History: February 12, 2019

1898
The first automobile fatality is recorded.

Henry Lindfield lost control of his car in Surrey, England. The car tumbled down a hill and crashed through a wire fence and into a large iron post.

The accident caused a huge gash in his leg. Had it happened today, he likely would’ve survived; instead, doctors had to amputate the whole leg.

The driver died of shock the day following his surgery.

His son was a passenger during the accident — but before seat belts and roofs, he was tossed completely out of the vehicle, and was unharmed.

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1973
The first metric road signs in America are put up along Interstate 71 in Ohio.

It was part of the National Metric Conference’s efforts to convert America to use a decimal system.

Congress would pass the National Metric Conversion Act in 1975, which encouraged the voluntary switch to the metric system. This failed.

Today the military often uses metric units, in order to communicate with other nations’ militaries.

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1999
Bill Clinton is acquitted by the Senate of perjury and obstruction of justice.

The vote sharply followed party lines.

In a civil settlement, Clinton would pay Paula Jones $850,000 to settle the harassment suit brought upon him by her.

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2002
Deposed Yugoslavian president Slobodan Milosevic begins his trial at The Hague, charged with genocide and other war crimes.

Milosevic served as his own lawyer during the trial.

A verdict was never reached; he died of a heart attack four years into the proceedings.

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2008
General Motors offers a mass buyout of all 74,000 United Auto Workers employees.

The move came after the company hemorrhaged nearly $40 billion during 2007, largely in part to huge union demands. The average base wage for a GM-employed UAW worker was $28.12 an hour — but after luxurious benefits, workers earned nearly $78 an hour.

Meanwhile, gas prices were also rising, and GM wasn’t offering sustainable cars.

The company filed for bankruptcy the following year, and restructured.

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2013
North Korea announces its third successful nuclear test, a follow-up to a test in 2006.

The underground detonation triggered earthquake-magnitude tremors, but after a study by Chinese, Japanese, and South Korean investigators, no radiation was detected.

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