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Bill Klee
Posted 27 June 2015 at 06:33 pm

It looked as if a bomb had gone off.

Unless I'm missing something, a bomb had gone off.

I'd swear I've read about / heard about this before - there's something about the bomb's description that sounds damn familiar, but I can't remember where. In any event, a good read.

Posted 25 June 2015 at 10:10 pm


Herman McCard
Posted 25 June 2015 at 09:06 pm

Herman McCard
Posted 25 June 2015 at 09:03 pm

My father went thru the Battle of the Bulge with the 99th Infantry Division of the US Army. He was a green soldier sent to the Ardennes forest to be trained by experienced troops who needed some rest. They got neither as the attack came upon them all, and he found himself BEHIND German lines. The Gracious Lord was with him, and somehow he survived all the way to Germany. He never would say much about the war, but I do remember him saying after the Germans surrendered, they were told to get ready to go to the Pacific to invade Japan. When they heard of the atomic bombs being dropped, everyone in his unit cheered, thinking this might end the fighting.

It is easy to condemn those that ordered and carried out those bombings, but to those doing the actual fighting and dying, the decision was met with a different attitude.
Those of us who have never experienced combat have no business critiquing their decisions.

Posted 25 June 2015 at 11:50 am

Great story. I've been waiting impatiently for your next post. But, as always, tryly fascinating from the biginning to the end. It would be great if you posted more frequently, but I understand that writing good stories takes time and it's better to have an excellent story once in a while than posting crap every day. Keep going, Alan!

Posted 25 June 2015 at 10:31 am

great writing! well explained and funny. thanks!

Posted 23 June 2015 at 07:57 am

Great story Alan. It seems like there are conflicting sources of information on the subject. Here's an account by the plant itself, from some of the saboteurs:

Posted 23 June 2015 at 03:30 am

These fascinating stories make these office hours fly by! thank you very much!

Tom Zelley
Posted 22 June 2015 at 07:04 pm

i was in Tahoe the week after the explosion, and went over as close as you could get to the Casino to look at the damage. I has always been interesting to me that no one remembers this event. Before I read your story I thought this whole incident had been completely forgotten

Herman McCard
Posted 21 June 2015 at 05:16 pm

Alan, you have a wonderful way with words, this was an DI well told, as always.
Sometimes I reread the oldies but goodies, as there is nothing being written quite like your work these days. Thanks and God bless.

Peter Tupper
Posted 21 June 2015 at 12:28 pm

Interesting that, while the bomb worked perfectly and probably could not have been defused or disposed of, the whole scheme fell apart when it came to getting the money to the extorter. Even if Big John hadn't screwed up the money transfer, he still would have gotten only a small portion of the demanded money (probably with marked bills, too). That is probably where most extortion or ransom schemes fail.

Posted 20 June 2015 at 05:47 pm

I've been waiting for another great write-up, good job!

David Cole
Posted 20 June 2015 at 02:16 am

Wow. So many errors in this piece as well as the comments. First off all the Maginot Line was not France's only line of defence. You do know that the French had as many tanks as the Germans right? In fact the French overall had more mechanized and motorized forces than Germany. Whats funny is all this info on the fall of France is easy to find and look up but people choose to stick with the whole "cheese eating surrender monkeys" bit. Don't think the French tried to fight? Do a google search on the battle of the Gembloux Gap, the battle of Hannut, the battle of Stonne, the battle of Flavian and the battle of Calais. And finally the French had over 300,000 casualities during the battle( 90,000-120,000 killed and around 200,000 wounded. The French were stuck with some awful leaders that failed to make the most of it's assets. It was stuck with a rigid, sluggish and centralized command that could not adapt to quick changes. And one last thing the Germans never broke through the deepest parts of the Maginot line. The Metz, Lautner and Belfort sectors.

Rick F.
Posted 19 June 2015 at 07:45 pm

Yes a tumor was located via a MRI in my left frontal lobe and was mostly removed via brain surgery the Dr. who performed the brain surgery to remove the non-cancerous tumor stated to my family and not to me this information. The only thing he told me in my 5 min. brief consultation visit before the surgery was that I had a tumor and it had to be removed via surgery ASAP. The only thing said to me after that was right before I was about to be put to sleep for the operation. The Doctor stated,'I won't lie to you sir but this operation may affect your memory. Next thing I knew I was waking up in recovery and the first thought I had was what he told me before the surgery but I was afraid in those few seconds before the operation was not being able to remember my childhood or my son's childhood while I practically raised him since I was the young age of 20 and then my son was a senior in High school. The strange thing was I could remember everything in my past but now in greater detail and more that I could not remember before the surgery. I thought the operation had actually improved my memory. I know now that is not medically or scientifically possible but is the first sign of short term memory disorder. This true story occured in the year 1848 so you would think a neurologist and neurosurgeon would have explained to me about all the possible side affects of having brain surgery in this area or more advanced discovery's and information would be available to the public. I went over two years not understanding what I was going through and thinking I would improve until I finally got in touch with a great non-profit organization called the American Brain Tumor association and they were great and explained everything I was experiencing to me.

Posted 17 June 2015 at 05:25 pm

Can never get enough of DamnInteresting, and I always learn something new. Just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate the time and effort that goes into it.

