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Who is the most famous/infamous/ahead of the rest in their field?


BigFatCoward
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Vlad the Impaler - how many others leaders are believed to have been a vampire and had the ruthlessness to match?

Wernher von Braun - father of space travel

Archimedes - is there a physics textbook that doesn't start with his discoveries?

Jesus of Nazareth - whatever you believe, he/He created the most widespread religion in the world.

 

 

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5 hours ago, BigFatCoward said:

Elvis is not more famous than the beatles. And certainly not better. 

You might be surprised.  Recall, the holos in Blade Runner, of figures that are still transmitting in his broken future, has both Marilyn and Elvis (and John Wayne).  No beatles. Ha!  Also, you know there are hordes of Elvis impersonators in the UK . . . .

Also, he came along long before beatles ... his inspirations were Black; beats were the music hall.  :dunno:

Edited by Zorral
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3 hours ago, polishgenius said:

Sure, and Stalin was consequential in many ways

but

He didn't open up the Eastern front: that was Hitler

Correct. He was not the one to break the non-aggression pact with Germany. That certainly diminishes him as a political animal; as it came as a total surprise. But I don’t see how that diminishes him as a historical figure.

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You'll never convince me that Stalin as a politician/speaker had the inspirational effect Churchill did in galvanising Russia's resistance

While I am amenable to education on this score, since I don't really know, I'm fairly sure he wasn't responsible for the tactics responsible for driving Germany back either. 

I’d imagine he was at least as involved as Churchill was in Britain and Roosevelt was in the USA.

Stalin definitely has a cult of personality vibe about him. I don’t know what kind of public speaker he was. Stalin didn’t need to speak. :mellow:
 

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Hell, even the industrial mobilisation- that would have happened whoever was leader. It was an inevitable response to the invasion.

Dead wrong. Remember that Stalin’s career starts long before ww2. In the wake of the revolution and the subsequent civil war, they were left with the wreckage of a country that was a basket case to begin with. A country that never really had their Industrial Revolution and was mostly illiterate potato and wheat farmers who were shitfaced for half the year. And they were isolated. They had no allies. The other great powers were hostile to them. They understood that they had to industrialize to survive. 

The means were horrifying and brutal, sure, but it’s not like they were the first nation to build wealth by turning people into livestock. Those people that got sent off to gulags and forced labor camps were the grist that made Soviet industrialization happen. 

The industrial policy of the 20’s and 30’s was deliberate and might not have happened under anyone else. If the whites actually win the civil war, not only does it not happen, but when ww2 happens, there’s a good chance they enter the war on the side of the axis, and the world today is a fascist hellscape. 

For example, in the 30’s when the rest of the world was dealing with the Great Depression, American architects and engineers were in the ussr building factories. It turns out that a factory for building tractors or construction equipment can easily be restructured to build tanks if it’s designed that way from the start. This would be important later. 

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Basically I think Stalin just happened to be in charge at the time and anyone else in the same position would have had the same effect. 

As I said, if it’s anyone else (eg Trotsky) history happens different. Stalin was not a passive figure. 

Edited by Deadlines? What Deadlines?
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21 minutes ago, Deadlines? What Deadlines? said:

Correct. He was not the one to break the non-aggression pact with Germany. That certainly diminishes him as a political animal; as it came as a total surprise. But I don’t see how that diminishes him as a historical figure.

I’d imagine he was at least as involved as Churchill was in Britain and Roosevelt was in the USA.

Stalin definitely has a cult of personality vibe about him. I don’t know what kind of public speaker he was. Stalin didn’t need to speak. :mellow:
 

Dead wrong. Remember that Stalin’s career starts long before ww2. In the wake of the revolution and the subsequent civil war, they were left with the wreckage of a country that was a basket case to begin with. A country that never really had their Industrial Revolution and was mostly illiterate potato and wheat farmers who were shitfaced for half the year. And they were isolated. They had no allies. The other great powers were hostile to them. They understood that they had to industrialize to survive. 

The means were horrifying and brutal, sure, but it’s not like they were the first nation to build wealth by turning people into livestock. Those people that got sent off to gulags and forced labor camps were the grist that made Soviet industrialization happen. 

The industrial policy of the 20’s and 30’s was deliberate and might not have happened under anyone else. If the whites actually win the civil war, not only does it not happen, but when ww2 happens, there’s a good chance they enter the war on the side of the axis, and the world today is a fascist hellscape. 

