Sunday, April 3, 2016

HTHS Weekly: History from the Interweb #70

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 new archaeological find offers tantalizing evidence of a Viking presence 300 miles from L’Anse aux Meadows, the only place in the New World that has been verified.

Shakespeare's skull 'probably stolen' from Stratford grave at BBC
The discovery gives credence to a news report in 1879, later dismissed as fiction, that trophy hunters took the skull from his shallow grave in 1794.

London mayor says UK should compensate for ‘ineffective’ response to Syria crisis by restoring ancient city destroyed by Isis.

“Driving While Black” Has Been Around As Long As Cars Have Existed at Smithsonian
For African-American travelers in the Jim Crow-era South—often journeying from the north to visit relatives who had not joined the Great Migration—an unprepossessing paper-bound travel guide often amounted to a survival kit. The Green Book often functioned as a lifesaver. Documentarian Ric Burns talks about his forthcoming film about the “Green Book” and other travel guides for African-Americans.

Never-before-seen Shakespeare play discovered in travelling case at History Extra
A discovery that researchers say could redefine the scope of Shakespeare scholarship, the 206-page play was discovered in January but has until now been kept under wraps while a specially commissioned team of historians and literary scholars at The British Institute of Shakespeare Studies conducted rigorous examinations to certify its veracity.

3,400-Year-Old Necropolis Found in Egypt at Discovery
“So far we have documented over 40 tombs, including a small shrine on the banks of the Nile,” Lund University archaeologist Maria Nilsson, director of the Gebel el Silsila Survey Project, told Discovery News.

The attempted abduction of Princess Anne at History Extra
The events of 20 March 1974 remain the closest anyone has got, in modern times, to abducting one of the British royal family.

Armchair archaeologists can explore Richard III's grave in online model at The Guardian
At last, an archaeological dig you can explore from your sofa: Leicester university have launched an interactive digital reconstruction of the hastily-dug grave and the distorted skeleton of one of England’s most vilified monarchs.

Secret Rooms in King Tut Tomb? Radar Uncertain at Discovery
More analysis is needed to determine whether the tomb of King Tutankhamun conceals two secret rooms, Egypt’s antiquities minister said Friday at a press conference in the Valley of the Kings.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

HTHS Weekly: History from the Interweb #69

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.

Archaeologists are to launch a search on Holy Island in Northumberland for the monastery where one of the most beautiful books in western Europe, the Lindisfarne Gospels, was made.

Traumatic brain injury explains the memory problems, explosive anger, inability to control impulses, headaches, insomnia — and maybe even impotence — that afflicted Henry during the decade before his death in 1547. “It is intriguing to think that modern European history may have changed forever because of a blow to the head,” said Arash Salardini, senior author of the study.

What a Dickens.

Oh, also, a 14th-century Jewish burial site is located under the new building’s construction site. Double negative.

An incomplete inscription might reopen the debate about the identity of the owner of a tomb from the Alexander the Great era, according to new research. It's missing a piece of the pi.

Archaeologists announced they have pinpointed the location of Alaska’s only Japanese internment camp, a long-forgotten facility built on an Anchorage army base at the onset of World War II.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Oscars Lowdown 2016

It's Oscars day people! This year, half of the movies nominated for the Best Picture Academy Award are based on true stories throughout history. So I'm going to write about them. Here's a list of the nominees. May the **best film win.

