Has Lusitania mystery been unravelled?

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Resting inside the hold of the RMS Lusitania are an estimated 4 million U.S.-made Remington .303 bullets, originally destined for Allied forces fighting Imperial Germany, according to a new report in The Daily Mail.

If true, it would lend considerable credence to German claims that the Lusitania was carrying war materiel and was a legitimate military target when it was sunk by a U-boat in May 1915, killing 1,198. The .303 round was used by the British army in all of their battlefield rifles and machine guns.

American and British officials have long denied that the Cunard liner carried military supplies.

The discovery may help explain why the Lusitania sank within 18 minutes of a single German torpedo slamming into its hull. Some of the 764 survivors reported a second explosion which might have been munitions going off, according to The Daily Mail.

The sinking of the Lusitania, en route from New York to the UK, proved to be a bonanza for Allied propaganda, and was a key factor in the US siding against the Central Powers.

Today, there is just a single Lusitania survivor still living: Audrey Lawson-Johnston, of Bedfordshire, England.

A lesson from the unemployed smoker

Columbia is the subject of in-depth profile by the New York Times, which visited The Capital City to detail “a snapshot of economic woe.”

Midway through the piece, the Times interviews Lori Harris, a 47-year-old looking for work. A year ago, she graduated with an associate degree in medical assisting but hasn’t found the job market to her liking.

Ms. Harris said she was offered one job, as a medical technician dispensing pills to patients, but the pay was $7.50 an hour, the Times reported.

“Forget it,” she told reporter Peter S. Goodman. “I was like, ‘Is it worth going to college? Did I waste my time?’”

Ms. Harris “wondered if her age explains the rejections. Or her Boston accent. Or the smell of her cigarette smoking.”

Sadly, Ms. Harris apparently took no economics courses while working toward her associate degree.

First, $7,50 an hour isn’t a great wage, but it’s still better than nothing. In an economic downturn such as the US is currently experiencing, employers usually hold the advantage. They can afford to be choosy in terms of who they hire and how much they pay because there is an abundance of job seekers.

In a year or so, when the economy inevitably turns around, it will likely be an employee’s market, where those looking for jobs will have more options to pick from, both in terms of the work they’re offered and how much they’ll receive as compensation.

Unfortunately, Ms. Harris is only hurting herself by choosing not to work rather than taking a wage that she feels is not commensurate with her abilities. A better course of action would be to take the $7.50-an-hour job while keeping an eye out for a better-paying position.

Even if she can’t find another job beyond the $7.50-an-hour opportunity, she’ll be able to pad her resume so that when the economy does turn around and more jobs are available, she’ll be a in a better position to command more money.

As to Ms. Harris’s questions about whether her age, Boston accent or the fact that she smells like cigarettes hurt her in her job quest, the answers are probably “no,” “no” and “quite possibly.”

An employer is not going to take it as a good omen that someone seeking a job in the medical industry reeks of cigarettes. If you can’t scrub yourself up enough to make a good impression during a job interview, what are you going to be like on the job?

Again, it’s a matter of economics. No matter the industry, if you have three applicants for a single position and two are clean but the third is a walking advertisement for Marlboro, that third applicant is going to have a tough row to hoe.

It’s hard to win if you don’t know you’re in

Caterpillar Inc. has chosen Central Texas to relocate its global assembly, test and paint facilities, selecting the Lone Star State over locations in South Carolina and Mexico.

According to information released last week, Caterpillar plans to construct a state-of-the-art facility in Seguin, Texas, that will provide engines for Caterpillar machines and electric power generation, as well as petroleum, marine, and industrial customers.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry said his state was in competition with S.C. and Mexico, but the S.C. Department of Commerce was uncertain why Greenville had been mentioned as a possible candidate for the new plant, the Columbia Regional Business Report says.

“This is not anything we were even aware of,” Commerce spokeswoman Kara Borie was quoted as saying. “This was not a project the Department of Commerce was even working.”

The move is expected to generate $169.7 million in capital investment and the facility will provide about 1,400 jobs, according to the Columbia Regional Business Report.

Nazis rebounding in fight for Britain’s skies

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It’s taken more than 68 years, but it appears the tide is beginning to turn in The Battle of Britain.

The Telegraph is reporting that models of Nazi aircraft are outselling those of British replicas.

Analysis by model maker Airfix shows that approximately 1.4 million German replicas have been sold this year, compared to 1.1 million Allied kits.

Luftwaffe planes now outnumber rival air forces in the top 10 most popular aircraft from the conflict, with five models, compared to four RAF planes and one from the US.

The top selling German planes are the Messerschmitt Bf 109E, the Focke Wulf 190D, the Junkers Ju87 Stuka, the Dornier Do17 and the “Mistel,” an experimental aircraft, in which a fighter was attached to a bomber, according to the Telegraph.

The most popular RAF planes are the Supermarine Spitfire, the De Havilland Mosquito, the Hawker Hurricane and the Avro Lancaster. The P51 Mustang is the only US aircraft in the top ten.

The rise in sales of the Nazi war machines reflects an interest in the more experimental technologies developed by the Germans and the engineering superiority of many of their vehicles, the article reports.

For the record, the British won the real Battle of Britain, which took place in the summer and fall of 1940, marking Nazi Germany’s first military defeat and stiffening Allied resolve.