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Panoply - Animating the Ancient World

What the Greek vasemakers would have done if they had had the technology [more inside]
posted by BWA on Dec 21, 2014 - 6 comments

The Legend of the Free Labour Market

The Legend of the Free Labour Market. From the excellent HR/Economics blog Flip Chart Fairy Tales.
posted by TheophileEscargot on Dec 21, 2014 - 8 comments

Birdies, prunes, cheese and whiskey: smiling (or not) for the camera

... in the Victorian era (1837-1901), a small, tightly controlled mouth was considered beautiful. They took their cues from much of Europe's fine-art portraiture. Some say photographers even suggested those posing say "prunes" to heighten the effect. Smiling was something captured on children, peasants and drunkards, hardly something you'd want for your family legacy.

Then, there was the matter of oral hygiene.
Advances in dental care and ubiquitous technology: why people started smiling for the camera, and why we say cheese, with a whistling bird, some whiskey, and a little flash game thrown in for good measure. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Dec 19, 2014 - 10 comments

((n - (r - 1)) ÷ n) × w

Best Ever Albums aggregates 17,000 "greatest album" charts to establish a statistical consensus on popular music rankings. [more inside]
posted by Iridic on Dec 17, 2014 - 73 comments

Changing climates of history

Neither Thucydides, Gibbon, von Ranke, nor Braudel ever cited a paper appearing in Geophysical Research Letters. They did not worry themselves about fluctuations in the Siberian High or the Southern Oscillation. The vast majority of more recent historians also remained untroubled by such concerns. However, in the past five years, a handful of highly distinguished historians have come out with new books that put climate at the center of historical explanation. What on Earth is going on? [more inside]
posted by standardasparagus on Dec 17, 2014 - 18 comments

And you thought your apartment was nice

Inside Seguine Mansion, Staten Island's Eccentric Historic Home Burke lives in the Seguine Mansion on the southern tip of Staten Island, and unlike most [Historic Home caretakers] he has full access to the mansion, which is filled with his own collection of antique art and furniture. He throws three lavish parties each year: an all-white Spring garden party, a period-costume Fall BBQ, and a black tie Christmas party. His best friend, a doberman named Rusty, can sit on any piece of furniture he wants, from a 19th century French wingback sofa to the Chippendale dining set. Why can Burke do all that? The short answer: it’s his house. Or at least, it kind of is.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero on Dec 17, 2014 - 14 comments

The art of making a book, in various forms

The art of making a book (original video on Facebook, without added music) takes you through the traditional manual process of bookbinding, from selecting and setting the individual letters to finally binding the book in leather and adding finishing touches. If you'd like to try your hand at something similar but with some modern flourishes, there are plenty of tutorials and guides, linked below. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Dec 14, 2014 - 18 comments

72 Hours in Detroit; on the decline and rebirth of (musical) Motor City

Electronic Beats interviews five Detroit residents (Michael Stone-Richards, a professor in the Department of Liberal Arts at CCS in Detroit; Mike Huckaby, an internationally successful DJ and longtime producer of Detroit techno; Cornelius Harris, aka "The Unknown Writer", the label manager and occasional MC for Underground Resistance Records; Walter Wasacz; a journalist and writer based in Hamtramck, an enclave in the center of Detroit; Mark Ernestus, the Berlin-based producer, DJ and co-owner of Hard Wax record store; Mike Banks of Underground Resistance [UR]; George Clinton, the founder and leader of Parliament Funkadelic; and Samantha Corbit, who has over a decade of involvement with multiple Detroit record labels) on the past and future of Detroit, and it's (electronic) (musical) history. 72 Hours in Detroit
posted by filthy light thief on Dec 13, 2014 - 4 comments

Mother of the Sea

Every year in Uto, a remote town at the Southern tip of Japan, a festival is held to celebrate a woman known locally as the Mother of the Sea. Dr Kathleen Mary Drew-Baker died without knowing her research would save the Japanese seaweed industry and lead to a world multi-billion dollar obsession with sushi. The story of nori in Japan.
posted by infini on Dec 12, 2014 - 20 comments

Find eyes within, look for the door into the unknown country

The life of Pamela Coleman Smith: actor, illustrator, set designer, hermetic occultist, possibly-queer black woman, synesthete, suffragist, and unsung designer of the famous Rider-Waite tarot deck. [more inside]
posted by nebulawindphone on Dec 11, 2014 - 13 comments

33 Million Things

Shelf Life is the first episode in a new video blog from the American Museum of Natural History, in which scientists, curators, and collection specialists take you behind-the-scenes at the Museum. Bonus interview: Atlas Obscura.
posted by carter on Dec 9, 2014 - 3 comments

From symbol of black self-sufficiency to symbol of ridicule

How Watermelons Became a Racist Trope
posted by flapjax at midnite on Dec 8, 2014 - 42 comments

Do not send anymore cats, we have enough cats

The popular and venerable Twitter account Tweets Of Old continues its seasonal tradition of posting late 19th century /early 20th century children's letters to Santa.
posted by The Whelk on Dec 8, 2014 - 59 comments

Experience WWI, week-by-week, as it happened exactly 100 years ago.

