When did Bill Gates die?

Flip Cruz
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I was flabbergasted when I saw this question initially. The truth is that, Bill Gates is still alive not dead yet. Billionaires don't don't die quietly.

26 июля 2019  · < 100
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Are the russians too stupid to see that putin is a dictator?

Евгений Г.  · 2,3K

Some of them, not sure about majority. A lot of people just think "Ok, he is a dictator, but what's wrong with this?" He is a good czar in their minds

They don't see any problem in a dictatorship while they can get stability and satiation in exchange for their freedom.

Really, there are some reasons for it - the most democratic years in Russia were also the years of famine and the heyday of crime, when millions of people had lost everything they had and what they hoped to.

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What was Christmas like in Nazi Germany?

Joe Perry  · 8
Associate Professor of modern European and German history at Georgia State...

In 1921, in a Munich beer hall, newly appointed Nazi party leader Adolf Hitler gave a Christmas speech to an excited crowd. According to undercover police observers, 4,000 supporters cheered when Hitler condemned “the cowardly Jews for breaking the world-liberator on the cross” and swore “not to rest until the Jews… lay shattered on the ground.” Later, the crowd sang holiday carols and nationalist hymns around a Christmas tree. Working-class attendees received charitable gifts.

For Germans in the 1920s and 1930s, this combination of familiar holiday observance, nationalist propaganda and anti-Semitism was hardly unusual. As the Nazi party grew in size and scope – and eventually took power in 1933 – committed propagandists worked to further “Nazify” Christmas. Redefining familiar traditions and designing new symbols and rituals, they hoped to channel the main tenets of National Socialism through the popular holiday.

  • December 1937: Josef Goebbels leads a public Christmas celebration with daughters Helga and Hilde. Many Germans accepted the Nazification of Christmas and the co-opting of the family into the “racial state”. (Picture: Bundesarchiv)

Given state control of public life, it’s not surprising that Nazi officials were successful in promoting and propagating their version of Christmas through repeated radio broadcasts and news articles.

But under any totalitarian regime, there can be a wide disparity between public and private life, between the rituals of the city square and those of the home. In my research, I was interested in how Nazi symbols and rituals penetrated private, family festivities – away from the gaze of party leaders. While some Germans did resist the heavy-handed, politicised appropriation of Germany’s favourite holiday, many actually embraced a Nazified holiday that evoked the family’s place in the “racial state,” free of Jews and other outsiders.

Redefining Christmas

One of the most striking features of private celebration in the Nazi period was the redefinition of Christmas as a neo-pagan, Nordic celebration. Rather on focus on the holiday’s religious origins, the Nazi version celebrated the supposed heritage of the Aryan race, the label Nazis gave to “racially acceptable” members of the German racial state.

According to Nazi intellectuals, cherished holiday traditions drew on winter solstice rituals practiced by “Germanic” tribes before the arrival of Christianity. Lighting candles on the Christmas tree, for example, recalled pagan desires for the “return of light” after the shortest day of the year.

Scholars have called attention to the manipulative function of these and other invented traditions. But that’s no reason to assume they were unpopular. Since the 1860s, German historians, theologians and popular writers had argued that German holiday observances were holdovers from pre-Christian pagan rituals and popular folk superstitions.

  • A Christmas postage stamp from the Danish Nazi Party: the party’s propaganda stressed pagan iconography including light, greenery and fire.  (Picture: Joe Perry)

So because these ideas and traditions had a lengthy history, Nazi propagandists were able to easily cast Christmas as a celebration of pagan German nationalism. A vast state apparatus (centred in the Nazi Ministry for Propaganda and Enlightenment) ensured that a Nazified holiday dominated public space and celebration in the Third Reich. But two aspects of the Nazi version of Christmas were relatively new.

First, because Nazi ideologues saw organised religion as an enemy of the totalitarian state, propagandists sought to de-emphasise – or eliminate altogether – the Christian aspects of the holiday. Official celebrations might mention a supreme being, but they more prominently featured solstice and “light” rituals that supposedly captured the holiday’s pagan origins.

“Countless media images of invariably blond-haired, blue-eyed German families gathered around the Christmas tree helped normalise ideologies of racial purity.”

