Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #160

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode # 160

… It is not like Theodore Roosevelt has not had his hands full in 1906…

Teddy Roosevelt-001

The telegraph lines have been scorching forth and back between Rochester and Tallahassee, Boston, Quincy and Washington, whose resident president insists on hosting the real Eastman-Pearson union; a somewhat shorter trip for the Southern contingent, who are far from strangers to the White House.

Alice Roosevelt

Alice Roosevelt Longworth

The fact that Roosevelt’s daughter from his first marriage, “Princess Alice” as she is affectionately called by newspaper reporters assigned to Washington, is getting married there two months before the Pearson-Eastman’s, will make for a nonstop, romping-stomping celebration of family and friend. If you were not invited and you consider yourself one of the beautiful people, you would not dare admit it, for fear of becoming a social has-been.

 But it is not like Theodore Roosevelt has not had his hands full in 1906. There are hints, led by a dwindling money supply that is pointing toward an economic crisis. Ten or more years of prosperity and growth are threatened by a war between Russia and Japan, which we’ve had to play both sides to the middle, the enormous cash vacuum in the wake of the San Francisco earthquake and unprecedented railroad expansionism.

Big stick-001

Big stick-001

For the first time in recent memory, the United States has flat out outspent its income and banks do not have the money to cover the outflow. There is also a strange coincidence concerning the purchase of the rights to the Panama Canal, with all its burdens cast in iron; excavation equipment needed for the largest works project ever attempted.

Apart from the fray, the times when a leader must separate himself, Roosevelt is true to those who have aided his glorious run in the White House. No one who has ever held the nation’s highest office has enjoyed as much as he; the power, the prestige, the trappings. Someone heard him say once: “I can’t believe they are paying me for this job.”

  Dutch by birth, a Van Roosevelt original surname, he had led the comfortable life to this point, except for a pre-teen period when he was puny and in ill health, resulting in torments from cruel mischievers. Training at the family gymnasium took care of that problem and is chiefly responsible for the rugged bravado he has displayed ever since. Wherever he goes, whoever he is with, his “big stick” is always close at hand.


Alpha Omega M.D.

1900_Teddy-Roosevelt

Episode # 160


page 149

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #138

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #138

…Precious few human beings, whether they be murderer or monk, can resist melodic sounds that reach the ear and seem to linger for days…

Temple of Music

The Tallahassee Twelve are back at the hotel before poor Jacob & Jacques can be humiliated any further, returning to a staff that attends to them in earnest, not contempt.

But, prejudice and related injustices may disappear in one spot, only to metamorphose, reappearing in a different form and/or place. And so it does on Thursday 6 September; different mad cause, same unfortunate place.

The Temple of Music’s purpose is to bring cultures closer together by the most common thread in God’s wonderful weave. Precious few human beings, whether they be murderer or monk, can resist melodic sounds that reach the ear and seem to linger for days, leaving most without the ability to get it out, once it’s in. Should you choose this exhibition building, you are treated to continuous tunes; rhythms and beat that come from a different drum than those that come out of Broadway or one of the many other theaters where the newest music is being played.

Imperialism

by Victor Gillatt

Today, however, there is a special treat for fair goers; hundreds will have the chance to get close their newly re-elected leader. One could say he is the leader of the free world, considering that before the Spanish-American War, hardly a soul heard of the islands of the Philippines and Guam, or cared about Cuba and Puerto Rico. And no, they did not exactly defeat the Spanish Armada in the 16th Century, but we were helping to keep the peace one-half the world away, daring to stray from just defending our shorelines.

mckinley_last_photo

Yesterday, William McKinley expressed the need for sensible trade relations, which would not interrupt domestic production, rather extending outlets for forecast surpluses. Surpluses in agricultural output have been foretold by Herbert Love, who has instituted a production reporting system that will aid in the accounting of commodities for possible export.

That same Mr. Love, along with the President’s Chief of Staff, George Cortelyou, attend a mini-concert at the Temple of Music in a semi-official capacity. They flank McKinley, who seems genuinely relaxed. If you look closely you can see him tapping his feet to the Mexican mariachi band, snapping his fingers to the reggae island beat, even uttering a timely ‘iiii-eeeeee’ to Cajun/Creole melodies.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Music Lives Here

Episode #138


page 126

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #98

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #98

…Reports from ships in the vicinity tell us the storm moved straight west to Haiti, where it seems to have lost its punch…

“Is there anything we can do for those people?” asks President William McKinley of his acting Secretary of Agriculture, referring to the tropical system that had just roared over a newly ceded island of the West Indies, now under the jurisdiction of the United States.

“Not really, Mr. President,” replies Herbert Love, “but only because they have not rebuilt from last year’s hurricane. The good news is that, because of Baily Kelly and his discovery, there will not be the scores of deaths from anemia. Health conditions have improved exponentially.”

caribbean

“Puerto Rico has been long-suffering, Herb; Spanish tyranny, civil war, global war poverty, hurricanes, sickness… miseries of Biblical proportions. It is no wonder that New York is filling up with immigrants, refugees and the like. I believe I would swim all there to escape that island.”

“It’s like they are row of dominoes, standing on end. If they started with 100, 75 have already toppled,” Love relates.

