4088 posts tagged with History.
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You can't spell America without Gay Cabal

Author and historian Bob Arnebeck writes about early American history and its Founding Fathers' "relationships with men beyond conventional propriety." Featured characters include war hero and Washington D.C planner Pierre Charles L'Enfant, the first inspector general of the US Army Baron Von Steuben , and Alexander Hamilton. Bonus: Revolutinary America's tolerance for homosexuality by Victoria A. Brownworth.
posted by The Whelk on Oct 7, 2015 - 24 comments

Hail to the Pencil Pusher

Hail to the Pencil Pusher — American Bureaucracy's Long and Useful History [more inside]
posted by tonycpsu on Oct 5, 2015 - 25 comments


Mary Beard: why ancient Rome matters to the modern world. "Failure in Iraq, debates about freedom, expenses scandals, sex advice … the Romans seem versions of ourselves. But then there’s the slavery and the babies on rubbish heaps. We need to understand ancient Rome, but should we take lessons from it?" [Via]
posted by homunculus on Oct 4, 2015 - 22 comments

A ponderous, scholastic joke

On the Nature of Things Humanity Was Not Meant to Know: Cosma Shalizi considers Lucretius' De Rerum Natura ('On the Nature of Things') as a "real-life Necronomicon, a book full of things humanity was not meant to know."
posted by kliuless on Oct 4, 2015 - 9 comments

Nuclear Fruit: The Cold War's Impact on Video Games

Beautiful and insightful, these five videos explore how the Cold War shaped video games.
posted by Foci for Analysis on Oct 4, 2015 - 7 comments

Swiss suffragettes were still fighting for the right to vote in 1971

It was not until 1971, 65 years after Finland became the first European country to grant women the vote, that Switzerland became the last, not only in Europe but in much of the world.
posted by infini on Oct 3, 2015 - 11 comments

Just Say "I Don't" to the 80s

10 Decades of Wedding Gowns
posted by jacquilynne on Oct 2, 2015 - 97 comments

Hardcore Gaming 101 video articles

Here is the new series of video articles started by the ultra-knowledgeable folks at Hardcore Gaming 101. The first two are up, the beginning of series on Pre-Super Mario platform games and on the early history of JRPGs. Related is the video adjunct to the Game Club 199X Podcast, with over 50 videos. (Previously.)
posted by JHarris on Sep 29, 2015 - 23 comments

Damn Cold in February: Buddy Holly, View Master and the Atomic Bomb

Someday this country’s gonna be a fine, good place to be. Maybe it needs our bones in the ground before that time can come: An essay on the summer of the Atomic Bomb, by Joni Tevis. Originally published in The Diagram
posted by Rumple on Sep 29, 2015 - 8 comments

The Red Eyed Lord

lyre-of-ur.com is a somewhat rustic website dedicated to a playable reproduction of the world's oldest string instrument. You can hear it accompanying a set of silver pipes and a short recitation from the Epic of Gilgamesh. Don't miss the fan poetry on the informative history page. [more inside]
posted by theodolite on Sep 28, 2015 - 6 comments

The time when the Soviet Union reverse-engineered a B-29.

How difficult would it be to take apart this airplane and use it to manufacture this airplane?

Very difficult.
posted by dfm500 on Sep 26, 2015 - 39 comments

/ -----///----​///----///----///----​///----///----///​----/// -----/

The Tangled History of Barbed Wire by Robert Zaretsky [Boston Globe]
“Like inventors from Joseph Guillotin to Alfred Nobel, whose creations escaped their original purpose and were yoked to evil ends, Joseph Glidden would have been shocked at what became of his. In 1874, the Illinois farmer and New Hampshire native, fastening sharpened metal knots along thick threads of steel, created barbed wire. Thanks to its high resilience and low cost, the rapid installation of the coils and lasting dissuasion of the barbs, the wire transformed the American West. Ranchers could protect their cattle against predators, both wild and human, as they pushed the frontier ever further west. The wire itself came to be called 'devil’s rope.'”
Previously. Previously. Previously.
posted by Fizz on Sep 26, 2015 - 13 comments

Hair is at once of “me” and an alien “it.”

