Browsing: Inventions

A Brief History On May 10, 1967, an experimental “lifting body” aircraft created by Northrup for NASA, the M2-F2, made its 16th and final flight, crashing into the dry lake bed on the desert floor, ruining the aircraft and severely injuring the pilot, Bruce Peterson.  The unfortunate, though spectacular crash, was used as the inspiration for the novel Cyborg, by Martin Caidin, and the television program, The Six Million Dollar Man.  Film footage of the crash of the M2-F2 was used in the opening sequence of the television series! Digging Deeper The horrific crash scene of the M2-F2 rolling over…

A Brief History On May 6, 1941, the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt made its first flight, a maiden flight that would eventually see over 16,000 of the mighty fighter aircraft built, more than any other fighter aircraft produced by the United States in all of aviation history.  (In fact, among American warplanes, only the Consolidated B-24 Liberator (a bomber) was built in greater numbers, over 18,000 produced.)  We have previously discussed great airplanes, including great fighter planes, and the P-47 has a rather large contingent of supporters as the Greatest of All Time (GOAT) when it comes to fighter aircraft, especially…

A Brief History On May 4, 1988, one of those spectacular disasters that can be associated with a space program gone wrong occurred at Pacific Engineering and Production Company of Nevada (PEPCON), a chemical plant only 10 miles from Las Vegas.  A massive fireball and series of explosions caused over $100 million in damage and took 2 lives, while injuring another 372.  The PEPCON Disaster joins many other space and rocket related disasters that have happened while still on Mother Earth. Digging Deeper The plant was one of 2 plants in the US that produced an oxidizer for solid fuel…

A Brief History On April 24, 1918, at the Second Battle of Villers-Bretonneux in Northern France, 3 British tanks met 3 German tanks in the first known instance of tank vs. tank combat in military history.  The battle raged from April 24 to April 27, 1918, as part of the German Spring Offensive (alternately known as the Ludendorff Offensive), a desperate attempt to snatch victory before the Americans could bring overwhelming reinforcements to the fight.  Of course, tanks had already seen battle in World War I, just not against each other. Digging Deeper One of the enduring innovations of World…

A Brief History On April 23, 2005, the video world was treated to the first ever YouTube video, a video created by YouTube co-founder Jawed Karim, under the screen name of “jawed.”  The 18 second video was of the Elephant exhibit at the San Diego Zoo, and was so brief we can include the entire script here: “All right, so here we are in front of the, uh, elephants, and the cool thing about these guys is that, is that they have really, really, really long, um, trunks, and that’s, that’s cool, and that’s pretty much all there is to…

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