I Spy With Your Little ‘i’ – A Free And Open Internet?

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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internet surveillance

When the internet was born it was a tool of the military establishment.

Then it broke out of that stranglehold and escaped into a world of freedom of expression and communication for everyone.

Never before had a system like this been available to the general public. Never before had it been so easy to find information, search for friends, communicate with groups with similar interests, etc. Its popularity was assured.

The world wide web developed at break neck speed, much too quick for the people who hate and detest freedom. They were confounded.

It was a free and open internet.

world wide web

So how could it ever go wrong?

Well, as with the financial crisis, when you dig down a bit you find the Clinton administration again as the culprit.

During the 1990s, when the World Wide Web was first being woven into social and cultural life, internet companies and corporate advertisers lobbied the Clinton administration to minimize privacy restrictions, so that they could re-engineer the Web to enable commercial surveillance of internet users.

The warnings of public interest groups were ignored as social networks, search engines, service providers and advertisers lobbied hard against even the smallest of efforts at data protection. Motivated by greed, they ensured that commercial surveillance would be pervasively integrated online. They are still at it today, that’s really what cloud computing services are all about.

A few thousand giant corporations, like Google, have become able to capture information every minute, of every hour, of every day, from everyone who uses the internet. And they can’t stop because their profit strategies totally rely on accumulating user data.

google for profit surveillance

Thus began the surveillance society. The government saw how easy this could now be done and began to catch up fast. If there was snooping to be done, they were not to be left out in the cold.

Until Edward Snowden, who had been a computer consultant working for a subcontractor to the US National Security Agency (NSA), copied several hundred thousand classified documents relating to surveillance programs being conducted by the US and its allies in the name of the war on terror, and sent them to journalists, nobody really understood the level of snooping that was going on.

Most of it was unnecessary, intrusive, unproductive and immoral, and after Snowden’s revelations nobody believed the United States government was totally innocent of any wrongdoing.

ennesssseh

Further revelations published since have helped to reveal a surveillance system that intrudes into almost every facet of our private lives. Privacy in fact is a thing of the past, unless you have the time, resources and knowledge to try to circumvent it.

If the government was only spying on the communications of foreign countries such as China, Russia, North Korea and Iran, and if it was confined to what could be termed ‘unfriendly’ nations and their agents throughout the world, then I don’t think anyone would mind so much. It’s a necessary evil in today’s world.

But unfortunately it doesn’t stop there. Friendly nations and heads of state, European institutions, the UN headquarters, the International Atomic Energy Agency, to name but a few, have all also come under the snooper’s gaze.

This has not only shown up the irresponsibility and arrogance of those in charge of the snoopers, and their lack of common sense and ethics, but it has also created even more ill will against the United States.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, an ally of the United States, was a victim of the snoopers. As a result of that revelation, the German government protested publicly its outrage. It also terminated its longstanding telecommunications service contract with Verizon, directing its business to Deutsche Telekom instead. Two weeks after that it expelled the head of US intelligence in Germany.

The President of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, also took public stands against US privacy invasions. He, like Merkel, had also personally been a victim of the US snoopers.

Then the UN General Assembly voted unanimously to affirm online privacy as a human right, and in June 2014, responding to the EU, the US Justice Department had to promise to send legislation to Congress that would grant European citizens many of the (inadequate) privacy protections accorded to US citizens.

Bad enough not trusting your supposed ‘allies’, but US intelligence agencies have gone even further. Now they don’t even trust the decent, honest, hard-working citizens of America who have never broken any laws, nor have any intention of doing so.

prism

The Prism program, for example, allows the NSA to collect data from your emails, telephone conversations, contacts, videos, etc., from major US digital companies including Facebook, Apple, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo.

The XKeyscore program uses several hundred servers distributed across the world to store information on the activities of every Internet user, including your emails, internet searches, the websites you visit, what you post on social networks, and blogs like this. (Whoops!)

The list goes on and on.

After Snowden’s revelations, commercial firms like Google, Facebook and others scrambled to distance themselves by professing outrage. Their protestations had little to do with political principle but a lot to do with ensuring they continued to make fortunes by collecting data on us.

The US Internet companies went on a public relations offensive, and also raced to reorganize their overseas operations, to reassure worried foreign customers that they were complying with local data protection measures.

IBM, for example, committed over a billion dollars to building additional data centers overseas, hoping to ease customer fears that their data was not safe from the US government’s surveillance. But then the US authorities demanded that Microsoft, which deploys more than a million computers in over 40 countries, hand over emails stored on its servers in Ireland. Data is not safe and private anywhere it seems.

Last week I wrote a post about the Facebook/US Army experiment in trying (successfully) influence how people thought. (Click here if you want to read it.)

And so it continues.

Personally I think it is a pity that the powers that be are able to devote time, energy and money against people who have done nothing wrong, yet seem unwilling to remove child pornography and other evils from the world wide web. But the latter would require a decree of decency and morals that is sadly lacking in those who direct such matters for the government.

The US has lost the moral authority to talk about a free and open Internet, because that free and open internet has already been destroyed.

No doubt there is worse to come.

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‘Bruce’? Did You Say ‘Bruce’? – Yes, Quiz Day Again.

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Yes, everyone it’s Quiz Day again at the fasab blog.

You will find out about ‘Bruce’ when you do the quiz, which I hope you will.

