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American Greatness
Dr. Jay Maron

History of democracy

Acropolis of Athens
Palace of Westminster
United States Capitol

 -510       Cleisthenes establishes democracy in Athens upon the overthrow of King Hippias
 -508       Roman Republic founded, replacing monarchy rule
 1215       English Magna Carta
 1660       Royal Society founded by Christopher Wren
 1666       French Academy of Sciences founded
 1688       England, Revolutionary Settlement.  Parliament enacts laws limiting
            the power of the king.
 1689       England, Bill of Rights and Mutiny Bill
 1694       England, Triennial Bill
 1696       England, Treason Act
 1701       England, Act of Settlement
 1769       Golden age of the American Philosophical Society begins as Benjamin
               Franklin becomes president.  Members included Jefferson, Washington,
               Hamilton, Adams, Madison, Paine, and McHenry.
 1775       American patriots form Provisional Congresses in each of the 13 colonies that are
               independent of Great Britain, and they form a unified Continental Congress
 1776       American Declaration of Independence, July 4
 1781       American Articles of Confederation
 1787       Federalist Papers published by Hamilton, Madison, & Jay
 1788       American Constitution established
 1791       American Bill of Rights
 1810       Modern era of British Prime Ministers begins when King George III goes insane
 1830       England, Westminster system of government established (Parliament)
 1911       England, Parliament Act, lessening the power of the House of Lords
 1949       British Parliaments acts of 1949
 2014       British House of Lords Reform Act of 2014


Ambassador Bridge
Roebling Bridge
Verrazano Narrows Bridge
Niagara Clifton Bridge

American suspension bridges have held the world record for length from 1849 to 1981.

In 1939 the world's 9 longest suspension bridges were American.

                    Year  Length   World record

Wheeling            1849   308          *       West Virginia
Queenston-Lewiston  1851   317          *       Niagara
John A. Roebling    1866   322          *       Kentucky, Ohio
Niagara Clifton     1869   384          *       Niagara
Brooklyn            1883   486          *       New York City
Williamsburg        1903   488          *       New York City
Bear Mountain       1924   497          *       New York, Hudson River
Benjamin Franklin   1926   534          *       Pennsylvania, New Jersey
Ambassador          1929   564          *       Detroit, Ontario
George Washington   1931  1067          *       New York City
Oakland Bay         1936   704                  San Francisco Bay
Golden Gate         1937  1280                  San Francisco Bay
Bronx-Whitestone    1939   701                  New York City
Tacoma Narrows II   1950   853                  New York City
Delaware Memorial   1951   656                  Delaware River
Mackinac            1957  1158                  Michigan, Upper and Lower Penninsula
Walt Whitman        1957   610                  Delaware River
Throggs Neck        1961   549                  New York City
Verrazano-Narrows   1964  1298          *       New York City


Hoover Dam
Grand Coulee Dam
Shasta Dam

America was the first to harness large-scale hydroelectric power when Westinghouse and Tesla built a 37 MWatt plant at Niagara falls in 1895. They also solved the problem of long-distance transfer of electricity, inventing the alternating current method.

By 1930 America had built 10 dams with a height of at least 90 meters.

In 1945 America had the three highest dams in the world, the Hoover Dam, the Shasta Dam, and the Grand Couleee Dam.

              Height    Year     Power
               (m)    completed  (MW)

Niagara Adams           1895      37
Buffalo Bill    110     1910
Roosevelt       109     1911
Arrowrock       110     1915
Elephant Butte   92     1916
O'Shaughnessy   130     1923
Gorge            91     1924
Horse Mesa       93     1927      15
Canyon          109     1927      18
Pacoima         111     1929
Diablo          119     1930
Owyhee          127     1932
Hoover          221     1936     480
Grand Coulee    170     1942
Shasta          184     1945
Oroville Dam    187     1968     170
New Bullards    197     1969     150
Dworshak Dam    219     1973
Dworshak Dam
Oroville Dam

Hydropower at Niagara Falls

Nikola Tesla

Tesla and Westinghouse built the first large-scale hydro-powered electricity plant at Niagara falls in 1895. It generated 37 megawatts of power and turbocharged American manufacturing.

Kelly Johnson

Aircraft designed by Kelly Johnson include:

P-38 Lightning. Fastest aircraft at the time. 1941
P-80 Shooting star, first jet fighter. Mach .76. 1945
AQM-60 Kingfisher, Mach 4.3 ramjet. 1951
U-2. 21.3 km altitude. 1957

F-104 Starfighter, first Mach 2 fighter. 1958
SR-71 Blackbird, Mach 3.3. 1966
F-117 Nighthawk, first stealth aircraft. 1983

Hall Hibbard: "That damned Swede can actually see air."

George Washington

The American Revolutionary War concluded with the signing of the Treaty of Paris on September 3, 1783. Washington then disbanded his army and, on November 2, gave an eloquent farewell address to his soldiers. On November 25, the British evacuated New York City, and Washington and the governor took possession. At Fraunces Tavern on December 4, Washington formally bade his officers farewell and on December 23, 1783, he resigned his commission as commander-in-chief, saying "I consider it an indispensable duty to close this last solemn act of my official life, by commending the interests of our dearest country to the protection of Almighty God, and those who have the superintendence of them, to his holy keeping." Historian Gordon Wood concludes that the greatest act in his life was his resignation as commander of the armies-an act that stunned aristocratic Europe. King George III called Washington "the greatest character of the age" because of this.

General George Washington Resigning His Commission by John Trumbull

Washington's retirement to personal business at Mount Vernon was short-lived. After much reluctance, he was persuaded to attend the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia during the summer of 1787 as a delegate from Virginia, where he was elected in unanimity as president of the Convention. He held considerable criticism of the Articles of Confederation of the thirteen colonies, for the weak central government it established, referring to the Articles as no more than "a rope of sand" to support the new nation. His participation in the debates was minor, although he casted his vote when called upon; his prestige facilitated the collegiality and productivity of the delegates. After a couple of months into the task, Washington told Alexander Hamilton, "I almost despair of seeing a favorable issue to the proceedings of our convention and do therefore repent having had any agency in the business." In the end agreements were hatched however, and Washington thought the achievement monumental.

The Electoral College unanimously elected Washington as the first president in 1789, and again in 1792. He remains the only president to receive the totality of electoral votes. Washington ensured titles and trappings were suitably republican and never emulated European royal courts. To that end, he preferred the title "Mr. President" to the more majestic names proposed by the Senate.

Washington's Farewell Address (issued as a public letter in 1796) was one of the most influential statements of republicanism. Drafted primarily by Washington himself, with help from Hamilton, it gives advice on the necessity and importance of national union, the value of the Constitution and the rule of law, the evils of political parties and the proper virtues of a republican people. He referred to morality as "a necessary spring of popular government", and said, "Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle."

After retiring from the presidency in March 1797, Washington returned to Mount Vernon. He devoted much time to his plantations and other business interests, including his distillery which produced its first batch of spirits in February 1797.

By 1798, relations with France had deteriorated to the point that war seemed imminent, and on July 4, 1798, President Adams offered Washington a commission as lieutenant general and Commander-in-chief of the armies raised or to be raised for service in a prospective war. He accepted, and served as the senior officer of the United States Army from July 13, 1798 until his death seventeen months later. He participated in the planning for a Provisional Army to meet any emergency that might arise, but avoided involvement in details as much as possible; he delegated most of the work, including leadership of the army, to Hamilton.

During the Revolutionary ad Early Republican periods of American history, many commentators compared Washington with the Roman aristocrat and statesman Cincinnatus. The comparison arose as Washington, like Cincinnatus, remained in command of the Continental Army only until the British had been defeated. Thereafter, instead of seeking great political power, he returned as quickly as possible to cultivating his lands. Lord Byron's Ode to Napoleon also lionized Washington as "the Cincinnatus of the West"

Orville and Wilbur Wright

The Wright brothers designed, manufactured, and sold their own line of bicycles and used the profits to fund their aircraft research.
They began by designing wings and gliders.
They were the first to use wind tunnels to test wings. Their wing designs outperformed European designs
They innovated the design of steering and stability systems
They advanced the design of propellers.

