australia has detected faint signals of hydrogen gas from the primordial Universe. This signal reflects the existence of the Universe's first-born stars only about 180 million years after the Big Bang.

The primordial Universe cooled and then went dark for millions of years after its birth. Ultimately, gravity paired matter together until stars were born and burst brilliantly into life, bringing the Cosmic Dawn that chased away the blackness of the Cosmic Dark Ages. The new-found signal marks the closest astronomers have been able to see that ancient, brilliant moment when the first stars blasted away the Universe's primeval, featureless night.

"Finding this minuscule signal has opened a new window on the Universe," study lead author, Dr. Judd Bowman, commented in a March 1, 2018 Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) Press Release. Dr. Bowman is of Arizona State University. The CSIRO Observatory is in Western Australia.

Dr. Bowman has been conducting his Experiment to Detect the Global EoR (Epoch of Reionization) Signature (EDGES) for 12 years. Nine years ago, he began performing the observations from CSIRO's Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory (MRO) , after searching for the best spot on Earth for his work.

The radio signal that Dr. Bowman and his colleagues discovered it was extremely foolish, arriving as it did from 13.6 billion years back in the Universe's history.

It also fell in the region of the electromagnetic spectrum used by FM radio stations. This made the detection of this weak signal from most Earth-based sites literally impossible.

Fortunately, the MRO observatory is in a naturally "radio-quiet" area. This valuable and unique location is protected by a legislated "radio quiet" zone up to 260 kilometers across, which keeps human-made activities that manufacture interfering radio signals to an absolute minimum.

The MRO's development was managed by Antony Schinckel, CSIRO's Head of Square Kilometer Array (SKA) Construction and Planning.

"Finding this signal is an absolute triumph, a triumph made possible by the extreme attention to detail by Judd's team, combined with the exceptional radio quietness of the CSIRO site," Schinckel commented in the March 1, 2018 CSIRO Press Release.

"We worked hard to select this site for the long-term future of radio astronomy after exhaustive investigations across the country. We believe we have the gold standard in radio quietness, the best site in the world," he added.

Schinckel further noted that "This is one of the most technically challenging radio astronomy experiments ever attempted." The lead authors include two of the best radio astronomy experimentalists in the world and they have gone to great lengths to design and calibrate their equipment in order to have convincing evidence for a real signal. "

The MRO was developed by CSIRO for its Australian Square Kilometer Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) .

Dr. Robert Braun noted in the March 1, 2018 CSIRO Press Release that "(T) his is a powerful demonstration of what can be achieved with the combination of an excellent site and world-class engineering, boding well for the great discoveries that will be enabled by the SKA . " Dr. Braun is Science Director at the SKA Organization.

The Darkness Before The Dawn

In your "mind's eye" imagine the newborn Universe. The baby Cosmos was filled with an extremely hot "stew" of charged protons and electrons. But, as the ancient Universe expanded, its temperature plummeted uniformly. When the Universe was approximately 400,000 years old, it was finally cool enough for these charged protons and electrons to merge together to create neutral hydrogen atoms. That great era in the Universe's history is termed recombination , and during this epoch the Universe was suffused by a strange "fog" composed of neutral atoms. As time went by, the Universe's first-born stars and the galaxies that hosted them began to form, and their ultraviolet light ionized (energized) the hydrogen atoms. This means that the hydrogen atoms were torn apart into their component protons and electrons again.

At the instant of our Universe's birth there was a powerful burst of brilliant light. Photons (packets of light) of high-energy radiation were blasted out by the searing-hot matter of the ancient Universe. But, during that very ancient era, light was not allowed to travel through the Cosmos freely. This is due to the extremely hot temperatures of the ancient Universe, the ionized atoms that had managed to form were rapidly ripped apart soon after their birth, since the positively charged atomic nuclei could not hold on to their encircling clouds of negatively charged electrons. Particles that possess an electrical charge are in a perpetual state of absorbing and then emitting electrons. For this reason, during the Universe's first 400,000 years, light was continuously being absorbed, and then emitted, over and over and over again. This cycle continued for a much longer time than human civilization has embarked on our planet. Indeed, this cycle went on for literally hundreds of thousands of years, and only came to an end when the temperature of the Universe finally plummeted to five thousand degrees Fahrenheit.

For the first several hundred thousand years of the Universe's existence, it dazzled with raging fires that glared much more brilliantly than our Sun does today. When atoms could finally congeal and survive during the era of recombination , matter and light could at last go their free and separate ways. The streaming, dancing light has been shining its lovely way through Spacetime ever since.

Today, the Universe is transparent, cooling off, and expanding towards its own death. But, just before the era of recombination, the entire newborn Cosmos looked like the surface of a star, like our Sun. It was extremely hot, opaque, and suffused with brilliant, glaring, imputed light. The primordial Universe was significantly smaller than it is today. The galaxies formed after the era of recombination.

Imagine that black, mysterious, primordial era before the stars were born, and there were no galaxies around to brighten up this murky expanse with the flames of their constituent stars. The Cosmic Dark Ages began only a few hundred thousand years after the Big Bang. At this time, the lingering, left-over radiation of the Big Bang itself had faded, and atomic nuclei had at last managed to congeal to create neutral hydrogen. Neutral hydrogen atoms absorb radiation. The Cosmic Dark Ages lasted for about half a billion years, and this murky ancient era remains veiled in mystery. At the beginning of this primordial epoch, the first atoms of hydrogen formed. By the time this era had ended, the very first light-emitting objects had begun to send their light streaming through space to chase the bewitching blackness away. However, this era was not peaceful. Matter was smoothly and evenly distributed throughout the baby Universe when it first formed. However, by the conclusion of the Cosmic Dark Ages , this matter had somehow clumped together to construct extremely massive large-scale structures.

Hidden deep within the clumps of matter that contained higher-than-average densities, some regions formed clouds that begin to bud off and then collapse. Those collapsing primeval clouds were the ancient cradles of the Universe's first-born stars. The first generation of stars sent their stellar fires raging through the darkness of the Universe – and lit up the entire swath of Spacetime. Like the rays of our sparkling Sun, when it rises at dawn, that lovely newborn starlight overwhelmed the universal darkness. The stellar fires of these baby stars forced the opaque gas of the primeval Universe to become transparent. The sea-change from foggy, opaque darkness to a transparent star-blasted Universe, took hundreds of millions of years. However, at last, the Universe's first-born stars burned away this foggy universal blackness. During this lengthy transition, foggy and opaque regions of the Universe were interspersed with regions of light and recently ionized, transparent gas.

Astronomers currently think that the Universe's first-born stars were not like the stars we see today. This is because they were born directly from primeval gases that billowed out of the Big Bang itself. These very ancient gases were mostly hydrogen and helium, and these two lightest of atomic elements are thought to have pelled themselves together to create ever tighter and tighter objects. The cores of the first stars (protostars) to inhabit the Cosmos started to light up within the mysterious cold, dark hearts of these extremely sensitive knots of pristine primordial hydrogen and helium – and they then collapsed under their own relentless gravitational pull. Many astronomers think that the Universe's first-born stars were grown – compared with later generations of stars – because they did not form the same way, or from the same mix of atomic elements, as stars do now. The Universe's first-born stars, called Population III stars, were likely "megastars". Our Sun is a member of the most recent generation of stars, which are called Population I stars. Between the first and most recent generation of stars are, of course, Population II stars.

The extremely massive Population III stars were also glaring and brilliant, and their existence is responsible for triggering the sea-change of our Universe from what it was to what it is. These huge, brilliant stars changed the dynamics of our Universe by heating it and thus ionizing the ambient hydrogen and helium gases.

