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This page features brief excerpts of news stories published by the mainstream media and, less frequently, blogs, alternative media, and even obviously biased sources. The excerpts are taken directly from the websites cited in each source note. Quotation marks are not used.
This page features brief excerpts of news stories published by the mainstream media and, less frequently, blogs, alternative media, and even obviously biased sources. The excerpts are taken directly from the websites cited in each source note. Quotation marks are not used. Because most of our readers read the NYT we usually do not include the paper's stories in HIGHLIGHTS.
Name of source: The Register
SOURCE: The Register (3-19-12)
As a commemoration of the 133rd birthday of Albert Einstein, the online archives of his work are being expanded to contain more than 80,000 documents.
According to Caltech, which conducts the Einstein Papers Project, the site will ultimately hold all the documents held jointly by Caltech and the Einstein Archives at Hebrew University. There are more than 40,000 of Einstein’s personal papers, and more than 30,000 additional Einstein-related documents discovered since the 1980s.
The long work of digitizing the hoard is funded by the UK’s Polonsky Foundation, whose patron, Dr Leonard Polonsky, also drove the digitization of Isaac Newton’s papers at the University of Cambridge....
Name of source: National Geographic
SOURCE: National Geographic (3-19-12)
With the help of Google Earth, an international expedition documented the ancient wall for roughly 100 kilometers (62 miles) in a restricted border zone in southern Mongolia in August 2011.
The defensive barrier formed part of the Great Wall system built by successive Chinese dynasties to repel Mongol invaders from the north, according to findings published in the March issue of the Chinese edition of National Geographic magazine. (The National Geographic Society is responsible for both the magazine and National Geographic News.)...
SOURCE: National Geographic (3-15-12)
Caesar: The ides of March are come.
Soothsayer: Aye, Caesar, but not gone.
—Julius Caesar, Act III, Scene 1
Thanks to Shakespeare's indelible dramatization, March 15—also called the Ides of March—is forever linked with the 44 B.C. assassination of Julius Caesar, and with prophecies of doom.
"That line of the soothsayer, 'Beware the ides of March,' is a pithy line, and people remember it, even if they don't know why," said Georgianna Ziegler, head of reference at Washington, D.C.'s Folger Shakespeare Library.
Until that day Julius Caesar ruled Rome. The traditional Republican government had been supplanted by a temporary dictatorship, one that Caesar very much wished to make permanent.
But Caesar's quest for power spawned a conspiracy to have him killed, and on the Ides of March, a group of prominent Romans brought him to an untimely end in the Senate House....
Name of source: Science Now
SOURCE: Science Now (3-19-12)
In museums around the world, reproductions of Neandertals sport striking blue or green eyes, pale skin, and gingery hair. Now new DNA analysis suggests that two of the most closely studied Neandertals—a pair of females from Croatia—were actually brown-eyed girls, with brunette tresses and tawny skin to match. The results could help shed new light on the evolution of the family that includes both modern humans and Neandertals, who died out some 30,000 years ago.
The study has provoked deep skepticism among several outside researchers, however, who criticize numerous aspects of its methodology. The results also run contrary to other genetic evidence and to a long-held hypothesis that Neandertals, who lived mostly in northern latitudes, must've had light skin to get enough vitamin D....
Name of source: Daily Mail (UK)
SOURCE: Daily Mail (UK) (3-20-12)
A letter Charlie Chaplin kept hidden in a locked draw for decades could finally solve the mystery of where the iconic film pioneer was born.
The letter, written to Chaplin in the Seventies, claims he was born on the 'Black Patch' near Birmingham rather than in London as he had publicly claimed.
Up until now, the true birth place of Chaplin has remained a mystery even the CIA and MI5 have been unable to crack.
The faded document was sent by Jack Hill, who lived in Tamworth, Staffordshire, and was only discovered in 1991 after the star's daughter inherited the desk it was concealed in....
SOURCE: Daily Mail (UK) (3-19-12)
Nine thousand Nazi war criminals fled to South America after the Second World War, it has been revealed for the first time.
After receiving tip-offs, German prosecutors were recently granted access to secret files in Brazil and Chile that confirmed the true number of Third Reich immigrants.
According to the documents, an estimated 9,000 war criminals escaped to South America, including Croatians, Ukrainians, Russians and other western Europeans who aided the Nazi murder machine.
Most, perhaps as many as 5,000, went to Argentina; between 1,500 and 2,000 are thought to have made it to Brazil; around 500 to 1,000 to Chile; and the rest to Paraguay and Uruguay....
SOURCE: Daily Mail (UK) (3-9-12)
Iconic naturalist Charles Darwin has finally been cleared of stealing ideas that helped shape his theory of evolution more than 40 years after historians first accused him.
