TIME Science

A Sheep, a Duck and a Rooster in a Hot-Air Balloon — No Joke

Ascent in captive hot air balloon made by Pilatre de Rozier, Paris, 11 October 1783 (1887). Artist: Anon
Illustration of a Jean-Francois Pilatre de Rozier flight from 'Histoire des Ballons' by Gaston Tissandier Print Collector / Getty Images

Nov. 21, 1783: Two men take flight over Paris on the world’s first untethered hot-air balloon ride

Before subjecting humans to the unknown dangers of flight in a hot-air balloon, French inventors conducted a trial run, sending a sheep, a duck and a rooster up in the air over Versailles.

Anyone who was anyone in pre-revolution France came out for the September 1783 demonstration in the courtyard of the royal palace. According to Simon Schama, the author of Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution, the spectators included King Louis XVI, his wife Marie Antoinette and 130,000 French citizens who, six years before returning to the palace to riot over the scarcity of bread, were drawn by sheer curiosity over how the animals would fare in the balloon’s basket.

The eight-minute flight, which ended in the woods a few miles from the palace, didn’t seem to do the barnyard trio any harm, Schama writes: “‘It was judged that they had not suffered,’ ran one press comment, ‘but they were, to say the least, much astonished.’”

The public was similarly astonished when, on this day, Nov. 21, two months after the sheep and fowl made their historic trip, two eminent Frenchmen went aloft themselves in the world’s first untethered hot-air balloon ride.

Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier, a chemistry and physics teacher, and the Marquis d’Arlandes, a military officer, flew nearly six miles, from the center of Paris to the suburbs, in 25 minutes. This time, Benjamin Franklin was among the spectators, according to Space.com. He later marveled in his journal about the experience, writing, “We observed [the balloon] lift off in the most majestic manner. When it reached around 250 feet in altitude, the intrepid voyagers lowered their hats to salute the spectators. We could not help feeling a certain mixture of awe and admiration.”

It was more than a century before the Wright brothers lifted the first powered airplane off the ground in 1903, and more than two centuries before another pair — a Swiss psychiatrist and a British balloon instructor — circumnavigated the globe in an air balloon in a record-breaking 20 days. This first balloon, rather delicately constructed of paper and silk, and requiring a large supply of fuel to stoke the fire that kept it aloft (but also threatened to burn it down), likely wouldn’t have made it so far.

There were still a few bugs to work out in this novel form of flight. The inventors themselves didn’t quite grasp the physics that made the balloon rise, believing that they had discovered a new kind of gas that was lighter than air. In fact, the gas was air, just hotter and therefore lighter than the air surrounding it.

Experimenting with different gases ultimately led to the demise of one of the intrepid voyagers aboard the first balloon flight. Pilâtre de Rozier was killed two years later while attempting to cross the English Channel in a balloon powered by hydrogen and hot air, which exploded.

Read about the 1999 balloon trip around the world, here in the TIME Vault: Around the World in a Balloon in 20 Days

TIME Syria

French Citizen Identified in ISIS Execution Video

More than 1,600 French nationals are involved with ISIS

France identified one of its citizens Monday as an executioner in the latest ISIS video showing the beheading of an American hostage.

A prosecutor in Paris identified him as Maxime Hauchard, 22, a convert to Islam whom French authorities have been tracking for years. He recently posted pictures of himself in fatigues in Syria. He also gave an interview to a French television network in July and claimed part of the credit for ISIS’ capture of the Iraqi city of Mosul.

Hauchard converted at 16 and has a felony conviction for driving without insurance, said the prosecutor, Francois Molins. He attended an…

Read the rest of the story from our partners at NBC News

TIME

Suspect in Paris Synagogue Bombing Extradited to France

Hassan Diab
Hassan Diab, the Ottawa professor who has been ordered extradited to France by the Canadian government, listens to his lawyer speak at a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, April 13, 2012. Patrick Doyle—AP

Canadian university professor Hassan Diab arrived in France Saturday

A Canadian university professor has been extradited to France and charged with first-degree murder for his alleged role in a deadly 1980 bombing outside a synagogue in Paris.

Hassan Diab landed at Charles De Gaulle airport in Paris on Saturday morning, the BBC reports, and was transferred to a Paris courthouse to face charges.

Diab, who was born in Lebanon, is the main suspect in the 1980 Rue Copernic bombing which killed four people and injured dozens. Diab fought for six years to remain in Canada until the Canadian Supreme Court approved his extradition on Thursday.

The 60-year-old sociology professor said his failed bid was “a very sad day for me, my family and supporters, and the state of extradition law in Canada.”

