Archive for February, 2017

Tuesday 28th February 2017

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on February 28, 2017 by bishshat

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Sunday 26th February 2017

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on February 26, 2017 by bishshat

Spurs 4 Stoke 0

Harry Kane scored his third hat-trick in his last nine games as we over-powered Stoke City at the Lane on Sunday afternoon and recorded our third straight 4-0 win against the Potters. All four goals were scored in the first half, with Dele Alli adding a stoppage-time fourth as we responded in perfect fashion to Thursday’s Europa League disappointment to climb back to second in the Premier League table.

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It took just 14 minutes to open the scoring, Kane clinically latching onto a loose ball in the area and driving past City goalkeeper Lee Grant. That was the 100th goal of his club career. Number 101 arrived in the 32nd minute, but not before Hugo Lloris had denied former Spur Peter Crouch with an excellent close-range save and Jan Vertonghen had smashed an effort against the crossbar. Then it was Kane’s turn to shine again, connecting well with a half-volley from a cleared corner to make it 2-0.

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We were well in control at that stage and Kane’s treble was completed on 37 minutes when Christian Eriksen rolled a free-kick into his path 30 yards out and the England striker’s on-target effort flicked off Crouch in the Stoke wall and wrong-footed Grant on its way into the net. There was still time before the interval for another goal though, Kane this time turning provider as he broke away down the right and centred for Dele to stretch out a leg and smash the ball home for 4-0.

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Friday 24th February 2017

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on February 24, 2017 by bishshat

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Thursday 23rd February 2017

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on February 23, 2017 by bishshat

The Field Storm Doris  

A return to homage of Goya.

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Strangers or Cowherds one with a Red Nose.

Fight with Cudgels called The Strangers or Cowherds in the inventories, is the name given to a painting by Spanish artist Francisco Goya, now in the Museo del Prado, Madrid. One of the series of Black Paintings Goya painted directly onto the walls of his house sometime between 1820 and 1823, it depicts two men fighting one another with cudgels, as they seem to be trapped knee-deep in a quagmire of mud or sand.
According to Francisco-Xavier de Salas Bosch, Goya may have been referencing an allegory (number 75) that appears in the work by Diego de Saavedra Fajardo, the emblem book Empresas Políticos [Political Maxims], Idea de un príncipe político cristiano, which contained a hundred short essays on the education of a prince.
The allegory referred to the Greek myth of Cadmus and the dragon’s teeth. By the instructions of Athena, Cadmus sowed the dragon’s teeth in the ground, from which there sprang a race of fierce armed men, called Spartoi (“sown”). By throwing a stone among them, Cadmus caused them to fall upon one another until only five survived, who assisted him to build the Cadmea or citadel of Thebes.

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Saavedra used this imagery to discuss how some rulers stir up discord in order to ultimately establish peace in their kingdoms. Goya’s use of this allegory may have referred to the policies and politics of Ferdinand VII.
In 1819, Goya purchased a house on the banks of the Manzanares near Madrid named Quinta del Sordo (“Villa of the Deaf Man”). It was a small two-story house which was named after a previous occupant who had been deaf, although Goya had also been left deaf after contracting a fever in 1792. Between 1819 and 1823, when he moved to Bordeaux, Goya produced a series of 14 works, which he painted with oils directly onto the walls of the house. Fight with Cudgels had been situated in the upper room of Quinta del Sordo.
The Black Paintings

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Goya

These paintings could be read as the outpouring of a madman or a bitter artist unhinged by illness and the compounded tragedies of his life were it not for the Duel to the Death with Cudgels the most disheartening and startlingly seductive of all the black paintings. This painting is different. It seems to have been painted in the cool, rational light of day. Goya some how managed to transcend his bitterness to prove to himself that reason and discipline were still in command of his brutal deluge. In the next post we’ll try to figure out why this tragic painting is still alive and kicking — still relevant in our time.

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What is all this naming of our storms and winds? Doris…Abigail are they trying to make them user friendly? ‘Name our storms’ is a pilot project between the Met Office and Met Éireann which aims to increase awareness of severe weather and ensure greater safety of the public.

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Spurs 2 Gent 2

Spurs shot themselves in he foot again and were turfed out of the Europa League by Gent on a miserable night at Wembley for Mauricio Pochettino’s side in a game that will be remembered for Dele Alli’s horror challenge. Spurs drew 2-2 on the night, exiting 3-2 on aggregate, but their cause was not helping when Alli saw red in the 39th minute for a studs-up challenge on Brecht Dejaegere.

Needing a two-goal win to reach the next round after last week’s 1-0 reverse in Belgium, we made the perfect start with the opener on 10 minutes, Christian Eriksen streaking down the right channel and beating goalkeeper Lovre Kalinic.

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But Gent hit back 10 minutes later, Harry Kane putting through his own net from a corner to give the advantage back to the visitors. And when Dele Alli was dismissed six minutes before the interval for a dangerous challenge on Brecht Dejaegere, the momentum was very much with the visitors. We gave it a real go in the second half though, scoring a deserved second through Victor Wanyama just after the hour mark and having a number of opportunities to get the all-important third goal.

However, it was the visitors who scored next through substitute Jeremy Perbet, scorer of Gent’s goal in the first leg, as they hit us on the counter. As an aside, the attendance of 80,465 at Wembley was the biggest ever crowd for a Europa League match as our fans turned out in fantastic numbers once more.

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I am not sure how we didn’t win this game..Always the same for a Spurs and England fan.. Gent seemed to have the rub of every ball going for corner when it should be goal kick and many throw ins given the wrong way..Also they fell over many times to gain free kicks..Frustrating again..Poor Spurs.

Wednesday 22nd February 2017

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on February 22, 2017 by bishshat

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Shelly and Egypt

It’s less well-known that Shelley’s most famous short poem, Ozymandias, was the result of a competition between himself and his friend Horace Smith, a financier, verse-parodist and author of historical novels. Smith’s rival sonnet is called, less memorably, In Egypt’s Sandy Silence and disadvantages itself early on by the gauche reference to “a gigantic leg”. Somehow, Shelley’s “two vast and trunkless legs” are more impressive. But both poems, first Shelley’s and then Smith’s, were published by Leigh Hunt early in 1818 in consecutive issues of his monthly journal The Examiner.

Shelley’s interest in Egyptology was already established, as revealed by some of the imagery of an earlier poem, Alastor, but perhaps it had been rekindled in part by the news of the excavation of the colossal head of Rameses II. This head would later be shipped to the British Museum. Shelley could not have seen it at the time of writing, and he had never been to Egypt, but he would have certainly seen illustrations of ruined cities and statues. The various literary sources of the poem are fascinatingly explored in this essay which suggests that Volney’s The Ruins of Empires (a French work appearing in English translation in 1792) was of major significance, and not only to Ozymandias. “The book was central to the evolution of Romanticism from a specifically English and insular aesthetic to a universal political and philosophical force,” writes the anonymous author. As potently as the wilderness symbolised spiritual freedom for the Romantic writers, ancient ruins declared the triumph of time and nature over human tyranny.

A competition, light-heartedly undertaken, may have been the sonnet’s immediate occasion, but Shelley’s passion for the politics of his theme is evident in the poem and integral to its solidity. Whether a writer is drawing on personal experience or literary research, imagination is crucial, and Shelley approaches the task with great imaginative flair. First, he sets a fictional scene, introducing a second character, a kind of Ancient Mariner, though one with the gift of brevity, to give his “personal account” of the ruined sculpture. Virtually all the sonnet is spoken by the traveller. His tale is strongly pictorial, and moves with the fluency and drive of recollection. Shelley’s free, “romantic” way with the sonnet-form – the unusual pattern of the rhymes, and the presence of half-rhymes – is wholly appropriate.

Another character in the poem is Ozymandias himself, his whole personality summed up in a few strokes. He seems to have had little facial resemblance to the benign, serenely smiling pharaoh familiar to visitors to the British Museum. Shelley has created a monster, it seems, out of his own revulsion from tyranny. The “wrinkled lip” is a particularly brilliant detail that suggests an age of sneering and sensuality in its possessor.

There is a third character, of course: the sculptor who, it seems, has revealed his master’s true nature, and, moreover, must be responsible for the telling second half of the inscription: “Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!”

The full irony of this is brought home by the final image of the boundless sands, stretching as far as the eye can see. If there is little left of the sculptor’s work, there is enough, so far, to bear witness to tyranny. Of the tyrant’s works, nothing remains. Russian poets used to have a saying that the poet outlives the tsar. Here, the sculptor outlives the pharaoh, at least until nature reclaims the last vestiges of masonry, and these, too, are dissolved to sand.

