Strange facts about early America

June 5, 2008

The battle of Bunker Hill was fought on Breeds Hill. The British won the battle.

The only person to sign the declaration of Independence on July 4th was John Hancock. The other delegates began signing it on August 2nd.

Only two future U.S. Presidents, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, signed the declaration of independence. Both Adams and Jefferson died on July 4th 1826, exactly 50 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

President George Washington personally commanded Militia in the field to quell the Whiskey rebellion in 1794.

George Washington survived cases of Malaria, Smallpox, Tuberculosis, Dysentery, and Diphtheria in his lifetime. While President, he survived a bout with Pneumonia, the same disease that killed him nine years later.

During the revolutionary war, slaves were offered freedom for fighting on the British side. When the British withdrew, most of the “loyalist” slaves were taken back to England and given their freedom. Most Blacks in England are descendants of the loyalist slaves.

The first American War following independence was the Barberry Coast War fought against North African nations. It was mostly a naval war, but the U.S. Marines captured the city of Tripoli; an action that has been immortalized in the Marine Hymn, “to the shores of Tripoli.”

Colonists that remained loyal to the British were stripped of all their holdings including their homes and land. Many went west to start over as early pioneers. A large group settled in Canada. The English Colonies of Nova Scotia and Ontario were largely populated by American Refugees. In 1996, Canadian politicians sponsored the Godfrey-Milliken Bill, which would have entitled Loyalist descendants to reclaim ancestral property in the United States that was confiscated by the U.S. government during the American Revolution.


Famous Tall Leaders

June 3, 2008

Larger than life: the Average Height of Males during the Middle Ages was around 5’2”. The following five military leaders were all over a foot taller than average.

1. Frankish King Charlemagne was 6’ 4” 270 lbs

2. George Washington was 6 foot 3 inches.

3. King Henry VIII of England was 6’4”

4. King Edward I of England was known as Longshanks for his height of 6 feet 2 inches.

5. Longshanks’ enemy, Scottish Revolutionary leader William Wallace was 6’7”

According to the Bible, Goliath was six cubits which would make him 9’ 6”. And the Bible does not exaggerate. The Tallest U.S. President was Abraham Lincoln at 6’5″.

The notoriously short Napoleon was 5’6” which was average height for his time. He was called le petit caporal which translates in English as, “the little general”, but the term was used as one of affection by his troops. English propaganda has perpetuated the Shorty Napoleon myth which still exists today

Human deaths in the U.S. caused by Animals

May 29, 2008

If you try to pet a grizzly bear, of pick up a rattle snake, you are not only likely to be attacked, but you are very stupid. Animals are defensive of their homes, and are much more likely to attack if they feel threatened.

Animals that didn’t make the list

Mosquito’s are widely regarded as the most deadly creature on the planet, killing an estimated 3 million people per year, but the mosquito is not the real killer. Malaria is a parasite carried by mosquito’s. Micro-agents such as parasites, viruses, and bacteria are alive and kill millions of humans, but they are not included on this list. Humans are the most deadly animals on the planet. They are also excluded from the list.

Deer can kill people directly, but auto accidents caused by deer kill 130 people per year. Since the deer did not directly kill the person, this is an auto related accidental death.

Poisoning deaths

Bee stings are the largest killer of humans in the U.S. directly caused by animals. An allergic reaction to the venom is bee’s kills 53 people per year. This number is increasing every year due to the aggressive African honey bee that is taking over in Texas.

The Black Widow and Brown Recluse spiders kill 6.5 people per year. They are usually young children that do not get medical attention right away.

Rattlesnakes carry venom that kill 5.5 people per year. Rattlesnake attacks are always defensive. Most rattlesnake related deaths are males between 17 and 27. Alcohol is usually involved which facilitates the venom. I picture a drunk kid on a camping trip trying to mess with the snake, then not seeking medical attention immediately.

Scorpion and centipedes are responsible for 1 death every two years on average. This is due to their remote habitat and inadequate medical care.

Predatory attacks.

Sharks, alligators, and mountain lions are the only U.S. predators that hunt humans in the wild.

The most feared animal is without a doubt the Shark. The Jaws craze has sent a wave of fear across America for the past quarter century. In reality, less that 1 person per year is killed by a shark in the U.S. Hawaii, California, and Florida are the most likely places to be attacked.

