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Category: History

A Brief History Of Mastodon

Mastodon is free and open-source software (FOOS) that anyone can use. Mastodon is a system of federated (linked) microblogging websites. Eugen Rochko wrote the software. He was born in Russia and now lives in Germany.

Here is the historical timeline.

Early 2016

Eugen Rochko started working on Mastodon as a side project while in school studying for his computer science degree from a German University.

Late 2016

A few months after graduating, 24-year-old Rochko released his first version, 0.1.0 of Mastodon, on Oct. 6, 2016. The first instance of the software runs on the server at the website Mastodon.social. It began with 45 users. (Note: The original server maxed out at 200,000 users, but new Mastodon users can join any of the many other interlinked servers).

2017

Mastodon starts to get media attention and is described by some as a “Twitter Killer.”

In April 2017, the administrator, nullkal, created the first Japanese server, mstdn.jp, in his apartment. The news went viral, and the server had tens of thousands of new accounts within a few days.

2018

In May 2018, after new laws were passed in the US, Assembly Four founded switter.at, a Mastodon server for sex workers. It grew quickly to over 400,000 accounts. (Note: The site shut down on Mar. 14, 2022, due to legal pressures.)

Sept. 5, 2018, Mastodon version 2.5 was released. It is the 100th version of the software.

On Oct. 6, 2018, Mastodon celebrated its second anniversary. The network had grown to 1,627,557 registered users, with Mastodon instances running on 3,460 independently-administrated servers.

Mastodon servers are part of the federated network and connect to other servers using ActivityPub, a decentralized social media networking protocol.

Media coverage includes:

2019

Apr. 10, 2019, Mastodon 2.8 released.

2021

Rochko formed Mastodon gGmbH as a German nonprofit organization. The first annual report for Mastondon says he was still living with his parents, working 14 hours per day, and earning about 2,400 Euros per month from Patreon supporters.

Mar. 29, 2021, Mastodon for Android beta version released.

Nov. 3, 2021, Mastodon iOS, iPad beta version released.

2022

Patreon support increased to around $33,000 per month from over 9,000 Patreon supporters. The support pays for six software developers.

Mar. 30, 2022, Mastodon 3.5 released.

Apr. 21, 2022, official iOS and Android apps were released.

The latest stable Mastodon 4.0.2 release was in November 2022.

In October 2022, when Elon Musk took over Twitter, some users went to Mastodon. There were 230,000 new Mastodon users in the first week of November and one million more by mid-December.

On Dec. 20, 2022, Twitter suspended the join Mastodon account and blocked anyone on Twitter from sharing Mastodon links. Musk said he wanted to promote free speech by buying Twitter.

Rochko said, “This is a stark reminder that centralized platforms can impose arbitrary and unfair limits on what you can and can’t say. The future of social media doesn’t have to belong to a billionaire; it can be in the hands of its users.”

Conclusion

Mastodon has approximately 2.5 million users compared to 300 million on Twitter. Mastodon is an interesting new way to develop a social media platform. The Mastodon interface is not as user-friendly as it could be. The posts are only organized by a timeline, so there is no way to gain much viral traction. It can be quite good for chatting with a close-knit group of friends and family if you set up a server.

There is a long way to go for Mastodon to be anywhere close to a Twitter Killer. Maybe some of the 3,600+ fired Twitter employees can now join the Mastodon open-source software programming effort.

5 Biggest Currency Collapses In History

The basic economic law of supply and demand applies as much to national currencies as it does to rare natural resources and popular market products. As governments mint more coins and print more banknotes, this legal tender tends to have less and less worth.

Expanding the supply of money may be quite necessary, particularly in emergency situations. However, financial leaders must be aware that flooding the economy with currency is likely to have a pronounced negative effect on its relative value.

When a currency devalues too dramatically or too quickly, it can often spell economic disaster. In an effort to learn from history lest we repeat it, let’s briefly examine the five biggest currency collapses in history.

