Medal of Honor Citations


Some fascinating stories if you take the time to browse through a few. The one below is from WWI.


Rank and organization: Corporal, U.S. Army, 344th Battalion, Tank Corps. Place and date: Near Varennes, France, 26 September 1918. Entered service at: France. Born: 29 November 1892, New York, N.Y. G.O. No.: 13, W.D., 1919. Citation: During an operation against enemy machinegun nests west of Varennes, Cpl. Call was in a tank with an officer when half of the turret was knocked off by a direct artillery hit. Choked by gas from the high-explosive shell, he left the tank and took cover in a shellhole 30 yards away. Seeing that the officer did not follow, and thinking that he might be alive, Cpl. Call returned to the tank under intense machinegun and shell fire and carried the officer over a mile under machinegun and sniper fire to safety.


Wikipedia watchdogs

Wikitruth is a website dedicated to the subject of flaws and issues with the Wikipedia, another website run by Jimbo Wales and a massive, insane army of Wikipedians that he controls with his mind rays. It’s very hard to really explain Wikipedia, but if you visit it, it says it wants to be “the online encylopedia that anyone can edit”. Instead, however, it is often filled with crazy people, experiences some issues with manipulative personalities, and falls prey to abuse and censorship.

The Rorschach Test


Most people have heard of the Rorschach test (pronounced “ror-shock”), but few have ever seen a real Rorschach inkblot. The blots are kept secret. When you see an inkblot in a popular article on the test (as in the Encyclopaedia Britannica entry on the Rorschach test), it’s a fake: it’s an an inkblot, but not one of the inkblots. There are only ten Rorschach inkblots.

Psychologists want the blots to remain a secret from the general public so that reactions to the blots will be spontaneous. Hermann Rorschach hoped these spontaneous reactions would yield valuable clues to the test subject’s personality. Whether they do remains controversial. Many psychologists think the Rorschach test is hopelessly unreliable; others see it as one of the cardinal tools of modern psychodiagnosis. Even among those who acknowledge the value of the test, there is disagreement on interpretation of responses.

When Design is a Matter of Life or Death


You’ve taken on a design challenge and come up with a solution that’s been widely admired and won you accolades. But a year or so later, you realize you made a mistake. There’s something horribly wrong with your design. And it’s not just something cosmetic — a badly resolved corner, some misspaced type — but a fundamental flaw that will almost certainly lead to catastrophic failure. And that failure will result not just in embarassment, or professional ruin, but death, the death of thousands of people.

You are the only person that knows that something’s wrong. What would you do?

This sounds like a hypothetical question. But it’s not. It’s the question that structural engineer William LeMessurier faced on a lonely July weekend almost 30 years ago.

(via Borklog)

Lucid Decapitation

From Damn Interesting:

For thousands of years, the forceful removal of the human head has been used as a form of capital punishment. In fact, the word “capital” in the context of punishment was coined to describe execution by decapitation, derived from the Latin word caput, which means “head.” Since the very beginnings of the practice, there has been much speculation and debate regarding the length of time that the head can remain conscious after its removal. Many argue that a beheaded person will almost instantly lose consciousness due to a massive drop in blood pressure in the brain, and/or the heavy impact of the decapitation device. But there are countless eyewitness reports in history describing a few moments of apparent awareness in the victim.