Vikings Beware! There Be Scots Here!

Vikings were afraid of SCOTLANDVikings were feared throughout Northern Europe for more than 300 years. The mere mention of these fierce Norse warriors was enough to turn the most battle-hardened soldier weak at the knees. There was one place, though, where even the Vikings trembled and avoided when possible: Scotland. Continue reading

The Man Who Survived Two Atomic Bombs

Tsutomu Yamaguchi survived two nuclear bombs

Tsutomu Yamaguchi could tell you stories about being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

He was working for Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, and on August 6, 1945 his work took him to the city of Hiroshima, Japan. At 8:15 a.m. the sky ignited with the explosion of the first atomic bomb to be used in warfare. The explosion ruptured his eardrums, blinded him temporarily, and left him with serious burns over much of his body.  Continue reading

Houston, We Have a Turd

Apollo 10 floating turd
The crew of Apollo 10, from the left, Eugene Cernan, John Young and Thomas Stafford at the Kennedy Space Center. In the background is the Apollo 10 space vehicle on Launch Pad 39 B. Photo Credit: NASA
Fans of television’s The Big Bang Theory are familiar with the memorable episode where Howard’s space toilet, the Wolowitz Space Disposal System, went horribly wrong and threatened to turn into a waste distribution system. As it turns out, such a scenario was more closely grounded in fact, rather than comedic fiction.  Continue reading

The President with 5 Stars Also Had Wings

President Dwight Eisenhower first president with a pilot license
President Dwight D. Eisenhower

If you are looking for a poster child for “overachiever” you might consider Dwight D. Eisenhower.

This Kansas farm boy rose from modest beginnings to become one of only five Americans to achieve the five-star rank of General of the Army and the only one of those to become President of the United States. (see note below) Continue reading

When Scottish Independence Hung By a Spider’s Web

Robert the Bruce and the Spider

The winter of 1306 found Scotland’s Robert the Bruce on the verge of giving up. Having just been crowned King of Scots on March 25 (and again on March 27) of that year, his fortunes had turned. Instead of sitting on a throne in a castle, he was hiding in a cave on the Island of Rathlin off the coast of Ireland.  Continue reading

The Ultimate Rental House Fixer-Upper

White House Truman renovation

As President Harry Truman’s daughter, Margaret, played the piano one day, she was startled as one leg of the piano suddenly dropped through the floor of the White House residential level. Engineers were called in to see what was going on, and the report was nothing short of alarming.

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Ben Franklin Needed a Sarcasm Sign

Benjamin Franklin proposed Daylight Savings Time as a joke

Benjamin Franklin is credited with some of the greatest ideas of all time. Not only was he the inventor of bifocal glasses, the Franklin stove, and lightning rod, but as one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, his ideas surpassed scientific inquiry and helped create a nation. In fact, so wide were his interests that he spoke into virtually every area of human interest, and the world continues to feel his influence today in the arts, medical science, economics, cartography, and much, much more.

For those countries that observe Daylight Savings Time, Franklin’s influence is often remembered with resentment twice each year as the nation adjusts to Daylight Savings Time. Remembering to change all the clocks is almost as bad as the feeling of jet lag for a few days as the body tries to catch up with the extra or missing hour. We have Franklin to thank for this phenomenon.

The problem is that he wasn’t really being serious.  Continue reading