Tag Archives | History

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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9-Foot ‘Butcher Crocodile’ Likely Ruled Before Dinosaurs

A life reconstruction of the giant crocodile ancestor (Carnufex carolinensis) that lived some 231 million years ago in what is now North Carolina. Credit: Copyright Jorge Gonzales. Open access

A life reconstruction of the giant crocodile ancestor (Carnufex carolinensis) that lived some 231 million years ago in what is now North Carolina.
Credit: Copyright Jorge Gonzales. Open access

Bad. Ass.

Jeanna Bryner via Live Science:

A 9-foot-tall beast with bladelike teeth once stalked the warm and wet environs of what is now North Carolina some 230 million years ago, before dinosaurs came onto the scene there, scientists have found.

Now called Carnufex carolinensis, the crocodile ancestor likely walked on its hind legs, preying on armored reptiles and early mammal relatives in its ecosystem, the researchers say.

They named it Carnufex, meaning “butcher” in Latin, because of its long skull, which resembles a knife, and its bladelike teeth, which it likely used to slice flesh off the bones of prey, said lead study author Lindsay Zanno, of NC State University and the NC Museum of Natural Sciences. “‘Butcher’ seemed a very appropriate way to get that into the minds of people,” Zanno told Live Science in an interview.

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Vodou in powerful works of art

VODOUN, VODOU, CONJURE: THE ANIMISTIC ARTS OF THE AFRICAN DIASPORA

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Africa Vodun Sculpture – Fon People – Benin Wood, padlocks, clay pots

The Cavin-Morris Gallery in New York presents an exhibition of magic and spirit expressed in intense and powerful works of art from Africa, Haiti, Jamaica and the United States.

Stereotypical language falls apart when speaking about this kind of magic. The end product of the piece is less important than the means by which it was made. It is all about process and intention. It is an animistic magic that relies on Nature for its material and spiritual sources for healing, for love, for midwifery, for remembrance, for power, for cultural resistance, and ultimately for finding a balance in human nature.

Conjure and Vodou’s earliest manifestations were in the Old World (Africa as the Old World) but when the slaves were forced here from West Africa and the Kongo area, it was remembered and reinvented (creolized) in an American form.… Read the rest

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What really caused the Chernobyl disaster?

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At 01:23:40 on the 26th of April, 1986, Alexander Akimov made his fateful decision and announced that he was pressing the emergency safety button to end a disastrous safety test and shutdown Chernobyl’s fourth nuclear reactor. The control rods began their slow descent into the core. During the few brief moments where Akimov had considered his options, this undoubtedly seemed to him to be the most sensible way to salvage the situation. A significant reason for the core to have become so unstable was that almost all two hundred and eleven rods had been retracted, leaving the men in the room with very little control over the reactor. Given how many backup systems had already been disabled, Akimov should known that there would have been a severe accident either way. Alas, it was, in fact, the worst thing he could have possibly done. Within seconds, the control rods stopped moving and the colossal containment building began to shake.… Read the rest

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Ancient Clay Tablet Contains Customer Complaint — circa 1750 BC

Photo Cred: Reddit user tbc34

Photo Cred: Reddit user tbc34

There’s a clay tablet at the British Museum that contains something social media users know all too well: a customer complaint. Apparently the wrong grade of copper ore was delivered to Nanni, and this severely pissed Nanni off.

The above photo was uploaded to Reddit yesterday by tbc34. Another Redditor, labarna, shared this translation taken from Leo Oppenheim’s book “Letters from Mesopotamia”:

Tell Ea-nasir: Nanni sends the following message:

When you came, you said to me as follows : “I will give Gimil-Sin (when he comes) fine quality copper ingots.” You left then but you did not do what you promised me. You put ingots which were not good before my messenger (Sit-Sin) and said: “If you want to take them, take them; if you do not want to take them, go away!”

What do you take me for, that you treat somebody like me with such contempt?

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