To "more fully understand why conservative [American] politics [has] become synonymous with no-questions-asked support of Israel," Author Tom Bissell went on a ten day “Stand with Israel Tour” hosted by right-wing Jewish Conservative talk show pundit Dennis Prager. My Holy Land Vacation: Touring Israel with 450 Christian Zionists, is this month’s Harper’s Magazine cover story. [more inside]
Margaret Hamilton's source code for Apollo 11 on Github! The extraordinary code from the original Apollo 11 guidance computer has been converted to .s files for syntax highlighting and posted to Github. The project was undertaken by Virtual AGC and the MIT Museum. [more inside]
"Oscar Wilde’s long-suffering wife is supposed to be buried in Italy. So what’s her gravestone doing in a cemetery in Spain, and who lies under it?" [more inside]
Women Were Included in the Civil Rights Act as a Joke And a racist joke, at that. But working women and black civil rights lawyers had the last laugh when they brought women’s workplace rights to the courts and won.
If so, you can revel in the continual treachery and political confusion of the long history of England in its assorted forms via the History of England Podcast. The genial and enthusiastic David Crowther works his way through the tumultuous course of events, only occasionally enlisting his children to put on amateur theatricals to illustrate some dramatic moment or other. [more inside]
The Arabian Sea has a special place in Indian business history. For centuries the cities and settlements on the Arabian Sea littoral traded with each other, exchanging Indian textiles for horse, armaments, pearls and ivory. In turn, some of the textiles were passed on to the Atlantic slave trade in Africa as a medium of exchange, or sent overland to European markets. Coastal merchants* indigenous to the region bordering the sea engaged in this business and developed sophisticated systems of banking and shipbuilding to support the mercantile enterprise. The Hindu and Muslim traders of Kachchh were examples of such groups of people. text via [more inside]
Africa In The New Century
An essay by the Cameroonian philosopher and post-colonial theorist Achille Mbembe. Entitled “Africa In The New Century”, the essay advances one of the most profound arguments yet for the growing—if still marginalised—hypothesis that the future of humanity is being subsumed by the future of Africa.text via
Bonhams is hosting an auction of Space History on July 20th. Now is the time to get that full scale Sputnik model for your living room.
Matthew Kirschenbaum talks to The Atlantic about his book on the history of word processing, what early word processing looked like, early adopter Len Deighton, and how writers of all kinds adapted to the new technology.
This candid 2011 talk about the history of OpenSolaris fork Illumos doubles as a history of the late Silicon Valley giant Sun, its engineering and corporate culture, its disastrous acquisition by Oracle, and the rise of open source in the 2000's. [more inside]
In a series of colorful, captivating, and often provocative paintings, Los Angeles artist Ben Sakoguchi (b. 1938) examines how baseball, long referred to as America’s national pastime, reflects both the highs and lows of American culture. The son of a grocer and avid baseball fan, Sakoguchi juxtaposes the iconic imagery of vintage orange crate labels from the 1920s to the 1950s with whimsical, eccentric, and sometimes scathing portrayals of America’s beloved sport. [more inside]
Man Who Claimed to Have Escaped Auschwitz Admits He Lied for Years [The Guardian] Joseph Hirt said he fabricated story of being sent to camp and meeting Nazi doctor Josef Mengele to ‘keep memories alive’ about history of the Holocaust. [more inside]
Being on a 61-foot vessel with no engine in the middle of the ocean is, indeed, as tough as it might seem. The Hokule'a is on a mission. Catch them on their east coast tour!
Voltaire’s Luck by Roger Pearson [Lapham's Quarterly] “It was once said of Voltaire, by his friend the Marquis d’Argenson, that “our great poet forever has one foot on Mount Parnassus and the other in the rue Quincampoix.” The rue Quincampoix was the Wall Street of eighteenth-century Paris; the country’s most celebrated writer of epic and dramatic verse had a keen eye for investment opportunities. By the time d’Argenson made his remark, in 1751, Voltaire had amassed a fortune. He owed it all to a lottery win. Or, to be more precise, to several wins.”
