Freethought Almanac

Lighting a candle in toxic air.
January 31, 2012
January 31: Franz Schubert (1797)

It was on this date, January 31, 1797, that Austrian composer Franz Schubert was born in Vienna. He studied the violin from age eight and the pianoforte after that, composing his first piano duet before he turned 14. Two of his songs so impressed Antonio Salieri, that the composer sought out Schubert and taught him […]

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January 31, 2012
January 31: Irving Langmuir (1881)

It was on this date, January 31, 1881, that American chemist Irving Langmuir was born in Brooklyn, NY. Langmuir is chiefly remembered for coining in 1923 the physics term “plasma” to describe a fourth state of matter, distinct from solid or liquid or gas and present in stars and fusion reactions, such as that which […]

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January 30, 2012
January 30: Walter Savage Landor (1775)

It was on this date, January 30, 1775, that English satirist and writer Walter Savage Landor was born in Ipsley Court, Warwick, the son of a doctor who married a woman of wealth. A bit of an unruly youth, Landor was removed from Rugby for insolence and suspended from Trinity College, Oxford, for firing off […]

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January 29, 2012
January 29: Thomas Paine (1737)

It was on this date, January 29, 1737 (N.S February 9), that English-born American patriot and pamphleteer Thomas Paine was born in Thetford, Norfolk, into an English Quaker family. He worked as a stay-maker for women’s dresses, and as an excise-man, but in London Benjamin Franklin persuaded the budding writer to emigrate to America. As […]

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January 28, 2012
Deliver Us From Middle Class Morality

The following is a commentary in an ongoing series of “Reflections” by John Mill. John Mill is the radio persona of Ronald Bruce Meyer and can be heard on “American Heathen.” “The American Heathen” Internet radio broadcast is aired, live, on Saturday nights from 7:00pm-10:00pm Central Time (8-11pm Eastern Time) on ShockNetRadio.com. After John King […]

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January 28, 2012
January 28: Artur Rubinstein (1887)

It was on this date, January 28, 1887, that Polish-born American pianist Arthur (Artur) Rubinstein was born in Łódź. His parents were merchants who saw to his education: by age five he was already performing classical works at the piano. When he was 13, Rubinstein gave his first formal concert in Potsdam. Six years later, […]

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January 28, 2012
January 28: Sarah MacLachlan (1968)

It was on this date, January 28, 1968, that Canadian musician Sarah McLachlan was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia. She started singing at age four. Not only does her voice attract fans, with songs like “Adia,” “Angel,” “Hold On,” and “Sweet Surrender” – yielding three Grammy Awards – but McLachlan has also distinguished herself as […]

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January 27, 2012
January 27: Sale of Indulgences Affirmed (1343)

It was on this date, January 27, 1343, that Pope Clement VI issued a bull, Unigenitus, officially reaffirming that the Catholic Church can grant remission of sin through indulgences. The sale of indulgences was the chief concern of Martin Luther and the chief cause of the Protestant Reformation. But, the scheme is fortuitous on a […]

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January 27, 2012
January 27: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756)

It was on this date, January 27, 1756, that Austrian composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born in Salzburg. His father, the Catholic musician Leopold Mozart, was a court favorite and professional violinist in Salzburg. His patron encouraged the careers of Leopold’s precocious children, and Wolfgang and his sister “Nannerl” (Maria Anna) both became accomplished pianists […]

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January 26, 2012
January 26: The Index of Prohibited Books (1564)

It was on this date, January 26, 1564, that Pope Pius IV, in a document called “Benedictus Deus,” ratifying the proceedings of the Council of Trent, instituted the ten rules for suppressing free thought and thereby created the Index of Prohibited Books. There was no real Index until 1564 because literature and literacy were so […]

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Ronald Bruce Meyer

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