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50 & 100 years ago

50 Years Ago

For more than one hundred years, the Royal Greenwich Observatory has been responsible for providing exact time signals for a wide variety of users both in Britain and abroad. In recent years this service has become increasingly important in various fields of scientific research where extreme accuracy is essential. In order to provide the various users with more frequent opportunities for checking the time, the present twice-daily transmissions from Rugby were increased to four as from December 1 ... As long ago as 1833, the Royal Greenwich Observatory provided hourly time signals for the operation of 'time balls', which were devices consisting of a large ball secured to the top of a mast and released by a special catch at a precise time. One such ball is still in use in the grounds of the old Observatory at Greenwich.

From Nature 16 December 1961

100 Years Ago

In the volume on mammals in the “Fauna of British India,” the late Dr. W. T. Blanford stated that the black-buck (Antilope cervicapra) living on a spit of sand between the Chilka Salt Lake, in Orissa, and the sea, never drank, as there is no water on the spit except in deep wells. The statement has been strongly controverted by various writers, one at least of whom has suggested that the antelopes obtain water from sheep-troughs. Of late years it has, however, been conclusively shown that giraffes, kudu, and gemsbok live for a considerable portion of the year in the Kalahari Desert without drinking, obtaining such moisture as they require from the succulent roots of certain plants ... The case of the Chilka black-buck accordingly requires reinvestigation in order to ascertain whether they too may be able to obtain moisture from plants.

From Nature 14 December 1911

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50 & 100 years ago. Nature 480, 329 (2011).

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