Archive for the ‘History’ Category

Stuff that happened in the past. They say if you fail to learn of it you’ll end up repeating it.

Kick them when they’re down: Facebook edition.

May 10th, 2010 by Jarmo Puskala

If you have a passion for Space Nazis, sign up and we’ll let you know when we’re ready for your help. -Facebook

Am I the only one who thinks the above is slightly scary?

We really like Facebook, we’ve been using it for ages and it’s a great place to connect. But we’re not fans of their problems with privacy and security. Or their bullish ways of doing, well, pretty much everything. Not to mention the time they removed our page for alleged hate speech, even though we did get it back.

Couple of weeks ago Timo tried to leave Facebook, only to discover the existence of a “community page for Timo Vuorensola”. These community pages are the result of their new feature – creating pages for almost everything that has a Wikipedia page so they can be listed in the “interests and likes” section of people’s profiles.

Turns out this automation creates some problems for a company that tries to keep their nose clean of anything remotely offensive and Facebook now has fan pages for some rather unpleasant things.

So how about letting the world know you “have a passion for Nazism and Fascism” or that’ you’re into all forms of totalitarianism with Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. Or maybe you want to let the world know you like Child Sexual Abuse?

This is a good example of what’s wrong with Facebook’s plans for world domination. They want to be the one place for all things – but then there’s all the nasty stuff no-one likes. If they want to get rid of it it means they need to up the censorship, creating lists of banned words, or getting even more trigger happy with acting on complaints. And the more they try to clean up the world site, the bigger target they become for ridicule & litigation when something slips past their net.

If they want to be the one place for everything they need to give up control and re-think their strategy of reducing all relationships into “friends” and “likes”. The world just doesn’t work like that.

p.s. There’s little doubt these pages will be removed once the first complaints are made, so don’t be too surprised if the links don’t work.

Being Finnish Part 1: Winter War.

March 12th, 2010 by Jarmo Puskala

This is the first part of a series on what it means to be Finnish. If you’ve ever visited Finland you know we live in one of the greatest places in the world. But it’s not all fun an games. There are some things you just have to master to live here

Let’s get started with essential history. I could go on about the times as part of Sweden and Russia, or the fight for independence. But that’s not really important. To understand us there is one historical event you must know and that is:

The Winter War 1939-1940.

It was kind of like the battle of Hoth.

Main difference was that the Soviet tanks didn’t have legs, so instead of rope we used Molotov’s Cocktails.

How to use a Molotov's Cocktail

How to use a Molotov's Cocktail

So why are the improvised fire bombs called Molotov’s cocktails? Well, it’s a joke, obiously. Soviet Commissar for Foreign Affairs Vyacheslav Molotov claimed in radio broadcasts that the Soviet Union was not dropping bombs but rather delivering food to starving Finns, so Finns started calling the bombs “bread baskets”. Soon they responded by attacking advancing tanks with “Molotov cocktails” which were “a drink to go with the food”.

That’s pretty much sums it up. The Soviet Union attacked with half a million men and thousands of airplanes and tanks. The Finns, being short on pretty much everything, threw bottles at them. Their tanks blew up and eventually the Soviets called quits so they’d have an army left to fight Hitler.

As usual, Wikipedia has a more historically accurate description of events.

Philip K. Dick and the Neo-Nazi plot to start World War III.

February 19th, 2010 by Jarmo Puskala
Philip K. Dick - Oraakkelin Kirja (Man in the High Castle)

Finnish cover for Man in the High Castle

In October 1972 sci-fi author Philip K. Dick contacted the FBI. You’d be forgiven thinking that maybe he was worried about photocopiers that now (since 1968) could infringe on copyrights in full color! Or maybe a case of plagarism. After all, in ten years time his novel “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep” would go on to be adapted as Blade Runner, one of the greatest science fiction films of all time.

But, let’s not forget this is Philip K. Dick we’re talking about, so it turned out to be something far more bizarre.

“I am a well-known author of science fiction novels, one of which dealt with Nazi Germany (called MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE, it described an ‘alternate world’ in which the Germans and Japanese won World War Two and jointly occupied the United States).

I bring this to your attention because several months ago I was approached by an individual who I have reason to believe belonged to a covert organization involved in politics, illegal weapons, etc., who put great pressure on me to place coded information in future novels ‘to be read by the right people here and there’, as he phrased it. I refused to do this.”

His house had been burglarized a year earlier and Philip K. Dick had become convinced the crime was politically motivated. More specifically, be believed it was the work of Neo-Nazis, possibly due to the anti-nazi tone of Man in the High Castle. So, naturally, he concluded that Nazis were also behind this sinister worldwide organization that was blackmailing science fiction writers into including secret messages in their works.

Apparently, the plan was to “decode” this information in the future and release the startling findings to the public. It was to concinve people, that a virulent and deadly new form of Syphilis (that did not really exist) was being spread in the US by foreign agents. This was to be seen as the first strike of World War III and compel the US to respond, starting the full-scale nuclear war.

How the Nazis would have benefited from this was not clear, but hey, even the best writers love Nazis as villains because everyone knows they are so evil they don’t really need a motivation for perpetrating unspeakable acts of destruction..

In the end the FBI decided this strange case of “Solarcon-6″ did not warrant further study. Possibly wisely, considering that it’s now safe to say WWIII did not start over Syphilis and that two years later, in 1974, while recovering from dental surgery Philip K. Dick started to receive messages from God.

You can read the whole story of Solarcon-6 in the latest issue of the Fortean Times. Registration required, but it’s free.

Mark Kermode on Moon movies.

January 5th, 2010 by Jarmo Puskala

ManMadeMovies blog alerted us to this great history of Moon movies by BBC film critic Mark Kermode. Iron Sky is in a very good company here. And yes, we promise to finish the damn film before 2018…

And talking about the Moon, you’ve all heard that scientists are considering the recently found hole on the moon as an exellent place for a colony.