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Our Militant Resources

From the archives. The Spectator argues in 1914 that the British should not fear air-raids by German Zeppelins. “The Londoners who will be killed will be almost all non-combatants, and thus from the military point of view quite negligible. To put the matter quite frankly, five hundred non-combatants killed in London will deplete our military strength very much less than five soldiers or one officer killed at the front” (1,480 words)

The Origins Of The Shroud Of Turin

It isn’t the burial shroud of Christ. It was probably painted only a few years before it was first exhibited in a chapel near Troyes, France, in 1355. The Bishop of Troyes said he had “actually tracked down the painter”. Popular belief that the image on the cloth might be an original imprint of Christ’s body began to spread a century later, after the Savoy family bought the Shroud in 1453 and exposed it annually in Turin (8,400 words)

Tales Of The Hobbit

Scientists recount the discovery of Homo floresiensis, “the most important hominin fossil in a generation”. The bones suggested a human, but smaller — perhaps a new species. “It’s not a diseased modern human. But whether it’s a shrunken down version of a Homo erectus, or whether it’s something more ancient like a Homo habilis, or even an australopithecine who’s managed to struggle out of Africa — that’s still pretty much up for grabs” (3,550 words)

The Man With The Golden Blood

Only 43 people in the world are known to have Rhesus-null blood, of whom a mere six are regular blood donors. They are “infinitely precious to medicine and science”. The “null” means that their blood has no Rhesus antigens; it can be used for transfusions without fear of rejection. “It’s the golden blood”. Those who have it can save “countless lives”. But their gift becomes a curse if they ever need a transfusion themselves (3,490 words)

The Personality of Stalin

Another fine discussion of Stephen Kotkin’s revisionist biography of Stalin (Anne Applebaum’s review is also recommended). Stalin was “a man acting out of deeply held ideological convictions”. His action were “only understandable in these terms, not in terms of maximisation of personal power”. Without Stalin, the Soviet Union “would have been transformed into something else or fallen apart” (2,480 words)

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