This Day in History: John F. Kennedy Was Born

Today in 1917, John F. Kennedy — the 35th President of the United States, and the first to be born in the 20th century — was born in Brookline, Massachusetts.

Of Irish descent, President Kennedy was the youngest man to be elected President, and was also the youngest to die.

Graduating from Harvard in 1940, he entered the Navy. In 1943, when his PT boat was rammed and sunk by a Japanese destroyer, Kennedy, despite grave injuries, led the survivors through perilous waters to safety.

Having returned from the war, he became a Democratic Congressman from the Boston area, advancing in 1953 to the Senate. He married Jacqueline Bouvier on September 12, 1953. In 1955, while recuperating from a back operation, he wrote Profiles in Courage, which won the Pulitzer Prize in history. Read more about President Kennedy’s life and legacy here.

Aaron Shikler’s iconic 1971 portrait of President Kennedy in a contemplative pose hangs in the cross hall in the central corridor of the White House’s State Floor.

Watch White House Curator Bill Allman tell the story of that portrait, and how it came to be painted:

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Bitcoin Gets ‘Slashdotted’ and the Creation of Mt. Gox

From DIGITAL GOLD by Nathaniel Popper Headphones on and an oversize can of MadCroc energy drink by his side, Martti sat at his dorm room desk, giddy. Slashdot, a go-to news site for computer geeks the world over, was going to post an article about Martti’s pet project. Bitcoin, largely ignored over the last year, was on the verge of receiving global attention. The campaign to get Bitcoin real press coverage had begun a few weeks earlier, not long after Martti finished his three-month internship at Siemens. A new version of Bitcoin, version 0.3, was being prepared for release by Satoshi, and the regulars on the forum saw a perfect opportunity to get the word out. Martti agreed with a […]

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Blockstream Starts Development on the Lightning Network

The authors of the much-discussed Bitcoin Sidechains paper “Enabling Blockchain Innovations with Pegged Sidechains,” released in October, have formed the company Blockstream to develop new ways to accelerate innovation in digital currencies, open assets and smart contracts. In November, Blockstream closed a $21 million seed funding round with nearly 40 investors, including well-known pioneers of the Internet and financial services sectors. The Bitcoin Sidechains paper envisages an ecosystem of “sidechains” separate from the main Bitcoin blockchain but interoperable with it. A sidechain can carry bitcoin as currency, in which case users will be able to seamlessly transfer bitcoin between the sidechain and the main blockchain. At the same time, the sidechain can implement changes from Bitcoin Core. For example, a […]

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Two Bitcoin Companies Make the Fox Business List of 30 Hot Fintech Startups

Fox Business published a list of 30 top fintech startups to watch in the Bay Area. The list includes two Bitcoin companies that offer simple and effective solutions for important real-world problems. BTCjam allows users to invest their bitcoin and earn a high rate of return. This process is secure and allows investors to participate in peer-to-peer lending. BTCjam is also a great place for those seeking loans, and especially for the residents of developing countries without a national credit scoring system who are subject to aggressive predatory lending practices when they need to borrow money from traditional lenders. Using cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, and tapping foreign lenders, helps BTCjam avoid regulatory issues, TechCrunch reported in 2014. “We are one […]

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West Wing Week: 05/29/15 or, “High Fives For Everybody!”

This week, the President donned a yarmulke at Adas Israel Congregation, where he also sang and danced with some preschoolers; marked the first Memorial Day since our war in Afghanistan came to an end; hosted the NATO Secretary-General in the Oval Office; and answered your questions on climate change during a Twitter Q&A in Miami. That’s May 22 to May 28th or, “High Fives for Everybody!”



  • The President greeted rabbis at Adas Israel, one of Washington’s oldest synagogues, to mark Jewish American Heritage Month – and made an impromptu visit to a preschool classroom.
  • The President hosted foreign diplomats for an annual reception in the East Room.


  • On Memorial Day, the President joined 5,000 people at Arlington National Cemetery to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and reflect on the day with the families of those who have sacrificed so much for our freedom.


  • Reporters from all over the world joined the President and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in the Oval Office, following their bilateral meeting.
  • The President teamed up with the Vice President to surprise Vivian Bailey on her White House tour.


  • The EPA announced its finalized Clean Water Rule, after reviewing over a million public comments. The Rule will protect safe and clean drinking water for millions of American families.


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