Archive for the 'History' Category

“There were hundreds of letters, stretching over four years of war and beyond.”

Thursday, December 7th, 2017

The Washington Post: Brothers in arms. “Four siblings wrote hundreds of letters to each other during World War II. The story they tell of service, sacrifice and trauma was hidden away in an abandoned storage unit — until now.”

“We have been called out on air raid alarms the last few days, but you know as much about what was happening as I do, the radio is the only dope we get as well as you about them Japs and nasty Germans. Bastards are what they are, raiding without warnings, sneaking up at night and such wrong methods of a clean fight.”

There’s also a related podcast called Letters From War:

“Bringing the letters to life are modern U.S. military veterans. At key moments in the story, we’ll talk to them about how these letters compare to their own experiences — what’s universal about war and what’s changed. How they felt reading the words of these men who fought some 70 years ago. And why everyone who picks up these letters feels like the Eyde brothers become a part of their family.”

So far, a short introduction and the first episode have been published.

See also MetaFilter: Letters From WWII found in a storage locker.

“President Trump on Monday drastically scaled back two national monuments established in Utah by his Democratic predecessors”

Tuesday, December 5th, 2017

The Washington Post: Trump shrinks two huge national monuments in Utah, drawing praise and protests.

“Trump’s move to shrink the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments by more than 1.1 million acres and more than 800,000 acres, respectively, immediately sparked an outpouring of praise from conservative lawmakers as well as activists’ protests outside the White House and in Utah. It also plunges the Trump administration into uncharted legal territory since no president has sought to modify monuments established under the 1906 Antiquities Act in more than half a century.

His decision removes about 85 percent of the designation of Bears Ears and nearly 46 percent of that for Grand Staircase-Escalante, land that potentially could now be leased for energy exploration or opened for specific activities such as motorized vehicle use.

Trump told a rally in Salt Lake City that he came to “reverse federal overreach” and took dramatic action “because some people think that the natural resources of Utah should be controlled by a small handful of very distant bureaucrats located in Washington. And guess what? They’re wrong.”

“They don’t know your land, and truly, they don’t care for your land like you do,” he added. “But from now on, that won’t matter.””

Read Garret’s opinion on the matter over at dangerousmeta: Ignore the Administration. Ignore the media.

“At 13 billion miles from Earth, there’s no mechanic shop nearby to get a tune-up.”

Monday, December 4th, 2017

JPL CalTech: Voyager 1 Fires Up Thrusters After 37 Years

Voyager 1, NASA’s farthest and fastest spacecraft, is the only human-made object in interstellar space, the environment between the stars. The spacecraft, which has been flying for 40 years, relies on small devices called thrusters to orient itself so it can communicate with Earth. These thrusters fire in tiny pulses, or “puffs,” lasting mere milliseconds, to subtly rotate the spacecraft so that its antenna points at our planet. Now, the Voyager team is able to use a set of four backup thrusters, dormant since 1980.

“With these thrusters that are still functional after 37 years without use, we will be able to extend the life of the Voyager 1 spacecraft by two to three years,” said Suzanne Dodd, project manager for Voyager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California.”

Link via MetaFilter.

Some eye candy: Voyager Images from the Odysseys (NASA Space Photos) (YouTube, 2:48min)

Ka-boom!

Saturday, December 2nd, 2017

NPR Here and Now: 75 Years Ago, Scientists Conducted An Unprecedented Nuclear Experiment.

“Seventy-five years ago this week, scientists from the University of Chicago created the first controlled, self-sustained nuclear chain reaction, a feat that was essential in the development of an atomic bomb during World War II.

Enrico Fermi and his team of physicists secretly conducted the Chicago Pile 1 experiment on a squash court under the stands of a football stadium on Dec. 2, 1942. The anniversary of this unprecedented achievement comes as tensions escalate between the U.S. and North Korea, which launched a new ballistic missile on Tuesday.”

Als Hitler das rosa Kaninchen stahl

Wednesday, November 29th, 2017

Judith Kerr had to flee Nazi Germany as a child because her family was Jewish and her father, a famous writer, criticized the Nazis. In Germany, When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit (Als Hitler das rosa Kaninchen stahl) is probably her most famous book and often required reading in schools. Even though it’s been 30 years since I read it, I remember many details of her story vividly.

New Statesman: My father and other animals. “Judith Kerr’s dad, Alfred, was an outspoken German critic who railed against Hitler – but he had a soft spot for baby seals.”

BBC: Judith Kerr and the story behind The Tiger Who Came To Tea. “Author Judith Kerr is famous for her children’s books, but behind the sweetness of works such as The Tiger Who Came To Tea lies a past set against the horror of Nazi Germany.”

iNews: Judith Kerr: ‘Will I ever bring back Mog? No, I killed her’.

“Beginning an interview by thrusting your phone in your subject’s face and insisting they scroll through pictures of your cats is not generally considered best practice.

There are exceptions, however. Within moments of stepping into Judith Kerr’s home I’ve whipped out my iPhone and, like an excited child, am demanding the picture book author “look at my cats!”
[…]
“Oh, yes please,” she says solemnly, taking my phone. “This is absolutely essential.””

The Guardian: Judith Kerr: ‘I’m still surprised at the success of The Tiger Who Came to Tea’. “The creator of Mog on learning how to draw a tiger at the zoo, heeding the advice of her cat and still working at 94.”

Radio Times: When Mark Gatiss came to tea with Judith Kerr. “Mark Gatiss visits childhood hero and author of The Tiger Who Came to Tea, to chat children’s books, family and sci-fi.”

Links via MetaFilter.