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On The Nobel Peace Prize For Espionage

When Henry Luce & his TIME Magazine consiglieri
named Adolf Hitler "Man of the Year" in 1938, post
Chamberlain's »Peace in our time« and the November
Pogrom (irritatingly labeled worldwide by its German
euphemism "Kristallnacht" as if there was anything
festive about it), at least he was acting in character.

Equally important to note, however, was that in
the next year, and for much the same reasons, that
Great Humanitarian and Peacemonger Adolf Hitler
was a nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize for 1939.

Nominated half in jest by a sitting member of Riksdag
(the parliament) of the Swedish Arbetarparti, nominally
a sister organization to also-in-name-socialist NSDAP.
This historical fact is not an easy one to find, and at the
Nobelprize.org website it is tucked away behind Joseph
Stalin and Mahatma Gandhi—among other "statesmen
and national leaders who were nominated but not awar-
ded the Nobel Peace Prize". Not surprizingly, that kooky
nomination is not mentioned and, where that impossible,
glossed over in Swedish and other Socialist International
history books and memoirs (that I browsed through).

Posted on June 27, 2013 at 9:16 pm 0

On The Great Nobel Prize Cash-In Begins With A Big Bang

@marenca: you are quite right in remembering
Rosalind Franklin's name, though perhaps not
in this particular pecuniary-achievement regard.

Yes, posthumously she was unjustly treated by
her contemporaries, and ought to, perhaps, be
credited for contibuting to the discovery of the
DNA-structure alongside—definitely on a par
with—her lab director Maurice Wilkins (the odd
man out in that trio). I am pretty sure that, had
she lived when they were nominated, she would
not be entirely silent. Whatever the outcome,
let's not overdo her status as YA Victim of Male
Patriarchy… she was a Player, and gave back as
good as she took. When one reads, or, listens
to James Watson's, the most male-piggish of
the trio, various autobiographcal musings over
the years, one can but come away with the
conclusion that »the Dark Lady of the DNA«
(as biographer Brenda Maddox called her),
scared the bejesus out of him. The man was
IN AWE of her obvious scientific knowledge
and competence, and, no doubt, the sexual
power that such an independent, outspoken
and attractive young woman must have had
these late 40s postwar-Britain days. Moreover
SHE HAD THE PARLEY-VOUS FOR PETE'S SAKE
—from which the road to French kissing, as we
all know, is just a sin away.

If you'd like to acquaint yourself with the rest
of my Franklin-oriented arguments, see this
short 3-post exchange I contributed to in the
comments to Sarah Lacy's 2010 article »Think
It's Hard Being a Woman in Tech? Try It in the
1940s.« that dealt primarily with Grace Hopper's
contribution to computing sciences (indeed,
most of »line programmers«–akin to line pro-
ducers in movies; those, whose names are only
present in the credits roll at the end of the film–
in early computing were women whose menfolk
were drafted to do the nation's important blood-
letting, foreign syphilis acquisition, etc.). The
subthread begins with the words "@Zoe, Rosalind
Franklin certainly was unjustly treated by her
colleagues, and patronized in person…" and may
be found @ disq.us/8d5m41.

As an oddity in this context, more recently Guy
Rundle came up with a novel and wholly pre-
posterous hypothesis of tainting the blame for
»thatcherism« on the eminent scientist Richard
Dawkins (whose Selfish Gene and other philo-
sophical arguments says have influenced the
young Margaret, then a scientist in the field
of chemistry. The two also met in person.)
From that I quote the relevant portion here:

[Margaret] Thatcher was close to one of the
central scientific events of the twentieth
century – in the early 50s [her mentor]
Hodgkin was shown the first x-ray photos
of DNA by a colleague Rosalind Franklin
(who should have shared the Nobel that
Crick and Watson gained for it), and gave
a suggestion as to which general idea of
structure would best fit the material. At
this time, Thatcher was still in touch with
Hodgkin (she would eventually hang
a portrait of Hodgkin in Number Ten
Downing Street). It seems highly unlikely
to me that being close to these momentous
events did not have a fundamental effect
on a young Thatcher. One can’t help but
wonder if her willingness to atomise British
society was in part prepared for by a literal
understanding of atomisation itself.

Posted on May 18, 2013 at 11:53 pm 0

On The Great Nobel Prize Cash-In Begins With A Big Bang

So the gold Nobel Prize medal sold for a measly
$2.27M, while the presumably typewritten 7-page
letter adressed by Francis Crick to his pre/teenage
son Michael went for $6,059,750, nearly 3 x that?

That, if anything, shows the value of the written
word. What are you doing here reading this crap,
go back to Twitter to polish your craft 140 chars
at a time!

[ BTW. over the years I've come across a number of
unusual Nobel Prize/ medal tales, but the only one
that stuck in my mind was the fate of the 2 stored
in Niels Bohr's Physics institute (not his very own from
1922) which, upon the Nazis marching into Copenhagen
in 1940 and expected to loot everything shiny esp. for
their "war effort," were dissolved in acid, then stored
on a shelf in liquid form
, to be again made into a solid
and sent off to the Swedish Mint to be re-minted into
proper Nobel Prize Medals after the WWII.]

