Name of source: Charlotte Observer
It has been more than six decades since Warren Weaver, a pioneer in automated language translation, suggested applying code-breaking techniques to the challenge of interpreting a foreign language.
That insight led to a generation of statistics-based language programs like Google Translate - and, not so incidentally, to new tools for breaking codes that go back to the Middle Ages.
Now a team of Swedish and American linguists has applied statistics-based translation techniques to crack one of the most stubborn of codes: the Copiale Cipher, a hand-lettered 105-page manuscript that appears to date from the late 1700s....
Monday, December 12, 2011 - 12:01
Name of source: Postmedia News
On the eve of a War of 1812 bicentennial being heavily promoted by the federal government - and just days before a Dec. 13 deadline for bidders - the City of Niagara Falls, Ont., is scrambling to come up with a plan to purchase and preserve the site of the deadliest of all clashes between American invaders and British-led troops defending colonial Canada: the 1814 Battle of Lundy's Lane.
As it happens, Prime Minister Stephen Harper himself stood on the spot last year to declare the battle a key turning point in Canadian history.
Today, the patch of earth where more blood was spilled than at any other place in Canada during the war is the site of Battlefield Public School and its surrounding playground. But due to declining enrolment, the school was closed in June by the District School Board of Niagara and the property is set to be sold - potentially, heritage advocates fear, to a private developer....
Monday, December 12, 2011 - 11:54
Name of source: Medievalists.net
The cathedral in Stavanger was built in the year 1125, and is one of the earliest pieces of evidence for permanent settlement in the Norwegian town. However, new analyses of medieval skeletons found beneath the cathedral suggest that Christians lived in Stavanger for several generations prior to this.
Over 15,000 human bone fragments lay helter-skelter in a wooden crate. This mess did not discourage the researchers at the Archaeological Museum in Stavanger, who are now resurrecting the dead.
“We are reassembling and analyzing individual skeletons in order to form a picture of Stavanger’s population before and around 1000,” associate professor Paula Utigard Sandvik and osteoarchaeologist Sean Denham said....
Monday, December 12, 2011 - 11:52
The flanks of Ingleborough in the Yorkshire Dales National Park have given up one of their secrets to a team of amateur archaeologists.
Members of the Ingleborough Archaeology Group spent weeks investigating a remote site on the side of one of the National Park’s famous Three Peaks to the west of Selside in Upper Ribblesdale.
And their work has resulted in the discovery of the first 7th century building to be positively identified in the National Park – and one of the first in the north of England....
Tuesday, December 6, 2011 - 20:48
Name of source: Daily Mail (UK)
When King Edward VIII choose love over the monarchy it was the scandal of the century.
But this forgotten painting of King Edward VIII in coronation robes he never wore, released to mark today's 75th anniversary of his abdication, shows how the royal family could have been very different.
The painting of the king, who gave up his crown to marry Mrs Wallis Simpson, was commissioned for a special coronation issue of Illustrated London News which never made it to the news stands....
Monday, December 12, 2011 - 11:06
Argentina has proposed sending its athletes to the London Olympics wearing provocative badges declaring the Falklands are Argentine.
It wants an image of the islands to be emblazoned on national team clothing at the Games, which will be held just weeks after Britain commemorates the 30th anniversary of the Falklands conflict.
Athletes’ shirts would also bear the legend ‘Las Islas Malvinas son Argentinas’ – the Falklands Islands are Argentine. Malvinas is the Spanish name for the islands....
Friday, December 2, 2011 - 11:35
Almost half the German city of Koblenz is under evacuation orders as experts prepare to defuse a two-ton ‘Blockbuster’ RAF bomb in the Rhine.
The 10ft bomb, one of the biggest in the wartime arsenal of Bomber Command, was discovered after 65 years when the river level dropped during the driest November on record.
The fuse is badly corroded, and the authorities are evacuating 45,000 of Koblenz’s 120,000 population to leave a security zone of a mile around the bomb - which is capable of destroying an entire city block.
The evacuation - the biggest in German postwar history - will involve fleets of buses and 1,000 volunteers helping police and firemen....
Friday, December 2, 2011 - 11:34
A rusty pocket knife Lawrence of Arabia is thought to have used in his desert campaign during World War One is going up for sale.
The Victorian-era knife was made by Royal cutlers Underwood and Farrant that produced them before the Swiss Army version became popular.
