Monthly Archives: December 2012

2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

19,000 people fit into the new Barclays Center to see Jay-Z perform. This blog was viewed about 62,000 times in 2012. If it were a concert at the Barclays Center, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

After the Eureka Stockade

158 years ago today, Victorian soldiers and police gathered 4:30am at the Mining Exchange in Ballarat, before creeping quietly out of town towards one of the rich gold seams around the town, appropriately named Eureka by its original discoverer.

At Eureka, a group of disaffected miners had built a wooden palisade, the Eureka Stockade.  There were many causes of their disaffection.  Most of them were newish immigrants, and they had brought with them political causes from their homelands.  The Year of Revolutions, 1848, saw rebellions through most of Europe, and when reaction set in, many of these rebels fled.  The gold fields in California (1848) and Victoria (1851) gave the possibility of a new life to unsuccessful revolutionaries from Ireland, Germany and Italy, as well as Chartists from England, where revolution had only just been avoided.

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The Feathered Internet

It’s such a great story.  An English man was recently renovating his home, and when he cleaned out his disused fireplace, he found pigeon bones in the chimney.  This was not just any pigeon, but a pigeon On His Majesty’s Secret Service.  Attached to a leg was a capsule holding an encrypted message, sent during World War II.

large-pigeon-message

Seventy years ago, this pigeon was released by Sergeant W. Stott, probably somewhere in France.  It flew across the English Channel, and made it as far as Bletchingley, Surrey, before it paused to rest on a chimney – and toppled in, perhaps overcome by smoke.  It could have been heading to General Montgomery’s headquarters nearby in Reigate, or to the code breakers at Bletchley Park, though that is much further away, north of London in Buckinghamshire.

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