V2 rocket

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pages: 612 words: 181,985

Operation Paperclip: The Secret Intelligence Program That Brought Nazi Scientists to America by Annie Jacobsen

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Albert Einstein, anti-communist, experimental subject, operation paperclip, Ronald Reagan, V2 rocket, éminence grise

On each sat a missile called the V-2. The giant V-2 rocket was the most advanced flying weapon ever created. It was 46 feet long, carried a warhead filled with up to 2,000 pounds of explosives in its nose cone, and could travel a distance of 190 miles at speeds up to five times the speed of sound. Its earlier version, the V-1 flying bomb, had been raining terror down on cities across northern Europe since the first one hit London, on June 13, 1944. The V-2 rocket was faster and more fearsome. No Allied fighter aircraft could shoot down the V-2 from the sky, both because of the altitude at which it traveled and the speed of its descent. The specter of it crashing down into population centers, annihilating whoever or whatever happened to be there, was terrifying. “The reverberations from each [V-2] rocket explosion spread up to 20 miles,” the Christian Science Monitor reported.

It was May 12, 1945, and though his mission was almost complete, time was running out, because the Russians were headed into this area soon. By U.S. Army calculations, they would most likely arrive in eighteen days from Berlin. U.S. Army Ordnance believed that the V-2 rocket could help win the Pacific war, and for nearly two weeks Staver had been hard at work. He had overseen the collection of four hundred tons of rocket parts, which had been loaded onto railcars for delivery to the port at Antwerp, from where they would be shipped to the United States. But with his degree in mechanical engineering from Stanford University, Staver knew that the V-2 rocket was a lot more than the sum of its parts. Without blueprints or technical drawings, it was highly unlikely that American engineers could simply cobble the rocket components together and make the V-2 fly.

In 1948 the notion of human space flight was still considered science fiction by most. But Strughold’s team had recently conducted a groundbreaking experiment with von Braun’s rocket team at White Sands, the results of which they desired to make public. On June 11, 1948, a nine-pound rhesus monkey named Albert was strapped into a harness inside the nose cone of a V-2 rocket and jettisoned into space. Albert’s pressurized space capsule, its harness and its cage, had been designed by Dr. Strughold and his team. The V-2 rocket carrying Albert traveled to an altitude of 39 miles. Albert died of suffocation during the six-minute flight, but for Dr. Strughold, the monkey’s voyage signified the momentous first step toward human space flight. Armstrong and Strughold’s biology in space panel was cosponsored by the air surgeon, the National Research Council, and the medical research laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Wright Lab.

pages: 497 words: 124,144

Red Moon Rising by Matthew Brzezinski

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Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Columbine, cuban missile crisis, Kitchen Debate, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, skunkworks, trade route, V2 rocket, Vanguard fund, walking around money, white picket fence

That, too, is a big part of the new wireless age that the launch of the world’s first satellite made possible fifty years ago. NOTES Prologue PAGE 1 Every second from now on meant 275 fewer pounds: See propellant use specifications at http://www.v2rocket.com/start/makeup/motor.html. sixteen-ton Strabo crane: http://www.v2rocket.com/start/deployment/mobileoperations/html. 2 the nearby horse-track oval outside suburban Wassenaar: http://www.v2rocket.com/start/deployment/denhaag.html. trajectory traced by a billowy white vapor trail: Dieter K. Huzel, Peenemünde to Canaveral (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1962), p. 75. producing a vein of jet exhaust gases at 4,802 degrees Fahrenheit: http://www.v2rocket.com/start/makeup/motor.html. the second battery of the 485th Artillery Battalion: Frederick Ordway and Mitchell Sharpe, The Rocket Team (Burlington, Ontario: Apogee Books, 2003), p. 139.

.: Harvard University Press, 1996), p. 97. 3 The gimbaled spinning wheels, rotating at 2,000 revolutions per minute: http://www.v2rocket.com/start/makeup/design.html. Sixty-three seconds into its flight, the rocket ceased being a rocket: Huzel, Peenemünde to Canaveral, p. 75. At an altitude of seventeen miles: Neufeld, The Rocket and the Reich, p. 98. shell painted in a jagged camouflage scheme of signal white, earth gray, and olive green: http://www.v2rocket.com/start/makeup/markings.html. moving at 3,500 miles per hour: Huzel, Peenemünde to Canaveral, p. 75. 4 Another ten seconds passed, and the rocket reached its apogee of fifty-two miles: http://www.v2rocket.com/start/deployment/timeline.html. 4 forward at nearly five times the speed of sound: http://www.centennialofflight.gov/essay/EvolutionofTechnology/V-2/Tech26.htm. The time was 6:41 PM: http://www.v2rocket.com/start/deployment/timeline.html.

USSR, 38 missile gap and, 251–53 missile launch pads and, 153 missile program of, downgraded vs. bombers, 79–82 nuclear weapons and bombers of, 24–26 prepares first Explorer launch after Vanguard failure, 247–51, 254–56 response of, to Sputnik I, 165–87, 274 response of, to Sputnik II, 213–34 satellite program of, rumored in Moscow, 151–52 school integration crisis in, 136–40 Sputnik’s propaganda success and, 199 spy satellite program and, 249–51 storable solid-fuel rocket, 155 surpasses Soviets with Saturn rocket, 273 surveillance of USSR and, 129 threatened by range of R-7 missile, 40–41 U-2 plane developed by, 115–35, 270 V-2 rocket and scientists sought by, with defeat of Nazis, 8–11 Vanguard failure and, 238–43 von Braun moves to, 83–92 U.S. Congress, 49, 50, 55, 79, 93, 132, 135, 144, 174, 178, 182, 184, 213–14, 222, 224 U.S. Information Agency (USIA), 200, 201, 241 US News & World Report, 173, 182 U.S. Senate, 53, 56–58, 135, 167, 213–15 Armed Services Committee, 80, 174–76, 214 Armed Services Subcommittee on Preparedness, 183–84, 214–15, 221, 229–30, 231, 247–48, 250, 251–53, 274 U.S. Supreme Court, 136–37, 139 Ustinov, Dmitri, 8, 18, 36 Uzbeks, 63 V-2 rocket (Vergeltungswaffen-2, Vengeance Weapon), 36, 38, 92, 166 Nazi Germany develops, 1–6, 11–13, 235–38 Soviet rockets and, 6–8, 12–15, 29–30, 34, 40, 67, 68 U.S. rockets and, 8–12, 52, 255, 261, 277 Van Allen, James, 255 Vance, Cyrus, 229 Vanguard program, 133–35, 162–63, 165–67, 171, 179, 202 cost overruns of, 226–27 failure of, 224–30, 232–34, 238–44, 247, 250–51, 255–60, 263–64 first test of, 185–87, 224–25 funding for, 249–51 Versailles, Treaty of, 236 Vietnam War, 274–75 Viking rocket, 225–26, 233–34 von Braun, Iris, 90 von Braun, Magnus, 87, 89, 224 von Braun, Margrit, 90 von Braun, Maria, 86, 90 von Braun, Wernher ABMA missile program and, 48, 51, 79, 102, 129, 144, 162–63, 187, 202, 218, 220 background and Nazi past of, 5, 9, 14–15, 86–87, 234–38, 277 Disney and, 91–92, 121, 234–35 Explorer satellite and, 224–25, 248–49, 254–56, 258, 260–61, 263–65, 267 Korolev keeps abreast of, 100, 102 legacy of, 276–77 manned flight and moon landing proposed by, 249 moves to U.S. after WW II to work on missiles, 83–92, 238 salary of, 122 satellite proposal of, turned down, 92 satellite surveillance proposed by, 132–35 Sputnik success and, 165–68, 186–87 von Freed, Charles, 180 Voroshilov, Kliment, 111 Voskresenskiy, Leonid, 98–99, 113–15, 153, 155–57, 261 Wallace, Mike, 229 War of the Worlds (movie), 92 Warren, Earl, 139 Warsaw Pact, 72, 75, 270 Washington Evening Star, 182, 213 Washington Post, 176, 181, 221 Werhmacht, 166, 235 Western Ukrainians, 32, 63 West Germany, 83, 129, 277 White, Thomas D., 82 White Army, 105 White Sands Proving Ground, 12 Wiesl, Ed, 229 Wiley, Alexander, 171 Williams, G.

pages: 288 words: 92,175

Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us, From Missiles to the Moon to Mars by Nathalia Holt

Bill Gates: Altair 8800, British Empire, computer age, cuban missile crisis, desegregation, financial independence, Grace Hopper, Isaac Newton, labor-force participation, Mars Rover, music of the spheres, new economy, operation paperclip, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, Steve Jobs, V2 rocket, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, women in the workforce, Works Progress Administration, Yogi Berra

Tsien, an accomplished, well-respected rocket scientist, was a natural choice to interview the enemy scientists. When Wernher von Braun and Rudolf Hermann, both notorious for their expertise in rocketry, were captured, Tsien was one of the first to talk to them. Both Tsien and Frank had long been chasing the technology contained within the Nazi V-2 rocket. To finally learn its secrets was intoxicating. They couldn’t wait to bring both the technology and the Nazi scientists to America. Tsien dreamed of what JPL could do with such a rocket. Ironically, just when the promise of the V-2 rocket in America was starting to pay off and the two-stage Bumper WAC that Barbara and the team at JPL built was starting to fly, things began to fall apart for Tsien. In the clutches of McCarthyism, the FBI accused him of going to secret Communist meetings disguised as Caltech graduate-school parties.

The January 1949 snowstorm is described in Stephen B. Johnson, “In 1949, the Snowman Socked Los Angeles,” Los Angeles Times, January 11, 2013. Results of Corporal and Bumper WAC tests are documented in the official government report, James W. Bragg et al., “Development of the Corporal: The Embryo of the Army Missile Program,” Army Missile Command (Huntsville, AL: April 1961). The V-2 rocket’s flight over El Paso and its crash in Juarez were described in “V-2 Rocket, Off Course, Falls Near Juarez,” El Paso Times, May 30, 1947. A history of what would later be Cape Canaveral, and its origins in Cocoa Beach, can be found in Tony Long, “July 24, 1950: America Gets a Spaceport,” Wired, July 24, 2009. Information about Coralie Pearson’s role in helping the Bumper WAC to launch was obtained through author interviews. A description of the launch on February 24, 1949, and technical considerations of the Bumper WAC can be found in J.

This was the Mathematical Tables Project series, whose volumes were oversized, awkward to hold or carry, but filled with data precious to Barbara and her colleagues. To calculate the Bumper WAC’s trajectory, she turned to the tables of atmospheric density as a function of altitude. The air thins as elevation increases, and the computers needed the WPA books, as they were known around the lab, to get the exact value. Barbara deftly drew two peaks. She predicted the modest rise and fall of the V-2 rocket as it ignited and then plummeted back to Earth, making way for the little sister to soar higher. She computed that the two-stage rocket had the capability of making history, of flying farther into space than any man-made object ever had. Barbara and the team of engineers and computers didn’t just calculate how high the rocket could fly, but also how far from the launch point. The group expected to find the burnt remnants 64 miles away.

pages: 476 words: 118,381

Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier by Neil Degrasse Tyson, Avis Lang

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Albert Einstein, Arthur Eddington, asset allocation, Berlin Wall, carbon-based life, centralized clearinghouse, cosmic abundance, cosmic microwave background, dark matter, Gordon Gekko, informal economy, invention of movable type, invention of the telescope, Isaac Newton, Karl Jansky, Kuiper Belt, Louis Blériot, Mars Rover, mutually assured destruction, Pluto: dwarf planet, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, SETI@home, space pen, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, the scientific method, trade route, V2 rocket

These weapons of mass destruction travel hypersonically, fast enough to traverse half of Earth’s circumference in forty-five minutes before plunging back to the surface at thousands of miles an hour. If a ballistic missile is heavy enough, the thing can do more damage just by falling out of the sky than can the explosion of the conventional bomb it carries. The world’s first ballistic missile was the Nazis’ V-2 rocket, designed by German scientists under the leadership of Wernher von Braun. As the first object to be launched above Earth’s atmosphere, the bullet-shaped, large-finned V-2 (the “V” stands for Vergeltungswaffen, or “Vengeance Weapon”) inspired an entire generation of spaceship illustrations. After surrendering to the Allied forces, von Braun was brought to the United States, where in 1958 he directed the launch of the first US satellite.

Tsiolkovsky conceived of, among other things, multiple rocket stages that would drop away as the fuel in them was used up, reducing the weight of the remaining load and thus maximizing the capacity of the remaining fuel to accelerate the craft. He also came up with the so-called rocket equation, which tells you just how much fuel you’ll need for your journey through space. Nearly half a century after Tsiolkovky’s investigations came the forerunner of modern spacecraft, Nazi Germany’s V-2 rocket. The V-2 was conceived and designed for war, and was first used in combat in 1944, principally to terrorize London. It was the first rocket to target cities that lay beyond its own horizon. Capable of reaching a top speed of about 3,500 miles an hour, the V-2 could go a few hundred miles before plummeting back to Earth’s surface in a deadly free fall from the edge of space. To achieve a full orbit of Earth, however, a spacecraft must travel five times faster than the V-2, a feat that, for a rocket of the same mass as the V-2, requires no less than twenty-five times the V-2’s energy.

By the early twentieth century, electricity, telephones, automobiles, radios, airplanes, and countless other engineering marvels were all becoming basic features of modern life. So couldn’t earthlings build machines capable of space travel? Many people who should have known better said it couldn’t be done, even after the successful 1942 test launch of the world’s first long-range ballistic missile, the deadly V-2 rocket. Capable of punching through Earth’s atmosphere, it was a crucial step toward reaching the Moon. Richard van der Riet Woolley, the eleventh British Astronomer Royal, is the source of a particularly woolly remark. When he landed in London after a thirty-six-hour flight from Australia, some reporters asked him about space travel. “It’s utter bilge,” he answered. That was in early 1956. In early 1957 Lee De Forest, a prolific American inventor who helped birth the age of electronics, declared, “Man will never reach the moon, regardless of all future scientific advances.”

pages: 253 words: 80,074

The Man Who Invented the Computer by Jane Smiley

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1919 Motor Transport Corps convoy, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Arthur Eddington, British Empire, c2.com, computer age, Fellow of the Royal Society, Henri Poincaré, IBM and the Holocaust, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, Karl Jansky, Norbert Wiener, Pierre-Simon Laplace, RAND corporation, Turing machine, V2 rocket, Vannevar Bush, Von Neumann architecture

Berlin was about 210 miles from Göttingen—John von Neumann and his friends at the University of Berlin had been accustomed to traveling back and forth between the two universities in the 1920s, taking about three hours each way. And Dr. Funk had divined the way to save the machine, as well—for its travels, he christened it, not the Z4, but the V-4 (for Versuchmodell, or “Experimental Model” 4). He allowed those in charge of transportation and evacuation to believe it was a “Vergeltungswaffen” 4, or an advanced version of the V-2 rocket. In Göttingen, Zuse and his assistants assembled and demonstrated the machine—it still worked—but they were then ordered to take it to “one of the underground ordnance factories,” tunnels where thousands of concentration camp prison workers manufactured weapons and ammunition in appalling conditions. Surprised, shocked, and frightened by what he saw there,1 Zuse managed yet another evacuation, this time to Bavaria.

Surprised, shocked, and frightened by what he saw there,1 Zuse managed yet another evacuation, this time to Bavaria. Dr. Funk procured for the journey a Wehrmacht truck and one thousand gallons of diesel fuel. “For fourteen days we fled along the front, past burning neighborhoods and over bombed-out streets. We usually drove at night; during the day we found makeshift shelter with the farmers.” When they got to their destination, they discovered Wernher von Braun and his team (the designers of the real V-2 rocket). They ended up at the same temporary quarters as von Braun—possibly the most prominent scientist in Germany—thanks to Dr. Funk: “Dr. Funk had free run of the place, and even after we left Berlin, he obtained papers firsthand, whenever it was necessary. How he was able to find us a place in Oberjoch [on the Austrian border] remains a mystery to me to this day.” Zuse did talk to von Braun once—they were close in age and had attended the Technical University of Berlin at about the same time.

Some years later, though, upon reading von Braun’s memoirs, he saw that von Braun had understood their perilous situation better than he had at the end of the war—an SS man told von Braun that storm troopers had been billeted among the scientists with orders to shoot them “to keep you from falling into the hands of the enemy.” Major General Walter Dornberger, who was in charge of von Braun and the V-2 rocket, managed, with the help of several shots of cognac, to elicit the plan from the commander of the SS, and then to persuade him to abandon it (“And when the Allied troops have learned that you carried out a bloodbath, you will be hanged immediately!”). Although the war was ending and the French were gaining control, surrendering was a complicated business—first the Zuse cohort used their truck to move the Z4 to the village of Hinterstein, Austria, some 125 miles farther east, where they hid the machine in a cellar.

pages: 370 words: 97,138

Beyond: Our Future in Space by Chris Impey

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3D printing, Admiral Zheng, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Berlin Wall, Buckminster Fuller, butterfly effect, California gold rush, carbon-based life, Colonization of Mars, cosmic abundance, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, dark matter, discovery of DNA, Doomsday Clock, Edward Snowden, Elon Musk, Eratosthenes, Haight Ashbury, Hyperloop, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, Isaac Newton, Jeff Bezos, John von Neumann, Kickstarter, life extension, Mahatma Gandhi, Marc Andreessen, Mars Rover, mutually assured destruction, Oculus Rift, operation paperclip, out of africa, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, phenotype, purchasing power parity, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, risk tolerance, Rubik’s Cube, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Searching for Interstellar Communications, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, Skype, Stephen Hawking, Steven Pinker, supervolcano, technological singularity, telepresence, telerobotics, the medium is the message, the scientific method, theory of mind, There's no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home - Ken Olsen, V2 rocket, wikimedia commons, X Prize, Yogi Berra

The Big Chill Germany lost the war due to a “marriage of convenience” between the Soviet Union and the Western allies. But those countries’ ideological differences bubbled up in the aftermath of the war, setting the stage for the Cold War, a term coined by writer George Orwell in October 1945. As the war ended, Wernher von Braun and a hundred senior German scientists were working under US Army command with orders to continue development of the V-2 rocket. Meanwhile, the Soviets took over jurisdiction of the Mittelwerk factory but found that most of the best engineers had already defected to the Americans. Whereas in the United States the Germans were at the core of rocket development, the Germans who worked in the Soviet Union were used only as consultants and were repatriated in the early 1950s. The Soviet counterpart to von Braun was the equally brilliant Sergei Korolev.