While Jaws is purely fictional, two true stories of shark attacks continue to haunt us. 1912 New Jersey attacks killed 5 people over a course of a week. The most amazing thing was that the bull shark responsible for the attacks, traveled up a river and attacked people swimming in a creek 5 miles from the ocean. The other story was actually told in Jaws. The USS Indianapolis was sank in WWII and the survivors were picked off one by one over the next four days by Oceanic White Tip sharks in the open ocean. Of the 900 sailors in the ocean all but 317 were killed.

Mountain Lions are by far the most dangerous land predator in the U.S. While deaths are extremely rare (1 per year) the thought of being stalked, killed, and eaten is horrific. Alligators in Florida have killed 18 people in the last 60 years. The attacks have been increasing in recent years. This increase is attributed to human encroachment into the alligators habitat. Many attacks occur on golf courses, which have been built over drained everglades.

Bear attacks are almost always defensive. Alaska and Yellowstone National Park are the only places in the U.S. where fatal bear attacks usually occur. Grizzly bears are not interested in humans for food except in late fall before hibernation. Less than 1 fatality per year is due to bear attacks.

Pet attacks

Pet dogs account for 31 deaths per year in the U.S. The Pit Bull is not a recognized breed of dog. There are many mutts that resemble the pit bull that kill people, so classification is difficult. The Pit bull variety is by far the largest killer of humans, followed by Rottweiler’s and Husky’s. Dozens of different breeds can kill people. Basset Hounds, Beagle’s, Dauschund’s, Labradors, and even Golden retrievers have killed humans.

Wolf deaths usually occur when people bring them home as pets. Three small children have been killed by pet wolves in the past 30 years. In the wild, there has not been a fatal wolf attack in the U.S. since 1888. (Two deaths have occurred in Canada in the past 10 years)

A 12 foot pet Burmese python recently strangled a 2 year old girl to death in Florida.

While it is rare for a python to kill a human, it can happen, so I included it on this list.

Non Native animal attacks

On rare occasions, attacks can occur at the Zoo, or circus. in 2007 a man was killed by a Tiger at the San Francisco Zoo. There have been a few deaths in the U.S. caused by elephants. The chance of dying from an elephant attack in the U.S. is almost impossible. However, elephants kill over 125 people per year mostly in Africa and India.

Riding accidents

This is a bit of a different category because the animals usually do not intend to cause injury or death. Rodeo, equestrian, and bull riding deaths occur infrequently related to how many people are exposed to these animals, but they do happen. An average of 20 people per year are killed in horse related accidents, and 3 people are killed by Bulls.

Average Number of Deaths per Year in the U.S

Bee/Wasp 53
Dogs 31
Spider 6.5
Rattlesnake 5.5
Mountain lion 1
Shark 1
Alligator 0.3
Bear 0.5
Scorpion 0.5
Centipede 0.5
Elephant 0.25
Wolf 0.1
Horse 20
Bull 3

Closest U.S. Presidential Elections

May 15, 2008

In the early days, electors voted for both a President and V.P. The tie between Jefferson and Burr changed that practice. Alexander Hamilton saw Jefferson as the lesser of two evils and wrote a scathing review of Aaron Burr. Burr challenged Hamilton to a duel and killed him.

In 1824, Andrew Jackson won the most electors, but since there were four candidates, he did not secure a majority in the electoral college. The election was turned over to the federalist controlled house of representatives where they chose their candidate, John Quincy Adams as President.

The 1876 election is the most controversial ever. Still mired in reconstruction following the civil war, the democratic south’s candidate won the popular vote by 3%. The republican controlled senate contested the electors of 4 states. Tilden only need one state while Hayes needed all 4. A 15 person commission (8 rep, 7 dem) was set up do award the disputed electors. The commission voted along party lines and each state was awarded to Hayes. The senate upheld the results while the house disputed the results. A compromise was reached when the republicans agreed to remove troops from the south and end reconstruction.

