Three Mile Island: A History of America’s Worst Nuclear Accident

In 1970, nuclear power was assumed to be the bright future of humanity, providing us with nearly limitless quantities of cheap clean energy for the foreseeable future. Instead, by 1980, nuclear power in the US was dead, and no new plants were being built. Part of the reason was the accident at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania, which remains the worst nuclear accident in the US and the third-worst in the world.

Three_Mile_Island_(color)-2

Three Mile Island nuclear power plant                    Photo from US Dept of Energy

Continue reading Three Mile Island: A History of America’s Worst Nuclear Accident

Skylab and the Sit-Down Strike in Space

It was a one-of-a-kind event: in 1972, during a mission on the Skylab space station, a group of American astronauts, frustrated by an unreasonable work schedule, organized their own version of a sit-down strike in space. They won all their demands, but in the end, NASA had its final revenge.

Skylab4_crew2

The Skylab 4 space strikers.                                                     photo from NASA

Continue reading Skylab and the Sit-Down Strike in Space

Ferdinandea: The Island that Everyone Wanted and Nobody Got

In 1831, four naval countries of Europe–Britain, France, Spain, and the then-independent kingdom of Sicily–argued over ownership of an island in the Mediterranean Sea. An island which lasted less than half a year before vanishing.

ferdinandea

The Island of Ferdinandea, as drawn in the logbook of the first ship to see it.

Continue reading Ferdinandea: The Island that Everyone Wanted and Nobody Got

Forgotten mysteries, oddities and unknown stories from history, nature and science.