Name of source: Huffington Post
JERUSALEM -- Software developed by an Israeli team is giving intriguing new hints about what researchers believe to be the multiple hands that wrote the Bible.
The new software analyzes style and word choices to distinguish parts of a single text written by different authors, and when applied to the Bible its algorithm teased out distinct writerly voices in the holy book.
The program, part of a sub-field of artificial intelligence studies known as authorship attribution, has a range of potential applications – from helping law enforcement to developing new computer programs for writers. But the Bible provided a tempting test case for the algorithm's creators....
Thursday, June 30, 2011 - 19:19
What is believed to be the only surviving authenticated portrait of Billy the Kid went up for auction in Denver on Saturday and sold for $2.3 million.
The tintype on Saturday evening went to private collector William Koch at Brian Lebel's 22nd Annual Old West Show & Auction, where auction spokeswoman Melissa McCracken said the image of the 1800s outlaw was the most expensive piece ever sold at the event.
A 15 percent fee was added to the bidding price, making the selling price more than $2.6 million. Organizers had expected it could fetch between $300,000 and $400,000.
The tintype is believed to have been taken in 1879 or 1880 in Fort Sumner, N.M. It shows the outlaw dressed in a rumpled hat and layers of clothes, including a bulky sweater. He's standing with one hand resting on a Winchester carbine on his right side and a Colt revolver holstered on his left side.
Tintypes were an early form of photography that used metal plates. They are reverse images, and the Billy the Kid tintype led to the mistaken belief that Billy the Kid was a lefty. The myth inspired the 1958 movie "The Left Handed Gun", starring Paul Newman as Billy....
Sunday, June 26, 2011 - 16:49
Name of source: Daily Mail (UK)
Vatican officials today described the discovery of a 1,400 year old fresco of St Paul in an ancient Roman catacomb as ‘sensational.’
The painting was found during restoration work at the Catacombs of San Gennaro (Saint Januarius) in the port city of Naples.
A photograph released by the Vatican shows the apostle, famous for his conversion to Christianity from Judaism, with a long neck, a slightly pink complexion, thinning hair, a beard and big eyes that give his face a ‘spiritual air.’
News of the discovery was announced on the feast day of St Peter and Paul which is traditionally a bank holiday in Rome....
Thursday, June 30, 2011 - 19:18
Name of source: USA Today
The H.L. Hunley, a Confederate submarine, sealed its place in history on a February night in 1864 when it became the world's first sub to sink an enemy warship in combat. Then its own fate was sealed when it sank mysteriously to the bottom of the ocean off the coast of Charleston, S.C., killing its crew of eight.
There the Hunley rested on its starboard side at a 45-degree angle until it was lifted from the ocean floor at that exact angle in 2000. Late last week, preservationists finished two painstaking days of work that allowed them to rotate the Hunley to its upright position.
Starting Wednesday, conservation specialists at Clemson University's Warren Lasch Conservation Center in Charleston began the process of rotating the 7-ton, 40-foot submarine to expose a side of its hull never before seen in the post-Civil War era....
Thursday, June 30, 2011 - 19:16
Name of source: BBC
A survey for a Jamaican newspaper suggests most islanders believe the country would have been better off if it had remained a British colony.
The poll, commissioned by The Gleaner, found that 60% of respondents backed this view. But 17% disagreed.
A thousand people took part in the survey, out of a population of 2.7m. The poll has a reported margin of error of plus or minus 4%.
Jamaica is due to celebrate 50 years of independence next year.
It is not clear what main reasons the respondents had for their choices.
Thursday, June 30, 2011 - 12:53
A memorial is being unveiled to three children who died near Gretna Green in Britain's worst ever rail disaster.
The "lost children of Maryhill" were among 227 people killed in a multi-train crash at Quintinshill in 1915.
Most of the victims were soldiers with the Royal Scots who were on their way to fight in World War I.
A headstone has been laid at the Western Necropolis in Glasgow, where the children were buried in an unmarked grave.
They were interred in 1915 along with a fourth unidentified person, whose age is not known.
Falkirk councillor Billy Buchanan, a keen amateur historian, arranged the memorial after hearing about the children, whose bodies were never claimed by their parents...
Sunday, June 26, 2011 - 20:47
The inside of a Mayan tomb thought to be 1,500 years old has been filmed by archaeologists for the first time.
Using a tiny video camera, the researchers were able to capture images of the burial chamber in Palenque in south-eastern Mexico.
As the device was lowered 16ft (5m) down into the tomb, they saw red paint and black figures emblazoned on its walls.
The scientists say the images will shed new light on the Mayan civilisation ..........
Sunday, June 26, 2011 - 20:43
A UN-backed tribunal in Cambodia is due to hold its first hearing in the trial of four former top Khmer Rouge leaders.