Youthful galaxies in the ancient Universe are often discovered by their prominent emission of Lyman-alpha photons . The Lyman-alpha line represents the transition of neutral hydrogen. Galaxies undergoing very powerful bouts of star-birth show strong Lyman-alpha emission lines. This is because they host searing-hot, massive baby stars, and these young stars hurl out intense amounts of ultraviolet radiation – which ionizes the neutral hydrogen, ripping up its atoms into a free proton and a free electron. These particles later recombined to create neutral hydrogen again. However, this hydrogen is in an excited state when formed, and as it relaxes back to the ground state, it emits a series of line photons. Most of the time, this series concludes with the emission of a Lyman-alpha photon.

Cold Nursery For First-Born Stars

The astronomers, who picked up the first signs of hydrogen gas in the primordial universe, also determined that the gas was in a state that would have been possible only in the presence of the Universe's first-born stars. This is because these stars – igniting for the first time in a Universe that had previously been devoid of light – emitted ultraviolet radiation that interacted with the ambient hydrogen gas. Because of this, hydrogen atoms through the entire Universe started to absorb background radiation – an important event that the astronomers were able to spot in the form of radio waves. These new findings provide important evidence that the first generation of stars may have switched on only about 180 million years after the Big Bang.

"This is the first real signal that stars are starting to form, and starting to affect the medium around them. What's happening in this period is that some of the radiation from the very first stars is starting to allow hydrogen to be seen. hydrogen to start absorbing the background radiation, so you start seeing it in silhouette, at particular radio frequencies, "explained study co-author, Dr. Alan Rogers, in a February 28, 2018 MIT Press Release. Dr. Rogers is a scientist at MIT's Haystack Observatory.

There are also certain indications, seen in the radio waves, that hydrogen gas is floating around within the entire ancient Universe. This means that the Universe as a whole must have been twice as cold as astronomers had estimated earlier – with a temperature of about 3 Kelvins (-454 degrees Fahrenheit). Dr. Rogers and his team are not certain why the primeval Cosmos was so much colder than expected, but some scientists have suggested that interactions with a mysterious form of matter, called dark matter, may have played some kind of role. Most of the matter in our Universe is thought to be dark matter , that is not composed of atoms like the familiar "ordinary" matter that we are used to in our world – the stuff of stars, planets, moons, trees, cats, and people, for example. Dark matter is bizarre stuff – it does not interact with light or any other form of electromagnetic radiation. This makes it invisible. Yet it is generally thought that the largest structures in the Universe are made of this strange, dark, non-atomic stuff. Even though "ordinary" atomic matter accounts for literally all of the elements listed in the familiar Periodic Table , there is much less than it than there is of the dark matter.

"These results require some changes in our current understanding of the early evolution of the Universe. Colin Lonsdale in the February 28, 2018 MIT Press Release. Dr. Lonsdale is director of the Haystack Observatory.

The astronomers spotted the primordial hydrogen gas using EDGES – the small ground-based radio antenna, located in western Australia. EDGES gets its funding from the National Science Foundation.

The antennas and parts of the receiver were created and constructed by Dr. Rogers and the Haystack Observatory team, along with the Arizona State University team. The scientists added an automated antenna reflection measurement system to the receiver, outfitted a control hut armed with electronics, constructed the ground plane, and connected the field work as well for the ambitious and successful project. Australia's CSIRO provided on site infrastructure for the EDGES project.

The EDGES instrument was originally designed to detect radio waves sent forth from the ancient Epoch of Reionization. During this primordial era, the first luminous objects, such as galaxies, quasars, and stars, were born in the Universe. Quasars are a particularly brilliant form of active galactic nuclei, inhabiting the hearts of ancient galaxies. They are thought to be the dazzling accuracy disks surrounding intense supermassive black holes that weigh-in at millions to billions of solar-masses. It is thought that every large galaxy in the Universe hosts a supermassive black hole in its hidden, hungry heart – including our own Milky Way.

During the Cosmic Dark Ages , hydrogen, the most abundant atomic element in the Universe, was actually invisible – embodying an energy state that could not be distinguished from the ambient cosmic microwave background (CMB) radiation – the relic radiation left from the Big Bang itself.

Astronomers think that when the Universe's first-born stars ignited, they produced the ultraviolet radiation that caused sea-changes in the hydrogen atoms' distribution of energy states. These dramatic alterations induced hydrogen's solitary electron to spin in alignment or opposite to the spin of its lone proton, causing causing hydrogen (as a whole) to decouple from the CMB. This means that hydrogen gas began to either emit or absorb that radiation, at a characteristic wavelength of 21 centimeters, which is equivalent to a frequency of 1,420 megahertz. But as the Universe expanded over time, this radiation became red-shifted to lower and lower frequencies. By the time the 21-centimeter radiation managed to reach our planet at present, it landed somewhere in the range of 100 megahertz.

Dr. Rogers and his team have been using EDGES to spot hydrogen that floated around the ancient Cosmos in order to precisely determine when the first stars ignited.

"There is a great technical challenge to making this detection. Sources of noise can be a thousand times brighter than the signal they are looking for. It is like being in the middle of a hurricane and trying to hear the flap of a hummingbird's wing, "noted Dr. Peter Kurczynski in the February 28, 2018 MIT Press Release. Dr. Kurczynski is program director for Advanced Technologies and Instrumentation , in the Division of Astronomical Sciences at the NSF .

The antenna of this instrument detects radio waves from the entire sky, and the scientists originally tuned it to listen in at a frequency range of 100 to 120 megahertz. However, when they looked within this range, they initially did not detect much of any signal. The researchers then realized that theoretical models had predicated that primordial hydrogen should emit within this range if the gas was hotter than the ambient medium. But what if the gas was in fact colder? Models predict that the hydrogen should then absorb radiation more consistently in the 50 to 100 megahertz frequency range.

"As soon as we switched our system to this lower range, we started seeing things that we felt might be a real signature," Dr. Rogers commented in the February 28, 2018 MIT Press Release.

Specifically, the astronomers observed a flattened absorption profile – a dip in the radio waves, at about 78 megahertz.

"" We see this dip most consistently at about 78 megahertz, and that frequency corresponds to roughly 180 million years after the Big Bang. In terms of a direct detection of a signal from the hydrogen gas itself, this has got to be the earliest, "Dr. Rogers added.

This dip in radio waves was both much deeper and stronger than theoretical models had predicted. This suggests that the hydrogen gas at the time was much colder than previously believed. The radio waves' profile also matches theoretical predictions of what would have produced if hydrogen was influenced by the Universe's first-born stars.

"The signature of this absorption feature is exclusively associated with the first stars. Lonsdale explained in the February 28, 2018 MIT Press Release.

"It is unlikely that we'll be able to see any earlier into the history of stars in our lifetimes." This project shows that a promising new technique can work and has paved the way for decades of new astrophysical discoveries, "study lead author Dr . Bowman noted in the same Press Release.

The scientists believe that this new detection lifts the veil from a previously mysterious era in the evolution of the Universe.

Dr. Lonsdale commented that "This is exciting because it is the first look into a particularly important period in the Universe, when the first stars and galaxies were beginning to form.

Source by Judith E Braffman-Miller

American History – The Colonial Period

The following article lists some simple, informative tips that will help you have a better experience with The Colonial Period.

The Colonial Period


Most settlers who came to America in the 17th century were English, but there were also Dutch, Swedes and Germans in the middle region, a few French Huguenots in South Carolina and elsewhere, slaves from Africa, primarily in the South, and a scattering of Spaniards, Italians and Portuguese through the colonies.

After 1680 England ceased to be the chief source of immigration. Thousands of refugees fled continental Europe to escape the path of war. Many left their homelands to avoid the poverty induced by government oppression and absentee-landlordism.

