Strangely enough, only one of us guessed that Jackie Stallone would depart us this year, so Vic is the only recipient of points this week, 52 of them in fact! Well done Vic!! That only leaves five of us who haven’t scored yet this year, which includes myself :/
Look Who You Could Have Had:
- Jackie Stallone, 98, American astrologer.
- Michael Lonsdale, 89, French actor (The Day of the Jackal, Moonraker, The Remains of the Day).
- Tommy DeVito, 92, American Hall of Fame musician and singer (The Four Seasons), COVID-19.
- •Jimmy Winston, 75, English musician (Small Faces) and actor (Doctor Who).
In Other News
A Massachusetts man has died after eating an excessive amount of black liquorice, doctors said this week. The unusual case was reported in the New England Journal of Medicine and details the death of a 54-year-old construction worker. The man collapsed inside a fast-food restaurant and was taken to a hospital, where he died the next day. Doctors discovered he had dangerously low potassium, which led to heart rhythm and other problems. Doctors wrote that the man had maintained “a poor diet, consisting primarily of several packages of candy daily,” which threw his nutrients out of whack. One doctor cited in the study described the man’s diagnosis as, “Metabolic, renal, vascular, and cardiac toxic effects from apparent mineralocorticoid excess due to liquorice consumption.” The problem, according to a report from the Associated Press, lies in the consumption of glycyrrhizic acid, a sweetening compound found in black liquorice and in other foods containing liquorice root extract. It can deplete potassium levels, cause high blood pressure, and imbalance electrolytes. “The key message here for the general public is that food containing liquorice can potentially be hazardous to your health if eaten in large quantities,” said Dr Neel Butala, a cardiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, who contributed to the case study. “I don’t think people realise it. It’s not labeled that way.” In 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration published a warning about the dangers of black liquorice consumption, advising that eating only two ounces of black liquorice a day for two weeks could lead to an irregular heart rhythm and may require hospitalisation. With Halloween coming up next month, perhaps this new study will serve as a reminder to enjoy candy in moderation.
If you noticed, this week was all about cows, especially in the North of England. Yet another pensioner has died after being charged by cows, meaning two people in northern England have been killed in such circumstances this month. Malcolm Flynn was walking along the Pennine Way near Thirlwall Castle and Gisland in Northumberland when the animals stampeded. The 72-year-old from Carlisle was so badly injured during the incident that he died at the scene. The tragedy occurred just 10 days before popular school teacher David Clark was killed by a herd of cows while walking his dog near Richmond in North Yorkshire. Some 98 people have been killed by cows in the UK over the last 20 years, according to the government’s Health and Safety Executive – 22 members of the public and 76 farm workers. In the vast majority of public deaths, a dog is the trigger. It is advised that if you are charged, let the dog go and walk calmly away in the opposite direction, most likely you will survive and the dog will outrun the cows for later collection. Or just avoid fields with cows in, not all rights of way are worth it.
On This Day
- 1936 – Mrs Wallis Simpson obtains her divorce, which would eventually allow her to marry King Edward VIII of the United Kingdom, thus forcing his abdication from the throne.
- 1962 – By refusing to agree to the firing of a nuclear torpedo at a US warship, Vasily Arkhipov averts nuclear war.
- 1992 – United States Navy radioman Allen R. Schindler, Jr. is murdered by shipmate Terry M. Helvey for being gay, precipitating debate about gays in the military that results in the United States’ “Don’t ask, don’t tell” military policy.
- 939 – Æthelstan, English king (b. 894)
- 1988 – Charles Hawtrey, English actor, singer, and pianist (b. 1914)
- 2013 – Lou Reed, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, producer, and actor (b. 1942)
The Man Who Saved the World
Vasili Arkhipov was a Soviet Navy officer credited with preventing a Soviet nuclear strike (and, presumably, all-out nuclear war) during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Such an attack likely would have caused a major global thermonuclear response. As flotilla commander and second-in-command of the diesel powered submarine B-59, Arkhipov refused to authorise the captain’s use of nuclear torpedoes against the United States Navy, a decision requiring the agreement of all three senior officers aboard.
