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Throughout the Second World War, the town of Hillersleben, Germany was home to one of the Third Reich’s most crucial weapons research centers. At a sprawling facility nestled in the forested hills, a contingent of 150 engineers and physicists developed and evaluated all manner of experimental weapons, a substantial number of which were ultimately adopted by the Nazi war machine.
When Germany surrendered in May 1945, the scientists at Hillersleben were forced to abandon an assortment of death-bringing innovations at various stages of completion. Among these were a rocket-assisted artillery shell which had 50% more range than standard artillery, a 600mm mortar which fired one-ton self-propelled projectiles for up to three and a half miles, a modified Tiger tank which could fire 760-pound rockets up to six miles, and a chain-like projectile made up of small, linked rockets with a range of 100 miles. But the military masterminds’ most sinister ambitions were embodied in their behemoth Sonnengewehr, or “Sun Gun” project—an orbital weapon intended to exact fiery punishment upon the enemies of the Third Reich, forever establishing their dominance over the genetically inferior Untermenschen of the Earth.
The Sun Gun was based on a design originally conceived by Hermann Oberth, a physicist who is widely credited as one of the founding fathers of rocketry and astronautics. In his 1929 book Wege zur Raumschiffahrt, or “Ways to Spaceflight,” Oberth presented a scientific description of a hypothetical manned space station orbiting at an altitude of one thousand kilometers. He detailed potential construction methods using prefabricated sections, described a rotational cycle to produce centrifugal gravity within the station, and outlined a system for periodic resupply missions. Oberth advocated the development of these Raumstations to serve as astronomical observatories and telegraph relays, in addition to Earth-observing activities such as meteorology, search-and-rescue, and military intelligence. What interested the Nazi scientists, however, was his suggestion that a specially engineered 100-meter-wide concave mirror could be used to reflect sunlight into a concentrated point on the Earth. But whereas Oberth’s design had peaceful intentions—to use the intense heat to produce electricity with steam turbines—the nefarious Nazis envisioned a colossal heat ray which could vanquish humanity.
The Sun Gun concept was essentially a scaled-up version of Archimedes’ ancient and oft-debated “Death Ray.” In 212 BCE, the Roman Republic sought to seize the city of Syracuse from its Greek inhabitants. Some accounts claim that the initial attack was repelled by Archimedes—the astonishingly talented Greek mathematician, physicist, inventor, and astronomer—who is said to have used an array of sunlight-concentrating copper mirrors to set the advancing ships aflame. Many scientific attempts have been made to confirm or deny the feasibility of such a weapon, with varying outcomes. Most prominently, the myth was “busted” on the television program MythBusters in 2006. The ‘Busters found that an array of metal mirrors could indeed ignite a wooden ship, but only after a tactically-tricky exposure of several minutes. Although the authenticity of the ancient legend is questionable, however, the principle behind it is fundamentally sound.
Using Hermann Oberth’s 1929 design as a starting point, the optimistic physicists of Hillersleben expanded upon the space-mirror concept considerably. Their calculations indicated a parabolic mirror of at least three square kilometers to achieve the desired destructive power—about 100,000 times larger than Archimedes’ mythical death ray—and an ideal orbit of 8,200 kilometers. After considering a number of shiny materials, the scientists settled upon metallic sodium, an element which is relatively abundant among natural compounds. Under ordinary conditions, pure sodium tarnishes quickly and reacts violently to moisture, however the researchers reasoned that these shortcomings would not pose any problem in the virtually vacuous exosphere. To heft the pre-built pieces into orbit, engineers planned to employ a beefed-up version of trailblazing-but-treacherous V-2 rocket which Germany had been using to terrorize London. This “A11” multi-stage variant—which was undergoing development at the V-2 facility in Peenemünde—was designed by Wernher von Braun to deliver people into space, and to export white-hot Nazi shrapnel to the US.
Inside the living area of the station, electricity would be provided by special steam-driven dynamos which would utilize the heat of raw solar radiation. The station’s complement of Nazi astronauts would wear magnetic shoes to accommodate working in weightlessness, and their oxygen would be constantly replenished by vast onboard greenhouses filled with CO2-thirsty pumpkin plants.
The crew of a fully-assembled Sun Gun station would receive encoded orders via radio or wireless telegraph, while keeping a sharp eye on enemies of the Reich. When commanded to attack a terrestrial target, the crew would engage a network of rocket thrusters to rotate the massive reflector into a carefully calculated orientation. Once in position, the mirror’s curvature would converge the sun’s mighty rays into a focal point on the Earth’s surface, pouring a column of raw, super-concentrated solar radiation upon the target site. Hypothetically this beam would have sufficient heat to scorch away fields, incinerate cities, vaporize reservoirs, and melt screaming onlookers like wax dummies. Any nation lacking space-capable rockets would be utterly defenseless against the onslaught. Once the desired destruction threshold was reached, the mirror would be tilted back into a safe orientation, facing away from the Earth.
The project was stalled in the
summer spring of ’45, however, as the impending Allied victory became increasingly evident. American intelligence agencies immediately invoked Operations Overcast and Paperclip to extricate German scientists and equipment ahead of the Soviets. Lieut. Col. John A. Keck, chief of the Ordinance Service’s enemy technical intelligence branch in European theater, led the interrogation of a number of Nazi researchers. The German engineers described their participation in the development of the V-2, and disclosed details regarding several other nearly-perfected technologies: a submarine-based V-2 launch system, an infrared sniper scope, and an anti-aircraft rocket capable of auto-detonating within ten yards of a target. In addition, they handed over the schematics and calculations for their formidable Sun Gun concept. Considering the Nazi scientists’ other impressive achievements, Lieut. Col. Keck and his team of hard-headed engineers took the death star concept seriously. “We were impressed with their practical engineering minds,” Keck said of the Hillersleben researchers, “and their distaste for the fantastic.”
Many American scientists, however, were more skeptical Sun Gun’s feasibility. Astronomical amounts of time, money, and resources would be required to hoist the hundreds of tons of equipment into orbit, not to mention the million or so tons of metallic sodium. Furthermore, there were doubts regarding whether a single parabolic mirror could concentrate destructive levels of energy upon such a distant focal point; though this problem could be overcome by building multiple Sun Guns to operate as an orchestrated orgy of annihilation. In spite of the monumental scale of the concept, the physicists from Hillersleben were confident that their Sonnengewehr Raumstation was feasible, and that its uninterrupted development could have furnished the Fatherland with global conquest in as little as fifty years.
The weaponization of the sun has still yet to be realized, though similar concepts are used today to collect heat on smaller scales. Solar furnaces use parabolic mirrors provide heat for cooking, electricity, metal-working, and hydrogen production. The largest solar furnace in the world is currently located in the commune of Odeillo in the French Pyrenees mountains, where its eight-story-tall array of 10,000 small mirrors concentrates sunlight to produce temperatures up to 3,000 degrees Celsius. A similar concept is used in solar power towers, where a brigade of mirrors reflect the sun’s heat onto a central receiver to produce steam for electricity.
Despite appearances, the Hillersleben researchers were not exclusively sinister. Nestled amongst the heat-ray-of-doom diagrams, scientists included notes describing the space station’s potential as a radio-relay satellite, a weather observation post, a launch pad for the interstellar rocket expeditions, and of course, Hermann Oberth’s original vision to use the giant mirror to generate electricity on Earth.
Many German rocket scientists—including Oberth and Wernher von Braun—ultimately opted to put science ahead of patriotism, and moved to the US to continue their rocketry research. In addition to their work with US missile defense systems, many of the men went to work for the fledgling space program in the 1950s. The rocket originally slated to carry the Sun Gun segments into space—Von Braun’s A11—eventually became the foundation for the Saturn V, the engine which carried the Apollo astronauts into orbit for the moon missions of 1969-1972. It seems that through hard work and perseverance, these pioneers of rocketry finally managed to hit their ultimate goal: The stars. And occasionally, London.
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I could say the typical word, but I won’t.
By the way, I have not finished reading the article. I will go back now and do that.
An article such as this brings to mind two thoughts, especially:
1. One has to wonder what is the true purpose of the current space station.
2. Were the Germans truly superior? Not in athletics, at least. Go back to review the history of Ohio State’s Jesse Owens at the Olympics held in Germany before WWII. Scientifically, they were pretty tough. In terms of technology, perhaps they should have won the war. The Allies won with great masses of men and inferior but still effective technology.
Maybe one of the lessons of the war is that, in addition to incredible technology, a nation must have overwhelming manpower. Considering how some groups of people around the world are proliferating, the United States – especially certain groups in the country – might have reason to worry.
Now I’ll read this DI article.
Let’s see, 3000 degrees Celsius, that makes about 5432 degrees Farenhiet. Wow. That’s hot.
Maybe the similar technology could be used to generate free electricity, with several big mirrors sending concentrated sun’s energy from the orbit to the special power plants.
viridis: I wonder what that would do to the atmosphere and the immediate surrounding areas…a bird flying in the heat ray would be pulverized instantly, I reckon… :-(
Nice pic…shows that people can’t rejoice when it’s night time…its an ATD (any time deathRay) :)
Isn’t this the same thing that was shown in Die Another Day? :)
Could a person protect himself by holding a huge mirror and reflecting the light back into space? ;) Just curious :D
“The project was stalled in the summer of 1945, however, as the impending Allied victory became increasingly evident.” Increasingly evident would be an understatement, since by the summer of 1945 the Allies had forced Germany to unconditional surrender.
Very DI-licious. I’ve never been to Germany but I think it would be really cool to visit Berlin sometime. Any thoughts on how today’s Germans live with the history of their country during WWII?
Tenth!!! Seriously, very DI.
Anon, we won the war through superior resources and manufacturing, not “masses of men.” If all that was required was “overwhelming manpower,” the Soviets would have routed the Germans out of Russia and Poland immediately and the Chinese would have kicked our butts right out of Korea. Neither one happened.
The winner in that kind of all-out warfare will be the one with the most and best materials of war. I think Von Clausewitz said, “Amatuers think tactics, professionals think logistics.”
Regardless, fried-like-an-ant-under-a-magnifying-glass would be a pretty bad way to go.
Right. And the moon is a fairly disguised Death Star.
DI Alan! Nice to read another article from you.
Hello To DI!
I had to finally register, i’ve been reading this site for awhile now.
Let me just say DI INDEED!
Let me second that whole post.
That would help for the energy directed right at a person but wouldn’t help with the super-heated air surrounding them.
You have to wonder how they were going to make the difference of a few yards with such a large machine, from so high in the sky. A focused beam of light that is being concentrated in a single area takes hundreds of minute adjustments. And how could they destroy entire landscapes with things that would easily screw up a highly focused beam of light, like, a small hill? While theoretical applications of this machine are nearly unlimited, practical applications can see a number of not-easily-overcome obstacles that would probably have resulted in the project’s long term failure.
Hi. I’m new to posting.
Wasn’t Von Braun (among other scientists) completely complicit to the fact that slave labor was being used in the rocket program when there was a labor shortage?
Yeah, awesome guy.
I’d like one of those death rays. Not to kill people, but to bake giant pies.
Pumpkins for air? Sounds a little risky, what if they died? And wouldn’t the station get a bit steamy? You’d have to get the air out of the greenhouses, but leave the water in. Those wacky nazis could probably have their own section on DI. Great article!
“I make them go up!
Who cares where they come down,
It’s not my department,
says Verner von Braun”
Tom Lehrer :D
Mostly the generation that lived through it doesn’t talk about it. The next generation or so has done a lot of soul-searching and there was a lot of rebellion – similar to the U.S. rebellion in the 60s over Vietnam. The current generation mostly doesn’t think about it much.
Since you’re asking: how do you deal with your country’s history? Presuming you’re an American (as I am), how do you deal with the CIA backed coups of democratic governments (e.g. Iran 1953, and Chile 1973)? How about the hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians killed in Iraq (current realistic estimates range between 600,000 and 1.2 million – over 81,000 individually documented)? I know these are small compared to the Nazis, and some think it’s for a good cause – but the Nazis thought their cause was good, and it’s still the same basic issues: innocent people are being killed and maimed.
Lest you think I’m singling out the U.S., let me point out almost all countries have some similar history of which they are not proud: the history of war is long.
