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Lockheed SR-71 Flies from New York to London in Under Two Hours

Shrouded in secrecy, the SR-71 Blackbird was a US reconnaissance plane used from the 1960s through the 90s. Difficult to detect by radar and virtually untouchable by anti-aircraft missiles, it flew at three times the speed of sound and at altitudes of up to 85,000 feet (26,000 m). Its existence was publicly acknowledged in 1964. A decade later, an SR-71 flew from New York to London in just under 1 hour and 55 minutes, crushing the previous record. What life support measures kept the crew alive?

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Black Swans

In Europe, where there are no black swans, the bird was historically thought to be an impossibility, leading to its use as a metaphor for something that does not exist. Then, in 1697, Dutch explorer Willem de Vlamingh sighted one on a river in Australia, where it is found in wetlands. Today, it is an important cultural symbol of Western Australia, where its image has been used on stamps, signs, currency, and the state flag. How does the black swan appear in the legends of aboriginal peoples?

Born on a day like today

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Walter Reuther

Reuther was a US labor leader. As a local union leader in Detroit, Michigan, he helped organize sit-down strikes that made the United Automobile Workers (UAW) a power in the auto industry. He was president of the UAW from 1946 until his 1970 death in a plane crash. He was an architect of the 1955 merger of the American Federation of Labor (AFL) and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO). What role did Reuther play in the so-called Chicken War between the US and Europe in the 1960s?

Last updated on Saturday, 1st September 2012

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