A US Selective Service database merge used two-digit years, and didn't sanity-check its threatening notices to 19th century men who'd apparently failed to sign up for the draft by their 18th birthday.
That's how some 14,000 angry letters came to be sent to the last known residences of Pennsylvania men born in the 1880s, whose registration could not be located. In some cases, there were still living relatives of the men in their family homes, who were alarmed and surprised to receive stern notices about the state's expectation that their long-dead ancestors would muster to carry a rifle.
To make things worse, the understaffed Selective Service offices put people who called in for an explanation into interminable hold-queues that ended with disconnection.
14,000 draft notices sent to men born in 1800s [Michael Rubinkam/Boston.com]
(Image: Lead Belly draft registration card, ca. 1942, Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain)
Retro Report did a short feature on the moral panics about D&D in the 1980s. It’s a fun, 13 minute look back at the moment when D&D totally changed a bunch of kids’ lives, only to be vilified and literally demonized by opportunistic members of the religious right.
What do you do if you’re a powerful, belligerent, racist drunk who’s used to getting your own way, and you’re visiting Prohibition-wracked America?
Before we understood about microbes and their relationship to tooth enamel, we imagined that the painful holes in people’s teeth were caused by burrowing toothworms (previously), something we confirmed by yanking out the especially sore teeth and observing the fiber-like “worms” (that is, raw nerves) that were left behind.
Isn’t it about time to stretch what your Mac can do? I mean, you’ve got plenty of great programs now…but don’t you think you could use some new tools to get your creative, analytical and organizational juices really flowing? It’s spring, so we cleaned up a whole bunch of super-cool apps lying around and packaged […]
In the world of app development, there’s no greater arena to find success than with Android users. About 80% of the smartphones in use today worldwide operate on the Android operating system, so if you build a great app that Android users love, you’re an international rock star. You’ll be able to make sure your […]
Unless you’re a programmer or webmaster, the term SQL probably doesn’t mean much to you. But for those looking to understand more about how and why the web works the way that it does, know this – SQL and its process of managing and presenting large data sets is everywhere…and it’s the most in-demand programming […]