1. The Zimbabwean Dollar

After achieving independence in 1980, the African country of Zimbabwe established a strong dollar with a value that exceeded the US dollar by roughly 25 percent. But over the next several years, political corruption, economic mismanagement, race-based land seizures, and foreign sanctions led to an overproduction of the Zimbabwean dollar and rampant inflation nationwide. By 2004, this hyperinflation reached a record high of 624 percent. The Zimbabwe government effectively abandoned the dollar as its official currency in 2009. Since that time, Zimbabwe has recognized a range of foreign currencies as well as the new Zimbabwean dollar (also known as the (Real Time Gross Settlement) RTGS dollar.

2. The Peruvian Sol

To court foreign investment in the early 1980s, Peru embraced economic policies that stressed trade liberalization and increased public spending. As part of these policies, the Peruvian government began printing large amounts of the national currency: the sol. Unfortunately, government officials failed to adequately plan for the resulting inflation and debt. When overseas investors began to flee, the government decided to replace the sol with a new currency called the inti at the exchange rate of 1,000 to 1. However, inflation continued to rise under the inti, reaching a rate of 400 by 1990. In 1991, Peru abandoned the inti, returning to the sol (now the new or “neuvo” sol) at the staggering exchange rate of 1,000,000,000 to 1.

3. The Argentinian Peso

The economy of Argentina was enjoying record growth before the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) created worldwide financial turmoil with its mid-1970s oil embargo. While coping with civil and political unrest, the Argentinian government faced severe budgetary and trade deficits. To avoid a devastating recession, it began printing money, thereby spiking inflation and destroying the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP). Between 1983 and 1992, Argentina would replace its national currency three times, exchanging 10,000 original pesos for one peso Argentino, then 10,000 peso Argentinos for one austral, and then, finally, 10,000 australs for one new peso.

4. The Chilian Escudo

When Marxist Salvador Allende became president of Chile in 1970, he began printing legal tender to make good on his promises of increased social spending and wealth redistribution to poor populations. Unfortunately, this practice had contributed to rampant hyperinflation that reached 600 percent by 1972 and 1200 percent by 1973. After the overthrow of the Allende government later that year, the Chilean escudo partially recovered but continued to experience fluctuations for more than a decade. It was ultimately replaced by the new Chilean peso in 1985 at a rate of 1,000 to 1.

5. The German Papiermark

Described by Forbes as “the original poster child for failed currencies,” the fall of the German papiermark occurred at the end of World War I. As a condition of the Treaty of Versailles, Germany was forced to pay war reparations to the allied nations. Among other pressing economic issues, this pressured Germany to print more and more papiermarks, triggering hyperinflation to the point that the currency was essentially worthless. In fact, when Germany replaced the papiermark with the reichsmark in 1924, the annal inflation rate was roughly 325,000,000 percent and the exchange rate was an astounding trillion to one.

5 Most Influential Politicians In South East Asia’s History

Southeast Asia is a region located in the eastern part of Asia. It includes several countries; Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar (also known as Burma), the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

The region is known for its diverse cultures, tropical climate, and beautiful beaches. It is also home to several important economic and political centers, including Singapore, one of the world’s major financial hubs.

There have been many influential politicians in Southeast Asia throughout history. Here are the five most notable.

1. Aung San Suu Kyi

Aung San Suu Kyi is a pro-democracy activist and leader of the National League for Democracy (NLD) in Myanmar. Suu Kyi was placed under house arrest by the military government for more than 15 years, beginning in 1989, due to her efforts to promote democracy and human rights in the country. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 for her efforts to bring democracy to Myanmar.

In 2015, the NLD won a landslide victory in the country’s general election, and Suu Kyi became the country’s de facto leader. However, she has faced criticism in recent years for her handling of the Rohingya crisis, in which thousands of members of the Rohingya minority group were displaced or killed by the military.

2. Ho Chi Minh

Ho Chi Minh was born in Vietnam in 1890. He got his education in France, where he became involved in Marxist and nationalist politics. He played a key role in Vietnam’s struggle for independence from France and, later, the United States.

In 1941, he founded the Viet Minh, a communist-led independence movement that defeated the French and established a communist government in Vietnam in 1954. Ho Chi Minh served as the country’s first prime minister and later as its President. He died in 1969, but his legacy lives on in Vietnam, where he is still widely revered.

