Why Didn’t the Allies Bomb Auschwitz ?

BBC News asks a thought provoking, and disturbing, question – why didn’t the allies bomb Auschwitz?

In 1944 a number of prisoners escaped and made it out of Occupied Europe and delivered reports that became known as the "Auschwitz Protocols", the British and the US both had aerial photographs.

The argument is that it would have diverted resources needed elsewhere, but apparently no great effort was made to evaluate the impact it could have had. It’s hard to look back from 60 years ahead and try and judge those wartime leaders who were gunning for Hitler, but I see echoes of this in modern times too – why didn’t the UN act earlier or more decisively in Bosnia, Rwanda, etc. Why didn’t the US intervene in southern Iraq when Saddam Hussein was putting down the rebellion that the US themselves had encouraged ?

There are no easy answers here, and we cannot change what has been, I just wish we’d learn from our mistakes and oversights.


My old and dear friend Alec Muffett has an interesting yarn up on his weblog about one of those train trips.

The trains down here on our line run pretty well comparing, I’ve been on 3 that have had, umm, problems.

There one that stopped as we left the station when all the power died (it was a 38C day and I suspect that the combination of all the trains with air-con going full pelt and pulling out tripped a breaker somewhere) but it came back on after a while of running between platforms as first it was announced that a train was going from the other line then, just as we got there, the power came back on our line so a select few realised that we could still dash back and get on our express rather than catch the stop-at-all-stations-and-then-change one.

Another time we stopped at a station to find that a horde of passengers from another train swapped over and as we limped along the news that a schoolgirl had somehow fallen from a platform much further down the track and been hit by a train, fatally. It was sad, but later when we were all waiting for trams and buses to arrive I couldn’t believe some people cursing the fact that this had spoilt all their plans for getting to work, or somewhere important, as if how could she have been so inconsiderate to have gotten herself killed now…. I know that I wasn’t the only one to have noticed these callous remarks judging by from the murmurings of some of my fellow travellers.

The most disturbing was when I was on a late night train coming back after the local Linux users group meeting, shortly after leaving a station there was an unearthly long drawn out scream from the cabin which made my blood run cold, followed by loud almost hysterical sobbing as the train coasted along, slowly drifting to a stop. A female staff member ran out down the train and returned a short while later with Police whilst the normal messages about the next station had been replaced with warnings about the emergency system being on and CCTV being active. We’d hit someone. Fatally. A bunch of youths smelling of beer and testosterone ran down the train shouting triumphantly “you took his head right off”. Eventually everyone was shepherded out through the cabin, down the precarious steps and onto the track to be led away over the easement to the road to walk the 5 minutes to the next station.

I’m glad I’m not a train driver. Apparently it happens so often it doesn’t even get reported.


Anyone know how much energy (in joules or calories) it takes to hiccup once ?

Leave a comment if you happen to know, or know where to find out – a brief bit of Googling gave a zero signal / noise ratio… 🙁

Ancient City of Babylon Badly Damaged

In further depressing news, the BBC is reporting…

Army base ‘has damaged Babylon’

Coalition forces in Iraq have caused irreparable damage to the ancient city of Babylon, the British Museum says.

Sandbags have been filled with precious archaeological fragments and 2,600 year old paving stones have been crushed by tanks, a museum report claims.

There is some irony here though, when the BBC quotes John Curtis of the British Museum saying:

“tantamount to establishing a military camp around Stonehenge”

Isn’t that pretty much what the Salisbury Plain Training Area is ? 🙂

Footnote: to be accurate, the SPTA is slightly to the north of Stonehenge.

US special forces ‘inside Iran’

It looks like the US is not content to be fighting on two fronts at once, they appear to be wanting to open a third according to this BBC report which says that "intelligence officials have revealed that Iran is the US’ “next strategic target”" and that US special forces are in the country. The US are quoted as saying that it is "riddled with inaccuracies" and that they "don’t believe that some of the conclusions he’s drawing are based on fact".

Then again there’s a lot of room to maneuver in those words – "riddled with inaccuracies" could mean he’s got the numbers of troops involved wrong, or some of their specific tasks, "don’t believe that some of the conclusions he’s drawing are based on fact" allows the spokesman to say later that "well, I didn’t know what was going on" if it later turns out to be true.

Raw Images from Huygens DISR Camera Released & Great Amateur Panorama!

The guys at Arizona have released raw images from the descent camera from the descent of the Huygens probe, they also have a description of the experiment.

Anthony Liekens (an enthusiastic amateur) has been up all night creating and collecting a wonderful series of mosaics of Titan from the images, including the following colour corrected panorama from Christian Waldvogel.

Titan Colour Corrected Panorama stitched together by Christian Waldvogel from ESA/NASA/Arizona images

This is only 1/2 size of the original – please Read More for the full scale version.

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