Friday, September 19, 2014

HTHS Weekly: History from the Interweb #2

HTHS Weekly: History from the Interweb is a round-up of brand spankin' new history articles, selected by yours truly. Click on the link to be directed to the home site where you can read a professional being professional in their entirety.

The votes are in, and it's a big fat 'NO' for Scotland's independence. Articles poured in from around the internet this week:
What Happened Last Time Scotland Tried for Greater Independence? at Time 
Pssssst, it didn't happen…The 'No's won by a landslide.

The History Behind the Scottish Independence Vote at History
England and Scotland need couple's therapy.

25 Times Scotland Changed The World at BuzzFeed
Featuring everyone's favorite cloned sheep.

The Surprising Origin Story of Wonder Woman at Smithsonian
Wonder Woman was created to balance out the testosterone of preexisting superheroes such as Batman and Superman. The 'feminist fighting fascism' was developed by a psychologist who had three Harvard degrees, was a lawyer, scientist, professor, credited with inventing the lie detector, who wrote screenplays, a novel, magazine articles and oh, ya know, kinda sorta lived with two women under the same roof whom were each bearing his children. Did you know the 'DC' in DC Comics stands for Detective Comics? Detective Comics Comics.

Gas chambers unearthed at demolished Nazi concentration camp at The Guardian

After 300 detainees escaped Sobibor concentration camp in eastern Poland in 1943, the camp was abruptly shut down and the Germans tried to cover up its existence. Archaeologists recently found remnants of the camp after a dig which exposed brick walls of the chambers. It is essentially an undisturbed crime scene. Unlike other concentration camps where you could maybe but likely not survive, prisoners (an estimated 250,000) went to Sobibor solely to die in the eight gas chambers.

Prince William relied on Harry through scandals, divorce, and death. Kate relied on Pippa and James through her thrust into the spotlight. Giving lil' baby George a younger sibling will give him a confidant to share the strains of life in the public eye, or so says this article which explores the big family tradition of the Windsors (and royalty in general).

Ancient Egyptian Woman With 70 Hair Extensions Discovered at Discovery
Ancient hair stuff. Read about ancient techniques like hiding your gray with henna or gelling it with fat.

The Strange Case of Emperor Norton I of the United States at History
Maybe it was a slow week in history, but to create an article based on what a crazy homeless man claimed in the mid-1800s is just stupid. Nonetheless, interesting. Stupidly interesting. Joshua A. Norton of San Francisco claimed to be the first and only Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico because he just felt like it. America humored him by giving him celebrity status for the next 20 years until he died from a stroke.

Why I'm not a vegetarian reason #34: Hitler was. Margot Woelk has come forward with her harrowing story from World War II. Woelk was one of 15 young women who were forcibly taken to Hitler's Prussian headquarters to sample Hitler's bland veggie deer food before he consumed it to ensure it had not been poisoned. Woelk was the only taster to survive after she escaped on Joseph Goebbel's train before the Red Army advanced on the headquarters.

America's favorite freaky families both turned 50 yrs old this week. 

Richard III killed by skull and pelvis injuries - but mysteries remain about his death at History Extra
The results of Richard's most-likely-cause-of-death test are in and conclude the king suffered 11 visible injuries before his death in 1485, three of which may have been fatal. Of the 11, nine were to the skull, suggesting he lost his helmet which opened further discussion on whether the helmet was forcibly removed.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Statue Selfies

Mixing Greco/Roman/whatever artworks with terrible 2014 pop culture references can be alright (sometimes). Statue selfies are making the rounds on social media and they disturbingly exhibit emotions and poses that you typically find in a non-statue selfie: duck lips, muscle flexing, gazing oh-so-inquisitively into the distance, pure joy at finding the perfect lighting, etc. Here are a few of these vain statues as well as an uncomfortable amount of cherubs, which are never creepy…

Friday, September 12, 2014

HTHS Weekly: History from the Interweb #1

HTHS Weekly: History from the Interweb is a round-up of brand spankin' new history articles, selected by yours truly. Click on the link to be directed to the home site where you can read a professional being professional in their entirety.

