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The Beirut barracks bombing (October 23, 1983 in Beirut, Lebanon) occurred during the Lebanese Civil War, two truck bombs struck separate buildings housing United States and French military forces—members of the Multinational Force in Lebanon—killing 299 American and French servicemen. The organization Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility for the bombing, but that organization is thought to have been a nom de guerre for Hezbollah—or a group that would later become part of Hezbollah—receiving help from the Islamic Republic of Iran. At around 6:20 a.m., a yellow Mercedes-Benz truck drove to Beirut International Airport, where the 1st Battalion 8th Marines under the 2nd Marine Division had set up its local headquarters. The truck wasn't the water truck they had been expecting, but a hijacked truck carrying the explosives. The truck turned onto an access road leading to the Marines' compound and circled a parking lot. The driver then accelerated and crashed through a barbed wire fence around the parking lot, passed between two sentry posts, crashed through a gate and drove into the lobby of the Marine headquarters. The Marine sentries at the gate were operating under rules of engagement which made it very difficult to respond quickly to the truck. Sentries were ordered to keep their weapons at condition four (no magazine inserted and no rounds in the chamber). By the time the two sentries were able to engage, the truck was already inside the building's entry way. The suicide bomber detonated his explosives, which were equivalent to 5,400 kg (12,000 pounds) of TNT. The force of the explosion collapsed the four-story building into rubble, crushing many inside. The force of the explosion initially lifted the entire four-story structure, shearing the bases of the concrete support columns, each measuring fifteen feet in circumference and reinforced by numerous one-and-three-quarter-inch steel rods. The airborne building then fell in upon itself. A massive shock wave and ball of flaming gas was hurled in all directions. The death toll was 241 American servicemen: 220 Marines, 18 Navy personnel and three Army soldiers, along with sixty Americans injured, representing the deadliest single-day death toll for the United States Marine Corps since the Battle of Iwo Jima of World War II, the deadliest single-day death toll for the United States military since the first day of the Tet Offensive during the Vietnam War, and the deadliest single attack on Americans overseas since World War II. In addition, the elderly Lebanese custodian of the Marines' building was killed in the first blast. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]

Friction welding (FW) is a class of solid-state welding processes that generates heat through mechanical friction between a moving workpiece and a stationary component, with the addition of a lateral force called "upset" to plastically displace and fuse the materials. Technically, because no melt occurs, friction welding is not actually a welding process in the traditional sense, but a forging technique. However, due to the similarities between these techniques and traditional welding, the term has become common. Friction welding is used with metals and thermoplastics in a wide variety of aviation and automotive applications. The combination of fast joining times (on the order of a few seconds), and direct heat input at the weld interface, yields relatively small heat-affected zones. Friction welding techniques are generally melt-free, which avoids grain growth in engineered materials, such as high-strength heat-treated steels. Another advantage is that the motion tends to "clean" the surface between the materials being welded, which means they can be joined with less preparation. During the welding process, depending on the method being used, small pieces of the plastic metal will be forced out of the working mass (flash). It is believed that the flash carries away debris and dirt. Another advantage of friction welding is that it allows dissimilar materials to be joined. This is particularly useful in aerospace, where it is used to join lightweight aluminum stock to high-strength steels. Normally the wide difference in melting points of the two materials would make it impossible to weld using traditional techniques, and would require some sort of mechanical connection. Friction welding provides a "full strength" bond with no additional weight. Spin welding systems consist of two chucks for holding the materials to be welded, one of which is fixed and the other rotating. Before welding one of the work pieces is attached to the rotating chuck along with a flywheel of a given weight. The piece is then spun up to a high rate of rotation to store the required energy in the flywheel. Once spinning at the proper speed, the motor is removed and the pieces forced together under pressure. The force is kept on the pieces after the spinning stops to allow the weld to "set". This technique is also known as inertia welding, rotational welding or inertial friction welding. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]