This podcast, called "The First World War in 261 weeks," began in June and will run for five years, recounting every week's main events.

Links to the podcast:
Podbean
iTunes
Stitcher [more inside]
posted by artsandsci on Dec 8, 2014 - 8 comments

OSI: The Internet That Wasn’t

What happened to the “beautiful dream”? While the Internet’s triumphant story has been well documented by its designers and the historians they have worked with, OSI has been forgotten by all but a handful of veterans of the Internet-OSI standards wars. To understand why, we need to dive into the early history of computer networking, a time when the vexing problems of digital convergence and global interconnection were very much on the minds of computer scientists, telecom engineers, policymakers, and industry executives. And to appreciate that history, you’ll have to set aside for a few minutes what you already know about the Internet. Try to imagine, if you can, that the Internet never existed.
posted by jenkinsEar on Dec 7, 2014 - 59 comments

Walter Benjamin for Children

Walter Benjamin presented "True Dog Stories" on September 27, 1930, as part of Radio Berlin's youth programming. Thoughtful but sometimes oblique commentaries on human society, Benjamin's radio shows have been called "Enlightenment for Children" and "NPR for weirdos," but an interview with the editor of their recent translations into English gives much greater context. Some essays have been re-recorded in German (including the dog episode, track 16), and Börne's original poodle letter is also online.
posted by Monsieur Caution on Dec 4, 2014 - 4 comments

Orange Julius and a Hotdog

1989: America's malls. The places where nothing — and everything — has changed. In 1989, Michael Galinsky, then a 20-year-old student, took a month to traverse the U.S. Everywhere he went, he documented the same place: the shopping mall. The results are now an archive of a vanished world, simultaneously familiar and foreign, trivial and full of meaning.
posted by standardasparagus on Dec 3, 2014 - 163 comments

The history of chairs: translating social authority into furniture

Chairs, they're everywhere these days. They seem simple enough, and they are indeed ancient in general existence. But it was the chest, the bench and the stool that were the ordinary seats used in everyday living, and the number of chairs which have survived from an earlier date is exceedingly limited. In China, chairs brought about a change in posture and display of hierarchy, and into the 17th century England, the chairs in a household reflected the social hierarchy for family and guests. Even into the 1970s, chairs served to mark hierarchy in the workplace, and it took an examination of workplace injuries, turn-overs and general productivity to re-evaluate how chairs were selected for office workers. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Dec 3, 2014 - 20 comments

Meet incredible engineers and learn about their achievements

#TechTuesday – 5 Amazing Female Engineers That Time Forgot - "There have always been extraordinary women in STEM… it just wasn’t called that in the 1800s." [more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Dec 2, 2014 - 13 comments

You know who else disliked cyclists?

Roads Were Not Built for Cars - an Atlantic Citylab interview with Carlton Reid, author of the ebook and blog titled Roads Were Not Built for Cars, on institutionalized classism and historical revisionism that drove the design of car-centric infrastructure. [more inside]
posted by lonefrontranger on Dec 2, 2014 - 32 comments

Sand Creek Will Be Forgotten No More

Remember the Sand Creek Massacre. "The 1864 murder of 200 innocent Indians is still largely forgotten. Many people think of the Civil War and America’s Indian wars as distinct subjects, one following the other. But those who study the Sand Creek Massacre know different." The Horrific Sand Creek Massacre Will Be Forgotten No More. "The opening of a national historic site in Colorado helps restore to public memory one of the worst atrocities ever perpetrated on Native Americans." [Previously]
posted by homunculus on Nov 29, 2014 - 16 comments

Melvyn, no need to Bragg

Melvyn Bragg's been digging deep for more than 40 years. You may know In Our Time [previously], The South Bank Show [previouslier] or The Adventure of English. If you don't, you probably should. [more inside]
posted by stinker on Nov 29, 2014 - 57 comments

