Browsing: Science & Technology

A Brief History On October 30, 1961, the Soviet Union detonated the hydrogen bomb Tsar Bomba over an archipelago in the Arctic Ocean in the North of Russia; at 50 megatons of yield, it is still the largest explosive device ever detonated, nuclear or otherwise by humankind! Digging Deeper Roughly a year before the Cuban Missile Crisis threatened to plunge the world into a nuclear world war in which both sides possessed large arsenals of weapons of annihilation, the Soviets showed off their nuclear potential by testing the “Tsar Bomb”. The bomb weighed 27,000 kilograms (60,000 lb) and was 8…

A Brief History On October 21, 1944, Japan began their notorious kamikaze attacks during the Battle of Leyte Gulf, first striking HMAS Australia. Digging Deeper By 1944, World War II in the Pacific Theater had been raging for several years.  While the European War is traditionally dated to have begun in 1939, the Pacific Theater arguably began two years earlier with Japan’s invasion of China.  Thus, Japan had been fighting against myriad enemies for nearly seven years by the autumn of 1944. During those seven years, Japan had rapidly established an impressive colonial empire that at its height seemed to…

A Brief History On October 18, 1356, Basel, Switzerland was destroyed by what may have been the most significant historic earthquake ever to occur north of the Alps. Digging Deeper Basel, Switzerland is currently a city of nearly 200,000 people.  Its origins date back to at least Roman times and possibly even pre-Roman Celtic times.  During its perhaps 2000 odd years history, the town and then city has risen and fallen a number of times due to both man made and natural catastrophes.  For example, in 917 A.D., Magyars (the ancestors of Hungarians) destroyed Basel, eventually burning down notable monasteries…

A Brief History On October 17, 1091, a tornado with a strength thought to be about T8/F4, which means a severely devastating tornado with winds over 200 miles per hour, struck the heart of London, England. Digging Deeper When Americans think of tornadoes, they tend to envision twisters striking mostly flat ground in the American mid-west or accompanying Atlantic hurricanes.  We do not generally imagine tornadoes wrecking havoc on major capital cities of medieval kingdoms.  Nevertheless, on October 17, 1091, one such twister did just that! The London Tornado of 1091 is Britain’s earliest reported tornado.  Although nowhere near as…

A Brief History On October 15, 1863, The H. L. Hunley, a Confederate (the South!) submarine, sank during a test, killing its inventor and namesake, Horace L. Hunley. Digging Deeper The Hunley was NOT the first submarine ever invented and certainly not the first one ever used for military purposes.  The first military submersible was most likely the Turtle invented by David Bushnell in 1775 for use in the American Revolutionary War.  Robert Fulton, another American inventor, invented the leaky Nautilus in 1800 and thus tried unsuccessfully to entice First Consul Napoleon Bonaparte of France to make use of the…

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