First flight
82nd flight: 2.75 miles and 304 seconds
Orville was injured in a crash and a passenger was killed
The original aircraft

Founding Fathers of America


Boston tea party
Battle of Yorktown
Gaspee affair
Franklin's meme

British colonies of 1750

1743   American Philosophical Society founded by Franklin, located in Philadelphia.
       Members included Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Hamilton, McHenry, & Paine
1773   Boston Tea party
1774   First Continental Cngress held, consisting of delegates from 12 of the 13 colonies
1774   Patriots of Boston form an informal government independent of Great Britain
1775   Battles of Lexington and Concord
1775   Patriots form Provisional Congresses in each of the 13 colonies that are
       independent of Great Britain, and they form a unified Continental Congress
1775   Patriots form the Continental Army, commanded by Washington
1775   Global war erupts. American Patriots, France, Spain, & The Dutch vs.
       American Loyalists and Great Britain
1776   Declaration of Independence, July 4
1776   British expelled from Boston
1776   British capture New York and hold it for the duration of the War
1776   Patriot invasion of Canada fails
1777   Patriots win the Battle of Saratoga and capture a British army
1777   France enters the war on the side of the Patriots
1781   Patriots and French win the Battle of Yorktown and capture a British army
1781   Articles of Confederation
1783   Treaty of Paris ends the war with America as an independent nation
       America holds all territory east of the Mississippi and south of the Great Lakes
       Britain holds Canada
       Spain holds Florida
1787   Federalist Papers published by Hamilton, Madison, & Jay
1788   Constitution
1789   Washington's term as President begins
1791   Bill of Rights
Declaration of Independence

Declaration of Independence
Articles of Confederation
Bill of Rights


                                           Friends                  Foes

1775  1783   War of Independence           France                   England
1789         Washington become President
1801  1805   First Barbary War             Sweden, Sicily           Barbary States
1803         Louisiana Purchase
1812  1815   War of 1812                   France                   Great Britain
1815  1816   Second Barbary War                                     Barbary States
1819         Acquisition of Florida
1835  1836   Texas revolution                                       Mexico
1845         Texas annexed
1846         Oregon Territory Acquisition
1846  1848   Mexican-American War                                   Mexico
1848         Acquisition from Mexico
1853         Gadsden Purchase
1861  1865   American Civil War
1865  1891   Indian Wars                                            Indian Tribes
1867         Alaska Purchase
1898         Spanish American War                                   Spain
1898         Hawaii Annexation
1899  1902   Philippine-American War                                PHilippine Republic
1917  1918   World War 1                   UK, France               Germany
1841  1945   World War 2                   UK, France, Russia       Germany, Japan, Italy
1950  1953   Korean War                    South Korea              North Korea
1964  1975   Vietnam War                   South Vietnam            North Vietnam
1998  1999   Intervention in Yugoslavia
2001         Intervention in Afghanistan
2003         Intervention in Iraq
2011         Intervention in Libya
2014         Intervention in Syria

Curtis LeMay

LeMay received a degree in civil engineering from Ohio State University.

Robert McNamara described LeMay's character, in a discussion of a report into high abort rates in bomber missions during World War II:

"One of the commanders was Curtis LeMay, a Colonel in command of a B-24 group. He was the finest combat commander of any service I came across in war. He said, 'I will be in the lead plane on every mission. Any plane that takes off will go over the target, or the crew will be court-martialed.' The abort rate dropped overnight. Now that's the kind of commander he was."

When his crews were not flying missions, they were subjected to relentless training, as he believed that training was the key to saving their lives. Throughout his career, LeMay was widely and fondly known among his troops as "Old Iron Pants" and the "Big Cigar". LeMay once said: "Flying fighters is fun. Flying bombers is important."

In 1951, Gen. Curtis Lemay appointed Emilio "Mel" Bruno, his Judo teacher and a former national American Athletic Union Wrestling champion and fifth degree black belt in Judo, to direct a command-wide Judo and combative measures program.

Curtis LeMay is credited with designing and implementing an effective bombing campaign in the Pacific theater of World War II, including a crippling minelaying campaign in Japan's internal waterways. The war was effectively over long before the nuclear strike because of the success of the naval blockade.

LeMay piloted one of three specially modified B-29s flying from Japan to the U.S. in September 1945, in the process breaking several aviation records at that date, including the greatest USAAF takeoff weight, the longest USAAF non-stop flight, and the first ever non-stop Japan-Chicago flight. One of the pilots was of higher rank: Lieutenant General Barney M. Giles. The other two aircraft used up more fuel than LeMay's in fighting headwinds, and they could not fly to Washington, D.C., the original goal. Their pilots decided to land in Chicago to refuel. LeMay's aircraft had sufficient fuel to reach Washington, but he was directed by the War Department to join the others by refueling at Chicago. The order was ostensibly given because of borderline weather conditions in Washington, but according to First Lieutenant Ivan J. Potts who was on board, the order came because LeMay had one fewer general's stars and should not be seen to outperform his superior.

In 1947, he returned to Europe as commander of USAF Europe, heading operations for the Berlin Airlift in 1948 in the face of a blockade by the Soviet Union and its satellite states that threatened to starve the civilian population of the Western occupation zones of Berlin. Under LeMay's direction, Douglas C-54 Skymasters that could each carry 10 tons of cargo began supplying the city on July 1. By the fall, the airlift was bringing in an average of 5,000 tons of supplies a day with 500 daily flights. The airlift continued for 11 months (213000 flights) that brought in 1.7 million tons of food and fuel to Berlin. Faced with the failure of its blockade, the Soviet Union relented and reopened land corridors to the West. Though LeMay is sometimes publicly credited with the success of the Berlin Airlift, it was, in fact, instigated by General Lucius D. Clay when General Clay called LeMay about the problem. LeMay initially started flying supplies into Berlin, but then decided that it was a job for a logistics expert and he found that person in Lt. General William H. Tunner, who took over the operational end of the Berlin Airlift.

In 1948, he returned to the U.S. to head the Strategic Air Command (SAC). When LeMay took over command of SAC, it consisted of little more than a few understaffed B-29 bombardment groups left over from World War II. Less than half of the available aircraft were operational, and the crews were undertrained. Base and aircraft security standards were minimal. Upon inspecting a SAC hangar full of US nuclear strategic bombers, LeMay found a single Air Force sentry on duty, unarmed. After ordering a mock bombing exercise on Dayton, Ohio, LeMay was shocked to learn that most of the strategic bombers assigned to the mission missed their targets by one mile or more. "We didn't have one crew, not one crew, in the entire command who could do a professional job" noted LeMay.

A meeting in November, 1948 with Air Force Chief of Staff, Hoyt Vandenberg, found the two men agreeing the primary mission of SAC should be the capability of delivering 80% of the nation's atomic bombs in one mission. Towards this aim, LeMay delivered the first SAC Emergency War Plan in March 1949 which called for dropping 133 atomic bombs on 70 cities in the USSR within 30 days. Air power strategists called this type of pre-emptive strike, "killing a nation." However, the Harmon committee, released their unanimous report two months later stating such an attack would not end a war with the Soviets and their industry would quickly recover. This committee had been specifically created by the Joint Chiefs of Staff to study the effects of a massive nuclear strike against the Soviet Union. Nevertheless, within weeks, an ad hoc Joint Chiefs committee recommended tripling America's nuclear arsenal, and Chief of Staff Vandenberg called for enough bombs to attack 220 targets, up from the previous 70.

Upon receiving his fourth star in 1951 at age 44, LeMay became the youngest four-star general in American history since Ulysses S. Grant and was the youngest four-star general in modern history as well as the longest serving in that rank. In 1956 and 1957 LeMay implemented tests of 24-hour bomber and tanker alerts, keeping some bomber forces ready at all times. LeMay headed SAC until 1957, overseeing its transformation into a modern, efficient, all-jet force. LeMay's tenure was the longest over an American military command in nearly 100 years.

General LeMay was instrumental in SAC's acquisition of a large fleet of new strategic bombers, establishment of a vast aerial refueling system, the formation of many new units and bases, development of a strategic ballistic missile force, and establishment of a strict command and control system with an unprecedented readiness capability. All of this was protected by a greatly enhanced and modernized security force, the Strategic Air Command Elite Guard. LeMay insisted on rigorous training and very high standards of performance for all SAC personnel, be they officers, enlisted men, aircrews, mechanics, or administrative staff, and reportedly commented, "I have neither the time nor the inclination to differentiate between the incompetent and the merely unfortunate."

A famous legend often used by SAC flight crews to illustrate LeMay's command style concerned his famous ever-present cigar. LeMay once took the co-pilot's seat of a SAC bomber to observe the mission, complete with lit cigar. When asked by the pilot to put the cigar out, LeMay demanded to know why. When the pilot explained that fumes inside the fuselage could ignite the airplane, LeMay reportedly growled, "It wouldn't dare."

Despite his uncompromising attitude regarding performance of duty, LeMay was also known for his concern for the physical well-being and comfort of his men. LeMay found ways to encourage morale, individual performance, and the reenlistment rate through a number of means: encouraging off-duty group recreational activities, instituting spot promotions based on performance, and authorizing special uniforms, training, equipment, and allowances for ground personnel as well as flight crews.

On LeMay's departure, SAC was composed of 224,000 airmen, close to 2,000 heavy bombers, and nearly 800 tanker aircraft.

