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The 23rd Headquarters Special Troops: The Phantom Menace

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During World War II, Americans of many different backgrounds and professions were drafted into the armed forces. One unit in particular, the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops of the U.S. Army, had an odd membership. This group was made up mostly of artists, architects, designers, sound engineers, and other creative types -- all of whom had an IQ of at least 119. And while other units were given standard issue weapons and benefited from the employ of tanks and artillery, the 23rd was given a much different order:

Fake it.

Sun Tzu, in The Art of War, famously observed that "all warfare is based on deception." The U.S. military, via, the 23rd, took that literally. Using inflatable jeeps and tanks (such as the one pictured above), the 23rd was charged with convincing German troops that Allied firepower and numbers were greater than they truly were. The 23rd, known colloquially as the "Ghost Army," would set up faux, inflatable battalions near German encampments (but away from the actual Allied forces) to try to throw off the enemy. These actors-as-soldiers would don different uniforms and insignias, with the hope of catching the eye of German intelligence -- who, in turn, would report back (incorrect) estimates of manpower and location of Allied troops. And they even went with some high-tech subterfuge: according to NPR, the Ghost Army "mounted huge speakers onto trucks to project the sound of the recordings — such as troop or tank movement or the construction of a bridge."

Their efforts were reportedly successful. For example, the 23rd set up a fake "mulberry harbor" -- an artificial military harbor used to offload cargo and troops onto beaches, such as at Normandy a few weeks after D-Day -- diverting German attention away from the true landing locations. But the biggest success? The Washington Post noted that at times, the Ghost Army convinced German adversaries that they numbered as many as 30,000 troops, even convincing some units to surrender out of fear of being greatly outmatched.

The U.S. Army may have used the tactic in other wars, as well, as the Ghost Army's mission in World War II was kept classified until 1996 -- and even today, many details are still kept secret.

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Netflix's Most-Binged Shows of 2017, Ranked
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Netflix might know your TV habits better than you do. Recently, the entertainment company's normally tight-lipped number-crunchers looked at user data collected between November 1, 2016 and November 1, 2017 to see which series people were powering through and which ones they were digesting more slowly. By analyzing members’ average daily viewing habits, they were able to determine which programs were more likely to be “binged” (or watched for more than two hours per day) and which were more often “savored” (or watched for less than two hours per day) by viewers.

They found that the highest number of Netflix bingers glutted themselves on the true crime parody American Vandal, followed by the Brazilian sci-fi series 3%, and the drama-mystery 13 Reasons Why. Other shows that had viewers glued to the couch in 2017 included Anne with an E, the Canadian series based on L. M. Montgomery's 1908 novel Anne of Green Gables, and the live-action Archie comics-inspired Riverdale.

In contrast, TV shows that viewers enjoyed more slowly included the Emmy-winning drama The Crown, followed by Big Mouth, Neo Yokio, A Series of Unfortunate Events, GLOW, Friends from College, and Ozark.

There's a dark side to this data, though: While the company isn't around to judge your sweatpants and the chip crumbs stuck to your couch, Netflix is privy to even your most embarrassing viewing habits. The company recently used this info to publicly call out a small group of users who turned their binges into full-fledged benders:

Oh, and if you're the one person in Antarctica binging Shameless, the streaming giant just outed you, too.

Netflix broke down their full findings in the infographic below and, Big Brother vibes aside, the data is pretty fascinating. It even includes survey data on which shows prompted viewers to “Netflix cheat” on their significant others and which shows were enjoyed by the entire family.

Netflix infographic "The Year in Bingeing"
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