Tag Archives | History

Time to Abolish Columbus Day

From the very beginning, Columbus was not on a mission of discovery but of conquest and exploitation. It is time to abolish the holiday commemorating his accomplishments. (Photo: University of Wisconsin-Madison)

From the very beginning, Columbus was not on a mission of discovery but of conquest and exploitation. It is time to abolish the holiday commemorating his accomplishments. (Photo: University of Wisconsin-Madison)

This post originally appeared on Common Dreams. See more of Bill Bigelow’s articles here.

Once again this year many schools will pause to commemorate Christopher Columbus. Given everything we know about who Columbus was and what he launched in the Americas, this needs to stop.

Columbus initiated the trans-Atlantic slave trade, in early February 1494, first sending several dozen enslaved Taínos to Spain. Columbus described those he enslaved as “well made and of very good intelligence,” and recommended to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella that taxing slave shipments could help pay for supplies needed in the Indies. A year later, Columbus intensified his efforts to enslave Indigenous people in the Caribbean. He ordered 1,600 Taínos rounded up—people whom Columbus had earlier described as “so full of love and without greed”—and had 550 of the “best males and females,” according to one witness, Michele de Cuneo, chained and sent as slaves to Spain.… Read the rest

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How Hacktivists Will Break Corporate Control of Information Within a Decade


Jake Anderson via Activist Post:

Sci-fi author and information rights activist Cory Doctorow appeared out of the dusty heat of the 2015 Burning Man in a gray jumpsuit and a pair of Adbusters Black Spot sneakers. In his hand he held a small black moleskin, which he glanced at intermittently while delivering an electrifying, albeit head-spinning talk on the future of the Internet of Things.

Doctorow, who recently re-joined the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), contextualized theInternet of Things as an information rights struggle that requires an end to patent laws that forbid jailbreaking digital locks. Concordantly, he and the EFF have an ambitious plan: To dismantle the draconian Digital Rights Management (DRM) laws currently protected by the DMCA Section 1201. Doctorow and the EFF seek to counter this oppressive legislation with the Apollo 1201 initiative, by which they will strategically pick cases that can clearly demonstrate Congress violated the Constitution when it passed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) in 1998.

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How Sacred Science Addresses What Modern Physics Ignores

Tom Bunzel via Collective Evolution:

In a recent attempt to understand how conventional physics “explains” reality, I began to read Lawrence Krauss’ A Universe from Nothing

Krauss is one of those famous scientists like Richard Dawkins who doesn’t find anything strange about the fact that existence IS.

Instead he takes EVERYTHING for granted and attacks, like Dawkins and Bill Maher, the low hanging fruit of organized religion and its dogmatic, unproven Gods created in our image.

When I tried reading his book I got a bit frustrated and then checked the index for the word “consciousness,” and when I did not find it, I put the book aside.

The question really is – “what” exactly is “nothing.”

First and foremost it is a concept.  Nothing does not exist.  What exists is, well, everything.

Nothing is the word or placeholder we use for null – similar to zero in math – but in both cases (words and math) they are human abstractions or interpretations of Nature. 

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Air France Executives Attacked as Carrier Cuts 2,900 Jobs

Airbus | A380-861 | Air France | F-HPJJ | Hong Kong | HKG | VHHH
Mathieu Rosemain via Bloomberg:

Air France executives were forced to flee with their clothes in tatters after workers stormed a meeting at Charles de Gaulle airport in protest at 2,900 planned job cuts.

Human resources chief Xavier Broseta and Pierre Plissonnier, head of long-haul flights, scaled an eight-foot fence to escape, aided by security guards. Broseta emerged shirtless and Plissonnier had his suit ripped to shreds.

Violence erupted Monday as Air France told its works council that 300 pilots, 900 flight attendants and 1,700 ground staff might have to go after failed productivity talks with flight crew. The protest, in which agitators chanted “naked, naked,” is just the latest to turn physical in France, where managers at Michelin & Cie. and Sony Corp. have been held hostage over firings, irate farmers have blocked city streets with tractors and manure and more than 100 Uber Technologies Inc. taxis have been smashed up by rival drivers.

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Holocaust Archaeology: A Harrowing Investigation into Treblinka

It’s hard to believe that Holocaust denialism is still a thing but this is the internet. And it is still a thing.