Second, as Hitler’s 1921 speech suggests, Nazi celebration evoked racial purity and anti-Semitism. Before the Nazis took power in 1933, ugly and open attacks on German Jews typified holiday propaganda. Blatant anti-Semitism more or less disappeared after 1933, as the regime sought to stabilise its control over a population tired of political strife, though Nazi celebrations still excluded those deemed “unfit” by the regime. Countless media images of invariably blond-haired, blue-eyed German families gathered around the Christmas tree helped normalise ideologies of racial purity.

  • Christmas with Hitler, December 1940. The Nazis absorbed and distorted Christmas as part of their project of creating a completely politicised state. (Picture: Bundesarchiv)

Open anti-Semitism nonetheless cropped up at Christmastime. Many would boycott Jewish-owned department stores. And the front cover of a 1935 mail order Christmas catalog, which pictured a fair-haired mother wrapping Christmas presents, included a sticker assuring customers that “the department store has been taken over by an Aryan!”

It’s a small, almost banal example. But it speaks volumes. In Nazi Germany, even shopping for a gift could naturalise anti-Semitism and reinforce the “social death” of Jews in the Third Reich. The message was clear: only “Aryans” could participate in the celebration.

Taking the ‘Christ’ out of Christmas

According to National Socialist theorists, women – particularly mothers – were crucial for strengthening the bonds between private life and the “new spirit” of the German racial state.

Everyday acts of celebration – wrapping presents, decorating the home, cooking “German” holiday foods and organising family celebrations – were linked to a cult of sentimental “Nordic” nationalism.

Propagandists proclaimed that as “priestess” and “protector of house and hearth,” the German mother could use Christmas to “bring the spirit of the German home back to life.” The holiday issues of women’s magazines, Nazified Christmas books and Nazi carols tinged conventional family customs with the ideology of the regime.

This sort of ideological manipulation took everyday forms. Mothers and children were encouraged to make homemade decorations shaped like “Odin’s Sun Wheel” and bake holiday cookies shaped like a loop (a fertility symbol). The ritual of lighting candles on the Christmas tree was said to create an atmosphere of “pagan demon magic” that would subsume the Star of Bethlehem and the birth of Jesus in feelings of “Germanness.”

  • ‘Exalted Night of the Clear Stars’, a Nazi propaganda carol, is full of pagan-nationalist imagery, yet it was still performed in Germany into the 1950s. 

Propagandists tirelessly promoted numerous Nazified Christmas songs, which replaced Christian themes with the regime’s racial ideologies. ‘Exalted Night of the Clear Stars’, the most famous Nazi carol, was reprinted in Nazi songbooks, broadcast in radio programs, performed at countless public celebrations – and sung at home. Indeed, ‘Exalted Night’ became so familiar that it could still be sung in the 1950s as part of an ordinary family holiday (and, apparently, as part of some public performances today!).

While the song’s melody mimics a traditional carol, the lyrics deny the Christian origins of the holiday. Verses of stars, light and an eternal mother suggest a world redeemed through faith in National Socialism – not Jesus.

Conflict or consensus among the German public?

We’ll never know exactly how many German families sang ‘Exalted Night’ or baked Christmas cookies shaped like a Germanic sun wheel. But we do have some records of the popular response to the Nazi holiday, mostly from official sources.

For example, the “activity reports” of the National Socialist Women’s League (NSF) show that the redefinition of Christmas created some disagreement among members. NSF files note that tensions flared when propagandists pressed too hard to sideline religious observance, leading to “much doubt and discontent.”

Religious traditions often clashed with ideological goals: was it acceptable for “convinced National Socialists” to celebrate Christmas with Christian carols and nativity plays? How could Nazi believers observe a Nazi holiday when stores mostly sold conventional holiday goods and rarely stocked Nazi Christmas books?

Meanwhile, German clergymen openly resisted Nazi attempts to take Christ out of Christmas. In Düsseldorf, clergymen used Christmas to encourage women to join their respective women’s clubs. Catholic clergy threatened to excommunicate women who joined the NSF. Elsewhere, women of faith boycotted NSF Christmas parties and charity drives. Still, such dissent never really challenged the main tenets of the Nazi holiday.

Reports on public opinion compiled by the Nazi secret police often commented on the popularity of Nazi Christmas festivities. Well into the Second World War, when looming defeat increasingly discredited the Nazi holiday, the secret police reported that complaints about official policies dissolved in an overall “Christmas mood.”

  • Christmas with the Volkssturm in East Prussia: As the War worsened for Germans, Christmas became a tool for the Nazi regime to shore up national unity. 