Notes Towards a Theory of Hair: Novelist Siri Hustvedt Reflects on the Cultural Meaning of Coiffure [New Republic]
“Even this simple act of plaiting my child’s hair gives rise to questions about meaning. Why do more girl children wear their hair long in our culture than boy children? Why is hairstyle a sign of sexual difference? I have to admit that unless a boy child of mine had begged me for braids, I probably would have followed convention and kept his hair short, even though I think such rules are arbitrary and constricting. And finally, why would I have been mortified to send Sophie off to school with her tresses in high-flying, ratted knots?”
posted by Fizz on Sep 25, 2015 - 10 comments

Rich people in thrift stores also disgust me.

"Saada: In some ways, “inconspicuous chic” is about a perceived entitlement to money, not money itself. People who flaunt their wealth by wearing tons of brands and being flashy are not considered wealthy; more often they’re seen as nouveau riche vis-a-vis old-monied. ...Maybe if they were bulldozing low income housing to build a huge Barney's I would be concerned, but to be upset about how rich ladies shop is almost pointless." ---- Clothes & Class - An Adult Magazine roundtable discussion of the minutiae of high fashion, low budgets, the history of class signaling and inconspicuous chic. With Saada Ahmed, Katherine Bernard, Durga Chew-Bose, Fiona Duncan, Hari Nef, Steve Oklyn and Arabelle Scicardi. (NSFW main photos and related ads. Extreme fashion nerdery)
posted by The Whelk on Sep 25, 2015 - 84 comments

William Fakespeare

If you want to read the latest work of Shakespeare, written and performed 200 years after his death, look no further! Vortigern, an historical play(sic) is it! Performed for the first time on April 2, 1796 it was not performed again until 2008, when the Pembrooke Players put on a revival. Why not? [more inside]
posted by Torosaurus on Sep 24, 2015 - 9 comments

"we pick and choose, the creators pick and choose"

"First of all, in terms of history I’d like to say the vast majority of the medieval world as we think of it was all kinds of people with various shades of brown skin moving back and forth across borders. Yes, there were people in remote little areas who might have never encountered anyone who looked any different than themselves, but overall there was a lot of movement and a lot of contact and a lot of exchange of ideas, crossing transcultural, trans-religious, trans-ethnic zones." -- Arthur Chu and David Perry talk about The Inaccuracy Of “Historical Accuracy” In Gaming And Media.
posted by MartinWisse on Sep 24, 2015 - 77 comments

I'm not quite so daft as I look

SLYTP: two hundred and twenty three pre-1925 'music hall records' YT user Robert Godridge has made a long playlist of digital captures taken from 'some of the british music hall records in my collection, 78rpm gramophone records and cylinders.' This is one of a number of playlists centered on very old popular music recordings by various users. Most of the recordings are quite innocuous by today's standards, but it is far from uncommon to encounter double entendres, racism and stereotypes, and well, I'm not sure what to call this genre.
posted by mwhybark on Sep 23, 2015 - 11 comments

"to write in cafés is such a cliché that it needs no explanation"

In London, the coffeehouse offered the threat not of male homosexuality but rather of a different kind of dangerous male-on-male behavior, namely "wasting time." Coffee itself was often thought to be disgusting — a few of the names used by detractors were "syrup of soot," "a foreign fart," "a sister of the common sewer," "resembling the river Styx," "Pluto's diet-drink," "horsepond liquor" — but even for those who thought coffee led to medical problems, especially impotence, it was not as threatening as the spaces where it was drunk. Some perceived the coffeehouse as pure waste, a corrupting influence on London society, while others celebrated it with a strange enthusiasm.
Writing in Cafés: A Personal History by food historian Benjamin Aldes Wurgaft.
posted by Kattullus on Sep 23, 2015 - 65 comments

"I’m too mad to love anyone right now"

"There Aren't Enough Bricks in the World to Throw at Roland Emmerich’s Appalling Stonewall" - The first reviews of Roland Emmerich film about the Stonewall riots are in. They are not favorable.
posted by Artw on Sep 22, 2015 - 77 comments

During Egypt's Ice Age

You wake in a strange room. Your clothes are foreign and the walls are covered in objects from a different world. Jumping up, you race out of the room and into the streets. You have just entered.... the Ice Age. Or a North America ruled by Aztecs. Or the first days of the Carthaginians' colony on Mars.

