Wednesday, October 29, 2014

King Tut's 'Virtual Autopsy' is Visual Calamity

Remember when you didn't know what certain historical figures really looked like and were left to your imagination to visualize their physicality? Handsome dark-haired kings, rugged buff pioneers, beautiful mysterious assassins... Those were good times. Simpler times. Magical times. Time spent daydreaming of the physical makeup of people like Ötzi the Iceman and Richard III are a thing of the past, as we are now left with nightmare-inducing re-creations based on extracted DNA.

Image sources: History and Daily Mail

See what I mean?

In the latest physical ruination artistic rendering of an important historical figure, everyone's favorite boy king is front and center. Based on new CT scans and DNA analysis, the resulting image of the Egyptian King Tut is pretty gross.

Image source: Discovery

Really gross. Tut died 3,300 years ago at around the age of 19 and had a plethora of health issues including traces of malaria and a bone disorder which impeded walking. The recent testing also concludes that Tut had a club foot, an overbite, and "womanly" hips. This is what happens when your wife is your sister and your mother is your aunt.

The ailments that Tut suffered from are as numerous as the theories that surround his cause of death. Did he fall from a chariot? Was he murdered? Epilepsy? Sickle-cell anemia? Gynecomastia? Deadly leg infection? Death by hippo?

Who knows? All we know is that the king once synonymous with bling is now a fugly creature in a diaper in our collective memory.

Friday, October 24, 2014

HTHS Weekly: History from the Interweb #7

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.

Swiss retailer, Migros, is known for its ever-changing collectible mini creamer labels. They recently started featuring vintage cigar labels, two of which "accidentally" depicted Hitler and Mussolini.

After the latest security breach at the White House, Discovery compiles a list of "notable security moments" throughout White House history.

More than 50 years after the Korean War, thousands of American soldiers' bodies remain in the Hermit Kingdom. This video explains why.

As excavation drudges on at Amphipolis in the quest to discover who the eff is buried there, a newly discovered mosaic may or may not be providing the obvious answer. The mosaic which depicts Greek mythological figures Persephone, Hades, and Hermes may also suggest they each have a human counterpart. Meaning, Persephone = Olympias (Alex's mom), Hades = Philip II (Alex's dad), and Hermes = Alexander the Great (Alex).

The German U-576 was sunk in 1942 during the Battle of the Atlantic, a mere 30 miles from the U.S. coast. It is estimated that another 52 wrecks lay nearby.

Also weird factoids like Beethoven demanding his coffee to be made with exactly 66 beans.

A faulty 22-foot-high vat of beer exploded inside a London brewery, sending out an explosion of pressure and a tidal wave of porter that killed eight women and children in this more tastier predecessor to the Boston Molasses Disaster.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


Fury hit theaters this week and tells the story of War Daddy, Bible, Coon-Ass, Gordo, and newbie Norman (who hadn't earned a hip war name yet) and their trusty ole tank Fury during the last month of World War II.

Writer-director David Ayer said he wanted to steer away from creating a typical war movie (what he says is one which centers around a major event) and instead focus on the impact on the psyche of those fighting. Which he does beautifully. A majority of the tank crew have been fighting together for years and have seen things that thousands and thousands of PTSD therapy hours couldn't even begin to put a dent into. 

Ayer also shows Germany at its most desperate. Throughout the last month of fighting, the country refused to surrender and we see the effect on its people: A woman cuts meat from a dead animal, children are given weapons to go out and fight, and citizens are hung in the streets over their refusal to join Axis powers. When Fury's crew says "Best job I ever had" what they are really saying is how the adrenaline rush of being alive is way better than being that pile of blood and guts.

Image source: Daily Mail

The movie doesn't rely on squeamish violence to carry it along. Which I like. It kind of begins with Brad Pitt stabbing a man through his eyeball, but that's pretty much the extent of the really gory gore from what I remember. The Bear Jew stayed home.
It is one of my favorite war movies, which according to Timeout's 'We count down the 50 greatest World War II movies with the aid of guest expert Quentin Tarantino', are something I know nothing about. I've seen three in the entire list.

Image source: Pinterest
It was great. The acting, story, symbolism, and cinematography were all aces. Five stars and especial kudos to Shia who can go from weepy-face to laughy-face all while quoting the same Bible verse.

