The American Jets Sent Off to Fight World War III

The Cuban Missile Crisis began on October 14, 1962, when the United States obtained photographic evidence of a Soviet nuclear missile installation in Cuba. For nearly two weeks, the world was on the brink of nuclear war. The U.S. military went to high alert. Any action on either side of the conflict could have resulted in mutually assured destruction, as both militaries and their nuclear arsenal were at the ready.

On the night of October 25 and into the next morning, that nearly happened. Nuclear-armed U.S. jet planes were ordered to the skies to intercept incoming Soviet bombers. They thought the Soviet Union had started World War III. Late that evening, around midnight, a would-be intruder attempted to gain access to a military base in Duluth, Minnesota. The base was one of a handful that held a large computer network called the SAGE system—Semi-Automatic Ground Environment—which collected and reconciled radar data to give military officials a single image of the region’s airspace. Using this information, officials could coordinate a response in case of a Soviet air assault. 

Had the Soviets gained access to the Duluth base and sabotaged the computer network, parts of the U.S. military operations would be flying blind. 

The intruder did not make it into the Duluth base. A sentry noticed him climbing the fence and shot him, incapacitating the apparent Soviet saboteur. For reasons unreported—given the global situation at the time, this was prudent—the guard sounded the alarm signaling a sabotage attempt. The alarm system was designed to sound in bases throughout the region if not the entire United States—after all, if the Soviets were taking a crack at one base, there’s a good chance others were immediately at risk as well. If things went right, many U.S. bases would, once the alarm sounded, run a security sweep for possible breaches. 

Unfortunately, things went wrong. At Volk Field in Wisconsin, something was amiss with the alarm wiring. The alarm that sounded wasn’t the one signaling a possible saboteur. Instead, it was the one telling nuclear-armed jet fighters to take to the skies. This wasn’t a drill, either—the policies at the time did not allow for such practice runs when on such high alert, as to avoid ambiguity. As far as Volk Field’s personnel believed, World War III had begun. To make matters worse, because of the activity in Cuba, the military had sent nuclear bombers into patrol, some near Volk Field. Had the interceptors ever taken flight, there’s a good chance the American fighters would have shot down their own nuke-laden bombers— and above U.S. soil.

The planes, however, never took off. An official raced from the command center to the runway, probably while the jet fighters were still doing their pre-flight checks, to inform them that it was a false alarm. Not only had the wrong alarm sounded at Volk Field, but there was no saboteur in the first place. The man who tried to invade the Duluth base wasn’t a saboteur or a Soviet, or for that matter, a man.

It was a bear.

Bonus Fact

In 2008, a beekeeper in Macedonia noticed that his hives were being attacked by an unknown invader. The culprit, taking a page from Winnie the Pooh’s playbook, turned out to be a bear looking for honey. The beekeeper, though, wanted to be compensated for the bear’s damage, so the local government pressed criminal charges against the bear, according to the BBC. The bear was convicted in absentia (officials couldn’t locate the bear to arrest him). Because the animal had no owner, the beekeeper was able to collect damages from the local government, totaling about $3,500.

Excerpted from Now I Know More Copyright © 2014 by Dan Lewis and published by F+W Media, Inc. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved. 

Possible Star Wars: Episode IX Leak Predicts a Traitor Within the First Order


by Natalie Zamora

A rumored leak circulating the internet recently is a fresh take on most theories for the upcoming Star Wars: Episode IX, as it has nothing to do with Rey's true ​parentage, how Luke Skywalker will ​come back, or Poe Dameron's ​sexuality. Instead, this new bit of possibly real information is about the First Order.

An unknown source has revealed to ​​ that there is a traitor within the First Order, as part of the Episode IX storyline will involve Kylo Ren trying to find a mole in his team, after becoming suspicious someone is giving out information to the Resistance.

This plot point "will have a cat and mouse element to it, similar to Revenge of the Sith where the Jedi were trying to find out who the Sith lord is—which turned out to be Palpatine.”

Domhnall Gleeson in Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi (2017)

The report also references a different leak from May 2018, which claimed General Hux would be a mole inside the First Order. This wouldn't be too surprising, as Kylo and Hux have had quite the rivalry since The Force Awakens. Both parties competed to be Supreme Leader Snoke's favorite, and now with Snoke gone, the relationship between the two men should be interesting. It wouldn't be hard to see Hux turning on Kylo.

However, Hux obviously despises the Resistance. Would he help them just to betray someone who has more power than him? It might be more believable to think he would find other ways to steal the power away
from Kylo rather than disturbing the First Order. Hux wants to defeat both Kylo and the Resistance, and we don't see him compromising.

This is an interesting "leak" to keep in mind as we get more details about Episode IX, however. At the moment, we really don't have much information about the final film in the Skywalker Saga, so any rumors are worth exploring.

Star Wars: Episode IX hits theaters December 20, 2019.

LeBron James Enlists Black Panther Director Ryan Coogler to Produce Space Jam Sequel

Pascal Le Segretain, Getty Images
Pascal Le Segretain, Getty Images

by Dana Samuel

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Black Panther director Ryan Coogler is teaming up with LeBron James to finally make a Space Jam sequel. The original, released in 1996, starred Michael Jordan, with cameos from other NBA stars and characters from Looney Tunes; it grossed more than $250 million worldwide (making it the highest-grossing basketball movie of all time, according to THR).

THR reports that the film is reportedly going to begin production in 2019, during the NBA off-season; Coogler will be the producer of the sequel and Random Acts of Flyness creator Terence Nance will direct.

Coogler's work on Black Panther was not only groundbreaking, but the film broke several box office records and it has become the highest grossing film by a black director.

James is a huge Black Panther fan. “I loved his vision," he told THR, "so for Ryan to be able to bring that to kids, it’s amazing. ... The Space Jam collaboration is so much more than just me and the Looney Tunes getting together and doing this movie ... I'd just love for kids to understand how empowered they can feel and how empowered they can be if they don't just give up on their dreams. And I think Ryan did that for a lot of people.”

This project has been highly anticipated for years, and we have our fingers crossed for more details to be revealed soon.