Ozymandias

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said – ‘Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half-sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive (stamped on these lifeless things)
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.’

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Tuesday 21st February 2017

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on February 21, 2017 by bishshat

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Professor Walther Bauersfeld

Professor Walther Bauersfeld, was one of the foremost German scientists and technologists.
Born in Berlin on January 23, 1879, he received his technical education at the Technical University of Berlin-Charlottenburg, and subsequently remained there for several years as assistant of Professor E. Reichel who held the chair of mechanical engineering and water turbines.
On August 1, 1905, Bauersfeld joined the firm of Carl Zeiss, Jena, as design engineer and became a member of the board in 1908.
From 1927 until 1945, Professor Dr. Bauersfeld occupied a chair for special fields of technical physics at Jena University; after 1945, he taught precision mechanics at the Technical University of Stuttgart. His chief contributions, however, consist of his many inventions – his name is found on over 120 patents – and in his achievements as an industrialist.

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Of his scientific and design work, some of the most outstanding examples may be mentioned here. He was the inventor of the auxiliary lens system for the stereo-planigraph; in kinematography he developed means for optical image correction. His paper “The foundation of the calculation of high-speed gyroscopes” formed the basis of the further development of Kaplan turbines. A method for producing high-precision circular scales has found an important application to theodolites.
Other mechanical inventions were in connection with gearing, and with highly accurate roller bearings. An important aid to surgeons is the “Pantophot” theatre lamp which does not cast any shadows. His epidiascope “Belshazzar” permits the projection of words written on a small surface and so avoids the necessity for lecturers having to write on large blackboards. Especially numerous were his improvements and developments of the microscope; one recalls the ingenious re-arrangement of the layout of the instrument, incorporating a fixed stage and an adjustable tube.
An invention which has become very widely known among the general public was the projection planetarium. A request had been made in 1913 by the German Museum in Munich, an institution corresponding to the Science Museum in South Kensington, for such an equipment which, following traditional ideas, was to represent the fixed stars on the inside of a large sphere, and the planetary systems by means of mechanically moved illuminated bodies. An arrangement somewhat along these lines was eventually supplied by Zeiss to the Museum, but in the meantime Bauersfeld had hit upon the much more compact and adaptable solution of optically projecting the stars and planets upon the interior of a large hemispherical dome.

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The comparatively small instrument comprised a number of rotating and fixed projectors, for projecting respectively the planets and stars, while the apparent motion of the sky was realised by the rotation of the instrument as a whole. Faced with the problem of designing a suitable dome, Professor Bauersfeld took a leading part, together with Dr. Dischinger and others, in originating the important Zeiss-Dywidag method of shell construction.
As an industrialist, Professor Bauersfeld was active in the management and expansion of the Carl Zeiss Foundation which he continued to lead in the spirit of its originator, Ernst Abbe. When, after 1945, the Foundation was transferred to the German Federal Republic, 1t was in a great measure his experience and initiative which enabled the Foundation to resume its work at Oberkochen and, starting from nothing, to achieve within a few years again a position of eminence among optical manufacturers. Besides many other honours, Professor Bauersfeld in 1952 received the Grashof Medal, the highest award bestowed by the Association of German Engineers. In 1957, he became the first German citizen to be awarded the James Watt International Medal by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

Carl Zeiss Planetarium

The World’s First Planetarium Was Erected on the Roof of the ZEISS Factory. The first artificial night sky was shown in Jena in the summer of 1923. 10 years earlier, Heidelberg astronomer Max Wolf had suggested the planetarium idea to Oskar von Miller, founder of the Deutsches Museum in Munich. He, in turn, approached Carl Zeiss Jena. After an interruption caused by World War I and a whole host of design issues, Walther Bauersfeld, Chief Engineer at ZEISS, developed Model I, which was tested in a specially built, 16-meter dome on the roof of the factory in Jena. Beginning in August 1924, presentations were also offered to the public. The very first projector was in service at the Deutsches Museum from 1925 to 1960, and it continues to be on display to this day.

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Buckminster Fuller

Fuller was most famous for his lattice shell structures – geodesic domes, which have been used as parts of military radar stations, civic buildings, environmental protest camps and exhibition attractions. An examination of the geodesic design by Walther Bauersfeld for the Zeiss-Planetarium, built some 20 years prior to Fuller’s work, reveals that Fuller’s Geodesic Dome patent, follows the same design as Bauersfeld’s20170221_15304920170221_15292120170221_15293520170221_15293320170221_15295720170221_15295620170221_15294820170221_15303220170221_15311820170221_15300920170221_15310220170221_15313520170221_153247

Sunday 19th February 2017

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on February 19, 2017 by bishshat

Fulham 0 Spurs 3

Harry Kane’s hat-trick sent Tottenham through to the FA Cup quarter-finals after a comfortable 3-0 win over Fulham at Craven Cottage.

There had been doubts over Kane’s fitness after he sustained a knock in the midweek defeat by Gent, but the England international started and gave Tottenham the lead early on, finishing from close range after Christian Eriksen’s fine centre

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The duo combined again just five minutes into the second half as Kane converted the Dane’s cross from six yards for his 18th goal of the season.
Spurs were dominant throughout at Craven Cottage against the EFL Championship side, and Kane got his 19th and secured the match ball with 17 minutes remaining, finishing from inside the area from Dele Alli’s through ball.

The win means Spurs have reached the FA Cup last eight for the first time in four seasons, and will find out who they face in the draw at 6.30pm on Sunday, which you can follow here.

Spurs made just four changes from the side that lost 2-0 at Liverpool last weekend, fielding a strong team in comparison to their Premier League counterparts Manchester City (eight changes) and Burnley (six) as they stumbled on Saturday.

The first chance of the game fell to the visitors when Alli’s header fell into the path of Eriksen, who forced Marcus Bettinelli into a fine low save under pressure from Fulham centre-backs Tim Ream and Tomas Kalas.

Alli then hit a shot half-a-yard wide from 20 yards after finding space, before Spurs took the lead on 16 minutes.

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Racing onto Kieran Trippier’s quick throw-in down the right channel, Eriksen’s first-time cross found Kane on the gallop eight yards out, and the England striker slid in with his left foot to finish past Bettinelli.

Stand-in goalkeeper Michel Vorm nearly handed Fulham an equaliser when his stray clearance fell straight into the path of Tom Cairney, but his effort was gratefully gathered by the Dutch ‘keeper as he scampered back to goal.

Cairney then returned the favour to Kane at the other end, but Eriksen blazed over the bar from an angle as Spurs looked to pounce on the Fulham skipper’s error.

Spurs found it easy at both ends in the first 45 minutes, but Fulham’s dangerously high line was punished on only one occasion.
However, the visitors picked up where they left off in the second half, and gained that all-important two-goal cushion on 51 minutes through Kane again, poking past Bettinelli from six yards after Eriksen curled in a beauty from the right.

Fulham’s appeals for offside fell on deaf ears, but replays showed Kane’s head and shoulder were in fact goal-side of the last defender.

It was nearly 3-0 moments later, but Alli prodded over the bar at the far post after Eriksen’s deft ball.

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Kane should have had his and Tottenham’s third with 20 minutes remaining as the striker poked the ball inches over Bettinelli’s bar after Alli had helped the ball behind the Fulham back line, but he did duly get his hat-trick three minutes later.

Latching onto Alli’s through ball with Fulham’s defence stretched, Kane slotted low past Bettinelli for his second hat-trick in 2017, and his fifth overall in a Tottenham shirt.

That’s how it stayed, as Mauricio Pochettino’s side continue to fight on three fronts heading into the final few months of the campaign.

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Riphagen

World War II remains a rich source of inspiration for movies, even seventy years after its end. The clear moral lines between good and evil that the Nazi era puts into relief allow for little wiggle room for postmodern movie makers to blur them. The masterful script and ace directing nevertheless manage to stretch these lines to the uttermost, resulting in a great deal of suspense where the viewer is at times unsure of who is who and who is good or evil.

Based on a good deal of historical truth, Riphagen is presented as a combination suspense and mystery. Andries Riphagen, sometimes called the Dutch Al Capone, was an influential member of the Dutch underworld who collaborated with the German occupiers for his own personal gain. Only the most gullible of viewers will be fooled by the smooth stories he tells desperate Jews as he tries to “help” them park their assets until after the war. Nevertheless, exactly how Riphagen is scamming people and how particular situations turn out remain unclear until the last moment, as he often has to improvise and adjust his plans based on changing circumstances. This keeps the movie suspenseful till the very last minute. Don’t be fooled by what seems to be a slowing down of the story in the last third.

