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.
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.
As convenient as smartphones and tablets are, they don’t necessarily offer the best sound quality. But a well-built portable speaker can fill that need. And whether you’re looking for a speaker to use in the shower or a device to take on a long camping trip, these bestselling models from Amazon have you covered.
1. OontZ Angle 3 Bluetooth Portable Speaker; $26-$30 (4.4 stars)
Of the 57,000-plus reviews that users have left for this speaker on Amazon, 72 percent of them are five stars. So it should come as no surprise that this is currently the best-selling portable Bluetooth speaker on the site. It comes in eight different colors and can play for up to 14 hours straight after a full charge. Plus, it’s splash proof, making it a perfect speaker for the shower, beach, or pool.
This nifty speaker can connect with up to three devices at one time, so you and your friends can take turns sharing your favorite music. Its built-in battery can play music for up to 20 hours, and it can even charge smartphones and tablets via USB.
4. Bose SoundLink Color Bluetooth Speaker; $129 (4.4 stars)
Bose is well-known for building user-friendly products that offer excellent sound quality. This portable speaker lets you connect to the Bose app, which makes it easier to switch between devices and personalize your settings. It’s also water-resistant, making it durable enough to handle a day at the pool or beach.
This portable speaker features an elegant system of touch controls that lets you easily switch between three methods of playing audio—Bluetooth, Micro SD, or auxiliary input. It can play for up to 20 hours after a full charge.
6. Altec Lansing Mini Wireless Bluetooth Speaker; $15-$20 (4.3 stars)
This lightweight speaker is built for the outdoors. With its certified IP67 rating—meaning that it’s fully waterproof, shockproof, and dust proof—it’s durable enough to withstand harsh environments. Plus, it comes with a carabiner that can attach to a backpack or belt loop.
7. Tribit XSound Go Bluetooth Speaker; $33-$38 (4.6 stars)
Tribit’s portable Bluetooth speaker weighs less than a pound and is fully waterproof and resistant to scratches and drops. It also comes with a tear-resistant strap for easy transportation, and the rechargeable battery can handle up to 24 hours of continuous use after a full charge. In 2020, it was Wirecutter's pick as the best budget portable Bluetooth speaker on the market.
8. VicTsing SoundHot C6 Portable Bluetooth Speaker; $18 (4.3 stars)
The SoundHot portable Bluetooth speaker is designed for convenience wherever you go. It comes with a detachable suction cup and a carabiner so you can keep it secure while you’re showering, kayaking, or hiking, to name just a few.
9. AOMAIS Sport II Portable Wireless Bluetooth Speaker; $30 (4.4 stars)
This portable speaker is certified to handle deep waters and harsh weather, making it perfect for your next big adventure. It can play for up to 15 hours on a full charge and offers a stable Bluetooth connection within a 100-foot radius.
10. XLEADER SoundAngel Touch Bluetooth Speaker; $19-$23 (4.4 stars)
This stylish device is available in black, silver, gold, and rose gold. Plus, it’s equipped with Bluetooth 5.0, a more powerful technology that can pair with devices up to 800 feet away. The SoundAngel speaker itself isn’t water-resistant, but it comes with a waterproof case for protection in less-than-ideal conditions.
After The Dark Knightmade $1 billion worldwide, Warner Bros. let director Christopher Nolan to make his passion project, Inception (although most passion projects don’t generally have a budget of $160 million). The confusing-but-exhilarating film, which was released on July 13, 2010, made more than $800 million worldwide. Here are some things you might not know about the film.
1. Christopher Nolan toyed with the idea of making Inception a horror movie.
Christopher Nolan both wrote and directed Insomnia. He originally came up with the idea in the early 2000s, after he finished making Insomnia. Originally, he considered using the same concept, but as a horror film.
2. The main characters in Inception each represent a key part of the filmmaking process.
Each character represents a vital part of the film industry. “The Point Man” (Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Arthur) is the producer; “The Architect” (Ellen Page as Ariadne) is the production designer; “The Forger” (Tom Hardy as Eames) is the actor; and “The Mark” (Cillian Murphy as Robert Fischer) is the audience. As for Leonardo DiCaprio as Dom Cobb, he’s a stand-in for the director, giving him obvious parallels to Nolan. “I can lose myself in my job very easily," Nolan toldEntertainment Weekly. "It’s rare that you can identify yourself so clearly in a film. This film is very clear for me.”
