Archive for March, 2013

Something fun: Animals in space

Go here to read about the monkeys, dogs, mice, ants, rats, rabbits and other poor critters who have been blasted into space. You need a break!

Little Rock Desegregation of Central High School

Here is the website put together for the 40th anniversary of the Desegregation of Little Rock High School. It is fascinating:

Here is the website for the National Park Service’s Central High site:

Elizabeth Eckford is screamed at by Hazel Massery on September 4, 1957

Video: The Cold War, parts I-V

Good review for your test….

A nice review of the Cold War’s beginnings.

About the containment policy.

On the spread of Communism outside of Europe.

On McCarthyism.

On Khrushchev and his relationship with Eisenhower and Kennedy, and the attempts for “peaceful coexistence.”

The U-2 Incident and Open Skies

In 1955, President Eisenhower proposed to Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev an “Open Skies” policy, which would allow overflights by surveillance aircraft over both countries to try to build more trust and allow each country to de-escalate their rampant buildup of nuclear weapons in the fear that one country had more nuclear weapons than the other. Khrushchev “shot this idea down.” (Sorry!!! No, I’m not.) The US had by this time developed the U-2 spy plane (nicknamed “the Dragon Lady”) throughout Lockheed Aircraft’s top-secret “Skunk Works” facility. The US went ahead and began using the U-2 to attempt to determine the number and location of Soviet nuclear weapons, both inside the USSR and other Soviet-controlled territory, such as (later on) Cuba. It proved that there was no “bomber gap” between the US and USSR, which was a serious fear in the mid-1950s.

This is what a U-2 looked like:
Lockheed U-2
Notice its glider-like appearance. The wings were so long they had their own landing gear at the tips so that they wouldn’t drag during take-off. These landing gear, called “pogo sticks” fell off t save weight when the plane took off. When the plane landed, skids on the tips of the wings protected the plane from having its wings torn off. The U-2 could cruise over 12 miles above the earth to try to protect the pilots from SAMs, or surface-to-air missiles, which could not reach that altitude. The pilots wore basically a pressurized space suit and breathed pure oxygen through a mask on their helmets while flying.  The planes used specially developed cameras designed under the direction Edwin Land (the inventor of the instant camera) of the Eastman Kodak company. The film used in the cameras was very wide, so that images could be greatly magnified while remaining so clear it was said you could read a 2 foot wide sign from 60,000 feet. The planes were used mostly by the CIA, although the military had some as well. They are still being used today, 50 years after they were designed, to help calibrate satellites and in communications.

Here is video of what it looked like cruising at 70,000 foot (over 12 miles up) altitude in a U-2 at

On May 1, 1960 (May Day, ironically– which is also a Communist workers’ holiday and the international signal for distress on sea or air)a U-2 spy plane piloted by Francis Gary Powers, a technically civilian employee of the CIA, was shot down during a reconnaissance flight over the Ural Mountains in Russia. Even though he was not hit by the SAMs launched against him, the shock waves were enough to break the plane apart. Although equipped with a cyanide capsule, Powers survived the fall and was captured after parachuting into the heart of Russia. He was tried as a spy and given a ten year sentence, but after two years he was swapped for a Soviet spy in the first exchange of its kind.

Read this:, which is an actual state Department document from the Office of the Historian about the incident.

Pravda is the USSR official propaganda organ/ newspaper.

50th anniversary of Gideon v. Wainwright decision- told by those affected

Read this:

10 steps to remember when writing FRQs and DBQs

1. Read and analyze the prompt. Determine EXACTLY what the prompt is actually expecting you to do. Underline key terms in the prompt, and rewrite the question if you have to. Do NOT skip this step!

2. Before looking at the documents, rough out a very basic answer to the prompt (a draft thesis) and an outline. You may revise this as you gather more information.

3. BRAINSTORM! You MUST generate Outside Information (OI), which is NOT provided to you!
During prewriting, spend some time writing down any people, places, laws, or events that happened during the time period before you look at the documents. This will also help you understand the documents better by refreshing your knowledge about the time period

4. Then use the documents to brainstorm more information— make notes on the context, the person speaking, the topic. See if the date on the document has any significance. Determine what each document means, and how it relates to the essay question. Group the documents within your outline.

5. Start writing. You might want to actually start writing the body of the paper first, so leave some space to go back and write your introductory paragraph, which should end with your very specific topic sentence that fully addresses the prompt– that’s why I suggest you might want to wait so that you can refine it as you write your essay. Make sure you focus on the question. After you’ve brainstormed, anything that does not advance your argument and deal directly with the questions is just a waste of precious time.

6. Cite documents, but avoid quoting from them. Show that you understand what the author was saying by paraphrasing. Also use the documents to support your argument, don’t just run through them in a laundry list. Readers hate that.

7. Develop a strong, clearly stated thesis that ANSWERS THE QUESTION. Take a stand– don’t try to be wishy-washy.

8. This thesis should be at the end of a strong introduction that uses a quote, an anecdote, or an image to grab the reader’s attention and make it stand out from the rest of the papers.

9. KEEP TRACK OF TIME! Try to leave yourself some time to read over your essay and make sure you haven’t left out any important information.

10. Remember, ANALYSIS, not narrative, is what the reader wants to see.

Animated map of nuclear explosions worldwide

Note how many different countries have detonated nuclear weapons at least in testing, and where those explosion have taken place.