Category Archives: Misc.

What’s Up With the Very Real ‘Doomsday Clock’?

On January 23, 2020, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, a non-profit research and education organization based in Chicago, moved the hands on its Doomsday Clock forward to 100 seconds to midnight – the closest in its 74-year history. According the Bulletin, this change reflects the growing threat posed by climate change, nuclear proliferation, and misinformation, and the increasing unwillingness […]

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Has Anyone Ever Fired a Gun in Space, Space Cannons, and the Guns Designed for Astronauts?

Space: the final frontier – or, if science fiction is to be believed – the final battlefield. In the land of sci-fi, no self-respecting Starfleet officer on an away mission or scruffy-looking nerf-herding smuggler would dare leave their spacecraft without a trusty phaser or blaster at their side. Even in universes where directed-energy weapons have not yet been invented – […]

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The Tragic Saga of the Real Life Amazing “LEGO Rocket”

Space travel is a pricey business. Even today, the average cost of launching a satellite or other payload into orbit hovers around $10,000 per kilogram. Much of this cost stems from the great complexity of space launch vehicles, which require a great deal of time, money, skilled personnel, and other resources to design, test, and launch. Further complicating matters, different […]

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What Person Has Murdered the Most People Directly By Their Own Hand, And Who Has Saved the Most Lives?

While many a historic leader can be credited with sometimes even millions of deaths via their orders, with perhaps the poster children of this in modern times being the likes of Hitler and Stalin, these individuals themselves only killed in a somewhat abstract way- not by their own hand directly. Which brings us to the topic of the day- who […]

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The Obscenely Successful Obsolete Sailing Ship and Its Daring Captain Who Terrorized the High Seas During WWI

The Great War of 1914-1918 is often remembered as one of the first truly modern, fully-industrialized conflicts, with many now-ubiquitous military technologies such as the aeroplane, the submarine, the tank, and poison gas making their combat debut on its battlefields. But the Great War was also a time of transition, with many older technologies and tactics like cavalry serving alongside […]

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The Mysterious Disappearance of One of the Most Successful Recording Artists of All Time

If I were to ask you which 20th Century recording artist had the most top-ten hits in their lifetime, you might be tempted to guess Elvis Presley, or maybe a member of the Beatles. But no: that honour belongs to Glenn Miller, the trombonist and band leader whose recordings of such classics as “In the Mood,” “Chattanooga Choo-Choo,” and “Moonlight […]

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The Most Disastrous Space Mission Ever

On July 20, 1969, American astronaut Neil Armstrong stepped onto the surface of the moon and uttered the immortal words “That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind,” bringing to a close the decade-long Space Race between the US and USSR. While the Americans beating the Soviets to the moon might seem inevitable in hindsight, this […]

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The Red Devil: The Only Axis Prisoner to Escape from Canada And Make It Back to Germany

During the Second World War, more than 260,000 Allied personnel were captured by the Western Axis powers and held in prisoner-of-war camps in Germany, Italy, and their occupied territories. Their bold and often ingenious escape attempts have become the stuff of legend, including the famous “Great Escape” from the Stalag Luft III camp in March 1944 and countless outlandish breakouts […]

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The Real Q from James Bond and the Ingenious Inventions

The first James Bond novel, Casino Royale, appeared on bookstore shelves on April 13, 1953. Its author, Ian Fleming, had served in British Naval Intelligence during WWII, and based much of his famous super-spy’s world on his own personal experiences. For example, Bond himself was inspired by Fleming’s own personality and tastes as well as numerous wartime intelligence operatives including […]

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Intentionally Swept Under the Rug- The Forgotten and Extremely Tragic Valcartier Grenade Incident

It was a rainy afternoon in July 1974 when the Royal Canadian Army Cadets of D Company filed into a classroom at Canadian Forces Base Valcartier [“Val-cart-yay”], Quebec. The Cadets, all boys aged 13 to 18, were glad for the chance to sit down and relax, having just undergone a rigorous inspection of their barracks and hours of marching drill […]

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Pulling Teeth and Cutting Colons: the Weird Early 20th Century Obsession With Surgically Removing Perfectly Healthy Body Parts

In today’s world of high-tech medicine, it is easy to take for granted the ease, regularity, and relative safety with which modern surgery is performed. For most of human history surgery was a bloody, painful, and dangerous affair. Without the benefit of antiseptic techniques or anaesthesia, surgeons had to work fast, racing against the clock to amputate a limb or […]

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