First Wave at Omaha Beach

From The Atlantic:

ABLE Company riding the tide in seven Higgins boats is still five thousand yards from the beach when first taken under artillery fire. The shells fall short. At one thousand yards, Boat No. 5 is hit dead on and foundered. Six men drown before help arrives. Second Lieutenant Edward Gearing and twenty others paddle around until picked up by naval craft, thereby missing the fight at the shore line. It’s their lucky day. The other six boats ride unscathed to within one hundred yards of the shore, where a shell into Boat No. 3 kills two men. Another dozen drown, taking to the water as the boat sinks. That leaves five boats.

Lieutenant Edward Tidrick in Boat No. 2 cries out: “My God, we’re coming in at the right spot, but look at it! No shingle, no wall, no shell holes, no cover. Nothing!”

His men are at the sides of the boat, straining for a view of the target. They stare but say nothing. At exactly 6:36 A.M. ramps are dropped along the boat line and the men jump off in water anywhere from waist deep to higher than a man’s head. This is the signal awaited by the Germans atop the bluff. Already pounded by mortars, the floundering line is instantly swept by crossing machine-gun fires from both ends of the beach.

Able Company has planned to wade ashore in three files from each boat, center file going first, then flank files peeling off to right and left. The first men out try to do it but are ripped apart before they can make five yards. Even the lightly wounded die by drowning, doomed by the waterlogging of their overloaded packs. From Boat No. 1, all hands jump off in water over their heads. Most of them are carried down. Ten or so survivors get around the boat and clutch at its sides in an attempt to stay afloat. The same thing happens to the section in Boat No. 4. Half of its people are lost to the fire or tide before anyone gets ashore. All order has vanished from Able Company before it has fired a shot.

Mad Chess Player Accused of Murdering 49

From News Right Now:

Alexander Pichushkin, a supermarket worker aged 33, dubbed “the Bitsevsky maniac” and “the mad chess player”, is going on trial for 49 counts of murder. He told investigators he intended to kill 64 people, one for each square on a chessboard. He bludgeoned most of his victims to death with a hammer at the sprawling Bitsevsky public park in Moscow. Committing his first murder as a student in 1992 and stepping up his project in 2001, he may have killed as many as 62 to date. He has allegedly said, ‘A life without murder is like a life without food’.

Human Skin Clothing

How very Ilse Kochish:

Conceived by French designer Olivier Goulet, these curiously familiar clothing items and accessories first attract by their unique look & feel, then repulse when their calculated resemblance to human skin is noted, then attract once again when it is realized that they are indeed crafted from synthetic materials.

By that time, however, the desired effect: a shock to the system, has been achieved. As for the wearer, testimonials posted at the SkinBag home page speak of that exquisite feeling known in French as “frisson”, which can be defined as “a sudden sensation of excitement; a shudder of emotion; a thrill.” It seems that those who put on SkinBag clothing and accessories truly feel as if they were wearing a second skin!

Dawkins: Theology has no place in a university

From RichardDawkins.net:

We who doubt that “theology” is a subject at all, or who compare it with the study of leprechauns, are eagerly hoping to be proved wrong. Of course, university departments of theology house many excellent scholars of history, linguistics, literature, ecclesiastical art and music, archaeology, psychology, anthropology, sociology, iconology, and other worthwhile and important subjects. These academics would be welcomed into appropriate departments elsewhere in the university. But as for theology itself, defined as “the organised body of knowledge dealing with the nature, attributes, and governance of God”, a positive case now needs to be made that it has any real content at all, and that it has any place in today’s universities.