Laika’s trainer, Lieutenant General Oleg Gazenko, admitted, “Work with animals is a source of suffering to all of us. We treat them like babies who cannot speak. The more time passes, the more I’m sorry about it. We shouldn’t have done it. . . . We did not learn enough from this mission to justify the death of the dog.”12 While the Soviets used dogs, the Americans preferred monkeys due to their similarity to humans. The first monkey in space was Albert, launched on a V-2 rocket in 1948. Albert died of suffocation. For the first decade of such experiments, the fatality rate was very high. In 1959, Able and Baker became the first US animals to fly into space and return alive, withstanding 32 g’s along the way. Able was a rhesus monkey who died soon afterward during a surgical procedure, but “Miss Baker,” a squirrel monkey, survived another twenty-eight years (Figure 11).

She got as many as 150 letters a day from children and was buried on the grounds of the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Three hundred people attended her funeral. Figure 11. ”Miss Baker,” a female squirrel monkey from Peru, was the first monkey to survive spaceflight. She ascended to an altitude of 360 miles in the nose cone of a US Air Force ballistic missile, surviving 32 g’s and reaching a top speed of 10,000 mph. Fruit flies were the first animals of any kind sent into space, aboard a captured Nazi V-2 rocket in 1947. They were followed by mice, then monkeys, then men and women. Since then, a menagerie of animals has made the trip. By the early 1960s, both the Americans and the Soviets had launched mice into space, and the Soviets added frogs and guinea pigs to the launch personnel. France got into the act with rats, and in 1963 they planned to launch Felix the cat, but Felix had other plans and he escaped, so they sent up Félicette instead.

pages: 300 words: 87,725

Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void by Mary Roach

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V2 rocket

The first payload was the evil sleet of warheads that came down on London and other Allied cities during World War II. The second was Albert. Albert was a nine-pound rhesus monkey in a gauze diaper. In 1948, more than a decade before the world had heard of Yuri Gagarin or John Glenn or Ham the astrochimp, Albert became the first living creature to be launched on a rocket to space. As part of the spoils of war, the United States had taken possession of three hundred train carloads of V-2 rocket parts. They were by and large the playthings of generals, but the V-2s caught the imagination of a handful of scientists and dreamers, men more interested in the going-up than the coming-down. One of them was David Simons. In his oral history, Simons describes a conversation with his boss, James Henry, at the Aeromedical Research Laboratory at Holloman Air Force Base, near White Sands Proving Ground in New Mexico.

Henry starts it off. “Dave, do you think man will ever go to the moon?” I like to picture him in a lab coat, pensively poking his chin with the eraser end of a No. 2 pencil. Simons replies without hesitating. “Why, of course. It’s just a matter of engineering design and time to work out the problems—” Henry cuts him off. “Well, what would you think of having an opportunity to help us put a monkey in a captured V-2 rocket that would be exposed to about two minutes of weightlessness and measure the physiological responses to weightlessness?” It was a very long question. “Oh! What a wonderful opportunity! When do we start?” It is a moment that, to me anyway, signals the birth of American space exploration. It captures both the geeky excitement and the hand-wringing uncertainty over what might befall a human organism shot to the edges of the known world.

Some fretted that without gravity, signals from floating inner-ear bones and other cues to the body’s position would be absent or contradictory—and that this might cause perturbations that would, to quote aerospace medicine pioneers Otto Gauer and Heinz Haber, “deeply affect the autonomic nervous functions and ultimately produce a very severe sensation of succumbence associated with an absolute incapacity to act.” I queried an online dictionary about succumbence. It said, “Did you mean succulents?” The only way to know was to send a “simulated pilot” up there—to launch an animal in the nose of a thundering V-2 rocket. The last attempt at something similar took place in 1783. That time the experimenters were Joseph and Étienne de Montgolfier, the inventors of the hot-air balloon. It was like something from a children’s book. A duck, a sheep, and a rooster went for a ride beneath a beautiful balloon, in the skies over Versailles on a summer afternoon. On they sailed, over the king’s palace and the courtyard filled with waving, cheering men and women.

pages: 338 words: 112,127

Leaving Orbit: Notes From the Last Days of American Spaceflight by Margaret Lazarus Dean

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affirmative action, Elon Musk, helicopter parent, index card, Mars Rover, New Journalism, Norman Mailer, operation paperclip, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, risk tolerance, sensible shoes, V2 rocket

At the end of World War II, the best of Germany’s rocket designers had been recruited to the United States by a covert government group that later became the CIA. The project was called Operation Paperclip because the Germans’ affiliation with the Nazi party and/or the SS had to be covered up through fake documents, which were paperclipped to their files. The most important German rocket expert was Wernher von Braun, who had been responsible for the development of the V-2 rocket used to bomb Allied cities. Now an American citizen, von Braun had been working to develop rockets for the US Army since 1945 and had been finding the support and funding offered him and his staff at Fort Bliss to be insultingly inadequate. But all that changed in 1957 with Sputnik, and the rocket designers soon found themselves working for NASA and enjoying much better accommodations. Suddenly everyone was interested in what von Braun and his team could do and wanted them to have all the money they needed to do it.

This contradiction has made NASA the site of one of the deeper ambiguities of American culture: spaceflight is an achievement we take great pride in, paid for with our own money, over our objections. Hugely wasteful; hugely grand. Adjust the focus of your eyes and the same project goes from being the greatest accomplishment of humankind to a pointless show of misspent wealth. None of my students have heard of Wernher von Braun or the German rocket program. Von Braun ran the rocket design facility for the Third Reich at Peenemünde, where he was responsible for the development of the V-2 rocket, the first human-made object to enter space, a weapon used to bomb Allied cities. At the end of the war, von Braun and his team surrendered to the United States and managed to immigrate here in order to resume their work on rockets. Von Braun’s membership in the SS and the Nazi party would haunt him, and throughout his life he would have to answer to new charges about what he knew and what he was responsible for, especially having to do with the slave laborers forced to construct the V-2.

In the opening shot of the series, Walt himself speaks into the camera. “One of man’s oldest dreams has been the desire for space travel,” he tells us with an avuncular twinkle. “Until recently this seemed to be an impossibility.” Man in Space gives a brief history of rockets, complete with a racist cartoon of the first Chinese rocket builders. This historical overview is politely evasive about the German rocket program, referring to the V-2 rockets as “forerunners to space travel” rather than as instruments used to rain death upon our allies in Europe. Wernher von Braun, the German rocket engineer responsible for the V-2, gives a talk about multistage launches. Von Braun is movie-star handsome and looks disturbingly like a textbook illustration of what Hitler’s anthropologists meant by the term Aryan. His English is extremely fluent, but his unmistakable German accent must have sounded jarring to an American audience not all that many years after the war.

pages: 353 words: 91,211

The Shock of the Old: Technology and Global History Since 1900 by David Edgerton

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agricultural Revolution, anti-communist, British Empire, Computer Numeric Control, conceptual framework, creative destruction, deglobalization, dematerialisation, desegregation, deskilling, endogenous growth, global village, Haber-Bosch Process, interchangeable parts, knowledge economy, Mahatma Gandhi, manufacturing employment, means of production, megacity, microcredit, new economy, post-industrial society, Productivity paradox, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, spinning jenny, Upton Sinclair, urban planning, V2 rocket

I am grateful to Alexander Rose for pointing out an error now corrected in this paperback edition, which incorporates some minor clarifications. List of Illustrations 1. A mule on the Berlin–Baghdad railway (G. Eric and Edith Matson Photograph Collection, Library of Congress) 2. Mule-powered mechanised agriculture, 1941 (Russell Lee, Farm Security Administration – Office of War Information Photograph Collection, LC) 3. Launch of ‘Bumper V-2’ rocket 1950 (NASA) 4. Bombing Korea 1951 (US Department of Defense, National Archives, College Park) 5. Shippingport nuclear reactor (Historic American Engineering Record, LC) 6. Rickshaws in Yokohama, 1906 (Underwood & Underwood, LC) 7. Horses in Paris, Great War (George Grantham Bain Collection, LC). 8. Collecting hay in the Ukraine, late twentieth century (Yuri Lev) 9. Mrs Mary Faust with spinning wheel, c. 1910 (LC) 10.

Brazilian aircraft carrier Minas Gerais (Tom Pietrasik) Index Figures in italics refer to captions; those in bold to Tables. 2,4-D herbicide 162–3 17 of October (ship) 94, 124 A A-bomb see atomic bomb abattoirs 173 abortificients 23 abortion 23 Abu Ghraib prison, Iraq 156 academic science, and invention 185–7 acid rain 121 acupuncture 49 Acyclovir 163 advanced gas-cooled reactors (AGRs) 21 AEG 193 aeronautical research 186 aeroplanes ix, xiv, 1, 3, 6, 28, 159, 191 appearance as a new technology 31 civil aircraft 117 and civilianised warfare 139 downplaying of military origins 142 hypersonic 38 killing by 146 and nationalism 116 powered aeroplane innovated in the USA 111 primarily a weapon of war 116, 158 R&D 197 supersonic 38 see also aviation; flight Afghanistan 145, 153 Africa death rate per car 27 guerrilla rebellions 152–3 malaria 27 sub-Saharan income per head 207 African National Congress 122 AGA range 57 Agency for International Development (AID) 157 agent orange 163 Agfa 130, 193 Agfacolor 130 agricultural revolution 64–6 agriculture family farms in the USA and USSR 62–4 horsepower xiii, 33–4 output 53 productivity 65, 74 shift to industry 52 Agrigento, Sicily 78 AIDS 25, 27, 49, 164, 207 Air France 21–2 air transport, cheap 115 air-conditioning 170 aircraft see aeroplanes aircraft industry 116, 158 airships 38, 50, 199 Al-Khahira (Cairo) jet trainer 125 Alang Beach, Gujarat, India 208 Albania 118, 131–2 Aliano, Basilicata, Italy 122–3 alkali 190 Allen & Hanbury 196 Almirante Latorre (battleship) 92 alternating current (AC) electrical systems 8–9, 176 alternatives assumption that there are no alternatives 6–7, 8 comparable alternatives 7–8 using a thing marginally better than alternatives 8 American Civil War 146 American Monarch (ship) 167 Amgen 202 AMO factory, Moscow 126 amodiaquine 26 analytical labs 192 animals husbandry 66 hybrids 190 killing 161, 164, 172, 173–6 anti-aircraft guns 14, 15 anti-malarials 164, 199 anti-missile systems 155–6 anti-virals 163 antibiotics 163, 190 antifungal treatments 164 apartheid 122 Apocalypse Now (film) 152 Arab oil embargo (1973) 122 Arab–Israeli wars 146–7 architecture ‘post-modern’ viii vernacular 41 Argentina builds a jet fighter 124–5 meat exports to Britain 172 national industrial development 118 the picana eléctrica 157 Argentina (liner) 124 Armament and History (Fuller) 141 Armenians 178–9 Armour meat packers 171, 172 Armstrong, Neil viii artillery fire 143, 144, 190 asbestos 42, 43, 211 asbestos-cement 42, 43 Asia: rice production 64–5 astronauts viii AT&T 193, 195 Atebrin (mepacrine) 25 atomic bomb xiv, 15–19, 21, 114–15, 117, 123, 138, 139, 158, 159, 185, 198, 199 atomic power 3, 6 Auschwitz–Birkenau extermination camp, Poland 121, 165, 180–81, 182 Australia maintenance and repair 80 meat trade 172 national industrial development 118 autarky 115, 116, 117–19 Autochrome process 193 autogiro 103 automation 2, 3, 85 Aventis 196 aviation 1, 19, 143 choices in aircraft construction 10 civil 6, 116 and empires 132 engine types 10 maintenance 87–91, 89 power of 141 supersonic stratospheric 3 see also aeroplanes; flight Axis Powers 18 AZT 164 B B-29 bombers 13, 15, 16, 123 B-52 bombers viii, ix, 95, 152, 155 ballistic missiles 154 Bangkok, Thailand long-tailed boats 47 Science Museum 28 Bangladesh motorised country-boats 48, 61 rice production 65 shipbreaking 208 barbed wire 146 Barham, HMS 93–4 BASF 119, 120, 121, 193 battleships x, xiv, 92–4, 93, 97, 141, 142, 143, 148–9, 154 Bayer 193, 194 Bayh–Dole Act (1980) 187 Beechams 196 Beef Trust 171 Belgrano (ARA General Belgrano) 94 Bell Labs 195, 196 Bell telephone 132 Belzec extermination camp, Poland 179 Bergius, Friedrich 120 Berlin–Baghdad railway xi bicycles x, 4, 45, 50–51, 58, 61 bidonvilles 41 Billingham plant, Stockton-on-Tees 119, 121 biological warfare 149 biotechnology 1, 185, 188, 192, 196, 202–3 Biro, Ladislao José 103 biro pen 103 birth control 23 Bishop, Billy 114 Bloodhound anti-aircraft missile ix Blue Star Line 172 boats fishing 49 long-tailed 47–8 motor torpedo 68 motorised country-boats 48–9, 61 bomber aircraft viii, ix, x, xiv, 9, 13, 13–16, 18, 95, 97, 123, 143, 147, 148, 150, 152, 155 Bomber Command 14 bombing atomic 15–19 conventional 12–15 ‘dumb’ bombs 155 ‘smart’ bombs 155 targets 12–13, 14, 15, 16 Borges, Jorge Luis 94 boundaries 117, 131, 132 branding 71 Braun, Werner von 18 Brazil (film) 75 Brezhnev, Leonid 102 Bristol Jupiter engine 88 Britain agricultural yields 64 autarchy 118 aviation 104, 111 car production 69 coal consumption ix cotton industry 36–7, 105, 190 economic growth 206 executions 176 horsepower in First World War 35 maintenance and repair 80 meat imports 172 output per head 109 privatisation of railways 87 R&D 109 railway workshops 98 steam power ix, 105 television 131 truck production 69 two-way movements between Britain/France and Britain/India 111–12 British Airways 21–2 British Electrical Development Association 56 British Empire 135 Brunnental, Soviet Union 62–3 Bumper V-2 rocket 2 Burmese army 145 Burney, Commander Sir Charles Dennistoun 167 buses ix, 96, 98, 191 C cable TV x, 49 Calcutta: rickshaws and cycle-rickshaws 45–6 Cambodia 182 Camden Market, London 33 camels 35 caravans 28, 30 cameras, replica 50 Canada: maintenance statistics 79 cap, the 24 Cape Canaveral, Florida 2 capitalism 76, 128 carbon monoxide 121, 179–80 Carrier, Dr Willis H. 170 Carrier Corporation 170 carrier pigeons 43 Carson, Rachel: Silent Spring 163 carving 28 CASA company 125 cavalry units 35 CDs 7 cement ix, 45 ceremonial occasions: use of reserve technologies 11 Césaire, Aimé 133 CFC gases 211 Chamoiseau, Patrick: Texaco 42–3 Cheliabinsk, Soviet Union 126 Chelmno extermination camp, Poland 179 chemical warfare 164 chemicals 1, 105, 188, 191, 192 chemistry 2, 130, 185, 186 organic 185 synthetic 4, 185 Chicago meatpackers 129–30, 171–5 chickens 66, 163, 164, 174–5 China agriculture 73 and Albania 131–2 atomic weapons as ‘paper tigers’ 19 autarchy 118 bicycle production 45 collective farming abolished 73 control of the internet 137 cotton textiles 65 Cultural Revolution 45, 72 economic growth 109, 112, 207 economy 73 executions 177 export of containers 74 foreign enterprise 137 ‘four big belongings’ 58–9 Great Leap Forward 44–5, 73 a hydraulic society 76 imitation of foreign technologies 112 industrialisation 73 links with Soviet Union (1949–60) 131 low-tech exports 137 Maoists 152 nationalism 137 old small scale technologies 72–3 pig production 66 produces Soviet technology 44 promotion of small-scale rural industries 72–3 rural industries 73 second Sino–Japanese War 140, 179 steel production 73 ‘technological dualism’ 44 Chinese Communist party 73 Chinese First Automotive Works 126 chlorinated organic compounds 161–2 chloroquine 26, 164 cholera 25 Ciba 196 Ciba-Geigy 26 Cierva, Juan de la 103 cinema ix, 203 cities of the poor world 39–40 clinical trials 11–12, 201 clothes: trade in old clothes 81 coal consumption ix hydrogenation of 120, 121–2, 186, 199 Cold War 123 ‘cold-chains’ 170 collectivisation 63, 64, 127 colonialism 39, 134 Common Market 119, 175 communications technologies xiv, 2 Communist movement 60 Companhia Energética de Sao Paulo 99 computer-numerically-controlled machine tool 158–9 computerisation 2 computers ix–x, 1, 158 analogue 7, 9 cheap PCs 71 digital 3, 6, 7, 9 initial cost as a percentage of lifetime cost 78 Concorde 21–2, 38, 96–7 condoms 1, 22–3, 24, 25, 49, 190 Congo War, second 146 contraception vii, x, 1, 22–5, 49, 190 cooking ranges 57 copper 73 corn, hybrid 64 corporate research laboratories 192 corrugated iron 41–3, 50–51, 78 cost-benefit analysis 11–12, 21, 142 cotton industry ix, 36–7, 65, 105, 136 Cotton Industry Act (1959) 38 credit agreements xv creole technologies xii, 39, 43–5, 46–7 creolisation of technology 85 Cuba 36, 207 Cudahy meat packers 171 cultural lag viii, 141, 212 Cultural Revolution 45, 72 cultural significance, measurement of 1 cycle-rickshaws 46–7, 48–9, 191 D Daktarin 164 Dalén, Nils Gustav 57 Datong Locomotive Works, China 50 DC-3 airliner 88, 197 DC-4 aircraft 197, 198 DC-6 aircraft 88 DC-8 jet 88, 197 DDT 26–7, 38, 162–3, 162 De Niro, Robert 75 de-globalisation 212 dependence 39 depression 37 Derwent jet engine 123 design 71 Detroit automation 86 Deutsches Museum, Munich 104 development labs 192 Dewoitine, Emile 125 diaphragm 24 diesel engine 3 differential analysers 7 diffusion vii Digital Signal Processing chip 195 direct current (DC) electrical systems 8, 9, 176 division of labour 72 Dnieper complex, Soviet Union 127 dockyards 91 domestic equipment 81 domestic production 56 ‘domestic science’ 56 domestic servants 56 domestic technologies xiv, 4, 56 domestic work, scientific organisation of 56 donkey carts 28, 30, 49 Dornier, Claude 125 douches 23 Dreadnought (battleship) 92 dreadnoughts 92, 148 Dufay process 130 Du Pont 20, 158, 193, 194–5 Durex 25 E East Germany: hydrogenation 121 Eastman Kodak 130, 193 economic growth 5, 52, 108, 109, 110, 206–7 economic history 3 economies of scale 71 ECT (electroconvulsive therapy) 38 Edison, Thomas 176 Edwards Air Force Base, California viii Egypt Ancient 76 aviation 126 Einsatzgruppen 179 ELAS resistance movement 60 electricity x, 1, 3, 6, 76–7, 185, 188, 190, 192 increased usage 5 electrification 2, 6, 32 electrocution/electric chair 165, 176, 177, 178 electronic communication: change in price 6–7 electronics 3, 99, 105, 191 Elizalde 31 Elliot, Gil: The Twentieth Century Book of the Dead 145–6 EMI 130, 131 empires 132, 134 employment in agriculture 53 in industry 53 service industries 53, 70 enclaves for European colonisers 134 engineering 19 masculinity of 101 mass production 67 engineers xiii, 100–102, 192–3 state 101 engines jet 10 petrol 10 Erikson, Gustaf 95 Europe car accidents 27 car production 69, 70 uptake of new technologies 32 European Union (EU) 200, 206 Eva Péron (liner) 124 F Fairchild Semiconductor 195, 203 Fairfree (factory stern trawler) 167 Falklands war 94 Far East growth rates 207 Faust, Mrs Mary 54 fertilisers 44, 45, 50, 64, 65, 67, 119–20 fertility control 23 feudalism 76 Fiat 69, 127 fibre-optic cables 7, 49 firing squads 176 First World War 31, 34, 34–5, 130 battleships x, 148, 149 casualty rates 146 chemical warfare 164 a chemist’s war 138 deaths 143 developments in artillery practice 143 H.

