Listening Device in Canadian Coins Turns Out To Be a Poppy

Those damn Canadians and their colorful but non-radio transmitter money win this round.

Call it Canada’s contribution to the 21st century Cold War.

This country’s poppy quarter sent the intelligence community into fits last year after the U.S. issued a warning about radio transmitters concealed in a coin. That alert had Canadian intelligence officials scratching their heads. Which Canuck coin was the U.S. talking about?

Just declassified information obtained by The Associated Press now indicates that it was Canada’s commemorative quarter — the world’s first coloured coin — that set alarm bells ringing in Washington.

Not bad for a piece of metal worth just 22.6 cents US.

Here’s how it played out. Sometime from October 2005 to January 2006, U.S. defence contractors travelling in Canada became suspicious of the shiny coins that kept appearing in their pockets and cars. And since no change they knew of had colour, they assumed that something nefarious was afoot.

(Thanks Alex)

The World’s Steepest Street

From Wikipedia:

Baldwin Street, in a quiet suburban part of New Zealand’s southern city of Dunedin, is reputed to be the world’s steepest street. It is located in the suburb of North East Valley, 3.5 kilometres northeast of Dunedin’s city centre.

A short straight street of some 350 metres length, Baldwin Street runs east from the valley of the Lindsay Creek up the side of Signal Hill. Its lower reaches are of only moderate steepness, and the surface is asphalt, but the upper reaches of this cul-de-sac are far steeper, and surfaced in concrete, for ease of maintenance (tar seal would flow down the slope on a warm day) and for safety in Dunedin’s frosty winters. At its maximum, the slope of Baldwin Street is approximately 1:2.86 (19° or 35%) – that is, for every 2.86 metres travelled horizontally, the elevation rises by 1 metre.

(via Digg)

Strange Air Raid Bunkers of the Third Reich

From Dark Roasted Blend:

These concrete towers were unique AIR RAID SHELTERS of Nazi Germany, built to withstand the destructive power of WWII bombs and heavy artillery. Their cone shape caused bombs to slide down the walls and detonate only at a heavily fortified base.
Cheaper to build above ground than to dig bunkers, they were quite effective, as it was possible to cram as many as 500 people inside. Plus the “footprint” of such tower was very small when observed from the air, so it was very hard for the bombers to ensure a direct hit.