In 1960 or so, Professor Perry C. Van Arsdale was helping his 7-year-old granddaughter researching the Santa Fe trail. He found his granddaughter's textbook to have some number of errors. He set off to create a map of pioneer history (prior to the 1900's), using his own knowledge and information from judges, sheriffs, and descendants of historical figures
. This was his start in creating the Pioneer New Mexico map
, which would contain 300 towns that no longer exist
, old trails of all sorts
(including the three historic Santa Fe trails and various camel
routes), locations of minor squabbles and major battles, and because he couldn't fit everything on the maps, he also included extensive notes in the corner of the map
. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief
on Apr 27, 2013 -
"Now the trumpet summons us again—not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need; not as a call to battle, though embattled we are—but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle [...]"
- John F. Kennedy, Inaugural Address
TWILIGHT STRUGGLE is a card-driven board game simulation of the Cold War. It has been called a game of crisis management
; dealing with them yourself, creating them for your opponent, and their proper timing. There is a extensive blog about the game, Twilight Strategy
. This is that site's article on starting out play. This page could help you decide if it's for you. ("Do you enjoy games that are extremely tense and nerve-wracking?") Here's a YouTube video on how to play it.
And, although I suggest learning to play with a physical set, the online multiplayer wargaming client Warroom has a Java Twilight Struggle client/server program available
. There is also a VASSAL module
, but it currently doesn't work with VASSAL 3.2 or later. There's a lot more on the game after the break.... [more inside]
posted by JHarris
on Mar 24, 2013 -
As the NYT reported in 1948: The ceiling of the East Room, elaborately done in the frescoes of fruits and reclining women and weighing seventy pounds to the square foot, was found to be sagging six inches on Oct. 26, and now is being held in place by scaffolding and supports.... But it took the $50,000 survey authorized by Congress to disclose the fact that the marble grand staircase is in imminent danger. Supporting bricks, bought second hand in 1880, are disintegrating.
So in 1950 a renovation began: this is what the White House looks like completely gutted
. [more inside]
posted by IvoShandor
on Feb 28, 2013 -
The practice of lying to one's children to encourage behavioral compliance was investigated among parents in the US (N = 114) and China (N = 85). The vast majority of parents (84% in the US and 98% in China) reported having lied to their children for this purpose. Within each country, the practice most frequently took the form of falsely threatening to leave a child alone in public if he or she refused to follow the parent. Crosscultural differences were seen: A larger proportion of the parents in China reported that they employed instrumental lie-telling to promote behavioral compliance, and a larger proportion approved of this practice, as compared to the parents in the US. This difference was not seen on measures relating to the practice of lying to promote positive feelings, or on measures relating to statements about fantasy characters such as the tooth fairy. Findings are discussed with reference to sociocultural values and certain parenting-related challenges that extend across cultures. [HTML]
-- [PDF] [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb
on Jan 23, 2013 -
The permanent collection of the (US) National Veterans Art Museum in Chicago contains more than 2,500 pieces of art by 250 artists, all of which can be seen at NVAM Collection Online
. The site includes biographical material on the artists who created the work. Featured Artwork
. A small selection
. (Via. Images at links in this post may be nsfw, and/or disturbing to some viewers.)
posted by zarq
on Nov 12, 2012 -
The November 6th elections saw a lot of historic decisions made in the United States -- the first black president re-elected
, marijuana legalized for the first time
in two states, gay marriage affirmed by the voters
in four, and even the first openly gay senator
. But perhaps the most underreported result yesterday came from outside the country altogether: in the commonwealth of Puerto Rico, a solid majority voted to reject the island's current status and join America
as the long-fabled 51st state
How the bid might fare in Congress is an open question, but both President Obama
and Republican leaders
have vowed support for the statehood movement if it proves successful at the ballot box (while D.C. officials ponder a two-fer gambit
to grease the wheels). Though it would be the poorest state
, joining the Union might bring economic benefits to both sides [PDF]
And politically, some argue the island might prove to be a reliably red state
, despite the Hispanic population, although arch-conservative
governor and Romney ally Luis Fortuño
appears headed toward a narrow loss
. But the most important question here, as always, is: how to redesign the flag?