.: Small is beautiful 191 science museums 28, 29, 38, 104 science parks 192 scientific revolution 3 scientists government 192–3 nature of xiii scramjet ix Scud missiles 154–5, 156 sea transport, cheap 115 Second World War 1, 34, 34, 127, 142, 155 artillery-intensive 144 battle of France 150 battleships x, 93, 148–9 casualty rates 146 conquest of Malaya 150–51 conventional and atomic bombing 12–18 dispersal of forces in space 147–8 horsepower x, 34, 35–6 motor torpedo boats 68 a physicist’s war 138 R&D 197 repair organisations 99 transfer machines 85 US atomic bomb project 198, 199 service industries 70–74 extension of 53 IKEA 72 shift from industry 52 Seversky, Alexander de 104 sewing, domestic 81 sewing machines 50, 55, 58–60 sexual revolution 22, 24 Shakuntala Express 96 shanty towns xii, 40–43, 49, 207 Sheffield 173 shellac records 7 Shenzhou-5 capsule 137 shipbreaking 207–8, 208 Shippingport nuclear reactor, Pennsylvania 20 ships container 74 cruise 49–50 efficiency 68 inventive activity in 190–91 lascar employment 135–6 maintenance 91–5 ocean-going x, 28 refits 91–2 reserve technologies 11 sailing 91, 95 world merchant fleet 73–4 Siemens 130, 196 significance 1–27 assessing aviation and nuclear energy 11–19 assessing technologies 4–5 malaria 25–7 small technologies and big effects 22–5 spin-off 19–22 technological choice 8–11 use is not enough 5–8 Silicon Valley, California, USA 133, 186, 195–6 Sinclair, Upton: The Jungle 168–9, 173–4 Singapore 91, 150 Singer Sewing Machine Company 57, 58, 59, 71, 130 Sino–Japanese War, second 140, 179 slaughterhouses 168–73, 171, 175 small arms 143–6, 190 smallpox 163 Smith, Kline French 196 Smithsonian Institution, Washington 104 Sobibor extermination camp, Poland 179 society civil 22 seen as slow to adapt to new technology vii, viii transition from industrial to post-industrial society 3 Soho, London 47 Solvay process 190 sound reproduction 7 South Africa national industrial development 118 output per head 207 petrol production 122 South America guerrilla rebellions 152–3 torture in 157 South Vietnamese army 152 Soviet bloc 118, 126, 129, 133, 145 Soviet Union agriculture 79 car production 69 China produces Soviet technology 44 dams and hydro-electric projects 127 economic growth 110, 112, 206, 207 engineers 102 entry into the Second World War 17 family farms 62–4 foreign technology and socialism 126–9 German invasion of 34, 35–6 Great Terror 179 hydrogenation 121 imitation of foreign technologies 112, 136–7 links with China (1949–60) 131 a multi-national state 131 R&D 110, 128, 137 rifles 144–5 soldiers’ deaths in Second World War 144 television 131 space rockets 1, 2 Spain 122 aviation 125, 126 economic growth 109, 112 executions 176 Francoist 118 imitation of foreign technologies 112 nationalistic and autarchic 131 R&D 109, 121–2 spare parts 79, 96 Speer, Albert 14, 18 spermicides 23, 25 spin-off 19–22, 190 Spin-off magazine (NASA) 21 Spindles Board 38 spinning ‘jenny’ 36 spinning mule 36–8, 47, 60 spinning wheels 54, 60, 63, 107 Sputnik 128, 189 SS 182 Stalin, Joseph 104, 125, 152 Stalinets (tracked Caterpillar 60) 126 Stalingrad tractor factory 126 Stalinism 73, 126, 127 ‘Stalin’s falcons’ 104 Standard Oil 121 Stanford University 186 Star Wars programme 155 state and boundaries 117 and engineers 101–2 funding of big, controversial technologies 22 television 131 statistical offices 5 steam engine 3 reciprocating 3, 29 steam power ix, 2, 3, 29, 105 steam turbine 3 steamships xiv, 113 steel ix, 2, 19, 44, 68, 73, 127, 208–9 sterilisation 23 Stopes, Marie 23–4 Suame Magazine, Ghana 83 Suez Canal 134 suicide, and reserve technologies 11 sulphonamides 163 Swift meat packers 171, 172 Switzerland 80 synthetic ammonia 119 System 360 196 T Ta 183 fighter aircraft 125 Tabun nerve gas 153, 164 Taiwan 45, 109, 136, 177, 207–8 Tamil Tigers 153 Tank, Kurt 125 tanks 159 tank warfare 141–2 tape recorders 7 tariffs 117 Taxol 187 Taylorism 72 TB (tuberculosis) 25 tea-making machines 38 techno-globalism 105, 113–17 techno-nationalism 103–8 Asia and 136–7 technological boosterism 4 technological choice 8–11 ‘technological dualism’ 44 technological futurism vii–viii, xiii–xiv technological importance, assessing 4–5 technological nationalism 117 technological retro x technological revolution 74 technological sharing 111 technology museums 28, 29, 38, 104 technology transfer 111, 127 Tefal 20 Teflon (PTFE) 19–21 Tehran, Iran 154 Telefunken 131 telegraphy xiv, 3, 6, 7, 19, 113, 193 telephone xiv, 6, 7, 55, 193, 195 telephony 3 television ix, 3, 7, 31, 32, 55, 59, 103, 111, 130–31 ‘terotechnology’ 77 Texas Instruments 195 textiles ix, 2, 28, 60, 65, 105 Thailand 177 Thermo-King 170 Three Gorges dam, China 128 tide predictors 7 time 28–51 creole technology 43–5 decline of the ‘mule’ spinning-machine 36–8 horses, mules and oxen 32–6 not Alphaville but bidonville: technology and the poor megacity 39–43 remodelling the boat 47–9 retro and reappearance 49–51 times are changing 31–2 transport 45–7 time between overhaul (TBO) 88, 89 Time magazine 170 timelines, technological vii, ix, x, 29, 31, 212 Tirpitz (battleship) 149 Titanic 50 Togliatti, Palmiro 127 Togliattigrad, Soviet Union 127 Tokaev, Colonel Grigory 125 tools disappearance of 29 Ghananian car repairers 83 of household production 56–7 and small trades 60–62 torture 156–7, 212 Trabant car 10, 129 tractors animal power replaces 36 displacement of horses xiii, 62 Fordson 62, 63, 126 maintenance 79 number on US farms 55 oxen replace 36, 207 USA 62 USSR 63, 126–7 trade global 115 interwar years 115 names 57 ‘traditional technology’ 28–9 trains see railways transfer machines 85–6 transistors 195 Treblinka extermination camp, Poland 179 trucks British truck production 69 Jiefang 126 Model AA 126 number on US farms 55 Tu 4 bombers 123 Tunisia 169 Turkish Navy 92 Tutsis 41–2, 182–3 typhus 26, 162, 163 Tyson Foods 175 U Ukraine: Carpathian foothills 48 Umkhonto we Sizwe (Spear of the Nation) 122 Unamuno, Miguel de 133 Unilever 166 Union Cold Storage 172 Union Stockyards, Chicago 168 United Arab Republic (UAR) 125 United Fruit Company 134 United Nations 18, 79, 122, 129 United States agricultural horsepower xiii, 33 attitude to blacks 132–3 aviation 104, 111 car production 111 domination of world production/innovation 112 economic growth 206 energy use levels 209 executions 165, 176, 178, 182 family farms 62 and guerrilla armies 153 horsepower in First World War 35 Korean War 13 mechanised agriculture 34 modification of cars 97–8 the most motorised nation in the world 69 patents 200 post-war atomic programme 18–19 R&D spending 108, 110 railways 5–6 rifles 144 space programme 19, 20 television 131 torture techniques 157 uptake of new technologies 32 wheat and cotton exports 65 universities 185–7, 192 University of Goettingen 186 University of Oxford 186 UNIX operating system 195 uranium bomb 164 urbanisation, new 40, 207 Uruguay 170–71, 171, 172, 173 Uruguay (liner) 124 US Air Force 95 US Army Air Force 12 US Army Corps of Engineers 11–12, 198 US Food and Drug Administration 201 US Navy 68 US Steel Corporation 127 US Strategic Bombing Survey (USSBS) 14–15 USAAF (United States Army Air Forces) 12, 18 use-centred history ix–xii alternatives for technologies x–xi appearance, disappearance and reappearance of technologies x genuinely global ix, xi–xii gives a radically different picture of technology ix involves rethinking of the history of all technology xii the most significant technologies x novel technological worlds xi–xii refutes some conclusions of innovation-centric history xii rethinking of the history of all technology xii V V-2 rocket x, 17–18, 142, 154, 181 V-agents 164 vacuum cleaners xiv, 55 vehicles, electric vs petrol-powered 9–10 Veinticinco de Mayo (aircraft carrier) 94–5 Venerable, HMS 94 Vengeance, HMS 95 Vestey family 172 Vickers 130, 154 video recorders 55 Vietcong 152, 163 Vietnam war 94, 145, 146, 151–2 Vikrant, INS 95 vinyl records 7, 50 Volkswagen Beetle 44, 70 Golf 70 VX agent 164 W Wal-Mart 71–2, 74, 137 Walla Walla County, Washington xiii Walter Rau floating factory 166 Walton, Sam 72 war 138–59, 212 casualty rates 146 civilianisation of 138–9, 145–6 the conventional story 139–42, 140 industrialisation of 138–9 Iraq and the past 153–6 old weapons and killing in war 142–6 paradoxes of lethality 146–8 power and effect – unused and unusable weapons 148–9 technological and economic determinism in war 150–53 torture 156–7 war, technology and the history of the twentieth century 157–9 Warsaw Pact powers 149 washing machines xiv, 4, 32, 55 water ancient dependence on the control of 76 treatment/supply systems 4 wax cylinders 7 Weber, Albert 165 Wehrmacht 35–6 Wellcome 196 Wells, H.

pages: 315 words: 92,151

Ten Billion Tomorrows: How Science Fiction Technology Became Reality and Shapes the Future by Brian Clegg

Albert Einstein, anthropic principle, Brownian motion, call centre, Carrington event, combinatorial explosion, don't be evil, Ernest Rutherford, experimental subject, game design, gravity well, hive mind, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, Kickstarter, nuclear winter, pattern recognition, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Schrödinger's Cat, silicon-based life, speech recognition, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Turing test, V2 rocket

Many scientists and engineers admit that they were fans of science fiction in their teens and it was this, in part, that inspired them to get involved in their profession, driven by the sense of wonder that comes from good SF. The development of space travel was tied strongly into an archetypal fictional theme, pushed forward by science fiction dreams. When Wernher von Braun was developing the V-2 rockets that were used to attack England and Belgium during the Second World War, the military use of the technology was, to him, a mere distraction. In his mind, his efforts were always directed toward getting men into space. (This is not to belittle in any way the death and destruction caused by the V-2 program, but space travel was the reality of von Braun’s inspiration.) Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, the Russian theorist who was arguably the father of practical rocketry, put as much effort into his science fiction writing as he did engineering.

And of course, the military were all too interested in a device that could quickly and accurately position troops on the battlefield, or lift them instantly out of harm’s way. Although there may have been earlier attempts, the first widely documented work on a rocket belt comes from the early 1950s. An engineer called Thomas Moore built a prototype “jet vest” and tested it in tethered flight at Redstone Arsenal army base in Alabama (allegedly with support from Wernher von Braun, the man behind Nazi Germany’s V-2 rockets and much of the early NASA rocketry). His $25,000 budget ran out before any more progress could be made. The same fate befell the rocketry engineering company Thiokol’s attempts at producing a “jump belt” using nitrogen canisters as propulsion, a project that also ran out of cash as the military temporarily lost interest. There was more success at Bell Aircraft Corporation, the company behind the X-1 aircraft that was the first to break the sound barrier.

He wanted the audience to share in the growing tension and anticipation. And so he had someone speak a countdown to the moment of launch, an approach that was rapidly adopted as a fictional standard and then would be copied by the real space pioneers. It seemed in the early days that, of all the fields where science fiction is closely entwined with reality, it was in the voyage to the Moon that it reached its zenith. Just as Wernher von Braun’s V-2 rocket technology, developed for the Nazis to drop explosives onto England and Belgium, was adapted to form the early seed technology for NASA’s space missions that would lead to the Apollo program, so Die Frau im Mond was linked to the first big American movie featuring a Moon journey, George Pal’s Destination Moon. Hermann Oberth once more acted as technical advisor, while the ship itself is a larger, stylized version of a V-2, lacking even the multiple stages of the earlier film.

pages: 335 words: 82,528

A Theory of the Drone by Gregoire Chamayou

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drone strike, failed state, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, moral hazard, Necker cube, private military company, RAND corporation, telepresence, V2 rocket, Yom Kippur War

As a last resort, there is always the possibility of procuring anti-drone clothing, such as that invented by the artist Adam Harvey.20 It is made from a special metallic fabric that renders the body practically invisible to drones’ thermal imaging cameras. 23 The Fabrication of Political Automata Only the development of robot soldiers, which, as previously mentioned, would eliminate the human factor completely and, conceivably permit one man with a push button to destroy whomever he pleased, could change this fundamental ascendancy of power over violence. —Hannah Arendt When Theodor Adorno composed his Minima Moralia, in 1944, the V-1 and V-2 rockets dispatched to London by the Nazis constituted one of the subjects of his reflections.1 In a long section titled “Out of the Firing Line,” he wrote: Had Hegel’s philosophy of history embraced this age, Hitler’s robot-bombs would have found their place . . . as one of the selected empirical facts by which the state of the world-spirit manifests itself directly in symbols. Like fascism itself, the robots career without a subject.