          “You know how I enjoy dominoes. I guess I will have to prop up the 76th.” That is McKinley’s way of telling Herb do what he can do to help them. This is how policy is formulated, as simple as a seemingly casual conversation. “By the way, where is that storm headed? Is Florida in the path?”

Sec. of Ag-001       If the Department of Agriculture were an umbrella, the Weather Bureau is an agency under it and one of great interest to a farm owner such as Herb Love. “Reports from ships in the vicinity tell us the storm moved straight west to Haiti, where it seems to have lost its punch. The lowest barometric readings are drifting into the Gulf of Mexico, where it looks that it has stalled and likely to break up.”

“I hope so.” He moves for a peek at his presidential calendar. “By this time next year, September 6th, I want Puerto Rico, Cuba and the Bahamas to return to want they were meant to be: tropical paradises.” He speaks of 1901. “I think I will pay the islands a visit after the Pan-American Exposition. I have not used the Presidential Yacht since my first year in office. We’ll need a long vacation by then, with the election and all.”

Planning so far in advance is common among heads of state. Whether or not made plans change is a matter of fate.


Alpha Omega M.D

#1 Song of 1900

Episode #98


page 90

It’s the Law! – WIF Stranger Than Fiction

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Strange

International Laws

If you’ve ever been on the internet, you have probably seen someone pass around a list of “wacky laws” from various states in the USA. These are usually laws that are still on the books from decades or even centuries ago, were never constitutional, wouldn’t be held up by any local judge worthy of their position, and were usually just passed by city councils of small towns to make a point and throw their weight around. However, around the world many truly strange laws have been passed that are either symbolically important, truly enforceable, or are judiciously enforced in creatively interesting ways. In today’s article, we will go over the top 10 strangest examples.

10. In The United States, There Are Some Exemptions to Child Labor Laws On Farms

In most developed countries, child labor has been pretty much done away with and the world is all the better for it. However, in the United States of America, a country that most would imagine got rid of that quite some time ago, there are a lot of exceptions when it comes to farm labor. See, farmers in the United States often have trouble getting enough people to work on their farms and get everything done, especially at a wage that is affordable for the farmer. For this reason, having children work on farms has been a thing for a very long time, and there are exceptions in the law to allow it.

Essentially, as long as they are still getting an education, whether by going to school or a state approved home-school program, they are allowed to be worked on a farm for no pay — even as a young child — without any real restrictions on the hours (as long as they are working for their parents own farm, regardless of how big or commercial a size it might seem). Furthermore, as wild as this may sound to people from Europe, as long as you are just driving your tractor on the farm, you may allow your kids to drive around in it without any age restrictions or training whatsoever. Of course, children die or get horribly maimed due to this sort of nonsense every year, but the pressure from the farm lobbies has so far stopped any laws with real teeth from going into effect to change things.

9. The Laws On Cruise Liners Are Complex, and Different From How Many Imagine

Legal jurisdiction can get extremely murky when it comes to trying to prosecute a cruise liner, or anyone who did anything to you while you were on one, but in general it is supposed to apply as follows: If you are within 12 miles of a country’s waters, you are subject to their laws and jurisdictions. End of story. If you are more than 12 miles out but less than 24, you are not subject to their laws, but you have to allow them to board to look for potential smuggling activity, regardless of your country of origin. After that, once you get to international waters, you do still have to follow laws — the laws of whichever country your cruise ship is officially registered in. That means if your cruise ship is registered in the United States, you still have to obey the laws of the USA.

This meant that from the 1950s to the 1990s, no United States-based cruise liner allowed gambling aboard their ship. However, in 1991, after it was pointed out to the proper regulatory authorities that there were only about three ships left that were officially registered in the United States, they passed a competitiveness act that allows US-based cruise liners to begin allowing people to gamble, in contravention of United States law, once they actually reached international waters. It’s basically a huge exemption that has been carved out so that the USA will not be entirely left out of the cruise ship game.

8. Diplomatic Immunity Has Led to a Plethora of Unpaid Parking Tickets Worldwide

Nobody likes parking tickets and, let’s face it: if we could legally get away with it without any consequences, we would curl the things up into a ball, throw them away, and move on with our lives without paying. Now, most of us simply don’t have the power to do that. We can ball the thing up, but one way or another the city is eventually going to come and somehow take their money from us. However, if you are a diplomat, you have diplomatic immunity. Now, in movies like Lethal Weapon 2, we have plots where diplomatic immunity is used in an attempt to get away with murder, but the vast majority of diplomats abuse it in a much more banal way —  they fulfill a fantasy many of us have, by simply ignoring parking rules (or congestion fees) and doing what they want anyway, as it doesn’t matter.

When you have diplomatic immunity, no one can force you in court to pay your tickets, and many from the United States have argued the congestion fee that London has, for example, is just a tax on going in and out of the city (tax being something diplomats don’t have to pay). The United States government shares this viewpoint. However, it isn’t just London, or even New York for that matter, that suffers most from this, but Canberra and many other cities around the world. If the city plays host to a lot of diplomats, they often have backlogged debts for diplomat parking tickets ranging from the hundreds of thousands to the millions. New York recently implemented a policy where they simply wouldn’t re-register a diplomatic vehicle with too high a debt, and it helped a little, but it has simply creeped back up over the years since. It seems when you give a government official full diplomatic immunity, most just use it to toss aside all the petty bureaucracy that’s part of the system they help maintain.

