In the long history of pinball machines, a new golden age of pinball was started with the introduction of player-controlled electronic flippers, first seen in 1947 in D. Gottlieb & Co's Humpty Dumpty. Unfortunately, this was five years after the start of the War on Pinball, ushered in by New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia and others who saw pinball machines simply as another form of coin-machine gambling (PDF) and source of moral decline. Following New York, pinball bans spread throughout the United States (PDF) and Canada, with fears escalating to the point that some in criminal law looked to alternative solutions to the Pinball Problem (PDF). Even though a bold "Babe Ruth" move by Roger Sharpe in New York City in May of 1976 overturned the local ban and other cities again followed suit, some local pinball bans have only recently recently been lifted, after people discovered such laws were still in place. See also: Pinball: From Illegal Gambling Game to American Obsession (VICE short documentary).
Former TV cameraman Rick Suddeth has posted numerous videos of everyday life in the former Soviet Union in the 1980s and early 1990s. These are mostly raw footage or lightly edited, some are silent. Moscow traffic ca. 1986. Moscow grocery store ca. 1990. Universam Department Store, Moscow, 1990. Queuing for wine at a state liquor store. In the Cosmos Night Club. [more inside]
In 1864, a nine-year-old slave girl was punished for daydreaming. Distracted by rumors that her brother and father would be sold, she failed to remove worms from the tobacco leaves she was picking. The overseer didn’t whip her. Instead, he pried her mouth open, stuffed a worm inside, and forced her to eat it. This girl is not real.
Yesterday, Yohannes Haile-Selassie of the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and his colleagues reported finding a jaw in Ethiopia that belonged to an human relative that lived between 3.3 and 3.5 million years ago. Their article appears today in Nature.
Something about this country – the divisions, the class system, the general sense of distrust and dissatisfaction – seems to breed youth subcultures like no other place on Earth. The strange, stylish clans that this island incubates have been exported across the world, influencing everything from high street fashion to high art. From teddy boys to 2 Tone rudeboys, soulboys to Slipknot fans, grunge bands to grime crews, mods to mod revivalists, the history of these groups shows us a version of modern Britain that goes way beyond Diana and Blair.[more inside]
The New York Times has been around long enough to report on more or less everything, and its First Glimpses feature occasionally dives into the archives to see when some notable thing was mentioned for the very first time. This week, it's cheeseburgers. [more inside]
So it turns out rather than religious fanatics unused to the freedom found in Holland, New England was actually founded by a bunch of Anglo-Saxon sell swords who had fled the British Isles after the Norman invasion on land given by a grateful byzantine emperor on the north-east coast of the Black Sea. Confused? Intrigued? Let Dr. Caitlin R. Green explain and set out the evidence for the existence of a 11th century New England/Nova Anglia.
Cooking In The Archives: recreating recipes from the Early Modern Peroid (1600s-1800s) in a modern kitchen. Not old enough? Then try some authentically medieval recipes.
The Asians Art Museum is a parody site bringing a cirtical lens to orientalist tropes in art museums, prompted particularly by rhetorical choices of the San Francisco Art Museum's 2009 Lords of the Samurai exhibition [audio]. It highlights the tendency for museums showing Asian art to present their shows as a"a harmless trip to a fantasyland of romanticized premodern Otherness, a place where dreams of Manifest Destiny never have to die?" [more inside]
Frank Norris and the Invention of Film Editing: "At the heart of American author Frank Norris’ gritty turn-of-the-century fiction lies an essential engagement with the everyday shock and violence of modernity. Henry Giardina explores how this focus, combined with his unique approach to storytelling, helped to pave the way for a truly filmic style."
For tens of thousands of years, wild horses have inspired humans - to nurture, to create, to slaughter - culminating in the past century of America’s legal and psychological battles over the horses we can’t own. [more inside]
The Stonehill Jewish Song Collection is a website by the Center for Traditional Music and Dance containing songs sung by Jewish refugees in Hotel Marseilles in New York in 1948. All songs include the original lyrics and translations into English. Not all the songs have been digitized and translated already, but there is a variety of themes already, with more on the way soon. The songs were collected and recorded by Ben Stonehill who went to the refugees and asked them to sing anything they like.
