The Accidental Liberation of the Soviet Union and the Tearing Down of the Berlin Wall

Günter-SchabowskiPrior to Mikael Gorbachev, every decade or two, resentment would foment within the Soviet Union and an uprising would commence with the Soviets clamping down, killing dissidents, and repressing ideology so as to continue to hold power. The reason this did not occur in 1989 is because change came not externally through dissidents, but rather internally, particularly from the center, through Gorbachev. The collapse of the Berlin Wall however, was actually a mistake, as Soviet Press Officer Günter Schabowski did not fully understand the content he was speaking in reference to during a press conference as he had been elsewhere smoking during the meeting which would have briefed him. Schabowski pulled out documents which he was not supposed to read, read them aloud, and read them incorrectly which turned Gorbachev from a reformer into a revolutionary over the course of a few short moments, with the Berlin Wall falling shortly after, liberating and uniting East Germany and West Germany with the ultimate fall of the Soviet Union occurring within short proximity afterward

The First Musician to Routinely Break Their Instrument on Stage

Franz-Liszt19th century Hungarian composer Franz Liszt created the modern concept of the single musician concert as prior to this, a single musician (e.g. pianist, violinist, flautist etc.) had never played an entire concert by themselves. Liszt often broke his pianos on stage due to his vigorous style of play, making him the first musician to routinely destroy their own instrument while performing, a full century prior to the rock artists of the 1960’s onward

Galileo Galilei’s Telescope Design Improvement upon the Dutch Spyglass Design

Galileo-Galilei-telescopeIt had been known since the first spectacles were produced in the middle of the 13th century, that glass was capable of bending light, a property which no other known material of the period could achieve. The Dutch spyglass worked upon this very principal, arranging lenses with careful attention to detail to create a compounding magnification effect. If light hits a plano-convex (pronounced “play-noh”) lens, which is flat upon one side and convex upon the other, the same formation used for those who suffer from hyperopia, rays of light streaming inward are bent toward eachother, eventually meeting and converging at a specific triangular point. Right before this focal point, Galilei improved the original Dutch design by placing his second lens, an ocular lens which is plano-concave, meaning flat upon one side and concave upon the other, the same formation used for those who suffer from myopia. This secondary lens pushes the bent rays of converging light back out again so that they can hit the eye and provide a clear image. The eye focuses this light upon the retina so that the observer can view the image produced by the spyglass. The magnification power of a telescope depends upon the ratio between the focal lengths of the lenses, with these distances marked as F1 for the distance between the front of the spyglass and the plano-concave lens, and F2 from the plano-concave lens toward the back of the spyglass. The largest difficulty impeding Galilei was the grinding down process of his convex lens, in an attempt to make it as shallow as possible to maximize the length of the F1 partition, as the longer the distance is, the greater the magnification will be. Within a few weeks of developing this new technology, Galilei’s first telescope had a clear magnification of 8x, far exceeding the power of the original Dutch spyglass. On August 21, 1609, Galilei climbed a Venice bell tower to meet up with Venetian nobles and senators so that he could display his new technology. This new bleeding edge feat of engineering permitted Venetians to spot sailing ships 2 hours earlier than if they had used the naked eye. 3 days after the event, Galilei gifted his telescope to the Duke of Venice and was afforded a guaranteed job for life in exchange, with this salary equating to double his original income. With his finances secured, Galilei went on to develop and produce even more powerful telescopes

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s Racist Remarks

Winston-Churchill-altWinston Churchill once said, “I hate Indians. They are a beastly people with a beastly religion”. This is of course not true in the slightest, and was a marked example of prejudice and racism. Up to 3,000,000 (3 million) people starved to death while British officials begged Churchill to direct food supplies into India as Churchill bluntly refused. Churchill raged that it was the Indian populations own fault for “breeding like rabbits”. Churchill was known for being blunt, once stating that the “bubonic plague was merrily culling the population”

The Mathematics Behind Why Rockets Can Escape The Gravitational Pull of the Earth

Konstantin-TsiolkovskyRobert Goddard’s liquid rocket never reached the 3 kilometer mark because of Tsiolkovsky’s Rocket Equation named after Soviet scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky (pronounced “con-stan-tyin tsel-kov-skee”). This equation states that as fuel increases for faster and further voyages, so too does the weight, becoming increasingly heavy as more and more fuel is added. Tsiolkovsky took into account the velocity of a rocket alongside its mass of payload, mass of fuel, and the mass of the rocket itself. The longer the engine burns, the more velocity the rocket will have, however longer burning means more fuel which adds weight and makes it more difficult to push upwards. To travel fast enough to deliver a rocket to space, most of the craft must be fuel. Scientists have battled with this question for decades and although mathematical constructs have been developed to explain the relationship between weight and thrust, no one has yet to develop an idea to get around this problem with currently available technologies. The equation developed to explain this limitation of space travel is △V^R = V^E x log^e (M^P + M^F + M^R / M^P + M^R). This effectively states that only a tiny portion of a rocket can be used to deliver payload, with notable cases being the Apollo missions which employed enormous rockets to carry just a few small astronauts and the things they needed into space. Tsiolkovsky theorized this in the beginning of the 20th century as his calculations demonstrated that kerosine wouldn’t be enough to go from the Earth to the moon with a single craft