7. China Decrees They Must Approve Reincarnations, In An Attempt to Control Tibetan Monks

As you probably already know, China has, for a long time, been trying to control the country of Tibet, and part of that involves trying to squash the influence of the Tibetan monks. The entire situation is extremely political, as a lot of religious sensibilities are involved, and if China came down too hard on the current Dalai Lama, they could risk some kind of widespread riots, or even international involvement. However, that doesn’t mean they are just sitting around with no strategy besides occupation and repression.

See, the thing about the Dalai Lama is that he is supposed to be a reincarnation of a previous Lama, and so on.The issue is that the Tibetan monks generally get to choose their own successor, as it is supposed to be their spiritual influence that is able to tell who is actually the next reincarnation. However, in the hopes of controlling the process, China has actually decreed laws not allowing a Lama to reincarnate without going through the Chinese government to approve it first — which means they basically get to hand-pick their own Dalai Lama, which would give them ultimate control and influence over the Tibetan people and anyone who still follows Tibetan Buddhism. However, the current Dalai Lama has already fired back against this by stating the next Lama would likely be born in a free country, and that one chosen out of China, by the Chinese government, could not be trusted as the proper Dalai Lama.

6. In Russia You Can Be Fined Because of a Dirty Car (Sort Of)

Now, this isn’t exactly the law, as it’s more of a law being misinterpreted by the police. However, in a country like Russia, arguing with the police (or the local city council over your police’s corrupt behavior) is not likely to get you much of anywhere. In Moscow, and other big cities in Russia, drivers often simply stop driving for much of the winter as it gets too cold for many older vehicles to operate, and then bring them back in the spring — sometimes without washing them at all first.

Now, the law — like in many countries — simply states that a car is considered “dirty” as an actual offense if it’s dirty to the point that the license plate is not visible. However, many police are using the law and people’s ignorance of the details to fine anyone with an extremely filthy car, even if the license plate can be seen just fine. The first time city authorities started doing this back in 2006 after a harsh winter, they declared it was “clean car month” and went on a rampage of fines. While it may not have necessarily been legal, the city clearly wanted to do something to encourage people to clean up, and didn’t want to have to amend the old law to do it… so they just sort of bent it a bit.

5. In China, You Must Have Social Visits With Your Elderly Parents

China has a lot of elderly citizens. When counted in 2014, their percentage of elderly citizens was at 9%, which is higher than many countries, such as India, which was only at 5% when the same estimate was made. It’s also one of the fastest growing elderly populations in the world, with experts expecting their elderly population to roughly double by the year of 2030. For this reason, elderly people who are lonely or not particularly well cared for are becoming an increasingly serious problem. Elderly people have already even been occasionally suing their children for not visiting them enough, or taking care of them, but a law passed in 2013 in China helps give the elderly more teeth with which to sue their children.

The law states that children should make an effort to regularly visit their elderly parents; however, it isn’t really clear on how often that should be. The law is difficult to enforce because of the ambiguity, but the lawmakers have said that it wasn’t necessarily meant to be a fully functional law, but more of a way to raise awareness of the issue, and make it easier for parents to sue and get the court to order some kind of visitation schedule, if they are being truly neglected when they need physical or emotional care. We feel like it’s important to emphasize that last part, because obviously, this isn’t just your nagging mom wondering why you don’t stop by for dinner more often.

Some Chinese people are worried about the law mainly because of the ambiguity, and also because oftentimes well-intentioned children don’t always have the means, or even the time off work, to visit. The law doesn’t really fix anything, but it does serve to highlight the growing demographic problem in China and the tension between the young and the old.

4. In Much Of The Caribbean, Camouflage Clothing Is Illegal

In the United States, it’s actually fairly common to wear camo-pattern clothes, so much so that people make jokes about whether they can “actually see you there” because of your ability to “blend in.” While it isn’t exactly considered a high fashion choice, it’s certainly not something the authorities would ever worry about in most countries, and people would just assume you have an affinity for military-style garb and/or enjoy hunting.

However, in many Caribbean countries such as Barbados, Jamaica, St. Vincent and St. Lucia, several African countries, and even Saudi Arabia, wearing of camouflage patterned clothes is banned, unless you want to be fined or potentially jailed. The issue is that they don’t want any civilians being mixed up with members of the military, as most of the countries with these laws have at least one uniform with a camouflage pattern. When you think of it that way, the law actually makes perfect sense… although it’s unlikely someone wearing say, a pair of camo shorts and a beach shirt, is going to be confused for active duty military of any kind.

3. The Town of Tuszyn, Poland Banned Winnie the Pooh From Their Playground

While it wasn’t exactly a law, the town of Tuszyn, Poland made international news for a strange decision they made in 2014. They had been trying to decide a new mascot for the town playground, and were going over innocent and wholesome cartoon characters they could use that would be fun for the children. One of the names that came up was Winnie the Pooh, and at first you would think this was a suggestion that would pick up some steam; it doesn’t get much more innocent, fun, and generally banal than Winnie the Pooh. He is, in fact, a character that most people would imagine would be impossible to be offended by… unless he is already associated negatively with your dear leader, as he is in China.

