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March 23, 1983

Barney B. Clark, the first recipient of an artificial heart, dies on this day. The Jarvick 7, an artificial heart made of polyurethane and aluminum, was designed by Dr. Robert Jarvick after years of tests. However, it was Clark, a 61-year-old retired dentist, who gave the Jarvick 7 its first real human trial. Clark successfully underwent a seven-and-a-half-hour transplant operation at the University of Utah Medical Center in December 1982. He survived for 112 days, finally succumbing on March 23, 1983, to complications caused by the implant.

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“(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” is a hit riff-driven rock song written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards for The Rolling Stones and produced by Andrew Loog Oldham. Rolling Stone magazine ranked the song as number 2 on its 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, while VH1 placed it at number 1 on its “100 Greatest Songs of Rock & Roll” list. In 2006 it was added to the Library of Congress National Recording Registry.

The song was first released as a single in the United States in June 1965 and was also featured on the American version of the Rolling Stones album Out of Our Heads, released in July of the same year. “Satisfaction” was a smash hit, giving the Stones their first number one in the United States. In Europe, the song initially played only on pirate radio stations because its lyrics were considered too sexually suggestive. In Britain the single was released in August 1965, and shot to number one in the United Kingdom; it was the Rolling Stones’ fourth UK number one. (The British version of Out of Our Heads, released in September 1965, did not feature “Satisfaction”; it was not standard practice in the United Kingdom at that time to include previously-released singles on albums).

The lyrics of the song include references to sexual intercourse, and the theme of anti-commercialism caused the song to be “perceived as an attack on the status quo”.

Otis Redding, Devo, Gloria Trevi, Alejandra Guzmán and Britney Spears are among the artists who have covered the song.

The song was featured in the 1979 Francis Ford Coppola movie Apocalypse Now.

“For What It’s Worth” is a song written by Stephen Stills. It was performed by Buffalo Springfield and released as a single in January 1967; it was later added to the re-release of their first album, Buffalo Springfield. The single peaked at #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. In 2004, this song was #63 on Rolling Stone’s list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

While the song has come to symbolize worldwide turbulence and confrontational feelings arising from events during the 1960s (particularly the Vietnam War), Stills reportedly wrote the song in reaction to escalating unrest between law enforcement and young club-goers relating to the closing of Pandora’s Box, a club on West Hollywood, California’s Sunset Strip. The song’s title appears nowhere in its lyrics, and many casual listeners likely know it better by the first line of chorus: “Stop, children, what’s that sound? Everybody look what’s going down.”

In 2006, Stephen Stills was interviewed by Tom Kent on his radio show “Into the ’70s” and pointed out that though many people think “For What It’s Worth” is about the Kent State Shootings, it was actually recorded before that event.

“Downtown” is a pop song composed by Tony Hatch following a first-time visit to New York City. It was his original intention to present it to The Drifters, but when British singer Petula Clark heard the incomplete tune, she proposed that if he could write lyrics to match the quality of the melody, she would be interested in recording it.

Thirty minutes before the song was scheduled to be recorded, Hatch was completing the lyrics in the studio toilet. “Downtown” was released in late 1964 and became a best seller in English, French, Italian, and German versions, topping music charts worldwide (with 3 million copies sold in the US alone) and introducing Clark, who had been a popular recording artist and actress in Europe for nearly 20 years, to the American record-buying public. She continued her success in the United States with a string of fifteen consecutive Top 40 hits.

“Downtown” was the first song by a British female artist to top the Billboard Hot 100 chart and went on to win the Grammy Award for Best Rock and Roll Song. It was enrolled in the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2004.

Clark re-recorded the song three times, in 1976 (with a disco beat), in 1984 (with a new piano and trumpet intro that leads into the song’s original opening), and in 1996. In addition, the original 1964 recording was remixed and re-released in 1988, 1999, and 2003. Clark, who in the early 1960s maintained a concurrent non-English musical career throughout Europe, also recorded French, German and Italian versions in 1964. While the German version retained the original title, the French version was retitled Dans le Temps and the Italian version was called Ciao Ciao.

Following 9/11, New York City adopted Clark’s version of “Downtown” as the theme song for a series of commercials encouraging tourism to Lower Manhattan. The song has been used by other metropolitan areas — including Chicago, Indianapolis, and Singapore — for promotional purposes as well.

Lewinsky scandal

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The Monica Lewinsky scandal was a political-sex scandal emerging from a sexual relationship between United States President Bill Clinton and a then 22-year-old White House intern, Monica Lewinsky. The news of this extra-marital affair and the resulting investigation eventually led to the impeachment of President Clinton in 1998 by the U.S. House of Representatives and his subsequent acquittal on all charges (of perjury and obstruction of justice) in a 21-day Senate trial.
In 1995, Monica Lewinsky, a graduate of Lewis & Clark College, was hired to work as an intern at the White House during Clinton’s first term. The two began a sexual relationship.
As Lewinsky’s relationship with Clinton became more distant and after she had left the White House to work at the Pentagon, Lewinsky confided details of her feelings and Clinton’s behavior to her friend and Defense Department co-worker Linda Tripp, who secretly recorded their telephone conversations. When Tripp discovered in January 1998 that Lewinsky had signed an affidavit in the Paula Jones case denying a relationship with Clinton, she delivered the tapes to Kenneth Starr, the independent counsel who was investigating Clinton on various other matters, including the Whitewater scandal, Filegate, and Travelgate.

An interesting article on the Internet, blogging and social networks and children’s attitude towards them.

