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Feedback Q&A on Biographies

by Ron Kurtus

Readers have sent in a total of 193 comments and questions on Behavior issues. They are listed according to date.

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List of next 10 letters




Nobel Did incorrect obituary result in Nobel Prize? Australia
Mark Twain Has early picture that looks like Mark Twain Canada
Edison Edison couldn't make it these days USA
Edison Why did Thomas Edison become a scientist? Australia
Archimedes Sketch of Roman water pump USA
Gillette Was Gillette ever married? USA
Churchill Quote from Sir Winston Churchill on wedding USA
Edison Where did Thomas Edison die? Australia
Tesla Tesla birthday celebration USA
Ben Franklin Was Ben honorable enough? USA

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First 10 letters

Did incorrect obituary result in Nobel Prize?

Topic: Nobel


September 26, 2006

i heard a report on the radio that when nobles brother was killed the newspapers actually made a mistake in reporting that he (Nobel) himself had been killed writing the wrong brothers name in the obituary..and that he Nobel was so distressed reading about himself and that all his life had been devoted to destruction basically,and that would be his gift to life....death (dynamite) tha the decided to do the best thing he could to make up by willing his fortune and implementing the Nobel prize!!!is this correct or fabricated..i have read up and cant find this information..i will ring the radio station tomorrow and ask as well..what do you think??? regards

Coralie - Australia



In 1866 Nobel's younger brother died in an explosion working on nitroglycerin. He then worked to make the material safer to use. In 1888, an erroneous premature obituary of Nobel by a French newspaper condemned his invention of dynamite. It is said to have made him decide to leave a better legacy to the world after his death. He didn't make out his will until 1893.

One reference is:

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Has early picture that looks like Mark Twain

Topic: Mark Twain


September 21, 2006

In an early album of cartes de visites,one page has a few celebrities and dated pictures from early to mid 1860s.One looks to be Mark Twain, a little younger than the c1868 photo on u.of virginia site. Who would you recommend to give an opinion? I can Email an excellent close up copy.
Stephen Richards

Stephen - Canada



A good source to check is the Bancroft Library of the University of California in Berkeley. They have a Mark Twain Project with extensive resource on Twain.

See: for contact information. They may be able to help you and would be interested in the picture.

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Edison couldn't make it these days

Topic: Edison


September 9, 2006

In the U.S. today, Edison may not have succeeded.
In the buying up of companies buying up other companies who in turn buy up other companies. The individual inventor has his back up against the wall.
He can either get a job working for the conglomerates or do as Edison, go into business for himself.
Both as almost impossible in the world of business in 2006.
Major corporations have too many creative people trying for an interview to exhibit their ideas, that most, if not all, have set up barriers not to be inundated by them.
This gives too much power to the so called Brokers, who in turn want to become your senior partner in order to have your invention presented to them.
Instead of acting as your rep for a fair reps percentage, they litterely become the owner of the product.
Raising money is a completely different road to travel. Starting up today requires too much capital.
People like me are dead in the water, we are drowning.

George - USA



I agree that it is very difficult for an inventor to get started in business these days. The biggest problem is that often an inventor has the technical skill but not the business or sales savvy. Edison was a salesman and a business man who also had an inventive mind. He was always looking for new ways to make money by improving on existing ideas or inventions. He did not invent the light bulb. He improved it and made it commercially viable.

There are venture capitalists who want to invest in an invention and then reap most of the money. There are others who want to steal others' inventions. The best route for an inventor is to find someone with sales ability and work as a team to get reasonable investors or to market their idea. Steve Jobs was the salesman, while Steve Wozniak was the technical guru that started Apple Computer. Bill Gates was the marketer and while Paul Allen was the technical expert in the beginning of Microsoft.

There are plenty of roadblocks to getting a good invention to market. Do not dwell on the roadblocks. Instead, simply beware of them and be clever enough to work around them.

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Why did Thomas Edison become a scientist?

Topic: Edison


July 15, 2006

why did thomas edison become a scientist?
did thomas edison have any childeren and how much did he have if he didn't why?
does he have a wife and is she alive?
did thomas edison believe in jesus and why?
why di he chose to become a scientist?

maria - Australia



Edison was not a scientist but an inventor and businessman. His first wife died in 1884 and he later remarried. That wife is now dead.

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Sketch of Roman water pump

Topic: Archimedes


May 27, 2006

Hi! My name is rimma tinoco. I 'd like to get drawing (sketch) of actual roman water pump. How can i do that? Thank you for your help.

rimma - USA



The following page has a sketch of a Roman water pump. It is not too good, but that is the only one I know of:

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Was Gillette ever married?

Topic: Gillette


April 15, 2006

hi, I would like to know if King C. Gillette was ever married or had kids, and how accessible was it to customers(how much was it)? thanks


Kalli - USA



Gillette was married to a woman whose maiden name was Watson. they later divorced. I'm not sure if they had children or if he remarried.

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Quote from Sir Winston Churchill on wedding

Topic: Churchill


April 10, 2006

I am getting married in a couple of weeks and I found a wedding album with a quote from Sir Winston Churchill. I believe it was a letter to his wife, I can not find the quote anywhere. Can you help me?

Kelley - USA



You might find the quote in:

Best wishes in your wedding.

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Where did Thomas Edison die?

Topic: Edison


March 29, 2006

where did thomas edison die?

please write back

kate - Australia



He died in his Glenmont estate in West Orange, New Jersey.

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Tesla birthday celebration

Topic: Tesla


March 19, 2006

Hello, Just to let you know. 1. Great article for kids Re: Nikola Tesla! 2. I'am a Board member of the Nikola Tesla Memorial Society I have been asked to contact as many as I can on the upcoming WORLDWIDE CELEBRATIONS FOR THE 150TH. BIRTH ANNIVERSARY OF DR. TESLA MONDAY JULY 10,2006 Perhap's you might mention this on the Tesla article? Thanks Sincerely, Dr. Edson Andre' Johnson dd Founder Globale Energy Independence day(Held here in California each year on Teslas birthdate Jul.10th! To promote Altertaiv energy sources and to honor the memeory of Nikola tesla!) Sunland (A suburb of Los Angeles, Ca.) calif. 818-441-6019.




We will post your announcement of the Tesla event.

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Was Ben honorable enough?

Topic: Ben Franklin


March 18, 2006

ok i have to have 25 notes done by monday telling weather Ben was honorable enough to lie in state or something like but it seems that i can't find enough info. can you help? please send me some info back even if it is just a little bit. thx


ashley - USA



Sorry that this is too late for you. But I don't think I could help anyways.

Whether Franklin was honorable enough to lie is state would depend on who was doing the judging. Some people thought he was very honorable, but there were also some people who didn't like Ben and would be against it. Thus, it really isn't a question that could be answered.

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