However, someone recorded the town council meeting where it was discussed, and leaked the audio to the Croatian Times, who made fun of the proceedings and their inherent silliness. Apparently, the idea was shot down and Pooh was banned as the potential mascot mainly because he wasn’t wearing any clothes on his bottom half, and was actually “half-naked.” Now, some would imagine you would argue that he isn’t immodest because he has no genitals, and is just a cartoon. Oh, and also, a bear. Last time we checked, it’s more unusual for bears to be wearing red shirts than it is for them to be without pants. Unfortunately, that did come up during the debate, and some council members suggested that it made Pooh some kind of hermaphrodite, or someone with some kind of other gender identity disorder, and that it therefore made him even more inappropriate for children. We wonder what the city council of Tuszyn, Poland, thinks of Donald Duck.

2. Japan Is Policing Obesity, But They Haven’t Made It Illegal As Some People Think

In 2008, Japan passed a “Metabo Law” that left a lot of people scratching their heads and adding yet another one to the “weird Japan” file. The rumor claimed that the law literally made it illegal to be fat, and that if you were fat enough, the government could fine or even imprison you. However, while a Metabo Law was passed, it was not at all what many in the Western World thought it was.

The way the law works is that if you are in between the ages of 45 and 74, and you have a waistline of 35.4 inches or more for a man, or 31.5 inches or more for a woman, then you have to have it measured every year and seek proper medical advice from a doctor on how to shrink your waistline and improve your health. The law does not make it illegal or even attach fines to having extra weight; it just ensures that you get the medical attention you need if you go beyond what Japanese legislators have considered the line for an early intervention against dangerous levels of weight gain.

1. Turkmenbashi Was A Mad Ruler Of Turkmenistan… But They Aren’t Much Better Off Without Him

If you have ever seen the TV show Archer, you may be familiar with an episode where they visit Turkmenistan and learn that it has an insane leader named Gorbagun Gorbanguly, who has changed the words for both bread and Friday to his dog’s name: Gurpgork. Now, while this isn’t at all true, it is based on some true life events. Turkmenistan’s current leader’s name is Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, and the previous leader of the country, a man named Saparmurat Niyazov — also known as Turkmenbashi — was pretty much the undisputed dictator from 1990 until 2006. During that time he was known for being a power-mad eccentric who not only ruled with an iron fist, but made utterly insane proclamations.

He created a national melon day, after the country’s chief export, and also a national day for horses. People used to wear gold fillings in their teeth as a mark of status, but Turkmenbashi felt they were not a good thing, and soon people were tearing them out of their mouths, spending their money on expensive dental work. He banned circuses and ballet because they were “unnecessary.” He also banned beards because he didn’t trust followers of Islam. On top of that, he changed the name of January to his name, and April to his mother’s name. When he died and the new dictator for life took over, he did do away with a lot of the more eccentric laws, but it still continues to be an incredibly poor country where ethnic Muslims are distrusted, and the vast majority of the country’s oil riches are going to the elites who run it all, or just sitting in the ground not being used due to poor infrastructure and mismanagement.


It’s the Law! –

WIF Stranger Than Fiction

Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #79

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #79

Chapter Five

HORIZONS

… Random occurrences have a way of effecting change, regardless of what day the calendar reads or the hands of the clock point to…

1900-001

Those who have predicted the end of the world were wrong. Numerous millenarians were convinced that the coming year of 1900 would signal the end of the world, as we know it and the beginning of the millennial kingdom, foretold in the Bible, as prophesied in Revelation. Extremist go so far as to sell or abandon (temporarily it seems) possessions, withdraw to mountain tops (to be closer to God), or dress completely in white (so Jesus would recognize them we he returns).

There as many interpretations of the Book of Revelation as there are organized religions, but there one sure thing; no adult hopeful of seeing Christ will be around for the next millennium opportunity at the year 2000.

Then again, what is all the fuss? 1900 is not the year that begins the Twentieth Century. For reasons few understand, 1 January 1901, will be the first day in the new century. It promises to be one of great change.

Boll Weevil-001Random occurrences have a way of effecting change, regardless of what day the calendar reads or the hands of the clock point to. Just ask Herbert Love, whose cotton fields, as well as most others in the South, is introduced to Mr. Boll Weevil. Mr. Weevil is a multi-legged visitor from Mexico and he and his many relatives have dined on the bolls of the cotton plant; uninvited and unrelenting in its devastation of the textile industry. Herbert is diversified enough to weather 1899, due to the installation of a pasteurizing machine for his creamery and the growing popularity of his quality line of cigars. Please thank Mr. Luck and Mr. Campbell for that.

The weekly route to Tallahassee has been a resounding success. Fridays are a blessing for route-master Willy, a day to see the sights and know people.

It is so for his son, Alfrey, as well. He is a young eleven, thanks to his stays with the German Young A.O.-001 and exposure to toddler Maggie Lou (Ferrell). The skillful knowledge of a physician, who has practiced medicine longer than an average life’s span, provides a disadvantaged child with the gift of nurturing and healing; the starter kit for any aspiring doctor.

Alfrey Campbell is a true enigma compared to rest of Southern society. Just as he is entering adolescence, usually the prime time for beginning serious field work, he has no such duties, most of his time readying the ice wagon for his treasured Friday adventures. Herbert Love has gone as far as to hire a tutor to fill Alfrey’s days with matters of the mind, rather than the formation of calluses. Hardly a better situation exists for the grooming and preparation of a young mind.