LeMay was appointed Vice Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force in July 1957, serving until 1961. He advocated the introduction of satellite technology and pushed for the development of the latest electronic warfare techniques.

The memorandum from LeMay, Chief of Staff, USAF, to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, January 4, 1964, illustrates LeMay's reasons for keeping bomber forces alongside ballistic missiles: "It is important to recognize, however, that ballistic missile forces represent both the U.S. and Soviet potential for strategic nuclear warfare at the highest, most indiscriminate level, and at a level least susceptible to control. The employment of these weapons in lower level conflict would be likely to escalate the situation, uncontrollably, to an intensity which could be vastly disproportionate to the original aggravation. The use of ICBMs and SLBMs is not, therefore, a rational or credible response to provocations which, although serious, are still less than an immediate threat to national survival. For this reason, among others, I consider that the national security will continue to require the flexibility, responsiveness, and discrimination of manned strategic weapon systems throughout the range of cold, limited, and general war."

LeMay was a Heathkit customer and active amateur radio operator. He was famous for being on the air on amateur bands while flying on board SAC bombers. LeMay became aware that the new single sideband (SSB) technology offered a big advantage over amplitude modulation (AM) for SAC aircraft operating long distances from their bases. In conjunction with Heath engineers and Art Collins, he established SSB as the radio standard for SAC bombers in 1957.

LeMay was also a sports car owner and enthusiast (he owned an Allard J2). LeMay loaned out facilities of SAC bases for use by the Sports Car Club of America. He was awarded the Woolf Barnato Award, SCCA's highest award, for contributions to the Club, in 1954. In November 2006, it was announced that General LeMay would be one of the inductees into the SCCA Hall of Fame in 2007.

The dumbasses: The Press

LeMay enthusiastically supported racial integration in the U.S. military publicly and privately. In 1968 LeMay was the running mate to George Wallace in the presidential election, and he was dismayed to find himself attacked in the press as a racial segregationist because he was running with Wallace; he had never considered himself a bigot.

The quotation "we should bomb them back to the stone age" was falsely attributed to LeMay by the press. In an interview LeMay said: "I never said we should bomb them back to the Stone Age. I said we had the capability to do it."

Cray supercomputers

The Cray-1, developed in 1976
The Kraken Supercomputer, built in 2009

In the 70's and 80's, Cray supercomputers dominated the supercomputer world.

When asked what kind of CAD tools he used for the Cray-1, Seymour Cray said that he liked #3 pencils with quad paper pads. Cray recommended using the backs of the pages so that the lines were not so dominant. When he was told that Apple Computer had just bought a Cray to help design the next Apple Macintosh, Cray commented that he had just bought a Macintosh to design the next Cray.

Leo Szilard, Genius in the Shadows

Leo Szilard was a Hungarian-American physicist and inventor. He conceived the nuclear chain reaction in 1933, patented the idea of a nuclear reactor with Enrico Fermi, and in late 1939 wrote the letter for Albert Einstein's signature that resulted in the Manhattan Project that built the atomic bomb.

From 1908 to 1916 he attended Realiskola high school in his home town. Showing an early interest in physics and a proficiency in mathematics, in 1916 he won the Eotvos Prize, a national prize for mathematics. In Hungary this is a big deal, where mathematics is as prestigious as wrestling is in the rural Midwest. Other Hungarian physicists from this age include von Neumann, Erdos, Teller, Wigner, von Karman, Eotvos, and Lanczos. Such was the might of Hungarian physicists that it was speculated they were aliens.

von Neuman
von Karman
Dr. Strangelove

Szilard attended Friedrich Wilhelm University, where he attended lectures given by Albert Einstein, Max Planck, Walter Nernst, James Franck and Max von Laue. He also met fellow Hungarian students Eugene Wigner, John von Neumann and Dennis Gabor. His doctoral dissertation on thermodynamics (On The Manifestation of Thermodynamic Fluctuations), praised by Einstein, won top honors in 1922. It involved a long-standing puzzle in the philosophy of thermal and statistical physics known as Maxwell's demon, a thought experiment originated by the physicist James Clerk Maxwell. The problem was thought to be insoluble, but in tackling it Szilard recognized the connection between thermodynamics and Information theory.

In September 12, 1933, Szilard read an article in The Times summarizing a speech given by Lord Rutherford in which Rutherford rejected the feasibility of using atomic energy for practical purposes. The speech remarked specifically on the recent 1932 work of his students, John Cockcroft and Ernest Walton, in "splitting" lithium into alpha particles, by bombardment with protons from a particle accelerator they had constructed. Rutherford went on to say:

"We might in these processes obtain very much more energy than the proton supplied, but on the average we could not expect to obtain energy in this way. It was a very poor and inefficient way of producing energy, and anyone who looked for a source of power in the transformation of the atoms was talking moonshine. But the subject was scientifically interesting because it gave insight into the atoms."

Szilard was so annoyed at Rutherford's dismissal that he conceived of the idea of nuclear chain reaction (analogous to a chemical chain reaction), using recently discovered neutrons. The idea did not use the mechanism of nuclear fission, which was not yet discovered, but Szilard realized that if neutrons could initiate any sort of energy-producing nuclear reaction, such as the one that had occurred in lithium, and could be produced themselves by the same reaction, energy might be obtained with little input, since the reaction would be self-sustaining.

In November 1938, Szilard moved to New York City. In 1939, Niels Bohr brought news to New York of the discovery of nuclear fission in Germany by Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassmann, and its theoretical explanation by Lise Meitner, and Otto Frisch. When Szilard found out about it on a visit to Wigner at Princeton University, he immediately realized that uranium might be the element capable of sustaining a chain reaction.

Szilard and Zinn conducted a simple experiment on the seventh floor of Pupin Hall at Columbia, using a radium-beryllium source to bombard uranium with neutrons. They discovered significant neutron multiplication in natural uranium, proving that a chain reaction might be possible. Szilard later described the event: "We turned the switch and saw the flashes. We watched them for a little while and then we switched everything off and went home". He understood the implications and consequences of this discovery, though. "That night, there was very little doubt in my mind that the world was headed for grief"

Szilard persuaded Fermi and Herbert L. Anderson to try a larger experiment using 500 pounds (230 kg) of uranium. To maximize the chance of fission, they needed a neutron moderator to slow the neutrons down. Hydrogen was a known moderator, so they used water. The results were disappointing. It became apparent that hydrogen slowed neutrons down, but also absorbed them, leaving fewer for the chain reaction. Szilard then suggested Fermi use carbon, in the form of graphite. He felt he would need about 50 tonnes (49 long tons; 55 short tons) of graphite and 5 tonnes (4.9 long tons; 5.5 short tons) of uranium. As a back-up plan, Szilard also considered where he might find a few tons of heavy water; deuterium would not absorb neutrons like ordinary hydrogen, but would have the similar value as a moderator. Such quantities of materiel would require a lot of money.

Szilard drafted a confidential letter to the President, Franklin D. Roosevelt, explaining the possibility of nuclear weapons, warning of German nuclear weapon project, and encouraging the development of a program that could result in their creation. With the help of Wigner and Edward Teller, he approached his old friend and collaborator Einstein in August 1939, and convinced him to sign the letter, lending his fame to the proposal. The Einstein-Szilard letter resulted in the establishment of research into nuclear fission by the U.S. government, and ultimately to the creation of the Manhattan Project. Roosevelt gave the letter to his aide, Brigadier General Edwin M. "Pa" Watson with the instruction: "Pa, this requires action!"

The Shadow knows!

Fermi and Szilard met with representatives of National Carbon Company, who manufactured graphite, where Szilard made another important discovery. By quizzing them about impurities in their graphite, he found that it contained boron, a neutron absorber. He then had graphite manufacturers produce boron-free graphite. Had he not done so, they might have concluded, as the German nuclear weapon project did, that graphite was unsuitable for use as a neutron moderator. Like the German project, Fermi and Szilard still believed that enormous quantities of uranium would be required for an atomic bomb, and therefore concentrated on producing a controlled chain reaction. Fermi determined that fissioning uranium atom produced 1.73 neutrons on average. It was enough, but a careful design was call for to minimize losses. Szilard worked up various designs for a nuclear reactor. "If the uranium project could have been run on ideas alone," Wigner later remarked, "no one but Leo Szilard would have been needed."

The Shadow rap

After the war, Szilard switched to biology. He invented the chemostat, discovered feedback inhibition, and was involved in the first cloning of a human cell. He publicly sounded the alarm against the development of the cobalt bomb, a new kind of nuclear weapon that might destroy all life on the planet. He helped found the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, where he became a resident fellow.

