The Apollo 15 postal covers incident, a 1972 NASA scandal, involved the astronauts of Apollo 15, who carried about 400 unauthorized postal covers into space and to the Moon's surface on the Lunar Module Falcon. Some of the envelopes were sold at high prices by West German stamp dealer Hermann Sieger, and are known as "Sieger covers". The crew of Apollo 15, David Scott, Alfred Worden and James Irwin, agreed to take payments for carrying the covers; though they returned the money, they were reprimanded by NASA. Amid much press coverage of the incident, the astronauts were called before a closed session of a Senate committee and never flew in space again.
The three astronauts and an acquaintance, Horst Eiermann, had agreed to have the covers made and taken into space. Each astronaut was to receive about $7,000. Scott arranged to have the covers postmarked on the morning of the Apollo 15 launch on July 26, 1971. They were packaged for space and brought to him as he prepared for liftoff. Due to an error, they were not included on the list of the personal items he was taking into space. The covers spent July 30 to August 2 on the Moon inside Falcon. On August 7, the date of splashdown, the covers were postmarked again on the recovery carrier USS Okinawa. One hundred were sent to Eiermann (and passed on to Sieger); the remaining covers were divided among the astronauts.
Worden had agreed to carry 144 additional covers, largely for an acquaintance, F. Herrick Herrick; these had been approved for travel to space. Apollo 15 carried a total of approximately 641 covers. In late 1971, when NASA learned that the Herrick covers were being sold, the astronauts' supervisor, Deke Slayton, warned Worden to avoid further commercialization of what he had been allowed to take into space. After Slayton heard of the Sieger arrangement, he removed the three as backup crew members for Apollo 17, though the astronauts had by then refused compensation from Sieger and Eiermann. The Sieger matter became generally known in the newspapers in June 1972. There was widespread coverage; some said astronauts should not be allowed to reap personal profits from NASA missions.
By 1977, all three former astronauts had left NASA. In 1983, Worden sued, and the covers were returned to them. One of the postal covers given to Sieger sold for over $50,000 in 2014.
- "Apollo 15 postage stamp incident" | 2019-04-30 | 133 Upvotes 49 Comments
Charles Babbage (; 26 December 1791 – 18 October 1871) was an English polymath. A mathematician, philosopher, inventor and mechanical engineer, Babbage originated the concept of a digital programmable computer.
Considered by some to be a father of the computer, Babbage is credited with inventing the first mechanical computer that eventually led to more complex electronic designs, though all the essential ideas of modern computers are to be found in Babbage's Analytical Engine. His varied work in other fields has led him to be described as "pre-eminent" among the many polymaths of his century.
Parts of Babbage's incomplete mechanisms are on display in the Science Museum in London. In 1991, a functioning difference engine was constructed from Babbage's original plans. Built to tolerances achievable in the 19th century, the success of the finished engine indicated that Babbage's machine would have worked.
- "Charles Babbage" | 2015-08-17 | 17 Upvotes 5 Comments
The Japanese addressing system is used to identify a specific location in Japan. When written in Japanese characters, addresses start with the largest geographical entity and proceed to the most specific one. When written in Latin characters, addresses follow the convention used by most Western addresses and start with the smallest geographic entity (typically a house number) and proceed to the largest. The Japanese system is complex and idiosyncratic, the product of the natural growth of urban areas, as opposed to the systems used in cities that are laid out as grids and divided into quadrants or districts.
- "Japanese addressing system" | 2019-08-09 | 80 Upvotes 64 Comments
The Office of Censorship was an emergency wartime agency set up by the United States federal government on December 19, 1941 to aid in the censorship of all communications coming into and going out of the United States, including its territories and the Philippines. The efforts of the Office of Censorship to balance the protection of sensitive war related information with the constitutional freedoms of the press is considered largely successful. The agency's implementation of censorship was done primarily through a voluntary regulatory code that was willingly adopted by the press. The phrase "loose lips sink ships" was popularized during World War II, which is a testament to the urgency Americans felt to protect information relating to the war effort. Radio broadcasts, newspapers, and newsreels were the primary ways Americans received their information about World War II and therefore were the medium most affected by the Office of Censorship code. The closure of the Office of Censorship in November 1945 corresponded with the ending of World War II.
- "Loose Lips Sink Ships" | 2019-12-09 | 16 Upvotes 5 Comments
The Prague pneumatic post (Czech: Pražská potrubní pošta) is the world's last preserved municipal pneumatic post system. It is an underground system of metal tubes under the wider centre of Prague, totaling about 55 kilometres (34 mi) in length. The system started service in 1889 and remained in use by the government, banks and the media until it was rendered inoperative by the August 2002 European floods.
Sold on by former owner Telefónica O2 Czech Republic after some limited attempts to make repairs, the system now belongs to businessman Zdeněk Dražil, who has announced plans to repair and reopen it as a working tourist attraction. As of 2012, however, it remains closed.
- "The Prague Pneumatic Post system (early mechanical networking)" | 2009-08-12 | 18 Upvotes 3 Comments
Rocket mail is the delivery of mail by rocket or missile. The rocket lands by deploying an internal parachute upon arrival. It has been attempted by various organizations in many different countries, with varying levels of success. It has never become widely seen as being a viable option for delivering mail, due to the cost of the schemes and numerous failures.
The collection of philatelic material ("stamps") used for (and depicting) rocket mail is part of a specialist branch of aerophilately known as astrophilately.
- "Rocket Mail" | 2019-09-25 | 128 Upvotes 40 Comments
V-mail, short for Victory Mail, was a hybrid mail process used by the United States during the Second World War as the primary and secure method to correspond with soldiers stationed abroad. To reduce the cost of transferring an original letter through the military postal system, a V-mail letter would be censored, copied to film, and printed back to paper upon arrival at its destination. The V-mail process is based on the earlier British Airgraph process.
- "V-Mail" | 2019-11-11 | 110 Upvotes 7 Comments
The London Pneumatic Despatch Company (also known as the London Pneumatic Dispatch Company) was formed on 30 June 1859, to design, build and operate an underground railway system for the carrying of mail, parcels and light freight between locations in London. The system was used between 1863 and 1874.
- "London Pneumatic Despatch Company" | 2020-10-21 | 45 Upvotes 20 Comments
The 2020 United States Postal Service crisis is a series of events that have caused backlogs and delays in the delivery of mail by the United States Postal Service (USPS). The crisis stems primarily from changes implemented by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy shortly after taking office in June 2020. The delays have had substantial legal, political, economic, and health repercussions.
There is controversy and speculation about whether the delays are unintended consequences of restructuring operations, or if they were intentionally created for political and/or financial gain. DeJoy has supported and donated to President Donald Trump, who has publicly linked his opposition to emergency funding for the Postal Service to his desire to restrict voting by mail in the 2020 elections.
On August 18, 2020, under heavy political and legal pressure, DeJoy announced that he would be "suspending" the policy changes until after the November 2020 election. He testified to the Senate on August 21, and to the House of Representatives on August 24, concerning the changes and their effects.
- "2020 United States Postal Service Crisis" | 2020-12-20 | 29 Upvotes 2 Comments