The new £50 notes will feature Alan Turing (whilst HMG proposes bans on Turing complete computers AND working crypto)

The Bank of England has unveiled its new £50 notes, which had been earmarked to honour a distinguished British scientist, and which will feature Alan Turing, the WWII hero who discovered many of the foundational insights to both modern computing and cryptography, and whose work with the codebreakers of Bletchley Park are widely believed to have shortened WWII by many years and saved millions of lives. Read the rest

At least ten unexploded bombs are hidden in the ruins of Pompeii

At least ten unexploded bombs are hidden somewhere deep in the ruins of the ancient Roman city of Pompeii. They are leftovers from a 1943 allied air force raid that dropped 165 bombs in the area. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Pompeii attracts more than 2.5 million visitors annually. From The Guardian:

“Ninety-six bombs were located and deactivated,” the Italian newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano reported. “The other bombs ended up in an area of the site that has not yet been excavated. Many of them were defused or had already exploded. But at least 10 of those explosives are still there.”

Of the 66 hectares (163 acres) of the archaeological area, only 44 have been excavated. At least 10 unexploded bombs are yet to be found in the 22 remaining hectares, according to the investigation.

The Archaeological Museum of Pompeii said: “There is no risk for visitors. The site has regularly drawn up the reclamation project, which is carried out by the military. Area reclamation was carried out per metre.”

But Il Fatto said there was no sign of official documents for the location of at least 10 bombs...

According to statistics from the Italian defence ministry, thousands of second world war bombs are defused in the country every year.

image: Mark Vuaran (CC) Read the rest

Florida fisherman reels in WWII hand grenade and brings it to Taco Bell

A man using a magnet to fish for salvageable items in Ocala, Florida was surprised to reel in a hand grenade. So he tossed it into his trunk and made a run for the border. As one does.

Upon arriving at the nearest Taco Bell, the fellow called the police who were quick to evacuate the restaurant. Fortunately, the bomb squad safely removed the explosive device. They later determined it to be an unexploded World War II grenade.

(CNN)

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The Nazis and your privacy

The nonprofit organization to which I belong recently put the personal data of around 410,000 people on the internet, connected to interactive street maps of where they lived. The data includes their full names, date and place of birth, known residential address, and often includes their professions and arrest records, sometimes even information about mental or physical handicaps. It also lists whether any of their grandparents were Jewish. Read the rest

Peter Jackson's They Shall Not Grow Old is a stunning act of remembrance

Everyone raised in my hometown learned to recite In Flanders Fields in school. Every year, as November 11th, Remembrance Day, drew near, we were taught about the First World War. We made poppies. We prepared for a concert to honor our veterans. Elderly men with often vacant, watery eyes would visit our classrooms and talk to us about their time overseas. Sometimes they cried. Other times, they laughed as they talked about long absent friends and their lost youth. As I grew older, I marched in my town's annual Remembrance Day parade: first as an cadet and later in a different uniform. Each year as we gathered at the armory after the parade had ended, there were fewer survivors of the First and Second World War there to greet us. Decades have passed since those days. The men and women who served their fellows and the future generations that would become of them have largely passed on.

No matter where I am in the world, I take pause on November 11th, as many others do, to remember those that gave up their lives in the name of democracy and decency. I try to hold the millions that died from hate, xenophobia and greed. I give thanks that I am now too old and too broken to fight. I fear for those in uniform today that will see things that will never leave them and for those who deployed who will never come home.Amidst these meditations, I wonder over who will carry the torch of remembrance of wars and atrocities past, once those who survived them are no more. Read the rest

When Mickey Mouse was sent to a Nazi concentration camp

In 1942, Horst Rosenthal was sent to the Vichy concentration camp Gurs, where he drew a comic-book that survived him: Mickey au Camp de Gurs, it tells the story of Mickey Mouse being snatched from the street and sent to Gurs, and features a tour of Gurs that uses a brave face of humor to cope with enormous suffering. Read the rest

Video: life lessons from a 111 year old WWII veteran

At 111 years old (the video is a few years old,) Richard Overton is the oldest living World War II veteran. He still drinks whiskey, smoke stogies and has lived in the same house, which he bought after coming home from war, since 1945. In this short film, Overton talks about his long life and along the way, extols a few important life lessons.

