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The Lamborghini Countach was a mid-engined sports car produced by Italian automaker Lamborghini from 1974 to 1990. Its design both pioneered and popularized the wedge-shaped, sharply angled look popular in many high performance sports cars. The cabin-forward design concept, which pushes the passenger compartment forward in order to accommodate a larger engine, was also popularized by the Countach. In 2004, Sports Car International named this car number three on the list of Top Sports Cars of the 1970s, and it was listed as number ten on their list of Top Sports Cars of the 1980s. The Countach was styled by Marcello Gandini of the Bertone design studio, the same designer and studio that designed the Miura. Gandini was then a young, inexperienced designerónot very experienced in the practical, ergonomic aspects of automobile design, but at the same time unhindered by them. He produced a quite striking design. The Countach shape was wide and low (42.1 inches), but not very long. The doors, a Countach trademark, were scissor doors: hinged at the front with horizontal hinges, so that the doors lifted up and tilted forwards. The main reason is the car's tubular spaceframe chassis results in very high and wide door sills. It was also partly for style, and partly because the width of the car made conventional doors impossible to use in an even slightly confined space. Care needed to be taken, though, in opening the doors with a low roof overhead. The car's poor rear visibility and wide sills led to drivers adopting a method of reversing the car for parking by opening the door, sitting on the sill, and reversing while looking over the back of the car from outside. The rear wheels were driven by a traditional Lamborghini V12 engine mounted longitudinally with a mid-engined configuration. For better weight distribution, the engine is pointed 'backwards'; the output shaft is at the front, and the gearbox is in front of the engine, the driveshaft running back through the engine's sump to a differential at the rear. Although originally planned as a 5 liter powerplant, the first production cars used the Lamborghini Miura's 4 liter engine. Later advances increased the displacement to 5 liters and then 5.2 L with four valves per cylinder. The Countach used a skin of aircraft-grade aluminum over a tubular space frame, as in a racing car. This is expensive to build but is immensely strong and very light in spite of its size, the car weighs approximately 1,400 kg (3,100 lb). The underbody tray was fiberglass. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]





The USS Liberty incident was an attack on a United States Navy technical research ship, USS Liberty, by Israeli Air Force jet fighter aircraft and Israeli Navy motor torpedo boats, on 8 June 1967, during the Six-Day War. The combined air and sea attack killed 34 crew members (naval officers, seamen, two Marines, and one civilian), wounded 171 crew members, and severely damaged the ship.At the time, the ship was in international waters north of the Sinai Peninsula, about 25.5 nmi northwest from the Egyptian city of Arish. After being cleared to attack, the Mirages dove on the ship and attacked with 30-mm cannons and rockets. The attack came a few minutes after the crew completed a chemical attack drill, with Captain McGonagle on the command bridge. The crew was in "stand-down mode", with their helmets and life jackets removed, except battle readiness "modified condition three" was set which meant that the ship's four .50 caliber machine guns were manned and ammunition ready for loading and firing. Eight crewmen were either killed immediately or died later, and 75 were wounded. Among the wounded was McGonagle, who was hit in the right thigh and arm. During the attack, antennas were severed, gas drums caught fire, and the ship's flag was knocked down. McGonagle sent an urgent request for help to the Sixth Fleet, "Under attack by unidentified jet aircraft, require immediate assistance." Israel apologized for the attack, saying that the USS Liberty had been attacked in error after being mistaken for an Egyptian ship. Both the Israeli and U.S. governments conducted inquiries and issued reports that concluded the attack was a mistake due to Israeli confusion about the ship's identity, though others, including survivors of the attack, have rejected these conclusions and maintain that the attack was deliberate. In May 1968, the Israeli government paid $3,323,500 ($21.9 million in 2013) as full payment to the families of the 34 men killed in the attack. In March 1969, Israel paid a further $3,566,457 in compensation to the men who had been wounded. On 18 December 1980, it agreed to pay $6 million as settlement for the final U.S. bill of $17,132,709 for material damage to the Liberty itself plus 13 years' interest. McGonagle received the Medal of Honor, the highest U.S. medal, for his actions. The Medal of Honor is generally presented by the President of the United States in the White House, but this time it was awarded at the Washington Navy Yard by the Secretary of the Navy in an unpublicized ceremony, breaking with established tradition. Other Liberty sailors received decorations for their actions during and after the attack, but most of the award citations omitted mention of Israel as the perpetrator. In 2009, however, a Silver Star awarded to crewmember Terry Halbardier, who braved machine-gun and cannon fire to repair a damaged antenna that restored the ship's communications, in the award citation named Israel as the attacker.[READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]