Keep Harriet Tubman – and all women – off the $20 bill. "Harriet Tubman did not fight for capitalism, free trade, or competitive markets." [more inside]
In the late 60's and early 70's, the technology and market were emerging to set the stage for production of monolithic, single-chip CPUs. In 1969, A terminal equipment manufacturer met with Intel to design a processor that was smaller and would generate less heat than the dozens of TTL chips they were using. The resulting design was the 8008, which is well known as the predecessor to the x86 line of processors that are ubiquitous in desktop PC's today. Less well known though, is that Texas Instruments came up with a competing design, and due to development delays at Intel, beat them to production by about nine months. [more inside]
"D’Eon exploited this remarkable situation to transition to womanhood, getting both the English and French governments to declare that 'Monsieur d’Eon is a woman.' The press closely followed these announcements and, starting in 1777, d’Eon lived her life legally recognized as a woman. In Mary Wollstonecraft’s Vindication of the Rights of Woman, d’Eon is held up as one of the most remarkable women of her century." Transgender celebrities are not new. Just read London newspapers from 1770, The Guardian
Yet to tell the diffusion of Indian influence at this period as two separate processes partially obscures a still more extraordinary story. For it is now increasingly clear that between the fourth and twelfth centuries the influence of India in both Southeast and Central Asia, and to some degree also China, was comparable to the influence of Greece in Aegean Turkey and Rome, and then in the rest of Europe in the early centuries BC. From the empire of the Gupta dynasty in the north and that of the Pallava dynasty in the south, India during this period radiated its philosophies, political ideas, and architectural forms out over an entire continent not by conquest but by sheer cultural sophistication.
" “I tell my daughters that when I go, they’ll know the good recipes from the dirty pages.” [NYT]] A group of Nashville writers mounts an exhibit of the dirty pages from their own family cookbooks.
Last December, we (The Dissolve) ran an excellent essay from familiar face Chris Klimek on the regrettable history of the PG-13 rating. He explained how the huge gulf in content between PG and R films necessitated the creation of a middle ground. The PG-13 rating was created expressly to attend to that problem, but that created a handful of problems all its own… Animator Mack Williams cooked up the video below, which reshapes Chris’ essay into a snappy, informative, and visually slick cartoon.
Early Urban Planning: Ancient Mayan City Built on Grid No other city from the Maya world was planned using this grid design, researchers say. There is more background on what was typical on Urban Planning in Ancient Central Mexico.
"Every one of these sites is worthy of visiting." Sophia Dembling highlights U.S. women's museums and sites for The Toast. Related: Women in Game Developement, a recently opened exhibit at the Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment in Oakland, California. This exhibit features the work of early developers like Roberta Williams, Carol Shaw, Amy Henning, and more — see MADE's webpage for full list and game screenshots.
When [Griffith Dickenson Compton, a Methodist minister and leader of a temperance group] donated his land to incorporate and create the city of Compton in 1889, he stipulated that a certain acreage be zoned for agricultural purposes only -- thus Richland Farms was born.This isn't such a unique thing, except Richland farms is still focused on agriculture, while the rest of Los Angeles County became urbanized. It's here you can find Compton's cowboys who support the Compton Jr. Posse, which focuses on ranching, riding, education and outreach. And if you watch the rodeo circuit, you might have seen Tre Hosley representing his community. You can read much more about Richland Farms and its residents in KCET's online Communities series.
Ever wanted one of those Elizabethan wing-looking collars? If so, the Very Merry Seamstress has you covered.