Diab will be presumed innocent until proven guilty, the French embassy in Ottawa said.

[BBC]

TIME Food & Drink

French Wine Council Explores Use of Drones to Detect Vine Diseases

wine vineyard
Getty Images

One of those diseases is the wood-rotting affliction known as esca, which is an increasing concern for winemakers in France

decanter-logo

This article originally appeared on Decanter.

An alliance of Burgundy’s wine council, Airbus air defense engineers and Bordeaux wine magnate Bernard Magrez have agreed funding to test the use of drones to detect killer vine diseases.

The consortium plans to spend up to €1.7m during the second phase of its drone project, named Damav and set to last 36 months, according to Burgundy’s wine trade body, the BIVB. It will be part-financed by the French state, with drones supplied by Novadem.

‘It’s not science fiction,’ said the consortium. ‘Images obtained using drones and interpreted using sophisticated analysis systems will, in the near future, constitute a key instrument of diagnosis for growers.’

Cecile Mathiaud, spokesperson for the BIVB, said the group’s next challenge is to ‘make sure that what the drone sees can be analysed to get results, and to get better results than with the human eye. That would stop winemakers from having to check every single vine.’

The project’s second phase follows ‘promising’ initial trials to detect the early signs of flavescence doree disease; a relatively new vine illness that has no known cure and is currently at the centre of a bitter court battle between one biodynamic winemaker and French officials.

‘Flavescence doree is what everybody talks about right now, but this may help with other diseases, too,’ said Mathiaud.

One of those diseases is the wood-rotting affliction known as esca, which is an increasing concern for winemakers in France. Early detection is key to limiting the damage wreaked by vine diseases. There is currently little effective treatment for flavescence doree or esca.

In January this year, Bernard Magrez, who is also part of the alliance, said he would begin using drones to analyse vines in his four classified estates in Bordeaux.

Separately, the BIVB is also part of a second consortium that is researching ways to stimulate vines’ natural defences against disease, without resorting to chemical sprays. That project is also set to last 36 months, with a budget of €1.7m.

More from Decanter:

TIME France

Soldiers Join Hunt for Tiger on the Loose Near Disneyland Paris

A picture taken by a passerby shows an alleged tiger on the loose walking in Montevrain, east of Paris, on Nov. 13, 2014.
A picture taken by a passerby shows an alleged tiger on the loose walking in Montevrain, east of Paris, on Nov. 13, 2014. Julie Berdeaux—AFP/Getty Images

Residents of Montevrain warned to stay inside

Soldiers have joined the hunt for a young tiger that was spotted on the loose near Disneyland Paris and was later seen crossing a highway, officials said Friday. About a dozen troops were tapped to help scores of French police officers armed with tranquilizer guns look for the elusive creature. Residents of Montevrain, about 25 miles east of Paris, were warned to stay inside until the big cat was caught.

Believed to weigh about 100 pounds, the tiger was initially spotted Thursday by a local woman. Her husband told reporters that it was a shock. “She was a bit scared,” he said.

Read the rest of the story from our partners at NBC News

TIME France

Tiger Seen Roaming Streets Near Paris

It was located after a two hour search

A tiger was spotted on the loose on Thursday morning in a town just outside Paris.

Local and national police, alongside firefighters, immediately launched a major search involving helicopters and tasers in Montévrain. The tiger was found around two hours later

The wife of a supermarket owner in Montévrain was the first to see the tiger from the supermarket parking lot at 8:30am local time. She called her husband to say she thought she had seen a lynx and took a photograph, which the couple then showed to municipal authorities.

It’s not yet clear where the animal came from, although the Mayor’s Office said they ruled out the theory that it came from a circus that was based in Montévrain until last Saturday. Police said that no tiger was present during the circus health inspection.

[Le Parisien]

 

 

TIME France

Historic Haberdashery: Napoleon’s Hat for Sale

(PARIS) — Napoleon Bonaparte’s famous bicorn hat is up for auction and on display next to the chateau where the French general lived when he wasn’t leading troops into battle across Europe.

The black felt is a little weathered by age and use — though no one’s actually worn the hat since Napoleon’s cavalry veterinarian, who apparently received it from the leader as a gift.

Auctioneers are hoping to fetch 500,000 euros ($623,000) for it. The hat is part of a Napoleonic collection belonging to Monaco’s royal family, which is distantly related to him. In a note accompanying the catalog, Prince Albert II said the family decided to sell the items of the collection as part of the restoration of the palace “rather than see them remain in the shadows.”

Also for sale from the collection are dozens of medals, decorative keys, documents, a jeweled sword, a Russian caviar spoon and a bronze eagle that once perched atop a battle flag, complete with bullet holes.

