March 15, 2014
Cats and Dogs Suspected of Spying on WWI Trenches by British Intelligence Officers
British intelligence officers in the First World War suspected two cats and a dog of spying for the Germans, in official army documents published by the National Archives.
The three animals were observed repeatedly crossing British trenches, leading suspicious officers to believe the animals may have been planted by the Germans in order to relay messages across enemy lines.
The incident was recorded in an intelligence briefing from July 1915.
The report, prepared by officers from the 36th brigade of the 12th Division who were stationed in trenches on the Western Front states: “Two (2) cats and a dog are under suspicion, as they have been in the habit of crossing our trenches at night; steps are being taken to trap them if possible.”
Sadly, the document does not state whether the animals were ever detained on suspicion of spying. (via Independent)

Cats and Dogs Suspected of Spying on WWI Trenches by British Intelligence Officers

British intelligence officers in the First World War suspected two cats and a dog of spying for the Germans, in official army documents published by the National Archives.

The three animals were observed repeatedly crossing British trenches, leading suspicious officers to believe the animals may have been planted by the Germans in order to relay messages across enemy lines.

The incident was recorded in an intelligence briefing from July 1915.

The report, prepared by officers from the 36th brigade of the 12th Division who were stationed in trenches on the Western Front states: “Two (2) cats and a dog are under suspicion, as they have been in the habit of crossing our trenches at night; steps are being taken to trap them if possible.”

Sadly, the document does not state whether the animals were ever detained on suspicion of spying. (via Independent)

March 12, 2014
Bosansko Grahovo, Bosnia-Herzegovina
The grandson of Gavrilo Princip’s brother, Miljkan Princip poses with a photo of Princip’s house in front it. Gavrilo Princip’s killing of Ferdinand and his wife, Sophie, lit the fuse for World War One, turning out the lights on an age of European peace and progress. Empires crumbled and more than 10 million soldiers died. The world order was rewritten (via Reuters)

Bosansko Grahovo, Bosnia-Herzegovina

The grandson of Gavrilo Princip’s brother, Miljkan Princip poses with a photo of Princip’s house in front it. Gavrilo Princip’s killing of Ferdinand and his wife, Sophie, lit the fuse for World War One, turning out the lights on an age of European peace and progress. Empires crumbled and more than 10 million soldiers died. The world order was rewritten (via Reuters)

February 19, 2014

France: Inside a 20th-Century Psychiactric Hospital

Conga lines, masked balls and nuns in rowboats … when Mathieu Pernot and Philippe Artières were given an entire 20th-century photography archive from a psychiatric hospital in France, they had no idea life would look like this (via Guardian)

More pictures at the link, and a longer article about the Picauville asylum can be found here.

February 15, 2014

The First Winter Olympics, 1924

Much has changed since the first Winter Olympics were held in Chamonix, France, in 1924. The “International Winter Sports Week” featured about 250 athletes participating in 16 events across six sports, including the usual suspects like figure skating, bobsled, and ice hockey, as well as a military patrol competition. (The military event was won, strangely, by the Swiss.) Competitors’ attire was less slick and aerodynamic than we see today, with the look perhaps best described as Great Gatsby on Ice. (via Slate)

February 14, 2014
Finland: 1960s Seniors at their Ball – Without the Trimmings
Students from a bygone era would have a hard time relating to the extensive preparations female high school students undergo ahead of their senior’s ball. Back in the 1960s, matriculating students attended the traditional festivities without the help of modern beauty aids — or the cost.
The hassle-free approach to the high point of the matriculating students’ year is a far cry from the fevered preparations that prevail today, and in which parents may spend hundreds of euros as their young charges prepare for the event (via YLE Uutiset)
More pictures at the link.

Finland: 1960s Seniors at their Ball – Without the Trimmings

Students from a bygone era would have a hard time relating to the extensive preparations female high school students undergo ahead of their senior’s ball. Back in the 1960s, matriculating students attended the traditional festivities without the help of modern beauty aids — or the cost.

The hassle-free approach to the high point of the matriculating students’ year is a far cry from the fevered preparations that prevail today, and in which parents may spend hundreds of euros as their young charges prepare for the event (via YLE Uutiset)

More pictures at the link.

