• Behind The Iron Curtain: Sputnik

    On October 4, 1957 the first artificial satellite Sputnik-1 acted as the starter pistol for the space race.

    Cover of LIFE magazine dated 10-21-1957 of Smithsonian Observatory scientists working at M.I.T. in Cambridge to try to calculate Sputnik's orbit; © Time Inc. Dmitri Kessel
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  • Vitamin S

    Starting in 1954 the Sugar Information, Inc. published ads in the  Life Magazine and others promoting the health and weight-loss benefits of sugar. Of course in the 1950’s the sugar was delicious, healthy and local, not the corporate white death we have to eat today. Girls used it for an energy boost during a long school day; women used it for dieting so they can look good on the beach; men used it for penis enlargement …well, ads didn’t actually mention men so no one knows what they used it for.

    I want that America back. Free of disgusting diet drinks and sugar-free Jell-O. Where sugar slimmed you down instead of making you fat. Where sugar cured diabetes and cancer. Where you could eat a teaspoon of sugar to keep you from getting hungry between other teaspoons of sugar. I want this awesome America back.

    That’s why I will be voting for Ron Paul in November even if he is not on the ballot and I am not registered to vote.

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  • 20 Years Without The Iron Curtain:Military Draft

    Last year I wrote about the day I was drafted in the military. I tried to convey the atmosphere of that day, the feeling of getting into something scary and unknown, leaving one’s home and family, and realizing that there is no way back after one crosses the gate. Yesterday, when the photos of a modern day military draft in Ukraine went around the Internet, I realized that besides the new uniform not much has changed since the day when I showed up at the draft processing location.
    The military didn’t allow to keep the civilian clothes, so whatever possessions we had were either thrown away or taken by older soldiers who were allowed to bend the rules a little. I thought I was being clever when I showed up with a short but not bald haircut, like some of the recruits on this photo. Clever wasn’t one of the desired qualities in the military, so I was told to cut my hair again.
    Ukrainian conscripts arrive at a military training centre, the biggest in the former Soviet Union, in the village of Oster, some 90 km (56 miles) from the capital Kiev, October 29, 2009. About 19,500 thousand recruits were called up to the Ukrainian army this autumn.
    Here we see a group of “fresh meat” and a group of soldiers already processed. Typical barracks on the left.

    I never looked this good, nor was I ever a fan of walking around naked around people I don’t know. When I was taking my pre-draft medical test, I was lined up together with 5 or 6 more recruits in front of the table with several doctors; we were told to drop our pants down all at once. I guess they were trying to see that all of us had correct equipment down there, they were sitting a few yards away and couldn’t have possibly determined anything else. The arrow-sign on the wall says “doctor”.

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    In this shot the recruits are united with their new long underwear. In summer it was usually blue boxers and who-knows-what-color tank top. Winter season came with long underpants and long-sleeve undershirt. Every week at the showers the dirty underwear was taken away and the clean underwear was brought in a big stack. If you were slow you’d end up with a wrong size underwear for the whole week or even worse – see the streaks from the previous owner.

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    Somewhere along the way they were issued a piece of soap.


    Now on to the uniform.

    Boots are a definite improvement from what I had to wear.

    Hats stayed the same but there is mo emblem on the front.

    Last look at the old life.

    And now all ready to go. I have no idea what’s in these boxes.


    What stands out in all these images is a scared look in these kids’ eyes. Some things never change.

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  • The Google Prophecies

    Recent announcement from Google about the upcoming high-speed network being built in KCK became fodder for hordes of prognosticators. While some of the predictions may be pretty accurate, it’s clear that the development will generally follow a three-stage process:

    Stage 1: Regional

    • All of the Kansas Suburbs voluntarily annex themselves to KCK, with Johnson County becoming South KCK and Douglas County renaming itself West KCK.
    • Capital of Kansas moves to downtown KCK.
    • The State of Missouri, unsuccessful in trying to merge with Kansas is rapidly vacated with everyone rushing to buy property in now expanded KCK. Property values skyrocket.
    • After failing to retain its citizens by abolishing and then reversing the ETAX to pay an extra 1% for working and living in the city, KCMO goes under and quickly deteriorates. Sprint center fills with rainwater and becomes an aquarium. The rest of the city is used as an urban paintball field.
    • A new airport is built in KCK to handle all the expected traffic.
    • Surrounding states are converted to agricultural use to support the growing population.

    By the end of the 3rd quarter of 2012 Kansas City, KS will look like this (yes, that’s a new Eifel Tower/WIFI antenna).

    © frenic
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  • Nuff Said

    Somewhere between Gardner and Edgerton:

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