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ICI FINIT LA CVLTVRE ALLEMANDE

On this day one hundred years ago, Imperial German soldiers who had peacefully arrived in the Belgian city of Leuven (Fr: Louvain), having taken hostages and accepted the parole of its mayor on behalf of its citizens, without warning set fire to the city and massacred its inhabitants forever altering the city, its university's library, and the course of the war.
  • Belgian Judicial Report on the Sacking of Louvain in August 1914
  • The destruction and rebuilding of the Louvain Library: claim and counterclaim
  • [more inside]
    posted by Blasdelb on Aug 25, 2014 - 13 comments

    "Best Site On The Web!" - Mother Teresa, Mark Twain, and George Carlin

    “Those who are awake live in a state of constant amazement.”-Fake Buddha Quotes is your one-stop shopping for all quotes misattributed to The Buddha.
    posted by Navelgazer on Jul 7, 2014 - 48 comments

    Eppur si muove

    The Great Ptolemaic Smackdown is a nine-part series posted by sci-fi author and statistician Michael F. Flynn to his blog last year, covering the historical conflict between heliocentrism and geocentrism, with a special focus on Galileo. They are based on an article (pdf) by Flynn which originally appeared in the Jan/Feb 2013 issue of Analog. [more inside]
    posted by zarq on Apr 8, 2014 - 10 comments

    Giving You Oral

    Don't fight it. It's the year of the oral history. If there hasn't yet been an oral history on your favorite pop culture phenomenon, it won't be long. In the meantime, for your reading pleasure, how about starting with an oral history of Captain Marvel: The Series? Or perhaps you'd rather read about The Telluride Bluegrass Festival? If your taste runs more toward technology, check out an oral history of Apple design. More reading inside! [more inside]
    posted by MoonOrb on Jan 13, 2014 - 24 comments

    A Little Museum in Each Blog

    Each of Historian Barbara Wells Sarudy's six blogs contains a wealth of esoteric treasures: "President John Adams declared, “History is not the Province of the Ladies.” Oh well, I'll give it a try." [more inside]
    posted by whimsicalnymph on Jan 5, 2014 - 6 comments

    Naturalis Historia

    "My subject is a barren one – the world of nature, or in other words life; and that subject in its least elevated department, and employing either rustic terms or foreign, nay barbarian words that actually have to be introduced with an apology. Moreover, the path is not a beaten highway of authorship, nor one in which the mind is eager to range: there is not one of us who has made the same venture, nor yet one Roman who has tackled single-handed all departments of the subject."
    Naturalis Historia was written by Pliny the Elder between 77 and 79 CE and was meant to serve as a kind of proto-encyclopedia discussing all of the ancient knowledge available to him, covered in enough depth and breadth to make it by a reasonable margin the largest work to survive to the modern day from the Roman era. The work includes discussions on astronomy, meteorology, geography, mineralogy, zoology and botany organized along Aristotelian divisions of nature but also includes essays on human inventions and institutions. It is dedicated to the Emperor Titus in its epistle to the Emperor Vespasian, a close friend of Pliny who relied on his extensive knowledge, and its unusually careful citations of sources as well as its index makes it a precursor to modern scholarly works. It was Pliny's last work, as well as sadly his sole surviving one, and was published not long before his death attempting to save a friend from the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius that destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum, famously recounted by Pliny's eponymous nephew Pliny the Younger.
    Here is a reasonable translation that is freely available to download from archive.org for your edification.
    [more inside]
    posted by Blasdelb on Dec 16, 2013 - 24 comments

    The Story of the Jews

    The critically-acclaimed BBC production The Story of the Jews, written and presented by historian (and foodie) Simon Schama, can be viewed online by people with access to BBC iPlayer TV programs. It will be shown in the USA on PBS later this year. [more inside]
    posted by Joe in Australia on Sep 30, 2013 - 25 comments

    The Bible as fanwank and flamewars

    Confused about who wrote the Bible we have, and why? Jim MacDonald has the answers. How was the Canon of the Christian Bible selected? There really isn't a better, or funnier, short account than this. After all, if fandom is a religion, then religions must work like fandom, right? And the epistolatory disputes of late antiquity were just Usenet to the Greeks. So if you want to know how the Doctrine of the Trinity became important, this will explain it: [more inside]
    posted by alloneword on Sep 13, 2013 - 151 comments