And historians are wondering whether this early multi-tooled blade proved invaluable to the war hero as he battled the Turks in the deserts of Arabia.
It was found in the garden of Clouds Hill, Lawrence's home near Bovington in Dorset, where the mysterious hero was living when he died after crashing his Brough Superior motorbike in 1935.
The knife has the initials TEL - for Thomas Edward Lawrence - burned into the wooden handle, a technique Lawrence used on many of his possessions....
Thursday, December 1, 2011 - 21:31
Cavemen began colonising the rest of the world 30,000 years earlier than previously thought, archaeologists claim.
They have found a treasure trove of stone tools which provide the ‘smoking gun’ showing humans made their way out of Africa more than 100,000 years ago. It was previously thought to be between 40,000 and 70,000.
An international team lead by Dr. Jeffrey Rose of Birmingham University found the distinctive sharp tools, used to kill prey, at more than 100 sites in what is now Oman, in the Arabian Peninsula.
They are from the Nubian, or Middle Stone Age period, evidence of which has previously only been found in central Africa and provides a ‘trail of stone breadcrumbs’ showing their expansion route....
Thursday, December 1, 2011 - 10:44
Name of source: West Virginia Gazette
SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. -- George Washington's "lost apron'' was hiding in plain sight at a Masonic lodge in West Virginia's Eastern Panhandle.
The Marquis de Lafayette gave the apron to Washington in 1784. Historians and curators at Mount Vernon in Virginia thought for decades that the apron was lost....
Monday, December 12, 2011 - 11:05
Name of source: BBC News
Actor Christian Bale has defended his role in a Chinese-language film portraying the 1937 massacre of Chinese by Japan's imperial army in Nanjing.
Critics say the film is nationalistic and anti-Japanese, but Bale says the film is not Chinese propaganda.
"It's far more a movie about human beings and the nature of human beings' responses to crisis," he said.
The film, The Flowers of War, will be released across China on Friday and in the US in late December....
Monday, December 12, 2011 - 11:04
A British author is claiming to have unearthed a previously unseen portrait of Pride And Prejudice writer Jane Austen.
Dr Paula Byrne, the author of a new book on Austen, was given the portrait by her husband and recognised the long, straight "Austen nose".
There are currently just two recognised portraits of Austen - one sketched by her sister Cassandra in 1810.
The find is the subject of a BBC Two documentary scheduled for Boxing Day.
Byrne - who has previously written books on poet Mary Robinson and author Evelyn Waugh - was presented with the portrait by her husband, Shakespeare scholar Jonathan Bate, who had bought it at auction....
Monday, December 5, 2011 - 12:35
Name of source: NYT
Few cities of recent vintage have a history as complicated and contested as New Delhi, which turned 100 on Monday. Now the seat of the world’s largest democracy, New Delhi began in 1911 as a grand imperial showpiece meant to stand for eternal British rule over the Indian subcontinent. But during its two decades of construction New Delhi became the stage upon which Indians gained increasing political advantage over a crumbling Raj.
New Delhi literally began as an imperial edict. In December 1911, King George V traveled to Delhi in order to be crowned emperor of India at an elaborate durbar, or gathering: he was the first reigning British monarch to step foot on Indian soil. After several days of ceremonies at a temporary city consisting of some 40,000 tents and featuring its own railway system, King George V offered two boons to his subjects: First, he revoked the partition of Bengal, an act that had unleashed violent anti-British agitation. Second, he announced the creation of a new city in the vicinity of Delhi to replace Calcutta as the imperial capital. The city, George hoped, would be a fusion of Indian and European architecture, according to a letter from his viceroy to one of his colleagues.
Herbert Baker and Edwin Lutyens, the two architects appointed to design much of the city, seemed to be curious choices for such a venture. Baker worked in South Africa, where he had become a disciple of the arch-imperialist Cecil Rhodes. Lutyens, who previously had mostly designed English country houses, was known for his occasional prejudiced outbursts against India. In a letter to his wife, for example, Lutyens described Indian architecture as “essentially the building style of children.” Even the Taj Mahal, he complained, was “small but very costly beer.” Both men reveled in their assignment to create a monument to imperialism. “Hurrah for despotism!” Baker wrote to Lutyens. “On the day you sail [to India] you should feel like Alexander when he crossed the Hellespont to conquer Asia.”...
