Today -- December 7 -- is "the day that will live in infamy," when the Japanese Imperial Navy launched a surprise attack in 1941 that crippled the U.S. Navy at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Here's a tiny little footnote in history about this day.
Japan intended to deliver a declaration of war 30 minutes prior to the beginning of the attack, but bureaucrats at the Japanese embassy in Washington were slow in decoding, typing, and delivering the message to Secretary of State Cordell Hull.
The U.S. Army had already decrypted the declaration on the evening of December 6 and dispatched war warnings to all Pacific area commands. Communication problems delayed receipt of the warning in Honolulu until after 7:30 AM, Hawaii time. A Japanese-American bicycle messenger was immediately sent to deliver the warning to General Walter Short, who was in charge of defending Pearl Harbor. The messenger was pedaling to Ft Shafter when, at 7:55 AM, the cyclist was caught in the attack. He finally delivered his message through falling bombs and bullets two hours after the start of the attack.
There's no word on if this unnamed messenger received a tip for his services.
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What a lame bike messenger! This guy was 2 hours late for the lame reason of falling bombs?!
Bike messengers in NYC can weave in and out of traffic, blow red lights to cross the 3 lanes, somehow not get shot by every taxi driver they piss off and shrug it all off while eating a gourmet burrito and wearing $400 tight pants like it's just a typical day of work.
After watching the bike messenger race videos from digave.com, if given the choice I'd actually have to think about whether I would rather race with those guys or dodge falling bombs.
That website, by the way, was the only thing that inspired me to ride for more than 5 minutes on my rollers last winter. It was a bit dangerous when you get into it and have to remind yourself not to swerve.
...sheesh...i was reading your post w/ reverence because to my parents generation, a day like today held a certain seriousness but i did chuckle on reading your last line...
...btw, a little known about telegram was discovered after the war at ft shafter, hawaii...it read - "bike messenger[stop]...message now irrelevant[stop]...thanks for effort[stop]...no tip, sorry...money used for war effort[stop]...you get the shaft[end]"...
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Hmm, military and diplomatic encrypted messages on Twitter.
It occurs to me that Twitter would be a decent way to steganographically exchange hidden messages. "A doctor who specializes in skin diseases will dream that he has fallen asleep in front of the television."
@vtrendsetter: Andy's talking about Lucas Brunelle's videos. Check them out here at his website. Some have also been copied to YouTube but people put different soundtracks to them. The one to watch is "Drag Race NYC."