Seventy-five years ago this week… a “miracle” changes the course of the war

This week is the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Midway, one of the most decisive naval battles in American history, and possibly in world history.  It was certainly the first major Allied victory against the Japanese fleet in World War Two.

Why is this American victory called a “miracle”, most notably by renowned historian Gordon Prange in his bestseller Miracle at Midway? Because the possibility of an American victory seemed so remote, and the circumstances of the American victory were so unlikely.

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Martha’s Vineyard: a much needed vacation (Part One)

It has been a busy and often stressful last few weeks, but Kelly and I had the chance to get away for a few days with the dogs.  We boarded Scratch, and hopefully he will get all sorts of attention from the vet techs while we are gone.

They worried while we were packing.
They worried while we were packing.

Much like the first family, who is also on the island this week, Kelly and I have spent the last few days on Martha’s Vineyard.  It is the first time I have been on the island in over 30 years.   Continue reading “Martha’s Vineyard: a much needed vacation (Part One)”

Today is the anniversary of the worst maritime disaster in American history

It was April 27th, 1865 – 151 years ago today.  And I bet that most people have never even heard of it, even though it killed more people than the sinking of the RMS Titanic in 1912 or the sinking of the RMS Lusitania in 1915.

It was an American steamboat named the Sultana.

Continue reading “Today is the anniversary of the worst maritime disaster in American history”

The science and history of rogue waves, part three

I found another good video on YouTube about rogue waves, and this one actually talks at length about the dangers to offshore platforms and people on shore from rogue waves, using actual recent historical examples.

Continue reading “The science and history of rogue waves, part three”

April 15th is another eventful date

Well.  April 15th is another day that it seems like so many things happened throughout history.  And for the most part, it seems like it has been a date on which a lot of truly tragic things happened.  Honestly, I can only think of one really cool thing that happened on this date: it was the day that Jackie Robinson first debuted with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947.  And as big a fan of baseball as I am, and as happy as I am about how far my favorite sport has come since that time, I can’t help but contrast that event with all the other terrible, tragic things that have happened on this day.

Of course, the most immediate thing for me is that this is the 3rd anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing.  Hard to believe it has already been three years.  But I am glad that Boston had really come together and bounced back.

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The science and history of rogue waves, part two

While searching for some videos on YouTube that might do a better job of explaining the phenomenon of rogue waves than I can, I actually found some really, really good material.  First, one of my absolute favorite people on the Intertubes, Hank Green, who is also half of the awesome duo that is the vlog brothers.  Here, Hank talks about rogue waves on his SciShow channel.

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The science and history of rogue waves, part one

In what could prove to be a huge step forward in predicting how rogue waves are formed, and thus a tool for saving lives at sea, researchers at MIT have found a way to give 2 to 3 minutes warning of an incoming rogue wave.

I know it probably sounds stupid, but it’s hard for me to explain how excited I am about this research.  So much so that I am tempted to go speak with the researchers sometime (living in Cambridge does have its advantages).  But to understand why I am geeking out about this, it might help for me to go into some detail about what we know about rogue waves, and how they have affected ships at sea, as well as oil rigs, lighthouses, and coastlines.  This is one of those times that my love of history (especially maritime history) and my love of science come together.

Continue reading “The science and history of rogue waves, part one”