"T’Challa emerged as the fictional representation of those countless dreams denied; the unbroken manhood that Ossie Davis famously invoked after the assassination of Malcolm X. Wakanda symbolized the dreams of black utopias like Ethiopia and South Africa that had grown as the Black Freedom Struggle grew over the twentieth century. In this moment when superheroes become a way to explore contemporary anxieties about activism and authority, the Black Panther provides an opportunity for global audiences to study the traditions of black nationalism, Pan-Africanism, and the variety of African indigenous cultures. Dr. Walter Greason (Monmouth University) took a few minutes to suggest a collaborative exploration of these influences" in the Wakanda Syllabus.
The History of Cities Visualized: Metrocosm
The Unbelievable Tale of Jesus' Wife is an article by Ariel Sabar about his quest to trace the providence of a manuscript fragment in which Jesus refers to his wife. The trail leads from Harvard through old East Germany to the Floridian swingers' scene.
More Perfect is a seven-week long Radiolab spin-off series examining Supreme Court Cases.
- “Cruel and Unusual” examines the history of the death penalty, particularly lethal injection. A related MeFi Post
- “The Political Thicket” digs deep into the drama surrounding the Baker v. Carr redistricting case and the psychological toll it exacted on the justices.
- The next episode airs June 17. Kind of meh on the Radiolab style? Try Amicus for Dahlia Lithwick’s discussions of recent Supreme Court Decisions, the oh-so-dry debates on constitutional law at We The People, or just take your Supreme Court oral arguments straight up from Oyez.
Keiko Horikawa is a Japanese freelance journalist whose work, unknown in English translation until now, deals with the value of life and the weight of death. Her two subjects are the death penalty and the atomic bombing in Hiroshima, which has gained new urgency as bomb survivors, the hibakusha, die out after 70 years. Here is a translation of an event promoting her book about the Genbaku Kuyoto, the mound containing the unclaimed remains of approximately 70,000 bomb victims, and her effort to reunite the 815 identified remains with their families.
Revealed: Cambodia's Vast Medieval Cities Hidden Beneath the Jungle [The Guardian] Archaeologists in Cambodia have found multiple, previously undocumented medieval cities not far from the ancient temple city of Angkor Wat, the Guardian can reveal, in groundbreaking discoveries that promise to upend key assumptions about south-east Asia’s history. The Australian archaeologist Dr Damian Evans, whose findings will be published in the Journal of Archaeological Science on Monday, will announce that cutting-edge airborne laser scanning technology has revealed multiple cities between 900 and 1,400 years old beneath the tropical forest floor, some of which rival the size of Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh.
The Story of India, written and presented by Michael Wood for the BBC, is a six episode documentary that serves as an entertaining and solid introduction to Indian history. All six episodes are available in full (6 hrs). [more inside]
August Belmont Jr. builder of the Belmont Racetrack and founder of the Interborough Rapid Transit Company (IRT, now part of the numbered NYC Subway lines) had his own private subway car, the Mineola, built for him in 1903. Untapped Cities tracks it down. ''A private railroad car is not an acquired taste,'' wrote Eleanor Belmont, ''One takes to it immediately.''
The True Story of the 'Free State of Jones': A new Hollywood movie looks at the tale of the Mississippi farmer who led a revolt against the Confederacy (Smithsonian Mag). Newton Knight has always been a controversial figure. "This controversy was fueled in part by Knight's postwar marriage to a formerly enslaved black woman, which effectively established a small mixed-race community in southeastern Mississippi."(Jones County, Mississippi) [more inside]
Is this Greek hilltop the 2,400-year-old burial place of Aristotle? "Greek archaeologists at Ancient Stagira, Central Macedonia, say they have found Aristotle’s tomb. Addressing the Aristotle 2400 Years World Congress, they point to the 2,400-year-old tomb as the most important finding from the 20-year excavation."