Stories of success (and lots of failures/casualties) concerning animals in space. Also, Russia sent a bunch of geckos to space for sex experiments and they all came back dead. There's a metaphor in here somewhere. Pictured is one of the OG space monkeys named Gordo, who returned to earth with a boom. Literally. His vessel crashed into the Atlantic and was never recovered.

The discovery of British Royal Navy officer Sir John Franklin's HMS Erebus and HMS Terror is being described as "the biggest archaeological discovery the world has seen since the opening of Tutankhamun's tomb almost 100 years ago." Franklin's expedition to chart the Northwest Passage in the Canadian Arctic in 1845 ended in mystery after the two ships vanished, most likely from being stuck in the icy waters. Want more shipwrecks? Telegraph published an article featuring ten great shipwreck discoveries.

Sportsball is back you guys and you can read all about its dude-bro history.

Everyone's favorite whodunnit may have been identified. Jack may actually have been Aaron Kosminski, a 23 year old Polish immigrant. Reportedly, Kosminski's DNA was found on a shawl that was discovered next to one of Ripper's victims. The guy who obtained the shawl sent it away for DNA testing and is so freaking sure he cracked the myth that he says "only non-believers that want to perpetuate the myth will doubt." How could you argue with that logic? Could Jack the Ripper have really been a 23 year old kid? And worse, Polish?

Britain's 100th anniversary since the beginning of World War I commemorations are rolling right along, and to add some variety, they honored warhorse Warrior, who so bravely and selflessly went to the Western Front to help defend his country. The grandson of Warrior's owner accepted the award on his behalf and said stuff like, "but now he rides again 100 years later."

Hitler without a Hitler mustache is no Hitler at all.

In response to the Jack the Ripper debacle, BuzzFeed compiled major stories throughout history that lack an ending. And we all love a good BuzzFeed list.

Wonders like the Great Pyramid of Giza, Sphinx, and various destinations around Cairo are going to be available on Google Street View to virtually visit as if you were walking through the streets of Egypt. Minus political turmoil.

In the largest geophysical survey ever, archaeologists scanned over a 7.4-square-mile-area around Stonehenge. The scan uncovered 17 more unknown henge-like religious monuments, including a very happy one.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

World War I Commemorations Pop(py) Off

As Britain kicks off observances marking the 100th Anniversary since the beginning of World War I, poppy fields prepare to grow sparse as the flower will likely be in high demand over the next four years. The popular remembrance flower became a focal point in art installations and reenactments alike. If you don't know what Remembrance Day is (me), you may be wondering why the Commonwealth countries love their poppies.

The best example of poppy symbolism comes from Westminster Abbey. If you watched the Royal wedding a few years ago (you did), you noticed the renowned tomb of the Unknown Warrior that Kate Middleton had to sidestep around in order to walk down the isle. The tomb greets all who enter the church and is framed by its signature slew of poppies. 

Image source: Puzzles Games

Poppies first came to symbolize fallen soldiers in John McCrae's 1915 poem, In Flanders Fields. After the Flanders Fields battles of World War I, poppies were the only thing that sprouted from the distressed battlegrounds in Belgium. Shortly thereafter, the red flower became synonymous with a soldier's sacrifice.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
So, World War I commemorations have begun and the poppies are a'flowin. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge along with Prince Harry helped plant a few of the 888,246 ceramic poppies along the moat of the Tower of London representing the nearly one million lives lost. The art installation titled Blood Swept Lands And Seas Of Red will come to an end on November 11th, after the last poppy is to be planted, symbolizing the end of the war in 1918. 

Image source: Smithsonian

Image source: Smithsonian
Image source: Telegraph

Created by artist Paul Cummins, the poppies are available to buy online for £25 each (or if you live in the United States $75 total, including shipping), which you will receive sometime after the installation is over. I totally bought one. Proceeds will go to various service charities. You can take a look at how the poppies were made here:

Rounding out the week in poppies, historical reenactors staged a World War I battle as a million poppies rained down upon them, once again symbolizing Commonwealth casualties in the war. Held at the Tank Museum in Bovington, southern England, there was a replica tank, an airplane display, and a remembrance service.