By 1690 the American population had risen to a quarter of a million. From then on, it doubled every 25 years until, in 1775, it numbered more than 2.5 million.

Although a family could move from Massachusetts to Virginia or from South Carolina to Pennsylvania, without major readjustment, distinctions between individual colonies were marked. They were even more so between the three regional groupings of colonies


New England in the northeast has generally thin, stony soil, relatively little level land, and long winters, making it difficult to make a living from farming. Turning to other pursuits, the New Englanders harnessed water power and established grain mills and sawmills. Good stands of timber encouraged shipbuilding. Excellent harbors promoted trade, and the sea became a source of great wealth. In Massachusetts, the cod industry alone quickly furnished a basis for prosperity.

With the bulk of the early settlers living in villages and towns around the harbors, many New Englanders carried on some sort of trade or business. Common pasture land and woodlots served the needs of townspeople, who worked small farms nearby. Compactness made possible the village school, the village church and the village or town hall, where citizens met to discuss matters of common interest.

The Massachusetts Bay Colony continued to expand its commerce. From the middle of the 17th century onward it great prosperous, and Boston became one of America's greatest ports.

Oak timber for ships' hulls, tall pines for spars and masts, and pitch for the seams of ships came from the Northeastern forests. Building their own vessels and sailing them to ports all over the world, the ship masters of Massachusetts Bay laid the foundation for a trade that was to grow steadily in importance. By the end of the colonial period, one-third of all vessels under the British flag were built in New England. Fish, ship's stores and wooden ware swelled the exports.

New England shippers soon discovered, too, that rum and slaves were profitable commodities. One of the most entrepreneuring – if unsavory – trading practices of the time was the so-called "triangular trade." Merchants and shippers would purchase slaves off the coast of Africa for New England rum, then sell the slaves in the West Indies where they would buy molasses to bring home for sale to the local rum producers.


Society in the middle colonies was far more diverse, cosmopolitan and tolerant than in New England. In many ways, Pennsylvania and Delaware owed their initial success to William Penn.

Under his guidance, Pennsylvania functioned smoothly and greatly rapidly. By 1685 its population was almost 9,000. The heart of the colony was Philadelphia, a city soon to be known for its broad, tree-shaded streets, substantive brick and stone houses, and busy docks. By the end of the colonial period, near a century later, 30,000 people lived there, representing many languages, creeds and trades. Their talent for successful business enterprise made the city one of the thriving centers of colonial America.

Although the Quakers dominated in Philadelphia, elsewhere in Pennsylvania others were well represented. Germans became the colony's most skillful farmers. Important, too, were cottage industries such as weaving, shoe making, cabinetmaking and other crafts.

Pennsylvania was also the principal gateway into the New World for the Scots-Irish, who moved into the colony in the early 18th century. "Bold and indigent strains," as one Pennsylvania official called them, they hated the English and were suspicious of all government. The Scots-Irish tended to settle in the back country, where they cleared land and lived by hunting and subsistence farming.

As mixed as the people were in Pennsylvania, New York best illustrated the polyglot nature of America. By 1646 the population along the Hudson River included Dutch, French, Danes, Norwegians, Swedes, English, Scots, Irish, Germans, Poles, Bohemians, Portuguese and Italians – the forerunners of millions to come.

The Dutch continued to exercise an important social and economic impact on the New York region long after the fall of New Netherlands and their integration into the British colonial system. Their sharp-stepped, gable roofs became a permanent part of the city's architecture, and their merchants haven Manhattan much of its original bustling, commercial atmosphere.


In contrast to New England and the middle colonies were the predominately rural southern settlements: Virginia, Maryland, North and South Carolina, and Georgia.

By the late 17th century, Virginia's and Maryland's economic and social structure rested on the great planters and the yeoman farmers. The planters of the tidewater region, supported by slave labor, held most of the political power and the best land. They built great homes, adopted an aristocratic way of life and kept in touch as best they could with the world of culture overseas.

At the same time, yeoman farmers, who worked smaller tracts of land, sat in popular assemblies and found their way into political office. Their outspoken independence was a constant warning to the oligarchy of planters not to encroach too far up the rights of free men.

Charleston, South Carolina, became the leading port and trading center of the South. There the settlers quickly learned to combine agriculture and commerce, and the marketplace became a major source of prosperity. Dense forests also bought revenue: lumber, tar and resin from the long leaf pine provided some of the best shipbuilding materials in the world. Not bound to a single crop as was Virginia, North and South Carolina also produced and exported rice and indigo, a blue dye obtained from native plants, which was used in painting fabric. By 1750 more than 100,000 people lived in the two colonies of North and South Carolina.

In the southern-most colonies, as everywhere else, population growth in the back country had special significance. German immigrants and Scots-Irish, unwilling to live in the original tidewater settlements where English influence was strong, pushed inland. Those who could not secure fertile land along the coast, or who had exhausted the lands they held, found the hills farther west a bountiful refuge. Although their hardships were noisy, restless settlers kept coming, and by the 1730s they were pouring into the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Soon the interior was dotted with farms.

Living on the edge of the Indian country, frontier families built cabins, cleared tracts in the wilderness and cultured maize and wheat. The men leather leather made from the skin of deer or sheep, known as buckskin; the women women garments of cloth they spun at home. Their food consist of venison, wild turkey and fish. They had their own amusements – great barbecues, dances, housewarmings for newly married couples, shooting matches and contests for making quilted blankets. Quilts remain an American tradition today.


A significant factor deterring the emergence of a powerful aristocratic or gentry class in the colonies was the fact that anyone in an established colony could choose to find a new home on the frontier. Thus, time after time, dominant tidewater figures were obligated, by the threat of a mass exodus to the frontier, to liberalize political policies, land-grant requirements and religious practices. This movement into the foothills was of tremendous import for the future of America.

Of equal significance for the future were the foundations of American education and culture established during the colonial period. Harvard College was founded in 1636 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Near the end of the century, the College of William and Mary was established in Virginia. A few years later, the Collegiate School of Connecticut, later to become Yale College, was chartered. But even more noteworthy was the growth of a school system maintained by governmental authority. The Puritan emphasis on reading directly from the Scriptures underscored the importance of literacy.

In 1647 the Massachusetts Bay Colony enacted the "ye olde deluder Satan" Act, requiring every town having more than 50 families to establish a grammar school (a Latin school to prepare students for college). Shortly thereafter, all the other New England colonies, except Rhode Island, followed its example.

The first immigrants in New England bought their own little libraries and continued to import books from London. And as early as the 1680s, Boston booksellers were doing a thriving business in works of classical literature, history, politics, philosophy, science, theology and belles-letters. In 1639 the first printing press in the English colonies and the second in North America was installed at Harvard College.

The first school in Pennsylvania was begun in 1683. It taught reading, writing and keeping of accounts. Thereafter, in some fashion, every Quaker community provided for the elementary teaching of its children. More advanced training – in classical languages, history and literature – was offered at the Friends Public School, which still operates in Philadelphia as the William Penn Charter School. The school was free to the poor, but parents who could have been required to pay tuition.

In Philadelphia, numerous private schools with no religious affiliation taught languages, mathematics and natural science; there were also night schools for adults. Women were not entirely overlooked, but their educational opportunities were limited to training in activities that could be conducted in the home. Private teachers taught the daughters of prosperous Philadelphiaians in French, music, dancing, painting, singing, grammar and sometimes even bookkeeping.

In the 18th century, the intellectual and cultural development of Pennsylvania reflected, in large measure, the fictitious personalities of two men: James Logan and Benjamin Franklin. Logan was secretary of the colony, and it was in his fine library that young Franklin found the latest scientific works. In 1745 Logan erected a building for his collection and bequeathed both building and books to the city.