Friday, October 17, 2014

HTHS Weekly: History from the Interweb #6

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.

Can You Pass A Middle School U.S. History Test? at BuzzFeed
I deed it.

Amal Clooney weighs in on Greek battle for Elgin Marbles at Telegraph

Remember when George Clooney was all hot and bothered over the Elgin Marbles back in February? Well it turns out his new wife, human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin, shares the same passion.

Remains of Alexander the Great's Father Confirmed Found at Discovery

Macedonian King Philip II was found in Vergina, 100 miles away from the ongoing excavation at Amphipolis which is believed to house Alexander's mother. Phil was assassinated at his daughter's wedding, Red Wedding-style.

Hitler and Meth: How History's Biggest Figures Hid Drug Addictions at Guff

Sigmund Freud, Thomas Edison, Charles Dickens, Benjamin Franklin, and others all used some form of cocaine or heroin. This article might make you want to take drugs. But in a good way? Because "let's face it: Meth can really help you get stuff done."

The Cardiff Giant Fools the Nation, 145 Years Ago at History
In a scheme intended to dupe literal Bible believers, cigar manufacturer George Hull commissioned a 10-foot-tall giant man made of gypsum to give truth to the famous line, "there were giants in the earth those days." Hoping to pass the statue off as a petrified giant, Hull buried the 3,000 pound man on a relative's farm and dug it up a year later, claiming to have unearthed a giant. Astonishment ensued, and after years of cashing in on the giant, Hull's hoax was eventually discovered. It cost 50 cents to see the giant in 1869 (when it was believed to be real). Today, it costs $12.

Science is Revealing The Secret Lives of Paintings at All Day
X-rays of what lies underneath layers and layers of paint. 

Divers Excavate Greek Shipwreck Dubbed "Ancient Titanic" at History
The 2,000 year-old shipwreck was discovered 114 years ago off the coast of southern Greece, and it's the gift that keeps on giving.

Viking treasure trove discovered in Scotland at The Guardian
Over 100 artifacts were discovered by a metal-detector-wielding man.

Friday, October 10, 2014

HTHS Weekly: History from the Interweb #5

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.

Because you really want to know.

With more theories than the Kennedy assassination, this Smithsonian article explores the top nine guesses of how Poe died after calling out the word "Rosebud" "Reynolds."

Not to be outdone in the news by Ebola, the origin of Aids has been traced back to a city in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

In a valley surrounded by desert, archaeologists discovered a new 200-million year old dinosaur which they dubbed Tachiraptor admirabilis. Only two bones of the wolf-sized dinosaur have been found so far, a tibia and a hip bone which tells us…which tells us nothing.

Skeleton of Possible 'Witch Girl' Found at Discovery

A 13 year old girl was found buried face-down in an Italian burial ground believed to be dated from late antiquity to the early Middle Ages. A body buried in an unusual position is not uncommon if one was suspected of vampirism, witchcraft, etc. It was believed that a soul left the body through the mouth and facing a body downwards in burial ensures that the soul will not threaten the living. Unless a soul can make a U-turn. Can a soul make a U-turn?

Haiti shipwreck is not Columbus's Santa Maria, says Unesco at The Guardian
The ship found off the coast of Haiti earlier this year dates centuries later than believed after an examination of the remains by Unesco. Unesco called for further exploration of the surrounding waters, while also pleading with Haiti to keep their underwater looters at bay (but not in the bay, get them outta the bay).

First-Known Painting Depicts Rare, Hefty Animal at Discovery

The oldest known figurative cave painting was discovered on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi and dates back 40,000 years. No answers to the universe found here, it's a pig. Unless pigs are the answer.

When Hitler took cocaine at History Extra
Hitler is known for his funky health issues including stomach cramps and chronic flatulence that made him "leave the table after every meal in order to expel vast quantities of wind." His personal doctor, Dr. Morrel, put him on concoctions of opiates, sedatives, laxatives, amphetamines, barbiturates, morphine, probiotics, cocaine (in eye-drop form), and bull semen to help everything from morning grogginess to lack of a sex drive.

Can you tell your Churchill from your Hitler? at Telegraph
Nope, I could not.