3. Sukarno

Sukarno was the first President of Indonesia, serving from 1945 to 1967. He was a key figure in the independence movement that led to Indonesia’s independence from Dutch colonial rule in 1949. Sukarno was known for his charismatic and controversial leadership style, and he played a major role in shaping Indonesia’s political landscape during his time as President.

Sukarno was a prominent figure in the non-aligned movement and was instrumental in establishing Indonesia as a major player on the international stage. However, he received criticism for his authoritarian rule, involvement in corruption, and other abuses of power.

4. Mahathir Mohamad

Mahathir Mohamad is a Malaysian politician who served as the Prime Minister of Malaysia from 1981 to 2003, making him the longest-serving Prime Minister in Malaysian history. He is also the oldest serving Prime Minister in the world, who returned to office in 2018 at the age of 92. He served until age 97, when he was defeated in November 2022 for the first time in 53 years.

During his time as Prime Minister, he implemented several economic and social reforms that helped modernize Malaysia and turn it into a major economic power in Southeast Asia. However, he faced criticism for his authoritarian governance style and his suppression of political opposition.

5. Lee Kuan Yew

Lee Kuan Yew was the first Prime Minister of Singapore, serving from 1959 to 1990. He gets credit for transforming Singapore from a small, poor, and largely agricultural country into a modern, prosperous, industrialized city-state.

Under Lee’s leadership, Singapore implemented several economic and social policies that helped stimulate economic growth, improve living standards, and attract foreign investment. Lee was known for his strong and authoritarian leadership style. He was a controversial figure. Lee passed away in 2015 at the age of 91.

A Brief History of the Syrian Pound

Issued by the Banque Centrale de Syrie, the official Syrian currency has demanded international attention in recent years for its precipitous loss of value. But where did the Syrian pound come from, and how long has it been around? Read on for an extremely short history of this currency and the tumultuous social and political circumstances that have impacted it.

Before the Syrian Pound

Before the fall of the Ottoman Empire during World War I, Syria’s official currency was the Turkish lira. In fact, it used its neighboring Ottoman country’s currency for roughly 400 years.

Under foreign occupation after WWI, Syria complied with French and British mandates to adopt the Egyptian pound as its official currency. However, the French government soon took both Syria and Lebanon under a new mandate to give Syria its own currency. France ultimately granted a commercial bank, the authority to issue the new Syrian pound.

Syria Adopts the Pound

Under the French government’s direction, the Banque de Syrie (a French affiliate of the Ottoman Bank), sought introduced the Syrian pound in 1919. However, the currency was pegged to the French franc and bore the French name “livre.” The Banque de Syrie introduced notes for 1 and 5 livres as well as lower currency notes for 5, 25, and 50 qirsha. At the time, the Syrian livre has an exchange value of 20 French francs.

In 1920, the Banque de Syrie began releasing 1-qirsh notes as well as notes for and 10, 25, 50, and 100 livres. Between 1920 and 1939, the issuing body of the Syrian livre changed twice: first to the Banque de Syrie et du Grand-Liban and then to the Banque de Syrie et du Liban.

The Syrian Pound’s Evolution

During the height of World War II in 1941, the Syrian livre officially became the Syrian pound. A change in name alone, the currency remained essentially the same.

In fact, the name change was a result of a new occupation of Syria by British military forces, who replaced Syrian currency’s peg to the French franc with a peg to the British pound. At the time, a single British pound was worth just under nine Syrian pounds based on the pre-WWII conversion rate between French and British currency.

The Syrian pound would return to French valuation again before it became pegged to the US dollar in 1947 at a value of roughly 2.2 Syrian pounds to one US dollar. Compared to the rocky road it would face in later decades, the Syrian pound remained remarkably stable from 1947 to 1961, maintaining the same US dollar exchange rate.

The Banque Centrale de Syrie began issuing the Syrian pound in 1957. In 1958, it replaced the French language on all Syrian banknotes with English. It also issued a progressively higher series of bill denominations that culminated with the printing of 1000-pound notes in 1998.