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Bernardus Andreas (Dries) Riphagen (7 September 1909 – 13 May 1973) was a Dutch criminal who collaborated with the Germans during World War II.

Dries Riphagen was born as the 8th child of an Amsterdam family. Riphagen’s father worked for the Navy, while his mother died when he was six years old. His father married a second time but did not take care of the children because he was an alcoholic. At the age of 14 Dries Riphagen was sent to the notorious merchant-navy training center “Pollux”, and from 1923 to 1924 went to sea as an ordinary seaman. Subsequently, he stayed in the United States for two years working for Standard Oil, during which time he came into contact with local criminal circles and learned their methods. His subsequent nickname Al Capone came from this time in the USA.

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After his return from the United States, Riphagen joined the National Socialist Dutch Workers’ Party (NSNAP), an extremely anti-Semitic minor party whose aim was that the Netherlands should become a province of the German Reich. He became one of the foremost figures of the Amsterdam underworld, known among the pimps on the Rembrandtplein, and developed a taste for jewellery, precious stones and gambling, also dealing in used — sometimes stolen — cars.

During the Second World War, Riphagen not only continued his criminal activities but expanded them in profitable co-operation with the German occupiers as a trustworthy ally of the German security service, SD, and later as a member of the Central Office for Jewish Emigration in Amsterdam. It was his task, together with his “colleagues” from the Amsterdam underworld, to uncover the black market as well as to track down Jewish property, which was being bypassed beyond the German foreign exchange regulations at the time. As a bonus, the men received five to ten percent of the confiscated goods, but they also slipped many valuables into their own pockets.

Dries Riphagen soon took part in the hunt for Jews (“Judenjagd”) together with members of the Olij family, who were feared “Jodenkloppers” (Jew beaters). From 1943 he was part of the Henneicke Column, a group of investigators who searched out Jews who had gone underground. This approximately fifty-strong group was founded in 1942 by Wim Henneicke, the stateless son of a German immigrant. From March 4 to March 31, 1943, the Column, which consisted mainly of professional criminals, handed over 3190 Jews to the German authorities, who deported them to the extermination camps. A reward of between 7.50 to 40 florins per person was paid. The Column also coerced Jewish people with the threat of deportation to betray other Jews who had gone into hiding. By the end of 1943, Riphagen had collected a small fortune, which he deposited in various accounts in Belgium and Switzerland. Finally the Henneicke Column was dissolved on the grounds of corruption. Riphagen was employed in the last year of the war by the Hoffmann Group of the SD in Assen, which specialized in the detection of shot-down Allied airmen and weapons that had been dropped to the resistance.

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Riphagen played an important role in 1944 in partially rolling-up the underground resistance organisation Identity Cards Centre (Persoonbewijzencentrale), in the course of which the German-Jewish resistance fighter Gerhard Badrian was shot.

After the war Dries Riphagen was wanted by the police for the betrayal of Jews, and the public prosecutor considered him responsible for the death of at least 200 people. Riphagen contacted the former resistance fighter and head of police in Enschede, Willem Evert Sanders, who wanted to do a deal with him. Riphagen was not handed over to the official authorities, but was placed under house-arrest as a “private” prisoner in exchange of information on collaborators and German-friendly networks. In February 1946 he escaped; according to rumours, he was helped across the border by his underworld friends in a casket inside a hearse, but according to more recent findings, the escape was organized by two staff members of the Dutch secret service Bureau voor Nationale Veiligheid, Frits and Piet Kerkhoven. From Belgium he spent three months travelling to Spain by bicycle, according to his son Rob.

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In May 1946, Riphagen was held in Huesca, Spain, because he lacked the necessary personal papers. He was imprisoned, but on the intervention of a Jesuit priest he was released on bail, under the order to get his papers rectified. Thereupon he obtained a Nansen passport, and Frits Kerkhoven provided him with clothes and shoes in which diamonds that he had previously deposited with Kerkhoven were hidden. When he was about to be extradited to the Netherlands — he was now living in Madrid — he flew to Argentina on 21 March 1948 with a friend. His contact address there was also that of a Jesuit priest, but nothing is known of any connection with the so-called “ratlines”. The Dutch Ambassador in Buenos Aires, Floris Carcilius Anne Baron van Pallandt, made a request for extradition, which was however only based on lesser offences such as vehicle theft and robbery and which, according to the Argentine judiciary, were already time-barred and for which the submitted evidence was inadequate.

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The fact that Riphagen was not handed over to the Netherlands was most likely due to his good connections. He was friends with a member of the Supreme Court of Argentina, Rodolfo Valenzuela, who also served as secretary to President Juan Perón. As a result, he became acquainted with the Presidential couple and remained in contact with Perón until his death. He settled in Belgrano, a district of Buenos Aires, where he ran a photography press office and worked for Perón’s secret service. He also organized boxing competitions at the Luna Park for Jan Olij, his old friend from Amsterdam.

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After the Revolucion Libertadora, where Perón was overthrown, Riphagen returned to Europe and travelled around, mainly in Spain, Germany and Switzerland. He preferred to surround himself with wealthy women, who also maintained him. His last known address was in Madrid. In 1973, Dries Riphagen, the “worst war criminal in Amsterdam”, died of cancer in Montreux. In 2010 two Dutch journalists and employees of the newspaper Het Parool, Bart Middelburg and René ter Steege published the book ‘Riphagen, ‘Al Capone’, één van Nederlands grootste oorlogsmisdadigers’ (Riphagen, ‘Al Capone’, one of the Netherlands’ greatest war criminals). The book is based on interviews with Dries Riphagen’s son, Rob, and Betje Wery, who had collaborated with the Germans.

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on February 18, 2017 by bishshat

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Jackie

A biographical drama film directed by Pablo Larraín and written by Noah Oppenheim. The film stars Natalie Portman as Jackie Kennedy, following her life after the 1963 assassination of her husband John F. Kennedy. Peter Sarsgaard, Greta Gerwig, Billy Crudup and John Hurt also star; it was Hurt’s final film released before his death in January 2017.
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The film follows Jackie Kennedy in the days when she was First Lady in the White House and her life following the assassination of her husband, President John F. Kennedy, in 1963. It is partly based on Theodore H. White’s Life magazine interview with the widow at Hyannis Port, Massachusetts.

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Operation Avalanche 

Operation Avalanche is 2016 American-Canadian found footage conspiracy thriller film directed by Matt Johnson, who co-wrote the film with Josh Boles. Johnson and Owen Williams star as CIA agents who infiltrate NASA to expose a potential mole, only to become embroiled in a conspiracy to fake the 1969 Apollo 11 Moon landing.

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If Matt Johnson ever runs into Buzz Aldrin there’s a good chance he’ll come away from that meeting with a broken jaw. And with good cause. Johnson, the Canadian trickster behind the dark, engaging quasi-comedic school shooting picture The Dirties, takes as his next “found footage” target the American space program, and one of our juicer conspiracy theories: that man never walked on the moon.

As a reasonable human being I’ve given this would-be hoax about as much consideration as the Loch Ness monster, but it is to Johnson’s credit that he makes a fairly plausible case. By the end of Operation Avalanche one is left thinking that a CIA-led scheme could have at least been feasible. And, if it did happen (not that I’m saying it did!) it probably looked a heckuva lot like this.

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Operation Avalanche exploits the found footage genre by making its heroes Matt Johnson (again playing “himself” with his fellow Dirties cronies Owen Williams and Josh Boles) film-makers with a liberal shooting policy. “Whenever we’re talking, film us,” Johnson orders his two mostly-silent cameramen. They represent a new group of ambitious recent Ivy League grads, the CIA’s “A/V program,” and through a produced pitch reel we learn that NASA, currently in the thick of working towards Apollo 11, thinks they have a Soviet mole somewhere in their shop. Johnson and Williams convince their bosses to let them go to Houston impersonating a documentary crew, while their real objective is to poke around and try to find whoever is leaking information.

After some amusing interviews (and great sequences involving antiquated film-making equipment) our guys discover something far worse. The Lunar Module won’t work. NASA can go to the moon, but the astronauts can’t come back, at least not in time to make the fallen President Kennedy’s “this decade” pledge come true.

But Matt Johnson (the character, and also the film-maker) has an active imagination. NASA can do 90% of the job, so why can’t a little movie magic do the rest? With an abundance of drive but not a scruple to his name, he spearheads a plot to recreate the lunar landing on a sound stage.