    Capturing America

    In 1971, the newly-created US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hired a bunch of freelance photographers to collectively document environmental issues around the country. They were given free rein to shoot whatever they wanted, and the project, named Documerica, lasted through 1977. After 40 years, the EPA is now encouraging photographers to take current versions of the original Documerica photos and are showcasing them on flickr at State of the Environment. There are location challenges, and a set has been created with some of the submissions, making side-by-side comparisons. [more inside]
    posted by zarq on Aug 8, 2013 - 16 comments

    The Shuls with Sandy Floors

    There are only five functioning Jewish synagogues with sand floors in the world, and four of them are in the Caribbean. How has the tradition been maintained for hundreds of years? [more inside]
    posted by zarq on Feb 26, 2013 - 5 comments

    Galileo and impolitic science

    Moon Man: What Galileo saw. [Via]
    posted by homunculus on Feb 7, 2013 - 28 comments

    Christmas, cancelled.

    The Puritan War on Christmas
    posted by cthuljew on Dec 16, 2012 - 66 comments

    “I have a hard time with historians, because they idolize the truth. The truth is not uplifting.”

    The Case of the Mormon Historian: What happened when Michael Quinn challenged the history of the church he loved.
    posted by andoatnp on Nov 1, 2012 - 92 comments

    And Shopping. Always Shopping.

    Propaganda - A film alledged to be from North Korea about the excess of Western decadance and public relations propaganda - hits Youtube (1:35:52)
    posted by The Whelk on Aug 10, 2012 - 44 comments

    Sat Sri Akal, Sardarji

    The history of the Sikh Diaspora in USA and Canada goes back to Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 1897. Emerging as a casteless alternative to the ongoing Hindu Muslim wars in India, the Sikhs have always been known as a martial tribe, their prowess and courage respected by the British and others alike. Colloquially addressed respectfully as Sardarji, the men take Singh (lion) as their middle name while the women bear the name Kaur (princess). This custom further confirmed the equality of both genders as was the tradition set by the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nanak. The first Sikh Organization was The Pacific Coast Khalsa Diwan Society organized in the spring of 1912. [more inside]
    posted by infini on Aug 6, 2012 - 34 comments

    Just a handshake.

    "Confessions of an Ex-Mormon: A personal history of America’s most misunderstood religion." by Walter Kirn, author of Up in the Air and Lost in the Meritocracy. (Via)
    posted by zarq on Jul 17, 2012 - 45 comments

    The Creation and Afterlife of the King James Bible

    “The words of the 1611 King James Bible ring out today in books, poems, popular songs, speeches, and sermons. But who translated it, and what made this particular translation so influential? Inspired by the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, Manifold Greatness tells the story of one of the most widely read books in the English language, through online content, exhibitions, and more.” Previously on Metafilter: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7.
    posted by found missing on Feb 9, 2012 - 8 comments

    Ark of the Covenant: 2½-1½-1½ Cubits

    Maps of Biblical Prophecy and History. Also Protestant distribution, oil pipelines, Mars, and more.
    posted by Winnemac on Dec 10, 2011 - 14 comments

    "I felt like I'd been catapulted from one end of the universe to the other"

    This weekend marks the time of the Hajj, a core pillar of Islam in which great tides of humanity venture to the ancient city of Mecca to honor God. Predating Mohammed's birth by centuries, the pilgrimage comprises several days of rites, from congregation like snow on Mount Arafat and the ritual stoning of Shaitan to the circling of the sacred Kaaba (the shrouded cubical monolith Muslims pray toward daily) and kissing the Black Stone (colored by the absorption of myriad sins, and believed by some to be a fallen meteorite). While the city has modernized to handle this largest of annual gatherings -- building highway-scale ramps, gaudy skyscrapers for the ultra-rich, and tent cities the size of Seattle -- it remains mysterious, as unbelievers are forbidden from entering its borders. Richard Francis Burton became famous for touring the city in disguise to write a rare travelogue, but contemporary viewers have a more immediate guide: Vice Magazine journalist Suroosh Alvi, who smuggled a minicam into the city to record The Mecca Diaries [alt], a 14-minute documentary of his own Hajj journey. Browse the manual to see what goes into a Hajj trip, or watch the YouTube livestream to see the Grand Mosque crowds in real time.
    posted by Rhaomi on Nov 4, 2011 - 31 comments

