F is for Klaus Fuchs

When America initiated the Manhattan Project it relied on the talents of many brilliant scientists who were often eccentric and some of them politically compromised, none more so that the atomic spy Klaus Fuchs.

Fuchs was born in Germany in 1911, the third of four children of Lutheran pastor Emil Fuchs. His father held strong left wing views as a member Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) and heavily influenced the younger Fuchs‘ political views. Read more ›››

Sunday Round-up

Body art: The town of Klagenfurt in Austria hosted the annual World Bodypainting Festival at the end of July.

Mighty fallen: Former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci tops the chart of the fifty least powerful people in the world according to 24/7 Wall Street ahead of a lot of people I’ve never heard of. Read more ›››

John Ellis

Of all the occupations one might choose to follow, perhaps the strangest is that of executioner. What is it that might set you on that career path? Perhaps too many games of hangman as a child.

But when you look at the characteristics of the people who have become the state’s executioners, what is striking is their otherwise everyday ordinariness and one such was John Ellis. Read more ›››

Sunday Round-up

Mother of all flowers: Scientists have produced an image of what they think the ancestor of all flowers might have looked like 140 million years ago.

Belated anniversary: I overlooked to mention that it was the 60th anniversary of Test Match Special last which was remiss of me. To make up for that, here is poet Murray Lachlan Young’s excellent Ode to TMS with the epilogue below. Read more ›››

Eccentric and naive he might have been, but Lord Timothy Dexter was also shrewd enough to sell coal to Newcastle, bed warmers to the West Indies and Bibles to India and managed to become a successful author despite being semi-literate.

Dexter was born in Malden Massachusetts in 1747 to a family of farm labourers when America was still a British colony. He had little or no schooling and was working in the fields at the age of eight. Read more ›››

Sunday Round-up

Diversitea: There’s nothing like a good cup of tea but what exactly constitutes a ‘good’ cuppa? Yorkshire Problems posted this chart on Twitter and asked people to select their preferred shade, from black tea to more or less all milk. It caused quite a stir, pun intended.

Doolittle: According to futurologist William Higham we will have an app that will let us speak to our pets within the next ten years. Read more ›››

The early days of flying was an age for pioneers and none more so than Bessie Coleman who was both the first woman of African-American descent and the first of Native American descent to hold a pilot’s licence.

Coleman was born in 1892 in Atlanta, Texas, the daughter of sharecropper George Coleman, who was mostly Cherokee and part African-American, and his African-American wife Susan. Read more ›››

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