See antiterrorism paradigm; global war against terror terrorists biographies of suspects, 46 as criminals, 68–69 non-negotiation policy concerning, 69 profiling of, 46–47 “Terror Tuesday,” 46 thermal-imaging cameras, 204 things, 210 threat detection, automatization of, 43 time-geography diagrams, 42 torpedoes, flying, 27 tracking, 34 transparency, 149 transsexuals, militant, 142 “Trojan horse” procedure, 212–13 “turkey shoot,” 162 Turner, Luther, 102 unilateral warfare, 13, 24, 162–65 United Nations, 14 United States, 13, 186 founding of, 202 international law and, 167, 168 security of the homeland, 242n13 See also specific branches of government and the military University of Texas, 76 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), 11–12, 102 unmanned combat air vehicles (UCAVs), 11, 99–100 U.S. Air Force, 13, 27, 55, 62–63, 99, 100, 127 U.S. Border Patrol, 203 U.S. Congress, 203 U.S. Department of Defense, 32, 40, 101–2, 207 U.S. military, 13, 32, 57 dronization of, 14, 67, 77, 100 resistance to dronization, 100 See also specific branches U.S. State Department, 46, 167, 172 V-1 rockets, 27, 205, 206, 271n1 V-2 rockets, 27, 205, 206, 271n1 valor, 102. See also courage verticality, politics of, 53–54, 66–67 victims, 118 killers and, 115–18 soldiers and, 103–5, 115–16 soldiers as, 103–5 video analysts, 2 video feeds, 138 interception of, 75–76 video games, comparison to drone operations, 107–8 video images, automatized analysis of, 235–36n24 video of strikes’ effects, 117 video retransmission, 272n23 video surveillance cameras, 44, 204 Vietnam War, 27, 32, 128, 186, 191–92, 200–202, 223, 232–33n5 Villa, Pancho, 33 violence, 17 armed, 52, 67, 166 colonial, 94–95 derealization of, 148 humilitarian, 139 long-distance, 254–55n12 mechanism of, 15 postcolonial violence, 94–95 reciprocity and, 196 state, 31–32 state of, 91 See also combat; killing; warfare Virilio, Paul, 247n2 virtue, 97, 98, 100–101, 140 killing as, 121 See also specific virtues Voltaire, 92, 158 vulnerability, 12–13, 73–79, 103, 154, 261n15 ontological, 183–84 psychic, 103–5, 106–13 removal of, 22 unequal distribution of, 127 vulnerabilization, political, 184 Wall, Tyler, 235n21 Walzer, Michael, 133, 138, 153–57, 165, 197–98, 199, 269–70n10 war law and, 158–66 right of, 181 See also warfare “warbots,” 212 war crimes, 170–71 committed by robots, 210–12 legalism of atrocities, 216–17 “war-ego,” 112, 120, 246n20 warfare, 33, 91, 163, 229–30n5, 254–55n12 aerial, 165–66 asymmetrical, 13, 24, 33, 61–62, 75, 91–95, 127, 162–63, 264–66n17 capitalization of, 191–92 class relations and, 187, 191–93 decriminalization of killing and, 160 delegation of, 187–88 at a distance, 115–18, 138–39, 153–56, 223–27 double standard of, 259n28 effect of drones on, 15–16 emotional involvement and, 254–55n12 exercised from a peaceful zone, 119–20 externalization of risk and, 188–89 industrialization of, 191 internalization of costs of, 186 “just warfare,” 129–30, 133, 137–38, 153–55, 160, 164, 165 legal theory of, 163 perpetual, 71 philosophy of, 158–66 political economy of, 188–89 post-heroic, 100 reciprocity and, 161–62 reduction of costs of, 188–89 remote, 17, 192, 230n6 risks of, 188–89 sovereigns and, 263n4 state–subject relations and, 177–84 unilateral, 13, 24, 162–65 verticality, 166 virtueless, 98, 101 without combat, 158–66 without risk, 17, 129–30, 153–55, 157, 163, 188–89 without sacrifice, 181 See also combat; law of armed conflict; military ethics; military ethos; war warfare state, 193–94 war machines, as instruments of representation, 247n2 war neuroses, 111–12 See also psychopathologies “war without risks,” 153–54, 157, 163, 188–89 Wazir, Sadaullah, 148–49 Waziristan, Pakistan, 44, 70–71 weaponry, 144 as agents of violence, 206 critical analysis of, 15–16 design of, 212 as essence of combatants, 195–204 as ethical, 189 form vs. function of, 140–41 fusion with combatants, 210 humanitarian, 135–39, 146, 148, 189–90 licit vs. illicit, 158 nonlethal, 203 as objects, 210 physical distance and, 254–55n12 psychic diagram of, 115–16 status of, 210 theory of repugnance generated by killing and, 115–16 See also specific kinds of weaponry Weil, Simone, 15, 124 Weizman, Eyal, 32, 53–54, 139, 190, 238n11, 273n26 welfare state, 193–94 Williams, Alison, 54 Wired for War (Singer), 214–15 Wired magazine, 76, 103 witchcraft, 114–15 Wolfowitz, Paul, 53 World War I, 27, 63, 111 World War II, 140–41, 205 “wound radius,” 142 X-47A combat drone, 217 Yaari, Menahem, 133–34 Yadlin, Amos, 133, 137, 138–39 “Military Ethics of Fighting Terror,” 131–32 Yemen, 13, 58–59, 144, 171, 239n27 Yenne, Bill, 29 Yom Kippur War, 27–28, 233n6 Younge, Samuel, 202 zero casualty warfare, 76, 155, 184, 192, 194 zero risk, 154–55 zonage, principle of, 232n5 zoopolitical conception of, 268–69n14 Zoroaster, 73 Zworykin, Vladimir, 85–86 Grégoire Chamayou is a research scholar in philosophy at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique.

pages: 366 words: 119,981

The Race: The Complete True Story of How America Beat Russia to the Moon by James Schefter

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Berlin Wall, Burning Man, cuban missile crisis, Kitchen Debate, RAND corporation, Ronald Reagan, V2 rocket

Sergei Korolev, aircraft designer, jet and rocket expert, long-term prisoner, was commissioned a colonel in the Red Army and sent to Germany. There his assignment was to look into the rocket work done by the German team led by Wernher von Braun. Von Braun himself, and most of his people, were already at Fort Bliss, Texas. But what they left behind was most informative. Korolev was impressed with German technology and with the success of the V-1 and V-2 rockets in raining terror on London. He was so impressed that, when he had the chance a few years later, he made certain that the German experts captured by Russia were so segregated in their Soviet-sponsored R&D that they could never be a threat to Korolev himself, or to the programs he would lead. In the postwar years, a new side of Sergei Korolev emerged. Maybe it was influenced by his experience as a prisoner, because he grew autocratic and played the games of bureaucratic intrigue with increasing skill.

But until the decision to take it all home, the Russians in 1945 and ’46 set up shop inside Germany to drain details from the minds of the Germans. When Korolev arrived in September 1945, much of the groundwork for co-opting German technology was in place. He focused on organizing the transfers and on seeking out and questioning the most knowledgeable Germans in highly technical terms. His own knowledge of the basics impressed the Germans, and he soaked up the technical details of designing, building, and launching the big V-2 rockets with encyclopedic ease. Even then he sometimes spoke of using this technology to put satellites into orbit or to go to the moon. Korolev returned with the Germans in tow and was soon sent to a new rocketry institute with the acronym NII-88 (the translation of the full Russian name is Scientific Research Institute-88). About 150 Germans were assigned there with him, though only a few had been at Peenemünde with von Braun.

But now in the late 1940s and into the 1950s, rocketry was a rapidly advancing field of its own. Gilruth moved on to bigger model airplanes powered by bigger rockets, then began to focus on the rockets themselves. “People were worried about incoming missiles and warheads,” Max Faget said. “The big issue was aerodynamic heating, so we started to design and test our own missiles to check out heat loads.” They just did it backward. Wernher von Braun was firing modified V-2 rockets at White Sands, New Mexico, not far from El Paso. Other rockets were being designed, but none of the bigger ones was available to PARD. Bob Gilruth thought about it and one day gathered his team. They wanted data on something going through the air very fast, he said. Does it matter whether that thing is going up or down? “It was so obvious,” Faget said. “Gilruth had access to some high-altitude bombers, so we started making test models, thin airfoils, but very heavy.

pages: 549 words: 162,164

Failure Is Not an Option: Mission Control From Mercury to Apollo 13 and Beyond by Gene Kranz

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V2 rocket, white flight

Looking back, I can see now how minimal, even primitive, our facilities were at the time, both in the control center and in the blockhouse—a massively reinforced structure placed as close as prudently possible to the launch pad where the guys who were responsible for the actual functioning of the rocket manned their posts. We tended to talk about “the Germans in the blockhouse” largely because Wernher von Braun and his cohorts, who had worked on the rocket programs, came to the United States after Germany’s defeat in World War II. They were originally stationed near El Paso, Texas, and tested captured V-2 rockets for the military at the White Sands, New Mexico, test range. Later they were moved to permanent facilities at Huntsville, Alabama, and worked for the Army Redstone Arsenal. Most of the Germans became American citizens, adopting Huntsville as their home. In 1960 rocket development at the Redstone Arsenal was transferred to the newly formed Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC), and von Braun, along with nearly 100 other German scientists and technicians, began work on a powerful series of rockets called Saturn I.

Robert Goddard, the American pioneer in rocketry, who had developed rocket engine and guidance technology in the 1930s equal, if not superior in some respects, to what von Braun and his colleagues were working on as late as 1945. Goddard, one of my boyhood heroes, had had the backing of Charles Lindbergh, which enabled him to test his rockets in New Mexico, not far from the site where von Braun and his Germans would fire the first captured V-2 rockets in the late 1940s and test those that evolved from V-2 technology in the years that followed. The German scientists and technicians would come back to the Cape occasionally for selected launches (particularly high-profile manned missions), but they had their hands full at Marshall developing a new generation of rockets. By the time NASA launch operations were forming up, American engineers were well acquainted with rockets, building on the experience of the Germans, as were the contractors producing the Redstone and Atlas missiles.

Space Shuttle Space Task Group engineers based at growth of Kranz joined original members of Space walk see also EVA (extravehicular activity) Spacecraft television broadcasts from Spacecraft Research Division Spacecraft systems analysis Spaceflight see also Manned spaceflight Spaceship Earth SPAN (spacecraft analysis) team Spence Air Base Spider monkeys Sputnik Stafford, Tom Apollo 10 Gemini 6 Gemini 9 Stay NoStay decisions Stokes, Jim Stored program commands (SPC) Stough, Chuck Stoval, Bill Surveyor 3 Swigert, Jack Systems controllers Systems handbooks Tainan Air Base Tananarive site Team building Team chemistry Teamwork in crisis space/ground Technology advancing communications failure of fuel cell simulation tradeoffs in Test and checkout procedure (TCP) Test pilots astronauts Testing all-up approach to high-risk Texas CapCom Thomas, Albert Thomas, Dylan Thompson, Bob Thompson, Floyd Thorson, Dick Thrust vector control (TVC) Tiger Team Tindall, Bill “Tindallgrams” Titan rockets Titan II rocket Titov, Gherman Tomberlin, Jim Tracking network voice system Tracking ships Tracking sites/stations Africa data transmission digital systems preparation for missions Project Mercury Southern Hemisphere standard time for Trans-Earth coast (TEC) Trans-Earth injection (TEI) Translunar coast (TLC) Translunar injection (TLI) Trench, The Apollo 8 Apollo 11 Apollo 12 Apollo 13 Apollo 14 Apollo 16 Apollo 17 Apollo missions Apollo simulations “Captain Refsmmat” Gemini 6 Gemini 8 Lunney ran Trust UHF-6 test United States State Department University of California, Santa Cruz Unmanned missions Urey, Harold USS Mason V-2 rocket Van Renssalaer Vietnam War Virtual reality von Braun, Wernher Von Ehrenfried, Manfred (Dutch) Vostok spacecraft Wallops Island Station Ward, Doug Weather decisions/delays Webb, James Western Electric Whifferdills White, Ed Apollo 1 death of EVA White, Ted White Sands White Team Apollo 5 Apollo 11 Apollo 13 Apollo 15 Apollo 16 Apollo 17 Apollo missions Gemini missions Lewis assumed command of Williams, C.

pages: 409 words: 138,088

Moondust: In Search of the Men Who Fell to Earth by Andrew Smith

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British Empire, Buckminster Fuller, cuban missile crisis, full employment, game design, Haight Ashbury, Jeff Bezos, Mark Shuttleworth, Mars Rover, Marshall McLuhan, Mikhail Gorbachev, Naomi Klein, Norman Mailer, nuclear winter, pensions crisis, Ronald Reagan, V2 rocket

Yet the Saturn V never failed, nor looked like failing when it mattered and it doesn’t take a genius to understand that something very like genius was at work here. What might not be guessed is that it was a Nazi genius. In the words of Chris Kraft, “Wernher von Braun built a masterpiece.” Wernher von Braun: his spirit haunts Apollo like a spectre. Reg Turnill’s eldest son was born prematurely when one of the first V-2 rocket-bombs von Braun designed during World War II fell on Sydenham in South London. It was years before Reg could bring himself to shake the German’s hand. To begin with, his thick accent and mouth full of metal teeth were “quite revolting for the viewer,” but one day Reg turned around and, lo, the engineer was speaking perfect English through a gallery of gleaming white teeth. Flight director Chris Kraft found his presence troubling at first, too, and claims to have contemplated punching him on their first meeting out of disgust at his background: NASA’s much-loved first director of the Manned Spacecraft Center (MSC), Robert Gilruth, sought to assuage his deputy with the words “von Braun doesn’t care what flag he fights for.”

His best biographer will point out to me that Stanley Kubrick used to get tetchy when people assumed the mad German adviser Peter Sellers played in his Cold War masterpiece, Dr. Strangelove, to have been based on Henry Kissinger. The only German with the ear of a president when the film was being made in 1963 was von Braun. Even at this stage, though, as I crane my neck to gape at his work, I’m aware that history books have begun to be rewritten on the subject of von Braun. His V-2 rocket had been made with European slave labour in caves under the spectacular Harz Mountains of central Germany, but von Braun was always allowed to deny any involvement in, or even knowledge of, these crimes. Dr. Arthur Rudolph, who was in charge of production there and would later work under von Braun as manager of the Saturn V programme at Huntsville, was awarded NASA’s Distinguished Service Medal in 1969, but later forced to flee the U.S. when a media emboldened by its reporting of Vietnam and the Watergate scandal began to question his past and the fact that workers who sabotaged the V-2s at his Mittelwerk factory were routinely hanged outside his office: estimates suggest that 60,000 inmates passed through Mittelwerk and its associated concentration camps, of whom 25,000 were worked or starved to death in the cold inhuman murk of the tunnels.

And I think he often knew the solution before we started, but would patiently sit through the discussions because of the need to be there and provide leadership, so that in the long term, when he wasn’t there, they could still go out and do the things that needed to be done. Let’s assume that I had the IQ he did, which I don’t; I don’t think I could have been that patient.” Yet military historians have claimed that, had Hitler’s regime clung on for another six months, the godfather of Apollo and his V-2 rockets might have won him the war. I’m about to throw this spanner in the works when Bean does it for me. “Yes. And if you read his history, then you’re also left with the problem that he did a lot of bad things – but if he wanted to be in that society, and a leader, then he had to use slave labour, he had to accept that people were getting killed and starved and strangled with their belt because they took some leather to hold their pants up and they weren’t supposed to.”

pages: 338 words: 106,936

The Physics of Wall Street: A Brief History of Predicting the Unpredictable by James Owen Weatherall

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Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, Antoine Gombaud: Chevalier de Méré, Asian financial crisis, bank run, beat the dealer, Benoit Mandelbrot, Black Swan, Black-Scholes formula, Bonfire of the Vanities, Bretton Woods, Brownian motion, butterfly effect, capital asset pricing model, Carmen Reinhart, Claude Shannon: information theory, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, dark matter, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Edward Thorp, Emanuel Derman, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, financial innovation, fixed income, George Akerlof, Gerolamo Cardano, Henri Poincaré, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, iterative process, John Nash: game theory, Kenneth Rogoff, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Bachelier, mandelbrot fractal, martingale, Myron Scholes, new economy, Paul Lévy, Paul Samuelson, prediction markets, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, random walk, Renaissance Technologies, risk-adjusted returns, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Sharpe ratio, short selling, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, statistical arbitrage, statistical model, stochastic process, The Chicago School, The Myth of the Rational Market, tulip mania, V2 rocket, Vilfredo Pareto, volatility smile

He headed toward a nearby forest, planning to slowly make his way back to where his family had been hiding before his arrest. As he moved through the wilderness, he heard a gut-wrenching noise: behind him, back at the main road, a German dive bomber had found the other prisoners. Life during wartime is an unpredictable thing. In Thomas Pynchon’s novel Gravity’s Rainbow, one of the characters, Roger Mexico, is a statistician charged with keeping track of where the V-2 rockets land in London during the final days of the Third Reich. He finds that the rockets are falling according to a particular statistical distribution — the one you would expect if they were equally likely to fall anywhere in the city. Mexico is surrounded by people desperate to control their lives, to save themselves from the rockets’ whimsical paths. To these onlookers, Mexico’s charts and graphs hint at some underlying pattern, something they might use to predict where the next rocket will fall.

But to assume that these patterns say anything about where the next rocket will fall is to commit the same fallacy as the roulette player who is convinced that a particular number is “due.” Mexico knows this. And yet he, too, finds the data seductive, as though the very randomness of the pattern holds the key to its power. And it does, at least if you happen to be standing on the street where the next rocket falls. Yet mathematically, this sort of randomness is mild. The V-2 rockets were fired systematically, several a day, aimed roughly at London. Working out the odds of how many rockets would land on St. Paul’s Cathedral or in Hammersmith was a lot like working out how many times a roulette ball would fall into red 25. Indeed, many of the situations we think of as random are like this. So many, in fact, that it’s easy to fall prey to the idea that all random events are like coin tosses or simple casino games.

pages: 316 words: 90,165

You Are Here: From the Compass to GPS, the History and Future of How We Find Ourselves by Hiawatha Bray

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A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, Albert Einstein, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, bitcoin, British Empire, call centre, crowdsourcing, Dava Sobel, digital map, don't be evil, Edmond Halley, Edward Snowden, Firefox, game design, Google Earth, Hedy Lamarr / George Antheil, Isaac Newton, job automation, John Harrison: Longitude, John Snow's cholera map, license plate recognition, lone genius, openstreetmap, polynesian navigation, popular electronics, RAND corporation, RFID, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, Steven Levy, trade route, turn-by-turn navigation, uranium enrichment, urban planning, V2 rocket, Zipcar

As the voyage of the Nautilus would demonstrate nearly six years later, an inertial system could guide a submarine for thousands of miles under water, steering it to within a few miles of its intended destination. The same technology would work for surface warships and long-range bombing planes as well. Above all, inertial navigation enabled the construction of missiles capable of hitting a target thousands of miles away. Germany’s V-2 rockets were accurate only to within 4 miles, after having traveled a mere 200 miles.22 A missile fired from the heart of the United States to Russia would travel more than 5,000 miles; at the V-2’s standard of accuracy, the missile might easily be more than 100 miles off target. Even with nuclear warheads, that’s lousy shooting. An inertial system could reduce that error dramatically, to within a mile or two of the target even after flying halfway around the world.

