The Buzz

The Black Death: How Rats, Fleas and Germs Almost Wiped Out Europe

More than six centuries ago, disaster struck the people of Europe. A deadly plague, traveling west along trade routes from Central Asia, struck the continent with such force it wiped out entire villages and killed as many as twenty-five million people. The “Black Death,” as it was called, not only depopulated Europe but set the stage for profound societal change.

How One Very Special U.S. Submarine Ravaged Japan During World War II

In the closing months of World War II, heavy losses and depleted fuel stocks kept many of Japan’s remaining combat aircraft grounded and warships in port, awaiting an anticipated amphibious invasion. Starting in July 1945, Allied battleships embarked on a series of naval bombardments of coastal cities in Japan in an effort to draw these forces out to battle—with little success. However, a week before the battleships began lobbing their massive shells, a legendary U.S.

Japan's Monster World War II Battleships Were the Biggest Ever (And Near Impossible to Kill)

Japan withdrew from the London Naval Treaty in 1936. The chief Japanese negotiator, Adm. Isoroku Yamamoto, feared that concessions on the part of his negotiating team would lead directly to his assassination upon return to Japan. Japanese nationalists believed that the Washington Naval Treaty system was holding Japan back and preventing it from becoming a first-rate power. Freed from the constraints of international treaties, they believed that Japan could build a world-beating fleet that would push the Western powers out of Asia and help usher in a new era of Japanese dominance.

T-X Competition Shows the Strength of America's Aerospace Industry

A major issue for U.S. defense planners looking to an intensifying competition for military overmatch vis-à-vis prospective high-end adversaries, is the shrinking U.S. aerospace and defense sector. Decades of consolidation, driven by declining defense budgets, increasingly onerous regulations, the scarcity of major new programs, the war on profits and an unpredictable customer, has reduced the number of competitors in the major product lines to less than a handful of prime contractors.

Superpowered: How Nuclear Power Transformed America's Navy

Aircraft carriers and submarines are considered some of the most sophisticated weapons in the U.S. arsenal. As a result, they became symbols of American power projection. Without nuclear energy, however, submarines and aircraft carriers would be limited in their operational capabilities, and their cost of ownership would probably increase.

How China's Mad Scientists Plan to Shock America's Military: Super Lasers, Railguns and Microwave Weapons

China’s military is developing powerful lasers, electromagnetic railguns and high-power microwave weapons for use in a future “light war” involving space-based attacks on satellites.

Beijing’s push to produce so-called directed-energy weapons aims to neutralize America’s key strategic advantage: the web of intelligence, communication and navigation satellites enabling military strikes of unparalleled precision expeditionary warfare far from US shores.

Here’s What Happened to Workers After Philadelphia Passed a Soda Tax

Pepsi announced last week that it will lay off around 100 employees at distribution plants that supply the Philadelphia area. This is the latest blow for the city’s new beverage tax, which went into effect in January.

“Unfortunately, after careful consideration of the economic realities created by the recently enacted beverage tax, we have been forced to give notice that we intend to eliminate 80 to 100 positions, including frontline and supervisory roles,” Pepsi spokesman Dave DeCecco said, according to Philly.com.

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