The British Officer Who Went Into Battle with a Bow & Arrows and a Sword…. During WW2

From Damn Interesting:

In 1940, some of the German commanders who were overseeing the push into France began to receive seemingly random reports of soldiers having been killed with broad-head arrows or hacked with a English Claymore. Effective enough weapons it would seem, but archaic even in that day and age. They likely could have guessed the bowman was an English soldier, but they couldn’t have appreciated these as the calling card of the rabid eccentric, Captain Jack Churchill.

In another attack Mad Jack and one of his enlisted men managed to sneak up on a pair of German sentries making rounds. He leapt at them, sword in hand and shouted, “haende hoch!” The Germans obeyed by dropping weapons and raising their hands. One sentry was taken back to camp while the other had Jack’s belt wrapped round his throat, and together they continued the rounds. At each guard post his prisoner would say something to lull the guards into complacency, then a mustached-mad-man with a sword would jump out and order them to drop their arms. All in all, the two Brits rounded up forty-two prisoners that night.

And from his Wiki entry comes this gem:

Eccentric until the end, Churchill would toss his briefcase out of the window of the commuter train he rode home every day. Passengers and conductors were shocked because they didn’t know he was throwing the luggage into his own backyard as the train passed by. It saved him the trouble of carrying it all the way home from the station.

Space Debris: Evolution in Pictures

From the European Space Agency:

Between the launch of Sputnik on 4 October 1957 and 1 January 2008, approximately 4600 launches have placed some 6000 satellites into orbit, of which about 400 are travelling beyond geostationary orbit or on interplanetary trajectories.

Today, it is estimated that only 800 satellites are operational – roughly 45 percent of these are both in LEO and GEO. Space debris comprise the ever-increasing amount of inactive space hardware in orbit around the Earth as well as fragments of spacecraft that have broken up, exploded or otherwise become abandoned. About 50 percent of all trackable objects are due to in-orbit explosion events (about 200) or collision events (less than 10).

(via Delicious Ghost)

Flying vs. Driving

Wired compares flying vs. driving to St. Louis from Boston:

We all love to bash the airlines, it’s easy and fun. But here’s something that usually doesn’t make the headlines: When you sit down and really do the math, flying has a lot going for it. Compared with driving, it’s safer, faster, cheaper and cleaner.

Let’s say I’m heading from Boston to St. Louis to visit my grandfather. It’s a 1,038-mile trip, and I need to decide whether I’m going to fly or drive my 2002 Volkswagen Jetta. If I had the time, here are some of the things I might consider: