You’ll enjoy this Smithsonian Magazine article, I think: The Fake British Radio Show That Helped Defeat the Nazis. Summary:
By spreading fake news and sensational rumors, intelligence officials leveraged “psychological judo” against the Nazis in World War II.
See? It’s just what you want to read while you sip your coffee.
Well. These seem awesome! From the Guardian: Lovin’ their elevator: why Germans are loopy about their revolving lifts.
As the paternoster cabin in which he was slowly descending into the bowels of Stuttgart’s town hall plunged into darkness, Dejan Tuco giggled infectiously. He pointed out the oily cogs of its internal workings that were just about visible as it shuddered to the left, and gripped his stomach when it rose again with a gentle jolt. “We’re not supposed to do the full circuit,” he said. “But that’s the best way to feel like you’re on a ferris wheel or a gondola.”
The 12-year-old German-Serb schoolboy was on a roll, spending several hours one day last week riding the open elevator shaft known as a paternoster, a 19th-century invention that has just been given a stay of execution after campaigners persuaded Germany’s government to reverse a decision to ban its public use.
That the doorless lift, which consists of two shafts side by side within which a chain of open cabins descend and ascend continuously on a belt, has narrowly escaped becoming a victim of safety regulations, has everything to do with a deeply felt German affection for what many consider an old-fashioned yet efficient form of transport. [continue]
The Guardian brings us today’s dose of strange: The mysterious German fad for posing with a polar bear imitator.
It could be a series of scenes from a novel dreamed up by Günter Grass. The author of The Tin Drum, The Flounder and other surreal stories of modern Germany would surely have seen the magic-realist poignancy of these bizarre images, found by Jean-Marie Donat, a French collector of photographs. Perhaps he could even help to explain why so many people in early and mid-20th-century Germany seem to have wanted to pose for their pictures with a polar bear.
In a Grass novel, we might follow the adventures of a polar-bear imitator as he puts on his hot, sweaty, furry white costume to appear beside a variety of Germans for their photographs. Here he is with a couple beside the Baltic sea. The man has taken off his top, but still wears long black trousers.
In another beach picture, the bear holds someone’s dog. Is it Hitler’s dog? I only ask because in another shot, inevitably, the two jolly fellows arm-in-arm with the polar bear are in Wehrmacht uniforms. One has a cigarette, another a sword – they are clearly officer class. Perhaps posing with the Arctic bear was a joke before they headed off to the Eastern Front. If so, the smiles would soon be frozen off their faces. Who knows what became of these soldiers. Who knows, too, what became of the aristocratic couple sitting on a rock in the forest with a bear. The bear cosies up to the woman, leaving the bespectacled man looking isolated and uneasy. [continue]
From the BBC: How US students get a university degree for free in Germany.
In a kitchen in rural South Carolina one night, Hunter Bliss told his mother he wanted to apply to university in Germany. Amy Hall chuckled, dismissed it, and told him he could go if he got in.
“When he got accepted I burst into tears,” says Amy, a single mother. “I was happy but also scared to let him go that far away from home.”
Across the US parents are preparing for their children to leave the nest this summer, but not many send them 4,800 miles (7,700km) away – or to a continent that no family member has ever set foot in.
Yet the appeal of a good education, and one that doesn’t cost anything, was hard for Hunter and Amy to ignore. [continue]
I love this, and wish all countries would follow Germany’s lead. I was particularly interested in the What’s in it for Germany? section of the article.