1967 NBC News Special Report: "Summer of '67"[YouTube]
The 1967 Detroit riot, also known as the 12th Street riot, was a violent public disorder that turned into a civil disturbance in Detroit, Michigan. It began on a Saturday night in the early morning hours of July 23, 1967. The precipitating event was a police raid of an unlicensed, after-hours bar then known as a blind pig, on the corner of 12th (today Rosa Parks Boulevard) and Clairmount streets on the city's Near West Side. Police confrontations with patrons and observers on the street evolved into one of the deadliest and most destructive riots in United States history, lasting five days and surpassing the violence and property destruction of Detroit's 1943 race riot. [Wiki]
The Washington Post sheds some much needed, highly relevant historical context on "[t]he long, painful and repetitive history of how Baltimore became Baltimore". [more inside]
Why read lengthy articles on the history of Atari when you can hear stories first-hand? Hear Nolan Bushnell (and a few others) tell all about how a little company named Syzygy became Atari, in clips both new(ish) and old; tune in for four episodes of Once Upon Atari, featuring Atari staff reminiscing about the good times and bad; and visit Alamogordo, New Mexico, home of rocket sled land-speed records and the grave of Ham, the first chimp in space, with Zak Penn as he digs for the truth behind the legend of the buried E.T. cartridges in Atari: Game Over with fans and Howard Scott Warshaw, the man who made the Atari E.T. game in five weeks. [more inside]
Pennsylvania's oldest and largest is 400 acres. The oldest in New Jersey is now "trapped in the 19th century." NYC turned many into parks. What happens when a cemetery goes under? [more inside]
Foundation: Public Goods and Options for the Bottom Billions - "Human beings just don't handle the very long run well" and that's where government increasingly comes in... (via) [more inside]
The signature image in Little Boy, a colossal miscalculation in audience uplift, is of the title character stretching out his arms, scrunching up his face, and groaning with intense concentration. Small for his age, hence the nickname, 7-year-old Pepper Flint Busbee (Jakob Salvati) performs this ritual several times throughout the film, always when attempting to move an object with the sheer power of his belief. More often than not, it actually works: Onstage, during a magic show, he appears to slide a glass bottle across a table, Jedi-style. Later, in a far grander display of his apparent gifts, he wows a crowd of skeptics by seemingly creating an earthquake while trying to nudge a mountain. What Pepper really wants, though, is to bring his father back from the war. And so he stands on a dock and points his hands in the direction of the Pacific Ocean, defying the setting sun, focusing all his desire on one point in the distance, until…Little Boy: The Film That Goes There [more inside]
For decades, Maui was the whaling capital of the world. Whalers descended upon the islands in vast numbers as a port of supply and resting in between six-month jaunts to the Arctic North. The Candian and American whalers influenced Hawaiian culture, of course, bringing potato farming and prostitution in their wake. But the transfer wasn't all one way--Hawaiian-born whalers visited Nantucket, and Nantucket papers certainly reported on Hawaiian politics.
In Chicago's early years, city politics were a dull non-partisan affair. That changed in 1855, when a coalition of temperance advocates and anti-Catholic Know Nothings took advantage of low voter turnout to seize city hall.
Once elected, Mayor Levi Boone and the new council majority hiked liquor license fees while also shortening license terms from one year to three months. Expecting resistance, Mayor Boone “reformed” the city's police force: tripling its size, refusing to hire immigrants, requiring police to wear uniforms for the first time, and directing them to enforce an old, previously ignored ordinance requiring the Sunday closing of taverns and saloons. These were intentionally provocative acts aimed at Germans and Irish accustomed to spending their leisure hours in drinking establishments. [...] Prosecutions clogged the city courts and attorneys scheduled a test case for April 21. This, in effect, scheduled the riot.Today is the 160th anniversary of the Lager Beer Riot, Chicago's first civil disturbance. [more inside]
Frank Wilczek: Physics in 100 Years [pdf] - "Here I indulge in wide-ranging speculations on the shape of physics, and technology closely related to physics, over the next one hundred years. Themes include the many faces of unification, the re-imagining of quantum theory, and new forms of engineering on small, intermediate, and large scales." [more inside]
"More than sixty years have passed since Israel started its nuclear venture and almost half a century has elapsed since it crossed the nuclear weapons threshold. Yet Israel's nuclear history still lacks a voice of its own: Israel has never issued an authorized and official nuclear history; no insiders have ever been authorized to tell the story from within. Unlike all seven other nuclear weapons states, Israel's nuclear policy is essentially one of non-acknowledgement. Israel believes that nuclear silence is golden, referring to its nuclear code of conduct as the policy of amimut ("opacity" in Hebrew)." A special collection of declassified documents was published by the National Security Archive this Wednesday, that sheds some light on How Israel Hid Its Secret Nuclear Weapons Program.