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #79


page 72

Keep Out! – WIF 10 Cent Travel

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Forbidden Places

You’ll Never

Be Able

to Visit

For a huge part of human history, there were plenty of places left that remained a mystery. But in modern times, it seems like every square inch of the planet is accessible for anyone who has the time, money, and desire to get there. However, there are still plenty of places that truly are forbidden to the general public.

10. The Lascaux Caves Contain Ancient Cave Paintings

Deep in the Dordogne Valley of Southern France, there is a cave that holds a number of ancient secrets. The Lascaux Caves were first found in the year 1940 by a group of 13-year-old boys and their dog. They contain some of the oldest drawings in the history of mankind, and after this discovery, tourists flocked to see the cave. Unfortunately, though, the caves also contain a rare fungus that is slowly destroying the ancient artwork. In 1963, a decision was made to close the caves off from the public, because the belief was that the more human beings visited the cave, the more heat and humidity would come off of their bodies, worsening the problem with the fungus and threatening the paintings. So now, there are security guards watching over the caves full-time to make sure no one goes inside, and they only patrol within for a few minutes just once a week.

In 2010, President Nicolas Sarkozy and eight people in his entourage toured the caves to see the 900 pieces of art, sparking controversy across France. This actually sparked a debate, because many people felt that there should be no exceptions to the rule, even if you’re the President.

9. Only a Few Select People Can Access the Vatican Secret Archives

Inside of Vatican City, there are the Secret Archives filled with classified documents that date back thousands of years. For most of modern history, the Pope was the one and only person who could access the archive. In 1881, the rules were changed to allow a few select Catholic scholars to examine the documents, so long as they go through background checks and a vetting process, which includes receiving permission from the Pope. Even then, the paperwork must be 75-years-old before they are accessible to the scholars, which guarantees that the people who are mentioned in the documents would most likely have passed away before their secrets are ever revealed. So, we’re sorry to say, but you’re not likely to be allowed into the archives any time soon.

Of course, when anywhere is this secret, conspiracy theories abound. And just like literally everything else in the world, some people believe that the Vatican is hiding evidence of aliens. And in 2010, when Dan Brown released his novel Angels and Demons, more and more people began to question what, exactly, the Vatican was trying to hide. So finally in 2012, they held an exhibit where they shared some of the most famous documents with journalists.

8. North Sentinel Island Has a Tribe Isolated From The Outside World

North Sentinel Island is off the coast of India, in the Bay of Bengal. Marco Polo mentioned the island in his book, claiming that the Sentinelese people were cannibals. In the 1800s, a ship crashed on the island, and almost all of the crew was killed by the natives. Its reputation has made this island off-limits from the outside world. As the years went on, only about 150 native Sentinelese people are believed to be left alive.

In the 1970s, National Geographic attempted to film a documentary on the island, but the director was impaled by a spear. Since then, access to the island has been strictly prohibited, and it has been well-known that no one should go there. But it didn’t seem to stop a missionary from going to the island in 2018 in an attempt to convert the native people to Christianity, and he was killed after illegally stepping foot on the island.

7. Surtsey Island Is An Active Volcano

In 1963, an underwater volcano erupted off the coast of Iceland, forming a small island that is just one mile wide. It was given the name Surtsey, after the Norse jotunn Surtr, who brings fire and brimstone upon the Earth and is a key player in Ragnarok. It has continued to remain active ever since. You may remember in 2010, the volcano on the island erupted and spread an ash cloud so large airplane traffic was suspended until it dissipated.

As of right now, the only people who have visited the island are scientists who have permission from the government of Iceland. It is important for them to study what naturally occurs on the island. They want to figure out which animals and vegetation make their way there naturally. Maybe some day tourists will be able to visit, but as of right now, the island is still off-limits to the general public.

6. The Pine Gap Facility in Australia Houses American Spies

Alice Springs, Australia is home to an American military based called the Joint Defense Facility Pine Gap. It was first built in 1966 as a space research laboratory. According to the US National Security Agency, the base is now used to control satellites that track nuclear weapons, locate airstrikes, and gather other types of information. Roughly 600 US citizens live in the base, and they integrate with the rest of Australian society. However, no one is allowed inside without the necessary security clearance.

However, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that there are some Australian citizens who aren’t too happy with the Americans coming in to use their land. The secret base has become a target for anti-war protesters who want it gone. Many Australians have actually tried to break into the base, claiming that they want to show the visiting Americans all about peace and love, only for them to be arrested. Anyone who tries to break into the facility face prison sentences up to seven years.

5. World Leaders Will Escape to Mount Weather At The End of the World

During the Cold War, the Mount Weather Emergency Operations Center was built by the US government’s FEMA program as a place for world leaders to run to in case of a nuclear apocalypse. The 600,000 square foot underground facility sits safely nestled 48 miles away from Washington DC, in the Blue Ridge Mountains. It has its own fire and police force, as well as its own laws, and plenty of supplies to restart society, just in case we ever end up in a Fallout situation. Of course, the nuclear apocalypse has been avoided (for now, at least), and all of those DIY fallout shelters from the 1960s have gone to waste.

