Archive for December 10th, 2012

December 10, 2012

Pubic Wars

muff by ashkahn shahparnia

Pubic Wars, a pun on the Punic Wars, is the name given to the rivalry between the pornographic magazines Playboy and Penthouse during the 1960s and 1970s. Each magazine strove to show just a little bit more than the other, without getting too crude. The term was coined by ‘Playboy’ owner Hugh Hefner. In 1950s and 60s America it was generally agreed that nude photographs were not pornographic unless they showed pubic hair or, even worse, genitals.

‘Respectable’ photography was careful to come close to, but not cross over, this line. Consequently the depiction of pubic hair was de facto forbidden in U.S. pornographic magazines. ‘Penthouse’ originated in 1965 in Britain and was initially distributed in Europe. In 1969 it was launched in the U.S., bringing new competition to ‘Playboy.’ Due to more liberal European attitudes to nudity ‘Penthouse’ was already displaying pubic hair at the time of its U.S. launch. According to the magazine’s owner Bob Guccione, ‘We began to show pubic hair, which was a big breakthrough.’

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December 10, 2012

Project Iceworm

Camp Century

Project Iceworm was the code name for a US Army Top Secret proposal during the Cold War (a study was started in 1958), to build a network of mobile nuclear missile launch sites under the Greenland ice sheet. The ultimate objective of placing medium-range missiles under the ice – close enough to Moscow to strike targets within the Soviet Union – was kept secret from the Danish government.

To study the feasibility of working under the ice, a highly publicized ‘cover’ project, known as ‘Camp Century’ was launched in 1960. However, unsteady ice conditions within the ice sheet caused the project to be cancelled in 1966. Details of the missile base project were classified for decades, and first came light in 1997, when the Danish Foreign Policy Institute (DUPI) was asked by the Danish Parliament to research the history of nuclear weapons in Greenland during the Thulegate scandal.

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December 10, 2012

Tuskegee Airmen

tuskegee airmen

The Tuskegee [tuhs-kee-geeAirmen is the popular name of a group of African-American pilots who fought in World War II. During World War II, African Americans in many U.S. states were still subject to discriminatory Jim Crow laws. The American military was racially segregated, as was the federal government. The Tuskegee Airmen were treated with prejudice both within and outside the army. Despite these adversities, they trained and flew with distinction. The Fighter Group saw action in Sicily and Italy, before being deployed as bomber escorts in Europe, where they were very successful.

The Tuskegee Airmen initially were equipped with Curtiss P-40 Warhawks fighter-bomber aircraft, briefly with Bell P-39 Airacobras, later with Republic P-47 Thunderbolts, and finally with the aircraft with which they became most commonly associated, the North American P-51 Mustang. When the pilots painted the tails of their P-47s and later, P-51s, red, the nickname ‘Red Tails’ was coined. Bomber crews applied a more effusive ‘Red-Tail Angels’ sobriquet. A B-25 bomb group, was forming in the U.S., but was not able to complete its training in time to see action.

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