Asimov Mathematics and the Collapse of Empire

Asimov Cropped

by Brian Clegg

If there’s one lesson that we have learned from recent shock political results, whether it’s Brexit in the UK, or the election of Donald Trump to the White House, it is that we can’t trust the polls, which failed miserably to predict the outcomes. This is the kind of issue that is at the heart of my recent book Are Numbers Real?, exploring the relationship between mathematics and reality. Science has come increasingly to depend on math, to the extent that much modern physics is driven by it – yet mathematics and reality are very different things, especially when dealing with as complex a system as a country’s electorate. Read more ›

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Posted in Ancient History, Modern History

Takeo Yoshikawa: The Japanese Spy at Pearl Harbor

Takeo Yoshikawa

by Nicholas Best

When the task force slipped out of port on December 5, 1941, a man calling himself Tadashi Morimura watched from a few hundred yards away to the north. He was careful not to write anything down, but he missed nothing as Lexington put to sea. With the help of the reference book Jane’s Fighting Ships and a good memory, he knew exactly which American warships were leaving harbor. It was his job to record their movements and report them to his spymasters in Tokyo. Read more ›

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Posted in Military History

The Battle of Khe Sanh, January 21 – April 8, 1968

Khe Sanh

Editor: Michael Spilling and Consultant Editor: Chris McNab

Khe Sanh combat base, built on a hilltop located 10 km from the Laotian border, was the westernmost in a line of Allied defenses south of the DMZ designed to prevent communist infiltration into South Vietnam. By 1968, Khe Sanh combat base was occupied by 3000 US Marines of the 3rd Marine Division. While a further 3000 Marines were stationed on four nearby hilltop positions surrounding the base. These positions had been the subject of heavy fighting during 1967. Read more ›

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Posted in Military History

Felix Yusupov and the Murder of Rasputin

Felix Yusupov

by Douglas Smith

The Yusupov household was staunchly anti-Rasputin. Felix Yusupov’s father could not bear even to hear the name spoken in his presence, and his mother let the empress know of her hatred for the man, which poisoned their relations for good. Felix’s attitude toward Rasputin was profoundly shaped by his parents, and by Ella, too, and so it is something of a surprise that he seems to have sought out an introduction to Rasputin. The woman who brought the two men together was a dear friend by the name of Munya Golovina. Read more ›

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Posted in Modern History

The Battle of Hue, January 30 – March 3, 1969

U.S marines wounded during the battle. Image is in the public domain via

Editor: Michael Spilling and Consultant Editor: Chris McNab

As part of the Tet Offensive of 1968, the VC and North Vietnamese dedicated two regiments to the seizure of the imperial capital of Hue. On the morning of 31 January 1968, the North Vietnamese 6th Regiment attacked the walled citadel north of the Perfume River. The 4th Regiment attacked the new city south of the river. Read more ›

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Posted in Military History
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