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Titera’s Tidbit: Johnstown Flood
The Johnstown Flood (or Great Flood of 1889) occurred on May 31, 1889. It was the result of the catastrophic failure of the South Fork Dam situated on the Little Conemaugh River 14 miles upstream of the town of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, made worse by several days of extremely heavy rainfall. The dam’s failure unleashed a torrent of 20 million tons of water from the reservoir known as Lake Conemaugh. With a volumetric flow rate that temporarily equalled that of the Mississippi River, the flood killed 2,209 people and caused $17 million of damage (the equivalent of about $425 million in 2012 dollars). It was the first major disaster relief effort handled by the new American Red Cross, led by Clara Barton.
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Titera’s Tidbit: Alaska
The name “Alaska” (Аляска) was already introduced in the Russian colonial period, when it was used only for the peninsula and is derived from the Aleut alaxsxaq, meaning “the mainland” or, more literally, “the object towards which the action of the sea is directed”. It is also known as Alyeska, the “great land”, an Aleut word derived from the same root.
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Titera’s Tibit: Mir Space Station
The word mir in Russian has several meanings. In addition to “community” and “assembly,” it also means “world” and “peace.” These seemingly diverse meanings had a common historical origin. The village community formed the world for the peasants, where they tried to keep a peaceful society. The Mir space station operated in low Earth orbit from 1986 to 2001, at first by the Soviet Union and then by Russia. Assembled in orbit from 1986 to 1996, Mir was the first modular space station and had a greater mass than that of any previous spacecraft, holding the record for the largest artificial satellite orbiting the Earth until reentry and distruction on March 23, 2001.
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Titera’s Tidbit: Saint Patrick
Saint Patrick was a Romano-Briton and Christian missionary, who is the most generally recognized patron saint of Ireland or the Apostle of Ireland. Saint Patrick’s Day is observed on March 17, the date of Patrick’s death. It is celebrated both in and outside of Ireland, as both a liturgical and non-liturgical holiday. In the dioceses of Ireland, it is both a solemnity and a holy day of obligation; and, outside of Ireland, it can be a celebration of Ireland itself.
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