But Mount Weather still exists today as the go-to-safe space for politicians. After the terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers in New York City on September 11, 2001, some of the most important government officials in the country were rushed to Mount Weather. Average people are not allowed to visit the facility, though, so we’ll just have to leave it in our imaginations.

4. If You Step Foot on Queimada Grande Island, You Will Probably Die

The Isle of Queimada Grande is just off the coast of Sao Paulo, Brazil. It is also known as “Snake Island,” because it is mostly inhabited by — you guessed it — thousands upon thousands of snakes. The Golden Lancehead Viper, which only exists on that one island. Its venom is five times more powerful than any other snake, and if someone is bitten by one, they will be dead in less than an hour. It has been dubbed one of the most dangerous places in the world.

No one is even sure how the snakes got there in the first place. Rumors have spread that pirates buried a treasure on the island, and that they brought these snakes there to make sure no one could ever reach the gold. But that, of course, is just a legend. For years, no one lived there, except a lighthouse keeper and his daughter. However, they were both killed by the snakes. Now the Brazilian navy only visits the island once a year to make sure the fully automated lighthouse is still working. Vice News decided to film a documentary on the one day of the year that they could actually go together with the navy officials. So, they were able to get extremely rare footage of the island and, of course… the snakes.

3. You’ll Catch Your Death From Gruinard Island

Off the coast of the Scottish Highlands, Gruinard Island was bought by the British government to test deadly diseases. The first trials began by exploding bombs riddled with diseased powder over top of flocks of sheep, and scientists would later inspect the damage. In the wake of World War II, the Brits thought they may need to use Anthrax as a weapon of war. Since they had purchased the island for these life-threatening experiments, they had to make it clear to everyone not to travel there anymore.

There’s even a massive sign on the island that says: “This island is government property under experiment. The ground is contaminated with Anthrax and dangerous. Landing is prohibited.” In the 1980s, the government sent scientists to clean the island, and by 1990, they declared that it was safe to visit. However, even years after the experiments have been completed, many people believe that there are still plague spores in the ground, and that you would be foolish to ever go there.

2. Technological Secrets are Hiding Inside Area 51

Nearly everyone has heard of Area 51, which is a secret American military base in the middle of the Nevada desert. There are dozens of wild rumors and conspiracy theories about the base, mostly claiming that they hold evidence of UFOs and alien life, including the wreckage of the famous Roswell incident in 1947.

Technically, there are plenty of people who work there, so people come and go from the base all the time. But members of the public are not allowed inside. In fact, if you even get too close to the entrance, a white pickup truck will chase you down until you leave. The facility is heavily guarded, with security cameras and sensors. In reality, the base was established during the Cold War, and it is used to test experimental aircraft. Its high level of security is to ensure that no foreign nations can access new technology.

Even though the rational explanations have been published as to the history of Area 51’s existence again and again, people still want to believe it’s really all about hiding little green men. The surrounding area has become a tourist attraction for UFO enthusiasts.

1. Poveglia Island is Probably Haunted

Okay, so maybe you don’t believe in ghosts. But plenty of people believe that Italy’s Poveglia Island is actually haunted, due to its long, horrible history. It was once a hospital for people who were quarantined with the plague. Then, it was used as a hospital for the criminally insane. According to legend, a doctor was performing torturous experiments on the patients, which is why the souls of the suffering are still present on the island.

Scientific studies have shown that so many bodies were buried on the island, 50% of the soil is made of human ash. The Italian government wasn’t sure what to do with it, so they put it up for auction, and sold a 99-year lease to an Italian businessman named Luigi Brugnaro for €513,000. So, basically, Brugnaro gets to use it as his private property, and it will be decades before it returns to the custody of the Italian government.


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Cold-War Warning Signs – Doomed to Repeat?

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Reasons for

the Start

of the Cold War

On the April 30, 1945 Adolf Hitler committed suicide in the ruins of Berlin. Six days later Germany surrendered, bringing about the final defeat of the Reich he had claimed would last for a thousand years.

The world had been changed forever. Germany had been utterly defeated; France had lost her great power status, and Britain, almost bankrupted by World War Two, barely clung to hers. The United States of America and the Soviet Union had emerged as the world’s dominant powers.

These two new superpowers were still nominally allies, having struggled together to overcome the terrible might of Nazi Germany. However, even as early as 1945, the seeds of future conflict had been sown.

In this list we’ll look at 10 reasons why the Cold War began in 1945.

10. The Death of Franklin Roosevelt

On April 12, 1945 President Franklin D. Roosevelt complained of a headache; just moments later he collapsed unconscious. He died later that same day.

When the news reached the heart of the imploding Third Reich, Hitler celebrated amidst the ruins of Berlin. The German dictator was desperate enough to clutch at any straws that presented themselves, and he convinced himself that the death of America’s president would mark a turning point in the war in Europe.

Despite Hitler’s initial optimism Roosevelt was replaced by Harry S. Truman, and World War Two continued its inevitable course towards Germany’s total defeat. However, Roosevelt’s death did significantly alter the dynamics of the post-war world.

Roosevelt is remembered as one of America’s great presidents, but he had something of a blind spot when it came to Joseph Stalin. He hadn’t recognized quite how wily and ruthless Stalin could be, and wrongly believed himself to be quite capable of charming the Soviet Union’s brutal dictator.

