The renegade WW2 pilots who tried to end war as we know it | Malcolm Gladwell

The Bomber Mafia nearly changed the world—and you've likely never heard of them.

  • Much has been written about World War II in the seven and a half decades since it ended in 1945. But as writer Malcolm Gladwell shows with his new book The Bomber Mafia, some incredible stories and perspectives have been largely forgotten.
  • A group of pilots, led by Brigadier General Haywood Hansell, earned the derogatory nickname Bomber Mafia because of a not-widely-shared dream that they could use a few strategic bombings to lower the death toll and have a "clean" war.
  • "But that's not what war ever is," says Gladwell. "It never has that kind of fairy tale ending." A few failed attempts led to a changing of the guard, the invention of napalm, and a summer of attacks on Japanese cities that Gladwell says was at "a scale of destruction almost unmatched in human history."
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Atomic bomb tests help scientists finally date sharks

Nuclear weapons, whale sharks, and how to use both to make eco-tourism more sustainable.

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  • Scientists have finally determined the age of whale sharks using radioactive elements from bomb tests.
  • Using the new data, the age range of the animals' bones has now been determined.
  • The findings will help conservationists better maintain whale shark populations.
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How to dismantle a nuclear bomb

MIT team successfully tests a new method for verification of weapons reduction.

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How do weapons inspectors verify that a nuclear bomb has been dismantled? An unsettling answer is: They don't, for the most part.

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Russian officials give conflicting orders to evacuate near suspected nuclear accident

Russia urges villagers to leave nuclear fallout area and then tells them to come back.

  • Residents of Northwestern Russian villages were told to evacuate after a nuclear-powered engine exploded.
  • Russian authorities originally stated they saw radiation levels spike to 16 times above normal.
  • Other reports from officials stated there was no spike and also no need to evacuate, creating confusion for villagers and international reporters.
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Why a Japanese WWII soldier refused to surrender for 29 years

For the Japanese in World War II, surrender was unthinkable. So unthinkable that many soldiers continued to fight even after the island nation eventually did surrender.

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  • Japan may have surrendered to the Allies on August 15, 1945, but many Japanese soldiers did not get word until much later.
  • The culture of death before surrender that permeated the Japanese military caused many to continue to fight even after Japan's formal surrender.
  • Hiroo Onada was one such holdout. He engaged in a guerrilla war in the jungles of the Philippines for nearly 30 years.
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