Still, they threw themselves at the problem.3 “We did not fully realize the potential of what we were doing,” they said. McClure, however, did. The Canadian-born chemist was an expert on solid rocket fuels for guided missiles. His expertise made him welcome at a new branch of the US Navy, the Special Projects Office (SPO), which sought ways to put guided missiles aboard ships at sea. The German V-2 rockets, which the United States had captured during the last days of World War II, were state of the art in 1940s guided-missile technology. As mentioned in Chapter 3, however, they were not powerful enough to carry the massive atom bombs of the era. The plutonium bomb that leveled Nagasaki weighed ten thousand pounds. For years after the war, the US military did not see much future in long-range missiles, focusing instead on developing massive new bombing planes capable of lugging nukes to Moscow.

pages: 102 words: 33,345

24/7: Late Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep by Jonathan Crary

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augmented reality, Berlin Wall, dematerialisation, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Fall of the Berlin Wall, invention of movable type, Kevin Kelly, late capitalism, mass incarceration, megacity, planetary scale, Ponzi scheme, V2 rocket

These twin developments were not completed in most European countries until the end of World War II.”4 While one might debate the pervasiveness of modernization at various points in time, Jameson’s periodization reminds us that the nineteenth century and a good part of the twentieth were effectively a patchwork of disjunct spaces and times, some rationalized and shaped by new institutional and market-based requirements, while in many others premodern patterns and assumptions obdurately survived. Especially significant is the provisional designation of 1945 to indicate a historical turning point. On the mundane level of historical specificity this means recalling, for example, that the Nazis, while developing their V-2 rockets, simultaneously depended on 1.5 million horses for essential military transport.5 So much for the truism of twentieth-century “mechanized warfare.” More importantly, as writers from Ernest Mandel to Thomas Pynchon have shown, World War II, in its destructiveness and global impact, was an unprecedented event of homogenization in which outdated territories, identities, and social fabrics were obliterated.

pages: 453 words: 142,717

The Last Man on the Moon: Astronaut Eugene Cernan and America's Race in Space by Eugene Cernan, Donald A. Davis

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Berlin Wall, Eratosthenes, full employment, Isaac Newton, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, V2 rocket, white flight

So the German generals offered funding, total support, and a secure place to work. The naive scientists took the deal, dismissing Hitler as a fool who would soon pass from the stage. Von Braun had been right about many things, but he was dreadfully wrong about Hitler, who cared not at all about space exploration. The scientists were swept up to become part of Germany’s war effort, and their revolutionary V-l and V-2 rockets, fitted with explosive warheads, rained down on England. When the war ended in 1945, Russian and United States forces raced for the rocket base in the coastal town of Peenemünde to grab its treasure trove of scientists, records and hardware. Von Braun and 117 other German rocket experts surrendered to our side, but many others were captured by the Soviet Union. That was the genesis of the space race that dominated my life.

Von Braun had been saying for years that he and his team could put up a satellite, and do it before the Russians, but he was hooted down by rivals. The Air Force wanted control of any space program, as an extension of its aircraft testing at Edwards Air Force Base. So did the Navy, which was preparing its Vanguard rockets. The Germans, unfortunately, worked for the Army. Jealousy ruled. Using the Jupiter-C, a missile that was a close cousin to the V-2 rockets they built for Hitler, the German engineers answered the call. Almost four months after Sputnik broke the barrier, Explorer 1, only seven feet long and carrying eleven pounds of scientific equipment and two radios, went into orbit from a little-known spit of Florida coast known as Cape Canaveral. The United States was in the game. YOU AIN’T NUTHIN’ BUT a houn’ dawg! must have heard Elvis Presley’s newest hit song fifty times as I drove from Memphis back to Pensacola after Christmas of 1957.

pages: 492 words: 149,259

Big Bang by Simon Singh

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Albert Einstein, Albert Michelson, All science is either physics or stamp collecting, Andrew Wiles, anthropic principle, Arthur Eddington, Astronomia nova, Brownian motion, carbon-based life, Cepheid variable, Chance favours the prepared mind, Commentariolus, Copley Medal, cosmic abundance, cosmic microwave background, cosmological constant, cosmological principle, dark matter, Dava Sobel, Defenestration of Prague, discovery of penicillin, Dmitri Mendeleev, Edmond Halley, Edward Charles Pickering, Eratosthenes, Ernest Rutherford, Erwin Freundlich, Fellow of the Royal Society, fudge factor, Hans Lippershey, Harlow Shapley and Heber Curtis, Harvard Computers: women astronomers, Henri Poincaré, horn antenna, if you see hoof prints, think horses—not zebras, Index librorum prohibitorum, invention of the telescope, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, Karl Jansky, Louis Daguerre, Louis Pasteur, luminiferous ether, Magellanic Cloud, Murray Gell-Mann, music of the spheres, Olbers’ paradox, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, Paul Erdős, retrograde motion, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, scientific mainstream, Simon Singh, Solar eclipse in 1919, Stephen Hawking, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, unbiased observer, V2 rocket, Wilhelm Olbers, William of Occam

It so happened that the Sun was at a peak in its eleven-year sunspot cycle, and that the intensity of the radio emissions was linked with strong sunspot activity. By researching radar, Hey had accidentally discovered that the Sun—and presumably all stars—emit radio waves. Hey seemed to have a knack for serendipity, because in 1944 he made another lucky discovery. Using a special radar system pointed up at a steep angle, which he had developed for spotting incoming V-2 rockets, Hey noticed that meteors also emitted radio signals as they sizzle through the atmosphere. When the frenzy of wartime radar research ended in 1945, there was a large amount of redundant radio equipment and a large posse of equally redundant scientists who knew how to use it. It was for these reasons that radio astronomy now began to establish itself as a serious field of research. Two of the first full-time radio astronomers were Stanley Hey and fellow wartime radar researcher Bernard Lovell, who managed to obtain an ex-army mobile radar unit and embarked on a programme of radio astronomy observations.

Figure 94 Stanley Hey’s wartime discoveries were given new life when they were featured in a cartoon strip in the ‘Frontiers of Science’ section of the Daily Herald in April 1963. Ryle, who graduated in physics in 1939, had also worked on radar during the war. He had been drafted into the Telecommunications Research Establishment to work on airborne radar, and then moved to the Air Ministry Research Department where he discovered how to jam the V-2 rocket guidance system. His greatest wartime achievement was as part of the top-secret Moonshine project, which could simulate a naval or airborne attack by generating fake signals on German radar. In the run-up to D-Day, he helped to distract and confuse the German military by simulating two massive naval assaults on the French coast far from where the actual landings took place. After the war, Ryle scavenged ex-military equipment and set out to improve the accuracy of radio astronomy measurements.

pages: 169 words: 56,555

Another Great Day at Sea: Life Aboard the USS George H.W. Bush by Geoff Dyer

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Burning Man, Ronald Reagan, V2 rocket

Like almost every other boy of my age, long hours spent making and blotchily painting Airfix models meant that I had an encyclopaedic knowledge of Second World War aircraft. This plane-spotter’s know-how was backed up by a limited if sometimes deluded idea of what these planes were used for: Stukas dive-bombed Polish cities, Hurricanes and Spitfires fought off Heinkels and Dorniers in the Anglo-blue skies of 1940, the de Havilland Mosquitoes of 633 Squadron attacked a factory making fuel for V-2 rockets, Lancasters busted the Mona dam and destroyed industrial targets deep in the Ruhr valley, bomb-laden Mitsubishi Zeroes plunged into US aircraft carriers. Within the narrative of the Second World War—to liberate the world from the tyranny of Hitler and the Japanese—I also had a sense of the larger strategy in which these aircraft played a part. This expanded understanding pretty much ended with the coming of the jet fighter (Messerschmitt 262 and Gloster Meteor) and the end of the war.

pages: 229 words: 67,599

The Logician and the Engineer: How George Boole and Claude Shannon Created the Information Age by Paul J. Nahin

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Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Claude Shannon: information theory, conceptual framework, Edward Thorp, Fellow of the Royal Society, finite state, four colour theorem, Georg Cantor, Grace Hopper, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, knapsack problem, New Journalism, Pierre-Simon Laplace, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Schrödinger's Cat, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, thinkpad, Thomas Bayes, Turing machine, Turing test, V2 rocket

There he would enjoy an astonishingly creative fifteen years, including the production of his masterpiece—what Scientific American called “the Magna Carta of the information age”—the 1948 “A Mathematical Theory of Communication.” Initially his work at Bell Labs dealt with anti-aircraft fire-control systems, the need for which had grown in importance with the appearance of the 400 mph German pulse-jet V1 “flying robot bomb,” the world’s first cruise missile. (The German V2 rocket—the world’s first ballistic missile—is also often lumped in with the V1 as driving fire-control system development during Shannon’s day, but it would be quite difficult to shoot down a V2 today, during its 2,000 mph terminal atmospheric reentry phase, much less with 1940s gun technology!) Later work at Bell Labs took Shannon into the arcane world of cryptography, during which he met the English mathematician Alan Turing (1912–1954), who was a key player in the supersecret British Ultra program (“Ultra” was the code-name for the intelligence obtained from intercepted messages sent by German Enigma coding machines that the Nazis incorrectly thought unbreakable).

pages: 361 words: 83,886

Inside the Robot Kingdom: Japan, Mechatronics and the Coming Robotopia by Frederik L. Schodt

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carbon-based life, computer age, Computer Numeric Control, computer vision, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, factory automation, game design, guest worker program, industrial robot, Jacques de Vaucanson, Norbert Wiener, post-industrial society, robot derives from the Czech word robota Czech, meaning slave, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, telepresence, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, V2 rocket, Whole Earth Review, women in the workforce

Everything as far as I could see had been transformed into scorched earth and piles of rubble. ... I was . . . stunned by the destructive power of war. Second was the VI and V2 missiles that the German Nazis developed. I had heard that Hitler tried to use them as an ace in the hole to reverse his waning fortunes. The third influence was from the American movie Frankenstein."8 In the story he devised, Iron Man was given the number 28 because, like the VI and V2 rockets, he had originally been designed by the Japanese military as a last-ditch secret weapon to reverse its sinking fortunes. All the models up to No. 28—and the end of the war—were failures, however, so Iron Man No. 28 became a civilian robot. It is hard to imagine a robot more different from the humanistic, family-oriented Atom, but both characters resemble each other in that they were used to help mankind, and both have competed for fans until this day.

pages: 564 words: 178,408

Citizens of London: The Americans Who Stood With Britain in Its Darkest, Finest Hour by Lynne Olson

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Alistair Cooke, Bretton Woods, British Empire, colonial rule, European colonialism, financial independence, full employment, imperial preference, indoor plumbing, jobless men, old-boy network, South China Sea, V2 rocket

By 1944, one of these networks, code-named F-2, had seven hundred full-time and two thousand part-time operatives, most of them French, working in such locales as ports, railway stations, armaments plants, and even German war production offices. In the early 1940s, thanks to F-2 and a variety of other European intelligence sources, the Allies learned of trials being carried out on two new secret German weapons—the V-1 flying bomb and V-2 rocket—at Peenemünde, on the Baltic coast of Germany. Armed with that information, more than five hundred RAF bombers pounded Peenemünde in August 1943, setting back production of the weapons more than six months and preventing their use on the millions of Allied troops gathering in England for the invasion. WHEN THE OSS SET up operations in London in 1942, it had no idea that the stream of intelligence it received from MI6 was actually produced by the European services.

During one of his visits to Normandy, Eisenhower noted that many American GIs asked him “in worried tones whether I could give them any news about particular towns [near London] where they had been stationed.” In late August, Allied troops overran most of the V-1 launching sites, but stopping the buzz bombs brought no relief to London. On September 8, the Germans unleashed an even more terrifying guided missile—the much larger and deadlier V-2 rocket. The V-2s—which carried a larger explosive charge than their predecessors, traveled faster than sound, and approached their targets in total silence—tormented the capital until just a few months before the end of the war. More than one thousand V-2s exploded in and around London, rocking the city like an earthquake, devastating entire neighborhoods, and killing nearly three thousand people. The combined V-1 and V-2 attacks damaged British morale far more than any other wartime event, not only because of the assaults’ devastating nature, but because, after half a decade of privation and suffering, many residents of Britain had reached their limit in emotional and physical exhaustion.

pages: 577 words: 171,126

Light This Candle: The Life & Times of Alan Shepard--America's First Spaceman by Neal Thompson

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Columbine, cuban missile crisis, Donald Trump, Norman Mailer, place-making, Silicon Valley, V2 rocket, William Langewiesche

Wernher von Braun, a brilliant but wildly egotistical engineer who had directed the V-2 program, came to the United States as a technical adviser in 1945; five years later, he was named head of a team of scientists in Huntsville, Alabama, developing a so-called Redstone rocket. Through the early 1950s, the rocket boys—in the United States and in the Soviet Union, both groups working with modified V-2 rockets—aimed toward a long-term goal of creating rockets that could travel thousands of miles, across entire oceans—so-called intercontinental ballistic missiles, or ICBMs. The Soviets succeeded first, in 1957. At the same time, some of the rocket boys began to ask: Instead of using such missiles as weapons—essentially delivery systems for bombs—couldn’t the ICBM be used to reach space? In the United States, physicist Robert Goddard had explored such theories in the 1920s, and his ideas were used as the platform for discussions in the early 1950s about how to use a rocket to send a satellite into space, where it would circle the earth—a second moon of sorts.

When NASA engineers began meeting in 1958 to design the rocket-and-capsule system that would carry a man into—and, ideally, back from—space, one official told his crew that their task was simple: “It would be good if you kept him alive.” But by 1959 just getting off the ground was a troubling enough task, and the Mercury Seven sometimes had to wonder whether they’d signed on for a suicide mission. NASA was yet to choose which military branch would provide the booster rocket system. Wernher von Braun, working for the Army, had improved steadily on his Redstone rocket (the progeny of the Nazis’ V-2 rocket, a version of which had sent the first U.S. satellite, Explorer, into space in 1958). The Navy, meanwhile, was committed to its unreliable Vanguard rocket (which had exploded during its attempt to launch the Explorer in late 1957). Finally, the Air Force was developing its powerful and promising Atlas rocket. The three services were locked in a contentious and politically charged battle for the job, but each was suffering awful and vexing setbacks.

pages: 816 words: 242,405

A Man on the Moon by Andrew Chaikin

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cuban missile crisis, data acquisition, gravity well, index card, Internet Archive, invention of the telephone, Isaac Newton, Norman Mailer, V2 rocket

She would tell her news to Jim, who would be home tonight from a trip to California. Marilyn and Jim had met and dated in the mid-1940s, when they were both attending high school in Milwaukee. Even then, Jim had his mind on the stars; sometimes, on clear nights, he would take her to the roof of his apartment building to give her a tour of the heavens. And during World War II, Jim had been fascinated by the reports of German V-2 rockets. Marilyn witnessed his experiments with rockets made from mailing tubes and fueled by gunpowder mixed with airplane glue. While he and a classmate were busy in the open field across the street Marilyn would sit in the apartment with Jim’s mother, both of them hoping the two boys didn’t blow their heads off. But this was no reckless stunt. The young experimenters took every precaution, wearing welder’s goggles and gloves.