Posted on April 13, 2013 at 8:49 am 2

On Lonely Planet Travel Guides Dumped At "Big Loss" By BBC

Yes it can (telegraph). In more senses than one.
»Not looking as a tourist« is hard to achieve if
one IS a tourist, but schlepping one's iPad hidden
inside a book-like case/cover goes a long way
towards that goal. Mind you, walking around
tourist spots with half-French-band hardcover
"book" with an iPad inside is even more touristy
than were the device naked.

Posted on March 20, 2013 at 3:59 pm 0

On Just Keep Plucking That $79 Chicken

Hate to add this, Choire, but your title »Just Keep
Plucking That $79 Chicken« would be perfect as
a line in any Kate Bush song text, not to mention
in later gaffa-specimen-setting MTV Music Video
Mashup Awards. Not so much on a T, even if'd fit.

Posted on March 5, 2013 at 10:00 am 0

On On the Internet, Nobody Knows You're a…

@keisertroll - right you are, as well as
far too Speedy Gonzalez-y for me. Mere
fact that Elon Green missed this - nah,
APPARENTLY WASN'T EVEN AWARE
OF THE EXISTENCE OF this ur-example
of Internet presence
, speaks volumes of
his own ignorance in this matter.

Posted on December 17, 2011 at 12:12 am 0

On 'Homeland' And 'Enlightened': Women On The Verge Of Nervous Breakthroughs

@belltolls; @GailPink you forgot to share with
us VITAL info of other TV shows, and named
episodes of given seasons of same that you
apparently like. Don't keep us waiting, do tell.

Posted on December 5, 2011 at 5:50 pm 0

On 'Homeland' And 'Enlightened': Women On The Verge Of Nervous Breakthroughs

You don't know how prescient you are! It seems
TV series with a female protagonist, and then
very often some policewoman with somewhat-
manageable MENTAL DISORDER, are now ALL
THE RAGE in more places than the USA. I've
only watched a couple of episodes of Homeland
so far, do not think much of it, but that
much I can tell you that Carrie's bipolar
disorder is nothing, nuthing compared to
that of the allegedly-autistic/Asperger-
syndromic
Saga's (name also means
"fairy tale"), the lead cop in the recent
prestigious 10-part Nordic co-produced TV
series "Bron | Broen" - i.e. the brigde over
the Øresund linking Denmark to Sweden
and vice versa
. Of that I only watched
the first installment, built on so unbelie-
vable a premise that I elected to desist
and cease (= someone sabotages the lights
on that minuciously-protected international
double-decker bridge, then places a corpse
made up of two different female bodies,
a politico's and a prostitite's, dead
across the border line of the two countries
- what next, I wonder, minced bodies?).

It all happens very conveniently while the
fem.mental basket case criminal investigator
has nightshift duty, and so, true to form,
her first course of action is to report her
Danish counterpart, the man whom she is
supposed to work along (shared jurisdiction)
to solve the crime, for negligence of duty.

I don't know about you, but what I look for
in police drama is some semblance of realism…
only here, in RL there'd simply no chance such
a person could survive long enough in any, let
alone Swedish, police force, to rise above the
level of WPC, or common patrolwoman. If that.
All 10 episodes are available on the web until
23 december
, alas in Swedish. Or wait for it
to be remade in Engish in due course, location
shifted to the Golden Gate bridge or something.
Maybe Claire Danes can do that one as well,
only overplay it a bit more this time.

Back to Homeland. A terrorism thriller-by-
numbers (as was "24" - though in comparison
this seems heads above the other). I'd have
thought that the subject matter would be
worthy of more serious treatment than the
surrealistic and sensationalist oh-my-God-
al-Qaida-turned-one-our-brave-Marines-angle
.
A treatment worthy of "The Wire". Alas, not.
Perhaps that's why I never became a TV exec,
too much distrust of common nonsense?

Posted on December 2, 2011 at 9:19 pm 0

On Shred Your Dead

But Alex (not to mention the nameless -
and so s/he'll remain) engineer: methinks
you haven't kept up with the most recent
developments in the field of alternative
deceased human remains disposal
. Since
a while back there is a truly organic, bio-
friendly and burial real-estate saving
method for that called Promession -
and now even with a valid UK (aka Knife-
crime Island) license to operate! Try it
(even just once) - you're bound to like it!

Posted on August 31, 2011 at 4:52 pm 0

On Hollywood as Free Money

@Choire, no need to look up WWD for A+ money
quotes on Hollywood's ways and means—by way of
The New Yorker or otherwise. Next time, just ask me,
and I'll supply a suitable paraphrase of what Henry
Finder, or whoever, aims to say a month later. Like
this topical quote of mine of July 21, 2011 1:49 pm
in The Dabbler:

[…] Hollywood is a strange place, a one-industry
town—which is not the cinematography—but
making money. For everybody up and down
the chain, including the bottom-feeders […]

Posted on August 24, 2011 at 1:10 pm 0