Achilles

1,125 Flips | 11 Magazines | 517 Likes | 9 Following | 13 Followers | @Achilles_K | Writer, artist, journalist, Texas A&M alumni + WWII expert, music & film aficionado, and animal lover.

How many words do you need to speak a language?

<b>Learning a new language can be tricky, but how many words do you need to know before you can actually get by in a foreign tongue?</b><p>That was the question posed to BBC Radio 4's More or Less programme by one frustrated listener. Despite learning German for three years, and practising nearly every day, …

Language Learning

Searching for Burma's forgotten World War Two heroes

<b>The soldiers who fought for Britain in Burma (now Myanmar) in World War Two have often been called the Forgotten Army, but the Burmese who formed part of this army were truly forgotten by the UK in the decades after the war. For the last 11 years, reports film-maker Alex Bescoby, a group of British</b> …

Remembrance Day

Marine plastic: Hundreds of fragments in dead seabirds

<b>New footage of the devastating impact of plastic pollution on wildlife has been captured by a BBC team.</b><p>Seabirds are starving to death on the remote Lord Howe Island, a crew filming for the BBC One documentary Drowning in Plastic has revealed.<p>Their stomachs were so full of plastic there was no room …

Pollution

The FBI said I was my parents' stolen baby - but I found the truth

<b>When a one-day-old baby, Paul Joseph Fronczak, was stolen from a Chicago hospital in 1964, the terrible story made headlines across America. Then, two years later, an abandoned boy was identified as the missing baby and handed over to the relieved parents. Years later, Paul began to investigate</b> …

New Jersey

IBM’s machine argues, pretty convincingly, with humans

<b>On a stage in San Francisco, IBM’s Project Debater spoke, listened and rebutted a human’s arguments in what was described as a groundbreaking display of artificial intelligence.</b><p>The machine drew from a library of “hundreds of millions” of documents - mostly newspaper articles and academic journals - …

Artificial Intelligence

Latvia: Europe’s nation of introverts

Latvians are often self-deprecating about their culture’s tendency towards introversion, but could this personality trait be the key to their creative identity?<p>In a comic book produced by the organisation Latvian Literature for the recent London Book Fair, the main character gives a rare smile on …

Comic Books

The man who went to the North Korean place that ‘doesn’t exist’

<b>Many believe it was a visit to the hidden fifth floor of Pyongyang's Yanggakdo Hotel that resulted in the detention and eventual death of American student Otto Warmbier. US doctor Calvin Sun recalls his night filming there and warns other travellers to stay away.</b><p>Calvin Sun had been awake for almost …

North Korea

Week in pictures: 9 - 15 June 2018

Royal Family

How many animals are born in the world every day?

<b>Birds do it, bees do it, even educated fleas do it - well, maybe they don't fall in love but they do procreate, so can we estimate how many animals are born every day across the world?</b><p>That was the question posed by a listener to the BBC's More or Less programme, a show which aims to make sense of …

Eggs

Ethiopia offers Eritrea chance to end Africa's longest war

<b>Ethiopia's surprise announcement that it will abide by a 2002 border ruling raises the prospect of a final end to what was Africa's deadliest border war and peace with its long-time rival, Eritrea.</b><p>Tens of thousands of people were killed in the two-year conflict and Eritrea remains on a war footing, …

Africa

What makes this Kate Spade bag unusual?

<b>It's easy to miss. The words "on purpose" are printed on a small label inside the tote bag alongside the name of the woman who made it.</b><p>It sits inconspicuously next to the other handbags on the shelves at high-end fashion brand Kate Spade.<p>There is nothing notably different about it.<p>Yet it was made …

Kate Spade

Artistic tribute to D-Day airfield

<b>Once home to squadrons of Spitfires, the airfield at Deanland near Hailsham in East Sussex has become the inspiration for an artistic collaboration between multimedia visual artist Alexander Johnson and photographer John Brockliss.</b><p>RAF Deanland was hastily constructed in 1943 ahead of the Allied …

D Day

Earth - In Siberia in 1908, a huge explosion came out of nowhere

<i>This story is part of BBC Earth's "Best of 2016" list, our greatest hits of the year. Browse the full list.</i><p>On 30 June 1908, an explosion ripped through the air above a remote forest in Siberia, near the Podkamennaya Tunguska river.<p>The fireball is believed to have been 50-100m wide. It depleted …

Earth Science

PC Sorcar: India's 'maharajah of magic' who terrified the UK

Sorcar took Indian magic where it had never gone before<p><b>At 9.15pm on 9 April 1956, the BBC's switchboard suddenly lit up with calls from hundreds of viewers convinced they had just witnessed a gruesome murder live on their television screens.</b><p>A mysterious-looking oriental magician had put a …