In his follow-up to Sapiens, Yuval Noah Harari envisions what a 'useless class' of humans might look like as AI advances and spreads - "I'm aware that these kinds of forecasts have been around for at least 200 years, from the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, and they never came true so far. It's basically the boy who cried wolf, but in the original story of the boy who cried wolf, in the end, the wolf actually comes, and I think that is true this time." [more inside]
The New York Society Library maintains an elegant online database of its circulation records from 1789 to 1805, a period that includes its stint as the first library of the United States Congress. To help you get a handle on the data trove (assembled from 100,000 records tracking every book that every patron checked out), the Library offers visualization tools and two curated lists of interesting readers: 57 representative women and 40 Founding Fathers.
Remarkable comic book work published in The San Francisco News. Scanned by Ron Henggeler from a book found in the UC Berkeley Library. (Previously!)
Which Rock Star Will Historians of the Future Remember? by Chuck Klosterman [The New York Times] The most important musical form of the 20th century will be nearly forgotten one day. People will probably learn about the genre through one figure — so who might that be? [more inside]
The problem began with paper. Humidity wreaked havoc with the color register of fine, multicolor printing. Ink, applied one color at a time, would misalign with the expansion and contraction of the paper stock. A solution was designed in 1902 and patented in 1906 (as an Apparatus for Treating Air), starting the "air conditioning" industry, though it would be decades before air conditioning changed the American landscape and beyond, making hot, muggy climates more livable around the world. [more inside]
Chris Columbus "discovered" the hammock just as he "discovered" the Americas, being the first European to kick off the flood of "new world" explorers, a number of whom commented on the hanging woven net beds they saw. They brought the design back to Europe, as they took cotton, canvas and other cloths to the Americas, where they were quickly adopted by sailors and navies, with some innovative designs. Today there are a myriad of variations (slideshow) on the simple little sling that has survived for more than 1,000 years, used as a bed, birthing table, cradle, sofa -- even as a final resting place. [more inside]
The history of the wafuton goes back to ancient times more than three centuries before the Common Era. Considered to be good for the health, yet convenient to roll, store, and air, the Japanese futon is rather a different beast from that more familiar convertible futon common in the West. William Brouwer is credited with the original concept and industrial design of the wooden structure, while in Japan, it is master craftsmen like Hisayoshi Nohara, Grand Champion of Futon Making, who are revered for their work. You can try one out in a ryokan.
Established in 1982, the [San Francisco Bay Area Television Archive] preserves 6000 hours of newsfilm, documentaries and other TV footage produced in the Bay Area and Northern California from the Twentieth Century. We are a part of the J. Paul Leonard Library’s Department of Special Collections and oversee material owned by local TV stations KPIX-TV, KRON-TV, KQED and KTVU. All 1,659 items in the collections can be streamed. A few notable inclusions within. [more inside]
As Putin continues to probe, and another commentator predicts Russia will invade Estonia, Latvia and/or Lithuania within a year (also, Independent), it's useful to revisit Article 5 of Nato. Recently, the BBC simulation ended in a result of nuclear weapon use, which did not go down well, while another study also indicated results of either a Russian victory or nuclear war. Earlier in the year, Newsweek analysed this scenario; the Chicago Tribune blames NATO, as does The Nation, while The Master Plan considers ongoing Russian shenanigans.
...the ghost of electricity howls in the bones of her faceBlonde on Blonde turned 50 on Monday... [more inside]
What is actually happening with San Francisco rental prices?
From mefi's own urban planning, history, infrastructure, transit and walkability obsessed blogger, Eric Fischer. [more inside]
From mefi's own urban planning, history, infrastructure, transit and walkability obsessed blogger, Eric Fischer. [more inside]
You're a fortune teller living in the Roman Empire. People keep asking you the same damn questions day after day, and it's hard to always come up with new answers. So you invest in a copy of the Oracles of Astrampsychus, a dice-based prophecy kit, containing 92 common questions and over a thousand possible answers. And here they are.
