From Hangover to History
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We are not alone in this universe, in fact we are far from it. There are 8 planets in our solar system and billions more in the universe? How do we know? Because we can see them. Using a simple but also highly complex process called Spectroscopy, astronomers can see worlds far beyond our solar system. Spectroscopy relies on a pretty simple concept. Planets revolve around stars, just like the planets in our solar system revolve around the sun, and stars emit light (like a lot of it). From earth, we can see the light emitted by far off stars and when the planets revolve around those stars they block a little bit of the light that we can see. When a planet passes through the light from a star, it casts a tiny shadow that we can detect on earth (kinda like an interstellar shadow puppet). Using some complex math, astronomers can calculate how big of a shadow the distant planet cast and determine the size of the planet and how far away it is from its star. Spectroscopy has allowed us to find thousands of planets in our galaxy and even identify which planets could potentially support life similar to life on earth. Unfortunately, these planets are way to far for us to get to any time soon but at least if we don’t need to feel lonely in the universe anymore. Exoplanets 101 Why Pluto Is No Longer A Planet
Alaska is a beautiful state filled with stunning views, artic wildlife, and the best dog sledding around. The icy conditions may not be ideal for most people, but Alaska is vital to the United States because of its rich deposits of gold and oil. Today, Alaska is a popular tourist spot but before we used it for tourism or precious materials, the 49th state was a pivotal component of a scheme to sneakily expand America. The frozen land was purchased from Russia for $7 million in 1867 ($122M in todays dollars) but the land at the time was barren and only served as a source of fish and as a military outpost that was close to Russia. Although the purchased land wasn’t of much use, it served a strategic purpose that was meant to expand the U.S. even further. Between Alaska and the closest U.S. State, Washington, lies British Columbia, a Canadian province that was owned by England until 1867. British Columbia was land that the U.S. really wanted to acquire and bring into the United States because it was rich with gold deposits. The English knew how valuable the land was so they were not going to sell it, despite the territory being incredibly far away from England. In order to pressure England into handing over British Columbia, the U.S. bought Alaska and created an awkward situation where British Columbia was sandwiched between two American states. The plan was to surround British Columbia to show the English that the U.S. could invade the territory from either side at any time. The goal was to convince the English to abandon British Columbia since they knew that they couldn’t protect it, in which case, the U.S. would swoop in and claim the land for itself. Unfortunately, England countered with a savvy move of their own. In 1867, the year we purchased Alaska, England granted Canada its independence. Canada became a sovereign nation and the America’s closest neighbor. It wouldn’t be smart to pick a fight with a young country just for a little extra land so the U.S. scrapped the plan and held on to Alaska. To bad, if British Columbia had become the 51st state, Vancouver would be the 5th largest city in the U.S. and people would be able to drive straight to Alaska without having to go through customs. The Annexation of Puerto Rico 500 Stunning Pictures of Alaska
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Professional athletes exist at the very peak of human physical abilities. They train their bodies to run faster, jump higher, and endure incredible amounts of punishment. With all their physical abilities, athletes are capable of incredible feats off the field as well, in particular, Athlets have been known to have an incredible tolerance for alcohol and hangovers. Wade Boggs, professional baseball player, once drank 64 beers on a cross country flight then played a full game of baseball the next day. In 1970, Dock Ellis threw a no-hitter for the Pittsburgh Pirates while high on LSD. One lesser known combination of athlete and alcohol occurred during the very first Super Bowl when Max McGee made hungover history. Max McGee was a 34-year-old back up wide receiver for the Green Bay Packers. By 1967, McGee had already had a very successful career in the NFL but due to his age and declining abilities he had been relegated to the bench. For most of the season, McGee only played when a member of the starting wide receiver corps was injured. Because he rarely saw the field, McGee never expected to play in the Super Bowl, so he decided to enjoy his night before the game. Super Bowl 1 was held in the bustling city of Los Angeles which was much livelier than the Packers hometown in Wisconsin. Many of the players on the Packers were excited to go out in the big city but their coach wouldn’t allow it. Packers head coach Vince Lombardi, set an 11pm curfew to keep his team fresh for the championship game the next afternoon. At 11pm on the night before the Super Bowl, an assistant coach for the Packers went door to door the check that every player, including Max McGee, was in their room and getting ready for bed. But once the coach checked his room, McGee strolled out the front door and hailed a cab into downtown Los Angeles for a night of partying. The story goes that while waiting for a cab in front of his hotel, McGee met two flight attendants that were staying in the hotel and looking to go out. Together, McGee and the flight attendants hit the clubs and bars of L.A. and stayed out all night, only returning to the hotel at 6AM. When he walked into the hotel the next morning, a few his teammates that were up eating breakfast saw him stroll in drunk and in his clothes from the night before. Max McGee went to his room, changed, and headed out to the stadium for the game. At the start of the game, McGee was ruthlessly hungover, sitting on the bench visibly in pain from partying the night before. All he needed to do was ride out the game on the bench before he could go home and get some sleep. Unfortunately, on the first drive of the game, starting wide receiver Boyd Dowler separated his shoulder and came out of the game forcing a hungover 34-year-old Max McGee onto the field. Although he wasn’t feeling great and was extremely sluggish, Max got into the game and immediately made history by making a 37-yard catch with only one hand to record the very first touchdown in Super Bowl history. McGee went on to finish the game with 138 yards and 2 touchdowns as the Green Bay Packers beat the Kansas City Chiefs 35-10 to win the first Super Bowl ever. Max McGee’s heroics in the face of adversity is a beacon of hope for everyone who has ever woken up feeling feeble from a night of heavy drinking. He’s an inspiration to us all. If you really put to your mind to it, you can overcome a crippling headache and sick stomach to score not one, but two touchdowns in the Super Bowl.
This Week in History
On this day in 1885, Samuel Longhorn Clemens, better known by his pen name Mark Twain, published The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn which was a sequel to his previous work, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. The novel was created to represent the south prior to the civil war and to criticize the institution of slavery that had been abolished only 20 years prior to the book’s publishing. Starting just after its publication and continuing to today, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn has been banned from schools and libraries for its use of coarse language and offensive subject matter. Today, although still controversial, Mark Twain’s books is seen as one of the greatest works of American literature.
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