    Beauty, Virtue and Vice

    Most of the prints in the exhibit "Beauty, Virtue and Vice: Images of Women in Nineteenth-Century American Prints" were designed simply to please the eye, but they are also useful to historians who would like to understand how nineteenth-century Americans thought about the world in which they lived. Although prints are often works of imagination (even when they are grounded in fact), they still have much to tell us about the time and place in which they were created. [more inside]
    posted by netbros on Sep 30, 2011 - 10 comments

    "Jews and Christians should be allies; and allies are equals."

    In October 1870, as American Jews were observing the High Holidays, The Atlantic Magazine published an article called "Our Israelitish Bretheren." 'At the time, it served as a sort of crash course about a tiny, mystifying minority. Today, it survives as something quite different: a snapshot of a transitional moment in Jewish history.' Written by American biographer, James Parton -- the founder of American Heritage magazine.
    posted by zarq on Sep 29, 2011 - 13 comments

    Grape Fields to The Game

    The Madness of Cesar Chavez
    posted by telstar on Jun 18, 2011 - 44 comments

    The Cartoon Guide to Life, the Universe, and Everything

    Larry Gonick is a veteran American cartoonist best known for his delightful comic-book guides to science and history, many of which have previews online. Chief among them is his long-running Cartoon History of the Universe (later The Cartoon History of the Modern World), a sprawling multi-volume opus documenting everything from the Big Bang to the Bush administration. Published over the course of three decades, it takes a truly global view -- its time-traveling Professor thoroughly explores not only familiar topics like Rome and World War II but the oft-neglected stories of Asia and Africa, blending caricature and myth with careful scholarship (cited by fun illustrated bibliographies) and tackling even the most obscure events with intelligence and wit. This savvy satire carried over to Gonick's Zinn-by-way-of-Pogo chronicle The Cartoon History of the United States, along with a bevy of Cartoon Guides to other topics, including Genetics, Computer Science, Chemistry, Physics, Statistics, The Environment, and (yes!) Sex. Gonick has also maintained a few sideprojects, such as a webcomic look at Chinese invention, assorted math comics (previously), the Muse magazine mainstay Kokopelli & Co. (featuring the shenanigans of his "New Muses"), and more. See also these lengthy interview snippets, linked previously. Want more? Amazon links to the complete oeuvre inside! [more inside]
    posted by Rhaomi on Jun 6, 2011 - 29 comments

    The Wonder of God in Nature

    Die Wunder Gottes in der Natur (1744) illustrates astronomical, meteorological, geological, spiritual, and psychological visions, based on the work of 16th century Alsatian encyclopedist Conrad Lycosthenes.

    The cover and title page.
    posted by Chinese Jet Pilot on May 5, 2011 - 7 comments

    Westminster Abbey

    How is abbey formed?
    How is abbey formed?
    How girl get regnant?
    posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Apr 27, 2011 - 256 comments

    Photographic Immortality

    The Burns Archive is a collection of over 700,000 historical photographs that document disturbing subject matter: obsolete medical practices and experiments, death, disease, disasters, crime, revolutions, riots and war. Newsweek posted a select gallery this past October, as well as a video interview and walk-through with curator and collector Dr. Stanley B. Burns, a New York opthalmologist. (Via) (Content at links may be disturbing to some.) [more inside]
    posted by zarq on Apr 26, 2011 - 15 comments

    The Hitchhiker's Guide to Humanity

    Everybody knows TVTropes is the best and most time-killing-est way to learn about the clichés and archetypes that permeate modern media. But dear reader, there is so much more. Enter Useful Notes. Originally created as a place for tropers to pool factual information as a writing aid, the subsite has quietly grown into a small wiki of its own -- a compendium of crowdsourced wisdom on a staggering array of topics, all written in the site's signature brand of lighthearted snark. Though it reads like an irreverent and informal Wikipedia, its articles act as genuinely useful primers to complex and obscure topics alike, all in service of the project's five goals: "To debunk common media stereotypes; to help you understand some media better; to educate, inform and sometimes entertain; to promote peace and understanding (maybe); and... to facilitate world domination." Sounds about right. Click inside for bountiful highlights... if you dare. [more inside]
    posted by Rhaomi on Dec 26, 2010 - 43 comments

    Fragapatti, Son of Jehovih!

