#AtoZChallenge: April 24 – U is for “Ultra”

Interesting piece of British military history. If any of you enjoy history in all forms like I do, take a look at this post in Of Glass & Paper.

Of Glass & Paper

Ultra was the designation adopted by Britishmilitary intelligence in June 1941 for wartime signals intelligence obtained by breaking high-level encrypted enemy radio and teleprinter communications at the Government Code and Cypher School at Bletchley Park.”

The deciphering of messages generated by the enemy’s Enigma machines for land and naval forces was, by all accounts, a decisive factor of the Allied victory in Western Europe. By the end of the war “Ultra” designated the entire body of intelligence gathered from Axis forces’ radio and teleprinter emissions.

The successful development of the method and procedures leading to the breaking of ciphered communications was largely due to the mathematical analytical work of a small group of Polish, British and American scientists and engineers led by the mathematician Alan Turing. Turing is widely considered as the father of computer science and Artificial Intelligence.

GCHQ – the British government communications HQ…

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Bonfire Night.

Bonfire Night (also known as Guy Fawkes Night) is an annual celebration observed on the night of November 5th involving fireworks displays and, of course, bonfires involving Guy Fawkes effigies (and sometimes Pope effigies) throughout cities & towns in the United Kingdom (and some other countries). (Food is a major bonus.) Guy Fawkes attempted to overthrow King James I on November 5, 1605 in what’s now known as the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. He & his co-conspirators got caught & executed and the king’s subjects, only knowing that an uprising almost happened (they didn’t know the who/what/where/when/why behind the attempted uprising), celebrated their king being saved by having celebratory bonfires.

I bought myself some bangers & crumpets to eat in solidarity. 😉 There have also been fireworks going off throughout the week in my area, as well as other areas through which I travel. When this occurred last year, I didn’t know much about the celebrations and thought that the fireworks were gunshots. (I grew up in a rough neighborhood so I can’t always tell the difference between the two.) Now that I’m settled in here, I not only know what the noises are, I’ve also taken on a few British customs – Bonfire Night being one of them. One of my co-workers also gave me some history about it because a few months ago, there were rumors that a certain council wasn’t going to celebrate this year (those rumors were later confirmed to be false), and since I only knew the basics about the celebrations she was kind enough to send me some information about the full history.

‘Remember, remember the fifth of November,
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!’

A children’s song for Bonfire Night

Toffee apple bangers.
Toffee apple bangers.
Local fireworks.
Local fireworks.

Wanna learn more about this festive celebration and its history? Take a look at the links below.

Guy Fawkes http://www.guyfawkes.me.uk/

Bonfire Night http://www.bonfirenight.net/

Guy Fawkes Night (Wikipedia) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guy_Fawkes_Night

Bonfire Night recipes (BBC Good Food) http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/content/recipes/occasions/bonfire-night/

Gunpowder Plot of 1605 http://www.gunpowder-plot.org/

What if the Gunpowder Plot had succeeded? (The Telegraph) http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/8870255/What-if-Guy-Fawkess-Gunpowder-Plot-had-succeeded-in-1605.html

Guy Fawkes mask inspires Occupy protests worldwide (CNN) http://articles.cnn.com/2011-11-04/world/world_europe_guy-fawkes-mask_1_mask-protests-wikileaks-founder-julian-assange?_s=PM:EUROPE

Guy Fawkes Day: Remembering the straw man, bonfires, and treacle toffee http://www.allvoices.com/contributed-news/10799095-guy-fawkes-day-remembering-the-straw-man-bonfires-and-treacle-toffee

Don’t go there.

https://twitter.com/#!/spinstercompass/status/123850422887776256

As you should know by now, I want to see the world. It’s not so much about the number of passport stamps that I get (although it’s a small perk) as it is about the vast & various landscapes that I get to see, the foods that I get to eat & drink, the cultures that I get to experience, and the potential connections that occur as a result. But as an avid reader, especially on the internet, I read & observe the good and bad news about people, places and things.

After recently reading about some disturbing news in France, in addition to other news from the country, I’m very ambivalent about going there. And I don’t think that I’d ever continue my expatriate life there either.

I feel the same about South Africa: it’s a country that I’ve always wanted to visit, but I’m quite ambivalent about visiting there also after hearing about the rape culture (especially used to fuel homophobia) and its president’s dismissal of his own rape charges & beliefs about HIV/AIDS. Those are just 2 of many reasons why I also don’t think that I’d ever continue my expatriate life there either.

I also have a few concerns about Russia, which experienced/is experiencing racial violence by neo-Nazi & ultra-nationalist groups. And had I known about Australia’s racist history before visiting there, I don’t think that I’d spend my money (going) there. I’ve considered continuing my expatriate life there also, but I’m not sure if that’s in my best interests as a person of color, along with knowing what I know about the country’s history now (White Australia policy; Aborigine assimilation – Wikipedia edition; etc.).

You might be saying to yourself, “But you’re from the United States. You shouldn’t skip visiting a country, especially because of where you’re from.” You might be correct. But I didn’t ask to be born, and I didn’t have a choice about where I was born. I made the choice to leave the United States for good over a year ago, for many reasons, and I can also choose not to visit or live in certain countries for some of the same reasons why I left the United States. Then again, the United Kingdom doesn’t have the most pristine history either…

So what about you? Are there countries that you’re ambivalent about living in or visiting for ethical or moral reasons? Are there countries that you outright refuse to live in or visit for ethical reasons? Or will you live/visit wherever you want, ethical or moral issues be damned? Please discuss.

No country for old (wo)men.
No country for old (wo)men.