Adam Davidson,The V.C.s of B.C.
Through a series of incredibly unlikely events, archaeologists have uncovered the comprehensive written archive of a few hundred traders who left their hometown Assur, in what is now Iraq, to set up importing businesses in Kanesh, which sat roughly at the center of present-day Turkey and functioned as the hub of a massive global trading system that stretched from Central Asia to Europe. Kanesh’s traders sent letters back and forth with their business partners, carefully written on clay tablets and stored at home in special vaults. Tens of thousands of these records remain. One economist recently told me that he would love to have as much candid information about businesses today as we have about the dealings — and in particular, about the trading practices — of this 4,000-year-old community.[more inside]
The Vanished Grandeur Of Accounting, in which Jacob Soll argues that it was the Dutch, and certainly not the Venetians or Florentines who are responsible for the spread of that moral and mathematical revolution: double-entry accounting. [more inside]
RT @bijli Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, the German-born screenwriter and novelist who, as the writing member of the Merchant Ivory filmmaking team, won two Academy Awards for adaptations of genteel, class-conscious E. M. Forster novels, died on Wednesday at her home in Manhattan. She was 85. Her 1975 novel, “Heat and Dust,” about an Englishwoman exploring a family scandal in India, received the Man Booker Prize, Britain’s highest literary honor. She wrote the screenplay for the Merchant Ivory version in 1983 as well. New York Times obit
Seawise Giant - later known as Happy Giant, Jahre Viking, and Knock Nevis - was the largest ship ever built.
The 30,000 men of the British Merchant Navy (one-fifth of its pre-war strength) who fell victim to the U-boats between 1939 and 1945, the majority drowned or killed by exposure on the cruel North Atlantic sea*, were quite as certainly front-line warriors as the guardsmen and fighter pilots to whom they ferried the necessities of combat. Neither they nor their American, Dutch, Norwegian, or Greek fellow mariners wore uniform and few have any memorial. They stood nevertheless between the Wehrmacht and the domination of the world. - John Keegan
Fearless Fightin' Flash Fun for Friday: Robokill is a demo that recalls the overhead action of SMASH TV - though this time, you're placed in the metal shoes of a lowly salvage bot, sent to decimate your mechanical brethren who commandeered an orbital outpost. As you clear the halls for the benefit of some lazy humans, you can trade supplies and armaments with an alien merchant who mistakes you for one of Earth's fleshbags. It's a thankless job, sure, but you're supposed to be a remorseless machine...[via]