David Price

How Mozambique’s smuggling barons nurtured jihadists

<b>Attacks by young Islamist militants in northern Mozambique are fuelled by a mix of poverty and corruption, writes Joseph Hanlon.</b><p>In the most recent attack, 10 people were decapitated with machetes in Palma district in the country's northerly Cabo Delgado province.<p>More than 300 people have been …

Africa

The WWI tank that helped change warfare forever

On 31 May 1918, a small tank designed by a famous French car maker and a brilliant army officer saw its first action. Its inspired design still lives on in the tanks of today, 100 years later.<p>On 31 May 1918, the German army launches a sudden attack near the Forest of Retz near Ploisy in the …

German Economy

Antony Beevor: the greatest war movie ever – and the ones I can't bear

For a long time now, my wife has refused to watch a war movie with me. This is because I cannot stop grinding my teeth with annoyance at major historical mistakes, or harrumphing over errors of period detail. She only made an exception when Valkyrie came out, with Tom Cruise playing Count Claus …

Darkest Hour

Bitter to better: Squatters transforming a derelict pub

<b>Activists and squatters have moved in to a derelict Romford pub, The Bitter End, with the aim of transforming it into an independent environmental and cultural space. In April, photographer Ed Gold spent three weeks living alongside them, documenting their lives as they worked to regenerate the</b> …

Eastern Europe

A suitcase full of photographic wonder

<b>It's not often you are sent a set of pictures that make you gasp, especially ones taken decades ago. Yet here they are, beautiful black and white pictures that have remained hidden, buried in a loft waiting to be brought out into the light.</b><p>These pictures were taken by John Turner, a property …

England

A World War II Mystery Is Solved, and Emotions Flood In

After the B-24 bomber carrying Second Lt. Thomas V. Kelly Jr. was shot down off the coast of what is now Papua New Guinea in 1944, his parents had a gray tombstone etched with a drawing of the plane and the words “In Loving Memory.”<p>The 21-year-old bombardier’s remains were never recovered, and for …

Military

How the US and Rwanda have fallen out over second-hand clothes

<b>US President Donald Trump's "America First" stance on global trade has hit Rwanda, by imposing tariffs on clothing exports from the tiny East African nation. The issue revolves around an obscure import, second-hand clothes, and Rwanda's refusal to back down from the fight.</b><p>When did the dispute start?<p>…

Africa

Tesla says its factory is safer. But it left injuries off the books

Inside Tesla’s electric car factory, giant red robots – some named for X-Men characters – heave car parts in the air, while workers wearing black …

Tesla

F-35 stealth fighter sees first combat, in Israeli operation

<b>The US-made F-35 stealth fighter has seen its first ever combat action, flying in an operation for the Israeli air force.</b><p>The air force chief showed an image of jets over Beirut, Lebanon, and said the planes had "already attacked twice on two different fronts".<p>Israel recently carried out scores of …

'My camera helped me beat anxiety'

<b>We all know how it feels to be anxious - exams, asking someone out, job interviews can all stir up momentary butterflies and blind panic. But anxiety can be an overwhelming and debilitating problem, crippling a person's ability to function day to day. During Mental Health Awareness Week, one man</b> …

Mental Health

The ‘river people’ under threat

The islands of the Brahmaputra are remote, unmapped, under threat — and home to 2.5 million people. BBC Future travelled with a visiting hospital boat to see what is at stake.<p>Monai Doley is telling me how he cures snake bites.<p>We are standing in a paddy field: scorching sun, cloudless sky. This is …

Rapper Diddy buys $21.1m Kerry James Marshall painting

<b>Rapper Sean "Diddy" Combs, also known by his stage names Puff Daddy and P Diddy, has been revealed as the buyer of a Kerry James Marshall painting that fetched $21.1m (£15.6m) at auction.</b><p>The sum is believed to be the most ever paid for a work by a living African-American artist.<p>The painting, Past …

Viewpoint: Why racism in US worse than Europe

<b>News stories emerge almost daily in the US about police being called over black Americans doing nothing more than being black. Writer Barrett Holmes Pitner explains why he thinks American racism is unique.</b><p>Last week in California, three black people - a Jamaican, a Canadian of Nigerian descent, and …

DR Congo: Why do tourists go to Virunga National Park?

<b>One of Africa's most stunning parks - Virunga in the Democratic Republic of Congo - has suffered a major blow following the killing of a ranger, and the abduction of two British tourists, who were later released.</b><p>The attack has forced the park's boss - Belgian prince Emmanuel de Merode - to announce …

Britons held in DR Congo freed

<b>Two Britons held hostage in the Democratic Republic of Congo released unharmed, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson says</b><p><i>This breaking news story is being updated and more details will be published shortly. Please refresh the page for the fullest version.</i>

Week in pictures: 5 - 11 May 2018