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The First Time News Was Fit To Print, VI

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Let's try this again. I've gone back into The New York Times archives to find the first mentions of a few random subjects.

Times Square
March 23, 1904

Times Triangle, Times Square: New Names for Long Acre Square Suggested by a Reader of This Newspaper
To the Editor of The New York Times:
When the new building of The New York Times shall be completed and become a thing of art and beauty in that section of the city in which it is to stand, why would it not be fitting that the space about the edifice be called "Times Triangle" or "Times Square," though perhaps it may not be a square? It is, it seems, more euphonious than "Long Acre Square," and very soon would become as well known as "Printing House Square" or "Herald Square." No doubt the Board of Aldermen would take up such a suggestion at the proper time and act upon it favorably. Can it not be entertained?

-J.W.C. Corbusier

Mickey Mouse*
November 16, 1930

The Censor!
Although there is no morality clause in the contract of Mickey Mouse, that vivacious rodent of the animated screen cartoons must lead a model life on the screen to meet the approval of censorship boards all over the world. Mickey does not drink, smoke or cut any suggestive capers. Walt Disney, his creator, must be hypercritical of his own work to avoid wounding various national dignities.

mickey_mouse.jpg Recently a Mickey Mouse cartoon was banned in Ohio because a cow, one of the rodent's playmates, was reading a copy of Elinor Glyn's Three Weeks. An austere German censor ruled as follows on one strip: "The wearing of German military helmets by an army of cats which oppose a militia of mice is offensive to national dignity. Permission to exhibit this production in Germany is refused."

Keep reading for Dave Eggers, Marijuana, The Real World and Googling.

Dave Eggers
February 1, 2000

Clever Young Man Raises Sweet Little Brother
by Michiko Kakutani
Dave Eggers's new book, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, is part autobiography, part postmodern collage, a novelistic "memoir-y kind of thing" that tells the sad, awful, tragic story of how the author's mother and father died within weeks of each other and how he became a surrogate parent to his 8-year-old brother, and tells it with such style and hyperventilated, self-conscious energy, such coy, Lettermanesque shtick and such genuine, heartfelt emotion, that the story is at once funny, tender, annoying and, yes, heartbreaking -- an epic, in the end, not of woe, though there's plenty of that too, but an epic about family and how families fracture and fragment and somehow, through all the tumult and upset, manage to endure.
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It's the sort of book David Foster Wallace, Frank McCourt and Tom Wolfe might have written together if Mr. Wallace had never heard of Thomas Pynchon, if Mr. McCourt didn't grow up poor in Ireland but middle-class in the suburbs of Chicago, if Tom Wolfe weren't the sort of writer who wears white suits and ice-cream colored shirts but were a 20-something slacker with a taste for shorts and T-shirts and lots of postmodern pyrotechnics.

Marijuana
November 21, 1926

Marijuana Smoking Is Reported Safe
About a year ago there was considerable comment on the fact that this weed was being grown in the public parks of New York City by a group said to be Mexicans. Sunday newspaper features are still being printed about the fearful consequences of using this allegedly habit-forming and dreadful weed.

just_say_no.jpg An investigation made by a special committee...raises grave doubts as to the effects produced by smoking marijuana...which is the Latin-American name for the hemp and is probably a combination of the names Mary and Jane in Spanish, Maria y Juana.
Some articles by men of supposed scientific knowledge were based on sources other than actual experiment, and the authors of some apparently learned monographs on the use of marijuana had never seen a subject under the influence of the weed, nor did they know of first-hand knowledge of the dire results alleged to be due to its use, according to the committee.

The Real World
March 22, 1992

Barefoot in the Loft: A Real New York Story
by N.R. Kleinfield
realworld.jpgWhat you had here were seven young people living their lives, except for the fact that their activities were being videotaped -- the good, the bad and the humiliating. Starting on May 23, viewers will be able to catch the edited results in a 13-episode weekly series on MTV, titled The Real World....Pretty much anything is fair game, including their excursions to work and outside play. Guests are allowed. MTV is praying hard that someone will fall in love (they're still waiting), and it fully hopes there will be some youthful friction. If someone gets clobbered with a pot, hey, that's real life. All in all, it would be something of a melding of Beverly Hills, 90210 and Biosphere 2.