For example, in the 30’s when the rest of the world was dealing with the Great Depression, American architects and engineers were in the ussr building factories. It turns out that a factory for building tractors or construction equipment can easily be restructured to build tanks if it’s designed that way from the start. This would be important later. 

As I said, if it’s anyone else (eg Trotsky) history happens different. Stalin was not a passive figure. 

Stalin did enter the war on the Axis side.

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Yeah I'll take the point about Russian industrialisation might not have been up to the necessary standard to mobilise enough to push back Germany if it was someone other than Stalin (though, you know, someone not insane might have achieved that industrialisation without killing millions of his own population, so swings and roundabouts on that point), but I think your overall counter falls apart if it's based partly on the idea that Stalin didn't co-invade with the Nazis.

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36 minutes ago, maarsen said:

Stalin did enter the war on the Axis side.

Correct. After signing the Molotov Ribbentrop pact, they decided to seal the deal by tag teaming Poland. 

But remember, Stalin only did a deal with Hitler after the Brits and the French basically told him to fuck off. The Brits sent some clown to Moscow with no mandate to negotiate anything and I don’t think the French ever even met with them. 

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Look I'm sorry I know what you're saying here re: notoriety =/= morality and that Stalin clearly affected history whatever we may think of him, but even with that caveat several of your points now have come across as perilously close to 'actually Stalin wasn't that bad' and even though I'm pretty sure that's not what you're trying to say... please stop doing that.

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53 minutes ago, maarsen said:

For the invention of calculus alone, Newton is the greatest. Let alone the rest of his mathematics.

Not close imho.

Physicists still get Nobel prizes for proving assumptions from Einstein's theory of relativity - Discovery of gravitational waves won it in 2017 and Roger Penrose's in 2020 for  the discovery that black hole formation is a robust prediction of the general theory of relativity (which is ironic, that Einstein didn't get one for the theory itself). Pretty impressive for an over 100 year old work. And sorta frustrating for physicist, as they for most parts are reduced to ticking boxes instead of disproving it and being able to come up with something better.

Without Einstein no GPS, no navi.

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9 minutes ago, BigFatCoward said:

He wins on the notoriety, but compared to Jack he was a pretty poor golfer. 

You really can’t say “he was a pretty poor golfer” in comparison, he’s second to Jack in most statistics. And Tiger has had serious injuries Jack didn’t have. If it hadn’t been for that incredibly stupid car accident, most people expected Tiger had enough years left to catch up to Jack, but he has really had to limit the number of tournaments he plays in because of those recent injuries.

Tiger tops Jack, of course, in money earned, but the huge amount of money sloshing around in today’s sports world just can’t be compared to the 60s and 70s prizes and sponsor money.

Where Jack really blows Tiger away is in the area of, what would you call it, personal decency? Tiger’s dad was a soldier, and he brought in a military intelligence psychologist who trained spies and other soldiers in psychological warfare. When Tiger was a teen, ffs. Many golfers have talked about how brutal it is to be paired with Woods on the final day. I remember one tournament, a major, where Canadian Mike Weir was, iirc, tied with Woods, and was so psyched out that the tv presenters, NBC or CBS, stopped showing Weir’s golf shots after 7 or 8 holes, he got so psyched out by Tiger he totally lost it. I don’t think Weir ever fully recovered from that mental destruction.

There’s an HBO two or three part series on Tiger that explains a lot about him. His parents were just brutal to him. He was in love with his high school sweetheart and they got engaged, and his parents forced him to break up with her because she was ‘too distracting’. Poor kid. And his dad was a philanderer. Tiger was molded by his parents to be a machine, and that is just crazy.

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1 hour ago, maarsen said:

For the invention of calculus alone, Newton is the greatest. Let alone the rest of his mathematics.

Well, there is good evidence that Leibniz invented calculus concurrently (or perhaps even a bit earlier than Newton), and his Leibniz notation is still widely used. At any rate, I detest these kinds of debates, they are all great scientists (Newton, Leibniz, Einstein, Einstein's wife...). I would rather honor their contributions to understanding the fundamental nature of the universe than rank them.

My fellow physicists however, have no such qualms. Anyway, the famous Soviet physicist Lev Landau had a genius scale (logarithmic) where he placed EInstein and Newton at 0.5 and himself at 2.5 initially (about 100 times less smart than those two). He was no idiot himself though.

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