Posted 17 June 2015 at 04:51 pm

I blame the dynamite/TNT confusion on AC/DC: "I'm TNT/I'm dynamite."

Posted 17 June 2015 at 01:18 pm

Very nice writeup, Alan! Thanks for the DI low down. I'm curious what John Sr told the investigators when he was telling them how he would have done it.

Big John scoffed at such a suggestion, and proceeded to explain in detail how exactly he would have pulled it off if it had been him.

Posted 17 June 2015 at 12:14 pm

Great article, but I would pick a small nit with the characterization of the "motti" tactics as "unconventional". This technique of feigned flight leading to encirclement is almost literally one of the oldest tricks in the book. This is how Hannibal destroyed eight entire legions of the Roman army during the Second Punic War at the Battle of Cannae. In 216 BC. Over two millenia before World War 2.

Posted 17 June 2015 at 10:43 am

schadenfreude - satisfaction or pleasure felt at someone else's misfortune.
(Had to look it up. Thanks for expanding my vocabulary Alan)

Cindy poulsen
Posted 17 June 2015 at 10:18 am

Alan you have a talent for writing that I have seldom seen.
What a writer you are! you defiantly have a rare gift. Thank you for
always keeping me damn interested!
Love always, aunt Cindy

Posted 17 June 2015 at 02:26 am

Thank you, Mr. Bellows. Another well spent hour. (Bit slow of a reader.)

Posted 17 June 2015 at 02:22 am

"In the casino pit the tables had turned" - that's a good one!

Posted 16 June 2015 at 09:19 pm

It seems bankrupt spies have a thing against Vegas or Tahoe casinos - I think in the 90s a Cuban expat committed armed robbery in Vegas and later police found out that he was trained in the USSR to become a special force operator then laid off after the cold war. He even built a track and a killhouse to train his team.

Posted 16 June 2015 at 05:26 pm

This is a sad fire. I cant beleive that when they were going across the bridge it burnt down when they were going across it.

"My father helped pick up the dead and make rough boxes as there were not enough caskets. He put as many as five of a family in one casket- they were just bones. They found people who were not burned at all, just suffocated."

so sad. :(

Jeremy B
Posted 16 June 2015 at 01:21 pm

Really good article! I'm amazed that I hadn't heard this before. Was like a movie!

Ard Ri
Posted 16 June 2015 at 10:32 am


Posted 16 June 2015 at 06:24 am

It's so nice to see another article! DI Alan!

Alan Bellows
Posted 16 June 2015 at 06:24 am

Evidently, coincidentally, Atavist Magazine is doing a multi-part series on this same subject. Their telling appears to be even longer and more in-depth, so give it a listen if you want more background on this event:

Posted 12 June 2015 at 01:19 pm

I went to Texas' body Farm at Sam Houston State University in 2010 for a Field Geography class. Normally only Masters and PHD level forensics majors are allowed in there, but they were doing a study on finding buried bodies using the GPR (Ground Penetrating Radar) that belonged to Geography Department. It was an interesting day learning how to use the GPR using very interesting subject matter. The professor who ran/runs the facility said that bodies in Texas decompose differently from those in TN because of the higher humidity, weather patterns, and the local bugs and bobcats.

Posted 07 June 2015 at 10:03 pm

This was a very good read. I found it nice to have more and more and more and more history to read when I thought it was over, your writing made me feel the tension on board, all that confusion happening at the same time, it's amazing finding out that one of the least suspected people may have been responsible for the ships demise, it's a truly great story Alan. Thanks

Lee sullivan
Posted 05 June 2015 at 06:47 pm

Aha! I used to wonder why gas stations stopped giving out those nice free road maps. After reading about those aggressive and imperialistic Canadians who are always going about the world gobbling up countries, I now know it was part of the defense plan. Veeery good preventative move.
Too bad about that cow and pig.

Lewis Jones
Posted 01 June 2015 at 05:46 pm

this is just not true, and I've been to Japan and am positive from many reputable sources that this did not happen, in any form. it also would seem to be counter productive for a force to announce their plan before hand. I am retired military so I might know a bit about how that would go.

Andrew L
Posted 29 May 2015 at 02:05 am

Wouldn't it be better to use illustrations, rather than just abstract symbols?

Use a story-board/comic-strip style series of images:

1st pic: happy people in a healthy natural environment.
2nd pic: same people and place, but now there is a lump of radioactive material there, and eveyone and everything is sick and dying
3th pic: people in protective clothing removing the material and sealing it in the vault
4th pic: sealed value, with material in it. Make sure that the picture of the vault looks like the actual vault, and is marked with whatever warning signs you put on the actual vault.

Posted 27 May 2015 at 05:19 am

As of 2012 the sounds have been recorded in Finland and proven to exist. So to all you doubters saying "all in your head" etc; eat your hearts out :) -me personally have heard the northern lights on 2 occations, so no surprises here.

