|10 Things You May Not Know About Charles Darwin|
December 12, 2014, History.com by Christopher Klein
February 12 is Darwin Day, a global celebration of science and reason held on the anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birth in 1809. To commemorate Darwin Day, check out 10 things you may not know about the famed evolutionary biologist.
|Time Capsule Removed From Massachusetts Statehouse|
December 11, 2014, The Associated Press by Rodrique Ngowi
Crews removed a time capsule dating back to 1795 on Thursday from the granite cornerstone of the Massachusetts Statehouse, where historians believe it was originally placed by Revolutionary War luminaries Samuel Adams and Paul Revere among others.
The small time capsule is believed to contain items such as old coins, documents, newspapers and a metal plate that was owned by Revere. Secretary of State William Galvin speculated that some of the items could have deteriorated over time.
|Scientists reveal parchment's hidden stories (w/ Video)|
December 08, 2014, PhysOrg by Staff
Millions of documents stored in archives could provide scientists with the key to tracing agricultural development across the centuries, according to new research completed at Trinity College Dublin and the University of York.
...Researchers used these state-of-the-art scientific techniques to extract ancient DNA and protein from tiny samples of parchment from documents from the late 17th and late 18th centuries. The resulting information enabled them to establish the type of animals from which the parchment was made, which, when compared to genomes of their modern equivalents, provides key information as to how agricultural expansion shaped the genetic diversity of these animals.
|Mona Lisa may have been da Vinci's Chinese mother: Italian historian's comments spark online frenzy|
December 03, 2014, AFP by Staff
The Mona Lisa may have been a Chinese slave and Leonardo da Vinci's mother, according to an Italian historian whose comments on the famous painting sent online commentators into a frenzy.
Hong Kong-based historian and novelist from Italy, Angelo Paratico, told the South China Morning Post on Wednesday that "on the back of Mona Lisa, there is a Chinese landscape and even her face looks Chinese".
|Aztec manuscript under the microscope|
November 28, 2014, The Guardian (UK) by Vahé Ter Minassian
It was May 1826 and France was celebrating the first anniversary of the coronation of Charles X. French troops had occupied Spain; Mexico had gained its independence and Latin America was in turmoil. But, sitting in his office in the library of the National Assembly, deputy-curator Pierre-Paul Druon was feeling pleased. For the past 30 years this former Benedictine monk had laboured to track down rare works and add them to the 12,000 items inherited from the French Revolution and now entrusted to parliament. Never before had he had the opportunity to acquire such a treasure, even if the source of the Nahuatl manuscript he purchased for 1,300 gold francs at auction was unknown and two of its pages were missing. He was, nevertheless, convinced of its worth.
The document, in its present state, is 14 metres long, comprising 36 fan-folded sheets, each 39 sq cm. It details the cycles of two calendars, one divinatory, the other solar, used by the Aztecs before the Spanish conquest led by Hernán Cortés in 1519. It represents several hundred brightly coloured figures and creatures, each of particular significance.
|US cathedral may become museum to the slave trade|
November 27, 2014, The Associated Press by Michelle R. Smith
A plan to open what would be the nation's only museum centered on the trans-Atlantic slave trade would focus on the Episcopal Church's role in its history and the sometimes-buried legacy of slavery in northern states like Rhode Island.
The museum at the shuttered Cathedral of St. John, a church where slaves once worshipped, would explore how the church benefited from the trade and helped bring it to an end, said Bishop Nicholas Knisely of the Diocese of Rhode Island.
|155 Years Later, Darwin's Manuscripts Are Going Digital|
November 26, 2014, Popular Science by Alissa Zhu
Charles Darwin may be a household name now, but we haven’t always had the theory of natural selection. On November 24, 1859, he published On the Origin of Species as a culmination of nearly three decades of research after his journey on the H.M.S. Beagle. Happy 155th anniversary of On the Origin of Species!
Now it’s easier than ever to understand Darwin’s original thoughts on evolution with digital archives made public by the Darwin Manuscripts Project. The project, founded in 2003, is a collaboration between the American Museum of Natural History, Cambridge University Library, and other organizations to digitally archive all of Darwin’s works.
|Shakespeare Folio Discovered in France|
November 25, 2014, The New York Times by Jennifer Schuessler
First folios of Shakespeare’s plays are among the world’s rarest books, intensely scrutinized by scholars for what their sometimes-minute variations — each copy is different — reveal about the playwright’s intentions.