And remember, as always, if you get stuck, you can find the answers waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay down below, but please NO cheating!

Enjoy and good luck.

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quiz01

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Q.  1:  In radio what does ‘FM’ stand for?

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Q.  2:  What breed of dog is the tallest in the world?

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Q.  3:  And what is the smallest breed of dog?

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Q.  4:  The marine mammal, the ‘dugong’, is the supposed original of what?

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Q.  5:  Chance to build up a good score here with a possible 7 points available. In the business world what do these well known acronyms stand for?  (A point for each correct answer and a bonus point if you get all 6 correct.)

           a) IBM          b) HP          c) CNN          d) DHL          e) HTC          f) CVS

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Q.  6:  What common chemical compound is represented by the formula ‘nh3’?

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Q.  7:  What is a ‘quadruped’?

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Q.  8:  What Italian physicist, mathematician, engineer, and philosopher who played a major role in the scientific revolution during the Renaissance, has been called the “father of modern observational astronomy”?

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Q.  9:  Still on the subject of space, what recently landed on an asteroid after a ten year journey, bounced twice, ended up in the wrong place and then shut down after its batteries were depleted?

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Q. 10:  What is the name of the little naked bow-carrying statue that historically represents ‘intimate love’, and ‘desire’? (You can also earn a bonus point if you can name his ‘brother’.)

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Q. 11:  Of what is Bamboo the tallest variety in the world?

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Q. 12:  Which bacteria is responsible for typhoid and food poisoning?

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Q. 13:  What is the name given to someone who studies plants?

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Q. 14:  What is the mixture of potassium nitrate, charcoal and sulphur better known as?

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Q. 15:  What is ‘-459.7ºf’ also know as?

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Q. 16:  What common medical procedure and what type of drink are included in the standard phonetic alphabet?

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Q. 17:  How many cubic inches are there in a cubic foot?

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Q. 18:  How many years is it since the start of the ‘Great War’?

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Q. 19:  The invention of what in 1867, made Alfred Nobel famous?

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Q. 20:  His nickname was ‘Bruce’ and he was the star of what became the highest-grossing film in history at the time of its release in 1975, and the most successful motion picture of all time until Star Wars. What was the name of the movie?

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ANSWERS

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Q.  1:  In radio what does ‘FM’ stand for?

A.  1:  Frequency Modulation.

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Q.  2:  What breed of dog is the tallest in the world?

A.  2:  No, not the Great Dane, the correct answer is Irish Wolfhound.

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Q.  3:  And what is the smallest breed of dog?

A.  3:  The Chihuahua. (In fact I think it is so small it doesn’t merit the extra ‘hua’.)

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Q.  4:  The marine mammal, the ‘dugong’, is the supposed original of what?

A.  4:  The Mermaid, the name ‘dugong’ means ‘lady of the sea’.

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Q.  5:  Chance to build up a good score here with a possible 7 points available. In the business world what do these well known acronyms stand for?  (A point for each correct answer and a bonus point if you get all 6 correct.)

           a) IBM          b) HP          c) CNN          d) DHL          e) HTC          f) CVS

A.  5:  a) IBM International Business Machines   b ) HP Hewlett Packard.

           c) CNN Cable Network News                            d) DHL Daisey Hillblom Lynn

           e) HTC High Tech Computer                             f) CVS Consumer Value Stores

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Q.  6:  What common chemical compound is represented by the formula ‘nh3’?

A.  6:  Ammonia.

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Q.  7:  What is a ‘quadruped’?

A.  7:  Any four footed animal.

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Q.  8:  What Italian physicist, mathematician, engineer, and philosopher who played a major role in the scientific revolution during the Renaissance, has been called the “father of modern observational astronomy”?

A.  8:  His name is Galileo, or more properly Galileo Galilei.

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Q.  9:  Still on the subject of space, what recently landed on an asteroid after a ten year journey, bounced twice, ended up in the wrong place and then shut down after its batteries were depleted?

A.  9:  The European Space Agency (ESA) Rosetta Mission Philae comet lander. (You earn a point if you said either ‘Rosetta’ or ‘Philae’ in your answer.)

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Q. 10:  What is the name of the little naked bow-carrying statue that historically represents ‘intimate love’, and ‘desire’? (You can also earn a bonus point if you can name his ‘brother’.)

A. 10:  His name is ‘Eros’ and his brother’s name is ‘Anteros’ who supposedly represents reflective or returned mature love.

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Q. 11:  Of what is Bamboo the tallest variety in the world?

A. 11:  Grass.

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Q. 12:  Which bacteria is responsible for typhoid and food poisoning?

A. 12:  Salmonella.

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Q. 13:  What is the name given to someone who studies plants?

A. 13:  A Botanist.

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Q. 14:  What is the mixture of potassium nitrate, charcoal and sulphur better known as?

A. 14:  Gunpowder.

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Q. 15:  What is ‘-459.7ºf’ also know as?

A. 15:  Absolute Zero. (So now if anyone asks you what the government has achieved you can answer ‘-459.7ºf’.)

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Q. 16:  What common medical procedure and what type of drink are included in the standard phonetic alphabet?

A. 16:  X-ray  =  X  and Whiskey = W.

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Q. 17:  How many cubic inches are there in a cubic foot?

A. 17:  1728.  (12 x 12 x 12)

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Q. 18:  How many years is it since the start of the ‘Great War’?

