Wikipedia: Fortress of Mimoyecques

The Fortress of Mimoyecques is the modern name for a Second World War underground military complex built by the forces of Nazi Germany between 1943 and 1944.

It was intended to house a battery of V-3 cannons aimed at London, 165 kilometres away. Originally codenamed Wiese (“Meadow”), it is located in the commune of Landrethun-le-Nord in the Pas-de-Calais region of northern France.

It was suggested that the gradual acceleration of the shell by a series of small charges spread over the length of the barrel might be the solution to the problem of designing very long-range guns. To reach England, the weapon needed barrels 127 metres long, so it could not be moved; it would have to be deployed from a fixed site.

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Wikipedia: St Scholastica Day riot

The St Scholastica Day riot of 10 February 1355, is one of the more notorious events in the history of Oxford, England.

The seed of the riot was an altercation in the Swindlestock Tavern between two students, Walter Spryngeheuse and Roger de Chesterfield, and the taverner, John Croidon. They complained about the quality of drinks, which led to an exchange of rude words that ended with the students throwing their drinks in the taverner’s face and assaulting him.

Retaliation for this incident led to armed clashes between locals and students. 200 students supported Spryngeheuse and Chesterfield, allegedly assaulted the mayor and others. As the situation escalated, locals from the surrounding countryside poured in, crying: “Havac! Havoc! Smyt fast, give gode knocks!”

A riot broke out and lasted two days, which left 63 scholars and perhaps 30 locals dead.

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Wikipedia: The Great Emu War

The Emu War, also known as the Great Emu War, was a wildlife management operation undertaken in Australia in 1932 to address public concern over the number of emus said to be running amok in Western Australia.

The attempts to curb the population of emus, a large flightless bird indigenous to Australia, employed soldiers armed with machine guns.

The machine-gunners’ dreams of point blank fire into serried masses of Emus were soon dissipated. The Emu command had evidently ordered guerrilla tactics, and its unwieldy army soon split up into innumerable small units that made use of the military equipment uneconomic.

After their withdrawal, Major Meredith commented on the striking maneuverability of the emus, even while badly wounded. “If we had a military division with the bullet-carrying capacity of these birds it would face any army in the world…They can face machine guns with the invulnerability of tanks.”

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Wikipedia: Project A119

Project A119, also known as “A Study of Lunar Research Flights”, was a top-secret plan developed in 1958 by the United States Air Force.

The aim of the project was to detonate a nuclear bomb on the Moon which would help in answering some of the mysteries in planetary astronomy and astrogeology.

The flash of explosive light would have been faintly visible to people on earth with their naked eye, a show of force resulting in a possible boosting of domestic morale in the capabilities of the United States, a boost that was needed after the Soviet Union took an early lead in the Space Race and who were also working on a similar project.

Neither the Soviet nor the US Project A119 were ever carried out, being cancelled primarily out of a fear of a negative public reaction, with the potential militarization of space that it would also have signified, and because a moon landing would undoubtedly be a more popular achievement in the eyes of the American and international public alike.

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Wikipedia: Michael Fagan incident

Michael Fagan is a Buckingham Palace intruder who broke into the palace and entered the Queen’s bedroom in 1982.

At around 7:00am on Friday morning, 9 July 1982, Michael Fagan scaled Buckingham Palace’s 14 ft perimeter wall – topped with revolving spikes and barbed wire – and shimmied up a drainpipe before wandering into the Queen’s bedroom at about 7:15am.

Fagan entered the palace through an unlocked window on the roof and spent the next half hour eating cheddar cheese and crackers and wandering around. He tripped several alarms, but they were faulty. He viewed the royal portraits and rested on the throne for a while. He then entered the postroom, where Diana, Princess of Wales had hidden presents for her first son, William. Fagan drank half a bottle of white wine before becoming tired and leaving.

On Fagan’s second attempt, an alarm sensor detected him. A member of the palace staff thought the alarm was faulty and silenced it. En route to see the Queen, Fagan broke a glass ashtray, cutting his hand. The Queen woke when he disturbed a curtain, and initial reports said Fagan sat on the edge of her bed. But in a 2012 interview, he said that she in fact left the room immediately, seeking security.

She phoned twice for police but none came. Fagan then asked for some cigarettes, which were brought by a maid.

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Wikipedia: Parity of zero

Zero is an even number. In other words, its parity—the quality of an integer being even or odd—is even.

The simplest way to prove that zero is even is to check that it fits the definition of “even”: it is an integer multiple of 2, specifically 0 × 2. As a result, zero shares all the properties that characterize even numbers: 0 is divisible by 2, 0 is neighbored on both sides by odd numbers, 0 is the sum of an integer (0) with itself, and a set of 0 objects can be split into two equal sets.

A 1972 study reported that when a group of prospective elementary school teachers were given a true-or-false test including the item “Zero is an even number”, they found it to be a “tricky question”, with about two thirds answering “False”.

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Wikipedia: Bouvet Island

Bouvet Island (Bouvetøya) is an uninhabited subantarctic volcanic island and dependency of Norway located in the South Atlantic Ocean.

It is the most remote island in the world, approximately 2,200 kilometres south-southwest of the coast of South Africa. After a dispute with the United Kingdom, it was declared a Norwegian dependency in 1930.

Unlike Peter I Island and Queen Maud Land, which are subject to the Antarctic Treaty System, Bouvetøya is not disputed. The dependency status entails that the island is not part of the Kingdom of Norway, but is still under Norwegian sovereignty.

The harsh climate and ice-bound terrain limits vegetation to fungi (ascomycetes including lichens) and non-vascular plants (mosses and liverworts).

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Wikipedia: The Battle for Castle Itter

The Battle for Castle Itter, the Austrian village of Itter in the North Tyrol, was fought in the final days of World War II in Europe, five days after the death of Adolf Hitler.

Troops of the 23rd Tank Battalion of the US 12th Armored Division led by Lieutenant John C. “Jack” Lee, Jr., anti-Nazi German Army soldiers, and imprisoned French VIPs defended the castle against a small force from the 17th Waffen-SS Panzer Grenadier Division.

The French prisoners included former prime ministers, generals, and a tennis star. It may have been the only battle in the war in which Americans and Germans fought as allies. Popular accounts of the battle have called it the “strangest” battle of World War II.

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