The defendants include the "number two" in Pol Pot's regime, Nuon Chea. They face charges including genocide and crimes against humanity over the deaths of up to 2m Cambodians in 1975-79.
They all deny the accusations, and the trial is likely to last for years.
Last July, former Khmer Rouge member Kaing Guek Eav, known as Comrade Duch, was jailed for 35 years.
But because of time already served and compensation for a period of illegal detention, Duch - the former head of a notorious prison where some 15,000 died - will be free in 19 years....
Sunday, June 26, 2011 - 20:39
The remains of 17 bodies found at the bottom of a medieval well in England could have been victims of persecution, new evidence has suggested.
The most likely explanation is that those down the well were Jewish and were probably murdered or forced to commit suicide, according to scientists who used a combination of DNA analysis, carbon dating and bone chemical studies in their investigation.
The skeletons date back to the 12th or 13th Centuries at a time when Jewish people were facing persecution throughout Europe.
They were discovered in 2004 during an excavation of a site in the centre of Norwich, ahead of construction of the Chapelfield Shopping Centre. The remains were put into storage and have only recently been the subject of investigation.
Seven skeletons were successfully tested and five of them had a DNA sequence suggesting they were likely to be members of a single Jewish family....
Thursday, June 23, 2011 - 20:10
Experts are planning to record and protect exposed Roman masonry at a fort in south Cumbria.
The work on Ambleside Roman fort at Waterhead, is being undertaken by the National Trust, with the help of volunteer archaeologists.
Masons will remove the turf capping from the low walls of the fort, rake out earth, then mix and apply lime mortar to create a hard wearing cap.
The work is part of a wider scheme called "Romans by the River"....
Thursday, June 23, 2011 - 20:04
Celebrations are due to be held in Stirling to mark the 150th anniversary of the start of work on the Wallace Monument.
On this day in 1861 more than 100,000 people thronged Stirling and the Abbey Craig as a ceremony took place to lay the foundation stone.
Paid for by public subscription, the monument went over budget and it was eight years before it was opened.
More recently, the Wallace monument has attracted over 130,000 visitors a year....
Thursday, June 23, 2011 - 19:57
Off the track beaten by most Holy Land tourists lies one of the richest archaeological sites in a country full of them: the walled port of Acre, where the busy alleys of an Ottoman-era town cover a uniquely intact Crusader city now being rediscovered.
Preparing to open a new subterranean section to the public, workers cleaned stones this week in an arched passageway underground.
All were last used by residents in 1291, the year a Muslim army from Egypt defeated Acre's Christian garrison and leveled its remains....
Wednesday, June 22, 2011 - 17:06
US First Lady Michelle Obama has paid tribute to apartheid victims on a visit to South Africa's township of Soweto.
She was speaking to young women from across Africa in a church that became a landmark in the 1976 Soweto uprising.
Mrs Obama said the successful fight against apartheid as well as the US civil rights movement should inspire them to overcome the problems of today, such as HIV or violence against women.
On Monday, Mrs Obama met the former South African President Nelson Mandela....
Wednesday, June 22, 2011 - 17:04
The notebooks of the Scottish folklore pioneer Alexander Carmichael have been prepared for publication.
It will be the first time Carmichael's work has been available in its entirety.
From 1860, he spent 50 years collecting legends, songs, curses and oral history from Gaelic-speakers.
Researchers and archivists have worked for two years preparing the notes for publication by the University of Edinburgh.
Carmichael's work has led to him being likened to the brothers Grimm in Germany.
His volume Carmina Gadelica, published in 1900, is estimated to have included only a tenth of his original research material....
Wednesday, June 22, 2011 - 17:00
Name of source: Telegraph (UK)
Israeli scholars say they have confirmed the authenticity of a 2,000-year-old burial box bearing the name of a relative of the high priest Caiaphas of the New Testament.
The ossuary bears an inscription with the name "Miriam daughter of Yeshua son of Caiaphas, priest of Maaziah from Beth Imri."
An ossuary is a stone chest used to store bones. Caiaphas was a temple priest and an adversary of Jesus who played a key role in his crucifixion.
The Israel Antiquities Authority says the ossuary was seized from tomb robbers three years ago and has since been undergoing analysis. Forgery is common in the world of biblical artefacts.
The IAA says in Wednesday's statement that microscopic tests have confirmed the inscription is "genuine and ancient."....
Thursday, June 30, 2011 - 12:50
China’s Communist Party has bought two of Karl Marx’s letters and scoured Russian archives for film footage of early Communists as it tries to shore up its founding myth ahead of its 90th anniversary.
