Skip to main content


The Guillotine: A Humane Way to Kill?

Recent posts

Who is Alfred E. Neuman?

A recent (May 10, 2019) news item caught the attention of longtime fans of Mad Magazine.  President Donald Trump (R) went after Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D) of South Bend, Indiana, who is seeking the 2020 Democratic nomination for president.  The current president unloaded with another one of his infamous Twitter attacks, likening the mayor to Alfred E. Neuman.  Buttigieg, displaying a quick wit, did not let this taunt go unmet.  “I’ll be honest.  I had to Google that,” Buttigieg said.  “I guess it’s just a generational thing.  I didn’t get the reference.  It’s kind of funny, I guess.  But he’s also president of the United States, and I’m surprised he’s not spending more time trying to salvage this China deal,” he told Politico.  Mayor Buttigieg’s response was clever, at once letting the press know that he can take a joke, and taking two shots at Trump, both calling him old and suggesting that he should spend more time doing his job and less time mocking politicians on Twitter.  It was a …

Santos-Dumont's Earlier Flight

Quick: who invented the airplane?If you’re an American, you no doubt thought of the Wright Brothers.If you’re from New Zealand, you probably thought of Richard Pearse.If you’re from Brazil, you no doubt thought of Alberto Santos-Dumont.All three are widely held to be responsible for the invention of the flying machine.

A few of the best-known pioneers of flight.  Left to right: Orville Wright, Wilbur Wright, Alberto Santos-Dumont, Richard Pearse

National pride might cloud people’s judgement.And since people had been trying to invent the airplane for years, it’s fair to say that whoever deserves credit for finally inventing it owes a lot to those who worked on the problem before.The Wright Brothers’ flight took place on December 17, 1903, and lasted all of 59 seconds.Richard Pearse’s flight beat them by about nine months, taking place on March 31, 1903.Witnesses claim that Pearse flew his plane roughly three meters off the ground and crashed it into a hedge.Pearse had worked on creati…