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For about two centuries after the Black Death, workers in Europe had it good, medievally speaking. The medieval calendar was filled with festivals and feast days; dragons and church ales, carnivals and food fights, and an extra day off every week of the year. In bad years, it took only a few hundred hours of work to pay for the grain needed to feed a family; in good years, closer to a hundred hours. Then, in less than 50 years starting in the mid-1500s - and as quickly as the 10 years from 1540 to 1550 in at least one area - everything changed, almost everywhere in Europe. [more inside]
Day 109 of the Trump Administration was one of the strangest yet, with former acting Attorney General Sally Yates testifying that she twice met with White House Counsel Donald McGahn to warn that Michael Flynn had lied about his contacts with Russian officials, leaving him vulnerable to blackmail [video]. Yates urged the White House to take action, because, "to state the obvious: You don’t want your national security adviser compromised with the Russians." President Obama also personally warned President Trump about Fynn two days after the election. However, 18 days would elapse after Yates' warning before Flynn's false statements were publicly exposed and he was subsequently fired. Yates also explained her refusal to defend the travel ban executive order, while taking Sen. Ted Cruz down a few pegs, stating that she "believed that any argument that we would have to make in its defense would not be grounded in the truth." [more inside]
It's the everyday lives of everyday people that really bring history alive. Victorian Farm is a six-part BBC series which does exactly that. Part documentary, part reality show (in the best possible sense), it follows historian Ruth Goodman, and archeologists Alex Langlands and Peter Ginn, as they LARP a year in the life of a restored Victorian farm in Shropshire, England – getting by with only Victorian-era technology, cookery, clothing, and customs. But there's much more... [more inside]
In what is arguably the most turbulent week of the fledgling Trump Administration, FBI Director James Comey was fired, in spite of the fact that he was conducting an active counterintelligence investigation into possible collusion between the Trump Campaign and the Russian government. [more inside]
A week after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, with varying reasons provided at and after the fact, the New York Times broke the story that Comey wrote a memo describing private meeting in February where Trump asked him "let go" of the federal investigation Flynn, which clearly did not happen, as CNN reported Grand jury subpoenas issued in FBI's Russia investigation, pursuing associates of Flynn, back on May 10. As details of this and other notes kept by Comey were made public, White House staff scramble from one fiasco to the next, and a senior official in the Trump administration summarized the situation as such: "I don’t see how Trump isn’t completely f*cked." And Trump hosted Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the White House Tuesday, where the Turkish president’s bodyguards beat up US protesters. [more inside]
Mental Load: why women still do most of the work at home.
My family's slave: "She lived with us for 56 years. She raised me and my siblings without pay. I was 11, a typical American kid, before I realized who she was." [more inside]
YouTube art channels - Since people always ask me where to find neat art tutorials, here's a comprehensive list of YouTube channels that teach art in one way or another.
It's the 122nd day of the Trump Administration and his whirlwind diplomatic tour continues, moving on from the Middle East to … Israel? Israel, which, the President clarified, is definitely not a word that he said when meeting with Russian officials last week. Meanwhile, a sinkhole has formed in front of Trump's Mar-A-Lago resort which is almost certainly not a metaphor for his presidency. Unless it is. In which case, Vox makes the argument that there is no one to blame except Donald Trump.
Mason is old and ill and grumpy. One day some new kittens came into his foster home. 2m40s to a better day.
New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu, who has presided over the city's dismantling of Confederate monuments, delivered a righteous defense of the decision in a speech about history, race, and legacy. Seriously, read the whole thing.
Crows, and all corvids actually, fascinate me. It seems as though a new facet of corvid behavior is discovered every week or so, and this article is a good summary of what's been learned so far and how the scientists go about learning and testing.
Every year or two, someone writes another article about a genre that women have just now entered, which used to be the province of male writers. Usually it’s some form of science fiction. Lately it’s been fantasy, especially epic fantasy (which strikes me with fierce irony, because I remember when fantasy was pink and squishy and comfy and for girls). And in keeping with this week’s theme, space opera gets its regular turn in the barrel.Judith Tarr: Yes, Women Have Always Written Space Opera. [more inside]
"A half-century ago, a girl and brother ran away to New York City from their suburban Connecticut home. And the Metropolitan Museum of Art hasn’t been the same since." [more inside]
It's the Sgt. Pepper's/Star Wars mashup you didn't know you needed. Palette-Swap Ninja has adapted the entirety of The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band into a long form musical adaptation of Star Wars: A New Hope. [more inside]
Last December, the University of Oregon hosted the second Tiptree Symposium, this year focusing on the works of writer Ursula K. Le Guin. The videos of all the panels and speeches are available for streaming. [more inside]
Do you want to learn the basics of composing music, but don't have the hardware or software to do it, or don't want to spend time around countless tutorials aimed at a particular DAW or that just tell you what to do without explaining the basics? Ableton has you covered.
The maps, carved from wood, were held inside the users’ mittens, and read by feel, rather than visually.
The Onion has obtained 700 pages of leaked documents from the Trump Administration. "The Onion has done what no other news organization ever could: expose the Trump administration."