The two handwritten letters will take China’s collection of Marx’s correspondence to five, split between the State Archive and the National Library, and will be put on display in an exhibition on “Marxism in China” during July.
The purchase came as the Chinese Communist Party celebrated its 90th anniversary on Thursday, which has seen giant models of the hammer and sickle emblem erected across the country, even as many Chinese wonder whether communism has any relevance at all to their lives.
The letter came up at auction in 2009 in the United States, with an estimate of $14,000 (£8,740), but Chinese officials declined to comment whether they had purchased it then or at a subsequent sale....
Thursday, June 30, 2011 - 12:46
An attempt to have the Mona Lisa return from France for a temporary visit to Italy has been dismissed by gallery chiefs.
The 500-year-old Leonardo da Vinci masterpiece was painted in Florence before he took it to France where it has lived ever since.
The aim was to raise a 100,000 signature petition to return the Mona Lisa to Florence in 2013, exactly 100 years after it was recovered following a theft from the Louvre in 1911....
Sunday, June 26, 2011 - 20:26
A Royal palace on Corfu where the Duke of Edinburgh was born will this week emerge as the focus point of protests on the Greek islands against the sale of the national heritage to pay off the country's debts.
Mon Repos Palace in Corfu, where a museum records the site as the birthplace of Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, 90 years ago, is one of several state-owned properties included the package. The firesale will beaches, casinos, palaces, airports and marinas auctioned off around Greece.
A suggestion by German MPs last year that Greece should sell off some of its islands or even the Acropolis to pay its debt infruiated Greeks. Rumours that Qatari sheikhs and Russian oligarchs were being lined up to buy on Corfu has incensed the locals....
Sunday, June 26, 2011 - 20:17
An amateur model-maker has been banned from selling tiny figures of Hitler on eBay after the online auction site decided it could be classed as Nazi propaganda.
Philip Fursman has been buying plain models from a UK company, painting them and then selling them on the eBay website for a number of years for a small profit.
But Mr Fursman from Card, Somerset, fell foul of the site's policies when he tried to sell a model of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.
However, similar models of Osama bin Laden used in war games are allowed.
The 37 year-old father-of-three said he was surprised by the policy because he had recently sold miniature figures of Osama bin Laden and the Taliban on eBay without any problem....
Thursday, June 23, 2011 - 19:52
The painting of Farrah Fawcett seen hanging over Ryan O'Neal's bed in a reality television show was, for most viewers, a sign of his enduring love for the late actress.
But to beneficiaries of her will it was evidence that O'Neal was in possession of a $30million (£18.8million) Andy Warhol portrait that has not been seen since her death two years ago.
Warhol made two portraits of the actress in 1980, both of which were shown in the documentary Farrah's Story, which charted the Charlie's Angels star's courageous battle with cancer.
Following her death on June 25 2009, at the age of 62, she left her entire collection of paintings to the University of Texas, where she studied art.
However, it only received one of the Warhols.
The university subsequently hired a private investigator to track down missing items from her the collection.
It claims that the first episode of a new reality television show, Ryan & Tatum: The O'Neals, broadcast on The Oprah Winfrey Network last weekend, provided the breakthrough to its whereabouts.
The reality show documents the reconciliation between O'Neal and his daughter Tatum following an eight-year rift.
A painting looking remarkably similar to the missing Warhol appeared in the background at Ryan O'Neal's home in Malibu, California....
Thursday, June 23, 2011 - 19:49
A Picasso painting that was donated to an Australian university has raised £13.5m for scientific research at a sale in London.
Jeune Fille Endormie was given to the University Of Sydney by an anonymous American donor last year on the condition that it be sold and the money raised be spent on research into obesity.
At a Christie's art auction in London it fetched £13.5m, exceeding expectations by more than £1m.
The money will be used by the university to pay for staff at a new centre for obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
The vivid painting, which measures 18 inches tall by 22 inches wide, was painted in 1935 and depicts Picasso's lover and muse, Marie-Therese Walter when she was aged just 17. The artwork is celebrated for its use of bold, expressionist colours and brush strokes. It was painted at Picasso's French country home, Chateau de Boisgeloup and had only been shown once in public before now....
Wednesday, June 22, 2011 - 16:55
Name of source: AP
A statue of former U.S. President Ronald Reagan was unveiled Wednesday in Hungary's capital, where he was honored for his leadership in helping to end communism.
The bronze 2-meter (7-foot) likeness of the 40th president was erected in Budapest at Freedom Square, near both the U.S.
Embassy and a World War II memorial to Soviet soldiers killed during the ouster of the Nazis from Hungary....
Thursday, June 30, 2011 - 12:42
VATICAN CITY – Israel's ambassador to the Vatican on Sunday backed off his praise of Pope Pius XII, the World War II-era pope blamed by some Jews and historians for having failed to speak out enough against the Holocaust.
