With no Saints to honor today, we note that it was on this date in 1782 that Congress authorized the Great Seal of the United States, and that today is the birthday of our former neighbor Pam, mother of several of the Assembled who are friends with our own kids (1959).
The phrase “the Great Seal of the United States” is used both for the physical seal itself (which is kept by the United States Secretary of State), and more generally for the design impressed upon it. The design on the obverse (or front) of the seal is the coat of arms of the United States. The shield, though sometimes drawn incorrectly, has two main differences from the American flag. First, it has no stars on the blue chief. Second, unlike the American flag, the outermost stripes are white, not red, so as not to violate the heraldic rule of tincture. The supporter of the shield is a bald eagle with its wings outstretched (or “displayed,” in heraldic terms). From the eagle’s perspective, it holds a bundle of 13 arrows in its left talon, (referring to the 13 original states), and an olive branch in its right talon, together symbolizing that the United States of America has “a strong desire for peace, but will always be ready for war.” Although not specified by law, the olive branch is usually depicted with 13 leaves and 13 olives, again representing the 13 original states. The eagle has its head turned towards the olive branch, said to symbolize a preference for peace. In its beak, the eagle clutches a scroll with the motto E pluribus unum (“Out of Many, One”). Over its head there appears a “glory” with 13 mullets (stars) on a blue field. In the current (and several previous) dies of the great seal, the 13 stars above the eagle are arranged in rows of 1-4-3-4-1, forming a six-pointed star. The 1782 resolution of Congress adopting the arms, still in force, legally blazoned the shield as “Paleways of 13 pieces, argent and gules; a chief, azure.” As the designers recognized, this is a technically incorrect blazon under traditional English heraldic rules, since in English practice a vertically striped shield would be described as “paly”, not “paleways”, and it could not be striped of an uneven number, but the phrase used was chosen to preserve the reference to the 13 original states. The 1782 resolution adopting the seal blazons the image on the reverse as “A pyramid unfinished. In the zenith an eye in a triangle, surrounded by a glory, proper.” The pyramid is conventionally shown as consisting of 13 layers to refer to the 13 original states. The adopting resolution provides that it is inscribed on its base with the date MDCCLXXVI (1776) in Roman numerals. Where the top of the pyramid should be, the Eye of Providence watches over it. Two mottoes appear: Annuit cœptis signifies that Providence has “approved of (our) undertakings.” Novus ordo seclorum, freely taken from Virgil, is Latin for “a new order of the ages.” Since 1935, both sides of the Great Seal have appeared on the reverse of the one-dollar bill. And today is the birthday of our former neighbor Pam, mother of several of the Assembled who are friends with our own kids (1959).
Last night I continued reading 4000 Years of Uppity Women: Rebellious Belles, Daring Dames, and Headstrong Heroines Through the Ages by Vicki León.
I did my Bathroom Devotional Reading, and on our way to work I did my Internet Devotional Reading. After the Pre-Shift Meeting, Richard was first on Four Card Poker, closed that table, and was the Check Racker on Roulette until they moved him to Mini Baccarat. I started my day on Three Card Blackjack, became the Relief Dealer for Pai Gow and Mini Baccarat, then helped change Blackjack cards, and became the Relief Dealer again for Mini Baccarat and Pai Gow. On my breaks I continued filling out my National Parks Passport application. (More anon.) On my last rotation, after having worked 40 minutes between breaks (or even less) all day, I had to break Mini Baccarat, Pai Gow, Three Card Poker, and Mississippi Stud; this meant that Richard had to work the last 120 minutes of the day, and I got the last break (known as the Early Out Wait, because at the end of your break you simply clock out). The Coke machine was inoperative, so Richard stopped at the Trading Post to get me my Diet Coke. On our way home I continued reading The First Phone Call From Heaven by Mitch Albom.
Once home, I set up my medication for next week (no prescriptions to renew at the pharmacy, although between now and next Saturday I have three separate doctor appointments). I then made my store list for Richard, and while Richard paid bills I ate my lunch salad and read the morning paper. I then left the house for the Adoration Chapel, where I did my Weekly Hour of Eucharistic Adoration. During my Hour I started reading the June 22nd – June 29th, 2015 issue of my Jesuit America magazine. When I got home at 2:00 pm from Adoration Richard was not yet back from the grocery store, so I took a nap; I woke up at 5:00 pm, just as Richard was coming to bed. I plugged the bills Richard had paid into my Balance My Checkbook Pro app, then tried to see if the backup of data on my National Parks Passport app worked. It did not, so I sent off an Email to the developer of the app detailing my problems in backing up data from the app and reprinted out a list of my 160 parks, with the date I first visited each one. And I am now doing today’s Daily Update, and when I finish I will go to bed.
Tomorrow is the Twelfth Sunday in Ordinary Time, and the Memorial of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga, Religious. It is also the date of the Summer Solstice, which marks either the Beginning or the Middle of Summer (it’s been Summer here in SouthWestCentral Louisiana for a good month, already). And tomorrow is also Father’s Day. Tomorrow at the casino is a Heavy Business Volume Day due to Father’s Day (with cash and vehicle drawings just for men). The Summer Solstice will arrive at 11:38 am, or just as Richard and I are coming back into our town on our way home from work. In the afternoon I will make my lunch salads for Monday and Tuesday.
Our Saturday Afternoon Parting Quote comes to us from Jack Kilby, American physicist. Born in 1923 in Jefferson City, Missouri, he grew up and attended school in Great Bend, Kansas. Upon graduating from high school he received his bachelor of science degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, In 1947 he received a degree in Electrical Engineering, and he obtained his master of science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Extension in Milwaukee (which later became the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee) in 1950, while simultaneously working at Centralab in Milwaukee. In mid-1958 Kilby was a newly employed engineer at Texas Instruments who did not yet have the right to a summer vacation. He spent the summer working on the problem in circuit design that was commonly called the “tyranny of numbers” and finally came to the conclusion that manufacturing the circuit components en masse in a single piece of semiconductor material could provide a solution. On September 12, 1958 he presented his findings to the management, which included Mark Shepherd: he showed them a piece of germanium with an oscilloscope attached, pressed a switch, and the oscilloscope showed a continuous sine wave, proving that his integrated circuit worked and thus that he solved the problem. U.S. Patent 3,138,743 for “Miniaturized Electronic Circuits”, the first integrated circuit, was filed on February 6, 1959. Along with Robert Noyce (who independently made a similar circuit a few months later), Kilby is generally credited as co-inventor of the integrated circuit. Kilby also is noted for patenting the electronic portable calculator and the thermal printer used in data terminals. In total, he held about 60 patents. From 1978 to 1985, he was Distinguished Professor of Electrical Engineering at Texas A&M University. In 1983 Kilby retired from Texas Instruments; that same year he was awarded the prodigious Kyoto Prize by the Inamori Foundation. He was awarded both the Washington Award, administered by the Western Society of Engineers and the Eta Kappa Nu Vladimir Karapetoff Award in 1999. In 2000 Kilby was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for his breakthrough discovery, and delivered his personal view of the industry and its history in his acceptance speech. After his death Texas Instruments created the Historic TI Archives, and his family donated his personal manuscripts and his personal photograph collection to Southern Methodist University (died 2005): “I’ve reached the age where young people frequently ask for my advice. All I can really say is that electronics is a fascinating field that I continue to find fulfilling. The field is still growing rapidly, and the opportunities that are ahead are at least as great as they were when I graduated from college. My advice is to get involved and get started.”