The NYTimes recently ran an obituary story of a man named Victor H. Krulak who died on December 29 at the age of 95. In 1937, Marine Lt. Gen. Krulak had been designated as "some nut out in China" by the Navy in Washington.
"Why?" you ask?
Well, in 1937, Krulak was attached to intelligence unit in Shanghai, where he saw a Japanese boat with a square bow that became a ramp. This boat was used to offload troops and equipment onto enemy beaches. Krulak used a telephoto lens to take a picture of the boat, and sent it off to Washington. There, it was filed as the work of "some nut out in China."
Krulak, however, was convinced that this was an idea whose time had come. He built a model of the boat and collaborated with a New Orleans boat builder named Andrew Higgins, who had been involved in developing landing craft for the Navy.
This design was eventually turned into production as the "Higgins Boat" which were indispensable in amphibious landings such as Normandy, Okinawa, Iwo Jima, Tarawa, and the Philippines.
Thus, the idea of "some nut out in China" filed away by the Navy brass as inconsequential became a key tool for the Allied victory in WWII.
And now, as Paul Harvey would say, you know the rest of the story.