Author Sidney Kirkpatrick discussed his latest work, Hitler's Holy Relics, which details the efforts to recover the Crown Jewels of the Holy Roman Empire from the Nazis and stop their plot to create a Fourth Reich at the end of World War II.
One of the stolen artifacts, the Spear of Destiny, was supposedly used by a vision-impaired Roman centurion named Longinus to pierce Jesus' side as he hung on the cross. According to extra-Biblical tradition, Christ's blood ran down the Spear into Longinus' eyes, curing him of cataracts and converting him to Christianity in the process, Kirkpatrick explained. A mythology grew around the Spear, which was thought to confer great authority on its owner, and it was venerated and passed down by the Holy Roman Emperors. Hitler believed the Spear would imbue him with similar power and, in March of 1938, he took possession of it and the other Crown Jewels from a museum in Austria, Kirkpatrick continued.
The priceless treasures where placed in a specially-prepared vault beneath Nuremberg castle in the German city of the same name, to protect them from Allied bombing runs. When it became clear that Nuremberg was lost, Heinrich Himmler ordered a mysterious new order of Teutonic Knights to move the Crown Jewels to someplace where they could one day be used to crown a new Führer and usher in a successor of the Third Reich, Kirkpatrick added. German-born art historian and U.S. Army officer Walter Horn foiled the Nazi's plan, however, tracking down the plundered Crown Jewels, including the Spear of Destiny, and returning them to Austria, Kirkpatrick said.
In the first hour, Ian welcomed Dr. Peter Bishop, head of the Future Studies program at the University of Houston, for a brief discussion on futurists. "Anybody who is dealing in the future, five to ten to twenty or thirty years out, we consider to be a futurist," he said, noting that one to two thousand people worldwide make their livings as professional futurists.
Bishop commented on a recent news story about Google collecting private data with their Street View cars, as well as one about radio frequency identification (RFID) tag implants. Regarding the latter, Bishop acknowledged the security/privacy issues raised by this technology, but pointed out that RFID implants used to locate lost children could end up having immense value to society.
Fifty years ago Sunday, Hughes Labs researcher Theodore Maiman changed the world when he built the first working laser. Today, lasers can be found almost everywhere and are integral in many industries, from information technology (fiber optic networks) to health care (LASIK eye surgery) to home entertainment (CDs, DVDs, and Blu-ray discs). In fact, it is estimated that half of America's gross domestic product is somehow connected to lasers. More at InsideScience.org.
Bumper music from Saturday May 15, 2010