Nubian paintings from Christian period, Nile River Valley south of the First Cataract, dating from the 8th century AD. Influenced by missionaries sent from Constantinople, the rulers of the Nile Valley from the first to the third cataracts converted to Christianity in about 548 AD.

Courtesy of & can be viewed at the Faras Gallery, National Museum in Warsaw, Poland. Photos taken by Mariusz Cieszewski via the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland

Humans are allergic to change. They love to say, ‘We’ve always done it this way.’ I try to fight that. That’s why I have a clock on my wall that runs counter-clockwise.
—  Though it is rarely taught in history books, women had a lot to do with the development of computers and the technology that was used to help the US successfully fight in World War II. Some of the first technicians and developers for the first computers were mainly women. Grace Murray Hooper, quoted above, was a highly trained mathematician who graduated from Harvard. She successfully made it to the rank of Rear Admiral in the Navy and assisted a team in coding the first business friendly computer program, COBOL. In 1951, Hopper was also the first person to discover a “bug” in computers. She was awarded the National Medal of Technology in 1991. 

July 6th 1935: Dalai Lama born

On this day in 1935, Lhamo Dondrub was born in Amdo, Tibet to a farming family. At aged two, the young child was recognised as the reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatso. Upon becoming the 14th Dalai Lama in 1939, the child was renamed Tenzin Gyatso. In Tibetan Buddhism, Dalai Lamas are believed to be manifestations of Avalokiteshvara - the bodhisattva of compassion and Tibet’s patron saint. Bodhisattvas are enlightened beings who have postponed their nirvana to remain on earth and assist humanity. Aged six, Gyatso began monastic education, which instructed him in the finer workings of Buddhist philosophy. In 1950, the fifteen year old Dalai Lama became the political leader of Tibet, and led negotiations with the Chinese after their invasion of his country. Peace talks were unsuccessful, and in 1959 the Chinese government brutally suppressed a Tibetan uprising. This led to fears for the Dalai Lama’s safety, and in March 1959 he and twenty of his entourage fled the capital, Lhasa, and embarked on a fifteen day journey on foot over the Himalayan mountains to Dharamsala in India where they had been offered asylum. Despite initial fears he had not survived the journey, the Dalai Lama eventually crossed into India. He was followed by around 80,000 Tibetans who also settled in ‘Little Lhasa’, which has become the home to the Tibetan government-in-exile. Tibet remains under Chinese rule, and the Dalai Lama continues to try to find a peaceful negotiation for Tibetan self rule; he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989 for his efforts.

Happy 80th birthday to the Dalai Lama

Happy Birthday to Frida Kahlo, born today in 1907. Kahlo pushed the boundaries as a female, politically active artist during her career. Often associated with the Surrealist movement, Kahlo defied stylistic definition and befriended many artists including Marcel Duchamp, André Breton, and Pablo Picasso. She used personal tragedy and injury to create deeply provocative paintings that reference her Mexican heritage as well as her journey as an artist. To this day, Kahlo’s life and works are iconic and well-known across the world.

Frida Kahlo,” March 19, 1932, by Carl Van Vechten


Luristan Bronze And Stone Sword With ‘Blood Grooves’, 1st Millennium BC

This impressive bronze weapon is a stabbing/thrusting sword from ancient Persia, It is a highly attractive and well-formed piece, with a stone pommel and a decorated handle, However, it is also a practical and technological item, with a slender, straight and tapering blade which is strongly constructed with a central strengthening spine that produces the so-called ‘blood groove’ which facilitates easier stabbing and wrenching the blade from one’s opponent’s body in a battle context.

Luristan, a mountainous region of ancient Iran, famous for its bronze-smiths, encouraged a voracious appetite for luxury items, particularly weaponry. 

UNESCO Adds Medieval Sites to World Heritage List

Medieval sites in Sicily, Korea and Turkey were among those selected to be added to UNESCO World Heritage list this week. During meetings held at Bonn, Germany, over 20 sites from around the world were added to the list, which now stands at over 1,000 landmarks and areas.

The most prominent medieval site added this year is Arab-Norman Palermo and the Cathedral Churches of Cefalú and Monreale on the island of Sicily. The entry was made up of nine buildings, including churches and palaces, which were built during the 12th century when the island kingdom was ruled by the Normans.

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Looking back at the nationwide support for American troops in the two world wars, we see Americans of all stripes making patriotic contributions and sacrifices — including farmers, factory workers and librarians.

Wait. What? How did librarians fit in to national security in the 20th century? In an array of ways, says Cara Bertram, an archivist for the American Library Association. Libraries were established at hospitals and military bases.

“In both wars, librarians back at home or on the front were key in collecting and distributing books to soldiers,” Bertram says. “During World War I, librarians maintained camp and hospital libraries,” and in both world wars, “librarians promoted books drives and encouraged donations.”

When America’s Librarians Went To War

Photo: Courtesy of the University of Illinois Archives

In the 1930s and 40s, Italian fascist Benito Mussolini (1883-1945) tried to eliminate foreign words from Italian. In soccer, “goal” became “meta” and Donald Duck became “Paperino.” Mickey Mouse became “Topolino” and Goofy became “Pippo.” Although the ban (and Mussolini) are gone, these words remain common in Italian.