Ambassador Mordechai Lewy said in a statement that his personal judgment about the role of Pius, the Vatican and Catholic Church during the war had been "premature" since the issue is still being researched.
Lewy made headlines last week when he praised Pius and the Catholic Church in general for having given refuge to Roman Jews during the Nazi occupation of the Italian capital. The Vatican newspaper ran his speech on the front page, giving the brief but significant remarks high visibility.
But some Jewish groups balked, saying Lewy's comments were morally wrong, historically inaccurate and hurtful to Holocaust survivors.
Pope Benedict XVI is keen to see Pius beatified, the first step to sainthood, and a concerted campaign is under way among Pius' supporters to correct what they say has been an unfair and incorrect judgment passed on Pius....
Tuesday, June 28, 2011 - 19:21
VATICAN CITY (AP) — International Jewish groups have called on the Vatican to sanction a prominent Polish priest who they say uses his media empire to foment anti-Semitism.
They acted after the Rev. Tadeusz Rydzyk caused uproar in Poland by calling his country a totalitarian state that "hasn't been ruled by Poles since 1939."...
The number of Jews in Poland today is tiny. There were 3.5 million Jews in Poland before World War II, but most were murdered by Germany during the Holocaust and many of those who survived fled anti-Semitic violence and prejudice when they returned to their homes after the war.
Elan Steinberg, vice president of the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants, called the views vile....
Tuesday, June 28, 2011 - 15:46
Some of the earliest Americans turn out to have been artists.
A bone fragment at least 13,000 years old, with the carved image of a mammoth or mastodon, has been discovered in Florida, a new study reports.
While prehistoric art depicting animals with trunks has been found in Europe, this may be the first in the Western Hemisphere, researchers report Wednesday in the Journal of Archaeological Science....
Wednesday, June 22, 2011 - 17:08
Name of source: WaPo
YAN’AN, China – The Chinese Communist Party has been pulling out all the stops to celebrate the 90th anniversary of its founding. There have been concerts, commemorative coins, exhibitions of revolutionary paintings, saturation coverage in the state-controlled media, and even a “red games” sporting competition.
But though the party has used Friday’s anniversary to try renew interest in its past glories, the hoopla might be having an unintended consequence, causing some to question whether the current leaders have lived up to the original ideals of its founders.
Nearly each day brings new revelations of corruption and excesses by senior and provincial-level party officials. And China’s security apparatus, shaken by the fall of authoritarian regimes in Egypt and Tunisia, is engaged in a broad crackdown on dissent, jailing bloggers, lawyers or anyone who questions the party’s right to rule.
Many Chinese are asking whether the party has lost its way.
“A real Communist Party member should always remember that their aim is to serve the people,” said Li Qingrong, who owns a travel agency in Yan’an, the city known as the birthplace of the communist revolution. “Nowadays, when you read the newspaper, you see so many cases of corruption. Maybe they should come here to Yan’an, to see if their soul can be touched by the revolutionary spirit. Then maybe they would change their behavior.”...
Thursday, June 30, 2011 - 09:17
To her, it looked like a harmless piece of coal, about the size of her fist. She remembers passing it to a Chinese secret agent. She remembers later learning about the train, the bridge, the explosion. Sometimes she thinks she has suppressed many wartime memories, but even after almost 70 years, they can creep back.
Betty McIntosh, 96, says that is part of being a spy: the doubts about whether you did the right thing, and hearing about those who died because of what you did, and whether you had alternatives. But it was a war.
Her friend Doris Bohrer would understand, but even so, McIntosh still hasn’t divulged everything about every World War II mission. Even though it turns out that Bohrer, 88, was an operative in the war, too: OSS, then CIA, just like McIntosh.
To most other residents of the retirement community in Northern Virginia, these two elegant, well-coiffed widows, Betty and Doris to everyone, are just part of the anonymous parade of aged men and women who play mixed bridge, talk about the brand-new heart and vascular center down the road, the day’s menu at the dining hall, and their pets....
Monday, June 27, 2011 - 17:41
Name of source: Delaware Online
George Washington wasn't only the country's first president; he was also a distiller.
A rare, 18th century letter penned by Washington goes on display at the George Washington Distillery at Mount Vernon during Fourth of July weekend.
A limited George Washington Rye Whiskey, based on Washington's recipe, also is being produced at the distillery, considered the Gateway to the American Whiskey Trail.
Before his death in 1799, Washington wrote the letter to his nephew, Col. William A. Washington, a cavalry commander during the Revolution. In the letter, Washington wrote "the demand ... is brisk" for his Rye Whiskey and requested his nephew's assistance in procuring additional grain for the distillery....
