Forgotten History

Ermintruder

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From what I gather, Heligoland nowadays sounds like a fascinating place
Oh, for definite. I'd very much like to visit Heligoland. It seems to have had a serial experience of varied unfair extreme treatment for centuries.
 

amyasleigh

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Oh, for definite. I'd very much like to visit Heligoland. It seems to have had a serial experience of varied unfair extreme treatment for centuries.

Not that the islanders themselves have necessarily always been angels. Wiki tells us re times prior to the last couple of centuries, that the island’s traditional economic activities included fishing, hunting birds and seals, and wrecking...

And Hel(i)goland gets a mention in a ballad by Longfellow:

www.bartleby.com/270/3/437.html

From the above, old Othere – going by his activities vis-à-vis cetaceans and pinnipeds – would seem not to have been a friend of the natural environment.
 

Ermintruder

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And Hel(i)goland gets a mention in a ballad by Longfellow:
Interesting that Hel(i)goland is (sort-of) rolled-into Scotland, in terms of the 'Scotland' category by Bartelby. Ok, I accept that Longfellow does briefly mention the Hebrides in his poem.

There's a line that catches my eye....
"To the northward stretched the desert,
How far I fain would know;
"

So: I must ask whether the original literal meaning of the word 'desert' meant "a remote deserted place of any climate"? As opposed to a hot (only) deserted place, as is now what the word means....

Alternatively: was Longfellow writing in metaphor?? Ice deserts?
 

Yithian

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Desertus means that which is left or wasted in Latin.
 

Ermintruder

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Desertus means that which is left or wasted in Latin.
So: in Longfellow's time, it was cool to talk about a cold desert? Non-ironically and/or non-metaphorically?
 

Xanatic*

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Ice deserts are a thing, they don't need to be hot. It's about rainfall.
 

Ermintruder

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It's about rainfall.
Really? Not temperature-implicating at all? I've lived my whole life believing deserts were equatorial hot dry places, never frozen polar places?

We live & learn (well, I feel I do....learn, that is. Not necessarily live)
 

rynner2

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So: in Longfellow's time, it was cool to talk about a cold desert? Non-ironically and/or non-metaphorically?
It's still cool today: the Gobi Desert is cold.

"The Gobi is a cold desert, with frost and occasionally snow occurring on its dunes. Besides being quite far north, it is also located on a plateau roughly 910–1,520 metres (2,990–4,990 ft) above sea level, which contributes to its low temperatures."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gobi_Desert#Climate
 

Ermintruder

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It's still cool today: the Gobi Desert is cold.
My point is, it is diurnally cold and then hot.

These winds cause the Gobi to reach extremes of temperature ranging from −40 °C or −40 °F in winter to 45 °C or 113 °F in summer.

Conversely, Antarctica is eternally cold.

But I do now accept I've actually been wrong all my life in believing that deserts had to axiomatically be hot during the day, and that phrases such as "hot baking desert sun" have been semiotically/non-ironically equivalent to "cold freezing desert gloom".

I must go and get a to-be-confirmed percentage back of the costs of my vastly-expensive dependant education.
 

amyasleigh

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Desertus means that which is left or wasted in Latin.
Really? Not temperature-implicating at all? I've lived my whole life believing deserts were equatorial hot dry places, never frozen polar places?

We live & learn (well, I feel I do....learn, that is. Not necessarily live)
It would seem that -- I suppose, from what is largely written, and what we largely read, and what those around us largely talk about -- probably most of us get into our bonces at an early age, the notion that desert = hot dry sandy region, where hardly anyone manages to live.

I long harboured that notion. During that time, it puzzled me that "desert islands" (discs therewith, and otherwise) were talked about: because said islands sounded like bountiful places, with lots of coconut trees and other natural resources -- ?? In the end, I "got it" that, as Yithian says, the significance is "left or wasted": whether because the place is uninhabitable by humans, or next-door-to; or because (earthly paradise though it might be) humans have just not hitherto happened to get there. No shame to the "hot dry places" perception -- I'd reckon that nearly all of us have been there.
 

escargot

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It would seem that -- I suppose, from what is largely written, and what we largely read, and what those around us largely talk about -- probably most of us get into our bonces at an early age, the notion that desert = hot dry sandy region, where hardly anyone manages to live.

I long harboured that notion. During that time, it puzzled me that "desert islands" (discs therewith, and otherwise) were talked about: because said islands sounded like bountiful places, with lots of coconut trees and other natural resources -- ?? In the end, I "got it" that, as Yithian says, the significance is "left or wasted": whether because the place is uninhabitable by humans, or next-door-to; or because (earthly paradise though it might be) humans have just not hitherto happened to get there. No shame to the "hot dry places" perception -- I'd reckon that nearly all of us have been there.
Yup, try the Gobi Desert in Asia, in November. Sand, cattle skeletons, bloody FREEZING!
 

amyasleigh

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I must be a very sad person. Since latching onto the thread-part about the 1947 “Big Bang” on the island concerned; I’ve been having thoughts about a certain telly series, highly popular in recent years, which features a name-coincidence with the event of ’47. My sentiments about said televisual offering are -- largely, it annoys me; to a lesser extent, I find it funny.


