Author Archives: launiusr

America Fights in World War I: Connecting the National to the Personal


It came as a shock to the system. In 1914 Europe had enjoyed just about 100 years of relative peace, what has been appropriately termed the “Pax‑Brittanica.” There had been brush‑fire wars periodically, but since the defeat of Napoleon at … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “Leo Durocher: Baseball’s Prodigal Son”


Leo Durocher: Baseball’s Prodigal Son. By Paul Dickson. New York: Bloomsbury, 2017. No doubt, Leo Durocher was a talented baseball player, coach, and manager. He was also MLB’s bad boy before Billy Martin took that title from him in the … Continue reading

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Robert Gilruth and the NACA’s Entry into Space Technology


During the latter part of World War II leaders of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), the predecessor to NASA, had become interested in the possibilities of high-speed guided missiles and the future of spaceflight. It created at the … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “A Clever Base-Ballist: The Life and Times of John Ward Montgomery”


A Clever Base-Ballist: The Life and Times of John Ward Montgomery. By Bryan Di Salvatore. New York: Pantheon Books, 1999. Between 1878 and 1894 John Ward Montgomery amazed major league baseball fans on the field and exasperated owners off of … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “Bad Call: Technology’s Attack on Referees and Umpires and How to Fix It”


Bad Call: Technology’s Attack on Referees and Umpires and How to Fix It. By Harry Collins, Robert Evans, and Christopher Higgins. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2016. There is no question but that technology has changed the way in which fan … Continue reading

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Washington Nationals Home Opener Game Results


Today is the home opener for the Washington Nationals. After a long winter, and a deeply disturbing political season, I’m ready to get back to something a bit more uplifting. The Nationals are well positioned to win the National League … Continue reading

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Mormon Militancy and the Conflict in 1840s Nauvoo?


The non-Mormons of Hancock County, Illinois, in the early 1840s probably disliked the Mormons from the first, in the same way that most Americans have generally disliked what they have viewed as religious fanaticism, but they were initially disposed toward toleration … Continue reading

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Wednesday’s Book Review: “The Road to Madness: How the 1973-1974 Season Transformed College Basketball”


The Road to Madness: How the 1973-1974 Season Transformed College Basketball. By J. Samuel Walker and Randy Roberts. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2016. If you are even a moderate college basketball fan you cannot go wrong by … Continue reading

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NACA and Documenting of Progress in Aerodynamics


The aeronautical research that the NACA between 1915 and 1958 undertook found dissemination in a complex set of technical publications that the agency made available to all on an equal basis. Most NACA research was accomplished “in-house” by scientists or … Continue reading

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Announcing “Ad Astra” Play Reading, April 3, 2017


I think a lot of those in the space community will enjoy this opportunity to see a reading of a new play about Wernher von Braun. Featuring a special post-show conversation with Michael J. Neufeld, Senior Curator at the Smithsonian … Continue reading

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