January 14, 2016

Miscellany 29

The Most Amazing Lie in History  How a chicken farmer, a pair of princesses, and 27 imaginary spies helped the Allies win World War II.

In the weeks leading up to D-day, Allied commanders had their best game faces on. “This operation is not being planned with any alternatives,” barked General Dwight D. Eisenhower....The sheer size of the invasion—it would be the largest in history—was staggering. But so were the stakes. With the first day’s casualty rate expected to reach 90 percent and the outcome of World War II hanging in the balance, the truth was that Eisenhower was riddled with doubt.
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They were worried for good reason. With so many troops and so much artillery swelling in England, it was impossible to keep the attack a secret. Hitler knew it was coming, and he’d been preparing a defense for months. Only one detail eluded him, and he was confident in a Nazi victory if he could figure it out—he needed to know where, exactly, the attack would happen. To make D-day a success, the Allies needed to keep him in the dark: They’d have to trick the Germans into thinking the real invasion was just a bluff, while making it seem like a major attack was imminent elsewhere. The task seemed impossible, but luckily, the British had a secret weapon: a short, young balding Spaniard. He was the king of con men, an amateur spy gone pro, the world’s sneakiest liar. He was also, of all things, a chicken farmer.

Robert Kulwich on The Fantastically Strange Origin of Most Coal on Earth

This is a story about trees—very, very strange looking trees—and some microbes that failed to show up on time. Their non-appearance happened more than 300 million years ago, and what they didn’t do, or rather what happened because they weren’t there, shapes your life and mine.

28 Authors on the Books That Changed Their Lives

Day in the life of an African watering hole: Breathtaking composite photograph captures flow of elephants, zebras, hyenas and hippos over 26 hours in the Serengeti

 24Hrs Waterhole Serengti

10 Incredible Real Life MacGyver Moments That Saved Lives

10. creating a makeshift radiator...
8. Using an MP3 Player to Navigate and a Snowboard to Survive...
6. Reviving a Sick Passenger with a Hair Tie and Booze
5. Chopping Down Power Poles as an Emergency Beacon....
2. Using a Paddle and Ladder to Stay Fed and Hydrated After a Shipwreck ...
1. Jerry-Rigging a Pediatric Nebulizer at 30,000 Feet

Cowboys Rescue City From Stampede, Then Give The Most Hilarious TV Interview Ever

The Instagram Symmetry Monsters, started by an artist by the name of Traperture, celebrates symmetry in its most solid form: architecture. Rooftops, radio towers, bridges, reflections on glass walls – everything is fair game for a dedicated symmetry hunter.

 Syscraper Perfection-Symmetry

Knitters With Hopelessly Knotted Yarn Call ‘Detanglers’ for Help  Snarled yarn messes bring detanglers to rescue; ‘Send it to me!’

Many say their work untangling yarn is strangely relaxing, an escape from their worries and a way to create order out of chaos. Some also enjoy unwinding iPod headphones cords and straightening Christmas-tree lights...
Knot a Problem was started in 2008 by Stephanie Rothschild, 44, of Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., who discovered her love of detangling when she worked at a yarn store. It pained her to see the owner tossing tangled skeins in the garbage.
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Group members like to post before-and-after photos of what they call “tangle porn.” Heaps of yarn resembling bowls of spaghetti become neat balls and cakes. “I think it’s fulfilling for people when they see what it was, sort of like house remodeling,” says Ms. Rothschild. “You see how crappy it was and how beautiful it turned out to be.”
Posted by Jill Fallon at January 14, 2016 3:40 PM | Permalink