Archive for WW II

78 years ago

Posted in Statistics with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 6, 2022 by xi'an

the odyssey of the Endurance [book review]

Posted in Books, Mountains, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 7, 2022 by xi'an

While I knew of the Endurance crew’s extraordinary story of resilience in the toughest imaginable conditions, I had not yet read Shackleton’s South, a depiction of the many challenges met by the expedition after the Endurance got stuck in the ice pack. (The title in French is the Endurance Odyssey.) The above map describes the path of the crew once the boat became stuck, on 14 February, two months after it had left South Georgia on 5 December 1914. The ice pack carried the immobilised ship until 25 October 1915, when the ice crushed the boat hull beyond repair and it sank a few days later. (Incidentally, its remain were found at the bottom of the Weddel Sea last month!) For five months, the crew would camp on the ice, along the three lifeboats of the Endurance, drifting westwards until the ice pack broke and forced them to get on the boat on 8 April 1916, sailing in the heart of the Southern Winter with -30 temperatures and reaching the desolate Elephant Island on 14 April. As there was no hope to be rescued by a passing whaler, Shackleton decided to sail back to South Georgia Island with five crew members and against all odds, battled the worst possible weather and sea conditions for 14 days to reach the Island on 5 May. They were in terrible conditions and could not afford to circle the island to reach the Norwegian whaling station. Three crew members, Shackleton, Worsley and Crean, then undertook to cross the mountainous center of South Georgia with no map and no equipment, in another epic feat, and reached the whaling station in a 36 hour trek, on 20 May 1916. From there, they were able to rescue the other three sailors left on King Haakon Bay. Shackleton left almost immediately to rescue the rest of the Endurance crew, but due to ice conditions, it took him four attempts on four different boats to reach Elephant Island on 30 August 1916 and evacuate the twentysome sailors, who had been running short on food, with only two days left of supplies. Most amazingly, no crew member died of the endless hardships met by the men, albeit Perce Blackborrow lost his toes to frostbite… While the text is not written in the highest literary style, but built from the expedition journals, the plain depiction of the two years spent on the ice is telling most vividly of one of the most astounding survival epics of all times. (Most of the crew would survive till the 1960’s, earlier deaths being primarily due to WW I and WW II. Except for Shackleton, who died from a heart attack at the beginning of a subsequent Antarctic expedition, while on South Georgia Island, once again.)

Le Pen in her own [damning] words

Posted in Statistics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 23, 2022 by xi'an

Je pense également qu’il faut cesser de rembourser l’avortement. Il existe suffisamment de moyens de contraception aujourd’hui. La X, 14/02/2011

…l’avortement n’est pas interdit en Pologne. Le Monde, 31/03/2021

La peine de mort doit exister dans notre arsenal juridique. Sud Ouest, 08/01/2015

Je pense que la France n’est pas responsable du Vél d’Hiv. RTL, 09/04/2017

Les migrants, c’est comme les éoliennes. Tout le monde est d’accord pour qu’il y en ait mais personne ne veut que ce soit à côté de chez lui. RTL,

Clairement, la victoire de Donald Trump est une pierre supplémentaire dans l’émergence d’un nouveau monde, qui a pour vocation à remplacer un ordre ancien. BBC, 13/11/2016

Je ne crois absolument pas qu’il y a eu une annexion illégale: il y a eu un référendum, les habitants de Crimée souhaitaient rejoindre la Russie. RMC, 03/01/2017

La Crimée n’a jamais été ukrainienne. Izvestia, 17/01/2017

Le combat contre les éoliennes est un combat majeur, parce que les éoliennes sont une véritable catastrophe, visuelle, écologique, économique. Le Monde, 26/05/2021

Il faut retrouver la maîtrise de nos frontières, et comme je crois que l’Union européenne est totalement impuissante à nous protéger, il faut passer un accord bilatéral avec l’Espagne et avec l’Italie pour permettre à nos marines de préserver nos eaux territoriales et repousser dans les eaux internationales les migrants qui voudraient entrer en Europe. Le Point, 25/02/2011

a journal of the [second] plague year

Posted in Books, Kids, pictures, Travel, University life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 10, 2021 by xi'an

Read the picaresque El Buscòn (in French, translated by Nicolas Restif de La Bretonne), dating from 1602-1604, but the classic French translation from a century later is quite enjoyable and the story often hilarious. (I read this book after reading in 2019 the BD (comics) by Alain Ayroles and Juanjo Guarnido called les Indes Fourbes, that was inspired from El Buscòn and pretended to produce its sequel, located in South America). Also read the second volume of Olen Steinhauer, The Confession, just as impressive a dig into the minutiae of a Balkanic socialist dictature as the first one. And into the complex mind of another militia inspector in the homicide squad. (Just wondering if there were truly paper cups in the post-war Eastern block!)

Made my first fresh pastas with the traditional pasta machine my daughter got me as a Xmas present! I need improvements but, despite the mess this creates (flour everywhere!), it is a real treat to eat fresh pastas. The next goal is to check if soba noodles can be made with the machine….

Watched some parts of a rather terrible Korean series, Demon Catchers (or The Uncanny Counter). With absolutely no redeeming feature, although a very popular show… And the beginning episodes of another SF Korean series, Alice,  playing with time travel themes until it hit the usual paradoxes. (At least the physics fomulae on the white boards sounded correct, even though the grossly romanticised home office of a physics professor made no sense.)

Gave up on Augusto Cruz’ London after Midnight. Which revolves around the search for a surviving copy of the 1927 horror movie London after midnight, made by Tod Browning, and seemingly cursed. The plot is terrible and the style awful, an unpalatable endless infodump… Read P. Djeli Clark’s delightful short story A Dead Djinn in Cairo, which is a prequel to Haunting of tramcar 105 about a supernatural Cairo in the early 1900’s.

Alain Turing cash!

Posted in pictures, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 8, 2021 by xi'an

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