In 1794 Eli Whitney was given a patent for the cotton gin. We in the present look back at that as a technological advancement. However, it had an unfortunate side effect, which was to make the cotton trade much more profitable and prolonged the use of slaves because the invention did not harvest the cotton it only processed it.

In 1903 Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge, the first national wildlife refuge in the US was established by Pres Teddy Roosevelt, who was known for his conservationist efforts. In 1942 Anne Miller became the first American patient to be treated with penicillin, which had been discovered in 1928 in Scotland.

There were a couple of bombs that made the news on this date. In 1961 a USAF B-52 carrying two nuclear warheads crashed near Yuba City, California after running out of fuel and the crew baling out. Fortunately, the warheads did not detonate -the safety switches worked. However, in 1982 agents of the South African government bombed the headquarters of the African National Congress in London in an apparent protest of British support for anti-apartheid efforts. Luckily the building was empty.

There were two astronauts born on this date – Frank Borman (1928) of Apollo 8 and Eugene Cernan (1934) of Apollo 17 – the last man to walk on the moon. There were two musicians born – Austrian composer Johann Straus Sr (1804), and American producer Quincy Jones (1933). And three who made us laugh and cry -cartoonist Hank Ketchum (1920 Dennis the Menace), actor Michael Caine (1933, Gambit and Batman’s Alfred), and Billy Crystal (1948).

And to show that diversity is shown in the births of people remember that both the magnificent mind of Albert Einstein (1879) and the fantastic artistic performance of Olympic gymnast Simone Biles (1997) both began on this date and they both made what they do seem so easy, even though it took great effort on their part.

This date recorded the passing of revolutionary writer Karl Marx (1883), camera company founder George Eastman (1932), cartoonist Chic Young (1973 Blonde), Mission Impossible’s Peter Graves (2010), and English physician, author, and all-around astro-brain Steven Hawking (2018).

And don’t forget that this is Pi Day – why not celebrate with cherry, apple, or my favorite strawberry-rhubarb?