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While Operation Avalanche has its share of humour, the clever problem-solving the crew devises is extraordinary, and considerably sharper than the James Brolin-OJ Simpson vehicle Capricorn One. The second act of the film is like the “we gotta find a way to make this fit into the hole for this using nothing but that” scene from Apollo 13, but for entirely immoral purposes. Those familiar with the ramblings of “lunar truthers” know that much of the literature centers on Stanley Kubrick allegedly masterminding this charade. Operation Avalanche’s version shows how the great director actually did provide some crucial help, just without knowing it. (Operation Avalanche also visits the set of 2001, in a particularly amusing sequence.)

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While the movie, shot on video but with 16mm lenses and processed to celluloid, sticks mostly to an overheard conversational style, the third act ramps up the action in some truly thrilling ways. Johnson isn’t going evoke the great formalist of late 1960s cinema and not try his hand, too. The ending doesn’t quite land the gut punch it’s hoping for, but this is more about fun than about exposing deep, nefarious truths. At least, I think it is.

Friday 17th February 2017

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on February 17, 2017 by bishshat

Plato’s 5 Regimes

Aristocracy

Aristocracy is the form of government advocated in Plato’s Republic. This regime is ruled by a philosopher king, and thus is grounded on wisdom and reason. The aristocratic state, and the man whose nature corresponds to it, are the objects of Plato’s analyses throughout much of The Republic’s books, as opposed to the other four types of states/men, that are studied primarily in Book VIII.

The aristocratic state that Plato idealizes is composed of three caste-like parts: the ruling class, made up of the aforementioned philosophers-kings (who are otherwise identified as having souls of gold); the auxiliaries of the ruling caste, made up of soldiers (whose souls are made up of silver), and whose job in the state is to force on the majority the order established by the philosophers; and the majority of the people (souls of either bronze or iron), who in contrast to the first two classes are allowed to own property and produce goods for themselves, but are also obliged to sustain with their own activities their rulers’ — who are forbidden from owning property in order to preclude that the policies they undertake be tainted by personal interests.

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The aristocratic man is better represented by Plato’s brand of philosopher: a man whose character and ambitions have been forged into those ideal for a just ruler through a rigorous education system designed to train intellectuals that are selfless and upright, and whose souls have been made calm and aware of the absolute Good by learning the Truth based on the Platonic Ideas. Plato envisages for this philosopher a disposition and ability that makes him the ideal governor of any state precisely because his soul knows the Idea of the Good, which is the metaphysical origin of all that is good, including happiness itself. Wealth, fame, and power are just shadows of the Good and provide only hollow and fleeting satisfaction. It is only the knowledge of the Good in itself that gives man enduring and real happiness. Thus, the philosopher who is exposed to metaphysical contemplation is not tempted to abuse his power in his pursuit of material goods, and his state policies are therefore dedicated to establishing only the Good in the state, not his personal interests.

In contrast to historical aristocracies, Plato’s resembles a meritocracy or proto-technocracy of sorts. In it, a big government state keeps track of the innate character and natural skills of the citizens’ children, directing them to the education that best suits those traits. In this manner, a child with a gold soul born to parents with silver, bronze or iron souls will not be held back by his inferior birth and will be educated to levels above his kin according to his golden qualities. Conversely, from parents with gold and silver souls, a child born with a bronze or an iron soul is educated to only the level earned by his natural aptitudes.

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Timocracy

Aristocracy degenerates into timocracy when, due to miscalculation on the part of its governing class, the next generation of guardians and auxiliaries includes persons of an inferior nature (the persons with souls made of iron or bronze, as opposed to the ideal guardians and auxiliaries, who have souls made of gold and silver). Since in the government there will be present people of an inferior nature, inclined not just to cultivating virtues but also producing wealth, a change in the constitution of the aristocratic city is eventually worked, and its educational system, which used to introduce the high classes into a purely rational, selfless political theory, is altered so that it becomes permissible for current state leaders to pursue their individual interests. The timocracy, however, does not completely break from all the characteristics of aristocracy, and for Plato this regime is a combination of good and bad features.

A timocracy, in choosing its leaders, is “inclining rather to the more high-spirited and simple-minded type, who are better suited for war”.
The governors of timocracy value power, which they seek to attain primarily by means of military conquest and the acquisition of honors, rather than intellectual means. Plato characterizes timocracy as a mixture of the elements of two different regime types — aristocracy and oligarchy. Just like the leaders of Platonic aristocracies, timocratic governors will apply great effort in gymnastics and the arts of war, as well as the virtue that pertains to them, that of courage. They will also be contemptuous towards manual activities and trade, and will lead a life in public communion. Just like oligarchs, however, they will yearn for material wealth and will not trust thinkers to be placed in positions of power. Timocrats will have a tendency to accumulate wealth in pernicious ways, and hide their possessions from public view. They will also be spendthrift and hedonistic. Because their voluptuous nature will not be, like that of philosopher-kings, pacified in a philosophical education, law can only be imposed onto them by means of force.

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For Plato, timocracies were clearly superior to most regimes that prevailed in Greece in his time, which were mostly oligarchies or democracies. Crete and Sparta are two examples of timocracies given in Plato’s Republic. In the Symposium, Sparta’s founder, Lycurgus, is given high praise for his wisdom. And both Crete and Sparta continued to be held in admiration by Plato in one of his latest works, the Laws, for having constitutions which, unlike that of most other Greek cities, go beyond mere enumeration of laws, and focus instead on the cultivation of virtues (or at least one of them, that of courage). Plato, however, does present a criticism against those cities — that their constitutions neglected two other virtues essential to a perfectly just city such as his aristocracy, namely wisdom and moderation.

Of the man who represents a timocratic state, Socrates says that his nature is primarily good: He may see in his father (who himself would correspond to an aristocractic state) a man who doesn’t bother his soul with power displays and civil disputes, but instead busies himself only with cultivating his own virtues. However, that same young man may find in other persons in his house a resentment of the father’s indifference to status. Thus, by observing his father and listening to his reasoning, he’s tempted to the flourishing of his own intellect and virtues; but influenced by others in his house or city, he may become power craving. He thus assents to the portion of his soul that is intermediate between reason and desire (see Plato’s tripartite theory of soul), the one that is aggressive and courageous (thus the timocracy’s military character).

The young timocrat may himself be somewhat contemptuous towards money and money-making activity, but he becomes increasingly focused in saving his goods as he ages, since the virtues of his soul have not been purified by the salutary effects of reasoning activities and aesthetic experiences that Plato recommends to the high class. The timocrat is further described as obedient towards authority, respectful to other free citizens, good at listening, and aggressive rather than contemptuous towards slaves.

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Oligarchy

Plato defines oligarchy as a system of government which distinguishes between the rich and the poor, making out of the former its administrators.

An oligarchy is originated by extending tendencies already evident in a timocracy. In contrast to platonic aristocrats, timocrats are allowed by their constitution to own property and thus to both accumulate and waste money. Because of the pleasures derived therefrom, money eventually is prized over virtue, and the leaders of the state seek to alter the law to give way and accommodate to the materialistic lust of its citizens. As a result of this new found appreciation for money, the governors rework the constitution yet again to restrict political power to the rich only. That is how a timocracy becomes an oligarchy.

Plato gives a detailed account of the problems usually faced by the oligarchies of his days, which he considered as significantly more troubled than the former system, that of timocracy. The following are examples of such problems:

The very distribution of political power, which prevents wise and virtuous, but poor, men from influencing public life, while giving such possibility to the rich but incompetent ones;
The instability caused by class divisions: By its very nature, an oligarchy is invariably divided between the rich and the poor. Plato saw it as the state’s responsibility to preclude income disparities from widening, by implementing laws that forbid citizens from enriching through exploitative contracts, or from becoming poor by wasting around their money and goods. But these laws are never imposed in oligarchies since it’s in the nature of the oligarchic state to seek to make inequality more stark in order to feed the material lust of its governors. The poor underclass grows and many of them become either beggars or thugs imbued with anger at their condition and a revolutionary spirit which threatens the stability of the state from within.
Poor performance in military campaigns: An oligarchy will usually do poorly in military campaigns because the rich, who are few, will make a small army, and they are afraid to give weapons to the majority (the poor) due to fears of a revolution.
If, by the way, a revolution does ensue, and the poor become victorious over the rich, the former expel the latter from the city, or kill them, and proceed to divide their properties and political power between one another. That is how, according to Plato, a democracy is established.