A. 18:  100 years this year. The Great War is also now known as World War I.

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Q. 19:  The invention of what in 1867, made Alfred Nobel famous?

A. 19:  Dynamite.

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Q. 20:  His nickname was ‘Bruce’ and he was the star of what became became the highest-grossing film in history at the time of its release in 1975, and the most successful motion picture of all time until Star Wars. What was the name of the movie?

A. 20:  The movie was ‘Jaws’, and ‘Bruce’ was the nickname give to the ‘shark’ they used in it.

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Another Bunch Of Interesting Things You Probably Never Thought About – Until Now!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”.

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As the title says, another  list of interesting bits and pieces that you may not have though about until now.

Feel free to whip them out and impress people if and when the occasion arises.

Enjoy.

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The tip of a bullwhip moves so fast that the sound it makes is actually a tiny sonic boom.

Bullwhip

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Only 1 in 2,000,000,000 people will live to be 116 or old.

old-couple-cartoon

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Dogs and humans are the only species that have prostates.

prostate cartoon

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The zebra is basically a light-colored animal with black stripes.

cartoon_zebra

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Natural pearls melt in Vinegar.

Pearl1

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The greatest weight lifted with a human tongue is 12.5 kg (27 lb 8.96 oz)

by Thomas Blackthorne (UK)

who lifted the weight hooked through his tongue

on the set of El Show Olímpico, in Mexico City, Mexico, on 1 August 2008.

Thomas Blackthorne

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Thirty-five percent of the people who use personal ads for dating are already married.

personal ad cartoon

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Americans are responsible for about 1/5 of the world’s garbage annually

(and 2/3 of it is from Washington).

garbage

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The dot over the letter “i” is called a tittle.

letter-i

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There are 318,979,564,000 possible combinations of the first four moves in Chess.

chessboard setup

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The first CD pressed in the US was Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA”.

Born In The USA

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IBM’s motto is “Think”.

Apple later made their motto “Think different”.

ibm-vs-apple

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The Michelin man is known as Mr. Bib.

His name was Bibendum in the company’s first ads in 1896.

michelin_man

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There are more types of insects in one tropical rain forest tree

than there are in the entire state of Vermont.

insects

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An ostrich’s eye might not be bigger than its belly,

but it is bigger than its brain.

cartoon-ostrich-7

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Earth is the only planet in our solar system not named after a god;

it was named by God.

Genesis 1 King James Version (KJV)

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

earth

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Stained Windows 3.1

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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I did a few posts recently about the resignation of pope Benedict and the election of Francis I (here  and here ) and that reminded me of something that happened in the way distant past of the internet. In fact it became the first internet hoax.

I am sure a great many of you are far too young to remember this, so here is the story.

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Sometime in early 1994 a press release began circulating around the internet claiming that Microsoft had bought the Roman Catholic Church.

The press release, allegedly from the Vatican City itself, announced that this was “the first time a computer software company has acquired a major world religion.”

The release also quoted Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates as saying that he considered religion to be a growth market and that, “The combined resources of Microsoft and the Catholic Church will allow us to make religion easier and more fun for a broader range of people.”

The deal would allow Microsoft to acquire exclusive electronic rights to the Bible and would make the sacraments available online.

Similarities were drawn between the business practices of Microsoft and the Catholic Church’s historical conversion efforts, claiming that throughout history the Church, like Microsoft, had been “an aggressive competitor, leading crusades to pressure people to upgrade to Catholicism, and entering into exclusive licensing arrangements in various kingdoms whereby all subjects were instilled with Catholicism, whether or not they planned to use it.”

At the time very few seemed to get the joke. Stained Glass Windows 3.1 was not in fact about to be launched, but still many people telephoned Microsoft’s public relations agency to inquire if the news was true.

In the end it got so bad that Microsoft had to issue a formal denial of the release on December 16, 1994.

Pope Bill 3.1
Pope Bill 3.1

A follow-up hoax release announced that in response to Microsoft’s acquisition of the Catholic Church, IBM had bought the Episcopal Church.

Since then hoaxes on the internet have gone from strength to strength, from end of the world scenarios, thru Nigerian 419 scams to the plethora of “warn all you friends about this new deadly virus (that doesn’t really exist)” hoaxes.

People were dumb, are dumb and will get dumber!

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I have reproduced below the original hoax announcement.

Would you have fallen for it?

If you are reading this blog I doubt it. But read it anyway for amusement value.

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By the way, the authors of these hoaxes remain unknown – good for them.

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Here it is:

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MICROSOFT BIDS TO ACQUIRE CATHOLIC CHURCH

By Hank Vorjes

VATICAN CITY (AP) — In a joint press conference in St. Peter’s Square this morning, MICROSOFT Corp. and the Vatican announced that the Redmond software giant will acquire the Roman Catholic Church in exchange for an unspecified number of shares of MICROSOFT common stock. If the deal goes through, it will be the first time a computer software company has acquired a major world religion.

With the acquisition, Pope John Paul II will become the senior vice-president of the combined company’s new Religious Software Division, while MICROSOFT senior vice-presidents Michael Maples and Steven Ballmer will be invested in the College of Cardinals, said MICROSOFT Chairman Bill Gates.

“We expect a lot of growth in the religious market in the next five to ten years,” said Gates. “The combined resources of MICROSOFT and the Catholic Church will allow us to make religion easier and more fun for a broader range of people.”