Harry Truman, Roosevelt’s successor, was altogether more suspicious of the Soviet Union in general and Stalin in particular. While Stalin initially believed Truman to be a nonentity who could be easily manipulated, this proved not to be the case.

9. Operation Unthinkable

Joseph Stalin spent much of World War Two haunted by the fear that Britain and America might betray him, make a separate peace with the Nazis, and leave the Soviet Union to fight on alone. In his worst nightmares his allies went even further and teamed up with Nazi Germany to destroy him.

While Stalin is remembered as one of history’s most murderously paranoid individuals, his concerns were not entirely without foundation. Winston Churchill in particular nursed a deep hatred of the Soviet Union that stretched right back to its creation.

In 1945, just days after the end of the war in Europe, Churchill asked his military planners to investigate the possibility of launching an almost immediate assault on Stalin’s Red Army. Churchill christened it Operation Unthinkable, for obvious reasons.

Quite how serious Churchill was about this extraordinary venture isn’t known for sure. In any event Operation Unthinkable was dead in the water with the report concluding there was no chance of success. The British couldn’t compete with the might of the Red Army. Even if the Americans could be persuaded to team up with the British, and they very much insisted they wouldn’t, the Soviets had more tanks and more men. The likely outcome was a long and bloody struggle.

Operation Unthinkable was shelved. However, Stalin soon learned all about it through his extensive network of spies. The news that at least one of his former allies was making plans to attack fueled his paranoia and contributed to the beginning of the Cold War.

8. Disagreements over the Fate of the Nazis

In November 1943 Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt, and Joseph Stalin met face-to-face for the first time. There was still a huge amount of fighting and bloodshed to come; but the end of World War Two was finally in sight, and an Allied victory was all but inevitable.

The Tehran Conference was an opportunity for the “Big Three” leaders of the main Allied powers to discuss not just the war itself, but also how to handle the peace. One of the major questions to be addressed was what to do with any captured Nazis.

Stalin offered a solution that some 100,000 German Army officers should simply be shot.

While Roosevelt assumed Stalin was joking, Churchill took him more seriously and stormed out of the room in a fury. The British Prime Minister had himself suggested that senior Nazis should be hanged without recourse to legal aid, but as a former British Army officer he could not sanction the idea of slaughtering soldiers.

The three men eventually agreed that their enemies’ guilt should be established at trial, but they had very different ideas of what this should entail.

When Stalin held a trial he very much intended for the outcome, and even the script, to be determined well in advance. The British and Americans were determined that the trials be seen to be free and fair. As a result several Nazis walked free or escaped with their lives, including Albert Speer, who was Nazi Armament Minister and one of Hitler’s closest confidants. This was certainly not the outcome Stalin had been hoping for.

7. The Defeat of Japan

Japan had been at war with the United States of America and Great Britain since 1941, and with China since 1937. However, the Japanese Empire and the Soviet Union, despite sharing a land border, had not declared war on each other.

This had been a convenient arrangement for both powers. The Soviet Union had been locked in a life-or-death struggle with Nazi Germany in the west, and the Japanese more than had their hands full at land and sea in the east.

With the defeat of Nazi Germany Stalin turned his gaze east. Stalin had promised he would join the war against Japan once the war in Europe was over, and he was more than happy to grab some territory from the crumbling Japanese Empire.

On August 9, 1945 the Americans dropped a nuclear bomb on the city of Nagasaki. Earlier that day the Soviet Red Army had launched a huge surprise offensive against the Japanese in Manchuria. Some historians believe it was the Soviet assault, rather than the immense destructive power of America’s new atomic bombs, that persuaded the Japanese to announce their surrender just six days later.

While the Red Army’s war against the Japanese was brief, Stalin insisted that it warranted the Soviet Union a zone of occupation in the Japanese Home Islands. On August 16, 1945 Stalin wrote to Truman asking to be given part of the island of Hokkaido, adding that he hoped his modest wishes would not meet with any objection.

Roosevelt might, perhaps, have been amenable to the suggestion. Truman was far more suspicious of the Soviets and refused the request.

6. The Division of Korea

The Japanese announcement of their intention to surrender did not bring an immediate cease to hostilities. Stalin drove his armies on, determined to seize territory in the east while the going was good.

By August 1945 the Red Army was a devastatingly effective fighting machine, hardened by the titanic struggle against the forces of Nazi Germany. The forces of Imperial Japan, meanwhile, were much diminished. The best of the Japanese ground forces, and almost every serviceable aircraft, had been withdrawn from mainland Asia to the defense of the Japanese Home Islands.

The Red Army smashed aside the Japanese defenses making huge gains in Manchuria and pressing into Korea, which had been occupied by Japan since 1910.

There was no realistic possibility of the Americans mounting an invasion of Korea before the entire Korean Peninsula fell into Soviet hands. However, Stalin, prepared to trade influence in the Far East to strengthen his negotiating hand in Europe, agreed to divide Korea in two.

The Soviet Union would command the northern part of the country, which contained most of the heavy industry and mineral wealth, while the Americans took control of the largely agricultural south.

Both superpowers would install brutal puppet governments to serve their own interests. Korea was not split apart on any cultural, religious, ethnic, or historical basis, and the decision to divide the nation in two was destined to lead to future conflict. This came to pass when North Korea invaded South Korea in 1950, leading to the hottest conflict of the entire Cold War.

