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Abbie Hoffman

Abbot Howard Hoffman was an American political and social activist, anarchist, a socialist, revolutionary who co-founded the Youth International Party. He was a leading proponent of the Flower Power movement. Hoffman was arrested and tried for conspiracy and inciting to riot as a result of his role in protests that led to violent confrontations with police during the 1968 Democratic National Convention, along with Jerry Rubin, David Dellinger, Tom Hayden, Rennie Davis, John Froines, Lee Weiner, Bobby Seale; the group was known collectively as the "Chicago Eight". While the defendants were convicted of intent to incite a riot, the verdicts were overturned on appeal. Hoffman continued his activism into the 1970s, remains an icon of the anti-war movement and the counterculture era, he committed suicide by a phenobarbital overdose in 1989. Hoffman was born November 30, 1936 in Worcester, Massachusetts, to John Hoffman and Florence Schanberg. Hoffman had two younger siblings; as a child in the 1940s and 1950s, he was a member of what has been described as "the transitional generation between the beatniks and hippies".

He described his childhood as "idyllic" and the 1940s as "a great time to grow up in." During his school days, he became known as a troublemaker who started fights, played pranks, vandalized school property, referred to teachers by their first names. In his sophomore year, Hoffman was expelled from Classical High School, a now-closed public high school in Worcester; as an atheist, Hoffman wrote a paper declaring that, "God could not exist, for if he did, there wouldn't be any suffering in the world." The irate teacher ripped up the paper and called him "a Communist punk". Hoffman jumped on the teacher and started fighting him until he was restrained and removed from the school. On June 3, 1954, 17-year-old Hoffman was arrested for driving without a license. After his expulsion, he attended Worcester Academy, graduating in 1955. Hoffman engaged in many behaviors typical of rebellious teenagers in the 1950s, such as riding motorcycles, wearing leather jackets, sporting a ducktail haircut. Upon graduating, he enrolled in Brandeis University, where he studied under professors such as noted psychologist Abraham Maslow considered the father of humanistic psychology.

He was a student of Marxist theorist Herbert Marcuse, who Hoffman said had a profound effect on his political outlook. Hoffman would cite Marcuse's influence during his activism and his theories on revolution, he was on the Brandeis tennis team, coached by journalist Bud Collins. Hoffman graduated with a B. A. in psychology in 1959. That fall, he enrolled at the University of California, where he completed coursework toward a master's degree in psychology. Soon after, he married his pregnant girlfriend Sheila Karklin in May 1960. Before his days as a leading member of the Yippie movement, Hoffman was involved with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, organized Liberty House, which sold items to support the civil rights movement in the southern United States. During the Vietnam War, Hoffman was an anti-war activist, using deliberately comical and theatrical tactics. In late 1966, Hoffman met with a radical community-action group called the Diggers and studied their ideology, he returned to New York and published a book with this knowledge.

Doing so was considered a violation by the Diggers. Diggers co-founder Peter Coyote explained: Abbie, a friend of mine, was always a media junky. We explained everything to those guys, they violated everything we taught them. Abbie went back, the first thing he did was publish a book, with his picture on it, that blew the hustle of every poor person on the Lower East Side by describing every free scam current in New York, which were sucked dry by disaffected kids from Scarsdale. One of Hoffman's well-known stunts was on August 24, 1967, when he led members of the movement to the gallery of the New York Stock Exchange; the protesters threw fistfuls of real and fake dollar bills down to the traders below, some of whom booed, while others began to scramble frantically to grab the money as fast as they could. Accounts of the amount of money that Hoffman and the group tossed was said to be as little as $30 to $300. Hoffman claimed to be pointing out that, that's what NYSE traders "were doing." "We didn't call the press," wrote Hoffman.

"At that time we had no notion of anything called a media event." Yet the press was quick to react and by evening the event was reported around the world. After that incident, the stock exchange spent $20,000 to enclose the gallery with bulletproof glass. In October 1967, David Dellinger of the National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam asked Jerry Rubin to help mobilize and direct a march on the Pentagon; the protesters gathered at the Lincoln Memorial as Dellinger and Dr. Benjamin Spock gave speeches to the mass of people. From there, the group marched towards the Pentagon; as the protesters neared the Pentagon, they were met by soldiers of the 82nd Airborne Division who formed a human barricade blocking the Pentagon steps. Not to be dissuaded, Hoffman vowed to levitate the Pentagon claiming he would attempt to use psychic energy to levitate the Pentagon until it would turn orange and begin to vibrate, at which time the war in Vietnam would end. Allen Ginsberg led. Hoffman's theatrical performances succeeded in convincing many young people at the time to become more politically active.

