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January 1, 2001
[politics] Thatcher — started as she meant to go on‘Margaret Thatcher’s first recorded intervention in Edward Heath’s cabinet was to propose the imposition of borrowing charges on library books, and the abolition of free school milk for children over seven, which earned her the nickname Milk Snatcher. The new education secretary told the cabinet in September that “she had been able to offer the chief secretary, Treasury, rather larger savings than he had sought on school meals, school milk, further education and library charges”‘
December 15, 2000
[tech] Interesting article on the first email message. It turns out it wasn’t in the same league as the first message sent by telegram — ‘What hath god wrought!’ ‘Sometime in late 1971, a computer engineer named Ray Tomlinson sent the first e-mail message. “I sent a number of test messages to myself from one machine to the other,” he recalls now. “The test messages were entirely forgettable. . . . Most likely the first message was QWERTYIOP or something similar.” It seems doubtful that “QWERTYIOP” will make it into the history books. And Tomlinson’s name hardly lives in the public mind. When he is remembered at all, it is as the man who picked @ as the locator symbol in electronic addresses.’ [via Slashdot]
November 23, 2000
[history] Guardian Unlimited interviews Lady Mosley wife Oswald Mosley, the leader of British Fascists during World War II. ‘On October 6 1936 Diana and Mosley were secretly married in Joseph Goebbels’s drawing room. Hitler came to the wedding and gave her a photograph of himself in an eagle-topped silver frame. I asked her where it is now. “I put it in a parcel in a bank when the war began because I thought it might hurt people’s feelings.’
November 22, 2000
[stories] Interesting list — the top 100 Works of journalism in the US over the last 100 years.
November 9, 2000
[politics] BBC News covers the presidential election between Nixon and Kennedy in 1960: ‘The campaign became an increasingly dirty one, with mud-slinging and accusations of dirty tricks on both sides. The Kennedy camp uncovered a story that Nixon had regularly attended parties with prostitutes at the Florida home of his friend Bebe Rebozo. They were about to release the story to the media when they found out that Kennedy had also been a party guest.’
November 2, 2000
[fuel] Guardian Unlimited compares and contrasts the real 1930s Jarrow Marchers with the farmers and hauliers behind the fuel tax protesters. ‘The contrast with the self-employed hauliers and farmers, running the campaign for a 26p cut in fuel duty, could scarcely be starker. Although some of the farmer activists have been hit by the slump in agricultural prices, evidence of other fuel protest organisers’ prosperity can be seen in BMWs, Volvos and Mercedes parked outside their meetings. Protest leaders include Nigel Kime, spokesman for British Hauliers Unite and owner of a £2m haulage firm; Derek Mead, protest coordinator in Somerset, who owns a 1,600-acre dairy farm; and Derek Lynch, who owns a Kent haulage business.’
October 19, 2000
[history] Vaguely disturbing… Pictures of historical events done in the style of the Sims Computer game. [via Memepool]
October 9, 2000
[letter from america] Alistair Campbell has been covering America for the BBC since 1946… Here’s a classic letter from 1968 — an eyewitness account of the assasination of Bobby Kennedy… ‘Last Tuesday night, for the first time in thirty years, I found myself by one casual chance in a thousand, on hand in a small, narrow serving pantry of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, a place that I suppose will never be wiped out of my memory: a sinister alley, a Roman circus run amok, and a charnel house. It would be quite false to say, as I should truly like to say, that I’m sorry I was there. It’s more complicated than that.’
September 13, 2000
[censored] Guardian Unlimited covers the handling of Lady Chatterley’s Lover censorship case back in the 1960s. ‘Under the heading “Gratuitous filth”, the DPP’s office had tried to keep a running count of the offending words. It notes on page 204 a “bitch goddess of Success (coined by Henry James)”, a “fucking”, a “shit”, a “best bit of cunt left on earth” and “balls” (three times). On page 232 is found “arse” (twice), “arsed” and “slits” (twice), and so the file goes on. At the trial Griffith-Jones told the jury that the word “fuck” or “fucking” appeared no fewer than 30 times.’