Forensic Magazine offers a profile of a forensic archaeologist searching for clues at the infamous Treblinka concentration camp:

For Caroline Sturdy Colls, a British archaeologist, what lies in that soil at Treblinka tells the story of perhaps the greatest crime of the 20th century. She tells part of that story in a new book, and an exhibit at the site, both unveiled this year.

Sturdy Colls and a colleague excavating the site at Treblinka.

Sturdy Colls and a colleague excavating the site at Treblinka.

“I view the Holocaust as a crime,” she toldForensic Magazine in an exclusive interview. “You can consider the sites [across Europe] as one big crime scene…

“There’s almost a social responsibility, to forensic archaeologists in particular who have got the skill sets in terms of investigating crimes, to apply those to the investigation of the Holocaust,” she added.

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A Short Vision (1956)

This short animated film is Peter and Joan Foldes’ second and last film together. Its bleak subject – the end of the world caused by a nuclear apocalypse – reflects a widespread preoccupation in 50s Britain which would soon lead to the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND). The film is composed mostly of still drawings, creating a terrifying effect amplified by a sombre commentary spoken in the style of the Bible. The film had a very strong impact on audiences, in particular across the Atlantic, where it was shown on primetime television to millions of American viewers and reportedly produced one of the biggest reactions since Orson Welles’ ‘War of the Worlds’ broadcast in 1938. (Christophe Dupin)

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If Women Ruled the World – Is a Matriarchal Society the Solution?

woman to woman
Steve Taylor, Ph.D, via Waking Times:

Is a matriarchal society the solution to our problems?

I’ve just returned from Crete, where I visited the ancient palace of Knossos, and the archaeological museum in Heraklion, where thousands of the artifacts and artworks of ancient Crete are displayed.

The most striking thing about the culture of ancient Crete (or Minoan culture, as it is often called) is how prominent women are. They are everywhere in Minoan artwork, on pottery, frescoes and figurines (small stone statues). They are shown as priestesses, goddesses, dancing and talking at social occasions, in beautiful dresses with their breasts on show. There is a striking fresco of a beautifully dressed woman surrounded by a group of half-naked dancing men.

It is clear that – as many archaeologists have agreed – this was a society in which women had very high status; at least as high as men.

Some archaeologists believe that the Minoans worshiped a goddess, and that women were the main religious leaders.

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When Nuclear Energy Almost Took to the Skies

"NB-36H with B-50, 1955 - DF-SC-83-09332" by USAF - U.S. Defenseimagery.mil photo no. DF-SC-83-09332. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons.

Back in the 1950s, under the threat of communist apocalypse, the US military had plans for a long-range bomber using the energy of nuclear decay heat to stay aloft for weeks at a time. The Convair X-6 was a design to use a radical, high-temperature, molten-salt-fueled-and-cooled reactor (MSR), and made nuclear-powered aviation come quite close to reality. This program, called NEPA (Nuclear Energy for the Propulsion of Aircraft), like its space-faring cousin-project NERVA, was ultimately a sink for around 7 billion US taxpayer dollars before it was cancelled by Eisenhower. But it actually resulted in the development of a radical type of reactor (MSR) that still could be used to safely generate massive amounts of electricity. More on that later.

The Convair X-6 bomber prototype, which carried a working nuclear reactor and heavy radiation shielding for the pilots (105,000 pounds of lead alone), was test flown nearly a dozen times in 1957.… Read the rest

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‘This Goes All the Way to the Queen’: The Puzzle Book that Drove England to Madness


Jess Zimmerman via Hazlitt:

There were more and more signs every time Ron Fletcher went to Rodborough Common. First, he found empty bottles of Haigh whiskey under a hawthorn bush—Haigh, like Haigha, the name of the March Hare in Lewis Carroll. Hare. There were more in the trash bin, along with bottles of Idris lemonade—when he took them away, they replenished themselves as if by magic. Of course, someone could be a heavy drinker of whiskey and lemonade, but everyone knows Idris is an ogre in Welsh mythology, and he plays a harp, and the trash bin was near a bench dedicated to one Fred Harper. It all connected. Ron found nothing in the hole in the tree with the blue ribbon—a blue ribbon just like the one on the Penny-Pockets Lady’s apron in the book—but on the bench he found a letter. It seemed to be a love letter from a man to another man, but that was only a front.

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