Catarina's most elaborate visions took the form of demonic fiestas

There is little trace of the presence of the South Asians who lived and worked in Mexico during the colonial period except for one woman whose legend lives on even today. She was purportedly born Mira in the kingdom of the Gran Mogol, or the Great Mughals, where she was captured by the Portuguese who eventually sold her to the Spanish at the port of Manila.
The 'Mughal Princess' of Mexico: At the South Asian American Digital Archive, Meha Priyadarshini briefly explores the myths and realities of Catarina de San Juan (1606-1688), a religious mystic/visionary who sailed on the Manila galleon to Mexico nearly four hundred years ago and over time became associated in popular legend with a well-known style of dress. The etymological complexity of one keyword involved should not be underestimated and itself tells another story about the history of colonialism.
posted by Monsieur Caution on Nov 28, 2014 - 12 comments

Thomas King wins Governor-General’s Award for fiction.

Thomas King wins Governor-General’s Award for fiction In February, King won the British Columbia’s National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction for The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America. On Tuesday, he won the Governor-General’s Literary Award for Fiction for The Back of the Turtle, his first novel in 15 years. [more inside]
posted by Nevin on Nov 27, 2014 - 8 comments

"I'm alive and I know what it means to be Lakota."

"... I love the version of the Thanksgiving story in the movie Addams Family Values, because I get to see the Indians win." [SLGuardian]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Nov 27, 2014 - 31 comments

Jazzing up Thanksgiving

Vince Guaraldi's A Charlie Brown Christmas gets a whole lot of love, but for sheer musical enjoyment it shouldn't overshadow his work on A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. Here for your cooking-soundtrack pleasure are Thanksgiving Theme, Play it Again Charlie Brown (aka Charlie Brown Blues), Peppermint Patty, and Little Birdie (incidentally, Guaraldi's own vocal, and the first time any adult voice appeared on a Charlie Brown show). [more inside]
posted by Miko on Nov 26, 2014 - 17 comments

Turkey, Pie, Football, Costumes and Trick-or-Treat! Wait.

Halloween and Thanksgiving are two of the slipperiest holidays in the American tradition. Costumed masquerading and trick-or-treating used to happen on Thanksgiving, while Halloween was mostly devoted to vandalism. As Americans did they best to stamp out the vandalism, they also cleaned up the unruly traditions of Turkey Day, banishing the Thanksgiving Ragamuffins to October. [more inside]
posted by Miko on Nov 23, 2014 - 10 comments

Dangerous days

For whom the bell tolls: accidental deaths in Tudor England
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Nov 23, 2014 - 40 comments

DIORAMA-RAMA TODAY

"The cosmorama consisted of rather small landscape scenes displayed conventionally in a gallery, but viewed in relief, through an arrangement of magnifying mirrors. The pleorama was a form of moving panorama shown in Breslau in 1831, in which viewers sat in a boat that rocked as though tossed by waves, while moving canvases on each side recreated the changing views of the Bay of Naples, which was thus traversed in the space of an hour...The myriorama, or "many thousand views" was, by contrast, a more personal visual device, consisting of numerous cards depicting fragments or segments of landscapes that could be arranged in infinitely different combinations." [more inside]
posted by Iridic on Nov 17, 2014 - 4 comments

The Tiger of Paris

In the year 1450, a pack of man-eating wolves invaded Paris. Dozen of Parisians died, until the people lured the wolves into the Île de la Cité and stoned them to death. This year, a new beast was sighted prowling the suburbs of Paris. Was it a tiger? Or was it something else?
posted by mbrubeck on Nov 15, 2014 - 58 comments

Sherman's March, 150 Years Later

On the 150th anniversary of Sherman's visit to Atlanta, a new historical marker in Atlanta recognizes that he was not the devil portrayed in Southern myth.
posted by COD on Nov 15, 2014 - 177 comments

The Passing of the Indians Behind Glass

Francie Diep on why natural history museums are taking down their indigenous cultures dioramas—and what can take their place.
Visitors and museum staff say that by displaying American Indian cultures alongside dinosaur fossils, gemstones and taxidermied animals, dioramas make their subjects seem less than fully human. And because they depict a culture in a freeze-frame moment in time—often during the seventeenth century, around when many tribes first contacted Europeans—they make children think that all the American Indians are dead.

posted by frimble on Nov 15, 2014 - 20 comments

The History Of The New York Times' Style Section

"Despite its youth, the section has a much longer history, one that encompasses the long effort of women in journalism to be taken seriously as reporters and as readers, the development of New Journalism, large-scale social changes that have brought gay culture into the mainstream, shifts in the way news is delivered and consumed, and economic consolidations and disruptions that the section has, sometimes in spite of itself, thoroughly documented and cataloged. The Styles section may well be pretty stupid sometimes. It’s also a richer and more complex entity than any of us would like to believe." - Bonfire Of The Inanities - Jacqui Shine writes a long, detailed history of the New York Times Style Section.
posted by The Whelk on Nov 14, 2014 - 25 comments