Franklin contributed even more to the intellectual activity of Philadelphia. He formed a debating club that became the embryo of the American Philosophical Society. His endeavors also led to the finding of a public academy that later developed into the University of Pennsylvania. He was a prime mover in the establishment of a subscription library, which he called "the mother of all North American subscription libraries."

In the Southern colonies, wealthy planters and merchants imported private tutors from Ireland or Scotland to teach their children. Others sent their children to school in England. Having these other opportunities, the upper classes in the Tidewater were not interested in supporting public education. In addition, the diffusion of farms and plantations made the formation of community schools difficult. There were a few endowed free schools in Virginia; the Syms School was founded in 1647 and the Eaton School emerged in 1659.

The desire for learning did not stop at the borders of established communities, however. On the frontier, the Scots-Irish, although living in primitive cabins, were firm devotees of scholarship, and they made great efforts to attract learned ministers to their settlements.

Literary production in the colonies was largely bound to New England. Here attention concentrated on religious subjects. Sermons were the most common products of the press. A famous Puritan minister, the Reverend Cotton Mather, wrote some 400 works. His masterpiece, Magnalia Christi Americana, presented the pageant of New England's history. But the most popular single work of the day was the Reverend Michael Wigglesworth's long poem, "The Day of Doom," which described the last sentence in terrifying terms.

In 1704 Cambridge, Massachusetts, launched the colonies' first successful newspaper. By 1745 there were 22 newspapers being published throughout the colonies.

How can you put a limit on learning more? The next section may contain that one little bit of wisdom that changes everything.

In New York, an important step in establishing the principle of freedom of the press took place with the case of Johann Peter Zenger, who New York Weekly Journal begon in 1733, represented the opposition to the government. After two years of publication, the colonial governor could no longer tolerate Zenger's satirical barbs, and had him thrown into prison on a charge of seditious libel. Zenger continued to edit his paper from jail during his nine-month trial, which excited intense interest through the colonies. Andrew Hamilton, the prominent lawyer who defended Zenger, argued that the charges printed by Zenger were true and hence not libelous. The jury returned a verdict of not guilty, and Zenger went free.

The prosperity of the towns, which prompted fears that the devil was luring society into pursuit of worldly gain, produced a religious reaction in the 1730s that came to be known as the Great Awakening. Its inspiration came from two sources: George Whitefield, a Wesleyan revivalist who came from England in 1739, and Jonathan Edwards, who originally served in the Congregational Church in Northampton, Massachusetts.

Whitefield began a religious revival in Philadelphia and then moved on to New England. He entranced audiences of up to 20,000 people at a time with histrionic displays, gestures and emotional oratory. Religious turmoil swept through New England and the middle colonies as ministers left established churches to preach the revival.

Among those influenced by Whitefield was Edwards, and the Great Awakening reached its culmination in 1741 with his sermon "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God." Edwards did not engage in theatrics, but delivered his sermons in a quiet, thoughtful manner. He stressed that the established churches bought to impoverish Christianity of its emotional content. His magnum opus, Of Freedom of Will (1754), attempted to reconcile Calvinism with the Enlightenment.

The Great Awakening brave rise to evangelical denominations and the spirit of revivalism, which continue to play significant roles in American religious and cultural life. It weakened the status of the established clergy and provoked believers to rely on their own conscience. Perhaps most important, it led to the proliferation of sects and denominations, which in turn encouraged general acceptance of the principle of religious tolerance.


In all phases of colonial development, a striking feature was the lack of controlling influence by the English government. All colonies except Georgia emerged as companies of shareholders, or as feudal proprietorships stemming from charters donated by the Crown. The fact that the king had transferred his immediate sovereignty over the New World settlements to stock companies and proprietors did not, of course, mean that the colonists in America were unnecessarily free of outside control. Under the terms of the Virginia Company charter, for example, full governmental authority was vested in the company itself. Neverheless, the crown expected that the company would be resident in England. Inhabitants of Virginia, then, would have no more voice in their government than if the king himself had retained absolute rule.

For their part, the colonies had never thought of themselves as subservient. Rather, they considered themselves chiefly as commonwealths or states, much like England itself, having only a loose association with the authorities in London. In one way or another, exclusive rule from the outside denied away. The colonists – inheritors of the traditions of the Englishman's long struggle for political liberty – incorporated concepts of freedom into Virginia's first charter. It provided that English colonists were to exercise all liberties, franchises and freedoms "as if they had been abiding and born within this our Realm of England." They were, then, to enjoy the benefits of the Magna Carta and the common law. In 1618 the Virginia Company issued instructions to its appointed governor providing that free residents of the plantations should elect representatives to join with the governor and an appointive council in passing ordinances for the welfare of the colony.

These measures proved to be some of the most far-reaching in the entire colonial period. From then on, it was generally accepted that the colonists had a right to participate in their own government. In most instances, the king, in making future grants, provided in the charter that the free men of the colony should have a voice in legislation affecting them. Thus, charters awarded to the Calverts in Maryland, William Penn in Pennsylvania, the proprietors in North and South Carolina and the proprietors in New Jersey specified that legislation should be enacted with "the consent of the freemen."

In New England, for many years, there was even more complete self-government than in the other colonies. Aboard the Mayflower, the Pilgrims adopted an instrument for government called the Mayflower Compact, "to" combine ourselves together into a civil body politic for our better ordering and preservation … and by virtue hereof [to] enact, constitution, and frame such just and equal laws, ordinances, acts, constitutions, and offices … as shall be thought most meet and convenient for the general good of the colony …. "

Although there was no legal basis for the Pilgrims to establish a system of self-government, the action was not contested and under the compact, the Plymouth settlers were able for many years to conduct their own affairs without outside interference.

A similar situation developed in the Massachusetts Bay Company, which had been given the right to govern itself. Thus, full authority rested in the hands of persons residing in the colony. At first, the dozen or so original members of the company who had come to America tried to rule autographically. But the other colonists soon demanded a voice in public affairs and indicated that refusal would lead to a mass migration.

Faced with this threat, the company members yielded, and control of the government passed to elected representatives. Subsequently, other New England colonies – such as Connecticut and Rhode Island – also succeeded in becoming self-governing simply by asserting that they were beyond any governmental authority, and then setting up their own political system modeled after that of the Pilgrims at Plymouth .

In only two cases was the self-government provision omitted. These were New York, which was granted to Charles II's brother, the Duke of York (later to become King James II); and Georgia, which was granted to a group of "trustees." In both instances the provisions for governance were short-lived, for the colonists demanded legislative representation so insistently that the authorities soon yielded.

Usually most colonies became royal colonies, but in the mid-17th century, the English were too distracted by the Civil War (1642-1649) and Oliver Cromwell's Puritan Commonwealth and Protectorate to pursue an effective colonial policy. After the restoration of Charles II and the Stuart dynasty in 1660, England had more opportunity to attend colonial administration. Even then, however, it was inefficient and lacked a cohesive plan, and the colonies were left largely to their own devices.

The remoteness afforded by a vast ocean also made control of the colonies difficult. Added to this was the character of life itself in early America. From countries limited in space and dotted with populated towns, the settlers had come to a land of seemingly unending reach. On such a continent, natural conditions promoted a tough individualism, as people became used to making their own decisions. Government penetrated the back country only slowly, and conditions of anarchy often preceded on the frontier.

Yet, the assumption of self-government in the colonies did not go entirely unchallenged. In the 1670s, the Lords of Trade and Plantations, a royal committee established to enforce the mercantile system on the colonies, moved to annul the Massachusetts Bay charter, because the colony was resisting the government's economic policy. James II in 1685 approved a proposal to create a Dominion of New England and place colonies south through New Jersey under its jurisprudence, thereby tightening the Crown's control over the whole region. A royal governor, Sir Edmund Andros, levied taxes by executive order, implemented a number of other harsh measures and jailed those who resisted.