Working from telescopic photos, Shoemaker and his USGS colleagues had staked out parcels of moonscape the way Survey geologists will tackle the corner of a state. To the Survey’s map list, brimming with titles like “Geologic Map of the Sawtooth Ridge Quadrangle of Montana,” they added titles such as, “Geologic Map of the Copernicus Quadrangle of the Moon.” But Shoemaker’s ambitions were even more far-reaching than his telescope. In 1948, as a twenty-year-old Caltech geology student, he’d read of experiments with captured V-2 rockets and foreseen the coming of space exploration; he also knew that he wanted to be part of it. Since then, he had built his career on being the first scientist on the moon. By 1962, with the moon a national goal, Shoemaker’s efforts went into high gear. And if NASA wasn’t taking scientists into the astronaut corps, Shoemaker would do what he could to change that. But his dream was abruptly shattered in 1963 when he was diagnosed with Addison’s disease.

pages: 370 words: 100,856

Moonshot: The Inside Story of Mankind's Greatest Adventure by Dan Parry

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en.wikipedia.org, Norman Mailer, V2 rocket, white flight

This idea, known as earth orbit rendezvous (or EOR), was supported by Dr Wernher von Braun, a rocket engineer from Germany, caricatured by Peter Sellers in the film Dr Strangelove. Von Braun came to be fascinated by the prospect of space travel during his teenage years, and later pursued his interest in rocket engines by designing missiles for the German army during the 1930s. A shrewd political operator, von Braun found it expedient to join first the Nazi party and then the SS, while developing what became the V-2 rocket.7 He also permitted the use of slave labour. Twenty thousand people died at the Peenemünde and Mittelwerk plants while building the V-2, the world's first ballistic missile.8 After von Braun and his team surrendered to the American army in 1945, they were sent to the States together with examples of the V-2 and boxes of supporting documents. Continuing their work, they gave the army a leading edge in developing large liquid-fuel rocket engines, supersonic aerodynamics, and guidance and control systems.

pages: 624 words: 104,923

QI: The Book of General Ignorance - The Noticeably Stouter Edition by Lloyd, John, Mitchinson, John

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Admiral Zheng, Albert Einstein, Barry Marshall: ulcers, British Empire, discovery of penicillin, Dmitri Mendeleev, Fellow of the Royal Society, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, invention of the telephone, James Watt: steam engine, Kuiper Belt, Magellanic Cloud, Mars Rover, Menlo Park, Olbers’ paradox, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, placebo effect, Pluto: dwarf planet, trade route, V2 rocket, Vesna Vulović

Phoberomys pattersoni was the size of a cow and weighed 1,400 times more than the average pet guinea pig. Nobody really knows where the expression ‘guinea pig’ comes from but the most likely suggestion is that they reached Europe as part of the triangle of slave-trade routes that linked South America to the Guinea coast of West Africa. What was the first animal in space? The fruit fly. The tiny astronauts were loaded on to an American V2 rocket along with some corn seeds, and blasted into space in July 1946. They were used to test the effects of exposure to radiation at high altitudes. Fruit flies are a lab favourite. Three-quarters of known human disease genes have a match in the genetic code of fruit flies. They also go to sleep every night, react in a similar way to general anaesthetics and, best of all, reproduce very quickly. You can have a whole new generation in a fortnight.

pages: 342 words: 95,013

The Zenith Angle by Bruce Sterling

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airport security, Burning Man, cuban missile crisis, digital map, glass ceiling, Grace Hopper, half of the world's population has never made a phone call, Iridium satellite, market bubble, new economy, packet switching, pirate software, profit motive, RFID, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, thinkpad, V2 rocket, Y2K

Yes, that really mattered. Careful not to mention the advice he had gotten from Tony, Van broached the matter with Jeb. Jeb quickly understood the implications. Yes, it would obviously get the CCIAB a lot of kudos if they could technically outsmart the Air Force, the Space Force, the National Reconnaissance Office, NASA, and the host of federal contractors who had been working on satellites since the days of the V-2 rocket. It would make the CCIAB look like geniuses and it was just the kind of stunt that really impressed congressmen. Weighed against that was the scary prospect of getting in over their heads, then getting blamed for it. So Jeb, in his own turn, talked the matter over with some old-school technical buddies from DARPA and the Defense Department’s Office of Special Projects. A plan emerged: a firewall strategy.

pages: 376 words: 110,796

Realizing Tomorrow: The Path to Private Spaceflight by Chris Dubbs, Emeline Paat-dahlstrom, Charles D. Walker

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Berlin Wall, call centre, desegregation, Donald Trump, Doomsday Book, Elon Musk, high net worth, Iridium satellite, iterative process, Jeff Bezos, Mark Shuttleworth, Mikhail Gorbachev, multiplanetary species, Norman Mailer, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, technoutopianism, V2 rocket, X Prize, young professional

It certainly made an impression on Robert Truax, who was at White Sands Proving Grounds, New Mexico, for the occasion. He had already interviewed Wernher von Braun, one of the German rocket scientists now working for the U.S. Army, about the production ofv-z rockets during the war. Now he was going to witness the launch of the huge rocket. The Army had constructed a massive blockhouse that couldn't accommodate the overflow crowd gathered that day for the launch of the first v-2, rocket in the United States. Truax found a vantage point behind a corner of the blockhouse where he had a close-up view of the massive rocket. A little too close, actually: immediately after launch the rocket leaned toward the blockhouse and began corkscrewing upward. "I was frozen in my tracks. I watched with utter fascination as the fifty-foot rocket ascended slowly, at one time right over my head so that I could see the big jet of flame end-on."

pages: 326 words: 93,522

Underground, Overground by Andrew Martin

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bank run, congestion charging, garden city movement, Plutocrats, plutocrats, traveling salesman, V2 rocket

Graves writes: One old woman proudly announced that she had brought enough cheese and tea-cakes for a fortnight, and indeed it was noted that she did not leave the East End railway platform which she had chosen for fourteen days, except to get a ten-minutes breath of fresh air when there was no air-raid in progress. The Tube stations offered warmth, camaraderie. You didn’t pay for light or heat; there were, in fact, few overheads, except the one that really mattered. There were two peaks of sheltering: the first, and highest, was during the Blitz; the second during the rain of V1 and V2 rockets in 1944. A count taken one night early in the Blitz found 177,000 Londoners sheltering in the Tubes. It is said that about 4 per cent of Londoners took to the Tube at some point during the Blitz. You could book your space in advance by acquiring a ticket (no charge was made, of course) that allocated you a space on a platform. The trains continued to run – as the slogan had it, ‘London Transport Carried On’ – and the late and early ones, which disturbed the sleepers, were much resented.

pages: 266 words: 86,324

The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives by Leonard Mlodinow

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Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, Antoine Gombaud: Chevalier de Méré, Atul Gawande, Brownian motion, butterfly effect, correlation coefficient, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Donald Trump, feminist movement, forensic accounting, Gerolamo Cardano, Henri Poincaré, index fund, Isaac Newton, law of one price, pattern recognition, Paul Erdős, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, RAND corporation, random walk, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Bayes, V2 rocket, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!

If the Xs and Os represented events of interest, we might be tempted to wonder if those clusters signified something. But any meaning we assigned them would be misconceived because these data are identical to the earlier set of 200 random Xs and Os, except for the geometric 5-by-40 arrangement and the choice of which letters to put in boldface. This very issue drew much attention toward the end of World War II, when V2 rockets started raining down on London. The rockets were terrifying, traveling at over five times the speed of sound, so that one heard them approach only after they had hit. Newspapers soon published maps of the impact sites, which seemed to reveal not random patterns but purposeful clusters. To some observers the clusters indicated a precision in the control of the rockets’ flight path that, given the distance the rockets had to travel, suggested that German technology was much more advanced than anyone had dreamed possible.

pages: 349 words: 27,507

E=mc2: A Biography of the World's Most Famous Equation by David Bodanis

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Albert Einstein, Arthur Eddington, Berlin Wall, British Empire, dark matter, Ernest Rutherford, Erwin Freundlich, Fellow of the Royal Society, Henri Poincaré, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, Mercator projection, pre–internet, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Stephen Hawking, Thorstein Veblen, V2 rocket

America avidly employed any chemists with experience in the Clusius process used for separating isotopes, but Germany had Professor Clusius himself—as it also had Professor Heisenberg, Professor Geiger, and the rest. There was a huge middle ground of production engineers, able to pull out such surprises as the factories of jet-powered and rocket-powered aircraft, the extreme long-range submarines, the V-2 rockets, and other devices available before the end of the war. Many of those had problems being produced and deployed in large numbers, but a reactor or even a complete bomb that Heisenberg had managed to finish would only have needed to be deployed once or twice to possibly change the decisions of entire nations. How close could it have come? In early 1940, Harteck felt he’d need up to 300 kilograms of uranium to test his carbon dioxide idea.

pages: 310 words: 89,653

The Interstellar Age: Inside the Forty-Year Voyager Mission by Jim Bell

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Albert Einstein, crowdsourcing, dark matter, Edmond Halley, Edward Charles Pickering, en.wikipedia.org, Eratosthenes, gravity well, Isaac Newton, Kuiper Belt, Mars Rover, Pierre-Simon Laplace, planetary scale, Pluto: dwarf planet, polynesian navigation, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Stephen Hawking, V2 rocket

Eratosthenes, armed with data from his simple measurements, came up with around 9,000 miles, or within about 15 percent of the correct modern answer (7,918 miles). Not bad for sticks and shadows. Fast-forward almost 2,200 years and we’ve entered an era when we can, in fact, just leave our planet, turn around, and take a look. The first time this was actually done was in the late 1940s, with cameras on suborbital German V-2 rockets that had been captured by the US Army after World War II and transported to the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. From altitudes of around 100 miles, the grainy V-2 photos showed the graceful curvature of part of the Earth’s limb. However, the first truly “global-scale” photo of the Earth from space wasn’t taken until nine years after the first Earth-orbiting satellites were launched. That photo, taken on August 23, 1966, by the NASA Lunar Orbiter I spacecraft, shows a beautiful, black-and-white crescent Earth appearing to rise behind the horizon of the moon.

pages: 297 words: 98,506

Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why by Laurence Gonzales

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business climate, butterfly effect, complexity theory, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, impulse control, Lao Tzu, loose coupling, Louis Pasteur, V2 rocket

Yankovich has his index finger and thumb poised to press the cut light or wave-off light switches in case he needs to tell the pilot to add power or not to land. The men inadvertently nudge me toward the edge in their enthusiasm to get a look at the F-18 Hornet that’s bearing down on us at 150 miles an hour. A mile out, it doesn’t look like much yet, just a black dart, a darker darkness in a sky full of buzz-bomb stars. I know those monster GE engines are burning kerosene faster than a V-2 rocket, but I can’t hear them yet. There’s just that silent insect shape, unfolding like an origami airplane, a black bat in the bat black night. I look at the faces around me. Each man has a lump in his cheek from the Tootsie Roll Pops a Marine passed out a few minutes ago. Their white eyes stare intently at the blossoming shape that’s chewing up the stars. But they’re not staring the way I’m staring.

pages: 445 words: 105,255

Radical Abundance: How a Revolution in Nanotechnology Will Change Civilization by K. Eric Drexler

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3D printing, additive manufacturing, agricultural Revolution, Bill Joy: nanobots, Brownian motion, carbon footprint, Cass Sunstein, conceptual framework, continuation of politics by other means, crowdsourcing, dark matter, double helix, failed state, global supply chain, industrial robot, iterative process, Mars Rover, means of production, Menlo Park, mutually assured destruction, New Journalism, performance metric, reversible computing, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, Thomas Malthus, V2 rocket, Vannevar Bush, zero-sum game

A proper history of the origins of spaceflight would note Tsiolkovsky’s limited influence outside Russia and the later, independent roles of Robert Goddard in the United States and Hermann Oberth in Germany with their concrete technical contributions: building actual, physical, liquid-fuel rockets. The history then would tell of the rise of rocketry on the tides of war, led by visionaries sharing Tsiolkovsky’s dream of the conquest of space. The leading example was Werner von Braun, the German scientist who led the German V2 rocket project that rained bombs on London from the edge of space, envisioned a detailed plan for interplanetary exploration (Das Marsprojekt, published as The Mars Project in 1953), was ordered to refrain from launching a satellite for the United States in 1956, and at last led the team that developed the Saturn V boosters that launched men to the Moon. My attention here, however, centers not on the people themselves nor or the tangled history they lived, but instead on the methods of thought they developed and what their example teaches about the discipline of probing potential technologies.

pages: 442 words: 110,704

The Glass Universe: How the Ladies of the Harvard Observatory Took the Measure of the Stars by Dava Sobel

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Albert Einstein, card file, Cepheid variable, crowdsourcing, dark matter, Dava Sobel, Edmond Halley, Edward Charles Pickering, Ernest Rutherford, Harlow Shapley and Heber Curtis, Harvard Computers: women astronomers, index card, invention of the telescope, Isaac Newton, John Harrison: Longitude, luminiferous ether, Magellanic Cloud, pattern recognition, QWERTY keyboard, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Solar eclipse in 1919, V2 rocket

She started on variable stars, but soon switched to meteors and later to the determination of stellar brightness by the widths of spectral lines. Her wartime work had taken her from the MIT Radiation Laboratory to the Ballistic Research Laboratory of the army’s Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland, to the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. She had computed everything from firing tables for navy cannons to the velocities of captured V-2 rockets. Now that she was once again sighting objects native to the sky, she availed herself of help from rented IBM computing equipment in analyzing data on stellar distribution. The days of the human computer were numbered—by zeros and ones. • • • FORMER PICKERING FELLOW Helen Sawyer Hogg took the news of her Annie Jump Cannon Prize not exactly in stride. Pleasure jostled with anxiety and the lethargy that had come over her in the past few months.

pages: 438 words: 109,306

Tower of Basel: The Shadowy History of the Secret Bank That Runs the World by Adam Lebor

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banking crisis, Basel III, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business climate, central bank independence, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, deindustrialization, eurozone crisis, fiat currency, financial independence, financial innovation, forensic accounting, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, haute cuisine, IBM and the Holocaust, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, Ponzi scheme, price stability, quantitative easing, reserve currency, special drawing rights, V2 rocket

Standard Oil’s archives are held at the Exxon Mobil Historical Collection at the Briscoe Center for American History at the University of Texas at Austin and doubtless contain much of interest. 22. Rudy Kennedy interview with author, November 12, 1999. 23. Ibid. 24. “Rudy Kennedy: Holocaust Survivor, Scientist and Campaigner,” The Times (of London), March 3, 2009. 25. Rudy Kennedy survived in Auschwitz for almost two years. In January 1945 he was moved to Dora-Mittelbau where V-1 and V-2 rockets were manufactured by Werner von Braun, the Nazi rocket scientist whom Allen Dulles later brought to the United States. Kennedy was then sent to Belsen where he was liberated by British troops in April 1945. After the war he settled in Britain and became a successful businessman and campaigner for justice for former slave laborers. Kennedy fought tirelessly for decades against IG Farben, its successor companies, and the German government, demanding that the company accept liability and pay adequate compensation.

Lonely Planet France by Lonely Planet Publications

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banking crisis, bike sharing scheme, British Empire, car-free, carbon footprint, centre right, Columbine, double helix, Frank Gehry, glass ceiling, haute couture, haute cuisine, Henri Poincaré, Honoré de Balzac, illegal immigration, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Louis Blériot, Louis Pasteur, low cost carrier, Mahatma Gandhi, mass immigration, Murano, Venice glass, ride hailing / ride sharing, sensible shoes, Silicon Valley, supervolcano, trade route, urban renewal, urban sprawl, V2 rocket

Just south of town is a protected area of grass-covered dunes known as Dunes de la Slack . LA COUPOLE A top-secret subterranean V2 rocket launch site just five minutes’ flying time from London – almost (but not quite) put into operation in 1944 – now houses La Coupole ( 03 21 12 27 27; www.lacoupole-france.com; adult/child/family incl audioguide €9.50/6.50/24; 9am-6pm Sep-Jun, 10am-7pm Jul & Aug, closed 2 weeks in Dec) , an innovative museum that uses film and images to present information on the following: » Nazi Germany’s secret programs to build V1 and V2 rockets, which could fly at 650km/h and an astounding 5780km/h respectively » Life in northern France during the Nazi occupation » The postwar conquest of space with the help of V2 rocket technology – and seconded V2 engineers La Coupole is 49km southeast of Calais just outside the town of Wizernes, near the intersection of D928 and D210.

Wildlife Watch » Vultures in Parc National des Pyrénées » Wolves in Parc National du Mercantour and Parc Animalier des Monts de Guéret » Whistling marmots in Chamonix » Sharks at aquariums in Paris, Monaco, Boulogne-sur-Mer, St-Malo, Brest, La Rochelle, Lyon and Biarritz » Dancing horses in Saumur, Versailles and Chantilly » Bulls and flamingos in the Camargue » Storks and kingfishers at Le Teich Parc Ornithologique, near Arcachon, and Alsace’s Centre de Réintroduction Cigognes et Loutres » Fish (through a snorkelling mask) at the Domaine du Rayol and off island shores (Porquerolles, Port-Cros and Corsica) Rainy Days » Build a house, Bob-style (over threes), Cité des Sciences, Paris » Romp through sewage tunnels with rats, Musée des Égouts de Paris » Create your own perfume at Le Studio des Parfums, Paris » Ride a house-sized, mechanical elephant (any age), Les Machines de l’Île de Nantes, Nantes » Ogle at skulls (teens), Les Catacombes, Paris » Play cave dwellers (any age) in caves riddled with prehistoric art, Vézère Valley » Delve into the depths of the ocean at Cité de l’Océan, Biarritz » Learn all about chocolate at Planète Musée du Chocolat, Biarritz Hi-Tech Experiences » Discover something new with science-experiment workshops (over 10s) at the Palais de la Découverte, Paris » Learn how planes are built (over sixes), Jean Luc Lagardère Airbus factory, Toulouse » Discover V2 rocket technology in a subterranean bunker (teens), La Coupole, St-Omer » Enter wannabe-mechanic heaven (any age), Cité de l’Automobile and Cité du Train, Mulhouse » Meddle in science at Strasbourg’s interactive Le Vaisseau science and technology museum » Spin in a fish on a hi-tech vintage carousel or climb aboard a giant mechanical elephant at Les Machines de I’Île de Nantes, Nantes Hands-On History & Culture » Delve behind the scenes of a world-class art museum with a visit to the restoration and storerooms of the groundbreaking Louvre-Lens, northern France » Pretend you’re back in 1920s Paris: chase vintage sailboats with a stick in Jardin du Luxembourg, just like Parisian kids did a century ago » Relive the battle between Julius Caesar and Vercingétorix at Alésia in 52 BC, with reconstructed Roman fortification lines et al, at Burgundy’s first-class MuséoParc Alésia » Become acquainted with the fine art of perfumerie in Grasse (perfume studios, museum, workshops) and nearby Mouans-Sartoux (flower gardens) » Play medieval builders at Chantier Médiéval de Guédelon, Burgundy » Go Roman (over fives) at Ludo, Pont du Gard, near Nîmes » Watch Victorian-era machines clatter and clank to turn thread into lace at Calais’ Cité Internationale de la Dentelle et de la Mode » Explore the beachfront site of a derelict dynamite factory in Paulilles, Roussillon WHAT TO PACK Babies & Toddlers » A front or back sling for baby and toddler: France’s cobbled streets, metro stairs and hilltop villages were not built with pushchairs (strollers) in mind.

pages: 1,088 words: 297,362

The London Compendium by Ed Glinert

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1960s counterculture, anti-communist, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bob Geldof, British Empire, Brixton riot, Corn Laws, Dava Sobel, double entry bookkeeping, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Exxon Valdez, hiring and firing, invention of the telegraph, Isaac Newton, John Harrison: Longitude, John Snow's cholera map, Khartoum Gordon, Mahatma Gandhi, mass immigration, Nick Leeson, price stability, Ronald Reagan, Sloane Ranger, South China Sea, South Sea Bubble, spice trade, the market place, trade route, union organizing, V2 rocket

Nevertheless, the two companies formed a partnership in 1899, but it was not until the arrival of Southern Railway in the 1920s that the wall between the two stations was removed. VICTORIA LINE The Victoria Line, which opened in 1968 as London’s first new tube line since 1907, owes its existence more to civil defence needs than transport requirements, dating back to government concerns in 1944 about German A-bomb-tipped V2 rockets dropping on London. This led the authorities to construct a number of bomb-proof tunnels that could take cables between strategically important buildings: Buckingham Palace; the Curzon Street bunker in Mayfair where the royal family took shelter during the war, later used by MI5; BBC Broadcasting House; the Museum Telephone Exchange, which was also home of the BBC’s national distribution centre, on Maple Street, Fitzrovia (where Telecom Tower now stands); and the railway termini of Euston, St Pancras and King’s Cross.