Researchers assumed Darwin kept a letter from fellow naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace, also with theories about natural selection, for two weeks - enabling him to revise elements of his own theory of evolution, before announcing it to the world in July 1858.
However, scientists turned detective have now vindicated Darwin from the accusations by tracing historical shipping records to prove he received the letter a month later than previously thought.
Historians already know Wallace had a ‘eureka’ moment while living in Indonesia - discovering natural selection independently of Darwin....
Name of source: Fox News
SOURCE: Fox News (3-20-12)
JONESBORO, Ga. – Just months after children at a Georgia school were given a math homework assignment that referenced slavery, a similar incident has occurred at another school in the state.
Christopher Jackson said his nine-year-old son's homework assignment from a class at James A. Jackson Elementary School in Jonesboro, Ga., 12 miles south of Atlanta, contained an extra-credit question that read, "A plantation owner had 100 slaves. If three-fifths of them are counted for representation, how many slaves will be counted?"
In January, some parents became upset over a third-grade math assignment at Beaver Ridge Elementary School, in Norcross, Ga., just north of Atlanta, that contained multiple references to slavery. A teacher later resigned over the controversy and the story received nationwide attention....
SOURCE: Fox News (3-20-12)
A body found naked in 1974 at a California condominium complex is a U.S. Marine from Iowa who had been listed as a deserter from Camp Pendleton, authorities said yesterday.
The man known for more than 37 years as 'John Doe No. 155' is Oral Stuart Jr of Des Moines, Iowa, Long Beach police said in a statement.
His cause of death, previously listed as undetermined, has been reclassified as a homicide.
The body of Stuart, who was 18 when he disappeared, was found on November 10, 1974, in the carport area of an apartment complex near Interstate 605, police said....
Name of source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution
SOURCE: Atlanta Journal-Constitution (3-21-12)
WASHINGTON — Famed architect Frank Gehry said he is open to changes to a planned Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial in Washington to address objections from the 34th president's family that the design doesn't put enough emphasis on his achievements as president and World War II military leader.
Eisenhower family members shared their concerns at a House subcommittee hearing Tuesday, where a letter from Gehry was also introduced as testimony.
Gehry's design calls for a memorial park framed by large metal tapestries depicting Eisenhower's boyhood home in Kansas. Two large carved stones would depict Ike as president and as military hero, and a statue of a young Eisenhower would appear to marvel at what his life would become. The memorial would be built just off the National Mall, near the National Air and Space Museum....
Name of source: NYT
SOURCE: NYT (3-20-12)
It was a van Gogh, then it wasn’t a van Gogh and now it’s a van Gogh again, maybe this time for good.
New research has shown that a still life painting of a vase brimming with flowers, bought in 1974 by the Kröller-Müller Museum in the central Netherlands, was executed directly over a painting of two wrestlers that matches a description of an image that a young van Gogh once mentioned in a letter to his brother, Theo, as a work in progress....
SOURCE: NYT (3-20-12)
SOURCE: NYT (3-19-12)
In 1952, a young Supreme Court clerk wrote a memorandum that would come to haunt him. The court was considering Brown v. Board of Education, the great school desegregation case. The question for the justices was whether to overrulePlessy v. Ferguson, the 1896 decision that said “separate but equal” facilities were constitutional.
The memo, prepared for Justice Robert H. Jackson, was written in the first person and bore the clerk’s initials — “WHR,” forWilliam H. Rehnquist. “I realize it is an unpopular and unhumanitarian position, for which I have been excoriated by ‘liberal’ colleagues,” Mr. Rehnquist wrote, “but I think Plessy v. Ferguson was right and should be reaffirmed.”
The memo was disclosed by Newsweek in 1971, on the eve of the Senate floor debate on Mr. Rehnquist’s nomination to the Supreme Court. It caused a firestorm, one that was rekindled when President Ronald Reagan nominated Justice Rehnquist to be chief justice in 1986.
Opposition to the Brown decision is a good way to doom a Supreme Court nomination. But Mr. Rehnquist had an explanation, which he sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee in a letter in 1971 and repeated under oath in 1986.
The opinions expressed in the memo, he said, were not his own. “I believe that the memorandum was prepared by me as a statement of Justice Jackson’s tentative views for his own use,” Mr. Rehnquist wrote.
Quite a bit of evidence has accumulated over the years to cast doubt on that explanation, and now there is more.
SOURCE: NYT (3-19-12)
...“I realize it is an unpopular and unhumanitarian position, for which I have been excoriated by ‘liberal’ colleagues,” Mr. [William] Rehnquist wrote [in a 1952 memo], “but I think Plessy v. Ferguson was right and should be reaffirmed.”...