Wednesday, June 29, 2011 - 15:55
Name of source: Houston Chronicle
A local division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans is just one vote away from gaining approval of a Texas specialty license plate bearing its logo, which prominently features the Confederate flag.
The Texas Department of Motor Vehicle license board voted on the group's request in April, but it was a tie vote. One of the nine members was absent, so the board decided to reconsider the request at its next meeting June 9.
The meeting, however, didn't take place because a board member from Houston died June 3.
Now, the Sons of Confederate Veterans must wait until Gov. Rick Perry appoints a new board member, and that might not happen until fall, said DMV spokeswoman Kim Sue Lia Perkes....
A mock plate was posted on the DMV's website in March. Comments were overwhelmingly positive: 186 in favor, 3 against....
Wednesday, June 29, 2011 - 12:05
SAN ANTONIO — Alamo officials have discovered a clue to the building's mysterious past, right over the doorway some 3 million visitors pass through each year.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011 - 19:45
Name of source: Stone Pages
Archaeologists at Lund University (Sweden) believe that the advanced crafting of stone spearheads contributed to the development of new ways of human thinking and behaving, leading to the human brain developing new abilities.
200,000 years ago, small groups of people wandered across Africa - looking like modern humans, but not thinking the way we do. For about 100,000 years, there were people who looked like us, but who acted on the basis of cognitive structures in which we would only partially recognise and which we do not define as modern behaviour. It is precisely that period of transformation that the researchers have studied.
New findings on the early modern humans from approximately 80,000 years ago in Hollow Rock Shelter - 250km north of Cape Town, South Africa - show that people used advanced technology for the production of spearheads, and suggest that the complicated process developed the working memory and social life of humans.
The crafting of stone spearheads took a long time to learn, requiring a lot of knowledge, and the ability to plan in several stages, contributing to the subsequent development of early modern humans' cognitive ability to express symbolism and abstract thoughts through their material culture - for example in the form of decorated objects.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011 - 20:35
Name of source: Irish Times
ASIDE FROM lung-cleansing gusts of wind, Helgoland doesn’t give much away to day-trippers. Relief at being back on firm ground soon turns to disappointment at what Germany’s only high-sea island appears to offer.
A row of shacks selling duty-free alcohol and cigarettes leads into a small town of 1960s buildings that are functional, shabby or both....
It was here in 1925 that German physicist Werner Heisenberg, relieved from the plague of hay fever, developed quantum theory.
But those opposed to the plan were victorious, arguing it would bring mass tourism and destroy the islands’ unique character.
Passing back and forth between London and Berlin over the centuries, Helgoland has been in German hands since a final swap in 1890 saw the British gain Zanzibar in exchange.
What Helgoland lacks in size it makes up for in strategic importance. In the second World War, the Nazis built a vast underground base here, including a hospital....
Tuesday, June 28, 2011 - 19:57
Name of source: BBC News
Family historians with an interest in World War I are being asked to help with an exhibition in Nottingham.
The Nottinghamshire Great War centenary exhibition will mark the contribution ordinary people made to the war.
It will open at Castle Museum in August 2014, the 100th anniversary of the start of WWI.
Organisers have appealed for volunteer guides to help visitors with their own research as well as personal mementos, letters and war diaries for the show.
Exhibition curator and military historian Major John Cotterill said: "We want our exhibition to be a living exhibition"....
Tuesday, June 28, 2011 - 19:44
Name of source: The Root
Yahoo News is reporting that an eight-foot statue of rock and roll pioneer Chuck Berry was approved on Monday over the opposition of some local residents, including one who said the Hall of Fame singer/songwriter should not be honored because he is a "felon and not a friend of women."
The University City council, which has jurisdiction over the spot where the statue is to be installed, rejected a last-minute petition drive by opponents, who gathered 100 signatures in a bid to block or delay the statue....
Tuesday, June 28, 2011 - 12:53
Name of source: NYT
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — From behind the lawyers, a hand went up, calling for attention as the trial of the four surviving leaders of the Khmer Rouge got under way Monday on charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity committed more than three decades ago.
It was Nuon Chea, 84, one of the defendants, bundled against the air-conditioning in a striped knit cap and sheltering himself from the bright lights with a pair of large dark glasses.
“I am not happy with this hearing,” said Mr. Nuon Chea, who is described as the Khmer Rouge’s chief ideologue. Then he rose from his seat and walked unsteadily from the courtroom with the help of three security guards.
As the chief judge noted, the holding cells adjacent to the court have video links and telephone lines, and the defendants are free to choose to participate by video link....
Tuesday, June 28, 2011 - 08:17
Brent Glass, the director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, who oversaw a two-year renovation that answered some of the criticisms of the museum, will retire effective July 10. An acting director is to be appointed in July, and Mr. Glass will continue as an adviser to the Smithsonian through the end of the year....