Monday, December 12, 2011 - 11:00
HONOLULU — For more than half a century, members of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association gathered here every Dec. 7 to commemorate the attack by the Japanese that drew the United States into World War II. Others stayed closer to home for more intimate regional chapter ceremonies, sharing memories of a day they still remember in searing detail.
But no more. The 70th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack will be the last one marked by the survivors’ association. With a concession to the reality of time — of age, of deteriorating health and death — the association will disband on Dec. 31.
“We had no choice,” said William H. Eckel, 89, who was once the director of the Fourth Division of the survivors’ association, interviewed by telephone from Texas. “Wives and family members have been trying to keep it operating, but they just can’t do it. People are winding up in nursing homes and intensive care places.”...
Wednesday, December 7, 2011 - 10:43
Down, down, down you go, for two and a half hours, jammed with two other people in a tiny submersible, all the way to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean — and all for a glimpse, through a five- or eight-inch porthole, of the ravaged remains of the once-grand ship where the Astors and the Strauses played, dined and, in some cases, died.
The trip is not for the claustrophobic, nor the 99 percent: a two-week cruise that includes one dive, lasting eight to 10 hours, costs $60,000.
But for fans of the Titanic, no price or privation is too great — especially with the 100th anniversary of the sinking coming up on April 15.
“This is the opportunity of a lifetime,” Renata Rojas, a banker in New York City, said of diving more than two miles down to the muddy seabed. “I’ve been obsessed with the Titanic since I was 10 years old.”...
Monday, December 5, 2011 - 09:32
Since 2000, Ms. [Mi-Li] Lee has campaigned to generate more interest in the fate of tens of thousands of South Koreans believed to have been forcibly taken to North Korea during the Korean War six decades ago. She has been demanding that the government negotiate for the return of those who may still be alive and the remains of those who are not. Government officials have never made that issue a priority when they have sat down with their North Korean counterparts, treating her campaign as a distraction from what they consider a more important task: persuading the North to abandon its nuclear weapons.
But Ms. Lee, 62, is not giving up, and recently she has scored some victories against what she calls “a gigantic darkness and forgetfulness.”...
Sunday, December 4, 2011 - 21:04
After 165 years, Knoedler & Company, one of the oldest and most prestigious art galleries in the country, is permanently closing its doors. Opened at a time when there were no major museums in New York, Knoedler helped shape the tastes as well as decorate the homes of America’s new class of wealthy barons.
Although the gallery’s history is long and expansive, its statement Wednesday evening about closing was short and sudden: “It is with profound regret that the owners of Knoedler Gallery announce its closing, effective today. This was a business decision made after careful consideration over the course of an extended period of time. Gallery staff will assist with an orderly winding down of Knoedler Gallery.”
Nothing was said about what will happen to one of Knoedler’s most valuable properties: an enormous library that includes letters, photographs, sale records, stock books and catalogs going back to 1863....
Thursday, December 1, 2011 - 10:11
Name of source: Yahoo News
CHICAGO (Reuters) - Judging by their "before" and "after" photographs, U.S. presidents appear to age before our eyes, adding wrinkles and gray hair with each year in office.
But contrary to conventional wisdom, a few years in the White House do not appear to cut short the lives of U.S. presidents, and most live longer than their peers, according to a new study released on Tuesday.
"Just because they experience what would appear to be accelerated aging outwardly, doesn't mean they will die any sooner," said S. Jay Olshansky, a demographer at the University of Illinois at Chicago, whose study appears in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Olshansky became interested in the subject earlier this summer when President Barack Obama celebrated his 50th birthday in Chicago, their shared hometown....
Thursday, December 8, 2011 - 13:04
Name of source: Chronicle of Higher Ed
Today is the 70th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. In honor of the day, here’s a roundup of some blog posts and other media that highlight archival resources devoted to December 7, 1941.
—”Pearl Harbor: In Their Own Words”: Among the many World War II records the National Archives holds is a collection of the deck logs kept by U.S. Navy ships stationed in Pearl Harbor. In this short video, Archives technicians talk about and read from some of the logs. The entries begin very early in the morning, with ships encountering nothing more alarming than the delivery of “large amounts of ice cream,” one technician says. By 07:58, the log of the U.S.S. Dale, a Navy destroyer, records “waves of torpedo planes, level bombers, and dive bombers marked with Japanese insignia attacked Pearl Harbor. Sounded general alarm. … 0810: Opened fire on planes with machine guns, followed by main battery.”