Super Mario’s Super Human Jumping Capabilty

Super-Mario-jumping

The Nintendo mascot Mario has a vertical jumping range of 11’5” within his own world which equates to 27’ upon Earth as Earth has a different gravitational pull than that of Mario’s world. Mario is capable of leaping 2.25x his own body height however his exact agreed upon height when converted to a real world measurement is unclear. Statues erected of Mario tend to be 4’10” – 5’1” in length and Nintendo has stated that Mario’s official height is in fact 5’1” however different video games portray Mario with a varying degree of physical characteristics (e.g. height, weight, speed etc.). Mario falls back down to the ground within 0.3 seconds of his take off which means that the gravitational pull of his fictional world is 8x stronger than the gravitational pull of Earth. If this world were physically real, Mario would need to have legs powerful enough to allow him to jump at a speed of 22.2 meters per second, an incredible feat of physical prowess as the average person standing upon the Earth is only able to jump at a rate of 2.24 meters per second, resulting in an almost 10x difference in terms of Mario’s physical capabilities to that of a typical human being

The Advent of the Computer Mouse

Apple-Macintosh-first-mouse

The computer mouse became a mainstream accessory for computers shortly after Steve Jobs viewed a prototype mouse from Xerox in 1979. Jobs asked his team to create a mouse which was under $15.00, would last for 2 years, and could be used upon either a particle board desk or the jeans of a persons lap. Dean Hovey ended up creating the concept of the computer mouse by visiting a drug store after Jobs made this request in a business meeting. Hovey purchased a roll on deodorant and a butter dish and began working upon the initial design. Hovey popped the spherical applicator out of the deodorant and covered it with the butter dish to make a rollable, undulating handheld device

The Worlds First Ride Sharing Program

Witte-Fietsenplan-Amsterdamn-Netherlands

The Dutch love of the bicycle lead to the advent of the first bicycle sharing program in 1965 which was started by John Lennon and Yoko Ono who brought attention to the fact that Luud Schimmelpennink (pronounced “lewd shim-el-pen-ick”) who purchased a bike, painted it all white, and then left it in the middle of Amsterdam for anyone who wanted to ride it, with the expectation that they would return it. Eventually, more and more white bicycles were found around the city of Amsterdam for users to pick up and use and then leave for somebody else to enjoy once they had reached their destination

The Advent of the Worlds First Parliament in Iceland

Iceland-Alþingi

When the Vikings settled Iceland, no monarch was installed, which forced these settlers to find a new system of government; democracy. The early decades of settlement were effectively without structured law, but after 2 generations, 36 leading farmer Vikings banded together to develop the concept of an assembly to govern Iceland referred to as the “Alþingi” (written “Althingi” in English) (pronounced “all-thing-ee”) in 930 A.D.. The council met once every year for 2 weeks to create laws, preside over and judge disputes, and appoint a legal speaker, whose responsibility it was to remember and recite the law. The Althingi convened at Þingvellir (written “Thingvellir” in English) (pronounced “thing-vet-lear”) which is a unique location as it is a gorge where 2 of the Earth’s tectonic plates meet and 45 kilometers east of what later became the capital city of Reykjavík, Iceland (pronounced “rake-yah-veek”). The term “Althingi” means “thing field” or “assembly field” in the Icelandic language. This form of government met for the next 800 years at this exact spot, even after merging with Norway in 1262, with the location eventually moved to Reykjavík in 1800. The Althingi is the oldest parliament in the world, which is astonishing as it is still functioning and currently running the country of Iceland as a whole

Sweden’s Major Contributions to Vehicular Safety Standards Worldwide

Volvo-XC90-crash-test

In 1959, Nils Bohlin (pronounced “neels bow-leen”) created the 3 point seatbelt while working for Volvo, an invention which Volvo intentionally designed to be patent free so that the advent could be utilized and implemented globally in a concerted effort to save lives everywhere. This was one of the first examples of open source technology in business and manufacturing. It’s been estimated that the seatbelt has saved more than 1,000,000 (1 million) lives over the past 40 years as of 2020. Swedish company Autoliv (pronounced “ow-tow-leeve”) furthered this pursuit towards safety by creating the seatbelt pre-tensioner which instantaneously reels in seatbelt slack during a vehicular accident and has also helped to design newer, better airbag systems and advanced artificial intelligence automobile visual systems