It’s not so very wacky: of course you would have to keep them in separate filtered rooms, but it is much less expensive than continually shipping oxygen tanks up, and you can still keep some oxygen tanks in reserve in case too many of the plants die. If we ever want to establish a long term, half-way self-reliant presence in space, we will have to do something like this too.
…and Sun Tzu said, “it’s better to have a good plan than a good army”!
Since I don’t care to make this a stump post for the anti-war, pro-Democratic Party response that someone else did you may find this interesting.
From my understanding the last generation and this won’t glorify it, hell in most cases they won’t talk about it. Furthermore, the government went on a silencing and denial campaign that lasts to date where virtually anything Nazi related is banned by governmental law. Outside of some educational institutions where history is examined within Germany it’s illegal to virtually do much of anything or bring up anything about that era in their history, in essence by fantasy of delusion it has been erased. Anything another country produces that has something to do with that era is blacklisted and banned (the product) and swift fines or worse are levied on anyone who dodges the ban. A great public case for us computer users/gamers came back in the early 1990s with iD Software’s Wolfenstein-3D. Once that left the states and came up to open sales in Europe Germany swiftly banned the product and dropped threats on anyone who downloaded/bought(stole) it and had it on their PC within the country.
So basically due to the ban, anything Nazi is taboo, kept behind closed doors, and just flat out isn’t allowed except in the educational world.
…oh and mr. politics prove to me there is a 600k-1.2m Iraqi civvies dead by American hands. That’s the ultimate tired ass fabricated overused stump speech of the DNC and other anti-war activists trying to pick a fight and get what they want (unconditional and immediate pullout.)
I am also curious about the possibility of the reflective shield–not only as a defence but maybe as a counter attack! I’m supposedly a lernid enjinear, but I always have trouble with the basic idea of radiant heat energy. I’ll try to talk this through, and please, anyone with a clearer understanding, correct me.
The energy from the sun arrives as electromagnetic energy, not heat. For us to notice this energy, the energy must be absorbed by a material and transformed into heat. When the energy passes through a material, a small percentage is transformed into heat. When the energy encounters a non-transparent material, a portion of the energy is reflected and the remainder is transformed into heat.
So, now first problem at hand: How hot would the air be within the “Death Ray”?
– How much energy would be reflected by a square mile of mirrors?
– How wide is this “Death Ray”, i.e. onto what size area of land will it be focused?
– At that concentration of energy, how much of the energy would be absorbed by the air, i.e. how hot will the air get?
And finally, is there a reflective material that could withstand such a concentration of energy (as no material is perfectly reflective, some energy will always be absorbed, i.e. turned into heat)?
Most Excellent, sneaking in an Indiana Jones reference!
Cool! Now do Canada! Come on…please!?!
That’s a shame really. Every country has some part of their history they’d like to forget…but to simply censor it completely is too bad.
I enjoy reading about things like this and the Nazi party and what they did or planned to do, it’s fascinating history. To deprive that from people is just wrong. When I read about those times in German history it’s not like I hold the current German population responsible…in fact I’d never even looked at it that way until now. THEY didn’t do this stuff….so who cares?
Although…looking at some American issues…some people can’t differentiate between the current citizens and the ones that committed the acts discussed in history books.
These are great thoughts! Personally it is hard for me to deal with certain aspects of being an American like our consumption and the whole George Bush thing. It may be hard and I don’t have a lot of good answers, but I’m not going to go into denial about it. People’s comments that the Germans do this are fascinating. Can you imagine poor Hermann Oberth? His original idea as stated above was to use the giant mirror to generate electricty. Do you think he was horrified that his idea was turned into a weapon?
supercalafragalistic…..imagine if this were done in other countries. Slavery is a bit of a forgettable thing in US history….imagine if people just pretended it never happened? I don’t think it would go over so well.
And up here in Canada….I couldn’t imagine if we just decided to forget about and not discuss…..ummm…..well…..uhh…..the Maurice Richard riots? You get my point anyway.
Sweeping history under the rug isn’t too healthy…I think everyone should be able to agree on that by now. You don’t have to boast about it with pride…but it happened…deal with it.
And this type of history is DI! It’d be a shame to not be permitted to discuss it.
I think you are not thinking things through. The actions of the Nazi Germany are up for academic study, it’s just that it has been impolite, i.e. taboo, to discuss these matters in open company. (The banning of the Nazi party and symbols is another issue.) You are maybe forgetting that some of German’s who lived in Nazi Germany ARE still alive, and many more were alive in within the lifetime of the current generation. I my conversations with younger Germans, I hear that taboo subjects are being discussed more and more; I assume this is because the parties involved, or their immediate family members, are no longer likely to be within earshot. The example of American slavery is more than twice as long ago and the end of slavery was handled in a far less “healthy” manner, in my view, than Germany’s renouncement of it former government.
Very much DI. I’ve heard of projects like this before, and I can also remember this from a James Bond movie (not sure which one). It’s a scary idea, having that much power and heat. They would have indeed been able to rule the world.
I would think getting a giant mirror into the proper orbit would require…at least a little bit more than WWII era technology could offer, but I guess I could be wrong. Same deal with calibrating the device; could they really “do” stuff like that way back when?
And wh44, the site you quoted, iraqbodycount.org, is probably not the best site if you’re looking for accurate data…for reasons that I should hope are obvious. But other than that, I submit that covert CIA coups (coupes? My french is a little rusty…) are a bit different than nationwide campaigns of destruction. Iraq is arguably a different story. That said, it is important for us all to realize that the VAST majority of the human population on earth is comprised of average joes just like you and me. It is a sad state of affairs when such a small minority of rulers/zealots can reap so much death.
A more interesting question (to me) is during these wars, what do the people fighting them really think? For example, did all of the Nazi soldiers actually believe in their cause, or were they just smart enough to not make waves? Do our guys on the ground believe that we’re freedom fighters or defenders of the 51st state? When people talk about how the Japanese would have fought to the last man, woman and child in WWII, what would have driven them to do it? Fear of subjugation? Fear of retribution? Love of country?
I personally think that, as I mentioned above, most of us are just people trying to live day to day, and most of our decisions are made in the effort to reduce the chance of our dieing in the near future. But then again, I have a pretty limited scope from which to view these things, so there could be entire nations of wingnuts willing to lose their own lives for the chance to take another’s.
The very fact it’s taboo is what I have a problem with. It doesn’t make it better or right just because it isn’t discussed. Learn your history…good or bad, so when history starts to repeat itself…you can at least know it when you see it coming.
From what I understand the vast majority of soldiers fighting in the German army during WWII had absolutely no idea what was going on back home. I just watched something on the history channel that was interviewing former Nazi soldiers, they all said they were kept in the dark “for good reason” about what was going on in the occupied regions. They were told what was going on at the front lines and that’s it.
I assume this is because soldiers would start shooting the other way if they knew about some of the atrocities carried out by the Nazis.
All along I thought Braun made toasters…
All that is 3rd reich, nazi & their skitzo leader
should never be forgotten as they were the
supreme race of insanity.
DI and well written,
Didn’t speed read.
A bird flying through a radio transmission from a radio telescope will be vaporized instantly. The extreme heat from the mirror/lens would also potentially cause the combustion of the air, forming NO2, CO2, O3 and other nasty (and not so nasty) gasses.
well, assume 600 Watts per hour per m2
mile^2=2 589 988.11 m2
so, over 1 hour the mirrors would reflect ~1 6 MJ of energy. or, each second they would reflect 432 kJ of sunlight.
I am one of the younger generation, being born in ’86 and I have had my fair share of discussion about the Third Reich and the Nazi Regime. There is no specific taboo on the topic, as I read magazine and articles about this every few weeks which appear in some of the major scientific magazines of Germany (Spiegel, Focus, etc.). What is sad though, is the fact that educational institutions, especially those after our elementary school, are simply overdoing the topic by far. In every history class I had to take from grade 5 till 12, we at least ONCE discussed the Third Reich and everything related. And it does not stop there, whenever we were reading a book that was published around 1930-1945, we had to discuss what the current regime might have had an influence on the author, what circumstances the city was in the author resided in or wrote the book in.
In fact, if I wanted to discuss the topic with my friends, I would be certainly free to do so at any café or restaurant, however, there is no taboo, but just no need, since at our age, we have had enough of the discussion for a while. It is not that we don’t know anything about it, but we just don’t talk about it much anymore, because we are “saturated” with discussion about it.
He, and the others, HAD to’ve known. The inmates at the Dora concentration camp were used extensively in the rocket program, and the death rate there was higher than at the more infamous concentration camps like Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen. The British were majorly pissed that many of the rocket scientists were shipped off to the U.S. and given employment rather than being tried as war criminals. Even Dornberger, who started the Nazi rocket program, only got a few years in prison before becoming Vice-President of Bell Aircraft/Bell Aerospace in Western New York from the mid-fifties to 1972, when he retired and returned to West Germany.
Please re-read my post carefully. I did not say that all the Allies had was overwhelming manpower. We also had massive amounts of technology, and, even though it was not the equal of the Germans’ technology, we had enough of it and men so that we could overcome their technological superiority. We definitely had superior resources, but their technology was still better. Their Panzers were far superior to our Shermans (otherwise known as “Roman Candles” because of how easily they would explode and burn when they were in a fight with Panzers). They invented magnetic tape. They had the Messerschmidt Me 262. They had the first rockets. They had Enigma, and we couldn’t break the code until the Brits captured one of the machines. They developed the first radar but didn’t follow up on it. They had the Bismarck.
I could go on, but this conveys the idea.
I am not at all denigrating the incredible victory of the Allies, and thank heavens we won (I am not of German descent, by the way; my ancestors were English). But the fact remains that the Germans were technologically superior. They just didn’t have enough of it, and they didn’t have enough men.
Final comment: As far as I know, German automobiles are still considered to be superior to American automobiles, as much as it grieves me to state that. I don’t know if they beat the high-end Japanese makes, but I have read that everything the Germans make beats everything we make, with the possible exception of the most expensive Corvette’s top speed.
Please don’t forget how George Washington (The Great White Father Who Destroys, as he was called by the Native Americans) wanted to eliminate the Native Americans from the country and how, under the leadership of General William Tecumseh Sherman, we nearly completed it.
This is an old line but accurate: “The history of man is written in blood.”
No country, no people, no ethnicity are innocent. We have all killed, maimed, enslaved with equal ferocity and enthusiasm.
As a matter of fact, it did happen. Look at the map — by 1943 the Soviets were already half way back to Berlin from Stalingrad, and by Normandy in 1944, Germany had essentially lost on the Eastern Front.
You are correct in the sense that it did not only require enormous manpower from the Soviets — some 27 million dead altogether — but also lots of manufacturing. Germany was hopelessly outnumbered in material alone with the Russians, and not just men. Take a look at some statistics someday, esp. ones that compare amounts of tanks and artillery on both sides in the East. Not to understate American contributions, but the Western ground front was peanuts, and was opened way late in the war.
To those who think Germany is handling it badly: I live in Germany. German involvement in WWII is discussed in and out of schools. It is only Nazi symbols outside of historical context and Nazi glorification that is banned (the games in question had swastikas and other Nazi symbols): Germans do not want a resurgence of the Nazi Party (modern day Nazis make up ca. 5% of the population). Casaba rightly surmises that it is not generally discussed within earshot of those who fought on the wrong side.
Jeffrey93: Canada, eh? Tell me, are you always proud of the way Canada treated / treats Native Americans?
J.K.: you’re dodging the question. Then again, you’re not: you obviously simply deny that your government ever does anything to cause innocent civilians to die.
Anon, I think you just agreed with me.
Or not. The Germans’ problem was not having enough men (at least early on, before they wasted entire armies), it was enough materials of war. (Well, there also was that detail about the two front war.) The Battle of the Bulge was intended to be a grab for our fuel, which they had very little. When that didn’t work, the outcome was inevitable. Mobile warfare gobbles staggering piles of supplies and, especially, POL. No fuel, no blitzkreig.
My point is that all-out warfare is about resources. The technology is great if you have enough of it. The ME262 you mentioned is a case in point: if they’d gotten squadrons of them operational, they would have decimated the bombers and the Allies entire strategy would have to have been rethought. But, despite the superior technology, they didn’t have the resources to take advantage of it.
