More than a thousand years before the first telescopes, Babylonian astronomers tracked the motion of planets across the night sky using simple arithmetic. But a newly translated text reveals that these ancient stargazers also used a far more advanced method, one that foreshadows the development of calculus over a…
The tale of Europeans explorers’ arrival in the Americas is a dark one, colored by slavery, slaughter, and smallpox. But a new study calls key details of that story into question, including how quickly Native American societies succumbed to disease, and how Earth’s climate responded.
When Oregon was granted statehood in 1859, it was the only state in the Union admitted with a constitution that forbade black people from living, working, or owning property there. It was illegal for black people even to move to the state until 1926. Oregon’s founding is part of the forgotten history of racism in the…
Here is a great interview that she did with Radiotimes on WHYY, which is Philadelphia’s NPR station. Readers even called in to ask questions about Ancient Rome, which I loved. I adore Mary Beard and the interviewer, Marty Moss-Coane and think you should all listen to it. We get to learn everything from government to…
This is Caterina Sforza, one of the most infamous people of Renaissance Italy. She had many feuds, the most prominent of which was with the Borgia family. This feud resulted in an interesting rumor—that she weaponized the Plague, and tried to assassinate the Pope with it.
This was not a toy. This was supposed to be a medical device to cure all female complaints.
You may be familiar with the espionage efforts of female spies like Josephine Baker and Mata Hari, whose lives have been committed time and time again to film. But there are numerous female spies who — even if we don't agree with all their politics — led fascinating lives, ones that could fill entire movie franchises.
The speculum is that scary device that looks like a duck bill and is used to conduct pelvic exams on women. Perhaps not surprisingly, the guy who invented this medical instrument did it in the most horrible way possible.
The first edition of the Brothers Grimms' tales, in 1812, featured such stories as "How the Children Played at Slaughtering." Over the next 50 years, each new printing was edited to make it more child-friendly and include more Christian references. But now, the first edition has finally been translated into English.
Today's genre books are full of future dystopias, which only have one weakness: teenagers. And everybody knows that most dystopias are kind of contrived. But here are 10 lessons from real-life rebellions against repressive regimes, that we wish the creators of fictional dystopias would pay attention to.
Throughout the "war to end all wars," cats were a common sight in the trenches and aboard ships, where they hunted mice and rats. Beyond their "official" duties, they were also embraced as mascots and pets by the soldiers and sailors with whom they served.
Stonehenge was as much a source of awe a thousand years ago as it is today. Historians and poets wove the mysterious circle into their tales of King Arthur, with one lushly illustrated book depicting the wizard Merlin as the architect.
Don't know if any of y'all would be interested or not, but right now CNN is airing a program highlighting key political stories of the past. Right now they're on the 60s, covering Kennedy's assassination. They just finished talking about the Bay of Pigs. Any history buffs out there, they're using a lot of news footage…
I just found out that I've been chosen to participate in the Digital Library of Georgia/Digital Public Library of America Public Libraries Partnership. It's a project funded by the Gates Foundation to train librarians in digitizing heritage collections. Some of the libraries I work with have great historical…
Curators at the British Library have compiled a list of the manuscripts in their collection which they believe are among the best examples of Ye Olde Comick Bookes, rife with superheroes, supervillains, origin stories, drama and, of course, blood and gore.
On April 14, 2010, these four women were all on the International Space Station at the same time. This represents the largest simultaneous concentration of ladies in space we have ever seen.
Yes, I know I'm two days late on this, and in Internet-time that's basically an eternity. Whatever, I thought this was super interesting. So I'm sharing it.
The Internet is currently ablaze over a video of strangers having a first kiss, but what was likely the first kiss committed to film was between two models—two female models. Oddly, the photographer filmed a same-sex kiss because, not in spite of, mores of the era. Artful nudity below.
We are currently driving across Pennsylvania on our way to do one last college visit for WinnieTheWoot before the acceptance letters start rolling in. We pulled in to State College this afternoon (no, she isn't considering Penn State, it was just a convenient stopover) and learned an interesting bit of history while…