Friday, October 21, 2016

Memoir Unleashing Demons: Memories of Czechoslovak Socialist Republic Army envoked by a Bridge Across Not So Cold River ...

Socialism is an alternative to capitalism as potassium cyanide is an alternative to water ... But some elite capitalists can also make H2O toxic just ask uncle George

Sir Craig Oliver, the former PM’s director of communications, describes Downing Street panic in his memoir Unleashing Demons ... David Cameron's director of communications feared that the then prime minister would have to resign over the family revelations contained within the Panama Papers, according to his newly published book. Related: David Cameron admits he profited from father's Panama offshore trust Sir Craig Oliver detailed the chaos behind the scenes at Downing Street following the Guardian's investigation of the Cameron family's tax affairs in April, which revealed that the prime minister's father had been a director of an offshore fund called Blairmore Holdings David Cameron's adviser feared Panama Papers would end boss's career

Although the hacker’s name has not been released, video of the arrest, provided by Czech police, shows how it went down. Accompanied by his girlfriend, the Russian drove into the heart of Prague, the Czech capital, in a high-end automobile, to a swank hotel. The went to the hotel restaurant, only to be confronted by police, who moved so quickly that the Russian had no time to resist.
Indeed, he was so stunned by the appearance of the police at his table that the suspect fainted and was subsequently hospitalized. He is now in custody, awaiting an extradition request from Washington. The United States has 40 days from his arrest to ask for the Russian to be sent here to face charges, but Czech justice authorities today stated that they have yet to receive any American extradition request.
We don’t know specifically what hacking the Russian stands accused of, although Czech police have stated that he had perpetrated cyber-crimes against Americans, and he was wanted on an INTERPOL Red Notice—an indication that the FBI wanted to get their hands on this man rather badly.
Where’s the extradition request?

At the TLS Icelandic author Yrsa Sigurðardóttir offers a solid overview/introduction to 'Nordic noir', in Snowed under:
Extract of note: “Much has been written about the reasons for Nordic noir’s popularity. Among the most common explanations are the plain writing style, the attention given to issues of social injustice, the ingrained realism, the role of landscape, the dark, brooding quality and the allure of the anti-hero ... Even the contrast between near-perfect nanny-state societies and the awfulness of being killed comes into it, a contrast I am fond of. Evil is never as appalling as it is when juxtaposed with sweetness and innocence. And (COLD) snow. Don’t forget the snow. If there is no snow in the pages, it is sure to be on the cover. The appeal of Nordic noir is based on some mixture of all this, though the specific measure of each is somewhat elusive”

I remember the day my army fate was sealed. The instructions for a certain day in September 1977 with the destination were enclosed in a single letter that arrived in May 1977. I was three days shy of 19. My seven years old niece, Janka, who was visiting us screamed at passers-by, "Jozko is getting a gun! Jozef is getting a gun!" Army is a monster of the richest and poorest time on earth ...

An investigation into the history of  books bound in human skin reveals that it was usually a doctor wielding the knife... Judging Book by Its Cover  

courtesy  of Dan Dan Lewis:

 Marching Forward and Tumbling Down

Imagine a small group of military members, lined up four across, marching. You probably are now picturing two additional details; first, they're likely chanting some sort of military cadence, and second, they're likely moving in lockstep -- when one person takes a step  with his or her left leg, so do the other members of the group. That second thing is called military step, and it's typically required -- except when going over suspension bridges.

In that case? Lockstep marching is a really bad idea.

Let's start with a photo 

That photo (via flickr) is of the Albert Bridge, which crosses the Thames in London. If you can't read the sign, it says that "all troops must break step when marching over this bridge." In other words, troops can't stay in sync -- they need to mix it up a bit.

The reason isn't some weird antipathy toward the military, a dislike of parades, or a preference of chaos over order. It's science -- and ultimately, safety. The culprit? As LiveScience explains, "structures like bridges and buildings, although they appear to be solid and immovable, have a natural frequency of vibration within them." That's usually not a problem, as the architects and engineers factor those vibrations into account. But what happens when something comes along that adds more vibrations at the same frequency? In that case, something called "mechanical resonance" kicks in. LiveScience continues: in those cases, "[the] force that's applied to an object at the same frequency as the object's natural frequency will amplify the vibration of the object."

And too much amplification is bad news, as most buildings aren't designed to account for that. For some -- like suspension bridges  -- the results can be particularly dangerous. Unfortunately, that lesson was learned the hard way.

On April 21, 1831, a detachment of 74 British soldiers stationed in the town of Salford, Greater Manchester, were marching back home over the Broughton Suspension Bridge, which at the time was only five years old. They never made it across. Wikipedia explains what went wrong:
The soldiers, who were marching four abreast, felt it begin to vibrate in time with their footsteps. Finding the vibration a pleasant sensation some of them started to whistle a marching tune, and to "humor it by the manner in which they stepped", causing the bridge to vibrate even more. The head of the column had almost reached the [other] side when they heard "a sound resembling an irregular discharge of firearm." Immediately, one of the iron columns supporting the suspension chains on the [first] side of the river fell towards the bridge, carrying with it a large stone from the pier to which it had been bolted. The corner of the bridge, no longer supported, then fell 16 or 18 feet (4.9 or 5.5 m) into the river, throwing about 40 of the soldiers into the water or against the chains.
Thankfully, none of the men died -- the relatively shallow water meant a lot of broken bones and concussions, but no drownings. (That said, another bridge collapse -- in France in 1850 -- resulted in over 200 deaths, although corrosion, stress from a recent storm, and having too many troops on it at once may have contributed more to the tragedy than some coincidental harmonics.) And also thankfully, the architects at the time were able to identify mechanical resonance as the culprit.

As a result, you'll rarely see troops march over bridges in step. The Albert Bridge makes sure of that with its signs, but it doesn't really have to worry any more -- its nearby barracks closed in 2008. 

Knowingly taking placebo pills eases pain, study finds Science Daily