an exercise in miscellany

Archive for October, 2011|Monthly archive page

Paddy Wagon

In history, words & phrases on October 25, 2011 at 6:52 am

The word paddywagon is of American origin. The precise origin of the term is uncertain and disputed, though its use dates back to at least the beginning of the 1900s. There are at least three theories as how the phrase originated.

  • The most prevalent theory is based on the term “Paddy” (a common Irish shortening of Patrick), which was used (sometimes as derogatory slang) to refer to Irish people. Irishmen made up a large percentage of the officers of early police forces in many American cities. Thus, this theory suggests that the concentration of Irish in the police forces led to the term “paddywagon” being used to describe the vehicles driven by police.
  • An alternative theory is similarly based on the term “Paddy” but states that the term arose due to the high crime level among Irish immigrants.
  • The final theory holds that the name originates from the padding used on the inside of police horse-drawn carriages to prevent injury; this last is regarded by lexicographers as an example of folk etymology.



Zoot Suit Riots

In history, wild card on October 25, 2011 at 6:43 am

The Zoot Suit Riots were a series of riots in 1943 during World War II that erupted in Los AngelesCalifornia between white sailors and Marines stationed throughout the city and Latino youths, who were recognizable by the zoot suits they favored. While Mexican Americans and military servicemen were the main parties in the riots, African American and Filipino/Filipino American youth were also involved.   The Zoot Suit Riots were in part the effect of the infamous Sleepy Lagoon murder which involved the death of a young Latino man in a barrio near Los Angeles. The incident triggered similar attacks against Latinos in BeaumontChicagoSan DiegoDetroitEvansvillePhiladelphia, and New York.

Zoot Suit Riots

Project Rainbow

In operations and projects on October 25, 2011 at 6:32 am

Project Rainbow was the name given by the CIA to a research project aimed at reducing the radar cross section of the Lockheed U-2 to reduce the chance that it would be detected and tracked by Soviet radars during its overflights of the USSR.  A large number of people had become aware of Project RAINBOW. To reduce the spread of information about the follow-on, the work was moved into a new project. Called “GUSTO,” only those with a need to know were cleared into it. The end result of GUSTO would be the Lockheed A-12 OXCART.

Project Rainbow

Project Camelot

In operations and projects on October 15, 2011 at 12:18 pm

Project Camelot was a social science research project of the United States Army that started in 1964 and was cancelled after congressional hearings in 1965. The goal of the project was to assess the causes of conflict between national groups, to anticipate social breakdown and provide eventual solutions. The proposal caused much controversy among social scientists, many of whom voiced concerns that such a study was in conflict with their professional ethics.

Chile was to be the test case for the project, but Claudio Bunster was alerted almost immediately to its possible military nature when Johan Galtung showed him a letter from the Special Operations Research Office (SORO) inviting him to a seminar to discuss the project in 1966 at the American University in Washington DC. The seminar was actually held in the summer of 1965 but by then the initial exploratory mission to study the feasibility of running such a project was being phased out and the project itself was officially cancelled on July 8 1965

via Project Camelot 

The Venus Project

In people on October 15, 2011 at 11:59 am

The Venus Project presents a bold, new direction for humanity that entails nothing less than the total redesign of our culture. There are many people today who are concerned with the serious problems that face our modern society: unemployment, violent crime, replacement of humans by technology, over-population and a decline in the Earth’s ecosystems.

The Venus Project advocates an alternative vision for a sustainable new world civilization unlike any socio-economic system that has gone before. It calls for a straightforward redesign of a culture, in which the age-old inadequacies of war, poverty, hunger, debt, and unnecessary human suffering are viewed not only as avoidable, but totally unacceptable.

via The Venus Project.


In science & nature on October 15, 2011 at 11:44 am

The sievert (symbol: Sv) is the International System of Units (SI) SI derived unit of dose equivalent radiation. It attempts to quantitatively evaluate the biological effects ofionizing radiation as opposed to just the absorbed dose of radiation energy, which is measured in gray. It is named after Rolf Maximilian Sievert, a Swedish medical physicist renowned for work on radiation dosage measurement and research into the biological effects of radiation.

via Sievert 

A Stopped Clock is Right Twice a Day

In words & phrases on October 3, 2011 at 11:22 am

A normally unreliable person or instrument can occasionally provide correct information, even if only by accident.

Alternative forms

 a broken clock is right twice a day



In words & phrases on October 3, 2011 at 9:02 am

Conservatorship is a legal concept in the United States of America, where an entity or organization is subjected to the legal control of an external entity or organization, known as a conservator. Conservatorship is established either by court order (with regards to individuals) or via a statutory or regulatory authority (with regards to organizations). When referring to government control of private corporations such as Freddie Mac or Fannie Maeconservatorship implies a more temporary control than does nationalisation. In other legal terms, a conservatorship may refer to the legal responsibilities over a person who is mentally ill, including those who are psychotic,suicidal, incapacitated or is in some other way unable to make legal, medical or financial decisions on behalf of themselves.

via Conservatorship

Operation Northwoods

In operations and projects on October 3, 2011 at 8:56 am

Operation Northwoods was a series of false-flag proposals that originated within the United States government in 1962. The proposals called for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), or other operatives, to commit acts of terrorism in U.S. cities and elsewhere. These acts of terrorism were to be blamed on Cuba in order to create public support for a war against that nation, which had recently become communist under Fidel Castro. One part of Operation Northwoods was to “develop a Communist Cuban terror campaign in the Miami area, in other Florida cities and even in Washington.”

Operation Northwoods proposals included hijackings and bombings followed by the introduction of phony evidence that would implicate the Cuban government. It stated:

“The desired resultant from the execution of this plan would be to place the United States in the apparent position of suffering defensible grievances from a rash and irresponsible government of Cuba and to develop an international image of a Cuban threat to peace in the Western Hemisphere.”

via Operation Northwoods