    Oahspe is what might have resulted if L. Ron Hubbard took so much ketamine he time-phased into 1882. The product of an automatic-writing ex-prospector dentist, the 900-page tome includes submerged continents, bizarre dictionaries, and plenty of space travel. [more inside]
    posted by theodolite on Aug 30, 2010 - 19 comments

    Mithras

    Bull-Killer, Sun Lord. "Foreign religions grew rapidly in the 1st-century A.D. Roman Empire, including worship of Jesus Christ, the Egyptian goddess Isis, and an eastern sun god, Mithras."
    posted by homunculus on Aug 28, 2010 - 28 comments

    Missionary Position: Facing West

    Pope Benedict XVI has announced the establishment of a new Vatican department dedicated to tackling what he called 'a grave crisis in the sense of the Christian faith and the role of the Church." The Pontifical Council for the Promotion of New Evangelisation will (per Archbishop Vincent Nichols,) focus on countries "in which, even though the Christian Gospel has shaped an entire culture," secularism now reigns, in what the Pope termed an "eclipse of a sense of God." [more inside]
    posted by zarq on Jul 1, 2010 - 165 comments

    Whence Altruism?

    A new study suggests that humanity's sense of fair play and kindness towards strangers is determined by culture, not genetics. Speculation: the finding may be directly related to the rise of religion in human history, as well as more complex economies. (Via). [more inside]
    posted by zarq on Mar 22, 2010 - 49 comments

    The Surprisingly Accurately Named Thirty Years War

    The Thirty Years War is a website covers that ginormous kerfuffle that consumed Europe in the first half of the 17th Century from the Second Defenestration of Prague to the Peace of Westphalia. It has a handy map with a place locator which will help you tell your Schweidnitz from your Schweinfurt. Here are some other maps, The Religious Situation in Central Europe about 1618, Principal Seats of War, 1618-1660 and Europe in 1648 - Peace of Westphalia.
    posted by Kattullus on Oct 29, 2009 - 55 comments

    Utopian Communes in the British Isles

    Utopia Britannica is a collection of stories and a gazetter about utopian communes in the British Isles from the 14th Century up until the end of World War II. There are some incredible tales in here, such as 'Free Love' in 19th Century Somerset, St. Kilda, Death of an Island Republic, Percy Bysshe Shelley's attempted communes, Augustus John, the King of Bohemia and many more.
    posted by Kattullus on Sep 25, 2009 - 10 comments

    Search the Bible with Google Maps

    Biblemap.org is an interactive map system for the bible, which is great for visualising where certain biblical events are said to have occured. It's also great for people who don't subscribe to any kind of organised religion but do like looking at maps (like me!).
    posted by Effigy2000 on Jun 14, 2009 - 24 comments

    "Greetings from Idiot America"

    Charles Pierce, author of the 2005 essay "Greetings from Idiot America" decrying the rise of faith-based anti-intellectualism, has expanded his rant into a full length book: Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free. (via) [more inside]
    posted by zarq on May 12, 2009 - 65 comments

    A Moment in Time

    AronRa has done some really nice YouTube vids on science (previously). In this latest vlog An Archaeological Moment in Time, he take(s) a look at how different societies are advancing at different rates on the same date in the distant past.
    posted by nola on May 11, 2009 - 10 comments

    Culture & Barbarism

    Metaphysics in a Time of Terrorism. (via)
    posted by Dumsnill on Apr 17, 2009 - 39 comments