5. Clash of Ideologies

Adolf Hitler spent a good chunk of World War Two waiting for the alliance between the capitalist Western powers and the communist Soviet Union to fall apart. The long-awaited collapse in relations never materialized during his lifetime, but Hitler had not been entirely unreasonable in expecting it.

The alliance between the big three powers was one of the most unlikely in history. It was only made possible by the uniquely aggressive form of fascism that emerged in Germany, and it could not long survive the collapse of the Third Reich.

Communist ideology dictated that the collapse of capitalism was both desirable and inevitable. While communism is now a largely discredited theory, for much of the 20th century it posed a mortal threat to powerful individuals who reaped the main rewards of capitalism.

Stalin might have been paranoid, but it wasn’t without good reason. Shortly after the communist revolution Churchill had advocated “Strangling Bolshevism in its cradle.” The western powers had attempted to do just this, leading to a brutal civil war in Russia that lasted from 1917 to 1923.

Neither side can be absolved of blame for the Cold War. While it was perhaps not immediately apparent following the defeat of Germany in 1945, the incompatible nature of the two competing ideologies of communism and capitalism made future conflict inevitable.

4. Berlin Divided

On May 2, 1945 the German defenders of Berlin surrendered to the Red Army. The battle had cost the lives of around 80,000 Soviet and 100,000 German soldiers.

Dwight Eisenhower, commander of the Allied forces in the west, is sometimes criticized for failing to drive his armies on and beat the Soviets to Germany’s capital city. It was a race that he might just have won, but it would have made no difference to the post-war map of Europe.

The division of Germany had already been decided through politics. Berlin itself lay well within what would be Soviet territory. However, the city would be divided up into four, with the Soviet Union, the United States of America, Great Britain, and France all given a zone of control.

This tiny enclave of Western democracy deep within Soviet controlled Eastern Germany soon came to infuriate Stalin. In 1948 he attempted to heal the open sore as he ordered the city to be blockaded, denying the Western Allies any links to the city by road, rail, or water. The Allies responded by flying in the supplies they needed. Stalin balked at giving the order to shoot down American aircraft, knowing that to do so would very likely result in war.

3. The End of American Isolationism

The United States of America had been traumatized by her involvement in World War One, where more than 100,000 Americans lost their lives. Determined to avoid being dragged into any more foreign wars America pursued a policy of isolationism. The nation maintained only a small army and avoided intervening in the affairs of other countries.

It didn’t work. America was dragged into another World War, this one even more terrible than the first. By 1945 isolationism was well and truly dead. The US had emerged as a global superpower with a vast military arsenal at its disposal.

Rather than retreating from the world, America would attempt to shape and control it. This was done even at the expense of democratic ideals, with the United States of America installing and supporting numerous dictatorships.

This more aggressive approach to international relations would inevitably lead to conflict with the Soviet Union, which was itself emboldened by its newfound superpower status and determined to export communism around the world.

2. The Fate of Eastern Europe

The British went to war with Nazi Germany in 1939 with the express goal of defending the right of Polish self-determination in the wake of Germany’s invasion. This was complicated by the failure of the British to declare war on the Soviet Union when the Red Army invaded eastern Poland having done a deal with Hitler.

The United States of America claimed to be fighting a war for freedom. This position too was complicated by the necessity of fighting alongside Stalin’s Soviet Union, a totalitarian dictatorship with few if any redeeming features.

When the war in the west drew to a close in May 1945, the Soviet Red Army had already occupied Poland and much of Eastern Europe. Short of attempting something quite as extraordinarily reckless as Operation Unthinkable, there was very little the Western Allies could do about this.

The British and Americans demanded that Stalin must hold free and fair elections in the territories he had occupied. Stalin readily agreed but went ahead and fixed the results of the elections regardless.

The Soviet domination of so much of Europe, a continent which had dominated world power far more than it does today, was a source of considerable discomfort and fear for America and the Western powers.

1. Nuclear Weapons

The atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima in 1945 exploded with as much force as 15,000 tons of TNT. As many as sixty thousand people were killed instantly, many of them simply vaporized, as temperatures briefly exceeded those on the surface of the sun.

Both Roosevelt and Churchill hoped that America’s new atomic capabilities would intimidate Stalin. However, when the Soviet dictator was informed of the weapon’s immense destructive power at the Yalta Conference in February 1945, he had shown barely any interest at all. It’s now known that the news had not come as a surprise. Stalin’s spies had kept him well informed of America’s top-secret new weapon, and his scientists were already racing to deliver Stalin a bomb of his own. This mission was accomplished by 1949, far sooner than the Americans believed possible.

The dawn of the atomic age in 1945 vastly raised the stakes for both the Soviet Union and the United States of America. It was now possible for a single bomber, carrying a single bomb, to incinerate an entire city. The two superpowers would later develop intercontinental ballistic missiles and a stockpile of nuclear warheads capable of wiping out most life on the planet. Both sides were aware that if the Cold War turned hot, it might mean the end of civilization. This went a long way towards focusing minds on finding diplomatic solutions to disagreements that might otherwise have led to war.

As terrible as nuclear weapons are, and despite the threat they continue to pose to the future of humanity, they probably prevented all-out war between the United States of America and the Soviet Union.


Cold-War Warning Signs –

Doomed to Repeat?