In the largest episode of forced migration in history, millions of German-speaking civilians were sent to Germany from Czechoslovakia (above) and other European countries after World War II by order of the United States, Britain, and the Soviet Union.
The screams that rang throughout the darkened cattle car crammed with deportees, as it jolted across the icy Polish countryside five nights before Christmas, were Dr. Loch’s only means of locating his patient. The doctor, formerly chief medical officer of a large urban hospital, now found himself clambering over piles of baggage, fellow passengers, and buckets used as toilets, only to find his path blocked by an old woman who ignored his request to move aside. On closer examination, he discovered that she had frozen to death.
Finally he located the source of the screams, a pregnant woman who had gone into premature labor and was hemorrhaging profusely. When he attempted to move her from where she lay into a more comfortable position, he found that “she was frozen to the floor with her own blood.” Other than temporarily stanching the bleeding, Loch was unable to do anything to help her, and he never learned whether she had lived or died. When the train made its first stop, after more than four days in transit, 16 frost-covered corpses were pulled from the wagons before the remaining deportees were put back on board to continue their journey. A further 42 passengers would later succumb to the effects of their ordeal, among them Loch’s wife.
An estimated 500,000 people died in the course of the organized expulsions; survivors were left in Allied-occupied Germany to fend for themselves.
During the Second World War, tragic scenes like those were commonplace, as Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin moved around entire populations like pieces on a chessboard, seeking to reshape the demographic profile of Europe according to their own preferences. What was different about the deportation of Loch and his fellow passengers, however, was that it took place by order of the United States and Britain as well as the Soviet Union, nearly two years after the declaration of peace.
Between 1945 and 1950, Europe witnessed the largest episode of forced migration, and perhaps the single greatest movement of population, in human history. Between 12 million and 14 million German-speaking civilians—the overwhelming majority of whom were women, old people, and children under 16—were forcibly ejected from their places of birth in Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, Yugoslavia, and what are today the western districts of Poland. As The New York Times noted in December 1945, the number of people the Allies proposed to transfer in just a few months was about the same as the total number of all the immigrants admitted to the United States since the beginning of the 20th century. They were deposited among the ruins of Allied-occupied Germany to fend for themselves as best they could. The number who died as a result of starvation, disease, beatings, or outright execution is unknown, but conservative estimates suggest that at least 500,000 people lost their lives in the course of the operation.
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Research suggests that having an older father may increase a child’s risk of autism. Children born to men 40 years old or older were almost six times more likely to have an autism spectrum disorder than those born to men younger than 30 years old. Maternal age seems to have little effect on autism risk. – Provided by RandomHistory.com
Choosing a Sugar Substitute
White. Pink. Blue. Yellow.
On restaurant tables everywhere, the colors of the sweetener packets instantly identify the contents.
Sugar. Saccharin. Aspartame. Sucralose.
Reaching for one to pour into a cup of coffee or tea can sometimes feel like sweetener roulette, with the swirl of confusing, conflicting assertions about which are safe and which are not.Alissa Kaplan Michaels, for one, never picks pink. She still associates saccharin with cancer. The Food and Drug Administration sought to ban it in the 1970s, because rats that gorged on the chemical developed bladder cancer.
Pacquiao-Bradley: What Just Happened?
When Michael Buffer read the scorecards Saturday night in boxing’s worst robbery in a major fight since Pernell Whitaker and Julio Cesar Chavez fought to a “draw” in 1993, I was sitting beside a columnist for PhilBoxing.com, a news site that often reads like the Manny Pacquiao Ministry of Propaganda. We were six or seven rows back from ringside, and when it became clear that Timothy Bradley Jr. had been declared winner by split decision over the heavily favored Pacquiao, my companion shot out of his chair and shouted: “WHAT’S HAPPENING? WHAT’S HAPPENING?? THIS IS MADNESS! WHO IS THAT GUY WHO DID THIS?”
That guy (and girl) were Nevada State Athletic Commission judges C.J. Ross and Duane Ford, who each scored the fight 115-113, seven rounds to five, for Bradley. Or, if you choose to believe the whispers that swept through press row at the same time as a chorus of boos filled the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, “that guy who did this” might not have been the judges. According to a conspiracy theory that had been floated and workshopped and all but perfected in the two minutes it took to walk from the arena to an adjacent banquet room for the post-fight press conference, “that guy” was Pacquiao’s promoter, Top Rank CEO Bob Arum.
