Browsing: Science & Technology

A Brief History On September 1st, 1914, Martha, the last known passenger pigeon, was found dead in her cage by her keepers at the Cincinnati Zoo. Digging Deeper Now extinct, passenger pigeons were once the most abundant bird in the entire world.  Native to North America, it is estimated that there were 3-5 billion of them when Europeans first arrived.  Today their closest living relative is the smaller mourning dove. Their demise was caused by deforestation and the commercialization of their meat.  Losing more and more of their natural habitat, they were easy game for hunters. Their numbers already dwindling…

A Brief History On August 27, 1939, the first jet aircraft, the Heinkel He 178, made its first flight.  Since this airplane did not make it to regular production, many people may not be familiar with it.  Many pioneering events in aviation history are relatively unknown, at least to the lay public.  Here 10 such machines or deeds that represent firsts in aviation history are listed (Only fixed-wing, powered flights are being considered in this list.)  Which events or equipment would you add to the list? Digging Deeper 10. 1st Powered Flight, 1890. No, it was not by the Wright brothers!  They did, however, make the first “controlled” powered flight in 1903 for a whopping…

A Brief History On August 26, 1883, the Indonesian volcano Krakatoa began its 2-day eruption that was so massive the its effects were felt around the world.  Krakatoa is also the name of the island the volcano is situated on.  The explosive eruption was so great that 2/3 of the island is no longer there. Digging Deeper Prior to the eruption, the island was about 9 kilometers long by 5 kilometers wide.  After the eruption, the remaining island was only 3 kilometers long by 5 kilometers wide.  The mighty blast was heard by people as much as 3,000 miles away.  There were 4 main explosions, and…

A Brief History On August 25, 1835, the New York newspaper The Sun published the first of 6 articles about alleged new scientific discoveries concerning the moon, specifically that a civilization had been found thriving there.  People bought the newspapers in eager anticipation of each new report about this fabulous discovery.  Throughout history people have been fooled by tricksters that perpetrate hoaxes, sometimes for profit, sometimes just for fun.  Here 10 of those hoaxes are listed.  What other hoaxes would you include?  Digging Deeper 10. Cardiff Giant, 1869. In an effort to make fun of Biblical references to giants, George Hull,…

A Brief History On August 22nd, 1902, Helene “Leni” Riefenstahl was born in Berlin, Germany.  Thirty years later she would meet Adolf Hitler, the man who helped her become the greatest female filmmaker of the 20th century, but that association would nearly destroy her as well. Digging Deeper A talented teenager, Leni (pronounced “Lay-Nee”) was enrolled in dance and ballet classes.  She gained a reputation on the Berlin dance circuit and became a popular entertainer.  Injuries to her feet and knees, however, threatened the future of her dancing career, so she transitioned into acting.  She went on to have a prolific run as…

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