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Let's reinvent the CBC
In recent weeks the Polish national broadcaster TVP has been liquidated due to a dispute over the future of publicly-owned media in Poland after the pro-European coalition party under Donald Tusk took power. For a decade TVP was controlled by th...
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A Second Front for Ukraine
During WWII, Stalin pressured Churchill and his Secretary of State Anthony Eden to establish a second front in the West against the Nazis. He wanted to relieve the pressure on the Soviet Army in and around Moscow under attack by the German war machin...
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Incompetence at the Top
It's quite amazing that hundreds of postal workers at the privately owned UK Post Office were wrongly prosecuted or convicted between 1999 and 2015 for alleged false accounting, theft and fraud, because of a glitchy software system that incorrectly s...
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Aretha's Will
Remember the Alberta farmer, Bill Bryson, who died after being pinned under his tractor. Before dying, he wrote his will by scratching it on the fender of his tractor. The scratching said, “In case I die in this accident, I leave all to my son, Bill ...
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Wonderous ancient structures and ‘Self-healing’ concrete
The Parthenon and the Colosseum are two of the most amazing ancient structures still standing today: a temple in Athens dedicated to the goddess Athena built in the 5th century BCE and the largest standing amphitheatre in the world built in 80 CE in ...
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Dresden, Aleppo and Gaza.
War is a dirty business. Remember the firebombing of Dresden and other German cities during WW2. In four raids in February 1945, heavy bombers of the RAF and the USAAF bombed the city with high explosive bombs and incendiary devices. Some 25,000 Germ...
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The Bastinado: Clean flagellation?
“I will deal in poison with thee, or in bastinado, or in steel…” says Touchstone threatening William in As You Like it, Act V, Shakespeare.“He was forthwith laid down on the deck, and had his arms turned and held behind him, one man sitting on h...
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PRAISE YOUR LOCAL LIBRARY
I stepped into my local library recently after two years of absence. I went in to renew my library card and to have a look around at the selection. I have been reading mostly the poor selection of books on Overdrive and buying other books that I want...
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HOW DO WE DEFINE NON-FICTION IN TODAY'S MEDIA?
I recently read David Grann's hugely successful crime thriller (Killers of the Flower Moon) and enjoyed the read. Don't get me wrong, I like his books. I'm an author and I love history, but I'm also a nitpicker like a lot of authors. Grann's crime th...
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LET'S TALK ABOUT SECRET CODES
Back in the 16th century ciphers were used by kings to communicate with their governors and ambassadors in distant countries. You may have seen in the news that it took the Loria Research Lab in France six months to crack a five-century-old secret co...
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AKHMUT: A PYRRHIC VICTORY OR A DEFEAT FOR THE RUSSIANS?
After the Battle of Asculum in 279 BC, Plutarch wrote in his Lives of Noble Greeks and Romans: "If we are victorious in one more battle with the Romans, we shall be utterly ruined." A Pyrrhic victory is defined as a victory that inflicts such a ...
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The Battle of Cannae
In recent weeks I have been musing over the terrible cost of the war in Ukraine. Just this last week the Ukrainians announced that they had killed 1,100 Russians in Bakhmut in the last few days. It is estimated that the Russians are losing 5 times mo...
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FROM AFGHANISTAN TO UKRAINE
The recent attacks by Ukrainian drones on two Tu-95 bombers at the Engels Russian airfield, a fuel truck at the Dyagilevo airbase in Ryazin and an oil storage tank at the Kursk airfield have upped the ante in the war with Russia. Experts say the dron...
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SLAVE REPARATIONS: AN ABSURDITY?
I have spent the last year doing a lot of historical research on slavery for my new novel "White Slaves" (390 pages) which will be published early next year. This has led me to believe that slavery is endemic to humankind just like prostitution. We h...
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THE ATTACK ON LITHUANIA
My original intention this week was to talk about the Domesday book and how William the Conqueror surveyed much of England and parts of Wales back to 1085. What an incredible document from Norman times and what a huge influence it had. Unfortunately,...
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