Tags: history

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Internet scrapings, offbeat news and other oddities.

Telescopic Text: I made Tea. Or, illustrating the importance of brevity in creative writing. Via Cynical C blog.

How many camels is your girlfriend worth? Find out with this handy calculator. According to this thing, Kim is worth 37 camels, 6 goats and 0 sheep :D

5 lies you were taught in history class.

Answering the question "If you aren't doing anything wrong, what do you have to hide?" concerning privacy versus security, or rather, liberty versus control.

Remember that priest proposing a beauty contest for nuns? Yeah, it's been cancelled.

Denver mint fails to levitate; 9/11 conspiracy theorist has screaming match with Michelle Malkin; Democratic National Congress otherwise unremarkable.

Mom attempts to hack up her two adopted Chinese girls to death with an ax, then attempts to stab self, fails. She was overwhelmed with financial pressures and incredible stress and sought help over fears that she would harm her girls.

How the Soviets drilled the deepest hole in the world.

How to pick out the perfect pet tarantula.

NJ puppy scares off three bears.

Father who ran off reunited with the son he left behind, after 22 years... both doing hard time in the same prison for sex offenses. Awww. Via Fark, of course.

Man spends $10,000 on bar mitzvah. For his dog.

Two brothers burn down their grandma's house trying to play a prank on their cousin, who wasn't even home at the time. Alcohol may have been involved.

The Catholic Church is under growing pressure to abandon the exhumation and reburial of the body of one its most famous cardinals in defiance of his wish to lie for eternity next to the man he loved. So much WTFery here if you really think about it. If the Catholic stance on homosexuality is that it is wrong, then how did this guy end up (and remain) a Cardinal in the first place? If he was buried next to his lover, it's hardly a secret. And what does exhuming his corpse and moving him prove by now? And by this measure, aren't there dozens or hundreds more worthy (?) prominent deceased figures in the Catholic Church's history that should be exhumed and "chastized" long before this guy?

Cows have the ability to remember and recognize human faces. Also, research using Google Earth images has proved that cows have a magnetic sense, like birds.

The Mona Lisa remixed by various prominent modern artists. Hilarity ensues.
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The worst accidents in aviation history, by death toll

X-posted to useless_facts.

The Tenerife Disaster in 1977 was the worst accident in aviation history of any kind, after 9/11. Two loaded Boeing 747s collided, one attempting take off and the other coming in to land at the same time on the same runway. A total of 583 people died, including people on the ground.

Heavy fog and communication problems between the KLM captain on the ground and the control tower were the primary causes. The captain and the air traffic controller couldn't understand each other's heavy accents, and the captain thought he was cleared for take-off when he was being told to get into position and await clearance. The fog prevented him from seeing the Pan Am Boeing 747 coming in for landing right in front of him until it was way too late.

The accident triggered the standardization of communication between the control tower and flight crews so this would never happen again.



Japan Airlines Flight 123
in 1985 was the worst accident in aviation history that involved a single aircraft, killing 520 people on board and leaving only 4 survivors.

In simple English, the tail was blown off the plane, taking along with it not only one of the most critical control surfaces of any aircrat (the tail), but also severed all four main hydraulic lines that serve the entire aircraft, leaving the 747 without a tail and completely paralyzed aside from just engine control.

To put that in perspective, it's like driving your car down the freeway and your steering wheel comes off in your hand, taking with it your brakes, and all you have to use to control your car is the gas pedal. That's basically what the brave pilots did with their doomed 747 for half an hour before it plowed into a mountainside.

The cause was determined to be a rushed maintenance and repair job when the tail was damaged in an earlier flight, causing the rear pressure bulkhead to be weaker than normal, eventually blowing open and tearing off the tail and hydraulic lines in the process.

The president of Japan Airlines resigned, and a maintenance manager working for the company committed suicide to "apologize" for the accident.


Turkish Airlines Flight 981 in 1974 was the worst accident of all time in aviation history, until the above two accidents occurred later. Flight 981 was a DC-10 flying over France when the cargo door burst open, causing explosive decompression but also severing control cables for the tail and the tail engine. The plane crashed into a field at high speed, killing all 346 passengers and crew.

The cause was a known design defect in the cargo door. Throwing scandal and outrage into the tragedy was the revelation this had happened before with a DC-10 on United Airlines Flight 811, where the cargo door blew off in a similar fashion and 9 passengers were blown out of the plane and killed. At that point in time, McDonnell Douglas told the FAA they'd fix it, but then didn't do a thing about it.


Air India Flight 182 in 1985 was blown up over the Atlantic Ocean by a terrorist bomb, and was the worst airborne terrorist action prior to the September 11, 2001 attacks, killing all 329 passengers and crew.