In 1960, Szilard was diagnosed with bladder cancer. He underwent cobalt therapy at New York's Memorial Sloan-Kettering Hospital using a cobalt 60 treatment regimen that he designed himself. He knew the properties of this isotope also from his estimates about the salted bombs with cobalt. A second round of treatment with an increased dose followed in 1962. The doctors tried to tell him that the increased radiation dose would kill him, but he said it wouldn't, and that anyway he would die without it. The higher dose did its job and his cancer never returned. This treatment became standard for many cancers and is still used.

1930-      The Shadow
1938-1950  Golden Age of Comic Books
1939-      Batman
1956-1970  Silver Age of Comic Books
1963       X-Men
1970-1985  Bronze Age of Comic Books
1985-      Modern Age of Comic Books
1986       Watchmen

Presidents that pledged to serve 1 term and honored their pledge

James K. Polk
Rutherford B. Hayes

When running for president Polk pledged to serve one term. As president he worked hard, fulfilled his campaign promises, and didn't run for reelection. He died 3 months after the conclusion of his presidency, having worked himself to exhaustion.

Ion drives

Franklin Chang Diaz

The astronaut Franklin Chang Diaz formed a company and perfected the ion drive. Ion drives are essential for solar system exploration.

Caltech and MIT

Manhattan School of Music

Core requirements:

                         Caltech  MIT  U. Chicago  CUNY  Harvard  Juilliard  MSM

Biology                     *      *       *        *       *
Lab                         *      *       *        *       *
Mathematics                 *      *       *        *       *
Calculus                    *      *       *
Chemistry                   *      *
Multivariable Calculus      *      *
Mechanics (with Calculus)   *      *
Electromag (with Calculus)  *      *
Sports                      *      *
Differential equations      *
Quantum Mechanics           *
Thermodynamics              *

Roy Chapman Andrews

Roy Chapman Andrews (1884-1960) explored Mongolia for archaeological artifacts while fighing off snakes, bandits, sandstorms, and hostile governments, and is allegedly the real person that the movie character of Indiana Jones was patterned after. He created the metaphor of 'Outer Mongolia' as denoting any exceedingly remote place.

Andrews was born in Beloit, Wisconsin. As a child, he explored forests, fields, and waters nearby, developing marksmanship skills. He taught himself taxidermy and used funds from this hobby to pay tuition to Beloit College. After graduating, Andrews applied for work at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. He so much wanted to work there that after being told that there were no openings at his level, Andrews took a job as a janitor sweeping floors, declaring that "these are *museum* floors!" He began collecting specimens for the museum and during the next few years, he worked and studied simultaneously, earning a Master of Arts degree in mammalogy from Columbia University.

In the 1920s, he went to Mongolia, hoping to find out something about the origins of the human race. He didn't find out anything about early humans, but he discovered a treasure trove of dinosaur bones. During four expeditions in the Gobi Desert between 1922 and 1925, he discovered Protoceratops, a nest of Protoceratops eggs, Pinacosaurus, Saurornithoides, Oviraptor and Velociraptor, none of which were known before.

The dumbasses: Cope and Marsh, for waging the "Bone Wars".

Each of the two paoentologists used underhanded methods to try to out-compete the other in the field, resorting to bribery, theft, and the destruction of bones. Each scientist also attacked the other in scientific publications, seeking to ruin his credibility and have his funding cut off.

Their search for fossils led them west to rich bone beds in Colorado, Nebraska, and Wyoming. From 1877 to 1892, both paleontologists used their wealth and influence to finance their own expeditions and to procure services and dinosaur bones from fossil hunters. By the end of the Bone Wars, both men had exhausted their funds in the pursuit of paleontological supremacy.

Nikola Tesla

In 1874, Tesla evaded being drafted into the Austro-Hungarian Army by running away to Tomingaj, near Gracac. There, he explored the mountains in hunter's garb. Tesla said that this contact with nature made him stronger, both physically and mentally. He read many books while in Tomingaj, and later said that Mark Twain's works had helped him to miraculously recover from his earlier illness.

In 1875, Tesla enrolled at Austrian Polytechnic in Graz, Austria, on a Military Frontier scholarship. During his first year, Tesla never missed a lecture, earned the highest grades possible, passed nine exams (nearly twice as many required), started a Serbian culture club, and even received a letter of commendation from the dean of the technical faculty to his father, which stated, "Your son is a star of first rank." Tesla claimed that he worked from 3 a.m. to 11 p.m., no Sundays or holidays excepted.] He was "mortified when [his] father made light of [those] hard won honors." After his father's death in 1879, Tesla found a package of letters from his professors to his father, warning that unless he were removed from the school, Tesla would be killed through overwork.

Tesla and Twain

In June 1884, he relocated to New York City where he was hired by Thomas Edison to work at his Edison Machine Works on Manhattan's lower east side. Tesla's work for Edison began with simple electrical engineering and quickly progressed to solving more difficult problems. Tesla was offered the task of completely redesigning the Edison Company's direct current generators. In 1885, he said that he could redesign Edison's inefficient motor and generators, making an improvement in both service and economy. According to Tesla, Edison remarked, "There's fifty thousand dollars in it for you—if you can do it." This has been noted as an odd statement from an Edison whose company was stingy with pay and who did not have that sort of cash on hand. After months of work, Tesla fulfilled the task and inquired about payment. Edison, saying that he was only joking, replied, "Tesla, you don't understand our American humor." Instead, Edison offered a US$10 a week raise over Tesla's US$18 per week salary; Tesla refused the offer and immediately resigned.

In late 1886 Tesla met Alfred S. Brown, a Western Union superintendent, and New York attorney Charles F. Peck. The two men were experienced in setting up companies and promoting inventions and patents for financial gain. Based on Tesla's patents and other ideas they agreed to back him financially and handle his patents. Together in April 1887 they formed the Tesla Electric Company with an agreement that profits from generated patents would go 1/3 to Tesla, 1/3 to Peck and Brown, and 1/3 to fund development. They set up a laboratory for Tesla at 89 Liberty Street in Manhattan where he worked on improving and developing new types of electric motors, generators and other devices.

One of the things Tesla developed at that laboratory in 1887 was an induction motor that ran on alternating current, a power system format that was starting to be built in Europe and the US because of its advantages in long distance high voltage transmission. The motor used polyphase current which generated a rotating magnetic field to turn the motor (a principle Tesla claimed to have conceived of in 1882). This innovative electric motor, patented in May 1888, was a simple self-starting design that did not need a commutator, thus avoiding sparking and the high maintenance of constantly servicing and replacing mechanical brushes.

Tesla's radio-controlled boat, the world's first drone
Tesla discovered X-rays before Roentgen
Alternating current induction motor
AC dynamo

Tesla's demonstration of his induction motor and Westinghouse's subsequent licensing of the patent, both in 1888, put Tesla firmly on the "AC" side of the so-called "War of Currents," an electrical distribution battle being waged between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse that had been simmering since Westinghouse's first AC system in 1886 and had reached the point of all out warfare by 1888. This started out as a competition between rival lighting systems with Edison holding all the patents for DC and the incandescent light and Westinghouse using his own patented AC system to power arc lights as well as incandescent lamps of a slightly different design to get around the Edison patent. The acquisition of a feasible AC motor gave Westinghouse a key patent in building a completely integrated AC system, but the financial strain of buying up patents and hiring the engineers needed to build it meant development of Tesla's motor had to be put on hold for a while. The competition resulted in Edison Machine Works pursuing AC development in 1890 and by 1892 Thomas Edison was no longer in control of his own company, which was consolidated into the conglomerate General Electric and converting to an AC delivery system at that point.

Tesla demonstrates the wireless transmission of power
Wardenclyffe tower, built to transmit power across the Atlantic.

In 1893, George Westinghouse won the bid to light the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago with alternating current, beating out a General Electric bid by one million dollars. This World's Fair devoted a building to electrical exhibits. It was a key event in the history of AC power, as Westinghouse demonstrated the safety, reliability, and efficiency of a fully integrated alternating current system to the American public. At the Columbian Exposition, under a banner announcing the "Tesla Polyphase System", Tesla demonstrated a series of electrical effects previously performed throughout America and Europe, included using high-voltage, high-frequency alternating current to light a wireless gas-discharge lamp. An observer noted:

"Within the room was suspended two hard-rubber plates covered with tin foil. These were about fifteen feet apart, and served as terminals of the wires leading from the transformers. When the current was turned on, the lamps or tubes, which had no wires connected to them, but lay on a table between the suspended plates, or which might be held in the hand in almost any part of the room, were made luminous. These were the same experiments and the same apparatus shown by Tesla in London about two years previous, where they produced so much wonder and astonishment"

Gilded urn with Tesla's ashes, in his favorite geometrical object, a sphere (Nikola Tesla Museum, Belgrade).

Tesla possessed the powers of a Shaolin monk. From "":

He experienced a peculiar reaction when breathing deeply. When he breathed deeply he was overcome by a feeling of lightness, as if his body had lost all weight; and he should, he concluded, be able to fly through the air merely by his will to do so. He did not learn, in boyhood, that he was unusual in this respect.

