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German experimental nuclear pile

The Alsos Mission was an Allied unit formed to investigate Axis scientific developments, especially nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, as part of the Manhattan Project during World War II. Colonel Boris Pash, a former Manhattan Project security officer, was the mission's commander, and Samuel Goudsmit was its scientific leader. They joined the advancing Allied units, and occasionally operated behind enemy lines, first in Italy, and later in France and Germany. Gathering information on the German nuclear project, mission personnel captured and dismantled the German experimental nuclear reactor at Haigerloch (pictured) in a daring raid behind German lines in April 1945. They took senior German researchers into custody, including Otto Hahn, Max von Laue, Werner Heisenberg and Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcker. They searched for personnel, records, and materials that might be useful, to make them available for Allied research and to keep them out of Soviet hands. Over 1,000 tons of uranium ore was recovered by the mission, along with stocks of heavy water. (Full article...)

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From Wikipedia's new and recently improved content:

A recreation of The Train Cake, which appears on the cover of the AWWCBCB

  • ... that "the cake book with the train on the cover" (example pictured) has sold over a million copies in Australia?
  • ... that "Smoke From Your Cigarette" by Lillian Leach and the Mellows was Lou Reed's favorite song?
  • ... that the Post Instrument directly converted visual measurements of aircraft into map locations?
  • ... that in the Sanskrit epic poem Ramayana, Krodhavasa, wife of Kashyapa, was short-tempered, and the children born to her were ferocious animals, birds, and fish, all monsters with sharp teeth?
  • ... that Taruk, the present-day Burmese term for the Han Chinese, originally referred to the Turkic troops of the Mongol armies that invaded Burma between 1277 and 1287?
  • ... that rapper Rome Fortune's Beautiful Pimp II EP features his grandfather on the vibraphone?
  • ... that 280 people were injured, 30 cars were set on fire, and 8 bus stops were destroyed during a protest by the Blockupy movement?
  • ... that Richard Wagner considered his future biographer to be "a bit over-excited for the level of his education"?

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From today's featured list

A man jumping and extending his arms to catch an American football

The amount of receiving yards each player has recorded in each season is a recorded stat in American football games. In the sport, passing is one of the two main methods of advancing the ball down the field. Passes are typically attempted by the quarterback, but any offensive player can attempt a pass provided they are behind the line of scrimmage; a player who catches a forward pass is a receiver. The National Football League did not begin keeping official records until the 1932 season. The average number of receiving yards the leader has gained has increased over time – since the 1961 season, all but one year saw the receiving leader record over 1,000 yards. No player has ever finished with over 2,000 receiving yards in a season; the current record is 1,964 yards, set by Calvin Johnson during the 2012 season. Don Hutson (pictured) led the league in receiving yards seven times, the most of any player; Jerry Rice is second with six. (Full list...)

Today's featured picture

Tule fog

Tule fog is a thick ground fog that settles in the San Joaquin Valley and Sacramento Valley areas of California's Great Central Valley during the state's rainy season. It forms when there is a high relative humidity (typically after a heavy rain), calm winds, and rapid cooling during the night, and is typically confined to the Great Central Valley region by the surrounding mountain ranges. Tule fog, a low cloud usually below 2,000 feet (610 m) in altitude, is highly immobile and can last for weeks if undisturbed. This fog is the leading cause of weather-related deaths in California.

Photograph: Jeff Schmaltz/NASA

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