In 1173, construction began on the final building of the cathedral complex in Pisa, Italy. The bell tower was designed to stand 185 feet (56 m) tall, but uneven settling of its foundation caused its 5.5-degree lean. Work was suspended several times, but the structure was still leaning upon completion in the 14th century. The tower's tilt only worsened over time, prompting a recent strengthening project to prevent collapse. How did the tower narrowly escape destruction during World War II?
Back in the day
The first incarnation of the US Navy was short-lived, established in 1775 and disbanded in 1784. However, with Barbary pirates harassing US merchant ships, Congress rethought its decision and established a permanent US Navy with the authorization to build six frigates in 1794. Three of these were welcomed into service soon after. The US Navy distinguished itself in the War of 1812 by unexpectedly defeating British forces several times. What role did naval power play in the American Civil War?
Born on a day like today
English scientist and professor of mathematics Karl Pearson was an instrumental figure in the development of mathematical statistics. In 1911, he became professor of eugenics at the University of London and director of the eugenics laboratory. A disciple of Francis Galton, Pearson applied statistical methods to the study of biological problems, especially evolution and heredity, in a science he called biometrics. Today, Pearson's views on eugenics are considered deeply racist. Why?