In the summer of 1888 Bertha Benz, accompanied by her two teenage sons, was the first person to drive an automobile any significant distance. As a publicity stunt she drove her husband's experimental, three wheeled, benzene fueled, internal combustion powered, Benz Patent Motor Car Model III to visit her parents. The all day road trip took them 106 kilometres from the workshop in Mannheim to her families home in Pforzheim. And then a few days later back again by a different route so as to expose the automobile to as many people as possible. Along the way she filled up at apothecaries; the first of which bills itself as the world's first filling station and is still doing business today as a pharmacy.
"Polish jazz, which was celebrating its triumphs in the 1950s and 60s, gradually became bogged down under the power of omnipresent and omnipotent institutions" ... "The 1990s saw the birth of a musical trend that wanted nothing less than to turn the established order of things to ash by the most drastic of means. This new trend was called yass." Though the headiest and most experimental days are behind them, "yass" is still used to indicate Polish jazz that's more than traditional jazz, and has been used to describe Skalpel, Jazzpospolita, and Pink Freud, who have performed Autechre live for Boiler Room and RBMA.
"For map fans, some new maps showing Celt, Roman, Anglo-Saxon and Viking territories in the British Isles. Also, the remarkable DNA map which shows how modern Britons still live in the same tribal kingdom areas as their ancestors in 600 AD."
What's so bad about Friday the 13th? Well, what's so unlucky about the number 13? It's largely a modern, Western superstition, merging suspicion about Fridays and the number 13, which once concocted, felt ancient. Some give credit to the Thirteen Club, formed in 1881 or 1882, who flaunted so-called cursed actions, breaking glasses with abandon. Meanwhile, Martes Trece, or Tuesday the 13th is bad luck in Spanish speaking countries, and it's an ominous date for Greek history as Constantinople fell on the specific date in 1204, while Friday the 17th is a national day of sfortuna, or bad luck, in Italy. [more inside]
‘Rape Rooms’: How West Virginia Women Paid Off Coal Company Debts | What was the Esau scrip? [with audio included] | The Whipple Company Store | The Soul of a Company Store - The Haunted History of Whipple, WV [audio, story sharing]. [more inside]
"When he was alive, Lonesome George was a captive reminder of biodiversity loss. One 2006 book called him 'the only one of his kind left on earth—a symbol of the devastation man has wrought to the natural world in the Galápagos and beyond.' After his death, Washington Tapia, a researcher with the Ecuador National Park Service, told the New York Times it was like losing his grandparents. But even for people less intimate with him did his life and demise serve as a reminder of the mass extinction of species currently underway—the sixth in earth’s history but the only one caused by humans." - Human Error: Survivor guilt in the Anthropocene
Al Fry is an old-school eccentric, mostly from the pre-internet days. He lives (or lived) out in Idaho, which was his home-base for distributing Fry's Incredible Inquiry's Catalog, covering "technology, alchemy, weird science (PDF), Tesla, anti-gravity, occult, crystal power, and other fascinating fringy topics." And then there are his videos, including Hidden World History and Strange Beings 1, narrated by A. H. Fry himself. His videos have been collected a few times over on YouTube (1, 2). And he has written about making tipis.
'We are raised to believe that female bodies are time bombs.' On the metaphor of the biological clock. SL Guardian.
The Evolution of the Petrol/Gas/Filling/Service Station Gas stations might be boring or even ugly places, but for the most part, you can’t avoid stopping by one on a long trip. However, they have been so many more beyond the basic design of columns, roof and shop over their history. The following 60+1 filling stations encompass almost a century of architectural progression, showcasing some of the best Art Deco, Bauhaus, futurist, brutalist, minimalist, modernist, Googie building designs of the motorist history. Enjoy the ride!