—At the Text Message, a National Archives blog that follows “the work and discoveries of processing and reference archivists on the job,” Robert Finch, a student technician, writes about finding a family connection to Pearl Harbor as he worked on the Navy Deck Logs collection....
Wednesday, December 7, 2011 - 16:46
Name of source: AP
MOSCOW (AP) — Russian authorities should annul the results of the parliamentary vote and hold a new one, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev urged Wednesday as popular indignation grew over widespread allegations of election fraud.
The call for an entirely new vote by the last president of the Soviet Union was a remarkable development for an election that had not generated much interest during the campaign. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin had wanted to see his United Russia party do well to pave the way for his return to the presidency, but few Russians seemed to care about the vote, with many saying they assumed the results would be manipulated anyway.
United Russia won less than 50 percent of Sunday's vote, a steep fall from the 64 percent it won four years ago. But opposition parties and independent observers say even that result was inflated by vote-rigging, including alleged ballot-box stuffing and false voter rolls....
Wednesday, December 7, 2011 - 13:11
NEW YORK – After a year of tough negotiations, Germany has agreed to pay pensions to about 16,000 additional Holocaust victims worldwide -- mostly survivors who were once starving children in Nazi ghettos, or were forced to live in hiding for fear of death.
The agreement announced Monday between the New York-based Claims Conference and the German government is "not about money -- it's about Germany's acknowledgment of these people's suffering," said Greg Schneider, the conference's executive vice president.
"They're finally getting recognition of the horrors they endured as children," he told The Associated Press.
Of the new beneficiaries, 5,000 live in the United States....
Tuesday, December 6, 2011 - 20:51
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Almost 70 years after the United States struck Japan in a bold bombing raid that did little damage but lifted the spirits of a Pearl Harbor-weary nation, Thomas Griffin relishes the role he played that day as a navigator in one of Jimmy Doolittle's B-25s.
"It was risky, but we all wanted to do it," Griffin said. "Everybody was ready to go after Pearl Harbor."
Coming just four months after the Imperial Japanese Navy savaged the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, and with U.S. defense of the Philippines crumbling, the April 18, 1942, raid on Japan's home islands electrified a world at war.
Griffin, 96 and now living in Cincinnati, and three other survivors of the raid will be featured at a National World War II Museum symposium Wednesday through Friday focusing on the early months of American response to the Dec. 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor....
Monday, December 5, 2011 - 12:34
MEXICO CITY (AP) — The end is not near.
At least that's according to a German expert who says his decoding of a Mayan tablet with a reference to a 2012 date denotes a transition to a new era and not a possible end of the world as others have read it.
The interpretation of the hieroglyphs by Sven Gronemeyer of La Trobe University in Australia was presented for the first time Wednesday at the archaeological site of Palenque in southern Mexico.
His comments came less than a week after Mexico's archaeology institute acknowledged there was a second reference to the 2012 date in Mayan inscriptions, touching of another round of talk about whether it predicts the end of the world....
Thursday, December 1, 2011 - 10:37
Name of source: WaPo
HELENA, Mont. — A case before the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday over who owns the riverbeds beneath 10 Montana dams has drawn intense interest because of the potential effects on property rights, public access and wildlife management — but it has also spurred debate among historians as both sides reach more than 200 years into the past to bolster their arguments.
PPL Montana is appealing a Montana Supreme Court ruling that the state owns the submerged land beneath 10 dams sitting on three Montana rivers, and that the company owes Montana tens of millions of dollars in rent....
Wednesday, December 7, 2011 - 12:52
Around 8 a.m. on Dec. 7, 1941, Army Private Francis Stueve sat down to breakfast with the rest of the 89th Field Artillery battalion, stationed at Pearl Harbor.
“As quiet a day as you’ve ever seen,” Stueve remembers now. “Beautiful sunshine, nothing going on.”
Suddenly, not far from his seat in the dining hall: bang, bang, bang.
“Somebody says, ‘It’s the Chinese New Year,’ ” he said.
But then, a bullet broke through the glass window of the dining hall. Another flew just past Stueve and knocked the butter dish off the table.
Japan’s official declaration of war would come a day later, after the loss of 160 aircraft, 12 ships and 2,300 Americans, according to the Library of Congress — 70 years ago on Wednesday. Stueve, now 94, can describe his experience as if it were happening now...
