Tag Archives | History

Hubble Space Telescope: 25 Years Exploring the Cosmos

Hubble captured this mountain of dust and gas rising in the Carina Nebula. The top of a three-light-year tall pillar of cool hydrogen is being worn away by the radiation of nearby stars, while stars within the pillar unleash jets of gas that stream from the peaks. Photo by NASA, ESA, and M. Livio and the Hubble 20th Anniversary Team (STScI)

Hubble captured this mountain of dust and gas rising in the Carina Nebula. The top of a three-light-year tall pillar of cool hydrogen is being worn away by the radiation of nearby stars, while stars within the pillar unleash jets of gas that stream from the peaks. Photo by NASA, ESA, and M. Livio and the Hubble 20th Anniversary Team (STScI)

Jasmine Wright and Margaret Myers Via PBS.org:

Hubble’s contributions to space exploration are countless. Its images, explains Hubble Space Telescope Senior Project Scientist Jennifer Wiseman, have shown the first definitive detection of supermassive black holes at the centers of galaxies. They also have provided measurement of the expansion rate of the universe, and detection (along with ground-based telescopes) of acceleration in that expansion, caused by mysterious “dark energy” that appears to be pushing the universe apart.

“Hubble will go down in history as having changed the textbooks by totally revolutionizing humanity’s view of the universe, and our place in it,” Wiseman says.

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Debunking the Debunkers of October Surprise

81oYiGW8hKL._SL1350_Y’know how a bunch of Republicans sent a letter to Iran a few weeks ago?  It got me thinking about history…

Robert Parry, writing at Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting in 2013:

Editor’s Note: This is an excerpt from investigative reporter Robert Parry’s new book, America’s Stolen Narrative. One of the book’s storylines examines corporate media’s role in squelching investigation into whether Ronald Reagan’s presidential campaign in 1980 went behind President Jimmy Carter’s back to contact Iranian officials then holding 52 Americans hostage, a controversy dubbed the October Surprise.

When the possibility of a serious October Surprise investigation emerged in the latter half of 1991, an intimidating phalanx of powerful players was arrayed against it, from Ronald Reagan’s many defenders, to the sitting President George H.W. Bush, to David Rockefeller’s business and government circles, to past and present officers in the CIA, to the Israeli government.

If Congress conducted a tough-minded investigation, there was no telling where it might go and who might be harmed.

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The Wild Story of the Self-Castrated, Christian Soldier Who Killed Lincoln’s Assassin

Boston Corbett. Photograph by Mathew Brady/Library of Congress

Boston Corbett. Photograph by Mathew Brady/Library of Congress

Here’s your long, but interesting, read of the day, courtesy of Washingtonian. How much do you know about the guy who killed the guy who killed Abe Lincoln? His name was Boston Corbett. He was a soldier, a hat-maker, insanely religious (the Christian kind), and shares some interesting commonalities with Jack Ruby (the man who killed the man who killed JFK). Oh, and did I mention that he castrated himself? Well, he did — in response to his involuntary erection at the sight of some prostitutes.

Bill Jensen via Washingtonian:

The fire in the tobacco barn was starting to rage, and inside was the most wanted man in America: John Wilkes Booth, the traitor who had shot President Abraham Lincoln at Ford’s Theatre 12 days earlier.

Nursing a broken leg, Booth had made it 73 miles to Port Royal, Virginia, with federal troops in pursuit.

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As Above, So Below: True Meaning of The Cross With Crichton Miller

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“We are on firmer ground when we reflect on how our ancestors used the stars — for timekeeping, calendar-making, and navigation at sea.”
The History of Astronomy by Heather Couper and Nigel Henbest, p.8

The Golden Thread of Time by Crichton E. M. Miller traces the history of the cross from Paleolithic and Neolithic hunter-gatherers to stone age seafarers and megalith masons. He argues that the cross was not merely a religious symbol, but a device used to measure time, navigate, make astronomical observations, and create architecture. He first came to this realization when attempting to discover an ancient theodolite capable of accuracy to 3 minutes of arc in order to measure the pyramids of Giza. He suddenly found himself kneeling before such a device in the form of a cross. It was this discovery, or rediscovery, that initiated his journey to understand the true meaning and history of the cross.