My take away: for a long life, eat a shit-ton of soup and butter pecan ice cream. Read the rest

Bayer and Monsanto merge into a new company called "Bayer" because Nazis have a better reputation than Big Ag

The $63 billion takeover of Monsanto by Bayer prompted a thorny branding question: what to call the new company? The company's management has announced its decision: the new company will be called "Bayer," despite the name's longtime association with Nazi slave labor camps, fatal human subjects experiments conducted on prisoners supplied by the Nazis, and complicity in the production of Zyklon B, the lethal poison used in concentration camp gas-chambers. Read the rest

Germany's scientific texts were made free during and after WWII; analyzing them today shows the negative effect of paywalls on science

In 1942, the US Book Republication Program permitted American publishers to reprint "exact reproductions" of Germany's scientific texts without payment; seventy-five years later, the fate of this scientific knowledge forms the basis of a "natural experiment" analysed by Barbara Biasi and Petra Moser for The Center for Economic and Policy Research, who compare the fate of these texts to their contemporaries who didn't have this semi-public-domain existence. Read the rest

WWII living legend finally given the honors he deserves

Frank A. Gleason may not be a name that you're familiar with. But, given his contributions to the allied war effort during World War II, you should be. During the war, Gleason, now 97-years old, worked for the Overseas Strategic Service (OSS), an intelligence organization that was superseded by the Central Intelligence Agency. It was never his intention to become a spy but, smart as a whip and tough as nails, he was a perfect fit for the gig.

From Task & Purpose:

A native of Marietta, Georgia, Gleason was freshly armed with a chemical engineering degree from Penn State University when he was recruited into the OSS. It was a tight-knit, exclusive group: When the agency was founded, director Gen. William “Wild Bill” Donovan famously said, “We need Ph.Ds that can win a bar fight.”

During the year he and his team operated behind enemy lines in China, they were responsible for disrupting enemy communications and the destruction of railway lines, and blew up over 100 bridges. They generally made life for Japanese troops stationed in the areas where they worked a living hell. The dangerous services that Gleason rendered on behalf of the Allies has gone all but unrecognized over the past 74 years. Unlike soldiers, spies generally don't get parades. According to Military Times, Gleason's time in the shadows has come to an end: Congress has recognized the veteran's service during the war with the award of a Congressional Gold Medal – the highest award that can be given to a civilian in the United States. Read the rest

Secret Nazi experimental plane was an epic piece of vaporware

Behold the incredibly weird-looking Horten Ho 229 -- an all-wing "wonder weapon" plane that the Nazis frantically developed even as they were collapsing and losing WWII. Read the rest

The only known recording of Hitler's normal speaking voice

In 1942, Hitler paid a secret visit to Baron Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim, Marshal of Finland and Commander-in-Chief of the Finnish Defence Forces in honor of Mannerheim's 75th birthday. Read the rest

Volk: a sinister, Lovecraftian tale of eugenics, Naziism, and "radiant abomination"

Volk is the sequel to Eutopia, the brilliant, sinister supernatural tale of the real-world 19th century eugenics movement, written by Canadian horror great David Nickle.

William Gibson's Archangel: a graphic story of the unfolding jackpot apocalypse

William Gibson's 2014 novel The Peripheral was the first futuristic book he published in the 21st century, and it showed us a distant future in which some event, "The Jackpot," had killed nearly everyone on Earth, leaving behind a class of ruthless oligarchs and their bootlickers; in the 2018 sequel, Agency, we're promised a closer look at the events of The Jackpot. Between then and now is Archangel, a time-traveling, alt-history, dieselpunk story of power-mad leaders and nuclear armageddon.

William Gibson interviewed: Archangel, the Jackpot, and the instantly commodifiable dreamtime of industrial societies

William Gibson's 2014 novel The Peripheral was the first futuristic book he published in the 21st century, and it showed us a distant future in which some event, "The Jackpot," had killed nearly everyone on Earth, leaving behind a class of ruthless oligarchs and their bootlickers; in the 2018 sequel, Agency, we're promised a closer look at the events of The Jackpot. Between then and now is Archangel, a time-traveling, alt-history, dieselpunk story of power-mad leaders and nuclear armageddon that will be in stores on October 3.

Anti-fascist film from 1947: 'Don't Be a Sucker'

"Don't Be a Sucker" is as timely now as it was back in 1947:

Don't Be a Sucker! is a short educational film produced by the U.S. War Department in 1943 and re-released in 1947. The film depicts the rise of Nazism in Germany and warns Americans against repeating the mistakes of intolerance made in Nazi Germany. It emphasizes that Americans will lose their country if they let themselves be turned into "suckers" by the forces of fanaticism and hatred. The film was made to make the case for the desegregation of the United States armed forces by simply revealing the connection between prejudice and fascism.

This film is not propaganda. To the contrary, it teaches how to recognize and reject propaganda, as was used by the Nazis to promote to bigotry and intimidation. It shows how prejudice can be used to divide the population to gain power. Far more significantly, it then shows how such tactics can be defanged by friendly persuasion; that protection of liberty is a unifying and practical way to live peacefully.

(reddit)

Previously: Donald Trump will not condemn the terrorist attacks on anti-Nazi protestors Read the rest

Steven Boyett on Fata Morgana, his new WWII/alt-history mashup novel

Today on John Scalzi's Whatever blog, Steven R Boyett (author of the classic fantasy novel Ariel) writes about Fata Morgana, the new alternate history/WWII novel he's just published with Ken Mitchroney. Read the rest

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