On 27 October 1962, during the Cuban Missile Crisis, a group of eleven United States Navy destroyers and the aircraft carrier USS Randolph located the diesel-powered, nuclear-armed Foxtrot-class submarine B-59 near Cuba. Despite being in international waters, the United States Navy started dropping signalling depth charges, explosives intended to force the submarine to come to the surface for identification. There had been no contact from Moscow for a number of days and, although the submarine’s crew had earlier been picking up U.S. civilian radio broadcasts, once B-59 began attempting to hide from its U.S. Navy pursuers, it was too deep to monitor any radio traffic. Those on board did not know whether war had broken out or not. The captain of the submarine, Valentin Grigorievitch Savitsky, decided that a war might already have started and wanted to launch a nuclear torpedo.
Unlike the other subs in the flotilla, three officers on board B-59 had to agree unanimously to authorise a nuclear launch: Captain Savitsky, the political officer Ivan Semonovich Maslennikov, and the flotilla commodore (and executive officer of B-59) Arkhipov. Typically, Soviet submarines armed with the “Special Weapon” only required the captain to get authorisation from the political officer to launch a nuclear torpedo, but due to Arkhipov’s position as Commodore, B-59‘s captain also was required to gain Arkhipov’s approval. An argument broke out, with only Arkhipov against the launch. Even though Arkhipov was second-in-command of the submarine B-59, he was in fact Commodore of the entire submarine flotilla, including B-4, B-36 and B-130.
Arkhipov eventually persuaded Savitsky to surface and await orders from Moscow. This effectively averted the general nuclear war which probably would have ensued if the nuclear weapon had been fired. The submarine’s batteries had run very low and the air-conditioning had failed, causing extreme heat and high levels of carbon dioxide inside the submarine. They were forced to surface amid the American pursuers and return to the Soviet Union as a result.
Immediately upon return to Russia, many crew members were faced with disgrace from their superiors. One admiral told them “It would have been better if you’d gone down with your ship.” Olga, Arkhipov’s wife, even said “he didn’t like talking about it, he felt they hadn’t appreciated what they had gone through.”
In 2002, retired Commander Vadim Pavlovich Orlov, a participant in the events, held a press conference revealing the subs were armed with nuclear torpedoes and that Arkhipov was the reason those devices had not been fired. Orlov presented the events less dramatically, saying that Captain Savitsky lost his temper, but eventually calmed down.
When discussing the Cuban Missile Crisis in 2002, Robert McNamara, the U.S. Secretary of Defence at the time, stated, “We came very close” to nuclear war, “closer than we knew at the time.” Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., an advisor for the John F. Kennedy administration and a historian, continued this thought by stating “This was not only the most dangerous moment of the Cold War. It was the most dangerous moment in human history.” Thomas Blanton, who was then director of the US National Security Archive, said that Arkhipov “saved the world”.
Last Week’s Birthdays
Anna Camp (38), Gwyneth Paltrow (48), Indira Varma (47), Meat Loaf (72), Denis Lawson (73), Avril Lavigne (36), Jim Caviezel (52), Linda Hamilton (64), Olivia Newton-John (72), Lysette Anthony (57), Serena Williams (39), Anne Robinson (76), Will Smith (52), Michael Douglas (76), Mark Hamill (69), Catherine Zeta-Jones (51), Michael Madsen (63), Heather Locklear (59), Felicity Kendal (74), Kevin Sorbo (62), Sven-Ole Thorsen (76), Rosalind Chao (63), Karl Pilkington (48), Bruce Springsteen (71), Tom Felton (33), Billie Piper (38), Sue Perkins (51), Ruth Jones (54), Joan Jett (62), Nick Cave (63), Bill Murray (70), Stephen King (73), David Wenham (55), Alfonso Ribeiro (49), and Ricki Lake (52).