A strange power permitted him to perform unusual feats in mathematics. He possessed it from early boyhood, but had considered it a nuisance and tried to be rid of it because it seemed beyond his control. If he thought of an object it would appear before him exhibiting the appearance of solidity and massiveness. So greatly did these visions possess the attributes of actual objects that it was usually difficult for him to distinguish between vision and reality. This abnormal faculty functioned in a very useful fashion in his school work with mathematics. If he was given a problem in arithmetic or algebra, it was immaterial to him whether he went to the blackboard to work it out or whether he remained in his seat. His strange faculty permitted him to see a visioned blackboard on which the problem was written, and there appeared on this blackboard all of the operations and symbols required in working out the solution. Each step appeared much more rapidly than he could work it out by hand on the actual slate. As a result, he could give the solution almost as quickly as the whole problem was stated.

Tesla's powers of memorizing were prodigious. A quick reading of a page gave him a permanent record of it; he could always recall before his eyes a photographic record of it to be read, and could study at his convenience. Study, for Tesla, was a far different process than for the average person. He had no need for a reference library; he could consult in his mind any page of any textbook he had read, and formula, equation, or item in a table of logarithms would flash before his eyes. He could recite scores of books, complete from memory. The saving in time which this made possible in research work was tremendous.

Tesla describes his faculty as follows:

During my boyhood I had suffered from a peculiar affliction due to the appearance of images, which were often accompanied by strong flashes of light. When a word was spoken, the image of the object designated would present itself so vividly to my vision that I could not tell whether what I saw was real or not... Even though I reached out and passed my hand through it, the image would remain fixed in space.

In trying to free myself from these tormenting appearances, I tried to concentrate my thoughts on some peaceful, quieting scene I had witnessed. This would give me momentary relief; but when I had done it two or three times the remedy would begin to lose its force. Then I began to take mental excursions beyond the small world of my actual knowledge. Day and night, in imagination, I went on journeys, saw new places, cities, countries, and all the time I tried hard to make these imaginary things very sharp and clear in my mind. I imagined myself living in countries I had never seen, and I made imaginary friends, who were very dear to me and really seemed alive.

This I did constantly until I was seventeen, when my thoughts turned seriously to invention. Then to my delight, I found I could visualize with the greatest facility. I needed no models, drawings, or experiments. I could picture them all in my mind.

By that faculty of visualizing, which I learned in my boyish efforts to rid myself of annoying images, I have evolved what is, I believe, a new method of materializing inventive ideas and conceptions. It is a method which may be of great usefulness to any imaginative man, whether he is an inventor, businessman or artist.

Some people, the moment they have a device to construct or any piece of work to perform, rush at it without adequate preparation, and immediately become engrossed in details, instead of the central idea. They may get results, but they sacrifice quality.

Here in brief, is my own method: after experiencing a desire to invent a particular thing, I may go on for months or years with the idea in the back of my head. Whenever I feel like it, I roam around in my imagination and think about the problem without any deliberate concentration. This is a period of incubation.

Then follows a period of direct effort. I choose carefully the possible solutions of the problem I am considering, and gradually center my mind on a narrowed field of investigation. Now, when I am deliberately thinking of the problem in its specific features, I may begin to feel that I am going to get the solution. And the wonderful thing is, that if I do feel this way, then I know I have really solved the problem and shall get what I am after.

The feeling is as convincing to me as though I already had solved it. I have come to the conclusion that at this stage the actual solution is in my mind subconsciously though it may be a long time before I am aware of it consciously.

Before I put a sketch on paper, the whole idea is worked out mentally. In my mind I change the construction, make improvements, and even operate the device. Without ever having drawn a sketch I can give the measurements of all parts to workmen, and when completed all these parts will fit, just as certainly as though I had made the actual drawings. It is immaterial to me whether I run my machine in my mind or test it in my shop.

The inventions I have conceived in this way have always worked. In thirty years there has not been a single exception. My first electric motor, the vacuum tube wireless light, my turbine engine and many other devices have all been developed in exactly this way.

Other inventors have had to a greater or lesser degree this power of visualization to see in the mind's eye, or on the wall of the bedroom, or upon an imaginary blackboard, a complete diagram or image of a layout or machine. But while this ability may be in some way connected with inventive ability, it is not essential. As a matter of recorded fact, visualization aided Tesla to work out the details, rather than to make the invention. It cannot be said that the power to invent is simply the power to visualize.

The quality that Tesla's inventiveness shared with that of other inventors was the quality of instantaneousness. While thinking of something else, while walking, dreaming, listening to a lecture or a sermon, suddenly the invention is there. There is no effort.

From "":

This made the writer wonder what would happen if you stood on one pole of a very powerful Tesla coil. In a recent conversation with Dr. Nikola TesIa, the inventor pointed out that he had indeed performed many such experiments in his Colorado laboratory many years ago. The currents which he then used were far greater and higher than those produced anywhere now. Thousands of horsepower were used by him at that time. Dr. Tesla explained that he frequently stood upon one pole of his mastodonic coils while the full current was on. Of course, he had to stand upon a metallic plate, but he had to be careful so that no sparks jumped from his body to other objects or to the ceiling. This would have meant instant electrocution. Dr. Tesla pointed out that as the human body has a certain capacity, it radiated a good deal of energy into the surrounding air. Due to the tremendous current the sensation was anything but comfortable. The current heating the blood vessels raised the bodily temperature, and the experiment for this reason alone could not be extended for any great length of time. Dr. Tesla explained that during the experiment sparks and long spark-streams would envelop his entire body. At the extremities, elbows, knees, hip bones, nose, ears, etc., the spark display was most pronounced. Streams five to ten feet long would shoot out from the extremities with a crackling noise. Due to the exceedingly high frequencies used, however, the sparks did neither sting nor burn the flesh. Mr. Nikola Tesla's own words, his body, indeed, was enveloped in "cold fire". Dr. Tesla also explained that during the experiments his hair would rise on end, producing the same effect as if a large static machine had been used, with the well-known result, on the hair.

From ""

1880: Tesla is admitted to a hospital in Budapest, Hungry, experiencing flashes of light and mental images that he was having difficulty controlling. His sensitivity was so strong that he could hear a clock ticking three rooms away. He begins to feel much better focusing his ability to invent in his mind. He receives a visit from a school friend and they take a walk through the gardens surrounding the grounds. Tesla asks if his friend could leave his pocket watch with the nurse, as not to disturb the intensity of the ticking in his mind. They turn a corner as Tesla recites a poem, when suddenly he gets his Awe-awe moment, drawing the demonstration in the dirt pathway, he realizes that there is no need for the commutator and the excitation can be provided by a rotating magnetic field that will provide the need result creating a true square wave frequency to deliver energy. His friend is confused, having trouble visualizing the concept, but Tesla is so confident that he has concluded a break-through that will forever change the delivery of light on the planet. The missing puzzle that humiliated him in front of all his classmates by Professor Poeschl, Tesla so overwhelmed he must sit down on the bench next to them and tries to hide the tear rolling down his face. This break-through has been haunting him for years, confirming he was right all along from Professor Poeschl's dismissal of his concept.

1894, Tesla dines with Sarah Bernhardt at Delmonico's, which he frequents almost every evening. The waiters know exactly what to bring Tesla to make him very comfortable. Charles Demonico invites Tesla to join him and several of his friends, who are professional billiard players. Tesla is apprehensive at first, but Sarah encourages him until he agrees. After they dine, they join the group in a special room, decorated with a beautiful billiard table. Tesla watches a few games and declines the gentlemen's offer for a fifteen point lead. He wins the first three games against two of the best players in the world. On his way out, he leans over to Sarah and whispers in her ear, "it's simple mathematics".

1898, Late Tesla's 46 Houston street laboratory Citzo secures a mounting plate on a steel beam exactly to Tesla's instructions. Tesla prepares for his experiment, as he takes his electromechanical steam driven oscillator (seven inches long, weighing five pounds) and attaches it to the mounting plate. He then puts his ear against the oscillator and searches for the resonance of the steel beam that should be uniform to the entire building. He uses a tuning fork to set the frequency range of the gage. Suddenly, everything starts shaking. Fruit flying off of the carts, buildings sway and bricks start of break loose. Tesla has created an earthquake like experience all within a five block radius. The police are flooded with telephone calls as their chairs are rolling all around the office. Tesla can't stop the frequency so he grabs a sledge hammer sitting in the corner or his laboratory and breaks the oscillator just as the policemen break open the door. Tesla says to the policemen, very calmly, "Too bad gentlemen, you've just missed a very interesting experiment".