Modern Times Bring Modern Problems for the Syrian Pound

Since the start of Syrian civil war in 2011, international exchange rates for the Syrian pound have deteriorated significantly. One US dollar was worth approximately 47 Syrian pounds in March of 2011. By July of 2017, that exchange rate had fallen to 1 to 515.

Catastrophic sociopolitical events such as the violent Lebanese protests of 2019 have only made matters worse for the Syrian pound. The November Lebanese protests precipitated a 30% drop in currency value, and by January of 2020, the black-market value of the Syrian pound dropped as low as 1,000 to a single US dollar.

Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit Syria and the rest of the world, dropping the Syrian pound into a veritable freefall. By March of 2021, the currency hit a record low on the black market, bringing just one US dollar for 4,000 Syrian pounds.

5 Most Catastropic Crashes From Airplane Faults

When it comes to airplane crashes, a large chunk of them is the result of pilot error or severe weather. Around 20 to 25 percent of the time, though, there’s a mechanical error due to a fault on an airplane. While these crashes aren’t always deadly, they can be catastrophic in the rare event that it does happen. Here are five incidents where airplane faults led to tragic crashes.

Death of Roberto Clemente

On New Year’s Eve 1972, baseball legend Roberto Clemente and four more people were onboard a Douglas DC-7CF en route from San Juan, Puerto Rico to Managua, Nicaragua after an earthquake had devastated the city. Clemente had been spending time in Managua due to coaching the Puerto Rico baseball team and was making a personal effort to provide aid to those affected.

Proper maintenance wasn’t performed on the aircraft, though, and the number two engine failed upon takeoff. The pilot attempted to return to Puerto Rico, and when the plane began descending too quickly tried to take it down into the ocean. Unfortunately, the landing would end up fatal and all five people onboard lost their lives. The pilot was made unaware that earlier in the month, improper maintenance had caused a minor crash for the plane.

American Airlines Flight 1

In what is now John F. Kennedy International Airport, American Airlines Flight 1 took off en route to Los Angeles International Airport on March 1, 1962. The aircraft was one of the newest on the American Airlines lines of Boeing 707s, and it seemed that everything passed the preflight check. After taking off, though, the pilot attempted to make a turn to begin heading west before the plane banked and inverted, initiating a nosedive into the Pumpkin Patch Channel of Jamaica Bay.

It wasn’t the pilot’s fault that the plane was unable to make the turn, however. An investigation into the crash showed that the autopilot system was faulty and it resulted in the rudder system being unable to function properly. All 95 people onboard lost their lives as a result of the improper maintenance, including Olympic gold medalist Emelyn Whiton and a pair of multi-millionaires.

Aeroflot Flight 8641

With more than 120 passengers onboard, Aeroflot Flight 8641 was scheduled to leave Leningrad, Russia, and arrive in Kyiv, Ukraine on June 28, 1982. There were no issues with the flight’s precheck as it only departed one minute late (due to a passenger coming on board late) and the flight was a smooth one to Kyiv. As it began its landing, though, that’s when the trouble started.

The autopilot system began making the descent angle too sharp and ultimately shut off after the plane started going into a sharp drop. The pilots attempted to pull up, but it was too late as the aircraft crashed at nearly 500 miles per hour, resulting in the death of all 132 onboard. The investigation determined the cause of the crash was the jackscrew mechanism not functioning because of improper maintenance that led to metal fatigue.

Finnish Air Force DC-3

Carrying many businesspeople and politicians on their way to a meeting formed by the Finnish Defence Forces, The Finnish Air Force took a DC-3 out of Utti Airport on October 3, 1978. It successfully made it to its stopover at Kuopio Airport, but trouble began when it was headed for its ultimate destination of Helsinki. Just seconds after taking off, one of the engines lost power.

The pilot attempted to make a quick return to the airport, but without the engine, couldn’t make the turn. Winds also played a factor as the aircraft quickly lost altitude and crashed, claiming the lives of all 15 onboard. The report found that the exhaust valve had cracked due to fatigue, resulting in the total engine failure that played a factor into the crash.

