(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘Soviet Union

Spy vs. Spy…

For most of the latter half of the 20th century, the United States and the Soviet Union were leading adversaries in the nuclear arms race known as the Cold War. Seemingly no potential advantage was to be overlooked, regardless of sector or industry. This was true in technology and espionage as well, and, in the 1960s, the CIA found a marriage of the two which could have been a potential game-changer.

That innovation? A bionic spy cat named the Acoustic Kitty.

According to former CIA agent turned author Victor Marchetti, the CIA had developed a way to, literally, wire a cat so that it could be used in espionage missions. The CIA surgically implanted a power supply into the cat, as well as wires going into its brain and its ears. A microphone was layered into its ears and an antenna through its tail. The implanted device was able to determine when the cat was aroused or hungry and suppress those urges, allowing it to carry out its mission — cuddle up to some Soviets and listen to their conversations. The entire operation, from start until its end, cost the government somewhere in the ballpark of $20 million and took about five years to develop.

In testing, the CIA discovered that the Acoustic Kitty had a fatal flaw. A surveillance van drove up to the test subjects and released the cat, which again according to Marchetti, made its way across the street unnoticed. Unnoticed, that is, by an oncoming taxi cab, which struck the cat, killing it immediately.

The CIA decided to drop the spy cat program soon thereafter.

From kindred spirit (public broadcasting guy who does a daily email/blog) Dan Lewis, whose Now I Know is always a treat.

***

As we beef up our bionics, we might recall that one cat did make it through: on this date in 1979 Elton John became the first Western pop star to play a live concert in what was then the Soviet Union, as he performed in Leningrad, kicking off a hugely-successful Evil-Empire-wide tour.


Elton behind the (Iron) Curtain

Written by LW

May 21, 2012 at 1:01 am

Activists prevail: Symmetry in all things…

Back in 2007, Drew Mokris of Left-Handed Tunes, wrote an open letter to the powers-that-be at Subway, mass market purveyors of submarine sandwiches:

Now, as he reports in his blog, “the war against geometric indecency” (and the resulting uneven distribution of cheesy good taste in a Subway sandwich) is won.  At least in the Antipodes:

click to enlarge

The Consumerist reports,

2 years, 11 months, and 13 days later, Subway has changed its policy. At least for the Australia/New Zealand area.

Heralding the victory, Drew at Left-Handed Toons writes, “Now is the time for the New Procedure. You can almost picture taking every homogenous bite. It’s okay now. Everything will always forever be okay now.”

Is this a regional test or the first stage in a worldwide phase-in? We can only pray.

And so one must.

As we spread our mayonnaise evenly and all the way to the edges of our bread, we might recall that it was on this date in 1993 that Mongolia held its first direct presidential election.

In 1911, Mongolia declared it’s independence from China under religious leader and king Bogd Khaan.  But on his death in 1924, and with the “help” of the Soviet Union, The Mongolian People’s Republic was established.  Mongolia stayed within the Soviet orbit until 1992, when Mikhail Gorbachev’s introduction of perestroika and glasnost  in the USSR encouraged a peaceful Democratic Revolution in Mongolia and led to the introduction of a multi-party system and market economy.

The flag of Mongolia

%d bloggers like this: