100 Fixing the Calendar 1582

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63   Ka-Boom! 1863 
IT MIGHT HAVE TAKEN CENTURIES to dig the 92 miles of tunnels feeding water to Los Angeles had Alfred Nobel not invented dynamite in 1867. It took just seven years. With dynamite, dams, railways and roads were built, the Panama Canal was dug, and the earth cracked open to yield mineral riches. Nobel's invention--mixing nitroglycerine, an explosive liquid, with an absorbent sand and molding that into sticks--made it possible to ship the explosive safely to war fronts and building sites everywhere. Suddenly man could remap his environment, then obliterate his handiwork. The ironies were not lost on Nobel, whose brother died in an accidental blast at their Swedish factory. Called by some "the merchant of death," Nobel left his fortune to establish the prizes that bear his name. Too late for comfort: He died sad and alone, taking nitroglycerine for an ailing heart. 

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