Now, obviously, having the resources is useless without men to use them and, especially, to support them. And we did have a pretty good size military machine at that time. But without the “beans, boots, and bullets” the men aren’t going to be able to do much.
So I guess we’re quibbling about a fine point. Ultimately, you need the man to pull the trigger and the bullet to put down the enemy.
BTW I had heard that the Sherman was called the “Ronson” for the same reason you mention.
James Bond Die another Day anyone?
Putting mirrors in the sky, and aiming them at a common point would be very simple indeed for the people that planned to do it. You’re fooling youself if you think it’s ‘too hard’. Look at what’s been accomplished already, the technology on your desk right now, the computer you’re using. A bit of simple trig, a bit of feed back so that some mirrors can ‘latch’ onto the bright spot etc… and you’re cooked. Just because ‘you’ can’t think how to do it doesn’t mean that someone else hasn’t spent the better part of 20 years mulling over the intricate details… I think it’s a fantastic idea, and could have hundreds of uses – particularly for powering probes to explore our solar systems planets.
I’m absolutely amazed at how leisurely you managed to stumble from one misinformed synopsis of present-day, German society to another, completely obtuse, assessment of the harsh reality that is the Iraq War. With the graceful acumen of a stonemason arriving to his worksite with an assortment of Barbie dolls in his toolbelt, you’ve tramped into an intellectual community with only the most laughable contrivances applicable.
Firstly, and for future reference, whenever you begin a thought with “From my understanding …”, you had best refrain from continuing, for your “understanding” is meager at best, and intolerable at worst.
As some kind German citizens have already taken the time to gently rebuke your second-hand, second-rate knowledge of their country, I would only besmirch their efforts to further that discussion. However, as a U.S. citizen, I will surely reply to your narrow and ignorant comprehension of the modern political spectrum.
Beginning with your loose and clumsy use of the adjective ‘Democrat,’ I must assume you consider yourself a Republican. Now, as anyone, who hasn’t been frolicking in the quasi-reality being hocked by the mainstream media, knows, the Republican party was high-jacked decades ago by the neo-conservatives, who are neither new, nor conservative. The GOP platform of today is hardly recognizable to that of yesteryear, aside from their pandering to the evangelical, ‘pro-life’ base. And I only use the term ‘pro-life’ as a pejorative here because it is apparent that the Republican party now stands for imperialism, at the cost of human lives of course. Without going into much greater detail, it is safe to cite the Bush doctrine insofar as to suggest that the Grand Old Party no longer advocates fiscal conservativism, conservative foreign policy, or limited government bureaucracy.
Is the Democratic party really very different? Only to the extent that its candidates are covertly pro-war as opposed to the overtly pro-war candidates on the other side of the aisle.
The Democrats favor the same deficit spending, the same foreign interventionism, and the same socialistic economy principles of the Nanny State.
The preceding were only a few of the more blatant examples to show what is obvious to most intelligent, coherent individuals. The political party system in practice today is little more than an elaborate, theatrical performance designed to give the average Joe (or J.K. in this case) the impression – nay, the illusion of choice. The sad reality is that you have no choice; what you do have, in fact, is owners. The plutocratic, oligarchy ruling our land owns you, me, and ever other hapless pleasant seeking to scrape out an existence.
While partisan pinheads like yourself continue to be caught up in the song and dance, the country of the United States has been bought and paid for by international banking cartels who will drive it into the ground – as is their parasitic tendency. Don’t believe me? Who controls our monetary system? The Federal Reserve. Who controls the Federal Reserve? Hmm … it just so happens that nobody knows who runs that little private entity. They are never audited, examined, or subject to Congressional oversight whatsoever. Oh, and did you catch that? The Federal Reserve is a private bank, that’s p-r-i-v-a-t-e.
Given the gravity of the situation, you’d think simple minded buffoons would cease to exploit the deaths of thousands as an opportunity to cheerlead for their arbitrary party affiliations. But don’t worry J.K., your government is in control. Here, watch some T.V., and go back to sleep. Meanwhile, I’m going to hop in my time machine and travel back to the night your parents were conceiving your existence. I will then do my duty to intelligent, fair-minded people everywhere and negotiate the ‘unconditional and immediate pullout’ of your father.
> would be really cool to visit Berlin sometime.
Please come visit us, you’ll be very welcome.
Though it took my US-American friends some time to get used to cultural differences (We’re naked in he sauna and if we really happen to ask “How are you” we usually are interested in your story) they think that this country is quite a decent and interesting place to be – right in the middle of old Europe.
However, even we have our share of idiots – there are rural areas in the eastern part of the country where you may experience less hospitality if you are a foreigner – but on the other hand, there are places in the US I wouldn’t risk to visiting with my domestic partner.
But please: Don’t do one of those “7 European countrys in 14 days” tours.
Stay for some weeks, get to know people, maybe stay at hostels.
We have affordable domestic flights and our train-system is quite okay.
Most places in Germany are quite interested in their history, especially in Berlin you will find a lot of information about WW2.
Yes, folks. Let’s get right on building this thing. 432 kJ per second? that should add about 1 degree F every couple of years to our average temperature. How long do you think it would take to completely melt the ice caps then? I’m no tree hugger and I don’t put the blame for global warming solely on industrialization. I do realize that if we add more of the suns energy to our atmosphere than we have already that things are not going to get better. the solar furnace is a much better idea. Ideas such as that definately have a place in the world’s future.
DI Alan. keep ’em coming.
It is because they are better than others. Other than culture, we see that hey made the only advancements in science, mathematics, and philosophy since the Greeks. In regards to the war, people always remark how the Germans lost. But they forget that it took the whole world to stop them.
wh44, youre absolutly right. I’m from Australia and although we are a young nation we have an aweful past of genocide against Aboriginal’s. In fact tomorrow (11/02/2008) our new Prime Minister will offer a formal apology to the Aboriginal poplulation for the forceful removal of children right up to 1971, as the past government wouldn’t.
I don’t belive that the youth of a nation should be held responsible for the mistakes of their fathers and so on, however I do believe it is very important to face it, accept it happened and damn well make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Oh, and don’t forget to carry a fricken huge mirror around.
HA! You got us! Pretty much the one thing we’re sort of embarassed about from our history. Although I must admit, the majority are ignorant to it and find native protests to be annoying and pointless. The “get over it already” feeling is seemingly in the majority.
I must admit, I myself am getting kind of tired of hearing about it. I don’t want it swept under the rug and never discussed…I just want it dealt with once and for all.
Got anything else?
NAZI DEATH RAYS.
Only Hellboy can save us now.
Why was the image in the article darkened to cover up the Swastika?
This is pretty petty, no? It’s just a symbol. Did somebody have a problem with it?
the actual apology will be released on wednesday the 13/2/08
but i entirely agree with everthing else you’ve written.
I don’t think “… dealt with once and for all” is the right attitude: sounds like you would like to forget. Understandable, but not good. I think commemorations are a good way to deal with it: you’re reminded once a year not to let things go bad, but otherwise can get on with your life.
Well, there was that one time y’all invaded Washington D.C. and burned it down. Though that was in retaliation for our incursions into Canada, and was restrained, so only public buildings were burned. Altogether rather admirable. So, no, that’s it.
You’re right; that was another name that the soldiers had for the Sherman tank. For the younger readers who might not know this, Ronson was a manufacturer of a popular cigarette lighter. At that time, lighters were refillable only. If a smoker wasn’t careful, he/she could overfill it, and the lighter fluid would overflow. Then, on the first use, a smoker could wind up with a handful of flame. It was a great conversation starter, so I have been told.
Will the apology be followed by some action to rectify the abuses of the past and how they resulted in the condition in which the Aboriginals now live? If not, an apology doesn’t mean much.
I don’t say this lightly. Here in the States, we have plenty of people who are extremely willing to apologize for slavery, but they don’t want to do anything else about it. That might cost them a bit of money, right? Can’t have that, now can we?
For the record, I’m a Caucasian.
For more on the Wacky Weapons of the Nazis, I can recommend “My Tank is Fight!” by Zack Parsons.
Oh, and how much does a person have to do to atone for their past? Arthur Rudolph, one of the “Operation Paperclip” engineers, earned the Army’s highest award for civilians for his work on the Pershing missile program, and was twice honored by NASA for essentially being the Chief Designer of the Saturn V. In 1983, he was forced into exile for alleged war crimes dating from his involvement with the V-2 program.
so Jeffrey93, you’re proposing some kind of final solution, novel idea.
/sorry, couldn’t resist
Only if you are especially paranoid that there is a plot by several governments (isn’t it the International Space Station?) to use it for some purpose not originally specified. Noting some of the comments on this page, there may be a bit of support for such a view. Seems like a few people have abandoned their foil head gear.
Of course they were not “superior.” Your Olympics example, however, is a bit flawed. Yes, Owens did real well. Overall, however, the Germans cleaned up. They won the most medals, both overall and at each level (G,S,B). The U.S. came in a distant second (89 total medals for Germany, 56 for USA). So, during the ’36 Summer Games, the Germans were, arguably, “superior” in athletics, Jesse Owens notwithstanding.
The Nazis were not good at handling new technology. The Panzer was a great tank, but the supposed replacement for it, the Tiger, was a disaster. They spent too much time on the cool gizmos like jet engines and rockets – they started the war with superior aircraft, but their airforce became slowly inferior because they were not continuously producing new, excellent aircraft like the allies were but were instead attempting to leapfrog with things like the ME262. It has been estimated that if the Nazis had produced aircraft instead of the V-1 buzz bomb and the V-2 rocket they would have been able to defend their oil supplies and not had a materials crisis at all.
The other problem the Nazis had was they created their own logistics nightmare. Every time the military wanted a new toy or a modification to one, they got it, but this meant that they had dozens of tank and aircraft variation, as well as hundreds of variations in other heavy equipment. This meant that getting parts to repair things was a long process – lots of tanks were sitting waiting for parts, and almost everything had to be abandoned in the retreat from Russia.
The book “Why the Allies Won” is an interesting read on this topic.
I just came back from a visit in Europe and I spent a few days in Berlin. Very moving city…it has many tell tell signs of a city that is still rebuilding itself from WWII and the fall of the wall. And there are TONS of historical pictures everywhere that show and tell a little of the history of whatever particular spot you happen to be on. Even in the U-bahn and S-bahn they have signs documenting the history. I’ve never seen a city so willing to embrace it’s past.
Great article. I love history, in particular WWII. I think it is extremely important to remember what all of our parents were fighting for.
I would love to visit Germany one day. I would like to visit Burchsgotten (spelling) and see the Eagle’s Nest, and I would really like to visit the Norwhiestein (spelling) castle.
And, in hindsight, I think the Iraq war is a tragedy, but to leave now without trying to correct what we have done, I think would be even worse.
So, you’ve got a little “White Guilt”? What have you, or any other white American, done to warrant being held somehow responsible for the reprehensible actions of folks who died a long time ago? For that matter, if the taxpayers are to carry the burden of the cost, what about the taxpayers whose ancestors had nothing to do with slavery (which would be the vast majority)? What about the taxpayers whose ancestors worked to end slavery? Would the ancestors of abolitionists be exempted, along with those who fought on the side of the Union? And how about those whose ancestors came to America long after slavery was abolished?
Reparation is a complex concept, and likely unworkable if there is any sense of a “fairness” goal. Furthermore, some argue that it would only increase racial tension. If something was to be done, it should have been soon after the Civil War. On the other hand, maybe not even then. Here’s what Booker T. Washington had to say :
“I have long since ceased to cherish any spirit of bitterness against the Southern white people on account of the enslavement of my race. No one section of our country was wholly responsible for its introduction… Having once got its tentacles fastened on to the economic and social life of the Republic, it was no easy matter for the country to relieve itself of the institution. Then, when we rid ourselves of prejudice, or racial feeling, and look facts in the face, we must acknowledge that, notwithstanding the cruelty and moral wrong of slavery, the ten million Negroes inhabiting this country, who themselves or whose ancestors went through the school of American slavery, are in a stronger and more hopeful condition, materially, intellectually, morally, and religiously, than is true of an equal number of black people in any other portion of the globe. …This I say, not to justify slavery — on the other hand, I condemn it as an institution, as we all know that in America it was established for selfish and financial reasons, and not from a missionary motive — but to call attention to a fact, and to show how Providence so often uses men and institutions to accomplish a purpose. When persons ask me in these days how, in the midst of what sometimes seem hopelessly discouraging conditions, I can have such faith in the future of my race in this country, I remind them of the wilderness through which and out of which, a good Providence has already led us.”