Posted 26 May 2015 at 05:11 am

Just like martyrum did, i also had to register here to all you "all in the head"-ignorants here..
The nay-sayers in the "all in your head, this is probably due to imagination" camp can just pack up their things and move over to the "northern light sounds is real" camp.
Living in the northern part of Norway i have heard the sound crystal clear and without a doubt to wheter it was real. 25 years ago i witnessed the most spectacular big multicolored aurora borealis i have ever seen and just stood there in awe, mesmerized by its beauty. And the sound was in sync with the light. With big movements in the light, the hissing sound was louder and more intense. Mind you i was with a friend who also heard the sound just as clear as i did. We stood there for about half an hour or so before we decided to move on, and the sound was still there when we moved on, not watching the skies. It was not crumbling snow, powerlines or anything else that has been speculated on here.It was the northern light making the sounds, just as sure as you are reading these letters. The conditions were clear skies and minus 20-25 degrees celsius. An unforgetable and beautiful audiovisual display that i will never forget. And by the way DI; now that the aurora-sounds have in fact been recorded in Finland i would strongly suggest that you update the article...

Posted 22 May 2015 at 08:44 pm

Answer these simple questions to figure out whether or not you're a psychopath/sociopath:

1. How would you feel if your wife or husband (who has been good to you) told you with conviction that they never really loved or even cared about you?

2. How would you feel if your pet of many years died suddenly and painfully before your eyes?

3. How would you feel if your mother (who was good to you) was killed in an automobile accident on your birthday?

4. How would you feel if a friend committed suicide in your back bedroom while you were asleep?

5. How would you feel if your neighbor , who treated you well , lost both of his legs and an eye in a violent farming accident?

6. How would you feel if your boss ,without a single word, suddenly shut down his business that you'd been working at for over 20 years?

7. How would you feel if your sister in law (who is considered a pleasant person) died from a brain aneurism while seated next to you at the dinner table during Christmas?

8. How would you feel if a severely abused box of puppies were left unconscious and dying on your doorstep?

9. How would you feel if your father (who has treated you well) had his house set on fire while sleeping and he was then left horribly disfigured by the fire?

10. How would you feel if your daughter came up missing while walking home from school one day and she was never found again?

If you answered: "I don't know" "I wouldn't care" OR "What do you expect from me?" to the majority of these questions the odds are in favor of you being a psychopath/sociopath.

aradhana mamgain
Posted 21 May 2015 at 10:58 pm

cant we use it as a resourse??? it would be so interesting..

Posted 20 May 2015 at 10:38 am

Any idea when another piece will be put out? I am missing out on some Damn Interesting information.

Posted 20 May 2015 at 08:37 am

Quality work! I like that even the image at the top of the page has an animated layer of smoke. The effect it gives is stronger when you knowingly trust that it will be followed by quality writing about an interesting topic.

Posted 18 May 2015 at 04:59 pm

Very good story, a few other interesting facts - at the time Peshtigo was a valuable resource to Chicago for timber. Also I have heard other stories that fires may have been helped through the result of poor tree harvesting during this time - 1800's. Finally - not only Peshtigo and Chicago were decimated by fire in October,1871; The communities of Manistee, Mi; Holland, Mi and Port Huron, Mi. were also decimated about the same week. Most people are unaware of this significant fire across the midwest, it is certainly not taught in school.

Posted 16 May 2015 at 09:48 am

Really damn intresting!you know just a thought but ive been hearing that the space suits needed to go to mars need a new pressure system to make better movement possible i was thinking what about water pressure normally this can kill us but if you use it in space it allows maximum mobility and saves precious air needed for breathing im not a scientist but just wondering if this has been tryed yet.Same Speech Like Mr Johnathan Macneil

Posted 14 May 2015 at 08:08 am

another scary thing about this disease is that while sufferers are trapped in their catatonic states, (unlike in a coma) they are completely aware of it. they are human statues trapped in their own bodies.

also, while in the catatonic state, they suffer psychosis. seeing horrible hallucinations, as if they were in a nightmare. scientist believe that this is because, like in Normal sleep, if pressure is put on the body, the brain will think that the body is trapped or in danger, and will generate a horrifying image to wake us up.

unfortunately for the victims of sleepy sickness (gosh thats a horrible name)they cannot wake up. they are condemned to age while trapped in that nightmarish state

Indrani Biswas
Posted 14 May 2015 at 04:51 am

Thanks for such a captivating read & a real love story !

Posted 13 May 2015 at 06:40 pm

Who owns fordlandia now and how can I buy it?

Posted 13 May 2015 at 07:51 am

Great article, although the title is misleading. This is in no way a paradox, just a strange phenomenon.

Posted 10 May 2015 at 11:25 am

Great read! One question remains: WHAT did they use for thermometers?

rene k. b.
Posted 09 May 2015 at 01:24 pm

ausgezeichnet!can't wait for the movie..(if I'm still alive)

Posted 07 May 2015 at 05:50 am

his astro-logical chart, shows exactly what he was programmed to do and why he was so single minded. apparently ,he was born during a thunderstorm near midnight 9th jul 1856 or just into 10th jul, I think it was about 11 45 pm.neptune in pisces m12th house, Jupiter in aries ,12 th house pluto in Taurus ist house ,Uranus (rules electricity) in the 1st house, very potent electrifying energies. chiron in the 10th house, relating to friends and electrical and career matters and being slightly wounded on that level ,but plutonic and chironic and neptunian planets ,show continuation of his insights and experiments, to be picked up on,in the future, they were not ready to receive or understand them, or him, at that time. all power to him!