Hoffman was arrested and tried for conspiracy and

Rack railway

A rack railway is a steep grade railway with a toothed rack rail between the running rails. The trains pinions that mesh with this rack rail; this allows the trains to operate on steep grades above around 7 to 10%, the maximum for friction-based rail. Most rack railways are mountain railways, although a few are transit railways or tramways built to overcome a steep gradient in an urban environment; the first cog railway was the Middleton Railway between Middleton and Leeds in West Yorkshire, United Kingdom, where the first commercially successful steam locomotive, ran in 1812. This used a pinion system designed and patented in 1811 by John Blenkinsop; the first mountain cog railway was the Mount Washington Cog Railway in the U. S. state of New Hampshire, which carried its first fare-paying passengers in 1868. The track was completed to reach the summit of Mount Washington in 1869; the first mountain rack railway in continental Europe was the Vitznau-Rigi-Bahn on Mount Rigi in Switzerland, which opened in 1871.

Both lines are still running. A number of different rack systems have been developed. With the exception of some early Morgan and Blenkinsop rack installations, rack systems place the rack rail halfway between the running rails. Today, most rack railways use the Abt system. John Blenkinsop thought that the friction would be too low from metal wheels on metal rails, so he built his steam locomotives for the Middleton Railway in 1812 with a 20-tooth, 3-foot diameter cog wheel on the left side that engaged in rack teeth on the outer side of the rail, the metal "fishbelly" edge rail with its side rack being cast all in one piece, in three-foot lengths. Blenkinsop's system remained in use for 25 years on the Middleton Railway, but it became a curiosity because simple friction was found to be sufficient for railroads operating on level ground; the first successful rack railway in the United States was the Mount Washington Cog Railway, developed by Sylvester Marsh. Marsh was issued a U. S. patent for the general idea of a rack railway in September 1861, in January 1867 for a practical rack where the gear teeth take the form of rollers arranged like the rungs of a ladder between two L-shaped wrought-iron rails.

The first public trial of the Marsh rack on Mount Washington was made on August 29, 1866, when only one quarter of a mile of track had been completed. The Mount Washington railway opened to the public on August 14, 1868; the pinion wheels on the locomotives have deep teeth that ensure that at least two teeth are engaged with the rack at all times. The Fell mountain railway system, developed in the 1860s, is not speaking a rack railway, since there are no cogs with teeth. Rather, this system uses a smooth raised centre rail between the two running rails on steep sections of lines, gripped on both sides to improve friction. Trains are propelled by wheels or braked by shoes pressed horizontally onto the centre rail, as well as by means of the normal running wheels; the Riggenbach rack system was invented by Niklaus Riggenbach working at about the same time as, but independently from Marsh. Riggenbach was granted a French patent in 1863 based on a working model which he used to interest potential Swiss backers.

During this time, the Swiss Consul to the United States visited Marsh's Mount Washington Cog Railway and reported back with enthusiasm to the Swiss government. Eager to boost tourism in Switzerland, the government commissioned Riggenbach to build a rack railway up Mount Rigi. Following the construction of a prototype locomotive and test track in a quarry near Bern, the Vitznau-Rigi-Bahn opened on 22 May 1871; the Riggenbach system is similar in design to the Marsh system. It uses a ladder rack, formed of steel plates or channels connected by round or square rods at regular intervals; the Riggenbach system suffers from the problem that its fixed ladder rack is more complex and expensive to build than the other systems. Following the success of the Vitznau-Rigi-Bahn, Riggenbach established the Maschinenfabrik der Internationalen Gesellschaft für Bergbahnen – a company that produced rack locomotives to his design; the Abt system was devised by a Swiss locomotive engineer. Abt worked for Riggenbach at his works in Olten and at his IGB rack locomotive company.

In 1885, he founded his own civil engineering company. During the early 1880s, Abt worked to devise an improved rack system that overcame the limitations of the Riggenbach system. In particular, the Riggenbach rack was expensive to manufacture and maintain and the switches were complex. In 1882, Abt designed a new rack using solid bars with vertical teeth machined into them. Two or three of these bars are mounted centrally with the teeth offset; the use of multiple bars with offset teeth ensures that the pinions on the locomotive driving wheels are engaged with the rack. The Abt system is cheaper to build than the Riggenbach because it requires a lower weight of rack over a given length; however the Riggenbach system exhibits greater wear resistance than the Abt. Abt developed a system for smoothing the transition from friction to rack traction, using a spring-mounted rack section to bring the pinion teeth into engagement; the first use of the Abt system was on the Harzbahn in Germany, which opened in 1885.

The Abt system was used for the construction of the Snowdon Mountain Railway in Wales from 1894 to 1896. The pinion wheels can be mounted on the same axle as the rail wheels (as in the picture