Links for October 28, 2016

Transcript of Surreptitiously Taped Conversations among German Nuclear Physicists at Farm Hall (August 6-7, 1945)

After the end of the war, both the Western Allies and the Soviet Union tried to recruit the German scientists for their own purposes. From July 3, 1945, to January 3, 1946, the Allies incarcerated ten German nuclear physicists at the English country estate of Farm Hall, their goal being to obtain information about the German nuclear research project by way of surreptitiously taped conversations. The following transcript includes the scientists’ reactions to reports that America had dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima. The scientists also discuss their relationship to the Nazi regime and offer some prognoses for Germany’s future.

How one man’s idea for the AIDS quilt made the country pay attention

I imagined families sharing stories of their loved ones as they cut and sewed the fabric. It could be therapy, I hoped, for a community that was increasingly paralyzed by grief and rage and powerlessness. It could be a tool for the media, to reveal the humanity behind the statistics. And a weapon to deploy against the government; to shame them with stark visual evidence of their utter failure to respond to the suffering and death that spread and increased with every passing day. I couldn’t shake the idea of a quilt.

Letter of Complaint: Cards Against Humanity

This premise is perfect for a society in which real, enforced taboos still exist but are outnumbered by the expanding category of utterly safe rebellions for which we congratulate ourselves daily. We pretend to be scandalized by the phrase “coat-hanger abortion,” but in the end it is a punch line in a party game. Once you see through this hypocrisy, it becomes impossible to enjoy Cards Against Humanity again. The frisson evaporates, and the game becomes more like church: a profoundly alienating activity where the suspicion that everyone is faking it vies with the fear that everyone is more into it than you.