This sounds far-fetched — and it is — but not much more far-fetched than the possibility that three professional judges who also happen to be human beings with eyeballs connected to optic nerves connected to non-lobotomized brains could watch that fight and believe that Bradley won. Or that it was even just a close victory for Pacquiao.
Is Stretching Useful?
Today we have a guest post from author Alex Hutchinson. Alex writes a monthly column in Runner’s World (they also host his excellent Sweat Science blog) and is a Senior Editor at Canadian Running magazine. You can find more on Alex at the bottom of this post.
As Alex mentions below, he recently published a fantastic book which has a rather large section on the health benefits of stretching (or lack thereof). As a longtime skeptic of stretching myself, I was very excited when he agreed to summarize the research evidence in a guest post. Enjoy the post!
I guess I should start by stating my bias: I don’t like stretching. For over a decade, I stretched every day, usually twice a day – but I never enjoyed it. I still try to be as impartial as possible in analyzing the evidence for and against stretching, but I figure you have the right to know that I’m a stretching skeptic!
Makers of Stuxnet and Flame Viruses Collaborated
Computer security experts say that they have found proof to back up the speculation that the Flame and Stuxnet computer viruses are linked. It was reported last month that a virus known as Flame was launched in an alleged cyber-attack against Iran’s disputed nuclear program. Researchers say that part of the code from Flame is nearly identical to a portion of the 2009 version of a malware program called Stuxnet. The experts say the evidence suggests that the two viruses were developed by different teams that worked together at an early stage. The new findings could support claims that the US is using the viruses as part of a cyber-espionage program.
Israeli company generates bones using fat tissue stem cells (Includes interview)
Haifa – Surgeons and physicians have had their dreams answered. Soon, it will be possible to repair, graft and even grow bones ready to order, thanks to pioneering Israeli stem cell technology.
New stem cell technology from Bonus BioGroup, a pioneer Israeli biotechnology company will allow the generation of custom made bones. These ready to order bones will ease surgical intervention and will be more easily accepted by the patient’s body because they will be formed from the same patient’s bone tissue. I communicated with Michal Efrati, representing Dr Shai Meretzki CEO of BonUs Therapeutic Ltd. based in Haifa, Israel. How will matching bone parts be manufactured?
Bonus BioGroup developed a method to grow unique 3D bone grafts, based on the propagation of adult stem cells. First,qualified technicians scan the damaged bone area using 3D imaging. Missing bone parts will be constructed according to the 3D images using the unique bone tissue extracted from the patient.
How will the bones be regenerated?
In Crackdown On Undocumented Immigrants, A Boon For Prison Corporations And Rural Towns
PINAL COUNTY, Ariz. — On a flat and desolate stretch of Interstate 10 some 50 miles south of Phoenix, a sheriff’s deputy pulls over a green Chevy Tahoe speeding westbound and carrying three young Hispanic men.
The man behind the wheel produces no driver’s license or registration. The deputy notices $1,000 in cash stuffed in the doorframe — payment, he presumes, for completed passage from Mexico. He radios the sheriff’s immigration enforcement team, summoning agents from the U.S. Border Patrol. Soon, the three men are ushered into the back of a white van with a federal seal.
This routine traffic stop represents the front end of an increasingly lucrative commercial enterprise: the business of incarcerating immigrant detainees, the fastest-growing segment of the American prison population. The three men loaded into the van offer fresh profit opportunities for the nation’s swiftly expanding private prison industry, which has in recent years captured the bulk of this commerce through federal contracts. By filling its cells with undocumented immigrants caught in the web of increased border security, the industry has seen its revenues swell at taxpayer expense.
The convergence of the people on the Interstate on this recent afternoon, as well as the profits that flow from imprisoning immigrants, are in part the result of concerted efforts by the private prison industry to tilt immigration detention policies in its favor, a Huffington Post investigation has shown.
