|Just Watch Us: The Utopian Dream of Total Openness|
December 17, 2010, The Globe and Mail (Canada) by Doug Saunders
Two hundred and twenty-seven years ago, English reformer Jeremy Bentham proposed an idea that seemed to foretell everything in 2010: What if, instead of private individuals judged only by God, we had a society based on total and universal transparency, in which anyone could be observed at any moment and government activities and citizens' lives could instantly be assessed by anyone who cared to look?
A world without privacy, he declared, would be a world of universal morality: “A new mode of obtaining power of mind over mind, in a quantity hitherto without example: and that, to a degree equally without example, secured by whoever chooses to have it so, against abuse.”
|Written with the Hand of Him Who Wishes He Were Yours|
December 16, 2010, Letters of Note by King Henry VIII
From the hand of King Henry VIII in 1527 we have a letter (the first part of which was written in English, the second part in French) to the second of his six wives, Anne Boleyn. At this point, Henry was reluctantly still married to his wife of 18 years, Catherine of Aragon, and still without the son he so desperately wanted; for the past two years he had been doggedly pursuing Boleyn - a woman who had, much to his frustration, resisted his advances whilst awaiting the annulment of his first marriage - and had recently found lodgings for her in London.
Six years later, in 1533, they married. In 1536, Anne Boleyn was beheaded.
|Look What We’ve Found During the Civil War Dig|
December 16, 2010, Worcester News (UK) by Lauren Rogers
ARCHAEOLOGISTS are busy unearthing Worcester’s Civil War past in the heart of the city.
A dig is taking place in Lowesmoor, just metres away from the street King Charles II used to escape the Battle of Worcester in 1651.
|President's House - with Memorial to Enslaved Africans - Opens on Independence Mall|
December 16, 2010, The Philadelphia Inquirer by Stephan Salisbury
In bitter cold flecked by an occasional flurry, as hundreds looked on, the President's House memorial, which marks the site where George Washington and John Adams conducted their presidencies and where Washington held at least nine enslaved Africans, opened to the public Wednesday in a 45-minute ceremony.
Mayor Nutter and key historians and activists stood before a granite wall incised with the names of the nine as the official ribbon was cut at 12:45 p.m. Immediately, a great throng of people pressed forward into the commemorative exhibition, just north of the Liberty Bell Center on Independence Mall.
|Theory Over Famous Mendelssohn 'Fingal's Cave' Overture|
December 16, 2010, BBC (UK) by Staff
A Scots writer has suggested a new link between the famous Felix Mendelssohn composition Hebrides Overture and the Scottish landmark which inspired it.
Iain Thornber claims the work, also known as Fingal's Cave, was purposely finished on the only day of the year the cave is illuminated by sunlight.
The German composer completed the initial draft on 16 December 1830.
|Jane Austen's 235th Birthday Marked by Google Doodle|
December 16, 2010, The Telegraph (UK) by Laura Roberts
The image on the search engine home page is of a man in top hat and breeches accompanied by a demure-looking woman in a bonnet as they take a country stroll.
They could be from any number of Austen's much-loved books - perhaps Mr Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice or Emma Woodhouse and George Knightley from Emma.
The English novelist was born on December 16, 1775 and died on July 18, 1817.
|Indonesian Fishermen Find Old Sunken Ship|
December 16, 2010, The Associated Press by Irwan Firdaus
A sunken ship that may be several centuries old and containing green and gray ceramics has been found off remote Indonesian islands recently hit by a tsunami, officials said Thursday.
Fishermen who found the vessel believe the Oct. 26 wave off the Mentawai islands — which killed more than 500 people — lifted the 20-foot- (7-meter-) long ship from the ocean floor and pushed it closer to shore, said Yosmeri, who heads West Sumatra's Maritime and Fishery Department.
|Historic Visit Celebrated: French Historian Stopped in Sandy Bridge in 1831|
December 16, 2010, The Jackson Sun (TN) by Stanley Dunlap
Several people remarked Wednesday morning on the unusually frigid weather that coincidentally mirrored the day of a historic visit to a tiny West Tennessee city nearly two centuries ago.
About 25 people, bundled in coats as freezing rain briefly descended, gathered on U.S. 70 in Hollow Rock, where French aristocrats Alexis de Tocqueville and Gustave de Beaumont spent four days at a former log cabin inn. The ceremony included the unveiling of a state marker detailing their historic 1831 visit to the rural town, then known as Sandy Bridge.
|Ghostly Goings-on at Chorleywood Memorial Hall|
December 16, 2010, The Watford Observer (UK) by Melanie Dakin
Ghosts are writ large in Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, but when Talkwood Productions started rehearsals for their production at The Chorleywood Memorial Hall, they found they had one spook too many.
