December 31 (New Year's Eve) Weekly Open Thread: Looking Back
Today is New Year's Eve. And before we watch the crystal ball drop in Times Square and say goodbye to 2012, let's have a cup of cheer, take a few moments to look back, and make those New Year's resolutions that we oh so rarely keep.
December 31 has also been a notable date for transportation-related milestones. Ships, airplanes, and, oh yes, cars, have made some news on this date.
And some of those things that happened on past New Year's Eves include:
1879: Thomas Edison gives the first public demonstration of his incandescent lamp. He had no idea he LED the way in automotive illumination.
1896: The 25th automobile is built in the USA. It was not built by a Japanese company.
1907: For the first time, a ball drops at Times Square to signal the New Year. The ball was not dropped in 1942 and 1943 due to wartime concerns.
1938: Dr. R. N. Harger's "drunkometer," the first alcohol/breath test device, is introduced in Indiana. Later that evening, the first DUI was issued. The perp later pled not guilty, citing, "The car knew the way home."
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And, taking a moment to look back at 2012...
The Italian cruise ship Costa Concordia struck a reef and (partially) sank on January 13. Thirty people died; two are still missing. The efforts to refloat the ship (It's 70 feet longer than Titanic) and tow it away for scrap will be the largest maritime salvage operation ever.
On August 6, 2012, the Mars rover Curiosity landed on Mars and began its career, looking for signs of life on the red planet.
How's this for feeling the need... the need... for speed. On October 14, Felix Baumgartner jumped out of a balloon at 24 miles up and become the first person to break the speed of sound without any aircraft propulsion. He ended his journey at Roswell, New Mexico, just as some other space creatures reportedly did in 1947. Mr. Baumgartner, thankfully, was much more successful with his landing.
And despite predictions for many, many years, The World did not end on December 21, 2012.
Personally, looking ahead to 2013, I plan on getting a motorcycle, selling the old homeplace, and starting a new life somewhere. Hopefully with a very large garage.
--That Car Guy (Chuck)
December 31 Information from: http://www.brainyhistory.com/days/december_31.html