You are browsing the archive for 2019 June 26.

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CERN Large Hadron Collider is powered up

June 26, 2019 in History

By History.com Editors

On this day in 2008, scientists successfully flip the switch for the first time on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) lab in Geneva, kicking off what many called history’s biggest science experiment.

Testing particle physics theories, the $8 billion LHC is the largest particle accelerator in the world, made up of superconducting magnets that allow engineers and physicists to study subatomic particles including protons, electrons, quarks and photons. The LHC can create 600 million collisions per second.

The 17-mile underground ring, located beneath the Swiss-French border, sends particle beams at the speed of light, causing them to collide and recreate debris caused by the Big Bang. At the time of its launch, some scientists and environmentalists speculated that the LHC would create a mini black hole that could end the world. These claims were refuted by CERN and physicist Stephen Hawking, who said any mini black holes would evaporate instantly.

The goal of the LHC, the largest scientific instrument on the planet, was to create and discover the Higgs boson, better known as “the God particle.” In 1964, Peter Higgs and Francois Englert came up with the theory that the particle associated with a mass-transmitting energy field was the key to how everything in the universe acquires mass.

In 2012, CERN announced the LHC experiments had allowed researchers to observe a particle consistent with the Higgs boson. On Oct. 8, 2013, Higgs and Englert were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics, “for the theoretical discovery of a mechanism that contributes to our understanding of the origin of mass of subatomic particles, and which recently was confirmed through the discovery of the predicted fundamental particle, by the ATLAS and CMS experiments at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider.”

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Source: HISTORY

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Soviet Dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov Defects from U.S.S.R.

June 26, 2019 in History

By History.com Editors

Considered one of the world’s greatest ballet dancers of all time, Soviet virtuoso Mikhail Baryshnikov choreographs his own Cold War-era defection from the U.S.S.R. after four years of planning.

Known as “Misha” to his admirers, Baryshnikov, then 26, finished a performance with the Leningrad-based Kirov Ballet in Toronto while on a Canadian tour, and then evaded his KGB handlers, disappearing into the crowd outside, hopping into a waiting car and hiding out until he was officially granted political asylum in Canada. Soon after, he received political asylum in the United States, where he became principal dancer with the American Ballet Theatre and the New York City Ballet. He became a U.S. citizen on July 3, 1986.

Baryshnikov called the defection an artistic choice rather than a political one.

“When I was in Toronto, I finally decided that if I let the opportunity of expanding my art in the West slip by, it would haunt me always,” he told The Globe and Mail in his first post-defection interview. “What I have done is called a crime in Russia … But my life is my art and I realized it would be a greater crime to destroy that. I want to work with some of the West’s great choreographers if they think I am worthy of their creations.”

Baryshnikov told People magazine in 1985 that the defection unfolded like a thriller.

“It was arranged secretly through friends,” he said. “I was running, the getaway car was waiting a few blocks away as we were boarding on the group’s bus. KGB was watching us. It was actually funny. Fans are waiting for me outside the stage door, and I walk out and I start to run, and they start to run after me for autograph. They were laughing, I was running for my life. It was very emotional moment, I tell you.”

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Source: HISTORY

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Michelangelo’s statue of David is unveiled to the public

June 26, 2019 in History

By History.com Editors

One of the world’s most beloved works art, “David,” the 17-foot-tall, 12,000-pound marble masterpiece by Michelangelo Buonarroti, is unveiled to the public in Florence, Italy’s Piazza della Signoria.

Carved from a single block of white Italian Carrara marble that had been rejected by other artists for being flawed, the massive statue depicts a nude David, the Biblical hero who used a slingshot to slay the giant Goliath.

The work was commissioned by the Opera del Duomo for the Cathedral of Florence in 1501, and took roughly three years to complete. The sculpture was to be part of a series of other statues to be located along the roofline of the cathedral. Michelangelo was only 26 at the time of the commission.

