Archive | History

50 Years of the Jetsons: Why The Show Still Matters

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via The Smithsonian:

Although it was on the air for only one season, The Jetsons remains our most popular point of reference when discussing the future.

It was over 50 years ago that the Jetson family first jetpacked their way into American homes. The show lasted just one season (24 episodes) after its debut on Sunday September 23, 1962, but today “The Jetsons” stands as the single most important piece of 20th century futurism. More episodes were later produced in the mid-1980s, but it’s that 24-episode first season that helped define the future for so many Americans today.

It’s easy for some people to dismiss “The Jetsons” as just a TV show, and a lowly cartoon at that. But this little show—for better and for worse—has had a profound impact on the way that Americans think and talk about the future. And it’s for this reason that, starting this Friday, I’ll begin to explore the world of “The Jetsons” one episode at a time.

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Why Aristotle Deserves A Posthumous Nobel

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via The Daily Beast:

Shortly before his death in 1882, Charles Darwin received a letter from a physician and classicist named William Ogle. It contained Ogle’s recent translation of Aristotle’s The Parts of Animals and a brief letter in which he confessed to feeling “some self-importance in thus being a kind of formal introducer of the father of naturalists to his great modern successor.”

Aristotle is not typically remembered as the father of naturalists, but Darwin acknowledged a line of intellectual descent. “I had not the most remote notion of what a wonderful man he was,” Darwin wrote of Aristotle in his reply to Ogle. “Linnaeus and Cuvier have been my two gods, though in very different ways, but they were mere school-boys to old Aristotle.”

A fascinating new book by the evolutionary biologist and science writer Armand Marie Leroi claims that Aristotle fully deserves Darwin’s high praise. In The Lagoon: How Aristotle Invented Science, Leroi argues that Aristotle developed many of the empirical and analytical methods that still define scientific inquiry.

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Panic over Ebola echoes the 19th-century fear of cholera

This article was originally published on The Conversation.
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By Sally Sheard, University of Liverpool

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.

Broadsheet warning in 1831. Wellcome Library, London, CC BY-NC-SA

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.

Cholera was (and is) caused by vibrio cholerae bacteria and spread by poor sanitation and unsafe drinking water.… Read the rest

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The Creepy Story of How Budapest Became a “City of Smiles” in the 1930s

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via io9:

A tragic suicide epidemic gripped Budapest, Hungary in the wake of World War I — and some believed it was all caused by a popular song. Even weirder than this idea, though, was how the city tried to combat the suicide problem with a “Smile Club.”

On 17th October, 1937, the Sunday Times Perth explained the Budapest suicide problem:

Although a magnet for tourists from all over the world, Budapest has for several years been known to its own people as The City of Suicides. Budapest suffered badly after the war and has received unpleasant publicity from the number of cases of self-destruction occurring every year within its boundaries. Some of them are alleged to have been inspired by the Budapest song, “Gloomy Sunday”, but be that as it may, the suicide rate in Budapest is definitely high. The favorite method adopted by most Budapest melancholics in drowning, and patrol boats are stationed along the boundary near the bridges to rescue citizens who seek consolation in the dark waters of the Danube.

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The Twisted Art by Zdzisław Beksiński

h/t Reddit. via Wikipedia:
Zdzisław Beksiński (24 February 1929 – 21 February 2005) was a Polish painter, photographer and sculptor, specializing in the field of utopian art. Beksiński did his paintings and drawings in what he called either a 'Baroque' or a 'Gothic' manner. His creations were made mainly in two periods. The first period of work is generally considered to contain expressionistic color, with a strong style of "utopian realism" and surreal architecture, like a doomsday scenario. The second period contained more abstract style, with the main features of formalism. Beksiński was murdered in 2005.
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Correction: US Did Find Chemical Weapons in Iraq – The Ones They Sent There

Iraqi President Saddam Hussein greets Donald Rumsfeld, then special envoy of President Ronald Reagan, in Baghdad on December 20, 1983. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Iraqi President Saddam Hussein greets Donald Rumsfeld, then special envoy of President Ronald Reagan, in Baghdad on December 20, 1983. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Jon Queally writes at Common Dreams:

These aren’t the chemical weapons you’re looking for.

New reporting from the New York Times, published online late Tuesday, reveals that although the administration of George W. Bush employed false claims of a chemical weapons program to justify its 2003 invasion of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq (no such program existed) – the reality is that substantial, largely forgotten and degraded stockpiles of older weapons did exist inside the country.

However, according to the Times, because those weapons dated back to the 1980’s—when the U.S. and other western nations were acting as an ally to Iraq and supplying weapons and chemical agents to Hussein during his war against Iran—U.S. troops who ultimately came across these weapons and ordered to destroy them were told to remain quiet about what they’d encountered, even as it put their own health and those of others in grave danger.

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Hitler Regularly Used Crystal Meth

By Recuerdos de Pandora via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

By Recuerdos de Pandora via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

via The Independent:

Last year, newly published letters written by Nobel prize winner Heinrich Böll appeared to confirm that Nazi troops took crystal methamphetamines in order to stay awake and motivated, despite the desperate conditions they faced on the front line.

Now, new research has revealed that Adolf Hitler was himself a regular user of the drug, now a Class A, prized among addicts for its feeling of euphoria but feared for its mental destructiveness.

According to a 47-page wartime dossier compiled by American Military Intelligence, the Fuhrer was a famous hypochondriac and took over 74 different medications, including methamphetamines.

It claims that Hitler took the drug before his final meeting with Italian fascist leader Mussolini in July of 1943, during which he apparently ranted non-stop for two hours.

Hitler eased the pain of his final days in his bunker with nine injections of a drug called Vitamultin, too, which contained among its ingredients meth-amphetamine.

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