Portrait: Rudolf Diesel, inventor of the Diesel engine

24 February 2021 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Portrait

Rudolf Diesel © volvotrucks.com

Rudolf Diesel © volvotrucks.com

Rudolf Christian Karl Diesel was a German inventor and mechanical engineer, famous for the invention of the Diesel engine, and for his suspicious death at sea. Diesel was the namesake of the 1942 film Diesel. The first successful Diesel engine ran in 1897 and is now on display at the German Technical Museum in Munich. Rudolf Diesel obtained patents for his design in Germany and other countries, including the United States. He was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame in 1978.   read more…

Portrait: Juan Carlos I, King Emeritus of Spain

27 January 2021 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Portrait

Abdictation of King Juan Carlos I © Ministry of the Presidency. Government of Spain

Abdictation of King Juan Carlos I © Ministry of the Presidency. Government of Spain

Juan Carlos I (Juan Carlos Alfonso Víctor María de Borbón y Borbón, born 5 January 1938) is a member of the Spanish royal family who reigned as King of Spain from November 1975 until his abdication in June 2014. In Spain, since his abdication, Juan Carlos has usually been referred to as the Rey Emérito (“King Emeritus“).   read more…

Portrait: Jules Verne, science fiction writer

23 December 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Portrait

Félix Nadar (1820-1910) portraits Jules Verne

Félix Nadar (1820-1910) portraits Jules Verne

Jules Gabriel Verne was a French novelist, poet, and playwright. His collaboration with the publisher Pierre-Jules Hetzel led to the creation of the Voyages extraordinaires, a series of bestselling adventure novels including Journey to the Center of the Earth (1864), Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (1870), and Around the World in Eighty Days (1872).   read more…

Portrait: Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher

25 November 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Portrait

Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher by Ernst Gebauer, around 1815

Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher by Ernst Gebauer, around 1815

Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher, Fürst von Wahlstatt (16 December 1742 – 12 September 1819), Graf (count), later elevated to Fürst (sovereign prince) von Wahlstatt, was a Prussian Generalfeldmarschall (field marshal). He earned his greatest recognition after leading his army against Napoleon I at the Battle of the Nations at Leipzig in 1813 and the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.   read more…

Portrait: Christopher Columbus, Italian navigator and explorer

28 October 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Portrait

Christopher Columbus by Sebastiano del Piombo

Christopher Columbus by Sebastiano del Piombo

Christopher Columbus was an Italian explorer and navigator who completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean, opening the way for European exploration and colonization of the Americas. His expeditions, sponsored by the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, were the first European contact with the Caribbean, Central America, and South America. After a remarkable odyssey, his bones are now in the Seville Cathedral in Spain.   read more…

Portrait: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, feminist and Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States

23 September 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Portrait

Chief Justice William Rehnquist swearing in Ginsburg as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, as her husband Martin Ginsburg and President Clinton watch © U.S. National Archives and Records Administration - Ralph Alswang

Chief Justice William Rehnquist swearing in Ginsburg as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, as her husband Martin Ginsburg and President Clinton watch © U.S. National Archives and Records Administration – Ralph Alswang

Joan Ruth Bader Ginsburg was an American jurist who was an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States from 1993 until her death in 2020. She was nominated by President Bill Clinton and was generally viewed as belonging to the liberal wing of the Court. Ginsburg was the second woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court, after Sandra Day O’Connor. During her tenure Ginsburg wrote notable majority opinions, including United States v. Virginia (1996), Olmstead v. L.C. (1999), and Friends of the Earth, Inc. v. Laidlaw Environmental Services, Inc. (2000). Between O’Connor’s retirement in 2006 and appointment of Sonia Sotomayor in 2009, she was the only female justice on the Supreme Court. During that time, Ginsburg became more forceful with her dissents.   read more…

Portrait: Investor and philanthropist George Soros

26 August 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Portrait

© flickr.com - World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2011/cc-by-sa-2.0

© flickr.com – World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2011/cc-by-sa-2.0

George Soros is a HungarianAmerican billionaire investor and philanthropist. As of May 2020, he had a net worth of $8.3 billion, having donated more than $32 billion to the Open Society Foundations. Born in Budapest, Soros survived Nazi Germanyoccupied Hungary and moved to the United Kingdom in 1947. He attended the London School of Economics, graduating with a bachelor’s and eventually a master’s degree in philosophy. Soros began his business career by taking various jobs at merchant banks in the United Kingdom and then the United States, before starting his first hedge fund, Double Eagle, in 1969. Profits from his first fund furnished the seed money to start Soros Fund Management, his second hedge fund, in 1970. Double Eagle was renamed to Quantum Fund and was the principal firm Soros advised. At its founding, Quantum Fund had $12 million in assets under management, and as of 2011 it had $25 billion, the majority of Soros’s overall net worth.   read more…

Portrait: Ludwig van Beethoven, one of the most important composers and pianists

22 July 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Portrait

Ludwig van Beethoven by Joseph Karl Stieler

Ludwig van Beethoven by Joseph Karl Stieler

Ludwig van Beethoven was a German composer and pianist; his music is amongst the most performed of the classical music repertoire, and he is one of the most admired composers in the history of Western music. His works span the transition from the classical period to the romantic era in classical music.   read more…

Portrait: Ayn Rand, the voice of libertarian Objectivism

24 June 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Portrait

Ayn Rand quote - American Adventure - Epcot Center - Walt Disney World © flickr.com - Cory Doctorow/cc-by-sa-2.0

Ayn Rand quote – American Adventure – Epcot Center – Walt Disney World © flickr.com – Cory Doctorow/cc-by-sa-2.0

Ayn Rand< was a Russian-American writer and philosopher. Rand was born Alisa Zinovyevna Rosenbaum on February 2, 1905, to a Russian-Jewish bourgeois family living in Saint Petersburg. She is known for her two best-selling novels, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, and for developing a philosophical system she named Objectivism. Educated in Russia, she moved to the United States in 1926. She had a play produced on Broadway in 1935 and 1936. After two early novels that were initially unsuccessful, she achieved fame with her 1943 novel, The Fountainhead. In 1957, Rand published her best-known work, the novel Atlas Shrugged. Afterward, she turned to non-fiction to promote her philosophy, publishing her own periodicals and releasing several collections of essays until her death in 1982. Rand advocated reason as the only means of acquiring knowledge and rejected faith and religion. She supported rational and ethical egoism and rejected altruism. In politics, she condemned the initiation of force as immoral and opposed collectivism and statism as well as anarchism, instead supporting laissez-faire capitalism, which she defined as the system based on recognizing individual rights, including property rights. In art, Rand promoted romantic realism. She was sharply critical of most philosophers and philosophical traditions known to her, except for Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas and classical liberals. Literary critics received Rand’s fiction with mixed reviews and academia generally ignored or rejected her philosophy, though academic interest has increased in recent decades. The Objectivist movement attempts to spread her ideas, both to the public and in academic settings. She has been a significant influence among libertarians and American conservatives.   read more…

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