Genrally speaking I believe there are two types of people, beach vacation people, and mountain vacation people. I’m a beach vacation person, however this little mountain getaway looks pretty perfect. Ryan and Mariah designed and built the cabin themselves for only $10,000. How clever of them.
This is one of those days where it is worth remembering a truly amazing feat/miracle in human history.
On this day in 1944, Nickolas Alkemade, an RAF Sergeant, was serving as a tail gunner on an RAF Lancaster bomber. The plane was at 18,000 feet when the Nazis hit it, setting it on fire.
Alkemade decided he’d rather die instantly by impact rather than burn up as the plane rapidly descended. The rest of the crew stayed on board and died in the fiery wreckage.
Nickolas Alkemade jumped out at 18,000 feet. He had no parachute. All the parachutes had burned up in the plane already.
For 18,000 feet Nickolas Alkemade plummeted over Hanover. His body fell into a stand of pines with snow piled extraordinarily high. But the snow had not gotten compacted.
He lived, suffering only a sprained leg. The Nazis captured him and, once they investigated and realized he was telling the truth, gave him a certificate authenticating the miraculous fall.
Nickolas Stephen Alkemade served out the rest of World War II in a German POW camp. He then went to work in the chemical industry and died on June 2, 1987.
Consider this an open thread.
By the way, a year earlier, American Alan Magee fell 22,000 feet, or roughly four miles, from a B-17 and survived after falling through a church ceiling that mitigated the blow to his body.
No doubt many stories of heroism in the face of Japan’s recent tsunami will emerge in the upcoming weeks—one is happening in the Fukushima Daiichi plant as I write this, in fact—but the latest is so beautiful and fantastical that it seems primed for a Hollywood movie.
Meet Hideaki Akaiwa, 43. Startled at work by the now infamous earthquake and tsunami that shook and overtook Japan on March 11, Akaiwa rushed to high ground and immediately called his wife of two decades. When she didn’t answer, Akaiwa ignored friends’ pleas to wait for a military rescue, instead rummaging up some scuba gear and diving into the dark, cold, debris-filled tsunami. Hundreds of yards of swimming later, Akaiwa found his wife struggling against the 10-foot current that had overtaken the couple’s Ishinomaki home.
Once he’d gotten his wife to safety, Akaiwa suffered for four days with worry for his elderly mother. When she didn’t turn up at any of the official evacuation centers, Akaiwa dove once again into the filthy, neck-high waters and swam to her neighborhood, determined to track her down. After some searching, Akaiwa found her, scared and alone, on the second floor of neighbor’s house. “She was very much panicked because she was trapped with all this water around,” he told the Los Angeles Times. “I didn’t know where she was. It was such a relief to find her.”
With his family accounted for, Akaiwa hasn’t rested on his laurels. Rather, he’s spent the past two weeks heading into Ishinomaki in search of other trapped survivors. Armed with a backpack, a flashlight, a Swiss Army knife, and some water, he rides his bike around the wreckage and makes his own destiny.
What happens in this picture is absolutely beyond me. All I know is that it was taken in Italy, and the goats in case (Alpine Ibex) are climbing the walls of the dam to lick the salt off the construction. Click on the picture to make it larger.
Norwegian landscape photographer Terje Sorgjerd spent one week around Kirkenes and the Norway-Russia border, in -25 Celsius temperature, to make this magnificent time-lapse video of the Aurora Borealis.
Today in Japan, a baby dolphin who had been caught in the tsunami was found in a flooded rice field about a mile from the coast. Ryo Taira, a pet-shop owner who’s been rescuing animals, tried to net the struggling dolphin, then waded into the field and carried it in his arms. “It was pretty weak by then, which was probably the only reason we could catch it,” he said. Taira and his friends wrapped the animal in wet towels and took it to the shore, then watched it swim into the Pacific. “I don’t know if it will live, but it’s certainly a lot better than dying in a rice paddy,” said Taira. More »
If you’ve ever wondered whether two-factor authentication systems actually boost security, things that spit out pseudorandom numbers you have to enter in addition to a password, the answer is yes, yes they do. But, their effectiveness is of course dependent on the security of the systems that actually generate those funny numbers, and as of this morning those are looking a little less reliable. RSA, the security division of EMC and producer of the SecurID systems used by countless corporations (and the Department of Defense), has been hacked. Yesterday it sent out messages to its clients and posted an open letter stating that it’s been the victim of an “advanced” attack that “resulted in certain information being extracted from RSA’s systems” — information “specifically related to RSA’s SecurID two-factor authentication products.”
Yeah, yikes. The company assures that the system hasn’t been totally compromised, but the information retrieved “could potentially be used to reduce the effectiveness of a current two-factor authentication implementation as part of a broader attack.” RSA is recommending its customers beef up security in other ways, including a suggestion that RSA’s customers “enforce strong password and pin policies.” Of course, if security admins wanted to rely on those they wouldn’t have made everyone carry around SecurID tokens in the first place.
I can’t say I’m always the most confident Urdu speaker. When my mother’s younger siblings came from Pakistan a few years ago,with a slew of adorable baby cousins (okay, it was three), I was happy to once again immerse myself in the language. But nowadays it’s rare that I have the chance to practice Urdu, which is why this video made me giggle. Two girls decide they want to order Indian food — but in Hindi. So of course they turn to the Interwebs for help. Because on the Internet, nobody knows you’re brown. Using Google Translate, they successfully order themselves some takeout. I like the part at the end where the dude on the phone is like, “Will there be anything else?” And the girls just keep “saying” the address instead.
Alas, the English-Urdu translation tool doesn’t narrate the translation for you. But maybe someday. A girl can dream. Then maybe I can impress the local kebab-wala with my fluent Urdu.