In a new article in The Boston College Law Review, two scholars reconstruct and analyze another letter by Mr. Rehnquist, this one to Justice Felix Frankfurter in 1955, and they draw some stinging conclusions....
The new law review article makes the case that “Rehnquist’s disappointment with Brown provides the most plausible motivation for his harsh 1955 letter about [the justice for whom he clerked, Robert H.] Jackson.” The article supports this theory by, among other things, reviewing Mr. Rehnquist’s letters to Justice Jackson, which were admiring and supportive until Brown and ceased after the decision was issued.
The article also contends that the 1955 letter from Mr. Rehnquist to Justice Frankfurter “would have been a bombshell” had it been revealed at the 1971 or 1986 confirmation hearings.
Perhaps. But the new evidence only buttresses information available at the time that undermined the account offered by the future chief justice....
SOURCE: NYT (3-17-12)
Decades later, the past came back to haunt John Demjanjuk. And for the rest of his life it hovered over a tortuous odyssey of denunciations byNazi hunters and Holocaust survivors, of questions over his identity, citizenship revocations, deportation orders and eventually trials in Israel and Germany for war crimes. He was convicted and reprieved in Israel, and was appealing a guilty verdict in Germany at the time of his death. He steadfastly denied the accusations.
Even at the end of his life — he died on Saturday at a nursing home in southern Germany, his son, John Demjanjuk Jr., said — questions remained in a case that had always been riddled with mysteries. Mr. Demjanjuk was 91
SOURCE: NYT (3-15-12)
LONDON — Last month the historian Sarah Whittingham nearly tripped over a rope blocking access to a Victorian house museum parlor here. “I’m so drawn to it,” she said, referring to the room’s bay window, an 1870s protruding glass case originally meant for sheltering ferns.
A staff member at the brick town house, 18 Stafford Terrace in the Kensington neighborhood, let Ms. Whittingham step over the rope, and she wound past the overstuffed furniture to study the window closely. The interior looks much as it did when the home’s owner, the cartoonist and photographer Linley Sambourne, lived there.
Ms. Whittingham, the author of the new book “Fern Fever: The Story of Pteridomania” (Frances Lincoln), explained that Sambourne’s wife, Marion, recorded in her diaries how often she “did fern cases.”...
SOURCE: NYT (3-15-12)
MOSUL, Iraq — On land where Assyrian kings once reigned, an Iraqi farmer named Araf Khalaf surveyed the scrap of earth that has nurtured three generations of his family. It is little more than a mud hut and a scraggly vegetable patch, yet his land has become a battleground, one pitting efforts to preserve Iraq’s ancient treasures against the nation’s modern-day poor....
It is a familiar issue for other nations with troves of unrecovered antiquities, like Egypt. And to Iraqi authorities, the residents are nothing more than illegal squatters who need to be moved. Officials say they pose the latest threat to an archaeological patrimony that has been plundered by looters, pummeled by decades of war and disfigured by Saddam Hussein’s egotistical additions and renovations. They want to relocate the families and seal off the areas, much as Kurdish officials in northern Iraq did to clear away squatters from an ancient citadel overlooking the city of Erbil.
But so far, officials in Baghdad and other provinces have done almost nothing. Local politicians and archaeologists say they have no control over land designated as part of Iraq’s national heritage. Members of the national antiquities board say they do not have the resources to protect the sites. And Iraqi security officers say it is not their job to evict people....
Some of art history’s most telling monuments don’t end up under museum spotlights. They’re found, when and if they’re found, in desk drawers and office file cabinets that no one has cracked in years, or in library stacks, or in jumbles of personal papers boxed up in an artist’s studio.
They include letters, doodles, lecture notes, essays, newspaper clips, exhibition posters, out-of-print journals and handwritten manifestos — physically vulnerable scraps and sheets that encapsulate the thinking of entire cultural eras but were never meant to last much beyond the time they first appeared.
The loss of such information-rich material is a chronic danger in any field, but especially so in the case of understudied art, which often means art originating in places short on archival facilities. Latin American art, until fairly recently marginalized by mainstream history, has long been in that high-risk category....
THE visitors were old and young, black and white, from neighborhoods nearby and cities on the other side of the world. But on a recent morning in the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, they were all stopped in their tracks by one particular display....
The white, hooded robe was donated to the institute anonymously by someone who found it in a trunk in a house. The crude, partly burned wooden cross planted behind it was given to the museum by the local F.B.I. office. Together they stood in a plexiglass case, illuminated by a ghostly ceiling light, at the head of the museum’s aptly named Confrontation Gallery....