Despite conflicts over Christianity, many Germans accepted the Nazification of Christmas. The return to colourful and enjoyable pagan “Germanic” traditions promised to revitalise family celebration. Not least, observing a Nazified holiday symbolised racial purity and national belonging. “Aryans” could celebrate German Christmas. Jews could not.

The Nazification of family celebration thus revealed the paradoxical and contested terrain of private life in the Third Reich. The apparently banal, everyday decision to sing a particular Christmas carol, or bake a holiday cookie, became either an act of political dissent or an expression of support for national socialism.

Joe Perry is the author of Christmas In Germany: A Cultural History

This piece was first published at TheConversation

I will be visiting Copenhagen for three days. What are must-sees and must-do's for a short trip?

Product Marketing Manager

If you are coming in the late spring and summer you are in for a real treat. Copenhagen blossoms all around under the warm Scandinavian sun during these seasons and there are a plethora of activities to choose from that can keep you occupied from when the sun rises at 5 in the morning until it sets at 11 at night.

First, a little about how Copenhagen’s set up. It is one of the easiest cities to navigate and the best part is that you can do it all on a bike. Cycling and cycling lanes are the bloodlines of the city and the best way to see it...plus it’s free (minus the rental fee, which is very reasonable from most bike shops, or the white city electric bikes), green, and really good for you. Copenhagen is divided into five main parts where most of your sightseeing, outings, and exploring will happen.

Indre By - The heart of Copenhagen

The oldest and most compact part of the city, you will find plenty of cobble stoned streets lined up with pastel colored townhouses. One of the longest pedestrian streets - Strøget - snakes its way through this part of the city. If you are up for taking some Scandi design back with you, whether it's clothes or furniture or ceramics - this is where you will find all the Danish staples. Add Royal Copenhagen, Illums Bolighus, Illum and Magasin du Nord to your store list. 

For sightseeing, Indre By is home to the Royal Palace (Amelienborg), where the Danish Queen and her two sons and their families reside. Plus you'll catch a glimpse of the royal guards, and if you're lucky to be there around lunch time may even witness the changing of the guards. From the Royal Palace you can pop over to one of the most impressive churches in the city, The Marble Church. From there walk over to Nyhavn, one of the most famous harbors of Copenhagen. In the old days, this was the bustling, economic heart of Denmark. If you feel like taking a break from walking / cycling, you can catch one of the canal and harbor tours from here. It's a great way to see the city from the water. Plus, you will get to see the Little Mermaid statue, which by the way tends to disappoint most of her visitors. But at least you can tell your friends back home that you saw her! 

From Nyhavn, walking away from the Royal Palace you will find yourself in front of the Danish Parliament, which is also called the Christiansborg Palace. You can go up the main tower for free and get an impressive, often windy, view of the entire city, the windmills of the Øresund and even get a glimpse of Sweden. 

Not far from there is the Tivoli Gardens, which boasts as the oldest amusement park in the world. If you're up for feeling like a kid again, hyped up on cotton candy and wanting to go on every ride, then this is the place for you. If you feel like exploring more historic sights, check out the Copenhagen Townhall across the street from Tivoli, then walk through Ørstedsparken, a picturesque public park, then onto the Botanical Gardens and then straight down to the Rosenborg Castle. If you are here in April-May you will have the exclusive chance to snap a ton of photos of the perfectly groomed gardens that surround Rosenborg. And if you are lucky enough to be here on sunny and warm days, grab some picnic food and drinks and plop down on the greenery to catch some rays. Good luck finding a spot though...the locals tend to populate the gardens very quickly.

For the lovers of the arts, the Inner City also houses some of the most beautiful and unique museums the city has to offer: SMK - the National Gallery of Denmark, Glyptoteket, Kunsthal Charlottenborg. This is also where I will mention Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, which is located 40 km north of the city but the thought- and emotion-provoking exhibitions and the stunning location of the museum is worth the half of a day visit. 

Whew! Would you believe me that the above is only the tip of the iceberg in exploring the Inner City? My best advice is to star the places you want to see the most and the just wander from one point to another while discovering beautiful streets, shops, people, parks, churches, cafes. 