Here’s an actual freed slave saying slavery sucked (to put it mildly), but let’s put it behind us and realize that, in spite of the heinous nature of the institution, those that survived are probably better off than those of his race that were not brought to America in chains.
If you have an overwhelming sense of guilt for the actions of your ancestors, set up a private fund, get others to contribute, and work to distribute the proceeds accordingly. My ancestors have a long history here (on my father’s side), and to the best of my knowledge, never held slaves. They lived in Union States, although I have no knowledge as to their personal views on slavery. While saddened by the idea that so many were enslaved, I don’t have the same apparent sense of guilt as do you, and do not support raparation efforts. At least, none of the suggestions I have seen, thus far.
As for speaking for Australians (both aboriginal and others), stick to your own sense of guilt, and let them work out whatever it is they feel necessary to address their concerns.
BTW, wherever in America you live, it probably belonged to others before the Europeans arrived. Furthermore, it may have even belonged to another people before that, and was taken by a rival group. And so on, and so on. Where, exactly, does your idea of reparations end? Does it only apply to ancestors of slaves, and if so, why?
What image? If you are talking about the one in space, there was shading to represent a shadow, but I could see the symbol pretty clearly.
Personally, I’m totally in favor of reparations for slavery. Anyone who was a slave should be compensated.
Has *anyone* looked at the simple optics involved?
The hottest spot you can make from a non-point source is to focus it as an image, which for the sun is about 0.5 degrees in diameter. From 8200 km away, that would be an image that’s about 72 km in diameter *if it’s on the very center of the earth seen from the mirror*. Otherwise there’s a slant factor that increases that size and decreases the intensity.
So the mirror reflects 3 square km of light from the sun onto 4000 square km of image on the ground (use pi * r squared). That would increase the temperature on the surface an astonishing and torrid 0.05 degrees celsius.
By the way, birds fly in front of radio telescopes all the time and don’t burn up – nor are they affected at all. Do the math. The *effective radiated power* of such a system (or large radar in general) may be astronomical – but it’s spread out over the area of the antenna. The actual power *per unit area* is tiny and wouldn’t affect a bird or anything else in the short term. ‘Tis the difference between near field and far field.
I suspect this was another example of what led to Iraq’s WMDs – it sounded plausible to higher-ups but those working on the project probably dearly hoped nobody would realize they’d truely never be able to deliver. And no, they didn’t have secret optics knowledge. So how does the French solar furnace work so well? Short focal length – the image is tiny compared to the mirror surface area. It’s exactly the *opposite* of the orbiting mirror optics. Unless you build a space mirror approaching the size of the earth. And if you did, you’d be easy to defeat because you spent all your resources in a terribly inefficient effort. I’d say the delivery of high energy due to controlled collapse leading to supercriticality of fissile material was more effective after all.
Um, radio telescopes are recievers only. I’m picking nits, I know, but you’re talking about radar antennas.
BTW, the place-names you mentioned are “Berchtesgaden” and “Neuschwanstein”. Beautiful stuff, from all I’ve read. Do you mean using a large mirror to beam sunlight to the photovoltaic cells on board a probe? Way too inefficient, sorry. The aiming and tracking problems would be very difficult; and the Sun itself, being much larger and not subject to reflection losses (no albedo to worry about), supplies energy to such cells more readily.
If you mean using a large mirror as part of a space probe, so as to collect concentrated sunlight for its photovoltaic cells, again no. The mass penalty would be far too high; better to simply deploy a larger area of cells. (Up to a point; there would be a mass penalty for more cells too, of course. Also, beyond approximately the orbit of Mars, photovoltaic cells are–at the current state of the art–too inefficient to make it worth lugging all that mass, all that distance. That’s why RTGs (radioisotopic thermal generators) are used for long-distance missions.)
Turn up the contrast and maybe the brightness on your monitor!
Anyhoo, I love the artist’s impression of the assembly process. I wonder how any of those artists feel about how things really turned out? (I won’t mention the flying cars in Popular Mechanics!)
Please don’t jump to conclusions, and make assertions without sufficient evidence. I never once hinted at any guilt. That is an assumption on your part. I feel no guilt, but I am a realist. As a country, the general Caucasian populace then fared better because of the results of cheap labor (think about how the general American public is faring better now because of the incredibly cheap Mexican labor that picks the fruit we eat, builds houses at a far lower rate so that we can afford a larger building, etc.). In general, that benefit placed the Caucasian descendants in a better position than the descendants of former slaves. As for how blacks were treated after the Civil War, some efforts were to improve their lot, but, overall, Jim Crow and “separate but equal” ruled.
As for Native Americans, there can be little doubt that all Americans prospered as a result of Manifest Destiny… and murder.
Yes, reparations is complex, and we could argue that much has already been done, which it has. I am not sure, though, that all has been done that should be. That would have to be determined in a court of law, not in a casual blog.
As I said before, “The history of man is written in blood.” Also, I stated that no group, no people, no country has clean hands. Every civilization has committed horrible atrocities, and I imagine that the people of long ago took this country by force from others. They were then decimated and on and on until we came here. Man’s behavior throughout the aeons, though, does not allow a present generation to wash its hands of responsibility. Just as it did not work for Pontious Pilate, it cannot work for us.
You assumed that I felt guilt, which I do not. Perhaps you thought that you could see it clearly in my words. I don’t know.
However, unless I am misinterpreting your words, you seem to be incredibly angry. Although it can be difficult at times with certain subjects, I always attempt to be logical and dispassionate when I think and write. Anger clouds one’s judgment and weakens one’s argument. The trick is to learn how to feel deeply but to think and write logically.
Assuming that you meant Radar transmitters then…
Actually distance to the horn (the stick thingy in the center of the bowl shaped dish) increases the chances of death. For instance we had a 150-foot dish that had a calculated projection surface area of 17,671 square feet. The horn could project approximately 32 watts per square meter over the surface of the dish. The power level at the horn itself calculates at around 130 watts per square meter. According to the MPE the vital organs in the human body can withstand around 1 millawatt per square centimeter averaged over 360 seconds before irreparable tissue damage occurs. Otherwise you could sit just in front of the horn for less than 25 seconds before serious internal damage would occur. After 30 seconds your last will and testament better be up to date.
Anyone who has been around the base of large radar dishes has noticed a virtual bird graveyard there. That’s due to the birds resting on the radar horn and literally roasting to death from the transmitted energy. Also radar installations do not operate at full power due to the possible bio-hazard from the radiated beam and long term exposure to biological sue-happy bipedal types down beam from the dish.
Now the horn radiates a spherical wave-front into the parabolic dish which converts the energy into a nearly parallel beam. This beam will slowly spread out as it moves away from the source dish. Otherwise the further you are form the dish, the longer your exposure to the energy without suffering irreversible damage. This safety-zone is also dependent on the frequency the radar is operating at and the wattage of the transmitted signal.
During a test of a large radar system at the Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, they wanted to see what would happen if the system ran at full power. For the test date, the radar was situated at 15 degrees above horizon. All water, air, and space traffic was taken in consideration for this. There could not be anything in the beam path during the sixty-second test. When it was conducted, a seagull flew straight towards the dish. The bird got to within a few meters before falling to the ground, dead. The animal was basically cooked. :*
DI article, thanks.
Two errata, if I may:
“were more skeptical … Sun Gun’s feasibility”
“Solar furnaces use parabolic mirrors … provide heat for cooking”
Are you for real?!
On a different note, I remember an interesting re-interpretation of the WMD acronym: Ways of Making Dosh. It would neatly uncover the ways in which those wacky scientists consistently managed to get support for their “GIANT LASER”-esque projects.
Very DI. The concept of the rocket that would self-detonate close to aircraft was invented by the U.S. and being used during WW2. My mother was the final inspector for the VT fuze in St. Louis Missouri during the war. It was a proximity fuze that could explode an artillery shell when it got closest to enemy aircraft. This took away the need to set a timer on a fuze. All you had to do was lead the target the right amount and fire. It used vacuum tubes in an electronic circuit as a metal detector and still withstood the g-force of being fired from cannons! Don’t tell me the U.S. didn’t have great technology. It helped to win the battle for Britton. It was also found to work well as an air-burst fuze against land troups, and Patton praised it for helping win the battle of the bulge. It was one of the most important and successful projects ever developed during the war and was the second most top-secret projects of the war after the atomic bomb. But unlike the atomic bomb, it was never compromised. Even today, most people have never heard about it. Check out the P.B.S. special “The deadly fuze”.
Whilst it has already been pretty well covered and shown to be completely wrong, I just want to put in my 2 cents.
Been to Germany a couple of times now, great place to visit and they certainly know what they’re doing in the beer department. But when I visited I was very surprised with how different the place is to the stereotypes floating all over the place. Most surprising to me was the openness and willingness to embrace their past and mistakes the country made. In a two week visit there I probably learnt more about Nazi Germany than I had ever learnt before in my life … and I didn’t go there for that reason at all.
A few places worth checking (in my opinion):
– History museum in the centre of Leipzig. Tells the story chronologically around the build up, Nazi Germany, communist Germany and finally the unification. No details or specifics regarding the horrors or miss-treatments is downplayed
– Concentration camp in Berlin (Sachsenhausen), an actual preserved concentration / forced labour camp you can visit. It also tells of the hardships prisoners faced, including torturous exercises they were made to do and the pit where prisoners were executed (this was not a death camp, even tho around 50,000 died here). This was the first camp of its type and was used to train SS guards for other camps.
– Holocaust Memorial in Berlin – a beautiful and enormous memorial dedicated to the Jewish victims of the holocaust. This thing is in the centre of Berlin and takes up an entire city block. Definitely not something they are trying to hide-away or suppress.
My recommendation – if you can, go to Germany and enjoy :-)
The concept is a lot more feasible with today’s advanced technology and materials. And space is a lot easier to get to now.
the Allies won due to a few really good weapons, the P-51 being one of them.
and the german lack of oil
and really stupid decisions by hitler.
and something called Magic and Ultra
and people like Audie Murphy.
[Comment deleted – spam]
I beg your pardon, but I used to know that it was the Red Army who technically won the war to the Germans. Without the iron fist of Stalin, the allies would perhaps struggled in France for many years more. Maybe nothing depicts better who really stopped the Nazis, but the picture of the hammer and sickle on the roof of the Reichstag building in Berlin:
(e. g. http://www.schicklerart.com/auto_exh/Khaldei_Ex_2005?id=18564587&from=1)
I agree that a proper use of resources is key for the strategicall defeat of the enemy, and what better resource than human lives. I do not have enough time to make a thorough research on this (i.e. reliable sources), but it seems that at the moment of crossing Poland into Germany, the Red Army consisted of 1.5 million soldiers, against half million Germans. Lets not get into the details of artillery, tanks and aircraft, it suffices with saying that the Red Army exceeded by at least threefold the German numbers. In any case, to defeat an evil as strong as Hitler, it was necessary an evil even stronger, hence Stalin. In the context of the largest army ever seen in world history, Stalin used to say something in this line:
“Quantity has a quality all its own”
Said all this, I still do not know what is evil and what is good in history. All what I know, however, is that George Bush is a f*** criminal and should be hanged for his war crimes. He and all his group, included Rumsfeld and company.
Um, yeah, maybe. I prefer to think Pac-Man, but to each his own.
You’re right! I don’t see any way to make the focal point smaller given the physics of the situation. You would need a much larger mirror to have any noticeable effect with that large a focal area.
True, you may feel no guilt. I really don’t know, since I don’t know you. You sure sound like you are expressing repressed guilt, though, and seem to be looking for a way to assuage that feeling. Maybe it’s the way you seem to think all white Americans should pay for the sins of their fathers. As a claimed realist, though, you should understand how unrealistic reparations are, especially considering the time that has passed since the offending actions. A handful of Southern, white landowners definitely profited from slavery. They were, however, the distinct minority. One could certainly argue that others profited tangentially, as businesses supporting the landowners would, in turn, profit from the success of the landowners. One could further argue that the nation, as a whole, profited, which, one could further argue, laid the groundwork for the growth of the USA as a world power over both the period of slavery, and the years since its abolition. But that still doesn’t explain why the descendants of those who opposed slavery, fought to end it, or were not around during the time should be expected to pay for the sins of others. One would presume the cost would be borne by taxpayers, so the descendants of slaves, presumably, would be paying themselves, and, by gesture, apologizing to themselves for slavery. Seems rather curious to me, but if you support it, that’s certainly your right.