February 13, 2014
Norse Rune Code Cracked
A scholar of the University of Oslo has cracked one of the rune codes used by the Vikings, revealing they were sending each other messages such as ‘Kiss me’.
K. Jonas Nordby, a runologist doing his PhD research, was able to discover the secret behind the jötunvillur code, which can be found in over 80 Norse inscriptions. He found that on a stick from the 13th century two men, Sigurd and Lavrans, carved their names both in code and in standard runes. For the jötunvillur code, one would replace the original runic character with the last sound of the rune name. For example, the rune for ‘f’, pronounced fe, would be turned into an ‘e’, while the rune for ‘k’, pronounced kaun, became ‘n’.
“It’s like solving a puzzle,” said Nordby to the Norwegian website forskning.no. “Gradually I began to see a pattern in what was apparently meaningless combinations of runes.”
However, those thinking that the coded runes will reveal deep secrets of the Norse will be disappointed. The messages found so far seem to be either used in learning or have a playful tone. In one case the message was ‘Kiss me’. Nordby explains “We have little reason to believe that rune codes should hide sensitive messages, people often wrote short everyday messages.”
In many instances those who wrote the coded runes also left comments urging the readers to try to figure it out. Sometimes they would also boast of their abilities at writing the codes. (via Medievalists.net)

Norse Rune Code Cracked

A scholar of the University of Oslo has cracked one of the rune codes used by the Vikings, revealing they were sending each other messages such as ‘Kiss me’.

K. Jonas Nordby, a runologist doing his PhD research, was able to discover the secret behind the jötunvillur code, which can be found in over 80 Norse inscriptions. He found that on a stick from the 13th century two men, Sigurd and Lavrans, carved their names both in code and in standard runes. For the jötunvillur code, one would replace the original runic character with the last sound of the rune name. For example, the rune for ‘f’, pronounced fe, would be turned into an ‘e’, while the rune for ‘k’, pronounced kaun, became ‘n’.

“It’s like solving a puzzle,” said Nordby to the Norwegian website forskning.no. “Gradually I began to see a pattern in what was apparently meaningless combinations of runes.”

However, those thinking that the coded runes will reveal deep secrets of the Norse will be disappointed. The messages found so far seem to be either used in learning or have a playful tone. In one case the message was ‘Kiss me’. Nordby explains “We have little reason to believe that rune codes should hide sensitive messages, people often wrote short everyday messages.”

In many instances those who wrote the coded runes also left comments urging the readers to try to figure it out. Sometimes they would also boast of their abilities at writing the codes. (via Medievalists.net)

February 1, 2014
Charles Booth’s 1891 Poverty Map of London
Booth and the survey into life and labour in London (1886-1903) charted boroughs by wealth - the darker the shade, the poorer the area (via Guardian)

Charles Booth’s 1891 Poverty Map of London

Booth and the survey into life and labour in London (1886-1903) charted boroughs by wealth - the darker the shade, the poorer the area (via Guardian)

February 1, 2014
1812 Map of the Great Fire of Moscow by Russian Army Topographers
A huge fire devastated the Russian city, destroying an estimated 75% what would later go on to become the capital. The shaded portions of the map depict the areas damaged by the flames, which were thought to have been started by the Russians before Napoleon’s invading troops had a chance to enter the city (via Guardian)

1812 Map of the Great Fire of Moscow by Russian Army Topographers

A huge fire devastated the Russian city, destroying an estimated 75% what would later go on to become the capital. The shaded portions of the map depict the areas damaged by the flames, which were thought to have been started by the Russians before Napoleon’s invading troops had a chance to enter the city (via Guardian)

January 23, 2014
Netherlands Refuse to Extradite Wilhelm II
On 23 January 1920, the government of the Netherlands refused to extradite the former Kaiser of Germany, Wilhelm II. His aggressive foreign policy and support for Austro-Hungary in 1914 led to the first world war. After the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919, he was charged with “a supreme offence against international morality and the sanctity of treaties” and the allies demanded his extradition. Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands refused and granted him political asylum (via Guardian)

Netherlands Refuse to Extradite Wilhelm II

On 23 January 1920, the government of the Netherlands refused to extradite the former Kaiser of Germany, Wilhelm II. His aggressive foreign policy and support for Austro-Hungary in 1914 led to the first world war. After the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919, he was charged with “a supreme offence against international morality and the sanctity of treaties” and the allies demanded his extradition. Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands refused and granted him political asylum (via Guardian)

January 11, 2014

UK: 1914 — Life Before War

The world was soon be plunged into the horror of war, but in the early months of 1914 in Britain, the carnage of the trenches seemed unimaginable (via Guardian)

Ed note: Many more pictures at the link.

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