Through the MICROSOFT Network, the company’s new on-line service, “we will make the sacraments available on-line for the first time” and revive the popular pre-Counter-Reformation practice of selling indulgences, said Gates.

“You can get Communion, confess your sins, receive absolution — even reduce your time in Purgatory — all without leaving your home.” A new software application, MICROSOFT Church, will include a macro language which you can program to download heavenly graces automatically while you are away from your computer.

An estimated 17,000 people attended the announcement in St Peter’s Square, watching on a 60-foot screen as comedian Don Novello — in character as Father Guido Sarducci — hosted the event, which was broadcast by satellite to 700 sites worldwide.

Pope John Paul II said little during the announcement. When Novello chided Gates, “Now I guess you get to wear one of these pointy hats,” the crowd roared, but the pontiff’s smile seemed strained. The deal grants MICROSOFT exclusive electronic rights to the Bible and the Vatican’s prized art collection, which includes works by such masters as Michelangelo and Da Vinci. But critics say MICROSOFT will face stiff challenges if it attempts to limit competitors’ access to these key intellectual properties.

“The Jewish people invented the look and feel of the holy scriptures,” said Rabbi David Gottschalk of Philadelphia. “You take the parting of the Red Sea — we had that thousands of years before the Catholics came on the scene.”

But others argue that the Catholic and Jewish faiths both draw on a common Abrahamic heritage. “The Catholic Church has just been more successful in marketing it to a larger audience,” notes Notre Dame theologian Father Kenneth Madigan. Over the last 2,000 years, the Catholic Church’s market share has increased dramatically, while Judaism, which was the first to offer many of the concepts now touted by Christianity, lags behind.

Historically, the Church has a reputation as an aggressive competitor, leading crusades to pressure people to upgrade to Catholicism, and entering into exclusive licensing arrangements in various kingdoms whereby all subjects were instilled with Catholicism, whether or not they planned to use it.

Today Christianity is available from several denominations, but the Catholic version is still the most widely used. The Church’s mission is to reach “the four corners of the earth,” echoing MICROSOFT’s vision of “a computer on every desktop and in every home”.

Gates described MICROSOFT’s long-term strategy to develop a scalable religious architecture that will support all religions through emulation. A single core religion will be offered with a choice of interfaces according to the religion desired — “One religion, a couple of different implementations,” said Gates.

The MICROSOFT move could spark a wave of mergers and acquisitions, according to Herb Peters, a spokesman for the U.S. Southern Baptist Conference, as other churches scramble to strengthen their position in the increasingly competitive religious market.

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The Brain-To-Mouth-Bypass Mishaps Of Joe Public And Friends – Yes, Another Quiz Show Monday Folks!

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

Yesterday you were in the hot seat trying to answer some questions. But I’m sure you did better than this lot and your questions were much trickier than these.

Feel superior and enjoy the brain-to-mouth-bypass mishaps of Joe Public and friends.

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Q: In literature, Arthur C. Clarke’s “2010: Odyssey Two” was primarily set in what century?

A: Third

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Q: What is 2 times 5?   

A: 7     

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Q: What name is given to the field of medicine that concerns the health of women?        

A: Womenology

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Q: The law of what organization states that its members are “brave, clean and reverent”

A: Alcoholics Anonymous   (Answer: Boy Scouts)          

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Q: The name of which Caribbean island literally means “rich port” in Spanish?      

A: Port Richmond

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Q: What is half of 1,000

A: 100  

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Q: According to Hallmark, what type of gift should be given on the 50th wedding anniversary?    

A: Greeting card

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Q: What animal builds dams and lodges?          

A: Sheep

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Q: Who is the only Marx brother that remained silent throughout all their films?    

A: Karl 

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Q: What Tennessee congressman fought at the Battle of the Alamo?      

A: Al Gore

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Q: What ‘S’ is one of the seven deadly sins in Christianity?        

A: Science

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Q: What part of the human body is closest to the floor when we are walking?      

A: Head           

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Q: What 20 year old Russian tennis star released a fitness video called “Basic Elements?”          

A: Arnold Schwarzenegger

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Q: In 1973, President Nixon issued a statement saying “I am not a…” what?        

A: Canadian

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Q: What is the largest planet visible from Earth?

A: The moon    

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Q: On TV’s “Cheers,” which actress played bar manager Rebecca Howe?

A: Ted Dansen 

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Q: The Governor’s mansion in the state of Georgia is located in which city?        

A: Alabama

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Q: What does the “U” stand for in the name of the dissolved country U.S.S.R.?  

A: Russia

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Q: What is the capital of New Jersey?   

A: Delaware

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Q: What computer company’s name is abbreviated IBM?

A: Apple

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Significant Number Factoid Friday – Today Number Forty-Four 44

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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Okay, this week’s significant number was either going to be 44 or 45, but, rightly or wrongly, the American people voted for Barack Obama and so the number is 44  –  hard luck Mitt.

So here we go, and just like President Obama we’re not sure exactly where.

Enjoy.

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44 Forty-four

 44

 

 

In politics

  • In the U.S. presidential election of 1944, Franklin D. Roosevelt won reelection over Republican challenger Thomas E. Dewey, becoming the only U.S. president elected to a fourth term.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Franklin Delano Roosevelt

 

  • A few days ago Barack Obama was elected to his second term as the 44th US President.
Barack Obama 44th President of the United States of America
Barack Obama 44th President of the United States of America

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In mathematics

  • 44 is a tribonacci number, a happy number, an octahedral number and a palindromic number.