When news of the Glorious Revolution (1688-1689) that deposited James II reached Boston, the population rebelled and imprisoned Andros. Under a new charter, Massachusetts and Plymouth were united for the first time in 1691 as the royal colony of Massachusetts Bay. The other colonies that had come under the Dominion of New England were quickly refurbished their previous governments.

The Glorious Revolution had other positive effects on the colonies. The Bill of Rights and Toleration Act of 1689 affirmed Freedom of worship for Christians and enforced limits on the Crown. Equally important, John Locke's Second Treatise on Government (1690) set forth a theory of government based not on divine right but on contract, and contended that the people, endowed with natural rights of life, liberty and property, had the right to rebel when governments violated these natural rights.

Colonial politics in the early 18th century resembled English politics in the 17th. The Glorious Revolution affirmed the supremacy of Parliament, but colonial rulers advised to exercise powers in the colonies that the king had lost in England. The colonial assemblies, aware of events in England, attempted to assert their "rights" and "liberties." By the early 18th century, the colonial legislatures held two significant powers similar to those held by the English Parliament: the right to vote on taxes and expenses, and the right to initiate legislation rather than merely act on proposals of the governor.

The legislatures used these rights to check the power of royal rulers and to pass other measures to expand their power and influence. The recurring clashes between governor and assembly worked incrementally to awaken the colonists to the divergence between American and English interests. In many cases, the royal authorities did not understand the importance of what the colonial assemblies were doing and simply neglected them. However, these acts established precedents and principles and eventually became part of the "constitution" of the colonies.

In this way, the colonial legislatures established the right of self-government. In time, the center of colonial administration shifted from London to the provincial capitals.


France and Britain engaged in a succession of wars in Europe and the Caribbean at several intervals in the 18th century. Although Britain secured certain advantages from them – primarily in the sugar-rich islands of the Caribbean – the struggles were generally indecisive, and France remained in a powerful position in North America at the beginning of the Seven Years War in 1754.

By that time France had established a strong relationship with a number of Indian tribes in Canada and along the Great Lakes, taken possession of the Mississippi River and, by establishing a line of forts and trading posts, marked out a great crescent-shaped empire stretching from Quebec to New Orleans. Thus, the British were confined to the narrow belt east of the Appalachian Mountains. The French revolutioned not only the British Empire but the American colonists themselves, for in holding the Mississippi Valley, France could limit their westward expansion.

An armed clash took place in 1754 at Fort Duquesne, the site where Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is now located, between a band of French regulars and Virginia militiamen under the command of 22-year-old George Washington, a Virginia planter and surveyor.

In London, the Board of Trade attempted to deal with the conflict by calling a meeting of representatives from New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland and the New England colonies. From June 19 to July 10, the Albany Congress, as it came to be known, met with the Iroquois at Albany, New York, in order to improve relations with them and secure their loyalty to the British.

The delegates also declared a union of the American colonies "absolutely necessary for their preservation," and adopted the Albany Plan of Union. Drafted by Benjamin Franklin, the plan provided that a president appointed by the king act with a grand council of delegates chosen by the assemblies, with each colony to be represented in proportion to its financial contributions to the general treasury. This organ would have charge of defense, Indian relations, and trade and settlement of the west, as well as having the power to levy taxes. But none of the colonies accepted Franklin's plan, for none wished to surrender either the power of taxation or control over the development of the western lands to a central authority.

England's superior strategic position and her competent leadership extremely satisfied victory in the Seven Years' War, only a modest proportion of which was cooked in the Western Hemisphere.

In the Peace of Paris, signed in 1763, France relinquished all of Canada, the Great Lakes and the upper Mississippi Valley to the British. The dream of a French empire in North America was over. Having triumphed over France, Britain was now composed to face a problem that it had hitherto neglected – the governance of its empire. It was essential that London organize its now vast possessions to facilitate defense, reconcile the divergent interests of different areas and peoples, and distribute more even the cost of imperial administration.

In North America alone, British territories had more than doubled. To the narrow strip along the Atlantic coast had been added the vast expanse of Canada and the territory between the Mississippi River and the Allegheny Mountains, an empire in itself. A population that had been predominately Protestant and English now included French-speaking Catholics from Quebec, and large numbers of partially Christianized Indians. Defense and administration of the new territories, as well as of the old, would require huge sums of money and increased personnel. The old colonial system was obviously inadequate to these tasks.


In 1692 a group of adolescent girls in Salem Village, Massachusetts, became subject to strange fits after hearing tales told by a West Indian slave. When they were questioned, they accused several women of being witches who were tormenting them. The townspeople were appalled but not surprised: belief in witchcraft was widespread throughout 17th-century America and Europe.

What happened next – despite an isolated event in American history – provides a vivid window into the social and psychological world of Puritan New England. Town officials convened a court to hear the charges of witchcraft, and swiftly convicted and executed a tavernkeeper, Bridget Bishop. Within a month, five other women had been kissed and hung.

Neverheless, the hysteria great, in large measure because the court permitted witnesses to testify that they had seen the accused as spirits or in visions. By its very nature, such "spectral evidence" was especially dangerous, because it could be either verified nor subject to objective examination. By the fall of 1692, more than 20 victims, including several men, had been executed, and more than 100 others were in jail – including them some of the town's most prominent citizens. But now the hysteria threatened to spread beyond Salem, and ministers through the colony called for an end to the trials. The governor of the colony agreed and dismissed the court. Those still in jail were later acquitted or given reprieves.

The Salem witch trials have long fascinated Americans. On a psychological level, most historians agree that Salem Village in 1692 was designated by a kind of public hysteria, fueled by a genuine belief in the existence of witchcraft. They point out that, while some of the girls may have been acting, many responsible adults became cooked up in the frenzy as well.

But even more revealing is a closer analysis of the identities of the accused and the accusers. Salem Village, like much of colonial New England at that time, was undergoing an economic and political transition from a large agrarian, Puritan-dominated community to a more commercial, secular society. Many of the accusers were representatives of a traditional way of life tied to farming and the church, whereas a number of the accused witches were members of the rising commercial class of small shopkeepers and tradesmen. Salem's obscure struggle for social and political power between older traditional groups and a newer commercial class was one repeated in communities through American history. But it took a bizarre and deadly detour when its citizens were swept up by the conviction that the devil was loose in their homes.

The Salem witch trials also serve as a dramatic parable of the deadly consequences of making sensational, but false, charges. Indeed, a frequent term in political debate for making false accusations against a large number of people is "witch hunt."

It never hurts to be well-informed with the latest on The Colonial Period. Compare what you've learned here to future articles so that you can stay alert to changes in the area of ​​The Colonial Period.

Source by Floyd Dorrance

Provider Overview – MassMutual Annuities

MassMutual was originally established in 1851 by George W. Rice. Rice was an insurance agent for a Connecticut life insurance company wanting to open a similar business in Massachusetts. He started the Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company which became a true mutual company – a company owned by its policyholders – soon after it was started.

Today, the company is based in Springfield, Massachusetts and Enfield, Connecticut and has grown from a personal insurer to an international financial services firm. It has approximately thirteen million clients worldwide and over $ 500 billion in assets under its management. In addition to its operations in the United States, MassMutual has affiliates in Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan, China, Macao, Argentina, Chile, Bermuda, and Luxembourg. The total number of offices for the company numbers over 1200, and the firm's full marketing name is MassMutual Financial Group.

MassMutual is still run for the benefit of its members and policyholders. They provide life insurance, disability income insurance, long term care insurance, retirement / 401 (k) plan services, mutual funds, money management, and trust services in addition to annuities to their clients.

