Category: Random Thursdays

Why Electric Motors Are Just… Better

We hear a lot about EV batteries, but not so much about the motors that give the cars such high performance. So today I’ll be talking about the 3-phase AC Induction motor, created by Nikola Tesla, and why it’s taking over the auto industry.

The Tragic Story Of The Radioactive Women Of WWI

The Radium Girls, as they came to be known, were women who joined the United States war effort in World War 1, working in factories where they painted glow-in-the-dark paint on airplane instruments. It was considered a good job, until their bodies fell apart from radium poisoning.

Radium is a radioactive element discovered by Marie Curie in 1898, which initiated a bit of a radium craze until it was better understood to be very dangerous. Radium was used in the luminescent paint that the women handled every day in the factories, even ingesting the paint when they used their lips to contour the brushes.

Sadly, by the 1930s, most of the Radium Girls had died from cancers and bone degeneration, and their employer, the United States Radium Corporation, refused to take responsibility for their demise. This led to a rash of lawsuits that changed the way we treat workers, creating watchdog groups that have made workplaces safer all around the world.

Alan Shepard: American Badass

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Alan Shepard entered the history books by being the first American in space. And while his launch was overshadowed by that of Yuri Gagarin – which beat his by only a few weeks – his career, talent, and legacy are nothing short of legendary.

Alan Shepard was one of the Mercury 7 astronauts along with Deke Slayton, Gus Grissom, Scott Carpenter, John Glenn, Wally Shira, and Gordon Cooper. This was NASA’s first manned space program.

Alan’s mission was given the name Freedom 7 and he went up on a Mercury Redstone rocket. His flight was suborbital and only lasted 15 minutes, but started the US on the course for the moon.

But Alan Shepard’s early career started as a pilot in the Navy, where he ascended to become a test pilot, testing out the newest fighter jets and helping to decide which ones became part of the Navy’s arsenal.

After his Mercury flight, Shepard was grounded on account of Meniere’s Disease, which causes pressure in the inner ear and creates balance and orientation issues. But after corrective surgery, he was reinstated into the space program and served a commander on the Apollo 14 mission.

The Tragic Life Of Lucia Zarate: The Smallest Woman Ever

Lucia Zarate was a popular sideshow performer in the late 1800s and was billed as the human doll for the fact that she was only 24 inches tall and weighed only 4.7 pounds, a world record to this day.

Learning about Lucia tells us a lot about how the shortest person in the world is determined. It’s more complicated than you think.