The Twilight Histories is an alternate history audio drama podcast, described by the creator, Jordan Harbour, as a blending of Dan Carlin's Hardcore History with the Twilight Zone. Stories are told in second person, with artful music and sound effects that make you feel like you've stepped sideways into another universe where Hitler won WWII or robots took over the world.
posted by possibilityleft on Sep 22, 2015 - 7 comments

Indian Philosophy Without Any Gaps

The History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps is filling in gaps by starting a new podcast feed [iTunes link] dedicated to the history of philosophic traditions other than the one that started with the Ancient Greeks. The first tradition covered will be Indian philosophy, but the series will move on to Africa and China, and perhaps elsewhere as well. The primary author of the India episodes is Prof. Jonardon Ganeri but Prof. Peter Adamson will co-write, present each episode, and probably come up with illustrative examples involving giraffes, Buster Keaton, and his non-existent trapeze-artist sister. [Adamson's main History of Philosophy podcast previously and subsequently]
posted by Kattullus on Sep 20, 2015 - 15 comments

How the Net was Won

The ARPANET came before it. And the World Wide Web and browser technology would later make it accessible for the masses. But in between, a small Ann Arbor-based group labored on the NSFNET in relative obscurity to build—and ultimately to save—the Internet.
posted by infini on Sep 17, 2015 - 12 comments

American Experience

Walt Disney - "An unprecedented look at the life and legacy of one of America's most enduring and influential storytellers -- Walt Disney."
posted by kliuless on Sep 16, 2015 - 17 comments

The Wreck of HMS Erebus

"The Franklin shipwreck is one of the biggest, most celebrated discoveries in 21st-century marine archaeology. It also cleaved open a nasty dispute over the facts of — and credit for — the historic find. As the news went public, the civil servants, researchers, and others who played major roles in the discovery said they found themselves elbowed to the sidelines as the political messaging machine kicked into gear." [more inside]
posted by wollaston on Sep 15, 2015 - 23 comments

Georgia Brown: Shoulder to Shoulder

Georgia Brown was a well-known singer and star of musical theater, film and television in Great Britain. She defined the role of Nancy in the original 1960 production of Oliver!, a musical created by her childhood friend Lionel Bart, and went on to appear in dozens of stage and screen productions. But by the early 1970s, Brown had become increasingly dissatisfied with the television roles available to women, and the BBC asked her to choose a project. From her discussions with then-script editor Midge Mackenzie and with the help of producer Verity Lambert, the 1974 mini-series Shoulder to Shoulder was born. [more inside]
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide on Sep 15, 2015 - 2 comments

Why Americans dress so casually

The modern market allows us to personalize that style. Casual is the sweet spot between looking like every middle class American and being an individual in the massive wash of options. This idea of the freedom to dress in a way that is meaningful to us as people, and to express various types of identity.
posted by ellieBOA on Sep 14, 2015 - 314 comments

A letter to Hild

My Story, Mystery: A Letter to Hild of Whitby by Nicola Griffith "DEAR HILD, You were magnificent, I think, but hidden: a black hole at the heart of history. We can trace you only by your gravitational pull. We know, for example, that the very first piece of English literature — Cædmon’s Hymn, certainly the earliest extant example of Old English vernacular and very possibly the first created — was forged in the fire of your influence; that in the so-called Dark Ages you built and ran Whitby Abbey, the foundation at the center of what became Northumbria’s Golden Age. There you hosted and facilitated the meeting of kings, princes, and bishops that changed Britain. But we have no account of you beyond a five-page sketch in a 1300-year-old history, most of which recites the standard hagiographic miracles and visions of the time. We have no gossipy Life, no scholarly monograph, no racy romance cycle. There isn’t even a grave."
posted by dhruva on Sep 12, 2015 - 5 comments

Squeezebox Stories: tales of the accordion, the instrument that you hug

California has long been home to immigrants from around the world (and from within the U.S.). What is less known, however, is that such longstanding histories of immigration and internal domestic migration have made California a fertile ground for extremely diverse and vibrant accordion musical cultures. With that, here is background on four immigrant populations —Italians, Creoles, Lebanese/Middle Eastern, and Mixtec/Mexican — to give more background the Squeezebox Stories, about an hour of history and tales of the accordion, filtered through customs and cultures found in California. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Sep 12, 2015 - 25 comments

To live a life consigned to the margins of history

Illustrated: The Radical Indian Activist Who Influenced Mexico City, Lenin And Einstein
posted by infini on Sep 12, 2015 - 12 comments

Old as fuck.