Although disputes are not guaranteed, MassMutory is proud of its financial strength and has paid dividends to policyholders every year since the 1860s. The company is also known for its charitable giving in the areas where they are based. They often donate to programs which benefit education, arts, culture, or economic development in the local community.

In terms of annuities, MassMutual offers five different products – two deferred variable annuities, one deferred fixed annuity, and one immediate annuity. The individual products are as follows:

Deferred Variable Annuities:

o MassMutual Transitions Select
o MassMutual Evolution

Deferred Fixed Annuities:

o MassMutual Odyssey and Odyssey Plus

Immediate Fixed Annuities:

o MassMutual RetireEase

Some of MassMutual's annuity policies can be initiated with death and living benefits. The death benefit option means that a beneficiary will receive all of the money in the account or a guaranteed minimum amount upon the annuitant's death. Enhanced death benefits are also available which may allow for a higher payment to the beneficiary. The living benefits include guaranteed minimum accumulation benefits, income benefits, and withdrawal benefits.

As with most insurers, MassMutual attachs additional fees associated with its annuity products. These include administration and management fees.There may also be a mortality risk charge and an expense risk charge, often known as an "M & E" charge. In addition, surrender charges may apply if the annuity is terminated early or a portion of the annuity is withdrawn.

When considering an annuity company, it is important to understand the financial strength of the organization. One of the best ways a doing this is by reviewing the company's financial ratios. Independent rating companies have given MassMutual some of the highest ratings in the industry. Below are the current ratings (as of July 2009) for MassMutual.

AM Best Company: (Superior, 1st of 15 categories)
Fitch Ratings: (Exceptionally Strong, 1st of 21 categories)
Moody's: (Excellent, 2nd of 21 categories)
Standard & Poors: (Extremely Strong, 1st of 21 categories)

Source by Steven Hart

New Blood Test for Cancer to Be Studied by Johnson and Johnson

A new test capable of detecting a single cancer cell among a billion healthy cells in a small sample of blood is under development. Veridex, a Johnson and Johnson company, and Ortho Biotech Oncology Research & Development (ORD), a unit of Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical R & D have partnered with researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH, Boston, MA) to work on bringing the test to the market.

The initial prototype was developed by a team of doctors, engineers, and biologists led by Dr. Daniel Haber and Memhet Toner at Massachusetts General Hospital was first reported in 2007. The test detects circulating tumor cells (CTCs), cancer cells that break off from the tumor and get carried away in the blood stream. These CTCs are extremely rare, one may be detected for every billion normal healthy blood cells screened.

Haber and Toner have designed a CTC-chip that contains thousands of miniature pillars coated with antibodies that bind to CTCs. When a sample of blood is passed over the chip, the normal cells go through, but the CTCs stick. Specials stains then allow investigators to count the number of CTCs in a patient’s blood sample.

This test may be used to help doctors quickly make decisions about how to proceed when treating a patient’s cancer. If a doctor gives a particular drug and the number of cancer cells in the patient’s blood drops, then the doctor will stick with this treatment. If the number of cancer cells circulating in the blood increase or remain the same, the doctor can switch to another drug and which might work better at killing the cancer.

For example, doctors can give a drug or radiation treatment and then do a CT scan months later to see if the patient’s tumor has decreased in size. A patient may not live through more than a few rounds of treatment adjustment if they must wait to see if a change in tumor size can be detected. While the CT scan is a full body X-ray, the CTC-chip is simpler and only requires a few teaspoons of blood and can gauge whether the treatment was successful sooner.

The CTC-chip has been tested experimentally in approximately 200 cancer patients. A $15 million grant provided by the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Stand Up to Cancer telethon will enable investigators at four major research institutions to study the test in more cancer patients. These institutes include: Massachusetts General Hospital (Boston, MA), University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center (Houston, TX), Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (Boston, MA), and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (New York, NY).

Right now the chip is expensive (approximately $500) and requires expertise to use. The collaboration with Johnson and Johnson will help MGH investigators find ways to make the chip faster, cheaper, more sensitive, and easier to use by physicians. Hopes are high. This chip may change the way cancer is diagnosed and treated in the near future.

Source by Aubrey Clark

Emission Inspection Stickers – Do I REALLY Need an Inspection to Get One?

Question: Can I get an inspection sticker for my car without going through an inspection?

Answer: Well, off the cuff, I'd say "No way José!" However, I thought that might be a poorly thought out response, so I thought I'd go to some US State websites and see what they had to say. I reviewed 10 states in various parts of the country, and here's the surprising results of what I found …

New York – "All vehicles registered in New York State must obtain a safety inspection and an emissions inspection every 12 months. Both inspections are also required when the ownership of a vehicle is transferred. (Both vehicles are exempt from emissions inspections.) Both inspections are done at the same time by a DMV-certified inspector at privately-owned inspection stations licensed by DMV. " So, "NO" in NY.

New Jersey – "You can make an appointment online for State inspection facilities in Salem, Cape May or Washington (Warren county)." So, "NO" in NJ.

Massachusetts – Massachusetts introduced its "next generation" vehicle emissions testing and safety inspection program on, October 1, 2008. Vehicles 1996 and newer will be tested for emissions (On Board Diagnostic test) every year along with the annual safety inspection. Motorists will be able to choose which inspection station they use as long as the station is licensed. The cost of the test is among the lowest in the nation for this type of program. The Mass Vehicle Check will continue to cost $ 29 annually. So, "NO" in MA also.

Let's move south a bit to Virginia – "Generally, all new car dealerships perform inspections. inspection services in your local phone directory. " So, "NO" in VA.

Going west to the great (big) state of Texas – "If your vehicle is not registered in one of the emissions counties, then you will have to get the vehicle re-inspected at one of the local inspection stations in your area Currently, there are no replacement procedures for non-emissions county motorists. Hmmmm … looks like a big "NO" in TX also!

Maybe things are looser in the Pacific Northwest. Washington State's regs read "If you live in the following counties, your vehicle may need to get an emissions test every 2 years:

  • Clark County
  • King County
  • Pierce County
  • Snohomish County
  • Spokane County "

So it looks like a good chance that if you live out of the 5 most populated areas in WA (unbelievably as 90% of the population lives in these 5 counties), you can get by without an inspection. I also know that the State of Washington does not use stickers for the inspection, but they do keep track via the central computers in the state capital and they will come and get you. This is the state of my residence, so I know this to be the case.

What about the laid back Midwest. I decided to check Kansas, and a ray of hope if you can stand living among the corn stalks! "Kansas does not have emissions enforcement for motor vehicles. You are not required to have your vehicle tested, and, inevitably, no related paperwork is required in order to register your vehicle." So, a big "YES" for KS !.

Many moons ago, I lived in Mississippi. The folks down there seem pretty laid back, so I thought I'd see what I could find there. Good news! At least for the time being as you'll see by the word here. "Mississippi meets all federal guidelines for air quality, so it has not yet made smog and emission checks mandatory for the vehicles of its residents. So, for the time being," YES "if you want to live in the alligator swamps! Well, at least in the south of the state.

Let's catch one more more state … that'll give us a smorgasbord from around the country. How about Minnesota? When I checked in to Minnesota , I had a pleasant surprise! "Minnesota's vehicle emissions testing ended in 1999, when the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency requested reclassification of the area's air quality status from the federal government and got it." I did not even know you could reverse something like this. Usually, once a bureaucracy is in place, they're kind of like a cancer – very hard to remove. Kudos to Minnesota for a big fat "YES!"

So, as usual, the heavy regulatory states tend to be the most highly populated states in the Northeastern United States, and the socialistic leaning Western states, OR, WA, and of course, CA. But the good news is that the Midwest and the West (except the staged triage) have clean air and no testing is required, at least of the three we reviewed.