**BUT FIRST: The #OscarsSoWhite issue. I read a fantastic article over at Bitch Media, that is worth a read, so I'm going to include the article below. It's short, so don't stress the fuck out. Educate yo' self. And then you can help squash all the "people of color and women shouldn't be nominated for an Oscar solely because they are people of color or women, maybe they didn't deserve the nomination" bullshit.
The Oscars is one More Example of Hollywood's Discrimination
Yet again, we’re in the unfortunate situation of asking this depressing question: Why are there so few women and people of color nominated for Oscars? This is the second year in a row that every person nominated for an acting award is white. As Cara Buckley noted in the New York Times this morning, “The only Academy nods for two of the year’s biggest films about African-American characters went to white people.” There are no women nominated for Best Director, though it’s nice to see four female screenwriters get nods—two for co-writing credits on original screeplays Inside Out and Straight Outta Compton and two for sole writing credits on the adapted screenplays of Carol and Room.
Whether or not you actually endure the increasingly irrelevant hours-long ceremony, the Oscars is an important cultural force. The Oscars elevates the status of the films and people who are nominated and clearly illustrates the kinds of stories and narratives that Hollywood will celebrate and fund. 
So why are they overwhelmingly white and male-dominated? Let me list the reasons. 
1. Systemic race and gender-based job discrimination in Hollywood keeps women and people of color from working behind the scenes on many major film projects. Over and over and over, women and people of color working in the film industries tell stories of how they were overlooked or overtly blocked from jobs as directors, writers, and producers—especially on the types of bigger-budget projects that are awards-fodder. The habit of hiring men over women is so pervasive at all levels of the film industry that the ACLU is asking the state of California to investigate Hollywood’s gap as a flagrant example of workplace discrimination. 
2. When women and people of color do get a shot at writing and directing films, their productions are more likely to be smaller—like indie films and documentaries. As writer Courtney Sheehan explained in her piece about Oscar economics, “The size of production budgets frequently go hand-in-hand with the number of theaters to which distribution companies send a film. Since women tend to direct small-budget, independent fare, most moviegoers never get the opportunity to see many of the films made by women—even the ones that make a splash at Sundance.” This is shown in this year’s Oscar nominees: Films by and about women show up the most in the categories for Best Documentary and Best Documentary Short, where Amy and What Happened, Miss Simone? get nods.  
3. The people who vote on the Oscars are mostly older, white men. 2012 investigation by the LA Times found that the Academy was 77 percent male, 94 percent white, and has a median age of 62. Since then, the Academy has made some efforts to diversify, including accepting more people than usual into the exclusive group. But it doesn’t seem like the new members have significantly tipped the scales in terms of which films get nominated for awards. 
4. Because of the demographics of the Academy, films that center on the stories of women and people of color are often overlooked for awards. Writer Nijla Mu’min explains this well in her article about the Oscars leaving out films written by Black women, “It's not just that white male voters reject these stories—it's that these stories represent something that resists an expected film narrative, one that doesn't typically depict black women as fully formed characters with feelings, faults, and humanity, let alone as compelling protagonists.” Or, as Jermaine Roseman summed up on Twitter this morning, “Looking at history, the Academy loves to nominate films about race, but doesn't care about nominating films about black people.” 
Basically, the point I’m making here is that Oscars don’t recognize the best films of the year. Gender and racial discrimination within the film industry creates an unequal system, ensuring that many stunning films don’t get their due. And the Oscars, along with the rest of the film industry, need to work to fix this discrimination—or risk becoming irrelevant.
Anyways. Onward!

A look at the fictional contenders:
Mad Max: Fury Road: I loved this. 'Car' movies and post-apocalyptic movies aren't normally my thing, but Tom Hardy is. And dayum, I loved everything about this movie. 5/5 stars

The Martian: The movie was a little more campy compared to the book, which I read. Maybe 'dopey' is a better word? Nevertheless, a fantastic adaptation. 4/5 stars

Room: This movie was fiction, but was loosely based on the Fritzl case that surfaced in 2008. So great. 4/5 stars 

Brooklyn: Straight up Hallmark Channel movie. Or Lifetime. whatever. One of those shitty movie channels. But Molly Weasley was in it. And Bill Weasley. Annnd Professor Slughorn. 2/5 stars

A look at the historical contenders:
Image sources: Michael Curry Blog, Baleheads Blog, Bloomberg, Washington Post, Bloomberg, and Coming Soon

The Big Short: Based on the book of the same name, this movie is about the housing market collapse I think? The true story of the financial crisis of 2007-2010 I think? I have no idea what the actual fuck was happening. I couldn't tell who was good, who was bad. Who the winners were, who the losers were. I don't know if I should be insulted that the film had interludes where celebrities would dumb down the two hours of bank loan jargon for me or if it was intended to mock loan officers, who were accused of using made-up technical terms to sound fancy. I majored in storytelling, not monies. I don't know anything, is what I'm saying. But I do know, that I loved this line: "You have no idea the kind of crap people are pulling, and everyone's walking around like they're in a goddamn Enya video." golden. 3/5 stars

Image sources: Telegraph and Awards Watch

The Revenant: Inspired by fur trapper, Hugh Glass, the movie follows the 19th century frontiersman crawling through snow as he seeks revenge on his fellow fur traders after abandoning him. I had a very one-sided conversation about this movie in which I was accused of not "getting" it. I got it. I didn't like the flow. A damn good teaser trailer though. 3/5 stars

Image sources: Radio Times and Pop Sugar

Spotlight: The Boston Globe's team of investigative journalists, dubbed 'Spotlight', investigates the Catholic Church sexual abuse scandal in Boston in the early 2000s. I mean, this was fine. With such a heavy subject matter of child abuse and corruption being carried out by one of the largest religious institutions in the world, I want full-on blubbering, shouting, raging, despairing, dramatics. This movie almost entirely lacked emotion. 3/5 stars

Image sources: Telegraph and Daily Mail

Bridge of Spies: Based on the 1960 U-2 spy plane incident during the Cold War, the movie is two hours of "we have your guy," "you have our guy," "cool, so let's trade." And then two guys walk across a bridge. I thought of this as a shitty Schindler's List. Boring. 1/5 stars

And my picks because I can:
I watched every single Best Picture, Best Actress/Actor, Best Supporting Actress/Actor movie. I sat through Creed. I SAT THROUGH CREED. Mediocre year in Oscar movies, I'd say. My favorite movies tend to be cult movies, so also, I don't know what I'm talking about.

