This and that from here and there and then and now:
1) A couple cleaning their chimney found a the body of a World War II carrier pigeon still carrying its coded message. So far, no one knows what it said, or why it was in code. If you happen to find out, do let me know! These things have a way of vanishing from the news, stories left all dangling and unfinished in a most untidy way.
Thanks to Charlotte of Charlotte's Library for bringing this to my attention (See "Christmas won't be Christmas without any [dead pigeon bones]")
2) There's an old, not-quite abandoned, city/oil platform, Neft Dashlari, in Azerbaijan, of the former Soviet Union. Really, this should be under "photographs" as well, as it includes a slideshow of the near-ghost town. Part of what's so haunting is that it is not quite abandoned. Some people still live and work there, as the place crumbles around them.
3) And that made me remember this long ago video of China's empty cities. Nearly-empty would be more accurate, and that makes the images all the more haunting. Can you imagine living in a someday-town, waiting for it to come to life?
4) Herman Goring had a little brother, Albert, who worked to save Jews. He did it quite openly, trading on his name and his brother's protection (at least, his brother intervened for a while). Unfortunately for Albert, no one really believed that after the war was over—not with that last name--so he couldn't get work and died poor and bitter. There's also a biography, Thirty Four, by Will Hastings Burke, that came out in 2009.
5) Then there is this tale in Wired of scholarship, computer translation, friendship, a 250 year old code, and asecret society that may or may not have been spying on another secret society. Long, strange, and completely fascinating.
6) Remember the Neiman-Marcus Cookie recipe? Neither do I. That is to say, I remembered the story quite well, but had failed to keep the recipe for the delicious cookies. Now, thanks to Wired, and this article, Eat Like a Geek: The Neiman-Marcus Cookie Recipe, I have it again--and so can you!