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Bruce Smith / AP

Researchers at Duke University might have solved one of the enduring mysteries of the Civil War: they think the Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley — the first sub ever to sink an enemy ship — sank immediately from the force of its own torpedo, per Popular Science.

  • What happened: The shock wave from the sub's torpedo struck the craft so hard that it damaged the soft tissues of the crew's lungs and brains, perhaps killing the entire crew of eight immediately.
  • How they found out: The research team built a scale model of the Hunley and blew it up in a pond in an attempt to replicate the effects of the shockwave.
  • Fool me twice: Before its final, fateful journey, the Hunley had already been sunk and raised twice — killing 13 previous crew members in the process.

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

In photos: The Biden and Harris inauguration

President Biden and first lady Jill Biden watch a fireworks show on the National Mall from the Truman Balcony at the White House on Wednesday night. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Biden signed his first executive orders into law from the Oval Office on Wednesday evening after walking in a brief inaugural parade to the White House with First Lady Jill Biden and members of their family. He was inaugurated with Vice President Kamala Harris at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday morning.

Why it matters: Many of Biden's day one actions immediately reverse key Trump administration policies, including rejoining the Paris Agreement and the World Health Organization, launching a racial equity initiative and reversing the Muslim travel ban.

Republicans pledge to set aside differences and work with Biden

President Biden speaks to Sen. Mitch McConnell after being sworn in at the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Photo: Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images

Several Republicans praised President Biden's calls for unity during his inaugural address on Wednesday and pledged to work together for the benefit of the American people.

Why it matters: The Democrats only have a slim majority in the Senate and Biden will likely need to work with the GOP to pass his legislative agenda.

The Biden protection plan

Joe Biden announces his first run for the presidency in June 1987. Photo: Howard L. Sachs/CNP/Getty Images

The Joe Biden who became the 46th president on Wednesday isn't the same blabbermouth who failed in 1988 and 2008.

Why it matters: Biden now heeds guidance about staying on task with speeches and no longer worries a gaffe or two will cost him an election. His staff also limits the places where he speaks freely and off the cuff. This Biden protective bubble will only tighten in the months ahead, aides tell Axios.

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