Also known as spud guns, potato cannons are inexpensive and often homemade devices that use air pressure or combustion to launch potatoes—or other projectiles—at high speed. Typically built and used by hobbyists, potato cannons are usually made of plastic piping, which is readily available at hardware stores. They are inherently dangerous but are generally not illegal. Similar devices include hail cannons, bird-scarers, and chicken cannons, which are used for what specific, practical purposes?
Back in the day
Nearly three years after killing Alexander Hamilton in a duel, former US Vice President Aaron Burr was arrested on unrelated charges of treason. Though the exact details of his plan were a mystery even then, he was accused of plotting to establish an independent country of his own, possibly in the American Southwest. He was treated well while imprisoned at Fort Stoddert and was eventually acquitted, but his political career was destroyed. Which of his co-conspirators turned on him?
Born on a day like today
A devout Hindu, Shivaji grew up hating the Mughal Empire that controlled most of his native India. Around 1655, he began making guerrilla attacks on the Muslim kingdom of Bijapur, gradually carving out his own domain. He lured the Bijapur army to its destruction, becoming a formidable warlord overnight by taking the army's equipment. He then established the Maratha Empire, which was noted for its religious tolerance. How did he once make a daring escape from the Mughal emperor's palace?