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7 Dec 1941. Pearl Harbor


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Today in 1941, carrier-based Japanese aircraft staged a surprise attack on U.S. fleet at Pearl Harbor. The next day, the United States officially entered World War


Fat Man, the 10,300-pound atom bomb that convinced the Japanese Empire to end the war after 8/9/1945
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Photo courtesy National Air and Space Museum and @AHMalcolm

"News deserts": 1,800 US newspapers have closed since 2004

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1,800 US newspapers have closed since 2004
Half of the 3,143 counties in the United States now have only one newspaper, usually a small weekly, and almost 200 counties in the country have no newspaper at all.
"The people with the least access to local news are often the most vulnerable -- the poorest, least educated and most isolated," the report said.
More than half of all newspapers have changed ownership in the past decade, and the largest 25 chains own a third of all newspapers.
"The consolidation in the industry places decisions about the future of individual papers, as well as the communities where they are located, into the hands of owners with no direct stake in the outcome."

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Photo courtesy AFP Photo / NATALIE BEHRING

35 years ago today: first cell phone call made in 1973. Now: world has more mobile devices than people


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Martin Cooper, who made the first cell phone call in 1973, holds a Motorola DynaTAC, the first prototype of a cell phone. The first commercial call wasn’t made until 10 years later.

Our reliance on cellphones began 35 years ago today
With 95% of Americans owning a cellphone, it can feel like we’ve been calling, texting, and tweeting on the go forever. But the infrastructure supporting our cellphones has actually not been around that long. While we’re now on 4G networks, it was only 35 years ago today that Ameritech (now part of AT&T) launched 1G, or the first commercial cell phone network.

That network, called the Advanced Mobile Phone System (AMPS), went online on October 13, 1983, allowing people in the Chicago area to make and receive mobile calls for the first time. Ameritech president Bob Barnett, who made the first call, decided to make the historic moment count by ringing Alexander Graham Bell’s grandson. A little more than a year later, UK’s Vodafone hosted its first commercial call on New Year’s Day. Israel’s Pelephone followed suit in 1986, followed by Australia in 1987.

7 October 2014: There are officially more mobile devices than people in the world
The world is home to 7.2 billion gadgets, and they’re multiplying five times faster than we are.
The number of active mobile devices and human beings crossed over somewhere around the 7.19 billion mark.

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Photo courtesy AP Photo / Eric Risberg

The Silk Railroad: world longest rail link Yiwu-Madrid railway spans 8,000 miles, crosses 8 countries

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The world's longest train route spans more than 8,000 miles, crosses through eight countries, and is long enough to stretch from Florida to Washington state 3 times.

The China-Europe Block Train begins in the city of Yiwu in China's east and crosses through Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany, and France before reaching its destination 21 days later in the Spanish capital of Madrid.

Also called Yixinou, the route surpasses the world's second- and third-longest routes, the Trans-Siberian railway (5,772 miles) and the Moscow-to-Beijing (4,340 miles) train.

The Silk Railroad - Episode I: World's longest rail link, from Yiwu to Madrid
An international freight railway network is connecting China to cities across Europe, dubbed the new "Silk Railroad." Two thousand years ago, commodities from China would need a year to reach Europe, along the ancient Silk Road. But today, Chinese consumer goods can reach London by rail in just 14 days.

Yiwu railway station - a massive freight terminus, began transporting cargoes overland to Europe in 2014. It's part of the multi-billion-US-dollar Belt and Road Initiative to boost international trade.

The Yiwu-Madrid railway is the longest rail link in the world. It spreads across 13,000-kilometers through France, Germany, Poland, Belarus, Russia, and Kazakhstan. Along the way, the train transfers three times due to different track gauges in China, Europe, and Russia.

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Image courtesy Skye Gould / Business Insider

Study: Earth magnetic poles could soon flip, increasing exposure to Solar radiation, damaging power and communications systems

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Speedy flip in Earth's magnetic field could cause trillions in damage, scientists warn
A new study of previous reversals of Earth's magnetic field has found a rapid shift occurred within two centuries — a discovery that has prompted researchers to warn of a potential dire scenario.

According to a team of international scientists, including from the Australian National University (ANU), such an event in the future would increase our planet's exposure to the Sun's radiation, and could cause trillions of dollars in damage by decimating power and communications systems across the globe.

The Earth has a magnetic field that scientists believe is generated by motion in the planet's core. It's what gives us our north and south poles and powers compasses.

We've known for more than a century that our planet's magnetic field has been weakening at a rate of about five per cent a century, prompting concerns that the Earth's magnetic poles could soon flip - an event that could have potentially disastrous results for life on Earth.

From the electrical grids that power our computers to the satellites that let us watch TV, many facets of our lives depend on the Earth's magnetic field. It also acts like an invisible force field protecting Earth from solar winds and harmful cosmic radiation.

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Image courtesy New Zealand Herald

10000 mile chase of world most notorious poaching vessel "Thunder". Sea Shepherd's 110day " Ocean Warriors: Chasing the Thunder"


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Ocean Warriors: Chasing the Thunder is a Vulcan Productions high-seas documentary about the Sea Shepherd’s epic 110-day, 10,000-mile chase of the "Thunder," considered the world’s most notorious poaching vessel. Across two seas and three oceans, the marine activists hunted the fugitive fishing ship through massive ice floes, storms-tossed seas, a near collision and violent clashes until the Thunder dramatically sank, burying the evidence of its crimes on the bottom of the South Atlantic.

The chase of the Thunder started in the "Shadowlands", the ice fields of the Southern Ocean, and lasted 110 days. From beginning to end it was a harrowing journey. Captain Peter Hammarstedt and his team faced daunting odds but surged forward.

Captain Sid Chakravarty, Captain Hammarstedt and the rest of the crew have worked aboard the Sea Shepherd to fight illegal fishing and help save our ocean’s wildlife. "For the past 10 years, Sea Shepherd has been defending whales in the Southern Ocean," said Hammarstedt. "This year we’re defending Patagonian and Antarctic toothfish." Toothfish are coveted by poachers because they are known as Chilean Sea Bass in restaurants throughout the north. They are flaky, delicious and very expensive. "The fact that these fish live in the most remote waters in the world makes these poachers feel like they can get away with anything," said Chakravarty. Captain Chakravarty ultimately joined the mission with his additional Sea Shepherd vessel.  read more »

Ben Franklin was anti-debt to form Society of the Free and Easy for virtuous individuals: free of debt therefore easy in spirit

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10 of Benjamin Franklin’s Lesser-Known Feats of Awesomeness
4. HE WAS NO DEBTOR.
Franklin was terrified of debt and viewed it as similar to slavery because he believed that, through the acquisition of debt, man essentially sold his own freedom. He was so anti-debt that he often spoke (seriously) about forming an international organization called The Society of the Free and Easy for virtuous individuals who, among other things, were free of debt and, therefore, easy in spirit.

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Image courtesy pearlsofprofundity.wordpress.com

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