In January 1942, Japan was riding high. It had control of most of the Pacific, and its attack on the US Navy at Pearl Harbor had been a severe blow. But Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, commander of the Japanese Navy, knew that he had not won yet. He needed some way to take the battle to the American mainland, to terrorize the American people and convince them that negotiating a peace was preferable to a long and bloody war.
The method he chose to attack the US mainland was one of the oddest ships ever built–the aircraft-carrier submarine.
Seiran bomber on display at the Smithsonian collection.
Continue reading Japan’s WW2 Submarine Aircraft Carrier
Launched in June 2003, the Beagle 2 Mars probe was intended to put British science back onto the world’s scientific map, by searching Mars for signs of present or past life. But things didn’t quite turn out as planned . . .
The Mars probe Beagle 2, in the London Museum of Science.
Continue reading The Beagle Hasn’t Landed: The Story of the British Mars Probe “Beagle 2”
If you’ve been to Florida, then you’ve seen Laughing Gulls. The large raucous flocks with their distinctive high-pitched “laugh” are found virtually everywhere–at the beach, in parking lots, at the parks, wheeling around in the sky–begging for tidbits (and actively stealing food) from tourists. Toss a few french fries on the ground, and you’re likely to be mobbed by dozens. I refer to them affectionately as “sky rats”.
Laughing Gull, in summer plumage (just beginning to turn into winter plumage)
Continue reading Wild Florida: Laughing Gulls
On December 17, 1903, two bicycle manufacturers from Dayton, Ohio, stood on a windy beach at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, and tossed a coin. While the winner, Orville Wright, positioned himself inside a flimsy machine, made of wood and cloth, his brother Wilbur started up their homemade gasoline engine. Moments later, the rickety contraption rolled along a metal guide rail, then, as it gained speed, it left the ground and flew about ten feet above the sand for twelve seconds, covering a distance of 120 feet.
The age of flight had begun.
A new type of combat had also been born, though the world’s leading military establishments were not quick to see it.
Roland Garros, the first fighter ace.
Continue reading World War One and the Birth of Aerial Warfare
All of my posts here are draft chapters for a number of book series that I am working on for Red and Black Publishers. Several of these books are now available, both in paperback and as Kindle eBooks:
Hidden History: A Collection of Forgotten Mysteries, Oddities, and Unknown Stories From True History
Hidden History 2: Another Collection of Forgotten Mysteries, Oddities, and Unknown Stories From True History
Museum Pieces: The Forgotten History, Science, and Mystery Behind Some of the Most Interesting Museum Exhibits and Historical Places in the World
Museum Pieces 2: More Forgotten History, Science, and Mystery Behind Some of the Most Interesting Museum Exhibits and Historical Places in the World
So if you like these stories and want to see lots more like them, pick up a copy. And please consider posting a review at Amazon. 🙂
Florida is the land of invasive species. Because of our status as a center for the importing of exotic pets and houseplants from overseas, and our neo-tropical climate, we have been invaded by everything from kudzu plants to Burmese pythons. One of our invaders is the Lionfish, also called the Turkeyfish–an attractive and popular saltwater aquarium fish that has venomous spines on its back, breeds like a rabbit, and has an insatiable appetite for eating local fish.
Continue reading Florida’s Invaders: The Lionfish
OK, the Tully Monster is not really a “monster”–it’s just eight inches long and has been dead for 300 million years. But it still remains a scientific mystery.
Three examples of the Tully Monster, on exhibit at the Field Museum in Chicago.
Continue reading Tully Monster: An Unsolved Mystery