3. Christopher Nolan didn’t research dreams while writing the screenplay for Inception.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt with Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Berenger, Tom Hardy, Cillian Murphy, Ellen Page, and Ken Watanabe in Inception (2010).
Stephen Vaughan/Warner Bros. Entertainment
He took a similar approach to writing a movie about dreams as he did to writing Memento, a movie about memory. He primarily used his own experiences and feelings rather than outside information. “I think a lot of what I find you want to do with research is just confirming things you want to do," Nolan told Collider. "If the research contradicts what you want to do, you tend to go ahead and do it anyway. So at a certain point I realized that if you’re trying to reach an audience, being as subjective as possible and really trying to write from something genuine is the way to go. Really it’s mostly from my own process, my own experience.”
4. Christopher Nolan had to convince the studio that the various dream layers in Inception would be as minimally confusing as possible.
He told them, “One of the dream levels is in the rain, one of them is a night interior, one is outdoors in the snow ... even in a close-up, you would be able to tell which level you were in as you cross-cut.”
5. Inception's casting decisions revolved around Leonardo DiCaprio.
Nolan knew that he wanted Leonardo DiCaprio for the role of Cobb, so according to him, “We were just trying to cast the best people I could find for those parts, who felt right around Leo.” This also involved casting a young ensemble because Nolan “wanted to get a young, energetic cast around him who wouldn’t make [DiCaprio] look younger.”
6. Leonardo DiCaprio worked with Christopher Nolan to make Inception more character-driven.
Christopher Nolan directs Leonardo DiCaprio and Ellen Page in Inception (2010).
Stephen Vaughan/Warner Bros. Entertainment
“Once Leo came on board, I spent months and months sitting with him and discussing the script," Nolan toldThe Hollywood Reporter. "He made some extraordinary contributions to the script and really challenged me to make the script clear, but also to follow its interior logic and really be true to the essence of the characters and the rules we set out.”
Nolan’s wife and producing partner, Emma Thomas, said that “the work [DiCaprio] did on his character with Chris made the movie less of a puzzle and more of a story of a character audiences could relate to.”
7. Ellen Page didn’t have to audition for Inception.
She met with Nolan for a sit down that had nothing to do with the film. The next week, she was asked to read the script for Inception. She had to read it in an office, not at home. Luckily, she loved the character and Nolan gave her the role.
8. Ariadne is named after the daughter of Minos in Greek mythology.
It’s a unique name for a modern day character, but it makes complete sense for the part. In one story, Minos actually has Ariadne take control of a labyrinth. In the film, the labyrinth that Ariadne draws for Cobb’s test is very similar to paintings of the ancient character’s labyrinth. Nolan acknowledges this connection. “I wanted to have that to help explain the importance of the labyrinth to the audience," he told Wired. "I don’t know how many people pick up on that association when they’re watching the film. It was just a little pointer, really. I like the idea of her being Cobb’s guide.”
9. Inception was filmed in locations around the world.
The rotating set that Arthur flies through was created in Bedfordshire, England. Calgary, Alberta was the location for the epic mountain scenes. They also did shoots in Morocco, Tokyo, London, and Los Angeles. Overall, they ended up filming in six different countries.
10. Christopher Nolan considered filming Inception in 3D.
Eventually, though, Nolan determined that they would be “too restricted by the technology.” After filming, they almost converted the movie to 3D in post-production, but there simply wasn’t enough time.
11. Christopher Nolan wanted the explosions in Inception to look surreal, rather than the standard Hollywood orange flames.
Shooting guidelines in Paris frowned upon the use of actual explosions. So, the crew used high-pressure nitrogen, which they set off right near the cast. Said special effects coordinator Chris Corbould, “When we let an explosion off behind an actor, you get a very different reaction from when he is standing in front of a green screen and someone yells, ‘Explosion!’” More debris was added and the explosions were enhanced in post-production.