USAir Flight 427

On September 8, 1994, USAir Flight 427 was scheduled to take off from O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, Illinois, and make a stopover in Pittsburgh before then heading to Palm Beach, Florida. There were 132 people aboard the Boeing 737-3B7 that day, many of whom were hoping to take a nice vacation in Florida.

Things seemed fine until the flight was arriving in Pittsburgh and started experiencing turbulence. The pilot, Captain Peter Germano, attempted to go against the wind but the rudder malfunctioned and went in the opposite direction. This caused the airplane to stall and the pilots could not recover. There were no survivors as the craft crashed hard at 300 miles per hour.

5 Insane Police Chase Stories That Actually Happened

There are certain things that we as humans can’t look away from, and one of the most attention-drawing is a police chase. We often wonder to ourselves who is in the getaway vehicle, why they’re fleeing police, and how it will end. In most cases, it’s someone that’s simply afraid of being caught and is driving a typical vehicle at high speeds.

Then, there are cases where the vehicle is something far more outrageous, or the person in the car is someone that everybody knows. There have been some insane police chases, but these five take the case as the craziest to have actually happened, with people tuning into the news to see what happened next.

OJ Simpson 

Perhaps the most notorious police chase to this day, O.J. Simpson’s failed getaway in his friend’s white Ford Bronco is ingrained in modern history. After Simpson was due to turn himself into the police that morning for the murders of his wife Nicole Simpson, and their friend Ron Goldman. However, OJ didn’t show and was found to have been attempting a grand escape. 

The chase was slow, yet intense. The chase lasted two long hours and ended with Simpson being apprehended and charged with two counts of first-degree murder. The story made headlines worldwide and the subsequent trial became a topic of discussion for years.

School Bus Blues

In October of 2020, a year that was already a colossal disaster, an unassuming eleven-year-old boy from Louisiana stole a school bus and led police on an intense chase. It’s not apparent how he gained access to the vehicle without an adult present, but the devious boy ran with it and ended up leading police on a 45-minute chase. 

During the chase, the boy crashed into three different vehicles, resulting in one person suffering a minor injury, and then ended with the tot crashing the bus into a tree, all the while shouting obscenities and flipping off the officers. He was apprehended and charged with theft and aggravated assault. 

Longest Police Chase

In November of 2022, a man from Moreno Valley California led police on a six-hour chase throughout Orange County and Los Angeles in the longest chase in LA history. The culprit, Johnny Anchondo, was on parole for attempted carjacking when he decided to commit his most recent criminal act. 

He carjacked two separate vehicles, breaking into a family’s home and threatening them with a weapon before stealing their car keys. He crashed into multiple police vehicles along the way, finally coming to an end when the car Anchondo was in began to malfunction after officers set out spike strips. 

Junior Driver

Another case of troubled children at play, five teenage children led police on a wild chase in New Mexico. In 2021 police attempted to pull over the occupants of a stolen SUV, later surprised to find out that the driver was a 12-year-old boy. 

The boy refused to stop, weaved in and out of traffic, blew right through stop signs, and almost lost control of the vehicle multiple times. At one point, the boy stopped the SUV to let out the other four teenage passengers. He continued the chase that brutally ended when he crashed head-on into a family of five on the highway. The boy was then taken into custody and charged. 

Tank Chase

In 1995 Shawn Nelson made history in San Diego when he stole an entire tank from the California Army National Guard armory. He was a sick individual with a large degree of turmoil in his personal life. Nelson sought destruction and wanted a way out. 

After a few weeks of spiraling further, the former military man took it upon himself to take a trip to the armory with the intent to cause chaos. He led police on a slow, but destructive chase, causing over $100,000 in damages. Fortunately, nobody was harmed during his rampage. He wasn’t so lucky. Officers eventually gained access to the tank and shot the uncooperative man, who later died at a nearby hospital. 

5 Most Famous Missing Persons Cases

In the United States alone, there are nearly 100,000 missing person cases each year. While many of them are solved rather quickly, there is plenty that goes unsolved for years. Along the way, there have been some cases of very notable (and some infamous) people that have gone missing without a trace.

