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07 Feb 2012 01:22


U.S.: The day the Plains shook: The New Madrid Earthquake, 200 years later

  • Set your watches: At 3:45 a.m. CST, it will have been 200 years since the strongest earthquake Middle America has ever seen. One of four major earthquakes from the 1811-1812 era, the New Madrid Earthquake (which averaged about 7.8 in magnitude) was felt hundreds of miles away and was so powerful that it destroyed the Missouri town that gives it its name. But could it happen again? Experts say it’s likely, and the damage could be far worse. “If another quake of the magnitude of the New Madrid Quake of 1811 should hit the region, it would be the worst natural disaster in American history,” Arkansas state auditor Charlie Daniels wrote in the 1990s. “Almost all of downtown Memphis would fall.” Is that enough to fret over, though? (Photo: 1904 photo of an earthquake fissure filled with intruded sand in Mississippi County, Missouri, originally created during the New Madrid Earthquake. Photo via USGS; see more photos here.) source

04 Oct 2011 00:39


World: “An important document”: What a letter from Hitler (circa 1919) looks like

  • The Museum of Tolerance to put Hitler’s letter on display: Written before his “Mein Kampf” manifesto, the letter mentions the “Jewish threat.” Deborah Lipstadt, a professor at Emory University, said that this letter is “important for helping us understand Adolf Hitler.”  source

28 Apr 2011 14:42


U.S.: Catastrophic storms, tornados wreak a historic toll

  • The carnage in context: Obviously, it’s tough to quantify the costs in property damage, land damage, and the hideous trauma that has been thrust upon so many, and in the case of the trauma it’ll probably never be. That said, in terms of the most irreversible damage done, lives lost, we at least know this much — this was a big one by America’s standards. With the death-toll grimly ticking upwards as hours roll by, this will be at least the 7th largest loss of life by storm in American history, and that could easily change in the following days. Our thoughts are with them. (photo by Dusty Compton, from the Tuscaloosa News’ photo gallery) source

12 Oct 2010 10:17


Tech: So, mobile phones are a lot older than you might think

  • 1.5 million mobile phone users in the U.S. in … 1964 source

29 Aug 2010 11:27


Tech: YouTube marks Hurricane Katrina’s fifth anniversary perfectly

  • Today is the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s landfall. Many sites have been covering this anniversary of the tragedy in their own ways, but our favorite thus far is YouTube’s treatment of the disaster. This is the first major event that happened on their watch, and the videos here reflect a tragedy that is very much of this generation. It even created a poorly-timed meme. Great job putting this together, guys. source

13 Jul 2010 10:39


Culture: RIP George Steinbrenner: The original larger-than-life franchise owner

  • He just turned 80 the other day. Say what you will about the guy (and people had lots to say about him during his 37-year reign), but the Yankees owner knew how to win. He knew how to get the right players, put the right people in place and win the World Series, much to the chagrin of every other team out there. He died of a heart attack last night. Some key facts:
  • sevennumber of World Series under Steinbrenner’s reign
  • 11 number of pennants his teams won over nearly four decades
  • $1.6B the amount it cost to put together that kind of record

His pop-culture place

  • He was a constant figure on “Seinfeld.” Well, kinda. When George Costanza worked with the Yankees, he was a source of parody, never actually seen onscreen but always worth a laugh or two at his expense. Larry David voiced the parody Steinbrenner and Lee Bear played him. It wasn’t his only spot in pop culture, but it was his most prominent.

Key quote about the guy

  • To be able to deliver this to the Boss, to the stadium he created and the atmosphere he created around here, it’s very gratifying to all of us.
  • Yankees manager Joe Girardi • Talking after the team’s World Series success in the new Yankees Stadium. Steinbrenner held his teams to high standards – he had to, he paid out of the wazoo for them – but the results often proved his model correct. The manager before Girardi, Joe Torre, left after failing to win the World Series, despite yearly playoff appearances. By the end, George had given his sons Hal and Hank increasing authority over the team, but the base was all his. Still doesn’t mean Red Sox fans have to like it. source

13 Jun 2010 12:16


Culture: 100 Years of Propaganda: Art + Message = Huge impact

  • Smashing Magazine has this amazing gallery of various works of propaganda over the last 100 years. This particular piece, from Russia, is the work of El Lissitzky, whose works greatly influenced the art world in general. source

29 May 2010 16:16


U.S.: Census 2010: The ever-evolving “What’s Your Race” question

  • Few questions are as controversial as the race question on the Census box. What’s surprising about it is that it started out as complicated (due to slavery), became simple again and then became complicated again (due to political correctness). has gathered all the census sheets from 1790 on. Great historical documents. source

09 May 2010 11:01


U.S.: That ferry in Staten Island has had a long history of problems

  • 1981 During the ship’s initial
    launch, the engine
    stopped and the steering
    died, and it crashed. Oof.
  • 1995 The ship had a crash
    caused by a propulsion
    problem similar to the
    crash on Saturday.
  • 2003 Eleven people died (and
    70 were injured) after the
    ship’s assistant captain
    passed out. source

01 May 2010 08:53


Culture: Cup designer famous enough to get his own obit

  • The Cup’s history Leslie Buck, a Holocaust survivor from Czechoslovakia (now Ukraine), immigrated to the U.S. and eventually did marketing for Sherri Cup. He designed the “Anthora Cup,” named for its Greek-style border design, himself in the early 1960s. Buck died Monday at age 87.

    The cup’s popularity Somehow the cup became a staple of New York City life, selling 500 million in 1994 alone as it was used in Greek diners citywide. The cup was often seen in film and television, including “Law and Order.” In the wake of Starbucks, the cup’s popularity tapered off, but it can still be custom-ordered. It was a good cup that served its purpose well. source