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As to the man whose character reflects that of an oligarchy, Plato explains his psychology with a similar scheme to the one used for the timocratic man. Just like Plato explains the timocratic character as the result of social corruption of a parent aristocratic principle, the oligarch is explained as deriving from a timocratic familial background. Thus, at first, the oligarchic son emulates his timocratic father, being ambitious and craving honor and fame. When, however, he witnesses the problems his father faces due to those timocratic tendencies — say, he wastes public goods in a military campaign, and then is brought before the court, losing his properties after trial —, the future oligarch becomes poor. He then turns against the ambitions he had in his soul, which he now sees as harmful, and puts in their place craving for money, instead of honor, and a parsimonious cautiousness. Such men, the oligarchs, live only to enrich themselves, and through their private means they seek to fulfill only their most urgent needs. However, when in charge of public goods, they become quite ‘generous’.

Oligarchs do, however, value at least one virtue, that of temperance and moderation — not out of an ethical principle or spiritual concern, but because by dominating wasteful tendencies they succeed in accumulating money. Thus even though he has bad desires — which Plato compares to the anarchic tendencies of the poor people in oligarchies – by virtue of temperance the oligarch manages to establish a fragile order in his soul. Thus the oligarch may seem, at least in appearance, superior to the majority of men.

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Democracy

Oligarchy then degenerates into democracy where freedom is the supreme good but freedom is also slavery. In democracy, the lower class grows bigger and bigger. The poor become the winners. People are free to do what they want and live how they want. People can even break the law if they so choose. This appears to be very similar to anarchy.

Plato uses the “democratic man” to represent democracy. The democratic man is the son of the oligarchic man. Unlike his father, the democratic man is consumed with unnecessary desires. Plato describes necessary desires as desires that we have out of instinct or desires that we have in order to survive. Unnecessary desires are desires we can teach ourselves to resist such as the desire for riches. The democratic man takes great interest in all the things he can buy with his money. He does whatever he wants whenever he wants to do it. His life has no order or priority.

Tyranny

Democracy then degenerates into tyranny where no one has discipline and society exists in chaos. Democracy is taken over by the longing for freedom. Power must be seized to maintain order. A champion will come along and experience power, which will cause him to become a tyrant. The people will start to hate him and eventually try to remove him but will realize they are not able.

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The tyrannical man is the son of the democratic man. He is the worst form of man due to his being the most unjust and thus the furthest removed from any joy of the true kind. He is consumed by lawless desires which cause him to do many terrible things such as murdering and plundering. He comes closest to complete lawlessness. The idea of moderation does not exist to him. He is consumed by the basest pleasures in life, and being granted these pleasures at a whim destroys the type of pleasure only attainable through knowing pain. If he spends all of his money and becomes poor, the tyrant will steal and conquer to satiate his desires, but will eventually overreach and force unto himself a fear of those around him, effectively limiting his own freedom. The tyrant always runs the risk of being killed in revenge for all the unjust things he has done. He becomes afraid to leave his own home and becomes trapped inside. Therefore, his lawlessness leads to his own self-imprisonment.

Plato further expounds upon the unjustness that leads to misery in a tyranny, through the voice of Socrates, when he illustrates sought after values of three sorts. Wisdom and reason are of the highest and most just caliber of purity for they allow a man to experience and understand the fruits of the other values while being goods in themselves. Below wisdom and reason is the pursuit of honor, and below that are the basest desires of man, those satiated by sustenance and courtesans. These base desires grant the least joy because of their attachment to pain, that is, they are only joyful when not taken for granted. And in the case of the tyrant, who has the power to seize what he wants, those desires would always be satisfied and thus never truly satisfying.

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Tucker: The Man and His Dream

Tucker: The Man and His Dream is a 1988 American biographical comedy-drama film directed by Francis Ford Coppola and starring Jeff Bridges. The film recounts the story of Preston Tucker and his attempt to produce and market the 1948 Tucker Sedan, which was met with scandal between the “Big Three automobile manufacturers” and accusations of stock fraud from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Joan Allen, Martin Landau, Elias Koteas, Frederic Forrest and Christian Slater appear in supporting roles.

In 1973, Coppola began development of a film based on the life of Tucker, originally with Marlon Brando in the lead role. Starting in 1976, Coppola planned Tucker to be both a musical and an experimental film with music and lyrics written by Leonard Bernstein, Betty Comden and Adolph Green. The project eventually collapsed when Coppola’s American Zoetrope experienced financial problems. Tucker was revived in 1986 when Coppola’s friend, George Lucas, joined as a producer.

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The film received critical praise, but was a box office disappointment. Nonetheless, Tucker: The Man and His Dream produced a spike in prices of Tucker Sedans, as well as a renewed appreciation for Tucker and his automobiles.

Detroit engineer Preston Tucker has been interested in building cars since childhood. During World War II he designed an armored car for the military and made money building gun turrets for aircraft in a small shop next to his home in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Tucker is supported by his large, extended family, including wife Vera and eldest son Preston Jr.

As the war winds down, Tucker has a dream of finally building the “car of the future.” The “Tucker Torpedo” will feature revolutionary safety designs including disc brakes, seat belts, a pop out windshield, and head lights which swivel when you turn. Tucker hires young designer Alex Tremulis to help with the design and enlists New York financier Abe Karatz to arrange financial support. Raising the money through a stock issue, Tucker and Karatz acquire the enormous Dodge Chicago Plant to begin manufacturing. Abe hires Robert Bennington to run the new Tucker Corporation on a day-to-day basis.

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Launching “the car of tomorrow” in a spectacular way, the Tucker Corporation is met with enthusiasm from shareholders and the general public. However, the Tucker company board of directors, unsure of his ability to overcome the technical and financial obstacles ahead, send Tucker off on a publicity campaign and attempt to take complete control of the company. While Tucker travels the country, Bennington and directors change the design of Tucker’s car to a more conventional design, eliminating the safety and engineering advances Tucker was advertising. At the same time, Tucker faces animosity from the Big Three and the authorities led by Michigan Senator Homer S. Ferguson.

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Tucker returns from his publicity tour and confronts Bennington, who curtly informs him that he no longer has any power in the company to make decisions, and the engine originally planned for the car is not viable. Tucker then receives a call from Howard Hughes, who sends a private plane to bring Tucker to his aircraft manufacturing site. Hughes advises Tucker to purchase Air Cooled Motors, which can supply both the steel Tucker needs, as well as a small, powerful helicopter engine that might replace Tucker’s original “589” power plant.

Faced with being unable to change Bennington’s design, Tucker modifies the new engine and installs it in a test Tucker in the secrecy of his backyard tool and die shop. This prototype proves successful in both durability and crash testing. However, Tucker is confronted with allegations of stock fraud. Ferguson’s investigation with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), causes Karatz, once convicted of bank fraud, to resign, fearful that his criminal record will prejudice the hearings. Yellow journalism starts ruining Tucker’s public image even though the ultimate courtroom battle is resolved when he parades his entire production run of 50 Tucker Torpedoes, proving that he has reached production status.

After giving a speech to the jurors on how capitalism in the United States is harmed by efforts of large corporations against small entrepreneurs like himself, Tucker is acquitted on all charges. Nevertheless, his company falls into bankruptcy and Preston Tucker dies of lung cancer seven years later, never able to realize his dream of producing a state-of-the-art automobile.

The film ends with all 50 Tucker Sedans being driven down the streets of downtown Chicago, admired by everyone as they pass.

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Preston Thomas Tucker

Is most remembered for his 1948 Tucker Sedan (known as the “Tucker ’48” and initially nicknamed the “Tucker Torpedo”), an automobile which introduced many features that have since become widely used in modern cars. Production of the Tucker ’48 was shut down amidst scandal and controversial accusations of stock fraud on March 3, 1949. The 1988 movie Tucker: The Man and His Dream is based on Tucker’s spirit and the saga surrounding the car’s production.

Preston Tucker was born on September 21, 1903, on a peppermint farm near Capac, Michigan. He grew up outside Detroit in the suburb of Lincoln Park, Michigan. Tucker was raised by his mother, a teacher, after his father died of appendicitis when Preston was 2 years old. First learning to drive at age 11, Tucker was obsessed with automobiles from an early age. At age 16, Preston Tucker began purchasing late model automobiles, repairing/refurbishing them and selling the cars for a profit. He attended the Cass Technical High School in Detroit, but he quit school and landed a job as an office boy for the Cadillac Motor Company, where he used rollerskates to make his rounds more efficiently. In 1922, young Tucker joined the Lincoln Park, Michigan, police department (against the pleas of his mother), his interest stirred by his desire to drive and ride the fast, high-performance police cars and motorcycles. His mother had him removed from the force, pointing out to department officials that at age nineteen he was below the department’s minimum required age.