Throughout American history, there have been certain missing person cases that have captivated the entire country, with massive search parties launched. Out of all of those cases, these five stand out as the most talked about, dominating headlines around the nation for weeks, months, and even years.

Amelia Earheart

Amelia Earheart’s disappearance is one we’ve all learned about in school, or heard about in one way or another. She was famously the first woman to complete a solo, nonstop transatlantic flight. She carried many accolades and was and is an inspiration to women everywhere. She and navigator Fred Noonan went missing when they attempted to make a trek around the globe in 1937. They were last seen in New Guinea where they had stopped before continuing the remainder of their travels. There are many theories as to what happened to the two, but it’s most likely the plane crashed into the Atlantic Ocean and took the two brave souls with it. 

D.B. Cooper

In November of 1971, a man who called himself Dan Cooper was aboard a flight from Oregon to Washington. During the flight, he hijacked the plane with claims he was carrying a bomb on board. He demanded $200,000 in cash and parachutes. He then managed to instruct the pilots to land and let the passengers loose, ensuring workers refueled the aircraft, as well as obtaining the money and items he previously demanded. When over Washington, Cooper fled with his ransom by jumping out of the plane with a parachute.  No trace of him was ever found and nobody truly knows the identity of this mystery man. 

Jimmy Hoffa

Jimmy Hoffa is a name you’re surely familiar with. Hoffa was a man caught up in a slew of messes. Once the International Brotherhood of Teamsters leader, he was involved in organized crime which may have been how he met his assumed demise. 

After his time in prison for charges like fraud and jury tampering, Hoffa attempted to regain control of the organization. His attempts were unsuccessful and he went missing in 1975, presumably murdered by the mafia. Although, nobody knows what really happened to him. 

Natalee Holloway

Natalee Holloway’s disappearance is one of the most well-known cases in modern history. In 2005 Natalee joined her classmates from Mountain Brook High School on a graduation trip to Aruba. She was a beautiful girl who had so much to offer the world, but she would never get to it after she went missing before her flight home on May 30th, 2005. She was last seen getting into a car with prime suspect Joran van der Sloot and two of his friends. 

They denied involvement, but their stories changed over time. Natalee has never been found and has been presumed dead. Sloot wound up being convicted of the murder of a woman in Peru years later, making it very possible he is also responsible for what happened to Natalee. 

Madeleine McCann

The gut-wrenching case of a child gone missing in the night. Madeleine McCann was only three years old when she went missing in the middle of the night.  Her parents, two younger twin siblings, and family friends had taken a vacation to Portugal in May of 2007. 

One night, while the adults dined at a restaurant only 180 feet from Madeleine’s bedroom, her mother went to check on her and found she was missing and the window in the room was wide open. She has never been found, although as of 2022, police in the German city of Braunschweig believe they may have a new suspect in the disappearance of the sweet young girl. 

A Short History of the Morse Code

For a lot of people, knowledge of the Morse code begins and ends at S.O.S. However, Morse code has been tremendously important for international communication. Though the way of Morse code started to die off with the start of the new millennium, almost everyone at least knows of Morse code.

But how did it all begin, and how did it become such a standard for telecommunication? Let’s take a look at the ins and outs in this short history of the Morse code.

Before Morse

In the early 1800s, many countries across Europe were trying to figure out a way to communicate electronically. These early devices used electromagnetic technology that would send messages telegraphically through a single-needle system. Multiple codes were used during this time to see which one would be the most convenient, but it was hard to find the right method.

Enter Samuel Morse

Born in 1791, Samuel Morse spent much of his life as a painter. However, it wouldn’t be his art that he’d become known for well after his death in 1872. Morse teamed up with scientist Joseph Henry and professor Leonard Gale to come up with a new method of telegraphic communication. Even with his background in art, Morse had a good handle on the engineering aspects of how this new system would work. “Science and art are not opposed,” Morse said.

“If the presence of electricity can be made visible in any part of the circuit, I see no reason why intelligence may not be transmitted instantaneously by electricity,” Morse said of the design. 

