Straight and narrow are, perhaps, highly relative.

I've visited Niagara Falls twice. It's a very impressive natural wonder, though it seems that quite a bit of behind the scenes work has to be devoted toward creating, or at least maintaining, the impression of "natural". It would seem, however, that there's only so much time that tourists can devote to observing a natural wonder - if you're going to make the trip to the falls, you're apparently going to want more than just lots of water gushing over them. One of those "mores" is a tightrope walk over the falls, and it was on this day, in 1859, that the first crossing of Niagara Falls on a tightrope was executed. The feat was accomplished by Jean Francois Gravelot, better known by his stage name of The Great Blondin. Since then, many have attempted, and succeeded, this same trick, though if the summer of 2007 is any indication, these two different marvels - the waters themselves, and the ability to traverse a tightrope - have been somewhat separated. While visiting this past summer a tightrope artist performed the feat of walking a rope stretched between two hotels, rather that over the waters themselves.

Forty-six years later, in 1905, Albert Einstein published four ground-breaking articles, the third of which "On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies" was published on this day. It was in this article that Einstein first established the concept of special relativity. Though I've never seen such a claim made in any of the (admittedly limited) scientific discussions I've read of these papers, a good case can be made to show that Einstein's four articles that year represent a scientific tour de force that might be considered a tightrope walk above what was then the accepted understanding of physics.

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