The oldest use of the f-word has been discovered, dating the word some 165 years earlier that had ever been seen. It appeared in the name "Roger Fuckebythenavele" in court plea rolls from December 8, 1310. Fuckebythenavele was being outlawed. [more inside]
posted by gusandrews on Sep 11, 2015 - 33 comments

“You don't lick your boom boom down...”

Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon Perform the History of Rap Part 6 [YouTube] [more inside]
posted by Fizz on Sep 10, 2015 - 63 comments

Free, White, and 21

The Rise and Fall of an All-American Catchphrase: 'Free, White, and 21'
posted by mhum on Sep 10, 2015 - 62 comments

Other, Stranger Timelines

Germany’s famous unit of immortal soldiers pose with their heads in their hands, 1921. The Immortals, ordinary men resurrected from death by a process as yet unknown, served with honour in the First World War until they were liquidated (by being burned to death, the only way they could be killed) by the Weimar Republic in 1924. [more inside]
posted by yasaman on Sep 9, 2015 - 17 comments

This is why more people don't follow their dreams:

I love the Victorian era. So I decided to live in it. (SL Vox)
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Sep 9, 2015 - 694 comments

Shack Up: A Loop History

Banbarra’s entire discography can be summed up in exactly one 7-inch, 1975’s two-parter “Shack Up,” released on United Artists under the auspices of one “Coyote Productions Inc.” But no matter what trail you follow, any further info on this group gets cold pretty fast.
Nate Patrin explains why despite its inauspicious beginnings, "shack Up" became one of the most influential breaks in sampling history.
posted by MartinWisse on Sep 9, 2015 - 8 comments

Franklin, Reconsidered

‘‘I could as easily make a Collection for you of all the past Parings of my Nails,’’ Benjamin Franklin wrote to his sister Jane in 1767, after she asked him to send her all his old essays on politics. It was as if, in dashing off articles, he’d been sloughing off pages, like a snake shedding skin. Franklin liked to think of himself as a book: a man of letters, spine of bone, flesh of paper, blood of ink, his skin a cover of leather, stitched. When he wrote, he molted. He could be as sneaky as a snake, too, something to bear in mind when reading his autobiography, as sly an account as anything Franklin ever allowed himself the grave indiscretion of putting on paper.
Jill Lepore revisits the legacy of Benjamin Franklin, who in his time was “the most accomplished and famous American who had ever lived.”
posted by jenkinsEar on Sep 8, 2015 - 25 comments

Stay awhile, and listen.

Here, in their own words, is the story of the development of Diablo II, and what it was like to be at Blizzard North in those days lasting from early 1997 to mid-2000.
posted by curious nu on Sep 8, 2015 - 22 comments

The Mother of Modern Adoption

Georgia Tann was an influential adoption advocate who popularized adoption in the US from 1920s to the 1950s. She arranged adoptions for movie stars like Joan Crawford and Lana Turner and essentially devised the modern closed adoption. But Tann's babies were not necessarily unwanted, and in fact she frequently stole them from poor parents or told parents their children were dead. Worse, the children in her care were often neglected or abused, and Tann would adopt children to anyone with the money to pay her exorbitant fees. Remarkably, Tann's legacy of corruption, neglect, and child theft went unremarked until after her death.
posted by sciatrix on Sep 7, 2015 - 26 comments

Venison, berries, sea bird, dulse, and spices

What were the food and cooking techniques of the Viking Age? you could ask The Viking Answer Lady or get pollen analysis, reconstruction tips, and recipes from The Viking Food Guy, or you could just ask Chef Jesper Lynge (Daily Mail) who is attempting to revive Viking Cusine from his cafe in an Danish Iron Age graveyard. ( Recipies and descriptions )
posted by The Whelk on Sep 6, 2015 - 41 comments