Image source: Buzzfeed

I generally associated poppies with the flower field in The Wizard of Oz that rendered people comatose (also, opiates) BUT the flower's symbolism has been running strong in Commonwealth countries for the last 100 years.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Hurricane Charley in Pics, 10 Years Later

Hurricane Charley rocked Florida’s southwestern coast ten years ago today with 150 mph winds, making it the strongest hurricane to hit the United States in over a decade. Still one of the top 10 most costliest hurricanes in US History, this megastorm caused over $15 billion in damage, leveling neighborhoods and forever altering Florida’s coastal landscape.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

A Sitting Duck
Florida’s peninsula juts out between the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico with a big fat ‘X’ painted over it as a landing zone for warm water storms. Although the proverbial hurricane state has faired well in recent years, Hurricane Charley made a lasting impact, making landfall on Florida’s southwestern coast and quickly blanketing the entire state. 

Image source: AccuWeather

Fast Motion
In a sudden change of course, Charley hit nearly 100 miles south of what was anticipated, taking many unexpected (and unprepared) people by surprise. As Juvenile’s Slow Motion topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart, Charley ripped through Captiva Island and the coastal towns of Punta Gorda and Port Charlotte with fierce 150 mph winds.

Image source:

Book Light, Anyone?
Already on high alert due to Tropical Storm Bonnie ravaging Florida’s northwestern coast not even 24 hours prior to Charley, approximately 1.42 million people had evacuated their homes. Nearly 50,000 residents were placed in shelters across the state to ride out the tumultuous beginning of the 2004 hurricane season.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Survey Says
After Charley made its way through central Florida and dissipated along the coast of New England, the survey of damage began. Areas of Punta Gorda were virtually unrecognizable, looking as if someone chewed them up and spit them out.

Image source:

Debris Stew
On the same day popular chef Julia Child passed away, Hurricane Charley whipped up a masterful stew of trees, power lines, power poles, transformers and other debris and gave one heaping serving to those in its path. Producing only 4-6 inches of rain during its tenure in Florida, Charley made up for his thriftiness by spawning several tornados.

Image source:

School’s Out
Public schools in the path of the hurricane were closed for weeks following Charley’s aftermath. All 59 schools in central Florida’s Osceola County were reported damaged. The extended summer vacation gave this little girl more time to enjoy her new bedroom view.

Image source:

Orange You Sad?
Charley’s agricultural impact was astronomical in Cuba and Florida. The agricultural losses to Florida’s citrus crop alone reached upwards of $200 million. Local businesses were leveled, very much like this liquor store (which seemingly may just be someone’s emergency hurricane preparation kit).

Image source:

You Loot, They Shoot
The fast-moving storm crossed Florida’s peninsula in seven hours leaving 2 million homes without power. Some areas were not restored for weeks. Desperate people do desperate things, and this man was everything but subtle in his way of letting looters know that he doesn’t mess around.

Image source: US Geological Survey

Florida Coast Gets a Makeover
At least 11,000 homes were severely damaged or destroyed, 27,000 roofs needed replacing, and three hospitals were taken down in Florida; but one irreparable alteration was that of its coastline. The coastline is noticeably different as the high winds and pelting gulf waters pummeled the shoreline, as seen here at North Captiva Island.

Image source: Tampa Bay Times

Back and Better Than Ever
Fifteen people met their fate at the hands of Hurricane Charley. President George W. Bush declared Florida a federal disaster area and millions of dollars in aid was soon released to the battered state. The community began putting back together the pieces, such as Punta Gorda’s Professional Center, which was replaced by modern retail shops, office space, and restaurants. 

The name ‘Charley’ will forever go down in infamy, as it has no other choice. Due to its severity, the World Meteorological Organization retired the name from its list of tropical cyclone names in 2005.