"Googling"
August 29, 2001

Liberties; The Manolo Moochers
by Maureen Dowd
googlelogo1.gifDating these days involves a lot more preparation than spraying, glossing and gargling. A thoroughly modern young lady might be found Paxiling herself, Googling her date, Bikramming her body and pondering The Offering. She might pop a social-anxiety pill to chill; check to see if her suitor's name pops up on the Internet search engine Google; take hot, sweaty yoga in a 100-degree classroom; and plot the offering, as girls call the moment when they make an insincere effort to help pay the check. In the 70's, splitting the check was liberating. Now it's a test.

Keep the suggestions coming. You can read the first five installments here:
The First Time News Was Fit To Print, I
The First Time News Was Fit To Print, II
The First Time News Was Fit To Print, III
The First Time News Was Fit To Print, IV
The First Time News Was Fit To Print, V

*This is actually the second mention of Mickey Mouse. But the first was in passing and not at all funny.

T.jpgWant complete access to The New York Times archives, which go all the way back to 1851? Become an NYT subscriber.

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FRED TANNEAU/AFP/Getty Images
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Animals
Fisherman Catches Rare Blue Lobster, Donates It to Science
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FRED TANNEAU/AFP/Getty Images

Live lobsters caught off the New England coast are typically brown, olive-green, or gray—which is why one New Hampshire fisherman was stunned when he snagged a blue one in mid-July.

As The Independent reports, Greg Ward, from Rye, New Hampshire, discovered the unusual lobster while examining his catch near the New Hampshire-Maine border. Ward initially thought the pale crustacean was an albino lobster, which some experts estimate to be a one-in-100-million discovery. However, a closer inspection revealed that the lobster's hard shell was blue and cream.

"This one was not all the way white and not all the way blue," Ward told The Portsmouth Herald. "I've never seen anything like it."

While not as rare as an albino lobster, blue lobsters are still a famously elusive catch: It's said that the odds of their occurrence are an estimated one in two million, although nobody knows the exact numbers.

Instead of eating the blue lobster, Ward decided to donate it to the Seacoast Science Center in Rye. There, it will be studied and displayed in a lobster tank with other unusually colored critters, including a second blue lobster, a bright orange lobster, and a calico-spotted lobster.

[h/t The Telegraph]

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Courtesy Murdoch University
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Animals
Australian Scientists Discover First New Species of Sunfish in 125 Years
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Courtesy Murdoch University

Scientists have pinpointed a whole new species of the largest bony fish in the world, the massive sunfish, as we learned from Smithsonian magazine. It's the first new species of sunfish proposed in more than 125 years.

As the researchers report in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, the genetic differences between the newly named hoodwinker sunfish (Mola tecta) and its other sunfish brethren was confirmed by data on 27 different samples of the species collected over the course of three years. Since sunfish are so massive—the biggest can weigh as much as 5000 pounds—they pose a challenge to preserve and store, even for museums with large research collections. Lead author Marianne Nyegaard of Murdoch University in Australia traveled thousands of miles to find and collected genetic data on sunfish stranded on beaches. At one point, she was asked if she would be bringing her own crane to collect one.

Nyegaard also went back through scientific literature dating back to the 1500s, sorting through descriptions of sea monsters and mermen to see if any of the documentation sounded like observations of the hoodwinker. "We retraced the steps of early naturalists and taxonomists to understand how such a large fish could have evaded discovery all this time," she said in a press statement. "Overall, we felt science had been repeatedly tricked by this cheeky species, which is why we named it the 'hoodwinker.'"

Japanese researchers first detected genetic differences between previously known sunfish and a new, unknown species 10 years ago, and this confirms the existence of a whole different type from species like the Mola mola or Mola ramsayi.

Mola tecta looks a little different from other sunfish, with a more slender body. As it grows, it doesn't develop the protruding snout or bumps that other sunfish exhibit. Similarly to the others, though, it can reach a length of 8 feet or more. 

Based on the stomach contents of some of the specimens studied, the hoodwinker likely feeds on salps, a jellyfish-like creature that it probably chomps on (yes, sunfish have teeth) during deep dives. The species has been found near New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, and southern Chile.

[h/t Smithsonian]

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