The Space Shuttle’s 30th Anniversary: Commemorating One of the First Televised Traumas

January 28 is the anniversary of the space shuttle Challenger disaster—an under-acknowledged moment of national trauma.

I remember where I was when I heard the news: a high school ski trip. I was on the ski lift, and it suddenly stopped. An announcement came over the loudspeaker that the shuttle had exploded.

Today, January 28, is the anniversary of the 1986 space shuttle Challenger disaster—an under-acknowledged moment of national trauma, buried under the traumas to come, like an old memorial you pass by in a park.

But the significance of that disaster, especially how it was telecast, bears significance to our current age. In many ways, it introduced our culture to the emotional weight of televised tragedy.

The disaster, of course, remains tragic to the family and loved ones of those who died. One passenger, Christa McAuliffe, a high school teacher from Concord, New Hampshire, was going to be the first ordinary citizen in space, having won a national competition. She was set to broadcast lessons from space to students around the country. “The passage of 30 years since the Challenger accident is not of great personal significance to our family,” Mr. McAuliffe, her husband, said in a statement to the Associated Press. “For us, Challenger will always be an event that occurred just recently. Our thoughts and memories of Christa will always be fresh and comforting.” Her husband and two children were watching in Florida, where they were joined by McAulife’s parents and schoolchildren. Schools across the country had turned to the live broadcast.

In his book National Trauma and Collective Memory: Major Events in the American Century Arthur G. Neal considers the disaster to be a shifting moment in national consciousness. “Millions of schoolchildren throughout the nation were traumatized by the experience. They had encountered the reality of death, some for the first time, and were required to deal with it.”

via Jim Browing / YouTube

Jim Browning is a YouTuber from the UK who has an amazing ability to catch scammers in the act.

In this video, he responds to a scam email claiming he bought a laptop by breaking into the scammer's computer. In the process he uncovers where the scammers work, their banking information, and even their personal identities.

"I got an 'invoice' email telling me that I had paid for a $3800 laptop," Browning writes on his YouTube page. "No links... just a phone number. It's a real shame that these scammers emailed me because I was able to find out exactly who they were and where the were."

Keep Reading
HG B / YouTube

Danielle Reno of Missouri left her car running and it was stolen by thieves. But she wasn't going to let her car go so easily.

For 48 hours this owner of a pet rescue tracked the charges being made on her credit card. Ultimately, she found her car at a local Applebee's, and then went after the thieves.

Keep Reading
via Bossip / Twitter

Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders took aim at former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg onstage at Wednesday's Las Vegas Democratic debate, likening the billionaire businessman to President Donald Trump and questioning his ability to turn out voters.

Sanders began by calling out Bloomberg for his stewardship of New York's stop and frisk policy that targeted young black men.

Keep Reading