Best Picture: None, because #OscarsSoWhite. And honestly, Mad Max was my favorite, but you know that shit ain't winning. Runner up: Room
Best Actor: Leonardo DiCaprio. Runner up: Michael Fassbender
Best Actress: Brie Larson. Runner up: fuck all of em'. Charlotte Rampling was my second choice, but when you say things like “It is racist against whites. One can never really know, but sometimes maybe Black actors did not deserve to make the final list,” on the #OscarsSoWhite issue, nope.
Best Supporting Actress: Alicia Vikander. Runner up: Kate Winslet
Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale. Runner up: Tom Hardy

Saturday, February 27, 2016

HTHS Weekly: History from the Interweb #68

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 answer is still yes. Absolutely and unequivocally, yes.

Well a black woman won the Grammy for Best Rock Song so...

With no Black actors nominated, it will be interesting to see how host Chris Rock handles the subject tomorrow night. Maybe he'll just drop the mic. Honestly, I think it would be shitty to make jokes about the situation, which I'm sure he will. It's going to be sad to listen to the crowd laugh.

Rare Charles Darwin Letter Will Be Sold at Auction at Discovery
A rare handwritten letter by famed naturalist Charles Darwin to a British marine biologist will be auctioned off Thursday, in which he details plans to release a corrected version of the book “The Origin of Species.”

Hitler Had 'Tiny' Penis, Historians Claim at Discovery
The Fuhrer apparently had a micropenis, due to a condition called hypospadias, a new book claims.

Amelia Earhart's Plane Discovered in Odd Movie Cameo at Discovery
Some eight months before its last, fateful flight over the Pacific, Amelia Earhart's aircraft appeared on theater screens chasing a panicked crowd all around an airport apron and then making a wild takeoff, new research into the world's most famous missing plane has revealed.

Last Survivor of Treblinka Dies at 93 at History
Samuel Willenberg was one of only 67 people to survive the notorious Nazi death camp in occupied Poland, where as many as 925,000 people were killed over a span of 16 months.

In Search of Czar’s Treasure, a Return to the Wreck of RMS Republic at History
The White Star luxury liner went down in the waters off the coast of Nantucket Island in 1909. With the doomed ship went all of its baggage and cargo, including—according to one persistent theory—a secret cache of rare gold coins intended for delivery to Czar Nicholas II of Russia and worth more than $1 billion in today’s dollars.

Three decades after Prime Minister Olof Palme was gunned down on a Stockholm street, his unsolved killing continues to reverberate through Swedish politics and society.

The Surprising History Behind Leap Year at National Geographic
The ancient Egyptians did it, and so do we. Here's how a leap day—which occurs Februrary 29—helps keep our calendars and societies in sync.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

HTHS Weekly: History from the Interweb #67

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.

In Photos: Black History Month at the White House at
Throughout February, the White House is hosting events to celebrate African Americans, past and present, who have shaped and strengthened the nation. Check out some of the highlights so far.

Archaeologists may have unearthed the remains of a woman whose execution had a lasting impact on the writer Thomas Hardy, inspiring the fate of one of his most beloved creations – Tess of the d’Urbervilles.

Harper Lee: US author of To Kill a Mockingbird dies aged 89 at BBC

Shakespeare’s jokes undone by comedy of errors at The Times
William Shakespeare may have fancied himself as a playwright of infinite jest, but dozens of his jokes are falling flat because of changes in English pronunciation over the past 400 years. A study of Shakespeare’s canon by a linguistic scholar shows that modern audiences will experience several jarring moments in each of his plays because puns no longer work.

Diplomats say Poland's key part in the deciphering the German system of codes in WWII has largely been overlooked.

Perfectly preserved bronze age wheel unearthed in Cambridgeshire at The Guardian
The largest and most perfectly preserved bronze age wheel ever discovered in the UK, made of oak planks almost 3,000 years ago, has emerged from a site in Cambridgeshire dubbed a Fenland Pompeii.

How the Gold Rush Led to Real Riches in Bird Poop at Smithsonian
“The Chincha islands, birds have been [pooping] on these islands for millennia. It was two hundred feet deep in some places.”