The Klan robe and the cross brought up vivid memories for another visitor, Pat’s husband, Willie Chambers, 67. “I was chased by the Klan,” recalled Mr. Chambers, who grew up in Selma, Ala., another flashpoint of the civil rights movement. “We knew who they were,” he said. “My mother told us, ‘Just don’t let them catch you.’ ”
Alabama, of course, was not the only part of the South involved in the civil rights movement. But some of the most infamous scenes unfolded in the blocks surrounding the 58,000-square-foot institute. Opened 20 years ago, the museum was built directly across the street from the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, where on Sept. 15, 1963, a bomb planted by segregationists killed four black girls. The blocklong museum faces Kelly Ingram Park, where earlier that same year, the public safety commissioner, Bull Connor, blasted protesters with fire hoses and set dogs on them. Many of the protesters, who were trying to march in protest of racial segregation laws, were children....
KAUFFMAN STADIUM, home of the Kansas City Royals, will become the hub of Major League Baseball in July when it hosts the All-Star Game for the first time since 1973, the year it opened. And Bob Kendrick is hoping the attendant swirl of publicity will extend to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, about seven miles away at the fabled intersection of 18th and Vine Streets.
Mr. Kendrick, the museum’s president and executive director, is assembling a special exhibition at the museum this summer to draw some of the game’s expected crush of out-of-town visitors.
The museum exhibition will highlight the careers of several Negro Leagues players — Hank Aaron and Willie Mays among them — who went on to become big-league all-stars during Major League Baseball’s period of gradual racial integration between 1947 and 1959. (“What we’ve found is that they made a tremendous impact on the game right away,” Mr. Kendrick said.)...
(NYC) Back in 1776, Nathan Hale’s only regret was that he had but one life to lose for his country.
But if he could see what has become of the statue of him that sits in City Hall Park, he might find it all, at the very least, a bit unfortunate.
Since 2007, if not earlier, the 13-foot standing figure of a bound and shackled Hale – freedom fighter, patriot, icon of liberty – has been itself chained off from the people.
The front of the statue can be glimpsed by only those who pass through the iron ring of security checkpoints that went up around City Hall more than a decade ago....
SOURCE: NYT (3-13-12)
...It isn’t even really all that Irish. But then, neither is St. Patrick’s Day as celebrated in the United States. Like the holiday we know here, Irish coffee is a truly Irish-American creation — a mere shot’s worth of tradition percolated and whipped up into something over the top.
Its beginnings were trans-Atlantic, not to mention aeronautical. Legend dictates that it was first served in the 1940s at a County Limerick air terminal that was later replaced by Shannon Airport, supposedly to passengers stranded in a winter storm who needed both a quick pick-me-up and a stiff belt. In the ’50s, a travel writer took it to San Francisco, where the Buena Vista Cafe made it a signature....
Name of source: The Republic
SOURCE: The Republic (3-17-12)
AUSTIN, Texas — The memorials around the Texas Capitol grounds have long honored heroes and moments of Texas' storied past, from the Alamo to the Confederacy to fallen soldiers in foreign wars.
Joining them this month is a tribute to Texas' earliest pioneers, Tejano settlers who trail-blazed what would become the Lone Star State. On March 29, a massive granite and bronze memorial to those early Spanish and Mexican explorers, settlers and their descendants will be formally dedicated on the South lawn of the state Capitol, the culmination of a decade-long effort to honor their history.
"We've been here for 500 years. For 500 years, we've ignored that chapter of Texas history," said Renato Ramirez, CEO of International Bank of Commerce in the border city of Zapata and one of the leaders of the nearly $2 million project. Ramirez' family gave $125,000 to the effort....
Name of source: Huffington Post
SOURCE: Huffington Post (3-19-12)
Forget the Hollywood sign and the walk of fame -- the next time you're in Los Angeles, Calif., go off the beaten path and head to an abandoned Nazi compound.
There you'll catch a glimpse of an alternate reality in which the Nazis won World War II and set up their headquarters in sunny Los Angeles. That was the hope of landowners Winona and Norman Stephens, who built the the 50-acre "Murphy Ranch" in 1933 to be a self-sustaining Nazi community ruled by Adolf Hitler. Under the thrall of a mystical "Herr Schmidt," who may have been a German spy, the couple and a band of Nazi-sympathizers known as the "Silver Shirts" worked in the compound, doing military exercises and preparing for war....
Name of source: AP
SOURCE: AP (3-20-12)
WASHINGTON (AP) — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is wading into one of the 20th century's most enduring mysteries: the fate of American aviator Amelia Earhart, who went missing without a trace over the South Pacific 75 years ago.