Of course, taken to logical conclusions, there’s gonna need to be a whole lot of reparation programs implemented on a global level. We’ll need to look at the European nations that facilitated the slave trade, as well as those African tribes that similarly profited. And we really shouldn’t stop at just American slavery, since that is hardly the only, and perhaps not even the worst, example of a wrong that should be made right. As you said, “The history of man is written in blood,” so if American slavery needs to be addressed, logically, all other atrocities would seem to be in need of addressing.
To be truly logical, however, you need to realize the impossibility of this proposal. Too much time has passed, and it would be impossible to fairly administer such an idea to ensure that the right people are appropriately reparated (is that even a word?), the right people (or descendants, thereof, to be more accurate) appropriately bear the burden, and the descendants of those who helped to end slavery, were in no way involved because they were not around, or in no way profited, are not unfairly burdened.
So, to be logical, shouldn’t one include them in the reparation debate? I’m sure they are in some circles, but you just don’t hear as much about it.
More likely determined at the legislative level, which may, in turn, face a legal challenge. Of course, legal action first is certainly an option, especially considering the unfortunate litigious nature of American society.
But that doesn’t prevent such discussions on blogs. If you offer up a viewpoint, one presumes you are open to discussion, including discussion from opposing viewpoints.
Suggesting a rejection of the reparations idea is in no way suggesting a “present generation [may] wash its hands of responsibility.” I’m just not sure you can logically say the present generation is “responsible” for slavery, or “responsible” for addressing the wrongs of past generations. If your grandfather murdered someone, should you or your family be held in any way responsible? Should you be required to apologize or make amends for the act? I would argue not. You had no control over his actions (just a hypothetical), just as you had no control over the actions of slave holders in this country. It’s just an illogical theory, in my opinion.
Actually, I presumed, and yes, it was based on what you wrote. You basically stated what many who do seem to have “White Guilt” state. But no, I was not trying to give any clinical analysis (especially since I’m not sure that “White Guilt” is a recognized condition). I was just making a sarcastic comment on a casual blog in an effort to show the fallacy of your position. That wasn’t really the crux of the message, it was all the other details I mentioned as to why reparations is neither feasible nor necessary. Again, in my opinion.
Yeah, you are misinterpreting them. I would, however, be interested in knowing which particular words, passage, or message led you to such a conclusion. I don’t believe I have used any words or phrasing that would lead one to think such a thing, but your guidance on thinking and writing is so prescient, perhaps you could elaborate, so I won’t make the same mistakes in the future. I thought I was just disagreeing with your position, and pointing out the reasons why, as well as throwing in a little sarcasm. Perhaps you equate sarcasm with anger, or maybe its just disagreement you equate with anger. I don’t know, but I would love for you to elaborate as to how you came to your conclusion. It may be of great benefit to me, and others.
BTW, if you want to see angry, check out subtle.nature’s post above. Now there’s some open hostility.
I just love how an article about unrealized Nazi technology, has been diverted into an all out debate about reparations, and political alignment.
Sorry. Didn’t know what I was starting. That’s both the beauty and the horror of blogs that allow anonymous postings, isn’t it?
Hilarious! Great comeback!
anonymous or Amonymousx2 postings??
just joking….you left yourself open for that one.
I find it interesting that the Republicans impeached Clinton for lying about oral sex, but they haven’t said a word about Bush’s alleged lies about WMD’s. The last that I heard, lying to Congress is a crime (I’ll resist the temptation to make the obvious joke about the members of Congress and their own foibles). Of course, the big question is whether or not Bush knowingly lied, right?
I wonder how Rush Limbaugh would treat Bush if Bush were a member of the Democratic Party? When Clinton was in office, Limbaugh excoriated him endlessly.
Glad that you caught the gag. Thanks!
Please re-read your first response. The angry tone is self-evident.
As for the rest, re-read my posts instead of just reacting to them. I have already addressed everything that you mention.
Well, gang, this has been fun. Think I’ll do what so many others have done: Create a new screen name.
See you later.
Thanks! Not really a “comeback,” though, as I just had no idea as to what you were referring. Care to elaborate? Am I to infer you think the space station is there to combat invasive asteroids sent by some Heinlein-like creatures from another world?
Well, since I’m not angry, I guess you just misread the tone. Or it’s a defense mechanism on your part. Whatever the case, I guess we have different opinions on this, too.
Read and re-read, but still don’t agree you addressed anything. Not, at least, to my satisfaction. I deal more with specifics, you more with generalities. That’s just how some dialogues work out, I guess.
Maybe Anonymousx3? Seriously, though, don’t change your name on my account. I’m not targeting you, just your stated opinions. Whether you go by Anonymousx2 or some other name is immaterial to me. If I see a posting that I think should be addressed, I’ll still respond, regardless of what screen name the poster chooses. And that includes if I disagree with the posting, or just want to offer additional, supportive, or even humorous input.
The first capture of an intact Enigma appears to have been in 1941. The Bletchley Park crew compared the wiring of their design (which they had intuited from their analyses of the Enigma encipherments) with the German machine, and found only one inconsequential difference! (See also Simon Singh’s The Code Book for lots of fascinating information, not only on Enigma but on cryptography throughout history.)
Have to say it: for those of you who do not believe that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, you should really talk to some of the many veterans who are suffering from exposure to chemical weapons from the first gulf war. When a SCUD missile slams into the ground and spews smoke instead of exploding, chances are it is not a dud but doing just what it was designed to do; release volitile chemicals into the air.
For those who blame Bush for the war, remember that war can only be declared by an act of congress. I blame the whole lot of them.
SCUD missiles where middle range weapons with extremely poor navigational systems and meager warheads of limited damage. Nothing compared with the thousands of nuclear warheads the U.S. stores below ground. If you want to honor truth and reason, then you can’t try to hide the sun with one finger. The U. S. government is the sole responsible for terrible crimes to humanity. How can you even try to compare the “suffering” of a bunch of idiots you call “veterans”, that from my point of view are nothing more than pawns of the empire, with the thousands and thousands of dead children and woman in Iraq? All in the name of political power, and oil, that translated into U. S media broadcast is called “the fight for freedom”. The Iraqi society under the rule of Hussein was under control, especially in regards to religious fundamentalism. Look now what the U.S. has provoked in the Middle East, try to investigate the terrible problems in Europe due to massive Muslim immigration. The U.S. government behaves as a large and clumsy bully that makes the same mistakes once and again, and in the process is the main contributor to the destruction of societies and cultures. You want another example? Iran used to be a progressive society, free of religious fundamentalism, until the CIA put his dirty hands during the decade of the 70s, promoting coupes, and in the process crapping things out; again, all in the name of political power and oil. I would not be surprised if, within a few decades into the future, the human society, worldwide, enters for a second time into the dark ages of religious fanaticism and obscurantism. Then maybe many of you will be happy praying to the particular god du Jeur, and burning innocents in the name of religion, while idiots like Bush keep filling their pockets in name of your ignorance.
I am sorry to the rest of this damn interesting and educated community, but I cannot stand still against so much misinformation and ignorance.
Geeze, and I thought you only hated Bush and his administration. Apparently, you hate America, members of the military, religion (or maybe it’s just “organized religion”), logic, facts, research, spelling, and grammar. The only thing you seem to support is pandering to those who visit this site, especially those who support your various levels of hatred. Talk about an angry post, Anonymousx2 (or whatever nom de plume you are using these days).
As for Iran, if it was, indeed, progressive until the 70s (something many might contest due to a whole lot of political repression), wouldn’t that mean that was thanks to the US/CIA, which helped to put the Shah into absolute power in ’53? The coup (not sure if there was more than one, but for your edification, the plural of coup is coups, unless you were referring to the CIA promoting a type of automobile) that brought the religious fundamentalists to power in ’79 was not backed by the US/CIA.
Other than your blatant disregard for historical facts and seething hatred for so many things, nice post!
That would be a neat trick, although surely frightening in the wrong hands, so I would understand his concern over this possibility being the “true purpose” of a space station. I imagine technology suitable for such use is probably not in the near future, though. I don’t have the engineering/scientific background to imagine what it would take to capture/divert asteroids, even small ones, but I’m sure others who visit this site do. Best I can come up with is some sort of tractor beam, but that’s just from the “scientific training” I’ve received from fictional sources.
Have you heard of the Japanese internment camps the Canadian Government imposed in WWII along the Pacific coast in BC? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_Canadian_internment
That is incredibly embarrassing for me as a Canadian. Canada has not been immune to despicable behaviour.
Thanks for your comments on my grammar and spelling. However, you must be aware that English is not the only extant language in this planet. Moreover, it happens that I am one of the many billions that do not have English as his native tongue. I always try to keep my English as sharp as possible, but I am not perfect. In any case, I think my writing skills are pretty descent for someone who learned English during his adulthood.
Focusing into a more substantial issue, I am concerned about your comments about my hatred to research, facts and reason. I will like you to sustain such claims with reasonable arguments. You are right about my opposition to religion, everything that has to do with gorillas and guns, and the supposedly democratic regimen of the U. S. These three last things put together become an explosive cocktail that can bring us back into the dark ages.
Thanks anyway for your clarification regarding the coup in Iran, especially the details of how the CIA replaced a democratically elected president with the Shah. This latter imposed an oppressive regimen which ended in the theocratic mess that is now that poor nation.
Tesla is chiefly metallic (at least 90%), with about 75% of that being iron/nickel-iron—equal to five or more years’ worth of iron production worldwide. 2%-3% of Tesla’s metal is platinum—enough to construct a two-lane platinum highway around the Equator! With that much platinum, we would transform the chemical industry (think: fuel cells, with platinum catalysis), not to mention the jewelry industry.
The estimated value of Tesla’s recovered metal, even with the depression of market prices caused by such a large supply, is $1 000 000 000 000. Let’s go get it (and other valuable chunks of stuff)!
Pat yourself on the back, for if English is not your native tongue, then you do quite well. Especially if, as you say, you started learning as an adult. And when you calm down a bit, as you seem to have here, you make far fewer glaring errors (although the word you were looking for is “decent,” not “descent”).
Gladly. What I was employing there was a literary device known as hyperbole. I started with your obvious and stated hatred of certain things, then added research, facts and reason for comedic effect. In other words, I exaggerated. I really don’t know if you hate these things, but let me point out where, with your own words, you exhibited what some might consider at least a disdain or lack of understanding of them.
First, research. From an earlier post, you stated, “I do not have enough time to make a thorough research on this (i.e. reliable sources).” When you make claims that are supposed to be taken as fact, and they may contradict what others have said, you really should either find the time to do the research, of just don’t bother commenting. And as I exhibited with the Iran clarification, you clearly didn’t do any research on your statement there. You simply offered what you thought to be correct, but what anybody with even a casual understanding of recent Middle East history would know to be inaccurate.
Turning to facts, where do I start? Virtually every one of your statements seems to be passed off as a “fact,” when, in reality, they are better classified as opinions. Perhaps this confusion is due to the language barrier. But the Iran statement you made is clearly factually inaccurate. You state, “The U. S. government is the sole responsible for terrible crimes to humanity.” Honestly, I don’t really know what this means. Are you saying the U.S. govt. is the only entity responsible for all terrible crimes to humanity, or just a few? If it’s the former, then that’s clearly inaccurate, and if it’s the latter, I guess it depends on to which “crimes” you are referring. If you are talking about what is going on in Iraq, then you clearly have some support for this opinion, both from folks who visit this site, and folks elsewhere. There are also a lot of people who would disagree with you.
