God only knows what MoDo’s been smoking… In “Hitler’s Talking Dogs” she raves: Pick your poison: killer sausages, talking dogs or toxic schnapps? It’s time for her to have her meds adjusted again. The Moustache of Wisdom, in “The Start-Up of You,” says this is not your parents’ job market. Workers need to be able to invent, adapt and reinvent their jobs every day. Here’s MoDo:
At this late date, when we believe we know absolutely everything about Adolf Hitler, could it be that he was even crazier than we thought?
From Caligula to Nero to Qaddafi, dictators are often not just cruel and evil, but lunatics. It’s very rare to find a rational dictator. Absolute power deranges them and gives them delusions and fantasies. So we shouldn’t be surprised by news reports suggesting the Führer was batty beyond even Mel Brooks’s satire.
First, an MI5 document was declassified in London in April, revealing megalomaniacal schemes for Nazis to rise again if they lost the war by scattering sleeper agents around the world; and by killing Allied officers with poison infused in sausages, chocolate, Nescafé coffee, cigarettes, schnapps and Bayer aspirin.
German agents said they were instructed to first offer Allied targets a cigarette treated by Nazi scientists to give the smoker a headache, then finish the job with a poison aspirin that would kill within 10 minutes.
Secret weapons included a pellet that would emit a fatal vapor when heated by cigarette ash; poison for books, desks and door handles; a tablet of exploding powder that would activate when placed next to a wet glass; and a belt buckle with a silver swastika that concealed a .32 pistol that could fire two shots.
“The Werewolf organization, a network of Nazi saboteurs who would fight to create a Fourth Reich in the event Hitler’s empire crumbled, were to leave tins of instant coffee powder and other foods laced with toxins where they could be found by British and American soldiers,” The Daily Mail of London wrote, describing the declassified dossier.
Four German spies captured after they parachuted into France in 1945, including one woman, spilled some of the assassination plots. Female agents were given purse mirrors with microbes hidden inside them, so they might infect top Allied occupiers with deadly bacteria.
British military officials at the time considered the agents’ stories “somewhat fantastic,” but were worried enough to prohibit “the eating of German food or the smoking of German cigarettes” by advancing Allied troops.
A new book, “Amazing Dogs,” by Dr. Jan Bondeson, a senior lecturer at Cardiff University School of Medicine in Wales, reveals that Hitler supported a German school that tried to teach large, muscular mastiffs to “talk” to humans. This story set off a panting spate of “Heel Hitler,” “Furred Reich,” “Wooffan SS” and “Arf Wiedersehen” headlines in British tabloids and plenty of claims that Hitler was “barking mad.”
“There were some very strange experiments going on in wartime Germany, with regard to dog-human communication,” Bondeson writes, wondering: “Were the Nazis trying to develop a breed of super-intelligent canine storm troopers, capable of communicating with their human masters of the Herrenvolk?”
He discovered a 1943 Nazi magazine piece about the headmistress of the canine school, a Frau Schmitt, claiming that some of the dogs spoke a few words. “At a Nazi study course, a talking dog was once asked ‘Who is Adolf Hitler?’ and replied ‘Mein Führer!” Bondeson writes of these claims, noting that “the Nazis, who had such conspicuous disregard for human rights, felt more strongly about the animals.”
Nazi propaganda dwelled on Hitler as a dog lover. He owned two German shepherds named Bella and Blondi. He tested a cyanide capsule on Blondi and killed her just before he committed suicide.
The Nazis took their dogs seriously. As The Guardian reported in January, the Nazi government was so furious about a dog in Finland that had been trained to imitate Hitler with a Nazi salute that the foreign office in Berlin started “an obsessive campaign” to destroy its owner.
Bondeson writes that in Germany in the early 20th century, some people had a strong belief in the potential of super-intelligent animals. He said that along with Thomas Mann and Hermann Hesse, an Airedale terrier named Rolf was considered one of the leading German intellectuals of the time. Rolf’s owner said she taught him his own alphabet with a system of taps of his paw on a board and, Bondeson notes drolly, “he successfully dabbled in mathematics, ethics, religion and philosophy.”
The latest wacky Hitler story comes from the British author Graeme Donald. He says that, while researching a military book, he stumbled across a story that Hitler and Heinrich Himmler were so worried about German soldiers’ getting sexual diseases from French hookers that they cooked up a plan for soldiers to carry small blow-up blond, blue-eyed dolls called “gynoids” in their backpacks to use as sex “comforters.”