Christianshavn, Nørrebro, Vesterbro, Østerbro 

(Good luck pronouncing those names the correct way)

The remaining four districts of Copenhagen. There is the historic yet chill Christianshavn, home to the Royal Danish Opera (quite the architectural sight!), canals a la Amsterdam, and of course the infamous commune of Christiania. And technically not part of Christianshavn but still a place worth mentioning, especially if you are here on an unusually warm and sunny day, is Islands Brygge. Buy a portable grill from one of the shops, burger patties, a six pack or chilled wine, and find yourself a cozy spot on the grass along with the locals. And when the sun warms your skin enough, take a dip in the harbor! 

Nørrebro is the most multi-cultural and eclectic part of the city. Always vibrant, this is where you can catch up on some essential vintage shopping, taste one of many döner kebabs, and play around one of the coolest urban parks (Superkilen)I have ever seen. If you need to find a quiet corner, the Assistens Cemetery is the perfect green oasis for you Don't be intimidated by the tombstones, and instead go pay your visit to the writer HC Andersen & the philosopher Søren Kirkegaard.

Vesterbro was once the seediest part of the city but has transformed itself to become one of the most colorful, family-friendly parts of the city. It is also known for its nightlife, the kind you dare not tell your grandma about (so maybe the seediness isn't all that gone yet). My go-to's are the Meatpacking District (Kødbyen), Carlsberg Brewery, Kalvebod Brygge waterfront. 

Last but not least is Østerbro. Posh, quiet, family-friendly, clean, residential pretty much sums up this part of Copenhagen. Enjoy the lush, expansive public park, Fælledparken, or take a walk through the Citadel (Kastellet)

All that sight-seeing, but where are the food & drinks?

I just realized that I've had you exploring Copenhagen's every corner without a bite to eat or a sip to drink. The good news is that in the past few years Copenhagen has truly embraced the foodie culture and brought forth its Nordic traditions in very pleasing ways for the pallet. There are simply too many restaurants, cafes, food halls, food festivals to list here. But the MUST tries are: 

  • Food halls: Torvehallerne, Copenhagen Street Food, Kødbyens Mad & Marked
  • New Nordicrestaurants: Hōst, Gorilla, Nose2Tail, Kødbyens Fiskebar, BROR
  • Any of the restaurants in the Cofoco or Madklubben family. 
  • Yumson the budget: Grød, LeLe Street Kitchen, Paludan Bogcafe, Tommi's Burger Joint, Sliders, Slurp Ramen Joint 
  • Bakeries (because the American-invented "Danish" is a sad excuse for a baked good): Meyers Bageri, Lagkagehuset, Emmery's, Sankt Peders Bageri
  • Cocktail bars: Lidkoeb, Duck & Cover, the Bird & the Churchkey, Curfew, 1656, the Barking Dog
    And after all of that you are still standing on your two feet and want to them dancing here are my favorite going-out spots: Chateau Motel, The Jane, Condesa, NOHO, Le Bambole. 

And with that, you should be fully armed to make the most of your visit Wonderful Copenhagen!

Why does the Right believe in rote learning, while the Left believes in children learning what and when they want?

Professor of Education, University of Derby, and Director of Academics for...

In the past, thinkers of the Left, like Gramsci, of the right like Oakeshott, and of the Liberal persuasion like Hannah Arendt would have all believed in a broadly liberal education for all children. What’s happening today is that there’s a crisis of meaning – both the Left and the Right have forgotten what education means. 

I keep getting invited to debates with topics like ‘What are schools for?’ or‘ What is education for?’ , and that’s indicative of this crisis. We’ve forgotten what education is. I’d always use Matthew Arnold’s famous formulation “the best that has been thought and known in the world” when talking about what education means. But it’ s no good just asserting it– you have to argue for it. So the Right advocates rote learning or learning by heart – which I’ m a great fan of. I once learnt all of Shakespeare’s sonnets by heart and can still recite many of them! 

"Both the Left and the Right have forgotten what education means."

There are elements of that sort of memorising activity in liberal education. The Right have a dim memory of Grammar schools and education in the past and recall some elements of it– rote learning or using good textbooks – but what they have forgotten is that there are no technical solutions. It’ s subject content that’ s important. On the ‘Left’, or in the education status quo, almost every teacher you meet says that education is about social justice – they see that as the aim of education: learning in pursuit of social equality and concern with the poor and needy being paramount. But if you want more equality, you need to teach subjects and provide people with ‘powerful knowledge’. 

"The Left have abandoned education and replaced it with politics. They’ve politicised learning and completely abandoned subject-based education."