Now a previously unknown folio has surfaced at a small library in northern France, bringing the world’s known total of surviving first folios to 233.
|The Charge of the Light Brigade, 160 Years Ago|
November 24, 2014, History.com by Jesse Greenspan
On October 25, 1854, the commander-in-chief of British troops during the Crimean War issued an ambiguous order that his subordinates misinterpreted, resulting in the infamous Charge of the Light Brigade against a heavily defended Russian position. Facing artillery and musket fire on three sides, British cavalrymen were slaughtered in droves as they galloped headlong down the so-called “valley of death.” Yet because they maintained discipline amid the chaos and even managed to briefly scatter the Russians, the British public glorified them. One participant would later describe it as “the most magnificent assault known in military annals and the greatest blunder known to military tactics.”
|Native Americans get the chance to tell their side of the Pilgrim story|
November 17, 2014, Public Radio International by Christopher Woolf
Before the horrors of African slavery came to America’s shores, there was another kind of slave trade on the continent. The victims of this one were Native Americans.
A new exhibition that opened Friday in Plymouth, Massachusetts, highlights this other slave history. It’s an integral part of the town’s preparations for the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims' arrival in 1620, and it focuses on the story of one man in particular: Squanto.
|South Korean buys Napoleon's hat for 1.9m euros|
November 16, 2014, BBC (GB) by Staff
A South Korean collector has paid 1.9m euros ($2.4m; £1.5m) at auction for a hat worn by French Emperor Napoleon.
The two-pointed hat, a style widely worn by military officers at the time, was apparently donned by Napoleon during the Battle of Marengo in 1800.
It was later offered as a gift to Napoleon's veterinarian.
|Bell of captain’s ship recovered from Franklin Expedition|
November 06, 2014, The Globe & Mail (Canada) by Kim Mackrael
arks Canada has retrieved a bronze bell from the wreck of HMS Erebus, one of two ships lost during Sir John Franklin’s doomed expedition in search of the Northwest Passage.
The bell was found resting on the upper deck of the ship, surrounded by underwater plant life but in good condition. An arrow, used to signify property of the British Royal Navy, is still visible on the exterior along with 1845 – the year the Franklin expedition began.
|'Demon Traps' Found in 17th-Century English House|
November 06, 2014, Discovery News by Rossella Lorenzi
English archaeologists have discovered “demon traps” under the floorboards of one of Britain’s most important historic houses.
Consisting of carved intersecting lines and symbols, the witch marks were found in a bedroom at Knole, a huge, stately home in Kent which is considered one of the country’s most precious historic houses.
Acquired by the Archbishops of Canterbury in the 15th century and gifted to Henry VIII and remodeled in the 17th century by the Sackville family, the house was the birthplace of poet and gardener Vita Sackville-West and the setting for Virginia Woolf’s novel Orlando.
|French museums face a cultural change over restitution of colonial objects|
November 03, 2014, The Guardian (GB) by Laurent Carpentier
Ever since explorers, scientists and soldiers started travelling the world and bringing back treasures, France has upheld the principle of the “inalienability” of public heritage. The works that are now in French museums and collections will, supposedly, remain a part of national heritage for ever. This principle was established in 1566, when the edict of Moulins proclaimed that the royal domain was inalienable and imprescriptible. In simpler terms: the sovereign could not give away the assets he or she inherited. Two centuries later, the French revolution based its definition of the public domain on the same principle. It was the only point of reference for explorers sailing round the world in search of possessions and learning.
|Vessel Buried 20 Feet Under New Jersey Beach Could Be Historical Find|
November 03, 2014, Good Morning America by John Fischer
Historians and town officials are eager to excavate the remnants of a vessel more than 100 years old that was discovered on a New Jersey beach by drillers preparing a protective sea wall in the wake of superstorm Sandy.
The discovery could be nothing more than an old barge, but some officials believe it is a much more historical sailing ship from as far back as the 1850s, and at least one has a hunch that it is the skeleton of the Ayrshire, a Scottish brig that crashed on to a New Jersey sandbar in 1850.
|Vatican admits Sistine Chapel frescoes 'whitened'|
October 30, 2014, The Associated Press by Nicole Winfield
The Vatican revealed a closely kept secret Thursday: The Sistine Chapel's precious frescoes were starting to turn white from the air pollution caused by so many visitors passing through each day to marvel at Michelangelo's masterpiece.
Officials first noticed the whitening patina in 2010 and immediately launched an investigation. The damage wasn't visible from the ground, but close inspection showed pockets of frescoes covered with a powdery patina that caked them like cracked sugar icing.
|Sistine chapel dazzles after technological makeover|
October 30, 2014, AFP by Ella Ide
High above the altar in the Vatican's Sistine Chapel, the halo around Jesus Christ's head in Michelangelo's famous frescoes shines with a brighter glow, thanks to a revolutionary new lighting system.