Nothing, actually. Aside from our panic that the Internet is melting their brains. By Amy Goldwasser.

March 14, 2008 | The other week was only the latest takedown of what has become a fashionable segment of the population to bash: the American teenager. A phone (land line!) survey of 1,200 17-year-olds, conducted by the research organization Common Core and released Feb. 26, found our young people to be living in “stunning ignorance” of history and literature.

This furthered the report that the National Endowment for the Arts came out with at the end of 2007, lamenting “the diminished role of voluntary reading in American life,” particularly among 13-to-17-year-olds, and Doris Lessing’s condemnation, in her acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize in literature, of “a fragmenting culture” in which “young men and women … have read nothing, knowing only some specialty or other, for instance, computers.”

Kids today — we’re telling you! — don’t read, don’t write, don’t care about anything farther in front of them than their iPods. The Internet, according to 88-year-old Lessing (whose specialty is sturdy typewriters, or perhaps pens), has “seduced a whole generation into its inanities.”

Or is it the older generation that the Internet has seduced — into the inanities of leveling charges based on fear, ignorance and old-media, multiple-choice testing? So much so that we can’t see that the Internet is only a means of communication, and one that has created a generation, perhaps the first, of writers, activists, storytellers? When the world worked in hard copy, no parent or teacher ever begrudged teenagers who disappeared into their rooms to write letters to friends — or a movie review, or an editorial for the school paper on the first president they’ll vote for. Even 15-year-old boys are sharing some part of their feelings with someone out there.

We’re talking about 33 million Americans who are fluent in texting, e-mailing, blogging, IM’ing and constantly amending their profiles on social network sites — which, on average, 30 of their friends will visit every day, hanging out and writing for 20 minutes or so each. They’re connected, they’re collaborative, they’re used to writing about themselves. In fact, they choose to write about themselves, on their own time, rather than its being a forced labor when a paper’s due in school. Regularly, often late at night, they’re generating a body of intimate written work. They appreciate the value of a good story and the power of a speech that moves: Ninety-seven percent of the teenagers in the Common Core survey connected “I have a dream” with its speaker — they can watch Dr. King deliver it on demand — and eight in 10 knew what “To Kill a Mockingbird” is about.

This is, of course, the kind of knowledge we should be encouraging. The Internet has turned teenagers into honest documentarians of their own lives — reporters embedded in their homes, their schools, their own heads.

But this is also why it’s dangerous, why we can’t seem to recognize that it’s just a medium. We’re afraid. Our kids know things we don’t. They drove the presidential debates onto YouTube and very well may determine the outcome of this election. They’re texting at the dinner table and responsible for pretty much every enduring consumer cultural phenomenon: iPod, iTunes, iPhone; Harry Potter, “High School Musical”; large hot drinks with gingerbread flavoring. They can sell ads on their social network pages, and they essentially made MySpace worth $580 million and “Juno” an Oscar winner.

Besides, we’re tired of having to ask them every time we need to find Season 2 of “Heroes,” calculate a carbon footprint or upload photos to Facebook (now that we’re allowed on).

Plus, they’re blogging about us.

So we’ve made the Internet one more thing unknowable about the American teenager, when, really, it’s one of the few revelations. We conduct these surveys and overgeneralize — labeling like the mean girls, driven by the same jealousy and insecurity.

Common Core drew its multiple-choice questions for teens from a test administered by the federal government in 1986. Twenty-plus years ago, high school students didn’t have the Internet to store their trivia. Now they know that the specific dates and what-was-that-prince’s-name will always be there; they can free their brains to go a little deeper into the concepts instead of the copyrights, step back and consider what Scout and Atticus were really fighting for. To criticize teenagers’ author-to-book title matching on the spot, over the phone, is similar to cold-calling over-40s and claiming their long-division skills or date of “Jaws” recall is rusty. This is what we all rely on the Internet for.

That’s not to say some of the survey findings aren’t disturbing. It’s crushing to hear that one in four teens could not identify Adolf Hitler’s role in world history, for instance. But it’s not because teenagers were online that they missed this. Had a parent introduced 20 minutes of researching the Holocaust to one month of their teen’s Internet life, or a teacher assigned “The Diary of Anne Frank” (arguably a 13-year-old girl’s blog) — if we worked with, rather than against, the way this generation voluntarily takes in information — we might not be able to pick up the phone and expose tragic pockets of ignorance.

The average teen chooses to spend an average of 16.7 hours a week reading and writing online. Yet the NEA report did not consider this to be “voluntary” reading and writing. Its findings also concluded that “literary reading declined significantly in a period of rising Internet use.” The corollary is weak — this has as well been a period of rising franchises of frozen yogurt that doesn’t taste like frozen yogurt, of global warming, of declining rates of pregnancy and illicit drug use among teenagers, and of girls sweeping the country’s most prestigious high school science competition for the first time.

Teenagers today read and write for fun; it’s part of their social lives. We need to start celebrating this unprecedented surge, incorporating it as an educational tool instead of meeting it with punishing pop quizzes and suspicion.

We need to start trusting our kids to communicate as they will online — even when that comes with the risk that they’ll spill the family secrets or campaign for a candidate who’s not ours.

Once we stop regarding the Internet as a villain, stop presenting it as the enemy of history and literature and worldly knowledge, then our teenagers have the potential to become the next great voices of America. One of them, 70 years from now, might even get up there to accept the very award Lessing did — and thank the Internet for making him or her a writer and a thinker.

I received this video today…