Tuesday, June 28, 2011 - 08:16
His parents were among the last generation born into Southern slavery, and his own birth in 1883 was notable for another benchmark: At 16 pounds, he was the biggest baby ever recorded in North Carolina.
“I guess I’ve always wanted to be large, and I have been large,” Samuel Jesse Battle recalled decades later.
But his personal growth was threatened when, as a teenager, he was caught pilfering cash from a safe belonging to his boss, R. H. Smith, a landlord who predicted that within a year, the young man would be in prison.
“That was the turning point of my life,” said Battle, who avoided prosecution because the boss was a friend of his father, a Methodist minister. “I said, ‘From this day on, I shall always be honest and honorable, and I’m going to make Mr. Smith out a liar.’ ”...
Monday, June 27, 2011 - 09:13
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — The four surviving leaders of the Khmer Rouge went on trial Monday, more than three decades after the collapse of a government that caused the death of as much as one-fourth of the population and left Cambodia a nation of traumatized survivors.
Now frail and fading from the memory of many Cambodians, the three men and one woman are charged with crimes against humanity, war crimes, genocide, homicide and other offenses that occurred when the Khmer Rouge were in power from 1975 to 1979.
The case is the centerpiece of a United Nations-backed tribunal that has lasted five years and cost more than $100 million and is intended finally to lay the past to rest.
The defendants are Khieu Samphan, 79, the nominal head of state; Nuon Chea, 84, described as the Khmer Rouge’s ideologue; Ieng Sary, 85, the foreign minister; and his wife, Ieng Thirith, 79, who was minister of social affairs. All have declared their innocence....
Monday, June 27, 2011 - 09:03
Solved: the case of the missing moon dust.
The United States attorney’s office for eastern Missouri announced Thursday that it had recovered government property stolen more than 40 years ago: a triangular nub of transparent tape an eighth of an inch wide.
Unlike most missing office supplies, this tape was speckled with moon dust brought back by the Apollo 11 astronauts....
The item turned up last month at Regency-Superior, an auction house in St. Louis. The woman who put it up for sale, whose name was not released, told the authorities that her late husband had bought it some years earlier. When she learned of its history, she “immediately and graciously agreed to relinquish it back to the American people,” Mr. Callahan’s office said....
Friday, June 24, 2011 - 08:10
BERLIN — Just 20 years ago, German lawmakers hunkered down for a passionate 10-hour debate to make a decision that seemed as momentous as it was a no-brainer: Should the capital of the newly reunified country remain where it was — in Bonn on the Rhine — or move back to its historic, eastern location on the Spree, amid the monuments and mixed memories of Berlin?...
[I]n 1991, Bonn’s provincialism seemed a plus, not a minus. Some Germans believed that a move back to Berlin — the old imperial capital, Hitler’s capital — would coax forth the ghosts of Prussian militarism, of centralized rule after decades of federalism that had assuaged the fears of neighbors to the east and the west and of Germans themselves. Worse still, the argument went, the blossoming of Berlin as the capital of reunified Germany would spell stagnation for poor Bonn.
So when the vote came down — 337 for Berlin and 320 for Bonn — it seemed surprisingly narrow and, most of all, counterintuitive. Yet, since then, virtually every other cataclysmic forecast has been just as wrong.
“There has been no new Wilhelm-ism,” wrote columnist Eckhard Fuhr in Die Welt, referring to the last German emperor, Kaiser Wilhelm II, “and the centralized castration of German federalism has not happened.”...
Friday, June 24, 2011 - 08:07
ON April 29, 1945, Allied captives at Stalag Luft VII A, a prisoner-of-war camp in southeast Germany, heard the rumbling of artillery in the distance. Lt. Charles B. Woehrle, 28, of the United States Army Air Forces, peered though the barbed wire fence to the town of Moosburg in the Isar River valley below. Plumes of white smoke rose above the village.
Gaunt, unwashed and lice-ridden, Lieutenant Woehrle checked the new Patek Philippe watch on his wrist and noted the time. The watch was stainless steel — an uncommon luxury at the time — with a hand-stitched alligator strap....
German captors, forced marches and a prison barter economy that could have fetched anything for that watch — perhaps even his freedom — had not separated him from his Patek Philippe. But decades later, a burglar in St. Paul did....
After the war, Mr. Woehrle returned home, opened a film company and paid for his watch. All Patek Philippe wanted was about $300, he said — a steal even back then. Every four years, he faithfully sent the watch to Geneva for maintenance, until one day in the mid-1970s his home in St. Paul was burglarized. He scoured the local dealers and pawnshops. The watch was gone....
