What Happened on April 16?

  • The term "Cold War" was coined. (1947) Bernard Baruch, a financier who served as an adviser to several US presidents, gave a speech in the South Carolina House of Representatives in which he used the term "cold war." The word was immediately picked up by magazines and newspapers and became embedded in popular consciousness.

  • The Texas City Disaster occurred. (1947) The accident is considered the worst industrial accident in US history because of the high number of fatalities. The disaster occurred when a fire aboard a fertilizer ship sparked a massive explosion, killing about 600 people.

  • LSD was discovered to be hallucinogenic. (1943) A Swiss chemist accidentally took some LSD while experimenting with lysergic acids, and reported having a "not unpleasant intoxicated-like condition" along with hallucinations. The drug became popular as a recreational drug until it was made illegal in the US in 1965.

  • Slavery became illegal in the District of Columbia. (1862) About 3,000 slaves were freed in one of the first moves leading up to the Emancipation Proclamation.

  • Walter Cronkite became the anchor of "The CBS Evening News." (1962) Often called the most trusted man in America, Cronkite covered some of the most important events in the 20th century during his tenure on the Evening News, including the assassination of President Kennedy and the Watergate scandal.

  • Apollo 16 launched. (1972) Apollo 16 was the tenth mission in the Apollo series, and was the fifth American spacecraft to land on the moon. Despite a malfunction in the propulsion system, the mission was successful, and the crew explored the previously unmapped highlands regions.

  • The first woman flew across the English Channel. (1912) Harriet Quimby was a screenwriter and pilot and became the first woman to fly across the English Channel less than a year after she got her pilot's license.

  • The Rolling Stones released their first album. (1964) The Rolling Stones was released in the UK on this day. It became an immediate hit, and stayed number one on the UK charts for 12 weeks.

  • Bob Feller pitched the first Opening Day no-hitter in baseball. (1940) Feller threw his first no-hitter for the Cleveland Indians on this day, which was also the first Opening Day no-hitter in baseball. Only two other pitchers have had more no-hitters than Feller.

  • Charlie Chaplin was born. (1889) Chaplin was one of the titans of the early American film industry, and his films are still considered classics. He left America after being accused of Communist sympathies to live out the rest of his life in Switzerland, but eventually won an honorary Oscar as well as British knighthood.

Discussion Comments


If you're interested in the history of the astronauts, like those who went up in Apollo 16 (on April 16! I wonder if that was intention), NASA has released almost all the transcripts of their conversations on board the shuttles. And they pretty much recorded everything, so you can read about famous incidents, but you can also read them joking around. It's great, because it really shows the human side of them and at times it is really hilarious.

It's on NASA's website and I think there are other websites around that are dedicated to picking out the best bits.


@clintflint - The guy who discovered it, Dr Hoffman, was actually quite an advocate for using it for different purposes, as well as recreationally. He was frustrated by the fact that it is banned pretty much world wide, for what he feels is no good reason.

It's actually quite an interesting story and he's written a couple of books about it if you're interested. I wouldn't take everything he says to heart though, because I'm not sure he's entirely unbiased.


I think it's a shame that LSD is still completely illegal. I don't know if it should be available to everyone who wants it (although I'm generally not a big fan of regulating anything that doesn't cause harm to anyone but the user) but I know that, as drugs go, it's fairly harmless and in some cases can do a lot of good.

For example, it's been used with people in a hospice, who were at death's door anyway, and it has given them peace in their final days. I'm not just saying that, there is actually a couple of real studies if you want to look them up.

I just think that the law should be flexible in cases like this where the issue isn't black and white.

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