Angels, sybils and prophets in blues, pinks and golds, once lost in the gloom, are brought into sharp relief by 7,000 LED lamps designed specifically for the prized chapel, where red-hatted cardinals have elected new popes since the 15th century.
|The Leonardo hidden from Hitler in case it gave him magic powers|
October 29, 2014, BBC (England) by Dany Mitzman
One of the world's most famous self-portraits is going on rare public display in the northern Italian city of Turin. Very little is known about the 500-year-old, fragile, fading red chalk drawing of Leonardo da Vinci but some believe it has mystical powers.
There is a myth in Turin that the gaze of Leonardo da Vinci in this self-portrait is so intense that those who observe it are imbued with great strength.
|Rewriting history: 400-year-old battle in County Fermanagh|
October 29, 2014, BBC by Julian Fowler
In 1594, soldiers loyal to Queen Elizabeth I, sent to relieve a garrison besieged by Irish chieftain Hugh Maguire in Enniskillen Castle, were ambushed as they crossed the Arney River.
The troops were massacred and their supplies were thrown into the river.
It became known as the Battle of the Ford of the Biscuits.
|Remains of French ship being reassembled in Texas|
October 24, 2014, PhysOrg.com by Michael Graczyk
A frigate carrying French colonists to the New World that sank in a storm off the Texas coast more than 300 years ago is being reassembled into a display that archeologists hope will let people walk over the hull and feel like they are on the ship's deck.
The 1686 wreck of the 54-foot oak frigate La Belle—in an expedition led by famed Mississippi River explorer Rene-Robert Cavelier Sieur de La Salle—is blamed for dooming France's further exploration of what would become Texas and the American Southwest.
|USS Constitution Takes Trip Before 3-year Restoration
October 18, 2014, The Associated Press by Staff
The USS Constitution took one last spin in Boston Harbor before it heads to dry dock for a three-year restoration project.
The world’s oldest commissioned warship still afloat left its berth at the Charlestown Navy Yard with about 500 invited guests Friday morning.
|Panic over Ebola echoes the 19th-century fear of cholera|
October 17, 2014, The Conversation by Sally Sheard
On October 19 an inspector sent north from London to Sunderland reported a long-awaited arrival: the first British case of cholera. It was 1831 and as part of a second pandemic cholera had again progressed from its Bengal heartland through Europe, before reaching the Baltic ports. It was only a matter of time.
The British public, informed by newspaper reports, were acquainted with the symptoms: profuse watery diarrhoea, severe abdominal pain and often death within a matter of hours. In advance of its arrival in Russia thousands fled from the cities. In Poland it was killing one in two victims. And unlike today, where oral rehydration solution can prevent dehydration and shock, there was no effective treatment.
|Christopher Columbus: The Absurd Things Kids Used to Be Taught About History|
October 12, 2014, Boston.com by Hilary Sargent
Buy your 5-year-old a book about Christopher Columbus published in the last decade and you’ll find yourself pausing to explain both “mutiny” and “slavery”.
But as anyone old enough to remember what it’s like to rewind a VHS tape knows, it wasn’t always that way.
The Cruise of Mr. Christopher Columbus: A Really Truly Story, by Sadyebeth & Anson Lowitz, was first published in 1932, and remained popular for decades.
|The (Still) Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe|
October 07, 2014, Smithsonian Magazine by Natasha Geiling
It was raining in Baltimore on October 3, 1849, but that didn't stop Joseph W. Walker, a compositor for the Baltimore Sun, from heading out to Gunner's Hall, a public house bustling with activity. It was Election Day, and Gunner's Hall served as a pop-up polling location for the 4th Ward polls. When Walker arrived at Gunner's Hall, he found a man, delirious and dressed in shabby second-hand clothes, lying in the gutter. The man was semi-conscious, and unable to move, but as Walker approached the him, he discovered something unexpected: the man was Edgar Allan Poe. Worried about the health of the addled poet, Walker stopped and asked Poe if he had any acquaintances in Baltimore that might be able to help him. Poe gave Walker the name of Joseph E. Snodgrass, a magazine editor with some medical training. Immediately, Walker penned Snodgrass a letter asking for help.
|U.N. experts say Haiti wreck is not Columbus' flagship, Santa Maria|
October 07, 2014, CNN by Laura Smith-Spark
An American explorer's claim to have found the long-lost Santa Maria, Christopher Columbus' flagship from his first voyage to the Americas, has been dismissed by a group of U.N. experts. Underwater explorer Barry Clifford made headlines when he said in May that he believed a shipwreck on a reef off Haiti's northern coast could be the fabled ship, which went down in 1492.