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Aortic dissection is a tear in the wall of the aorta that causes blood to flow between the layers of the wall of the aorta and force the layers apart.[1] Aortic dissection is a medical emergency and can quickly lead to death, even with optimal treatment. If the dissection tears the aorta completely open (through all three layers), massive and rapid blood loss occurs. Aortic dissections resulting in rupture have an 80% mortality rate, and 50% of patients die before they even reach the hospital. If the dissection reaches 6 cm, the patient must be taken for emergency surgery. Dr. Michael E. DeBakey, who devised the surgery to correct aortic dissection (as well as other cardiovascular and vascular techniques). Dr. DeBakey was also noteworthy for being the oldest patient ever to receive his own operation: he was 97 at the time of his surgery on February 9 and 10 of 2006. He survived and, though he worked with physical therapists to walk on his own again after suffering muscle deconditioning from prolonged physical inactivity during recovery, retained all of his mental faculties and was back to working nearly a full day until his death of natural causes on July 11, 2008. Famous victims of aortic dissections include Lucille Ball, actress and entertainer, and actor John Ritter. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]

A slipway, boat slip or just a slip, is a ramp on the shore by which ships or boats can be moved to and from the water. They are used for building and repairing ships and boats. They are also used for launching and retrieving small boats on trailers and flying boats on their undercarriage. The nautical term ways is an alternative name for slipway. A ship undergoing construction in a shipyard is said to be on the ways. If a ship were scrapped there, she is said to be broken up in the ways. As the word "slip" implies, in theory the ships or boats are moved over the ramp, standing on a sledge, with help of grease. Slipways are used to launch (newly built) large ships, but can only dry-dock or repair smaller ships. Pulling large ships against the greased ramp would require too much force. For dry-docking large ships, one must use carriages supported by wheels or by roller-pallets. These types of dry-docking installations are called "marine railways". Nevertheless the words "slip" and "slipway" are also used for all dry-docking installations that use a ramp. To achieve a safe launch of some types of land-based lifeboats in bad weather and difficult sea conditions, the lifeboat and slipway are designed so that the lifeboat slides down a relatively steep steel slip under gravity. It is winched back up afterwards. The Royal National Lifeboat Institution in the United Kingdom currently operates three different classes of lifeboat from its slipways: the Tyne, Mersey and, most recently, the Tamar. For large ships, slipways are only used in construction of the vessel. Normally they are arranged perpendicular to the shore line (or as nearly so as the water and maximum length of vessel allows) and the ship is built with its stern facing the water. Modern slipways take the form of a reiforced concrete mat of sufficient strength to support the vessel, with two "barricades" that extend to well below the water level taking into account tidal variations. The barricades support the two launch ways. The vessel is built upon temporary cribbing that is arranged to give access to the hull's outer bottom, and to allow the launchways to be erected under the complete hull. When it is time to prepare for launching a pair of standing ways are erected under the hull and out onto the barricades. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]

John Wayne Gacy, Jr. (March 17, 1942 Ė May 10, 1994) was an American serial killer. He was convicted and later executed for the rape and murder of 33 boys and young men between 1972 and his arrest in 1978, 27 of whom he buried in a crawl space under the floor of his house, while others were found in nearby rivers. He became notorious as the "Killer Clown" because of the many block parties he threw for his friends and neighbors, entertaining children in a clown suit and makeup, under the name of "Pogo the Clown". In July 1975, one of Gacy's employees, John Butkovich, disappeared. Butkovich had recently left Gacy's employ after an argument over back pay Butkovich was owed. Butkovich's parents urged police to check out Gacy, but nothing came of it and the young man's disappearance went unsolved. After Gacy's divorce from his second wife, the killings began in earnest. In December 1976, another Gacy employee, Gregory Godzik, disappeared, and his parents asked police to investigate Gacy, one of the last people known to have spoken to the boy. In neither case did the police pursue Gacy nor did they discover his criminal record. In January 1977, John Szyc, an acquaintance of Butkovich, Godzik and Gacy, disappeared. Later that year, another of Gacy's employees was arrested for stealing gasoline from a station; the car he was driving had belonged to Szyc. Gacy said that Szyc had sold the car to him before leaving town, and the police failed to pursue the matter further. According to reports, Gacy did not express remorse. His last words to his lawyer in his cell were to the effect that killing him would not bring anyone back, and it is reported his last words were "kiss my ass," which he said to a correctional officer while he was being sent to the execution chamber. After his execution, Gacy's brain was removed. It is currently in the possession of Dr. Helen Morrison, who interviewed Gacy and other serial killers in an attempt to isolate common personality traits of violent sociopaths; however, an examination of Gacy's brain after his execution by the forensic psychiatrist hired by his lawyers revealed no abnormalities. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]

A challenge coin is a small coin or medallion (usually military), bearing an organizationís insignia or emblem and carried by the organizationís members. They are given to prove membership when challenged and to enhance morale. In addition, they are also collected by service members. Like many aspects of military tradition, the origins of the challenge coin are a matter of much debate with little supporting evidence. While many organizations and services claim to have been the originators of the challenge coin, the most commonly held view is that the tradition began in the Army Air Corps (a precursor of the current United States Air Force). Air warfare was a new phenomenon during World War I. When the Army created flying squadrons they were manned with volunteer pilots from every walk of civilian life. While some of the early pilots came from working class or rural backgrounds, many were wealthy college students who withdrew from classes in the middle of the year, drawn by the adventure and romance of the new form of warfare. As the legend goes, one such student, a wealthy lieutenant, ordered small, solid-bronze medallions (or coins) struck, which he then presented to the other pilots in his squadron as mementos of their service together. The coin was gold-plated, bore the squadronís insignia, and was quite valuable. One of the pilots in the squadron, who had never owned anything like the coin, placed it in a leather pouch he wore around his neck for safekeeping. A short while later, this pilotís aircraft was heavily damaged by ground fire (other sources claim it was an aerial dogfight), forcing him to land behind enemy lines, resulting in his capture by the Germans. The Germans confiscated the personal belongings from his pockets, but they didnít catch the leather pouch around his neck. On his way to a permanent prisoner of war facility, he was held overnight in a small German-held French village near the front. During the night, the town was bombarded by the British, creating enough confusion to allow the pilot to escape. The pilot avoided German patrols by donning civilian attire, but all of his identification had been confiscated so he had no way to prove his identity. With great difficulty, he crept across no-manís land and made contact with a French patrol. Unfortunately for him, the French had been on the lookout for German saboteurs dressed as civilians. The French mistook the American pilot for a German saboteur and immediately prepared to execute him. Desperate to prove his allegiance and without any identification, the pilot pulled out the coin from his leather pouch and showed it to his French captors. One of the Frenchmen recognized the unit insignia on the coin and delayed the execution long enough to confirm the pilot's identity. Once the pilot safely returned to his squadron, it became a tradition for all members to carry their coin at all times. To ensure compliance, the pilots would challenge each other to produce the coin. If the challenged couldnít produce the coin, he was required to buy a drink of choice for the challenger; if the challenged could produce the coin, the challenger would purchase the drink. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE] is not affiliated with or endorsed by wikipedia. wikipedia and the wikipedia globe are registered trademarks of
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