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Vinoth Kumar

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Boston Philosophical Society

In 1683, the Boston Philosophical Society held its first meeting.* Rev. Increase Mather, stimulated by a recent comet sighting, and seeking to discuss how God intervenes in the natural order of things, had met earlier in the month with Samuel Willard and a few others to plan the group. Mather's idea was to model their meetings on the Royal Philosophical Society, established in London about 20 years earlier. Each last Monday of most of the following months, the members met and presented papers to emulate the transactions of the London society. However, the few local intellectuals didn't sustain interest in the society beyond about three years. Mather wrote Kometographia, or, A Discourse concerning Comets (1683).«[Image: Rev. Increase Mather]

NASA Mars Mission

NASA was interviewing professionals they were planning on sending to Mars. The touchy part was that only one guy could go and it would be a one way trip, the guy would never return to Earth.

The interviewer asked the first applicant, an engineer, how much he wanted to be paid for going.

"One million dollars," the engineer answered. "And I want to donate it all to my alma mater -- Rice University."

The next applicant was a doctor, and the interviewer asked him the same question.

"Two millions dollars," the doctor said. "I want to give a million to my family and leave the other million for the advancement of medical research."

The last applicant was a lawyer. When asked how much money he wanted, he whispered in the interviewer's ear, "Three million dollars."

"Why so much more than the others?" the interviewer asked.

The lawyer replied, "You give me three million, I'll give you one million, I'll keep a million, and we'll send the engineer."

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