April 29, 2009

The Pandemic of 1918-1919

Here's a great site from the US Departments of Health and Human Services with details about the Influenza Pandemic that occurred in three waves in the United States throughout 1918 and 1919.

The site includes background information, details by state, biographies of influential people and more.

Thanks to the World History Blog for finding this.

April 22, 2009

Johnson Defeats Jeffries 4 July 1910

I saw this interesting CNN article today about efforts to get a pardon for Jack Johnson, the first African-American world heavyweight boxing champion and did a quick search to learn a little more about Johnson.

He sounds like such a larger than life character.

Among many other things, the wikipedia article for Johnson talks about "the fight of the century" between Johnson and former undefeated heavyweight champion James J. Jeffries, who came out of retirement for the fight. This was one of those amazing moments when the whole country tuned in to one event.

Here's the Chicago Tribune recap of the fight:
Jack Johnson wins the "Fight of the Century" 4 July 1910 in Reno, Nevada

And here it is in the San Francisco Chronicle:
Jack Johnson Defeats James J. Jeffries - 4 July 1910 - Reno, Nevada

Apparently the whole thing was filmed and made into a documentary. Here are a couple of YouTube clips of the documentary:

April 17, 2009

Unique Captured German Aircraft

This morning I was looking at some World War II photos of German installations and equipment that were captured in France. Here are a few that might be categorized as interesting aircraft:

Page 1; Black and White and Color Photographs of U.S. Air Force and Predecessor Agencies...
An early helicopter

Page 1; Black and White and Color Photographs of U.S. Air Force and Predecessor Agencies...
A German Dornier 335, shown with American markings, that has propellers in the front and rear.

Page 1; Black and White and Color Photographs of U.S. Air Force and Predecessor Agencies...
An intact German "Robot Bomb"

Page 1; Black and White and Color Photographs of U.S. Air Force and Predecessor Agencies...
NARA's description calls this a "Rocket-Propelled Messerschmitt 162," but Chris found a little more information about it. He also found this odd little video with animated diagrams and all sorts of details and the one below of the plane in action.

You can see more of the "Captured Materiel" by clicking through to one of the images above and using the filmstrip at the bottom of the viewer.

April 10, 2009

The Cover-Up Continues?

In this story from the LA Times, Annie Jacobsen shares details from interviews with 5 men who worked at Area 51 in the 1960s. These guys can talk now because in 2007, the CIA started declassifying information related to the OXCART aircraft program.

As you might expect, the article doesn't include any revelation of aliens or their spaceships, but it's still fun and does include a couple of great stories, like this one:
On May 24, 1963, Collins flew out of Area 51's restricted airspace in a top-secret spy plane code-named OXCART, built by Lockheed Aircraft Corporation. He was flying over Utah when the aircraft pitched, flipped and headed toward a crash. He ejected into a field of weeds.

Almost 46 years later, in late fall of 2008, sitting in a coffee shop in the San Fernando Valley, Collins remembers that day with the kind of clarity the threat of a national security breach evokes: "Three guys came driving toward me in a pickup. I saw they had the aircraft canopy in the back. They offered to take me to my plane." Until that moment, no civilian without a top-secret security clearance had ever laid eyes on the airplane Collins was flying. "I told them not to go near the aircraft. I said it had a nuclear weapon on-board." The story fit right into the Cold War backdrop of the day, as many atomic tests took place in Nevada. Spooked, the men drove Collins to the local highway patrol. The CIA disguised the accident as involving a generic Air Force plane, the F-105, which is how the event is still listed in official records.

As for the guys who picked him up, they were tracked down and told to sign national security nondisclosures. As part of Collins' own debriefing, the CIA asked the decorated pilot to take truth serum. "They wanted to see if there was anything I'd for-gotten about the events leading up to the crash." The Sodium Pento-thal experience went without a hitch—except for the reaction of his wife, Jane.

"Late Sunday, three CIA agents brought me home. One drove my car; the other two carried me inside and laid me down on the couch. I was loopy from the drugs. They handed Jane the car keys and left without saying a word." The only conclusion she could draw was that her husband had gone out and gotten drunk. "Boy, was she mad," says Collins with a chuckle.

April 8, 2009

Oskar Schindler's List Found in Sydney Australia

Here's a document it would be nice to see on Footnote.

There are 13 pages of fragile, yellowing paper, upon which are typed the names and nationalities of 801 Jewish people.

They are being described as some of the most powerful documents of the 20th Century.

April 7, 2009

The NASA Workspace

Today we've been poking around on the NASA Images site, looking at some of the great photos and playing with their "workspace." The workspace allows you to select some pictures, resize them and move them around in relation to each other and then share what you've created.

I haven't found any evidence that the moon landings were a hoax (yet :), but here are a few pictures I put together and you can play with on a workspace:

Library of Congress Launches YouTube Channel

The Library of Congress has created a YouTube channel to display some of the 6 million films, broadcasts and sound recordings they have in their collection.

Here are a couple of classics from Thomas Edison's lab.

A Bucking Bronco. Note the guy on the fence rail shooting the gun to keep the horse excited.

A Sneeze:

And of course the always popular Boxing Cats:

April 3, 2009

King George V attends a Baseball Game 4 July 1918

Found this interesting picture of King George V of England from July 4, 1918 in Gorrell's History of the American Expeditionary Forces Air Service. He's shaking hands with the captain of the US Army baseball team at a game between the US Army and Navy that was part of a 4th of July celebration.

King George at a baseball game July 4, 1918

Here's a story about it from The Times 4 July 1918.
King George Attends Baseball Game July 4, 1918