So, if you live in those states, yeah, you better get those stickers. But if not, then you're in luck. But I'm guessing by the way you framed your question, you're going to have to move to the Midwest or the South or Alaska to avoid those stickers.

Here's all the states in alphabetical order –

Alabama – Alabama does not require emissions testing of vehicles, although by state law any city can pass laws to begin testing. Currently none have done so.

Alaska – As of March 1, 2012 emission inspections are no longer required in Alaska. Another reversal. This may also speak to the fact that the US has so many emissions controls on vehicles.

Arizona – The Vehicle Emissions Inspection Program (VEIP) applies to vehicles in the metro Phoenix and Tucson areas which model year falls after 1967, mandating that the cars' emissions levels being inspected 90 days before their registration renewal date.

Arkansas – Arkansas does not require annual vehicle inspections. However, the state still expects you to pay careful attention to your vehicle emissions. Yeah, I'll bet every redneck in Arkansas is getting 'that emission checked out annually (smirk).

California – Whether you need it or not, the California DMV will mail you a registration renewal notice telling you whether you are required to get your vehicle smogged; it will also tell you if your vehicle requires a smog check at a test-only station. However, if your vehicle is six or less model years old, you are not required to obtain smog certification as long as you pay the annual $ 20 smog abatement fee. California will get you coming or going!

Colorado – An "enhanced test" is required in Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas, and Jefferson as well as parts of Adams and Arapahoe counties. Even if you happen to live in a county that does not test, or only has the basic test (see below), yet you commute into these areas, then you also need to pass the enhanced test. A basic test is required in parts of Larimer, Weld, and El Paso counties. The area boundaries can get confusing, so if you are unclear as to your county's requirements just give the local title and registration office a call. Or just scream.

Connecticut – If you have a vehicle registered in Connecticut that is more than four or less than 25 years old, you are required to submit it for a state emissions inspection every other year.

Delaware – You must pass the emission test to register or renew registration on your vehicle. The test you are given depends on the age of your car.

Florida – On July 1, 2000, the State of Florida abolished the auto emissions test requirement for all vehicles through the state after 9 years of testing.

Georgia – All gas-powered passenger cars and light trucks between 3 and 25 years old in 13 Georgia counties must pass an emission inspection before being issued license plates.

Hawaii – At this time there are no set emissions standards for vehicles in Hawaii. The state is on the frontlines of the electric vehicle movement and has many hybrids on the streets.

Idaho – Northern Ada County (home of Boise, the largest city in Idaho) is the only county in Idaho that requires the vehicles of its residents to go through an annual emissions test.

Illinois – Many vehicles registered in Illinois are required by the state to have their emissions checked every two years. A notice is sent to car owners when it is time to be checked.

Indiana – If you're a resident of Clark, Floyd, Lake, or Porter counties, and your passenger vehicle is at least four years old, you will need to complete an emissions inspection every two years. If your vehicle was made before 1976, it does not need tested.

Iowa – Iowa lacks the heavy population that creates smog problems, so there are no guidelines in place for vehicle emission checks.

Kansas – Kansas does not have emissions enforcement for motor vehicles.

Kentucky – While Kentucky did adopt a vehicle emissions testing program for three northern counties in 1999, the requirement ended in late 2005.

Louisiana – Louisiana vehicle inspections focus more on the mechanical parts of your vehicle; however, certain vehicle emission parts will be checked, too. The exception is for cars that are registered in Baton Rouge. These are required to be given On-Board Diagnostics as well.

Maine – If you drive a car / truck in Maine, your vehicle needs to pass a safety inspection annually. Vehicles registered in Cumberland County also need to pass an emissions inspection.

Maryland – The year of your vehicle determines what sort of testing it will undergo. Vehicles from the current two model years are exempt from the first round of testing.

Massachusetts – In Massachusetts, you have to get your vehicle vehicle inspected every year. And since 1999, Massachusetts vehicle owners have also been required to submit their vehicles to an enhanced emissions check.

Michigan – Michigan currently does not require auto or truck emissions testing.

Minnesota – Minnesota's vehicle emissions testing ended in 1999.

Mississippi – Mississippi does not require smog or emission checks on any vehicle registered within the state.

Missouri – According to Missouri law, emissions inspections are required for drivers who live in St. Louis. Louis City or one of the following counties: Jefferson, Franklin, St. Louis Charles, and St. Louis.

Montana – Montana does not require smog or emission checks on any vehicle.

Nebraska – Nebraska does not have any official policy for vehicle testing.

Nevada – The urban areas located in Clark and Washoe counties are subject to strict emission testing requirements for most vehicles.

New Hampshire – To control emissions, the official licensed inspection stations are responsible for evaluating your vehicle's engine emissions in accordance with your vehicle registration.

New Jersey – Motorists in New Jersey are required by the Motor Vehicle Commission to take their vehicles for an emissions inspection every two years.

New Mexico – Anyone who lives in the greater Albuquerque metropolitan area will have their vehicle checked – or get an exemption – before registering it.

New York – New York requires all registered vehicles to have two kinds of inspections each year: a safety inspection and an emissions inspection. These are performed simultaneously at privately owned inspection stations licensed by the Department of Motor Vehicles.

North Carolina – When you register your new gasoline-powered vehicles in an emissions county, your vehicle will have to pass an On Board Diagnostics emissions test. This is in addition to the safety inspection that your vehicle must also pass.

North Dakota – North Dakota does not require emission checks.

Ohio – Currently, E-Check only affects residents of seven of the state's 88 counties: Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain, Medina, Portage, or Summit countiesâï½ïï½andand if you own a vehicleâï½ïï½yyou will need to have its emission system checked before you renew your registration.

Oklahoma – Oklahoma is one of the few remaining states that does not require emissions checks for any motor vehicles.

Oregon – The Dept. of Environmental Quality operates seven clean Air Stations in the Portland and Medford, or Rogue Valley areas. These areas are only subject to emissions testing.

Pennsylvania – This state requires a vehicle emission test once a year. So as to alert you when it's your turn, the state will stamp on your vehicle's renewal notice the words "Emissions Inspection Required / Diesel Vehicles Exempt."

Rhode Island – Emission checks must do every two years at any state-certified inspection station. Emission tests are done jointly with the annual safety inspection.

South Carolina – South Carolina does not require any smog or emission inspections on vehicles. The state meets all federal clean air standards.

South Dakota – South Dakota is one of the few states that do not require vehicle emissions testing of any kind.

Tennessee – Only gas or diesel-fueled vehicles weighing up to 10,500 pounds, registered in Davidson, Hamilton, Rutherford, Sumner, Williamson, and Wilson counties, as well as those registered in Memphis, will be required to submit to emissions testing before they can be registered or have their registrations renewed.

Texas – All cars in Texas undergo an annual safety inspection. Where mandated, an emissions inspection is added to this process (major urban centers like Dallas and Houston).

Utah – Utahans in the densely populated Salt Lake, Davis, Utah, and Weber counties are required to take their cars in for mandatory emissions testing every two years.

Vermont – Vermont does not require drivers to submit to annual or semiannual emission tests.

Virginia – As with many states, Virginia requires most vehicles to be up-to-date on two separate types of tests: one for safety, and one for emissions.

Washington – Emissions testing is required for all other gasoline and diesel vehicles between five and 25 years old that are registered in the five most populated Washington counties.

Washington DC – In the District of Columbia, motorists are required to have their vehicles inspected before registration, and the inspection must be renewed every two years.

West Virginia – West Virginia does not currently require emission checks as a requirement for vehicle registration.

Wisconsin – Vehicles newer than 1968 registered in the most populated Southern Wisconsin counties must undergo emissions testing when it's time for registration renewal.

