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The controversial 18th century figure, Impostradamus, is perhaps best known for his extensive research in the fields of astrology, palm reading, magic potions and management accountancy. However, less well known is the fact that, in his later life, Impostradamus wrote a series of unpublished prophecies which he grouped into mysteriously-worded octains.

These octains have become the subject of great debate over the past few decades as historians try to decipher whether they relate to real historical events or are indeed too vague to connect concretely to our world and what these findings imply for the future of humanity.

Two months ago, a series of previously unseen octains was discovered in a closet of a house, known to be a holiday home of Impostradamus, in south-west Liechtenstein. This finding was officially verified, by researchers at the University of Alodabalony, to be authentic writings of the great accountant himself.

Head researcher and world-leading Impostradamus scholar, Prof John Hokes, has had the unique privilege of exclusive access to these documents which he has been poring over for the past few weeks. Just last night, he made a startling discovery pertaining to one of the lost octains which he feels is too much of a coincidence not to be the "real deal" and this morning he was compelled to immediately share his discovery with the world via his online blog.

What he has discovered is that each line of this particular octain relates to a 'significant' historical event. More mysteriously, all eight events occurred in the same calendar year - a fact too surprising to ignore.

The mysterious octain is as follows:

Mechanical calculations are sickened by the brain.
A boom in four's power brings the tsardom lasting pain.
Icarus's opponent is failed by an 'O'.
A confused maple fool falls after a show.
An unlawful caress of the globe is divine.
Switzerland flames bring blood to the Rhine.
A topsy-turvy lake strangles the land.
The whole new world, by hand, is spanned.

Prof Hokes is now convinced that the evidence is too strong for the academic world to ignore and that Impostradamus must be recognised as a true prophet.

To what year is the octain referring?
What are the eight events being described?

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    $\begingroup$ Please include a link to Hokes's publication on his blog, otherwise this question may count as plagiarism :-P $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Sep 2 '16 at 11:17
  • $\begingroup$ Haha, do you think I should add a disclaimer? $\endgroup$ – hexomino Sep 2 '16 at 11:18
  • $\begingroup$ No, just kidding ;-) $\endgroup$ – Rand al'Thor Sep 2 '16 at 11:19
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The year is:

1986

Mechanical calculations are sickened by the brain.

The first computer virus for MS-DOS is released: the Brain virus (credit: @APrough)
The concept of neural network models is introduced in the field of artificial intelligence.

A boom in four's power brings the tsardom lasting pain.

Reactor #4 of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant melts down.

Icarus's opponent is failed by an 'O'.

The Challenger space shuttle explodes, due to a failure of an O-ring.

A confused maple fool falls after a show.

Swedish PM Olof Palme is assassinated while walking home from a movie theater. "Maple Fool" is an anagram of Olof Palme, hence "confused" in the original line (Credit: @Ankoganit)

An unlawful caress of the globe is divine.

Diego Maradona scores the "Hand of God" goal on an illegal hand ball in the world cup.

Switzerland flames bring blood to the Rhine.

A chemical spill in Basel, Switzerland turns the Rhine red.

A topsy-turvy lake strangles the land.

Lake Nyos in Cameroon explodes, leading to a cloud of carbon dioxide which suffocated victims.

The whole new world, by hand, is spanned.

The Hands Across America event happens.

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    $\begingroup$ You beat me to it, so I deleted my answer, but for the first clue, look at the Brain virus. $\endgroup$ – APrough Sep 2 '16 at 11:51
  • $\begingroup$ Nice! I added that one to the list - thanks. $\endgroup$ – tmpearce Sep 2 '16 at 11:55
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    $\begingroup$ I think maple fool refers to the (rot13) qrngu bs Bybs Cnyzr, "pbashfrq" qrabgrf nantenz. $\endgroup$ – Ankoganit Sep 2 '16 at 12:09
  • $\begingroup$ @Ankoganit Brilliant! Added it to the body in a spoiler for completion. $\endgroup$ – tmpearce Sep 2 '16 at 12:15

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