Scottish Independence Started with a Broken Axe

History records that Scots won their freedom at the Battle of Bannockburn on June 24, 1314. The battle raged for two days before the heavily outnumbered Scots defeated the professional military of England's Edward II.  The battle could easily have been over before it started. On June 23, as the two armies caught sight of... Continue Reading →

Vikings Beware! There Be Scots Here!

Vikings 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. 800-year-old documents, written on yellowed calf vellum, have been... Continue Reading →

Speedy Pit Stop

Mid-air refueling is impressive by any standard. For two or more aircraft to join together while flying at 300 mph, it requires pilot skill and technological sophistication well beyond average. Among the many impressive things about this feat is how quickly it happens. Modern refueling tankers deploy fuel at a rate of about 6,000 pounds... Continue Reading →

Throw it All Away — But Be Sure to Keep It All

President Ronald Reagan devoted his presidency to combating an ever-growing and intrusive federal government. He recounted his days in the Army Air Force during World War II when he first faced the bureaucratic mindset: "I remember one of my first experiences with government was as an adjutant for an Army Air Corps base in World... Continue Reading →

Athletic Rivalry Taken to the Extreme

Every match between rivaling athletic teams is described in terms of a military conflict, but few expect much more taunts and fight songs to be used as weapons. When soccer fans gathered to watch El Salvador compete against Honduras, an athletic rivalry quickly escalated into an actual military conflict between two nations.  Relations between Honduras... Continue Reading →

At the Pentagon Making Brownies Isn’t as Easy as Pie

When you consider that the Constitution of the United States, at 4,400 words and fitting comfortably on 11 pages, gives the instructions needed to govern a nation of over 300 million people, the following fact seems rather incredible -- until you remember the tendency of government to make things more complex than they need to... Continue Reading →

Radioactive Fallout? No Problem… Just Grab a Paper Towel

The 1963 film About Fallout (watch the film here) produced by the Office of Civil Defense offers helpful advice to anyone who might be concerned about radioactive fallout after a nuclear attack. Among the helpful tidbits are these gems: When possible, rinse the fallout off your potatoes before consuming them. How to open food packages that are covered... Continue Reading →

James Doohan — A Hero in the 20th Century as Well as the 23rd

Actor James Doohan (1920-2005) is mostly known for the 23rd century exploits of his character Montgomery "Scotty" Scott in Star Trek. Less widely known are his heroics in the 20th century -- most specifically during World War II. Commissioned a lieutenant in the 14th Field Artillery Regiment of the 3rd Canadian Infantry Division, Doohan saw his first combat at Juno... Continue Reading →

Together in School, War, and Death

College students have been ditching classes for centuries, but rarely in such numbers as to effect the educational institution. Even the most casual observer would have known that this was no ordinary skipping of classes at the University of Mississippi in May 1861. Out of the 139 students enrolled, 135 left the school on May... Continue Reading →

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