When Dickens penned the tale in 1843 he made Ebenezer Scrooge endure four ghostly visitations – Marley’s Ghost, and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future. However, the hall may possibly house a real spirit. Apparently, several people, including caretaker Mike Arnold have experienced some ghostly goings-on there. The voice of a young girl has been heard on several occasions over the years. The voice, which seems to be just in the next room, greets them with a simple ‘Hello’.
|Brazil Central – The Mysterie of the Giant Indigenous|
December 16, 2010, Brazil Weird news by Staff
1819, october. The botanist Carl Friedrich von Martius and the zoologist Johan Baptist von Spix and their expedition arrived at Manaus, capital of the Amazonas state. At that time, there was not city of Manaus. In that place there was not even a village.
However, in this place is the location of the confluence of the rivers Negro and Solimões, way to the Jupurá river, area yet little known near the border with Colombia. It's through the river that is possible to reaches Manacapuru, the legendary land of the giants indigenous of the Amazon. Today, the mysterious people no longer exists. Only a few traces of their ethnicity survives in some individuos of the region.
|Church Affirms Virgin Mary Apparition in Wisconsin|
December 15, 2010, The Los Angeles Times by Rick Rojas
Amid a patchwork of Wisconsin farmland half an hour's drive northeast of Green Bay is a modest shrine with a brick chapel, a school and a flow of pilgrims speaking of profound healing power.
The power is said to come from the Virgin Mary, who appeared to a Belgian immigrant 151 years ago where the shrine now stands. But all believers had to show for it were years of anecdotes — and the canes, wheelchairs and crutches left behind in the chapel's crypt by those who claimed they had been healed.
|Scientists Identify Head of France's King Henry IV|
December 14, 2010, The Associated Press by Maria Cheng
After nine months of tests, researchers in France have identified the head of France's King Henry IV, who was assassinated in 1610 at the age of 57.
The scientific tests helped identify the late monarch's embalmed head, which was shuffled between private collections ever since it disappeared during the French Revolution in 1793.
|New Insights into Items from the Mary Rose|
December 14, 2010, ArchNews by Stephen
VIDEO: Two major areas will provide new insights into items from Henry VIII’s Tudor warship by facing them against the interior of the ship itself at thenew £16.3 million Mary Rose Museum.
Speaking in a video update on the progress of the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard development, which is expected to be completed in 2012, Exhibition Co-Ordinator Nick Butterley revealed a series of tiny models being laid into cases in a separate storage area at the naval attraction.
|The Surprising Truth: Christians Once Banned Christmas|
December 14, 2010, Life's Little Mysteries by Remy Melina
It may seem like Christmas has always been celebrated in the United States, but that's not the case. In fact, the joyous religious holiday was actually banned in America for several decades – by Christians themselves.
The original war on Christmas was waged during the sixteenth and seventeenth century by Puritans, or Protestant Christians who believed that people needed strict rules to be religious and that any kind of merrymaking was sinful.
|Historians Lament Plan to Fill in Petty's Run Excavation in Trenton|
December 13, 2010, The Philadelphia Inquirer by Edward Colimore
To the untrained eye, the rough-looking tract on the south side of the Statehouse in Trenton looks like an ordinary construction site.
To archaeologists and historians, it's a rare treasure. Deep in the earth are the remains of what may be the only colonial-era steel mill excavated in North America.
|The Real-Life Da Vinci Code: Historians Discover Tiny Numbers and Letters in the Eyes of the Mona Lisa|
December 13, 2010, The Daily Mail (UK) by Nick Pisa and Luke Salkeld
Intrigue is usually focused on her enigmatic smile.
But the Mona Lisa was at the centre of a new mystery yesterday after art detectives took a fresh look at the masterpiece – and noticed something in her eyes.
Hidden in the dark paint of her pupils are tiny letters and numbers, placed there by the artist Leonardo da Vinci and revealed only now thanks to high- magnification techniques.
|New Jersey to Rebury Colonial Treasures|
December 13, 2010, Reuters by Jon Hurdle
Archeologists who have uncovered the ruins of an important colonial site in New Jersey's capital Trenton will have to rebury them soon because the state doesn't have the money to finish the project.
Petty's Run, an iron and steel forge dating from about 1730, has yielded fragments of guns and pottery, cups, coins and other items from before and after the American Revolution, during a year-long dig next to the State House.
|Louis XIV: The Science King|
December 13, 2010, New Scientist by Laura Spinney
When Louis XIV died in 1715, surgeons still belonged to the same profession as barbers and wigmakers in France, and the only functions they were allowed to perform were to shave, bleed and bring babies into the world. When a surgeon was called to remove the king's anal fistula in 1686, he did the job with a slightly modified barber's razor.
