In the late 17th century…

In the late 17th century, the pirate Henry Avery became the richest pirate in the world after raiding a treasure laden ship belonging to the Grand Ruler of India. He stole £600,000 in precious metals and jewels, equivalent to £89.6M today. The world’s first worldwide manhunt was called on him. Although a number of his crew were subsequently arrested, Every himself eluded capture, vanishing from all records in 1696; his whereabouts and activities after this period are unknown. Unconfirmed accounts state he may have changed his name and retired, quietly living out the rest of his life in either Britain or an unidentified tropical island, while alternative accounts consider Every may have squandered his riches. Henry Avery is considered to have died anywhere between 1699 and 1714; his treasure has never been recovered.

During WWII, the British…

During WWII, the British launched nearly 100,000 weather balloons trailing long metal wires toward occupied Europe, causing power outages when they shorted out power lines and causing at least one German power station to burn down. The US military “rediscovered” this during training operations in the San Diego area a few decades ago when metallic radar cloaking chaff accidentally drifted into a substation causing a widespread power outage. This led to development of ordnance that released carbon fibers for the same effect. It was used during the Iraq war.