1925 – John T. Scopes convicted of teaching evolution in Tennesee

It seems absurd today – although perhaps not as absurd as we might like – but back in 1925, the entire American nation was up in arms over a court case in which a young teacher stood accused of the heinous crime of teaching evolution. Admittedly, this did happen in the Bible Belt, but even so, 1925? In the heyday of eugenics, teaching evolution was still verboten in Tennessee.

That was what John Scopes learned that day. Despite the impassioned defence of Clarence Darrow, he was convicted and made to pay a fine of $100 (that would be equal to about $1,250 in 2010 dollars). Scopes did not contest his guilt – he had taught evolution – but contended that the law itself was unjust. After the failure of an appeal to the State Supreme Court, Scopes, left Tennessee, never to return. Evolution, in open defiance of the ban on its teaching, continued to occur in the state of Tennessee, and to date, all efforts to cause it to cease this unconstitutional activity have failed utterly.

Referenced in:

The Scopes Trial — Vernon Dalhart

1969 – Armstrong and Aldrin walk on the Moon

Really, what needs to be said?

Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins took off from the Kennedy Space Center, near Cape Canaveral, Florida, on July 16. Four days later, the lunar landing module, carrying Armstrong and Aldrin, landed on the Moon. They were supposed to take a sleep break, but Armstrong was impatient to walk on the moon – and who could blame him?

It was July 21 (UTC) by the time they began the EVA. They stayed on the lunar surface for about 150 minutes (15 minutes longer than was originally a plan). During this time, the two spoke to President Nixon in the White House, planted an American flag on the Moon, performed a number of scientific experiments and took numerous photographs, all of them now iconic images.

Despite what you may have heard, it is highly unlikely that the landings were faked. I do not believe that they were, and neither does Buzz Aldrin.

Referenced in:

I Was Only 19 — Redgum
Man On The Moon — REM
Shrink — Dead Kennedys
Saturn 5 — Inspiral Carpets
We Didn’t Start The Fire — Billy Joel
Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins — The Byrds
For Michael Collins, Jeffrey and me — Jethro Tull