The Liberation of Paris: Whites only

In August 1944, at the time of the Liberation of Paris, the French army was two thirds black. Two thirds! De Gaulle had raised an army in Africa. And yet, all the soldiers involved in the Liberation of Paris were white, on the basis that it would be “better for French morale”. That probably wasn’t the real reason (after all, De Gaulle himself, who should know something about how to manage French morale, opposed the idea).

Propaganda: it seems the (white) American commanders were afraid of how the sight of black soldiers freeing Paris would look on newsreels back home where everyone had been brought up on whitewashed history. So to maintain that image they forced the French to whitewash their army, forcing fiction on fact.

Interesting reading.


Python trademark attacked

Python is an interesting programming language which I’m interested in learning. (It has some awesome features.) It has a long history in programming terms, having been first released to the world in 1991. It is released under a GPL-compatible Open Source and Free Software license.

And now it’s under attack:

There is a company in the UK that is trying to trademark the use of the term “Python” for all software, services, servers… pretty much anything having to do with a computer.

If you work for an EU company which uses Python, you can help. Please do.


Anne Bonny and Mary Read: Piracy, Sex, and suchlike matters

In the early 18th century, Anne Bonny and Mary Reed were, along with Calico Jack Rackham, among the most-feared pirates on the Spanish Main. Their lives were hard, fascinating, and quite unlike the stories which may have been told.

Disenfranchised outsiders, victims of institutionalised exploitation, sexual minorities – everyone found a haven in lawless pirate ports such as New Providence in the Bahamas, where they not only raised merry hell with the shipping, but also founded shipboard democracies that were centuries ahead of their time in tolerance and respect for personal diversity.