Upon its unveiling to the Cathedral Vestry Board, it was decided by a committee that included Leonardo da Vinci and Sandro Botticelli that the statue should be placed in a more public location (plus, lifting more than 6 tons of marble onto a roof added a whole other set of complications). Once decided it would reside in the piazza, it took a reported 40 men four days to move the massive statue one-half mile.

While most depictions of David featured a boy, Michelangelo’s version was that of a muscular man with a sling in his left hand and a rock in his right hand. The statue is widely considered one of the finest examples of High Renaissance art.

In 1873, after almost 400 years, “David” was moved indoors to the Galleria dell’Accademia to protect it from damage. A replica remains in its place in the piazza.

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Source: HISTORY

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The Wrenching Reparations Question

June 26, 2019 in Economics

By Michael D. Tanner

Michael D. Tanner

With America’s contentious racial history serving as
subtext for the 2020 presidential campaign, it is no surprise that
the idea of “reparations” has become an issue —
at least among Democratic contenders.

So far, around a dozen Democrats have endorsed some form of
reparations, at least conceptually. This includes senators Warren,
Sanders, Booker, Harris, Klobuchar, and Gillibrand, former Colorado
governor Hickenlooper, former HUD secretary Julián Castro, and
former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke. Fringier candidates,
such as former Alaska senator Mike Gravel and self-help guru
Marianne Williamson, have also backed the legislation.

Warren, in fact, has extended her call for reparations to
include Native Americans and members of the LGBTQ community. For
the others, most of their backing for reparations extends to
legislation, H.R.40, sponsored by Representative Sheila Jackson Lee
(D., Texas), that would establish a Commission to Study and Develop
Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act in order to
“study and consider a national apology and proposal for
reparations for the institution of slavery [and] its subsequent de
jure and de facto racial and economic discrimination against
African-Americans.”

The animating sentiment
behind reparations should not be dismissed out of hand, but
implementing them would only exacerbate racial tension.

Of the major candidates, only Biden and South Bend mayor Pete
Buttigieg have opposed reparations, although both remain open to
some sort of “conversation” on the subject. Biden, who
vocally opposed reparations in a 1975 interview, continues to
distance himself from his past. A spokesperson for the candidate
said the former vice president believes in gathering the data
needed “to have an informed conversation about
reparations.” Buttigieg acknowledges that “we need to
have some kind of accounting for the persistent racial inequities
today there by design because of past and present racism,”
but also says he hasn’t “seen a proposal for a cash
transfer that people would be able to come together around and view
as fair.” We will have to see if that reluctance survives his
current difficulties with racial tensions in South Bend.

Politically, support for reparations would seem to be a pretty
big gamble. Polls show only about a quarter of Americans supporting
the idea, though larger numbers of African Americans (not
surprisingly) and young people support it. This hardly seems like
an issue designed to win back those blue-collar Trump supporters in
the Midwest or Trump-reluctant independents and Republicans in the
suburbs.

Still, issues like this are about more than politics, and the
animating sentiment behind reparations is not one that can be
easily dismissed.

Reparations are far from unprecedented. There are numerous
examples, both internationally and in the United States, of
government providing recompense for past injustices. Ronald Reagan
signed legislation in 1986 …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Trump Is Doing All the Wrong Things on Immigration

June 26, 2019 in Economics

By Jeffrey Miron, Laura Nicolae

Jeffrey Miron and Laura Nicolae

Since his presidential campaign began, President Trump promised
to decrease illegal immigration. In recent months, his
administration has pushed for additional border wall funding, expanded our military presence at the border, and threatened
to increase deportations unless congressional
Democrats agree to strengthen federal asylum laws.

Despite these efforts, illegal immigration has recently increased. One reason is that Trump’s measures
do not reduce the incentives for people to migrate illegally. To
shrink illegal immigration, the US needs policies that lower these
incentives, especially if these make sense independently of
immigration.

Expand free trade

As long as demand for
immigration persists, enforcement-only attempts to limit illegal
immigration will be only partially effective.