Clinton will meet Tuesday with historians and scientists from The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery, which is launching a new search in June for the wreckage of Earhart's Lockheed Electra plane off the remote island of Nikumaroro, in what is now the Pacific nation of Kiribati. Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan disappeared July 2, 1937, while flying from New Guinea to Howland Island. Searches at the time uncovered nothing.
The group believes Earhart and Noonan may have managed to land on the island, then known as Gardner Island, and survived for a short time. Other historians believe they crashed into the ocean. But conspiracy theories, including claims that they were U.S. government agents captured by the Japanese before the Second World War, abound despite having been largely debunked....
SOURCE: AP (3-18-12)
NEW YORK – It was decades ago when tens of millions of people in the U.S. experienced mass unemployment and social upheaval as the nation clawed its way out of the Great Depression and rumblings of global war were heard from abroad.
Now, intimate details of 132 million people who lived through the 1930s will be disclosed as the U.S. government releases the 1940 census on April 2 to the public for the first time after 72 years of privacy protection lapses.
Access to the records will be free and open to anyone on the Internet — but they will not be immediately name searchable....
Name of source: Telegraph (UK)
SOURCE: Telegraph (UK) (3-19-12)
The British military planned to secretly arm Vichy France during the Second World War behind Churchill’s back, despite the fact they were fighting for enemy forces, new documents have revealed.
Confidential papers, unseen until now, show senior members of the Allied forces held a clandestine meeting with representatives of Vichy France - even as their opposing forces were fighting in Madagascar.
Not only were Winston Churchill and Charles de Gaulle unaware of the meeting, they were specifically banned from being told under orders of the British Chief of Staff, who feared their reaction.
The file, labelled “Most Secret”, decreed “knowledge of this plan should be greatly restricted” and added: “It would be unnecessary to inform the Prime Minister or Foreign Office until discussions were about to start.”...
Name of source: Lee White for the National Coalition for History
SOURCE: Lee White for the National Coalition for History (3-8-12)
The Office of the Historian at the U.S. Department of State has announced the release of its Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) series in a new e-book format that is readable on popular electronic devices such as the Amazon Kindle and Apple iPad.
The e-book edition combines many of the benefits of print and web publications in a new form that is portable and extremely convenient. During the pilot phase of the FRUS e-book initiative, five selected FRUS volumes will be offered on the Office of the Historian’s e-book homepage: http://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/ebooks.
The public is invited to download the new e-books and provide feedback to help improve the FRUS e-book edition. At the conclusion of the pilot phase later this year, the Office will work to offer e-book versions of many more FRUS volumes both through the Office website and on a wide array of e-bookstores. The Office will continue to expand and enhance its e-book offerings, as part of the ongoing FRUS digitization effort.
For questions about the FRUS e-book initiative or feedback about the “beta” FRUS e-books released today, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 151 year-old FRUS series presents the official documentary historical record of major foreign policy decisions and significant diplomatic activity of the U.S. Government.
Name of source: Catholic.org
SOURCE: Catholic.org (3-14-12)
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The "Battle of Anghiari" was a wall mural painted by Da Vinci in Florence's storied Palazzo Vecchio. It was long thought to have been hidden behind another fresco.
Elusive and tantalizing, the hunt for the mural took on fresh impetus in the last years with the employment of state-of-art scientific tools.
Da Vinci's mural was begun in 1505 to commemorate the 15th-century victory by Florence over Milan at the medieval Tuscan town of Anghiari. Researchers now think it may be hidden behind a newer wall, which was frescoed over decades later by Giorgio Vasari. "Battle of Anghiari" was unfinished when the artist left Florence in 1506....
Name of source: NY Post
SOURCE: NY Post (3-18-12)
A survivor’s account of the sinking of the Titanic has been rediscovered after having been lost for decades and will be published next month ahead of the 100th anniversary of the disaster.
John B. “Jack” Thayer, who boarded the ship at age 17 with his parents, printed his recollections of the catastrophe as a family record in 1940 and made just 500 copies.
The tome was recently unearthed by Lorin Stein, editor of the Paris Review, who recalled a family tie he had to the Titanic after Luke Pontifell, who runs handmade-book publisher Thornwillow Press, said he wished he could track down documents from the ship.
“Suddenly, I half-remembered that a distant cousin of mine had written an eyewitness account and had given my great-grandfather a copy,” Stein said. “My mother found the book in my grandfather’s library when he died.”...
SOURCE: NY Post (3-11-12)
They have not yet begun to fight.
Brooklyn civic groups are leading a charge to discover the exact burial place of over 200 Revolutionary War soldiers killed at the dawn of the United States and dumped near the Gowanus Canal.