Posted 06 May 2015 at 02:15 am

Most of my grownup life i have been wondering about my beard growth, from my teens and till i was around 26 years i had no beard or mustache growth at all, from 26-till 33 witch im now, ive had a small spot on both the sides of my chin under my mouth where it grows a little but at a very slow rate about 25mm in 3 months and its growing very thin.

I come from a vaerity of mixed genes From my fathers side Mostly Norwegian, Danish and Netherlands. and from my mothers side Native American, Irish, French, English and it may be even more becouse my grandma was adopted and we dont know her heritage, but she does look like she may be atleast half native American.

Ive been asking some of my family members for years about my beard stubble, and according to my Norwegian family it is very strange that i cannot grow a full beard or mustache, some times i wish i could just Teleport cus im scared of flying, to the US and get to know my Grandpa that lives there, asking him about his Native american father and family as i believe thats where i get my Hardly any hair in my face genes.

Enough about me and my thoughts, nice reading about the history of beards.

Susan H
Posted 05 May 2015 at 10:29 pm

I've wondered before how long consciousness could persist after stands to reason that it might before all the blood leaks out. That said, too bad a good lip reader couldn't have been present to interpret the real last words. Better than blinking Morse code (if one has a cooperative victim). This could really jazz up all the executions on Game of Thrones.
On a second line of comments about the death penalty-- I didn't used to oppose it--people who deliberately kill others would have to be insane to my way of thinking. But more recently, given the alarming number of death row inmates proven innocent by re-evaluating DNA evidence-- and the imbalance of the justice system to convict minorities far more than the ruling white class... I have a hard time supporting the death sentence unless the evidence is overwhelming. In the end, I would rather 100 guilty killers serve life sentences than 1 innocent person given a death sentence. We are supposed to be a fairly civilized society but our justice system isn't yet civilized.

Claudette Cohen
Posted 29 April 2015 at 06:11 pm

Over 70 words and names gleaned using a new transcription alphabet indicate constructions of an old Finno-Ugric origin with a substantial amount of Old Norse. In addition, there is a distinct Slavic influence. Some of the pages contain text suggestive of Karelian runic charm songs or Sami joiks in that they are highly alliterative and trochaic.

More here:

The pages depict female heliocentric star charts resembling Nordic brooches. They also depict kolovrats, octagrams, sauna/banya, torcs, a seidr staff, the sun cross symbol, intercalary year, red conical roofs, onion domes, plants from the northern hemisphere, a landscape resembling the Ruskeala marble caves, zaftig fair blond women, a Permic-like lizard of the underworld, the pike of Tuonela, and runic glyphs (comparable to those found in Icelandic magic books).

Some visual designs are reminiscent of a Sami shamanic drum, Karelian embroidery, and Vologda lace. The herbal powder receptacles are modified sewing necessaires in the tradition of north European treenware.

All of this points to core elements of north European culture that can be found in Scandinavian, Finno-Ugric, north Germanic, and to some extent Celtic traditions. These belief systems go back thousands of years.

Posted 28 April 2015 at 07:29 am

So Anne's comment makes sense. Until last week I never even thought about this. I have been through a lot of therapy for depression have been on adderall, paxil (at same time), and then effexor. I never noticed them do anything. Adderall and paxil would make me zone out, just lay there and stare. I'd also have problems waking up. Effexor I felt no different, actually I'd feel lower more often.

The reason I started seeing a psychologist again was because of these panic attacks. Never had something like this and it scared me. Heart racing, chest tight, muscles tightening, fear, just all these things. Knew it was anxiety from what I've heard (which is what I think those of us that have this bad relate our emotions too, what we perceive as emotions cognitively). So I was supposed to do acceptance therapy so I just blindly started to accept things. Think of it as faith. Just letting go. Well that was overwhelming, like constant panic attacks.

Well then I find out emotions have physical connections. Couldn't make the link until it happened. To put it simply, I was wrong what emotion it was, but I was crying because I connected a physical feeling to an emotion. Having a physical feeling connected to a thought that I connected to feeling is kind amazing honestly. Like I feel something, this is new to me. I'm 33, it was like hearing for the first time, or seeing.

Later on I freaked out and thought of something terrifying, and thought it'd kill me. And if I have physical sensations associate with these thoughts I think I'll die. As soon as it happened I had to shut down. I always called it calming myself down. Always was told I was emotionless, when I was younger said I wore a mask, that no one would ever know who I was or what I was feeling (little did I know neither would I really), would say how I'm building this wall. But even then, 13-14 years old I don't remember these connections.

My psychiatrist picked up on this when I said it, reason she thinks I have this, when I was younger I was abused and when spanked or punched or anything negative happen and I cried I'd get the "you don't have anything to cry for", "I'll give you something to cry about" (even after being punched). Thing is that was normally with spankings when I was little, and then later around 13-14 with fights. Mom told me my father abused me as an infant, and he abused her too (they'd send me and my brother out of the house, come in see her crying but everything was "ok"). So honestly I don't think I've ever made these connections.

