Browsing: Science & Technology

A Brief History On August 10, 1628, the brand new Swedish battleship, the Vasa, set sail for the first and last time, sinking all by herself with no help from any enemy after traveling less than a mile!  She was not the largest ship in the world at the time, nor did she carry the most guns, but because she had the most shot, she was the most powerful. Digging Deeper History and Headlines has featured stories about military disasters and “Naval Oops Moments,” and the sinking of the Vasa ranks right up near the top of those blunders.  Built at a time when naval…

A Brief History On July 20, 1304, the forces of King Edward I of England successfully took Stirling Castle during the First War of Scottish Independence.  Although the Scots would ultimately maintain their independence, key to the English victory was the intimidating-sounding “Warwolf,” allegedly the largest trebuchet ever made.  This mighty siege engine catapulted rocks or other projectiles up to 300 pounds and was capable of battering down the walls of any castle.    Digging Deeper Intimidated by the weapon, the Scots tried to surrender the castle, but Edward (known as “Longshanks”) wanted to see the effectiveness of the 300…

A Brief History On July 6, 1947, the aptly named AK-47 assault rifle went into production.  After undergoing military trials in the Soviet Union, it was accepted for general use by 1949.  Today, the AK-47 is still in production in many nations, and about 1 out of every 5 firearms in the world is an AK-47 or a closely related weapon.  Production is 75 million rifles and counting, with AK family weapons accounting for another 25 million. Digging Deeper To put the enormous impact of this iconic rifle into perspective, the most-produced bolt-action rifle of all time, the M91 Mosin-Nagant and its variants, amounted…

A Brief History On June 15, 1991, Mt. Pinatubo on the Philippine island of Luzon erupted with a massive blow.  This eruption would be the second biggest land-based eruption of the 20th century after a 1912 eruption in Alaska. Digging Deeper The massive eruption cost at least 847 people their lives and would reduce the size of the ozone layer in the upper atmosphere and affect global temperature for the next 2 years as evidenced by a 1 degree Fahrenheit drop. Although unassuming and covered in trees, Pinatubo was a sleeping monster, its last eruption having been in 1500 A.D. …

A Brief History On June 14, 2002, an asteroid named 2002 MN passed within 25,000 miles of the Earth.  If that does not sound close to you, it is only a third as far away as the Moon.  (M-O-O-N, moon.)  Good old 2002 MN is what is called a “near earth asteroid,” a heavenly body that comes at least within 1.3 Astronomical Units (AU) of the Earth.  An AU is defined as the distance from the Earth to the Sun. Digging Deeper Asteroids are basically mini-planets, chunks of rock that orbit the Sun in our solar system.  Some are large…

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