    Islam, modernity and democracy

    Is the west thwarting Arab plans for reform? Few Muslims now invest much hope in the democratic western powers (essentially the US, Britain and France) that back the rulers who oppress them, even if, against the odds, they still admire “western” values, science and culture. There is no endemic or intrinsic conflict between Christians and Muslims. Rather, the root of the problem is that a majority of Muslims is convinced that the west – interested only in a stability based on regional strongmen, the security of Israel and cheap oil – is engaged in a war against Islam and is bent on denying them the freedoms it claims for itself. That is why it is so self-defeating to collude in tyranny as ostensibly a lesser evil than political Islam. [more inside]
    posted by kliuless on Apr 14, 2009 - 32 comments

    SpaceTime TV: Free Videos on Heaps of Topics

    SpaceTimeTV collects and lets you watch all the best educational videos online from full length documentaries (such as the 50 minute long Is There Life on Mars) to short video clips such as this one on glaciers and global warming. There are hundreds of videos on topics including history, space, technology, and nature.
    posted by Effigy2000 on Mar 31, 2009 - 6 comments

    Philosophia Islamica

    Meet the Islamic Philosophers. Arabic philosophy sought to reconcile the science and empiricism of Aristotle, the metaphysics of Neoplatonism, and the revelations of the Holy Qur'an. From the first thoughts of Abū Yūsuf Yaʻqūb ibn Isḥāq al-Kindī, to the 20,000 pages of Abū 'l-Walīd Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad ibn Rushd, the influence of these Muslim polymaths profoundly shaped Western thought. [more inside]
    posted by ageispolis on Mar 31, 2009 - 12 comments

    Sweaters of enlightenment

    The cult of fashion; the fashion of cults.
    posted by fiercecupcake on Feb 11, 2009 - 41 comments

    A nation of nonbelievers

    "The government of the United States is in no sense founded on the Christian Religion." ~ George Washington / "I do not find in Christianity one redeeming feature." ~ Thomas Jefferson / "The Bible is not my book, nor Christianity my religion." ~ Abraham Lincoln / "A just government has no need for the clergy or the church." ~ James Madison / "I believe in an America where religious intolerance will someday end... where every man has the same right to attend or not attend the church of his choice." ~ John F. Kennedy / "We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers." ~ Barack Obama
    posted by 0bvious on Jan 20, 2009 - 270 comments

    The lotus-cross

    When Jesus met Buddha. "Something remarkable happened when evangelists for two great religions crossed paths more than 1,000 years ago: they got along." [Via]
    posted by homunculus on Dec 19, 2008 - 51 comments

    Early spirit photography

    Ghosts, apparitions, angels, spiritual visitations and views of the future "The relationship between photography and the spirit world of ghosts, apparitions and angels during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century was a blending of popular belief and scientific fraud. The lack of sophistication in the public in an age of deeply held religious values and the generally accepted belief that the camera recorded truth allowed the unscrupulous to exploit the situation for financial gain...This online exhibition explores the diverse interactions between mortals and the spiritual world..." [via Bouphonia]
    posted by mediareport on Oct 31, 2008 - 6 comments

    Gobekli Tepe

    Gobekli Tepe: The World’s First Temple? "Predating Stonehenge by 6,000 years, Turkey's stunning Gobekli Tepe upends the conventional view of the rise of civilization."
    posted by homunculus on Oct 30, 2008 - 28 comments

    Roger Williams

    The First Founder: The American Revolution of Roger Williams. [Via 3quarksdaily]
    posted by homunculus on Aug 31, 2008 - 8 comments

    Persia

    Persia: Ancient Soul of Iran. "A glorious past inspires a conflicted nation."
    posted by homunculus on Aug 4, 2008 - 35 comments

    Први светски рат

    Prvi svetski rat - Gritty and poignant Serbian postcards from the First World War. Just one of the seriously interesting (e.g. check out the collection of 78s) holdings at the Digital National Library of Serbia.
    posted by tellurian on Jul 20, 2008 - 12 comments

    Decoding Stonehenge

    If the Stones Could Speak: Searching for the Meaning of Stonehenge.
    posted by homunculus on May 31, 2008 - 22 comments

    Moses was tripping at Mount Sinai

    Biblical Entheogens: a Speculative Hypothesis. Psychology Professor Benny Shannon speculates that Moses may have been tripping when he saw God on Mount Sinai. [Via Mind Hacks.]
    posted by homunculus on Mar 7, 2008 - 69 comments

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