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In science

  • 44 is the atomic number of ruthenium

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In space

  • STS-44 was the 44th Shuttle mission. It was cut short after one of its three navigational units failed.

 sts-44-patch

 

  • Messier object M44, also known as the Beehive Cluster, is a magnitude 4.0 open cluster in the constellation Cancer,
Messier object M44
Messier object M44

  

  • 44 is the Saros number of the solar eclipse series which began on April 30, 1448 BC and ended on June 7, 168 BC . The duration of Saros series 44 was 1280.1 years, and it contained 72 solar eclipses.
  • The Saros number of the lunar eclipse series which began on October 1, 1363 BC and ended on March 27, 153 . The duration of Saros series 44 was 1514.5 years, and it contained 85 lunar eclipses.

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In sport

  • 44 is the retired number for former baseball players Hank Aaron, Willie McCovey and Reggie Jackson; the number is sometimes considered to be a “hitter’s number”.

Hank Aaron

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  • In the NFL 44 was the number of Floyd Little (Denver Broncos) and Pete Retzlaff (Philadelphia Eagles)
Floyd Little
Floyd Little

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  • In the NBA 44 was the number of Dan Issel, (Denver Nuggets); Jerry West (L.A. Lakers); Paul Westphal (Phoenix Suns); Sam Lacey (Sacramento Kings); and George Gervin (San Antonio Spurs).
Dan Issel
Dan Issel

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  • A number of football legends at Syracuse University also wore 44, most notably by Jim Brown, Ernie Davis, Floyd Little, and Rob Konrad. Although the number was officially retired in 2005, the legend of 44 remains an important part of the identity of Syracuse University.

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In WWII

1944 was arguably the most interesting year of World War II. Incidents of note included:

 

  • The Fosse Ardeatine massacre in Rome when 335 Italians are killed, including 75 Jews and over 200 members of the Italian Resistance from various groups.

 

  • The real “Great Escape” (as opposed to the famous movie version) when 76 Royal Air Force prisoners escape by tunnel “Harry” from Stalag Luft III. Only three made it back to the UK, and of those recaptured, fifty were executed.

 

  • Exercise Tiger, or Operation Tiger, was the code name for one in a series of large-scale rehearsals for the D-Day invasion of Normandy, which took place on Slapton Sands or Slapton Beach in Devon.
  • The first practice assault took place on the morning of 27 April. H-hour was set for 7:30 am, and was to be preceded by a live firing exercise to acclimatize the troops to the sights, sounds and even smells of a naval bombardment. During the landing itself, live rounds were to be fired over the heads of the incoming troops by forces on land, for the same reason. This followed an order made by General Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Supreme Allied Commander, who felt that the men must be hardened by exposure to real battle conditions.
  • The British heavy cruiser HMS Hawkins was to shell the beach with live ammunition, from 6:30 to 7:00 am, giving the beachmasters half an hour to inspect the beach and declare it safe.
  • However, several of the landing ships for that morning were delayed, and the officer in charge decided to delay the bombardment until 8:30am. This message was received by HMS Hawkins, but not by a number of the landing craft, with the result that troops were landing on the beach at the same time as the bombardment was taking place. This unfortunate mix-up resulted in a “friendly fire” incident with 946 American servicemen losing their lives.
  • The incident was under the strictest secrecy at the time due to the impending invasion, and was only nominally reported afterward. As a result it has been a largely “forgotten” disaster of WWII.

Plaque commemorating those killed in Operation Tiger

 

  • On June 6 Operation Overlord, or the D-Day landings, took place, when 155,000 Allied troops shipped from England land on the beaches of Normandy in northern France.
  • It was the largest amphibious military operation in history and was the beginning of the liberation of France and the other countries in Europe invaded by Nazi Germany.
D-Day Landings
D-Day Landings

 

  • Also in 1944, on July 20 there was an unsuccessful assassination attempt on the life of Adolf Hitler led by Claus von Stauffenberg.
Führerhauptquartier, Stauffenberg, Hitler
Führerhauptquartier, Stauffenberg, Hitler

 

  • At the beginning of August 1944 the Warsaw Uprising began and lasted until October 2, when it was finally ended by Nazi troops.
Warsaw Uprising Symbol
Warsaw Uprising Symbol

.

  • Also in August of that year, the Gestapo, acting on a tip off from a Dutch informer, sealed-off an area in an Amsterdam warehouse and captured Jewish diarist Anne Frank and her family.
  • They were placed on the last transport train from Westerbork to Auschwitz, and on October 30, Anne Frank and sister Margot Frank are deported from Auschwitz to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.
Anne Frank diary
Anne Frank diary

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 .

In militaria

  • The .44 Remington Magnum or .44 Special are popular large-bore cartridge calibres. Originally designed for revolvers, a their introduction, they were quickly adopted for carbines and rifles as well.
44 calibre ammo
44 calibre ammo

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  • However many people mistakenly believe that the Smith & Wesson (S&W) .44 calibre revolver heavily featured in numerous Hollywood movies, particularly Clint Eastwood’s Dirty Harry is called the .44 Magnum (the most powerful handgun in the world), neither of which are true. The revolver used in those movies is actually the Smith & Wesson Model 29, a six-shot, double-action revolver chambered for the .44 Magnum cartridge. It comes in a variety of models with 3″, 4″, 5″, 6″, 6½”, 8″ and, later, 10″ barrel lengths.