American Airlines Flight 191
was the worst aviation accident on American soil after 9/11 and the deadliest aviation accident involving a single aircraft on US soil. A total of 271 people were killed, including two on the ground. There were no survivors.

The cause was a bad maintenance job on the left engine, leaving it poorly attached to the wing. On takeoff, with the engine at maximum thrust, it basically broke off and shot forward, and then flipped back over the wing, taking off a foot of the wing's leading edge. All multi-engine aircraft are capable of flying on only one engine, but in this case, the engine tore off a section of the front edge of the wing, drastically changing the aircraft's overall aerodynamics, and it also tore off critical hydraulic lines in the wing.

This was also the fourth fatal accident involving the infamous DC 10 at the time.


The 1996 Charkhi Dadri mid-air collision over Charkhi Dadri, Haryana stands as the worst mid-air collision to date. 349 people were killed when a Saudi Arabian Boeing 747 headed towards New Delhi collided head-on with an Air Kazakhstan aircraft that had just left New Delhi.

The cause was attributed to the Air Kazakhstan aircraft not understanding or obeying the air traffic controller's warnings to change altitude to avoid the collision.


Iran Air Flight 655 was a civilian passenger airliner that was shot down by a missile launched from a US Navy cruiser, the USS Vincennes, in Iranian waters while the flight was in Iranian airspace. All 290 passengers and crew perished, making it the seventh deadliest aviation accident of all time.

Needless to say the cause is up for much debate. According to the US government, the Vincennes mistakenly identified the Iranian airliner as an attacking military fighter. According to the Iranian government, the shooting down of IR 655 by the Vincennes was an intentionally performed and unlawful act.

In August 1988, Newsweek quoted the Vice President as saying; "I'll never apologize for the United States of America. Ever, I don't care what the facts are." in regard to the shoot down or any other mistakes. Bush Sr. used the phrase frequently during the 1988 campaign. The United States has never formally apologized or admitted any wrongdoing, although as part of a settlement at the International Court of Justice they paid $61.8 million in compensation for those killed on the flight.
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I shall look up so my tears don't fall: Sukiyaki and Japan Airlines Flight 123.

Ue o muite arukō is a song you probably have heard a lot of times as covers, usually named "Sukiyaki" in English-speaking countries. It's the one that usually begins as "It's all because of you / I'm feeling sad and blue."

The original song was performed by a Japanese singer named Kyu Sakamoto and was a hit in his native country in 1961 before also hitting number one in the United States in 1963.



It is in fact the only completely Japanese language song to top the American charts to date.

The song was first loosely translated into English by A Touch of Honey in 1981, and most recently by 4PM in 1995, and by a myriad of artists ranging from Bob Dylan to Snoop Dogg have covered or sampled it in between. There is even a Spanish version by Hispanic diva Selena. Several versions have topped the charts worldwide at various different times.

The translation is very loose: ..."A Taste of Honey's Janice Marie Johnson is quoted as saying that when she translated the original Japanese lyrics into English, she found out that the lyrics could be interpreted in three ways: as a man on his way to his execution, as someone trying to be optimistic despite life's trials, or as the story of an ended love affair. "Me being the hopeless romantic that I am," she explained, "I decided to write about a love gone bad." Thus, the English version featured lyrics like: "In reality/You and I will never be/'Cause you took your love away from me." (Wikipedia article)

However, the original song and title translate more accurately as:

"I shall look up / so my tears don't fall."

The verses of the song go on to describe him doing this through the seasons of the year.

On August 12, 1985, Kyu Sakamoto, the original singer of this haunting song, boarded Japan Airlines Flight 123. Twelve minutes into the flight, the vertical stabilizer (the tail) literally fell off the aircraft, a Boeing 747 jumbo jet with 519 passengers and 15 cabin crew.



While this is in itself a fatal wound, as a plane without a tail is nearly uncontrollable, the tail also ripped off all four hydraulic systems, meaning the pilots had no surface control systems (flaps, slats, all those flappy things on the wings) of any kind. The massive aircraft began porpoising, flipping up and down randomly, in what is called a Phugoid cycle, typical behavior for a paralyzed plane in the air.

For the next thirty two minutes of sheer unimaginable terror for everyone on board, the pilots bravely struggled to keep the crippled aircraft in the air using what little control they had, which came in the form of innovatively manipulating the engine thrust. But it was still clearly hopeless. With no tail, no hydraulics and control surfaces at all, the aircraft was simply doomed. It was just a matter of time.

The passengers began writing farewell notes to their loved ones. Kyu Sakamoto wrote a letter to his wife.

Some had no access to writing instruments and cut themselves to write their farewell notes in their own blood.

At six minutes past seven pm, the giant aircraft plunged through dark skies towards a remote, mountainous area near a quiet village named Ueno in Japan.