Year Electoral Votes Popular Votes
1800 Thomas Jefferson (Dem.-Rep.) 73
Aaron Burr (Dem.-Rep.) 73
John Adams (Fed.) 65
Charles C. Pinckney (Fed.) 64
1824 John Quincy Adams (Fed) 84
Andrew Jackson (Dem) 99
William H. Crawford 41
Henry Clay 37
1876 Rutherford B. Hayes (R) 185 4,033,768
Samuel J. Tilden (D) 184 4,285,992
1880 James A. Garfield (R) 214 4,449,053
Winfield S. Hancock (D) 155 4,442,035
1916 Woodrow Wilson (D) 277 9,129,606
Charles E. Hughes (R) 254 8,538,221
1960 John F. Kennedy (D) 303 34,226,731
Richard M. Nixon (R) 219 34,108,157
1968 Richard M. Nixon (R) 301 31,785,480
Hubert H. Humphrey (D) 191 31,275,166
George C. Wallace (Ind.) 46 9,906,473
1976 Jimmy Carter (D) 297 40,830,763
Gerald R. Ford (R) 240 39,147,973
2000 George W. Bush (R) 271 50,455,156
Albert A. Gore (D) 266 50,992,335

Reverse Engineering for War

May 6, 2008

Reverse engineering is the process of taking an existing product and figuring out how to manufacture it by taking it apart. This has been done throughout history by all nations of the world. The concept has been especially useful in military terms.

Famous examples of Reverse engineering for military purposes:

The Egyptian chariot was the “shock and awe” weapon of its day. The Assyrian army dominated with their chariots, and the Egyptians captured one, reverse engineered it, and went on to mass produce their improved design. With this new weapon of war, the Egyptians dominated the region for the next thousand years.

The Roman navy was inferior to the Carthaginians during the first Punic war. They simply had no answer for the feared Carthaginian Quinquireme. A storm wrecked several quinquiremes on the Italian coast. Roman engineers copied the design and constructed several of their own ships to bolster the Roamn Navy. In 241 BC the Roman fleet sank 50 Carthaginian ships in the Battle of Aegus.

Tupolev Tu-4: Three American B-29 bombers on missions over Japan were forced to land in the USSR. The Soviets did not have a long range, heavy strategic bomber, so they decided to copy the B-29. Within a few years they had developed the Tu-4, a near perfect copy.

Soviet R-1 Rocket: Western Allies captured technical plans and hardware for the German V-2 rocket. The Soviets captured several German scientists who worked on the V-2 project. They worked with Soviet Scientists to recreate the rocket from the few documents they had. The V-2 rocket led to the space race between America and the Soviet Union

Vympel K-13 Missile: In 1958, an AIM 9 Sidewinder Missile was fired from Taiwan at a MiG-17 fighter. It did not explode upon impact. Instead, it became lodged into the side of the jet. When the pilot landed, Russian scientists reverse engineered their own copy.

BGM-71 TOW missile: In 1975, Iran was in negotiations with the U.S. for the purchase and production of the TOW and Maverick Missile. The revolution in 1979 brought an end to diplomatic relations between the countries, but Iran had reverse engineered their own copy and they are still producing it today.

5 ways the Axis could have won World War II.

May 2, 2008

I am assuming that Russia maintains their alliance with Germany and Japan throughout the war.  It is hard to imagine the Americans staying out of the war, but without Pearl Harbor, the massive commitment made by Americans may not have been as strong until it was too late.

1. Germany invades Great Britain immediately upon France’s capitulation. Despite huge German casualties, Great Britain, Ireland and Iceland would likely fall into German hands before the United States could enter the war.  Without a Atlantic base of operations, there could have been no Normandy invasion.

2. Germany does not invade Russia. Hitler, instead sends his entire invasion force to Egypt and the middle east. All of North Africa, and Asia are in Axis hands by the summer of 1943.  Without the Suez canal, the Allies could not resupply the Far east as effectively.

3.  Japan does not attack Pearl Harbor.  The Japanese forces attack British held Burma and India and take control of the entire Indian Ocean by the end of 1943.  Japan was defeated by the British in India in 1944, but the British would be less powerful with Egypt and the Suez canal lost.

4. Japan and Russia (who were allies) invade China. Japan takes control of China proper, and Russia controls Manchuria and Korea by the end of 1943.

5. Russia invades Alaska and Canada. Japan invades Australia and the Philippines. Germany invades South Africa, and on to South America. The U.S. would have to hope for a favorable peace treaty in this scenario.

If the political Allaince of Germany, Russia, and Japan could maintain their peace, They could have controlled the world. This is a wild assumption of course knowing the personalities of Hitler and Stalin. Individual Revolutions would eventually spring up and the Axis controlled world would likely crumbled by the 1950’s.