Smith & Wesson Model 29

 

 .

  • StG 44
  • The StG 44 (Sturmgewehr 44) is an assault rifle developed in Nazi Germany during World War II that was the first of its kind to see major deployment and is considered by many historians to be the first modern assault rifle.
  • It is also known under the designations MP 43 and MP 44 (Maschinenpistole 43, Maschinenpistole 44 respectively).
Sturmgewehr StG44
Sturmgewehr StG44

 .

  • Pzf 44 
  • Panzerfaust 44 “Lanze” (or Pzf 44 in short) is an antitank weapon. Development of this weapon commenced circa 1960, with grenade and launcher developed by German company Dynamit-Nobel AG.
  • The Pzf 44 entered German service during mid-sixties and in several modifications served until mid-eighties, when it was replaced by moremodern Panzerfaust 3 (Pzf 3) weapon.
  • It is a .44 Magnum carbine with a synthetic stock and stainless steel fittings. In common with many Ruger carbines it uses a rotary magazine which holds 4 rounds and fits inside the stock under the breech.

 

Panzerfaust 44 "Lanze" Pzf 44
Panzerfaust 44 “Lanze” Pzf 44

 .

  • DL-44 
  • The BlasTech Industries DL-44 heavy blaster pistol was a powerful sidearm from the time of the Galactic Civil War (yes, a little bit of sci-fi talk here). The DL-44 is described as a powerful, highly modifiable and accurate blaster pistol.
BlasTech Industries DL-44 heavy blaster pistol - tech drawing
BlasTech Industries DL-44 heavy blaster pistol – tech drawing
  • However, in outward design it is uncannily like the (real) German “Broomhandle” Mauser C96 pistol, used by both its German creators and the Ottoman Empire during World War I, and wound up in the hands of such notable figures as T. E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) and Winston Churchill, and also saw service among various revolutionary movements throughout the world following the First World War.

 

"Broomhandle" Mauser C96
“Broomhandle” Mauser C96

. 

  • T-44
  • The T-44 was a medium tank first produced towards the end of the Second World War by the Soviet Union. It was the successor to the famous T-34. Fewer than two thousand T-44s were built, but the design became the basis for the T-54/55 series of main battle tanks, the most-produced tank of all time.
Soviet T44 tank
Soviet T44 tank

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  • TKX
  • The TKX is a relatively new Japanese tank with a 120mm gun, costing approximately $7 million and weighing in at 44 tons weight.

 

Japanese Army TKX 44 ton tank
Japanese Army TKX 44 ton tank

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  • A-44
  • Sometimes known as the ‘mystery tank’, the A-44 was developed as T-34 modernization program in 1941. 29-30 tonns, Hull front armour – up to 75 at 60 degrees, sides – 60mm, 76.2mm and 57mm cannons, 600hp enqine. Only paper project.
A-44 'mystery' tank
A-44 ‘mystery’ tank

.

  • XB-44
  • One B-29A was handed over to Pratt & Whitney to be used as a testbed for the installation of the new Wasp Major 28-cylinder engines in the B-29. They came up with the XB-44 variant.

 

XB-44-1 variant of the B-29A
XB-44-1 variant of the B-29A

. 

  • X-44 MANTA
  • The Lockheed Martin X-44 MANTA (Multi-Axis No-Tail Aircraft) was a conceptual aircraft design that has been studied by NASA and the U.S. Air Force. It was intended to test the feasibility of full yaw, pitch and roll control without tailplanes (horizontal or vertical), attitude manipulation relying purely on 3D thrust vectoring. The aircraft design was derived from the F-22 Raptor and featured a stretched delta wing and no tail surfaces.
The Lockheed Martin X-44 MANTA (Multi-Axis No-Tail Aircraft)
The Lockheed Martin X-44 MANTA    (Multi-Axis No-Tail Aircraft)

 

 .

  • T-44A
  • The T-44A “Pegasus” aircraft is a twin-engine, pressurized, fixed-wing monoplane, manufactured by Beech Aircraft Corporation, Wichita, Kansas, whose mission is to train Navy and Marine Corps pilots.

 

The T-44A "Pegasus"
The T-44A “Pegasus”

