Days of Yore

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10 Years Ago

Plokta 6.5 described the scene at Attitude, the 1997 Eastercon, when all that was available for the fan fund auction was the leftovers from previous auctions: "What we came up with was personal services. Yes, we would auction people's personal services for the United Fan Funds. Alison [Scott] solicited a few services from people at the bar to start us off, and, as we'd hoped, more services appeared from the audience as we went on. Bidding was brisk on a variety of different backrubs, foot massages and so on, but many of the services were much more original than that. ...

"Two homebaked cakes from Pam Wells went for staggering amounts of money. Clearly her baking has a reputation. We auctioned a waistcoat as yet unmade by Giulia de Cesare, and a smutty picture drawn to the purchaser's specification by Sue Mason. ... The right to give Naomi Saunders and Lillian Edwards a backrub. ... A personal lesson in the Astral Pole from David Cooper. ... The right to have an extensive campaign of flattery from Mike Siddall for six months. Michael Abbott bid for this, looking devious. In the face of a scheme, Mike (S) bid for the item himself. After he'd bought it at vast expense, Michael (A) revealed that his scheme consisted solely of pretending to have a scheme. ... The final item was the 'Get Out of Pickersgill Free' card. This gave the holder the right not to be sworn at by Gregory [Pickersgill] for a full twelve months. Another whipround bought this for Rob Hansen (absent at Fanhistoricon in Boston at the time) who was deemed to need it more than anyone present.

"Overall, we raised 200 pounds, which isn't bad considering that we had, for the most part, taken a coil of old rope and stood on stage selling lengths."

100 Years Ago

In January 1907, radio researcher Lee de Forest (or possibly DeForest) filed a patent on his audion amplifier, an improvement on John A. Fleming's electronic valve. de Forest's contribution was to add a grid between the cathode and anode, creating what we now know as the triode from Fleming's diode.

1000 Years Ago

Ibn Yunus, the greatest astronomer in the Muslim world, completed the astonomical observations he had been making in Cairo since 990, which would be published in 1007 or 1008 and become known as the Hakemite Tables.

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