A railgun is an experimental weapon that uses electricity instead of explosives to fire long-range projectiles. In a railgun, a conductive projectile is propelled electromagnetically along two parallel rails. Though the device uses a tremendous amount of energy, it can launch objects hundreds of miles at many times the speed of sound. Both the US and Britain have developed and fired experimental models. What are the advantages and disadvantages of railguns compared to traditional guns?
Back in the day
Launched in 1936 in Germany, the Hindenburg was the largest rigid airship ever constructed and was promoted by the Nazis as a symbol of national pride. It started the first commercial air service across the North Atlantic and made several trips to the Americas. On one such trip, the hydrogen-filled airship violently and unexpectedly exploded in flames and crashed in New Jersey, killing 35 of the 97 people on board. What non-flammable gas was originally supposed to provide the airship's lift?
Born on a day like today
Robespierre was one of the leading figures of the French Revolution. He was elected to the National Assembly in 1789 and became an influential orator. After calling for the execution of the king in 1792, he led the Jacobins and the Committee of Public Safety in establishing the Reign of Terror, during which hundreds of thousands of political opponents were arrested and thousands were guillotined. In 1794, he was overthrown and executed. What was his role in the Cult of the Supreme Being?