Robotic surgery, computer-assisted surgery, and robot-assisted surgery are terms for various technological developments that currently are developed to support a range of surgical procedures. Robot-assisted surgery was developed to overcome limitations of minimally invasive surgery. Instead of directly moving the instruments the surgeon uses a computer console to manipulate the instruments attached to multiple robot arms. The computer translates the surgeonís movements, which are then carried out on the patient by the robot. Other features of the robotic system include, for example, an integrated tremor filter and the ability for scaling of movements (changing of the ratio between the extent of movements at the master console to the internal movements of the instruments attached to the robot). The console is located in the same operating room as the patient, but physically separated from the operative workspace, or in another place. Since the surgeon does not need to be in the immediate location of the patient while the operation is being performed, it can be possible for specialists to perform remote surgery on patients. This is especially important to shield the personnel from X-rays that are used for monitoring during operations. Robots can also perform surgery without a human surgeon. Because patient recovery after robot-assisted heart surgery is quicker, the hospital stay is shorter. On average patients leave the hospital two to five days earlier than patients who have undergone traditional open-heart surgery and return to work and normal activity 50% more quickly. Reduced recovery times are not only better for the patient, they also reduce the number of staff needed during surgery, nursing care required after surgery, and, therefore, the overall cost of hospital stays. Compared with other minimally invasive surgery approaches, robot-assisted surgery gives the surgeon better control over the surgical instruments and a better view of the surgical site. In addition, surgeons no longer have to stand throughout the surgery and do not tire as quickly. Naturally occurring hand tremors are filtered out by the robotís computer software. Finally, the surgical robot can continuously be used by rotating surgery teams. While the use of robotic surgery has become an item in the advertisement of medical services, critics point out that studies that indicate that long-term results are superior to those after laparoscopic surgery are lacking. The robotic system does not come cheap and has a learning curve. Data is absent that proves the increased costs can be justified. In medical literature, very experienced surgeons tend to publish their results with robotic systems. However, these may not be representative of surgeons with lesser experience. The cost of robotic surgical systems as used in hospitals lies between $750,000 US and $1.2 million. Numerous feasibility studies have been done to determine whether the purchase of such systems are worthwhile. As it stands, opinions differ dramatically. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]



The Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA) are two extensively modified Boeing 747 airliners that NASA uses to transport Space Shuttle orbiters. One is a 747-100 model, while the other is a short range 747-100SR. The SCAs are used to ferry space shuttles from landing sites back to the launch complex at the Kennedy Space Center, or, more specifically, the NASA Shuttle Landing Facility, and to and from other locations too distant for the orbiters to be delivered by ground transport. The orbiters are placed on top of the SCAs by Mate-Demate Devices, large gantry-like structures which hoist the orbiters off the ground for post-flight servicing, and then mate them with the SCAs for ferry flights. In approach and landing test flights conducted in 1977, a test shuttle was released from SCA during flight, and the shuttle glided to a landing under its own control. In 1988, in the wake of the Challenger accident, NASA procured a surplus 747-100SR N911NA from Japan Airlines. Registered N911NA it entered service with NASA in 1990 after similar modifications to N905NA. It was first used in 1991 to ferry the new shuttle Endeavour from the manufacturers in Palmdale, California to Kennedy Space Center. Humorous note on Orbiter Mount reminding technicians how to connect the orbiter to the transport.The two aircraft are functionally identical, although N911NA has five upper-deck windows on each side, while N905NA only has two. On N905NA, the rear mounting point is labeled with a tongue-in-cheek instruction to "Attach Orbiter Here" ó clarified by the precautionary note "Black Side Down". One Shuttle Carrier is currently based at the Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, California and the other at Pinal Airpark in Arizona (KMZJ). Shuttle Carriers are capable of operating from alternate shuttle landing sites such as those in Spain and France. Due to the reduced range of the Shuttle Carrier while mated to an orbiter, additional preparations such as removal of equipment from the orbiter may be necessary to reduce its weight. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]



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