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Friday, June 30, 2017

Friday links



June 30, 1934 was the Night of the Long Knives, Hitler's purge of those standing in his way.

Catherine the Great's Secret Cabinet of Erotic Curiosities

Inventor creates a hover craft by strapping 76 drones to a seat.

ICYMI, Tuesday's links are here, and include weird historical baldness cures, Helen Keller's birthday (with a selection of non-PC jokes), animals with regional accents, and a set of awkward pregnancy photos.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

1954 film: How a Clean, Tidy Home Can Help You Survive the Atomic Bomb

A gem from cold war history: "The lack of safe house keeping has doomed this house to destruction."



Atomic tests at the Nevada Proving Grounds (later the Nevada Test Site) show effects on well-kept homes, homes filled with trash and combustibles, and homes painted with reflective white paint. The makers of the film (which apparently include people selling home improvement products as well as the U. S. government) assert that cleanliness is an essential part of civil defense preparedness and that it increases survivability.

Related posts and links:

Fan of mushroom clouds? Dozens of nuclear test videos declassified, uploaded to YouTube.






Hard to tell if there's anything to this:  Nixon blocked Soviet nuclear attack on China in 1969.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

June 28 is the anniversary of both the event that started and the treaty that ended World War One

June 28 is the anniversary of two days that might be said to mark the beginning and end of the First World War. It's the centennial of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand (wiki) of Austria and his wife - heirs to the Austrian throne - by Serbian radical Gavrilo Princip on June 28, 1914, the proximate cause of the beginning of the war. If you're interested in further information on the subject there are hundreds of books and films - the best books I know of (and I'm no expert) are Barbara Tuchman's The Guns of August (this won a Pulitzer back when they meant something) and John Keegan's The First World War.

Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie at Sarajevo - The German caption
 says, "Leaving the town hall, 5 minutes before the assassination":
On the same date in 1919, five years later, the peace treaty that ended the war was signed in the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles. In the interim, ten million died, twice that number were wounded, and Europe's late-19th-century faith in the inevitability of progress and human betterment was destroyed. On hearing the terms of the Versailles Treaty, Germany's much-maligned Kaiser Wilhelm II noted from exile that, 

"The war to end war has resulted in a peace to end peace,"

and France's Marshall Ferdinand Foch observed,

"This is not peace; it is an armistice for twenty years." 

They were right.

God grant we may not have a European war thrust upon us, and for such a stupid reason too, no I don't mean stupid, but to have to go to war on account of tiresome Servia beggars belief. 

~ Mary, Queen-Consort of England's George V (letter to her aunt, Princess Augusta of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, 28 July 1914) 

The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime. 

~ Sir Edward Grey (remark, 3 August 1914, on the eve of Britain's declaration of war) 

The War was decided in the first twenty days of fighting, and all that happened afterwards consisted of battles which, however formidable and devastating, were but desperate and vain appeals against the decision of Fate. 

~ Sir Winston Churchill (Preface to Spears, Liaison 1914) 

When every autumn people said it could not last through the winter, and when every spring there was still no end in sight, only the hope that out of it all some good would accrue to mankind kept men and nations fighting. When at last it was over, the war had many diverse results and one dominant one transcending all others: disillusion. 

~Barbara Tuchman (The Guns of August, "Afterward") 

This animated map reflects the daily changes over the course of the war:


Here's a 6 minute overview of World War I:


And the BBC’s Horrible Histories explanation of how the Brits got involved:

The Atlantic has a series of photoessays entitled World War I in Photos on various WWI topics.


An 8 minute video on The Treaty of Versailles and its consequences:


Previous posts: Wilfred Owen, the best of the WWI "War Poets", was born 121 years ago today

Tuesday links

Today is Helen Keller's birthday. Here are quotes, links, some history, and a selection of (non-PC) jokes.

14 of History’s Craziest Baldness Cures



How Animals Develop Regional Accents: Whales, bats, and birds have local dialects.

Why Do Onions Make Us Cry?