I understand very well why no one understands me now with anything emotionally charged. My arguments are normally just factual or logically based so "emotions" kind of throw me off. Even as I type this I have panic feelings (the first feelings I recognized) but think it's really numerous emotions all hitting me at once, and I have no control. I'm scared. I want to feel these things to experience them, but if I get depressed and feel pain, or feel the terror of my fears, I don't think I can handle it.

Thing is, people like me don't know we have this problem. We can think we do, then learn that emotions aren't thoughts, they're physical, you just "feel" them. I can't get my head around it still, hell, people can't get their head around the fact I don't feel like they feel. It's more isolating and lonely than before honestly. At least not knowing you "feel" normal. Knowing leaves me wanting to experience, afraid of experiencing, and a "feeling" (thought I guess) that I am better off with what I know.

Posted 27 April 2015 at 10:31 pm

Another brilliant piece of audio.

Great story telling and so well researched.

Best podcast on the net!!

Posted 22 April 2015 at 02:03 pm

This is an excellent site in all respects. Keep up the good work.

Posted 20 April 2015 at 10:26 pm

Wonderful work. Thank you for creating this. I had never heard of this ship, and I read a lot of history.

Posted 19 April 2015 at 06:39 pm

This article is interesting, it made me learn a lot

Posted 18 April 2015 at 10:42 am

I was watching Engineering Disasters and saw the Texas City explosion. I was working at Pepcon when the explosion happened. Believe me I ran for my life and knew both of the people that died at the plant.

Gerald R Scott
Posted 18 April 2015 at 10:01 am

Cars must never go away. It would be the total and complete end of freedom to billions of people everywhere. Cars do not need to be poison. Hybrids and pure electric cars are NOT the answer. Hybrids use hundreds of pounds of highly toxic batteries that must be manufactured and disposed of, as well as a gasoline engine. Purely electric cars won't help either. They use even more toxic batteries, and these batteries are recharged by electricity from toxic sources. There is nothing "green" about these vehicles, in fact they appear to be dirtier than purely gas powered cars.

I'll come right out and say it. People have putting this idea down for decades (yes it has been around for that long) I am a believer in hydrogen fueled vehicles. Yes there are still some technical issues, though I believe they are very minor compared to electric vehicles, which do not solve anything anyway. I think we would have most if not all of these issues solved now if we had been working on this rather than electric power, which as I've already stated, I believe to have no future at all.

Posted 17 April 2015 at 04:16 pm

Vaseline is amazing - it can be applied to the teeth to stop enamel from staining, used as a makeup remover and weirdly i put it all over my nose and mouth and ears and within about 7 hours a really bad cold will always go away . . .

Posted 16 April 2015 at 01:15 am

I'm pretty sure every single Western nation has a plan to invade every other nation. Canada probably has a plan to fight the US, the UK, Australia, China, Russia... Heck probably even Botswana or something. Honestly the surprise that people exhibit when nations reveal they've had plans to invade other nations exasperates me. Even the British response to the Suez crisis was somewhat planned out (then the Egyptians decided to be weird and the plans changed)

Posted 15 April 2015 at 03:24 pm

And only girls were affected. I don't think. Pseudoscience strikes again.

James Lunsford
Posted 15 April 2015 at 10:39 am

I lived five years in Brazil and two years in Peru during the 1950s, and during that te, I was bitten, or at least latched onto by one of the creatures several times. I remember, while swimming in the Judoa river. I would have to physically grab these creatures and pull them off. The would leave a white scar of what appeared like four tooth marks that would remain for several years. If you were fishing, and they were in the area, very little else would bite. These fish were slimy and slick. They were useless in that they could not be eaten nor were they good got bait.

Posted 13 April 2015 at 01:57 pm

No one in Russia was able to make a computer programs?

What I mean is that, such a software should not be that hard to make.

PS: I don't know much about programming.

Posted 09 April 2015 at 02:00 pm

I enjoyed this article and if anyone would like more information on the fire,
I just finished reading Colors of the Firestorm The Great Peshtigo Fire by Linda Brieno. It was very, very good. She did a lot of research and used a lot from a first-hand account written by Reverend Peter Pernin (The Great Peshtigo Fire - An Eyewitness Account.

Posted 08 April 2015 at 01:35 am

Simo häyhä movie will be come out 2017, the film will be directed by Olli Saarela

Posted 07 April 2015 at 01:13 pm

hey you should show images for the what happens to people when they get sucked into space

Posted 05 April 2015 at 09:23 pm

Nice article -- I'm consistently enjoying the writing on this site.

My high school history passed over the Irish Potato Famine with about the same depth as this article's sentence, "So reliable was [the potato] that in Ireland […] a simple potato fungus in 1845 was able to cause […] "total and utter catastrophe killing over a million people and depopulating the island by a quarter through death and emigration.""

I know the Irish Potato Famine was bad, but I've recently seen some mentions that there was plenty of other food available in Ireland at the time, but in the form of crops and animals primarily grown for export. The Irish poor could not match the market prices for the export items, so that food was all sent away.

While the simplistic perspective provides a good lesson about the risks of monocultural crops, I wonder if there might be a "Damn Interesting" story to be found in a wider lense/deeper dive look at the Irish Potato Famine.