“These are the men who allowed America to come into existence — it’s a question that needs to be resolved,” said Marlene Donnelly, a member of the Friends and Residents of Greater Gowanus, which is working with archeologists to re-examine the region and urge action.
“The Battle of Gettysburg has an entire field put aside to remember it — and this one, we just don’t remember,” she added....
Name of source: Medievalists.net
SOURCE: Medievalists.net (3-17-12)
The classic account of St Patrick’s life tells us that he was abducted from Western Britain in his teens and forced into slavery in Ireland for six years before escaping, during which time his faith develohttp://hnn.us/node/add/hnnped.
However, a new article looking at Patrick’s own writings in their historical context argues that the saint may have in fact fled to Ireland deliberately to avoid becoming a ‘Decurion’ – a Roman official responsible for tax collection.
“In the troubled era in which Patrick lived, which saw the demise and eventual collapse of Roman government in Britain in 410, discharging the obligations of a Decurion, especially tax-collecting, would not only have been difficult but also very risky,” says Dr Roy Flechner of the University of Cambridge.
Flechner’s article, “Patrick’s Reasons for Leaving Britain”, appears in Tome: Studies in Medieval Celtic History and Law in Honour of Thomas Charles-Edwards, edited by Fiona Edmonds and Paul Russell (Boydell, 2011)...
Name of source: OpenMarket.org
SOURCE: OpenMarket.org (3-16-12)
Even the liberal Talking Points Memo criticized a recent speech in which President Obama revealed his ignorance of U.S. and world history and disparaged a past U.S. President while denouncing the alleged ignorance of others. In a recent green energy speech, Obama mocked Republicans, “comparing their skepticism of alternative energy to the ‘Flat Earth Society’ in Christopher Columbus’ day and President Rutherford B. Hayes’ apparent dismissal of the telephone. But while Obama thinks the GOP is in need of a science lesson, he may need to bone up on history himself,” TPM notes, since President Hayes was a supporter of new technologies who had “the first telephone in the White House,” “the first typewriter in the White House,” hosted Thomas Edison, and pioneered the use of photography at White House events. Moreover, people in Columbus’s day new perfectly well that the Earth was round, as Harvard’s Stephen Jay Gould has noted. Those skeptical of Columbus’ planned voyage just thought that Asia — Columbus’s planned destination — was too far away to reach across the Atlantic (Columbus didn’t manage to reach Asia, but he did inadvertently discover America)....
Name of source: Star Tribune
SOURCE: Star Tribune (3-14-12)
Nike has introduced its new Black and Tan shoe for St. Patrick's Day. Unfortunately, its name mirrors the reviled moniker that the Irish gave to oppressive British forces in the 1920s.
Black and Tan. That's the name used for a new Nike sneaker arriving just in time for St. Patrick's Day; it's also a nod to the popular beer mash-up. Just one problem: Black and Tan is also a term reviled in Ireland, a sneering reference to the British forces accused of mistreating Irish citizens in the 1920s.
In other words, it would be akin, in some circles, to naming a sneaker the Taliban or the Nazi.
Cue today's "sorry" from the athletic shoe giant: "We apologize," Nike said in a statement to Fox News. "No offense was intended."...
Name of source: Guardian (UK)
SOURCE: Guardian (UK) (3-16-12)
The dead are often described as sleeping, but archaeologists in Cambridgeshire have uncovered a bed on which the body of a young Anglo-Saxon woman has lain for more than 1,300 years, a regal gold and garnet cross on her breast.
Three more graves, of two younger women and an older person whose sex has not yet been identified, were found nearby.
Forensic work on the first woman's bones suggests she was about 16, with no obvious explanation for her early death. Although she was almost certainly a Christian, buried with the beautiful cross stitched into place on her gown, she was buried according to ancient pagan tradition with some treasured possessions including an iron knife and a chatelaine, a chain hanging from her belt, and some glass beads which were probably originally in a purse that has rotted away....
SOURCE: Guardian (UK) (3-5-12)
A whole new world of magic animals, brave young princes and evil witches has come to light with the discovery of 500 new fairytales, which were locked away in an archive in Regensburg, Germany for over 150 years. The tales are part of a collection of myths, legends and fairytales, gathered by the local historian Franz Xaver von Schönwerth (1810–1886) in the Bavarian region of Oberpfalz at about the same time as the Grimm brothers were collecting the fairytales that have since charmed adults and children around the world.