Trump recently suspended plans to impose increasing tariffs
after Mexico agreed to “take strong measures” to reduce cross-border
migration, but threatened to reinstate them if Mexico fails to
cooperate in the future. This would harm the US and Mexican
economies and increase illegal immigration.

Immigration and trade are alternative mechanisms for narrowing
differences in production costs across countries. Liberalizing US
trade policy would increase demand for foreign labor, shrink wage
differences between the US and its trade partners, and reduce the
incentive for migration. After the North American Free Trade
Agreement (NAFTA), Mexico gained hundreds of thousands of manufacturing
jobs.

Freer trade with Mexico, China, Cuba or South America would
improve living standards in those regions and decrease incentives for illegal immigration in
the long run, while improving US economic growth. For example, the
United States could end its trade war with China, restart negotiations for
a free-trade agreement with South America, and normalize trade relations with Cuba.

Free trade also lowers prices for consumers and export costs for
businesses. The US Chamber of Commerce estimates that trade with
Canada and Mexico supports 14 million
jobs
.

End the war on drugs

Prohibition causes violence by driving drug markets underground,
where disputes cannot be resolved through courts. Captures of
kingpins increase violence by motivating rival gangs to exploit
the weakened organizations. The US enforces prohibition in Latin
America and the Caribbean by seizing drugs and financing the Mexican drug war.

Many immigrants risk their lives to escape drug-related
violence in their native countries. El Salvador has the highest
murder rate in the world, due in part to
gangsthat fled the US-backed drug war in
Mexico. And El Salvador is the second-largest source of illegal immigration to
the …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Military Vehicles That Are Big, Bad and Battle-Tested

June 26, 2019 in History

By History.com Editors

These aircraft, tanks, rocket launchers and more serve as the workhorses of American warfare. One has even earned the nickname ‘the finger of God.’


Bigger, stronger, longer and taller than a Humvee, the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (or JLTV) boasts twice the weight and far more capacity to handle gnarly terrain and unconventional warfare.

View the 9 images of this gallery on the original article

When the mission is critical and the risk is high, U.S. military personnel require vehicles they can count on to move them in and out of harm’s way, over any terrain, while protecting them from threats both known and unknown. Of course, it doesn’t hurt if those vehicles—whether for land, sea or air—are loaded with firepower. Here are some of the U.S. military’s most powerful workhorses, featured in HISTORY’s special Chuck Norris’s Epic Guide to Military Vehicles (airs Monday July 8, 9/8C).

JLTV: Joint Light Tactical Vehicle


A newly developed Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV), being developed for the Army and the U.S. Marine Corps, is put through its paces on one of the test courses at the U.S. Army Yuma Proving Ground, Yuma, Arizona.

What it’s known for: Bigger, stronger, longer and taller than a Humvee, the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (or JLTV) boasts twice the weight and far more capacity to handle gnarly terrain and unconventional warfare.

Protection: Traveling through a (literal) minefield? It’s got suicide armored doors weighing several hundred pounds apiece. The cabin is wrapped in an armored shell, and offers blast-protected seats and underbelly—and an automatic fire-extinguishing system.

Firepower: Heavy machine guns, automatic grenade launchers and anti-tank guided missiles.

Superpower: A souped-up, height-adjustable “intelligent” suspension helps the JLTV conquer steep inclines and rocky ravines.

Stryker


In an exercise designed to prepare U.S. and international partner forces for a NATO deployment to Afghanistan, U.S. soldiers assigned to the 2nd Cavalry Regiment, U.S. Army Europe, scan the battlefield in a Stryker armored vehicle at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center in Hohenfels, Germany, October 2012.

What it’s known for: Bigger than the JLTV, the 19-ton Stryker can fit up to nine troops and two crew members. Designed for versatility, it’s available in 10 different configurations and easily shifts from four-wheel (highway) to eight-wheel (cross-country) driving.

Firepower: Heavy machine guns, automatic grenade launchers and guided missiles.

Protection: Strykers feature a reinforced V-shaped hull for undercarriage protection from IEDs. A …read more

Source: HISTORY