Donald said Himmler ordered 50 dolls but the soldiers were too embarrassed to carry them. “In the end the idea fizzled out,” Donald told The Sun, “and the place where they were made and all the dolls were destroyed in the bombing of Dresden.”
It’s definitely time for her to step away from the recreational pharmaceuticals… Here’s The Moustache of Wisdom:
The rise in the unemployment rate last month to 9.2 percent has Democrats and Republicans reliably falling back on their respective cure-alls. It is evidence for liberals that we need more stimulus and for conservatives that we need more tax cuts to increase demand. I am sure there is truth in both, but I do not believe they are the whole story. I think something else, something new — something that will require our kids not so much to find their next job as to invent their next job — is also influencing today’s job market more than people realize.
Look at the news these days from the most dynamic sector of the U.S. economy — Silicon Valley. Facebook is now valued near $100 billion, Twitter at $8 billion, Groupon at $30 billion, Zynga at $20 billion and LinkedIn at $8 billion. These are the fastest-growing Internet/social networking companies in the world, and here’s what’s scary: You could easily fit all their employees together into the 20,000 seats in Madison Square Garden, and still have room for grandma. They just don’t employ a lot of people, relative to their valuations, and while they’re all hiring today, they are largely looking for talented engineers.
Indeed, what is most striking when you talk to employers today is how many of them have used the pressure of the recession to become even more productive by deploying more automation technologies, software, outsourcing, robotics — anything they can use to make better products with reduced head count and health care and pension liabilities. That is not going to change. And while many of them are hiring, they are increasingly picky. They are all looking for the same kind of people — people who not only have the critical thinking skills to do the value-adding jobs that technology can’t, but also people who can invent, adapt and reinvent their jobs every day, in a market that changes faster than ever.
Today’s college grads need to be aware that the rising trend in Silicon Valley is to evaluate employees every quarter, not annually. Because the merger of globalization and the I.T. revolution means new products are being phased in and out so fast that companies cannot afford to wait until the end of the year to figure out whether a team leader is doing a good job.
Whatever you may be thinking when you apply for a job today, you can be sure the employer is asking this: Can this person add value every hour, every day — more than a worker in India, a robot or a computer? Can he or she help my company adapt by not only doing the job today but also reinventing the job for tomorrow? And can he or she adapt with all the change, so my company can adapt and export more into the fastest-growing global markets? In today’s hyperconnected world, more and more companies cannot and will not hire people who don’t fulfill those criteria.
But you would never know that from listening to the debate in Washington, where some Democrats still tend to talk about job creation as if it’s the 1960s and some Republicans as if it’s the 1980s. But this is not your parents’ job market.
This is precisely why LinkedIn’s founder, Reid Garrett Hoffman, one of the premier starter-uppers in Silicon Valley — besides co-founding LinkedIn, he is on the board of Zynga, was an early investor in Facebook and sits on the board of Mozilla — has a book coming out after New Year called “The Start-Up of You,” co-authored with Ben Casnocha. Its subtitle could easily be: “Hey, recent graduates! Hey, 35-year-old midcareer professional! Here’s how you build your career today.”
Hoffman argues that professionals need an entirely new mind-set and skill set to compete. “The old paradigm of climb up a stable career ladder is dead and gone,” he said to me. “No career is a sure thing anymore. The uncertain, rapidly changing conditions in which entrepreneurs start companies is what it’s now like for all of us fashioning a career. Therefore you should approach career strategy the same way an entrepreneur approaches starting a business.”
To begin with, Hoffman says, that means ditching a grand life plan. Entrepreneurs don’t write a 100-page business plan and execute it one time; they’re always experimenting and adapting based on what they learn.
It also means using your network to pull in information and intelligence about where the growth opportunities are — and then investing in yourself to build skills that will allow you to take advantage of those opportunities. Hoffman adds: “You can’t just say, ‘I have a college degree, I have a right to a job, now someone else should figure out how to hire and train me.’ ” You have to know which industries are working and what is happening inside them and then “find a way to add value in a way no one else can. For entrepreneurs it’s differentiate or die — that now goes for all of us.”
Finally, you have to strengthen the muscles of resilience. “You may have seen the news that [the] online radio service Pandora went public the other week,” Hoffman said. “What’s lesser known is that in the early days [the founder] pitched his idea more than 300 times to V.C.’s with no luck.”