From "":

When at age seventeen Tesla first turned to invention, he realized that his childhood ability to visualize objects in three dimensions, once a curse, had become a precious gift, allowing him to materialize mentally the design of any machine he wished to create, to take it apart and put it back together, or simply to observe it in action.

When he built real-life machines to the specifications of his own imagining, they operated exactly as he had foreseen.

It was not until Tesla read, in Serbian translation, a remarkable novel, Aoafi, by the Hungarian writer Josika that he was given a clue about how to control the random unearthly forces coursing through him. The novelist's observations introduced him to an ingredient of the human psyche the existence and force of which he had not yet suspected: will-power. Extrapolating from hints in the text, he began to practice inner control his resolution to separate his intent from the clutch of habit at first would fade all too easily, but after doggedly pursuing his effort over several years, he was able to reach a state in which will became identical with desire.

The dumbass: Thomas Edison, who had the Employee of the Century on his payroll, blew it, and spent the rest of his life getting his butt kicked by Tesla.

"Nikola Tesla", the 1980 movie. The scene at time=42:00 characterizes Edison's folly.

Paul MacCready

The Gossamer Albatros
The MacCready speed ring

Built the first human-powered aircraft.

Founded the theory of gliding.

World gliding champion.

In 1985 he was commissioned to build a halfscale working replica of the pterosaur Quetzalcoatlus for the Smithsonian Institution, following a workshop in 1984 concluded that such a replica was feasible. The completed remote-controwhichlled flying reptile, with a wingspan of 18 feet, was filmed over Death Valley, California in 1986 for the Smithsonian's IMAX film On the Wing. It flew successfully several times before being severely damaged in a crash at an airshow at Andrews AFB in Maryland.

The Manhattan Project

Leo Szilard
Enrico Fermi
Dr. Manhattan
Johnny von Neumann, Robert Oppenheimer, and the EDVAC computer
Niels Bohr

1939 Aug 2  Szilard, Teller, and Einstein discuss nuclear fission. Szilard drafts
            the the "Einstein letter" that is later delivered to President Roosevelt
1939 Oct11  Alexander Sachs delivers the Einstein letter to President Roosevelt
1939 Oct12  Roosevelt orders the commencement of the Manhattan Project to develop a
            nuclear bomb.
1942 Dec 2  Fermi and Szilard achieve the first self-sustaining nuclear fission
            reactor at the University of Chicago
1945 Jul16  Trinity test of a plutonium bomb yields a 20 kTon TNT equivalent explosion
1945 Aug 6  A uranium bomb is deployed at Hiroshima, yielding 15 kTons TNT equivalent
1945 Aug 9  A plutonium bomb is deployed at Nagasaki, yielding 21 kTons TNT equivalent

World War 2

Trinity plutonium test
Trinity plutonium test
Little Boy
Little Boy

The Enola Gay, the bomber that deployed "Little Boy"
Fat Man

Uranium detonation

Two pieces of uranium-235, each with less than a critical mass, are brought together in a cannon barrel.
If the uranium is brought together too slowly, the bomb fizzles.

If you bring two pieces of uranium-235 together too slowly, a chain reaction begins in the near side of each piece, generates heat, and blows the two pieces apart before they can come completely together. Only a small amount of uranium undergoes fission and this is referred to as a "fizzle". Using gunpowder and a cannon is fast enough to properly detonate uranium and this is technologically easy to do.

Plutonium detonation

Plutonium is more difficult to detonate than uranium. Simply bringing two pieces together, no matter how fast, results in a fizzle. To detonate plutonium you have to shape it as a sphere and implode it, which is technologically difficult.

In World War 2 the U.S. produced enough uranium for 1 bomb and enough plutonium for 2 bombs. One of the plutonium bombs was tested in the "Trinity" test before being used in the war, and the second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. The uranium bomb was dropped on Hiroshima without previously being tested.

When Hans Bethe, a physicist on the Manhattan project, was asked why they didn't test the uranium bomb he replied "Because we were perfectly sure it would work".

Separation of Uranium-235 from Uranium-238

Magnetic separation. Dark blue = uranium-235. Light blue = uranium-238. Yellow = magnetic field.
Magnetic separation machines during the Manhattan Project

Natural Uranium is .72% Uranium-235 and 99.3% Uranium-238. Only Uranium-235 undergoes a chain reaction and so it has to be separated from the Uranium-238. Several methods exist for doing this. In World War 2 the isotopes were separated magnetically with calutrons. Gas diffusion and centrifuges can also be used.

Fusion bomb design

Fusion of deuterium and lithium requires high temperature and pressure, which is achieved by compressing the fuel. This is done by detonating a fission bomb and using the generated X-rays to compress the fusion fuel. X-rays strike the outer layer and expel atoms, and the recoil compresses the fuel. This is called "ablation" and the design was developed by Teller and Ulam.



The practical limit for the energy/mass of a fusion bomb = 25 TJoules/kg or .0062 Mtons of TNT per kg.

1 ton of TNT                        =   4⋅109  Joules
1 ton of gasoline                   =   4⋅1010 Joules
Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb     =   .000011 MTons TNT  (Largest U.S. conventional bomb)
Trinity plutonium-239 test          =   .020 MTons TNT
Hiroshima uranium-235 fission bomb  =   .015 MTons TNT   "Little Boy". 60 kg Uranium-235
Nagasaki plutonium-239 fission bomb =   .021 MTons TNT   "Fat Man".     6 kg Plutonium-239
Ivy King fission bomb               =   .5   MTons TNT   Largest pure fission bomb
B83 fusion bomb                     =  1.2   MTons TNT   Largest bomb in active service
Castle Bravo fusion bomb            = 15     MTons TNT   Largest U.S. test
B41 fusion bomb                     = 25     MTons TNT   Largest U.S. bomb created
Tsar Bomba                          = 50     MTons TNT   Largest USSR test

Combat aircraft

F-22 Raptor
F-35 Lightning
F-15 Eagle

F-15 Eagle cockpit
F-16 Falcon
MiG-25 Foxbat

               Speed  Mass  Takeoff  Ceiling  Thrust  Range  Cost  Number Year Stealth
               Mach   ton     ton      km       kN     km     M$

SR-71 Blackbird  3.3   30.6   78.0     25.9    302    5400          32   1966
MiG-25 Foxbat    2.83  20.0   36.7     20.7    200.2  1730        1186   1970
MiG-31 Foxhound  2.83  21.8   46.2     20.6    304    1450         519   1981
F-22A Raptor     2.51  19.7   38.0     19.8    312    2960   150   195   2005   *
F-15 Eagle       2.5   12.7   30.8     20.0    211.4  4000    28   192   1976
F-14 Tomcat      2.34  19.8   33.7     15.2    268    2960         712   1974
MiG-29 Fulcrum   2.25  11.0   20.0     18.0    162.8  1430    29  1600   1982
Su-35            2.25  18.4   34.5     18.0    284    3600    40    48   1988
F-4 Phantom II   2.23  13.8   28.0     18.3           1500        5195   1958
Chengdu J-10     2.2    9.8   19.3     18.0    130    1850    28   400   2005
F-16 Falcon      2.0    8.6   19.2     15.2    127    1200    15   957   1978
Chengdu J-7      2.0    5.3    9.1     17.5     64.7   850        2400   1966
Dassault Rafale  1.8   10.3   24.5     15.2    151.2  3700    79   152   2001
Euro Typhoon     1.75  11.0   23.5     19.8    180    2900    90   478   2003
F-35A Lightning  1.61  13.2   31.8     15.2    191    2220    85    77   2006   *
B-52              .99  83.2  220       15.0    608   14080    84   744   1952
B-2 Bomber        .95  71.7  170.6     15.2    308   11100   740    21   1997   *
A-10C Warthog     .83  11.3   23.0     13.7     80.6  1200    19   291   1972
Drone RQ-180          ~15              18.3          ~2200               2015   *
Drone X-47B       .95   6.4   20.2     12.2           3890           2   2011   *  Carrier
Drone Avenger     .70          8.3     15.2     17.8  2900    12     3   2009   *
Drone RQ-4        .60   6.8   14.6     18.3     34   22800   131    42   1998
Drone Reaper      .34   2.2    4.8     15.2      5.0  1852    17   163   2007
Drone RQ-170                           15                           20   2007   *

India HAL AMCA   2.5   14.0   36.0     18.0    250    2800     ?     0   2023   *
India HAL FGFA   2.3   18.0   35.0     20.0    352    3500     ?     0  >2020   *
Mitsubishi F-3   2.25   9.7     ?        ?      98.1  3200     ?     1   2024   *
Chengdu J-20     2.0   19.4   36.3       ?     359.8     ?   110     4   2018   *
Sukhoi PAK FA    2.0   18.0   35.0     20.0    334    3500    50     6   2018   *
Shenyang J-31    1.8   17.6   25.0       ?     200    4000     ?     0   2018   *

Mach 1 = 295 m/s
5th generation fighters: F-22, F-35, X-2, HAL AMCA, J-20, J-31, Sukhoi PAK FA

An aircraft moving at Mach 2 and turning with a radius of 1.2 km has a g force of 7 g's.