Wednesday, December 7, 2011 - 10:49
Name of source: Huffington Post
WASHINGTON -- A new film on the life and death of master spy and former CIA director William E. Colby, created by his son, raises the question of whether the man who pioneered U.S. counterinsurgency warfare may have ended his own life -- a question that has divided the intelligence community and Colby's family.
Colby developed the strategy of training and arming local troops to assist with counterinsurgency during the Vietnam War -- the same tactic in use today by U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan. But as former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft speculates in the film, "The Man Nobody Knew," Colby's role in the creation of U.S. counterintelligence programs in the Vietnam War may have contributed to his suffering "a tortured soul."
If this alleged remorse were real, and had any connection to Colby's death, it could cast a shadow over the early history of U.S. counterinsurgency.
When Colby vanished in rough waters on a late-night, solo canoe trip in 1996, local sheriffs ruled out suicide before they even found his body. A lifetime of espionage meant Colby had enemies from Baltimore to Bali, and conspiracy theories about his death still circulate between Georgetown mansions and CIA headquarters in Langley, Va., today, despite an official ruling of accidental death....
Tuesday, December 6, 2011 - 20:49
Name of source: Press Release
THE ATLANTIC TO PUBLISH A COMMEMORATIVE ISSUE MARKING THE 150TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE START OF THE CIVIL WAR
Special Issue Features an Introduction by President Barack Obama, Plus Classic Stories by Mark Twain, Henry James, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Frederick Douglass, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Louisa May Alcott, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Among Others
The Issue Also Includes Iconic Images From the National Portrait Gallery
Washington, D.C. (December 6, 2011)—To mark the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War, The Atlantic will publish a special commemorative edition, available on newsstands December 6. The collection, spanning the pre-war, war, and post-war periods, is culled from the magazine’s rich archives of memorable reportage, essays, memoir, poetry, and fiction. Founded as an abolitionist magazine in November 1857, The Atlantic chronicled this transformative period in American history firsthand—from the country’s deepening divisions in the years leading up to the conflict, to the horrors of the battlefield, to the reshaping of society after the war’s conclusion.
With an introduction by President Barack Obama, this special issue features memorable contributions from some of the magazine’s most iconic writers, including Louisa May Alcott, Frederick Douglass, W. E. B. Du Bois, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Henry James, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, James Russell Lowell, Mark Twain, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Walt Whitman.
“When The Atlantic originally published many of these pieces, the most-consequential questions the country has faced were wide open: Would the Union survive? Would slavery? What did it mean to be an American? And so The Atlantic’s writers not only bore witness but argued toward the answers. The result is a conversation about the American idea that, 150 years later, will strike readers as complex, provocative, and surprisingly resonant with our times,” said James Bennet, editor of The Atlantic.
The issue also includes contemporary essays by The Atlantic’s Ta-Nehisi Coates and Jeffrey Goldberg and is illustrated with images from the National Portrait Gallery’s archives.
Selected historical works in the collection include:
- “A True Story, Word for Word As I Heard It,” by Mark Twain. In his first story for The Atlantic, the author tells of a mother’s surprise reunion with her son, a former slave;
- “Paul Revere’s Ride,” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Though the legendary poem is considered a quintessential Revolutionary War story, Longfellow was actually writing about the looming crisis between the states;
- “Recollections of Lincoln,” by Henry Villard. The journalist, who covered the Lincoln-Douglas debates, recalls the future president’s bawdy appeal;
- “The Election in November,” by James Russell Lowell. In 1860, The Atlantic’s first editor threw the magazine’s weight behind Abraham Lincoln, endorsing him for president;
- “Chiefly About War Matters, by a Peaceable Man,” by Nathaniel Hawthorne. In reflecting on the war after an 1862 visit to Washington, the writer’s ambivalence about slavery put him at odds with the rest of The Atlantic’s editors and writers;
- “The President’s Proclamation,” by Ralph Waldo Emerson. Seven months after he called on the president to free the slaves, Emerson hails the Emancipation Proclamation;
- “Women, Unite Against Slavery,” by Harriet Beecher Stowe. The author urges women, specifically those in England, to help the North achieve its anti-slavery goal;
- “The Story of a Year,” by Henry James. The author’s first story for The Atlantic chronicles the fate of a newly engaged couple just before the young man heads off to fight in Virginia;
- “A Rebel’s Recollections,” by George Cary Eggleston. A Confederate soldier from a plantation family, Eggleston provides a rare Southern perspective;
- “The Awakening of the Negro,” by Booker T. Washington. In this controversial piece, the educator contends that blacks should advance by making themselves useful to whites.
