Today in History

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by limbkiller, Dec 9, 2018.

  1. limbkiller

    limbkiller Pulling my hair. Supporting Addict

    Aug 18, 2011
    U.S Marines storm Mogadishu, Somalia

    On this day in 1992, 1,800 United States Marines arrive in Mogadishu, Somalia, to spearhead a multinational force aimed at restoring order in the conflict-ridden country.

    Following centuries of colonial rule by countries including Portugal, Britain and Italy, Mogadishu became the capital of an independent Somalia in 1960. Less than 10 years later, a military group led by Major General Muhammad Siad Barre seized power and declared Somalia a socialist state. A drought in the mid-1970s combined with an unsuccessful rebellion by ethnic Somalis in a neighboring province of Ethiopia to deprive many of food and shelter. By 1981, close to 2 million of the country’s inhabitants were homeless. Though a peace accord was signed with Ethiopia in 1988, fighting increased between rival clans within Somalia, and in January 1991 Barre was forced to flee the capital. Over the next 23 months, Somalia’s civil war killed some 50,000 people; another 300,000 died of starvation as United Nations peacekeeping forces struggled in vain to restore order and provide relief amid the chaos of war.

    In early December 1992, outgoing U.S. President George H.W. Bush sent the contingent of Marines to Mogadishu as part of a mission dubbed Operation Restore Hope. Backed by the U.S. troops, international aid workers were soon able to restore food distribution and other humanitarian aid operations. Sporadic violence continued, including the murder of 24 U.N. soldiers from Pakistan in 1993. As a result, the U.N. authorized the arrest of General Mohammed Farah Aidid, leader of one of the rebel clans. On October 3, 1993, during an attempt to make the arrest, rebels shot down two of the U.S. Army’s Black Hawk helicopters and killed 18 American soldiers.

    As horrified TV viewers watched images of the bloodshed—-including footage of Aidid’s supporters dragging the body of one dead soldier through the streets of Mogadishu, cheering—-President Bill Clinton immediately gave the order for all American soldiers to withdraw from Somalia by March 31, 1994. Other Western nations followed suit. When the last U.N. peacekeepers left in 1995, ending a mission that had cost more than $2 billion, Mogadishu still lacked a functioning government. A ceasefire accord signed in Kenya in 2002 failed to put a stop to the violence, and though a new parliament was convened in 2004, rival factions in various regions of Somalia continue to struggle for control of the troubled nation.


    1835
    The Texan Army captures San Antonio
    • Inspired by the spirited leadership of Benjamin Rush Milam, the newly created Texan Army takes possession of the city of San Antonio, an important victory for the Republic of Texas in its war for independence from Mexico.

      Milam was born in 1788 in Frankfort, Kentucky. He became a citizen and soldier of Mexico in 1824, when newly independent Mexico was still under a republican constitution. Like many Americans who immigrated to the Mexican state of Texas, Milam found that the government both welcomed and feared the growing numbers of Americans, and treated them with uneven fairness. When Milam heard in 1835 that Santa Ana had overthrown the Mexican republic and established himself as dictator, Milam renounced his Mexican citizenship and joined the rag-tag army of the newly proclaimed independent Republic of Texas.

      After helping the Texas Army capture the city of Goliad, Milam went on a reconnaissance mission to the southwest but returned to join the army for its planned attack on San Antonio-only to learn that the generals were postponing the attack on San Antonio for the winter. Aware that Santa Ana’s forces were racing toward Texas to suppress the rebellion, Milam worried that any hesitation would spell the end of the revolution. Milam made an impassioned call for volunteers, asking: “Who will go with old Ben Milam into San Antonio?”