RQ-170 Sentinel
MQ-9 Reaper


Air to air missiles

F-22 and the AIM-120
Predator and Hellfire
Helfire in a transparent case

                Mach   Range  Missile  Warhead  Year  Engine
                        km      kg       kg

Russia  R-37      6      400    600      60    1989   Solid rocket
Japan   AAM-4     5      100    224       ?    1999   Ramjet
India   Astra     4.5+   110    154      15    2010   Solid rocket
EU      Meteor    4+     200    185       ?    2012   Ramjet
Russia  R-77-PD   4      200    175      22.5  1994   Ramjet
USA     AIM-120D  4      180    152      18    2008   Solid rocket
Israel  Derby-IR  4      100    118      23           Solid rocket
Israel  Rafael    4       50    118      23    1990   Solid rocket
France  MICA      4       50    112      12    1996   Solid rocket
Israel  Python 5  4       20    105      11           Solid rocket
Russia  K-100     3.3    400    748      50    2010   Solid rocket
UK      ASRAAM    3+      50     88      10    1998   Solid rocket
Germany IRIS-T    3       25     87.4          2005   Solid rocket
USA     AIM-9X    2.5+    35     86       9    2003   Solid rocket
USA     Hellfire  1.3      8     49       9    1984   Solid rocket  AGM-114

Ground to air missiles

David's Sling
Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD)


                 Mach   Range  Missile  Warhead  Year  Engine     Stages   Anti
                         km      kg       kg                              missile

USA     SM-3      15.2   2500   1500       0    2009   Solid rocket  4       *
Israel  Arrow      9      150   1300     150    2000   Solid rocket  2
USA     THAAD      8.24   200    900       0    2008   Solid rocket          *
USA     David      7.5    300                   2016   Solid rocket          *
Russia  S-400      6.8    400   1835     180    2007   Solid rocket          *
India   Prithvi    5     2000   5600            2006   Solid, liquid 2       *
India   AAD Ashwin 4.5    200   1200       0    2007   Solid rocket  1
Taiwan  Sky Bow 2  4.5    150   1135      90    1998   Solid rocket
China   HQ-9       4.2    200   1300     180    1997   Solid rocket  2
USA     Patriot 3  4.1     35    700      90    2000   Solid rocket          *
China   KS-1       4.1     50    900     100    2006   Solid rocket          *
USA     RIM-174    3.5    460   1500      64    2013   Solid rocket  2
India   Barak 8    2      100    275      60    1015   Solid rocket  2
Japan   Chu-SAM                  570      73    2003   Solid rocket
Korea   KM-SAM             40    400            2015   Solid rocket

Ground to ground missiles


                Mach   Range  Missile  Warhead  Year  Engine        Launch
                        km      kg       kg                         platform

USA     Tomahawk   .84  2500   1600     450    1983   Turbofan      Ground
USA     AGM-129    .75  3700   1300     130    1990   Turbofan      B-52 Bomber
USA     AGM-86     .73  2400   1430    1361    1980   Turbofan      B-52 Bomber

Hypersonic missiles

DARPA Falcon HTV-3

                   Speed   Mass  Range   Year
                   mach    tons   km

USA      SR-72         6                 Future. Successor to the SR-71 Blackbird
USA      HSSW          6           900   Future. High Speed Strike Weaspon
USA      HTV-2        20         17000   2 Test flights
USA      X-41          8                 Future
USA      X-51          5.1  1.8    740   2013    Tested. 21 km altitude. Will become the HSSW
Russia   Object 4202  10                 Tested
India    HSTDV        12                 Future
China    Wu-14        10                 2014   7 tests.  also called the DZ-ZF
The SR-72 has two engines: a ramjet for below Mach 3 and a ramjet/scramjet for above Mach 3. The engines share an intake and thrust nozzle.
Intercontinental ballistic missiles

First ICBM: SM-65 Atlas, completed in 1958
Titan 2
Minuteman 3
Minuteman 3

Trident 2
Minuteman 3

                     Payload  Paylod   Range  Mass    Launch   Year
                     (tons)   (Mtons)  (km)   (tons)

USA     Titan 2               9        15000   154     Silo    1962   Inactive
USA     Minuteman 3            .9      13000    35.3   Silo    1970
USA     Trident 2              .95     11300    58.5   Sub     1987
USA     Titan                 3.75     10200   151.1   Silo    1959   Inactive
USA     Peacekeeper           3         9600    96.8   Silo    1983   Inactive
Russia  RS-24                 1.2      12000     49    Road    2007
Russia  Voevoda         8.7   8        11000    211.4  Silo    1986
Russia  Layner                         11000     40    Sub     2011
Russia  RS-28 Sarmat   10              10000   >100    Silo    2020   Liquid rocket
Russia  Bulava                 .9      10000     36.8  Sub     2005
France  M51.1                 1        10000    52     Sub     2006
China   DF-5B                 8        15000    183    Silo    2015
China   DF-5A                 4        15000    183    Silo    1983
China   JL-2                  6        12000     42    Sub     2001
China   DF-5                  5        12000    183    Silo    1971
China   DF-31A                3        12000     42    Road
China   DF-31                 1         8000     42    Road    1999
China   DF-4                  3.3       7000     82    Silo    1974
India   Surya          15              16000     70    Road    2022
India   Agni-VI        10              12000     70    Road    2017
India   Agni-V          6               8000     50    Road    2012
India   K-4             2.5             3500     17    Sub     2016   Solid. Arihant nuclear sub
India   K-15           ~6.5              750      1.0  Sub     2010   Solid. 2 stages. Arihant nuclear sub
Israel  Jericho 3        .75           11500     30    Road    2008
N. Kor. Taepodong-2                     6000     79.2  Pad     2006
Pakis.  Shaheen 3                       2750           Road    2015   Solid. 2 stages.
Pakis.  Shaheen 2                       2000     25    Road    2014   Solid. 2 stages.
Pakis.  Ghauri 2        1.2             1800     17.8  Road
Pakis.  Ghauri 1         .7             1500     15.8  Road    2003   Liquid. 1 stage.
Iran    Shabab 3        1.0             1930                   2003
Payload in "tons" represents the mass of the payload.
Payload in "Mtons" is the nuclear detonation payload in terms of tons of TNT.
World War 2 bombers

Avro Lancaster
B-29 Superfortress
Heinkel He 177

Handley Page Halifax
B-17 Flying Fortress
B-17 Flying Fortress

focke-Wulf Condor
Mitsubishi Ki-67
Mitsubishi G4M

Yokosuka Ginga
Tupolev Tu-2

                            Max    Mass   Max   Bombs  Max   Engine   Range    #    Year
                           speed          mass         alt                   Built
                            kph    ton    ton    ton   km    kWatt     km

UK       Avro Lancaster        454  16.6   32.7  10.0   6.5   4x 954   4073   7377  1942
USA      B-29 Superfortress    574  33.8   60.6   9.0   9.7   4x1640   5230   3970  1944
Germany  Heinkel He 177        565  16.8   32.0   7.2   8.0   2x2133   1540   1169  1942
UK       Short Stirling        454  21.3   31.8   6.4   5.0   4x1025   3750   2371  1939
UK       Handley Page Halifax  454  17.7   24.7   5.9   7.3   4x1205   3000   6176  1940
Germany  Fokke-Wulf Condor     360  17.0   24.5   5.4   6.0   4x 895   3560    276  1937
Soviet   Tupolev Tu-2          528   7.6   11.8   3.8   9.0   2x1380   2020   2257  1942
USA      B-17 Flying Fortress  462  16.4   29.7   3.6  10.5   4x 895   3219  12731  1938
Japan    Mitsubishi Ki-67      537   8.6   13.8   1.6   9.5   2x1417   3800    767  1942
Soviet   Petlyakov Pe-2        580   5.9    8.9   1.6   8.8   2x 903   1160  11427  1941
Japan    Yokosuka P1Y Ginga    547   7.3   13.5   1.0   9.4   2x1361   5370   1102  1944
Japan    Mitsubishi G4M        428   6.7   12.9   1.0   8.5   2x1141   2852   2435  1941

Curtis LeMay: Flying fighters is fun. Flying bombers is important.

