19th 20th century


Interesting: marijuana cultivation is the most significant factor driving the Pacific fisher toward extinction. Not the farms for recreational marijuana, but marijuana farms operated by the cartels. They poison the fishers with things such as hot dogs dipped in rat poison.

I like these two quotes from the video, about extinction:

  • “I don’t see how future generations will look on extinctions in anything but an unkind light.”
  • “We have the capacity to protect them here. If we choose not to, we are making a statement about our values.”

Description, from bioGraphic:

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, populations of the fisher (Pekania pennanti)—a forest-dwelling member of the weasel and otter family—were in steep decline across much of its native range of northern North America. Both fur trapping and habitat loss from logging and urbanization took a heavy toll. However, once trapping bans and timber harvest restrictions were put in place, the species rebounded in many regions.

Unfortunately, that trend hasn’t carried over to the West Coast of the U.S., where an isolated population of fishers, known as the Pacific fisher, continues to struggle. Scientists estimate that only 4,000 Pacific fishers remain, with just 300 left in California’s Sierra Nevada Range. These individuals now face a new and rising threat: illegal marijuana grow sites that are cropping up on public lands. Growers use poisons to protect their plants from rodents, and these chemicals are indiscriminate killers.

Despite the Pacific fisher’s high vulnerability to extinction, this little-known mammal has yet to receive federal protection under the Endangered Species Act. In the absence of this type of government regulation, an uneasy collaboration among scientists, conservation organizations, and the timber industry has filled in to take its place. For now, these efforts offer hope for the Pacific fisher—but without endangered species status, there are no assurances that current protections will continue into the future.


Chainmail myths and the foibles of “historical testing”,

Chainmail armor is perhaps the most misunderstood type of armor in history, often viewed by people who don’t know much about ancient or medieval weapons as a low quality lesser form of armor. Unfortunately nothing could be further from the truth, and the reputation of chainmail has suffered as a result. Typically when one thinks of chainmail one thinks of Europe and the Middle Ages. In fact, chainmail has been used all over the world by many cultures and dates to ancient times, including civilizations such as the Ancient Celts (who possibly invented mail), Ancient Rome,Medieval Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, India, Southeast Asia, China, and Japan.  Chainmail was even used by warriors in remote areas well into the 19th and early 20th century. Today chainmail is still in use, used by butchers and meatpackers to protect from accidental cuts, used in stab resistant vests employed by law enforcement, and even used by divers to protect against shark bites.

There are many reasons why chainmail is looked down upon by modern peoples uneducated on the effectiveness of ancient or medieval armor.  Contributors include movies and video games.  One common source which I feel contributes the most to the chainmail myth is modern “historical testing” of chainmail armor, often on TV shows such as on the History Channel, Discovery Channel, or the many Youtube videos on the subject.  Typically what occurs in this testing is that a so called historian or expert will test a piece of replica chainmail against replica weapons.  To the amazement of the viewer, the mail is sliced to smithereens with a sword, skewered like a kabob with spears, and pierced to death with arrows.  To the uneducated viewer, it would seem that chainmail was a completely useless type of armor, and even the most reputable of sources makes similar claims, that chainmail was deficient and was not effective for protection.  I can think of no better example than this clip from a History Channel show, the testing of which begins around 2:50.

There is a problem with the idea that chainmail was ineffective, and even basic reasoning and logic should expose that problem.  After all, if chainmail was so ineffective, why did anyone bother to wear it into combat? Why did knights, nobles, and soldiers spend fortunes on chainmail when it was almost useless?  Why would cultures across the world spanning thousands of years bother using it if it didn’t do its job of offering bodily protection?

The truth of the matter is that in reality, chainmail was exceedingly effective for its purpose, and in the cultures that it was used, in the time periods it was used, it was often among the best if not the very best option available. A warrior who went into battle wearing mail had a much greater advantage over opponents with lesser armor or no armor at all. So why do these “historical tests” often show it as being ineffective? First, it must be known that there are two basic types of historical chainmail, butted and riveted. There is a third type, welded mail, but this is mostly a modern creation that wasn’t used in history. Butted chainmail is a constructed out of wire bent into rings with the ends touching. The wire ends are abutting hence the name “butted” mail. There’s nothing fastening the two ends together, thus butted mail tends to be very weak and easy to damage.

