Holiday Cheer: Violence, Language, and History

This will probably be my last post of the week, as I spend more time preparing for the upcoming nondenominational midwinter festivities. Don’t despair, however, because I’m leaving you with three little downloadable holiday presents: violence, language, and history. Underwhelming, I know, but they’re better than my failed efforts at humor suggest.

From the BBC comes one of the more interesting looks at Bletchley Park, the WWII centre of U.K. codebreaking – interviews with some of the women who worked there. Called “Spit and Suck Secrets” (a somewhat crass description of what Bletchley did during the war), the forty-minute program is available right here. (It’s a 128kb MP3 file, about 36MB in size; it should be streamable for most people, but you can also do the “download as” thing, to save it for posterity.)

From the CBC comes an interesting look at the English language. It won’t teach you how to become a cunning linguist, but it’ll at least cover the basics of The History of English in 28 Minutes. (12.8MB MP3; stream it, download it, et cetera.)

Also from the folks up in Northern Canuckistan comes one of the more bizarre things I’ve ever heard – but in a good way! It’s the story of how aboriginal tribes convinced bison to commit suicide, which is both more interesting – and less disgusting – than you might expect. You can download the recording of Heads-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump right here. (17MB, 18-minute MP3 file.)

I hope you’ll enjoy these; it is, after all, the season of giving, right?

On that note, it’s probably time for the useless and ineffective hustle again, so here’s the skinny: This website takes money to operate, and the tiny bit of revenue from the handful of unobtrusive ads doesn’t cover hosting costs, let alone the multitude of FOIA-related fees and similar, unrelated expenses. I – and the website – aren’t actually dependent on you, the reader, for financial support, which is a good thing, seeing as I can’t even recall the last time anyone donated to the site.

If you really want to donate a buck or two to Entropic Memes, I’m not going to stop you – there’s a PayPal button way, way down at the bottom of the front page of the site, and it may even work; your donations directly support the website, and go straight to my webhost, to defray hosting fees. If you want to be altruistic this holiday season, however, I would encourage you – strongly encourage you – to instead donate to the Federation of American Scientists’ Secrecy News project, as the inimitable Steven Aftergood is not only in greater need of your hard-earned money, but far more deserving of it, as well. Donations to the FAS are also tax-deductible, woo-hoo.

I’ll be back on Monday, if not sooner; until then, have a happy holiday… and watch out for the egg nog, eh?

Published in: Geekiness, General, History | on December 23rd, 2008| Comments Off on Holiday Cheer: Violence, Language, and History

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