Paying homage to one of SC’s fallen

It’s been just a few weeks since Claude Choules, the last combatant of World War I, died at age 110 in Perth, Australia.

In all, some 70 million military personnel were involved in the First World War, 10 million of whom died.

While much of the world rightfully took notice of Choules passing on May 5, marking the end of an era, one also is struck by the vagaries of fate which enabled individuals such as Choules, who enlisted at age 15 and lived nearly a century after the outbreak of the conflict, and others such South Carolinian Theodore Dubose Ravenel Jr., who was likely killed less than 24 hours before hostilities ceased on Nov. 11, 1918.

Ravenel came from Stateburg, the Sumter County community made famous by Gen. Thomas Sumter. Hailing from a well-known family, Ravenel was known throughout the state, according to a newspaper article written about him by The State following his death, and he was acknowledged as Sumter County’s first volunteer following President Woodrow Wilson’s declaration of War in 1917.

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Henry Timrod’s ‘Cotton Boll’

Henry Timrod, a native South Carolinian, achieved recognition just before and during the War Between the States for his poetry.

Timrod died shortly after the terrible conflict of tuberculosis and is buried at Trinity Episcopal Church in Columbia.

He was honored in 1911 when the South Carolina General Assembly passed a resolution instituting the verses of his poem “Carolina” as the lyrics of the official state anthem.

Timrod is often referred to as the “poet laureate of the Confederacy” and, in fact, the London newspaper The Daily Telegraph called him “The neglected laureate of a lost civilization.”

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UAB scientist uncovers 17 Egyptian pyramids

University of Alabama Birmingham scientists employing a new type of infra-red imaging have discovered 17 lost pyramids and more than 1,000 tombs in the deserts of Egypt.

The astonishing results, which also include finding 3,100 ancient settlements, have been confirmed by archaeologists with picks and shovels, who have located two of the pyramids found from space, according to The Telegraph.

For more than a year a team led by Sarah Parcak, an Egyptologist and assistant professor of archaeology at UAB, used a combination of NASA and commercial satellites that orbited above the earth to capture the images of Egyptian antiquities, according to information released by the university.

She was able to uncover sites that had been invisible – including a world of houses, tombs and pyramids. Once the images were discovered via satellite, a team of French excavators confirmed what Parcak saw in the images from space, the school added.

CertusBank to set up HQ in Greenville

Greenville will be the headquarters for a new bank that already has 32 branches in South Carolina, Georgia and Florida, thanks in part to the acquisition of two failed Georgia banks just this past weekend.

CertusBank said it expects to have more than 350 employees in the location eventually.

It will occupy space in a $100 million development unveiled Wednesday for the middle of Main Street in Greenville, according to The Greenville News.

Certus currently conducts business from the Atlanta and Charlotte offices of its parent, Blue Ridge Holdings, and its operations center in Easley, where it acquired CommunitySouth Bank & Trust earlier this year.

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Flash: Facebook photo addicts may be vain

Women who post piles of photos of themselves on sites such as Facebook are more likely to base their self-worth on appearance and use social networking to compete for attention, according to a new study which should surprise no one.

The study involved more than 300 men and women with an average age of 23.

In order to better understand aspects of social networking behavior, the researchers looked at the amount of time subjects spent managing profiles, the number of photos they shared, the size of their online networks and how promiscuous they were in terms of “friending” behavior, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.

The participants completed a questionnaire designed to measure self-worth and were asked about their typical behaviors on Facebook.

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13-year cicadas emerging in SC

After weeks of anticipation, I finally came across my first sighting of Brood XIX, the periodical cycle of cicadas that has been making itself heard from Kansas to the Deep South.

Of course, cicadas are regular visitors to most any wooded region of South Carolina during the spring and summer months, but what makes this year special is the arrival of a species that emerges in massive numbers after 13 years in a juvenile period.

Periodical cicadas are unique in their combination of long, prime-numbered life cycles (13 or 17 years), precisely timed mass emergences, and active choruses, according to the website Magicicada Central, which is chock full o’ information on periodical cicadas.

“Periodical cicadas are found only in eastern North America,” the site says. “There are seven species – four with 13-year life cycles and three with 17-year cycles. The three 17-year species are generally northern in distribution, while the 13-year species are generally southern and Midwestern.”

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State paper resurrects old CN&L Railroad

In a curious corporate transaction that was apparently missed by railroad aficionados and everyone else except a few folks at The State newspaper, the old Columbia, Newberry and Laurens Railroad would seem to be back in service.

More than a quarter century after the historic line was formally merged into what became CSX Transportation, the CN&L has roared back to life, according to the Columbia publication.

A short story in Friday’s State reported that a 52-year-old bridge that “spans C.N. and L. Railroad” three miles northwest of Columbia topped this year’s list of South Carolina’s substandard bridges for the 10th time.

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Felon unimpressed with presidential pardon

Barack Obama hasn’t handed out a lot of presidential pardons – just 17 so far during his two-plus years in the Oval Office. Yet one of the individual’s fortunate enough to have had a pardon bestowed upon him isn’t showing a whole lot of gratitude.

Bobby Gerald Wilson of Summerton was granted clemency by the president for his 1985 felony conviction of having sold alligator hides to undercover federal agents just over the Georgia border from Beaufort County.

Wilson, 61, said he applied for the pardon six years ago under President George W. Bush and had given up hope it would ever be granted, according a story by McClatchy newspapers.

“I waited and waited and waited,” Wilson told McClatchy. “Mine should have been done a whole lot sooner. The crime that I committed was no major crime.”

Translation: Don’t sit up waiting for a thank you note, Mr. President.

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Times eyes claim that 1918 Series was fixed

The fixing of the 1919 World Series by gamblers and the Chicago White Sox – known as the Black Sox Scandal – has special meaning in South Carolina.

One of the eight members of the White Sox banned for life from baseball for purportedly throwing the Series was Shoeless Joe Jackson, an Upstate native who was among the most talented men to ever play the game.

To this day, Jackson’s role in the scandal continues to be debated, with many arguing he was innocent of helping to throw games.

Recently, there has been new scrutiny of the Series held the year prior to the Black Sox Scandal and questions about whether it too was rigged. That championship matchup involved another Chicago club, the Cubs, and the Boston Red Sox.

No documented proof exists, but there are suspicions, largely because the conditions were ripe for a bribe, according to a recent story by The New York Times.

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