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Other stuff

  • Cities on the 44th parallel include, Minneapolis,  Simferopol (Ukraine), Bordeaux  (France),  Belgrade and Šabac (Serbia), Halifax (Nova Scotia, Canada), Bucharest (Romania), Pierre (South Dakota), Augusta (Maine), and Montpelier (Vermont).
  • Cities on the 44th line of longitude include, São Luís (Brazil), Sana’a (Yemen), Baghdad (Iraq), Nizhny Novgorod (Russia), Hargeisa (Somalia), Arbil (Iraqi Kurdistan), Yerevan (Armenia), and Tbilisi (Georgia).
  • 44 is the international direct dial code for phone calls to the United Kingdom;
  • Interstate 44 is the freeway that runs from Texas to Missouri;
  • U.S. Route 44, is the highway that runs from New York to Massachusetts;
  • In Pennsylvania Route 44(PA 44), is the long state highway in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania
  • The name of a mysterious savior of Poland was prophesied by the Polish national poet Adam Mickiewicz in his masterpiece dramatic poem Dziady (Forefathers). In scene 5 of act 3, the priest Piotr announces a “reviver of the nation” who is to bring back the lost freedom of Poland, and describes him as: “Born from a foreign mother, his blood of ancient heroes, And his name will be forty and four.”
  • 44 is the name of a variant of the card game poker.
  • +44 is the name of a band that includes Blink-182 vocalist/bassist Mark Hoppus and Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker.
  • A blues song, Forty-Four, also known as “44 Blues”
  • Vicks Formula 44 is a cough suppressant
  • The 44 Cent Cure is the cost of treatment of intestinal worms that affect 400 million children in various arts of the world and leads to stunted physical and mental development in both boys and girls. They also cause nausea and diarrhea and in severe cases, they kill.
  • 44 is the largest number for which Wolfram Alpha offers a visual representation.
  • Wyoming was the 44th state to join The United States of America.
  • There are 44 candles in a box of Hanukkah candles.
  • An agent in the American Television series Get Smart goes under the title of 44, usually assigned to small, enclosed, unexpected spots, to meet Maxwell Smart, agent 86.
  • On January 15 1944 An earthquake hits San Juan, Argentina, killing an estimated 10,000 people in the worst natural disaster in Argentina’s history.
  • In 1944 meat rationing ends in Australia.
  • On March 4, 1944 in Ossining, New York, Louis Buchalter, the leader of 1930s crime syndicate Murder, Inc., was executed at Sing Sing, along with Emanuel Weiss, and Louis Capone.
  • In 1944 IBM dedicates the first program-controlled calculator, the Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator (known best as the Harvard Mark I).
  • On September 14, 1944 the ‘Great Atlantic Hurricane’ makes landfall in the New York City area.
  • And on October 20 an LNG explosion destroyed a square mile of Cleveland, Ohio.

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=======================

Significant Number Factoid Friday – Fourteen

“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”

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They’ve been ‘beautiful’,  they’ve been ‘big’  and they’ve been ‘unusual’. 

Today we have another ‘significant’ number, fourteen, so-called because of its use and the beliefs surrounding it.

Enjoy.

 

14 Fourteen

14 sign

The number 14 seems to have some regal significance, particularly where these two Royals were concerned:

 

Louis XIV

  • ascended to the throne on May 14th, 1643  (1+6+4+3=14);
  • he was saved by Turenne at Blema in 1652  (1+6+5+2=14);
  • in accordance with an Edict of Charle V, he was declared major at 14 years and governed himself in 1661 (1+6+6+1=14);
  • he built the Hotel of the Invalids in 1670 (1+6+7+0=14);
  • he died in 1715 (1+7+1+5=14), at the age of 77 years old (7+7=14);  
  • having reigned 72 years (7×2=14).
Louis XIV
Louis XIV

 

 

England’s King Henry IV

  • was born 14 centuries, 14 decades and 14 years after the Christian era;
  • he came into the world on December 14th ;
  • he died on May 14th :
  • he lived 4 x 14 years, 14 weeks and 14 days.
England's King Henry iv
England’s King Henry iv

 

 

Other stuff

The atomic number for Silicon is 14.

The approximate atomic weight of nitrogen 14.

There are fourteen ascending and downward days of the moon.

The fourteenth year is, for the man, the year of the puberty.

The fingers of each of the two hands are composed of fourteen phalanxes.

February 14th is Saint Valentine’s Day, a fact most men are not allowed to forget.

February 14th - St Valentine's Day
February 14th – St Valentine’s Day

 

 

In the Bible

  • There are fourteen generations from Abraham to David;
  • The fourteen epistles written by saint Paul, having on the whole 100 chapters and adding up 2335 verses;
  • With the return of Exile, after the rebuilding of the Temple, the Israelis celebrated the Passover the fourteenth day of the first month; (Ezr 6,19)
  • Jacob worked fourteen years for his uncle Laban in order to be able to marry his daughter Rachel, they had fourteen sons and grandsons; (Gn 29,15-30 and 46,22)
  • The sufferings of the Christ would have begun fourteen days before Passover to finish with his passion;
  • Every year, the celebration of the Easter is never done in the same date. At the fourth century after Jesus Christ, it was established that this major feast of the liturgical calendar would be celebrated the first Sunday following the 14th night of lunation of March;
  • In the Book of Enoch (not included in the Bible) it talks about the fourteen preferential trees which remain always green for all season of the year.

 

In legends

  • According to the Egyptian legend, the body of Osiris was cut into 14 pieces, 13 of which were found by Isis, the 14th, the penis, having been devoured by the fishes.
  • In Egypt, the Amenti, area westward of the Nile, where go the souls of deaths, was divided in 14 parts.
  • Among Greeks, the fourteen days “alcyonians” were the 7 days preceding and the 7 days following the solstice of winter. During this period, the sea was supposed calm so as to allow the “alcyons” to build their nest and to brood. The alcyons came from the Metamorphosis of Ceyx, son of the Star of the morning, Eosphéros (in Latin Lucifer) and his wife Alcyon, girl of Eole.