Here’s a bit of irony for you to consider. Yes, Prime Minister Mosadddeq was democratically elected by the Iranian Parliament. He and his party, however, had the full support and backing of the Fadayan-e Islam, a militant Islamic group. In fact, a member of that group assassinated Mosaddeq’s predecessor, who was supportive of Western powers. Leaders of Mosaddeq’s party, led by the Ayatollah in charge of the mullahs at the time, praised the assassination, and demanded the assassin be set free. Democracy in action? Also, the U.S. got involved in the coup at the request of the British, not that that should justify or excuse anything. So, you lament U.S. involvement with installing the Shah, in spite of the fact that you feel he worked to make Iran progressive, but now say he was oppressive when it is pointed out to you. This is curious also because the Shah replaced someone who was backed by religious fundamentalists, whom you seem to despise. These same fundamentalists seem to consider Democracy to be best exercised with an assassin’s bullet. Confusing? You bet. And that’s why simplistic approaches like blaming the U.S. for all the ills of the world defy logic. Temper your anti-American rage and do a little research and you might be better served at presenting your views.
BTW, I have no idea what you have against certain primates, but I’m sure you have your reasons.
Thanks for your comments, advice and clarification upon the historical facts about Iran. We might not conform in all ideas, but its always good to receive constructive criticism from educated people. I recognize how complex history is, specially now when the multiple interactions of over 6 billion people provide enough room for misunderstandings and conflict. In any case, there are ultimate truths that have enough support to consider them as facts. For example, the involvement of the U.S. government in political coups, economical terrorism, unjustified wars, global warming, and a good portion of the mess the World is becoming these days.
Actually, the technology of the allies was in most ways better than that of Germany in WW II. Aside from radar and radio guidance, and encyperment technology, the Allies deployed far better planes P-38s, B-17s, B-24s P-51s, B-29s than the Germans -except for the Me-262 – and even in that case similar aircraft were being tested in the US in the 1930s, but decisions were made that it wouldn’t be necessary to try to develop such esoteric technology to win. Even as far as tanks go, again decisions were made to keep producing serviceable tanks like the M-4 Sherman (only one version, quickly replaced, tended to catch fire very easily) in mass numbers instead of constantly stopping factory production to start building new types. The Germans tried the opposite strategy and lost the war. What is more, the American tanks had lots of low-profile but enormously useful technology such as gyrostabilizers, allowing the tanks to fire with some accuracy while moving. German tanks were often superior in raw terms of more metal and bigger guns, but more and bigger isn’t really “technology. What is more, all their large tanks were underpowered (the engines were inferior to the US ones) and that meant they tended to get stuck in mud, trees, rubble, or whatever – and an immobilized tank is only rarely useful. When things like King Tigers really became a problem, the US deployed the M-26 Pershing, which was their equal, but again with a few extras. Of course, we are impressed because what the Germans were working on became public knowledge. God knows what was being worked on in the US and Britain that has remained quiet. And by the way, much of what I’ve written about American equipment was also true of British, French, and sometimes Russian equipment. Against the French Char B’s and British Matildas the German tanks of their time periods were inefective. The same remained true on the Eastern Front as the T-34s, KV series, and then Stalins were what pushed the Germans to come up with their own monster tanks. Oh, and as for rockets, Robert Goddard knew everything the Germans did -It was merely decided that such things wouldn’t win the war -and they didn’t.
While I can respect your opinions , my comments on the SCUD missile really had nothing to do with the weapons performance. Rather my comment is the that some of those missile did contain chemical weapons making them WMDs. Hussien was known to have used chemical weapons previously as well. Chances are, no one would be able to find any UNDECLARED WMDs in the U.S. if they came looking. There are simply lots of places in each country to hide things and never enough people to search for them. It is also possible that they were taken to Iran as were many Iraqi aircraft. Yes, America and Americans have commited attrocities (and will probably do it in the future) America is not alone in this. You have obviously made a greeat effort to learn the English language, so please understand that the vast majority of Americans do not support the wholesale slaughter of any group of people. Most of us want the whole thing over with once and for all. will we all find peace in our time? only if we can stop hating each other long enough to work things out.
DI. Yet more evidence that “Brilliant” and “Crazy” are not mutually exclusive.
Denied nothing I have. I was just trying to make it clear that your numbers being used are crap. We have a little problem in the media in this country like many others do now too where the press and politics are no longer kept apart. The Bush admin and the war aren’t popular so media outlets from the opposite line of thought (the left-anti war) like to pull out fabricated bullcrap instead of using real figures in order to help push their agenda instead of being truthful. Some time ago objective reporting died and the facts took second place to the politics of destruction(of the other side) to get what you want. I never denied a fair deal of the Iraqi population died, but I do refute the bullcrap numbers you’re spitting out the leftist media shills of this nation made up to help their nightly cause on the news.
…And subtle.nature you have a really interesting concept of what reality is, humorous really. I love it when people try to act smarter than they really are using ‘Frasier’ like insults and lame jokes padded with large words they likely had to use a thesaurus and a dictionary to work up. While some parts of what you’re saying hits fairly well, a lot of it is borderline conspiracy theorist bullshit. You really do need to grow up if what I’m saying offends you so much you want to basically close our your prattling post with that infanitle time-travel crap of trying to snuff me out of existence. I understand the party system, the woes of the christian nutbag fringe who has jacked up the GOP, and the crazies of the left who have really as much so screwed up the D side as well. You seem very upset and disillusioned by politics, and your tone somewhere screams at me you’re some wackjob Libertarian or something on the outside who wants to see a huge wash of what exists now and go back to some nicer euphoric version of reality that just isn’t going to happen in this lifetime or the next. But hey if we want to be passing insults, I may as well throw out there it’s fun pissing off douchebags like yourself as I must have with that huge post. Must be fun being 10lbs of crap in the 5lb wrapper eh?
It is not an accurate estimate, but that is part of why I quote it: it is absolutely accurate at what it does: count media reported deaths. As such, it is the absolute undeniable lowest possible bound for estimates of total deaths, where most reasonable estimates are at least 8 times that lower bound. When discussing with folk like J.K. and sid, estimates will likely be challenged as inflated (see J.K.s post), so I point at iraqbodycount.org for the undeniable lower bound.
And yet again you dodge the question:
When you dodge the question (twice now), it lends credence to the idea that you simply ignore the uncomfortable questions.
Look I’m not dodging, yet you want to use that as an excuse so I can’t see where I can win unless I go bust into some gov’t office and find some real hard figures for ya, not going to happen. Taking the media at face value, which you’re doing, is comical as it’s a very wide and speculative stretch. I not once have dodged the fact enemy and non-enemy Iraqi have died, not once, I’ve argued the totals you have given is the same already refuted as crap totals originally used as an anti-war stump speech. Furthermore, what if any does that have to do with my dealing with my country’s history? I know my country’s history fairly well, and there are high points, and low points (say such as the lovely treatment of Native Americans(Indians) such as the Trail of Tears. I deal with it by being aware of it. I don’t deal with it by pandering or bowing down to those who suffered in the far or recent past, but when it is a today incident depending on the issue of the history I can be proud of it or disgusted (such as that stupid and humilating bit with the naked stack of iraqis in those pose photos with some moron military idiots.)
As far as the body count goes, I’m not inflating but deflating them. See the only part I feel I can have a conscience at all over are the innocent that die due to the stupid blunders of our own military. I feel nothing but disgust when it comes to their own people and those moron AlQuida in Iraqi asses, Iranian assistants, and the rest who blow away their own people and try to pin it on U.S. involvement out of convenience of propaganda. See, that’s what your little website does…it doesn’t take just ones we screwed up and killed, but also add in all the fodder of those jerks trying to destroy that fledgeling government and democracy there in the middle of the Middle East. That’s where I went with my less explaned using the inflated numbers that political manipulative asshats in the so called objective media use to rip against this ongoing mess over there. Why ever paint a pretty picture when something goes right? Because that doesn’t sell in the media as well by a long shot, that and doesn’t serve their political interests either in this nation which is sickening on both accounts.
But if you really want to get into a national heritage pissing contest Germany has more than its fair share of ammo even if you take the Third Reich out of the picture…do you deal ok with that?
That’s what I wanted to hear: you were wondering how Germans dealt, I wanted to know how you dealt.
How about the blunder of going in at all? Fact is, most of those killed would still be alive if we hadn’t invaded – regardless of the fact that many have been killed by their own. This was predictable: Cheney predicted it way back when he was working for Bush Sr. I know that a large proportion of the 600,000 to 1.2 million killed were not killed by American soldiers, and iraqbodycount.org and the other estimates make no bones about it either. When you start a war, you have to take responsibility for the consequences.
You accuse Iraqis of killing their own and blaming it on the U.S. military – many Iraqis argue exactly the other way around: that American black ops disguised as insurgents kill Iraqis. The logical claim being, that if Iraqis are busy fighting each other, they’re less likely to kill Americans. I would bet there are instances of both.
Some of you might be interested in properly designed sampling efforts, mathematically accurate statistical estimates, in two words: scientific evidence. Well, I would like to share with you a scientific paper published in the journal “The Lancet”. It is entitled:
Mortality after the 2003 invasion of Iraq: a cross-sectional
cluster sample survey.
By: Gilbert Burnham, Riyadh Lafta, Shannon Doocy, Les Roberts.
The link for the PDF reprint is at:
Now, I would like to challenge some of you to refute this evidence, with similar techniques, insight, and scientific accuracy.
For those of you who do not like to read much, the paper is based on sound scientific methodology, thorough sampling efforts and robust statistical estimates. Among their conclusions is a total mean dead toll of 654.965. All because of the stupid U. S. war on “freedom” in Iraq. Someone must be accountable for this atrocity, someone is in debt with these people, and someone must pay.
By the way, when I said “gorillas with guns” I mean the military. From my point of view, and from a general perspective, a bunch of illiterate dummies looking for meaning in life, usually jobless kids with nothing better to do than to play soldier. Sooner or later they become killers, and opresors, simple pawns handled by a small and exlcusive economical elite.
[sarcasm]Goddamn! I love how this has spun from a discussion on the amount of sheer German scientific genius into taking a stance on an unpopular war the Germans have nothing to do at all with what so ever.[/sarcasm]
Seriously it does tend to get old when you try and find good discussions about relative subject matter on a site and find someone has to wiggle in that politicized spin to shoot a logical fun, hell speculative run of whatever the post/paper/piece was on into someones platform of drivel derailing it into a nice big fat clusterfark.
Somehow I just don’t believe you to be genuine, but maybe that’s my suspicious nature. Or maybe I just believe your true nature is better defined by your initial postings of rage and hatred, rather than your more reasoned postings that have followed since you were taken to task. Either way, I’m not nearly as understanding as oldmancoyote. I don’t respect opinions that are so deeply rooted in hatred. I respect your right to have them, I just don’t respect the opinions themselves, since they are clearly based in hate. In my opinion, you are unwilling to listen to, or consider, differing viewpoints that conflict with your apparent (or is it safe to say obvious) beliefs that America is the root of all evil, all organized religion is evil, and anyone who volunteers to serve in the U.S. military is deserving of nothing more than your contempt because you feel you are so intellectually and morally superior to them. Maybe I’m wrong, but I seriously doubt it. Every one of the indictments you spout against the U.S. in this last “reply” can be directed at most other industrialized nations, and many other nations, for that matter. That means nothing to you, as you hate only the U.S. I’m sure you also deny that the U.S. has ever done anything positive, in your eyes. You are clearly a close-minded, anti-American bigot, and I would defend your right to be just that. Of course, if you made such views public in many other countries, including some so-called advanced ones, you may get a visit from govt. representatives. Kinda ironic.
Rage on, Inti, rage on.
That’s what I thought, too. My comment was intended to be poking fun at the language barrier. Turns out, I was wrong. He did mean gorillas. Go figure.
Ok, I bet most of the forum should be tired of me, and my rants. I just want to clarify that I do not hate the U. S. as a country or its people, I am only opposed to its long chain of abusive presidential administrations. The U. S. is also a main source of knowledge and technology, a beam of light and progress, perhaps the Athens of our days (so much for a contradiction), perhaps just like Germany in the 40s. In the future I will refrain from harsh comments, thus not to obstruct my main contributions in the form of valuable information such as the reference in post # 83 or # 116.
Earlier, Inti said,
Inti, American soldiers are “citizen soldiers”. Our military is literally made up of our neighbors, brothers, sisters, and kids. Statements like you made, above, don’t just lightly indicate, but absolutely cement into peoples’ minds that you are an America hater. Country and people.
You Sir are completely wrong and clueless…
get some facts and support them with sources before posting you PERSONAL impressions/fantasies about other countries.