Thursday, June 23, 2011 - 06:57
Name of source: The Hindu
CHENNAI: An Iron Age megalithic burial site, dotted with cairn-circles, has been discovered near Veeranam village, at the foot of a chain of hills, in Tamil Nadu's Tiruvannamalai district.
This sprawling site, spread over about three km in Tandaramapattu taluk, can be dated to 1,000 BCE-300 CE. What is interesting about the discovery is that many of the cairn-circles have dolmenoid cists on the surface within the circles. Cairn-circles are rough stones arranged in a circle, and dolmenoid cists are box-like structures made of granite slabs. The cairn-circles indicate burial chambers below, with urns containing bones and pottery with paddy, beads, knives, swords and other artefacts.
Poems in the Tamil Sangam literature (300 BCE to 300 CE) celebrate these megalithic burials, which can unlock the secrets of the social life of that age. But residents of nearby villages have already destroyed a large number of these cairn-circles near Veeranam and carted away the stones and granite-slabs for building cowsheds and compound walls, and for laying floors. A quarry is working nearby, in the hills....
Monday, June 27, 2011 - 16:59
Name of source: Montreal Gazette
The nice girl in Premier Jean Charest's office was confused.
- "You're the one who called about World War I," she told the reporter.
- "Not World War I," the reporter said patiently. "The War of 1812. I'm trying to find out if Quebec has any plans for the 200th anniversary."
It's a simple enough question. But when it comes to the war best known for the Star Spangled Banner, Laura Secord and Isaac Brock, it seems most people in Quebec - even in the premier's office - draw a blank.
The countdown is on for celebrations marking the 200th anniversary of the three-year conflict between the United States and Britain. Across Ontario, historic forts are being spruced up, new visitor centres built, heritage parks created, plays written and documentaries filmed. Historical re-enactors and tall ships are booked years in advance....
Monday, June 27, 2011 - 16:55
Name of source: Oregon Live
For Oregonians, the words Civil War more often conjure up colors of yellow and green or orange and black than blue and gray.
But as the U.S. observes the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War (1861-1865), hundreds of hardy Northwest souls pull on wool uniforms and fill paper cartridges with gunpowder to re-enact the battles and daily life of the War Between the States.
In May, the Mount Pisgah Battle Reenactment and Living History event at Howard Buford Park in Eugene drew hundreds of re-enactors and nearly as many spectators. One-thousand re-enactors are expected July 2-4 at the 21st annual Civil War re-enactment at Willamette Mission State Park north of Keizer.
"Some members of the public might stay away because they just see these re-enactors as fanatics," said Robert Harrison, who teaches Civil War history at Linn-Benton Community College in Albany and accompanied students to the Mount Pisgah event. "It's not really about living out a fantasy that maybe the South could have won. It's about teaching the public the material details of Civil War life."...
Monday, June 27, 2011 - 16:54
Name of source: CNN.com
(CNN) -- The soldiers came for her at night. They took the girl to a barrack and forced her to watch a woman get raped.
The drunken men then set loose a dog to rip off the raped woman's breasts. Blood was everywhere. The woman passed out.
The young witness was next. Five soldiers held her down and took turns raping and sodomizing her. They spilled alcohol on her. They laughed. They said they'd kill her. She didn't yet have breasts for the dog to attack.
Later, her sister cleaned her up, but they didn't speak about what had happened. No one talked about such things. They didn't have to. Or maybe they couldn't.
The Congo? The former Yugoslavia? Libya? These allegations might have emerged from conflicts in any of these places.
But this brutal testimony reaches back more than 65 years to the Holocaust -- more than half a century before the United Nations declared rape a war crime.
Stories like this have the power to shock even those who think they know Holocaust history. The reason: They haven't been widely discussed....
Friday, June 24, 2011 - 14:49
Name of source: CBC
An archeological dig in Grand-Pré is digging deeper into the history of the early European occupation of Nova Scotia.
Aaron Taylor, a grad student from Saint Mary's University in Halifax, has been working with others to find bits and pieces of clues in a mystery of the Acadian people expelled by the English in 1755.
There is now evidence that English immigrants from Connecticut probably built new homes on old Acadian stone foundations just a few years following the expulsion.
Each artifact that is found is taken to Saint Mary's University where it is being analyzed to find out who owned it, how old it is and what its purpose was.
Lots of pieces of pottery, coins, musket balls, and tobacco pipes are all pieces of the history of the small Annapolis Valley town that's been defined by stories such as the myth of Evangeline....
Thursday, June 23, 2011 - 20:08
Name of source: Andina
The archaeological pieces, taken from Machu Picchu nearly a century ago for research at Yale University, arrived Wednesday morning to Cusco which were received by political, military and religious authorities.