(Puerto Rican statehood discussed previously.)
posted by Rhaomi
on Nov 7, 2012 -
Why We Fight is a series of seven documentary films commissioned by the United States government during World War II whose purpose was to show American soldiers the reason for U.S. involvement in the war. Later on they were also shown to the general U.S. public to persuade them to support American involvement in the war.
Each of them is in the common domain having been produced by the US government, available online, and linked below the fold: [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb
on Sep 16, 2012 -
The ruins of empire: Asia's emergence from western imperialism Moreover, a narcissistic history – one obsessed with western ideals, achievements, failures and challenges – can only retard a useful understanding of the world today. For most people in Europe and America, the history of the present is still largely defined by victories in the second world war and the long standoff with Soviet communism, even though the central event of the modern era, for a majority of the world's population, is the intellectual and political awakening of Asia and its emergence, still incomplete, from the ruins of both Asian and European empires. The much-heralded shift of power from the west to the east may or may not happen. But only neo-imperialist dead-enders will deny that we have edged closer to the cosmopolitan future the first generation of modern Asian thinkers, writers and leaders dreamed of – in which people from different parts of the world meet as equals rather than as masters and slaves, and no one needs to shoot elephants to confirm their supremacy.
posted by infini
on Jul 29, 2012 -
North Americans may have noticed that U-Haul
trucks and trailers are emblazoned with colorful SuperGraphics
. First created in 1988 (previously
), the mobile gallery now comprises 206 images. Most U.S states and Canadian territories and provinces are now honored by multiple designs, as are the U.S. armed forces and 9/11
. The classic America and Canada's Moving Adventure
series, seen on trucks and trailers
, features an iconic image for each state, province and territory. The Venture Across America and Canada
series, begun in 1997, presents "carefully researched rare findings, little-known facts and mysteries,"
exploring science and nature, technology and history. At the U-Haul website, the "Learn More" link on each Venture SuperGraphic page leads to a surprisingly exhaustive discussion of the subject of each graphic. [more inside]
posted by BrashTech
on Jul 22, 2012 -
Ta-Nehisi Coates, a senior editor at The Atlantic
, recently touched on a couple of interesting aspects of the American Civil War. First, Racism Against White People
briefly looked at how Southern intellectuals argued that Northern whites were of a different race. Then a subthread in the comments on that post spawned an investigation of American Exceptionalism in History
and the notion of preserving democracy in the context of the American Civil War. After all, "if a government can be sundered simply because the minority doesn't like the results of an election, can it even call itself a government?" Definitely check out the comments of both posts.
posted by Brandon Blatcher
on Jul 8, 2012 -
This weekend, TAL ran an episode
on the massacre at Dos Erres
. What they didn't mention was that this happened as part of the "Silent Holocaust
" -- a "systematic campaign of genocide against the Mayan people." An estimated 83% of the massacred people were indigenous Maya
. Throughout the period of the genocide, the USA continued to provide military support
to the Guatemalan government, mainly in the form of arms and equipment, despite knowing that the Guatemala military was responsible
for the killings. Horatio Castellanos Moya
, an exiled Honduran writer, wrote Senselessness
, his first book to be published in English, based on the testimonies taken by the Catholic Church's Recuperation of History project, which led to Bishop José Gerardi Conedera
releasing the Guatemala: Never Again!
report. Two days later, he was bludgeoned to death.
posted by Felicity Rilke
on May 28, 2012 -
On Tiger Moms
: "What the controversy surrounding Chua demonstrates, however inadvertently, is that parenting techniques are always grounded in basic assumptions about the way things are and what matters to us. And they are always guided by some answer to the most fundamental of ethical questions—how to live?" [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns
on May 7, 2012 -
"Canada exists for no natural reason.
... [This] is not to say that no significant differences exist between Canadians and Americans — just that our shared national border, unlike those of Europe, was not shaped by linguistic and ethnic variations. The War of 1812 made all the difference here. A complicated and unpleasant struggle, mostly forgotten, sundered our two countries. And that struggle is now 200 years old, which makes this as good a time as any to start remembering."
posted by Johnny Assay
on Feb 20, 2012 -