SATURDAY, MAY 30th, 2015
The nation’s first daily newspaper, the short-lived Pennsylvania Evening Post, began publication on this date in 1783,
printed by Benjamin Towne in Philadelphia. Americans’ hunger for news was such that by 1850, there were some
250 dailies. The number of newspapers peaked around a hundred years ago, when there were 2,600 dailies published
across the nation, with a circulation of over 24 million. Today, the number of daily newspapers in the U.S. has dropped
to around 1,330. In the year 2000, there were almost 56 million daily subscribers. Within a decade, that number dropped
by 10 million. The publishers
SUNDAY, MAY 31st, 2015
Sunday, May 31st. One of the worst calamities to hit the U.S. happened on this date in 1889 — the Johnstown, Pennsylvania
Flood. Torrential rains caused a nearby artificial lake to spill over and weaken its earthen dam. When the dam broke,
it unleashed 20 million tons of water in a giant wave that roared through Johnstown, killing more than 2,300 men, women
and children, and destroying the homes of thousands more. The flood remains one of the nation’s most costly, single
weather-related disasters. While tornadoes often take more lives, flooding is a constant threat to life. An annual average
of 85 deaths occurred in the years between 1984 and 2013. Johnstown has been spared since 1977, when 85 died.
Currently, almost 21,000 people make Johnstown their home.
MONDAY, JUNE 1st, 2015
The first public phone booth was installed on this date in 1880 in New Haven, Connecticut, just four years after the
telephone was invented. These first public telephones were supervised by attendants, while those operated by coins
came along nine years later. Today, it’s rare to see a pay phone beyond transportation terminals, but the latest models
have computer-like features, and worldwide, some booths are converting to wireless fidelity hot spots. Now, almost
98 percent of U.S. households have telephone service, and the number of Americans using cell phones doubled to about
70 percent from 1998 to 2005 and to around 90 percent more recently. Smartphone ownership surged from 35 percent
four years ago to around 64 percent today.