Saturday, June 8, 2019

DYK: About China, Palace of Versailles, Samuel L Jackson, Normandy Beaches and Two Nuns

From: Jim N.
Sent: June 8, 2019
To: undisclosed recipients
Subject: Fw: DYK: About China, Palace of Versailles, Samuel L Jackson, Normandy Beaches and Two Nuns


#1 Underneath the streets of Beijing, there are over a million people who live in nuclear bunkers.

In the late ’60s and ‘70s, anticipating the devastation of a Cold War-nuclear fallout, Chairman Mao directed Chinese cities to construct apartments with bomb shelters capable of withstanding the blast of a nuclear bomb. In Beijing alone, roughly 10,000 bunkers were promptly constructed.

But when China opened its door to the broader world in the early ’80s, Beijing’s defense department seized the opportunity to lease the shelters to private landlords, eager to profit from converting the erstwhile fallout hideaways into tiny residential units.

Now when night falls, more than a million people—mostly migrant workers and students from rural areas—vanish from Beijing’s bustling streets into the underground universe, little known to the world above.


#2 In order to supply water to the parks of the Palace of Versailles, Louis XIV ordered the construction of the machine Marly.

The Machine de Marly, also known as the Marly Machine or the Machine of Marly, was a large hydraulic system in Yvelines, France, built in 1684 to pump water from the river Seine and deliver it to the Palace of Versailles.

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King Louis XIV needed a large water supply for his fountains at Versailles. Before the Marly Machine was built, the amount of water delivered to Versailles already exceeded that used by the city of Paris, but this was insufficient, and fountain-rationing was necessary. Ironically most of the water pumped by the Marly Machine ended up being used to develop a new garden at the Château de Marly. However, even if all the water pumped at Marly (an average of 3,200 cubic metres per day, or 845,351 gallons per day) had been supplied to Versailles, it still would not have been enough: the fountains running à l'ordinaire (that is, at half pressure) required at least four times as much.


#3 In 1969, Samuel L Jackson was expelled from Morehouse College.

In 1969, Jackson and several other students held members of the Morehouse College board of trustees (including a nearby Martin Luther King, Sr.) hostage on the campus, demanding reform in the school's curriculum and governance. The college eventually agreed to change its policy, but Jackson was charged with and eventually convicted of unlawful confinement, a second-degree felony. Jackson was then suspended for two years for his criminal record and his actions. He would later return to the college to earn his Bachelor of Arts in Drama in 1972.

While he was suspended, Jackson was employed as a social worker in Los Angeles. Jackson decided to return to Atlanta, where he met with Stokely Carmichael, H. Rap Brown, and others active in the Black Power movement. Jackson revealed in the same Parade interview that he began to feel empowered with his involvement in the movement, especially when the group began buying guns. However, before Jackson could become involved with any significant armed confrontation, his mother sent him to Los Angeles after the FBI told her that he would die within a year if he remained with the Black Power movement. In a 2018 interview with Vogue he denied ever having been a member of the Black Panther Party.


#4 It turns out that the fighting on D-Day was so fierce that as much as 4% of the sand on Normandy beaches is magnetic shrapnel that has been broken down over the decades into sand-sized chunks.

In the photo to the right, see the smooth sphere? It's got a diameter of around one-tenth of a millimeter judging by the legend. That's sixty-year-old shrapnel, sanded down to a smooth, microscopic ball. Also fascinating is the fact that — within 150 years — the beach will lose most of this metallic memory to rust. The sand-size fragments of steel will also be wiped away by waves and storms. For now, though, it's still a poignant reminder of the immense loss of life and sacrifice that occurred there almost seventy years ago.


#5 Two nuns teaching at a California Elementary School embezzled approximately $500,000 from their employer over a ten year period to fund their trips and casino visits.

For nearly 28 years, Sister Mary Margaret Kreuper was the principal at St. James Catholic School, an elementary school in Torrance, California, a coastal suburb southwest of Los Angeles. Around the same time when Kreuper announced she was retiring earlier this year, a family at the school asked for a copy of an old check they had written to St. James. When staff members found the check, the Long Beach Press-Telegram reported, they realized it had not been deposited in St. James's account but a different bank account.

That was among the first clues that would unravel a vast fraud that was allegedly conducted by Kreuper and Sister Lana Chang, another nun and longtime St. James's teacher. School officials recently told parents the two nuns stole around $500,000 from the school. The school said that the two women, reportedly best friends, used the pilfered funds on trips and casino visits.


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