It slammed into a mountain, flipped over once, and came to rest upside down in flames.

The screams and moans of survivors amidst the wreckage slowly quietened one by one as the hours of the night bled by slowly and help did not come.

Hampered by the remote location and terrain, rescue teams arrived over twelve hours after the crash. They found only four survivors.

Japan Airlines Flight 123 still stands as the worst air disaster involving a single aircraft. 520 passengers perished.

The ensuing investigtion into the cause of the crash revealed a rushed maintenance job by the ground crew. Their failure to follow procedure to Boeing's instructions perfectly had caused the rear bulkhead to weaken and fail in flight, bursting open and tearing the tail off, which also severed all hydraulic lines in the process.

In the aftermath, Japan Air's passengers dropped by a third. Its president resigned, and one of the ground crew maintenance managers committed suicide as an "apology" to the victims and their grieving loved ones. Without admitting liability, JAL paid 780 million yen to the families of the victims of Flight 123.

Among the many grieving families were Catherine Bayly of England and her unborn child. Her husband was a banker named Akihisa Yukawa. One month after the crash, Catherine Bayly gave birth to Diana Yukawa.

At the age of 5, Diana mastered the violin, clearly a musical prodigy.

At a memorial service for Flight 123 victims, young Diana performed "Sukiyaki" on her violin in memory of her father whom she never got to know. She also played another piece, Elegy, that was composed by a man whose wife and child perished in the crash.

The performance made her a media sensation for her phenomenal talent and led to her eventual success while still a teenager.



Shortly before the Japanese release of her CD, she returned to the site of the crash with her violin for another performance of Sukiyaki, as a gift and message to her father.


References:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kyu_Sakamoto
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sukiyaki_(song)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diana_Yukawa
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japan_Airlines_Flight_123
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/arts/main.jhtml?xml=/arts/2001/03/03/tlyuk10.xml
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fm20001126a1.html
http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,172586,00.html


YouTube of the original Sukiyaki song, Ue o muite arukō, by Kyu Sakamoto, 1963.


YouTube of the popular cover, Sukiyaki, by 4 PM, 1995.


"The anniversary happens to fall during the holiday of Obon, when the souls of the dead are said to return home. Crowds of mourners scale this mountain on this day every year to remember the disaster. They all fall silent as Diana Yukawa, 15, picks up her violin. She shuts her eyes and plays a tune by the singer Kyu Sakamoto, who also died in the crash. The song topped charts around the world in 1963 (in the U.S., it was called Sukiyaki) and is popular again in Japan thanks to the plaintive rendition Diana plays in sold-out concerts and on a best-selling debut CD, which is dedicated to her father and other victims of the crash. When she finishes, she walks calmly into a log cabin and bursts into tears." - Time article.
53

(no subject)

X-posted to uselessfacts. After coming across this post here about Popes, I felt compelled to re-upload this really old post of mine from last year. Enjoy!





A brief look at some of the more colorful Popes throughout history:

Sources: The Rotten Library, Wikipedia, and The Catholic Encyclopedia.



Pope John XII (937 - 964)
Had sex with pretty much anything that moved. Killed off people that got in his way. Finally was himself killed by a dude who came home and found him humping his wife.



Pope Benedict IX (1012 - roughly 1065)
What happens when a horny, spoiled 12 year old becomes Pope.

"The stories about Benedict's behavior reached heights comparable to the most notorious popes. He was accused of habitual sodomy and bestiality, and was said to have sponsored orgies where any available orifice was considered fair game. His excesses were so legendary that they helped prompt St. Peter Damian, a cloistered monk, to write an extended treatise against sex in general, and homosexuality in particular, with a special focus on how these practices had become rampant within the Catholic priesthood and even the papacy itself... Damian recorded that Benedict "feasted on immorality" and that he was "a demon from hell in the disguise of a priest." Although Damian singled out Benedict for particular scorn, the diatribe was directed at the clergy in general. Benedict's sex life might have been colorful, but it wasn't exactly unusual...



Pope Stephen VI (? - 942)
Talk about holding a grudge.


After becoming the Pope, Stephen VI had his predecessor, Pope Formosus, put on trial. The fact that Formosus had been dead for about seven months didn't bother him much.

He ordered the rotting corpse dug out of its grave, draped in papal attire, put on trial and found guilty. He had the dead pope stripped of his papal title, had the three "blessing" fingers of the right hand broken off, and buried in a pauper's grave. Then not long after that he had the poor corpse dug up yet again and then thrown into the Tiber river, where a monk later recovered it and restored it to the original tomb.

After Stephen VI himself was deposed, imprisoned and killed, Pope Sergius III after him (who earlier attended the posthumous trial of Formosus) upheld the trial and had Stephen VI glorified for it. There are conflicting accounts that he ordered the corpse exhumed yet again and beheaded.

