Monthly Archives: June 2013

The Expanding Universe

Galaxies do move through space, towards or away from other galaxies. Our galaxy and the Andromeda galaxy are moving towards each other through existing space. However, for galaxies outside our local group the real influence in galaxy movement is Dark Energy. Dark Energy actually increases the amount of space that exists between galaxies which is why the universe is literally expanding. The more space there is between galaxies means that there is more space being created between them which means that the farther away a galaxy is the faster it is moving away.

(Great Courses – Dark Matter Dark Energy)                                                                                      (Great Courses – Cosmology: The History and Nature of our Universe)

Who did Spain really help in the war?

President Franco of Spain had been aided very heavily by Hitler and Mussolini during the Spanish Civil War. However, he did not easily bow down to pressure from them. When Germany was making great gains at the beginning of WWII Germany did not feel that it needed Spain’s assistance. When the war bogged down against the British then Germany decided that it wanted Spain to enter the war with them. Franco did not want to enter the war and made great territorial demands including Gibraltar and many French possessions in Africa. Germany did not feel that it could alienate Vichy France by agreeing to these demands for French territory. Spain had also insisted that they would only declare war once Germany actually invaded Britain. Spain could have made things VERY difficult for the British by firing guns at Gibraltar and closing it down but they never did. Spain did send many troops to their northern border to dissuade Germany or Italy from invading. By this time Germany was planning its attack on Russia and the result was that Spain never entered the war. All this time Spain maintained trade with Britain that was profitable for both sides.

(Book – The Second Work War – Winston S. Churchill)

I guess I should have known this

Mozart’s opera ‘The Marriage of Figaro’ is a sequel to ‘The Barber of Seville’. The opera makes fun of the aristocracy so it was banned in Austria. Side note with apologizes to opera lovers who already knew this, the opening music in the movie Trading Places is the the overture to ‘The Marriage of Figaro’. Making fun of rich people is as fun today as it was back then.

(Great Courses – How to Listen to and Understand Opera)


Blazing a trail

When Marie Sklodowska (Marie Curie) received her licence es sciences from the Sorbonne in Paris in 1893 she was one of only two women to receive a licence that year. In 1894 when she received her licence es mathematiques she was one of only five women.

(Book – Marie Curie – Susan Quinn)

Piano History

Pianos were being invented in Bach’s (1685-1750) time but Bach was not impressed with them. When you hear music on a piano by Bach is was originally written for the harpsichord. Mozart (1756-1791) learned to play on a harpsichord and only later learned to play on a piano. Beethoven (1770-1827) constantly wanted new and improved piano’s and once wrote a piece of music with a high note that was not yet available on a piano. The first great composer to use a modern piano was Chopin (1810-1849).

(Great Courses – How to Listen to and Understand Great Music and Beethoven’s Piano Sonata’s)

I’m only pretending to be mad at you

General De Gaulle was under a death warrant from France during WWII while he was commanding Free French forces in Africa. While De Gaulle was being heavily aided by Britain he often was rude to them. He told Winston Churchill that he has to do this so that he would not seem to be a puppet of the British.

(Book – The Second Work War – Winston S. Churchill)