The parachute was conceived by the 14th century, but practical demonstrations began only in the 1780s in France. The first successful parachute descent from a great height occurred in 1797, when André-Jacques Garnerin made a 3,200-ft (1,000-m) exhibition jump from a balloon. In 1802, he made an 8,000-ft (2,400-m) jump. Early parachutes were made of canvas, but this was later replaced by silk and then nylon and Kevlar. What is the world record for the highest parachute jump and longest free-fall?
Back in the day
In 2007, a potential tragedy was averted in London when two car bombs were disabled before they could be detonated in a busy district of the city. The cars and devices were recovered intact for forensic examination and both were found to contain gasoline canisters, nails, and a mobile phone-based trigger. The next day, two men drove a car laden with propane into a terminal at Glasgow International Airport and set it ablaze. The surviving conspirator was jailed for both incidents. Who was he?
Born on a day like today
Mahalanobis was an Indian scientist and applied statistician. He is best remembered for the Mahalanobis distance, a statistical measure he used in his pioneering studies in anthropometry—the study of human body measurement for use in anthropological classification and comparison. He founded the Indian Statistical Institute and contributed to the design of large scale sample surveys. His survey methods have been used to study things like tea-drinking habits, crop acreage, and what else?