These Inca artifacts landed at Alejandro Velasco Astete airport at around 08.20 hours (13.02 GMT) in an airplane of the Peruvian Air force (FAP) along with Peru’s Culture Minister Juan Ossio.
After unloading the relics from the aircraft, a welcome ceremony was carried out with the attendance of Regional Governor Jorge Acurio, Cusco Provincial Mayor Luis Florez and Machu Picchu District Major Oscar Valencia, among other authorities....
Thursday, June 23, 2011 - 20:06
Name of source: Think Progress
According to a national test released last week, “just 13 percent of high schools seniors” demonstrated proficiency in U.S. history. Speaking to the Story County GOP Central Committee in Ames, Iowa, presidential candidate Rick Santorum attributed the poor scores to a leftist plot to keep students in the dark about U.S. history so they don’t learn American values:
We don’t even know our own history. There was a report that just came out last week that the worst subject of children in American schools is — not math and science — its history. It’s the worst subject. How can we be a free people. How can we be a people that fight for America if we don’t know who America is or what we’re all about. This is, in my opinion, a conscious effort on the part of the left who has a huge influence on our curriculum, to desensitize America to what American values are so they are more pliable to the new values that they would like to impose on America.
Thursday, June 23, 2011 - 16:06
Name of source: Jewish Daily Forward
The mystery surrounding President Washington’s famous 1790 letter guaranteeing religious liberty in America continues.
As the Forward revealed last week, Washington’s letter to the Hebrew Congregation of Newport, R.I., disappeared from public view almost a decade ago, after the B’nai B’rith Klutznick National Jewish Museum, where the letter had been displayed for half a century, moved to a smaller location and put the document into an art storage facility in suburban Maryland.
The Morris Morgenstern Foundation, which owns the letter and loaned it to the museum, has kept such tight control over it that even top American Jewish historians had no idea where it was. Now one of those scholars has uncovered historical records detailing a secret tug-of-war between the congregation of Touro Synagogue in Newport and Morris Morgenstern, the New York philanthropist who bought the letter in 1949 at a fraction of what the iconic document is worth today.
Touro’s congregants considered themselves to be the historical heirs of the recipients of the original letter, in which Washington pledged that the new United States would give “to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance.” Minutes from synagogue meetings, uncovered by a history professor at the University of Pennsylvania, show that Morgenstern originally considered loaning the letter to the congregation — and that the congregation simultaneously made preparations to sue Morgenstern to get the letter back.
Beth Wenger, director of Penn’s Jewish studies program, discovered the documents in the jumbled archives of Congregation Jeshuat Israel while she was researching her latest book, “History Lessons: The Creation of American Jewish Heritage.”...
Wednesday, June 22, 2011 - 18:47
Name of source: Lee White at the National Coalition for History
Editor's Note: The Organization of American Historians sent out a mass email to its membership today requesting that they act TODAY, June 22, by calling or faxing their representatives and/or the Committee chair of the House Appropriations Committee, Hal Rogers (R-KY).
The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government has cleared a bill providing only $1 million for the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) in FY ’12. The House figure would be a 90% reduction—which would cripple this already modest program that is so important to archives and historians nationwide.
Urge members of the House Appropriations Committee to provide $10 million in funding for the National Historical Publications and Records Commission for FY 2012. The full Committee will consider NHPRC funding on June 23—so your help is needed to reach the Committee members by June 22, 2011!
What You Can Do:
Call your Representative’s office or send a fax message urging him or her to support NHPRC funding at $10 million. If your Representative is not on the House Appropriations Committee, you or your organization can fax or email letters to the Committee chair and the Ranking member urging a funding level of $10 million.
Because the full Appropriations Committee is scheduled to consider NHPRC funding on June 23, you must send your message by June 22!
See background and talking points about the NHPRC at the Society of American Archivists (SAA) website. Make your request directly and clearly. Tell your Representative or the Committee leadership that you want them to fund the NHPRC, a program of the National Archives and Records Administration, at $10 million for FY 2012.
Be specific about the benefits of NHPRC to your organization, constituents, or state. (For a list of NHPRC grants given in your state, select your state click here) Personalize your letter or call with an appeal that highlights the impact of one or two grants on you, your institution, your users, and/or your state. (Don’t send the entire list of grants awarded in your state.) With budget cuts a given in this Congress, be very sensitive to the issues and ideas of the member(s) of Congress to whom you’re addressing your communication.
Fax your letter; snail mail won’t get there in time. Even better, call or follow up your fax with a call. Each contact will make a difference. It is imperative that we make the voice of the archives community heard loud and clear. The time is now, the choice is ours. We can make a difference only if we take action now!
Wednesday, June 22, 2011 - 13:43