Well it is the fourth of July and the birthday of the United States of America in 1776 and this day just happens to be the birthday of one President (Calvin Coolidge, 1972) and the day of death of three Presidents of that country (John Adams and Thomas Jefferson in 1826 and James Monroe in 1831).
There are also a host of other events in the United States that this day marks. The Louisiana Purchase in 1803 from the French for example in which 15 mid-western states were added to the country. The list goes on and on but I know that better writers have written on these matters so my gaze turns elsewhere.
In 1054 on this day, humans around the world watched a massive star die. The star has been named; SN 1054 and its dramatic death-throws could be seen for most of the rest of the year. It was the brightest object in the sky for at least 2 years. The star was something around 4 light years away which means that it actually died four years earlier and the light of that explosion only reached us in 1054.
Today the remains of SN 1054 is known as the crab nebula and it contains a pulsar which emits a very regular pulse of light 30 times per second, like a very fast lighthouse beam. The regularity and precision of pulsars such as the crab nebula pulsar allows astronomers to map stars in our galaxy very accurately.
Can we think of the United States as a sort of political pulsar? A distant source of light. The remnants of a collapsed colony which emits very predictable narratives of power and empire. A lighthouse beam that allows us to map the political geography of our global civilization.
– Posted by Douglas Racionzer (serendipiday.blogspot.com)