Difference between Britian and England

April 24, 2008

Around 325 B.C. Greek explorer Pytheas wrote about islands in the North Atlantic that he named Britannia. This name was derived from Pretania, an indeginous name for the Islands.

In 55 B.C. Julius Caesar Explored the main island of Britannia (Modern England, Wales and Scotland). He called the inhabitants Britons. In 54 B.C. Caesar scored a political victory by successfully placed a Roman freindly Brition on the throne which brought Britannia into the Roman Empire.

Several tribes of Britions refused to become Romans and pay taxes and tribute to Rome. In 43 B.C. a full scale invasion by Rome conquered most of the Island. Only the Northern Tribes (Scots and Picts) held out. Instead of continuing the war, the Romans built a wall across the Island separating Britain and Scotland.

The slow decline of the Roman empire led to the withdrawal of the Roman legions from Britain to defend Rome itself in 410 A.D. The local leaders now had to hire Germanic tribes to help fight off the raids from Scotland. The Anglo-Saxons came across the channel to fight the Scots and Picts, and they never left. The Anglo-Saxons forced the Britains to the western part of the island which became known as Wales. The name is derived from the Germanic term for foreigner (Walha). The Anglo-Saxons called their new homeland England.

The Latin and Greek speaking world continued to call the island Britannia for the next 1200 years. When Queen Elizabeth died in 1603, her cousin James VI of Scotland became King of England. Instead of calling him the King of England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, people began referred to his realm as Great Britain.

Difference between Persia and Iran?

April 6, 2008

What is the difference between Persia and Iran? The answer is that Persia is Iran. Iranians have called their country Iran since the 3rd century. The origin of the name Persia comes from Ancient Greek mythology. Zeus’s son Perseus and Queen Andromeda had a son names Persus. He moved east and became the ancestor to the people of Persus, or Persians. In 1935, the Iranian government asked the international community to refer to the country as Iran, which has always been its official name.

Other countries that are called a different name by the people of the country:

Germany, Deutschland

Greece, Ellas

Armenia, Hayastan

Finland, Suomi

Albania, Shqipëria

Egypt, Mesr

Algeria, al-Jaza’ir

Japan, Nippon

China, Zhōnggúo or Chung-kuo

Highest Ranked U.S. officers killed in action.

April 6, 2008

Most combat deaths are front line enlisted men. Occasionally a highly ranked officer is killed. Col. William Wood, commanding officer of the 1st Battalion, 184th Infantry Regiment is the highest ranked officer killed in action during the Iraq War.

There have been a few notable deaths throughout history. Roman emperor Valens was killed at the battle of Adrianople (August 8, 378) in modern day Turkey by the Goths. British Admiral Horatio Nelson was the head of the British Navy and probably the most influential Naval leader of all time. He was killed in the battle of Trafalger in 1805. Admiral Yamamoto, the head of the Japanese Navy, was killed when his plane was shot down in the south pacific during WWII.

Notable U.S. Combat Fatalities:

Col. Davy Crockett was killed at the Alamo. He was a former congressman and famous frontier hunter and Indian fighter.

General George Custer was killed along with all of his men at the battle of the Little Big Horn in Dakota Territory in 1876.

Three Union Generals, Major-General John F. Reynolds, Brig.-General Stephen W. Weed, and Brevet Major-General S. K. Zook were all killed at the battle of Gettysburg.

General Lesley James McNair was killed July 25, 1944 near St Lo, France by friendly fire during a pre-attack bombardment.

Admiral Isaac Kidd was killed aboard the U.S.S. Arizona during the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Dec. 7, 1941.

General Simon Bolivar Buckner Jr was killed during the closing days of the Battle of Okinowa by enemy artillery fire.

Major General Maurice Rose was killed in Germany during WWII. He was the highest ranked Jewish officer in U.S. history, and his 3rd armored Division was the first U.S. division to cross the Siegfried line into Germany.

General Keith Lincoln Ware was the Commanding General of the 1st Infantry Division. He was killed in a helicopter crash near the Cambodian border during the Vietnam War.