World War 2 heavy fighters

A-20 Havoc
F7F Tigercat
P-38 Lightning

Airspeed chart

Fairey Firefly
Fairey Fulmar

Messerschmitt 410
Heinkel He-219
Junkers Ju-88


Kawasaki Ki-45

Gloster Meteor
Me-262 Swallow
Heinkel He-162

                       Max   Climb  Mass   Max   Bombs  Max   Engine   Range   #   Year
                      speed                mass         alt                  Built
                       kph    m/s   ton    ton    ton   km    kWatt     km

USA    P51 Black Widow  589  12.9  10.6   16.2   2.9   10.6  2x1680   982    706  1944
USA    A-20 Havoc       546  10.2   6.8   12.3    .9    7.2  2x1200  1690   7478  1941
USA    F7F Tigercat     740  23     7.4   11.7    .9   12.3  2x1566  1900    364  1944
USA    P-38 Lightning   667  24.1   5.8    9.8   2.3   13.0  2x1193        10037  1941
UK     Fairey Firefly   509   8.8   4.4    6.4    .9    8.5  1x1290  2090   1702  1943
UK     Mosquito         668  14.5   6.5   11.0   1.8   11.0  2x1103  2400   7781  1941
UK     Beaufighter      515   8.2   7.1   11.5    .3    5.8  2x1200  2816   5928  1940
UK     Fairie Fulmar    438         3.2    4.6    .1    8.3  1x 970  1255    600  1940
UK     Defiant          489   9.0   2.8    3.9   0      9.2  1x 768   749   1064  1939
Japan  Dragon Slayer    540  11.7   4.0    5.5   0     10.0  2x 783         1701  1941  Ki-45
Japan  Flying Dragon    537   6.9   8.6   13.8   1.6    9.5  2x1417  3800    767  1942  Ki-67
Japan  J1N Moonlight    507   8.7   4.5    8.2   0           2x 840  2545    479  1942
Ger.   Hornet           624   9.3   6.2   10.8   1.0   10.0  2x1287  2300   1189  1943
Ger.   Flying Pencil    557   3.5   9.1   16.7   4.0    7.4  2x1287  2145   1925  1941  Do-217
Ger.   Heinkel He-219   616               13.6   0      9.3  2x1324  1540    300  1943
Ger.   Junkers Ju-88    360        11.1   12.7   0      5.5  2x1044  1580  15183  1939
Ger.   Me-110           595  12.5          7.8   0     11.0  2x1085   900   6170  1937
SU     Petlyakov Pe-3   530  12.5   5.9    8.0    .7    9.1  2x 820  1500    360  1941
UK     Gloster Meteor   965  35.6   4.8    7.1    .9   13.1   Jet     965   3947  1944
Ger.   Me-262 Swallow   900 ~25     3.8    7.1   1.0   11.5   Jet    1050   1430  1944
Ger.   Heinkel He-162   840  23.4   1.7    2.8   0     12.0   Jet     975    320  1945

Me-262 Swallow jet  =  2x 8.8 kNewtons
Heinkel He-162 jet  =  1x 7.8 kNewtons
Gloster Meteor jet  =  2x16.0 kNewtons

World War 2 light fighters

P-39 Airacobra
P-40 Warhawk
P-43 Lancer

P-47 Thunderbolt
P-51 Mustang
P-63 Kingcobra

F2A Buffalo

F6F Hellcat
F8F Bearcat



Mitsubishi A6M Zero


Hawker Tempest
Hawker Hurricane
Hawker Typhoon

Submarine Seafire
Submarine Spitfire


Polykarpov I-16


                       Max   Climb  Mass   Max   Bombs  Max   Engine   Range   #    Year
                      speed                mass         alt                  Built
                       kph    m/s   ton    ton    ton   km    kWatt     km

USA    P-39 Airacobra   626  19.3   3.0    3.8    .2   10.7  1x 894   840   9588  1941
USA    P-63 Kingcobra   660  12.7   3.1    4.9    .7   13.1  1x1340   725   3303  1943
USA    F2A Buffalo      517  12.4   2.1    3.2   0     10.1  1x 890  1553    509  1939
USA    P-40 Warhawk     580  11.0   2.8    4.0    .9    8.8  1x 858  1100  13738  1939
USA    P-51 Mustang     703  16.3   3.5    5.5    .5   12.8  1x1111  2755 >15000  1942
USA    F4F Wildcat      515  11.2   2.7    4.0   0     10.4  1x 900  1337   7885  1940
USA    F6F Hellcat      629  17.8   4.2    7.0   1.8   11.4  1x1491  1520  12275  1943
USA    F8F Bearcat      730  23.2   3.2    6.1    .5   12.4  1x1678  1778   1265  1945
USA    P-43 Lancer      573  13.0   2.7    3.8   0     11.0  1x 895  1046    272  1941
USA    P-47 Thunderbolt 713  16.2   4.5    7.9   1.1   13.1  1x1938  1290  15677  1942
USA    F4U Corsair      717  22.1   4.2    5.6   1.8   12.6  1x1775  1617  12571  1942
Japan  Zero             534  15.7   1.7    2.8    .3   10.0  1x 700  3104  10939  1940
Japan  N1K Strong Wind  658  20.3   2.7    4.9    .5   10.8  1x1380  1716   1532  1943
Japan  Ki-84 "Gale"     686  18.3   2.7    4.2    .7   11.8  1x1522  2168   3514  1943
Japan  Ki-61            580  15.2   2.6    3.5    .5   11.6  1x 864   580   3078  1942
Japan  Ki-100           580  13.9   2.5    3.5   0     11.0  1x1120  2200    396  1945
Japan  A5M              440         1.2    1.8   0      9.8  1x 585  1200   1094  1936
Japan  A6M2             436  12.4   1.9    2.9    .1   10.0  1x 709  1782    327  1942
Japan  J2M Thunderbolt  655  23.4   2.8    3.2    .1   11.4  1x1379   560    671  1942
Japan  Ki-27            470  15.3   1.1    1.8    .1   12.2  1x 485   627   3368  1937
Japan  Ki-43            530         1.9    2.9    .5   11.2  1x 858  1760   5919  1941
Japan  Ki-44            605  19.5   2.1    3.0   0     11.2  1x1133         1225  1942
UK     Hawker Hurricane 547  14.1   2.6    4.0    .5   11.0  1x 883   965  14583  1943
UK     Hawker Tempest   700  23.9   4.2    6.2    .9   11.1  1x1625  1190   1702  1944
UK     Hawker Typhoon   663  13.6   4.0    6.0    .9   10.7  1x1685   821   3317  1941
UK   Submarine Seafire  578  13.4   2.8    3.5          9.8  1x1182   825   2334  1942
UK   Submarine Spitfire 595  13.2   2.3    3.0   0     11.1  1x1096   756  20351  1938
Ger.   Fw-190           685  17.0   3.5    4.8    .5   12.0  1x1287   835 >20000  1941
Ger.   Bf-109           640  17.0   2.2    3.4    .3   12.0  1x1085   850  34826  1937
SU     MiG-3            640  13.0   2.7    3.4    .2   12.0  1x 993   820   3172  1941
SU     Yak-1            592  15.4   2.4    2.9   0     10.0  1x 880   700   8700  1940
SU     Yak-3            655  18.5   2.1    2.7   0     10.7  1x 970   650   4848  1944
SU     Yak-7            571  12.0   2.4    2.9   0      9.5  1x 780   643   6399  1942
SU     Yak-9            672  16.7   2.5    3.2   0     10.6  1x1120   675  16769  1942
SU     LaGG-3           575  14.9   2.2    3.2    .2    9.7  1x 924  1000   6528  1941
SU     La-5             648  16.7   2.6    3.4    .2   11.0  1x1385   765   9920  1942
SU     La-7             661  15.7   3.3           .2   10.4  1x1230   665   5753  1944
SU     Polykarpov I-16  525  14.7   1.5    2.1    .5   14.7  1x 820   700   8644  1934

World War 2 aircraft carriers

U.S. Essex Class
U.S. Independence Class

Shokaku Class
Hiyo Class
Chitose Class

Unryu Class
Zuiho Class

       Class        Speed   Power  Length  Displace  Planes     #     Year
                     kph    MWatt    m       kton             built

USA    Essex         60.6   110     263      47       100      24     1942
USA    Independence  58      75     190      11        33       9     1942
Japan  Shokaku       63.9   120     257.5    32.1      72       2     1941
Japan  Hiyo          47.2    42     219.3    24.2      53       3     1944
Japan  Unryu         63     113     227.4    17.8      65       3     1944
Japan  Chitose       53.5    42.4   192.5    15.5      30       2     1944
Japan  Zuiho         52      39     205.5    11.4      30       2     1940


Adams, J.
Adams, J.Q.
Van Buren

Harrison, W.

Harrison, B.


Bush, G.H.W.

Bush, G.W.

Hunting statistics for 2014
              Hunters   Deaths

Michigan       800000     0
Pennsylvania   750000     1
New York       600000     0
Wisconsin      589830     0
West Virginia  250000     0
Maine          224039     0

Total         3213869     1

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