In 2000, Luciano Faggiano wanted to open a trattoria in Lecce, in the "boot-heel" of Italy. He bought what looked to be a modern building, but he had to open the floors in 2001 to find a leaking sewer pipes that were causing continuous humidity problems. He didn't find pipes, but a subterranean world tracing back before the birth of Jesus: a Messapian tomb, a Roman granary, a Franciscan chapel and even etchings from the Knights Templar. Instead of opening a restaurant, his family has a museum, which is also available to virtually tour on Google Maps.
Adrift in a sea of digital apps for every imaginable function, we often feel our needs are met better today than in any previous era. But consider the chatelaine, a device popularized in the 18th century that attached to the waist of a woman’s dress, bearing tiny useful accessories, from notebooks to knives.--Chatelaines: The Killer Mobile Device for Victorian Women [more inside]
The strange saga of John Rogers, the man who bought the Star Tribune's vintage photo archive
The thought that big-city newspapers like the Star Tribune and Pioneer Press here in Minnesota — and others in Chicago, Detroit and Denver (and 72 New Zealand newspapers) — were willing to hand over (for a nice price) one of their (and their community’s) most valuable historical archives to a character like Rogers is startling in itself, and may explain why so little has been said about the deal.
Mary Putnam Jacobi challenged Clarke’s thinly veiled justification for discrimination with 232 pages of hard numbers, charts, and analysis. She gathered survey results covering a woman’s monthly pain, cycle length, daily exercise, and education along with physiological indicators like pulse, rectal temperature, and ounces of urine. To really bring her argument home, Jacobi had test subjects undergo muscle strength tests before, during, and after menstruation. The paper was almost painfully evenhanded. Her scientific method-supported mic drop: “There is nothing in the nature of menstruation to imply the necessity, or even the desirability, of rest.”
Sailors and Daughters reveals the expansive maritime societies of Zanzibar, the east African coast, and beyond. From the 1840s, cameras traced the international migrations of traders, sailors, sons, and daughters through Indian Ocean ports, continuing trade that dates back over five millennia.
In [Anatoly Fomenko's New Chronology] , the events of the New Testament precede those of the Old Testament—and in any case, most of the stories are concocted to reflect later incidents. Joan of Arc was a model for the biblical character Deborah. Jesus Christ was crucified in Constantinople in 1086. Ancient Egypt, Rome, and Greece were fashioned by Renaissance writers and artists (the time of the Pharoahs, Fomenko suggests, may have lasted into the 1700s). Aristotle instructed Alexander the Great, who was a tsar, in Moscow in the 1400s.Is Ancient History Completely Made Up By 'The Man'? (Previously)
Girl Guides, known in the US as Girl Scouts, are an organization for young girls founded in 1910. Almost from the beginning they were involved in wartime efforts. British Girl Guides served in World War I as spies for MI5. They also served both covertly and openly during World War II as Resistance members, medical staff, and support staff for refugees. Some of these were part of Guide troops which were stationed in invaded territories, such as Polish members who organized anti-Nazi propaganda efforts and smuggled Jewish children to safety. Others were volunteers who came from the UK to bring medical aid and supplies to care for refugees.
As an archivist, my ethical duty is to maintain those objects of intrinsic value to future generations. I’ve often found that others assume my profession is focused on facts and figures, the hard data from which a census or otherwise lifeless historical record can be drawn. Such data will inform one on how a people survived. As important as this data is, it cannot tell you how a people dreamed. [more inside]
What Russians really think - "Many in the west see Russia as aggressive and brainwashed. But its citizens have a different view." Meanwhile,[1,2] in Moscow and Lviv...
Larry Kramer’s The American People: Volume 1: Search for My Heart: A Novel (previously) is now on the shelves. [more inside]
Janine Harper and Marc Bushelle's photo series of their daughter Lily dressed up as different African-American heroines started as a Black History Month project. All photos are on Bushelle's Facebook page. NPR's Code Switch blog has the first six photos here and two more here.