Built in the 1950s by the Soviet Union, the Baikonur Cosmodrome is an aerospace launch facility located in the desert steppes of Kazakhstan. The world's first artificial satellite and first manned spacecraft were launched from there, and the base is still used by the Russian space program. Though the city that sprang up around the facility now shares the name Baikonur, it was originally Tyuratam. Baikonur was a mining town about 200 miles (320 km) away. Why was the base named for a distant town?
Back in the day
In 1845, Rufus Porter—an eccentric inventor, painter, and editor—published the first issue of Scientific American, a weekly newspaper about new inventions. By 1853, its circulation had reached 30,000 and it was reporting on various sciences, such as astronomy and medicine. In 1921, it became a monthly. Its solidly-researched, well-written articles, accompanied by illustrations and explanations, have made it a highly regarded publication. How much did the first subscriptions cost?
Born on a day like today
Davies was one of Canada's most distinguished writers. Educated at Oxford, he produced more than 30 works of fiction throughout his long literary career, as well as plays, essays, and criticism. Among the themes explored in his densely plotted novels are life's moral dimensions and the isolation of the spirit. He is best known for his three novel trilogies dealing with life and culture in fictional Ontario villages. What innovative technology, considered indispensible today, did he proudly shun?