German tanks rolled toward Stalingrad as if leading a holiday parade in Berlin. Luftwaffe planes had pounded Soviet defenses for weeks, scattering the enemy and clearing the way for the ground assault. Through binoculars, the Germans could see smoke rising from the burning city. Victory seemed almost in hand.
Suddenly, shells exploded all around. Soviet antiaircraft crews had cranked down the barrels of their 37mm guns and opened fire. Their aim was a bit wild, but the barrage brought the Germans up short. Halting their advance, the tankers organized a counterattack. Stukas joined in, swooping down on the three dozen batteries, which had no infantry support. The fighting raged for hours until one by one, the Russian guns fell silent. Only later did the Germans learn that the men who had stood against them that day in August 1942 were not men at all.
What Soviet writer Vasily Grossman described as “the first page of the Stalingrad defense” had been authored chiefly by teenage girls, volunteers of the 1077th Antiaircraft Regiment, a unit assembled from the city’s high schools. A bunch of women - kids, no less. Many had fought to the death, impressing the enemy.
In October 1941, the Soviet Union created three all-women air force regiments, becoming the first nation to send women pilots into combat. The new flyers were given six months of training, men’s uniforms—”right down to the underwear,” said one—and “boy-style” haircuts. They flew more than 30,000 sorties.
One unit, the 588th Night Bomber Regiment, became notorious among Germans as the Night Witches. Flying at night in wood-and-fabric Polikarpov Po-2 biplanes, the pilots typically cut their engines and glided down behind the lines, the wind whistling eerily against the brace lines as they tossed bombs from the cockpit.
In 1943, the Soviets opened what’s thought to be history’s first military school for women. The Central Women’s School for Sniper Training put nearly 2,000 students through a rigorous course on weapons, telescopic sights, camouflage, hand-to-hand combat, and more.
“We fired and fired and fired,” wrote one student. “We fired from the shoulder, the hip and the chest, on the run and standing, in the open and camouflaged….Your legs pained, your eyes ached from the prolonged stress, and your shoulder throbbed from the recoil of the rifle butt.” The school’s alumni were credited with killing more than 11,000.
Russia’s most famous sniper, Lyudmila Pavlichenko, didn’t learn her craft at the school. The daughter of a Red Army soldier, she trained as a young woman with a shooting club affiliated with the arms factory where she worked. During the war, she racked up more than 300 kills and became legendary for her toughness—she was wounded four times—and endurance. Often, she’d lie in ambush for days.
Pavlichenko came to the United States in 1942 to help lobby the Allies to open a second front on the Germans in Europe. The novelty of a woman killer thrilled Americans; Woody Guthrie wrote a ballad “Miss Pavlichenko” extolling her virtues: “Your smile shines as bright / As my new morning sun. / But more than three hundred nazisdogs fell by your gun.”
The press surprised Pavlichenko with questions about her makeup and hairstyle. “Don’t they know there is a war?” she said. One reporter even questioned her fashion sense, saying her uniform made her look fat.
Twenty-year-old Yekaterina Razumovskaya, a farm milkmaid before the war, proved she could load heavy shells better than men and was quickly promoted to weapon commander. She explained matter-of-factly: “If you strongly want to achieve something, you will.”
The Soviets came to depend on the women gunners. At Moscow, Leningrad, and Stalingrad, females eventually replaced all the men, to great effect. One German pilot, a veteran of the Africa theater, said: “I would rather fly 10 times over the skies of [British-controlled] Tobruk than pass once through the fire of Russian flak sent up by female gunners.”
A Nevada Republican arrested for voter fraud in the 2012 election, after claiming she was trying to test the system’s integrity, pled guilty and accepted a plea deal Thursday, forcing her to pay almost $2,500 and promise to stay out of trouble.
“When she landed her own show on MSNBC during the 2008 election, there was a real sense of Charlie Bucket’s Golden Ticket novelty about it. An unabashed lesbian with a butch sensibility who earned a PhD from Oxford and refused to capitulate to the lowest common denominator in her punditry, the country just sort of patted her on the head like Willy Wonka and said, “Well, you’re just lucky to be here, aren’t you?” Fast forward to 2102 and Maddow is the voice of forward-thinking America. She’s the go-to political pundit on cable TV, the go-to panelist on beltway news shows, and the go-to bartender on late night talk shows. People in the right-wing media and conservative politicians might get a giggle from saying she “looks like a boy,” but none of them have the balls to brain-up against her on her show, despite her repeated invitations even to folks like Dick Cheney……It was appropriate that the butchy gay lady with the hipster glasses and the skater shoes and the jeans on under her desk ushered in the liberal mandate of 2012. Times, indeed, are a-changin’. And anyway, Charlie Bucket inherited that chocolate factory in the end.”
Every bright thing I read about and by him makes his suicide and the circumstances leading up to it seem darker and darker.
This is a comment he posted in response to whether his life as a child prodigy was healthy and balanced enough for him. He said this in response to personal criticism when he was 14.
While I’m a bit nervous about jumping into this thread myself, I think I’ll go ahead and do it anyway. To those who say that you can only be happy by being “normal”, I’d like to suggest that I am evidence to the contrary.
I was never encouraged to do anything like this by my parents, although they certainly did support me.
You don’t have to be stupid to have a good time. Doing something that challenges and develops your brain, while still having a supporting social group in place, has not seemed to impair my development in the least — in fact, I seem to be having a better time than some of the depressed, struggling, “normal” teenagers I know. At least in my opinion — I may not be too fit to judge!
So, say what you want, but I’ve got a family who loves me quite a lot, enough interesting projects to keep me busy, and tons of support from friends and acquaintances.
Imagine what a wonderful world we could have if everyone grew up like that… ;-) ;-)
Using sound waves to levitate individual droplets of solutions containing pharmaceutical drugs and drying them in mid-air. Why do this? This is useful because most of the drugs on the market are either amorphous or crystalline and the crystalline form doesn’t get absorbed by the body. So levitating the solution allows the drug to be made into an amorphous state (by evaporation) because if it were to touch any surface it would simply crystallize. They call this “containerless processing”.
The frequencies used are just above the audible range at about 22 kilohertz and when the two speakers are aligned they create two sets of sound waves, perfectly interfering with each other creating a phenomenon known as a standing wave. This allows the objects to levitate in areas within the waves known as nodes as the acoustic pressure is enough to cancel the force of gravity.
There isn’t really anything I could say about this that hasn’t been said by others already—in previous years, even. I just wanted to make a cleaner, clearer graphic than the ones I’ve seen floating around.
I love (and am terrified by) how the comparison, free of any commentary, is still startling. It’s been exactly 155 years since the first map’s boundaries were set, and it’s apparent that something deep-seated on both sides has barely budged.
This is the map I based the 1860 map on. I edited the red and blue to make it easier to quickly compare it with the 2012 presidential results map, screengrabbed from the New York Times Election 2012 section.
This map also includes the Unorganized Territories as part of the “Slave States” and, while the “states” label is technically incorrect, the territories did enact slavery laws similar to that of the soon-to-secede South, so the label fits their ideology if not their geographic designation.
“I would not say that the battle is over, but that some monster of American history, some wraith, some awful Power went into battle last night, and is presently limping away mortally wounded. The beast-handlers know this. I think it’s broadcast in Bill O’Reilly’s open racism, in Karl Rove’s flight into lunacy. It is slowly dawning on them: This isn’t 1968. The hippies are punching back.”