In Germany people are actually educated about the facts for WW2 and taught not to go onto forums and spread lies/fabrications. “virtually anything Nazi related is banned by governmental law” lol…this is so wrong and its not even funny.
“Anything another country produces that has something to do with that era is blacklisted and banned (the product) and swift fines or worse are levied on anyone who dodges the ban” yes; thats why Germany is producing award winning films which have a global audience which are all bout Hitler and the Nazis…” Outside of some educational institutions where history is examined within Germany it’s illegal to virtually do much of anything or bring up anything about that era in their history, in essence by fantasy of delusion it has been erased” every German school child knows exactly what went on during WW2… there is no tabu at all, the only “thing” that has been forbidden by law is the display of the nazi flag and the shwastika (im not even going to comment on your hillarous Wolfenstein ban)… please go read a book, even “WW2 and post war Germany for Dummies” will prove valuable insight for you at this point.
Btw Germany is NOT North Korea, just in case you got the two mixed up!
sorry for this off topic post, I just cant ignore this blatantly false post by Captain America.
Keep up the good work DI!
I think subtle.nature’s comment is the best one I have ever read on DI. If you missed it, do yourself a favour and scroll back to Comment #48.
Speaking only for me, of course, tired, and at times sickened. That “long chain of abusive presidential administrations” was elected by the people, and represents the people. You hate them (and how far back does that “chain” go, Inti?), you hate us, or at a minimum, you hate the Americans who voted for/support the administrations you hate. One can certainly differentiate between the actions of a dictatorial state and the people is subjugates. Our republic does not fall into that category, in spite of the rantings of folks like subtle.nature. You two would probably get along great.
One can even parse out certain actions of a state with which you disagree. Lots of people disagree with the actions taken regarding Iraq. Many also disagree/d with actions in Afghanistan, Iraq/Kuwait, Vietnam, Korea, WWII, and on and on. There were a whole lot of Americans who wanted us to stay out of WWII and let the Europeans (and those in the Pacific region) sort it out. Nothing wrong with disagreeing with policies, even if you turn out to be wrong. You, however, have called for the death of our President and his Administration, which is a bit more than most will stand for. I notice some who sympathize with your anti-Iraq stance seem to give tacit approval for your extremist response of death to those you blame for the action. That includes one individual who seemed to think I was angry for disagreeing with his personal opinions. I, on the other hand, do not accept such hateful rhetoric as being anything more than the rantings of an individual who wishes to be either provocative, or simply one filled with malice.
Now you have casually compared the U.S. to Nazi Germany. Nice. Also to ancient Athens, a state that many consider enlightened and the birthplace of Democracy. I presume that was intended to be a compliment, but all should remember Athens had numerous tragic flaws, as well. And was your comment about knowledge and technology meant as some sort of peace offering? “Yeah, their government is a bunch of murderous thugs, and the people allow them to do what they do, but they do have some nice Universities and put out some good products.” You’ve toned down your rhetoric, but your initial offerings, again, speak to who you really are, and your underlying contempt and hatred for America remains clear. To me, at least.
As for the “valuable information” you offered, in post #83, would that be your implied view that research is not important to support your opinions, or your calling for the execution of the current administration? In post #116, you provided a link to a study, then challenged folks to contest it. Do a Wiki search and you will find that there are folks who contest it. As with most research, some folks support this product, and some do not. Some contest it on methodology, some contest it on the political views of the authors. I’m not a statistician, so I won’t even try to contest or defend it, because I don’t have the background. If someone here wants to, well, such efforts require a bit of research, so don’t expect anything immediately. But if you think that you have cleared up my perception of you in any way because you actually found research that supports one of your views, then you are mistaken. You are who you are: In my opinion, an angry, anti-American zealot with little productive to offer in any dialogue regarding U.S. policy, foreign or domestic. If you can refrain from your angry rhetoric in the future, great. If not, then expect to be countered when you offer future diatribes. And lay off the primates.
I will continue to speak for what is true until someone ban me from this forum. I am not afraid. You can continue to attack my personal points of view, but you do not contribute with anything but empty rhetoric. Rhetoric that only blurs reality into a mess of subjective points of view, that benefits only those who are truly guilty. Terrible crimes have been committed in Iraq, and someone must be held responsible, that is all what I say. Abu Ghraib is just one example, and I can include one per post if you want. Democracy is such a different thing from what you think you have in the U. S. Just think a little about it. Military, guns, armament, I am sorry but I will continue to despise everything related to violence and oppression until the end of my life, I will not change in that respect. Every time I see a youngster in camouflage it gives me the creeps. It looks to me so absurd and infantile, so dangerous and contradictory, that a sense of disgust is inevitable in me. Citizens transformed in cannon fodder at the service of the powerful, no questions asked, no reason involved. “Heroes” for which I can held anything but contempt or perhaps just feel sorry for them.
Yes I am angry, angry because the world is full of ignorance and abuse, full of lies, exploitation, war, abuse, crime and unfairness. I am angry because there are people like Bush, who are unable to think on one coherent sentence, and nevertheless hold so much power in their hands, to decide who lives and who dies in Third World Countries. I am angry because there is so many people that think everything is okay, and will continue to elect criminals as presidents.
I am still waiting for scientific evidence contesting the paper in The Lancet…
Ubi dubium ibi libertas
You certainly do a lot of wishing people dead, for such a pacifist.
Where do you live? Would you like a history lesson, showing how you personally benefit from violence and oppression performed on your behalf? So, where do you live?
I certainly support your right to speak, although the majority of what you have said bares little resemblance to the truth. I neither think you will be, nor should be, baned from this forum, so you have no reason to fear. Not sure why you would be “afraid” of being banned, anyway, since this is just a web site. But if it makes you feel brave to state you are not afraid, good for you.
When I have the time, and I feel you have crossed a particular line, I’ll be there for ya!
Hey, that’s original. I’ve been complaining about your incessant use of angry, vitriolic rhetoric, and now you’ve turned the tables on me. I’m impressed!
Right back at’cha!
If it makes you feel better, post whatever you wish. The conflict in Iraq is horrible. But terrible crimes were being committed there long before U.S. forces (and those from several other nations) landed for the second time. I’ve not defended our initial involvement, nor have I tried to argue things have been handled either appropriately, inappropriately, or a mix of both. You’ve got me mixed up with someone else.
If you are trying to imply that I have never thought about what we have in the U.S., boy are you way off base. But perhaps you’ve explained your particular problem with reality. You think only a little about things. I try to think a lot. Warts and all, I’ll still contend the U.S. is a great example of Democracy. Flaws? You bet! Room for improvement? Without a doubt! Still better than most, if not all. Care to cite a better example?
Also related to freedom, thankyouverymuch. You like Latin, I see. Quemadmoeum gladis nemeinum occidit, occidentis telum est.
You shouldn’t be so close-minded. They’re only clothes, and not proof of the true nature of the individual.
Perhaps, for you own personal well-being, you may want to adjust your perspective.
I guess we can add to the list of “Things Inti Hates.” It’s not just members of the U.S. Military, it’s ANYONE who puts on the uniform of his country. Good to know you aren’t just singling us out.
Yeah, we already established your anger. Unfortunately, you have done nothing to change the things that anger you, and have, in fact added to the wealth of ignorance.
Yeah, we know you hate Bush. Because people might disagree with your views, however, does not mean they think “everything is okay.” Your views of Bush aside, criminals are elected to office all the time, and in nations throughout the world. Or they simply sieze power. I don’t agree with your assessment of Bush, but agree there are criminals in power at many levels of government and in many countries. That, of course, should be fought (or is that too violent a term for you?).
And I already told you how you can find some. Unlike you, I found the time to do some research. In this electronic age, research is actually pretty quick and painless, if you want to try it out. If you want to look it up, and review it for yourself, have at it. Again, I’m not saying the research is right or wrong. I’m just saying that opposing views do exist.
Nemo saltat sobrius nisi forte insanit
Ok, it has been an interesting excercise for me. I give as finished this interchange of thoughts (or should I say should I say exchange of artillery?). I indeed like Latin, but I know little of it.
Thus, given that:
vir sapit qui pauca loquitur
and because some replies to my posts:
merda taurorum animas meae conturbit
is that I finally say, considering its friday night:
For everyone’s edification, some facts:(Note that it is now February 2008, a year and a half after the report)
The “Lancet Survey” (Wikipedia link), October 2006 concluded:
The survey was carried out in best statistical practices:
Aside from general dismissal by the Bush Administration, the only attempts at real criticisms are the following:
1) the Iraqi government, which complains that they have not issued that many death certificates
2) criticism that the estimation of the pre-war death rate was artificially low
3) discrepancy in comparison to a broader survey carried out in 2004, the “United Nations Development Programme Iraq Living Conditions Survey”, which had much lower figures (note that it is also a good bit older).
No serious criticism of the methodology has been made, and some critics of the report, still admit it is the best statistic currently available.
Inti: say what you will about how the U.S. military is being used as pawns, I know several men and women in uniform, and my general impression is that they are, for the most part, upstanding people just doing the best they can. Many if not most joined because they thought “it was the right thing to do” – they trusted our government not to fight an unjust war. I feel that trust has been betrayed, others here seem to think that is not the case. Regardless, please don’t insult our soldiers for trying to do the right thing. If you have valid criticism of individual soldiers, okay. If you think they were too trusting, okay. But please leave out “gorilla” comments and the like.
The Latin, for those of you who don’t understand it:
Ubi dubium ibi libertas = Where there is doubt, there is freedom
Quemadmoeum gladis nemeinum occidit, occidentis telum est = A sword is never a killer; it is a tool in the killer’s hands
Nemo saltat sobrius nisi forte insanit = Nobody dances sober unless he’s insane
Vir sapit qui pauca loquitur = It is a wise man who speaks little
Merda taurorum animas meae conturbit = Bullshit baffles my mind
Note the “standard” quote is: Merda taurorum animas conturbit = Bullshit baffles the mind
Corripe cervisiam = Seize the beer!
I wish that DamnInteresting.com would implement two changes:
1) Posts would be limited to two or three paragraphs. If you can’t make your point in two or three paragraphs, write an article for NYT or Atlantic Monthly, for crissake. You’re just not that interesting, no matter what your mirror tells you.
2) Posts should have two counters: a “thumbs-up” and a “thumbs-down.” Logged-in members would then get to click on a counter to indicate agreement (“Right on, bro!”) or disagreement (“Shaddup, doofus!”)
Ha! I caught that also!! I second this post. May all of our comments and contributions to this article avoid being crated and stored in a large warehouse. :)
Jeffrey93; wh44; k2r; and Skydive- Wow, this is such a great conversation and I love your comments. Thank you so much. I really think I will love to come to Berlin and check it out. I feel truly honored to have had such smart people giving honest feedback and thoughts on this. It is so appreciated and I just want to say that this site never ceases to be a positive force in my life because it helps me think more broadly than I ever could alone.
Everyone’s comments on this particular article are such a good read because of the exchange of different ideas and also the topic does trigger some emotions. Regardless of viewpoints I have to say that the comments as a whole strike me as a collective dig into a rich and complex subject that we’re all better off for thinking through.
And remember, kids – Solum potestis prohibere ignes silvarum !
Just reading the comments here leaves me feeling like I’ve been on the frontline myself. Ah well, nothing like a bit of debate.
DI article, by the way. Keep them coming.
Good point, did you mean people like these?—>>>
two mentally retarded women detonated in a coordinated attack on Baghdad pet bazaars Friday, Iraqi officials said, killing at least 73 people in the deadliest day since the U.S. sent 30,000 extra troops to the capital last spring. Brig. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi, said the female bombers had Down syndrome and that the explosives were detonated by remote control indicating they may not having been willing attackers in what could be a new method by suspected Sunni insurgents to subvert stepped up security measures.
I don’t think the US had anything to do with this, and couldnt help but wonder if those figures of civilian deaths included the victims of the bombings perpetrated with in the country. I can say without a reasonable amount of doubt that the USA refuses to allow obviously mentally retarded people to join the service. We don’t blow up our market places with innocent retarded people to promote our ideal of the perfect religion creed or cult. Tho some see the deaths of our military as sacrifices, and senseless we honor those who choose to serve and are grateful that they have. It has afforded us the right to voice all opinions on a forum like this with out fear of reprisal.
Unless of course you find a downed UFO, then you get a visit from the MIB, but that is another can of worms, and off topic.