Have been attempting to conceive of something within the required time-limit, which would somehow connect Sheldon and the rest of the loons, with the long-ago event in the North Sea; and wondering re the lengthy, orotund science-jargony names which are given to each episode – what would work thus, here? “The Heligolandic Mega-pyrotechnic”? Perhaps all the gang could go off to Heligoland to investigate traces of the momentous happening seventy years ago, and of other stuff which took place before and after, in the time when the island was a target for “whatever”? – this plot device might run to several consecutive episodes? As said, I really should get out more – I don’t even greatly like TBBT...
 

DougalLongfoot

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The fascinating hidden history of London's lost rivers
Tom Bolton
20 April 2017 • 2:30pm

London is usually seen as a one-river city, just big old Father Thames. The city breathes with the rise and fall of its tide, and for centuries the Thames has posed patiently for tourist drawings, etchings and photos. But what of London’s other rivers, the capital’s unseen waterways? Twenty-one tributaries flow to the Thames within the spread of Greater London, and that is just counting the main branches. Once tributaries, and tributaries of tributaries, are included the total moves beyond numbers into the realms of conjecture.


http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/d...ondon-lost-underground-rivers-hidden-history/
And the lost rivers of London form an important part of Ben Aaronovitch's Supernatural/Police Procedural series of novels:

http://temporarilysignificant.blogspot.com.au/
 

Spookdaddy

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...So: I must ask whether the original literal meaning of the word 'desert' meant "a remote deserted place of any climate"? As opposed to a hot (only) deserted place, as is now what the word means...
I’ve seen three places in the UK referred to – in apparent seriousness – as ‘desert’: Dungeness in Kent, Bleaklow in the Peak District, and somewhere in the Cairngorms that I cannot now remember. None of them are desert. When Dungeness went on the market some while back newspaper articles kept repeating the claim that the Met Office had declared it one – but no, they hadn’t.

...In its brochure, Strutt and Parker describes the estate as a “shingly desert”. But the suggestion that the Met Office had bestowed Dungeness with the official title of a desert was scotched on Monday.

A spokesman said: “The standard definition of a desert is that it has very little rainfall and that can be for various reasons – such as being in an area of persistent high pressure. Another characteristic is that we see large differences between day and night temperatures. Neither of these apply to areas in the UK.”...
From a Guardian article on the salse of the Dungeness estate.

I wonder if this is simply an anachronism – during the Romantic period arty types might refer to deserted places as ‘desert’. And probably beyond: I have a feeling it was used this way in Medieval literature and I’m sure Defoe uses the term in his A tour thro' the whole island of Great Britain, but I couldn’t swear to it – my English degree seems an awful long time ago these days.
 

Spookdaddy

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The fascinating hidden history of London's lost rivers

Tom Bolton


20 April 2017 • 2:30pm

London is usually seen as a one-river city, just big old Father Thames. The city breathes with the rise and fall of its tide, and for centuries the Thames has posed patiently for tourist drawings, etchings and photos. But what of London’s other rivers, the capital’s unseen waterways? Twenty-one tributaries flow to the Thames within the spread of Greater London, and that is just counting the main branches. Once tributaries, and tributaries of tributaries, are included the total moves beyond numbers into the realms of conjecture...

I’d recommend Tom Bolton’s book (he’s the author of that article), London’s Lost Rivers – A Walkers Guide; published by the always interesting, Strange Attractor Press . It’s exactly what it says it is: a guide to following the path of the now (mostly) disappeared rivers. I’ve done bits and pieces of some of the routes – but not a whole journey yet. You can do quite a bit using Google Street View – it’s actually quite good fun.
 

Xanatic*

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Yes, the poets might simply mean deserted by plants and animals.
 

CarlosTheDJ

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Top 10 Bizarre Historical Crimes You Haven’t Heard Of

History is full of strange crimes, crazed criminals, and skilled impostors. Listverse has covered many of these odd historical events and personages, from the lesbian nun scandal, to the woman who posed as the Maid of Norway and was burned alive for her efforts, to the mass murderer who claimed to have sodomized more than 1000 men. But here are ten incredibly bizarre historical crimes that very few people have heard of: Welcome to the twisted world of the criminals who have been lost in history.

http://listverse.com/2017/04/18/top-10-bizarre-historical-crimes-you-havent-heard-of/
 

ramonmercado

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Top 10 Bizarre Historical Crimes You Haven’t Heard Of

History is full of strange crimes, crazed criminals, and skilled impostors. Listverse has covered many of these odd historical events and personages, from the lesbian nun scandal, to the woman who posed as the Maid of Norway and was burned alive for her efforts, to the mass murderer who claimed to have sodomized more than 1000 men. But here are ten incredibly bizarre historical crimes that very few people have heard of: Welcome to the twisted world of the criminals who have been lost in history.

http://listverse.com/2017/04/18/top-10-bizarre-historical-crimes-you-havent-heard-of/
Those were disturbing stories.
 