Alternate History Africa without European Colonization

Alkebu-lan 1260 AH (higher resolution) is an alternative history map of Africa in AD 1844, taking as its point of departure from our timeline an even deadlier medieval Black Death, killing almost all Europeans. It is made by Swedish artist Nikolaj Cyon, who explains some of his sources and thinking in this Prezi presentation. Cyon's thinking about alternative history is partly inspired by playing the computer game Civilization, and he has made a mod where you can play the medieval kingdom of Kongo
posted by Kattullus on Nov 13, 2014 - 28 comments

Medical Legacy of the War 1914-1918

2014 marks the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War 1: a pivotal time for Europe and a key transition point for medical science. The Lancet marks this centenary with a three part series ‘Legacy of the war 1914-1918’. The three papers examine the impact of World War 1 on infectious disease, military psychiatry, and amputation related pain.
posted by gemutlichkeit on Nov 13, 2014 - 3 comments

Enough flags, Betsy. I want a tank.

The captioned adventures of George Washington, episode 1: In which General Washington becomes increasingly done with Betsy Ross showing him flags. Further episodes below the fold. [more inside]
posted by Lexica on Nov 12, 2014 - 17 comments

Can Capitalism and Democracy Coexist?

In a wide-ranging discussion about democracy, capitalism, and the American body politic; Chris Hedges interviews political theorist Sheldon Wolin in eight parts. (via) (previously) [more inside]
posted by AElfwine Evenstar on Nov 11, 2014 - 38 comments

The Living New Deal

In less than a decade, The New Deal changed the face of America and laid the foundation for success in World War II and the prosperity of the postwar era – the greatest and fairest epoch in American history. The Living New Deal project inventories, maps and publicizes the achievements of the New Deal and its public works in all 50 states and outlying territories. [more inside]
posted by latkes on Nov 11, 2014 - 24 comments

Dare you enter the gates of Chinese Hell?

The Chinese hell scrolls presented here treat the afterlife as a spectacle, as a display intended for public consumption. Ostensibly based on popular tales such as Tang Emperor Taizong's visit to hell in the first half of the seventh century C.E., they attract their viewers through their dark and yet cartoonish torture scenes, appealing to the same morbid curiosity fed by gothic novels, horror movies and Halloween ghosts in the West. Yet their main function was not entertainment but didactic, propagating a basic message of retribution. Every act of goodness will be rewarded; every act of evil will be justly answered.
-- From the introduction to the online collection of Chinese hell scrolls developed by Ken Brashiek at Reed College.
posted by MartinWisse on Nov 11, 2014 - 17 comments

"This is it, baby. Hold me."

A decade after Halo 2 (and a day before the MCC), enjoy this loose timeline of essential Halo fandom: Halo.Bungie.Org / Halo at Macworld '99 / Red vs. Blue / The Halo Trilogy in 5 minutes / The Cortana Letters / HBO's cutscene library and dialog databank / Main Menus / Kitty Cat / Warthog Jump (and BOLL's Warthog Launch game) / How Not To Be Seen / Fan Art / Panoramas / The Music of Marty O'Donnell (prev.) / Video Games Live: Halo / Analysis by Stephen Loftus / Who was Brian Morden? / I Love Bees and the ARG radio drama / Halo 2 Trailer / Halo 2 E3 '04 Demo / Full Halo 2 making-of documentary / Voice acting / Conversations from the Universe / The Beastiarum / Surround Sound Test! / Geography of New Mombasa / This Spartan Life / The Solid Gold Elite Dancers / Creepy Guy at Work / Gameplay May Change / Master Chief Sucks at Halo / Another Day at the Beach / '06 Bungie Studios Tour / Halo 3 Trailer / Starry Night / Believe / HALOID / No Scope Was Involved / 100 Ways to Die / "Bungie Favorites" gallery / Mister Chief / OONSK / OneOneSe7en / 2553 Civilian 'Hog Review / Griffball / ForgeHub / 405th Cosplay / Neill Blomkamp's Landfall / Weta's Real-life Warthog / Halo Legends anime anthology / List of Halo novels / Halopedia / Halo 3 Terminal Archive / DDR Dance / Animatronic Elite project / HBO's "Guilt-O-Lantern" contest / Keep It Clean / We Are ODST / Sadie's Story / Halocraft / "A Fistful of Arrows" fan comic / RvB Animated (and CGI) / Project Contingency / Halo Zero / Halo 2600 (prev.) / Reach Datapad Transcripts / The last Halo 2 player on Xbox LIVE / Bungie's Final Halo Stats Infographic / Key & Peele: Obama on Halo 4 / Top 10 Halo Easter Eggs / Behind the scenes of Halo 2 Anniversary
posted by Rhaomi on Nov 10, 2014 - 36 comments

I put my thing down, flip it and reverse it

If you've ever typed anything into a Google Doc, you can now play it back as if it were a movie — like traveling through time to look over your own shoulder as you write.

