It’s the fourth birthday of our show!

Our Patreon backers are getting an exclusive bonus episode in addition to this one.

Good thing we have a lot to cover.

For starters, today in 1944, the U.S. Air Force carried out a bombing raid in Montana.

And, even stranger, it was at the request of the governor.

This was in Miles City, a community in eastern Montana on the banks of the Yellowstone River.

During cold stretches, the river often got clogged up by massive blocks of ice, and another river that emptied into the Yellowstone had nowhere to put its water.

The 1944 ice jam was a really big one, so big that the river was something like 15 feet higher than normal.

The flooding forced hundreds of people to evacuate their homes.

Officials in Miles City realized the only way to keep other people from being flooded out was to do something about the ice jam.

And because it was so big, “do something about the ice jam” actually meant “blow up the ice jam.”

Two pilots from the region tried dropping some explosives onto the frozen river, but it wasn’t enough.

So Miles City Mayor L.S. Keye moved to plan B: he asked Governor Sam Ford to ask the US military to bomb his town (!)

Ford’s office passed along the request, and soon, a B-17 Flying Fortress based in Rapid City, South Dakota was flying perhaps the oddest mission of World War II: a strike on a river in Montana.

The town made sure everybody cleared out of the immediate area.

Then the B-17 dropped 16 bombs, 250 pounds each, on the river.

When the smoke from the bombs cleared, people found that the bombing runs had worked!

By the next day, the river level had fallen by more than 10 feet.

The grateful people of Miles City gave the crew that had bombed their town a steak dinner and bought them hotel rooms for the night.

You’ve heard the saying everything that’s old is new again?

That’s the idea behind the new image series ‘What is lost is (not) lost forever.’

Angelo Renna turned to an AI system and fed it descriptions and scientific research about animals and plants that have gone extinct in recent centuries.

The system created images of what these species might look like today.

Harmon’s Histories: Kaboom! Wartime explosions rock Miles City, Baker (Missoula Current)

midjourney envisions how centuries-long extinct creatures would look today (designboom)

Today is Cool Weird Awesome’s fourth birthday! Backers on Patreon get an exclusive second episode for today!

Photo by Paul Williams via Flickr/Creative Commons