History Topic of the Week or Month or Something

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Archive from the first half of 2005

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22 June 2005 [make link]

"There is no one who loves pain itself, who seeks after it and wants to have it, simply because it is pain."

28 May 2005 [make link]

How great was Teddy Roosevelt?

22 May 2005 [make link]

Cinco de Mayo, Camerone, Juarez, Maximilian and Carlotta

21 May 2005 [make link]

A newly constructed language.

17 May 2005 [make link]

The Indus script

10 May 2005 [make link]


[older, related entries]

8 May 2005 [make link]

The Plague of Athens was definitely ebola. Unless it was definitely typhus fever, and not smallpox. But in any case, it was probably smallpox, if not anthrax, and definitely not bubonic plague, unless it was.

Well at least everyone agrees that the Black Death was bubonic plague.

[A related Wikiwatch article.]

7 May 2005 [make link]

Dinosaurs and quiz show scandals have absolutely nothing in common.

28 April 2005 [make link]

Wilderness Mysteries

[older, related entries]

24 April 2005 [make link]

The Asclepion.

14 April 2005 [make link]

The Worst Jobs in History

11 April 2005 [make link]

The golden age of nuclear annihilation.

(I just added to my Wikiwatch Blog.)

26 March 2005 [make link]

We have no idea what many important people looked like.

[older, related entries]

11 March 2005 [make link]

Bulfinch's Mythology

(Totally unrelated, but I started my Wikiwatch Blog today.)

5 March 2005 [make link]

Just whiling away a nasty day, poking around the Napoleonic Wars. If you have a real interest in the subject, you probably know these sites already, but if you have only a moderate interest in the subject, you might want to give them a glance:

3 March 2005 [make link]

I just realized something. America's two biggest wars began in xxx1 and ended in xxx5. WW2 ran from Dec. 7, 1941 to Aug. 15, 1945, and the Civil War ran from April 12, 1861 to June 23, 1865, so shouldn't our current War on Terror (Sept. 11, 2001-?) be wrapping up shortly? According to my calculations, the War on Terror will become longer than World War II on May 16, 2005, and longer than the Civil War on Nov. 22, 2005. In fact, as of January 29, Osama Bin Laden has officially outlasted Hitler (Dec. 11, 1941-April 30, 1945) at surviving the full onslaught of American wrath.

24 Feb. 2005 [make link]

Update: Wild guesses!

23 Feb. 2005 [make link]

The Soviet contribution to WW2.

22 Feb. 2005 [make link]

I think we should move Presidents Day to Nov. 2. After all, there aren't any other big holidays in November.

21 Feb. 2005 [make link]

Who are the anonymous faces that look out at us from the great works of art?

I suspect that once we connect with a face in a portrait, we don't want to hear that it's just imaginary, so we make up stories instead.

20 Feb. 2005

(Well, a noncommittal article from NPR this morning on the growing popularity of Wikipedia means that it's time once again to remind news organizations to stop encouraging these people! In fact, I'm thinking of starting a whole new Wikiwatch blog just to track the various fascinating errors to be found on WP. But before that happens, I need to offer kudos to one Wikipedic discussion in particular:)

20 Feb. 2005 [make link]

With 300 suspected kills, Pedro Lopez stands unchallenged at the top of every list of serial killers, yet Wikipedia is the first source I've ever seen to seriously question his right to this honor. At first, I figured that this was just another Internet blowhard with half-assed theories (No insult intended. That description fits me too.), but when I looked more deeply into it, Wikipedia was right! There's no corroborating evidence for the Lopez story. And furthermore, when I went looking to see who else has publicly doubted the full mythic reach of Pedro Lopez, it seems that Wikipedia is the first and only.

Anyway, if a student or reporter out there wants a topic that needs research, I've gathered all the evidence of Pedro Lopez for your perusal.

For example, in a large, popular news database, I found exactly two (2) articles written about Pedro Lopez prior to 1982. That means that during his supposed reign of terror, his arrest and his trial, the collective news media wrote a total of 277 words about a man you'd think would be the most sensational criminal of our times.

Many articles followed in which Lopez was ranked against whoever was the latest serial killer caught by police, but Lopez only appeared as a name in what had now become a standardized list. When I searched for detailed articles that mentioned him more than 5 times, I found only two, in rather obscure newspapers. (At least, I've never heard of them.)

It looks like everything ever written about Lopez comes from these four sources. Nothing else is known about him, like, for example, the names of his victims, the dates of their disappearence, the investigating officers, or any details of the evidence against him.

10 Feb. 2005 [make link]

Francis Scott Key did a lot more than just write new words to an old English drinking song. As did his family.

[older, related entries]

10 Feb. 2005 [make link]

Name that tune!

(It's weird -- as much as I've heard about the song, I had never actually heard it.)

9 Feb. 2005 [make link]

Whee, the People

6 Feb. 2005 [make link]

Who was Deep Throat? Someday we'll find out.

5 Feb. 2005 [make link]

Ayn Rand: 100 years of solitude.

4 Feb. 2005 [make link]

Everything I need to know, I've learned from Iron Maiden.

2 Feb. 2005 [make link]

Now, if I were the headline writer, I would have written ...

Kenneth Starr Pleads Not Guilty to Scissor Killing

... and would have sold a lot more papers.

Starr pleads case of Virginia man convicted in scissor killing
By KRISTEN GELINEAU / Associated Press

Former independent counsel Kenneth Starr, who led the investigation that resulted in the impeachment of President Bill Clinton, on Tuesday represented a Virginia death row inmate before a federal appeals court...

(I know it's not technically history, but I wanted to share.)

28 Jan. 2005 [make link]

I'm starting to think that maybe the best online source for beginning Biblical history study is the Straight Dope, by Cecil Adams and friends. Sure he's a wiseguy, but that's his best trait. His religious essays are neither too unquestioning, nor too contrary. They are detailed without being boring. They incorporate all current mainstream scholarship without forcing any particular agenda. The Straight Dope and its Science Advisory Board are not afraid of driving off sponsors, nor of receiving ten thousand angry e-mails. Most of all, they tackle the big theological questions we really have:

22 Jan. 2005 [make link]

Most historians prefer exciting battles, high flying ideals and illustrious lives to the dull, grimy history of our urban, industrial infrastructure. But really, which has had a more profound effect on our lives -- plumbing or Thomas Aquinas?

20 Jan. 2005 [make link]

New York and Chicago

15 Jan. 2005 [make link]

I'll probably wait for the paperback to read The Intimate World of Abraham Lincoln, but until then, I'll make do with Dave Barry Slept Here (1989):

When Lincoln assumed the presidency, he was clean shaven, but one day he got a letter from a little girl suggesting that he grow a beard. So he did, and he thought it looked pretty good, so he decided to keep it. A short while later, he got another letter from the little girl, this time suggesting that he wear mascara and rouge and maybe a simple string of pearls. Fortunately, just then the Civil War broke out.

14 Jan. 2005 [make link]

The ultimate bummer.

13 Jan. 2005 [make link]

Odds and Ends.

3 Jan. 2005 [make link]

Historically, tsunamis have been rather rare -- which is why so few people saw the warning signs.

2 Jan. 2005 [make link]

Out with the old; in with the new.

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