• Saturday, July 26, 2014

Wide Angle

The Earthshaker

Published Date: July 25, 2014
The Earthshaker

Top 5 Deadliest Earthquakes 1. Shaanxi province, China, Jan 23, 1556 Magnitude about 8. Around 830,000 deaths. 2. Tangshan, China, July 27, 1976 Magnitude 7.5. Estimated 655,000 deaths. 3. Aleppo, Syria, Aug. 9, 1138 Magnitude not known. About 230,000 deaths. 4. Sumatra, Indonesia, Dec 26, 2004 Magnitude 9.1. 227,898 deaths. 5. Haiti, Jan 12, 2010 Magnitude 7.0. According to official estimates, 222,570 people killed. What if we say there might be a day in...

Published Date: July 25, 2014
Don't Believe Everything You Hear

Dogs and other animals can “sense” when an earthquake is going to strike: It's impossible to determine whether a dog is behaving in an unusual manner. Big quakes always occur early in the morning: The 1940 Imperial Valley quake was at 9:36pm, the 1989 Loma Prieta quake at 5:02pm. The ground can open up and swallow people: You've seen the image in books, movies and TV shows. That's not how it works. If a fault could open up, there wouldn't be...

Published Date: July 25, 2014
Ancient quake myths

Ancient quake myths

Greece Thales of Miletos (6th century BC) believed an agitation of the great sea, on which the earth floats, produced earthquakes. Gabrielino Indians, Southern California Great Spirit made a beautiful land that turtles carried on their backs in lakes and rivers. One day the turtles began to argue. Three swam east; the other three swam west....

Published Date: July 11, 2014
Leaving for Beirut

Leaving for Beirut

  On a winter night in 1981, Momen left for Beirut. When I met him the day before, his 17-year-old eyes twinkled with the excitement of joining the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO). He pulled out his air ticket -- probably of British Airways, memories wane so fast -- and said: “Dosto, Ami Chollam. Torao parley ai...

Published Date: May 9, 2014
A man ain't nothin' but a man

A man ain't nothin' but a man

John Henry was a man and yet larger than a man. In the history of human struggle against discrimination, John Henry has come to represent the nature of conflict, of the kind that has pitted the exploitative class against an army of the exploited. Human nature, Henry seemed to be informing his fellow workers, was not exactly of the edifying kind. And from that exposition of the truth sprang thoughts of liberation from exploitation. And what better way to bring the exploited and the deprived and the desperate together than through the symbolism of the hammer and the sickle? For the very first time in history, one might as well...

Published Date: May 9, 2014
The song remains the same

The song remains the same

He's a hero to Woody Guthrie, a warning to Mississippi John Hurt, an inspiration to the chain gang. From verse-to-verse, generation-to-generation, the story changes to suit the singer. The name and steel-driving solitude stay the same. He is John Henry, the man who "Died with a hammer in his hand”, who knew “a...

Published Date: May 9, 2014
On the track of the working man's hero

On the track of the working man's hero

The story of John Henry, told mostly through ballads and work songs, travelled from coast to coast as the railroads drove west during the 19th century. And it has become timeless. The main ingredient required for any story or song about John Henry is the fact that he worked on a railroad as a...

Published Date: May 9, 2014
The Ballad of John Henry

The Ballad of John Henry

When John Henry was a little baby Sittin' on his daddy's knee He picked up a hammer and a little piece of steel And cried, "hammer's gonna be the death of me, Lord, Lord Hammer's gonna be the death of me" Now the captain he said to John Henry "I'm gonna bring that steam drill around I'm gonna bring that...

The First World War Espionage

Published Date: April 25, 2014
MATA HARI

MATA HARI

For most of human history, people serving in combat were overwhelmingly male.  It is only recently that women are getting a more prominent role in armed forces. But there is a long history of female involvement in espionage, even in ancient times. Espionage knows no gender and in fact being female could provide less...

Published Date: April 25, 2014
Into the world of cryptology and intelligence

Into the world of cryptology and intelligence

At the outbreak of the war, many nations had weak or fledgling national intelligence communities. The French government and military both maintained trained intelligence forces, but no central agency processed intelligence information, or facilitated the distribution of critical intelligence information. Russia had special agents of the Czar, and secret police forces, but its...