Last year, the Oberpfalz cultural curator Erika Eichenseer published a selection of fairytales from Von Schönwerth's collection, calling the book Prinz Roßzwifl. This is local dialect for "scarab beetle". The scarab, also known as the "dung beetle", buries its most valuable possession, its eggs, in dung, which it then rolls into a ball using its back legs. Eichenseer sees this as symbolic for fairytales, which she says hold the most valuable treasure known to man: ancient knowledge and wisdom to do with human development, testing our limits and salvation....
Name of source: LiveScience
SOURCE: LiveScience (3-15-12)
Ancient blades made of volcanic rock that were discovered at what may be the world's oldest temple suggest that the site in Turkey was the hub of a pilgrimage that attracted a cosmopolitan group of people some 11,000 years ago.
The researchers matched up about 130 of the blades, which would have been used as tools, with their source volcanoes, finding people would have come from far and wide to congregate at the ancient temple site, Göbekli Tepe, in southern Turkey. The blades are made of obsidian, a volcanic glass rich with silica, which forms when lava cools quickly....
SOURCE: LiveScience (3-14-12)
Mysterious fossils of what may be a previously unknown type of human have been uncovered in caves in China, ones that possess a highly unusual mix of bygone and modern human features, scientists reveal.
Surprisingly, the fossils are only between 11,500 and 14,500 years old. That means they would have shared the landscape with modern humans when China's earliest farmers were first appearing.
"These new fossils might be of a previously unknown species, one that survived until the very end of the ice age around 11,000 years ago," said researcher Darren Curnoe, a palaeoanthropologist at the University of New South Wales in Australia....
Name of source: BBC News
SOURCE: BBC News (3-16-12)
A Jewish man has won his fight against a German museum for the return of thousands of rare posters stolen from his father by the Nazis in 1938.
Berlin's Federal Court of Justice ruled Peter Sachs, who now lives in the US, is the rightful owner of the posters.
The judges said that not returning the posters "would perpetuate Nazi injustice".
"I can't describe what this means to me on a personal level," Peter Sachs said....
SOURCE: BBC News (3-15-12)
A hearing on Thursday will decide the fate of a ship once captained by Roald Amundsen, the Norwegian explorer first to reach the south pole.
The Maud is partially sunk in Cambridge Bay in Nunavut, northern Canada.
A permit to return the ship to Norway was denied in December and Canadian officials have argued the ship is crucial to the nation's heritage.
Campaigner Jan Wanggaard is spearheading a project to overturn the decision....
Name of source: Chronicle of Higher Ed
SOURCE: Chronicle of Higher Ed (3-11-12)
President James Madison died 176 years ago, but don't be alarmed if you bump into him this week roaming the sidewalks of his namesake university in Harrisonburg, Va.
Sarah M. Everett, a theater major at James Madison University, is a James Madison impersonator who has gained attention for her portrayal of the nation's fourth president. At 5 feet 4 inches tall, and weighing about 100 pounds, she is almost identical in size to the soft-spoken Madison.
This week, on what would have been Madison's 261st birthday, Ms. Everett will don a three-cornered hat, a hand-tailored double-breasted coat with tails, and shoes from the period, and socialize as Madison with her fellow students and campus visitors. She'll also wear a white wig, although Madison displayed his own hair.
"When I'm dressed as Madison, first person, I expect to be treated as Madison," she says. "I never break character at any time when I'm dressed as James Madison, even in class."...
SOURCE: Chronicle of Higher Ed (3-14-12)
In a case that has roiled scholars around the world in a broad range of disciplines, the Jerusalem District Court on Wednesday acquitted an Israeli antiquities collector, Oded Golan, of forging dozens of priceless archaeological artifacts, including an inscription on the burial box, or ossuary, of James, brother of Jesus.
"It is not every day that a court hears a case involving as many topics as this one," wrote Judge Aharon Farkash on the second-to-last page of his 475-page verdict.
"The complexity of the trial derived among other things from the fact that this was the first time that a court was asked to rule on a question of antiquities forgery, especially in the framework of a criminal trial," he said.
During the seven-year trial, the court heard testimony from experts in archaeology, the Bible, chemistry and geochemistry, geology, grammar and language, paleography, and more....
Name of source: NY Daily News
SOURCE: NY Daily News (3-15-12)
More than 500 years before Rush Limbaugh called Georgetown law student Sandra Fluke a “slut,” Geoffrey Chaucer used a form of the word to describe an “untidy man” in "The Canterbury Tales." “Why is thy lord so sluttish, I thee pray, And is of power better clothes to bey,” he wrote in the 14th century poem.
But in the ensuing centuries, the would come to take on different meanings – and much more provocative ones, as Limbaugh’s crude use of the word reminds. (Photo: Alex Wong for Getty)
According to what linguist Lisa Sutherland told the BBC, the noun “slut” was first used in 1402 by Thomas Hoccleve, in much the same way Chaucer used the related adjective. In his “The Letter of Cupid,” Hoccleve refers to “the foulest slutte in al a town.”...