ICYMI, Friday's links are here, and include the forgotten undercroft of the Lincoln Memorial tunnels dug by giant sloths, how much business pay to get on those big blue exit signs, and how to steal pizza without anyone knowing.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Great moments in science (if Twitter had existed)

These are from a couple of years ago, but I've never seen them.

Jonas Salk:

Tycho Brahe:

June 27 is Helen Keller's birthday. Here are quotes, links and a selection of (non-PC) jokes

Helen Keller (wiki). in addition to being an inspiration for millions (is there a better example of the overcoming of adversity in recent history?) was also the inspiration for a lot of jokes, mostly one-liners. These are wildly non-PC today, but a few decades ago they were quite popular. The jokes are at the bottom of the post, but first some quotes:

The mystery of language was revealed to me. I knew than that "w-a-t-e-r" meant the wonderful cool something that was flowing over my hand. That living word awakened my soul, gave it light, joy, set it free!

~ Helen Keller (The Story of My Life, Ch. 4)

The hands of those I meet are dumbly eloquent to me. The touch of some hands is an impertinence. I have met people so empty of joy, that when I clasped their frosty finger-tips, it seemed to me as if I were shaking hands with a northeast storm. Others there are whose hands have sunbeams in them, so that their grasp warms my heart.

~ Ibid., Ch. 23

Helen Keller and Mark Twain
Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn, whatever state I may be in, therein to be content.

~ Ibid., Ch. 22

I am charmed with your book - enchanted. You are a wonderful creature, the most wonderful in the world - you and your other half together - Miss Sullivan, I mean, for it took the pair of you to make a complete and perfect whole.

~ Mark Twain (letter to Helen Keller, 17 March 1903)

Of late our periodicals have been filled with depressing revelations of great social evils. Querulous critics have pointed to every flaw in our civic structure. We have listened long enough to the pessimists. You once told me you were a pessimist, Mr. Clemens, but great men are usually mistaken about themselves. You are an optimist.*

~ Helen Keller, (letter to Mark Twain - read the whole thing, via Autobiography of Mark Twain: Volume 1)

June 27 is the anniversary of the birth in 1880 of American writer, lecturer, and humanitarian Helen Adams Keller (wiki) (1880-1968), who was blind and deaf from the age of 19 months. Born in Tuscumbia, Alabama, Keller was deprived of her sight and hearing by a childhood disease, but her private tutor, Anne Sullivan (1866-1936) - through a series of innovative teaching methods - gradually taught her to understand and communicate with others. 

Keller became a world-famous advocate for the blind and disabled, and in addition to The Story of My Life (1903), wrote Midstream, My Later Life in 1929 and lectured on the issues of blindness all over the world. Helen Keller seems to be fading from public memory, but the dramatization of her early teaching by Anne Sullivan in William Gibson's play, The Miracle Worker (1960), is still regularly performed, and the film version, starring Anne Bancroft as Sullivan and a young Patty Duke as Keller, is available. 

*Much more on the friendship between Helen Keller and Mark Twain at Open Culture.

Here's a video of Helen Keller visiting Martha Graham's dance studio - I'm not sure of the date on this:


Jokes after the jump. If you're offended by this kind of stuff, don't read it.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

It's not fat, it's intelligence

Flintstones:


Via Dyspepsia Generation

Awkward Pregnancy Photos

There are thousands of these available on the interwebs; I had a really hard time choosing the most awkward and eventually ran out of time/energy to search for them. At any rate, here's a selection - feel free to link to more in the comments.  

By the way, if you know someone who likes awkward photos so much that you want a related Christmas/birthday/whatever present, there's also a book full of them called, appropriately enough, Awkward Family Photos, and a day-to-day calendar version which provides you with, presumably, 365 awkward pictures.





Mom, why is Daddy wearing a dog collar?



I can see why Rudolph wasn't allowed to join in any reindeer games:


I think he's pissed off about her stretch marks:





What's up with the tire?


Sympathetic pregnancy?


Related posts:

Creepy photos of Easter Bunnies with kids

Awkward Christmas photos

Awkward glamour photos