’s commemorative Civil War issue is on newsstands today, December 6, 2011, and available for purchase online
. An electronic version is available on iPads and Nook and Kindle devices.
Tuesday, December 6, 2011 - 13:39
Name of source: CNN.com
(CNN) -- For 70 years, survivors of the December 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor have captivated listeners with their firsthand accounts, recalling buddies who died in their arms or the glasses worn by a low-flying Japanese pilot.
They have participated in solemn wreath-laying ceremonies and spoken to civic groups and school children about the infamous day and the need for the United States to remain vigilant.
But the gradual loss of the World War II generation has accelerated, and this year, perhaps more than any before it, evidence of a tide change is inescapable.
The Pearl Harbor Survivors Association, founded in 1958, is dissolving December 31. The passing of time, the difficulty in finding chapter officers and the health of its 2,700 members have taken their toll....
Monday, December 5, 2011 - 12:36
Name of source: CzechPosition.com
The discovery of human remains in a mass grave near the village of Dobronín in western Moravia in August 2010 led to the launch of a historical criminal investigation — and sparked an emotional and divisive national debate about reprisals against Sudeten Germans at the end of World War II in then-Czechoslovakia. Police now have the results of DNA tests on the remains of the 13 males between the age of 30 and 60 — allegedly the victims of a violent death — and samples from their potential descendents.
Since the discovery, the mass grave outside Dobronín has become the subject of contentious speculation, with several versions of events circulating, but to date practically no bona fide evidence has emerged to substantiate them.
Former Sudeten-German residents of Dobronín and nearby villages have given accounts of a massacre of local ethnic Germans that took place on May 19, 1945, less than two weeks after the end of the war. The most detailed account has come from one Fritz Hawelky, who gave the names, and for the most part, the ages of 17 alleged victims, whom he said he knew personally. His list includes the names of boys aged 4, 5, 6 and 13, but according to the findings of the archeologists who excavated the mass grave, no remains of minors were found.
Sudeten German organizations say that 17 local German residents remain unaccounted for while six of the alleged victims named by Hawelky are on the International Red Cross’ list of missing persons....
Friday, December 2, 2011 - 10:30
Name of source: Wales Online (UK)
THE Welsh Government has accused the National Library of Wales of putting its reputation “at risk” after accepting a £300,000 donation from a known Nazi collaborator.
Louis Feutren was a leading member of Breton groups who worked with the Nazis after their invasion of France during the Second World War.
After he died in 2010, he bequeathed a collection of papers and tapes to the National Library of Wales in Aberystwyth, along with a financial donation worth £300,000.
After leaving Brittany, Feutren had travelled through Wales on his way to Ireland, where he eventually settled....
Friday, December 2, 2011 - 10:29
Name of source: Local (DE)
These days, throwing unwanted objects into your toilet can clog it, but 11th-century Bavarians apparently weren’t bothered by such concerns.
An archaeological dig behind Munich’s Marienplatz square has unearthed a medieval latrine full of items dating back a thousand years. The discovery “astonished” Dr Barbara Wührer, who was hired by railway operator Deutsche Bahn to excavate the area covering the size of a football pitch in the oldest part of the Bavarian capital.
While the dig continues, Wührer is in charge of documenting the findings. When it’s over, Deutsche Bahn will begin to dig tunnels 40 metres underneath the Marienhof for a new S-Bahn commuter train line.
Before they start tunnelling, however, Wührer and her team are painstakingly digging away layers of earth, mortar and history on the square. During the Second World War, bombs annihilated the Marienhof, once a densely-built part of central Munich. Afterwards, the area was not rebuilt. It went through several incarnations, from car park to information centre during the 1972 Olympic Games. After a previous archaeological dig from 1989-1990, the square became an open green park....
Thursday, December 1, 2011 - 16:53
Name of source: Discovery News
Oscar Wilde's renovated Paris tomb was unveiled on Wednesday, complete with a new glass barrier to shield the monument to the quintessential dandy's life from a torrent of admiring kisses.