The other common type is riveted chainmail. Riveted mail consists of metal rings that are fastened together with a metal pin or rivet.  As a result, riveted mail is much stronger than butted mail, in fact it’s typically 10 to 15 times stronger. Generally speaking riveted mail also tends to have a denser weave using better quality materials.

Butted chainmail really only has one purpose; as costume armor.  It is not meant to be used as real protective armor, and there are only a few examples throughout history of butted mail being used in combat.  Soldiers, knights, and warriors throughout history almost always used riveted mail due to its strength.  I cannot stress this point enough, butted mail is not real armor.  It is cheap costume armor produced for collecting, LARPing, cosplay, trick or treating, or perhaps ceremonial purposes.  It is not made to protect someone in combat. I should also note that in combat a suit of mail was typically not worn alone, but often worn with a padded jacket such as a gambeson. This not only added extra protection, but prevented chaffing and discomfort.

So in historical tests performed on TV or Youtube, what type of armor is most typically used? Well, whether its ignorance or because the producer bought a cheap piece of armor in order to save a few bucks, more likely than not butted mail will be used.  Thus why such experiments often have terrible results.

Unfortunately there are few tests using actual chainmail armor with riveted links.  However those few that do exist have a totally different story to tell and show just how effective chainmail really is.

In this video a person actually wears a suit of riveted mail while his friend stabs him with a knife.

I would suggest checking out some youtube channels such as skallagrim, the metatron, scholagladiatora, ThegnThrand, knyghterrynt, and shadiversity.  They do a good job dispelling the many myths about ancient and medieval weapons and armor, as well as giving loads of quality historical information.

anonymous asked:

is it true that some people call catalonian people poles/polish? why?

Yes, it is!

Many Spanish people pejoratively call Catalan people (especially those from Catalonia) “polacos” (“Poles”) and the Catalan language “polaco” (“Polish”) because we are often seen as weird and speaking a weird language, since we have a different language and culture than Castile/Spain.

Most people think that calling us “polacos” was invented in the 20th century, since the term gained a lot of popularity among the fascist military and Spanish nationalists during the fascist dictatorship of Franco (1939-1975). But, in fact, the term originates from the 18th or 19th century. There are different theories that experts believe are the origin of this:

  1. Because of the similarity between both nations, Catalans and Poles are much alike. Back then, Poland was also an invaded nation trying to get its independence. The Poles’ feelings of inconformist patriotism could be compared to what was also going on in Catalonia, where Catalanist politicians were trying to get some rights for the Catalan people, but met with rejection from the Spanish government.
    In the 20th century, the paralelism between both nations increased. Catalonia was invaded by the fascist Spanish troops at the beginning of 1939 as part of the Spanish Civil War. In September of the same year, Poland was invaded by the Nazis. Some people think that this also played a role in making the term more popular.
  2. Another hypothesis says that this term is a direct consequence of the fact that battalions of Polish mercenaries helped the Austrias side during the Spanish War of Succession (1701-1715, a war in which Castile gave support the Bourbon monarchy and Catalonia-Aragon gave support to the Austrias, and resulted in the victory of Castile and its invading the Catalan Countries and banning our language and culture, starting a process of forced “Spanishization”). Then Castilians took the term “polacos” to refer to those who were on the Austrias’ side, most importantly Catalans, kinda being their equivalent of our word botifler. It later became more popular because Catalan was considered difficult to understand, and so comparable to Polish.
  3. Other historians say that in the 18th century Madrid, the public in theatres were divided in two sides, and one side was called “polacos”. The “polacos” side was very loud, and for this reason the term “polacos” was spread to the Catalan politicians who went to Madrid to ask the Spanish government for some rights for the Catalan people and language.
  4. Lastly, some historians point to a dictionary of slang political insults from Madrid in the 19th century. In this dictionary, the term “polaco” means those politicians who went to the Courts to ask for particular cause, or that of their region. In Spanish politics, Catalans were the most insistent politicians in this sense, and in international politics it was the Poles, since Poland was trying to gain recognition. According to the historian José Luis Gómez Urdáñez, both Catalans and Poles were “always showing their miseries of stateless nation.”

It is possible that some of these reasons are linked, and more than one is true.

I’d also like to add that here in Catalonia we have a very famous political satyre TV show called Polònia (“Poland”), as a parody of this!

“Psyche Opening the Door into Cupid’s Garden” by John William Waterhouse, 1904