      Inspired by Milam’s bold challenge, three hundred men did volunteer, and the Texas Army began its attack on San Antonio at dawn on December 5. By December 9, the defending forces of the Mexican army were badly beaten, and the commanding general surrendered the city. Milam, however, was not there to witness the results of his leadership–he was killed instantly by a sniper bullet on December 7. If Milam had survived, he might well have been among the doomed defenders of the Alamo that were wiped out by Santa Ana’s troops the following March.
    1921
    GM engineers discover that leaded gas reduces “knock” in auto engines

    On this day, a young engineer at General Motors named Thomas Midgeley Jr. discovers that when he adds a compound called tetraethyl lead (TEL) to gasoline, he eliminates the unpleasant noises (known as “knock” or “pinging”) that internal-combustion engines make when they run. Midgeley could scarcely have imagined the consequences of his discovery: For more than five decades, oil companies would saturate the gasoline they sold with lead–a deadly poison.

    In 1911, a scientist named Charles Kettering, Midgeley’s boss at GM, invented an electric ignition system for internal-combustion cars that made their old-fashioned hand-cranked starters obsolete. Now, driving a gas-fueled auto was no trouble at all. Unfortunately, as more and more people bought GM cars, more and more people noticed a problem: When they heated up, their engines made an alarming racket, banging and clattering as though their metal parts were loose under the hood.

    The problem, Kettering and Midgeley eventually figured out, was that ordinary gasoline was much too explosive for spark-ignited car engines: that is, what we now call its octane (a measure of its resistance to detonation) was too low. To raise the fuel’s octane level and make it less prone to detonation and knocking, Midgeley wrote later, he mixed it with almost anything he could think of, from “melted butter and camphor to ethyl acetate and aluminum chloride…[but] most of these had no more effect than spitting in the Great Lakes.”

    He found a couple of additives that did work, however, and lead was just one of them. Iodine worked, but producing it was much too complicated. Ethyl alcohol also worked, and it was cheap–however, anyone with an ordinary still could make it, which meant that GM could not patent it or profit from it. Thus, from a corporate point of view, lead was the best anti-knock additive there was.

    In February 1923, a Dayton filling station sold the first tankful of leaded gasoline. A few GM engineers witnessed this big moment, but Midgeley did not, because he was in bed with severe lead poisoning. He recovered; however, in April 1924, lead poisoning killed two of his unluckier colleagues, and in October, five workers at a Standard Oil lead plant died too, after what one reporter called “wrenching fits of violent insanity.” (Almost 40 of the plant’s workers suffered severe neurological symptoms like hallucinations and seizures.)

    Still, for decades auto and oil companies denied that lead posed any health risks. Finally, in the 1970s, the Environmental Protection Agency required that carmakers phase out lead-compatible engines in the cars they sold in the United States. Today, leaded gasoline is still in use in some parts of Eastern Europe, South America and the Middle East.
     
  2. GoetzTalon

    GoetzTalon Well-Known Member

    Oct 21, 2011
    Great reading Ed! Thanks!!!
     
    limbkiller likes this.

  3. tac45

    tac45 What me worry ? Supporting Addict

    Mar 4, 2012
    Very informative Ed , great read . Thanks
     
    limbkiller likes this.
  4. john_anch_ak

    john_anch_ak Well-Known Member Supporting Addict

    Mar 7, 2017
    More great information that I never knew anything about. Love it!
     
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  5. isialk

    isialk Well-Known Member Supporting Addict

    Jan 7, 2017
    Great post limbkiller. Somalia has to be a little hell on earth for the people who are stuck there. What a life! We don’t know how blessed we are here in the great USA. Milan sure had some stones and hopefully didn’t suffer much more than a real bad headache for a split second.
    Gotta say I know 100% more now about the origins of leaded gas than did before I read this. Thanks again LK. Have a good day on this day in history.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  6. LYKUNO

    LYKUNO Well-Known Member

    Feb 16, 2018
    Thanks for the info LK! One more thing happened though: On this day in 19xx, I was born in Cleveland Ohio! I have to admit, I'm officially a really old guy now!
     
    limbkiller likes this.
  7. Bro. Pappaw

    Bro. Pappaw Well-Known Member

    Mar 18, 2016
    Thanks for another great lesson.
     
    limbkiller likes this.
  8. clyde the pointer

    clyde the pointer Member

    24
    Dec 9, 2018
    Sad story that guy croaking of the lead he introduced in to gas to stop knocks, and the subsequent denial by the industry of the dangers....
     
    limbkiller likes this.

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