Wyoming – Wyoming does not require smog or emission checks for any vehicles registered and titled in the state.

Source by Barry K. Brown

Do you know the Origin of Basketball?

Do you know the origin of basketball?
The origins of the game of basketball can be traced back to a gentleman by the name of Dr. James Naismith. In 1861, Naismith was born in Almonte, Ontario, Canada. During his early school days, Naismith would play a game called duck on a rock whereby the child would endeavor to knock the duck off the top of the rock with a toss of another rock.
Later on, Naismith would go on to McGill University in Montreal and would later become McGill University's Athletic Director. He would remarkably move on to YMCA Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts and in 1891, the game of basketball began.
Given the cold Massachusetts winters, Naismith needed to find a recreational activity that could have played indoors and he preferred a sport that would develop skill and one that was not exclusively relying on strength. The first game was played with two peach baskets for goals and a soccer ball.
Further to his credit, Naismith became a medical doctor specializing in sports physiology and a Presbyterian minister. Naismith was able to see his beloved sport of basketball, gain acceptance in numerous countries through the YMCA since 1893. As well, the sport of basketball was brought forth at the Berlin Olympics in 1936. As we speak, the game of basketball has become a very popular professional sport.

Source by Catherine Kenyeres

Chucking Wood

Woodchucks belong to the marmot (large ground squirrel) family and goes by a variety of names- groundhog, thickwood badger, monax, wood-shock, whistler, whistlepig (due to a warning sound made through their big front teeth), moonack, weenusk , red monk and in our family – PEST! Found through North America, woodchucks are primarily in the eastern United States and much of southern Canada. This morning it was spotted in south central Massachusetts, in our lakeside gardens. In New England, they inhabit both urban and suburban yards, fields, meadows, woodland clearings and are often found along grassy edged highways.

How do you identify a woodchuck? Look for a brown, thickly covered critter with small ears and beady little brown eyes, about 16 – 20 inches in length with a six-inch tail, weighing anywhere between six and 12 pounds. They have short, strong legs designed for digging and large front incisors. Despite their stocky appearance, woodchucks are accomplished swimmers and sometimes climbs trees to survey their surroundings or escape when being chased. Luckily for them, they do not have many predators to worry about because of their size, despite foxes, hawks, raccoons, coyotes, and dogs will go after their young.

Normally you will not find a woodchuck active during the day, as they are diurnal. They live in intensive burrows two-to six-feet deep and up to 40 feet long. Burrows contain many chambers for various functions, such as love nest, sleeping, nursery, bad weather hideout or waste. There can be as many as five openings in the den for the woodchuck to come and go. The main entrance will usually have a big dirt mound to the side for the woodchuck to observe or rest.

In summary, you will spot a woodchuck feeding in early morning and late afternoon, spending the reminder of the day snoozing or sun bathing. Such a life! In late summer, they begin to bulk up with weight in preparation for moving to their winter dens – one of the true hibernators found in Massachusetts. Interestingly while hibernating from October to April, their body temperature drops from 99 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit, while the heartbeat slows from 100 to four beats per minute!

Mating does not occur until the spring of their second year. In the wild their average lifespan is between five to six years. Females raise their young on their own after a 32-day gestation period. One litter will contain four to six kits or chuckling. After weaving around six weeks old, they are ready to leave the burrow with their mother. Once late summer arrives the kits venture off to discover the world on their own.

The diet of a woodchuck is primarily vegetarian (herbivorous) and this is where our garden begin begins. They feed on a variety of grasses, clover, alfalfa, dandelion, and many varieties of wild and cultivated flowers. They also enjoy blackberries, cherries, raspberries, and other fruits (our blueberries), along with hickory and maple tree bark. It is understood, a fresh vegetable garden is a favorite feeding table for the seemingly always hungry woodchuck. Common veggies preferences include broccoli, peas, beans, carrot tops, lettuce, and squash. Basically, everything we planed this spring! On the flower side, they target asters, daisies, lilies, marigolds, pansies, phlox, snapdragons, and sunflowers. I would add lupines to the list, as we saw our annoying woodchuck strip young lupine stalks like he was eating corn on the cob! It should be noted that they will also munch on grasshoppers, June bugs, grubs, snails, and other large insects when the green leafy delicacies become sparse.

Woodchucks are notorious for being a serious nuisance around farms and gardens. Fencing is the only viable humane solution to protect vegetation from these hungry rodents. Chicken wire wings that not only go up with a bend outwards at the top, but are buried down at least a foot underground can often work as a deterrent. Another method is to lay the chicken wire around the garden perimeter and secure a four to six-foot-tall fence. These critters climb and dig, so you must build up, down and around if possible. Other options include repellents – planting gopher plant or crown imperial fritillary around the garden or sprinkling the areas with fox or coyote urine, diluted Tabasco sauce, red pepper flakes, or human hair. If you have a dog, allow your pet to periodically visit the garden area to "mark" his or her territory.

Finally, woodchucks like all mammals, carry rabbies and are known to be aggressive. Avoid close contact. Do not even consider relocating a woodchuck in Massachusetts, as it is illegal. Darn. What's a gardener to do? Ever see the movie Caddy Shack with Bill Murray?

Source by Gregory James

A Look at Medigap Insurance

Medigap Insurance

Medicare health policies cover a wide range of medical condition, but unfortunately not all of them. Thus, Medicare will not pay the full cost of the medical services. In other words there are gaps in Medicare coverage. This is where Medigap insurance comes in; it is a health policy that covers the gaps in the original Medicare program.

Medigap insurance policies are all set by the government and are there before standardized, regardless of the state you live in. The only exceptions are those of Massachusetts, Minnesota and Wisconsin which are standardized in a slightly different way. There are 10 types of plans available, named from A to J. Plan A is the most basic and with each additional plan there are extra coverage options. You therefore select the plan that best fits your situation and budget. As of June 1st, 2010, plans E, H, I and J are no longer available, and two new plans, M and N, have been added. Furthermore, the benefits in plans A – G have undergone some changes.

The various Medigap insurance plans have the same benefits regardless of which provider sold it to you or in which state (with the exception of Massachusetts, Minnesota and Wisconsin). The only difference is the cost. Each insurance company decides how to price its promotions. The company usually uses medical underwriting (health status information that determines your suitability for health coverage) to decide if they'll accept your application and at what price.

Although the policies are set by the state, this is not a government funded program. Consumer associations and private insurance companies can be licensed to sell this insurance. You can obtain a list of the licensed providers by contacting your state insurance office. As soon as you are enrolled, you will pay for both this policy and Medicare premiums each month.

Once enrolled, your policy is automatically renewed and the provider can not cancel it even if there are health problems. An additional benefit is that as long as you're reasonably healthy, you can change plans according to your situation and preferred benefits. However a provider can not sell you more than one policy at a time.

There are some key elements to Medigap insurance that you must be aware of, one of which is the enrollment period. There is typically a 6 month open enrollment period that begins the day you turn 65 years or older. It is advisable that you enroll during the open enrollment period because the provider is obliged to sell you any policy even if you have health problems, and at the same cost as that of a healthy person. If you enroll after the 6 month open enrollment, the provider may not sell you a policy even if you're eligible as per to the medical underwriting – unless you are qualified according to certain limited situations.

Another important point to understand is that the policy does not allow spouses to apply jointly. Each person must apply individually.

You may also want take note that certain coverage is not included in Medigap insurance. These include: Medicare Advantage Plans; long-term care insurance policies; Veterans' benefits; TRICARE; Medicaid; Employer or union plans, including Federal Employees Health Benefits Program (FEHBP); Indian Health Service, Tribal, and Urban Indian Health plans; and Medicare Prescription Drug Plans.


Source by Robert N. Perry