History: October 22, 2018

1797
The first recorded human parachute jump is made.

Andre Jacques Garnerin leaps out of a hydrogen balloon over Paris, about six-tenths of a mile up.

Garnerin concepted the idea of his parachute while a prisoner in Hungary during the French Revolution.

His design included a canopy 23 feet in diameter connected to a basket by rope.

For his first historical jump, he ascended in a hydrogen balloon. Then bailed out.

It was a hard lesson learned. He landed safely, though a little jarred. He had not thought to let some air vent through the balloon, so he was jolted around violently during the descent.

Five years later, he made another jump from 8,000 feet.

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1934
Federal agents kill mobster Charles “Pretty Boy” Floyd in Ohio.

He had been on the run for 4 years, following the massacre of 4 officers at a train station in Kansas City.

Though Floyd was wrapped up in crime, he became a darling of Depression-era Americans, with some stories suggesting he used some of the money he robbed to help those struggling. There is even a line speaking favorably of him in Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath.”

But others knew him to be a ruthless criminal.

Floyd maintained his innocence while a fugitive. His last words insisted his innocence in the officer shooting.

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1962
JFK announces to the nation the discovery of Soviet missiles across Cuba, capable of attacking the United States.

The strategy moving forward would be to quarantine Cuba, blockading any more shipments from the USSR.

The announcement came one week after analysts first discovered the weapons from spy plane imagery. For the next six days, may feared the outbreak of nuclear war.

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1964
Philosopher and writer Jean-Paul Sartre is awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, and ostentatiously declines.

Much of his writing discusses existentialism, finding one’s own meaning in life, rejecting the material because it has no significance, blah blah blah.

One of his major works was called “Being and Nothingness,” so, you know, that kind of stuff.

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1981
Sugar substitute aspartame is approved by the FDA.

It was discovered as an artificial sweetener in 1965 while being used as an ulcer drug. One researcher found it to be very sweet — 200 more times than sugar, by a certain measurement.

It also had fewer calories than sugar, and was marketed as such.

But objections arose in 1974. Over the next 7 years it was further studied and approved for use. It quickly found its way onto restaurant tables, plus in the development in candy, cereal, coffee, pudding, gum, and any other sweet food you can think of.