You are browsing the archive for 2019 July 05.

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Speeding Through Flames: What to Expect from Evel Live 2

July 5, 2019 in History

By Editors

Trailblazing champion motocross athlete Vicki Golden will go after a fiery world record.

It takes a special kind of crazy to willingly—and repeatedly—crash a motorcycle through burning boards. Flaming debris can settle in a rider’s lap. Impact at even moderate speeds can cause concussion. And with all that smoke, it can be as good as driving blind.

That is—if you survive the temps, which can reach up to 2,000 degrees.

Four-time X Games medalist Vicki Golden seems to possess that brand of crazy—a combination of vision, ambition and guts that makes her a 21st-century heir to the legacy of Evel Knievel, the legendary two-wheeling daredevil who jumped, and crashed, his way into pop-culture history in the 1960s and ’70s. On Sunday July 7, at HISTORY’s “Evel Live 2″ live television event in San Bernardino, California, this rising-star stunt athlete will aim to make history of her own, by being the first woman to set a new world record for riding through flaming boards.

The stunt will be the featured event in a revamped format for “Evel Live 2,” after renowned freestyle motocross athlete Axell Hodges crashed during a practice run to beat the longest motorcycle jump in history—a distance of 378 feet and 9 inches—and severely injured both ankles. “I’m shocked I’m not in worse shape and feel extremely grateful to have been able to get up from this crash,” Hodges says. The revamped show will include exclusive crash footage.

“Daredevils throughout history have risked their lives, putting it all on the line during their death-defying stunts,” said Eli Lehrer, executive vice president and general manager for HISTORY. “It takes a certain type of hero to fall and get back up again.”

READ MORE: What Are the Most Insanely Daring Stunts Since Evel Knievel?

Golden’s stunt drives forward the Knievel legacy. Early in his career, when Evel crashed through fireboards, motorcycle stunt entertainment was in its infancy. In January 1966, at the debut show of “Knievel and his Daredevils” in Indio, California, a free-wheeling Evel wowed fans by performing wheelies, crashing through plywood firewalls and jumping over two (yes, just two) pick-up trucks.

These days, the stunts have become exponentially harder. And riders like Golden train with the rigor of elite athletes. To pull off this feat, she is working with action-sports group Nitro Circus and its team of veteran stunt athletes, engineers, technologists, trainers and more. Here are …read more


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Why the Air Force Almost Blasted the Moon with an H-Bomb

July 5, 2019 in History

By Vince Houghton

Call it a Cold War show of force.

Detonating a thermonuclear weapon on the moon? It sounds like the bizarro scheme of a deranged comic-book villain—not a project initiated inside the United States government.

But in 1958, as the Cold War space race was heating up, the U.S. Air Force launched just such an endeavor. Called Project A119, it harnessed the talents of some of America’s top scientists.

How could this happen?

Blame Sputnik, the beach-ball-sized satellite slung into space by the Soviet Union on October 4, 1957, which jolted U.S. officials and citizens alike into a state of high alert. As the two Cold War superpowers duked it out for postwar world dominance—framed by many as a titanic struggle between freedom and tyranny—the prospect of America’s arch enemy gaining any measure of military-industrial advantage seemed chilling indeed.

The Space Race: A Surrogate Superpower War (TV-PG; 2:58)

So the United States needed to reclaim the narrative and prove to the world that it hadn’t lost the space race before it had even begun. Americans needed a reassuring sign that the Communists didn’t have a permanent upper hand—and that Sputnik wouldn’t soon be followed by Soviet nuclear missiles raining down onto U.S. soil.

America needed to show the world it was squarely in the race. And it needed something big—like nuking the moon. Never mind that the project had no practical purpose, no discernible national-security goals and its sole design was to show the world that the U.S.A. could do something ambitiously spectacular.

What could go wrong?

READ MORE: The 5 Deadliest Disasters of the Space Race

To nuke the moon, the government needed the buy-in of top scientists.

In the years directly after World War II, Dr. Leonard Reiffel greatly enjoyed his exciting and rewarding job working alongside physics legend Enrico Fermi at the University of Chicago’s Institute for Nuclear Studies. But in 1949, he was given a chance to manage all of the cutting-edge physics research at another Chicago-based institution, the Armour Research Foundation (ARF—now known as the Illinois Institute of Technology). From that year through 1962, Reiffel and his team pushed physics to its limit, working on projects that studied the global environmental effects of nuclear explosions.

Sometime before May 1958, the U.S. Air Force asked the ARF team to investigate something truly out of the ordinary: the visibility and effects of a hypothetical nuclear explosion …read more


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Blacklisting Huawei Could Cost Trillions, so Let's Look Before We Leap

July 5, 2019 in Economics

By Daniel J. Ikenson

Daniel J. Ikenson

Last weekend in Osaka, the U.S. and Chinese presidents agreed to
resume bilateral talks to resolve the yearlong trade war. That
decision was conditioned upon Xi Jinping’s agreeing to
increase purchases of U.S. agricultural products and Donald
Trump’s agreeing to defer any new tariffs on Chinese
products. It also required Trump to relax the restrictions his
administration imposed in May on U.S. companies transacting with
Huawei Technologies.

The Huawei concession isn’t sitting well with the likes of
Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY). They and
other China hawks in Congress believe Huawei presents an
intolerable risk to national security and are vowing to find a
legislative solution that takes decisions about the Chinese
technology giant’s fate out of Trump’s hands.

It is reasonable to
conclude that Huawei presents some degree of threat to U.S.
national security, but one that likely can be mitigated through
measures less comprehensive than banning all forms of

They may be right. Huawei may present an intolerable national
security risk. After all, it is the most successful and
recognizable firm in an industry that has benefited from years of
Chinese indigenous innovation policies and subsidies. It produces
gear that facilitates crucial communications, but also nefarious
activities, such as eavesdropping, surveillance, and other forms of
espionage. The company seems to enjoy a privileged relationship
with the Chinese government and the Chinese Communist Party. There
are a good number of examples and a lot of seemingly credible
evidence that the company has violated U.S. export control laws,
stolen U.S. intellectual property, and produces components that
have been found to contain backdoors and other vulnerabilities to
cyber malfeasance.

But there are also some big problems with the case against
Huawei. Foremost is that the allegedly damning evidence remains
classified. And some of those who have presumably seen or been
briefed about that classified information—people like
President Trump, British Prime Minister Theresa May, and German
Chancellor Angela Merkel—are apparently unconvinced that the
threat cannot be mitigated through measures less extreme than a
total ban on Huawei gear. For example, rather than ripping out all
Huawei components from its network, British Telecom is taking a
more surgical approach, after concluding that the threat is not as
pervasive as U.S. officials portray it to be.

The contention that Huawei represents a national security threat
because it could channel intelligence or trade secrets or other
proprietary information to the Chinese government, or that is could
enable state-directed cyber-attacks on critical U.S. infrastructure
is certainly plausible. But it’s also plausible that Huawei
is in the crosshairs of U.S. policymakers because it threatens U.S.
technological preeminence. Earlier this year Trump tweeted that he
wanted the United …read more

Source: OP-EDS