It is one of the most instantly recognizable built objects in the world, and the most recognizable icon of Paris, but when it originally opened, it was already the subject of considerable controversy, mostly from Parisian artists who were convinced that the Tower – the tallest building in all of Paris – would disfigure the skyline.
The public felt differently, and the Tower was an instant success, with more than two million visitors in the first six months of its opening. Built for the 1889 World’s Fair, it was intended to last for 20 years and be torn down in 1909. However, the progress of telelcommunications made it increasingly useful as a mast for sending and receiving signals, and so it was allowed to stay.
Today, you’d probably need to fight off all 12 million Parisians if you wanted to take it away.
The LZ 129 Hindenburg was the lead ship of its class (which was also named for it). A German passenger lighter-than-air craft, it was approaching Lakehurst Naval Station in New Jersey on the evening of May 6, 1937, to disembark passengers, having set out from Frankfurt in Germany three days earlier.
At 7:25pm local time, the Hindenburg caught fire. The reason for the fire is unknown, even today. The hydrogen-filled gasbag of the airship burned quickly and hotly, being consumed in the first 90 seconds or so of the blaze. The cloth and wood that made up most of the body of the ship – and all of the areas actually inhabited – continued to burn after this. Of the 97 passengers and crew on board, 35 were killed in the blaze (and a member of the ground crew was also killed). The Hindenburg disaster effectively spelled the end of the zeppelin era, and air travel from 1937 onwards has been almost entirely conducted in heavier-than-air vehicles.
So God, in all his moodswingy glory, decided to wipe out the entire human race.
Except for this one guy, his wife, his three sons and his three daughters-in-law. So Noah gets told to engage in one of the world’s most unlikely acts of carpentry. He builds an Ark in which to place a breeding pair of every kind animal in the world – which, by the way, would totally not fit in the cubic volume of Ark, unless “cubit” is an ancient hebrew word for “mile” – and apparently successfully places them there.
And then God makes it rain for forty days and forty nights. Fortunately, the flooded Earth has a very low albedo, and all this water eventually evaporates into the vacuum of space, allowing the ludicrously small gene pool we are allegedly all descended from to not suffocate from the vast quantities of water vapour in the air. And there’s a rainbow.
And down the rainbow rode the Norse gods, and they looked at Noah for a while, told him “no way are you getting into Valhalla” and then rode back up the rainbow to Asgard.