Browsing: Science & Technology

A Brief History On June 13, 2018, Volkswagen was fined a whopping billion Euros by the EU in conjunction with an emissions tricking scheme hatched by VW to beat clean air requirements in Europe and the US. Digging Deeper The VW scandal, using special computer programs to falsify emissions testing of their turbocharged direct injection (TDI) diesel engines, is not unique among car companies’ efforts to bamboozle governments and consumers.  Further investigation showed that other car companies had also cheated on diesel engine emissions, including Jeep, Hyundai, Citroen, Fiat, Renault, and Fiat. Another extreme scandal, this time of a deadly…

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A Brief History On June 10, 1947, the Swedish industrial powerhouse, Saab, produced their first automobile, becoming just another of the many failed automobile companies by 2016. Digging Deeper In 1989, the auto making portion of Saab branched off to become an independent company, the parent company, Saab, Saab AB, Saab-Scania, and now back to just Saab again, going through its own multi-identity versions. While the Saab branded cars were kind of quirky, they did have a decent reputation for quality and safety, not unlike their Swedish fellow car maker, Volvo. While the Saab name may no longer grace vehicles…

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A Brief History On June 9, 1928, Australian Charles E. K. Smith completed the first flight across the Pacific Ocean, an enormous aviation first that is often overlooked. Digging Deeper Smith went to the USA, starting with buying his airplane there from a famed polar explorer.  The Fokker F.VII was a monoplane boasting three engines, capable of carrying up to 10 people for 750 miles at a top speed of 130 mph. Named the Southern Cross, the Fokker was modified to carry extra fuel to make the flight from California to Hawaii and beyond. The next stop was Fiji after…

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A Brief History On June 5, 1976, the Teton Dam on the Teton River in Idaho collapsed, a catastrophic failure while it was filling for the first time! Digging Deeper The 3,100 foot long earthen dam soared 305 feet high and was designed to contain over 288,000 acre feet of water.  Sadly, its failure cost the lives of 11 people and over 16,000 head of livestock.  Unsuitable soil used to construct the dam was blamed for the failure. The killer dam has yet to be rebuilt. Far from the worst US dam related disaster, the Teton Dam failure is dwarfed…

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A Brief History On May 31, 2003, Air France retired their Concorde supersonic jet airliners after a career that started in 1976.  Air France had a fleet of seven of the fast jets, while British Airways also fielded a fleet of seven.  An additional six of the so called SSTs were made for non-commercial users. Digging Deeper The first supersonic airliner, the Concorde was costly to operate and to fly on. The only competition ever created was the Russian Tu-144, jokingly called the “Concordski.”  The Russian version of supersonic airliner lasted from 1975 to 1978, although cargo versions remained in…

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