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July 25, 2013

In 1748 Hannah Snell served in the Royal Marines disguised as a man, kept her disguise even when stripped and flogged

1750: Royal Marine stripped and flogged; nobody spots 'his' breasts
Hannah Snell (1723-1792) was a British woman who served in the Royal Marines as a man. Snell was born in Worcester, married in her late teens and gave birth to a daughter. When her daughter died and her husband absconded, Snell borrowed some men’s clothing and enlisted in the Marines using the name ‘James Gray’. In 1748 Snell was deployed to India where she saw heavy combat and: “…received twelve wounds, six in her right arm and five in her left and the other in her groin, from the last of which she extracted the ball and herself perfected the cure, in order to prevent her sex being discovered…” Snell’s gender concealment is even more remarkable considering that she was flogged twice during her three years in the Marines – and both times was stripped to the waist. In 1748 Snell was charged with dereliction of duty and publicly whipped in Carlisle. Snell later told biographers she avoided detection because her “breasts were but small” and: “…her arms [were] drawn up, the protuberance of her breasts was inconsiderable and they were hid by her standing close to the gate.” Snell received a second whipping onboard a Royal Navy ship, where she prevented the: “…discovery of her sex by tying a handkerchief round her neck and spreading it over her breasts.” During this second flogging Snell’s breasts were spotted by the ship’s bosun, who “said they were the most like a woman’s he ever saw” – however he was not concerned enough to raise the alarm. On her return to England in 1750 Snell confessed her true gender. She was given an honourable discharge and, later, a military pension. Snell later ran a pub until her mental health deteriorated. She spent her final months in the notorious Bedlam hospital.

July 21, 2013

In Canada, women weren't legally "people" until 1927

Emily Murphy - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Emily Murphy (born Emily Gowan Ferguson; 14 March 1868 – 17 October 1933) was a Canadian women's rights activist, jurist, and author. In 1916, she became the first female magistrate in Canada, and in the British Empire. She is best known for her contributions to Canadian feminism, specifically to the question of whether women were "persons" under Canadian law. Murphy is known as one of the "The Famous Five" (also called "The Valiant Five")[citation needed]—a group of Canadian women’s rights activists that also included Henrietta Muir Edwards, Nellie McClung, Louise McKinney and Irene Parlby. In 1927, the women launched the "Persons Case," contending that women could be "qualified persons" eligible to sit in the Senate. The Supreme Court of Canada ruled that they were not. However, upon appeal to the Judicial Committee of the British Privy Council, the court of last resort for Canada at that time, the women won their case.[1] . . . In 1917, she headed the battle to have women declared as "persons" in Canada, and, consequently, qualified to serve in the Senate. Lawyer, Eardley Jackson, challenged her position as judge because women were not considered "persons" under the British North America Act 1867. This understanding was based on a British common law ruling of 1876, which stated, "women were eligible for pains and penalties, but not rights and privileges." . . .

July 09, 2013

HMX: the powerful explosive you can eat with pancakes

HMX - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Also known as cyclotetramethylene-tetranitramine, tetrahexamine tetranitramine, or octahydro-1,3,5,7-tetranitro-1,3,5,7-tetrazocine, HMX was first made in 1930. In 1949 it was discovered that HMX can be prepared by nitrolysis of RDX. Nitrolysis of RDX is performed by dissolving RDX in a 55% HNO3 solution, followed by placing the solution on a steambath for about six hours.[3] HMX is used almost exclusively in military applications, including as the detonator in nuclear weapons, in the form of polymer-bonded explosive, and as a solid rocket propellant. During World War II, under the code name Aunt Jemima, HMX was mixed with flour and used by Chinese guerrillas to disrupt the Japanese invasion and occupation of China. The mixture could easily pass for regular flour, thereby passing checkpoints without detection. It could even be cooked into pancakes without exploding and eaten without poisoning anyone. Uneaten pancakes or unused dough could still be used later for its original explosive purposes. In China during WWII, 15 tons of the "Aunt Jemima" HMX mixture was used. None was ever "discovered" by the Japanese.[4]