Project Excalibur was an American Cold War–era research program to
develop nuclear-device-powered, space-based X-ray lasers as a ballistic
missile defense. X-ray lasers were conceived in the 1970s by George
Chapline Jr. (pictured with George Maenchen) and further developed by
Peter L. Hagelstein, both working at Lawrence Livermore National
Laboratory under Edward Teller. After a promising test, Teller discussed
the proposal in 1981 with US president Ronald Reagan, who in 1983
incorporated it in his Strategic Defense Initiative. Further underground
nuclear tests suggested progress was being made. Reagan refused to
abandon the technology at the 1986 Reykjavík Summit arms-control talks,
even after a critical test demonstrated it was not working as expected.
Researchers at Livermore and Los Alamos began to raise concerns about
test results, and the infighting became public. In 1988 the program
budget was cut dramatically, after additional problems were revealed.
Read more: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Excalibur>
Today's selected anniversaries:
Southern Airways Flight 932, chartered by the Marshall
University football team, crashed into a hill near Ceredo, West
Virginia, killing all 75 people on board.
Music producer Frank Farian admitted that the German R&B; duo
Milli Vanilli did not sing the vocals on their album Girl You Know It's
Red Bull Racing's Sebastian Vettel won the Drivers'
Championship after winning the final race of the season, becoming the
youngest Formula One champion.
Wiktionary's word of the day:
1. (Ancient Rome, law, historical) Usually in the plural form Pandects:
a compendium or digest of writings on Roman law divided in 50 books,
compiled in the 6th century C.E. by order of the Eastern Roman emperor
Justinian I (c. 482–565).
2. (by extension, rare) Also in the plural form pandects: a
comprehensive collection of laws; specifically, the whole body of law of
a country; a legal code.
3. (by extension, also figurative) A treatise or similar work that is
comprehensive as to a particular topic; specifically (Christianity) a
manuscript of the entire Bible.
Wikiquote quote of the day:
We are, the great spiritual writers insist, most fully ourselves
when we give ourselves away, and it is egotism that holds us back from
that transcendent experience that has been called God, Nirvana, Brahman,
or the Tao. What I now realize, from my study of the different
religious traditions, is that a disciplined attempt to go beyond the ego
brings about a state of ecstasy. Indeed, it is in itself ekstasis.
Theologians in all the great faiths have devised all kinds of myths to
show that this type of kenosis, or self-emptying, is found in the life
of God itself. They do not do this because it sounds edifying, but
because this is the way that human nature seems to work. We are most
creative and sense other possibilities that transcend our ordinary
experience when we leave ourselves behind.
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