If you had read the discussion, you would know that 31% of civilian deaths are directly attributed to U.S. forces (meaning 69% not) and that many people consider any deaths that would not have occurred without the invasion, including these, to be at least partially our responsibility: if you start a war, you’re responsible for the consequences.
Another week, another fight!
Before the invasion there were near 650.000 people living their normal lives in a fairly normal society. After the invasion they were killed in the most various ways. I ask you if you do not infer some kind of cause and effect between the homicide of these people and the invasion perpetrated by the U.S. Of course, according to your logic, it appears as pure coincidence. Moreover, from your logic, it seems that you think that all this carnage is because of retarded people, and that Iraqi citizens just love to kill each other, and have been happily enjoing it before the U.S. invasion. Man, if the U.S. happens to someday invade my nation, you can bet there will be a lot of blood from both sides, you can also bet you will destroy my nation and my culture, but you can be completely sure we will never forget. Ah! You can also bet there will be a few cowards enjoying the business of oil, weapons, and war services, just like Bush, Cheney, and company are doing these days.
I do agree with you, however, in that religious fanaticism is perhaps the worst threat against civilization at the present time.
Based on your extensive writing, and your apparent embrace of this phrase, I guess even you don’t consider yourself wise. Join the club.
Substitute “logic” for the scatalogical reference, and I’d say you got it right, in your case.
So, maybe we can add an unhealthy dependence on alcohol to the long list of Inti flaws. We can also add an aversion to answering direct questions. Unfortunately, that seems to be the standard MO for those who like to partake in Bush/America-bashing on this forum. Too bad, but not surprising.
I’m thinking that the focused beam of light would excite the water vapor in the atmosphere to create a thick cloud cover which would scatter the light, rendering the beam useless.
While it’s true that the ration ofGerman soldiers was 1 to 3 on the Western and Eastern fronts, that’s still a good chunk of their army.
Also remember that the USSR was fed, clothed, supplied, and fueled by the USA from 1942 onwards. Without US material, the USSR would of collapsed.
And do you know what was one of the most used tanks in the USSR at the time? No, not the T-34, it was the Sherman.
The USSR did a very good job of minimizing the support it received from the “capitalist” west, including censoring most, if not all, photos of the Shermans the US gave the USSR to use. I’ve spoken to German WW2 vets and what pissed them off the most was the “MADE IN THE U.S.A.” stamp they saw on so much Russian stuff.
As usual, I don’t think you know what that word means. For those who want to simply accept your cherry-picked passages, understanding you will support anything that will support your hatred of Bush, then this accomplishes your goal. For those interested in actually doing their own thinking, try reading ALL of the Wiki entry, some/all of the offerings from Bugger, and/or http://news.nationaljournal.com/articles/databomb/index.htm. There is a great deal of criticism of the Lancet studies. Then again, you refuse to accept many things that conflict with your unique views on the world.
But hey, thanks for taking all the fun out of doing research. Do you really think visitors to this forum would not have been able to find the translations, if they had wanted to? Heck, you did, and your research and comprehension skills aren’t even that good.
Bugger: I invite anyone with any doubts to follow your links and decide for themselves – but don’t forget to read the responses. I followed the first link, where lots of accusations of impropriety were made without any concrete examples. The very first response tore the article’s accusations apart in a few paragraphs.
I, too, invite people to read the original Wikipedia article: hey, that’s why I made a link to it in my original post. My synopsis was only an attempt to be helpful.
From your National Journal article: “This stunning toll was more than 10 times the number of deaths estimated by the Iraqi or U.S. governments, or by any human-rights group” – no, it is a little less than 10 times the total of deaths reliably reported in newspapers as counted by iraqbodycount.org, the absolute rock hard bottom count, and less than twice the Iraqi government’s own estimate. After reading that kind of lie, I didn’t bother with the rest of the article.
Do you think people want to spend the time researching the Latin? Not everyone has hours and hours to waste, as you apparently do.
Final note: do you really think your ad hominem attacks add to your credibility?
Not really. The first response was merely a defense of the Lancet “study” by someone who has spent a great deal of time trying to defend it. The subsequent responses contradict Tirman well. Perhaps the biggest problem with the “study” is ponted out in the second post to the first link:
“If you really think this ‘study has perhaps been the most closely vetted of all time’, well, you need to get out more. How can it be properly vetted when the authors refuse to provide the full dataset and a complete methodological description to other social scientists?”
This is a compelling argument. If ALL of the research on which this “study” is based is not made available for careful scrutiny, how can it really be taken seriously? Unless, of course, you want to just give the authors/researchers the benefit of the doubt, blindly accept they did everything without a hint of bias, and ignore the fact that they went into the “research” fully opposed to the Iraq conflict, and likely looking for ways to support their positions.
Helpful? I think what you meant to say was “…helpful for those who support my anti-Bush/anti-Iraq actions views.” Including the link, then picking out the passages that best support your position is a common tactic for those who wish to create the impression of being “fair,” if that’s the right word. The hope is that folks will not bother to do the additional research, and just take your “summary” as the final word on the subject.
My article? I just pointed to a recent article that questions the “study.” I didn’t write it. As for the alleged lie, the Lancet “study” said approximately 655,000 dead, IBC said less than 50,000 (at the time of the Lancet “study”), so you are wrong on that count. I guess I should not bother to read the rest of your postings? Other sources being less than 10 times? That’s certainly possible. But your Iraq govt. estimate (if I’m to presume you are referring to Iraq’s Health Minister) says 100,000-150,000 (at the time of the Lancet “study”). Certainly not 10 times, but just as certainly not “less than twice the Iraqi government’s own estimate.” Looks like hyperbole on both sides (yours and National Journal). Nonetheless, you may be better served to read opposing views, even if sometimes flawed for whatever reasons. The fact that there may be one error does not mean you can reasonably ignore every other issue raised in the article.
Lots of people like to do their own research. That’s how they both learn how to do it effectively, and expand their base of knowledge. It took less than five minutes to track down an exact translation of Inti’s quote. If that is too much of a burden for some, then perhaps they are not that interested in the Latin, or in research in general. Their choice, of course, but if you think it makes you look smarter by posting the translations, then I’m all in favor of you doing so. Whatever it takes to boost your already overinflated sense of self-esteem.
No, I think they add a little humor to the discussion. The areas where I inject research, logic, and reason are intended to add to the credibility of my positions on the discussion. I’m not too concerned if folks here consider me to be credible, as nobody knows who I am, who you are, or who anybody is. Nobody here should be considered “credible,” per se, since there is a blanket of anonymity shrouding all posters. Anyone can say what is their background, but there’s obviously no way of knowing any of it to be true, unless a particular poster wants to reveal his true identity and bona fides. I’ll let the facts speak for themselves, and continue with snide jabs where I deem appropriate. This forum is a very casual mechanism for these types of discussions. It is in no way intended to be the final arbiter of incredibly complex social and political matters. It is, in fact, as equally suited for entertainment as it is for research. That’s why authors inject their own humor into their submissions. Humorous comments in the articles should not diminish the credibility of the articles themselves, nor should humorous comments in postings be deemed diminishing of the content of the postings.
Your own ad hominems are likely intentionally more subtle than are mine, as you seem more concerned with how strangers perceive your online persona. I do not share those concerns. My humor is not for everyone (just as not everyone appreciates the humor of “First” postings or “Pie” comments), especially those who wind up on the receiving end of my jabs. Don’t take things so personally.
sid: You know, I found a credible critique of the Lancet study, at iraqbodycount.org: Reality checks: some responses to the latest Lancet estimates. Though they didn’t field estimates of their own, it looks, from the analysis they made, that more than double the count is highly unlikely. Some delicious humble pie for yours truly. Bugger and sid: you might want to link to this in future – the sites you linked to were really lacking in hard analysis.
That said, it hasn’t change my mind about much. Civilians are still dying violent deaths every day in Iraq. One hundred thousand deaths is still a staggering number.
I’m sure the Rev. will appreciate, at least in part, the nature of your meal. IBC’s objections were covered in the National Journal article, so I’m not sure there’s a need to create a new link to it, but perhaps you stopped reading it before you got there. And while the NJ article does cover some compelling objections (in my opinion) not covered by IBC, I’m glad we can agree that Lancet II does, in fact, have its critics, regardless of whether or not we can agree on who is credible.
BTW, I think IBC is still looking at a little under 90,000 deaths, rather than 100,000. At least, that was at the end of last year, so I’m not sure if they’ve updated for ’08, thus far. Both big numbers, of course, but we should all strive for accuracy when talking about research/statistics.
Wow. You guys just don’t stop. Why don’t you all start your own forum called “Damn Tedious” and spew your thinly-veiled insults over there? This article is about a theoretical giant magnifying glass to fry human ants, not your back-and-forth holier-than-thou B.S. non sequitur concerning Iraq. Cheers to the posters, such as jimhorn and others, who actually commented on the physics of the apparatus. Jeers to the 4 or 5 people who really think the rest of us are interested in their pseudo-intellectual mutual masturbation.
Whilst I do appreciate the humorous criticism inserted here and do take to away from it a small reminder to keep a sense of humor about all things (petty discussion board conversations most of all), I tend to disagree with the general notion that off-topic discussion should somehow be taboo.
Firstly, I think it’s safe to suggest that the few who have posted relevant comments regarding the science pertaining to this DI article have done so because they have relevant backgrounds/stories to appropriate – good for them. The rest of us clearly don’t, and there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, these boards would not be nearly as humorous or informative without us – the ones deserving of your jeers.
The fact of the matter is, while we all clearly find DI to be a watering hole of interesting but obscure information, there are more current and universally relevant topics to be discussed. War just happens to be one of those.
Besides, who can resist handing out anonymous backhands when there are such easy targets – like J.K., for example. I mean, come on, the guy’s like a cross-eyed, over-bred canine that remains fiercely loyal no matter how many times his owner gets boozed-up and kicks the s**t out of him.
So thanks for the comment, but I rather enjoy the frenzied, rabbit-f***ing pace that such off topic discussions are created, and kudos to DI for not patrolling the boards like part-time security guards.
You left-brain types aren’t welcome ’round these parts anyhow, so you really should be thankful you weren’t extradited on arrival, sh0cktopus.
I know ‘The Little Engine That Could’ is essential reading material, but that type of determined life philosophy isn’t really boding well for you. After all, you have yet to provide a single, lucid refutation in any of your posts. May I suggest a children’s book that might be more suitable to your intellectual capabilities? Perhaps, something of the ‘When I’m Big: A Guess How Much I Love You Storybook’ variety?
Most well-balanced post of this entire thread.
John Tittor or anyone interested,Ipod technology destroys Electronic equipment,made prior to ipods ‘s transmission’s.If following are on at same time.1 home telephone wireless model#md751,tnp:516200-001,usoc:rj11c,listed ite:66cf,e204488,sn 602ve405dt Motorola2.coaxial connector2input,set1,set2,by archer2 set uhf/vhf/fm.hybrid splitter/combiner.made in Taiwan,unshielded coaxial coax,hooked up to splitter,rg-6u,1194a-100 foot..Simply put,.the wifi signal with unshielded amplifier speaker,makes ipod transmits static.
all you pepoles please ride cows and not horseys!
there fast and they fart and shit alot!
“Superiority” by Aurthur Clarke
Damn, you beat me to it ;-)
The US organize their own little black ops, to stoke the civil war in Iraq?
Let’s get this straight… They dispose of a megalomaniacal dictator who killed thousands of his own people, pave the way for a democratically elected government and then do this to destabilize that government? Why would they do that? Because it’s fun having to keep troops down there for prolonged periods?
[POSSIBLE [i]INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS[/i] SPOILER]
This recalls to my mind the forehead carving in [i]Inglourious Basterds[/i].
Damn. I recently came back to this site after a long break after a period when I couldn’t post comments from my Mac for some reason. What happened to post previews? And how do we do text effects now?
Ah, that worked. Sorry for the triple post.
I wonder how much radiation pressure would be felt by the mirror, and whether it could be used for trajectory corrections.
In only eleven years, the majority of the links that the posters provided no longer function.
So much for the idea of “If it’s on the Internet, it’s there forever.”
Just checking back in.
Checking back in.
Can you imagine what some radical religious groups would do with a superweapon?
Eleven months already? Gad.