Posted 05 April 2015 at 09:13 pm

I dated his granddaughter years ago, and she told me she was descended from a famous doc. 20 years later I heard about him on people's pharmacy, and I was hey why hasn't this been followed up? But looks like his results were not replicated...

roscoe p, coltrane
Posted 04 April 2015 at 04:56 pm

Gee I dunno...maybe guys like Tesla and Da Vinci etc aren't from around here. Another neighborhood...Off planet? consider the Mayans who could travel off planet by a practice that involved body positions. On a planet where greed is the number one priority, the human race is in a pathetic state.

The great thinkers should inspire everyone that sharing and respect for the planet and other humans is the number one priority. I have to say though Tesla, wherever he was from, is a fascinating subject. nice article

Nick Dewhurst
Posted 04 April 2015 at 09:16 am

I do not believe there is any mystery about the message whatever; it is completely insignificant. People try to read too much into it. The message was read as:

… - . -. -.. . -.-.
It should read ST (standard time) - END (of message) - AR .-.-. (end of transmission). They used to call the .-.-. symbol "AR" (it has the same composition as "EC", and is sent as a single symbol).
The operator was expecting to land in a few minutes and probably had nothing on his mind other than putting away his headphones and taking time off in Santiago. He certainly never expected to spend the next fifty years in a glacier!
Much ado about nothing! That's my interpretation, anyway.

james brown
Posted 04 April 2015 at 06:25 am

I first ran across the Dr. Buzz Aldrin Mars Cycler about a decade and a half ago. The real "Mr. Funk" did first here indicated the cycler orbits take more fuel and energy. Yes, so they should only be used to send, protect, and support delicate payloads like humans. A Hohmann transfer orbit is the cheapest orbit, but the earth, Mars one takes nearly nine months. So for freight we should use that, and the cyclers should be reserved for humans.

The Mars Homestead Project has done lots of work on producing the equipment to produce the resources to build large pleasant habitats, greenhouses, and such to support a quickly growing population on Mars bringing to Mars little more the a starting set of equipment and then little more than the people.

To fill Elon Musk of SpaceX plan to send a million people to Mars we should start with a half dozen people with a good start of processing equipment, and then try to double that each alignment. They should be sent to Mars with a small spinning habitat like cycler that also grows food. The first Mars cycler ship might not have all that.

Larger cyclers should mostly be made out of materials already in orbits. Of course the lowest fuel need would be out of some asteroids between Earth and Mars. Some would need hardly a nudge to put them into that orbit. Lunar, might be easier get to, to process, but I think the best at is to process in Mars orbits, mostly using the tiny Moons of Mars. For many other reasons I see many advantages to develop and process using Phobos, the very close moon or Mars. It can be a great solution to many problems for a settlement on Mars as well as a great boon to transportation for Mars and beyond.

Posted 02 April 2015 at 10:51 am

Some may say it, but they would be spinning a lie, no Davy Crocket was ever set off in Vietnam. All were accounted for and removed from that theatre of operation.

Shaun Wilkinson
Posted 02 April 2015 at 03:03 am

I understand that a lot of work goes into all the articles, but I've got to ask when can we expect the next one? I've read through the entire archive + pulled articles and everything is amazing! :)

rob hamm
Posted 01 April 2015 at 11:58 pm

Setting up a real test Wardenclyffe would be not only impractical, but would also cause the experimenters to incur massive damage costs they would have to pay. (think massive disruption/interference with all communication systems on an absolutely huge scale from the electromagnetic waves both in the earth and ionosphere.) A very unwise experiment.

Alan Bellows
Posted 29 March 2015 at 06:10 pm

@Wade Nelson: You are alleging plagiarism because we both used the commonly-used phrase "carved up" to mean "separated into portions" when telling the same story? That's just silly.

Wade Nelson
Posted 29 March 2015 at 03:32 pm

Would you prefer to insert a line crediting me for all of the lines you plagiarized from MY article on the same subject or chat with my lawyer?

You know, like "carving up" the runway...


Joe Stokes
Posted 29 March 2015 at 12:24 pm

Great story and thanks for it. Here in the States we call "dripstick" a "dip stick" and wondered if that was correct. Awfully well written. Again, thanks.

Posted 27 March 2015 at 08:00 am

Illig has right that is minimal...; but it seems the falsification is bigger ...see Fomenko

I get to conclusion that the 'tatar invasion' [and in fact all of the nomad invasions] were the crusades [Fomenko even says taht some wars [trojan etc] were the same [but says the tatars were the russians] - but to simplify this they were the scythians.

Fomenko says about 'roman empire' the populating of europe from east'

Myself i think that the 'roman empire' realy was some
nomad empire'

Posted 27 March 2015 at 02:33 am

If someone having such a disorder is curable of the psychological state the doctors willing in removal of the clients requested limb or limbs can seem quite strange, yet in reality who is it really hurting? The client? No. To them removala a life saver.The doctor/doctors? No. Need to see potential in lim b donation. Think possitive. Society? No. Only when people look down upon illness strange or not.

Posted 26 March 2015 at 10:01 am

I want to thank you for this article.