September 11, 2000
[teletext] Ceefax in amber — here’s the news headlines from Monday 3rd October 1983. [via Playing with Cobras]
September 7, 2000
[falklands] Twenty-Two Royal Marines Vs Argentine Naval Frigate Guerrico. No Contest: ‘Marine David Combes, who was normally the ships steward on Endurance now placed his name in naval history books by firing his Carl Gustav 84 mm anti tank weapon at the Guerrico. The Royal Marines watched as the 10lb projectile staggered across the waves and then, on it’s last legs, smashed into Guerrico’s hull just above the waterline, sending up a column of white water. They then heard a loud rumble come from inside the ship. Below decks Argentine damage control parties struggled to stop the flow of water that was now coming though the hole.’ [Note: This entry was blogged by the part of Darren’s brain which is still a 12 year-old right wing war film and comic loving little boy. It’s a small part — honest. :) ]
September 6, 2000
[corrections] From the Guardian’s Corrections and clarifications page: ‘Lady Birdwood whose death was reported in a brief item on page 6, June 29, appeared repeatedly before the courts for anti-semitic pamphleteering, not anti-semitic profiteering.’ Who was The Dowager Lady Birdwood? ‘In a memorably fatuous observation in 1994, Judge Henry Pownall told Birdwood he accepted that she did not intend to stir up racial hatred. “You are not a wicked old woman in that sense,” he added. Birdwood had been convicted of distributing a pamphlet, which denied the holocaust, and proclaimed a Jewish conspiracy to subvert society. She had also suggested Jews drank the blood of gentile children. Judge Pownall sentenced her to a three-month suspended sentence.’ [via Beesley]
August 2, 2000
[war] The Man Who Dropped The Bomb — Newsweek interviews Paul Tibbets who dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima fifty-five years ago … ‘Oftentimes, in Tibbets presence, I would see men and women in their seventies and eighties come up to him (once they figured out who he was) with tears in their eyes, to thank him for letting them live full lives. The men had been young American soldiers on their way to a land invasion of Japan. Because of what Tibbets did, they came home instead, and raised their families. They cry now, when they meet him.’
July 26, 2000
[news] BBC News reports that Chinese claim invention of Flush Toilet. ‘The invention of the flush toilet is widely attributed to London plumber Thomas Crapper, who patented a U-bend siphoning system for flushing the pan in the late 19th century, and who also installed toilets for Queen Victoria.’
July 11, 2000
[vikings] The BBC wants to find out if you are a Viking.
June 15, 2000
[stuff] This is kind of site you can waste an afternoon on: 200 Most Entertaining Moments of the Millenium. “#126 Anyone who remembers watching the CNN coverage of the Gulf War, gape-jawed, can’t help but to have been impressed by missiles flying down ventilation shafts. Obviously war is terrible, but buildings blowing up will continue to be cool forever.”
June 8, 2000
[news] Michelangelo’s David has a squint! The trick of perspective – which has taken 500 years to rumble – was a typical stroke of Michelangelo genius, according to Marc Levoy, the computer scientist from Stanford University, California, who made the discovery. He suspects it went unnoticed for so long because David’s more obvious attribute – his genitalia – blinded successive generations to the “flaw”.
June 4, 2000
[history] People are still looking for lost Nazi treasure. The haul is believed to contain top-secret Nazi documents detailing how assets from the Third Reich were deposited in Swiss bank accounts, as well as art objects, gold and the records of the Sachsenhausen concentration camp near Berlin. Documents detailing the assistance of the Vatican in transferring funds to South America, and some gold, are also believed to be concealed there.”
May 28, 2000
[history] BBC News reports on the myth of Dick Turpin. “Michelle Petyt, assistant curator of social history at the museum, said research suggested he was a “quiet and dour man” and that stories of his good looks were definitely untrue. Professor James Sharpe, criminal history lecturer at York University – who is preparing a book about Turpin – said Turpin’s crimes were equally unappealing. He said: “Any ideas that he is a romantic, dashing figure are a nonsense. He had a quick temper and a violent streak.””
May 13, 2000
[quote] “I am myself a Norfolk man.. and glory in being so.”Lord Admiral Horatio Nelson
May 5, 2000
[history] newsUnlimited asks: Did Britain poison Napoleon? [Text Only] …when his remains were brought back to France in 1840 prior to ceremonial burial in Les Invalides, his body appeared perfectly preserved. At the time it was seen as a miracle. Today scientists say the phenomenon is symptomatic of arsenic poisoning.
April 25, 2000
[history] newsUnlimited reports on six men who survived for seven months on the Antarctic coast in 1912 after being left by the ill fated Captain Scott with rations for seven weeks and no winter clothing. [Text Only] “What, after all, are a few months of darkness and blubber lamps,” Levick asks, “when we have an allowance of a couple of pipes a day to console us?”

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