If you teach subjects, then children will respond and have a love of learning. Any behavioural problems and character-building will then take care of themselves, and any social justice concerns will ultimately be resolved without ever being raised. The Left have abandoned education and replaced it with politics. They’ve politicised learning and completely abandoned subject-based education. The Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) – the education union – produced a book entitled Subject To Change, which said you had to replace subjects because they were elitist and old-fashioned. 

For me, I’m influenced by the sociologist Michael Young who makes the point that subjects derive from the academic disciplines as they exist in universities and the knowledge they offer is based on an academic consensus. Subjects are the best protection we have against teachers just teaching what they want, and following fads and fashions, which schools today are full of – the likes of mindfulness learning, happiness classes and so on, which may occupy children and make them feel warm and confident, but they’re merely whims. 

"Some schools we saw or heard about were obsessed with behaviour and self-esteem issues, while others just focused on teaching children. And it was just a matter of approach. The children came from the same catchment area but in some schools they are taught subjects and in others taught to behave. The latter doesn’t work."

They’re nothing to do with teaching in the traditional sense – to me, they’re an abandonment of education. I was on Boris Johnson’s Mayoral Education Enquiry which reported in 2012. Some schools we saw or heard about were obsessed with behaviour and self-esteem issues, while others just focused on teaching children. And it was just a matter of approach. The children came from the same catchment area but in some schools they are taught subjects and in others taught to behave. The latter doesn’t work. The same goes with the idea of ‘motivation’. Once you say have to motivate children first, and get them into a mindful state before they can learn, then you never actually get around to teaching them.


Some schools are really concerned with issues like radicalisation, so they make that a focus of the curriculum, but you can spend too much time dealing with that. The only real way to deal with such issues is through education – arguing about everything and bringing everything out. A friend of mine remembers what schools were like during the Lebanese Civil War and she tells this story... the teachers would say to the children, “we know you’re worried about your parents and siblings, and what might happen during bombing raids, but we want you to put all of your worries into this carrier bag and come into the school to learn”. 

"The only real way to deal with such issues is through education – arguing about everything and bringing everything out."

That is the model for education – no matter what problems you have, whatever your social or cultural background, whether you’re male or female, you come to school to learn, and can leave everything else behind. If you have a bad home life, for instance, the last thing you want to do is spend all your time in school discussing it and worrying about it. We’ve become too interested in children’s internal lives rather than their external abilities and what they can learn and do. It’s like the belief that counselling is increasingly necessary in today’s 'troubled' world, but often, even with traumatised people, talking therapy can actually make things worse.

How will history remember Queen Elizabeth II?

Dr Sean Lang  · 12
Senior lecturer in History at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge. Author of...

It seems to me that the Queen is a major political figure, perhaps, more important than people have realised for some time. Although I think, historians have recognised her importance in the last 20 years or so.

What she has done, very obviously, is being able to keep monarchy alive and to keep the idea of monarchy going at the time when, in other countries, it disappeared over the course of the 20th century.

Simply because she’s been the Head of the state for such a long time, with direct access on regular basis not only to British political leaders but also, of course, to international political leaders, particularly through the Commonwealth and with the regular briefings on political affairs that she has with the Prime Minister. I think, there is now a recognition that it is actually an important aspect which makes her quite a significant figure. Also, it is something that politicians and political leaders show: there is clearly a lot of respect towards her, both among British leaders and among international leaders. 

The Queen addresses leaders of the 53 Commonwealth nations (Malta, 2015.) Photo credit: BBC

What she has done, very obviously, is being able to keep monarchy alive and to keep the idea of monarchy going at the time when, in other countries, it disappeared over the course of the 20th century. One could say: “is that something worth doing in the first place?” because if we people don’t really believe in monarchy, it is probably not a great thing to keep it going. But, I think, what she has done is to keep the focus above party politics, which clearly has worked and has survived some of the crises of the 20th century. In her reign, of course, the biggest one was the death of Princess Diana in 1997.

I think, what she’s created is a sort of democratic monarchy, without having to go down to a very informal root of some of the continental monarchies. 

It quite clear that she, herself, has managed to make the monarchy something which is an integral part of the Constitution, and is broadly accepted. And, ironically, she is accepted even by Republicans – even by those who would quite like to get rid of the monarchy – but even they tend to say “well, after she’s gone”. I think, what she’s created is a sort of democratic monarchy, without having to go down to a very informal root of some of the continental monarchies.