Browsing: January 13

A Brief History On January 13, 2012, the woes of the cruise lines of the world became as bad as they can get when a giant Italian cruise ship was wrecked off the coast of Isola del Giglio in the Tyrrhenian Sea (part of the Mediterranean Sea to the West of Italy) taking 32 lives in the accident.  The ship, Costa Concordia, was operated by a subsidiary of Carnival Cruise Lines called Costa Crociere and had only been in service for 6 years when she was run aground and lost, joining a long list of miserable cruise ship experiences in…

A Brief History On January 13, 1953, an article appeared in the Soviet newspaper, Pravda (which means “truth” in Russian, obviously some kind of joke…) that accused a large number of Jewish doctors in the USSR of plotting to poison top Soviet communist officials.  The government immediately cracked down on these alleged conspirators, with hundreds of doctors losing their jobs, many being arrested and jailed.  Other people of Jewish origin or bearing a Jewish sounding name were also ostracized.  This travesty of justice was known as “The Doctors’ Plot.” Digging Deeper The anti-Semitic nature of the Soviet Union is puzzling,…

A Brief History On January 13, 1942, automobile pioneer and magnate Henry Ford of the Ford Motor Company patented the plastic automobile.  This innovative car was built mostly of soybean derived plastics around a tubular metal frame, and for good measure ran on ethanol instead of gasoline! Digging Deeper Ford’s futuristic car was not built for production, but later cars would be made of fiberglass and plastic bodies (notably Corvette, Saturn, Lotus and Studebaker Avanti), and today we are seeing increased use of carbon fiber in auto construction.  Henry Ford did not invent the automobile, but his innovations and aggressive…

A Brief History On January 13, 1942, German test pilot Helmut Schenk successfully used an ejection seat in a Heinkel He 280 jet fighter that was being developed for the German Luftwaffe, becoming the first pilot in history to eject from a plane in such a manner.  Thus, the ejection seat became one more of the many technological innovations produced by Nazi engineers during World War II in Germany’s failed effort to conquer much of the world. Digging Deeper The He 280 was never put into service as it came in second to the Messerschmitt Me 262 in the race to become the first…

A Brief History On January 13, 1842, the lone survivor of a British army in Afghanistan staggered into Jalalabad! Digging Deeper Digging deeper, we find Dr. William Brydon along with a British army consisting of 4,500 soldiers and about 12,000 tag along civilians (family and camp followers) leaving Kabul under pressure for the safety of another British stronghold in Jalalabad on January 6, 1842. One week later, only Dr. Brydon was spotted by lookouts at Jalalabad, and he did not look so good!  A portion of his skull had been lopped off and he had a tale of hell to…