“How did the cross originate?” I asked.… Read the rest

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The Truth about Lying

Tristan Schmurr (CC BY 2.0)

Tristan Schmurr (CC BY 2.0)

John Turri writes at Experimental Philosophy:

Lying is an important social and moral category. We react negatively to liars and their lies. But what is it to lie? The standard view in philosophy and social science is that a lie is a dishonest assertion. This view goes all the way back to at least the 4th century, when Augustine wrote, “He may say a true thing and yet lie, if he thinks it to be false and utters it for true.” On this view, lying is a purely psychological act: it does not require your assertion to be objectively false, only that you believe it is false.

About two years ago, my son Angelo came across an expression of the standard view of lying. He wondered whether it fit the ordinary concept of lying. (You might be able to imagine the sort of dinnertime conversations that could lead a twelve-year-old to become curious on this point.) In particular, Angelo was interested in whether, on the ordinary view, lying was a purely psychological act.

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A Report From Occupied Territory — James Baldwin

"James Baldwin Allan Warren" by Allan warren - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:James_Baldwin_Allan_Warren.jpg#/media/File:James_Baldwin_Allan_Warren.jpg

“James Baldwin Allan Warren” by Allan warren – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Still eerily relevant 49 years later…

James Baldwin via The Nation:

July 11, 1966

On April 17, 1964, in Harlem, New York City, a young salesman, father of two, left a customer’s apartment and went into the streets. There was a great commotion in the streets, which, especially since it was a spring day, involved many people, including running, frightened, little boys. They were running from the police. Other people, in windows, left their windows, in terror of the police because the police had their guns out, and were aiming the guns at the roofs. Then the salesman noticed that two of the policemen were beating up a kid: “So I spoke up and asked them, ‘why are you beating him like that?’ Police jump up and start swinging on me. He put the gun on me and said, ‘get over there.’ I said, ‘what for?’ ”

An unwise question.

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Chilean artist Cecilia Avendaño’s strange and evocative portraits

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Cecilia Avendaño Bobillier. Santiago, Chile 1980.

Cecilia Avendaño Bobillier graduated from University of Chile where she studied visual arts and photography. Cecilia began exhibiting her work in 2002, participating in numerous group exhibitions in Chile and abroad. She’s participated in outstanding one person shows including Sala Cero at Animal Gallery, National Museum of Fine Arts, as well as BAC! Festival in Barcelona’s MACBA, Museum of Contemporary Art at the University of Chile, Centro Cultural Borges in Buenos Aires Argentina. Her most recent work includes digital post production operations on photography where she composes images that become portraits, but operates with different concepts related to identity construction. She has been selected twice for the National Fund FONDART, plus obtaining the second place in the art contest “Artists of the XXI Century” organized by the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile and Banco Santander. She currently lives and works in Santiago, Chile.

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Portrait by Tomas Eyzaguirre

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EMERGE / CECILIA AVENDAÑO.Read the rest

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Iconic boab trees trace journeys of ancient Aboriginal people

Legend tells that huge hollow boabs were used as prisons in north west Australia. Robyn Jay/Flickr, CC BY-SA

Legend tells that huge hollow boabs were used as prisons in north west Australia. Robyn Jay/Flickr, CC BY-SA

Haripriya Rangan, Monash University

Baobabs, the iconic bottle trees of Africa and Madagascar, have a single relative, the boab, living in the Kimberley region of northwest Australia. No one knows when and how the boab came across from Africa to Australia, or why its natural range is limited to this region.

In a study published recently in PLOS ONE, we solve one part of this mystery by showing that ancient Aboriginal peoples were responsible for spreading the boab in the Kimberley.

The boab mystery

An early hypothesis was that baobabs existed in parts of the supercontinent of Gondwana, which split up and became Africa, Madagascar and Australia more than 50 million years ago. This was not very convincing because, for one thing, peninsular India was part of that massive continental break-up, but does not have any of its own baobab species.… Read the rest

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How Long is History According to Islam?

Alan Cleaver (CC BY 2.0)

Alan Cleaver (CC BY 2.0)

Kenitra – My previous article ‘The First People’ hints at the idea that history of mankind is longer than what people generally assume. Some readers and friends have pointed out that history cannot be more than 6,000 years old. This view is inconsistent with the NASA estimation for the astronomical cycle of the vernal equinox precession that lasts 25,800 years and which had been observed in the remote past. This conservative viewpoint of history, which some people cling to, stems from the influence of the Judeo-Christian calendar as well as the lack of historical records beyond 6,000 B.C. Islam however is silent about the length of history or at least indirect.

This article is an attempt to demonstrate how vast history is and to determine a conservative estimation of its length according to Islam. Before we proceed to that, we need to take a look at what the Judeo-Christian tradition view on history’s span.… Read the rest

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