Kiss upon lipsticked kiss in honor of Wilde, who died penniless aged 46 in a Paris hotel room in 1900, had worn down the elegant tomb in Pere Lachaise cemetery, as grease from tourist lips sank into the stonework.
Wilde's only grandson Merlin Holland and British actor Rupert Everett accompanied French and Irish officials at the ceremony, held under bright winter sunshine on the tree-lined alleys of the famous burial ground.
The tomb, designed by modernist sculptor Jacob Epstein with a flying Assyrian-style angel, survived almost unscathed until 1985, except for the angel's notoriously prominent genitals being hacked off....
Thursday, December 1, 2011 - 16:52
Name of source: Nature
Geneticists, archaeologists and historians are joining forces to investigate the history of transatlantic slavery, in a €4.3-million (US$5.8-million) project launched today. The researchers say that the project is a unique opportunity to improve our knowledge of the slave trade, but warn that some of their results might be “uncomfortable”.
Between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries, millions of people from west and central Africa were captured and shipped across the Atlantic by European slave traders to a life of forced labour in the Americas. The subject has been well studied by historians, but one of the coordinators of the project, geneticist Hannes Schroeder of the Center for GeoGenetics at the Natural History Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen, says that there are still “large gaps in our knowledge” regarding the origins of the people captured as slaves, for instance, and how the slave trade operated.
“The historical records are fragmentary,” he says. “For example, they tend to mention just the port of export, rather than the ethnic or geographical origin of the person. The idea is that by bringing in genetics, we get a different view.”...
Thursday, December 1, 2011 - 16:49
Name of source: Washington Times
Well, that didn’t take long.
Early in October, staffers from the Smithsonian Museum of American History went through the Occupy Wall Street encampment in New York’s Zucotti Park collecting hand-made posters and other material to build up a record of the embryonic movement in case the protesters end up in the history books - and not just in jail for unlawful assembly and messing up public spaces.
As the Occupy protest widened to other cities, so did the museum’s search. But museum officials declined to go into detail about what was being collected and from where.
Valeska M. Hilbig, deputy director of public affairs, referred to a museum statement that puts the initiative in the context of similar recent efforts. “The protests are still ongoing, and things are still unfolding,” Ms. Hilbig told The Washington Times. “Historians like to take the long view and see how things play out. They wouldn’t feel comfortable to discuss it until they have had a chance to get the historic perspective.”...
Thursday, December 1, 2011 - 11:04
Name of source: The Press Association
Four million newspaper pages have been put online as part of a massive history project.
The British Newspaper Archive website includes pages from more than 200 different papers from across the UK and Ireland with first hand accounts of events including the wedding of Victoria and Albert and the Charge of the Light Brigade.
Ed King, the British Library's Head of Newspapers, said it opened up the collection "as never before".
He said: "Rather than having to view the items on site at the Library, turning each page, people across the UK and around the world will be able to explore for themselves the goldmine of stories and information contained in these pages - and the ability to search across millions of articles will yield results for each user, that might previously have been the work of weeks or months, in a matter of seconds and the click of a mouse."...
Thursday, December 1, 2011 - 10:40
Name of source: NewsChannel5.com (TN)
FRANKLIN, Tenn. – The effort to reclaim Civil War battlefields in Franklin celebrated another victory this week. Thanks to a group of neighbors, the Civil War Trust was able to purchase a 5 acre tract of land near the Carnton Plantation.
Ten years ago, a group of neighbors living near Adams Street got together, pooled their money, and purchased a piece of land to keep developers away.
Little did they know at the time that their decision to preserve green space would end up protecting history too.
Wallace Jolsin was a part of the group that paid $240,000 to purchase the land known as Loring's Advance tract....
Thursday, December 1, 2011 - 10:39
Name of source: Fox
Government lawyers told a federal judge Wednesday that the man who shot President Ronald Reagan in 1981 went to a bookstore recently where he perused books on Reagan and people who've tried to assassinate presidents.
Prosecutors who want to ensure that John Hinckley Jr., is not released from a mental hospital told the court that Hinckley is deceptive and unstable. They said Secret Service agents who tracked Hinckley during a visit to his mom's home followed Hinckley when he was supposed to be seeing a movie. Instead, he went to a bookstore across from the theater.
Hinckley "has a long history of deception," they said, and "does whatever he wants and thinks he can get away with it.
Thursday, December 1, 2011 - 01:01