Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Signatures of Great Men and Women



Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid (People's School-on-Air) with Ms Melly C Tenorio 
738 DZRB AM Band, 8 to 9 evening class Monday to Friday

1. Alexander the Great - The Gordian Knot.
A very complicated knot attached to a wagon with the yoke was presented to the great warrior. It was made years ago by a certain Gordius to whose name the town was named Gordium. The challenge was whosoever could untie the knot would reign over all Asia. Drawing his sword, Alexander cut through the knot with a single stroke.  That is why, when anyone solves a difficult problem, we say he had cut the Gordian knot.   
2. Horatius Nelson, British naval hero - Telescope on the Blind Eye

In the midst of heavy fighting at sea between the British and the Danes, Admiral Parker, thinking the British would be beaten, gave the signal to Admiral Nelson to withdraw the ships. Nelson however was determined to fight on and when the message was brought to him, he put the telescope to his blind eye and exclaimed, "I really do not see the signal." The battle continued until the Danes sent a flag of truce.



3. Florence Nightingale, founder of the nursing profession  - The Lady of the Lamp
Deep into the night this great English lady visited the wounded soldiers in a hospital during the Crimean War where she volunteered to serve as a nurse.
Florence used to walk, through the quiet wards to see that all was well, carrying a little lamp to light her way. The soldiers had no words strong enough to express their devotion, even the rough ones used to kiss her shadow as she passed.  When she returned to England after the end of the Crimean war she was received by Queen Victoria.  She was called the Angel of the Crimea, The lady of the lamp.  Florence died at the age of 90. The efficient hospitals and devoted nurses of today owe an immortal debt to her, and through them we have all been affected by the work of this great and gracious lady.  


4. George Frederick Handel, composer of the famous oratorio Messiah - "He saw all Heaven and God Himself while composing the Hallelujah Chorus"
Ruined in health and fortune, and terribly discouraged, Handel decided to abandon opera and instead turned to religious music. He hardly stirred in his room for twenty-three days. His servant would bring a meal, only to find the previous one untouched. When he completed the second part containing the Hallelujah chorus the servant found him with tears in his eyes.  The composer said, "I did think that I saw all Heaven before me, and the great God Himself." When the king heard his majestic work, he was so moved that he stood up out of respect, a tradition which audiences honor to this day. 

5. Simon Peter or St Peter, the  apostle - "Quo vadis?" (Where are you going?) 
Having denied Christ three times in order to save his own life, and fearing apparent death if found to be among Christ's apostles, Peter slipped through the gate of Rome in an attempt to escape.  It was the hour before dawn when he met someone outside the walls of the great city who asked him, "Quo vadis?" To which he found no ready answer, and when he looked back, the person had completely disappeared. Then he remembered Christ who had just been crucified. Peter exclaimed, "My Lord!" He went back to the city to carry on his Master's teachings where he died as a martyr.    

6. Joseph, the Dreamer interpreted The Pharaoh's Dream  

Joseph was called from his prison cell to interpret the Pharaoh's dream. The Pharaoh saw seven fat cows grazing by the river Nile, then came seven miserable thin cows and ate up the seven fat cows. The Pharaoh went back to sleep and dreamt again.  This time, he saw seven ears of corn spring up from one stalk, all good and full.  After them came seven thin ears, dried and scorched by the wind - and the thin ears swallowed up the seven full ears. Joseph said,"The seven fat cows and the seven good ears of corn are seven years.  The sevn lean cows and seven poor ears are seven years.  There will be seven years of plenty in Egypt, then will come seven years of famine.  Such a grievous famine that the years of plenty will be forgotten." The Pharaoh did not only believe Joseph; he made him governor of Egypt to administer the first known food security system - the building of a granary enough to supply the needed food during the seven years of poor harvest. Today countries all over the world adopt a buffer stock system, and in fact regional cooperation such as the EU and ASEAN, has as a priority agenda the assurance of food among the member nations. 

7. Archimedes of Syracuse, Greek scientist - Eureka! Eureka!  

Archimedes was presented a crown for King Hiero II, and was asked if the crown was really made of pure gold and not substituted with some silver by an alleged dishonest goldsmith. Archimedes had to solve the problem by not damaging the crown. While he was taking a bath he noticed that the level of the water in the tub rose as he got in.  Then he realized that this effect could be used to determine the volume of the crown. By dividing the mass of the crown by the volume of water displaced, the density of the crown could be obtained. The density would be lower if the gold crown had cheaper and less dense metals added. To his excitement for his discovery Archimedes forgot to dress up and took to the street shouting, Eureka! Eureka! (I found it! I found.     
The test was conducted successfully, proving that silver had indeed been mixed in
The exclamation of Eureka! attributed to Archimedes is the state motto of California. The word refers to the discovery of gold that sparked the Gold Rush during the days of the pioneers.  

8. Christopher Columbus, discoverer of the New World - The Erratic Compass
Many days had passed and Columbus and his men had been on sea without
any sighting of land.  His crew had been restless and afraid, and a mutiny was brewing. The helmsman saw the needle of the compass had moved so far from its normal position. The sailors gathered around the compass and they were "terrified and dismayed" in the words of Columbus himself. He told them that the fault was not in the compass but the North Star which moved from time to time.  The men believed him but both time and patience were running out. They wanted to throw Columbus overboard and sail back to Spain. Columbus tried to buoy their spirits as they continued on to search for the legendary mass of land in the West. Then one of the sailors called out excitedly, "Land!" Columbus fell on his knees and returned thanks to God, and all on board the three ships sang a hymn of praise. We know today that the magnetic north to which a compass points is not the true north, and its direction varies from different places on the earth's surface. Columbus did not know this. (Christopher Columbus, Ladybird Book)

9. Napoleon Bonaparte - Vive l'Empereur! 

The former emperor of France - and all of Europe for that matter, at the height of his power - escaped from exile on the Island of Elba and returned to France.  On hearing this, Louis XVIII who had just been restored to the throne, sent an army to capture him. As it approached, Napoleon walked forward alone to meet it.  Suddenly at the sight of their hero of a hundred battles, the soldiers were all shouting, Vive 'lEmpereur!  He marched into Paris at the head of the troops sent to arrest him.  Louis XVIII ran for his life. Napoleon quickly raised an army of veterans and fought two armies - the Prussians and English.  Had he been in good health and his generals not blundered, he could have won his last battle at Waterloo. He was captured and exiled on the island of St Helena where he spent the rest of his life. 

10. Diogenes, Greek philosopher - "I am look for an honest man."
Diogenes used to stroll about in full daylight with a lamp. When asked what he was doing, he would answer, "I am just looking for an honest man."  Diogenes looked for a human being but reputedly found nothing but rascals and scoundrels.  


It was in Corinth that a meeting between Alexander the Great and Diogenes is supposed to have taken place. While Diogenes was relaxing in the sunlight in the morning, Alexander, thrilled to meet the famous philosopher, asked if there was any favor he might do for him. Diogenes replied, "Yes, stand out of my sunlight". Alexander then declared, "If I were not Alexander, then I should wish to be Diogenes.", to which Diogenes replied "If I were not Diogenes, I should also wish to be Diogenes." In another account of the conversation, Alexander found the philosopher looking attentively at a pile of human bones. Diogenes explained, "I am searching for the bones of your father but cannot distinguish them from those of a slave. ~


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