100 Fixing the Calendar 1582

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27  The Wright Stuff 1903 
ON DECEMBER 17, 1903, on a stretch of sand near Kitty Hawk, N.C., two bicycle mechanics achieved one of humanity's maddest dreams: For 12 seconds they were possessed of true flight. Before the sun had set, Orville and Wilbur Wright would keep their wood-wire-and-cloth Flyer aloft for 59 seconds. Few newspapers deigned to comment on the event because the notion that human beings would take to the air, like some contemporary Daedalus and Icarus, was deemed absurd by most sober citizens. Now, of course, some of our greatest heroes--Lindbergh, Earhart, Yeager--have been fashioned out of the wild blue yonder. While it had taken almost forever to get airborne, once there, the advances came fast and furious. Indeed, a mere 15 years later nearly all the elements of the modern airplane had been imagined, if not realized. 

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