Hitler at Home

In the years preceding World War II, news outlets from home magazines to the New York Times ran profiles of the Nazi leader that portrayed him as a country gentleman — a man who ate vegetarian, played catch with his dogs and took post-meal strolls outside his mountain estate. These articles were often admiring — even after the horrors of the Nazi regime had begun to reveal themselves, says Despina Stratigakos, an architectural historian at the University at Buffalo. Her new book, “Hitler at Home,” will be published Sept. 29 by Yale University Press... She notes that while many historians have dismissed Hitler’s personal life as irrelevant, his private persona was in fact painstakingly constructed to further his political ends.
How media ‘fluff’ helped Hitler rise to power [more inside]
posted by spinda on Sep 6, 2015 - 71 comments

A life lived

Just over a hundred years ago, Frederick Jury lost his brass luggage tag. A few days ago Nicola White, a mudlark, found it on the Thames foreshore. Through Twitter, Nicola, and a bunch of local and family historians, were able to put together his story. [more inside]
posted by Helga-woo on Sep 5, 2015 - 13 comments

Yankees Suck

The twisted, true story of the drug-addled, beer-guzzling hardcore punks who made the most popular T-shirts in Boston history.
posted by zamboni on Sep 4, 2015 - 42 comments

so many severed doll limbs

Here's What We Found Inside The Tenement Museum Walls [more inside]
posted by poffin boffin on Sep 4, 2015 - 31 comments

The Birds: Why the passenger pigeon became extinct

"One hunter recalled a nighttime visit to a swamp in Ohio in 1845, when he was sixteen; he mistook for haystacks what were in fact alder and willow trees, bowed to the ground under gigantic pyramids of birds many bodies deep." In his new book about the passenger pigeon, the naturalist Joel Greenberg sets out to answer a puzzling question: How could the bird go from a population of billions to zero in less than fifty years? (SLNewYorker.) [more inside]
posted by Rangi on Sep 3, 2015 - 48 comments

Slave Tetris

Because it was "perceived to be extremely insensitive by some people," Danish game developer Serious Games Interactive has removed the 'Slave Tetris' feature from Playing History: Slave Trade.
posted by buriednexttoyou on Sep 2, 2015 - 80 comments

Ruth Newman dead at 113

1906 San Francisco Earthquake survivor Ruth Newman passed away July 29th at the age of 113. This leaves William Del Monte (warning: auto-playing video), currently 109, as the last confirmed living person to have survived the earthquake and fire.
posted by DrAmerica on Sep 2, 2015 - 9 comments

Cotton Mather and Mass Panic

Cotton Mather's career is defined by two episodes of mass panic. In 1721 he found himself the target of public anger in Boston when he advocated for small pox inoculation after inoculating his own children on the advice of his West African slave, Onesimus. Three decades earlier, in 1692, he was one of the instigators and defenders of the Salem Witch Trials. For more on the latter, visit the comprehensive Salem Witch Trials Documentary Archive (previously).
posted by Kattullus on Sep 2, 2015 - 19 comments


"The good people at Morphy Auctions gave me permission to show you these vintage (~1930s-50s) condom package designs." -- Cardhouse on historical condom packaging and design.
posted by The Whelk on Sep 1, 2015 - 27 comments

“And now you’re you."

Once a Pariah, Now a Judge: The Early Transgender Journey of Phyllis Frye.
Useful resources for participating in the discussion: Ohio U's Trans 101* : Primer and Vocabulary guide; and GLAAD's Transgender Media Program [more inside]
posted by zarq on Aug 31, 2015 - 5 comments

Indian stairwells

Rudimentary stepwells first appeared in India between the 2nd and 4th centuries A.D., born of necessity in a capricious climate zone bone-dry for much of the year followed by torrential monsoon rains for many weeks. It was essential to guarantee a year-round water-supply for drinking, bathing, irrigation and washing, particularly in the arid states of Gujarat (where they’re called vavs) and Rajasthan (where they’re baoli, baori, or bawdi) where the water table could be inconveniently buried ten-stories or more underground. Over the centuries, stepwell construction evolved so that by the 11th century they were astoundingly complex feats of engineering, architecture, and art.
posted by curious nu on Aug 31, 2015 - 20 comments

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