Swifty

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Mythopoeika

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A fine tribute to the build quality.
However, it's also a grim demonstration that the British government didn't seem to care about the effects of radiation on the soldiers.
 

Spudrick68

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As a small aside I lived as a child in Farington, Leyland. Around the corner from our house is Centurion way, at the end of which was Leyland Motors. Centurion Way was the road that Centurion tanks were test driven on. It is why it is a really wide road.
 

Naughty_Felid

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A fine tribute to the build quality.
However, it's also a grim demonstration that the British government didn't seem to care about the effects of radiation on the soldiers.
I'm not sure they, the Americans, French etc understood it, but I really don't know enough abut that part of history.
 

Yithian

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Dungeness in Kent
Bleak, but clearly not a desert.

On one of my trips back to Blighty I went fishing around here. I'm no real fisherman (though I did catch a few mackerel), but as ever I enjoyed every minute of being out of doors and away from the crowd.

Anyway, my point is that I was surprised to find that there were considerable numbers of Eastern Europeans fishing around here--with multiple lines per head.

Surely any definition of a desert is falling at least somewhat short if it focuses on rainful and ignores a bountiful aquatic resource.
 

Ermintruder

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Curious.

Contamination from nuclear weapons should not be confused with the radioactive properties of the nuclear energy industry. The radiological effects from the 1953 test explosion would not have been that of a 70s neutron bomb (or a so-called "dirty bomb"), it will have been a classic fusion weapon designed primarily to create the transient dynamic circumstances that would result in permanent blast and flash damage, not long-term residual radioactive contamination (the GZs and surrounding radii of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are not, now, an unoccupied wasteland).

It's worth reading the Wiki article about the astounding Goiânia Incident, as a comparison with what happens when people unwittingly-handle proper radioactive sources.

In fact, it really deserves it's own 'Forgotten History' entry....or an FT article.

Extract-
The Goiânia accident was a radioactive contamination accident that occurred on September 13, 1987, at Goiânia, in the Brazilian state of Goiás, after an old radiotherapy source was stolen from an abandoned hospital site in the city. It was subsequently handled by many people, resulting in four deaths. About 112,000 people were examined for radioactive contamination and 249 were found to have significant levels of radioactive material in or on their bodies.
 
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rynner2

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Operation Grapple X: How a plucky group of boffins made Britain a nuclear superpower
Guy Kelly
30 April 2017 • 7:00am

On the evening of November 8, 1957, over a tiny atoll in the Pacific Ocean, a scientific test changed the course of British history. At 17.47 GMT, whirring high above Christmas Island in Kiribati, an RAF Valiant – the Vulcan’s higher-altitude big brother – dropped a bomb a hundred times more powerful than that which had devastated Hiroshima a dozen years earlier.

It took 52 seconds to fall, and when it did, Britain’s first successful test of a megaton hydrogen bomb rendered the country a nuclear superpower for the first time.

Six decades on, the remarkable story behind the test, codenamed Operation Grapple X, is to be told in a new BBC documentary, Britain’s Nuclear Bomb: The Inside Story, featuring the first interviews with some of the scientists leading the project, as well as previously unseen footage.

“It’s a very British tale: of achieving extraordinary things under often very challenging circumstances,” says historian Brian Cathcart, who contributes to the documentary and once wrote a book about Britain’s struggle for the “the bomb”.

That quest began with the outbreak of the Second World War. For two decades, scientists had been experimenting with the potential of creating unprecedented amounts of energy from vast nuclear chain reactions, but when war broke out, that research became an imperative.
“All of a sudden, there was a concern that Hitler would successfully develop an atomic bomb somehow, so they started to think about how that would be possible and what would be needed. It was a race,” Cathcart says.

Across the Atlantic, the US nuclear programme, the Manhattan Project, had been running in since 1939. Three years later, it subsumed the first British programme – a top-secret operation codenamed “Tube Alloys” which was led by two exiled German scientists – and won the race three years later, dropping atomic bombs on Japan.

While British scientists had been present during those bombs’ developments, however, it was made clear that information wasn’t going to be shared when the war was over.
“Clement Attlee [who became Prime Minister a month prior to the bombs dropping] was hugely paranoid about that,” Cathcart says. “The Americans just cut the ties, and Attlee felt he was left with no choice but to have Britain build their own bomb.”

etc...

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/thin...-x-plucky-group-boffins-made-britain-nuclear/
 
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