Habeas Corpus

Good old habeas corpus, where would we be without you? The Great Writ. The hallmark of our justice system. Everyone knows it’s proof of our advanced and just society and we’re sure glad we have it, even if most of us have no idea what it is. Not to worry, here’s what you should know. Habeas corpus is a constitutional right that provides protection against unlawful or improper detention. It is from Medieval Latin and means “that you have the body”. The complete phrase habeas corpus ad subjiciendum means “that […]

Why Miranda?

If you grew up with a television in the house, you know what Miranda means. You know that suspected criminals have rights, and police need to read them these rights before questioning them, and they call these the Miranda rights. But who or what was Miranda? Sounds like something you should already know, doesn’t it? The Miranda Warning is given by police in the United States to advise criminal suspects in custody of their Miranda Rights, i.e. that they have the right to have a lawyer present when being questioned […]

Mayflower Society

To round out your general knowledge of this well-known society, you should know that the General Society of Mayflower Descendants, commonly referred to as the Mayflower Society, is an organization of people who can demonstrate that they descend from at least one of the 102 passengers who arrived in Cape Cod aboard the Mayflower in November of 1620. Although there were 102 passengers (and about 30 crew) only 31 Mayflower passengers are currently known to have descendants. Remember they suffered a devastatingly harsh first winter that left only 58 of […]

Colón, Colombo and Columbus

The Spanish know him as Cristóbal Colón. The Italians know him as Cristoforo Colombo the Italian explorer. We know him as simply Christopher Columbus, the guy who “discovered” the New World (while looking for India, but that’s another story). So who is right? Here’s what you need to know. Columbus was most likely born in 1451 in the Republic of Genoa (1005-1797), so perhaps the Italians might be on to something. But consider that Italy didn’t exist until Garibaldi united it in 1871 when Rome became the capital of the […]

Why Knot?

A knot is simply a measurement of speed, one nautical mile per hour. That was easy! But wait a minute, you say, what is a nautical mile? A nautical mile is 1.1508 land miles, or 1,852 meters, or 6,076.1 ft. So why is a nautical mile different from a land mile? In a nutshell, because you can’t walk on water. The term “mile” comes from Latin word for one thousand (mille), as in one thousand paces (mille passus), so a mile could be measured more or less accurately as a […]