Morse had introduced new circuits and frequent intervals that extended the reach of the messages he was sending. At first, it was only a couple hundred yards but quickly became several miles that the messages could travel. Morse fought hard for a patent and government support to fund the expansion of his telegraphic system, and within a few years, it was a standard across the northeastern part of the United States.

“It would not be long ere the whole surface of this country would be channeled for those nerves which are to diffuse, with the speed of thought, a knowledge of all that is occurring throughout the land, making, in fact, one neighborhood of the whole country,” Morse exclaimed.

How The Code Works

You may have seen a chart of Morse code before, which shows a series of dots and dashes that represents each letter of the English alphabet. Each of these series is transmitted in the form of electronic pulses and originally would move a stylus to make an indentation. These indentations could then be read as letters, forming words and sentences. More commonly used letters were given the easiest series of dots and dashes to transmit. For instance, the letter ‘A’ is just a dot and a dash, while ‘J’ is a dash, dot, dash, dot.

Use of Morse Code

Before the use of voice transmitters, Morse code became the standardized system of telecommunication. As aviation was starting to become more common, the communication needed to increase and Morse code exploded in popularity. Then, as World War I came around, Morse code was adopted into other languages. Afterward, Morse code would also be used in maritime, including lighthouses flashing in Morse code.

Do We Still Use Morse Code Today?

Morse code isn’t used these days nearly as much as it was at the turn of the 20th century. Each year, voice communication becomes more reliable, making Morse code a bit of a relic. It was all the way up until the 2000s that Morse code was still commonly used, and it does still have some uses, though many of which are a novelty. Still used in aviation and radio historians, Morse code will live on forever. Even the military still flashes lamps and bulbs in Morse code to send signals when voice communications aren’t an option.

What Can You Learn About Your Forebears From The Meaning Of Surnames?

There is a lot that goes into a surname, though many tend to think that it pertains to an occupation that a male forebear had many generations ago. We see common names like Baker, Miller, Draper, Fisher, etc. as a result. However, there are plenty of surnames that are also based on geographical location, personal attributes, clans, and more.

It’s important to note that an estimated 90 percent of surnames in the dictionary all come from Great Britain or Ireland. Let’s take a glimpse into some of those different types of surnames and what they could say about your forebears.

Occupational

The easiest type of surname to trace is the occupational type. These are the surnames that very specifically have job titles in their names, and they are among the most common surnames in the world. Here is the list of the most common occupational surnames and what they mean if it’s not as obvious:

  • Archer
  • Baker
  • Barber
  • Bender (Cooper, or Caskmaker)
  • Butler
  • Cook
  • Draper
  • Fisher
  • Gardener
  • Mason
  • Miller
  • Potter
  • Sheppard
  • Shoemaker
  • Skinner (Skins animals for fur trade)
  • Taylor
  • Weaver
  • Wheeler

In the times when the world’s population was booming, it was important to have a surname to be more identifiable. Occupations were becoming much more common, and selecting a surname after the occupation you had was the easiest route. Of course, the most popular occupational surname of all is Smith, which literally just means ‘worker.’

Geographical

If your surname isn’t based on an occupation, there’s a good chance that it could be a description of the region where your forebears are from. There are some rather common ones, but they may be a bit vague. Surnames like Hill, Wood, Marsh, or any direction (North, West) can you give some sort of clue to a region, but not a specific area.

Then, there are surnames that tell you exactly where your forebears are from. Some of these more common surnames include Ainsley, Aston, Bohm, Chester, Darby, Holland, Janikowski, Kendall, Napoli, Parish, Roma, Tracey, Van Buren, Washington, and York.

Paternal

Let’s say that so far your surname or a hint of it hasn’t popped up yet. There’s a chance that the entirety of your family’s history was given to a man’s first name. For instance, if your surname is Jackson, your family’s surname can be traced all the way back to a man named Jack. There are a ton of surnames that end in -son, almost all of which have stuck around for generations.

