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Richard Feynman's FBI Files Released 181

v3rgEz writes "The FBI files of noted physicist, esteemed author and all-around geek Richard Feynman have been released. Feynman and the FBI had an extended encounter after the Bureau discovered he had been invited to speak at the USSR, which set off a flurry of investigations into his loyalty — even as he pestered the State Department for guidance on whether he should or shouldn't go, guidance they only gave belatedly. Of particular interest to the FBI was his avid devotion to the art of lock picking, his high school membership in a socialism club (for social reasons, he swore), and the fact that he was a godless scientist who loved his bongo drums. Original documents are available. One other element? A seven-page letter detailing a conspiracy theory that Feynman was a sleeper agent for enemies unknown, but probably communist ones."
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Richard Feynman's FBI Files Released

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  • by avandesande ( 143899 ) on Wednesday June 06, 2012 @01:16PM (#40234555) Journal

    I will help you along...,_Mr._Feynman!

  • by colinrichardday ( 768814 ) <> on Wednesday June 06, 2012 @02:13PM (#40235351)
    The House passed it 283-136, which is over 2/3 (though the President could have tried to flip four votes to 279-140). The Senate voted 86-13.
  • Re:Different era (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 06, 2012 @02:42PM (#40235709)

    It was? Probably the name Qian Xuesen wont ring a bell, but in the madness of McCartismthey did a lot of funny things, from wikipedia (

    "During the 1940s Qian was one of the founders of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory[2] at the California Institute of Technology. During the Second Red Scare of the 1950s, the United States government accused Qian of having communist sympathies, and he was stripped of his security clearance[3] in 1950. Qian then decided to return to China, but instead was detained at Terminal Island[4] near Los Angeles. After spending 5 years under virtual house arrest,[5] Qian was released in 1955, in exchange for the repatriation of American pilots captured during the Korean War. Notified by U.S. authorities that he was free to go, Qian immediately arranged his departure, leaving for China in September 1955."

    Of course, he was received in China with a ** big red carpet and sent straight to develop the Chinese program, no questions asked. And even afterwards, the evidence points that the guy never betrayed any secret (the Chinese rocket development started by a Russian model instead of cloning American design), so kudos for getting rid of a brilliant guy and export a missile program to a perceived enemy for free,

  • Re:Tannu Tuva (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 06, 2012 @07:02PM (#40238475)

    Was he a pedo? Did he want to go there to bone the natives? Sex tourism? Seems shady to me...

    I'm sure you're trolling, but... uh, no. Feynman happened to come across recordings of Tuvan "throat-singing", an obscure tribal artform. Tuvan singers figured out some kind of crazy vocal technique which allows one singer to produce two notes (bass and a falsetto high note) at the same time. Feynman became obsessed with it, and wanted to meet Tuvan throat singers. (This wasn't Feynman's only musical obsession. He had a lifelong passion for drumming, and got good enough as an amateur to perform in public a few times.)

    Search the web, you can probably find some recordings on youtube somewhere (or just watch the documentary fliptout linked) -- Tuvan throat singing is strange and unique and beautiful.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 06, 2012 @08:16PM (#40239127)

    We were gathered together to discuss a
    report that was in the fella's safe -- a secret safe -- when suddenly he
    realized that he didn't know the combination. His secretary was the only one
    who knew it, so he called her home and it turned out she had gone on a
    picnic up in the hills.
    While all this was going on, I asked, "Do you mind if I fiddle with the
    "Ha, ha, ha -- not at all!" So I went over to the safe and started to
    fool around.
    They began to discuss how they could get a car to try to find the
    secretary, and the guy was getting more and more embarrassed because he had
    all these people waiting and he was such a jackass he didn't know how to
    open his own safe. Everybody was all tense and getting mad at him, when
    CLICK! -- the safe opened.
    In 10 minutes I had opened the safe that contained all the secret
    documents about the plant. They were astonished. The safes were apparently
    not very safe. It was a terrible shock: All this "eyes only" stuff, top
    secret, locked in this wonderful secret safe, and this guy opens it in ten
    minutes! Of course I was able to open the safe because of my perpetual habit
    of taking the last two numbers off. While in Oak Ridge the month before, I
    was in the same office when the safe was open and I took the numbers off in
    an absent-minded way -- I was always practicing my obsession. Although I
    hadn't written them down, I was able to vaguely remember what they were.
    First I tried 40-15, then 15-40, but neither of those worked. Then I tried
    10-45 with all the first numbers, and it opened.
    A similar thing happened on another weekend when I was visiting Oak
    Ridge. I had written a report that had to be OKed by a colonel, and it was
    in his safe. Everybody else keeps documents in filing cabinets like the ones
    at Los Alamos, but he was a colonel, so he had a much fancier, two-door safe
    with big handles that pull four 3/4-inch-thick steel bolts from the frame.
    The great brass doors swung open and he took out my report to read.
    Not having had an opportunity to see any really good safes, I said to
    him, "Would you mind, while you're reading my report, if I looked at your
    "Go right ahead," he said, convinced that there was nothing I could do.
    I looked at the back of one of the solid brass doors, and I discovered that
    the combination wheel was connected to a little lock that looked exactly the
    same as the little unit that was on my filing cabinet at Los Alamos. Same
    company, same little bolt, except that when the bolt came down, the big
    handles on the safe could then move some rods sideways, and with a bunch of
    levers you could pull back all those 3/4-inch steel rods. The whole lever
    system, it appeared, depends on the same little bolt that locks filing
    Just for the sake of professional perfection, to make sure it was the
    same, I took the two numbers off the same way I did with the filing cabinet
    Meanwhile, he was reading the report. When he'd finished he said, "All
    right, it's fine." He put the report in the safe, grabbed the big handles,
    and swung the great brass doors together. It sounds so good when they close,
    but I know it's all psychological, because it's nothing but the same damn
    I couldn't help but needle him a little bit (I always had a thing about
    military guys, in such wonderful uniforms) so I said, "The way you close
    that safe, I get the idea that you think things are safe in there."
    "Of course."

The Macintosh is Xerox technology at its best.