‘The Cage’, No. 8 Built by Owen Jones in the 1850s, and later owned by the art collector Lord Duveen of Millbank, who also had a suite at Claridge’s, No. 8 was used during the Second World War as the headquarters of the War Crimes Investigation Unit interrogation centre known as ‘The Cage’, where German prisoners of war who had been close to the upper echelons of the Nazi Party, or those who had specialist knowledge of the V1 and V2 rockets that were bombarding London, were questioned. The prisoners, whose number included a small proportion of stool pigeons, usually German or Austrian Jews, who, it was hoped, would be accepted as genuine Nazis, were kept in cells with floors of solid concrete and windows covered with barbed wire. There were no furnishings that could be used by a prisoner to hang himself, and each cell door had a ‘Judas hole’ to enable the guards, who moved noiselessly around the complex, to spy on the inmates without being heard or seen.

pages: 441 words: 135,176

The Edifice Complex: How the Rich and Powerful--And Their Architects--Shape the World by Deyan Sudjic

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Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, British Empire, call centre, colonial rule, Columbine, cuban missile crisis, dematerialisation, Deng Xiaoping, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Donald Trump, Frank Gehry, glass ceiling, Guggenheim Bilbao, haute couture, haute cuisine, megastructure, Mikhail Gorbachev, new economy, New Urbanism, oil shock, Peter Eisenman, Ronald Reagan, Socratic dialogue, urban planning, urban renewal, V2 rocket, Victor Gruen

Leon Krier, the architect best known for his role in planning Seaside, the outpost of New Urbanism on the Florida panhandle, and the Prince of Wales’s village of Poundbury, has been the most active voice in attempting to rehabilitate Speer. Why, he wondered, was it considered necessary to destroy the inoffensive street lights that Hitler’s architect had designed for Berlin? Why, Krier asked, did Speer end up as Spandau’s penultimate prisoner? Long after Werner von Braun, who devised the highly destructive V2 rockets that were built using slave labour and which killed so many Londoners, had bypassed the prisoner-of-war camps and flown to the USA to build the arsenal of democracy, Speer was still in jail. Could architecture actually be regarded as a weapon of war like a V2? Perhaps the answer lies in the way that we tend to blame the architect more than the engineer – because he envisaged the shape of a totalitarian state.

pages: 436 words: 140,256

The Rise and Fall of the Third Chimpanzee by Jared Diamond

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agricultural Revolution, assortative mating, Atahualpa, Columbian Exchange, correlation coefficient, double helix, Drosophila, European colonialism, invention of gunpowder, invention of the wheel, invention of writing, out of africa, phenotype, Scientific racism, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, the scientific method, trade route, V2 rocket

After all, it is language that allows us to communicate with each other far more precisely than any animal can. Language enables us to formulate joint plans, to teach one another, and to learn from what others have experienced elsewhere or in the past. With it, we can store precise representations of the world in our minds, and hence encode and process information far more efficiently than any animal can. Without language we could never have conceived and built Chartres Cathedral—or V-2 rockets. For these reasons, I speculated in Chapter Two that the Great Leap Forward (the stage in human history when innovation and art at last emerged) was made possible by the emergence of spoken language as we know it. Between human language and the vocalizations of any animal lies a seemingly unbridgeable gulf. It has been clear since the time of Darwin that the mystery of human language origins is an evolutionary problem: now was this unbridgeable gulf nevertheless bridged?

pages: 410 words: 122,537

Engines of War: How Wars Were Won & Lost on the Railways by Christian Wolmar

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anti-communist, British Empire, Cape to Cairo, colonial rule, cuban missile crisis, Khartoum Gordon, railway mania, Ronald Reagan, South China Sea, V2 rocket

The US produced nearly 800 locomotives of a type designed by the Corps of Engineers that came to be known as ‘MacArthur’ and these were despatched to several theatres of the war, notably Normandy after the D-Day landings, and also saw service in Africa, India, Burma and even Australia. In Britain, the War Department built and owned over a thousand ‘Austerity’ locos and a clutch of shunting locomotives, many of which were transferred to British Railways in the 1950s, but, as with the German war locomotives, others ended up all over the world. Hitler liked technology and expended much effort, fruitless as it turned out, on developing the V1 and V2 rockets that were launched towards Britain in the final stages of the war, but he was also obsessed with producing guns that could destroy enemy positions from a great distance. Inevitably, these had to be rail-mounted and in 1941 Germany constructed two enormous 800mm guns intended for use against Gibraltar, but Franco would not allow them to cross Spanish territory. Instead, one was despatched to the Crimea, where it helped to destroy the fortifications of the naval base at Sevastopol, which, as a result, was soon abandoned by the Russians.

pages: 402 words: 123,199

In the Company of Heroes by Michael J. Durant, Steven Hartov

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back-to-the-land, friendly fire, job satisfaction, placebo effect, Saturday Night Live, trade route, urban sprawl, V2 rocket

The Coalition ground forces were swelling to maximum strength throughout the Saudi Kingdom and the Persian Gulf, hunching their shoulders and poising to strike across the enemy’s borders on three fronts. But Saddam Hussein had already thrown down a trump card, hurling his SCUDs at the population centers of Israel and Saudi Arabia. The old Soviet SS-1 mobile missiles were highly inaccurate and undependable, and as tactical weapons they would have virtually no impact on our massive forces. Yet Saddam’s motive for using them was terror, not tactics. Much as Hitler had ordered the V-2 rocket assaults on London during World War II when the war was all but lost for him, the Iraqi dictator had thrust his SCUDs into this war as de-moralizers. In order to increase the 300-kilometer range of their missiles, the Iraqis had been forced to reduce the 1,000-kilogram warheads and weld additional fuel tanks to the liquid rockets. But their improvisations were now proving highly effective and the SCUDs could “reach out and touch someone.”

pages: 564 words: 163,106

The Rise and Fall of Modern Medicine by M. D. James le Fanu M. D.

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Barry Marshall: ulcers, clean water, cuban missile crisis, discovery of penicillin, double helix, experimental subject, Gary Taubes, Isaac Newton, meta analysis, meta-analysis, rising living standards, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), stem cell, telerobotics, The Design of Experiments, the scientific method, V2 rocket

Their manner of discovery was, however, exactly the same as that of the tricyclics, having been identified as part of a screening programme of the antihistamine-type drugs that gave rise to chlorpromazine.11 The tricyclics and SSRIs were an accidental spin-off from a programme where drugs were first synthesised and then tested for possible therapeutic efficacy. By contrast, the MAOIs arose – like chlorpromazine – from a chance felicitous clinical observation that a drug used in the treatment of one condition, in this case tuberculosis, had side-effects that might be put to good use in another. In 1944 the Germans had used a new type of fuel – hydrazine – to propel their V2 rockets over southern England. Come the end of the war hydrazine thus became available relatively cheaply, so pharmaceutical companies bought it up to use as a starting material for investigation of its possible therapeutic properties, even though it was not an easy compound to work with, being flammable, caustic, extremely poisonous and explosive. At the time drug companies routinely tested all chemicals to see if they might be effective against tuberculosis, and two of the hydrazine derivatives – isoniazid and iproniazid – were found to be so.

pages: 447 words: 126,219

The Subterranean Railway: How the London Underground Was Built and How It Changed the City Forever by Christian Wolmar

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British Empire, full employment, invention of the telephone, profit motive, railway mania, South Sea Bubble, urban sprawl, V2 rocket, women in the workforce

There were, too, various redundant or partly built sections of the Underground which had been turned over to the shelterers with official blessing, such as the disused stations at South Kentish Town, British Museum and City Road, and the unfinished section of lines at Bethnal Green, the largest in the capital with accommodation for 5,000, and Highgate. The deep shelters announced by Morrison were not available for use during the Blitz of 1940–41 and they were kept in reserve, as numbers in the shelters dwindled during the subsequent lull. Five of them finally found use as shelters briefly in the summer of 1944 during the assault by V1 and V2 rockets, but in terms of protection from the bombs they were too little, too late. They were later used to house returning evacuees made homeless by the bombing. The elite of shelters was probably Aldwych. The whole little-used branch line to Holborn was given over for the use of thousands of shelterers soon after the onset of the Blitz, by Lord Ashfield. Westminster council provided generous facilities, including a library of two thousand books and educational lectures.

pages: 509 words: 132,327

Rise of the Machines: A Cybernetic History by Thomas Rid

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1960s counterculture, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Alistair Cooke, Apple II, Apple's 1984 Super Bowl advert, back-to-the-land, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Brownian motion, Buckminster Fuller, business intelligence, Claude Shannon: information theory, conceptual framework, connected car, domain-specific language, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, dumpster diving, Extropian, full employment, game design, global village, Haight Ashbury, Howard Rheingold, Jaron Lanier, job automation, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Marshall McLuhan, Menlo Park, Mother of all demos, new economy, New Journalism, Norbert Wiener, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, pattern recognition, RAND corporation, Silicon Valley, Simon Singh, speech recognition, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Levy, Stewart Brand, technoutopianism, Telecommunications Act of 1996, telepresence, V2 rocket, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Catalog, Whole Earth Review, Y2K, Yom Kippur War, Zimmermann PGP

Bassett, “Sperry’s Forty Years in the Progress of Science,” Sperryscope 12, no. 2 (Summer 1950): 20–21. 62.John Sanderson, “The Sperry Corporation—A Financial Biography (Part II),” Sperryscope 10 (1952): 19. 63.Claus Pias and Heinz von Foerster, Cybernetics: The Macy-Conferences 1946–1953 (Zurich: Diaphanes, 2003), 12. 64.Quoted in Mindell, Between Human and Machine, 104. 65.Frederick Pile, “Ack-Ack,” Anti-Aircraft Journal, May–June 1950, 40 (serialized from book). 66.A good sound recording of the British World War II air-raid siren can be found in “Air Raid Sirens Followed by the All Clear,” YouTube video, posted January 10, 2009, https://youtu.be/erMO3m0oLvs. 67.See Mindell, Between Human and Machine, 232. 68.Joe Maiolo, “Hitler’s Secret Weapon,” BBC Knowledge, November/December 2011, 59–63. 69.Pile, Ack-Ack, 14. 70.“Ford Makes U.S. ‘Robombs,’” Christian Science Monitor, October 23, 1944, 1. 71.D. M. Dennison and H. R. Crane, “The V-T Fuze,” Michigan Technic 64, no. 7 (May 1946): 24. 72.Pile, Ack-Ack, 14. 73.Ibid., 41. 74.Ibid., 326. 2. CYBERNETICS 1.Michael C. Quinn, “American V-2 Rocket Facilities,” HAER no. NM-1B (Washington, DC: Historic American Engineering Record, National Park Service, Department of the Interior, 1986), sheet 1-6. 2.Malcolm Macdonald and Viorel Bedesco, The International Handbook of Space Technology (Heidelberg: Springer, 2014), 8. 3.Norbert Wiener, “A Scientist Rebels,” Atlantic 179, no. 1 (January 1947): 46. 4.Norbert Wiener, I Am a Mathematician (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1956), 308. 5.Ibid. 6.Ibid. 7.Wiesner, quoted in David Jerison, I.

pages: 570 words: 151,609

Into the Black: The Extraordinary Untold Story of the First Flight of the Space Shuttle Columbia and the Astronauts Who Flew Her by Rowland White, Richard Truly

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Albert Einstein, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, cuban missile crisis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, Maui Hawaii, Mercator projection, Ronald Reagan, V2 rocket, William Langewiesche

“Would we want,” he asked, “to answer through eternity for turning back a Columbus or a Magellan?” Agnew envisioned a Mars mission as nothing less than an “overture to a new civilization.” Clearly the vice president was a subscriber to Time magazine. NASA’s representative jumped on it, claiming that it had been the plan all along. Unsurprisingly, Agnew’s enthusiasm took hold at NASA. Wernher von Braun, the visionary German rocketeer behind both the V-2 rocket and, once he’d settled in the United States after the war, the Saturn V rocket used for the voyages to the moon, was invited to a meeting of the Space Task Group to explain how a Mars mission could work. He outlined a plan for twelve astronauts to set a course for Mars on November 12, 1981. After two months exploring Mars, they would swing past Venus on their journey home to return to Earth orbit on August 14, 1983.

pages: 1,205 words: 308,891

Bourgeois Dignity: Why Economics Can't Explain the Modern World by Deirdre N. McCloskey

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Admiral Zheng, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, BRICs, British Empire, butterfly effect, Carmen Reinhart, clockwork universe, computer age, Corn Laws, creative destruction, dark matter, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Donald Trump, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, endogenous growth, European colonialism, experimental economics, financial innovation, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, George Akerlof, germ theory of disease, Gini coefficient, greed is good, Howard Zinn, income per capita, interchangeable parts, invention of agriculture, invention of air conditioning, invention of writing, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John Snow's cholera map, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, long peace, means of production, Naomi Klein, New Economic Geography, New Urbanism, Paul Samuelson, purchasing power parity, rent-seeking, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, sceptred isle, Scientific racism, Scramble for Africa, Shenzhen was a fishing village, Simon Kuznets, Slavoj Žižek, spinning jenny, Steven Pinker, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, too big to fail, total factor productivity, transaction costs, tulip mania, union organizing, Upton Sinclair, urban renewal, V2 rocket, very high income, working poor, World Values Survey, Yogi Berra

If contrary to fact the exploited poor people were rich, not poor, and if the gain was all a matter of pass laws and violence, not mutually advantageous exchange, then some big parts of some societies, I repeat, could possibly benefit from violent imperialism abroad or violent apartheid at home. But that’s not what the accounting and the magnitudes suggest about the British empire, or for that matter about apartheid within the Southern United States or South Africa. And even enslaving rich people is not such a wonderfully enriching idea, as Hermann Göring’s program of Continental enslavement showed. The formerly rich slaves didn’t produce V-2 rockets or Messerschmitt Me 262 jet planes fast enough to tip the balance. And stealing paintings from Paris and Amsterdam did not enrich ordinary Germans. 227 Voluntary trading with free, rich people, as against exploitation of poor people, turns out to be the better plan. In fact the more the rich countries trade with each other (as they mainly do) the richer they become — though remember that innovation, not such trade, is the engine of growth.

pages: 369 words: 120,636

Commuter City: How the Railways Shaped London by David Wragg

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Beeching cuts, British Empire, financial independence, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Louis Blériot, North Sea oil, railway mania, Right to Buy, South Sea Bubble, urban sprawl, V2 rocket, Winter of Discontent, yield management

A means of reducing fuel consumption was to reduce heating, so the pre-war system of switching on full heat on mainline trains between October and April when the temperature fell below 48 degrees F at any one of a number of monitoring points, and half-heat when the temperature fell below 55 degrees F, had been reduced to having full heat when the temperature fell below 45 degrees F and half-heat when it fell below 50 degrees between November and March. The ‘Blitz’ created new wartime traffic. At Chiselhurst in Kent, the caves provided a natural air raid shelter, and many people would ‘commute’ by train to Chislehurst each evening to seek shelter in the caves. This was just one example, but Paddington was amongst those termini seeing ‘reverse commuting’ in wartime, first at the height of the Blitz and then during the period of V1 and V2 rocket attacks. Shortages of skilled staff in the workshops and the conversion of many of these to war production, as well as shortages of materials, meant that the intervals between routine overhauls were extended. Economy measures on the Great Western were typical and included a new colour scheme for passenger carriages of reddish-brown with a bronze waistline and black roof, while locomotives were painted plain green without any lining out on being sent for overhaul or repair.

France (Lonely Planet, 8th Edition) by Nicola Williams

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active transport: walking or cycling, back-to-the-land, bike sharing scheme, British Empire, car-free, carbon footprint, centre right, Columbine, double helix, Guggenheim Bilbao, haute couture, haute cuisine, Henri Poincaré, Honoré de Balzac, illegal immigration, industrial robot, information trail, Jacquard loom, Jacquard loom, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Louis Blériot, Louis Pasteur, low cost carrier, Mahatma Gandhi, means of production, Murano, Venice glass, pension reform, QWERTY keyboard, ride hailing / ride sharing, Saturday Night Live, Silicon Valley, Skype, Sloane Ranger, supervolcano, trade route, urban renewal, urban sprawl, V2 rocket

Return to beginning of chapter LA COUPOLE A top-secret subterranean V2 launch site just five minutes’ flying time from London – almost (but not quite) put into operation in 1944 – now houses La Coupole ( 03 21 12 27 27; www.lacoupole.com; adult/student/5-16yr/family incl audioguide €9/7.50/6/19.50; 9am-6pm, to 7pm Jul & Aug, closed 2 weeks from Christmas), an innovative museum that uses lots of moving images to present Nazi Germany’s secret programs to build V1 and V2 rockets (which could fly at 650km/h and an astounding 5780km/h respectively); life in northern France during the Nazi occupation; and the postwar conquest of space with the help of V2 rocket technology – and seconded V2 engineers. La Coupole is 5km south of St-Omer (the circuitous route is signposted, but confusing), just outside the town of Wizernes, near the intersection of the D928 and the D210. From the A26, take exit 3 or 4. Return to beginning of chapter CASSEL pop 2300 The fortified, very Flemish village of Cassel, 57km southeast of Calais atop French Flanders’ highest hill (176m), affords panoramic views of the verdant Flanders plain.