I came here looking for it to present to my nephew, who has a bad case of instant gratification.

He went to Berkley on a double major and then dropped out a semester short of graduation to join the Navy. I was discharged on a medical before he finished boot camp.

Then he decides to go to Coleman College to get a degree in computer technology.

Now I hear he has dropped out again after completing only a few certificates to get a job. Doesn't have a job lined up.

So rather than finish a degree to get a higher paying job, he quits now and is pretty much doomed to a lifetime of lower paying jobs.

He won't listen to any of us about what a bad decision this is.

And he had a free ride. My Dad was paying for it all. Now if he wants any additional school he'll have to pay for it out of his own pocket, on whatever low salary he manages to pull in from whatever kind of job he manages to find.

This was a 4.0 valedictorian of his class with AP classes up the whazoo. Now he is just a dropout and a loser.

I blame the video games but your mileage may vary.

Posted 22 March 2015 at 01:56 pm

GREED, GREED, GREED!!!! Little do these big companies realize is of they were honest in there dealings, and didn't push the GENIUIS OUT OF THE WAY FOR MONEY, BIG BUSINESS in the long run would make so much more. WHO KNOWS HOW MANY MORE INVENTIONS THIS GUY WOULD HAVE THOUGHT OF. "GREED SEE'S THE SHORT TERM, INTEGRITY SEE'S THE LONG TERM".

Posted 18 March 2015 at 01:43 pm

@Guerrero: A polar bear of course :) A self-timer on their camera (in 1897 no less), and a tripod? An Inuit who mysteriously appeared out of the fog, helpfully took their picture, then vanished again without a trace? Truly a baffling question!

Hmm, on a related note it looks like Alan modified the story somewhat and removed a picture he had originally included, that showed a backup aeronaut, along with the three who actually took flight - a "spaeronaut". Without that picture my previous comment makes no sense any more, and the story got less funny! Why did you take that picture out, Alan?

Maybe the now-vanished spaeronaut took the picture of the other three with the sledge...

Alan Bellows
Posted 16 March 2015 at 07:28 am

@Chris: The fellow who narrates most of our podcast episodes--Simon Whistler--also does the voice work for a few other podcasts. That's probably what has caused the confusion. Apart from the shared narrator they are unaffiliated. I do have other projects, but they are mostly pedestrian stuff such as a day job, contract work, and occasional tinkering.

Posted 16 March 2015 at 07:27 am

Great article, but after the 1707 Act of Union there was no 'English' parliament, just a British one (based in England).

Posted 16 March 2015 at 06:11 am

Alan, why dont you advertise your other project? I understand you have bills to pay so why not tell people about it? I actually like your daily podcast, listen to it through Audioboom.

Posted 15 March 2015 at 08:57 pm

Very Interesting! I had a SRO at my school who talked about the Cold War. I remember him saying that there was a malfunction and he remembered thinking he was going to die because Russia was going to nuke us. I didn't realize he was apart of this. He was apart of the air force i believe.

Posted 13 March 2015 at 03:44 am

Someone in here started commenting about GM and "plant aura's" and what not...

Just wanted to clarify:

Aura's are fictional. Like magic, unicorns and lepricons.

GMO's (Genetically Modified Organisms) are not necessesarily bad. Transplanting gene's in whatever way to some organism (plant, animal, yeast, bacteria) is nothing more but a quicker way to introduce mutations, that might otherwise have occured naturally after a vast time period, or that could have been happening sooner due to selective breeding (which happens all the time for all kinds of plants and animals, e.g: humans created the dog race. Ten thousand years ago we started training wolves - and now they are dogs. All dogs come from the same animal - all dogs are different phenotypes of the wolf. All corn types are descendents of grass. The same thing with broccoli, wiki quote: "Common vegetables such as cabbage, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, kohlrabi and Brussels sprouts are all descendants of the wild cabbage plant").

My point is: Mutation = a good thing.
GMO's = quick way of selective breeding.

The one thing with GMO's that you have to be carefull with, is that you dont introduce some mutation that might be harmful for human consumption or harmful for the wild flora and fauna, if the gmo race was to be introduced to the wild. Remember, though, that this can also happen naturally. Anyway - there are strict protocols to make sure GMO's do not escape into the wild. They are studied in closed laboratories, that force you to wear protective clothing etc. They are meticulously tested before even considering being used. If they are safe - then they are used. As an example, all penicillin is actually produced by a genetically modified yeast strain! Yes! By modifying some yeast strain, they were able to have the fungi produce penicillin.

The anti-gmo movement has raised attention towards genetic engineering, which is a good thing, but it has also significantly damaged and stagnated research and development. By means of genetic engineering the human race could solve a lot of problems. We could battle hereditary diseases, make food crops resistent to certain fungi and vira, maybe enable them to grow on saline water, instead of fresh water. However all these things require research, and research requires funding. And funding is very hard to get on these subjects due to misinformed people spreading the false accusations of said anti-gmo movement.

My point is. Know what you are actually voting against. Research it.