“It’s the first time a veritable museum is going under the hammer,” said Jean-Pierre Osenat, head of the auction house in Fontainbleau.

Osenat said only 19 of Napoleon’s 120 hats have survived, and only two of those are in private hands. Prince Albert’s great-grandfather, Louis II, bought it directly from the vet’s descendants, Osenat said. The hat is famously depicted in paintings of Napoleon on the battlefield pitched to the side, and counter to the fashion of the day.

“He understood at that time that the symbol was powerful,” said Alexandre Giquello, who works at the auction house. “On the battlefields, his enemies called him ‘The Bat’ because he has that silhouette with this hat.”

TIME France

French President François Hollande May Not Stand for Re-Election

France President Hollande
French President François Hollande poses on a TV set prior to the start of a French channel TF1 broadcast show, in Aubervilliers, outside Paris, on Nov. 6, 2014 Martin Bureau—AP

He cites his failure to temper the nation's spiraling unemployment during his term in office

France’s President François Hollande said Thursday that he may not stand for re-election in 2017 if he fails to cut unemployment by the end of his term.

“If I cannot manage it by the end of my term in office, do you really think I would go before the French in 2017?” he said in a televised interview with French TV channel TF1.

Hollande admitted that it was a mistake to promise that he could bring down the rise in joblessness, which currently stands at 11%.

But the 60-year-old vowed to “go to the end” to reform France’s weak economy.

A poll released Thursday shows the Socialist Party leader has an approval rating of just 12%.

TIME World War II

Before and After D-Day: Color Photos From England and France

Masterfully restored color photos from England and France in 1944 that feel at-once familiar and utterly new

It’s no mystery why images of unremitting violence spring to mind when one hears the deceptively simple term, “D-Day.” We’ve all seen — in photos, movies, old news reels, and usually in grim black-and-white — what happened on the beaches of Normandy (codenamed Omaha, Utah, Juno, Gold and Sword) as the Allies unleashed their historic assault against German defenses on June 6, 1944.

But in color photos taken before and after the invasion, LIFE magazine’s Frank Scherschel captured countless other, lesser-known scenes from the run-up to the onslaught and the heady weeks after: American troops training in small English towns; the French countryside, implausibly lush after the spectral landscape of the beachheads; the reception GIs enjoyed en route to the capital; the jubilant liberation of Paris itself.

As presented here, in masterfully restored color, Scherschel’s pictures — most of which were never published in LIFE — feel at-once profoundly familiar and somehow utterly, vividly new.

[See all of LIFE's galleries]

[Buy the LIFE book, D-Day: Remembering the Battle that Won the War — 70 Years Later]

A note on the photographer: Frank Scherschel (1907-1981) was an award-winning staff photographer for LIFE well into the 1950s. His younger brother Joe was a LIFE photographer, as well.

In addition to the Normandy invasion, Frank Scherschel photographed the war in the Pacific, the 1947 wedding of Princess Elizabeth, the 1956 Democratic National Convention, collective farming in Czechoslovakia, Sir Winston Churchill (many times), art collector Peggy Guggenheim, road racing at Le Mans, baseball, football, boxing, a beard-growing contest in Michigan and countless other people and events, both epic and forgotten.

Finally: Information on the specific locations or people who appear in these photographs is not always available; Scherschel and his colleagues simply did not have the means to provide that sort of data for every single one of the countless photographs they made throughout the war. When the locale or person depicted in an image in this gallery is known, it is noted in the caption.

TIME Comics

Bill Watterson Drew a New Comic, and It’s Really Funny

WATTERSON
Bill Watterson, creator of the syndicated cartoon strip "Calvin & Hobbes" is shown in this Feb. 24, 1986 file photo at his home in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. C.H. Pete Copeland—The Plain Dealer/AP

The 15-panel comic was created by Watterson for France's 2015 Angoulême International Comics Festival

Bill Watterson, the reclusive cartoonist behind Calvin and Hobbes, has created a new comic. But don’t go looking for it in your local newspaper.

Watterson’s latest strip was created in celebration of France’s 2015 Angoulême International Comics Festival. In 2014, Watterson received the Grand Prix award at the festival, its highest honor, for his esteemed comic about an imaginative little boy named Calvin and his wise stuffed tiger Hobbes. Since retiring the cartoon in 1995, Watterson rarely illustrates strips. One exception is a poster he drew for the recent comic strip documentary, Stripped.

In an interview, Watterson said he drew his latest comic without text in order to break any language barriers. “Telling a story only in pictures is one of the great strengths — and greatest pleasures — offered by comics,” Watterson said.

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