Browsing: July 18

A Brief History On July 18, 64 AD, the center of Western Civilization, city of Rome, capital of the Roman Empire, suffered an enormous fire that devastated the city and burned for 6 days.  Contrary to popular myth, Emperor Nero could not have been fiddling during this event as the violin was not invented until the 1500’s! Digging Deeper Actually, Nero’s enemies accused him of sending out teams of agents pretending to be drunk to start fires around the city, and then as the story goes, Nero calmly played the Lyre (an old time stringed instrument) while the fires raged. …

A Brief History On July 18, 1942, German aeronautical engineers reached a milestone in aviation history when the twin jet powered Messerschmitt Me 262 made its first flight under jet power.  Initial flights of the soon to be first successful jet warplane had been made with a regular propeller driving engine mounted on the nose of the prototype in order to test the airframe. Digging Deeper The Me 262 Swallow (“Schwalbe” in German) would become operational in April of 1944, much to the chagrin of Allied pilots.  The Me 262 boasted a top speed of 559 mph, more than 100…

A Brief History On July 18, 1969, Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts, possibly the next Democratic presidential nominee, drove his Oldsmobile off a bridge over Chappaquiddick Creek, killing his passenger, a young woman not his wife.  This scandal mixing a woman and booze may well have cost Kennedy a chance to ever earn the Democratic presidential nomination that he felt was his.  Many times over the years famous politicians have tainted their legacies by sexual scandal, and here we list 10 of the most egregious and most famous indiscretions.  Which ones would you add to the list? Digging Deeper 10. John Profumo,…

A Brief History On July 18, 1984, hungry customers of the San Ysidro, California McDonald’s got more than they expected when a gunman began shooting people.  (San Ysidro neighborhood of San Diego.) Digging Deeper In yet another case of the mental health system failing the patient and the public, 41 year old James Huberty was feeling as if he needed mental help, and his wife suspected he may have been mentally ill.  Huberty called a local mental health facility and was promised a prompt call back, but when he had waited for hours beside the phone and no return call…

A Brief History On July 18, 1942,  the Messerschmitt Me 262 Schwalbe (Swallow in English) made its first test flight using its jet engines.  Initial test flights had been conducted using a conventional piston powered engine and a propeller.  Roughly three years after the 1942 test flight, German fighter pilot Hans Guido Mutke (1921–2004) made the controversial claim that he broke the sound barrier in 1945 in an Me 262, although mainstream opinion continues to regard Chuck Yeager as the first person to achieve this milestone in 1947 in a Bell X-1. Digging Deeper German jet engine development had lagged due…