The Battle of Cold Harbor Ends (This day in 1864)
Cold Harbor was one of the bloodiest and most lopsided engagements of the US Civil War. As many as 13,000 Union soldiers were killed, injured, or captured in the assault on the fortified Confederate line, whereas the Confederates suffered only a few thousand casualties. After two weeks of battle, Union General Ulysses S. Grant decided he could not justify his losses and ordered a retreat, later expressing regret over the disastrous assault. Whose remains did soldiers discover while entrenching?
Uncomfortable in our skin: the body-image report
More of us than ever hate the way that we look. It’s making us anxious, unhealthy and disempowered. A special report on the pressures distorting the way we think and feel
by Eva Wiseman
body imageNaked truths: “Is it too strong to suggest that these things, these anxieties, are slowly killing women?” Photograph: Paul Vozdic/Getty Images
Outside, on a warm morning in March, students at the University of the West of England are shading their faces with textbooks, legs rippling in the sun. Inside, in a cramped, bright room lined with ring binders labelled “Intimacy”, the women who make up the world’s only Centre for Appearance Research (Car) are talking quietly about perfection. I arrived here after following a trail of newspaper reports – on the effect of airbrushing in the media, on men’s growing anxiety about their weight – reports used variously by politicians and educators to highlight the way our world is collapsing. It’s here, with their biscuits and gentle, resigned chatter, that a team led by Professor Nichola Rumsey and Dr Diana Harcourt is compiling the research required to understand how we deal with changing attitudes to appearance, and along the way helping answer the question: why do we hate the way we look?
Two years ago I started writing a column for this magazine, illustrated by a photo of my face. At times it made me feel odd (I have never liked photos), at other times sad, often anxious. It made me more aware that I don’t like the way I look, but more, I don’t like the fact that I don’t like it. But it’s not just me. All Car’s research suggests that Britain’s body image is in crisis.
Anticipating the World’s Most Expensive Natural Disaster
The powerful earthquake and high tsunami that struck the Tohoku region of northeastern Japan in March 2011, and that led to the Fukushima nuclear disaster, have been a perfect demonstration of our unwillingness to take adequate preventive steps against known risks that return with a very low frequency but whose effect can be extraordinarily large. These risks range from local and regional (caused, most often, by heavy floods and major earthquakes) to global, including viral pandemics and an encounter with an asteroid—a very low-probability event that could instantly obliterate our civilization.
Japan stands alone among all modern, large, and affluent economies in facing an unpredictable but inevitable disaster. Unlike the United States, France, or Russia, the country lives with the terrible certainty that its capital, the world’s largest megacity, will eventually be hit by a strong earthquake that will amount to the most expensive disaster in history. Washington can get an occasional heavy snowfall and it can be affected by hurricane winds and flooding. The Seine can submerge large parts of Paris (as it did in January 1910 and threatened to do in 2003), and unusually strong winds can topple trees that stood for more than two centuries (as happened in December 1999 when Versailles lost many of its ancient trees). Moscow is threatened by nothing worse than a severe winter or summer drought affecting the surrounding countryside and producing (as it did in 2010) massive forest and peat wild fires that veiled the city in heavy smoke for weeks.
Japan stands alone among all modern, large, and affluent economies in facing an unpredictable but inevitable disaster.
Science’s Long—and Successful—Search for Where Memory Lives
Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell appeared outside Grauman’s Chinese Theatre to write their names and leave imprints of their hands and high heels in the wet concrete. Down on their knees, supported by a velvet-covered pillow for their elbows, they wrote “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” in looping script, followed by their signatures and the date, 6-26-53. But how did those watching the events of that day manage to imprint a memory trace of it, etching the details with neurons and synapses in the soft cement of the brain? Where and how are those memories written, and what is the molecular alphabet that spells out the rich recollections of color, smell, and sound?
After more than a century of searching, an answer was recently found, strangely enough, just eight miles from Grauman’s. Although not located on any tourist map, the scene of the discovery can be reached easily from Hollywood Boulevard by heading west on Sunset to the campus of UCLA. There, amid one of the densest clusters of neuroscience research facilities in the world, stands the Gonda (Goldschmied) Neuroscience and Genetics Research Center. And sitting at a table in the building’s first-floor restaurant, the Café Synapse, is the neuroscientist who has come closer than anyone ever thought possible to finding the place where memories are written in the brain.
