The SixTripleEight CPD “Quiet Warriors”: No Mail, Low Morale

During WWII the 6888th (SixTripleEight) Central Postal Directory (CPD) all-black women battalion cleared nearly 20 million messages for Allied forces, The battalion adhered to the motto “No mail, low morale”.

Despite exceptional performance and historic significance they have not been fully recognized…and now a documentary aims to correct that oversight.

Service medals weren’t given to members of the battalion until 2014 and only last year a monument was dedicated in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. This year the battalion finally received an Army Meritorious Unit Citation…although the US Army history site makes it seem like a lot more has happened during the prior 70 years.

Four members of the 6888th. Source: United States Department of Defense.

From Melting Pot to Tree Rings: Immigration Visualization

The history of the phrase “melting pot” is an interesting one. A “Romeo-and-Juliettesque” play by Israel Zangwill staged in 1908, generally is credited for American usage. It reflected on the life of a Russian Jewish immigrant who searches for a better life after he survived the pogroms that killed his mother and sister.

Imagery of America as a giant pot of refugees notwithstanding, my school teachers used to talk about getting a better stew from more diverse ingredients.

Ford manufacturing plants, for example, were based on immigrant descriptions of assembly lines seen in England’s shipyards during the Napoleonic Wars. Edison famously proved immigration beneficial to his own accumulation of wealth by awarding himself (instead of his country) credit for any innovation made by immigrants he had access to, requiring them to assign to him all rights to their ideas. Perhaps Edison’s first name should have been changed to Stew.

Fast forward to today and National Geographic offers us a tree visualization as alternative, which has the benefit of emphasizing the significance of concentric growth rings.

I also am reminded of “The Trees” by Philip Larkin, which the BBC posted as a visualization

The trees are coming into leaf
Like something almost being said;
The recent buds relax and spread,
Their greenness is a kind of grief.

Is it that they are born again
And we grow old? No, they die too,
Their yearly trick of looking new
Is written down in rings of grain.

Yet still the unresting castles thresh
In fullgrown thickness every May.
Last year is dead, they seem to say,
Begin afresh, afresh, afresh.

The SF Women Who Fought Slavery in Chinatown

The California Historical Society has made an event announcement for tomorrow, Weds evening:

Siler tells the story of both the abolitionists who challenged the corrosive anti-Chinese prejudices of the time and the young women who dared to flee their fate. She relates how the women who ran the Cameron House defied contemporary convention by physically rescuing children from the brothels where they worked or by snatching them off ships as they were being smuggled in–and how they helped bring the exploiters to justice.

You can read an excerpt here:

They hurried toward Nob Hill, where the grand mansions of California’s railroad and mining barons had been replaced by hotels with names like Fairmont and Mark Hopkins. Their size and sheer opulence were almost unimaginable to a girl raised in poverty in Hong Kong. After pushing through shoppers and workers returning home, they climbed the five steps to the bolted door of 920 Sacramento Street, a squat building straddling a steep hill.

Computer “Glitch” Blamed for Election Miscount

Interesting case of computer voting systems going terribly wrong:

Initial results of that referendum on May 21 showed 512 supporting the tax and 498 opposing it — a victory of just 14 points. Officials said, however, that a problem associated with new voting machines necessitated a recount by the county, which began May 31.

The final results released Tuesday morning showed support for the ballot question improved considerably, with 724 voting yes and 287 voting no — a difference of 437 votes.

From a 14 to 437 point spread, a massive change in the results. The problem was “illegible” ballots that triggered the count by humans.