Posted 10 March 2015 at 11:36 am

Recognizing that this is an old topic, it does still turn up on google-searching. Thus, I get to put in my two cents worth for someone else to read, right? After reading all the cute and/or wise comments both on topic and off, I'm left to wonder why none of them mentioned the elephant in the room: why must all birth control and/or abortion discussion center so fully on the role of the female when the male is obviously equally present and active at the time of conception? In today's supposedly enlightened society, shouldn't we give credence to more than latex in preventing the little swimmers that invade the nest? What's wrong, in short, with MALE birth control ingestions? Or does such a product get vetoed out of hand immediately as interfering with the macho of the male image? Considering the disasterous effects of botched abortion, neglect of unwanted children, any number of potentially hazardous in vitro complications, it seems MALE birth control medicines would be a far safer route for society.

Posted 08 March 2015 at 08:04 pm

My father-in-law was a Captain and pilot in the Army Air Corps, during World War II. He was aware of the leaflets being dropped. At the time, civilians, enemy and ally alike, were instructed NOT to pick up leaflets of any kind, falling from the sky. There were reports of incendiary leaflets (whether true or not), being made on both sides. That and whatever was printed on them would almost surely be propaganda from the enemy. This may help explain why most leaflets were mostly ignored. While giving first-hand accounts of the World War to an elementary class, my father-in-law was asked whether he thought it was necessary to drop the atomic bomb. After a pause, emotionally, he said: "At the time, yes. We were planning a major invasion of Japan and the Japanese civilians had been instructed for every man, woman and child to fight to the death. The losses of American soldiers and Japanese soldiers and civilians nation-wide were spared the horror of a major invasion. I hope and pray no one ever has to use that kind of force, again."

Posted 07 March 2015 at 10:58 am

In Boris Chertok's four volume history of the Soviet space program (Rockets and People)he talks about the plundering of German technology and the revelation he got from it. They contributed little or nothing to the war effort. All the resources the secret weapons required to develop were a tremendous drain on the system and produced little of value in return.

Posted 06 March 2015 at 09:16 pm

"Doyle was undeniably biased, but on the other hand, he had become intimately familiar with George Rogers’ machinations" on the other hand he only had two fingers.

Posted 05 March 2015 at 07:19 am

This is cool!!!

T. Fraser
Posted 04 March 2015 at 11:38 pm

This is one the best stories I've read in ages, and I come here all the time! (Heck, I own the book, and I still think this is an incredible story.) Thank you for all the hard work and research!

Matt Heyne
Posted 03 March 2015 at 11:08 pm

"Bob Nesbo
Posted 19 August 2008 at 03:37 am

This sounds crazy, but would there be a way to drill out the magma, do some "magma mining" to slowly release the pressure? And get some heat energy while we were at it, and at the same time reduce the pressure on the caldera? Or will someone complain that we will be deflating the earth or something like that and protest the whole thing?"

Sounds like a great idea Bob, but we have no idea of the effect of such an action. It could work, but it could also destabilise the caldera and cause an eruption. And if we tried to vent it there is no guarantee we could control what we vented(toxic gasses etc.) how much, or if we could stop it once it began. Volcanology is still a guessing game for the most part, as we still have no way of mapping the internal structure of the planet or the extreme forces involved therein. 10 points for creativity though.

Malleus Mal
Posted 03 March 2015 at 10:58 am

I have bad news. In my opinion, we are utterly alone in the Universe. At best, there may be some forms of life millions of miles away, that exist briefly, and are then extinguished, just as earth will cease to exist one day. I suspect this happens over and over, again, throughout the Universe. For different forms of life to communicate over these vast distances, given their brief existence, would be a rare event, indeed.

Posted 28 February 2015 at 05:03 pm

Seriously damn interesting. I feel like it would be like any drugs now, and not all bad. Although there would be cases in which people might zap themselves constantly and be addicted and fail at life and blah blah blah, there could still be a vast number of people that could use it for occasional pleasure and recreation. And there's also the factor of money. I seriously doubt this would be a cheap procedure which limits the number of people that could even have access to it, let alone abuse it. Just because some people might abuse the technology doesn't mean it's bad.

Posted 28 February 2015 at 08:24 am

Kiniesten, I hope I never come cross one of your posts again.... talk about deviating from the topic! you don't belong here.

Posted 28 February 2015 at 06:38 am

you're not last....

Posted 28 February 2015 at 12:52 am

no, their IQ isn't higher, then average. (explain you later, if anybody is interested)
no, we don't look up to them, unless we haven't had a close relationship with them, but just read.
no, it's not true, that they don't know, they are hurting others: not knowing what you are doing is different from doing it, because you think you are the only one, who is allowed. they don't allow the same to be done to themselves, do they??
no, they aren't strong or heroic. courage is, when you are scared, but can overcome the fear and still do GOOD....and good, not bad, Bad is easy to do.
no, as weird, as it may sound, the sadistic type psycho isn't as bad, as praying (doesn't care, if somebody is hurt). Dr. George K. Simon.
Re: quots "from horses mouth" - well....a quot from a 'victim' - "a psycho says the sky is blue, it means, that it's not". this to just consider, but believe the rest, or you are in trubble, because....
....YES, THEY ARE DANGEROUS, but silly, because
...Yes, it IS a disorder.

Posted 27 February 2015 at 05:37 pm

Wow. Damn Interesting

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