10 Best Military Machines of all time.

April 1, 2008

10. Roman Polybolos: The best Roman military advancement has to be the roads they built, but a road is not a machine. I can’t have a list of greatest anything without something Roman. Although the many Roman catapults, rams, and various weapons were unique and innovative, the Polybolos was the most effective. It was a copy of the earlier Greek Ballista, but with an attached cam that automatically reloaded a bolt into the chamber. It is estimated that the Polybolos could fire 11 times per minute. The Roman legions pounded and army that formed in front of them with the polybolos, then the Infantry would march through the scattered enemy and cut them to pieces.

9. Egyptian Chariot: Egyptians captured a Syrian chariot, and reverse engineered their own improved design (Leather lashed spoked wheels). Before the Egyptians, chariots were very expensive and rare. They were usually just transports for the generals. The Egyptians were able to mass produce chariots by using interchangeable parts. They rolled into battle with several thousand chariots armed with elite archers.

8. Greek Torsion Ballista: A large, cross bow weapon that could fire heavy round projectiles, or long iron tipped arrows. It was light enough to place on ships or atop siege towers. Alexander the Great developed the torsion Ballista and it is the first widely used piece of field artillery in history. The Greeks could bombard city walls, or skewer armored soldiers from up to 500 yards.

7. Maxim Machine Gun: After the development of the Machine Gun in 1884, no Army would march in neat lines onto an open field ever again. Hiram Maxim invented the first gun to use the energy from the recoil to eject each spent cartridge and insert the next one. This made it vastly more efficient and less manpower-demanding than previous machine guns. This design was copied and remodeled many times and used to devastating effects, most notably in the trenches of WWI.

6. Russian T-34 Tank: Developed in 1941, the T-34 was the most effective tank of WWII, and the most produced tank of all time. A study in 1996 showed that the T-34 was still in service in 27 countries. 57,000 were produced during WWII. The Russians could move through deep mud and snow with the versatile T-34. The Germans could not match their maneuvers and were consistently outflanked and destroyed. The Nazi’s failed on the eastern front largely due to the superior firepower, maneuverability, and productivity of the best tank ever made.

5. British Ship of the Line: Prior to the British Navy Ships of the line, naval combat consisted of ramming an enemy and boarding their ships for hand to hand combat. The Huge British Vessels had superior firepower which made the devastating broadside attack common in naval warfare for the first time. The HMS Victory, with 78 guns, is the most famous ship of the line, and was commanded by Admiral Horatio Nelson at the battle of Trafalgar in 1805. The British victory gave them control of the seas during the Napoleonic wars, and helped secure Great Britain as the dominant world power of their time.

4. Soviet R-7 Semyorka ICBM: In 1958, the world entered the space age. The first Intercontinental Ballistic Missile that launched soviet satellite sputnik into outer space was the grandchild of the Nazi V-2 rocket. In December 1959, the R-7 rocket was modified to carry a 3 megaton nuclear warhead. The Soviet Union had the capability of delivering a nuclear strike anywhere in the world within 30 minutes. There was no defense and no warning system in place. The ICBM is still the most feared weapon of all time, but it was thankfully never used in military action.

3. Ottoman Heavy Cannon: Gunpowder was developed in China. The Ottoman Empire saw the value of this new explosive and was one of the first states to put gunpowder weapons into widespread use. The Ottomans could not penetrate the thick walls of Constantinople until the siege of 1453. They brought 69 large cannons and continued a constant barrage which lasted forty days. When Constantinople fell to the Ottoman’s, the world changed forever. Walled cities and Castles which defended people for thousands of years were rendered nearly obsolete by the Cannon.

2. B-52 Stratofortress. A total of 744 B-52’s were built. The first 50 were entered into service in 1955. The B-52 is so well designed, that they are still in service after over 50 years. The B-52’s versatility and fuel economy make it the most successful aircraft in military history. The B-1B was introduced in 1986 to replace the B-52, but the B-1 averages a 53% ready rate while the B-52 still averages 80%. Still, clearly the best heavy bomber in the U.S. Air Force, the B-52 is not scheduled to retire until 2040.

1. Nimitz Class Aircraft Carrier. The Nimitz Class is the largest and most powerful naval vessel in history. They are Nuclear powered which means no need for re-fueling. The U.S.S. Nimitz is still ruling the sea almost 40 years after it was commissioned. It carries 85 aircraft able to strike anywhere in the world. There are 10 Nimitz class carriers. Just one has enough firepower to defeat nearly all other navies in the world.