* * * Forget the Eiffel Tower, St-Tropez and the lavender fields of Provence. This tour ventures out of the ordinary into France’s quirkiest sights and sounds – and smells, in the case of the Paris sewer where it starts. Gawp at more skulls than you can imagine in the capital’s catacombs, then venture north to the spot near Compiègne, where WWI officially ended. Top off your day with a subterranean dose of V2 rocket technology in a bunker near St-Omer. A few drops of Christ’s blood in Fécamp on the Normandy coast inspired monks to concoct Benedictine liqueur: visit the Palais Bénédictine and get a free shot – then tell yourself you’re not drunk as you tour the ‘laboratory of emotions’ in Honfleur’s wacky Les Maisons Satie. Steering south along the Atlantic Coast, cartwheel down Europe’s highest sand dune near Arcachon.

pages: 840 words: 202,245

Age of Greed: The Triumph of Finance and the Decline of America, 1970 to the Present by Jeff Madrick

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accounting loophole / creative accounting, Asian financial crisis, bank run, Bretton Woods, capital controls, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, desegregation, disintermediation, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, financial deregulation, fixed income, floating exchange rates, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, George Akerlof, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, index fund, inflation targeting, inventory management, invisible hand, John Meriwether, Kitchen Debate, laissez-faire capitalism, locking in a profit, Long Term Capital Management, market bubble, minimum wage unemployment, money market fund, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, mortgage debt, Myron Scholes, new economy, North Sea oil, Northern Rock, oil shock, Paul Samuelson, Philip Mirowski, price stability, quantitative easing, Ralph Nader, rent control, road to serfdom, Robert Bork, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, Ronald Reagan: Tear down this wall, shareholder value, short selling, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, technology bubble, Telecommunications Act of 1996, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, too big to fail, union organizing, V2 rocket, value at risk, Vanguard fund, War on Poverty, Washington Consensus, Y2K, Yom Kippur War

Capitalism, he believed, allowed people to pursue their creative interests without interference. “The great achievement of capitalism is not the accumulation of property,” he wrote, “it has been the opportunities it has offered men and women to extend and develop and improve their capacities.” But dozens of events in Friedman’s lifetime showed just the opposite. The martial technology of Germany, including the V2 rockets, were created under the directives of a central government. That most creative and dreadful product made by the human species, the atomic bomb, was the result of a U.S. government directive to J. Robert Oppenheimer and his colleagues. Radar was developed by government. It is now a commonplace that the Internet originated in the Pentagon. The space missions of the 1960s were successful. The advances sponsored and financed by the federal government’s National Institutes of Health saved countless lives, and these were led by state and local government research, and preceded by the systematic dissemination of vaccines and the development of urban and suburban sanitation systems.

The Companion Guide to London by David Piper, Fionnuala Jervis

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British Empire, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, haute couture, Isaac Newton, Jarndyce and Jarndyce, South Sea Bubble, V2 rocket

Eastwards, the grounds of the Hospital join on the wooded, nooked and delled Ranelagh Gardens, where not a trace remains of the apparatus of pleasure which made Ranelagh famous as a centre of entertainment between 1733 and 1805, when for years at a stretch it was visited by almost anybody who was anybody, from Dr Johnson downwards; it saw concerts (including the infant prodigy Mozart, aged eight, in 1764), masquerades that were forerunners of the Chelsea Arts Balls, fireworks, balloon launchings and other galas. Its focus was a famous building, the Rotunda, which can still be seen in Canaletto’s painting of it in the National Gallery. The Hospital suffered in both wars, and in the second war lost to a V2 rocket notably the Infirmary (where once Robert Walpole’s house had stood). A splendid supplement stands nearby: the National Army Museum. Moved to Chelsea from Sandhurst, it recounts the history of the British Army from the Battle of Agincourt up to the present day. The collection consists of relics, uniform and insignia of the army, as well as a number of fine paintings. If you emerge on Royal Hospital Road, and turn right, beyond the Royal Hospital you have the old burial ground (where Dr Burney, for many years organist at Chelsea, is buried).

pages: 628 words: 170,668

In the Shadow of the Moon: A Challenging Journey to Tranquility, 1965-1969 by Francis French, Colin Burgess, Walter Cunningham

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Berlin Wall, British Empire, Isaac Newton, Norman Mailer, Ralph Waldo Emerson, RAND corporation, V2 rocket, X Prize

Soon he was able to identify by name every airplane type that flew over. One year, Schweickart was given a chemistry set for Christmas. He set up a small laboratory in one corner of the farmhouse and happily carried out experiments. It led to an emerging desire to be a chemical engineer. In high school he would avidly read the popular monthly science magazines, with a special interest in stories about the test firings of v-2 rockets in New Mexico. He found himself fascinated by blurry photos taken during these rockets’ flights that revealed the curvature of the Earth. When issues featured the evocative space artwork of Chesley Bonestell, Schweickart would read and reread the magazines until they almost fell apart. Later, pursuing his earlier dream, he took up chemistry at mit. After persisting with the subject for a year he realized chemistry no longer held the same fascination for him, and he switched to aeronautical engineering.

pages: 686 words: 201,972

Drink: A Cultural History of Alcohol by Iain Gately

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barriers to entry, British Empire, California gold rush, corporate raider, delayed gratification, Deng Xiaoping, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Fellow of the Royal Society, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Haight Ashbury, Hernando de Soto, imperial preference, invisible hand, joint-stock company, Louis Pasteur, megacity, music of the spheres, Norman Mailer, Peace of Westphalia, refrigerator car, Ronald Reagan, South Sea Bubble, spice trade, strikebreaker, the scientific method, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, traveling salesman, Upton Sinclair, V2 rocket, working poor

In 1942 the Hitler Youth had dug out all the hybrid vines in Alsace, to be replaced with Aryan strains. The luxury of time they had anticipated—a thousand-year Reich—was over three years afterward—too soon for the replacements to come into service. Domestic supplies of drink were further reduced to feed the Nazi war machine. Distilled alcohol was needed for munitions and as fuel, notably for the V2-rocket bombs. The small quantity of looted or stockpiled booze remaining was diverted to the armed forces and the Nazi elite. Indeed, the only parts of Germany where alcohol was freely available were those under Russian control. After their victory at Stalingrad in 1942, the Soviet armies had pushed the Nazis out of Russia and forced them back into their own territory. The dry policies of the Bolsheviks were a thing of the past: From 1942 onward, Russian soldiers were provided with a vodka ration of a hundred grams per man per day.

pages: 619 words: 197,256

Apollo by Charles Murray, Catherine Bly Cox

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cuban missile crisis, fault tolerance, index card, old-boy network, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, V2 rocket, War on Poverty, white flight

The lowest plausible figure in the Future Projects Office’s projection was twelve per year—and even that number could barely be handled by the Cape’s current and planned facilities. This prospect set Debus to thinking about how the Launch Operations Directorate might cope, and that in turn led him to reminisce. Just over fifteen years earlier, in Germany, Debus had been launching large numbers of V-2 rockets quite efficiently despite continual Allied bombing. He had done this by preparing the rockets in a hangar. After a rocket had been checked out, it was loaded horizontally onto a Miellerwagen and trucked out to the launching pad where it was erected, fueled, and launched in a few hours. Debus had continued to do some of the preparatory work in hangars with Redstones and Jupiters in the United States, but the process had gotten slower as more and more work had to be done on the pad.

pages: 618 words: 180,430

The Making of Modern Britain by Andrew Marr

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anti-communist, banking crisis, Bernie Madoff, British Empire, business climate, Corn Laws, Etonian, garden city movement, illegal immigration, imperial preference, New Journalism, New Urbanism, Plutocrats, plutocrats, Red Clydeside, rent control, strikebreaker, trade liberalization, V2 rocket, wage slave, women in the workforce

Even a world-class collection of fossils was blown to pieces when the Royal College of Surgeons suffered three direct hits, leaving lumps of dinosaur and extinct mammal scattered through local gardens. More than 2,000 fires were started and 3,200 people were killed or injured. Many roads and most railway lines were blocked and the firefighters were struggling to put out fires for eleven days. After it was over, London was changed for ever; yet the city would go through a second wave of attacks in 1944 when first the ‘Doodlebug’ flying bombs and then the V2 rockets, harbingers of the post-war age, rained down, killing between them another 8,000 people. Croydon, once a beautiful market town, now a concrete metropolis, was particularly badly hit. Though London took the worst, it is not clear whether it suffered more proportionally than other blitzed cities. The case of Coventry, which lost most of its ancient centre, a third of its houses, its cathedral and its railway connections on the night of 14 November 1940, after German bombers used intersecting radio beams and then incendiaries to guide them, is particularly poignant.

pages: 851 words: 247,711

The Atlantic and Its Enemies: A History of the Cold War by Norman Stone

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affirmative action, anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, bank run, banking crisis, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bonfire of the Vanities, Bretton Woods, British Empire, central bank independence, Deng Xiaoping, desegregation, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, European colonialism, facts on the ground, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, Gunnar Myrdal, Henry Ford's grandson gave labor union leader Walter Reuther a tour of the company’s new, automated factory…, illegal immigration, income per capita, interchangeable parts, Jane Jacobs, Joseph Schumpeter, labour mobility, land reform, long peace, mass immigration, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, new economy, Norman Mailer, North Sea oil, oil shock, Paul Samuelson, Ponzi scheme, popular capitalism, price mechanism, price stability, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, special drawing rights, Steve Jobs, strikebreaker, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, trade liberalization, trickle-down economics, V2 rocket, War on Poverty, Washington Consensus, Yom Kippur War, éminence grise

The chilly Communist future. The young Erich Honecker being voted first chairman of the Free German Youth; a post-Christmas meeting of the French Communist Party at the Vel d’Hiv, Paris, complete with gloomy Christmas tree, both January 1946 7. and 8. Aftershocks. Surviving Jewish families fleeing from Poland in the summer of 1946 following anti-Semitic violence; the origins of the American space programme: a V2 rocket being fired in New Mexico, August 1946 9. and 10. The end of the British Empire. British troops pulling casualties from the rubble of their headquarters at the King David Hotel, Jerusalem, July 1946, and Greek Communist prisoners in Salonica with ‘The British Must Go’ spelled out in French on their shirts, March 1947 11. and 12. and 13. The Cold War coalesces. George C. Marshall with Vyacheslav Molotov, March 1947; Jan Masaryk and Edvard Beneš in Hradčany Castle, March 1947; Mátyás Rákosi at his desk 14. and 15.

pages: 684 words: 188,584

The Age of Radiance: The Epic Rise and Dramatic Fall of the Atomic Era by Craig Nelson

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Albert Einstein, Brownian motion, cognitive dissonance, Columbine, continuation of politics by other means, corporate governance, cuban missile crisis, dark matter, Doomsday Clock, El Camino Real, Ernest Rutherford, failed state, Henri Poincaré, hive mind, Isaac Newton, John von Neumann, Louis Pasteur, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, music of the spheres, mutually assured destruction, nuclear winter, oil shale / tar sands, Project Plowshare, Ralph Nader, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Skype, Stuxnet, technoutopianism, too big to fail, uranium enrichment, V2 rocket, William Langewiesche, éminence grise

When Groves’s overseas team then determined that a metal-refining plant fifteen miles north of Berlin, also to be included in the Soviet sector, was the source of uranium processing for a reactor, “since there was not even the remotest possibility that Alsos could seize the works, I recommended to General Marshall that the plant be destroyed by air attack,” Groves recalled. It was destroyed, keeping at least that fuel away from the Soviets as well. Just as the American army with Paperclip swept in to mop up Wernher von Braun and his team of scientists and engineers who developed the V-2 rocket—an effort strategic for both NASA and the Cold War’s missile race—so Alsos, headed by Pash and American physicist Sam Goudsmit, dismantled Heisenberg’s toylike reactor and captured Bagge, von Laue (who had nothing to do with the program), Hahn, Heisenberg, and six other scientists from the Nazi bomb group. Just as with von Braun and his team, the Uranverein had fled west in the war’s last months to avoid being taken prisoner by the Russians and believed their work would save them.

pages: 927 words: 236,812

The Taste of War: World War Two and the Battle for Food by Lizzie Collingham

agricultural Revolution, British Empire, centre right, clean water, colonial exploitation, distributed generation, European colonialism, fixed income, full employment, global village, indoor plumbing, labour mobility, land reform, mass immigration, means of production, profit motive, rising living standards, trade route, V2 rocket, women in the workforce

‘[Sigi] slipped on to the subject of food and now he talks endlessly about some marriage luncheon … everyone tells him to keep quiet but within ten minutes Béla is describing … a recipe to make meat-pies with corncobs and lard and spices … and he is cursed, sworn at and a third one begins to describe …’133 In Auschwitz these conversations were known as ‘stomach masturbation’.134 In 1942 concentration camp prisoners were transferred to undertake productive work in the aircraft and rocket industries. The most notori-ous of such projects was Dora Mittelbau in the Harz mountains, where concentration camp inmates constructed an underground factory for the production of the V2 rockets which were to menace Londoners in the final months of the war. They had to sleep inside the tunnels amid the noise and dust of the work, and saw daylight only once a week. The sanitation was rudimentary and they never had enough water to drink. One third (20,000) of the workers died. The tunnels were littered with the dead bodies of prisoners who had collapsed from overwork and malnutrition, and corpses swung from the ceilings overhead, placed there to remind the workers of the fate of recalcitrants.

pages: 1,351 words: 385,579

The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined by Steven Pinker

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1960s counterculture, affirmative action, Alan Turing: On Computable Numbers, with an Application to the Entscheidungsproblem, Albert Einstein, availability heuristic, Berlin Wall, Bonfire of the Vanities, British Empire, Broken windows theory, California gold rush, Cass Sunstein, citation needed, clean water, cognitive dissonance, colonial rule, Columbine, computer age, conceptual framework, correlation coefficient, correlation does not imply causation, crack epidemic, cuban missile crisis, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Brooks, delayed gratification, demographic transition, desegregation, Doomsday Clock, Douglas Hofstadter, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, European colonialism, experimental subject, facts on the ground, failed state, first-past-the-post, Flynn Effect, food miles, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, fudge factor, full employment, George Santayana, ghettoisation, Gini coefficient, global village, Henri Poincaré, Hobbesian trap, humanitarian revolution, impulse control, income inequality, informal economy, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of the printing press, Isaac Newton, lake wobegon effect, libertarian paternalism, long peace, loss aversion, Marshall McLuhan, mass incarceration, McMansion, means of production, mental accounting, meta analysis, meta-analysis, Mikhail Gorbachev, moral panic, mutually assured destruction, open economy, Peace of Westphalia, Peter Singer: altruism, QWERTY keyboard, race to the bottom, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, Republic of Letters, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, Saturday Night Live, security theater, Skype, Slavoj Žižek, South China Sea, statistical model, stem cell, Steven Levy, Steven Pinker, The Bell Curve by Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, theory of mind, transatlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, Turing machine, ultimatum game, uranium enrichment, V2 rocket, Vilfredo Pareto, Walter Mischel, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce, zero-sum game

This cognitive illusion was first noted in 1968 by the mathematician William Feller in his classic textbook on probability: “To the untrained eye, randomness appears as regularity or tendency to cluster.”33 Here are a few examples of the cluster illusion. The London Blitz. Feller recounts that during the Blitz in World War II, Londoners noticed that a few sections of the city were hit by German V-2 rockets many times, while others were not hit at all. They were convinced that the rockets were targeting particular kinds of neighborhoods. But when statisticians divided a map of London into small squares and counted the bomb strikes, they found that the strikes followed the distribution of a Poisson process—the bombs, in other words, were falling at random. The episode is depicted in Thomas Pynchon’s 1973 novel Gravity’s Rainbow, in which statistician Roger Mexico has correctly predicted the distribution of bomb strikes, though not their exact locations.

pages: 1,744 words: 458,385

The Defence of the Realm by Christopher Andrew

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active measures, anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Clive Stafford Smith, collective bargaining, credit crunch, cuban missile crisis, Desert Island Discs, Etonian, Fall of the Berlin Wall, glass ceiling, illegal immigration, job satisfaction, large denomination, liquidationism / Banker’s doctrine / the Treasury view, Mahatma Gandhi, Mikhail Gorbachev, Neil Kinnock, North Sea oil, Red Clydeside, Robert Hanssen: Double agent, Ronald Reagan, sexual politics, strikebreaker, Torches of Freedom, traveling salesman, union organizing, uranium enrichment, V2 rocket, Vladimir Vetrov: Farewell Dossier, Winter of Discontent

In mid-August, however, the cabinet finally approved a deception designed to persuade the enemy to shift his aim ‘to a slight extent . . . towards the south-east’.127 By then, however, the main V-1 offensive had only a fortnight to go. On 18 August the Germans began closing down the V-1 launch sites in northern France before they were overrun by the Allied advance. The last flying bombs in the initial offensive were fired on the night of 30/31 August, nine of them hitting central London.128 The threat from the V-2 rocket missile offensive, of which intelligence had provided advance warning, was much more serious than that from the flying bombs. Unlike the V-1s, they could not be shot down before they reached their targets and worst-case forecasts of casualties by the Ministry of Home Security reached 100,000 fatalities a month (vastly more than actually occurred); in August there were mass evacuations from London.129 Guy Liddell took the threat from the V-2s so seriously that he favoured using the threat of atomic retaliation to deter Hitler from continuing with it.