All that was soon to change, however, largely thanks to Louis XIV himself. As a new exhibition at the Palace of Versailles attests, his reign ushered in a century or more of scientific development that would be centred on the royal court, and that began when his chief minister, Jean-Baptiste Colbert, suggested he establish a national academy of sciences in 1666.
|The Victorian Shaman|
December 13, 2010, Fortean Times by Guy Reid-Brown
No doubt as this Advent comm ences, I, and many others, will be re-reading Charles Dickens’s 1843 seasonal classic “A Christmas Carol” for the umpteenth time. Those of us who have fallen under its spell will doubtless continue to do so every year, even if we live to be as old as the oldest Biblical patriarch, and each time with the same degree of emotion – whether it be delight, wonder or sadness – as the times before.
In any other context, such behaviour might be interpreted as borderline obsessive, but that simply doesn’t apply here. Ponder this for a moment: there are few other works in Western literat ure that have enjoyed such a breadth and variety of adaptations across all media. The tale continually reinvents itself, the same and yet different; yet by any reasonable measure the work is slim, compact – by Dickens’s own expans ive standards positively Lilliput ian. So what is its secret?
|Death, Taxes, and the American Founders|
December 13, 2010, History News Network by Andrew M. Schocket
The proposed tax deal between President Obama and Congressional Republican leaders includes a revision of the federal estate (inheritance) tax. At stake are issues as old as the nation: individual property rights versus the democratic ethos, and the need for savings versus the need for resources for the common good. For many of today's issues—such as Internet neutrality or nuclear disarmament—appealing to the founders seems clearly inappropriate. But in the case of the estate tax, the founders struggled with the same issues that we struggle with today. And many of them—though not all—believed that taxing and reducing large estates was a good idea, for it benefited society as a whole.
...Some founders wanted to eliminate inheritance entirely. In a letter to James Madison, Thomas Jefferson suggested that all property be redistributed every fifty years, because "the earth belongs in usufruct to the living." Madison gently pointed out the plan's impracticality. Benjamin Franklin unsuccessfully pushed for the first Pennsylvania constitution to declare concentrated wealth "a danger to the happiness of mankind."
|What Did the Tories Want in the American Revolution?|
December 13, 2010, History News Network by Thomas B. Allen
The grand story of the American Revolution forms the backdrop of today’s Tea Party, whose members tell us to look to our nation’s origin, when patriots also protested taxes and governance. But when we remember how America began, we should also remember that within the Revolution there raged a civil war. The rebels fought not only the British but also other Americans who called themselves Loyalists. The rebels called them Tories, a derogatory label linked to the Irish word for outlaw.
|No Matter the Weather, Our Lady of Guadalupe Festival Goes on|
December 11, 2010, The Chicago Tribune by Robert Channick
Rain and slush Saturday proved no match for thousands of Catholics who descended upon a sacred Des Plaines shrine honoring Our Lady of Guadalupe, the patron saint of Mexico, to celebrate the day she reportedly appeared to a peasant in the 16th century.
...The date marks the reported appearance in 1531 of the Virgin Mary to peasant Juan Diego on a hillside in Tepeyac, near what is now Mexico City. While pilgrimages to a shrine at the original site have been taking place for nearly two centuries, the annual trek to a replica on the grounds of Maryville Academy is a more recent tradition.
|EIU Panel Turns Down New Name for Douglas Hall|
December 10, 2010, Journal Gazette & Times-Courier (IL) by Rob Stroud
The Eastern Illinois University Naming Committee voted Tuesday to recommend not changing Douglas Hall's namesake from Stephen Douglas to Frederick Douglass.
The committee also suggested that EIU take steps to emphasize that Douglas Hall, part of a complex with Lincoln Hall, is named as part of a commemoration of the Sept. 18, 1858, Lincoln-Douglas debate in Charleston, not in tribute to Stephen Douglas as an individual, and to promote this debate history.
|Sussex Hospital Helps in Probe of Shipwreck Mystery|
December 09, 2010, WBOC (MD) by Michael Lopardi
Delaware archaeologists turned to a Sussex County hospital this week hoping to find some clues surrounding a marine mystery.
On Wednesday, radiology staff at Beebe Medical Center X-rayed multiple artifacts pulled from the waters of the Roosevelt Inlet near Lewes.
The pieces belong to an unidentified shipwreck about 15 feet below the surface but are too difficult to identify by plain eye. The hope was an X-ray could provide an inside look at artifacts that may help identify the sunken vessel.
|Church: Wis. Site 1st US Virgin Mary Apparition|
December 08, 2010, The Associated Press by Staff
A Wisconsin site where an apparition of the Virgin Mary allegedly appeared three times to a Belgian-born nun in 1859 has earned the Roman Catholic Church's designation as the only of its kind in the U.S.
The site in the town of Champion has long been a popular destination for the faithful since the apparition was reported by Sister Adele Brise.