Greatest Living American Ignored

It’s difficult to get any publicity when all you’ve done is saved a billion people from starvation.

Born 1914 in Cresco, Iowa, Borlaug has saved more lives than anyone else who has ever lived. A plant breeder, in the 1940s he moved to Mexico to study how to adopt high-yield crops to feed impoverished nations. Through the 1940s and 1950s, Borlaug developed high-yield wheat strains, then patiently taught the new science of Green Revolution agriculture to poor farmers of Mexico and nations to its south. When famine struck India and Pakistan in the mid-1960s, Borlaug and a team of Mexican assistants raced to the Subcontinent and, often working within sight of artillery flashes from the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, sowed the first high-yield cereal crop in that region; in a decade, India’s food production increased sevenfold, saving the Subcontinent from predicted Malthusian catastrophes. Borlaug moved on to working in South America. Every nation his green thumb touched has known dramatic food production increases plus falling fertility rates (as the transition from subsistence to high-tech farm production makes knowledge more important than brawn), higher girls’ education rates (as girls and young women become seen as carriers of knowledge rather than water) and rising living standards for average people. Last fall, Borlaug crowned his magnificent career by persuading the Ford, Rockefeller and Bill & Melinda Gates foundations to begin a major push for high-yield farming in Africa, the one place the Green Revolution has not reached.

Yet Borlaug is unknown in the United States, and if my unscientific survey of tonight’s major newscasts is reliable, television tonight ignored his receipt of the Congressional Gold Medal, America’s highest civilian award. I clicked around to ABC, CBS and NBC and heard no mention of Borlaug; no piece about him is posted on these networks’ evening news websites; CBS Evening News did have time for video of a bicycle hitting a dog. (I am not making that up.) Will the major papers say anything about Borlaug tomorrow?

Lambeth Walk, Nazi Style

Best Propaganda Film Ever!

In 1942 Charles A. Ridley made a short propaganda film, Lambeth Walk – Nazi Style, which edited existing footage of Hitler and Nazi soldiers (taken from Leni Riefenstahl’s Triumph of the Will) to make it appear as if they were marching and dancing to “The Lambeth Walk”. The film so enraged Josef Goebbels that he ran out of the screening room kicking chairs and screaming profanities.

How To Make a Barometer

What is a “Barometer” ?

Answer: An instrument used to measure atmospheric pressure. There are two main types: aneroid and mercury. The aneroid barometer makes us of a small sealed chamber connected to a pointer mechanism. Mercury barometers use a glass tube filled with mercury and inverted over a mercury-filled chamber. Normally, the atmosphere at sea level can support the column of mercury to 29.92 inches. An aneroid barometer is calibrated so that its pointer reads the pressure as inches of mercury, too.

I don’t have lots or mercury (only on my tooth fillings as my dentist said, but is not enough to make one), so I decided to build an “Aneroid Barometer”

The U.S. Army vs. The Maginot Line

From Military History Online:

Yet the Maginot Line was defeated twice in just four years. The first defeat occurred in May and June of 1940 as a result of the inevitable German invasion. However, on this occasion, the Maginot Line was defeated not by assault but by a massive German mechanized outflanking maneuver which forced the collapse of the French military, the hasty but miraculous extrication of British and French forces at Dunkirk, and the surrender of the French nation. The Germans were able to overrun or capture only a handful of the smaller Maginot forts and none of the large ones. The majority of Maginot Line defenders surrendered only after their nation had done so first. Four years later, the Maginot Line again was defeated. This time, the U.S. Army overran and captured Maginot Line forts from the Germans in a series of operations during the fall of 1944 and the spring of 1945. Though the U.S. Army had little difficulty with the Maginot Line overall, several of the forts posed a quite challenge to capture. Ultimately the U.S. Army was able to overcome stiff German resistance, difficult terrain and poor weather to capture these several still formidable Maginot Line forts.

Hell on Earth – Color Photos of the Battle of Passchendaele

From the Daily Mail:

They are the most remarkable pictures of one of the most hellish places on earth.

Never seen before, these astonishing photographs, lovingly hand-touched in colour to bring to life the nightmare of Passchendaele, were released this week to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the battle that, between July and November 1917, claimed a staggering 2,121 lives a day and in total some quarter of a million Allied soldiers.

(Thanks PVC)