In 1810, the owner of the Horse Shoe Brewery in London, built a 22 foot high beer fermentation tank in the middle of a West End slum, and in 1814 it exploded.
The rumbling shook the sleeping boy’s father from his fading half-sleep on the berth of their single-masted sailing boat. Bolting up and looking out the window, his eyes widened as he saw the still waters of the Alaskan inlet churn and rise into a monstrous, debris-strewn wave, easily fifty feet in height and heading straight toward their tiny craft. The father tossed a life preserver at the groggy boy and said, “Son, start praying.”
After the 1918 armistice ended the fighting of World War I, the Australian government instituted a program to buy and provide farming land for its returning soldiers, in order to reintroduce them back into civilian life. In Western Australia, the government established 48 farming estates totaling almost 90,000 hectares, a little over 200,000 acres, in an area northeast of Perth, in the southwestern corner of the nation. Years later, the Great Depression of 1929 hit the area particularly hard, and when the land was invaded by a relentless and destructive pest, the Minister of Defense in Perth dispatched a machine gun crew, with less than stellar results.
By 1812, Jakob Walter, although only 24 years of age, had already served in two campaigns as a foot soldier for the Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. Jakob and many other conscripts in the Grande Armée were ordered to undertake the famously ill-fated march on Moscow, after which the devastated remnants of Napoleon's fighting force were left to return to their homes on their own power. Jakob's meticulous diary tells a tale of survival and perseverance during this nightmarish march against staggering odds.
By the early 1860s, the British and Russian Empires simultaneously attempted to spread their influence into Tibet, a region which was at the time still tenuously under the control of the fading Qing Empire in China. Tibetan leadership, in an attempt to forestall culture erosion and retain its connections with the Chinese, closed its borders to Europeans of all sorts on penalty of death. Captain Thomas G. Montgomerie of the Royal Engineers, tasked with the exploration and mapping of Tibet, developed a plan to use trained natives to surreptitiously take the measurements for which British agents, regardless of their talent or preparation, would be much more vulnerable to discovery. After being asked for recommendations of loyal and talented locals who could be taught techniques in infiltration and surveying, British Education Officer Edmund Smyth suggested to Montgomerie a 33-year-old local schoolteacher named Nain Singh.
Aware that they were essentially invading and poaching on enemy land, Corps of Discovery veterans John Colter and John Potts remained hidden during the day in order to escape detection, setting their traps at night and gathering up their proceeds as the following dawn broke. One morning, as the two men canoes up the Jefferson River, they heard a commotion above the elevated riverbank to the east. Colter claimed that the noise was caused by Indians, but Potts insisted it was just buffalo, so they persisted up the river, whereupon they came face-to-face with a party of approximately 800 Blackfoot.