It’s hard to say what exactly this means for your forebears. They could have been a commoner or someone with tremendous influence. Either way, here are some of the more popular paternal surnames, whether or not they have -son at the end:

  • Johnson
  • Jones
  • Davis
  • Anderson
  • Jackson
  • Thompson
  • Robinson
  • Roberts
  • Edwards
  • Rogers
  • Peters
  • Peterson
  • Richardson
  • Brooks
  • Sanders

Physical Traits

In the end, there are many people that are given a surname due to a physical trait that one of their forebears had many, many years ago. Think of names like Short, which can either be used to describe someone that was actually very short or ironically given to a tall person. There are also names like Beckett (given to someone with a prominent nose, or “beak”), White, Brown, Klein (meaning small), Russo (given to someone with red hair), or even Strong.

Summary

No matter what your surname is, there’s likely a very specific reason that the name was chosen. Now you know a little bit more about your forebears, with some learning a lot of specifics about their lineage while others are much vaguer. Either way, it’s fun to think about where your family came from and what they’ve accomplished over the years. Just to think, hundreds of years later, a man with a father named Jack was given the surname Jackson, and it has become one of the most popular surnames in the world.

History of the NPI Number

One of the terms we’ve all come to hear at some point in our lives is HIPAA, though not everyone knows what it stands for. HIPAA is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, and it may not be as old as you think. HIPAA was passed in 1996 as a federal law that set standards for protecting private health information. This meant that patients would have to give their consent for any health-related information to be given.

As such, there needed to be a system in place to make sure that healthcare providers could be identified under HIPAA laws. This led to the creation of the National Provider Identifier, or NPI for short. An NPI is a 10-digit number that is used for billing purposes. It helps to prevent the specifics of a patient’s visit to a healthcare provider from being identified, keeping it strictly about the money.

NPI numbers spent years in the making after HIPAA was approved in 1996. On May 23, 2008, the implementation of NPIs went into full effect in what was known as the “final rule.” The rule had been put into place more than four years prior, with most healthcare providers needing to be compliant by May 23, 2007. Penalties weren’t put into the place during that first year, but everybody had to be on board by 2008.

Providers have to apply for an NPI number before they can practice. The number is then used by private insurance companies, as well as Medicare and Medicaid. Prior to the implementation of the NPI, the American healthcare system used the Unique Physician Identification Number, or UPIN. The UPIN was used primarily for Medicare and included only six numbers. This plan took effect in 1985 as part of the COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act) plan but was discontinued when NPIs went into full effect.

So what types of healthcare providers are required to have an NPI number? Here’s a comprehensive list of who has them:

  • Athletic Trainers
  • Chiropractors
  • Clinical Social Workers
  • Dentists
  • Denturists
  • Midwives
  • Nurse Anesthetists
  • Nurse Practitioners
  • Optometrists
  • Pharmacists
  • Pharmacy Technicians
  • Physicians
  • Physician Assistants
  • Physical Therapists
  • Professional Counselors
  • Prosthetists
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Orthotists

Note: Not everyone that works in the healthcare industry will need to obtain an NPI number. This includes orderlies, janitorial staff, etc.

Other Uses For NPI Numbers

When it comes to employers, NPI numbers are only used for transactional purposes. That doesn’t mean that NPI numbers can’t be used in other ways, though. Healthcare providers use it for identification purposes every day, including communicating with other providers, including in prescriptions. Healthcare providers will need to know the full benefits and coverage of each individual’s plan, so it’s important to have an open line of communication that’s avoiding fraud through the use of NPI numbers.

NPIs are used in investigations into fraud cases by the Department of Health and Human Services. There have been instances of people saying that they have received medical attention in civil cases, but provided misinformation including false NPI numbers. These numbers are easily validated, making fraud cases less numerous over the years.

Finding NPI Numbers

There is an open database of NPI numbers that have been registered with the Department of Health and Human Services. The general public is able to access this information online, using an NPI number that was provided or entering the healthcare provider’s information. The database is updated every day as applications are approved, making it easier for people to make sure that their doctors are on the level.

Remember, with the HIPAA act going into effect, you have control over your health records. In the end, you get to dictate who’s able to access this information and how it’s used. The NPI numbers are a result for that, making things safer for all parties.