A typical American aircraft carrier costs $13 billion, about $40 from every man, woman and child in America.
The United States Navy ordered a computerized bookkeeping system that was to have cost $33 million. As the project was being built the price climbed steadily higher. Finally, the price grew so high, the Navy gave up without completing the job. The Navy spent $230 million of our money and got absolutely nothing.
In a similar case, the Internal Revenue Service spent $187 million just to decide if they should buy a $1.8 billion computerized tax return system. They decided no.
Why was it illegal to buy more than three pairs of shoes during the 1940’s? Leather was needed for the war effort. Most shoes at that time were made almost entirely from leather, yet today many are made from cloth, plastic and synthetic rubber.
King Maximilian II was concerned about a possible duel between two young men who both wanted to marry his daughter. To prevent any such fight, he had them compete for her hand with a burlap bag. The objective was accomplished after an hour of struggle, when one suitor had the other firmly enclosed in the bag.
One of Leonardo da Vinci’s less known but very effective inventions was a weapon – stink bombs mounted on arrows.
In private industry, disposal of hazardous wastes has been carefully regulated for many years. At least until recently, people in the US military have been allowed to simply dump toxic materials, PCBs, radioactive materials and extreme poisons, into ditches.
General John Burgoyne had great respect and obedience from his soldiers. His method of punishment was different. If a soldier misbehaved, he had the man wear his coat inside out.
During World War I, one of every three English men of military age were killed.