Tucker and his new wife, Vera (married in 1923 at age 20), then took over a 6-month lease on a gas station near Lincoln Park, running the station together. Vera would run the station during the day while Preston worked on the Ford Motor Company assembly line. After the lease ran out, Tucker quit Ford and returned to the police force again, but in his first winter back he was banned from driving police vehicles by the force after using a blowtorch to cut a hole in the dashboard of a cruiser to allow engine heat to warm the cabin. During the last couple of months at the gas station, Tucker began selling Studebaker cars on the side. He met an automobile salesman Michael Dulian, who hired Tucker as a car salesman at his Detroit dealership. Tucker did very well, but the dealership was a long drive from Tucker’s Lincoln Park home, so Tucker quit and returned to the police force for the last time. A few months later, Dulian, still impressed with Tucker’s immediate success as a salesman, invited Tucker to move south with him to Memphis, Tennessee, to work as sales manager. (Dulian would later become sales manager for the Tucker Car Corp.) Dulian was transferred a couple of years later; Tucker stayed in Memphis and was a salesman for Ivor Schmidt (Stutz) and John Fischer (Chrysler), where he became general sales manager. While managing Chrysler sales in Memphis, Tucker made a connection with Pierce-Arrow. In 1933, Tucker moved to Buffalo, New York, and became regional sales manager for Pierce-Arrow automobiles, but after only two years he moved back to Detroit and worked as a Dodge salesman for Cass Motors.

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During the early 1930s, Tucker began an annual one-month trek to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Having a heavy interest in the race cars and their designers, Tucker met Harry Miller, maker of more Indianapolis 500-winning engines than any other during this period. Tucker moved to Indianapolis to be closer to the racing car development scene and worked as the transportation manager for a beer distributor, overseeing the fleet of delivery trucks for the company.

A better engineer than businessman, Miller declared bankruptcy in 1933 and was looking for new opportunities. Tucker persuaded Miller to join him in building race cars, and they formed “Miller and Tucker, Inc.” in 1935. The company’s first job was building 10 souped-up Ford V-8 racers for Henry Ford. The time to develop and test the cars was insufficient, however, and the steering boxes on all entrants overheated and locked up, causing them to drop out of the race. The design was later perfected by privateers, with examples running at Indy through 1948. Miller and Tucker, Inc. continued race car development and various other ventures until Miller’s death in 1943. Tucker and Miller were close friends, and he even helped his widow pay for Miller’s funeral costs. While working with Miller, Tucker met the Chevrolet brothers and chief mechanic/engineer John Eddie Offutt, who would later help Tucker develop and build the first prototype of the Tucker ’48. Tucker’s outgoing personality and his involvement at Indianapolis made him well known in the automotive industry by 1939.
In late 1937, while recovering in an Indianapolis hospital from an appendectomy, Tucker was reading the news about war looming on the horizon in Europe. He got the idea of developing a high-speed armored combat vehicle. In 1939, Tucker moved his family back to Michigan and bought a house and property in Ypsilanti. He remodeled an old barn on his property and began and operated a machine shop called the Ypsilanti Machine and Tool Company, planning to use the facility to develop various automotive products.

Opportunity arose for Tucker from the Dutch government, who wanted a combat vehicle suited to the muddy Dutch terrain. Continuing his working relationship with Harry Miller, Tucker began designing a narrow-wheelbase armored combat car powered by a Miller-modified Packard V-12 engine. The car was nicknamed the “Tucker Tiger”.
At least one prototype of the combat car was built. Production of the car was to be done at the Rahway, New Jersey, factory owned by the American Armament Corporation.[1] The Germans invaded the Netherlands in the spring of 1940, before Tucker could complete the deal, and the Dutch government lost interest, so he completed the prototypes and opted to try to sell the vehicle to the U.S. government. The car is said to reach 100 mph (161 km/h), far in excess of the design specifications. The U.S. military felt the vehicle was too fast and had already committed to other combat vehicles. The highly mobile, power-operated gun turret featured on the Tucker combat car, which became known as the “Tucker Turret”, earned the interest of the U.S. Navy. Harry Miller would later take some of the designs from the Tucker Combat Car to American Bantam, where he was involved in the development of the first Jeep.

The Tucker Turret was soon in production (initially at Tucker’s Ypsilanti machine shop). It was used in PT boats, landing craft, and B-17 and B-29 bombers.

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The factual accuracy of part of this article is disputed. The dispute is about Turret was not widely used. Please help to ensure that disputed statements are reliably sourced. See the relevant discussion on the talk page. (February 2017) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Tucker’s patents for the turret were licensed out to various manufacturers to mass-produce the turret in the high volume needed to meet wartime demand.
The factual accuracy of part of this article is disputed. The dispute is about Turret was not widely used. Please help to ensure that disputed statements are reliably sourced. See the relevant discussion on the talk page. (February 2017) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Tucker’s patent rights were stolen and Tucker was embroiled in lawsuits for years trying to recoup royalties for use of his patents on the turret.

Tucker Aviation Corporation and Higgins-Tucker Aviation (1941-1943)[edit]
In 1940, Tucker formed a start-up, the Tucker Aviation Corporation, with the goal of manufacturing aircraft and marine engines. The corporation (Tucker’s first) was initially based at his shop behind his Michigan home. A public corporation with stock certificates issued, Tucker raised enough to develop the design for a fighter aircraft, the Tucker XP-57, which earned the interest of the United States Army Air Corps (USAAC). Development of a single prototype of the airplane was started, powered by a straight 8-cylinder engine developed/influenced by Harry Miller, called the Miller L-510. Nicknamed the “Peashooter”, this fighter competed for WWII government war contracts. However, financial problems within the company slowed the development of the prototype and the USAAC allowed the contract to lapse.

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During World War II, Tucker became associated with Andrew Jackson Higgins, builder of Liberty ships, PT boats and landing craft. Higgins acquired Tucker Aviation Corporation in March 1942, and Tucker moved to New Orleans, Louisiana, to serve as a vice-president of Higgins Industries, specifically in charge of the Higgins-Tucker Aviation division. This entity was to produce gun turrets, armament, and engines for Higgins’ torpedo boats. This relationship did not work out and Tucker severed his association with Higgins in 1943. Higgins referred to Preston Tucker as “The world’s greatest salesman. When he turns those big brown eyes on you, you’d better watch out!”

After 1943, Tucker moved back to Michigan, intending to start his own auto company, the Tucker Corporation.

After the war, the public was ready for totally new car designs. But the Big Three Detroit automakers had not developed any new models since 1941, and were in no hurry to introduce them. This provided great opportunities for new small, independent automakers who could develop new cars more rapidly than the huge legacy automakers. Tucker saw this as his opportunity to develop and bring his “car of tomorrow” to market. Another small automaker, Studebaker, was first with an all-new post-war model, but Tucker took a different tack, designing a safety car with innovative features and modern styling.

Tucker’s first design appeared in Science Illustrated magazine in December 1946, showing a futuristic version of the car with a hydraulic drive system designed by George Lawson, along with a photo of a 1/8 scale model blown up to appear full sized, titled the “Torpedo on Wheels”. This was only an early rendering of the proposal, with its design features yet to meet reality, but the motoring public was now excited about the Tucker.

To finish the prototype design and get construction under way, Tucker hired famed stylist Alex Tremulis, previously of Auburn/Cord/Duesenberg, on December 24, 1946, and gave him just six days to finalize the design. On December 31, 1946, Tucker approved Tremulis’s preliminary design. Tucker’s future-car became known as the “Tucker Torpedo” from the first Lawson sketch; however, not desiring to bring to mind the horrors of WWII, Tucker quickly changed the name to the “Tucker ’48”. With Tremulis’s design sketch, a full-page advertisement was run in March 1947 in many national newspapers claiming “How 15 years of testing produced the car of the year”. Tucker said he had been thinking about the car for 15 years. This second advertisement described specifically many of the innovative features Tucker proposed for his car, many of which would not make it to the final car. This advertisement had the public very excited about this car, but Tucker had much work to do before a prototype was ready to be shown.

To finalize the design, Tucker hired the New York design firm J. Gordon Lippincott to create an alternate body. Only the front end and horizontal taillight bar designs were retained for the final car. Another car, a sportier version of the Tucker ’48 called the Tucker Talisman, was sketched as well, but never left the drawing board.

To diversify his corporation, Tucker imported Italian engineer Secondo Campini, who was well known and respected in the aviation industry. He was put in charge of pursuing a US Air Force development contract, hoping to use Tucker’s huge Chicago factory to someday build more than just cars. Campini and Tucker also began developing plans for a gas turbine-powered car to be produced by Tucker.