William Melvin "Bill" Hicks (December 16, 1961 – February 26, 1994) was a seminal American stand-up comedian and social critic. His humor challenged mainstream beliefs, aiming to "enlighten people to think for themselves." Hicks used a ribald approach to express his material, describing himself as "Chomsky with dick jokes." His jokes included general discussions about society, religion, politics, philosophy and personal issues. Hicks' material was often deliberately controversial and steeped in black comedy. In both his stand-up performances, and during interviews, he often criticized consumerism, superficiality, mediocrity and banality within the media and popular culture, describing them as oppressive tools of the ruling class, meant to "keep people stupid and apathetic." For many years, Hicks was friends with fellow comedian Denis Leary. However, in 1993, Hicks was angered upon hearing Leary's album No Cure for Cancer. While he had laughed off similarities between the two comedians before, the parallels between the album and Hicks' material (including jokes about smoking, Jim Fixx, and Judas Priest) and tone were clear. Reportedly, upon hearing the album, "Bill was furious. All these years, aside from the occasional jibe, he had pretty much shrugged off Leary's lifting. Comedians borrowed, stole stuff and even bought bits from one another. Milton Berle and Robin Williams were famous for it. This was different. Leary had, practically line for line, taken huge chunks of Bill's act and recorded it." The friendship ended abruptly as a result. At least three stand-up comedians have gone on the record stating they believe Leary stole Hicks' material as well as his persona and attitude. In an interview, when Hicks was asked why he had quit smoking, he answered, "I just wanted to see if Denis would, too." In another interview, Hicks famously told an interviewer: "I have a scoop for you. I stole his (Leary's) act. I camouflaged it with punchlines, and to really throw people off, I did it before he did." In April 1993, while touring in Australia, Hicks started complaining of pains in his side, and on June 16 of that year, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer that had spread to his liver. After being diagnosed with cancer, Hicks would often joke openly at performances exclaiming it would be his last. Hicks performed the actual final show of his career at Caroline's in New York on January 6, 1994. He moved back to his parents' house in Little Rock, Arkansas, shortly thereafter. He spent time with his parents, playing them the music he loved and showing them documentaries about his interests. He died of cancer in the presence of his parents at 11:20 p.m. on February 26, 1994. Hicks was buried in the family plot in Leakesville, Mississippi. A film about Hicks' life and career, rumored to be directed by Ron Howard, is said to be in pre-production. Russell Crowe has been mentioned as one of the producers and may portray Hicks as well. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]


Crack cocaine, crack or rock is a solid, smokable form of cocaine. It is a freebase form of cocaine that can be made using baking soda, in a process to convert powder cocaine into freebase cocaine. In purer forms, crack rocks appear as off-white nuggets with jagged edges, with a slightly higher density than candle wax. Purer forms of crack resemble a hard brittle plastic, in crystalline form. A crack rock acts as a local anesthetic, numbing the tongue or mouth only where directly placed. When smoked, crack can leave the tongue numb where the smoke enters the mouth. Purer forms of crack will sink in water or melt at the edges when near a flame (crack vaporizes at 90 °C, 194 °F). Crack cocaine is a substance that affects the brain chemistry of the user: causing euphoria, supreme confidence, loss of appetite, insomnia, alertness, increased energy, a craving for more cocaine, and potential paranoia. Its initial effect is to release a large amount of dopamine, a brain chemical inducing feelings of euphoria. The high usually lasts from 5–10 minutes, after which time dopamine levels in the brain plummet, leaving the user feeling depressed and low. When crack is dissolved and injected, the absorption into the bloodstream is as rapid as by smoking, and similar euphoria with purer forms of crack. There has been some controversy over the disproportionate sentences mandated by the Federal Sentencing Guidelines for crack cocaine (versus powder cocaine) since 1987. Whereas it is a 5-year minimum sentence for trafficking 500g of powdered cocaine, the same sentence can be imposed for mere possession of 5 grams of crack cocaine, a 100:1 ratio. There is no mandatory minimum sentence for mere possession of powder cocaine. The United States Sentencing Commission has recommended that this disparity be rectified and existing sentences reduced. Some claim that this disparity amounts to institutional racism, as crack cocaine is more common in inner-city black communities, and powder cocaine in white suburban communities. [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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