Name of source: Reuters
SOURCE: Reuters (3-14-12)
(Reuters) - The authenticity of a burial box purported to have been for the "brother" of Jesus Christ remained shrouded in mystery on Wednesday after a Jerusalem court acquitted an Israeli private collector of charges he forged the artifact.
The court, in finding Oded Golan not guilty, noted that expert witnesses could not agree on whether an inscription on the 2,000-year-old limestone box which reads: "James son of Joseph, brother of Jesus", was genuine or had been forged.
The authenticity of the so-called "James ossuary" will likely "continue to be investigated in the archaeological and scientific arena, and time will tell", the court said....
SOURCE: Reuters (3-14-12)
ATHENS — Greek archaeologists appealed to art lovers across the world on Wednesday to protest against austerity cuts taking a toll on the debt-stricken country's ancient monuments, temples and museums.
Since the debt crisis flared in 2009, Greece has imposed a series of spending cuts to satisfy lenders and avert bankruptcy. The culture ministry's budget has been cut by 35 percent and it has axed 2,000 staffers, mostly workers on temporary contracts.
The budget cuts have hit museums and archaeological sites hard, forcing some to shorten visiting hours or shut down and prompting concern about the level of security at some of the most precious archaeological sites....
Name of source: DNAinfo
SOURCE: DNAinfo (3-14-12)
LOWER MANHATTAN — Workers digging beneath Fulton Street have unearthed another historic treasure this week — a stone wall that dates back to the Revolutionary War.
The 6-foot-long wall, found seven feet under the ground in front of 40 Fulton St., was likely part of an 18th-century building that may have belonged to the Van Cortlandts or the Van Tienhovens, two influential early New York families who both owned property in the area, according to Alyssa Loorya, the archaeologist who is documenting the find.
The wall was later buried in landfill when Fulton Street was extended toward the East River....
Name of source: The Daily Beast
SOURCE: The Daily Beast (3-15-12)
President Obama better hope the Rutherford Hayes family isn’t still active in Ohio politics. In a speech on Thursday aimed at reforming energy policy, Obama said the 19th president’s refusal to use the telephone is “why he’s not on Mount Rushmore”—and Obama said he doesn’t plan on making the same mistake. “...
Name of source: Discovery News
SOURCE: Discovery News (3-13-12)
How to celebrate St. Patrick's Day in the United States: Cover yourself in green (bonus points for shamrocks), put a smiling leprechaun cut-out on your front door, head to your local "Irish Pub" after work, get rowdy and wasted.
How to celebrate St. Patrick's Day in England: Eh, maybe pop down to the local pub for a nice pint.
How to celebrate St. Patrick's Day in Ireland: Go to church.
Those who recognize St. Patrick's Day celebrate it very differently depending on where they're from, and believe it or not, it's the United States that has turned the Emerald Isle's namesake tradition into a huge party scene, when its original intent was to be observed as a religious holiday.
For thousands of years, Irish Catholics have traditionally celebrated St. Patrick's Day by attending church in the morning and celebrating in the afternoon with a huge feast, honoring Ireland's patron saint. Even though March 17 falls in the middle of Lent when Catholics were forbidden to eat meat, this was waived in Ireland for feasting -- mostly on cabbage and Irish bacon, according to History.com....
Name of source: USA Today
SOURCE: USA Today (3-10-12)
War and international sanctions closed these locations off to the world and to scholars. The ruins of ancient Mesopotamia, in modern-day Iraq, have mostly seen visits from looters for the last two decades.
But that may be changing. A U.S. archaeology team that was one of the first to visit Iraq in more than two decades, has just returned from a dig there. They are now among a growing list of other archaeologists returning to the war-ravaged nations.
"There is so much gloom and doom in news from Iraq, this is a really hopeful moment," says archaeologist Elizabeth Stone of Stony Brook (N.Y) University. "Iraq, Mesopotamia, is so rich in archaeological sites. It was wonderful to be back."...
Name of source: Irish Central
SOURCE: Irish Central (3-9-12)
Five murdered Irish immigrants cast into a mass grave in 1832 at Duffy’s Cut near Philadelphia will be reburied in a full Catholic ceremony today.
Four laborers and one female, a washerwoman, will be reburied.
Irish Ambassador Michael Collins will be among the dignitaries as the five men, likely killed by local vigilantes, will be laid to rest.
They will be buried in West Laurel Hill Cemetery in a service that will include bagpipers and a grave site marked with a 12 foot high Celtic Cross donated by Immaculata University....