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The Tucker Export Corporation was also formed, based in New York, which was established as an entity to manage worldwide sales of Tucker’s cars. Headed by Tucker’s long-time friend, Colombian Max Garavito, distributorships were set up internationally, including South America and South Africa.

Tucker assembled a group of leaders for his corporation that read like a “who’s who” of the automotive industry:

Fred Rockelman; Tucker VP and Sales Director (Formerly president of Plymouth)
Hanson Brown; Executive VP (Formerly VP for General Motors)
KE Lyman; Development engineer (Formerly of Bendix Corporation and Borg-Warner)
Ben Parsons; Tucker engineering VP and chief engineer (International fuel injection expert)
Lee S. Treese; VP of manufacturing (Formerly a Ford executive)
Herbert Morley; (Borg-Warner plant manager)
Robert Pierce; VP and Treasurer (Formerly secretary of Briggs Manufacturing)

Tucker and his colleagues were able to obtain the largest factory building in the world, the 475-acre (1.92 km2) Dodge Chicago Aircraft Engine Plant, which was later known as the Chicago Dodge Plant, from the War Assets Administration. The facility had previously been used to build the massive Wright R-3350 Cyclone engines for B-29 Superfortress aircraft during WWII. Tucker, thinking long-term, believed this large facility would fit his long-term goal of producing an entire line of Tucker automobiles under one roof. Tucker signed the lease in July 1946, contingent on him raising $15 million in capital by March 1947. Tucker needed this money to get going, so he began raising money by selling dealership rights and floating a $20 million stock issue through the Chicago brokerage firm Floyd D. Cerf. With over $17 million in the bank by 1947, the Tucker Corporation was up and running.

While Tucker ultimately got the plant, he was not able to move in until September 1947, due to delays caused by counter-claims and disputes over the plant between Tucker and the Lustron Corporation. This delayed Tucker by almost a year, during which time development of the car continued at his Michigan machine shop. Tucker planned for 60,000 cars a year with 140/day produced for the first 4 months and 300/day produced after this. Tucker suffered another setback when his bids to obtain two steel mills to provide raw materials for his cars were rejected by the WAA under a shroud of questionable politics.

Tucker’s specifications for his revolutionary car called for a rear engine, a low-RPM 589 cubic inch engine with hydraulic valves instead[clarification needed] of a camshaft, fuel injection, direct-drive torque converters on each rear wheel (instead of a transmission), disc brakes, the location of all instruments within the diameter and reach of the steering wheel, a padded dashboard, self-sealing tubeless tires, independent springless suspension, a chassis which protected occupants in a side impact, a roll bar within the roof, a laminated windshield designed to pop out during an accident, and a center “cyclops” headlight which would turn when steering at angles greater than 10 degrees in order to improve visibility around corners during night driving.

While most of these innovations made it to the final 51 prototypes, several were dropped due to cost and lack of time to develop such mechanically complicated designs. The low-RPM 589-cubic-inch engine, individual torque converters, mechanical fuel injection, and the disc brakes were all dropped during the design and testing phase.

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Having run out of time to develop the 589-cubic-inch engine for the car, Tucker ultimately settled on a modified 334 in3 (5.47 L) Franklin O-335 aircraft engine. He liked the engine so much he purchased its manufacturer, Aircooled Motors in New York, for $1.8 million in 1947. This secured a guaranteed engine supply for his car.

The Securities and Exchange commission bothered the Tucker Corporation from its earliest days. The SEC was embittered after small automaker Kaiser-Frazer was given millions of dollars in grants towards development of a new car, and subsequently squandered the money. While Tucker took no money from the federal government, small upstart automakers were under intense SEC scrutiny, and Tucker was no exception.

One of Tucker’s most innovative business ideas caused the most trouble for the company and was used by the SEC to spark its formal investigation. His Accessories Program raised funds by selling accessories before the car was even in production. Potential buyers who purchased Tucker accessories were guaranteed a spot on the dealer waiting list for a Tucker ’48 car. Tucker also began selling dealerships before the car was ready for production, and at the time of the trial had sold over 2000 dealerships nationwide at a price of $7500 to nearly $30,000 each.

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Feeling pressure from the SEC, Harry Aubrey Toulmin, Jr., the chairman of the Tucker board of directors, resigned and wrote a letter to the SEC on September 26, 1947, in an attempt to distance himself from the company. In the letter, Toulmin indicated that he quit “because of the manner in which Preston Tucker is using the funds obtained from the public through sale of stock.” Describing Tucker as “a tall, dark, delightful, but inexperienced boy”, Toulmin added that the Tucker ’48 machine “does not actually run, it just goes ‘goose-geese'” and “I don’t know if it can back up.” In reply, Tucker stated that he had asked Toulmin to resign “to make way for a prominent man now active in the automobile industry.” The “prominent man” turned out to be Preston Tucker himself.

In late 1947, a radio segment on Tucker by popular journalist Drew Pearson criticized the Tucker ’48, calling it the “tin goose” (referring to Howard Hughes’ “Spruce Goose”) and noting that the first prototype “could not even back up”. The first prototype lacked a reverse gear because Tucker had not had time to finish the direct torque drive by the time of the car’s unveiling. This was corrected in the final driveline, but the public damage was done and a negative media feeding frenzy resulted. Tucker responded by publishing a full-page advertisement in many national newspapers with “an open letter to the automobile industry” wherein he subtly hinted that his efforts to build the cars were being stymied by politics and an SEC conspiracy. Nonetheless, dealership owners began filing lawsuits to recover their money, and Tucker’s stock value plummeted.

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In 1949, Tucker surrendered his corporate records to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. United States Attorney Otto Kerner, Jr. began a grand jury investigation in February 1949. On March 3, 1949, a federal judge handed control of the Tucker Corporation over to Aaron J. Colnon and John H. Schatz. Soon thereafter on June 10, 1949, Tucker and six other Tucker Corporation executives were indicted on 25 counts of mail fraud, 5 counts of violations of SEC regulations and one count of conspiracy to defraud. The indictment included 46-year-old Tucker, Harold A. Karsten, 58, “alias Abe Karatz”; Floyd D. Cerf, 61 (whose firm had handled the stock offering); Robert Pierce, 63; Fred Rockelman, 64; Mitchell W. Dulian, 50, Tucker sales manager; Otis Radford, 42, Tucker Corporation comptroller; and Cliff Knoble, 42, Tucker advertising manager. Tucker publicly called the charges “silly and ridiculous” and hailed the indictment as “an opportunity to explain our side of the story”. Tucker and his colleagues’ defense was handled by a team of attorneys led by William T. Kirby.

Another publication, Collier’s magazine, ran an article critical of Tucker on June 25, 1949, which included leaked details of the SEC report (which was never released publicly). This article was reprinted in Readers Digest as well, expanding the scope of the negative press concerning Preston Tucker. The trial began on October 4, 1949, presided over by Judge Walter J. LaBuy. Tucker Corporation’s factory was closed on the very same day. At that point, only 37 Tucker ’48s had been built. A corps of 300 loyal employees returned to the factory (some without pay) and finished assembly of another 13 cars for a total production of 50 cars (not including the prototype).

At trial, the government contended that Tucker never intended to produce a car. Throughout the trial, the SEC report on Tucker was classified as “secret” and Tucker’s attorneys were never allowed to view or read it, but it was leaked to the press nevertheless.

As the trial proceeded, the government and SEC brought several witnesses (mostly former Tucker employees) to highlight the rudimentary methods used by Tucker to develop the car; the early suspensions were installed three times before they worked, and early parts were taken from junkyards to build the prototype. Answering back in Tucker’s defense, designer Alex Tremulis testified that it was common industry practice to use old car parts for prototype builds, and pointed out this had been done when he was involved with developing the 1942 Oldsmobile under General Motors.

Tucker Vice President Lee Treese testified that Tucker’s metal stamping and parts fabrication operations were 90% ready to mass-produce the car by June 1948 and that outside interference had slowed the final preparations for production. This back and forth between the prosecution and the defense continued until November 8, 1949, when the judge demanded the SEC prosecutors “get down to the meat of the case and start proving the conspiracy charge.” Defense attorney Kirby directed attention to automaker Kaiser-Frazer, pointing out that early models of their government-funded new car model had been made of wood and that when this project failed, Kirby stated in court documents that “Kaiser-Frazer didn’t get indicted, and they got 44 million dollars in loans from the government, didn’t they?” All told Kaiser-Frazer had received nearly $200 million in government grants, but did not produce the car they promised.