This is possible because every document written in Google Docs since about May 2010 has a revision history that tracks every change, by every user, with timestamps accurate to the microsecond; these histories are available to anyone with "Edit" permissions; and I have written a piece of software that can find, decode, and rebuild the history for any given document.
James Somers (previously) introduces Draftback. [more inside]
posted by divined by radio on Nov 6, 2014 - 21 comments

jaunty jackets register at the Shah Abbas

GQ’s Persian Excursion, 1969
posted by timshel on Nov 6, 2014 - 7 comments

Sea of Crises

A sumo wrestling tournament. A failed coup ending in seppuku. A search for a forgotten man. How one writer’s trip to Japan became a journey through oblivion. [slGrantland]
posted by cthuljew on Nov 5, 2014 - 28 comments

I don’t think I was born white. I think white children are manufactured.

Quinn Norton: The White Problem & How White People Got Made [more inside]
posted by flex on Nov 5, 2014 - 24 comments

"Nobody had fooled around with the heart before."

Black laboratory technician Vivien Thomas was paid a janitor's wage, never went to college or medical school, and was one of the pioneers of open heart surgery.
posted by Snarl Furillo on Nov 5, 2014 - 20 comments

Vintage photo finds

Vintage Photo Finds is a site with vintage photographs. According to creator Joel Snow:
The following pictures were found as negatives at the bottom of a cardboard box at a flea market. I shot them with my SLR on a lightbox and inverted them back to positives with Photshop. I'm not sure if it was a single photographer, or many, but many of the shots show an artistic and creative eye and share a similar style.
[more inside]
posted by tykky on Nov 5, 2014 - 9 comments

tech punditry: stage-managed gobbledygook with an undercurrent of sexism

The Dads of Tech – by Astra Taylor and Joanne McNeil, The Baffler
"The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house," Audre Lorde famously said, but let Clay Shirky mansplain. It "always struck me as a strange observation — even the metaphor isn't true," the tech consultant and bestselling author said at the New Yorker Festival last autumn in a debate with the novelist Jonathan Franzen. "Get ahold of the master’s hammer," and you can dismantle anything. Just consider all the people "flipping on the 'I'm gay' light on Facebook" to signal their support for marriage equality — there, Shirky declared, is a prime example of the master’s tools put to good use.

"Shirky invented the Internet and Franzen wants to shut it down," panel moderator Henry Finder mused with an air of sophisticated hyperbole. Finder said he was merely paraphrasing a festival attendee he'd overheard outside — and joked that for once in his New Yorker editing career, he didn't need fact-checkers to determine whether the story was true. He then announced with a wink that it was "maybe a little true." Heh.
[more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Nov 4, 2014 - 41 comments

Not a witch, not a murderer, and didn't even live there.

Bathsheba Sherman is best known as the Satanic witch who murdered her infant and then hanged herself from a tree, thus cursing her property and all its future inhabitants. The true story of a couple haunted by her demonic presence inspired the 2013 movie The Conjuring. Except how true was the story? Historian J'aime Rubio writes up The True Story of Bathsheba Sherman. [more inside]
posted by Peregrine Pickle on Nov 2, 2014 - 23 comments

"Mabel! Mabel! Mabel! Mabel! Mabel! Mabel! Mabel! Mabel!"

The Chapter: A History
posted by a fair but frozen maid on Nov 1, 2014 - 3 comments

Ecto-1 and the Working Cadillac

Ecto-1 and the Working Cadillac - While a lucrative business for Caddy in the 50s, 60s, and 70s, these professional vehicles weren’t all that common. In 1959, just 2102 chassis were made, the lion’s share going to the Miller-Meteor company in Ohio. Divided again between ambulance, limousine, dual-purpose and the odd flower car or two, not many more than several hundred Futura Duplexes were made in total. - A history of the Ecto-1, chariot of the gods Ghostbusters.
posted by Slap*Happy on Oct 31, 2014 - 16 comments

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