 

Fourteen also is:

  • The number of days in a fortnight;
  • In traditional British units of weight, the number of pounds in a stone;
  • A number supposedly ‘encoded’ in much of the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. Bach may have considered this number a sort of signature, since given A = 1, B = 2, C = 3, etc., then B + A + C + H = 14;
  • A common designation for the thirteenth floor in many buildings for superstitious reasons;
  • The number of lines in a sonnet;
  • The Number 14 airship by Alberto Santos Dumont that was used to test the aerodynamics of his 14-bis airplane;
  • The number of the French department Calvados;
  • A Storage server manufactured by IBM. It goes by name of “XIV” and is pronounced as the separate letters “X”, “I”, “V”;
  • The Piano Sonata No. 14, also known as Moonlight Sonata, is one of the most famous piano sonatas composed by Ludwig van Beethoven;
  • Age 14 is the earliest that the emancipation of minors can occur in the U.S.
  • Minimum age at which one can work in many U.S states. Some require parental consent while others don’t;
  • Minimum age at which one can work in most Australian states with parent’s consent;
  • Minimum age at which one can drive a vehicle in the U.S. with a driver’s license (with supervision of an adult over 18 years of age, and with a valid, unmarked driver’s license, and at least 365 days of experience driving an actual automobile);
  • The minimum age limit to drive a 50cc motorbike in Italy.

 

In Politics

The fourteenth President of the United States was Franklin Pierce (1804–1869) of the Democratic Party, who served from March 4th, 1853  to March 4th, 1857. His VP was William R. King (March 4th, 1853 to April 18th, 1853, when he died of tuberculosis only 45 days into office, the position being vacant from April 18th, 1853 to March 4th, 1857.)

Franklin Pierce 14th President of the United States of America
Franklin Pierce 14th President of the United States of America

 

 

Then There Was The Fourteen Points

‘The Fourteen Points’ was a speech given by US President Woodrow Wilson to a joint session of Congress on January 8, 1918. It was the only explicit statement of war aims by any of the nations fighting in World War I, and was intended to assure the country that the Great War was being fought for a moral cause and for postwar peace in Europe.

President Woodrow Wilson
President Woodrow Wilson

 

The Fourteen Points were:

  • There should be no secret alliances between countries;
  • Freedom of the seas in peace and war;
  • The reduction of trade barriers among nations;
  • The general reduction of armaments;
  • The adjustment of colonial claims in the interest of the inhabitants as well as of the colonial powers;
  • The evacuation of Russian territory and a welcome for its government to the society of nations;
  • The restoration of Belgian territories in Germany;
  • The evacuation of all French territory, including Alsace-Lorraine;
  • The readjustment of Italian boundaries along clearly recognizable lines of nationality;
  • Independence for various national groups in Austria-Hungary;
  • The restoration of the Balkan nations and free access to the sea for Serbia;
  • Protection for minorities in Turkey and the free passage of the ships of all nations through the Dardanelles;
  • Independence for Poland, including access to the sea;
  • A league of nations to protect “mutual guarantees of political independence and territorial integrity to great and small nations alike.”

The Fourteen Points was accepted by France and Italy on November 1, 1918. Britain later signed off on all of the points except the freedom of the seas. The United Kingdom also wanted Germany to make reparation payments for the war, and thought that that should be added to the Fourteen Points.

The speech was delivered 10 months before the Armistice with Germany and became the basis for the terms of the German surrender, as negotiated at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919. The Treaty of Versailles had little to do with the Fourteen Points and was never ratified by the U.S. Senate.

 

In aviation

In aviation the designation 14 has been used for several famous aircraft. Best known would be the Grumman F-14 Tomcat which entered the fleet in 1973, replacing the F-4 Phantom II. New variants were introduced in 1987 (the F-14B) and in 1990 (the F-14D).

An F-14A Tomcat over Iraq during Southern Watch
An F-14A Tomcat over Iraq during Southern Watch

 

 

The designation has also appeared on Soviet/Russian aircraft, the most notable being the Antonov An-14 Pchelka, a utility transport introduced in 1966 and primarily used by the Soviet Air Force, Aeroflot, Afghan Air Force and East German Air Force. Production continued until 1972. Known as the “Little Bee”, it was a twin-engined light STOL utility transport first flown on 15 March 1958. Serial production started in 1966, and about 300 examples were built by the time production ended in 1972. A small number of An-14 are still in airworthy condition.

The Ilyushin Il-14 was a commercial and military personnel and cargo transport aircraft that entered service in 1954.

 

In space

Apollo 14, launched on January 31st, 1971, was the eighth manned mission in the Apollo program, and the third to land on the Moon. It was the last of the “H missions”, targeted landings with two-day stays on the Moon with two lunar EVAs, or moonwalks.

The astronauts were Commander Alan Shepard, Command Module Pilot Stuart Roosa, and Lunar Module Pilot Edgar Mitchell.

Shepard and Mitchell made their lunar landing on February 5th in the Fra Mauro formation (this had originally been the target of the aborted Apollo 13 mission).
They spent about 33 hours on the Moon, with Shepard famously hit two golf balls on the lunar surface with a makeshift club he had brought from Earth.

Apollo 14 landed in the Pacific Ocean on February 9.

Apollo 14 patch

And finally

Finally, the No. 14 chair is the most famous chair made by the Thonet chair company. Also known as the bistro chair, it was designed by Michael Thonet and introduced in 1859. It became one of the best-selling chairs ever made with some 50 million being sold between 1859 and 1930. Millions more have been sold since.

The famous and best selling No 14 chair
The famous and best selling No 14 chair

 

Movement 1 from Ludwig Van Beetoven’s famous Moonlight Sonata


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