12. The paradoxical stairs in Inception were inspired by the art of M.C. Escher.
Nolan wanted to build a paradoxical staircase that worked, but it wasn't possible. So, they built a staircase that just ended abruptly. In order to make them look like a paradox on camera, the crew turned to a visual effects team. According to Paul Franklin, the Visual Effects Supervisor, “These steps have to be built in such a way that when you view them from one angle, the top most level of the staircase lines up with the bottom most level of the staircase. And so what visual effects is able to do is we’re able to make computer models of this and work out exactly the dimensions of the steps that have to be built and where the camera has to be in three-dimensional space to be able to film it.”
13. Christopher Nolan's production team built sets that shifted and rotated for Inception.
During the scene in which Cobb explains to Fischer that they are in a dream, he proves it by letting the room shake and shift. To pull it off, the crew moved the set 25 degrees while filming, without any of the props moving. “The entire set would be shifting," DiCaprio said. "We had to hold onto the actual set so we didn’t slide off.”
For the scenes in which Arthur is floating around the hotel without gravity, Joseph Gordon-Levitt wasn’t acting in front of a green screen or placed in zero-gravity. The crew actually built the set so it could rotate a full 360 degrees. Then, they would suspend Gordon-Levitt from a wire to get their shots. It took 500 people and three weeks to film all those scenes. Gordon-Levitt only used his stunt double for one shot.
14. Inception's actors had an easy way of telling which level of the dream world they were supposed to be in during a particular scene.
“It was easy to orientate which dream sequence I was in because of my costume," Tom Hardy told Collider. "If in doubt, I could just look at my shoes and say, ‘Oh! I know which dream I’m in.'"
15. Inception's mountain set was built into the side of a mountain.
The set, built into a mountainside in Alberta, had no snow at the time. In fact, the crew was starting to get concerned that they wouldn’t end up having any snow by the time the shoot started. “The art department kept sending us pictures of mud," Thomas said. "The week before we went up there, we still had no snow.” But that wasn’t a problem for long. They ended up shooting in the middle of blizzards after the biggest storm of the decade.
16. The Inception scene in which the van falls off the bridge in slow motion took months to shoot.
According to Dileep Rao, who played the driver Yusuf, “We’d shoot it one day, go off and shoot something else. Then shoot another piece of [the van]. It was so complex and there were so many locations and so many different moves I have to do. It’s the stuff that makes or breaks that last sequence.” For the underwater portions, actors were holding their breath for up to five minutes at a time, with the occasional top off from a SCUBA tank. As for how they got the van to fall off the bridge? It was shot out of a cannon.
17. Though many special effects were handled on set, Christopher Nolan still had a lot of work to do in post-production on Inception.
For instance, Franklin said, “Getting the bits and bobs to fall out of the hotel cleaning trolley [in zero gravity]? That’s one guy—months of lonesome work.” And a team of CGI specialists worked on the “Limbo City” scenes with DiCaprio and Page for nine full months.
18. Christopher Nolan finished both early and under budget.
Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy, Ellen Page, Ken Watanabe, and Dileep Rao in Inception (2010).
Warner Bros. Entertainment
He actually prefers the constraints that time and money give him, so he makes a serious effort to be efficient when it comes to filmmaking.
19. Christopher Nolan hasn’t said much on Inception's ambiguous ending.
In 2010, Nolan told CNN that the film was intentionally left that way, so he has no desire to add to the conversation. “There can’t be anything in the film that tells you one way or another because then the ambiguity at the end of the film would just be a mistake," he said. "It would represent a failure of the film to communicate something. But it’s not a mistake. I put that cut there at the end, imposing an ambiguity from outside the film. That always felt the right ending to me."
Michael Caine has his own interpretation of the ending that he hasn’t been shy with, though. He claims that the ending is undoubtedly real, not a dream. “[The spinning top] drops at the end, that’s when I come back on," Caine told ScreenRant. "If I’m there it’s real, because I’m never in the dream. I’m the guy who invented the dream.”
20. Film scholars have a lot of different theories about Inception.
Some of these include: it was all a dream, Saito is the actual architect, and Cobb is dreaming/not dreaming/dead at the end of the film.