When Civil War History published a paper this spring raising the conflict’s military death toll to 750,000 from 620,000, that journal’s editors called it one of the most important pieces of scholarship ever to appear in its pages.
But to Jim Downs, an assistant professor of history at Connecticut College and the author of the new book “Sick From Freedom,” issued last month by Oxford University Press, that accounting of what he calls “the largest biological crisis of the 19th century” does not go nearly far enough.
To understand the war’s scale and impact truly, Professor Downs argues, historians have to look beyond military casualties and consider the public health crisis that faced the newly liberated slaves, who sickened and died in huge numbers in the years following Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation.
“We’re getting ready to celebrate 150 years of the movement from slavery to freedom,” he said in a recent interview at a cafe near his apartment in Chelsea. “But hundreds of thousands of people did not survive that movement.”
Here is a skill…
Notebooks Shed Light on an Antibiotic’s Contested Discovery
EVIDENCE A lab notebook belonging to Albert Schatz, left, with his supervisor, Selman A. Waksman, and discovered at Rutgers helps puts to rest a 70-year argument over credit for the Nobel-winning discovery of streptomycin.
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. — For as long as archivists at Rutgers University could remember, a small cardboard box marked with the letter W in black ink had sat unopened in a dusty corner of the special collections of the Alexander Library. Next to it were 60 sturdy archive boxes of papers, a legacy of the university’s most famous scientist: Selman A. Waksman, who won a Nobel Prize in 1952 for the discovery of streptomycin, the first antibiotic to cure tuberculosis.
The 60 boxes contained details of how streptomycin was found — and also of the murky story behind it, a vicious legal battle between Dr. Waksman and his graduate student Albert Schatz over who deserved credit.
Dr. Waksman died in 1973; after Dr. Schatz’s death in 2005, the papers were much in demand by researchers trying to piece together what really happened between the professor and his student. But nobody looked in the small cardboard box.
The story of streptomycin is no ordinary tale of discovery. It began in August 1943, when Dr. Schatz, a 23-year-old graduate student at the Rutgers College of Agriculture, isolated the powerful antibiotic produced by a bacterium, Streptomyces griseus, that had been found in a pot of farmyard soil.
His supervisor, Professor Waksman, arranged for the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., to test the substance in guinea pigs, and then in humans. It worked. Streptomycin, cleared up infections, including TB, that had defied even the first wonder drug, penicillin.
As word of the discovery spread, reporters flocked to Rutgers to record the amazing event. But in telling and retelling the story, Dr. Waksman slowly began to drop Dr. Schatz’s name and claim sole credit. He also arranged with Rutgers to receive hundreds of thousands of dollars in royalties from the patent that he and Dr. Schatz were awarded; Dr. Schatz received nothing.
Dr. Schatz became aware of the deal when Dr. Waksman started sending him $500 checks — $1,500 altogether — that he said came from funds he had been receiving for the sales of streptomycin. Dr. Schatz wanted to know more, but the professor wouldn’t tell him.
The Leading Legal Addictions
There seems to be one unifying principle: if the government can somehow make a profit, it’s a-okay as far as the law goes. Nonetheless, substance abuse and addiction rages at full force on both sides of the law, and feigning an injury is a much less risky way to acquire an opiate than to cross the border and smuggle a plastic-wrapped portion of suspicious black goop. Addiction is good business for all involved. Here are ten of the leading examples of those which the law doesn’t frown upon (mostly because it has no feeling left in its face). Note: virtually all of these addictions can be satiated at any convenience or grocery store, and purchased with an EBT card (and if that’s not enabling, there’s no such thing).
Compulsive shopping is a disorder, and one that can keep the economy churning, if the afflicted member is a responsible credit card owner. More often than not, however, a frequent credit card swiper will live in bottomless debt, with nothing but a household of canoes and flatscreen T.V.’s to show for it. Of course, the government would encourage spending at inadvisable times if it means economic stimulation (and, of course, sales tax revenue), but the compulsive shopper needs more counseling than trips to the mall to right this wrong.
Originally posted 2012-06-12 10:16:04. Republished by Blog Post Promoter