Rotten Library article on Pope Stephen VI
Wikipedia article on Pope Stephen VI
Wikipedia article on "The Cadaver Synod," or the trial of dead Pope Formosus.


Sources and further reading:
http://www.rotten.com/library/bio/religion/popes/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_sexually_active_popes
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bad_Popes

ETA: There are so many more Popes to highlight, but I honesly didn't have the time to bother. Check out the links and stuff for moar. Enjoy :)
word can help write your suicide note

A brief look at some of the more colorful Popes throughout history

Cross posted to atheism here and antitheism here :-)



A brief look at some of the more colorful Popes throughout history:

Sources: The Rotten Library, Wikipedia, and The Catholic Encyclopedia.



Pope John XII (937 - 964)
Had sex with pretty much anything that moved. Killed off people that got in his way. Finally was himself killed by a dude who came home and found him humping his wife.



Pope Benedict IX (1012 - roughly 1065)
What happens when a horny, spoiled 12 year old becomes Pope.

"The stories about Benedict's behavior reached heights comparable to the most notorious popes. He was accused of habitual sodomy and bestiality, and was said to have sponsored orgies where any available orifice was considered fair game. His excesses were so legendary that they helped prompt St. Peter Damian, a cloistered monk, to write an extended treatise against sex in general, and homosexuality in particular, with a special focus on how these practices had become rampant within the Catholic priesthood and even the papacy itself... Damian recorded that Benedict "feasted on immorality" and that he was "a demon from hell in the disguise of a priest." Although Damian singled out Benedict for particular scorn, the diatribe was directed at the clergy in general. Benedict's sex life might have been colorful, but it wasn't exactly unusual...



Pope Stephen VI (? - 942)
Talk about holding a grudge.


After becoming the Pope, Stephen VI had his predecessor, Pope Formosus, put on trial. The fact that Formosus had been dead for about seven months didn't bother him much.

He ordered the rotting corpse dug out of its grave, draped in papal attire, put on trial and found guilty. He had the dead pope stripped of his papal title, had the three "blessing" fingers of the right hand broken off, and buried in a pauper's grave. Then not long after that he had the poor corpse dug up yet again and then thrown into the Tiber river, where a monk later recovered it and restored it to the original tomb.

After Stephen VI himself was deposed, imprisoned and killed, Pope Sergius III after him (who earlier attended the posthumous trial of Formosus) upheld the trial and had Stephen VI glorified for it. There are conflicting accounts that he ordered the corpse exhumed yet again and beheaded.

Rotten Library article on Pope Stephen VI
Wikipedia article on Pope Stephen VI
Wikipedia article on "The Cadaver Synod," or the trial of dead Pope Formosus.


Sources and further reading:
http://www.rotten.com/library/bio/religion/popes/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_sexually_active_popes
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bad_Popes
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(no subject)


From something I read online earlier this morning:

150 years ago:  the abolition of slavery
100 years ago:  the emancipation of women
50 years ago:  interracial marriage
Today:  same-sex relationships

Why is it that the church always has to be dragged, kicking and screaming (by secular outrage) towards the tolerance and compassion that, ironically, it claims to hold a monopoly on?

seti dishes

(no subject)



on the 30th of June, 1908 (exactly 98 years ago) was the bizarre Tunguska Event. 

to brielfy quote the rotten library article:

"On 30 June 1908, there was an explosion in Siberia. It was caused by something that fell from the sky in a fireball.

Some sense of scale is required to fully appreciate the magnitude of this explosion.

The blast killed animals and knocked down trees over more than 800 square miles. In contrast, the atomic bomb blast at Hiroshima created a zone of total destruction of just four-and-a-half square miles.

And 800 square miles was just the kill zone. The effects of the blast rattled and even broke windows more than 250 miles away. It caused atmospheric disturbances as far as Great Britain. The earth trembled all over Russia.

The explosion was the greatest devastation wrought during recorded history, and the only reason it isn't a major feature in the history books is the fact that Siberia is so damn empty. Despite the biblical scale of the destruction, only one man was reported killed (when he was thrown against a tree). Had the explosion taken place over a city, it could have killed millions and would easily have been the most deadly single event in history.

So what the fuck caused this apocalyptic scene? Alarmingly, no one has the slightest idea. Fortunately, almost everybody has an opinion. ..."


the wikipedia article downplays the X-files factor to it being basically a meteorite or comet impact (the rotten library article goes on to point out why that explanation is just as plausible as that of a ufo crash, a baby black hole passing through the earth, a wormhole, or authentic real-life mad scientist nikola tesla possibly short-circuiting the earth's magnetic field (and he did warn an arctic survey team at the time to be on the lookout for weird stuff while he got to work on his doomsday device shortly before the explosion).

a must read.