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After a break for Christmas, the trial resumed in January 1950. The government’s star witness, Daniel J. Ehlenz, a former Tucker dealership owner and distributor from St. Paul, Minnesota, testified that he had lost $28,000 in his investment in the Tucker Corporation. However, on cross-examination, the defense used this witness to their advantage when Ehlenz testified that he still drove his Tucker ’48 given to him by Tucker and that the car had 35,000 miles (56,000 km) on it and still cruised smoothly at 90 miles per hour (140 km/h). The tide turned in Tucker’s favor when the government called its final witness, SEC accountant Joseph Turnbull, who testified that Tucker had taken in over $28 million and spent less than one-seventh of it on research and development of the car. He stated that Tucker had taken over $500,000 of the investors’ money for himself, but never delivered a production car. Kirby rebutted Turnbull’s claims on cross-examination, asking for proof of the allegations of financial mismanagement from Tucker’s seized financial records. Turnbull was unable to offer such evidence. In closing his witness testimony, Kirby asked Turnbull, “You are not here suggesting these figures are figures of monies taken fraudulently, are you?” Turnbull’s answer was, “Not exactly, no.”

After this final SEC witness, Tucker’s defense attorneys surprised everyone by refusing to call any witnesses to the stand. Defense attorney Daniel Glasser told the court, “It is impossible to present a defense when there has been no offense”. In his closing arguments, Kirby became tearful and emotionally told the jury to “stop picking at the turkey,” and stated that Tucker “either intended to cheat and that’s all they intended to do or they tried in good faith to produce a car. The two are irreconcilable.” He then invited the members of the jury to take a ride in one of the eight Tucker ’48s parked in front of the courthouse before they made their decision.

On January 22, 1950, after 28 hours of deliberations, the jury returned a verdict of “not guilty” on all counts for all accused. Tucker had prevailed at the trial, but the Tucker Corporation, now without a factory, buried in debt, and faced with numerous lawsuits from Tucker dealers that were angry about the production delays, thus, was no more.

“Preston Tucker’s Secret New Car,” cover of 1955 magazine story about the Carioca. Tucker was quoted in the article: “I never gave up. I never will!”.
Speculation and controversy surrounding the Tucker Corporation[edit]
Despite the outcome of the trial, speculation has continued with regard to the question of whether Tucker genuinely intended to produce a new car and bring it to market, or whether the entire enterprise was a sham, designed for the sole purpose of collecting funds from gullible investors. Tucker collectors of the Tucker Automobile Club of America have amassed over 400,000 drawings/blueprints, corporate documents, and letters which they believe suggest that Tucker was, in fact, developing the manufacturing process necessary to mass-produce the Tucker ’48. They also point to the fact that by the time of the investigation, Tucker had hired over 1900 employees, including teams of engineers and machinists. At the trial, the Tucker VP Lee Treese testified that they were 90% ready with industrial machinery at the Chicago plant to mass-produce the vehicle.

Preston Tucker’s reputation rebounded after the acquittal. His optimism was remarkable; after the trial was over, he was quoted as saying, “Even Henry Ford failed the first time out”. Tucker Corporation assets were auctioned off publicly in Chicago. One remaining Tucker ’48 car was given to Preston Tucker, and another to his mother.

In the early 1950s, Tucker teamed up with investors from Brazil and auto designer Alexis de Sakhnoffsky to build a sports car called the Carioca. Tucker could not use the Tucker name for the car, as Peter Dun, of Dun and Bradstreet, had purchased the rights to the name. The Tucker Carioca was never developed.

Tucker’s travels to Brazil were plagued by fatigue and, upon his return to the United States, he was diagnosed with lung cancer. Tucker died from pneumonia as a complication of lung cancer on December 26, 1956, at the age of 53. Tucker is buried at Michigan Memorial Park in Flat Rock, Michigan.
In 1954, a group of investors tried to revive the Tucker Corporation by soliciting investors (mostly former Tucker distributors and dealer owners) for a new car. This effort was led by George A. Schmidt, former president of the Tucker Dealers Association. They developed sketches for a sleek 2-door convertible, but were unable to generate enough support to get it off the drawing board.

Tucker’s defense attorney, William T. Kirby, later became Chairman of the Board of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Otto Kerner, Jr., the US attorney who had aggressively pursued the Tucker Corporation, was ironically later convicted on 17 counts of bribery, conspiracy, perjury, and related charges for stock fraud in 1974. He was the first federal appellate judge in history to be jailed. He was sentenced to three years in prison and fined $50,000.

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The location of the former Tucker Corporation at 7401 S Cicero Ave, Chicago, IL 60629-5818, is now the corporate headquarters of Tootsie Roll Industries and the Ford City Mall (the building was owned for a time by Ford Motor Company). The building is so large that it was split in two, and even with a large open area between the two resulting buildings, each structure is still substantial.Tucker’s 1948 Sedan’s revolutionary ideas in car safety helped formulate car safety standards. The Tucker family held on to Aircooled Motors until 1961, when it was sold to Aero Industries.

Today, remaining original stock certificates for Tucker Corporation common stock, circa 1947, are valuable to collectors, and are worth more than when originally issued. Over 10,000 stock certificates were personally signed by Preston Tucker, making these the most desirable.

Thursday 16th February 2017

Posted in Life the Universe and Other Things on February 16, 2017 by bishshat

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I called to see Alex starting work on The Clearing..I was shocked to see stacks and piles of new wood…I thought it was a vision of after the apocalypse? Stacks of new wood I guess would be available? But I thought it was an Eco vision also? Alex said that reclaimed wood was more expensive than new wood due to the Shabby Chic Explosion…

The Clearing is a vision of the future in the grounds of Compton Verney Art Gallery and Park. We’re building a living, breathing encampment, in the shadow of the former stately home, where people can come together to learn how to live in the world that’s coming our way. From March to December 2017, The Clearing will become part school, part shelter and part folly. In the middle of The Clearing is a geodesic dome. Inside the dome, a series of workshops will teach you the skills you’ll need once the sea levels rise and the global economy collapses. Outside of these workshops, a series of caretakers will occupy the dome, to chop wood, feed the chickens, and keep the vision alive. The Clearing is a collaborative artwork by Alex Hartley and Tom James. Is it serious? Do we mean it? Is it sad? Is it happy? We’ll find out as the year goes on.

Alex Hartley (born 1963) is a British artist whose work addresses complicated and sometimes contradictory attitudes toward built environments and landscapes.

Hartley’s artwork was exhibited in Charles Saatchi’s groundbreaking Sensation (exhibition). He has exhibited and is collected widely throughout Europe, Japan and America. He is represented by the Victoria Miro Gallery in London.

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REBUILDING DEMOCRACY

Sunday 5 November

Are human rights an aberration? A historical blip? Does the end of fossil fuels mean the return of slavery? How can we maintain equality of women and minorities if society returns to something nastier, shorter and more brutish?

This workshop will explore how to set up small-scale democracies. We’ll talk about where they’ve existed (from Occupy to the Paris Commune), practical tips for defending them, how to set them up, and where they normally fall down. We’ll end with a bonfire, to celebrate the continued survival of British democracy, and burn some home-made guys.

Spoiler: we don’t know if this workshop will work.

DATE: Sunday 5th November 2017.
TIME: TBC.
BRING: Stout footwear, some food to share.
TICKETS: Workshops cost £10 per adult, and £5 per child/concessions. This includes admission to the grounds. Tickets will be available from the 18th February 2017.
NOTE: Workshops are subsidised by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

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Some new found pictures of MM ..sweet. On the internet they were saying MM could be pregnant in these pictures..Not sure I believe this I just think that the slight tummy on these pictures is really sexy..o gosh now I am being a typical sexist male..

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Gent 1 Spurs 0

We’re still yet to win a game in Belgium after a disappointing 1-0 defeat at KAA Gent in the first leg of our Europa League round of 32 tie on Thursday. Jeremy Perbet’s second-half strike against the run of play gave his manager, Hein Vanhaezebrouck, the perfect birthday present and left us with work to do in the second leg at Wembley next week.

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Harry Kane had struck the outside of the post shortly before Gent’s opener as we pushed forward in numbers at the start of the second period following a first half devoid of chances at either end. But Perbet’s goal gave Gent, mid-table in the Belgian league, the momentum and they looked most likely to add to the scoreline in the latter stages.

Indeed, it needed a flying save from Hugo Lloris to tip Danijel Milicevic’s shot onto the post with just under a quarter-of-an-hour left. With no way through for us and no away goal, we’ve a tough challenge ahead of us back in London next week to reach the last 16.

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