Archive for December, 2008
Rare artefacts from the late Stone Age have been uncovered in Russia.The site at Zaraysk, 150km south-east of Moscow, has yielded figurines and carvings on mammoth tusks.The finds also included a cone-shaped object whose function, the authors report in the journal Antiquity, “remains a puzzle”.
In January, President-elect Barack Obama and his family will make history, becoming the first African-American first family to move into the White House — a house with a history of slavery. In fact, the legacy of American presidents owning slaves goes all the way back to George Washington.
Read the rest at CNN.
Chopsticks evolved in China during the Chou Dynasty (1122–255 BCE), not due to fashion but mostly because of the nation’s poverty at the time. While starvation was a big problem, the land did have plenty of water for rice farming, so the country’s forests were cleared in favor of agriculture. As a result, firewood became a luxury item, and culinary trends reflected the need for shorter cooking times. For example, instead of boiling or baking large items, cooks chopped them into small pieces that could be stir-fried quickly.
Read the rest at mental_floss.
All Times Pacific
8PM – Bullets Over Boston: The Irish Mob on National Geographic Channel
The investigation of south Boston crime boss James Whitey Bulger, who s been on the run since 1995, is chronicled.
10PM – Rome: Rise and Fall of an Empire on History Channel International
A history of the Roman Empire.
8PM – FDR: A Presidency Revealed on The History Channel
The conclusion of a two-part retrospective of Franklin Delano Roosevelt s presidency begins with the U.S. entering World War II and concludes with FDR…
The US government plotted to hide the fact that they were constantly flying nuclear-armed B-52 bombers over Greenland during the 1960s, the BBC has discovered in a recent investigation. The operation, called Chrome Dome, was designed to instantly respond to the Soviet Union if the latter launched a nuclear missile attack against Thule, a US Air Force base strategically placed near the North Pole. The Pentagon believed that this could potentially start a full-scale thermonuclear war, so they kept the birds in the sky at all times as a deterrent against Moscow. It was a “good” plan, until one of them crashed on January 21 1968.
Read the whole article at Gizmodo.
A month after the bombing of Hiroshima in 1945, the US government imposed a code of censorship in Japan, which means that photos of the effects of the nuclear device are somewhat difficult to come by. Enter diner owner Don Levy of Watertown, MA.
Found on kottke.org, read more.
Archaeologists say the trove of 39 gold and 70 silver coins was minted in the middle of the first century B.C. as the future Roman ruler Julius Caesar led a campaign against Celtic tribes in the area….Nico Roymans, the archaeologist who led the academic investigation of the find, believes the gold coins in the cache were minted by a tribe called the Eburones that Caesar claimed to have wiped out in 53 B.C. after they conspired with other groups in an attack that killed 6,000 Roman soldiers.
Read the whole article at The History Blog.