" Live, and be happy, and make others so. "
Mary Shelley

Back in the day


The Le Mans Disaster

The legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans motor race was created in 1923, when cars' top speeds hovered around 60 mph (97 km/h). Thirty years later, top speeds had more than tripled, with little change to the course. In the 1955 race, a narrow pass near the pit stop caused racer Pierre Levegh to hit another car from behind while traveling at about 150 mph (240 km/h). Levegh's Mercedes went airborne, and parts flew into the stands, killing Levegh and more than 80 spectators. Why did the race continue?



Tether Satellites

During the second half of the 20th century, space agencies began to take a keen interest in the use of tethers in space. In 1992, NASA and the Italian Space Agency jointly launched the first tether satellite, TSS-1, from the Space Shuttle, but a protruding bolt kept the tether—a thin, super-strong, conductive cable—from fully extending. The next tether satellite mission, TSS-1R, was undertaken in 1996 with plans to extend the tether to a range of more than 12 mi (19 km). What went wrong?

Born on a day like today


Gene Wilder

Wilder was just 8 years old when his ailing mother's doctor urged him to try making her laugh. The boy took those words to heart and developed a passion for performing that eventually led him to Hollywood. He is best known for his roles in comedy classics like Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory and Young Frankenstein. He cowrote the latter film with producer and director Mel Brooks, and their screenplay was nominated for an Academy Award. Which film sequel's script beat them out?

Last updated on Tuesday, 11th June 2013

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